What is this blog made of?

Needless to say, there is a definitive decline in my blogging since starting this new teaching position. Where I would normally sit on a Sunday evening recapping my adventures in a blog post, I now have spent the last two hours conjuring up a lesson plan for my classes the next two days.

It’s a good one though: Renaissance Wordle. I’m excited. If you are unfamiliar with wordle, it is an online program that you enter text or a website into and it spouts out a fun conglomeration of the most frequently used words. The larger words on the wordle indicate words most often used in the original text/webpage.

I decided to put my blog into the wordle and here is what it spouted out:

 Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 6.35.41 PM

 am surprised to see “Continue” as the word most commonly used on this site. I thought it would have been running, ski, race, training, mountain. But, perhaps the word “Continue” means more in my life than I realized, as this blog is a document of my life. I continue to strive for more, reach for more and challenge myself more. I will continue to become a better version of myself. I will continue to reach new limits; scale more mountains. I will continue to incorporate new healthy eating habits. I will continue to work on strength, both emotional and physical. And, I will continue to write-whether that is once a week, once a month or 3 times a week.

How have you used wordle before?

What word comes up when you enter your blog into wordle? 

First day of the ski season

I got to play in the snow today. 1.5 feet of snow exactly. A slight wind and some sunshine made this a most perfect day in the backcountry, nevermind that it was a perfect first day of skiing for the season.

We hit up the Big Belt Mountain Range. It is about an hour from my house and up a sketchy forest service road. As the new person in town, I am unsure of where to go ski. Luckily I had these two charming men to show me the way today.



Andrew, why are you picking your nose for this picture?

Andrew, why are you picking your nose for this picture?

We skinned in and up for about an hour or so to a meadow. Honestly, I have no idea how long it took. As the girl with two guys I fell behind a little bit and kept chugging at my own pace. Without a watch, I became lost in my own thoughts. Additionally, I was awestruck soaking in the views of my new playground.



We even passed a few old buildings and a abandoned mine. I am always fascinated by historical remnants out in the backcountry.



After de-skinning, we ripped some turns down the mellow meadow in the fresh powder. I was smiling and hollering the whole time. Seriously, I couldn’t have been happier

Nothing but smiles today.

Nothing but smiles today.



Once at the bottom we knew we had to skin back up what we had just skied down to get back to the truck. So, we decided to make a warming fire and fuel back up. It was quite cozy and gave me just the rest I needed to tackle climbing back up the hill.

Snow fire-safest kind around.

Snow fire-safest kind around.

And we are skinning. Uphill. Didn't we just come down this?

And we are skinning. Uphill. Didn’t we just come down this?

We spent four hours out on the trails, which with the car ride made for a long day. I couldn’t be happier to be out on the skis and exploring new trails and mountain ranges. My legs are stiff and achy. My body chilled, but slowly warming up after a shower. I’m exhausted. Suffice to say, it was a perfect first day on the skis.

New Workouts in Montana

Since moving to Montana, workouts have taken on a different type of meaning. A new environment certainly brings this on. Take for instance the weekly snow that leaves the trails slick as it melts, ices over and melts again. Or the dark that sets in quickly at 5:00 as the sun sets over the mountains of a Northern Town.

Sasquatch comes out at night apparently. Saw this at the trailhead. I lold

Sasquatch comes out at night apparently. Saw this at the trailhead. I lold

However, the cultural lifestyle requires that you take care of basic survival—food and heat—and thus dictates trading in classes at the gym for collecting, splitting and hauling firewood. Or opting to not complete a long run on a Sunday due to going hunting. Yes, I have handed in my running capris for Carhartts.

Feeding the woodstove

The majority of our heat comes from the woodstove, which resides between our kitchen and living room. I grew up with woodstoves and both our homes. I clearly remember the truck backing into a our side yard and dumping chords of already split wood onto our yard. We then presided for an entire Saturday to stack the wood. I never realized that several steps existed before the nice split logs were delivered. Silly me.

You have to drive deep into the woods on hopefully not a very windy day. Look for a tall tree with a wide trunk and saw it down.

Carharts and sawing wood

Carharts and sawing wood

Then saw it into smaller carriable logs. These logs then get sawed into smaller pieces. Y’All, I learned to use a chainsaw.

Once sawed, they then get split. I tried this part, but apparently my muscles are not strong enough—YET.

Still can't swing the sledge-yet

Still can’t swing the sledge-yet

Finally you can begin to stack the wood. And lastly, hauling the wood from behind the shed up to the house every few days.

Feeding my belly

Again, I grew up with a final product of a dead animal being brought into my house, but failed to think about all that went into bringing this animal home.

