Demotivation

A.k.a. Fitspirational quotes that annoy the heck out of me.

Listen, I’ve been sick all week, so saying I’m cranky is kind of an understatement. That said, I’ve been planning on writing this post for a while, so let’s not attribute all of my bitchiness to the plague I am currently suffering from. Credit where credit is due, I’m just naturally bitchy.

So, if you spend any time on Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Facebook…heck, if you spend time on the internet at all… I’m sure you’ve stumbled across a colorful array of weight loss and fitness motivational quotes. Maybe you’ve regrammed some of them. Maybe you’ve taken a screen shot for later use, or later inspiration. If you’ve done any of these things, we have a lot in common.

But lately, there are a few of these fitspo quotes that I find to be downright demotivational. Don’t get me wrong, I know that these are meant to inspire people, and for some, I’m sure they do. And there are plenty of these quotes that do inspire me! It’s just that a couple of them keep popping up and making me a little ragey.

Nothing tastes as good as being thin/losing weight feels – First of all, the person who coined this phrase has clearly never eaten creme brulee. Because not only does it taste as good as losing weight feels, it tastes better. Secondly, and more seriously (although I am deadly serious about creme brulee), I think this quote sends a horrible message. What if that quote on Insta looked more like this?

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Is that motivational? No! And what’s worse, it’s not true. To me, saying nothing tastes as good as being thin feels implies that it’s an either/or scenario, and frankly, I think that’s a load of bull. Reality is not eat junk or be thin. Plenty of thin people eat crap. And plenty of heavy people eat a balanced diet that includes healthy foods and indulgences. So, I reject this fitspo on the basis that my journey to health will have pit stops at the Creme Brulee Cafe, and I will still get there.

No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch – This one gets a lot of traction. And hey, why not? But if it were phrased differently, would it still motivate people?

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Less motivating, huh? And not so flattering to the people you are ‘lapping’, either. I may be slow when I’m running. Hell, let’s not mince words, I’m a turtle. But you know what? The only one I need to compete with, the only person I need to worry about ‘lapping’, is myself. And the people who didn’t get off the couch? You’re still cool in my book.

Pain is fear leaving the body – Other variations of this one include No Pain, No Gain and Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going. Actually, no. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and that you should stop doing that thing.

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Now, there is a world of difference (or sometimes a thin line) between being uncomfortable and being in pain. And hey, if you’re just starting out, or if you’re trying to reach a new level in your sport, there is going to be some discomfort. And yeah, you have to tough through that sometimes. But if something hurts? If you are in actual pain? That is your body signaling you that you’re about to hurt yourself, if you haven’t already. That’s not you being weak. That is you being a human being with nerve endings and stuff.

So those are my demotivators. Are there any fitspirational quotes that annoy you? Or any that inspire you? Tell me all about them!

See Jess Run: Volume 4

Sometimes when I run or walk, or do whatever it is that I do for exercise, I like to slow it down a bit. And I don’t mean actually slow it down – although, yes, sometimes that as well. I mean, I like to scroll to the playlist that has the slow stuff. The stuff that makes me breathe a little deeper and be a little more present in whatever I’m doing.

Since I haven’t shared a playlist in a while, and because I need a little inspiration to get back out there on the road, I put together this playlist of songs that, while not your traditional workout music, is actually a really awesome companion to whatever your workout routine is. It just digs a little bit deeper than Britney (who I love!).

Hey, we all need a little reminder to slow it down every once in a while, right?

Do you prefer to run to fast music or slow? Any recommendations for tracks to add to my playlist? Talk to me in the comments! 

NYC Marathon PRO Compression #Giveaway

One year ago, I was anxiously awaiting my chance to run 26.2 miles through New York City’s five boroughs.

The race remains one of my favorites – not only because it’s my standing marathon PR, nor because I was blown away by the support from the crowd, friends and other racers.

I knew I had given my all. And that meant more than anything.

A big part of a successful marathon day for me, is knowing what food, clothes and routines work for me.

I wear a certain style of shorts (Oiselle distance shorts are my current race day must-have), I have to have a hat on and I need my PRO Compression marathon socks.

Nov13 to May14 076Race day duds. Love those socks

The socks rock.

