AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge Complete!

So, it took me a while to finally get this post put together. There was so much that I wanted to say about the challenge, that I kept finding myself editing this until it was super long. Apologies in advance.

Back in September, Katie from Running 4 Cupcakes contacted me about doing an AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. I was a little skeptical, but said yes. She then sent me a whole bunch of information and I immediately regretted my decision. I mean, no dairy, coffee or processed foods for 24 days? Um...I don't live without coffee. But, I had said yes, so I put on a smile and went for it. 

The first few days were definitely the hardest, and not just because the fiber drink is a lot hard to suck down. 

The Peaches & Cream flavor really didn't taste that bad. I'm just strange about texture. 

The Peaches & Cream flavor really didn't taste that bad. I'm just strange about texture. 

I craved all the really good foods that I wasn't eating and they seemed to be everywhere. I had no idea that cookies were around my office that frequently. The truth is that I don't normally eat them, but I had never not been allowed to eat them (does that make sense?). 

By the time I got to the Max phase (which is the better part, if you ask me), I was doing pretty well. I was excited to drink my Spark Energy Drink in the morning. 

Like all good Portlanders, I drink things in a Mason Jar. 

Like all good Portlanders, I drink things in a Mason Jar. 

I had both the citrus and the watermelon flavor. I enjoyed switching back and forth and highly recommend getting more than one flavor. I'd love one of them for a few days and then suddenly discover that the taste made me sick. Then I would switch and repeat the process. 

Eating clean became easier and I discovered a lot of really delicious things that I loved. Smoothies from Greenleaf Juice were a huge help because they were naturally sweet, filling and full of good things. 

I'm pretty sure this is a Green Solution smoothie. Can't fully remember though. I've tried several of them. All delicious.

I'm pretty sure this is a Green Solution smoothie. Can't fully remember though. I've tried several of them. All delicious.

So my final results? Here's the thing. I am not trying to lose weight or inches. Sure, I measured before and after, but there isn't a real difference. Which is 100% okay because I am at a healthy weight for me and wouldn't have wanted to lose anything. But it does make is rather difficult to measure success. 

I definitely had more energy by the end of the month. I made huge strides in my yoga classes with regard to being able to hold poses longer, push myself further and maintain proper form. I overall feel better and haven't had as many GI issues as I often do (I know, TMI). I feel like the challenge was a great success overall in helping me look at the foods I was eating and the health decisions I was making. 

Now that the AdvoCare Challenge is over, I will definitely be using this information to make some better decisions. No, I will not keep avoiding all of those foods. I think everything in moderation is a great life philosophy and it works for me. I am definitely interested in continuing to use some of the products regularly. I think the Catalyst pills might be helping me develop strength and muscles and I like the Spark drink sometimes as a good jump start to the day. 

Would I recommend the challenge? I wouldn't hesitate to tell someone to go for it. It is a commitment though and is sometimes really hard. People go out to bars and restaurants. There is ALWAYS something you can have, but it isn't necessarily what you want. I know I don't enjoy going to the bar and drinking water. Twenty-four days really isn't that long though. Overall, I would say this is a success. 

Also check out my other posts on the topic:
Getting Ready for the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge
AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge Day 1
AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge Day 10

Did I miss anything? Feel free to ask questions in the comments. 
Have you ever done a challenge (AdvoCare or other)? How did it go?


My Muscles are Screaming

I'm linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Think Out Loud Thursday. 

1. I took my first TRX class last night and the soreness has been slowly accumulating in my body. 

I used to do a decent amount of strength training, but then I sort of fell of the wagon. I didn't belong to a gym that I liked, so I never went. And then I got intimidated. And then...Well, I can give you a million different excuses and there isn't a single good one in the whole lot. I'd done a few exercises with TRX equipment a year ago, so when there was a good class at my gym, I finally decided to sign up. 

