What I’m Loving Lately: Last Week of Half Marathon Training, ‘Lazy’ Meal-Prepping, Exploring More of St. Pete

What I’m Loving Lately: Last Week of Half Marathon Training, ‘Lazy’ Meal-Prepping, Exploring More of St. Pete

Hello! We’ve made it to Friday-Eve! It seems like it’s been another long, but fast week. I feel like its Monday then I blink and its almost the weekend!

I’ve wanted to keep this cycle of posting more regularly on here, so this time around I’m gonna keep it short and sweet. Sharing with you what I’m loving lately in terms of what I’m into, my training, outside of fitness and work, and just LIFE in St. Pete!

RUNNING

This is the second to last week of half marathon training! I’ve put in quite a few miles (maxing at 35 miles last week) and have been feeling great. I’ve kept the twice in a row running (one easy, one hard intensity workout) with an active recovery day or rest day in between. I’ve kept this since January of this year, and I feel I’ve responded to it well. I enjoy a nice change in pace (LOL @ running puns) from the hitting the pavement with a bodyweight or strength workout at home or at work. I get a sweat without killing myself. I save the tough workouts for the road! 😉

I have my race, Run Singer Island Half Marathon on 4/20 on Singer Island (Palm Beach County where my parents live. Singer Island is about 20 minutes north). After that I have the Best Damn Leftover 5K Safety Harbor in June. I’m not sure where I’ll be when I’m done in June, but until then I plan to keep about 30-35 miles per week.

I’ve really been into yoga, foam rolling, and any restorative or deep stretching. I usually do this at night before bed along with PT exercises, but have found myself more into yoga and less self-guided type sessions. I sometimes will put on a Yoga with Adriene YouTube video and follow along which I did earlier this week that was heavenly. I’ve used my breaks at work to focus on more specific area of foam rolling (tennis ball under feel and ankle), along with more stretching of hips and back. At home at night, I put on my essential oil diffuser or sleepy time music on Spotify as a way to get myself ready for a good nights sleep. Today at work, I tried meditation for the first time! 30 minutes too! It wasn’t too bad or boring, another good way to de stress or add to your morning or evening routine.

This coming weekend I’m running the Runway 5K at Tampa International Airport with a few friends which I’m looking forward to. Shortest distance for me in a long time. 🙂 Excited to see how this goes!

LAZY MEAL PREP

Yep, it’s a thing. I reallllllyyyy have not been in the mood to cook all the meals or try anything brand new. The idea of me standing in the kitchen all afternoon just does nothing for me. I don’t feel like being creative, racking up large grocery bills (they’re never THAT expensive but still), plus clean-up. And for me in this moment, I’d say that’s totally OK! If you’re all in about cooking up a storm because that works for YOU, you do your thing! I feel like meal prepping goes in phases for me anyways, so I’m sure I’ll be back in the kitchen soon enough. I must say though, the Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow cookbook is AMAZING and even if you’re not a runner, there is seriously some good info and recipes in there. I’ve not made one thing I don’t like!

Since I do feel SOME kind of prep is needed for me, I stock up on frozen vegetables, easy to cook or pre-cooked meats or protein sources, and some pantry staple carbs.

These have been some common foods I’ve enjoyed the past couple weeks. They’re items I have on hand and take minimal time to prep. Whenever I use my pantry staples, anything really goes. I’m not too particular on how ‘well’ they will go together. Food is fuel so if its tasty, fresh, and ready to used, I’ll use it!

-Boxed pasta and rice- not necessarily whole wheat, gluten free, or organic—white enriched pasta that’s Publix brand as well as Publix brand brown instant rice.

-Just Grilled Chicken by Trader Joe’s- pre cooked grilled and frozen chicken strips. I cut some up, reheat and put ranch, everything bagel seasoning, and peppers on them! Really yummy for a quick chicken salad.

-Eggs- This I do buy often. I either go with a fried egg or hard boiled. Perfect snack, addition to a salad, on toast, in an egg scramble with veggies. Perfect!

-Frozen Veggies- Steam in a bag is what I prefer. I buy about three different kinds. Added fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and all you did was mic ‘em!