I’ve been running and racing in PRO’s marathon socks for over a year, well before I became a brand ambassador several month ago. The sock help keep the blood flow in my legs. I wear them to race, on my longer training runs and for recovery after long runs – and hoo boy, do marathons count!

In short, my legs feel better. And when I feel well, I run well.

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In this week’s marathon excitement — and as I ramp up to run Philly in a few weeks – I’m giving away one pair of PRO Compression marathon socks or sleeves (winner’s choice).

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The giveaway ends at at the stroke of midnight on NYC MARATHON DAY (11/2). Click on the above pic to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

But if you wanna get shopping early, use the discount code BLG14 for 40% off marathon socks and sleeves at www.procompression.com.

Do you use compression socks? Why do you like them? What PRO Compression color, style is your fave?

Pumpkin: It’s Not Just For Yogurt Anymore

I mean, it never really was. But if you read the Pumpkin Yogurt Wars post a couple weeks back, you might have thought so.

Seriously though, pumpkin is kind of everywhere this year. Like, way more than I can remember in past years. Trader Joe’s new Fearless Flyer has somewhere around 50 Pumpkin Items. I should know, I bought most of them. So, remember when I said I needed someone to stage a ‘pumpkintervention’? I purchased almost every pumpkin spice flavored item I could get my hands on, and my cabinets and counter tops we’re a bevy of orange boxes. I’m a marketing director’s dream, guys. Then, guess what happened?

I got really sick of all of it. It’s terribly sad, I know. But, most of the items were too pumpkin-y, or too spicy, or too sweet, or just plain not good. I hit total pumpkin overload and just didn’t want any of it anymore. Except for one thing.

Actual pumpkin.

See, somewhere buried at the heart of this pumpkin spice lunacy, is a beautiful squash, a superfood that is low in calories (15 per 1/2 cup raw, fresh) and high in fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene. And? It’s freaking delicious!

Now, let’s talk about what to do with pumpkin!

Pumpkin can typically be found in your regular grocery store in three forms; halloween/jack o’ lantern pumpkins (don’t eat those, I don’t think they’ll kill you, but I think they would be pretty woody), whole sugar pumpkins and canned mashed pumpkin. If you shop at Trader Joe’s, one of their 50 pumpkin items is actual pumpkin, peeled, cut, cubed, raw. Unless you don’t have a local Trader Joe’s (I’m so sorry, Mer), you might want to get some of this. I’m about to explain why.

New fun fact I learned this year: Working with whole, raw pumpkin is a major pain in the ass.

My nemesis

You guys know, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. I don’t shy away from food prep. I have a knife callus the size of a small country on my hand. I do NOT mind getting in there and getting my hands dirty.

All that said, if you plan to venture into the world, of cooking with raw pumpkin, get ready for a workout. The skin is tough, there is an incredible amount of slimy goop and seeds inside, and just cutting the pumpkin into chunks is hard work. And you know that smell when you carve jack o’ lanterns with the kids? Same. So, recap: lots of work, lots of smell, lots of slime.

So, why bother? Because it tastes ahhhhh-ma-zing.

Like almost any squash, pumpkin roasted in the oven with a little oil, salt and pepper is phenomenal. I can, and did, eat it straight out of the pan. But, in case you are looking for some ways to serve pumpkin that don’t involve burning your fingers and tongue, I pulled together a few of my favorites for you.

Pumpkin Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins from Ambitious Kitchen. This recipe called for pumpkin puree, so you could make your own, or go with canned. I used canned.

My word, these were delicious. Dense, incredibly moist, spicy but not too spicy. I could have eaten the entire batch.

Pumpkin and White Bean Soup from the New England Soup Factory Cookbook. This recipe called for cut, raw pumpkin. I picked up a bag of the pre-prepped TJ’s pumpkin for this.

This was unexpectedly good. Meaning, when I heard pumpkin and white bean, I was wondering how those were going to fit together. But, in this soup, the beans aren’t pureed, and half the pumpkin is roasted chunks that go in after the puree. The result is a lovely, smooth soup with cubes of roasted pumpkin and white beans in every bite. It was awesome.

Autumn Pumpkin Mix from Women’s Health Magazine. This is another recipe that calls for cut, raw pumpkin. For this one, I cut and prepped my own.

