Tall Tales Tuesday: Storm All The Castles

The amount of castles and fortresses dotting the Irish landscape is immense. Drive down just about any road, whether highway or backroad, and you are bound to see a few.

Lake Side Fortress

They are literally everywhere. Sticking up on private farm land, tucked into tree-covered corners, and literally two steps from the side of the road.

Random road side castle

Rob and I stopped at just about every castle we could. Sure, by the end of our 9 days we were slightly castled-out, but it didn’t stop us from seeing as much as we could. After all, who knows when, or if, we will ever be back.

Top of Blarney Castle

Almost every single one is explorable. Whether it’s through a guided (free or paid) tour, walking through on your own, or trespassing slightly on the farms.

DSC01917

Some are extremely well taken care of with immaculate gardens and interiors. While others have been left to the elements.

Adare Manor

Our favorite? Muckruss House. Though technically an estate, we labeled it in our minds as a castle. We arrived just as the last tour was beginning and managed to get the last two tickets to join. Seeing the interior of such an extravagant, Irish-style castle was one of the highlights of our trip. I highly recommend it even if just to learn more about Irish family history and geography.

Muckruss House

However you decide to explore the castles and fortresses of Ireland, do your best not to get stuck in the spiral staircases! Rob is a little too broad shouldered  for some spaces, Irish castles included!

Don't get stuck in the spiral!

RQ: Have you ever explored a castle or fortress? Would you prefer to trespass a bit or pay to see one?

My Students and Their Sugar Problem

My students’ diets are atrocious. On any given day, I have students drinking Mountain Dew, Red Bull, Monster, and 23 oz Arizona Strawberry Kiwi teas. They eat things like Hot Cheetos, Hot Takis, king sized Skittles, and Cup O’ Noodles. The amount of sugar in the majority of these items is through the roof.

Being the cross country coach, and a personal trainer/healthy lifestyle blogger, I can’t help but give my students a hard time about the things they are putting into their bodies. Any time one of them brings in a drink, I make them read the sugar label and I ask what fruit or vegetable they had before they dig into their Skittles.

Cross Country Start Line

I just want them to think more about what they are eating, rather than mindlessly grabbing a chip bag from the 7-11.

And you know something? It’s working.

One student saw a can of something on my desk, marched over, picked it up, and started reprimanding me about drinking a soda, saying, “How much sugar is in this, huh?” He sheepishly put it down when he read the 0% label on my La Croix Lime Sparkling Water. (Now I do drink an occasional soda, but the point is not every day, or even every week.)

Other things my students have seen me eat (because there are always a few students in my room, not because I am eating in front of my classes) include a smoothie, a salad, a sandwich, an apple with peanut butter, trail mix, grapes, pretzel chips, tea, and water.

Green Smoothie Breakfast

Now that they’ve realized this is my norm, they have started asking a lot of questions. Here are my three favorites and my answers to them:

1. When was the last time you ate fast food? Subway and Panda Express not withstanding in their minds as fast food, it was McDonalds over a year ago. Rob and were driving across the country , just back from Vietnam, and stopped for some on-the-road lunch. We both felt sick for almost two full days.

McDonalds post Vietnam

2. What is the most unhealthy thing in your house? Chocolate and chips. A mega-sized bag of mega0-sized M&M’s caught Rob’s eye at Costco (he has a thing for M&M’s). After running 20 miles this weekend, anything salty and carb-y sounds delicious, hence the bag of chips. I don’t feel guilty about any of these things.

MEGA

3. What does your husband eat? Does he think you’re crazy? He eats the same as I do, and sometimes even better. While I give in to cheese cravings, Rob gives in to cottage cheese. While I’m happy to eat a handful of chips for dinner, Rob will actually make a sandwich.

My students are thinking and asking questions. Even though it’s not about satire and annotations, I will call it a win.

