Wednesday, August 31, 2011

20 miles & a photo shoot

Hey you guys, Happ-eey Wednesday!! 

 I have to just encourage you--When you are facing a trial, a barrier, a REALLY BAD day--that is when you should stand a little taller and watch the horizon, because the bible says that God will rescue US. He's on his way, the knight on the white horse, the rescuer and redeemer! No matter how bad it is, he will come in and rescue us for his own glory! The worse it is the MORE grand the rescue, so you can be SURE he is on his way to you. Don't give up hope!! That's what LOVE does.

Ok, had to say it! My week has been great! I am loving taking life step by step and just waiting on God to help me be in the right place at the right time. Amazing things are on my plate....

20 miles
Heck yes. In my Ragnar relay shirt!

I ran my first 20 miler ( I have another one in 2 weeks) for Twin Cities Marathon training this past Sunday. IT was great!! I wore my Ragnar Relay tee and had 4 people yell out to me "go ragnar!" It was very cool. Apparently the rag-nerds are rampant around the Minneapolis lakes. 

I ran with Ann who also ran the Honolulu Marathon with me! We just did an easy 10 mile loop twice and it took JUST under 3 and a half hours, not too shabby! I am looking forward to the taper and to the RACE! ALMOST a month away.... 

JUST in case you missed it, I am raising money, again for Bolder Options of Minneapolis--and I only have 700 dollars to go before I hit my goal!! Not familiar with Bolder?? It's a Minnesota mentoring program for at risk youth and it's an amazing non-profit to be a part of!
I am aiming for that total to be in place by marathon start date--So, I am asking you..... 

I ran 20 miles, will you give 20 dollars?
Get your mom to pitch in, skip a fancy coffee, check the couch and PLEASE consider donating! Click HERE to donate online!  Yep, HERE

Photo Shoot:
I had a blast on Sunday morning BEFORE the 20 miles at my first ever photo shoot...well, first fitness one! I did a beach photo shoot with the same photographer AP Skyline Photography in Minneapolis. It was so fun and a lot of work, a lot of holding and posing and smiling as I lifted and pushed and worked! Oof!! Here are just a few images: 

Hey--it's fun loving trainer and writer Mary! 
Alex at AP Skyline sure makes me look good... thanks Alex! 
Have a fabulous Wednesday and don't forget, no matter how bad it gets, the rescue is on the way! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ragnar Relay Recap

Happy MONDAY!! 

Today has me facing a few challenges, but you know what, I am taking them with stride! Loving all the GOOD things that are coming down the pipeline!! 

OH, and as a reminder, you can follow me on twitter at @MaryFitthisgirl....remember, my name is in front of the blog name. You will know it's me if you see I have over 1500 followers. Onward... 

One week since The Great River Ragnar Relay &
here is my recap!

Our team was called  "Girls just wanna have fun" and we were an 80's theme!
There were SO many amazing names like:

I love you, but I've chosen Ragnar
Brown Chicken, brown cow
Eat my dustache
Super Karate Monkey Death Van
Your pace or mine....

Kendra was a rock star leader in our van, tackling THIS hill on the first leg. And seriously, this is a picture from the middle of it! I said over and over I would rather run 9 miles at four am than I would run this hill...funny thing, that's exactly what happened! 

Let me back up. Ragnar is 280 plus teams, 12 people per team (or 6 if you are an ultra team and insane) who rotate running 196 miles from Winona Mn, to Minneapolis. While one girl runs, the others follow her in a van and stop mid run to cheer, pass off water and be generally awesome. THEN, both van's meet up at the last 300 yards of the race and cross the line together!! It was a great, bonding experience with my van and team, all the girls rocked!! 


I love night running! It was so much fun! It was like pulling an all nighter in college!
I ran 9.2 miles about 4am, headlamp, reflective vest, glow necklaces and all... 