-Fruit- both fresh and frozen. I prefer fresh, so I always have bananas or apples on hand. I also have mixed berries which I love for yogurt or overnight oats.

-Oats- I don’t buy fancy steel cut. Old fashioned is fine for me! I make overnight oats for work and mix in a banana, yogurt or vanilla whey, PB2 powder, almond milk, and water.  I also really like mixed berries, yogurt, oats, and vanilla. Super convenient and tasty. They’re ready to eat as soon as I get to work and include a healthy balance of carbs, fats, and protein to start my day off right!

These are some staple items I’ve enjoyed the past couple of weeks! Like most people, we all have budgets and don’t wanna spend a fortune at the grocery store every week! I’m always surprised how much I can make do with what I have and still enjoy a healthy and satisfying meal.

EXPLORING ST. PETE & GETTING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

One thing I’ve committed more to this year is really delving into living and learning as much as I can about St. Pete. I truly truly love where I live. I never thought I would live over here, but this move was definitely a blessing in disguise!

Since life and other commitments have taken over the first half of the year since I bought my condo, I hadn’t yet made it to an HOA meeting. This is something I wanted to be in the know about, without getting too political about it 😛 I finally went to my first one earlier this week and introduced myself as, ‘Ali Swank in unit 310.’ I’ve been in touch with the property manager a few times to help answer some general questions, etc. but I wanted the board to also know who I was. There’s been talk about the smoking policy and making the community *hopefully* a smoke free place to live which I’M ALL ABOUT since I have smoker living under me (it’s not bad or a terrible nuisance, but I smell residual smoke on occasion and it occasionally deters me from using my patio…ANNOYING). I didn’t get all my panties in a twist at the meeting regarding this issue, but I wanted to make myself present. Putting myself out there, meeting others, becoming involved, that’s the goal! BOOYA.

On another note… 😀

One awesome thing about St. Pete is how much they push activity, exercise, and wellness. They’ve created an initiative called Healthy St. Pete that is all about raising awareness of a healthy and active lifestyle through free group fitness. Yes completely free!! Each Saturday of the month they feature either yoga, trail running, hula hooping, dance, basically anything! They meet all over local St. Pete parks on Saturdays. All you do is show up! How great is that?

Last weekend I attended the free first Saturday yoga in the park. It was done by a local yoga studio in St. Pete in Coffee Pot Park (off 30th Ave N) and it was AMAZING! I usually don’t crave a yoga class, but I did that day! Not only was it an amazing class, but I also went to push myself and get to know others in the community. I didn’t make a group of friends off the bat, but I put myself out and introduced myself which was a huge thing for me. If you know me, I come off shy and very reserved so I was super proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone.  I plan to continue to put myself out there and meet others in this community!

On that note, that’s all I have for now!

Thanks for reading and talk soon 😀

-Ali

 

Summertime: Five Things I’m Loving Lately

Summertime: Five Things I’m Loving Lately

Hey! It’s been awhile since I’ve been on my little blog. This past semester with school has been a crazy one, yet again. I knew it was gonna be a nutty one, so blogging went straight to the back-burner until I was done. It was definitely a good decision on my part! I’ll probably go back to putting it on the back-burner in the fall. But for now, expect to see me on here more often!

Summertime this year is a chill, yet productive one for me so far. No big trips planned or classes I need to take. I’m using this time to learn more about myself through my internship, my training, my current work, and to take time to see myself where I want be a year from now…no more schooling and in a full time career (fingers crossed!). Long story short.

With those things in mind, I took time to reflect on what I’m loving in my life right now. It’s so easy to keep looking ahead or planning for the future. I find that I see myself as “not good enough” or comparing myself to others. It’s a dumb game and wastes time. Period. Reflecting on what I love about my life right now, is good way to start planning on what I can take with me into the summer months and fall semester.

SO what am I loving? SO MANY THINGS!! I had to narrow it down some, but these are my FIVE things I’ve been loving lately:

1.) Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I’ve been hanging with my girl, Lindsey (@runnaroundd) more lately and have loved our coffee dates together. We’ve not always been in touch, but we’re on the same page with fitness and our love for coffee, so you could say we hit it off every time. Other friends have gone to the wayside lately, and that’s okay too. Those people will reappear when the time is right. Until then, there’s always room for new friends right?