The point in this post is that our youth are eating way more sugar than they need and many are lacking positive models on what to eat. This makes these two videos even more eye-opening since the things they taste-test are things my students would devour without a second thought. (And I would too if I got my hands on those Twizzlers.)

There are so many good one-liners from this video!

  • Maybe it is repurposed washing soap.
  • Add one cup of sugar!?
  • Why didn’t you warn me?
  • I don’t think anything that blue could be nutritious.
  • Sugar…it’s the main ingredient!
  • It’s weird because you do want more of them. <—EXACTLY! We are a country addicted!
  • I can’t tell you what that is.
  • There’s no description of what it actually is.
  • It’s just a dark activity to just while away the hours to keep going until death. <–Hilarious!

My favorite quotes from this one:

  • It kind of tastes like everything and nothing.
  • But I want to have it again…I want to keep eating it.
  • That’s weird and not in a good way.
  • The sort of thing you’d give to a kid as punishment.
  • I can’t tell what fruit that was.

RQ: Do you feel there is a sugar problem among our youth? What about adults? 

The Best and Worst of Muckfest 2014

A couple weekends ago, Rob and I headed to Larkspur to do the Muckfest MS Mud Run. Muckfest is put on to support MS research and the event organizers encourage everyone to fund raise.

F in Fun

After arriving an hour early, watching a few people go through the obstacles, and then stretching out, we lined up for our 12:30 start time. The MC did a good job getting the crowd excited, and muddy, before we even started.

Start line for the 12:00 wave

Since Rob has a bum calf at the moment, and I had run 16 miles before we headed out, we were not in it to win it. We were happy to walk, talk, and get muddy at our own pace.

Tunnels of mud

Out of all 19 obstacles, I had 5 favorites. I’ve done a Warrior Dash before, but these 5 obstacles were a bit unique. (Rob and I both HATE jumping off of things, so the pictured obstacle below will not make the favorites list.)

Get in the water!

1. Spider Web. While trying to navigate our way through all these ropes, while other people were as well, we were being sprayed with a fire hose. Not only was it completely disorienting, and freezing!, it was easy to get tangled up if you decided to go over a set of ropes while someone else decided to go under.

spider web

source

2. Big Balls. So I may have been shamelessly giggling the whole way through this obstacle because of its sheer ridiculousness. Not only was shoe-sucking mud underfoot, but the giant swinging balls were heavy and almost knocked me off my feet. I’m sure it didn’t help that Rob pushed a few into me as revenge for me accidentally getting mud in his eye in the first 100 yards.

big balls

source

3. Tight Rope. This obstacle took some serious concentration to be able to balance and move forward. If your breathing quickened, or you bent slightly to one side or the other, you would be a gonner. Thankfully, Rob and I both got through with no mishaps. Though I was happy to be a muddy mess, that water was cold!

tight rope

source

4. The Spinner. I was probably most nervous for this obstacle as my upper body strength is not where it should be right now (marathon training). The volunteers were super encouraging and encouraged us to just jump right on. I was so happy it was a short loop because I wasn’t going to be able to hold on much longer! The hardest part was actually getting off the rope; you had to step on a large, slippery, muddy mound while the rope kept going. My balance skills were definitely put to the test!

Holding on for dear life

5. Swing Set. Jumping off things is not my thing, but this one was fun! With a swinging start, you had to take off into the water. The tough thing was timing it correctly so you didn’t jump when the swing was furthest from the water. It seemed like everyone was having a blast on this obstacle.

Jumping off the swing

Race Cons:

I had a ton of fun playing in the mud and mountains with Rob, but there were a few things that were vaguely annoying.

Sticking the Landing

1. The obstacles felt crowded together at the start and end of the race. There was a pretty long walk between obstacles on some really steep hills that was a bit dull. I realize there are restrictions to where mud pits and structures can be made, but maybe rerouting a bit would work better.

