Wyoming Adventure

“Keep close to nature’s heart….climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” ~John Muir

When the hubs and I married five years ago, we decided that each year we would vacation somewhere new. The destination we choose must be either a place neither of us have ever been or a place that the two of us have not seen together. The only exception to this rule is New York City. We love the energy and excitement of the city too much to not visit multiple times!

In a mere five years, we have visited Paris (France), Charleston SC, Rome (Italy), Positano(Italy), Venice(Italy), New York City, Colorado Springs CO, Key West FL, Boston MA and we loved them all! We absolutely love immersing ourselves in the culture of each city and country we visit and appreciate the diversity that each have to offer. Last summer we put on our ‘patriotic hats’ and visited the beautifully historic city of Boston for their famous 4th of July celebration. What an incredible experience that was! So when we began discussing this year’s trip, we thought it only fitting that we should put on our ‘cowboy hats’ and head out West for some fresh air and mountain life. We settled on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Grand Tetons and a day trip to Yellowstone National Park.

If you’ve never visited the Grand Tetons, I highly recommend it. Often times, playing second fiddle to Yellowstone, they are more beautiful and less crowded giving one the opportunity to ‘slow down’ and get a real sense of what everyday life is like in this quaint little town. Unlike some of our European and big city vacations, I felt as if we were able to do everything we wanted, leaving no ‘stones unturned’, without breaking the bank. There is so much to see and do which does not require a great deal of money. Obviously, airfare and lodging are the biggest expenses of any trip; but beyond that, our Wyoming vacation was relatively inexpensive and the memories are priceless!

There are many places to stay in Jackson Hole but my personal opinion is that the Fireside Resort is perfect! You are treated to your own private, yet modern, cabin with all the modern amenities of a hotel; including a microwave, stove, coffee pot and fully stocked with cookware. Each cabin has a fire pit outside for camp fires and s’mores, a bundle of wood, picnic table and gas grill. This is perfect for active people on the go! We stocked up on groceries for breakfast, picnic lunches and dinner for a couple of nights. Only having to eat out a handful of times saved quite a bit of money.

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However, the best amenity they have to offer is their Jeep rentals. You can book one through the resort for your entire stay or just a day, whichever you prefer. Honestly, I think my pictures will prove that there is no other way to truly see this countryside other than in a Jeep!

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First up on the agenda was a beautiful trail ride. AOK Corral, Ike and Pendleton treated us to a great ride with breathtaking views! Just a side note here…according to some research, one can burn, on average, 400-500 calories on an hour long trail ride. Added bonus!

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Knowing that we were only giving Yellowstone one day of our trip, we decided to go ahead and tackle it next. While it is next to impossible to truly explore this vast park in one day, we gave it our best shot! The Grand Loop alone is 142 miles and we covered 3/4 of it. Even though we were visiting just before the busy season (Memorial Day), the tour buses were everywhere making some of our stops more lengthy than necessary. I can’t imagine what it must be like in June, July and August!

Wanting to get in as much hiking as possible, we decided to hike the 1.5 mile loop to Observation Point for a “Bird’s Eye” viewing of Old Faithful …and it was much more intimate and peaceful than sitting on a bench with hundreds of other people snapping pictures and videotaping this incredible event.

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In addition to Old Faithful, the Gran Prismatic Springs, Upper and Lower Falls, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the wildlife spotted along the way were just highlights of our day in Yellowstone!

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With Yellowstone accomplished, the remainder of our trip would be spent in Jackson Hole exploring the town and hiking as many trails as possible. After approximately 16 miles of hiking and one short little “snow storm”, we had only “tipped the iceberg” of trail exploration. Our favorites were the Jenny Lake Trail and Cascade Canyon leading to Inspiration Point, Granite Canyon Trail, Taggart Lake Trail and Moose Pond. Many trails were still closed due to bear activity and the amount of snow still covering the peaks.

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We were fortunate to be vacationing while the 2016 Elk Fest was being held. Each year, an average of 6,000 to 9,000 pounds of Elk antlers are auctioned by the Boys Scouts with 75% of the proceeds going back to the National Elk Refuge of Jackson HoleThis is a must see if you are visiting in May!

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There is nothing more incredible than to see wild animals in their natural habitat and Wyoming is a great place to witness this. Elk, marmot, osprey, deer, moose, bison, bears and even a bald eagle were spotted during our trip!

