Marathon Monday: Week 2 of 16

Week 2 of my 16-week Marathon Monday series brings a new addition – my *official* logo for the series! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 2 of 16

This week I started out incredibly motivated. We started a 10-week Weight Loss Challenge at work and it was the start of our Sales Kick-off. Required reading was “The Slight Edge“, which made me realize the dedication and drive that training for a Half Marathon brings to my life.  I won’t tell you all of it *yet* because I have a lot more to say (stay tuned).  Did it end as well? Read on to see!

Monday 1/22: 2 miles (12’42”) – This was a warm one, somewhere in the 50’s! I ran through the Strip District between SKO and our evening event at LumberJaxes. I wasn’t pressed for time, I actually had lots, but I had stood up in front of about 30 co-workers and told them my goals for the Half (a 12:12 pace). I had to do work. My first mile was just that, but as I started the 2nd, I started to feel a bit of a shin splint (I needed to bring out my new shoes), so backed off a little and just enjoyed the sun.

What shoes do you wear to run? Mine are currently Under Armour Women’s Speed Swift 2‘s (which I bought at Kohl’s, but as you can see can be bought on Amazon). I was fitted for them in 2014 and probably need to get a new fitting. But these are so comfy! 

Tuesday 1/23: Stretch. I took a .5 mile brisk walk in the cold and met a former co-worker who is also running the Half. I also did some stretching in the evening because I sat so much.

Wednesday 1/24: 2 miles (12’08”) – Oh, buddy. This run felt AMAZING. It was just about 30 degrees and at 6:00 AM. Light snow was falling through the Strip District as I ran down Penn Avenue then halfway across 31st Street Bridge (my nemesis). That pace, yo. I was motivated.

Clint & Me after the WOD

Thursday 1/25: Crossfit (scaled way back) – It was leg day, but I scaled with my pvc pipe and turned the WOD into something that worked for me. I did PVC pipe Deadlifts and Front Squats then more air squats for the Wall Balls. For the HSPU I did sit-ups and for the row I ran on the treadmill. My splits for those calories were amazing – the speed work I need to hit my 12:12 goal (or crush it) – 10:54 (34 cal), 10:00  (21 cal), 9:31 (13 cal).

Friday 1/26: Rest and Chiro – because this is important!

Saturday 1/27: 3 miles (12’41”) – This one felt so good. It was my first long run since November and truly felt right. The weather was nice and in the 40s, there may even have been a light fog on the Armstrong Trail. My shoulder hurt after, but I think that was due to the discovery of a knot just under my collarbone on Friday. Feeling like my goal is in reach!

So yes, the week ended on the same foot as it started. I am pretty proud of my progress so far and feel more like 2014 me than I have since then. Just wait until I share what happens in week three, though. Or, follow me on Instagram for a sneak peek…

January totals: 18.63 miles, 12’41” pace

Marathon Monday: Week 1 of 16

Ah! My favorite time of year is here – training season for the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend! My event is the Half Marathon and this will be my third time running it. I plan to bring you my training story over the next 16 weeks through this Marathon Monday series.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 1 of 16

Monday 1/15: 2 miles (12’36”) – This was a cold one, 7 degrees! I ran through the Strip District on my lunch hour and basically just tried to stay warm.

Tuesday 1/16: Ab Workout – I can’t believe how much my ab workout flexed my back. Ouch.

Wednesday 1/17: 2 miles (12’56”) – Slowed this one WAY down due to the snow we got. Another Strip District run to the 16th Street Bridge.

Thursday 1/18: Crossfit (scaled way back) – I’m missing my fitfam, so I went to the WOD but really scaled it. No weights, just a thick PVC pipe and some light movements / 6 200m runs. (I am under chiropractor care for issues with three of my vertebrae.)

Saturday 1/20: 2 miles (13’25”) – Eek. Snow wasn’t melted, but it was almost 50! I spent much of this run through Kittanning dodging ice.

Are you participating in 10 Years Running? What event(s) are you doing?

Obligations

When I started this blog, I was obligating myself to one more thing in a growing pile of obligations.

As you can tell, this space hasn’t yet made itself a big priority in my life, but it is something that I feel is worthy of my time and energy. There are many things floating around in my mind, but the obligations of daily life have been a bit pressing so far this year. And the thing is, I’m right where I need to be with all of them.

