Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Resolutions–How did I do?

Almost a year ago, I did what a lot of people do… I vowed to make 2012 a good one and made some New Years Resolutions!  I looked at these a few times throughout the year to stay on track.  Overall, I did pretty well, there were some I could’ve definitely done better at (cough.breaking up with the snooze button.cough), but there’s always next year!



  • Eat less meat
    • At the time my goal was to learn to make more vegetarian entrees and change up some meaty meals using some portabellos or homemade veggie patties.  My views on meat have sort of changed since I made this goal.  I am now eating plenty of meat without regret, but I buy organic, local, and grass-fed when I can.  I need to make this more of a priority in the new year.  Let’s call this one N/A.
  • Eat more whole foods, less processed junk
    • B+, I have definitely been working on this over the whole year, but for the past few months I’ve really noticed the difference from cutting down on bread, pasta, bagels, etc.
  • Eat more veggies and fruit
    • A-, I think I’ve been pretty successful in keeping our fridge stocked and trying out new varieties like spaghetti squash and recently arugula!
  • Eat less cheese
    • Ummmm, still working on this one – C.


  • Stop snoozing my alarm, get up the first time it goes off
    • D, I can’t say this has been a success.  I’ve done better at getting up sooner, but I’m still a fan of the snooze button.
  • Be more productive at work
    • B-, this could still use more work but I’ve definitely been pushing myself.
  • Take another grad class
    • F, I failed at this one!  Between running, cheerleading, and all those weddings, I didn’t really have the urge to squeeze in a class.  I did apply to sit for my professional engineering exam in the spring, so that was a positive.
  • Create a budget and save money
    • B-, I didn’t create a budget, but I did set up an automatic transfer to move some money to my savings.  I’ve also been saving some money in an additional account and I’ve been paying extra to my school loans.  I feel like I could still use more structure, but overall not too shabby!
  • Give the blog a more permanent makeover
    • A, I did this a while ago, but now I’m thinking I want to do another blog makeover in the new year!

Did you make any resolutions in 2012?  How did you do?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gym Dilemma

Before I joined the Y, I was looking at a lot of gym options.  We used to belong to a small 24 hour good enough for the average joe gym and I was considering rejoining based on the fairly cheap cost of $40/month, guests always allowed.  I was also doing a lot of research on CrossFit.  I’ve been reading a couple of different Paleo blogs and CrossFit seems to be a favorite in that community.  What I’ve read online is that people compare it to an adult team sport, where you have a coach and everyone cheers you on and calls you if you miss “practice.”  It’s a quick but super intense workout and people get obsessed with it.  It’s right up my alley.

Oh and it only costs $119/month for 2 workouts a week!  Eek.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a bit much for me.  My beloved Planet Fitness, only a 1-2 minute ride from my parents’ house, cost me 10 whopping dollars per month!  It spoiled me.  We ended up settling on the YMCA at $89/month for Dave and I with access to an awesome weight room, multiple pools, free classes, and more.  And I love it.  I’ve been going a few times a week, which makes me feel like I’m getting a jump on making it a habit before the new year.  I’ve run some laps and sprints around the indoor track, taken advantage of the variety of cardio machines, and started to navigate the weight room.

And then the LivingSocial deal I’ve been hoping would come along pops up: a deal for CrossFit Valley Forge offering the Four-Class On-Ramp Course (required for you to learn all the fundamental movements) for $49 (a $160 value), only a few weeks late!  I love LivingSocial and Groupon and I get a ton of awesome deals, this would’ve been a no brainer before I signed up for the Y, but I debated for a few days.  I feel like I have so much already going on: an upcoming yoga groupon, the membership at the Y, a cheer practice once a week starting in February, and volleyball.  Oh my that’s a lot typing it all out…

But then I went for it!  I just couldn’t pass this up!  And I bought Dave one too, he’s not super excited about it (yet?) but he agreed to go along.  What a good boyfriend.  I figure that we’ll take the classes and we’ll either say “wow this is awesome, I need to be a part of this!” or “that’s not for me, but now I can do all the moves they taught me at the Y.”  I think it’s a win win.

I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about really committing to the Paleo lifestyle, but I’ve been sort of lurking online just taking it all in.  We’ve definitely been eating closer and closer to the guidelines of it (meats, veggies, oils, fruits, and nuts, no grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, and all processed foods), but the holidays were indulgent and now I feel bloated and I can feel the difference in my energy.  Giving CrossFit a try along with the motivation of the new year may be the push I need to take the next step in my food journey!  But that’s a whole other post.