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The highlight of our trip, without a doubt, had to be stumbling upon an old abandoned dude ranch, Bar BC Dude Ranchfrom the 1900’s. It is nestled alongside the Snake river and can only be accessed by four-wheeled drive (another reason you should rent a jeep during your stay). On any other day, this would have been just another historical site; but this day was special! It was our last day in Wyoming and I was pretty disappointed that we had not yet seen a moose. Upon awaking that morning, my adorable husband told me to get up and get dressed because he was going to “put me on a moose”! We drove to the information center for the Grand Teton NP where my husband explained to one of the park rangers that it was our last day and his wife NEEDED to see a moose. The ranger explained that they are often times seen near water and recommended we drive along the Snake River. About two miles in to this narrow, rocky and bumpy road meandering alongside the river, we spotted the dude ranch and decided to explore it. While walking around the fairly remote and abandoned buildings, my husband stopped and whispered in my ear “turn around”. Upon doing so, I was absolutely stunned, shocked, amazed and in awe of what I saw! Maybe fifty yards away, standing in the wide open, looking directly at us, was a Moose! She was beautiful, magnificent and HUGE. My husband kept whispering in my ear “take a picture”, yet I was frozen. I couldn’t move. I just stared at her while she stared at us. When I finally got over the shock of just how close we actually were to this creature, I reached down for my camera and with two short steps she was gone. In the blink of an eye, she disappeared into the brush and I was furious that I hadn’t gotten a picture. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when my daring husband took off into the brush to find her; and after a few moments of deliberation on whether or not that was a good idea, I followed him. We kept a safe distance, giving her enough space to not feel threatened, snapped a few photos and promptly left her to the quiet oasis she called home on the banks of the Snake River.

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As we boarded our plane early the next morning; I was, once again, struck by the pure beauty of this place. Our trip to Wyoming stirred within in me a new desire ….one that I honestly have never felt before. Upon returning home and getting back into the routine of the life I’ve always known, I assumed this “stirring” would dissipate. However; much to my surprise, it has only grown stronger. What is this “stirring”? It is a desire for a much simpler life; one where the air breathed is pristine, crystal clear water flows freely from the mountaintops, magnificent creatures roam free and the view while driving to and from work look like something from an Ansel Adams gallery. It’s a dream, I know …but dreams have been known to come true.

 

 

Happy traveling,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one incredible vacation at a time!

 

 

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Today’s Running Challenge

The question posed in this week’s Tuesday’s on the Run link-up is this ..”The most challenging aspect of running right now is _______” If you’ve been a runner for any length of time at all, you could fill in that blank with a myriad of “issues”! If you had asked me that question a week ago, I probably would have said “HEAT and humidity” with multiple emphatic exclamation points. However, if you’ve read my weekly recap post, you know that today, the blank holds a special place for “my ankle”.

I almost didn’t participate in this link for fear of sounding like I’m still have a little pity party for myself over a running injury. I mean, every runner has dealt with them at one time or another, right? Heck, I myself, have had more than I care to even recall. I am not one of those “natural-born” runners. Having scoliosis and terribly flat feet are just not conducive to running long distances without some sort of issues. I’ve learned over the years that nagging little injuries will always be part of the running process for me and while it is very frustrating at times; I’m mindful to be thankful that I can do what I do. There’s always someone out there dealing with much worse. I may have a crooked spine, weak ankles and flat feet…but I still have two legs and two arms, my sight and my health. So, then, what am I complaining about today?

The more I thought about this question posed, the more I realized that my challenge is not the injury itself …as I said, I really am accustomed to them. The challenge for me right now is mental strength. As runners, we all know about “mental toughness” and it’s driving force behind what we do. We’ve all heard the saying “It’s physical strength that gets you to the starting line, but mental toughness that gets you across the finish line” and one of my personal favorites…81bbc36950d641b0b4f7f1cd649c325e-1

…..I can’t count the number of times I’ve had that argument in my head! No one can argue that if you have ever crossed the finish line of any marathon or half marathon, you are mentally tough! However, there’s another place for this “mental strength” we talk about and it is while on the sidelines, injured, watching others do that which you love to do, not knowing when you will be back out there. It’s frustrating knowing that you have the mental strength and the lung power to run those miles and cross those finish lines, yet your body just isn’t cooperating at the moment. There’s a battle raging in one’s mind while injured …the battle between knowing that you’ve pushed through pain before, both physical and mental pain, to reach your goals and knowing that this time, you need to listen to your body and give in to the pain so that it can heal. Yes, a great deal of mental strength is needed to win that battle!

As HoHoRuns says …”I can do hard things” and being sidelined is hard! Mental toughness has gotten me through childbirth (3 times) and is still getting me through those 3 boys’ teenage years, a nasty divorce (is there any other kind) and my husband being deployed for a year in a combat zone! That same mental toughness is helping me navigate this crazy thing called ‘menopause’ and I have no doubt that it will get me through yet another running injury. I can do hard things. You can do hard things. We can do hard things. We just have to put our minds to it!