Like right this moment, as I am typing, I have a pile of things I should check off my to-do list, but I feel the need to spend some time here on my blog and talk to either myself or the world. I want to share so many things with you all, I just want to be sure none of my other obligations are suffering, first.

In the last week, I’ve really been narrowing my focus in life, trying to get myself to a place where I am more organized and committed, paying attention to one thing at a time. My physical being has led to this naturally. I suffered a minor injury in December and am now on a healing track. That healing track requires that I take some “me time” and get adjusted at the chiropractor three times a week this month, twice a week the next, and once a week the next. I’ve also had to put (the intense) CrossFit on the back burner. But I’m still here and I’m still doing, I just am doing things a little slower.

What obligations do you find yourself re-prioritizing in 2018? Here’s one of mine – making sure this kiddo and her three siblings smile lots.

Mistakes I Made: Whole30

Last January, I took on the Whole30. There were some mistakes I made – and since many of you are giving it a try right now, I’d love to share them with you. Portions of this post originally appeared on my blog, ‘lil Burghers. This post may contain affiliate links.

Mistakes I Made: Whole30

There are plenty of resources out there to help you have a successful Whole30. Mine was! I am not a medical professional, so please be sure to consult with one before starting a lifestyle change like this.

Mistake 1: Not trying Ghee in Round One.

ghee

I loved putting this on my sweet potatoes and cooking with it during Round 2. But in Round 1? I didn’t spend the money on it, nor did I care to take the time to make my own at home (because it involved cheesecloth and patience, but is totally doable with the recipe in the Whole30 Cookbook). That was a big mistake!

Ghee is a healthy fat that is made from pulling all the water and milk solids out of the butter, leaving you with pure goodness. If you’ve ever had an addiction to honey butter, this is a close friend. You should be able to get Ghee at your local grocery store (I did, even in Kittanning!). This is the brand I used and fell in love with – you might just want to put two in your cart now.

Mistake 2: Not keeping compliant snacks handy.

While snacking isn’t a thing on Whole30 (you should really eat three solid meals a day), I was training for the Half Marathon and sometimes needed a little extra to boost my energy and progress. Or there were times that I wasn’t fully hungry (or not feeling well) and just needed a quick, small bite.

For those times, I should have had some good snacks around – like cashews or macadamia nuts. (When I was in Round One, plantain chips were my jam. They’ve now been removed from the plan but will show up in my meals when I’m not 100% Whole30.) And while bars – not granola! – are not shortcuts, they’re really good to have on hand, too.

Mistake 3: Not trying RXBAR until the last day of Round 2.

It was the last day of Round Two. There I was, overwhelmed in Trader Joe’s and super hungry. Knowing my Crispy Angry Chicken Drummies wouldn’t be ready for at least another hour (because the coconut aminos Greg needed to make them were in my basket), I was staring at RXBAR in hopes that I’d see one I’d like that could tide me over yet be compliant. It was only a few hours left, but I still didn’t want to mess up.

I did it. I went for the Coconut Chocolate Rx Bar because I love those two ingredients so much (yes, I’m a Samoa girl). And guess what? Not only was it okay and compliant and delicious, it took me FOREVER to eat. (Perspective, I was at the Penn Ave Trader Joe’s near-ish to Chatham and I didn’t finish it until I was passing the Harmar exit on 28.) As a sweets girl, this was huge. My enjoyment of the bar lasted and it made me feel so much fuller than anything else I’d tried as a “quick win” snack.

If you’d like to try RXBAR, you can get them right from their site and if it’s your first order, you get $5 off your order when you click here!

That being said, I did have a few Lara Bars this time, too – Apple Pie and Cashew Cookie. They sound so “bad” but they are good too! I just ate them way too fast and will be sure to have a combo of these and the Rx Bars on hand next time – see Mistake 2. 

Mistake 4: Evangelizing Whole30 Too Much

Guys. I love this program / lifestyle. Maybe I talked too much about it, but it’s really changed my life. Sorry, not sorry. Some of my fears are that I made it sound scary and tough, but it’s really not. If you have your mind set on being successful with this, then every meal prep is worth it. Every “sacrifice” is worth it.

And it really helped to talk to everyone I knew about it – because then they understood when I couldn’t try their oh so delicious looking brownies or sloppy joes or have a beer at Beer Friday. And it helped them know that I am committed to making myself better. That’s big when you do something big like Whole30.