2. Many of the obstacles were drying out. It was a warm, sunny day and the mud just wouldn’t stay put on some of the obstacles. On the second to last obstacle, where you have to slide backwards through some tipped over scaffolding, it was like sliding over wet gravel. Lots of people ended up scraped.

A very dry obstacle

3. Since Rob and I were the second to last wave of the day to start, by the time we finished, the post-party was out of food and everyone was heading home. This has nothing to do with the race directors, but the party feel was definitely coming to a close by the time we got our post-race beer.

Finished!

Regardless of these things, I would highly recommend Muckfest to anyone who enjoys mud runs. Plus you can’t beat FREE race pictures. It was a great afternoon being active and silly!

RQ: Mud runs: yay or nay? If you’ve done a mud run, what has been your favorite obstacle? 

Random Thoughts: Mileage, Winter, Name Changes, Fitbit

For the past 6 weeks I have felt like a chicken with my head cut off. Teaching, cross country coaching, personal training, marathon training, house hunting, things have been insane! Truth be told, I am loving just about every minute of it, but it means you are getting a random thoughts type post today. Ah well, these things happen!

1. I am not ready for winter. This summer was pretty epic and I am just not ready for the cold, snow, and long spandex for outdoor workouts. Plus, Rob and I won’t be able to climb any more 14-ers until next summer. I mean, are we lucky or what to have views like this?

Mt Bierdstadt this summer

2. Sixteen miles is my nemesis distance and last weekend, I conquered it. The amazing part? I felt pretty dang good throughout the whole run apart from some calf tightening around mile 11. This weekend is supposed to be 20 miles, but I am the point person for the cross country meet our school is hosting on Saturday, so I’m not sure it will get done. Next weekend for sure.

16 miles. Boom.

3. Changing my name from Stluka to Selb at work has been extremely difficult. Students have straight up told me that they refuse to call me Mrs. Selb. I’m trying to compromise with a Mrs. S, but best laid plans…

My new name, for some

4. The final touches for the Boomer’s Burn are coming together! I have a had an absolute blast putting the program together and hope those of you who have signed up already enjoy it. If you haven’t registered, you should! It starts Monday!

Preparing for the Boomer's Burn

5. My Fitbit Zip and I are inseparable. I’ve had this little guy for about two months and I’m at the point where I basically feel naked without it in my pocket. It’s really motivating for the days I don’t run!

Fitbit Zip Love

RQ: Tell me something random going on in your life!

Mental Toughness Intervals

Don’t forget to sign up for the Boomer’s Burn. Price goes up tonight! Email me at wreckingroutine@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns. 

For any run longer than three miles, I tend to get a bit bored. Not bored with my thoughts, or music, but bored with the same old lumber-along pace that the longer run takes. There is something about pushing my legs, lungs, and mind to a faster pace that I adore. The burning in my lungs, the aching in the legs, and the “you have to stop now” thoughts to overcome. It’s what keeps me coming back for more.

A long run done on intervals.

A long run done on intervals.

To mix up the monotony of my pace, I like to add intervals. I’ve expressed my love of intervals before, and want to express it again now that I’m in marathon training and my weekday runs are creeping up to 7-9 miles.

Intervals have saved me on these weekday runs. This Mental Toughness Interval run is one of my absolute favorites.

Mental Toughness Intervals

Even though the push paces last less than a mile, going from a longer push to a shorter push and then back to a longer one plays with my mind. Knowing I only have to run one minute and then climb back to four? It forces me to keep my head in the run.

For shorter runs, I do it one time through. For those longer ones, twice. I am working up the mental  and physical effort to hit three. You can also easily do these intervals on your cardio of choice, no just running!

RQ: How do you work on your mental toughness? What is your favorite type of workout when things get tough?

5 Reasons Why You Need Skoop in Your Life and Strawberry Banana Mousse

A couple weeks ago, I came home to this amazing package of goodies from Madelyn.