As I mentioned earlier, I’m linking us with MarciaPatty and Erika for their Tuesdays on the Run link up. Stop by these ladies blogs and see what “challenges” they’re facing these days. You never know how you can encourage others and find encouragement, inspiration and motivation along the way!tuesdays

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty

Fahrvergnugen and Lauf Leiden: Driving pleasure and running woes

Guten Tag! 

Being of German descent, I’ve been having a little fun dabbling in the German language this week and I have one word to describe it ….difficult. One could also describe it as a sloppy mess involving quite a bit of spit. I find Mark Twain’s’ opinion on the German language quite humorous…

“When a German dives into a sentence, you won’t see him again until he emerges at the other end with the verb between his teeth” ~Mark Twain

My own personal thoughts on all things “foreign”….

“Speak English, kiss French, dress Italian, eat Mexican and drive German!”

While I don’t see myself buying German edition of Rosetta Stone anytime soon, I did find two phrases which sum up my week …so let’s jump right in!

Monday: This is how I woke up….

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….and this is what happened:

Started off the day with 1 min plank/30 sec. russian twists x3, leg day with Tricia and Tammy, followed by hill repeats x15 later that evening leaving me with the sinking feeling that I would not be able to move the next day….as usual. However, I was pleasantly surprised that, although I was sore the next day, I could climb the stairs, bend over and sit without audibly moaning. Progress!!

Tuesday:  Busy day at work and no spin class to teach meant no workout. However, with my Tahoe on the brink of death and a business trip coming up for the hubby, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and get a new vehicle for me. After 20+ years of minivans and SUV’s needed to haul three boys, their friends and tons of sports equipment over the years, I finally decided to trade the “mom-mobiles” for something prettier, classier, easier to park and more fuel friendly. So after work, we drove an hour and a half to the nearest Volkswagen dealer and arrived home, a little before midnight, with this beauty…

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I can attest that the old Volkswagen commercial of the early 1990’s still applies today …driving this truly is “fahrvergnugen”! I do believe I’m going to love my new-found driving freedom!

Wednesday: Early morning 3 mile run before work and strength training

Thursday:  30 min. elliptical and strength training/chest, triceps, shoulders

Friday: The gym I manage sponsored a hole at a local golf tournament; so my Friday was spent hanging out at hole 4. Since the hubby had the day off, he came out for a few hours to keep me entertained. Yes, I know…I really do have the best hubs ever!

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Golf cart cruising with my personal chauffeur

Saturday:  What began as a nice early morning run with the hubby and friends quickly turned into “Lauf Leiden” (running woes). That dang left ankle of mine loves to cause me turmoil. It felt fine the first 3 miles, started talking a little to me from miles 4 to 5, which I ignored, to which it responded with a “loud” burning sensation …so, I stopped, walked about a mile then ran (trotted) the last mile. 7 frustrating and disappointing miles. sigh

 

However, what better way to drown your running woes then to refuel with a petite little steak and a Bloody Mary before settling in for an afternoon of SEC football!

One nap, four football games and a couple of blue raspberry martini’s later, I’m feeling much better! However, the frustration of not being able to run as often and as far as I want right now is still lurking in the back of my mind ….more on that later though. For now, I’m enjoying my weekend and (as ugly as it was) a Mississippi State win!

Sunday: Rest ~ church, coffee and icing the ankle …I can think of worse ways to spend the day. Besides, it’s hard not to smile when you have THE cutest pumpkin coffee mug in the world!!20160925_081518.jpg

Tell me…

Do you dread leg day as much as I do?

Anyone else dealing with nagging injuries?

Do you have a favorite coffee mug? Do you change your mug according to the season or your mood?

 

As always, I’m linking up with these two fabulous ladies, Tricia and Holly for their Weekly WrapHop on over to their sites to see what they have been up to this week, you’re sure to be inspired!weeklywrap

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one running woe at a time!

This Weeks Gallivantin’ ~Meet Aunt Minnie

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this weekly wrap finds us another week closer to Fall, yet still experiencing summer temperatures. You know it’s been a hot summer when you are thrilled to see that the weather app shows 80 degrees for your early morning run! However, the leaves are beginning to fall and every now and then we catch a breeze with the slightest scent and feel of fall in the air, football season is in full swing and there is pumpkin flavored everything in stores; all of which bring hope and assurance that fall is near!

