Upcoming Fitness Events

Upcoming Fitness Events:
Aug. 5-10 -- Beach Week (yes, this counts as a fitness event!)
Sept. 8 -- Zombie Escape (5k mud run)
Nov. 17 -- Color Run Charlotte (5k color extravaganza)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Salsa Chicken Taco Salad

I'm always trying to come up with quick, easy, delicious, low-point lunches for work. (That's not too much to ask, right?) One of my new favorites is salsa chicken taco salad. I originally made the chicken to use in a wrap, and while it's good there, I discovered that it is fantastic with a salad.

The chicken is super easy to make and is moist enough that you don't really need dressing for the salad.

Salsa chicken:
1-2 chicken breasts
Jar of salsa

Put the chicken breasts in a small crock pot and cover with salsa. (I usually use one chicken breast and about half a jar of the salsa.) Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through (2-3 hours???). Remove chicken breast from crock pot, shred with two forks, and then return to crock pot to soak up a little more of the salsa goodness.

Serve over lettuce with low-fat shredded cheese and crumbled tortilla chips. Yum!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Outward Bound

One of the coolest experiences I had growing up was to participate in an Outward Bound excursion. Outward Bound is an organization that provides outdoor experiences for a wide-range of participants -- troubled teens, college kids, adults who want to experience adventure, etc. There are Outward Bound camps throughout the world, and the organization exists to help push people outside of their comfort zones and find a strength to pull from for the future. The idea came from observing sailors in WWII -- in stressful, tumultuous situations, everyone expected the young, spry sailors to be the ones who came through with flying colors. In reality, it was the older sailors -- the ones who had "been there, done there" -- who were able to keep their cool and provide stability for the crew. From these observations, the founders of Outward Bound sought to develop a safe atmosphere where people could could be challenged to become stronger.

Instead of traditional field trips to DC or some other educational destination, my middle school set up a program for 8th graders to be able to experience a small taste of Outward Bound. There is a base camp in the North Carolina mountains, which is only about 45 minutes from where I grew up. In several waves throughout the spring of my 8th grade year, groups of students spent five days living in the woods. And by living in the woods, I mean living in the woods -- eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, carrying-everything-you-have-in-your-backpack living in the woods.

Needless to say, it was a challenging, but amazing, experience. For five days, we hiked and participated in team challenges. We rock climbed. We tackled a high ropes course. We cried. We laughed. We stumbled. We fell. We dreamed of taking a hot shower.

Part of the Outward Bound experience involves reflection, and we had a "book of readings" to help spur that on. During my trip, I found one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain: "I did it partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again." That pretty much sums it up for me -- I'm not an outdoorsy type of person, but I've always been grateful that I had the opportunity to experience what I did during those five days.

These days, 8th grade seems like a lifetime ago, but I've been thinking a lot about Outward Bound lately. Just like I had to "train" for my five days in the woods, I'm now training for one day in the woods -- The Ninja Challenge. To be perfectly honest, I'm kind of scared -- 15 obstacles, many of them unknown. While I'm probably in better shape than I was in 8th grade, I'm also about 18 years older.

Like the sailors of old, I hope that my previous experience will help me push through.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Training in Progress

Whew! What a crazy month March has been. Work has been non-stop lately, and Dave and I have been working hard to finish out the hockey season (Go Canes!). Somewhere in the midst of all that, I found myself agreeing to participate in a 5K obstacle course/race in June. Shortly thereafter, reality set in -- it's time to get myself in gear and start training!

A little motivation is a good thing, and I've been trying to take advantage of whatever time I have at the gym. I started one of the Couch to 5K programs (I had been running some, but I find the structure helpful), and I'm in the middle of Week 4 (I skipped a few of the early, easy runs, but who's counting!?!). I've also been trying to incorporate push-ups and pull-ups into my routine...it's slow moving, but I think I'm beginning of make a little bit of progress. (We'll see what happens when I have to pull myself up over obstacles in June!)

I was contemplating participating in a 5K while we're in Pittsburgh later this month, but due to the limited time that we're going to have while we're there, I think I'm going to pass. That race aside, however, I have several events in my future. Details are below -- come join me!

June 2 - Run the 'Quay 
Last year's race was the first 5K I ran. Ever. I'm looking forward to having a second go at it -- and hoping to be better prepared for it this year.

June 9 - The Ninja Challenge
5K. Lots of obstacles. Team race.

Sept. 22 - The Color Run (Washington, DC)
Start the race wearing white. Finish in tie-dye glory. Awesome.