Skoop Goodies

Madelyn and I met at Blend where she had given me a 5-day challenge of Skoop A-Game to try. I was pretty apprehensive at first, “just another antioxidant formula”, “nothing can do all these things it claims”, but by day 3, I was blown away at how good I felt and was eager to learn more about the company.

5 Day Skoop Challenge

Now that I have done my research and have been using Skoop consistently for the past two weeks, let me give you 5 reasons why you need Skoop in your life:

1. It actually works. I truly notice a difference in how I feel the morning after a hard workout. Instead of the typical aches and soreness, I feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. Just this past Saturday, after a 16 mile run and 5k mud/obstacle run, I was bright eyed and bushy tailed on Sunday morning feeling up for just about anything.

Not tired, jumping into cold water

This type of energy and recovery is not something I have ever felt when using other types of powders and supplements.

2. All its healthy benefits. With a list like this, what’s not to love?

  • A-Game has 41 organic non-GMO ingredients in every “skoop.”
  • A-Game’s probiotics promote healthy gut function & nutrient absorption.
  • A-Game’s antioxidants strengthen immunity and promote a healthy inflammatory response as well as supporting outstanding, sustaining energy.
  • It’s loaded with adaptogens, which actively fight stress and promote faster recovery after activity.
  • Ample fiber helps support the heart, metabolic health and a healthy inflammatory response.
  • Only 50 calories per serving.
  • Easy, convenient and fast for everyone on the go.

3. For every serving sold, they donate a serving of fresh fruits and veggies to school lunches. Take a second and reread that. Now read it again. So, as a teacher I may be biased, but the lunches at my school are atrocious. If buying a 30-serving bag means 30 of “my kids” get something healthy in their bellies, then I am more than in. (Please note the cup-o-noodles on the desk. Point made.)

Working hard

4. The transparency of their website. The Skoop website is just straight up adorable. I love how easy it is to use between the graphics, how the text is displayed, and most importantly, how honest they are about what goes into their products. Nothing is hidden. I mean, they put a picture of their nutrition label right on the site.

5. It tastes delicious in any recipe. My typical daily Skoop intake comes in the form of my Go-To Blueberry Smoothie. This Sunday, I got a little crazy in the kitchen experimenting with different things I could make using A-Game and B-Strong. Every single thing I made was delicious. Case in point, this Strawberry Banana Mousse (original recipe here) that uses a serving of B-Strong.

Strawberry Banana Mousse

Strawberry Banana Mousse

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Strawberries
  • 1 cup Bananas
  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Honey
  • 1 serving B-Strong

Instructions

  1. Blend strawberries, bananas, honey, and B-Strong until smooth.
  2. Whisk the fruit together with yogurt.
  3. Fold in Cool Whip until combined.
  4. Fill ramekins and freeze for 2 hours.
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The unofficial 6th reason why you need Skoop in your life? The 10% discount my lovely readers get by using the code ROUTINE10. I recommend ordering some now so you’re ready for the Skoop Cookbook Madelyn is putting together!

Learn more about Skoop on Twitter, Instagram, and their blog.

*Disclaimer: I was provided with samples of Skoop to review, but I would have begged Madelyn for some if she hadn’t offered. All opinions are my own.

RQ: Do you use antioxidant powders and supplements? What is your favorite recipe to add powders to?

Boomer’s Burn

As a Women’s Fitness Specialist, I have been extremely interested in designing a program that caters to the imbalances women, and men, experience with age. What was extremely interesting about designing this program was that most of the imbalances we develop with age are also the imbalances we develop from having desk jobs and sedentary lifestyles. This program is one step in the right direction to correcting and reversing those things.

Introducing the Boomer’s Burn!

Boomer Burn Logo

This program is 4 weeks of movement to help improve cardiovascular conditioning, posture, balance, functional movements, and core development. These are the areas of our bodies that weaken with age, desk jobs, and a sedentary lifestyle.

If you know you want to sign up already, click here!