I started out this week motivated and on track with my fitness goals only to have them all derailed mid-week with a few of life’s little “bumps in the road”. But hey, sh*t happens, right? In my current menopausal state, my initial response to such interruptions is with frustration, a few colorful words and mild hysteria; however; I quickly realize the ridiculousness of my behavior and brush them off with a smile in an attempt to make the most of every day …until crazy ‘Aunt Minnie’ (mine and my hubby’s affectionate nickname for this wild ride I’m on called menopause….get it? Minnie Pause?) strikes again. So, with all of that being said, let’s see how this past week ‘wrapped up’ ….menopausehandledraft3a2

Monday: Leg day with Tammy and MissSippiPiddlinsquat and plank challenge and a 3 mile evening run with the hubby. Not bad for a Monday, right???

Tuesday: Strength training (Back/Biceps) and taught a Spin class ….oh yeah, wearing my new capris that the hubby bought for me. Each month when Uncle Sam calls him off for Guard duty, he always brings me some sort of “happy” back and this time it was these awesome Nike capri’s ….yes, I do have the best husband ever!

Wednesday: Darned those leg workouts!! I don’t think I’ve ever worked legs and not be sore for days…sigh. So, due to sore legs and a little ‘wayward child’ frustrations, I took a well needed rest day and the hubby, knowing that I could use a break, asked me out on a date. So, movie night it would be ….a date with the hubs, Sully and the biggest tub of popcorn no human should ever attempt to consume! (I’m blaming this one on crazy ‘Aunt Minnie’ as well) The movie was great…if you haven’t seen Sully, I highly recommend it.

Thursday: Since eating an insane amount of popcorn the night before, things starting going downhill… In addition to everything at work falling apart, my vehicle decided to retire itself….ugh. After spending the entire day dealing with electricians and HVAC technicians at the gym, I received a call later that evening informing me that the front door of the gym, which stays locked 24/7, was allowing members to enter but not to exit. Great, so now we have a ‘Hotel California’ deal going on …’you can check in anytime you want, but you can never leave’! Whew, what a day! No working out at all…no cardio, no squats, no planking, no strength training…nadda. However, I may or may not have consumed quite a few glasses of wine that evening! (Aunt Minnie love wine!)

Friday: Whoo hoo! Day off with the hubs! What to do, what to do…. Sleep in? Go for a run? Go kayaking? Ride bikes? Not a chance. Back to the gym bright and early to meet the locksmith regarding the possessed door not letting folks out after they’ve worked their butts off; then we headed out on a pre-car shopping excursion. Most women would probably love to go car shopping; but not me. I have no idea what I want. I’ve been driving a Tahoe for the past 8 years and before that it was kid-friendly minivans. For the first time in a long time, I don’t have to consider three boys, their friends and loads of football and soccer equipment needed to be transported when shopping for a vehicle. Do I want something smaller with better gas mileage or another SUV to haul my bike and kayak around? Hmmmm…. time will tell. I’ve got it narrowed down to a few options and they are all completely opposite of one another! Decisions, decisions. Day 3 with no cardio or strength training and I’m beginning to get grumpy.

Saturday: Since we had no long run planned for the day, we slept in a little before hitting the road again …this time, Biloxi bound for our September race, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5k. This race was first organized in New York City after the terrorists attack on 9/11 to honor those firefighters and first responders who lost their lives on that fateful day. It takes you on the same route that Stephen Siller, himself, ran that day to get back to the World Trade Center. The emotions one experiences as they exit the Brooklyn Battery tunnel is one that cannot be described. If you live in the NYC area and haven’t already participated in this race, you should definitely do so. If you want a great excuse to take a trip to NYC, this is it! They have since organized similar runs throughout the USA in efforts to raise money for the foundation. If you are not familiar with the Stephen Siller story, I encourage you to check it out. It is an incredibly inspirational story of service and sacrifice. This particular race location is only in its second year; therefore, it was not without some snags, hiccups and disorganization. However; we honestly didn’t sign up for this one as a race. We weren’t concerned about times or PR’s. We simply ran together, side by side, in memory of, with respect and honor for those who selflessly gave their lives trying to save others 15 years ago. It was a beautiful and quiet run over the Biloxi Bay at sunset. There were firefighters running in full gear, EMS and policemen running in uniform, and many carrying American flags. As we approached the finish line, we passed five banners displaying the faces of all 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11, evoking a wide array of emotions …sadness, appreciation, pride, gratefulness, comradery, respect and patriotism. Having participated in the NYC Tunnel to Towers race several years ago, this run has special meaning to us. Though this particular venue was short on miles and small in numbers; it was large in love, appreciation and honor to those who are more than deserving. May we never forget.