It was physically challenging to run and then stretch only for a few minutes and get in a van to sit. I brought quite a bit of food, the girls HATED my cold oats, but it was the perfect fuel to have in the cooler on hand! Add a little almonds and blueberries and you never would know how slimy it was, I mean how cold. ;) 

Finishing my 6.2 miles!! 

I ran most of my miles pretty fast, I didn't wear the van Garmin to track, I should have!  I paced my 6 miles at about 8 min miles though, because my stop watch said 48 min! I thought the leg was SHORT!! Aw man, what a trip. I will definitely do it again next year! I loved it!! 

Go Girls Just wanna have FUN!! 
We certainly did!! 

I counted the 20 combined miles over 30 hours as my "long" run for that weekend as anything more would be over training my body. It was hard enough as it was!! Here is a little nugget of knowledge I learned from Kendra: for every mile you RACE, you should take that many days off of hard running and training. Sounds like a great rule of thumb. Not off running entirely, but off the hard training. I like it!

Have you done a hard relay like this one or ran long distance races one right after another?? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Last weeks training: Mind over matter

Last week was a challenge for me fitness wise.  

I am struggling with getting up and running my LONG runs when I need to. THEN on top of that I was having trouble with my arms, so I didn't lift until Thursday. Weird right? My finger tips were numb. 
All of them. 
All of the time. 


It wasn't just in the morning, it was all day. I waiting a day or two and it didn't go away. And I REFUSE to be that person that doesn't go to the doctor or at least try and figure out what is wrong. Do you know that person? I do. And when something is wrong with my body, I am not going to mess with it. 

I assumed it happened one night after a weird nights sleep, but it was constant and persistent so it seemed odd. I sleep all over the place and sure, I know it's not that great on my shoulders especially, but I have a body pillow I use and it has helped. 

I got a massage on my shoulders, chest and arms. It helped! Yay, I knew it! I hold tension in my shoulders and traps when I workout, so it was great to get that relief. Then I went for a run. NO GO. 

I got home, took this pic and called the chiropractor. 
During my run, my left pectoral was in PAIN and my right arm was numb! Eight miles of  pressing my pecs and shaking my arm. Enough! I got into the chiropractor the next morning and he did one little test and told me I had a pinch in my brachial plexus: 

brachial plexus: a cluster of nerves right at the 
base of your neck above your pectoral muscles. 

AS it turns out, on top of sleeping funny, holding tension in my shoulders and in my chest while I run, I had been doing a horrible job of stretching my upper body after my lifting. As a side note, clients always get the stretch out speech, I will be giving myself now. A few adjustments, a few stretches to go and a few more appointments on the books and I am a new woman. 

Mind over matter: 
Because of ALL of that arm fiasco, I didn't lift like I wanted to.  I also cut my "last long run" before my relay short. I was feeling kind of soft and kind of....well. Lazy. I knew I needed to have an easy week upper body and my legs too got off pretty easy with the relay only a few days ahead. 

But life happens and you make due. I did a lot of core work. I did a lot of stretching and I did my own full body plyo workouts, including boot camp to still compensate and workout. It's hard mentally though to take it so easy, even though my body was sending me signals LOUD and clear that something was wrong and I needed a break. There is NOTHING wrong with resting during injury or even take a week, rest, change your whole routine, take it easy and prevent injury to begin with. 

I love this quote: do the hard things--train hard and REST hard. 
No one loses when you do that! 

We get SO used to pushing ourselves, we get so focused on getting to where we want to go that we can sometimes sacrifice what we really want or need until our body screeches to a halt and we HAVE to do it. It's mind over matter and it goes both ways. 

I know a lot of people that struggle FIRST with workouts in their head. If a certain exercise is overwhelming, daunting or HARD in their head, it WILL be hard physically. Yet if they believe they can do it, that it will be easy, 9 times out of 10 it is. They need to put their Mind over Matter and literally reverse their thinking, well... so do I and all you others who have trouble taking an easy day and being ok with it. 