Mistake 5: Not keeping coconut aminos in the pantry.

coconut aminos

Some of our favorite recipes (Spicy Turkey, Chicken Drummies) call for coconut aminos and we always seemed to run out. I’d been buying them on Amazon which was fine, but a little pricey. Thankfully I was clued in that Trader Joe’s has them for just $2.99 a bottle! We are now stocked up and ready – we’ll be using this for our stir fry, meatloaf, wings…anything that called for soy sauce in the past!  (I’ve found throughout the years that soy makes me itch from the inside out – before I go to a hibachi or enjoy sushi, I have to take benedryl to “survive”!)

Mistake 6: Not trying Passion Fruit La Croix sooner.

Alright. This one is tough. As someone who really only drank pop when it was a birthday party or pizza night (hey, there’s something about Diet Pepsi with chocolate cake and pizza), giving up the sugary drinks was not an issue for me. Instead, I actually added something by giving La Croix waters a try. But I didn’t give my absolute favorite, Passion Fruit, a try soon enough!

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Say what? These don’t sound like Whole30 mistakes! The honesty about this post: if you make a true mistake on Whole30 (stepping on the scale, eating dairy, etc.), then you start over at Day 1 the next day. These mistakes I made aren’t like that, they’re mistakes I learned from and want to pass on to you – you’ve stuck around this long, why not give the Whole30 life a try?

What’s the first step to Whole30 Happiness?

Buy this book and this recipe book because they will teach you everything you need to know. We got some really great recipes from living out of these books during my Whole30 rounds and they’ll be family favorites for a long time. Promise.

And ditch the scale. This isn’t about weight loss. This is about feeling good again. My mood has changed for the better. My body is lifting heavier and working harder and smarter. It doesn’t matter what’s on that scale. Just ditch it.

If you’ve decided to embark on the Whole30 lifestyle, let me know! I’d love to support you in your journey. Good luck! 

An Interesting Keto Side Effect

This post may contain affiliate links. // Since September, I’ve been eating the Keto way. It’s been really helpful in that I’m shedding the pounds and am oh-so-close to pre-twin weight. Yesterday shed some light on a pretty interesting Keto side effect – best to warn anyone else eating this way that the same could happen to you if you’re not careful!

The Keto Lifestyle

Before I share my secret, if you’re not familiar, the Keto way of eating is high protein, higher fat, and low carb. It puts your body into ketosis where it burns fat as fuel. I’m not a medical professional, so any medical info you see here on this blog should be fact-checked with your own doctor before you take my word to heart! If you’d like to get more info, check out this book for more details.

An Interesting Keto Side Effect

So I get home from work and as Greg is headed out the door he tells me we have a problem. He guides me to the kitchen where I immediately see two sinks full of dishes. Before I can think of an apology for making all the foods as of late and not getting to the dishes, he tells me the dishes aren’t the issue. It’s the water backed up into our double sink that’s the issue. Yuck.

Of course, I didn’t listen when he told me to leave it alone while he went to work. I got under the sink and tried a few things with no luck. This morning, he texted me to tell me the good news. He sorted the issue. It was the interesting Keto side effect. And it’s disgusting.

This.

This (that white stuff) is grease that was stuck in our sink pipes. Disgusting, right? But yet at the same time cool – I mean look at that pipe mold! For real though, this is a side effect of changing your eating habits that you should know about – and a good reminder to never drain grease down your sink.

Lesson learned. Oops.

Tell me that we’re not the only ones who’ve done silly things that could have cost them a lot of money! What is something you’ve done that was a lesson learned? 

2018 Word of the Year: Worthy

This post may contain affiliate links.  Every year for the past few years, instead of making resolutions, I’ve set a word of the year to put some intentions around my choices. This year is no different, other than the fact it probably was the toughest year to come up with a word.

2018 Word of the Year: Worthy

This year, I gravitated toward worthy as my word of the year. As in, “I am worthy of my dreams”. If I can grasp that feeling, I feel like I could be unstoppable in so many aspects of my life.

To truly embrace this word, I’m going to have to think through my decisions and determine is each one worthy of my time, space, and energy? Before I hit publish. Before I hit send. Before I go for that run. Before I add another weight. Before I say yes. Because for me to know that I am worthy of the blessings God has in store for me this year, I need to feel that my choices are in line with what matters most in my life.