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Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t even know what to say about this. Just, if you like delicious food, make this. The flavor combination just WORKS. Brussel sprouts, pumpkin, pistachios and goat cheese. This came from a list of lunch recipes, but would make an excellent dinner side as well.

There are a million pumpkin recipes in the world. If you know some excellent ones, please share them with me in the comments below. Pretty please. With pumpkin on top.

What do you think of this year’s pumpkin craze? What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe? Do you want recipes for other types of squash? Let’s chat! 

2014 AC Marathon Race Series 10k Recap

One of my tried and true, go-to race series that I return to repeatedly is the Atlantic City Marathon Series. Why? Well, it really boils down to these key points:

1. It’s in my state! New Jersey races for the win!

2. The value is phenomenal. If you sign up early with a finisher’s code, a 10k or half marathon can cost less than other single pricey 5k events.

3. Overall, it’s a really great smaller race series and I love supporting it.

Last year’s 10k was a bit on the soggy side, so I was very happy to see the weather forecast for this year’s race was sunny and clear skies. Especially considering that I’d been sick with a pretty horrible cold throughout the week.

Since I was still recovering, I decided that rather than doing Neptune’s Challenge (which was the 10k and half that I originally signed up for) I was only going to do the 10k. Spoiler alert: I made the right call!

Yes, please!

Yes, please!

In October, you never know what you’re going to get in terms of the weather, but we lucked out! And it’s a good thing because I had my cheer crew with me.

Little and Mom are in the house!

Little and Mom!

Usually I’m flying solo or with friends for races, but this time there was the added bonus of my mom and my youngest son who not only joined me for the expo but also the morning of the race.

Since I live within driving distance, we drove the hour back and forth on both Friday night (for the expo) and Saturday morning. Sadly, there was no day of race pick up – that would have shaved some travel time for us, as well as parking costs (although we got $5 vouchers at the expo). We made the best of our visits by getting treats at the candy shop on the boardwalk and wandering around.

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Little was very excited that he was somewhere that his big brother had never been before. TWICE. It’s all about the competition when you’re five.

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Really excited about this sign. The other side said, “I love you mom, because I love you.”

However, when you’re 37, it’s all about finishing the race and not hacking your lungs out on the boardwalk. Or, well, at least it was for me during this race. Because, let me tell you, this was not a fun race for me.

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The race environment was awesome, as always. Running the boards always feels good because it has that extra give; I enjoyed the running aspect.

This particular race is an out and back – the first mile is on the populated “store area” of the boardwalk, then you run along a residential area. There is a 5k turn around and further down the 10k turn around.

The problem was that my lungs felt like they could never get quite enough air and when they finally did, I was coughing. I ran 2:1 intervals throughout and while I wasn’t feeling wonderful, I did appreciate the view.

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I mean, how can you not?

By the last mile I was so ready to be done, which is a shame, because that’s usually my favorite part of this race. This time? Not so much. The last mile definitely felt like it had doubled in length but finally, I saw the finish line!

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My mom snapped this.

I crossed the finish with a smile on my face, because, YAY! I WAS DONE! They said everyone’s name as we crossed the line, which I thought was a really nice touch and with a field of 950 participants, very doable.

I was immediately handed a medal and a bottle of water. I made my way over to the barrier where my mom and Little were cheering and Little immediately homed in on the water. “Oh, Momma, I’m SO thirsty.” Yes, he took my bottle of water.

Thankfully, in the finisher’s village I was able to snag a plethora of treats including Gatorade, Rita’s Water Ice, a banana, pretzels, bagel, and PowerBar. This was a welcome change from the end of the April Fool’s Half where the back of the pack missed out on most of the snacks. It’s always great when you know that race directors hear you!

After handing off my beer ticket, I met up with my family once more.

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Little promptly took my bagel.

Was it my best race ever? No, it was not. But not for lack of effort on the AC Marathon Series’ part. Some races will just be better than others, due to circumstances beyond control. And hey, that’s okay. My greatest takeaway from this one is that I have the best cheering squad ever! Even if one of them takes all of my things. At least he let me wear the medal.

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What fall race do you have coming up next? I’ll be at the Biggest Loser Run Walk at Six Flags Great Adventure for their 10k and kids race. Ever run a race while under the weather?

