#fuelyourbetter (Vega Sport Protein Bar Review)

Thanks to my great partnership in the Sweat Pink Ambassador Program, I was able to try our Vega Sport’s protein recovery bars in chocolate peanut butter flavor. I love trying to energy and recovery products. I work out often and hard and want to make sure I am fueling my body as well as possible. There are many times when leaving the gym or coming home from a run I do not have time to sit down for a recovery meal, so a bar is a great option. 

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I tried to #fuelmybetter through using these bars after a hard workout. I can honestly say the taste is delicious, I felt like I was treating myself to an indulgence, and it was food for me. The upside to a recovery bar, vs a shake, is that it has a little more “sticking” power for my stomach. I hate feeling so hungry shortly after a workout. I ate these bars on several occasions and felt pleasantly full until it was time for my next meal. 

The day after a hard workout I am usually ready for my rest, but I was able to keep up my energy and not feel sluggish, I think the combination of ingredients in these bars definitely helped. 

These bars are a great combo of ingredients Vega Sport Protein Bars contain:

15 g complete, multisource, plant-based protein
2.5 g BCAAs
2 g glutamine
1 g Omega-3
27g carbs
260 calories

I allowed a few other people to try these bars out as well and they were all satisfied with the taste and texture, as I was. I am glad that I was able to review the bars and know that I can #fuelmybetter with smart choices that help me reach my goals. 

That Post Where I Recap all the Races I’m behind on…..

So in an effort to not bombard you with numerous posts for each of my last races that I haven’t talked about…I’ll do a group recap and highlight each of my favorite (or not so favorite) things about my last several races.

Rock N Roll Dallas 1/2 Marathon: 1:57:51 (PR)

I headed up for a weekend in Dallas with my best friend and we met up with 2 of her daughters (which are my sisters for all intents and purposes) 🙂 and we had a fun weekend of catching up and hanging out. We enjoyed a nice meal Saturday night and were up bright and early Sunday for the race. There is a definite perk to staying at the host hotel…you are literally at the starting line and can relax, stay warm (it was chilly) and use the restroom all before heading out to start the race. I hung out and 10 mins before the start headed out with a huge crowd to the corrals and we were off. This course was HILLY, more than I had expected. I had looked at the elevation chart, but still wasn’t prepared for the hills, I’m a Houston girl….flat as it gets! So needless to say it was a challenge to get up those hills, and the minute we crested the top, another one was waiting it seemed. By mile 10 I thought I was done…I was exhausted, my legs didn’t want to climb another hill, but I knew it was just 3 to go….and I hung in there. As we neared the park where the finish line was I glanced at my watch and saw I was getting really close to my time from my first half (I thought I had well passed that time) and I knew with an extra push I could PR. So I RAN….and crossed the finish line with a 8 second PR. I’ll take it. It was a fun weekend, it was awesome to have the support of friends cheering for me (this always gives me and extra UMPH)….and it was GREAT to finish with a PR and all!

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Tri Color Sprint Triathlon: 51:45 (PR)

This was my first ever triathlon….EVER! I had no clue what I was doing. I’d googled a lot, read a lot of blogs, and looked up every Pinterest article on what I thought I’d need to know. I know how to swim, I have a bike and am proficient in riding….and I can run. I mean, lets just combine the three and see what happens. So I entered….on a COLD Saturday morning I showed up at 5:30 to set up in transition (and eye everyone around me to make sure I could figure out what I was doing.) So I set up, lined up and before I could freak out I jumped into a FREEZING cold pool and attempted to swim while hyperventilating from the cold. (I survived.) Then onto a nice bike ride, I enjoyed it a lot…then off to run! Crossed the finish line in 51:something and really had fun! Was about to get my bike once transition reopened and leave and I find out I placed FIRST in my age group. Really?!? How did that happen??? I still don’t know…but it was a really fun moment getting to be on the podium for the first time ever! Tri’s are fun…I have a few more on the schedule already.

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Texas 10 Huntsville: 1:39:01 (PR)

So to complete my craziness, the next weekend….and weekend before my half marathon in Washington D.C., I decided to participate in a 10 mile race in Huntsville. Can we say hills….thats all I can say about the race, we climbed from the minute we left the chute! It was a good race, exhausting….and I set a 10 mile PR. Great last long run before taper week.