Even taking that picture, I was had to wonder if it was worthy of adding to my online presence. Did I print it just right? Was the lighting okay? Was it going to make me feel like my dreams were in reach? Yes.

Why Do I Need to Feel Worthy?

If you know me, you might wonder how on earth I could feel like I am not good enough. You see the good job, the house, the marriage, the kids. What you don’t see are the feelings I have about being uninvited, unaccepted, an imposter. Yes, I feel these things way more often than I let on.

Even though the Bible tells me “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God” (2 Thessalonians 1:5), I still sometimes don’t feel like I am just quite worthy. Crazy, right? Time to put my listening cap on and let this sink in.

That I am worthy of being blessed with four kids to take care of. That I am worthy of a marriage to a man who truly loves me even though I still carry hurt and pain from my past. That I am worthy of a job with a company that doesn’t make me feel like a number. That I am worthy of the debt-free life we can see on the horizon. That I am worthy of blessings from my Thirty-One business. That I am worthy of the medals that hang in my living room and the changes my body is making as I get stronger every day. I am worthy. 

I feel like if I can embrace that, then looking at each decision as it comes my way and asking myself, “is this worthy of my time, space, and energy” will keep me on a path to continue accepting the trials and blessings God has in store for 2018.

Have you set a word of the year for 2018? What is it and have you posted about it? Please share with me below! 

A Fresh Start

This post may contain affiliate links.    Hello, 2018! My hope and prayer for this year is that I will be able to have a fresh start with my writing and perhaps narrow down the site where you originally know (and hopefully LOVE) me from.

mrsgregwillis

A Fresh Start

I’ve been thinking for awhile that it was time to move my first successful blog, lil Burghers, to be more niche and focused on all things kiddo / Pittsburgh related. There is going to be some transition time as I work to establish myself here on this page, so I ask that you stick with me on both to help as I learn and grow.

This fresh start will allow me to bring you more of ME. You’ll still hear about the kids and Greg from time to time, but this is really going to become my outlet. There are so many things I want to get out of this blog – mostly I want people to know that they can be a busy mom and not just survive but thrive. This will be a place I can unashamedly share my stories of fitness and faith and maybe even some food. Family and fun will still have their time here, don’t you worry. But this place will be more me and it’s what I need to roll with as we start this year. A fresh start!

About Me

So maybe you’ve stumbled on this site by accident or don’t really know me that well. Let’s start off this blog with a short intro. I’m a Pittsburgh suburb mom of four (including a set of twin tornadoes) who works full-time as a Salesforce Administrator during the day then becomes a Stay-At-Home mom when my husband heads out the door to work in the evenings. We’re slashing our debt the Dave Ramsey way, with gazelle intensity. You’ll notice me talking about “life in the 40%” every so often – that’s because I’m the primary breadwinner (though this is changing up a bit recently), making us in the 40% of US homes where the woman is the breadwinner.

In the evenings, between wrangling getting the four kids to and from activities and keeping the craziness to a minimum, I find time for myself with CrossFit, blogging, and running three small businesses (all of which are linked in the menu!). I can’t forget my running – I’m a distance runner who has only been running for the last five years but has done two Half Marathons, a double leg of the Marathon Relay, two 10-Milers, two Mud on the Mountains, and several other 5k races. I’d love to be an inspiration for those of you “back of packers” – you totally got this! And finally, I keep tabs on my eating, too. In 2011, I was nearly 300 pounds and was able to lose 131 of that before getting pregnant with the twins. I’m almost back there thanks to Whole30, Ketosis, and CrossFit/Running.

I was raised a Preacher’s Kid in the United Methodist Church and still am active in church (although now I’m active with the Assembly of God). You’re going to hear about my faith journey (there’s a lot of hills and valleys that brought me here) and hopefully, we’ll get a chance to do some Bible Journaling together, too.

It feels so great to kick the year off with a fresh start, doesn’t it? Check out tomorrow’s post to see what my intentions for 2018 (my word of the year) will be, then keep coming back to hear more about how I keep busy while thriving.

xoxo,

Becky

Psst! More ways to keep in touch: Instagram (my favorite!), Twitter, and Pinterest!