Thursday, July 23, 2015

Working out in the summer's heat

If you've hung around this blog for any amount of time, you know that I love to run and workout. That can be a bit challenging in the summer for those of us living in the South where it's not uncommon for the temperature to reach over 100 degrees on any given day with a normal humidity of something like 90 percent. For those of you who live in cooler climates, imagine sitting in a greenhouse in the middle of summer. That's about what it feels like.

Side note: A few weeks ago, Kevin and I were in Boston for a work trip for me. The news was playing in the background as I was getting ready one morning and the meteorologist was warning people about the high humidity - it was going to be near 70! I laughed. My hair really appreciated the low humidity there though!

That said, not working out in the summer is not an option. It is, after all, when we want to work out, if only for vanity's sake. So how do I, avid runner and exercise enthusiast, manage to work out in the summer?

It's challenging sometimes, especially when you add vacations to the mix (by the end of summer, we will have traveled for about four weeks), but it must be done or else I feel grouchy and chubby (I'm being truthful here.).

Running is my first love, but running in the heat is no fun. Even 8 am races are torturous this time of year! Since I do race throughout the summer, I hate to take all of my training indoors on the treadmill because then I feel like I am just going to die after a race in the heat when I've been running in my perfectly cool house WITH a fan blowing on me for three months. (Trust me, I've learned that the hard way time after time.) So, this summer, I've decided to take a different approach: I'm running outdoors, but slower.

A simple Google search of "adjusting running pace for heat" will give you so many calculators and articles to read. Just for fun, I decided to try one. Keep in mind that the "ideal" temperature for racing 5K's is said to be somewhere in the low 60's (63, to be exact, depending upon what you read). Here, in my warm state, I need pants to run when it's in the 60's!

Using a Runner's Connect calculator with 19:30 set as my 5K pace (I choose this number as it falls around a typical 5K without too much exerted effort for myself), I should effectively be running my 5K races in 95 degree heat in 20:31. This calculator doesn't factor in humidity; I'm scared to see what it would say!

Since races are always faster than regular runs (I really dislike the term "training runs" because I feel like I run, to run, not always to train for things.), this goes to show that my regular runs should, in fact, be much slower in the summer even if I'm not purposefully trying to run slower. This in itself makes me feel better since I really have a hard time dealing with running slow for me (it's a mental thing).

So, how am I surviving running in the heat when I want to run fast and be on my treadmill, while my body knows I need to slow down and stay acclimated to the heat? I'm running early or late, outside. I'm hydrating really well throughout the day. I'm slowing down to the tune of something like 7:10ish overall pace for most of my runs. I'm wearing light colors. And I'm filling my sports bra with ice as soon as I walk in the door. Yes, girls, fill your sport bras with ice after a hot, sweaty workout. Trust me on this. It cools you down faster and you feel good!

In addition to running, I try to add in some additional training. It's hard for me to make it to my gym in the summer due to a compressed work week -- I'm actually toying with the thought of breaking up with my gym if I can't get back in a routine in August, but this will be a tough breakup for me if I go through with it. I mean, I've had a nearly fifteen year! relationship with it! Since I nonchalantly throw around how hard it is to make it to the gym during summer schedule when I have to be at work 30 minutes earlier each day to account for my Fridays off, I will tell you that some great and free resources I've enjoyed this summer come from the Tone It Up girls. How I've missed them for so long, I don't know, but are they good or what! I've started doing TIU yoga videos a few times a week as well as abs and booty workouts. I can tell a difference, too!

There you have it: my summer workout routine. Sweat outside because I must with some slower runs (usually no longer than 5 miles at a time) and do yoga/strength training with my kettlebell and Tone It Up girls in my workout room.

What do you do to stay motivated in the heat?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sapelo Island Fun

I really, really, really want to get back to blogging! I enjoy it and I love to look back and see the things we were doing and the things I was thinking. What better way than with a quick recap of a really fun trip we took!

A few years ago, Kevin and I went to Sapelo Island, Georgia, for our first anniversary. (Read about it here and here.) We absolutely adored the natural island and it was great being "unplugged." Back in June, after the kids finished school, we went back and took them and Kevin's parents with us. It was just an awesome week.

Not more than fifty people live on Sapelo, so it's a really quiet place. There aren't any stores and just a gas pump to fill your vehicle (that's already on the island) and boat. It's really this idyllic setting.

The only way to access the island is by personal boat or on a ferry that runs twice each day. We took Kevin's dad's boat with us. I can't imagine being on the island without a boat.

Since the distance from land is about seven miles and it's all through creeks and inlets, we had to time the tide correctly to avoid getting stuck in the shallow water. We made it over as the sun was setting and an alligator greeted us at the dock! It's crazy to see all of this wildlife up close and personal (and this coming from someone who grew up in the country!).

Our friend who owns the home we stayed in has an old truck on the island, so we loaded it up with our things and all of our food for the five days we were there.