Tomorrow is Friday, yay!

Do you think I’m crazy for buying the deal?  Do you like to try out different gyms and classes?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Reflections

The past few days have been a whirlwind of celebrations filled with family, traditions, and endless feasting.  To say I am blessed would be an understatement.  I received many thoughtful gifts, I savored more than my share of multiple delicious holiday dishes, and I got to spend some quality time with my loved ones.  Waking up to a thin blanket of snow this morning was the icing on the cake!

I’m really enjoying blending my family traditions with Dave’s, and making some of our own along the way.  Cutting down our own tree with Dave’s parents, my mom’s homemade pierogies, feeling like a big girl sending out my own Christmas cards, running outside in the cold with no coat on when Santa comes down the street on a fire truck at my parents’ house, singing Silent Night in church only by candle light (well, battery operated candle light since someone lit their hair on fire a few years ago), and oh my goodness, the cookies!!!  I only dream of baking cookies as delicious as our moms’, they are both so amazing in the kitchen.  Puddin’ was sufficiently spoiled and I’d say we were too.  I may or may not have gained 7 lbs over the long weekend.

There’s so much preparation and anticipation leading up to the holiday and I can’t believe it has come and gone.  Now I’m feeling slightly run down from all the running and the reality of waking up for work tomorrow is setting in.  The holidays are a lovely time of the year, but I am looking forward the less busy feel of January.  I look forward to clean eats, a busy gym buzzing with New Years motivation, catching up with friends that I couldn’t connect with over the holidays, and maybe even some weekends with no plans other than cuddling on the couch while something simmers in the crockpot.

Oh wait, we still have another long weekend filled with celebrations!  On that note, my bed is calling me.  Merry Christmas to you and yours.  I hope Santa was good to you and you find yourself in good health.

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gym Time!

I am officially a member of my local YMCA!


It's no secret I've been losing my running mojo for a while now and after the 10K, I decided I was pretty much over it.  Don't get me wrong, training for my half marathon was great.  I really enjoyed running at the time and I'm so proud of myself.  But now I'm ready for the next chapter!

I've totally been craving the gym.  Although I can do plenty of workouts at home in my living room, the gym setting really motivates me.  If I'm at home, I can do 5 minutes and then get distracted and quit.  When I'm at the gym, I feel compelled to get something done.  If I made it there, I might as well make the most out of my time.  I also enjoy the people watching aspect (need to get better at not getting caught though, commence awkward eye contact!) and watching other people get their sweat on makes me want to do more.

Plus there's such a variety offered to me in a gym setting.  The YMCA offers a weight room, two indoor tracks, two indoor pools, and a variety of classes.  I need to decide which class(es) I want to sign up for for the new year!  They offer a ton, some of which are free and some of which aren't.  We'll see but I do have my eye on a kickboxing class.

Last night I got to do somethings I haven't done in a while including bench press and some
assisted pull ups. One day I will do multiple assisted pull ups, one day! Today I'm sore and it
feels great!

Do you enjoy going to the gym?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

November Adventures

A Turduckaween party, a Mennonite farm, and you guessed it – another wedding!  November was full of adventures and I can’t believe it’s already December and 2013 is just around the corner.  This year has really flown by!
















Rainy and blah here, think I’ll cozy up on the couch with a blanket and some football.  Happy Sunday.

Did December sneak up on you?  Are you ready for the holidays?!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Victory for Voices 10K Race Recap

When my alarm went off this morning I was not very excited about getting up for the race.  Despite spending about a third of the day Saturday napping, I didn’t want to get out of bed and the gloomy foggy weather wasn’t helping.  I was kind of stressed out, I wasn’t sure exactly where we were supposed to be, what I was eating for breakfast, or how I was going to feel through the race.  My nerves were eased a bit when we got to the race with plenty of time to pick up our shirts, stand in the porta potty line, and meet up with Allison and her cheerleaders Tracy and Jess!

Me & Allison

I know, our hair looks amazing.  It was pretty chilly while we were standing there and the thick fog was keeping a lot of moisture in the air.  We were ready to get the race started!

