Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Confessions 11.30.12

Time to confess....I've missed a few weeks. This is a crazy time of year where I work!!

I confess that all the Christmas decorations are up at work. It took 2 days and several volunteers, but everything is up and residents are happy. Now we can enjoy the month of December. I confess that I absolutely dread having to take it all down after New Years day.

I confess that the Holiday Hottie Challenge I am doing is helping me stay focused. I normally just let my diet and exercise go basically from Halloween to New Year's, but not this year. I've worked too hard to let some Christmas cookies and eggnog get the best of me. I also confess that I'm very proud of the push-up video in my Holiday Hottie Challenge post. Very, very proud.

I confess that in year's past I have spent days baking Christmas cookies to give away to friends, family & neighbors. This year I am scaling back and switching to quick breads. They are much less tempting for me. I will still bake some cookies, but not the several 100 dozen that I roll out.

I confess that a good friend and co-worker is at the hospital right now, as her 3 year old son is having major surgery. I have been praying for them and confess that I am anxious to hear that all is well with the little one. Not having children, I can only imagine how hard and emotional this would be.

If you want to go into your weekend pure and clean, consider heading over to see Aubrey at High Heeled Love to join the confessions. I promise you will feel better.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Hotties December Challenge

With my job as an activity director in a retirement community, the time between Halloween and New Year's Day is wrought with awful and wonderful temptations, on an almost daily basis.

I honestly admit to using bribery to get my residents out of their rooms, and into my activities. Most of the time, the bribes include food. Usually sweets. The last taste buds left on our tongues, as we age, are the sweet ones. This is why many older people will use lots and lots of salt, when the food is already well seasoned. They simply can't taste it. But the sweet buds linger on, and I use it to my advantage. And to my disadvantage. Sugar is one of my greatest weaknesses. I simply adore it, in all is forms. But especially in cookies, cakes and chocolate.

Resident family members leave us food at the nurse's station, they send us food in the mail. They leave it on our desks. Vendors give us food, doctors send us cakes and donuts. There are parties for staff, parties for residents. Then a few more parties for staff. We just love to party and to eat. 

It's no secret that most Americans experience a 3-9 pound weight gain during the holiday season. Exercise routines slack off and eating plans slip beyond recognition of healthy.

Thankfully I have two accountability groups to keep me honest and mostly on track during this food-filled season.

My running girlfriends started a Healthy Challenge Facebook group to keep us accountable with eating and exercise. We post our food & exercise daily. Share recipes and tips as well. These girls are great - I also run with them almost weekly and enjoy their camaraderie and friendship.

My Ninety day challenge group coach Lindsay Phillips started a Holiday Hottie challenge. It could not have come at a better time. And those who know me have seen a bit of my competitive nature. Well, seriously, no one LIKES to lose, right?

Our Hottie challenge started the Monday after Thanksgiving. We were given a grid of ways to earn points. Whoever earns the most points by Dec 31 wins a prize.

I've printed off a copy at home and work, so I can remember what will earn me which points. Some things are easy - we almost all post our daily menu & workout. Now I just need to remember to snap a picture of my sweaty self, and get some pictures of my healthy meals. Well, I need to get back to some healthier meals before I start taking those pictures.

My sister, Mary, who has been doing the 90 day challenge with me has had some amazing results. See for yourself:

I am so proud of her! And because I am a chicken, I am showing her before/after pictures, instead of mine. When I get a little farther along, maybe I'll be brave enough to show you those. Maybe.

I will show you this nice little video Mary took of me doing push-ups. I have always struggled with upper body strength, and the only way I could do push ups was on my knees. On of my "crazy, awesome" goals is to be able to do 25 toe push ups  I'm not quite there yet, but, check this out!!  If you can hear the sound, that is Mary and my parents cheering me on in the background.

I've never met any of the girls in my Hottie challenge face to face. We do not even live in the same states. We post daily, encourage each other and are forming connections that are strong and lasting. We are all working on becoming better versions of ourselves.

My sister Mary is racking up major points in our challenge. She is creating cheers for all of us. Here is the one she came up with for me (think: Liar, liar - pants on fire).

If you are interested in this kind of challenge, just find Lindsay Harrish Phillips on facebook, and friend her. Tell her I sent you (and it might earn me some extra points!!). Pin It Now!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Happiest 5K - Charlotte Color Run!

I found out about the The Color Run last year when someone in our running club put a link on Facebook. It looked like so much fun - an un-timed 5K with lots of powdered color. It is touted as being the Happiest 5K on the Planet. And now that I've experienced one, I can honestly agree. It was 100% happiness.

