Marathon Check In

Contributor Audra

A while back, I wrote a post on The Runner in you, specifically about running a marathon. Thinking back to that piece, I was worried that perhaps I didn’t sound encouraging enough. My advice to you was to make sure a marathon was the race you truly wanted to run. Why? Well, thanks to shows like The Biggest Loser, running a marathon looks incredibly easy to do. That you don’t have to have any running experience at all, you just sign up and run. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. They show you some of the struggle, but not all of it. And I’m sure they don’t show the prep.

With that being said, do I think a marathon is out of the question? Absolutely not!! But here’s what I think you should do as you train. Prepare by signing up for smaller races; such as 10ks and 5ks. Part of running a race is getting used to running with other people. Some races are so crowded at the starting line that you don’t even run for a good 30 seconds. You just walk over the start and wait until the crowd thins out. You have to learn to navigate around others, which requires skill. You don’t want to get stuck behind a group of slow starters, nor do you want to go out to fast and then pay for it later when you can’t breathe.


While you might train with a partner or group, you may not actually run at the same pace. You need to be prepared to do much of the running solo. That means you alone with your brain. I’ve always said that running is 90% mental. I just guessed a percentage, but the mind is powerful. Just as easily as you can convince yourself to run, you can tell yourself to give up. I would suggest NOT running with music either. It’s just not safe. And if your ipod gives out, well, there’s your motivational partner.

You also want to find out what happens to your body when you run for longer distances. Do you need to run to the bathroom? Are you the type of person to develop a stomachache? Do you need to pee often? You need to plan accordingly for what could happen.

runners legs

Do you get too hot, too cold? If you are over or under dressed for a marathon, you won’t appreciate the running as much. You’ll focus on the fact that you were uncomfortable and you’ll remember the experience in a negative way. Also, some runners chafe during long runs (nipples and legs). Or they lose toenails because their feet expand during the race. You can buy creams for that. With shoes, you should get a half size bigger. (That’s what I’ve always been told).

How much water do you need? Will you need to refuel? During a 10k or 5k, you’ll probably grab water at the stands along the way, but you won’t need to refuel with electrolyte gels during the race. As silly as it sounds, you need to learn how to drink while running. (Squeeze the cup into a point and drink that way while you slowly jog on the side). You need to learn how to navigate to the table without knocking over runners or getting stepped on yourself. I would suggest trying gels out pre-race because it’s like eating cake frosting as you run. During a half or full marathon, it’s a must. (I use about 3 for a half- one at 5/6, one at 10, and then one at 12 to finish strong.) For a marathon, you might even carry your own.   It seems like a lot, but it isn’t.

Remember, running is freeing and powerful…but it’s also painful. If you aren’t prepared ahead of time your mind can very quickly talk you out of completing your goal. So prepare yourself and you’ll have no excuses! Good luck!!! You can do it!

Classes with Audra for Zumba are scheduled:  6:35 Wednesday night and 8:00 Saturday morning at Squared Circle Studio. Squared Circle Studio is located in Deep River 860.526.8763 to call for classes. Home Page.

image 1 via image 2 via Google Image Result for image 3 via image 4 via image 5 via

Exercising isn’t just for the gym

Contributor Audra

If You Can’t Make It to the Gym, Bring the Gym to You! 

If you have a busy schedule with work and/or a family, you’ll find that it’s hard to get to the gym. And when you can get to the gym, you’re probably too tired to work out. Instead of making excuses and letting yourself off the hook, try these solutions instead.

Stairs for the backyard?

1. Make your own boot camp at home! Take a quick measure of your driveway or backyard. A 400 is a quarter mile or 1312.34 feet. Maybe you have to run down and back a few times. Do a 400, then add some push ups, sit ups, burpees, lunges, bicep curls, tricep dips, and squats, and you’ve got a pretty well rounded workout. Don’t like running? How about adding jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and plyo jumps.

You can find examples of boot camp exercises on or on Need. Know. Accomplish. Be careful of sites that try to get you to buy their dvds or online services.

If you aren’t sure how to do a particular exercise, you can watch clips on youtube. A good place to start is Diet and Weight Loss – minute bootcamp workout. You can progress from there with harder videos. Some instructors will allow you to subscribe to their videos.

The famous Monkey Bars!  Made out of ALL metal!  ---------via Flickr by jenni from the block

*If your yard, driveway, or house won’t work, check out a local playground or park. They often have monkey bars, tunnels, climbing tires, poles, and fields.

2. Invest in a good dvd exercise program. There are so many to choose from! My favorite of course is the new Zumba Fitness Exhilarate dvd set.  It comes with 7 dvds plus toning sticks to work the upper body.