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Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon, Washington, DC: 2:02:38

Wow, what a race. This is put on by Nike, so my expectations were high to start, and they did not disappoint. The race course was perfect, starting off with running towards the capitol buildings and past many great sights in Washington. We started at 7AM so it was still cool out and I was excited to run in cooler weather again, but the 2 days of sight seeing before hand made my legs feel like lead from the start. Even still, I kept my pace strong and consistent for the first 5-6 miles. Then it kept hitting me I needed to stop and use the restroom, which all seemed to have lines, so I skipped each one I saw…..however by mile 7-8ish, I knew I had to stop and wait if thats what had to happen. So 5 mins later after a line of about 4 people, I was off again. I was frustrated I’d lost the time, but I felt I wasn’t running my best anyways, so I figured I’d just settle in and enjoy the scenery. I really didn’t even glance at my watch those last few miles, just enjoyed the run and the sights as we turned the corner and headed back into the main streets of DC. I crossed the finish line and looked down at my watch 2:02….4 mins off of my PR. I was frustrated knowing that if I hadn’t stopped I would have had a great time, but it was still an amazing race and I LOVED my little blue box at the finish line. Nike knows the way to a woman’s heart! I would love to do another Nike Women’s race at some point, a great all around experience.

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Sometimes we have to change our expectations

I am heading to Dallas this weekend for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon on Sunday……and I am SICK! It started last Saturday with a few sneezes and after heading to the doctor for a quick check up and a Z-pack, I’ve continued to get worse. I have ZERO voice, its just a whisper. I am alternating between blowing my nose, sneezing, and occasionally having a coughing fit. You can only imagine how well running 13.1 miles in this state is going to go. I occasionally have one side of my nose I can breathe out of, so that will help in the running, maybe?!?

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So in the midst of this, I’m having to realize that just like so often in life, things are out of my control. I have trained strong and hard for 18 weeks to get here. I’ve put in the hours, the miles, the heart….but this circumstance, this being sick, is completely out of my control. So I am trying to convince myself to view this 13.1 miles as a great training run, with new scenery, and use it to build up to my D.C. race in 5 more weeks. Its not the worst thing in the world. I will still run it, I will still cross the finish line, I just won’t be able to push my limits or chase a PR. I can handle that. 

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Like most disappointment in life, it happens, we can’t avoid it, but we CAN choose to see it in the most positive light possible. We can choose to run the race that is set before us with the endurance that is afforded us, and we can do our very best. My goal is just to finish. I know the time will bother me, but I have to be okay with it. A good, strong training run can make me stronger and more prepared for my next race, and all things working together….maybe I’ll PR there. Life happens, you just have to roll with it…and I am. 

Becoming Me

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From the time we are born we begin a process of becoming…. I am 32 years old and some days I realize I am learning who I am and there are moments I feel at home in my own skin. It’s funny to me to write that, but if most of us were honest with ourselves we spend a lot of time being someone we’re not, or just not quite feeling like we know who we really are. We all have labels. For example, I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a follower of Jesus, a runner. I could go on and on of the labels that I am. These are concrete for the most part, I understand my role and who I am to be in each of these positions. But then there is the me that doesn’t quite fit into a nice neat label. Here are a few things I’ve been learning about myself.

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-I am learning to love my body for the strength it possesses, not the number on a scale. This is hard, I’m not going to lie. But realizing that a number will never make me a different person is freeing. This is a daily struggle I have to let go of, but with most things…as time passes it gets easier.

-I can be insecure. If you met me, you’d think I was loud, always happy, and super confident. I give off this vibe to most people, but if you really knew me you’d know that I am pretty insecure about a lot of things. I’m getting better at this, but just keeping it real. I have a very real fear of rejection…and as I’ve learned this I understand some of my relational behaviors better. It helps me to grow as a person and the first part of changing is identifying the problem, right?!?

-I’m not nearly as extroverted as I once thought I was. I love to talk. A lot and LOUD if you know me. But over the past few years I have learned the value of begin a listener. Sometimes you don’t need to offer words back, sometimes just an ear at the other end of the phone line is better than any words you have to offer. I have learned to value quietness in my life. As a mother of two young kids, this can be rare….but that makes it all the more precious to me. We all need time to recollect and refresh ourselves.

-I’m an annoying optimist. I’ve always been a positive person, but I realize that I ALWAYS have to find the good in a circumstance. If you don’t want to hear the bright side of any situation, you probably should find someone else to tell it to, I will always find a silver lining. As I told someone the other day…my track record for surviving a bad day is 100% so far. I mean, can’t get much better than that. If its rough, it will eventually get better…just hang in there.