My sisters and I decided to do it together, in Charlotte, NC. And in the end, two of my nephews also joined us. Along with 12,000 other Color Runners. Yes, Twelve Thousand!

The event was held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway:

Originally, the advertised date was set for October 2012. When registration opened, the date had been changed to Nov. 17, 2012.  Ah, the same date as my Tryon Running Club's first 1/2 Marathon. Bummer.

Well, next year will be my year for the 1/2. I'll be 45 next year, and will celebrate with 13.1 miles of movement.

Most of the Color Run was delightfully flat. There were two hills, the last one on the long side just before the finish. One of my nephews (he is 11) was a little upset at the fact that no one would actually win this race. He wanted to run the whole thing, so I told him I would run with him. Thank God we reached the first Kilometer and first Color Station. My nephew was a little bullet. Weaving in and out of the crowd, sprinting and glancing back to make sure I was still there. I ended up getting much more of a workout than I expected, but was running much faster than I really can while still being able to breathe.

At the first color stop I told him we had to wait for the others since this was supposed to be a family event, much to his utter dismay. "You mean we have to stop and WAIT? We just wasted all that time running??" He was none too pleased. But honestly, I needed to catch my breath!
We all went through the Blue together. The volunteers had buckets and bottles full of the blue powder (cornstarch) and threw it at us as we jogged on. There were clouds of blue everywhere, the path was covered in blue. Some of the volunteers wore masks and hats, but they were also completely covered. Some got in my mouth and it was chalky and dry. With no water to rinse out, we just spit it out the best we could. Then my nephew was back at it, wanting to run. So he and I took off again. I slowed to a walk on the first hill, and he jogged back to me. I told him to go ahead and wait for me at the bottom of the hill. After I met him there he said "Aunt Caroline, since you've had time to walk, do you think you can keep up with me now?"

"No, baby. I can't keep up with you, you've already worn me out!" I replied. So on we went - he sprinting off, then jogging back to where I was, then running at a nice, even pace. We went through the next 3 color stations together - leaving the others to come on along.

At the finish line my sister Mary, of Forty By Forty, and I were greeted by our blogger friend Aubrey, of High Heeled Love. What fun to finally meet in person!

At the finish line - before Color Bombs

They threw out color packets to the crowd

In everyone's swag bag was a packet of color to throw at the finish line. Every 10 or 15 minutes there would be a color explosion and everyone would throw their packets up in the air. 

I was completely bombed with a green one. It landed on my head and then exploded. I slightly resembled a happy looking Grinch ..and I had to wash my hair 4 times. I gave my packet to one of my nephews so I could take pictures of the sight:

Going up in colored smoke!

After Color Bombs - a green packet exploded on my head.

There was loud, fast music everywhere - at the start, at the color stations, and at the end. The kind of music that has you swaying, then dancing and loving life. You know - the kind of music you run with!

It was a super fun day. The Color Run was great, and benefited Habitat for Humanity. The exercise was wonderful but doing it with my family was priceless.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Confessions 11.9.12

It's that time again! 'Fess up before the weekend!

I confess that I've missed a few weeks of confessing. One Friday was a travel day. I was coming home from here:
Okaloosa Island, Ft. Walton Beach FL
It was a lovely, stress free week on white sand beaches. It was off season, so we pretty much had the beach to ourselves, as you can see. We stayed right on the beach and were treated to dolphin sitings in the ocean every day and gorgeous sunsets every night.

It was hard getting a good picture of the dolphins, but if you can see the black thing in the middle of this photo, that's a dolphin. We saw them playing and jumping, usually in groups of 15-20. Very, very cool!




We rented bikes the last 2 days, and next time we'll do that the very first day. It was so much fun! I confess it's been a long, long time since I've ridden a bike without any gears. But it's really, really flat down there, so no hills to worry about.
I confess that I can't wait to go back!!

Last week in our baking group, I had a request for coconut-something. So I found an easy recipe for Coconut Macaroons. Oh. My. Goodness. I confess I ate more of them than I should have. I found these at C'est Si Bon - they are easy and delicious!
I confess that I've only run twice this week. Six miles on Sunday and one on Monday. It was cold and rainy two days, and I just fell out of my groove. The Color Run is coming up on the 17th, so I need to get some more miles in this week!

What are YOU confessing this week?? Thanks to Aubrey at High-Heeled Love for hosting this month! Hit the button to join the party!

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