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Running Fun: Old Bay 5k

22 May

I like to do one 5k a month, so since I hadn’t done one since the Super Run in April, I was clicking around online last week trying to find one to add to my schedule. That is how I came across the Old Bay 5k, which is basically the most Maryland run in all the land.

You know that Marylander’s are weird about crabs, our flag, and Old Bay… so as a proud Marylander, I immediately called my brother and we both registered ASAP. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to wear my Maryland flag leggings. Here I am with Jason in front of some inflatable Old Bay containers…

The race was not scenic at all – considering we just ran through an office park type area – however, when we ran by the McCormick Spice Factory the air was full of whatever spice they were grinding at the moment.  So, that was pretty cool.

There was also a Mascot race after we finished, which was adorable:

The best part of the whole event was the goodie bags! In addition to a race shirt, we each got a HUGE Old Bay Tin that was full of all those different spices:

I LOVE the tin and I’m currently undecided on whether to keep it on my kitchen counter to store cookies, or to put it in my den to hold fire-starters next to my fireplace. What would you do with it?

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Fitness Update: 8 week update

2 May

Back in March, I got to a bit of a breaking point where I was super frustrated with myself, my body and my eating habits. So, I decided to make some small changes to my daily life, including eating a little better and working out more. I did an update on the blog at the 2 week mark and have been checking in regularly on Instagram (you can find me here at PocketfulofJoules).

Well, yesterday marks 8 weeks so I did another update on Instagram. I realize that many of my blog readers don’t necessarily follow me over there, so I wanted to share the update with you as well:

As I get ready to do today’s workout, I wanted to give you a little update on my ‘fitness journey’… Monday marks 8 weeks since I decided to start eating a little healthier and add in exercise to my daily life. In the last 8 weeks I’ve worked out about 40 days, which is absolutely a record for me. After some initial weight loss, I’ve basically just maintained. Depending on the day/moment/second, I’m down about 5 pounds. Today I did my measurements for the first time since November and although I don’t really see much of a change, the measurements prove that it is happening. I measured my chest, arms, waist, hips and thighs and I’m down a total of 6.25 inches. Yes, I’m thrilled about this. But I’m even more thrilled that I’ve somehow been able to rearrange my life to fit in exercise and I just feel BETTER. Sure, I have days where I think I’m a blob, but my issues with acid reflux have reduced so much and I actually find the energy to wake up at 5am to do a workout and then work a 12 hour day. Yup, I’m going to add that #fitmom hashtag right here, because I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of the example I am setting for Jack. #joulesgetsfit

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Sure, I still have days where I feel like a blob – in fact, the last couple days have been rough. And yes, I still eat crappy stuff. I just try to make the healthier choice more often than not. And I try to do a workout… more often than not.

So, this is my 8 week update. And I’m not quitting yet.

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Running Like a Super Hero

25 Apr

When it comes to running, I’m WAY more into doing a 5k when it comes with fun perks. Give me a pink tutu to run a Diva 5k? Bring it on. Add a crab and beer festival to the end of a few miles? Heck yeah! Have a meet-and-greet with a penguin in the middle of a relay marathon? YES PLEASE!

So, when I saw a run with a Super Hero theme, I was SO in. The Super Run 5k came to Baltimore this past weekend and it was the perfect excuse to knock out a few miles while wearing a cape. And a Wonder Woman shirt. Because, why not?!

Look at how many people are there!

They also had a fun backdrop so that you can take superhero pictures before the race.

I ran it with my friend LeeAnne and we were both a little slap happy by the end of it.

I love races like this because everyone is so happy to be there. I mean, not everyone loves running the 3.1 miles, but there are plenty of walkers that you can hang out with while you move through the course. There is also the fun of seeing grown men and women running in capes. And costumes!

I will absolutely run this one again and next time I’m putting cape on Jack and bringing him with me!

What is the most fun run you’ve ever done? Would you do a Superhero 5k?


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Comparing Meal Replacement Shakes

17 Apr

If left to my own devices for a quick breakfast on a workday, I would typically order something from Starbucks to go with my coffee, grab a donut on the road, or just go without until lunchtime. Obviously, none of these options play nice with the whole ‘let’s get healthy’ thing I’m working on right now. So, bring on the morning meal replacement protein shakes!

When I did the 21 Day Fix a couple years ago, I tried the Shakeology shakes for the first time. They are super yummy and good for you, but HOLYWOW are they expensive.  A bag of 30 servings is $130, which breaks down to $4.33 per serving.  Also, to purchase Shakeology you get it shipped to you automatically each month, so if you fall behind you end up with a big o’ bill and a lot of bags of the powder to go through. So, yeah… super delicious but quite pricy.

With that in mind, I decided to go on the hunt for another brand of meal replacement protein shake. My main goals were:

#1. A shake that I can buy easily, whether it be in a nearby store or online.
#2. Something that isn’t super expensive.
#3. It MUST taste good.
#4. There has a be a good mix of protein and nutrients, while also being relatively low in calories, sugar and sodium.

After trips to GNC, Target and the Vitamin Shoppe, I ended up trying 6 different shakes in my ‘research’ phase: Labrada Lean Body (chocolate), GNC Lean Shake 25 (french vanilla), GNC Lean Shake 25 (rich chocolate), plnt by V Meal Replacement Plant Protein (chocolate), plnt by V Meal Replacement Plant Protein (vanilla) and Vega One Protein and Greens (coconut almond).

All of the shakes I tried were in powdered form, except the Labrada Lean Body. That one was premixed in a tetra pak and I have to say that I hated it. It had a thick chocolate milk flavor with a slight bitter tinge. I had to choke it down, so that one was immediately disqualified.

For the other 5 shake options, I would make the same recipe to compare them:

1 scoop protein powder
1 ¼ cups water
Handful of ice
1 banana (super ripe and/or frozen)
1 tbsp peanut butter

Blend it in my Nutra Ninja for about 40 seconds and throw it in a cup for breakfast.

Out of the remaining 5 shakes, only one of them did not pass the taste test… the plnt by V Meal Replacement Plant Protein in vanilla. No matter how much it was blended, it still had that chalky taste. So that one was disqualified too.

Based on taste, I was left with 4 pretty great options, so I went ahead and did a comparison chart for their nutrients:

After comparing each of the protein shakes and keeping in mind the flavor, I have two favorites:

Vega One Protein & Greens in Coconut Almondyou can find it here on Amazon and here at Target (when I bought mine at Target, they had an added bonus where you receive a $5 Target gift card with purchase!) The cost is $24.99 for 16 servings, which breaks down to $1.56 per serving. The flavor is so good that it’s like a morning pina colada. Since it already has a nutty flavor, I could skip the peanut butter and it still tastes really good. It’s low in calories, has 20 grams of protein and keeps me full until lunchtime.

GNC Lean Shake 25 in Rich Chocolateyou can find it here on Amazon or at GNC stores in-person or online here. The cost is $29.99 for 16 servings, which breaks down to $1.87 per serving. This one is also super tasty and when it’s all mixed up it’s basically like a milkshake. This one is a little higher in calories, but is also higher in protein with 25 grams.

I decided to get a tub of each shake so that I don’t burn out on one of the flavors. I like that I can order them both online through Amazon, or pick them up at my local GNC and Target. Also, I feel like I’m drinking a milkshake for breakfast, but it’s a heck of a lot better for me than a piece of lemon pound cake from Starbucks!

So there you go, after lots of tasty research I have two favorite protein shakes. I typically will have a shake on my ride into work 5 days a week and then a non-shake breakfast on weekends.

I’d love to know if you have a favorite shake or if you have any questions for me on my taste testing extravaganza!


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