Tag Archives: exercise

Just Breathe®

22 Aug

Disclaimer: I am not an essential oil advocate. Below is my personal experience using dōTERRA products. This post is not sponsored and I did not receive products for free to review. 

Some mornings you wake up ready to tackle the day…other mornings, you wake and feel the day tackling you. I have had such a morning the past two days.

After a night of tossing and turning, coughing and hacking, it’s hard to muster the energy to open my eyes, let alone stand. Standing sets off the alarm bells in my head – something isn’t quite right. That’s when I notice the pressure and tightness that have inhabited my lungs during the night. As a former asthmatic, these symptoms used to send my anxiety into overdrive as it was never long before my airways began to close and breathing became too difficult. Back then, I had to rely on man-made medications administered through an inhaler or nebulizer to force my lugs open once more. But those days are long gone!

Now, as the weather starts to get cooler, and the pollens start to fly, there’s no reason to panic. About four years ago, I traded in my man-made medications in exchange for God’s all natural medication in the form of essential oils. As an individual with a history of severe allergic reactions to medications, I feel so blessed to have all natural alternatives.

This morning, when I felt that tightness grip my lungs, I headed straight for the refrigerator. That seems like an odd place to go at that particular moment, doesn’t it?! Within that chilly fortress lives my saving grace during moments of breathing difficulty – my dōTERRA Breathe® vapor stick.

This amazing product eases discomfort through a cooling and soothing vapor. I like to keep mine in the refrigerator for a few reasons: 1. During the heat of the summer, I noticed it began to “melt” while sitting out on the counter, and 2. For me personally, when I can’t breathe, I often feel overheated at the same time. The coolness applied to my skin aids in lowering my body temperature and allowing me to feel like me again.

With just a swipe or two over my chest, relief is moments away. And it couldn’t be any easier to use – it honestly looks like a giant chapstick! While I don’t have children of my own yet, I imagine it would be so easy to use on a sleeping little one during times of sickness or discomfort. Another time I love to use this product is right before I exercise – once again it keeps my lungs functioning properly and helps to keep me a bit cooler!

Have you tried dōTERRA’s Breathe® vapor stick? Share your experience with me in the comments below! Let me know if there are any other ways you use Breathe®!

If you are new to essential oils and interested in learning more about the dōTERRA company and its products, I invite you to join my boyfriend’s informative Facebook group! Periodically he will share live videos of his favorite oils and the ways to he likes to use them, along with information on how you can get your hands on a free sample.

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Wellness Wednesday- 9/23/15

23 Sep

I know what you’re thinking…..where’s the wordless Wednesday post?! Truth is, I wanted to share my love for health and wellness and this photo from my workout this morning says it all!  
At my new work location, there is a 60 day walking challenge happening right now (I think we are on day 10 today) to walk the 365 miles from our town to Chicago, IL. I’ll do the math for you, that’s an average of six miles every, single day. As my job requires that I sit at a desk for eight hours of the day and I spend about an hour total driving each day, I was a little worried how I would find time to get in my six miles every day. That’s when I started getting creative. 

I have started getting to work an average of 30 – 40 minutes early each morning. This gives me time to get almost two miles in on the track. I work at a university, so it’s a very nice place to walk, although sometimes that early in the morning I have to find an alternate walking location as the ROTC students are running drills, but I digress… like usual, I got my miles in early again this morning! And it was chilly enough to break out my runDisney 2014 Wine and Dine half marathon jacket!

And then with my hour long lunch break, I decided to get up and move – once again you’ll find me out on the track doing laps with my headphones on, jamming out to my workout playlist all while waiting to hear the beautiful Runkeeper voice state that I have conquered yet another mile! And oh the joy that fills my heart when my FitBit starts to vibrate on my wrist letting me know that yes, I did just walk 10,000 steps all before 2 pm! (That’s a little more than four miles for the day so far!)