Why is this Burn perfect for anyone of the Baby Boomer’s generation, who has a desk job, or has been sedentary?

  • There is a max of 4 moves in each workout, so you won’t feel overwhelmed by knowing what to do.
  • Each workout takes about 40-50 minutes tops!
  • Focus on functional movements so you can accomplish daily tasks easier. (Think reaching that top shelf, or picking up a heavy box off the floor.)
  • Focus on posture and core so you can walk taller, sit up straighter, dissipate lower back pain, and stave off permanent postural changes.
  • Focus on balance so you can avoid falls/trips, improve coordination, and keep your stability.

*If you have participated in one of the past Burns, this program contains no plyometrics and no timed workouts. Email me if you want to know more about how it compares and if it’s the right choice for you!

Here is what you will get during the 4 week Burn:

  • Six days a week of workouts:
    • 3 days a week of full body workouts
    • 2 days a week of cardiovascular interval conditioning
    • 1 day a week of sustained cardiovascular conditioning
  • Nutrition guidelines to maximize your workouts and overall fitness
  • Picture sheets of all workouts
  • Membership into a secret Facebook group for tips, motivation, encouragement, and accountability from me as well as other members of the Burn
  • Beginner modifications and advanced progressions for every workout to make it more manageable and more challenging depending on what you need
  • A goal of 150 minutes of cardiovascular conditioning per week.
  • Tracking sheet to monitor your progress
  • Six days a week of motivation, encouragement, and accountability from me (via Facebook)
  • Daily Bonus Workout Challenges
  • Access to your very own personal trainer (me!)

Items you will need:

  • timer/stopwatch
  • light free weights
  • mat, or soft place for floor moves
  • cardio machine of choice, or a place to walk/run/bike/swim

The Reset Burn runs from September 22 – October 18,2014. The price of this Burn is $40! Click here, or on the image  below, to sign up!

Boomer Burn Logo

Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email from me. The official welcome email, first week of workouts, and nutrition guidelines will be sent on Sunday, September 21.

Please email me with any questions or concerns you may have at wreckingroutine@gmail.com. If you are interested in online personal training, but this program doesn’t fit your needs, check my Training Services page for other options. I would love to work with you!

You can also read testimonials about training with Wrecking Routine here.

**I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, but am not a Registered Dietician. Please consult your physician before starting any new exercise routine or diet. This program is only open to those 18 years of age or older.**

RQ: Are you in?

Energems Chocolate Energy Review

I am not a coffee drinker. Never have been and don’t foresee that I will be (never say never). The taste doesn’t suit me and the morning caffeine fix is not something I need.

However, an afternoon caffeine fix, say around 1:30 pm after 6 hours teaching, is something I do often need. In winter, and on colder days, a cup of green tea is enough for a boost. But in summer, the last thing on my mind is hot tea. (Yes, I know there is iced tea, but that’s just not where my brain goes.)

One serving of Energems

So when a representative from Energems (affiliate link!) asked if I’d like to try their chocolate covered caffeine gems of joy, I jumped at the chance. Energems was also one of the sponsors for Blend and included a box in the swag bag all participants received.

Energems among the Blend Swag

I really put Energems to the test during the Chase the Moon Relay. Around 11 pm, and fading fast, I pulled out a box and had three gems or individual chocolates. Three gems = 1 cup of coffee.

Let me tell you, those little things worked like a charm. Within 10 minutes I was alert and ready to stay up all night (which I did).

Up all night at Chase the Moon thanks to Energems

These little gems do the same thing for me in the middle of the work day. They are quick, easy to store in my desk, and are no-fuss no-muss way to get that afternoon kick I need.

Energems in the desk mess

My favorite part about Energems apart from the fact that they contain B vitamins and are only 15 calories each? They have a mint flavor! Mint chocolate is one of my favorite ice cream flavors, with mints and minty things being a slight addiction of mine. They are definitely a win in my book.