On our way

And we were off!  The race was a 3.1 mile loop through the park, the 10K was two loops of the course, so you could decide midrace.  So we started off with everyone… up a huge hill!  I was pretty full of hatred running up the hill at the start, but knew it would be worse on the second lap.  The first part of the course was on roads through the park, after we defeated the long hill at the start, we faced another shorter uphill and soon we were half way through the loop.

The second half of the course was on a paved trail through the woods.  The trail had a good amount of windy turns, but it was mostly downhill or flat.  Dave and I had planned to take our time through the race since we wanted to last through the 6.2 miles, but Allison was running her first 5K and we followed her pace through the first lap.  Even though she claimed she was “so slow” she was definitely pushing me!  I floated the idea of skipping the second lap to Dave, but he made me commit to finishing the whole 10K.  Yay for positive peer pressure.

Almost half way

Soon we were out of the woods and approaching the 5K finish line, we cheered Allison on as she finished and prepared to face the hill again.  I was full of hatred as we headed up the hill.  I had a lot of pain in my Achilles and we did a good bit of walking up the incline.  We did some more running and then took another short walk break up the smaller incline.  We took our last walking break through the water station around 4.5 miles.  The course was way less crowded during this lap, which made it kind of less exciting but we ended up running with a woman who was cheering on everyone around her and making us laugh.

Soon enough we spotted Allison, Tracy, and Jess and we could hear Gagnam Style pumping through the speakers at the finish line.  We sprinted to the finish and we were done!

Almost done

Ugly sprinting

We both felt extremely proud of our finishing time of 1:01:28!  Of course I forgot to charge my Garmin, so I don’t have the regular splits, but running faster than a 10 minute mile pace was amazing considering our (lack of) preparation!  It was Allison’s first 5K and she won 3rd place in her age group!  We were going to leave before they did the 10K awards, but Allison and Tracy convinced us to hang around because you never know… and Dave won 3rd in his age division too!  It was also the farthest he’s ever run, yay for his PDR!  They rock!!!  Also, kudos to Tracy, our awesome photographer!

Allison & Dave

And now I’m retiring from running… jk!  Kinda.  Dave and I are planning on joining a gym ASAP, so I’m looking forward to getting back to lifting in a gym setting.  I’m sure I’ll keep running, especially when the weather gets nice again, but for now I’m not really interested in running any winter races or training for any long distances.  Maybe I will have another love affair with running, but for now give me a weight room!

Do you go through fitness phases?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Burn off the Bird 5K Race Recap

Dave and I arrived at the race with plenty of time to pick up our bibs and shirts, meet up with our friends Karisa, Frank, and Ashley, and utilize the indoor restrooms (race day gem)!  It was in the high 30s, which we were pretty pumped about since the forecast was calling for overnight lows in the 20s, and it was nice and sunny.  The wind was whipping but we just kept trying to remind ourselves that it could’ve been raining… or snowing!  The race included a long sleeve tech T, which I can definitely use more of, and the turkey on the front makes me giggle.
After a quick warm up in the parking lot, we headed to the starting line.  There was some confusion but before we knew it, we were off!  Dave and I decided to do our best, but we knew our lack of training meant we weren’t destined for any new PRs.  The first mile went by quickly and we were running faster than I expected.  Apparently we were feeling great, because the second mile was even faster!  There were some killer hills throughout the course, but running Valley Forge continues to pay off because we found ourselves passing multiple people up the inclines!
The third mile was definitely the hardest.  I really wasn’t feeling our pace anymore, but Dave kept pushing me to finish strong.  We were also following a dad pushing his two daughters in a stroller and let me tell you, both kids looked like they were pretty much pushing the size limits on that stroller, and I just kept thinking, if he can do this, so can I!  I knew that in a matter of minutes it would all be over and soon enough we were rounding a corner and could see the finish line.
We pushed ourselves hard on the last 0.1 and we finished!
Like I said, definitely not a PR, but we were super proud of our time and it was a great warm up for our postponed race next weekend!  We celebrated completing the race by having a big bacon filled brunch with Karisa and Frank, I couldn’t think of a better way to cap off the morning!
How did you burn off the bird this week?  Did you run any turkey themed races?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for my good health.  Dave and I woke up and ran a chilly 2 miles on the trail behind our house.  I felt surprisingly good considering how much running I haven’t been doing lately.  The sun was shining and it was a great way to start the day.  We are doing a Burn off the Bird 5K on Saturday with some friends!

burn off the bird

I am thankful for my plethora of friends.  Some I’ve known since elementary and middle school, others I just met this year, I am surrounded by a huge group of supportive, loving, hilarious, amazing people.  We attended two different Friendsgiving celebrations this season and my heart is full.