All I do is WIN – WIN Detergent review and giveaway

Dear Workout Clothes,

No offense but you stink.

No Love,

Meridith

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If you ask me what I’m doing, chances are that about 85% of the time, I’ll give you the same answer: LAUNDRY.

Friends, I do laundry more than I do basically anything else. If I’m not doing laundry, then I’m probably not at home. I wish I were kidding. But I’m not. The other Chicks can back me up on this (you know, if you need verification) because every single email that we exchange includes my laundry woes.

Lately, I’ve been pretty frustrated because while I’m constantly doing laundry, I haven’t felt like my workout clothes have been getting particularly clean. They seem to hold on to the stench of sweat, no matter what. Lovely, it is not. So when Fit Approach gave ambassadors a chance to check out WIN detergent, I was stoked!

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Welcome to my lair, WIN.

So what’s the difference between the regular (blue) bottle and WIN GREEN? Both are good to use on technical apparel and are geared toward sports/workout clothes. The GREEN is hypoallergenic and dye-free, as well as fragrance free. That means that all of my husband’s and my workout clothes as well as my (sensitive skin) kiddo’s soccer uniform were thrown in there together. Additionally, I had some towels in there because, well, we were running low!

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I’ve been using WIN detergent since the start of October. The verdict? I’ve been really pleased! The funk of my workout clothes has dissipated and I no longer feel like I smell bad BEFORE I start working out, which is always a positive.

The regular detergent gives the clothes a nice scent and while the GREEN doesn’t have a scent, I think that it’s cleaning my clothes and not masking odors.

I’ll continue using WIN and since it’s available through Amazon I don’t even need to leave my house to get it. Which is great, considering I always have laundry to do.

Want a chance to try WIN detergent? Well, I’m so glad to hear you do! We’ve got a bottle of the regular detergent and the GREEN up for grabs for one lucky reader. Don’t wait to wait to try WIN? Use the discount code WINGIVE1 for $1 off your purchase on Amazon. Cool? Cool!

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Click the pic to enter!

 Thank you Fit Approach for the hook up! Other than the two bottles of detergent and the prize, no other compensation was given. All opinions (and laundry) are completely my own.

Putting Up a Fight…And Winning!

Well, so far.

A few weeks ago I blogged about how I was going on a diet. And the next day I went on said diet. And that same day I asked myself, “Self? Why did you go on this diet?” The day after that I seriously pondered the link between lack of carbs and homicide. But I kept going. And going. And going on phase 1 of the South Beach diet, which lets you have yummy things like lean protein and veggies and dairy (THANK GOD) and nuts and beans and blah blah blah no carbs blah no sugar blah blah what the hell am I going to eat blah blah etcetera.

At any rate, I kept chugging along. And what do you know?

It’s working! I’m down 6 pounds. I’ve actually been down 6 pounds for a couple weeks and have basically plateaued, but you know what? That’s okay, because I’ve lost 6 POUNDS!

Other interesting things to note: when I sneak a bite of something that’s not-so-healthy, I immediately feel it. As in, “wow that was good in my mouth but no me gusta in my stomach.” It seems that my body likes the good stuff I’m feeding it, and now that I’m feeding it 90% good stuff, the bad stuff sticks out even more. I’m surprised by this revelation because I felt like I was always going to have to battle against wanting to eat the crapola foods.

Of course, I say this having just snuck a piece of brownie. But I snuck JUST a piece. That was enough, and yeah, my body’s kind of eh about it. But my mouth? Looooved it.

The best part of all of this is that I’m starting to feel good about my body again. The second best part of all of this is that my co-workers are telling me how great I look. I’m still the same size I was before. I don’t think my body looks insanely different. But my clothes fit better and I’m definitely slimmer and the scale and I are really starting to mend our relationship.

So there it is, people. I’m winning the fight so far. You were all so lovely with your words of commiseration and encouragement that I had to update you.

And, may I submit into evidence this before (left) and after (right)? Both taken in work restrooms, I’m sorry to say. I wish I had a more beautiful backdrop but alas.

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I’m going to keep at it and fight the good fight. If any of you out there are dealing with the same thing (and I know you are!) I hope this encourages YOU, since you were all so wonderful about encouraging me.