Confession: I totally thought it would be easier than this. Especially when the warm-up was simple. I got cocky. Don't worry, the instructor basically killed that part of me 10 minutes later. It is going to be a rough month. 

2. Why is it so dark?

I love that it is light earlier in the morning, but does it have to get dark so early? Last night I was leaving work at like 4:45PM and the sun was already setting. It makes walking around my neighborhood in the evening feel sketchy, even though I usually feel pretty safe. On that note, I noticed A LOT of runners out last night wearing dark clothes, no reflective gear, and no lights. While it was pitch black. Definitely think about what you need to do to stay safe. 

3. Which is why I need to run more at lunch.

My ankle is at like 90%, so I am ready to do an easy run today to feel it out and see how things go. My friend bailed on me for her sick kiddo, so I am going to go get completely lost on the trails and try to get a little workout done. If it feels okay, I'll probably get back into training and running more. 

4. It is amazing the difference between yoga instructors.

I already knew that, but we had a sub yesterday and! I actually think I like her style better, possibly because it is a little more relaxed. Sadly, her normal class never works with my schedule. That said, I totally love my normal instructor and she makes me work REALLY hard on my back and shoulders, which I need. Hunching over my computer at work all day kills my posture. 

5. This week has gone by way too fast.

I can't believe it is Thursday! I have so much to do before the weekend and next week. I am sure it will all get done, but I am starting to freak out just a little. Which probably means I need to work on the whole yoga thing a little more. 

Okay, tomorrow the AdvoCare Challenge update that I have been promising all week. 

How is your week going? 
Do you like the new morning sunshine or miss the evenings?

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Leaves Edition

I'm linking up with Beth at Running with the Sunrise for Wordless Wednesday:

Yogurt, Coffee and Driving Advice

I intended for this post to make sense, but apparently it is just one of those days where things are a little random. 

I have to add in a morning reminder that while you are driving, you should be focused on driving. The woman behind me on the freeway this morning made me 8 kinds of nervous. I could see her putting on her makeup (eyeliner, mascara and everything) in my rear view mirror. Either find time to do it at home, when you get to the office, or just skip it altogether. You're already pretty enough. I promise. 

Also, remember that you actually have to stop at stop signs and red lights. 

Also, remember that you actually have to stop at stop signs and red lights. 

I'm trying to cut back on my caffeine intake at the moment because it has been making me super shaky and crazy when I have too much. Always on days when I have important meetings too. Then I just stand there with pen shaking in my hand trying to pretend that I don't notice. 

Love this show. 

Love this show. 

Last night I tried this drinkable yogurt that I saw at Whole Foods and loved it!

It's called Filmjölk and is from Sweden. I wasn't terribly sure about it, especially since it seems to have a lot of sugar in it (17g per serving). It didn't seem like the worst option though. It was incredible. It doesn't have that sweet taste that a lot of flavored yogurts have, which was awesome. The raspberry was pretty tart and had a nice texture. It would be awesome over granola (or other cereal), in a smoothie, or just by itself. That's how I drank it last night, as a test, and it was perfect. 

Since my AdvoCare challenge ended (still have to finish typing up that post), I've been trying to pay more attention to what I eat. I strongly believe in moderation and try to practice it regularly. It's totally fine to eat donuts and other stuff, as long as it is balanced out and not a regular thing. I bought a lot more produce as a result of the challenge and spent a bunch of time looking around my regular lunch locations for healthier options. I was surprised how many really exist. 

Have you tried any weird foods lately? 

Holiday Coffee and Weekly Goals

Can I just start out by saying how exciting it was to drive into work this morning at 6:30AM and already see a little bit of sunshine? It was amazing! It has been very dark lately at that time, so this was a pleasant change. I expect to be complaining tomorrow that I have to drive home from work in the dark, but for today, I am happy.