I am thankful for my family.  I love living with Dave, and Puddin’ perfectly completes our little family.  This turkey day we headed to Lancaster to spend the holiday with Dave’s family, it was kind of strange because it was my first Thanksgiving away from my family, but the food was delicious and I’m grateful that Dave’s family is so welcoming.  And our alternating schedule means we will spend Christmas Day with my family!

I am thankful for spandex pants, a perfect Thanksgiving stuff your face uniform.

I am thankful for my job, a roof over my head, and all the fortune in my life that I tend to take for granted.  Especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and with so many people still dealing with the effects of the storm, I am so grateful for all that I have and I need to remember how good I have it throughout the entire year.  I am spoiled.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday!  Don’t forget to appreciate all your blessings today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November Fitness Plans

So I'm sure you've noticed the lack of running updates on the blog recently... like I told you two weeks ago Dave and I were sick for almost two weeks, he's actually still rocking a cough.  And then the hurricane hit!  We were extremely fortunate during the storm.  We only lost power for a few hours, but my work didn't have power until Friday, so I spent the entire week in vacation mode hanging out with my neighbors watching movies in my pajamas with a cocktail in my hand.  Dave and I were starting to panic since the race was only days away and we hadn't run in weeks, so on Wednesday we forced ourselves to get out of the house and do something productive.

Yes we got our $2 burritos!  And please check out the creeper in the background.  We also went for a 4 mile run!  It involved quite a bit of walking, it didn't feel great, but we got out there and got it done.  A few days later we found out our race was postponed to Sunday, December 2nd due to the effects of the storm, so now we have an additional month to train!  I'm so glad we have extra time and a few of our friends who are signed up for the race had run into a scheduling conflict with the original date, so it actually worked out.  Now if I can just will myself to get out there and run in the winter conditions we're experiencing!  This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous so I need to force myself to take advantage.

In the meantime, Dave and I started the 100 push up challenge!  We even sucked our neighbor into joining us.  After doing the first day of the program, I was so sore, especially in my abs (which surprised me)!  It's getting easier already though, I'll keep you posted on my progress.  We're all using a free app on our phones which is awesome for tracking everything.  Thinking about adding some type of burpee challenge for my push up off days... maybe some burpees in tabata intervals?!  If you didn't know, tabata training is 20 seconds full out then 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes total.  Talk about a quick killer!

We are approaching an extremely indulgent part of the year and I don't know about you, but I want to look good at my holiday parties!  Time to recommit to fitness and make it a habit.  Let's do it!

What are you doing to avoid a holiday season fitness slump?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Going to the Chapel

When two of my best friends asked me to be in their weddings and I found out that they were back to back weekends, I wasn't so sure about all of it.  The expenses, scheduling the events on top of my already crazy schedule, and working with a ton of other bridesmaids... I knew it was going to be a bit overwhelming.  The bridal showers and bachelorettes both ended up back to back as well and there were certainly times when I thought, what have I gotten myself into?!  But in the end, it was all worth it.  Both weddings were so different from each other, but each was so special and moving and I was so glad to be a part of both.

Although I had a chance to post some of the pictures from Heather's wedding, I never got around to sharing Shayna's special day.  Better late than never, right?!



Yup, I caught the bouquet!  That lady isn't protecting herself from me jumping at her or anything...  Four weddings down, one to go!

Do you love weddings?  What's your favorite part?
I love busting a move, but the first kiss always gives me the chills!

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Heart is Full

I'm am completely overwhelmed with emotion.  My brother winning homecoming king really meant so much to him and our family and now this wonderful article has been written about him.  Everytime I read it, it brings me to tears.  It's been blowing up on facebook and I just had to share this with everyone.

And then Tom’s name was announced. He was king, which is how the students have viewed him for years, a member of high school royalty. He bounded off the platform in dark suit and sneakers, smiling and clapping. Somewhere in the stands, Diana and Mike Nowak drowned in a puddle of tears.

The king joined his queen. A white sash with “Homecoming King 2012” was placed on him. While the student body went wild, the new king stood posture perfect and soaked it all in.