-I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m loyal to a fault. These two things can set you up for much heartache, but I’m learning that most heartaches are worth it for the chance to love and be loved. I also hide my feelings behind a smile, it’s not that I’m being fake, it’s that I ALWAYS smile. Like, ALWAYS! Even in the midst of a super hard, exhausting cycle class or boot camp, I’m smiling. Yeah, something is wrong with me 🙂

-I’m learning that I want to be known. Not the me I put out there, which is slowly lining up with the “me” I’m realizing I am, but the real me. I want some to know my heart, my joys, my fears, my dreams. To know and be known makes life so much sweeter.

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As I learn more about me, and feel comfortable being who I am, its funny to watch the masks that drop away in my everyday life. There have been times I’ve felt like I’ve walked around with multiple personalities trying to be a different me to different people. It’s exhausting, confusing, and I felt like a fraud. I never felt comfortable just being “me.” I didn’t know if I’d be accepted, the fear of rejection is strong and I’d rather pretend to be someone I’m not than be rejected for who I truly am.

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As these walls start crumbling, starting with just being truthful about who I am and who I’m not…more often than not these days I feel like I’m learning to be who I really am, learning to accept myself as I am, love myself as I am….and I have learned that those who truly love me and want me in their lives will still be there. If they are not, then in the long run I’m better for it because they couldn’t accept me for me. Becoming an adult is freeing in some ways when you realize that so much of the stress you live under is self-imposed.

Hi, I’m Jackie….I am definitely a work in progress and you can either love me as I am….or don’t. It’s your loss

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What’s in store for you weekend?

Happy March everyone. Here in Houston all things Rodeo are kicking off and my mouth is watering thinking of the rodeo foods that are out there. I won’t be heading over there this weekend, but very soon I’ll be taking my kids to enjoy all the festivities that the Rodeo offers. We Texans have a deep love for our Rodeo, it’s like the whole city transforms for a month, I love it.

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Me & my girls on a sunny day here in Texas

Today I am gearing up for a 10 mile slow training run…3 weeks from tomorrow is my next half marathon (the Rock & Roll 1/2 in Dallas.) I have been doing great on my schedule and even squeezed in an extra run this week, along with my normal training run. It’s been trial and error figuring out training with 6 weeks between the two races. For the most part I took a couple of days off after my first race and then picked back up with the schedule I’d been following, running my long runs a little longer than the first time around. I am hoping this will help with endurance as I eat the hills on my next race 🙂

The weather is crazy around here lately….going from 30’s to 70’s and back again. So I am going to get out there and get it done before it gets rainy and cold again. I hope you all enjoy this wonderful weekend. ENJOY!!

What’s your training look like this weekend?

Are you training for a race or just running to run right now? 

-Jackie

HOPE exists after an Eating Disorder

**This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. I know many still suffer in silence and shame. I am hoping by being brave that maybe even just one person hears a story of hope and healing and seeks help. Check back this week as I continue a series on ED Awareness. -Jackie

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My journey from eating disorder to recovery has spanned 15+ years, but the sweetest feeling in the world is knowing that there IS life after an eating disorder. It doesn’t have to forever be the defining statement over your life, your relationships and your thoughts. Recovery is possible, just never give up.

My struggle with food and eating began in my elementary years, I can’t pinpoint a year, but I know I had an unhealthy relationship with food even back then. I slowly gained weight and by junior high was pretty overweight. The pre-teen/teenage years are pretty unforgiving when it comes to being overweight. It seems that people love to target and pick on the overweight kids. I was bullied and made fun of on a regular basis through junior high, but you would probably never know it, I learned to hide it well. By the end of 8th grade I remember having episodes of purging, but it was scattered here and there. It was often coupled with stress and handling all these feelings that I didn’t know what to do with.

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By high school, in 9th/10th grade, my struggle had become an all out battle. What was at one point a stress relief became an overwhelming addiction that I had lost complete control over. I lost a very large amount of weight through this time and by 10th grade, not long after my 16th birthday, my family doctor recommended to my parents that they seek intense treatment for me. I spent six weeks at an inpatient eating disorder clinic and due to insurance was told I had to leave and pursue treatment back at home. I struggled with depression, anxiety, thinking that this was the end of my story, I couldn’t see hope outside of my eating disorder, it was my best friend and my worst enemy and it had its grips on me.

During this time I became a Christian and wrestled through much of this with the Lord. I begged for healing, I begged to wake up “normal” one day. I knew that God could heal me from this and I struggled oftentimes as to why He didn’t. Now I look back and know that this was all for a purpose, I am who I am today because of this struggle, but in the midst of it, I couldn’t see past it.