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Ending my week with this run definitely puts all of the little “bumps in the road” I experienced this week in perspective. Crazy ‘Aunt Minnie’ may be wreaking havoc on my body these days, but I will not let her control my mind ….I have much to be thankful for and I will strive to make the most of each day!

On another note….the hubs and I finally nailed down the destination for my 50th birthday weekend getaway, which just so happens to be New Year’s Eve, and the destination for our 2017 summer vacation! I’m so excited! (We like planning ahead)

As always, I’m linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap. If you’re looking to meet some amazing women, just like you, to gain knowledge, motivation and encouragement in your fitness journey, look no further ….this is the link up for you!weeklywrap

 

Let’s chat….

Anyone else dealing with crazy ‘Aunt Minnie’?

Did you downsize your vehicle once your kids started driving themselves?

Who else cannot resist the 10 gallon tub of popcorn at the movies?

Anyone else ever participated in the Tunnel to Towers run? NYC?

 

x0x0,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one hot flash at a time!

This Week’s Gallivantin’ ~ Getting Lost

Wow, another week come and gone! Anyone else feel like the older they get, the faster the weeks, months and years seem to just fly by? When we’re young, it’s as if we are always waiting for time to pass …waiting for that next phase of life which seems to take forever to arrive.We can’t wait to graduate high school and college, get married, buy a house and have children. Ironically, once we’ve gone through all of the ups and downs of getting to and through those phases, we appreciate life much more and enjoy the small, simple things that this life has to offer. We want to savor each day, each moment and each experience; yet we find that the more we try to hold on to time, the faster it seems to slip away. Time is an elusive and perishable commodity, let us spend it wisely.

Speaking of time ….let’s delve in to how my ‘fitness time’ was spent this week!

Monday:  Yay! for holidays and long weekends! The hubby and I had nothing special planned other than a relaxing day spent together. After sleeping in, we headed out for a hot, humid and hilly 5 mile Labor Day trail run. From the beginning of our relationship, the hubs and I have always run together …it’s just what we do and I love it! However, my running has suffered as of late. I backed down to just a few miles per week throughout the summer in order to get this post tibial tendonitis under control and I can definitely tell now that I’m getting back to longer and more frequent runs. My sweet husband was having to circle back for me on more than one occasion; but it was so nice to be back ‘by his side’ running again!  I’m always telling you guys about our trails and how brutal they are, so I included the elevation chart from our run today …..hills, hills, and more hills! But, hey, they’re good for the glutes!
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Tuesday: Strength training (Back/Biceps), Squat challenge and plank too!

Wednesday: Strength Train (Chest/Triceps), Squats and Plank.  I decided to skip my usual 3 mile run with Tammy in order to sleep in a little. Instead, I opted for hill repeats. We have a great hill right in front of our house that is around 50ft of ascent covering less than .10 of a mile. It’s so convenient to just walk out of my front door and do these repeats as opposed to having to drive somewhere to meet others to run. Besides, I’m one of those weird runners who actually enjoy hills! hill-repeats-x-15-1

Thursday:  Strength Train (Shoulders) Squats and Plank

Feeling adventurous this evening, I decided to check out a short little single track trail on my mountain bike while the hubs ran the main trails. I was terrified of running into a snake but finally concluded that as long as I was on my bike, it’d be okay. The plan was that I would do this little half mile section of single track then ‘catch up’ with him on the main trail.

Sooooo, 30 minutes, 3 miles and one minor tumble later I determined that I was lost. Well actually, I realized this much earlier; but wasn’t ready to admit it. I’m not sure why I didn’t listen to my gut when it told me that I had made a wrong turn within the first 10 minutes, considering that my husband laughs at me getting lost in hotels! (EVERY time I walk out of a hotel room, I turn the wrong direction…never fails!) As I continued to try to figure my way out of this maze of trails with the sun getting lower, panic began to set in. I managed to get to a point on the trail where I could see the main access road but every time I would follow the trail in that direction, it would switch back and take me away from the road. I then decided to use my “phone a friend” lifeline…no answer. So, standing there on top of a hill, I could see glimpses of where I wanted to be through the woods and the trail leading in the opposite direction. The only thing standing between me and the main road was a wooded ravine, a multitude of spiderwebs and (in my mind) hundreds of snakes just waiting for me to get off “the beaten path”!

So, I did what any woman would do…I uttered a few colorful words, had a long pep talk with myself and took off down the hill, through the spider webs, under the fallen trees, across the rotten logs where the snakes were, no doubt, waiting to attack, crossed the ditch and pushed that bike straight up the hill to safety.