I walked a bunch this weekend (still no running allowed. boo!) and my ankle felt pretty good. Saturday I did roughly 10 miles worth (not all at once) between general walking, shopping and going out for my boyfriend's birthday. Also, I had to track down a Starbuck's holiday beverage. It was really important. So important that I had to go to 2 different stores so that I could get what I wanted. I did several of those miles with no brace (it didn't match my dress) and felt pretty good. I expect to back to normal next week. 



Yesterday was also the first really cold day of our year (yes, my definition of cold is a little generous). Even though this week is supposed to hover around 60F, it got me thinking about my need for some colder weather running gear. I'm on the hunt for some great running tights, a jacket and some long sleeve tops. Nothing too crazy, though. After all, this is Portland (not the North East). 

So, goals for the week:

1. Enjoy my first TRX class. It is my first one and I am super scared/excited. I've done a little work with a TRX before thanks to a few personal training sessions, but didn't stick with it. I've got 4 weeks paid for and ready to go, so it should be a good time. 

2. Try out my ankle on a couple of long walks/short easy runs. I expect this will happen at the end of the week, giving me enough time to make sure I am healed up. 

3. Attend 2 yoga classes. I really need these for the flexibility and calmness that I get out of it. Missing last week was hard on my mind (and, I'm sure, my body).

Okay, what are your goals for the week?

Friday Favorites: Halloween!

I'm late with a post today. I'd make an excuse, but I'm all out of them. Hey, it's Friday! And Halloween. 

I'm linking up with Katie at Running 4 Cupcakes today with some of my favorite things (at the moment). 

1. This pumpkin is totally getting turned into pumpkin pie in the next 24 hours. My boyfriend somehow survived into adulthood without ever trying pumpkin pie (I know, right?). I've taken it upon myself to fix this problem. But, if you've waited that long to try it, it has to be great. Which means making it myself from the pie crust right up to the filling. I've made a lot of pies before, but never a pumpkin pie. I'm a little nervous, but also super excited. Wish me luck!

2. My rain parka from Mountain Hardwear. Seriously. With all the rain we've been having, this has turned into my go to jacket lately. I love that it is both functional and stylish. I feel like I can wear it out to fancy restaurants without looking ridiculous. Bonus: the pink helps keep me happy on the grey days that we've been blessed with. 

I may look silly, but at least I am dry!

I may look silly, but at least I am dry!

3. The fact that it is almost November is actually killing me. When did that happen? Um...this is a list of favorite things list though, so I won't complain. Instead, I'll just say that the fog that has been collecting over the hills here lately has been making me feel like I live in some sort of creepy movie. Normally I would say that is bad, but I actually enjoy it. If that is what the rest of winter is going to be like, then bring it on!

4. Daylight savings! I know lots of people hate it, but I can't wait. I go to work way too often when it is still dark out. That makes me sad. At least when I am working until it is dark out I feel like a rockstar for working so hard. Yes, that is ridiculous. No, I am not changing my mind. Plus, an extra hour of sleep this weekend. 

5. Now that I am done with the AdvoCare challenge (write-up coming next week), I get to have beer again! My current favorite is this Jubelale from Deschutes Brewery (local to Oregon). It is super easy to drink and not too bitter. I will definitely be cracking one open tonight.



Do you have a favorite holiday beer (winter or pumpkin)?

Thinking Out Loud: Almost Halloween Edition

I'm linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for another Think Out Loud Thursday. 

1. This week is killing me.

Not literally, of course. I haven't been able to get out and do much and it is really dragging me down. I skipped my normal yoga yesterday because my ankle didn't feel up to it. Once I thought about it, I should have gone and just modified a bunch of stuff. Plenty of things don't actually require me to be standing on the balls of my feet or balancing on one leg. At least I still have tomorrow to go and get sweaty. Life without running feels a little empty (stupid ankle), which is weird because it wasn't that long ago that I wasn't running at all. 

2. I finished the AdvoCare challenge!

Just in time, too, because today is an early, long day. I am already exhausted. I tried to drink a cup of coffee when I got to work at 5:30AM, but it just tastes funny now. I've had this problem before when I've given up coffee. I don't doubt that it will pick up again. especially since Starbucks has a new holiday drink. I'll do a write-up about the whole challenge soon. Right after I go eat all the things I've been missing (in moderation, of course).