2.) Eating more fruit. Sounds weird, because I always eat fruit and have always loved it, but something about fresh summer fruit sounds so refreshing! I love frozen pineapple or mango in smoothies and watermelon with feta and balsamic vinaigrette…YES, the ultimate summer snack.

3.) Not following a training plan. I said it. It feels weird. I’m being honest. It’s nice to not revolve your life around training for a marathon. I truly love the training and see myself running a marathon again for sure, but this time of year with it being so hot in Florida, I don’t feel the need to run for distance or train for an event. Right now, I love running the distance I wanna run when I wanna run it…type of thing. I do bootcamp one time per week, strength day one time per week, HIIT one time per week, running in between, and yoga. It’s a good mix and I’m not focused on one one kind of movement. I’m sure by the end of the summer I’ll be craving some kind of race to train for!

To keep me focused, without any races on the horizon, I’m considering doing a run streak. Ya know, one of those “run a mile a day from this date to this date”…yep! It’s sounds like it could work since I have a goal, but nothing crazy. Consistency seems to be what I’m craving anyways.

4.) My Special Olympics Internship. I LOVE my this internship. BOOM! It has by far been the most eye opening experience I’ve had. I truly love seeing my class and putting together lesson plans (I’m teaching health education to SO athletes). I love the creativity behind it and the topics I cover with them. My students give me a challenge in the best way possible. We’ll see where this goes from here!

5.) Taking school off for the summer. Although I’m technically “in school” during this internship, I’m not in the classroom. I have no classes for credit to take (I’ve completed them), homework, studying for a test, or showing up to do. It is a blessing since this program is truly a constant grind and this time off has been worth it. I know I’ll feel refreshed and ready to get back for the fall semester!

Your Turn!

  1. What is your fitness routine like lately?
  2. What are your favorite summer recipes?
  3. Any new experiences that you’ve learned from?

 

Activity vs. Exercise…What’s the Difference?

Activity vs. Exercise…What’s the Difference?

You probably read the first title of my post and thought, “aren’t activity and exercise the same?” YES, they both require some movement, however both have different mindsets. When you think of activity and exercise, what do you think of? Activities I think of are social, fun, minimal cost (sometimes), and something that interests you. Before, I thought of exercise as costly (gym membership), un-motivating, and usually done alone.  NOW, I’m a HUGE advocate of exercise (I have my B.S in Exercise Science), and this mindset is not mine at all today, but it once was before I got into running.

In my opinion, I think our population is so forced to exercise, that the “activity” idea goes out the window. Exercise to most people is considered a chore, not fun, and requires a gym membership. Exercise should be done because we love our bodies and want to move, not because we hate how we look. 

On the other hand, I know a lot of people who made the transition to becoming more active and have found an ACTIVITY that they love. Key word here is *activity.* What do you think about when you think of activity? I think of running (obviously :P), swimming, biking, rowing, rock climbing, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, group fitness class, walking. etc. All these have a few things that include movement (a component of exercise), being social, having fun, some cost, interesting, motivating, rewarding, the list goes on! Point here is that I love running as much as I do because I don’t see it as a chore, work, or something that has to be done in a gym (although treadmills exist for that reason). I love it because it CAN be social, as interesting as I want (races, challenges, volunteering), fun, requires minimal costs which are optional (gear, race entries), as well as EXERCISE that doesn’t feel mundane or forced. This post is not about trying to sell you on running, but to find an activity you enjoy that doesn’t feel like exercise. Gyms and indoor cardio equipment have a place, but they don’t last as long as a life long interest in an activity does.

With an activity you can get the benefits of exercise, the cardio and calorie burn, but for our out-of-shape society today its a great first place to start. From there you build an enjoyment of it, and then before you know you’ll adding to it! I tell all my clients if you want to start an exercise routine, pick an activity and go from there. It may take a few times to figure out what you like and don’t, which will more than likely take patience and time and a gym membership if that’s what you’re into, but its worth knowing in the end! 

At the end of the day, I like to call this activity, whatever it is you choose, RECREATION (my minor) because that’s what it boils down to. This isn’t a guaranteed way to get fit fast, but this perspective will help jumpstart a new and continued fitness routine for years to come!