Category Archives: Fitness
Did the Olympics spark that fire for your inner-competitor too? Obviously the highlight for me was the track events. I have so much respect for these world-class athletes, but I also know how much of a sacrifice they make to commit their life to a sport. Running is literally their job.
Now that I’m on the other side of the collegiate-athlete world, I started realizing how differently I look at running/races as a competitive athlete versus as a recreational runner.
When I signed that scholarship agreement during my senior year of high school, I was committing to represent Northern Arizona University, the Lumberjacks, and Adidas. Training was a mandatory part of every day. Being on an NCAA Division 1 Track team was something I’d worked hard for, and it will always be one of my proudest achievements.
When I graduated one year ago, the collegiate running career officially ended as well. Now I have to find the motivation to run myself. Suddenly running is a choice. Do I even want to run anymore? Of course I do. That’s a no-brainer. There’s just no training plan I “have” to follow or any races I must compete in. There’s no one else tied to my performance.
I can’t say I prefer one over the other. I LOVED being a collegiate athlete; it gave me an identity and purpose at my school. It was incredibly rewarding, but stressful at times, and I think 8 years (high school and college) is the perfect amount of time to be a serious competitive athlete.
I’m also learning to LOVE the perks of being a recreational runner. There’s less stress and pressure; there are more options for workouts beyond what’s dictated by a coach. So here’s my comparison of Competitive Athlete vs. Recreational Runner now that I’ve enjoyed my time as both:
- Collegiate running spoiled me with free race entries, plus free transportation, lodging, food, racing gear and not to mention a dozen pairs of shoes a year. That’s a tough one to say goodbye to after college. (Thankfully I was able to jump right into the Boise Elite running team when I moved to Idaho which has a couple of sponsors and free race entries.)
- A coach can give you an outside perspective on your weak areas and ways to improve.
- Your team and coaches hold you accountable for your workouts; skipping a long run is simply not an option.
- Collegiate races have competitors at or above your level who can help push you through the race to improve your time. The atmosphere, the crowd, and the “official” nature of these types of races also boost adrenaline and help performance.
After graduation, that all goes away unless you are in the seriously elite 1% who become professional sponsored runners. I’m definitely not in that group :) I said goodbye to my blue and gold uniform but my love of running is still strong and I’ve been enjoying local race events as an individual runner.
- The stress of pleasing your coach and representing your school is lifted.
- I actually find enjoyment from my sport again now that I put less pressure on myself.
- You meet so many people in your community, who are just happy to be there, and it instantly boosts your mood.
- You can find scenic courses and run through gorgeous scenery rather than a turf oval track.
- You can win money ;) NCAA rules prohibit any “extra benefits” which include race prizes.
- You can race with an iPod!!! This one is HUGE for me because I run twice as fast it feels like when a really good beat comes on.
This weekend, I’ll be racing a local 10k road race. After that, I’ll continue training for an upcoming half-marathon. Transitioning from a student-athlete to a random road race runner isn’t too difficult because both have their perks. Let me know if you have any additions to these lists!
I’ll catch ya later on this week with a new back-to-school breakfast recipe I’m working on too :)
Coming at ya with a recipe AND a workout this morning. It’s a two-for-one! Both were amazing and I just had to share. Plus food and fitness are two of my most favorite things. I could read about and talk about both for hours, but most of my family and co-workers don’t share the same enthusiasm for health topics as I me. So I just post it out here and hope someone else will find it useful :)
First, the BITES!
I’ve made and posted some clean energy recipes here a time or two…
These types of recipes are SO easy, so versatile, so convenient to have on hand and so much better than a similar processed packaged snack! One batch easily makes enough for a few weeks, especially when you keep them in the fridge or freezer. I’m all for these portion-controlled clean snacks before or after a workout :)
Clean Blueberry Almond Energy Bites:
- 1.5 cups raw almonds
- 25 pitted medjool dates
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate mini chocolate chips
1.) In a food processor, pulse the raw almonds until it is a coarse chopped texture.
2.) Add the dates to the almonds in the food processor and pulse until they are well-combined.
3.) Add in blueberries and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips until the mixture is a soft, dough-y texture.
4.) Transfer the mix into a larger bowl, stir in the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
5.) Form into 1-inch balls; place the bites on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.
6.) Store in a ziplock bag or airtight container in the fridge.
These little guys are like a fruity cookie dough. Without the whole salmonella thing. They’re also very similar in texture and taste to Larabars. I don’t know what I’d do without a food processor <3
Part II: Body-Weight Strength Circuit
This post is a little hodge-podge. Switching gears….