I finally tried Zumba expecting to hate it.. WRONG..loved it!

Another favorite of mine is P90X. I like using the dvds on rainy days or when I need ideas for my classes.

I also have the Mari Winsor Pilates dvds. I used those often after the birth of my first and second daughters. When doing a pilates or yoga dvd, remember form is extremely important. So please follow the instructors’ cues.  Take your time and find a dvd that interests you. Don’t buy into any gimmicks of how this particular dvd will help you shed pounds faster than that dvd.

I heard an interview with a Dancing With the Stars participant who said that she lost so much weight from dancing. Of course she then said they practiced for several hours everyday. If you did any workout several hours a day, you’d lose weight.

*As with all exercise programs, please consult a doctor first if you have any pre-existing heart conditions, diabetes, or an injury.

Have fun!! Don’t give up!! You CAN do this!

Classes with Audra for Zumba are scheduled:

6:35 Wednesday night and 8:00 Saturday morning at Squared Circle Studio. Squared Circle Studio is located in Deep River  860.526.8763 to call for classes Home Page.

image 1 via image 2 via image 3 via

Rest with Exercise

Contributor Audra

Eat healthy and do exercise. Let your body do the rest

So now that you’ve started to move….it’s time to know when to rest.

Having exercised consistently for more than a decade, I know how hard it is to stop. But even the sports car needs to rest now and then. When you should rest depends on your workout schedule and of course, your health. Here’s a quick guideline that I’ve always used to maintain a nice balance.

1. If you are working out 6 days a week, on the 7th day, you should rest. Or if you look at your 7 day schedule, pick one day to rest. I’m talking about tough workouts where you burn 500+ calories. Your body needs to time to heal and rest up for the next workout. If you don’t rest, you’re likely to injure yourself.

**Now if you are walking 6 days a week, I would suggest you switch that to 5 and pick 2 days to do weight workouts. You don’t need a rest day until you feel you need one.

If you're at risk for diabetes, brisk walking is an easy exercise that can promote physical fitness. The Seton Diabetes Education Center is providing a free seminar on this subject with Dr. Carla Emery-Culberson, an Austin podiatrist.

2. If you have a head cold, but no fever, you can still walk. I wouldn’t go for a run if you can’t breathe well or if your head hurts. I wouldn’t go to the gym or a class either just for the simple fact of spreading germs. You can also do a light weight workout at home. If you have body aches, rest!! If there is any fever, REST!!!

 3. If you have an injury, you need to rest that part of your body. Remember muscle anywhere on your body burns fat, so keep that in mind as panic sets in. I have had knee surgery and a broken toe. I’ve twisted ankles and had elbow tendonitis. These conditions required me to rest. I’ll be honest, it was torture!! But I was able to modify how I worked out while my body healed. For example, with a broken toe or twisted ankle, you can sit in a chair and work your upper body (weights). You can also lie on the floor for sit-ups and turn over for knee push ups. You can do leg lifts in a chair and from a floor position. So take a deep breath, and think about what parts of your body you can still keep fit.

4. With that being said, once you start working out and getting stronger, there will be days when you do 2 workouts in one day. Sometimes my schedule with my daughters prevents me from getting in a good workout for days. So I try to double up on the days that I can. For me some weeks are 2 days of rest (torture for everyone in my family, trust me!) and then 5 days hard.

i want calm to be second nature to me.

Be proud of yourself that being fit has become such an integral part of your life. But don’t let it take over. Don’t let it compromise your health.

image 1 via pinterest  image 2 via

Classes with Audra for Zumba are scheduled:

6:35 Wednesday night and 8:00 Saturday morning at Squared Circle Studio. Squared Circle Studio is located in Deep River  860.526.8763 to call for classes Home Page.

Nutrition Part II

Contributor Audra

16 Healthy foods

Once you make the decision to change your diet, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. If you are keeping a food journal, look to eliminate sugar, processed foods, soda and fruit juices, and trans fats. I know, I know, all the fun tasting foods. But remember the car analogy. These foods do nothing for you and in fact can make you over weight and cause diseases such as; heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. These foods can also cause acne, bloating, joint pain, depression, and fatigue.

Nothing beats a glass of ice water.

Start with 1 food/drink and remove it from your diet. Replace it with a healthy alternative. If you drink soda or fruit juice, make the switch to water. You can even add a piece of fruit to your water, like lemon or lime, to add a little flavor. Stay away from bottled flavored waters. Who knows what they are adding. Aim for 8 glasses a day, plus add 8 ounces for every 15 minutes of intense exercise.