Energems ingredient list

If you’re a coffee drinker, or a caffeine kick needer, Energems are extremely reasonably priced at $8.50 for 9 servings, or three boxes. What would 9 cups of coffee from your favorite coffee shop cost you?

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a 3-pack variety of Energems to review. All opinions are my own.

RQ: Are you a coffee drinker? What do you do to overcome the afternoon slump? What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Tall Tales Tuesday: 5 Things to Expect at the Cliffs of Moher

Similar to the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher are on the must see list of Ireland. Unlike the Ring of Kerry, I would absolutely, 100% agree.

Trail walking along the cliffs

Here are 5 things you can expect if you visit the Cliffs of Moher.

1. Awe-inspiring beauty. As you walk up the steps from the parking lot, past the touristy souvenir shops, you come upon a view  unlike any other. The cliffs extend almost further than your eyes can see in either direction. The vibrant greens, the ocean crashing on the rocks, stretching your eyes to the horizon. It truly is a breath-taking view.

Cliffs of Moher

2. Warning signs. Once the paved, ledged path ends, visitors can continue their time at the cliffs by walking along the narrow trails that extend out from the paved areas.

Private Property Warning Sign  Before you make it onto these paths, stern signs with clear warnings might make you think twice about crossing the gated threshold.

Unstable cliff warning sign

Or they won’t.

Past the signage

3. Dizzying views. The vastness of the cliffs spreading out in either direction and the sheer drop of them right below you makes for some dizzying, depth-perception confusing views.

A little close to the edge

4. People doing handstands and jump pictures on cliffs. Being able to get to the edge of the cliffs makes for some serious photo opportunities. Including your typical yogi handstand and group jumping pictures. With a fear of heights, standing up fully with my arms over head was as close as I was going to get to handstands or jumping.

As handstand/jumping as I'll get

5. Cows. While most of your time will be spent admiring the view of the cliffs, take the time to turn your head the other way out to the green, cow-filled pastures. They are extremely well taken care of and some of the best looking beasts I have ever seen.

Cow

Rob and I lucked out with the weather while we were at the cliffs. It stopped raining right before we got there and started again right as we left!

RQ: Would you cross over onto the unofficial trail? Are you a handstand/jumping picture taker?

Becoming a Women’s Fitness Specialist

For the past few months I have neglected to share some exciting news with all of you. In June, I become a National Academy of Sports Medicine Women’s Fitness Specialist!

Women's Fitness Certification

 

As a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, I have to keep up continuing education credits and one of the programs I opted for was women’s fitness. I really enjoyed studying for this specialty and thought the program was well put together. Today, I want to share with you why I chose it, how I studied, and what’s next now that I have this certification.

Why I chose a Women’s Fitness Specialty:

Coming from a family of five women, focusing on women’s health seemed like a no-brainer. If I can help my family be even one step healthier, then it’s all worth it.

The women of the family

Sneak peek from my sister, Jackie’s, London wedding

Another reason I chose this specialty is because women are multi-faceted. We have to train differently at specific times in our lives (teen years, pregnancy, menopause, seniors). Not only does that keep my job interesting, but it ensures that I will continue to learn. Something I love to do.

How I studied for the test:

Since the program materials, and the test itself, were all online, I scheduled specific times in my week to sit my butt down and study.

Online Video studying

First, I read and took notes on the “textbook” portion.

IMG_5503

Once done, I printed my notes and watched the corresponding videos, adding notes, underling key points, and just trying to solidify the information.

Taking those notes

After reviewing everything, the 60 question test seemed relatively easy. My favorite part, besides learning new strategies and techniques to use with the different life stages, was the review it gave me from my initial personal training test.

What’s next now that I have this certification:

So many things! The first one being a Burn designed specially for those of the Baby Boomer generation. (It’s not only a program for women, men can join too!) Stay tuned this weekend for more information on that!

RQ: What are your best study techniques for online courses? Is women’s fitness something you’d be interested in learning more about?