Use your mind: take a break, take a rest day or a light week and reset. 
Mind over matter: use your mind to prevent injury or it won't MATTER how hard you have worked. Mind over matter goes both ways...  

Was it hard to take 4 days off? Yes, it was, but you know was a nice break. I got my arm problem figured out by taking early action and I got to relax a little during my week and not stress about my training as much... 

Have you been forced into a rest because of stress or injury? 
OR do you take easy weeks and planned rest days? 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Joy, Stress & The law of Esprit!

"The single overriding objective in wellness is creating constant personal renewal where we recognize and act on the truth that each day is a miraculous gift and our job is to untie the ribbons." 
- Greg Anderson, The 22 Non-negotiable Laws of Wellness.  

The principal of the law of Esprit or the law of JOY is a biblical one that Doctors, authors, wellness coaches and SO many people have caught on to. Wellness and health start with your heart and your joy. When you cultivate the fruit of Joy in your life, you will slam the door on stress. (the following thoughts are based on Don Colbert's talk at my church) 

Joy is different than happiness. Joy is internal fulfillment, happiness is based on external circumstances. We can fall into happiness traps like money, materialism, substances (food included!) and even relationships. Round and round we go, looking for joy in these happiness traps and never realize what it takes to cultivate joy. 

Cultivate JOY? 
Yes... Joy is a fruit in our lives. Where does fruit come from? From seeds of course and when you plant a seed you have to cultivate it: water it, give it light, prune it, protect it and then...harvest. 

1) Thankfulness. Being thankful for ALL things plants seeds of JOY. How can we be thankful in all you ask. Well, I am not saying we should go around being thankful for bad things that come into our lives, but when those bad things do cross our paths, we can focus on ALL the good! When I am having a bad day, when things go wrong and do they ever, I will just start listing things I am thankful for, starting with my health, my body which works the way it should, my salvation, my family, my bike. The simple things, by the time I am done, I feel better and I have planted a very important seed of Joy. 

2) KINDNESS. Yes, even when people are mean, when they do you wrong, when they dump you, when they don't listen, when they are stubborn, when they are self-centered. Anyone know anyone LIKE THAT? (other than ourselves...I know). 
We will encounter people like this, chances are we work with them or live with them. Chances are we are them too. So, meet these harsh  attributes with kindness, NOT offense. The bible tells us to be SLOW to be offended.  Seek for a common ground, seek to understand, seek to be kind and you will plant a seed of JOY for both parties. 

3) ALL you amazing readers know over and over I talk about mind set. But it's so important, we want to focus on positive thoughts, focus on the SOLUTION to our problems, we want to be sure that what we BELIEVE or think and DO are in Harmony. I love the quote above, but wish is used JOY instead of Happiness. Think positive, Do positive, Pass on positive and you will plant the seeds of JOY. 

JOY combats stress.  
Deadly emotions and worry can not coexist within our hearts and minds when we are cultivating the fruit of JOY. 

Stress on our bodies come in many forms and the body doesn't differentiate between WHAT the source is. A killer workout at the gym, a hard day at the office or fight with your BFF, worry about your marriage or your body fighting off a cold are all sources of stress. Your body will send cortisol to combat stress on a first come, first serve basis... 


Cortisol has been termed the "stress hormone" because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress....Some studies have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area rather than in the hips. This fat deposition has been referred to as "toxic fat" since abdominal fat deposition is strongly correlated with the development of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes.

So when you need that cortisol to function properly and help with your metabolism, infection and TRUE stress, fighting psychological stress or worry will prevent it from going where it should first. How to combat that psychological stress or worry?? 

Cultivate JOY around you. 
Plant your own garden and don't wait for someone to bring 

Water your JOY, give it sunshine, give it away and it will come back and fill your garden and the bright beautiful 
blooms will push stress and worry away. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Nutrtional Yeast: A love affair

Happy Friday!! 