If you like cookies for dessert, look into making your own. You can substitute egg whites, wheat flour (or non- wheat/gluten flours like coconut or almond flour), yogurt, or applesauce for many cookie ingredients. Just google healthy cookie recipes and you’ll pull up sites such as and You’ll have to experiment to see what you like and what you don’t. Expect that the cookies will not taste exactly the same, but at least you’ll know what is going in them.

healthy snacks

If you are eating fast food because you are on the go, then plan ahead. Bring healthy snacks with you such as; almonds, vegetables, hummus, fruit, hard boiled eggs, protein shakes, or homemade protein bars. Remove the trans fats ASAP.  Balance your fat, protein, and carbs and be sure to get plenty of fiber. I don’t want to comment on the correct fat, protein, and carb ratio since some people like a low carb diet while others look for low fat. Be sure to do your own research.

Once you feel successful with one change, make another. Keep making these changes until you are eating healthier. Your body will begin to crave good healthy foods instead of sugar and trans fat.  You’ll have more energy for your normal everyday tasks, plus you may even be inspired to set new physical goals. You can do this. Just take it one step at a time.

Nutrition Part I Nutrition with Audra.

 image 1 via Help me getting beautiful on imgfave. image 2 via ice water – Google Search. image 3 via pinterest

Classes with Audra for Zumba are scheduled:

6:35 Wednesday night and 8:00 Saturday morning at Squared Circle Studio. Squared Circle Studio is located in Deep River  860.526.8763 to call for classes Home Page.

Nutrition with Audra

Contributor Audra

Let me first start off by saying I am not a nutritionist. I am, however, someone who has paid close attention to the food that goes into my body. I have read countless books and articles on the subject, but I am not an expert. Please keep that in mind.


When I work with children, I teach them to treat their body as they would a sports car. If you use this analogy, it will help you learn to respect your body and not take it for granted. If you had an expensive sports car, take this Ferrari, you would make sure it stayed in excellent condition. Only the best gas, oil, filters, etc. would go in the Ferrari. You would never put in cheap gas that had fillers in it. You would be a fool if you didn’t take the car in for regular service check ups and keep it protected from the elements. It’s a Ferrari! So, why don’t you do this for your body? Why do we think that our body is a Yugo?


The first step in any dietary change is to do your own research. I would recommend keeping a food log. Don’t worry so much about tracking the amount of food you are eating. Instead reflect on how the foods made you feel. Did you notice a change in energy levels? Are you bloated? Is your blood sugar spiking and falling? Are there skin and hair changes? This is an important step for you to figure out which dietary changes to make. Remember, what works for your 5’10’’ friend who eats carbs all day long may not work for you (Believe me….I have several of these friends).

Once you have tracked your food and are ready to make changes, the government’s nutrition plate is a great place to start ( This is the best example the government has ever put forth. I’m not sure if they got it from Dr. Oz or vise versa, but it’s a great model.

Vegetables and fruits should make up most of your meals. I would suggest vegetables more than fruits due to the natural sugar found in fruit. Go for greens such as spinach, collard greens, swiss chard, and arugula. They are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Watch for “veggies” such as peas and corn. Your body metabolizes them as starches. If you are not a vegetable lover, this will be tough. Start looking for recipes that will appeal to you. If you read that broccoli is good for you, but try it and hate it, you won’t eat your vegetables. (BTW, broccoli is a super food. I try to eat it everyday).

 Tosca Reno

Cut out the processed foods! Again, the sports car analogy. Don’t put cheap fuel into your body. If you do, you’ll get a cheap performance. Tosca Reno has perfected the Eat Clean model that weight lifters have used for years. She has over 10 books filled with insight, support, ideas, shopping lists, and recipes. Tosca contributes to Oxygen Magazine and she has been on countless news programs. She’s over 50 and let’s just say I would not want to stand next to her in a swimsuit!  Next week I’ll present a few other dietary tips I’ve used over the years. I hope you’ll start your own food research today.

Classes with Audra for Zumba are scheduled:

6:35 Wednesday night and 8:00 Saturday morning at Squared Circle Studio. Squared Circle Studio is located in Deep River

860.526.8763 to call for classes Home Page.

image 1 via S.S.C.. image 2 via Free Shipping Etsy Painted Journal Burgundy Genuine by Baghy. image 3 via USDA Nutrition | BistroMD. image 4 via The Gardener’s Eden – Getting Rooted: Pretty Potatoes, Colorful Carrots, Radiant Radishes & Beautiful Beets…. image 5 via Tosca Reno.