Thankfully, I survived without major incidents and no encounter with a snake …most likely due to all of the fussing and griping I was doing along the way, I’m sure I scared them off! I must admit to feeling a tad bit of exhilaration riding across roots and tree stumps amidst the panic of being lost. I am woman, hear me roar!!! or whine …whining about the spiderwebs all over me, the bug bites and the sprocket abrasion I suffered on my fall. I’ve been doing a little of both. But one thing is for certain, it will be a while before I venture off on those trails again alone; but when I do, I will be braver and stronger….because the saying is true, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”! 20160908_194551-1

Myself and my bike were covered in thick yellow spiderwebs and apparently, I found quite a few chiggers on my way out as well!

For my efforts, however; I was rewarded this beautiful sunset view coming back across the dam after having finally ‘caught up’ with the hubby. Beautiful, isn’t it? 20160908_200303-1

Friday: Since the mountain bike was covered in spider webs, I decided to load up the road bike and take her out for an easy afternoon ride. Knowing that I had a Saturday morning run planned, I didn’t want to kill my quads; so I opted for a flat and easy 10 miler around our local lake and campground. It was a beautifully peaceful and solitary ride; to which I was thankful no one was around to witness me stopping by the lake to get in my squats and plank!img_20160909_173717

Saturday: It’s game day folks! Most everything here in the South revolves around college football on Saturdays. It was Guard drill duty for the hubby so Tammy and I set out for an early morning 7 miler. We decided to take a break from those brutal hills the trails relentlessly dish out and opted for a run around town instead. Good grief, it was almost as hilly as those darn trails! Basically, we live in a hilly town and they will beat you up. But, hey, as the character, Clarice, from Steel Magnolias so eloquently stated …”that which doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger”. And so it was, I survived the hills and humidity of 7 miles setting the stage for an afternoon of college football and napping! #hailstate

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Chocolate Pumpkin muffins, Merlot and Cowbell!

Sunday: Still celebrating from our win, I put my maroon dress on and headed out to meet the hubby at church. Since he would be driving straight in from drill, he would be in uniform ….dang, I love to see him in uniform! He just looks so stealthy and handsome! However; as I sat down on the church pew where he had placed his belongings, I reached over and picked up his cap and for a brief moment my mind took me back to four years ago when he returned from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. I remembered how happy I was to see him, smell him, feel him and hold him in my arms once again. But most of all, I remembered how proud I was (am) of him for his deep love, patriotism and loyalty he has for our country! I thought about the reason he had to deploy in the first place, the events of 9/11 and all those that lost their lives that day. I thought that while it was the most difficult year of my life, he came home. He came home when thousands upon thousands of others before him did not. Today, I’m remembering to be thankful for the time I have with my loved ones. Today, I’m remembering that we are a blessed nation, a blessed people and are called to be a blessing to others.20160911_113348.jpg

Let us all remember to use our time wisely ….for it truly is an elusive and perishable commodity!

x0x0,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one blessing at a time

I’m linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap. Stop by their sites to see all the fun and adventurous things these two have been up to …you’ll find some pretty amazing ladies linking up with them also!WeeklyWrap

This Weeks Gallivantin’~Hello September!

This week ushered out the oppressively hot and steamy month of August leaving us with a sweltering and sweaty September. But hey, at least it’s a ‘ber’ month…meaning it has to cool off sometime, right?? Down here in Mississippi, that may not happen until late November and even though we’re used to it, we still like to complain about it! The really ironic thing about this is that as much as we complain about how hot it is; we absolutely cannot tolerate cold weather. Let it get below freezing down here, like a bitter 28 degrees cold, and we will start ‘singing the blues’ like you’ve never heard! The truth of the matter is that those of us born and raised in the South, are conditioned to the smothering, sticky, wet heat and just can’t handle that ‘bone-chilling’ cold. If we could have it our way, we’d have every day be a nice balmy 75 degrees. So, until we get our way, we’ll groan about the humidity and sip our sweet tea while ‘blessing everyone’s heart’! Which brings me to this weeks Weekly Wrap…..

Monday:  Skipped my scheduled leg day due to my strained back muscle from last week. I’m on the mend but wanted to give it a couple of more days to heal. I’ve learned a tough lesson in my old age…listen to your body! I did want to get a little cardio in, however; so I decided to do some kayaking while the hubby ran the trails. I managed to get about 45 minutes in of steady paddling, against the wind at times. As relaxing as it is to be on the water; I certainly felt like it provided a decent little upper body workout.

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Tuesday: Taught Spin class …a good 45 minute sweat session!