Since it was the first time the boys and my in-laws have been to the island, we took them on a tour on the way to the house. It is really just so beautiful. See for yourself. I'll let the pictures do the talking!

There are lots of wild animals on the island. We saw bull, deer, an alligator, an armadillo, and so many other animals in their natural habitats.

It was nesting season for the turtles. There must have been hundreds of marked nests in the four nights we were at Sapelo. Kevin and I ventured out one night to look for ourselves, but somebody (me) chickened out. It's really dark!

Kaden was excited to go to Sapelo! 

The boys wanted to catch a shark, so we caught three (and a stingray!)!

The horse shoe crabs were also mating while we were there. There were hundreds washed up on the shore.

I think moss is beautiful. There's something so serene and Southern and just lovely about it. Our kids on the other hand, felt it spooky!

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Nerf Party!

Last week, we celebrated K.C.'s 8th birthday! For his party this year, he kept going back and forth between Pokemon and Minecraft, but ultimately decided on a Nerf party a few weeks before his birthday. I have to say, the Nerf party was probably the easiest party we've done and according to K.C., his favorite party ever!

Since there are no Nerf party items, I decided to keep it simple with a blue, orange, and white color scheme since those are the color Nerf guns K.C. likes best. I usually like to host the boys' parties outside, but since it's the middle of summer and our heat index has been well over 100 every day, we decided to keep this one inside.

I ordered a bunch of balloons to be the main decor, but had to improvise when we woke up the next morning and nearly all of them were deflated! I used some blue and orange crepe paper from the light over our kitchen table to the windows to give it a party feel. I also hung a "Happy Birthday" banner in front of the dining room window. In my party supplies, I found a leftover orange pom pom, so that worked great over the dining room table. Kevin made a few targets using blue, red, and yellow poster board. We hung one on the mantle and another on the front door with "Happy Birthday, K.C.!" on it.

Having a mid-afternoon party gave me the chance to put together several different types of food. I used a kitchen counter as a buffet filled mostly with K.C.'s favorite things. We had watermelon, strawberries, powdered donuts, mini brownies, mini pizzas, Doritos, chips, and a dip with tortilla chips.

His cake was a three-layer chocolate cake iced with bright yellow icing and lined with Nerf darts. On top, I drew a target that his candle stood in. K.C. doesn't really like cake, so we also had an Oreo ice cream pie from Bruster's at his request.

The kids had a Nerf battle along with some of the adults. I'm not sure who had more fun either!

For treat bags, I picked up some blue and orange popcorn boxes from Party City. I filled them with white crinkle paper, some pixie sticks, a few small toys, and some Nerf darts.

No party is complete without a pinata, and Oriental Trading delivered with the cutest target pinata.

We had a great time celebrating our K.C.!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy EIGHTH Birthday, K.C.!

Dear K.C.,

I can't believe you're eight years old today! Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday you were a bright-eyed little three year old who asked me to feed him ice cream. I fell in love with you that day (and Daddy and Kaden, too!) and I thank God every day for bringing my three boys into my life.

Seven was a big year for you! You lost your first tooth (four of them, so far!), broke your first bone (arm), caught your first shark, took off on your bike on your own, played your first season of basketball, and so many other things.

You are the sweetest, funniest, kindest, and most determined boy I know. When you are interested in something, you give it your all. This trait will carry you far throughout your life.

You are also fiercely competitive. I think you have Daddy and me to blame for that one! You like to win and try your best to do just that whether it's playing soccer, a video game, or Monopoly.

K.C., you are a treasure. You love to find treasure and hear about it, but you, my sweet boy, are the greatest treasure.

Your little brother looks up to you so much. I'm so thankful for the relationship you two have. Always remember to set a good example for him. You have a built-in best friend. That's a beautiful thing.

You are growing up before our eyes and while it makes me miss the days of doing so many things for you, I'm thankful for how well you take care of yourself. You want to figure out things on your own, and that is good.

You love your family and friends so much. I treasure all of your hugs, kisses, "I love yous," and sweet notes. Just like you save your lunchbox notes, I save my notes from you. I love to keep them and look at them. They remind me of you.

You love Jesus, too. You're so interested in learning different things about the Bible and I'm so grateful to see how God is working in your little heart. Last summer, you asked Jesus to live in your heart and just last week, you told us you think you are ready to get baptized. My greatest prayer for you and your brother is that you'll always allow God to lead your life. By following Him and His Word, you'll live a life of great adventure.

In a few shorts weeks (but after a week of fun at the beach), it will be time for you to go back to school. You'll be in third grade! I can hardly wrap my mind around it!

As good and as full of happiness as your seventh year was, I know this year will be even better. You're growing, learning new things, and becoming such a young man. It thrills my heart to see how you're maturing into this new little boy.

Always know how much we love you. No matter where you are or what you're doing, know that you are home to us. We love you more than words can say.

I love you, my precious little boy!


Your Anna Belle