Chances are RIGHT NOW I am in a van with 6 other girls, driving, running, eating, sleeping and stinking up a storm! Woot! Don't know what I am talking about? I am running the GREAT RIVER Ragnar Relay this weekend

Simple Salad: Spinach, pecans, steak, nutritional yeast, 
coconut flakes & coconut oil. 

For the last 2 years I have read food blogs, fitness blogs and people like Gina at the Fitnessista talk about using Nutritional Yeast. I thought it was SO weird. YEAST, on a salad, on a burger, on your breakfast?? WHY? 

Last night I tried it. 
Woah. I am in love. 

Little yellow flakes--I love you! 

They are a strong nutty or cheesy flavor and very, very savory! I couldn't believe it!! I tried it on my salad, but would sprinkle it on popcorn with a dusting of healthy oil, sweet potatoes smoothies, in quinoa, pasta and even on meat! I even used some in protein balls that I made (recipe coming soon!). All in all, it's amazing tasting and I am SO glad I finally tried it! 

So why eat it??  

Nutritional yeast is high in B-complex vitamins as well as protein!! Low in fat and sodium, it's gluten free, dairy free and sugar free. It's a perfect protein and a great option for those looking for non-animal protein supplements. And SO begins my love affair with Nutritional Yeast! 

Read about all the nutritional information on Nutritional Yeast HERE

Have you tried something you weren't sure about after a LONG time of hearing about it? What was it? Do you love it now too?? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

ALL Ready for Ragnar & RISK

The GREAT RIVER Ragnar! race starts tomorrow!
 My team is Girls Just wanna Have FUN. And we are dressing 80's all the way! 

It's an over night relay race that is 200 miles, with 12 girls running three legs each all the way from Winona, MN to Minneapolis!

 Tomorrow is GO time for Ragnar and I am ready!! 

MY CUTE 80's running outfit from LUCY active wear! 

Our SWEET TEE's that we will wear crossing the finish line together! 

Trying to think of all we may need is a little overwhelming! Ragnar gave me a list of things and I am going off that: 
  • headlamp, rear light, reflective  vests (night running-woot!) 
  • Sunflower seeds, coconut rolled dates, carob energy nibs, bananas, apples, fuel belt, premade oats, almonds, shot blocks, electrolyte packs for water. 
  • Not pictured: hard boiled eggs and a loaf of spelt bread!

I am super excited and have never done a race like this before, I guess we ALL cross the finish line together! The rest of my team really pulled everything together and I feel a bit like I am just along for the ride, but I am thrilled, it will be a GREAT run and a great ride! AND it is counting as my 18 miler for Twin Cities Marathon Training! 


When we risk in life, it can be scary. 
Almost all risk is scary, whether its what you do in the stock market, who you date and chose to give your heart to, a race you sign up for, a job you jump into, a business you start or just trying something new. 

Sometimes I feel like I am all talk when it comes to risk! Sure I have taken some leaps, sure I have leapt with no net, but really whether or not we take big risks or small risks, it's all about NOT having regrets. 

One of my favorite men of faith says "I would rather miss it, trying to make it than not try at all." He is talking about being in God's perfect will, but that can apply to so much in life. 

We get out what we put in
 we reap what we sow
we find what we seek
 we can't regret what we haven't tried...
unless we never try at all. 

When I was becoming a personal trainer, there was about three weeks between taking my test and finding out the results. I remember telling a friend that I was almost more afraid to PASS and have to really step into a new life than I was to fail and stay in my comfort zone. 

When I passed and became a trainer, I HAD to show up, to BE a personal trainer, to get clients and to really become who I had set out to be. THAT was scarier than failing the test and finding my plan B. 

I risked and I risk still, everyday when I stand in my decisions to be the best version of me. I risk when I place my small abilities in Christs hands and say YOU are the one who makes me the best version of myself...only by your grace. 
I risk when I love others as He called me to. 
I risk when I go after my dreams, I risk when I ask to be his hands and feet, knowing that it may mean walking some where I haven't been before or reaching out to someone or something unknown.

 But it is always worth it. God gets the glory for all my risks. 