So, by the time I arrive home from work around 5:30 pm, I only have about two more miles to walk, but because I am an over achiever, I usually strive to have 8 – 10 miles by the end of the night. To get those miles in I do a variety of things – sometimes I’ll do a fitness DVD, if the weather’s nice I’ll go walking at one of the state parks that are close to my home, and more recently I’ve been marching in place in myliving room  while watching movies/TV shows; you’d be surprised how many steps you can rack up in a two-hour movie!  

And I want to end with a special thanks for Runkeeper and FitBit for making exercise fun and keeping me accountable!

*All opinions expressed here are my own. I did not receive monetary compensation for any of my product reviews. All reviews represent the opinion of The Undercover Princess and are based on my personal use and results. I did not receive any free products. My opinion of a product will not change if I receive it for free or with a discount for reviewing it. 

Wordless Wednesday- 9/9/15

9 Sep

This workout has gone to the birds…. 

 

Sunset Lake Walks

18 Aug

There is nothing quite as relaxing as taking a sunset walk at the lake. Where I live, I am lucky enough to be within 15 minutes driving distance of two state parks and 3 minutes driving distance within a third state park. It was the latter where my mom and I found ourselves this evening. 

We enjoyed a 1.19 mile stroll along the “Boardwalk” as the sun sank lower in the western sky, painting the heavens pink, orange and shades of purple. Tonight the path was quiet, with only one other fellow walker out to enjoy the view. (About said walker, what we could not understand was why he was smoking a CIGAR while exercising?! Isn’t that counterproductive?!) 

During our walk mom and I had some quiet time alone to just chat…our special bonding time! We’ve come a long way with our bonding time since my days of high school when I would need to talk to you about all of life’s ups and downs way past 10 PM when all you wanted to do was sleep. Hahahaha!

Tonight at the lake was just what I needed to clear my mind and help me refocus on the exciting things to come next week and to let go of the situations I can not change. Nothing like nature to help you once again feel grounded and centered and at peace. I only wish I were a painter so I could capture the beauty all around me!   

   

#BeastMode – crushing FitBit goals

5 Aug

I crushed my 10,000 step Fitbit goal today! Realized hours later I did 10 miles in my runDisney Tower of Terror 10 miler shirt! Must have been some subliminal Disney magic pushing me on! This was the first time I have gone a distance of double digits since my half marathon, runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon last November!

 

2015 Hershey 10K Race Weekend Recap

20 Apr

Hershey 10K 2015Standing at the starting line in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 11th, all I could think was this seemed like a much better idea in January when I signed up for it. But there I was, at 7:30 AM in somewhat chilly weather with my Disney sister, Catherine, waiting for the Hershey 10K to begin.

Actually, I’m getting ahead of myself in this story, let’s start with the drive to get there on Friday. I live roughly 5 hours from Hershey Park where the race was taking place, a drive that would consist of nearly 300 miles on the Toll Road through the winding mountains, and decided to use my Easter holiday at work so I could make the trip earlier in the day. I planned to arrive around 2:30 PM, which meant I would need to leave around 9:00 AM, which meant that my family had already left for work and school when I came downstairs around 8:00 AM. but much to my surprise, my little sister had left this very sweet note for me to find taped to the kitchen cabinet.

good luck letter from my sister

I have driven through the Pennsylvania mountains only once before when Catherine and I met up with a third Disney sister, Lisa, while she was attending Penn State a couple of years ago. From the trip, I already knew mountain driving terrified me as I live in the relatively flat mid-west. Now, to add to my anxiety about this long drive, as soon as I cross the state border I enter into a torrential downpour that does not let up until I am 10 minutes from my destination, Catherine’s boyfriend’s (Matt) parent’s house. It was raining so hard, I could hardly see five feet in front of my car while twisting and turning around these mountains and because that just wasn’t scary enough, there was this section that according to the signs is a terrible fog area. I felt like I was driving blind. I could see nothing to my left or right, nothing in front of or behind me. I have never held so tightly to the steering wheel before.

At this point, I would say my stress level is a 7 but it quickly rose to a 9 when I had to drive INTO the side of the mountains. Typically I’m not a claustrophobic person, but driving in those tunnels (and there were 6 total) my heart was pounding so hard in my ears I could hardly hear anything else. Deep breathing and pep talks got me in and out safely. Reflecting back what I find interesting is that I have driven through mountain tunnels before as the passenger and I’ve never had a problem with them so I wonder why being the driver in a tunnel makes me so nervous.