Wednesday:  Early morning 3 miler with Tammy. But first, I stretch…..another lesson I’m learning in my old age. Tight hammies are always a problem for me ….I’m sure because I don’t stretch enough! Lol.20160901_200141

Thursday:  Hello September!!! First day of #septembersquat challenge and #plankmyday. I also decided that today was the day to get back on schedule with my strength training. I worked back/biceps that morning then the hubs met me at the gym after work for a chest/tri workout …whew! “two-a-days’ weight lifting makes for a great workout!

 

Friday:  Having the day off means sleeping in and spending the morning with the hubby getting our cardio on! After completing day 2 of #septembersquats and #plankmyday, we loaded up the ‘flying purple people eater’ (the mtn bike) and headed for the trails. When I tell you that these hills are brutal, I mean they are B.R.U.T.A.L.!  Running them will set your lungs on fire and riding them will set your quads on fire…either way, it’s a heart-pounding, muscle-building workout and I love it!

Saturday: College football kickoff day! And since there’s no better way to spend a Saturday down here in the South, we headed to Starkville to cheer on the ‘dawgs in their season opener against the University of South Alabama. While the game was an ugly one (we just needed more cowbell), it was a beautiful, hot and sweaty day for some SEC football with the hubby! #hailstate  (Day 3 of #septembersquats and #plankmyday)20160903_110257

Sunday:  A well-earned rest day! Did manage to get my squats and plank challenge done.

Nutrition News:  I’ve been making great strides lately in focusing on my nutrition. Eating cleaner during the week and allowing a few ‘splurges’ on the weekends. Here are a few of my new favorites….

  1. My new favorite protein drink is Quest salted caramel protein powder, almond milk, a teaspoon of Leaner Creamer(see below) and half of a banana. Sometimes, I will pour about 1/4 cup of my morning coffee in it as well. This makes for a great afternoon ‘pick-me-up’ after a strength training session!20160819_075940
  2. Leaner Creamer! This stuff is the bomb.com! It is an all natural, coconut oil based coffee creamer that helps promote weight loss. If you are interested in giving it a try, please us my link to receive 10% off your first order!20160902_072104
  3. Halo Top ice cream! It’s pretty darn good and healthy too! I’ll be trying the Birthday Cake flavor next ….yummy!

     

And with that, another week has come to an end. Here’s to hoping next week brings us some cooler temps and many happy running miles!

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty….while squatting and planking every dang day!

Over to you guys….

Have you tried Leaner Creamer? If so, are you a fan?

Have you tried Halo Top ice cream? What’s your favorite flavor?

Are you a college football fan? Did your college team win yesterday?

I’m enjoying meeting all of you fitness and running bloggers out there through Tricia’s and Holly’s Weekly Wrap link! You ladies have welcomed me, the new blogger on the block, with your listenng ears and encouraging words and I greatly appreciate it!

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Coffee Confessions: Shoe Addict

“Hi, my name is Teresa, and I am a shoe addict” ….I’ve always heard the first step toward recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I admit it. I have always loved shoes! As a little girl, I would play dress up by wearing my Mother’s high heels. My favorite being a pair of black patent leather pumps with a gross-grain rosette on top….I felt like a movie star in those shoes! I can vividly remember the day I got my very own pair of high heel shoes. I was in junior high school and I begged my mother to buy me a pair of ‘Candies’, the latest fad. Anyone else remember those? Anyone else care to admit that they remember those?? Yes, that was eons ago! I clomped around school all day in my candy apple red, patent leather of course, looking something similar to a newborn giraffe taking its first steps; but I felt like a million bucks! And so it was, from this moment on, I have been addicted to shoes. Throughout high school, college and early career; I bought shoes. While pregnant with my three children, I bought more shoes than ever since my feet were the only part of my body that wasn’t growing! By the time I reached my late 30’s, I had so many pairs of shoes that I couldn’t remember what all I had. Soooo, I set out to organize and clean out the closet. I bought clear plastic shoe boxes for each pair, wrote on the end of box a description of the shoe inside and stacked them all neatly inside my closet. Then I counted them, out of curiosity of course. Over 150 pairs! (and this did not include the bin of flip-flops and casual sandals I had)  I know, it’s insane. But shoes are important …they can make or break an outfit, right??