3. Apparently everyone here has rain on their mind.

Right after I published my post about running in the rain, I saw this post about best places in Portland to run on rainy days. (Don't worry, they have a Seattle one too.) It made me really want to do more trail running. The paths look beautiful and the trees would definitely help block out some of the rain. Plus, it is much softer to run on than the street. Downside: lots and lots of hills. 

4. Tomorrow is Halloween.

I have zero plans. Mostly, I am totally fine with that. I could probably find something to do, but why? I'm not really in to dressing up or scary things. I'd rather cuddle up on the couch with a good TV show. Speaking of, I am almost done watching The Office (yes, I am WAY behind on life). Maybe that is my Halloween plan. I hear it might be sad. Don't tell me, though. I want to see how it works out. 

5. I am super excited to go home today.

Mostly because I was at work super early. The only plus to that is that I can leave early-ish and not feel bad about it. I mean, I've already been here for 5 hours and it isn't even lunch. Except, I didn't get breakfast, so I am just going to eat now. (Yes, you should always eat breakfast. Yes, it is my first day off AdvoCare and I am already a wreck. My morning involved tight deadlines and needing all 10 fingers on my keyboard working as fast as possible. Don't judge.)

Okay, I am off to get some food. And maybe a nap. Probably just the food. 

How's your week going? What are you doing for Halloween?

5 Tips for Running in the Rain

It's already Wednesday? I find that hard to believe, but my phone and computer both seem to think it's right, so I'll go with it. It rained hard my entire way into work today, which can only mean one thing: The Portland Rainy Season has officially begun. 

I would put money on Saturday and Monday's forecast changing sometime in the near future. Either way, if you are a runner living in the Pacific Northwest, there is a good chance you are going to have some rainy runs in your near future. 

Running in the rain can actually be kind of fun (puddles!) and it helps keep you cool. There can also be some safety issues involved. Here are my tips for having a safe, fun run in the rain. 

1. Reflective Gear

Yes, even if it is noon. Rain messes with visibility. A lot. It makes it a lot harder for drivers and bikers to see you. Make sure you are wearing reflective gear and maybe even some sort of light. Double check before you cross a street and stay extra alert. Most of the running companies make several brightly colored reflective vests and jackets, many of which are at least water resistant (good enough most of the time). 

2. No Cotton

While I normally prefer running in synthetics anyway, it is never a good idea to choose your cotton workout clothes in the rain. They will soak up all the water and become heavy and gross very quickly. If it stops raining while you're out, they won't even come close to starting to dry. If you are wearing cotton, at least make sure the layer closest to your body is made of a tech fabric intended to keep you nice and dry. 

3. Wear a Hat

I'm not a big hat person, but I've found that it is much easier to keep running in the rain when I wear one. The water will run off the bill, instead of into your eyes. It's hard to figure out where you're going, let alone focus on running, when you can't see. It'll also shade your eyes if you happen to be out in a lovely sunshower. 

4. Don't Overdress

I have a huge problem with this one. I assume that if it is rainy, it is colder. Check out the weather forecast above. While it is going to be rainy, it won't actually be that cold. Dress appropriately for the weather. When you are adding a rain jacket, make sure it is appropriate to the conditions. A light shell might be enough. In the summer, I don't both with anything water resistant. It's too nice to pass up the refreshing rain when it is 88F out. 

5. Adjust your Route

I love running by the river in Portland. Unfortunately, in wet weather, the wood path that lines a lot of it gets extremely slick. Other parts of some of my routes are known for getting muddy (only a good thing if you are trail running). If I know it is going to be wet, I try to pick a route that has fewer traps and is less likely to lead to injury. You know where those places are on your runs, so try and avoid them. 

Do you have any tips for running in the rain? Share them in the comments.