The first is obtaining a gun (I now own 2) and learning how to properly use it. You must site in the scope so that your shot is dead on, then study maps to see the best place to hunt. You need to know what animal tracks and poop belong to which animal and how fresh both are. You follow those tracks Hansel and Gretel style until you come upon your prey.

Beers and guns

Beers and guns

It’s a lot of hiking and careful planning and thinking. I haven’t shot an animal yet and probably won’t this season. But, I am practicing the preparation.

This pulled into my driveway one fine Sunday evening

This pulled into my driveway one fine Sunday evening

In addition, everyone hunts here. Which means hardly anyone sticks around on the weekends.

Shorter days, colder weather, and more snowy conditions with no friends. You wonder how I survive? I’m embracing the culture.

Advocare Recap and Review

You can read other posts on my experience with Advocare are here and here.

When I started this weight loss/jump start program I had high hopes. Perhaps it was because I was pretty low on myself. After a big life change I had somehow let myself gain 8-10 pounds. I was in good physical shape and still worked out 6 times a week, but my eating habits were terrible (and so were my adult drinking habits since we are at it). I was bloated. What tipped me over the edge was the professional clothes that I had to wear again left me with a muffin top that was not there 1 year or even 6 months ago.

I wasn’t out of shape physically and I wasn’t obese or even maybe overweight. I was just slightly outside of comfortable.

So, I think it helps for you to know where I started. I did a lot research about Advocare, including the product ingredients, people’s results and what it would entail. I was fortunate to have some people at my work who had done it and gave some input to me trying it. I also looked at this as a challenge-could I eat clean for 24 days?

The Pros

  • Easy to take the prescribed products in the cleanse phase.
  • I lost the water weight that left me bloated
  • Everything except for the sucralose in the Spark were natural
  • It reset my eating. I needed a reminder of what and how much I should be eating everyday.
  • Some complained of the fiber drink, I didn’t have a problem with it.
  • Much better digestion and regulation

The Cons

  • I lost all of my weight in the cleanse phase, so I fail to see the need for the Max phase
  • Sucralose (fake sugar) in the Spark
  • The breakfast shake tasted good, but was really thick
  • A lot of pills to take in the max phase

My Conclusion: I think Advocare is a good start in weight loss, getting in shape and slimming down if you need a huge diet overhaul and motivation. However, for the price I paid I don’t think it was worth it. I am incredibly motivated to work out and every now and then my eating (and don’t forget drinking) habits need some cleaning up. I think I can do that more cheaply by doing a month of Weight Watchers for $30 or even myfitnesspal.com for free. Also, I don’t have huge addictions to sugar or wheat. This would be a good program for people who have these issues.

That being said, I am continuing to use the Advocare product, Catalyst. It is suppose to maintain your muscle mass while losing weight. I would really like to see more muscle definition. I have taken some supplements before while working out and seen results and I am willing to try this Advocare product. I am saying that the program doesn’t work, but I do think it has a lot going on for the amount of results that you get.

Final Conclusion:

  • Pounds lost: 6.2
  • Inches lost: All around-11 inches

These results aren’t too bad for 24 days. I didn’t cheat at all on the cleanse. But, I did cheat here and there on the Max phase (um hello pumpkin martinis and vegan buffet in Boulder).

Have you ever done Advocare? Or another cleanse or challenge? What were your experiences?

I’ve done cleanses before, but never this long. I did want to see if I could do this for 24 days and I succeeded (for the most part). The only other weight loss program I have been on was weight watchers.

Workouts Lately

So, I wrapped up Advocare on Friday and I will have a full review for you by Wednesday-promise.

In the meantime, I have been killing my workouts since starting Advocare. Yesterday was a  testament to this as I ran 8 miles strong and fast without stopping and I haven’t run that far in 2 months. My body just felt great!

So-Here’s a look at some of my workouts in the last week:

Sunday 10/20-gym with my cousin. (I will put a separate post up of this-she’s 20, I’m 30-it’s killer and she kicked my butt-’nuff said)

Monday 10/21-Mountain Bike ride

Tuesday 10/22-5 miles trail run

Wednesday 10/23-Hike

Thursday 10/24-Mountain Bike Ride

Friday 10/25-off

Saturday10/26 - Mountain Bike Ride

Sunday 10/27photo-8 mile run

This article appeared on the front page of our local paper Saturday morning. I was stoked to read it because it gave me some ideas for new trails to ride, run and hike that I hadn’t known about before. Like MacDonald Pass and the Continental Divide. It also made me feel good to be living in a place where I have access to award winning mountain bike trails literally in my backyard. Makes big life decisions like this easier to swallow.

Questions for discussion:

  • What are you most proud of in your town?
  • Best workout this week?