Updates to follow early next week! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Weekend-Wednesday update!

This past weekend was great and the week of course starts FULL force for me as always!! It was a beautiful weekend and a LEARNING experience!! 

That is why I am JUST now catching up with a blog post! Mom was up and we started her BIRTHDAY weekend off right with a trip to church to hear Dr. Don Colbert speak on Health and stress. Dr. Colbert is the author of the book, The SEVEN Pillars of Health and many others! He is a great man of faith, a brilliant MD and wise in so many ways--I will recap his talk on Stress and sickness later on! 

Dr. Colbert! MD! 

Farmers Market! 

We turned it out at the farmers market in Minneapolis, there is a beautiful weekend one, right on the Mississippi River, near downtown and the Guthrie theater! It's FULL of good food, unique food, vendors, fresh food and FUN! Mom and I split a scoop of.... Red Beet Ice cream--it was a little rough on the tummy, but it was homemade and DELISH! It tasted perfectly like beets and one scoop was just enough, neither of us do Dairy very well or often, but what a FUN find! 

We did mani's and pedi's too--such a treat! I went with wild yellow in the blazing summer spirit! Bring on the sunshine! 

Self explanatory fun and sun and good times! 

Soul Surfer

We watched the movie Soul Surfer which is the story of Pro surfer and shark attack survivor,  Bethany Hamilton. Her story is amazing and filled with such resilience and courage. !! Her movie, the story of her life shows us that our paths may look different than the path God has for us. Bethany was on the track to being a pro surfer when she lost her arm. She went through so many trials and had to relearn SO many things, but she came out, not just OK, but better. 

Bethany on Fear! 

She became a pro surfer still, and in her own words "Can embrace more people because of her accident than she ever could with both arms." What a light in this world--she is my hero!!  Her path seemed to be cut short, or cut off, and although God didn't do that to her, he sure used it to make his great name known. 

Are we willing to EMBRACE the path that God steers us onto? 
When bad things happen and attacks of the enemy are thick, can we BELIEVE that he will work all those things out for Good?? 
Do we truely TRUST him with our lives and pray to be used?? 

We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of Power and LOVE and sound minds! Thank God for people who use all they are given to embrace others and make a difference. Watch this movie! Give the book to young women in your life--it's life changing!! 

TWO Days till RAGNAR!! 
(update on final training soon!) 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wellness is NOT killing your vacuum

Some days are just off. I have them, we all do. 
The kitty litter bag breaks open on your bathroom floor, the vacuum clogs, the kids destroy your new window coverings, the city decides to tear up your side walk or down your tree at your expense. We deal, of course, they are our first world problems, but when too many happen at one time, there are a few ways to avoid a mini melt-down! 

1) Breathe: 
LITERALLY take 30 seconds and take slow deep breaths in and out... imagine letting all the broken, messy, clogged up things in your life float away and remember that we are HERE for a reason. It is easy to scream, cry or kick appliances, but harder to step away, breath and remember that life is not the problems we face along the way. Open your chest, push your shoulders back and let the natural high of oxygen in your system clear away the clutter in your mind and just breathe. 

2) Kick Booty: 
Yep, if you can go kick boot-ay. Grab your running shoes and pound the pavement, kick a punching bag, take it out on your living room floor with a Tae-bo video or some Insanity....what ever is your choice of de-stressing, kicking booty fun, bust it out full force. You will take your negative energy out and turn it into momentum, you will release crazy endorphins and be able to laugh in the face of trials... you will sweat, feel strong, feel powerful and feel better. 

3) Get away! 
Get out of the house, office, or where ever you are facing your giants. Go to the lake, go to a friends house for a walk, plan a stay-cation with fun things to do right in your own city. Just don't wallow in the frustration. We can ALWAYS step away for a bit even it it means strapping Jr. into his stroller and just walking the block till you can see again. Change your scenery, change your mood, it works, believe me. 