Behind him on the platform, two fellow members of the court, football players Jarrett Reinhard and Anthony Williams, were celebrating Tom’s coronation as though they’d just won the state championship.

“What those students did for Tom shows the level of selflessness they have,” Mike Nowak said. “At this point, they probably don’t really appreciate what an honor they gave to him. Maybe when they get older and have children of their own they’ll truly understand.”

Please check out the entire article and watch the video!  And I dare you not to get choked up.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Super Random

- Tomorrow is Friday, thank God!

- I've been battling a cold for over a week now.  I don't get sick very often and usually it doesn't last long, but this time sucks and Dave is sick too.  Guess 2 weekends of wedding partying in a row will do that to ya.

- I haven't run in two weeks.  Partly due to sickness, partly due to laziness.  Not really the greatest way to train for a race.  What happened to the super motivated girl from the spring?  I guess it's safe to say I'm in a fitness rut.  I skipped out on basically the whole last month of my yoga/zumba Groupon (even though I liked the classes), I haven't been doing my little better than nothing (BTN) livingroom workouts, and my race training hasn't been where I want it.  I really need to turn over a new leaf and find some new fitness goals.  Perhaps it's time for another push up challenge?

- I've been really trying to eat clean, specifically eating whole foods and avoiding grains and sugar.  But I've recently been craving a pumpkin roll... you know, with the cream cheese frosting?  I seriously want to take one to the face.

- My cheerleaders have a competition this weekend in Philly.  One squad performs at 8:30 am... the other squad from our organization performs at 4:30 pm.  The bus leaves at 5:30 am and I won't get home until after dinner.

- Super pumped about our Halloween costumes.  Dave and I need to spend some time crafting, but we've got all the supplies and I think everything is going to turn out pretty awesome.  We don't have any parties until Turduckaween (Turducken Day aka Friends Thanksgiving + Halloween all in one) next weekend, but I think we'll be test driving our costumes at Chipotle on Wednesday since they are doing $2 Booritos for anyone in costume after 4 pm!

Do you have any fun Halloween plans?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10K Training: Weeks 5, 6, & 7

victory for voices

Week 5:
- Monday - 2.47 mi around Souderton, 26:10
- Tuesday - 2 mi hike with Puddin
- Sunday - 9 holes of golf
- Total Mileage = 2.47 mi

Week 6:
- Monday - 4.53 mi with Dave, 47:32
- Tuesday - BTN arms
- Wednesday - BTN abs
- Total Mileage = 4.52 mi

Week 7:
- Monday - 3.88 mi with Dave, 41:35
- Tuesday - BTN arms
- Thursday - 5.00 mi solo run, 47:31 (9:30 ave pace!)
- Total Mileage = 8.88 mi

What can I say, my training has been lackluster, as is my blogging schedule.  I don't know why I'm finding it so hard to commit to my runs.  When I trained for my half, it wasn't even a question of whether I'd fit my runs in or not.  So what's different this time around?

The time of year - I am significantly more busy in the fall than I am in the spring, especially this year with both of the weddings.  I have cheerleading twice a week, and honestly it's really hard to want to run out the door as soon as I get to my parents' house to squeeze in a run before I scarf down dinner and run off to practice.  Not only does it make me feel like a rushed, crazy person, but I have to fight the desire to spend that hour and a half catching up with my family.

Knowing I have it in me - When I started training for the half, I was convinced that I had lost my mind.  13.1 miles seemed impossible and I really couldn't believe that I was going to do all those long runs to prepare.  This time around, I have way more confidence.  I know I can run 6.2 miles.  Sure I'm not at the same level I was in May, but even if I have to take some quick walking breaks, I know I can complete my goal.

Maybe I need to set my goal higher.  Could I push myself and set a time goal to beat?  Sure.  But right now I'm simply trying to find a balance.  Between nurturing my relationships, coaching cheerleading, preparing healthy meals, trying to stay on top of my ever growing pile of laundry, and everything else in my life, sometimes running once a week is plenty.

On a side note, let's take a moment to celebrate my brother, Thomas Nowak, Souderton High School's 2012 Homecoming King!


Seriously amazing.

How do you balance everything you have going on?

Monday, October 8, 2012

And Photo Dump, Go!

Birthday surprises, bachelorettes, beach trips, weddings, etc.

How's your fall going?  Can you believe it's October?!
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