Funny how the tides of life can move you in a different direction, yet you still end up on the same shore. Fast forward 10 years ….20160902_072520_001

……my shoe addiction has changed somewhat. I no longer work in an environment where I dress up, rather I work in a gym where I wear athletic clothes everyday. I also have difficult, ornery, finicky, flat feet. I hate them really. They are not a runner’s dream….most likely rebelling from all the years of torture I put them though with the high heels! Because of this, I am always trying out different pairs of running shoes. Sixteen pairs, that is my current “collection”, and I do wear them all. The ones that my feet didn’t like to run in, I wear to work. Some are great for walking around all day in and lifting weights but just not ‘running material’. Besides, this way I have a pair to match whatever I wear to work that day …remember, shoes can make or break the outfit?? Seriously though,  while I have settled on Newton’s as the most friendly running shoe for my feet (on my 9th pair), they aren’t perfection.I have had fewer running related injuries while running in Newton’s than any other shoe so it would stand to reason that I would just keep buying them. Yet, I can’t fight my curiosity to try something new …that exciting, yet anxious, feeling when slipping on a new pair for the first time, wondering if these are going to be the ONES, the perfect pair of running shoes that allow my feet to run mile after mile without nagging aches, strains or blisters. And so, this brings me to the point of today’s post ….I’ve been eyeing another pair of running shoes online for about two weeks now. They’re calling my name, telling me that I should give them a try, that my feet are going to love them and they will solve all of my running woes! I’m still debating. Besides, there’s that little issue of the hubs …if he sees another pair of running shoes come into this house, he may have a ‘come to Jesus meeting’ with me, and with good reason.

Speaking of the hubs, I’m quite envious of him in regards to running. He’s one of those runners who decided to start running one day, went to Fleet Feet, was put through a gait test, put in a running shoe and started running. Since then he’s run thousands of miles, countless 5 and 10k’s, 6 half marathons and one full marathon in the same brand and model of shoes they put him in over 10 years ago. He just has good feet. I have to say, however; he is really supportive and understanding of my finicky feet and the need to find the perfect shoe. But let’s face it, a man can only take so much. Therefore, the purchase of yet another pair of running shoes will have to be handled in the most delicate of manners ….involving something lacy and sheer, perhaps! Lol

Until yesterday, I have been thinking that every runner out there was like my husband regarding their running shoes. They have all found the perfect pair, have no problems and never get blisters from a mere 6 miler. Then I stumbled upon this article from Runner’s world, 5 Common Myths About Running Shoes. Like most running articles, it really didn’t tell me anything that I, and most runners, didn’t already know….until I got to #4. Ahh ha!! There it is in black and white, from Runner’s World no less, the ultimate resource for running information, right??

4. Monogamy is a virtue.
When it comes to relationships, monogamy keeps you out of trouble. When it comes to shoes, monogamy can hurt you. Once they’ve experimented with several models, many runners find one shoe they like and state their lifelong loyalty. They then run in the same shoe every day, replace them with the same model and even stockpile them for the coming apocalypse of discontinuation. 
But running in different shoes can make you stronger, faster, and less prone to injury. Studies show correlations between running in a variety of footwear and reduced injuries. Every time you put on a different pair of shoes, your interaction with the ground changes slightly, thus you stride differently. This strengthens new muscles and connective tissues while reducing the repetitive stress on the same body parts.
Bottom line: Play the field with shoes. You can do this at the same time (have a different pair for speedwork than for long runs, for example) and consecutively—try a different pair when you replace your shoes. So many shoes, so little time.
While this makes perfect sense to me and certainly validates my ongoing quest for the perfect shoe; I also know that for some, like my husband, there really can be a perfect shoe. For as many brands, styles and models of running shoes on the market today, there are just as many different runners. Aren’t we the fortunate generation of runners to have so many to choose from….after all, variety is the spice of life!
I’m sure I’ll eventually give in to my curiosity to try this new pair of running shoes I’ve been eyeing and when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how my feet like them. And if they don’t ..well, I’m sure they will look great with some of my work attire!
x0x0,
Finding ‘Fabulous” at Fifty….in every different brand, style, model and color of running shoe possible!
I’m linking up with these fabulous ladies..The Healthy Slice, My No Guilt Life, and MCM Mama Runs for their Tuesday’s on the Run link. Stop by and see what they’ve been up to!
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~This edition of “Coffee Confessions” is brought to you by Leaner Creamer, the all natural coffee creamer that promotes weight loss while giving your coffee a delicious coconut flavor! I absolutely love this stuff and will never go back to liquid creamer. If you’d like to give it try, use my link to receive a 10% discount off of your first order! If you aren’t a fan of coconut, they now have hazelnut flavor as well. I use it in my protein shakes as well, it’s now a staple in my house. Give it a try, I promise you will not regret it!
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Let’s talk…
Anyone else out there in a never ending search for the perfect running shoe?
Or are you like my hubby in that you’re feet have found ‘the love of their life’?
Did you run in a certain pair for years, then have to change due to an injury?
I’d love to hear what your feet  have to say on this topic?