My weekly workout schedule is pretty cardio-heavy (increasingly so, as I’ve begun training for marathon #2). So I make my way into the weight room and strength machines at the gym at least at least two times per week. Last night, the place was PACKED and I didn’t feel like waiting in line for equipment. So I found a little corner, wrote out 8 exercises on a post-it, and completed a 25-minute body-weight strength circuit that focused on CORE (glutes, low back, obliques and abs). I kept the post-it because I definitely plan to repeat it. I was sweating half-way through, and I think I’ll be a little sore tomorrow (which my fellow gym-rats will understand is the best kind of pain).
And since this post is already a complete hodgepodge, why not add one more music video of another running playlist favorite :) Hope your September is off to a fantastic start!
I need more weekends like this past weekend.
Persian cats, happy hour boat rides, salt water snorkeling, and one of my best college buddies.
I’ve never been one to really buy into the whole ‘spiritual realm,’ but I am starting to believe that our positivity or negativity towards situation will affect the outcome. A ‘you-attract-what-you-emit’ type of thing…
Huh?? Well, it seems that during circumstances where I adopt a go-with-the-flow attitude and truly believe that everything will work out actually do work out better than I even imagined (like my Southern Road Trip!). A positive outlook brings a positive experience. Similarly, when I am skeptical or pessimistic about my day, it naturally tends to go downhill.
This weekend, one of my best friends from college Chelsea invited me to visit her and her family and it was so perfect and refreshing! Chelsea is such a patient and positive person, and I think that our go-with-the-flow/we’re-going-to-have-fun-no-matter-what attitude made the weekend such a blast. So on Friday I happily packed up the adventure backpack and headed towards Orange County!
I spent half of Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Chelsea’s family in a very water-filled weekend that also included many “firsts.” First time surfing, first acai bowl, and first cold brew coffee. But the weekend began with a little visit to a friend where I met this photogenic little guy… (Too many captions come to mind for his expression, I can’t pick one!)
In the evenings, we took a walk around the lake and saw so many friendly people walking their dog. Chelsea has an extra surfboard and wet suit that I could borrow so we started planning our beach day….I was a little shocked when she suggested we start our Saturday at 6:00am. (!!!) Monday through Friday I wake up before the sun to squeeze in a workout before work. I have to give a disclaimer to any friends I have sleepovers with…my bedtime is somewhere between 9 and 10pm. #proudgrandmastatus
We compromised, setting our alarms for 6:30am ;) Starbucks made it a little easier, and we were westbound with an americano in hand before 7am!
Chelsea suggested hitting up Doheny State Beach because it’s known as a ‘beginners’ beach for surfers. The sky was grey and overcast and the water was flat. I got a little tutorial for paddling, standing up, and surf etiquette on the shore before we pulled on our springsuits and paddled out. I was nervous that the water would be freezing but it actually felt so comfortable!
There were looooong lulls of flat water between sets, so we spent lots of time just paddling, floating, sitting in quiet with other patient surfers, taking pictures and appreciating the morning.
When the sets of waves did come in, they were little baby waves crashing close to shore. There wasn’t much to catch with the board and we never stood up on the board. But somehow, four hours flew by and before we knew it, it was noon! We have no idea how the time passed so quickly as we floated on our boards.
All of that not surfing worked up an appetite ;) I’ve been eager to try out the trendy acai bowls but I’ve been told to hold out for the REAL DEAL at a specialty shop rather than a chain restaurant’s knock off. Chels and I loaded the boards in her car and drove to Laguna Beach for Bonzai Bowl where I ordered the Shark’s Cove Acai Bowl —> Acai, hemp milk, and frozen bananas blended together and topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, bananas, coconut, granola and honey.
Now that we were full of super-food yumminess, we were re-energized to get back into the water! This time we used Chelsea’s snorkeling gear to check out Diver’s Cove. The water was SO CLEAR and blue, it was a gorgeous day. Chelsea brought her GoPro (so many fun toys!) and we took some fun underwater pictures.
I guess we weren’t done with the water yet so our evening consisted of a happy hour boat ride around their community’s lake, some snacks and good music. I felt so grateful for such a beautiful perfect relaxing day, where the toughest decision was which smoothie toppings I should pick ;) Even though I also had my first cold brew coffee that afternoon (which was STRONG), we crashed early again. Being out in the salt water and sunshine drains ya!
Weekends like this deserve a little extra appreciation. It was a total recharge going into this next work week. :) And now we’re all caught up! See you here again soon XOXO