4) Pamper: 
Get a massage, get some acupuncture, go to the spa, get your nails done, paint your toes, get to the steam room at the gym or the local pool even. Do something to pamper yourself even if it's inexpensive and small. You deserve to feel good and not let the frustrations we face pile up! 

Wellness is about the WHOLE picture working, about all parts of our life being in balance.  
Wellness is about NOT wanting to kill your kids or your vacuum or letting the mail bring you to tears. 

Take some time and take control of your own response to trials you face! Today, I had to, I am hitting the lakes for a run since the vacuum malfunctioned on me and then hit me hard in the head! 

What do you do to de-stress and feel better when you are facing a trial? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whey vs. Whole foods & changing FIRST

ANOTHER week, another Wednesday! 
What a busy few days so far, I love it! The weather here has FINALLY calmed down a bit, but I am looking forward and seeing that F word around the corner.... 

Whey Protein
I have added Whey protein to my diet in a big way...whey. Er. Weigh. 

This last month, I have been making whey protein a part of my diet before or after workouts (running included) and as a quick snack. I am seeing a difference and loving it. 

Whey comes from the cheese making process and comes from the Liquid containing whey, lactose and minerals. There are a few kinds: concentrate which is not the purest form, Isolate which is more pure (90% whey) and Hydro whey the purest form and fastest absorbing. 

I have tried all three. I was using Optimum Nutrition, Gold Standard Whey which I loved, but then found this Muscle milk Whey which has more protein per serving with just a stitch more fat and calories. Ideally a powder with 100-120 calories, 1-2 grams of fat and sugar just as low is your purest Whey! 

Why Whey?? 
It's a high quality complete protein with enough of all your essential amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle. It aids in muscle repair after a workout like no other source of protein can! 

Obviously we need, water, sleep and a well rounded diet with plenty of whole foods including plant and animal proteins. 

The time it takes to digest the protein in natural foods helps to burn fat, which is what we all want so don't neglect "whole food" protein.  Whey is ideal to "supplement" if you are working on building muscle mass, weight loss or just maintaining muscle.  

Building is SO hard and I know a lot of women don't want to look like the hulk, but it takes tons of work, supplements and testosterone to hulk and bulk...I have been trying to build mass since my workout change and eating clean kick. Still with my running counter acting all that muscle work, I am using whey and all kinds of whole food Protein to just KEEP what I have till I am done Marathoning for the season. 

I add Whey to water after my workouts and once during the day for a snack. I almost always get vanilla so I can throw it in a Green monster with Spinach and any other fruit and the flavor blends right in. On it's own, I toss in a little cinnamon and it tastes like a cinnamon roll, I swear it's better than the bakery!! 

Click HERE for more info on all kinds of Protein! 
Give your body what it needs and what it wants will change. 
It's not as easy as it sounds, but it works. 

I hear so often from people that they are just not hungry and don't want to eat. We have to eat! We have to eat to live, to fuel for our sport, for our heath, we have to eat to keep our hearts and blood and minds even keel and we have to eat often to keep our metabolism going strong!  

Does food get boring sometimes? Sure, ask others for new ideas! 
Wake up and start your day and find you are just NOT hungry? Eat anyway. If you just don't have the craving, it's not like your stuffed. Have a banana, some oats, toast. Just do it. 


I used to have a quote on my desk that said "Action Precedes Motivation." I do it before I FEEL LIKE IT. I run before I want to. I eat before I feel like it, I drink before I am thirsty, I love before it is expected and I am mindful of myself and others before neglect knocks on the door. 

When you give your body what it needs, what it wants will change. 
It doesn't want to eat breakfast, but It needs to eat breakfast. When you start changing, your body will change too and when you start honoring what you should do for it, it will crave what it should and what is natural. 

Do you find that Change is HARD for you or exciting?? 
What is the biggest change you have made? 
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Although Mary from Fit this girl is a CPT, always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Use of the programs, advice, and information contained in this website is at the sole choice and risk of the reader.