Fast forward through high school, as I continued to struggle. I graduated and moved off to college and my eating disorder amplified in my new independence.  I struggled hard through those years. I am an overachiever and push myself to my limits at anything I do. I was trying to balance college studies and my struggle with an eating disorder, and having a hard time. I was pushing to graduate college with a double major in three years, wanting to keep all A’s. I used my eating as an escape for the stress I felt. A binge/purge cycle would relieve the feelings of anxiety that built up inside.

There were times that I’d get a handle on my eating, I’d think I had made a turn for the better, and then without notice I’d be swept into the struggle more fully than the time before. Eating disorders are rough because you always think you have control of it, until you realize that you don’t. I saw therapists. psychiatrist, etc throughout this time, all trying to help me…all aiding in my eating. None ever understanding how I kept falling back into the same cycles over and over.

I got engaged in my last year of college and a year after college, I got married. Shortly after getting married I found out I was pregnant. Eating disorders and pregnancy are hard. You’re already freaked out about your body and then it starts morphing and changing in ways you cannot control. I did my best. My very, very best for my child. Trying my hardest to always put her needs before mine, I did well for awhile, but once she was born the struggles continued to come and go. I know that God had a purpose in giving me that little girl back then. She made me want to be better for her, to be a better mom, better person. So when I began to struggle again, I could not understand it. I didn’t want to, I couldn’t rationalize why God would give me a child, only for me to be thrown back into the woes of my eating and not be able to be fully present when I was struggling.

God has His perfect way of knowing what’s best for us, because four years later I had another daughter and somewhere in between this time, in the highs and the lows, I began to crawl out of the pit I had been sucked into for 15 years. I can’t pin point a moment, I can’t tell you I did x,y,z, and that helped me. I don’t know exactly what it was. I do know I never stopped trying to get better. The Lord was beyond gracious to sustain me. When I had given up on myself, He never did. He was my provider, my sustainer, my grace-giver when I absolutely did not deserve it. He held me tight in His grip through the worst of times. And I can promise you this, He was rejoicing the most the day I declared this battle as done, in Jesus name. He fought hard for me, even when I didn’t want to fight for myself. He never gave up on me.

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Lets jump to today….I have 2 beautiful little girls that are 4 and 8. They look to me as an example, they want to look like me, act like me, be me. That is very scary when you struggle with an eating disorder and you’d give your life to spare them from this struggle. I started working out and lifting weights a few years back and begin to find the strength in my body to be amazing. Just very recently, I discovered my love of running. I just completed my first Half Marathon on February 9 and am still in awe that I ran that far. I see beauty, I see the redemption of the cross, I see a newfound respect for my body for its strength to carry me. I have found my legs to be such an amazing gift to me, food is now fuel for me and I have such a healthy relationship with it that I shock myself on a regular basis. I can truly say running has been a huge part of what the Lord used to heal me. It has given back to me something that I never knew I possessed….worth in myself and a love for myself.

Running has made me feel whole, see my worthiness as the Lord created me. I am a Christian and I thank God always for sustaining me in my struggle. He truly has given me the strength to press on and never give up. My faith carried me in the darkness and that coupled with my running shoes are carrying me places I never thought possible.

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I fought a hard battle, I never gave up having hope that one day I would live without the struggle of an eating disorder. I am a survivor. My voice may be small, but I am not longer ashamed of the battle I fought. I made it, many others are still fighting and I want to give people the hope….just keep going! If one person finds help, if one person sees hope, then my battle has been well worth it. Eating disorders don’t have to stay hidden and in the dark, there is such beauty in the freedom of the truth.

Cottage Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I randomly found the most amazing chicken recipe recently and it has definitely become a regular item I’ll make from now on. My family loved it, especially my two girls. It was so easy to make and was still delicious the next day! It’s always a winner when the leftover are just as good.

Ingredients:

-3 chicken breast

-12 ounces Cottage Cheese (I will use reduced fat next time, the fat free was too runny)

-6 spinach leaves, chopped

-1/4 red onion, chopped (I used white because its what I had and it turned out fine)

-3 teaspoons garlic powder

Directions:

-Cut a hole in the chicken so you can stuff it (this was a challenge for me, but I ended up stuffing/dumping the rest on top and it turned out fine)

-In a large bowl combine cottage cheese, spinach, onion, and garlic powered and stir this all together

-Stuff this mixture into the “hole” you cut in the chicken (I dumped any excess I had on top once it was “stuffed”)

-Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through)

That’s it…so simple and delicious. I made a vegetable for a side and put it over quinoa. Simple, quick, healthy, and done!20140206-223225.jpg

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