Just when I was beginning to think I was never going to get to Matt’s house and that I would be driving around lost in the Pennsylvania mountains forever, I heard the most beautiful words coming from my GPS “arriving at destination on right.” In that moment I could have cried I was so grateful to be done driving and to see Catherine waiting for me in the driveway!

Excitedly she tells me she has a surprise! Much to my amusement and Matt’s dismay, we found ourselves at a Disney outlet store, because where else would two Disney sisters go for entertainment?! We had a blast looking at all of the Disney merchandise, and as you can probably tell, we did not leave empty-handed! She walked away with some cute pjs while I bought an adorable Duffy pillow-pet that was 50% off – I couldn’t believe it! Mickey Ear hats

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After the Disney store, we drove around a bit looking for the Amish farm that sold milk and cheese, then it was dinner and back to Matt’s for some much-needed shut-eye. At dinner we determined that because the race started at 7:30 AM, we wanted to be at Hershey Park around 6:30 AM since Matt and Catherine had pick-up or packets already. We allowed for 45 minutes to get there from Matt’s house, which meant leaving at 5:45 AM. To make sure we didn’t sleep through the race, I set a first alarm for 4:45 AM and Catherine set a second alarm for 5:00 AM. And when that terrible sound pierced through my dream and startled me awake, I really wasn’t excited to be a runner, all I wanted in that moment was to be a sleeper. But I pulled it together, checked the weather like the non-newbie runner that I am and decided on pants and a jacket for the morning’s race.

Amazingly, Catherine and I stuck to our time schedule very well and only had a tiny bit of excitement in our journey to Hershey Park when my GPS apparently got a bit confused and started sending us in circles. But not to worry, we found our way and made it to the starting line with plenty of time to spare. And before we knew it, it was race time!

All 3,000 runners packed into the starting corral. It was exciting for me to see that some of the other runners were wearing race shirts from runDisney races I had also done in the past! I felt connected to these people, like we shared a bond of not only racing, but of Disney as well. Silly what your mind thinks about at different moments.

And just like that, we’re off! Now for those of you who may not be familiar with different race distances, a 10K is 6.2 miles – half the distance of a half marathon, which I completed in November. So with my music blaring in my ears, Catherine and 2,998 of my running buddies at my side and chilly mountain air in my lungs, I felt ready to tackle the course. However….there was one thing I forgot to plan for in my not-so-decent training for this race (hey, we had multiple blizzards this winter, made running outside a bit challenging!), ALL THE HILLS NEARLY DEFEATED ME!

I mentioned it once, where I live is really pretty flat in the grand scheme of things, sure we have some hills, but they are NOTHING compared to running on the side of a MOUNTAIN!

Hershey 10K 2015 course map

Catherine and I started off together, but eventually the hills and the chilly air got the better of me, and so I told her to go ahead, I’d catch up. I ran when I could and walked when I needed to, but I never once stopped moving. I knew that I needed to keep a 14 minute/mile pace or I would get detoured around the park and wouldn’t be able to run through – I wasn’t about to let that happen. About 2 miles in I settled on a rhythm – jog a little, walk a little, just keep breathing, jog a little, walk a little, just keep breathing. I had found “my people” – runners who shared my pace, runners who fought with every step to be runners, runners who didn’t “look like runners” but were, runners who kept me moving forward.

By the time we came to the first of two water stations, we had already gone under an over pass, up a small hill and crested a large hill to get up onto the main road. My energy levels and my spirits were beginning to drop. but then I heard someone cheering my name, telling me specifically great job, you’re almost halfway there. At the time I couldn’t figure out how they knew who I was – I was 5 hours from home, I didn’t know these people, it wasn’t until after the race it dawned on me, my race bib had my name printed under my number! Those volunteers with the cups of Gatorade and water will never know how much they encouraged me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Up another hill, around a corner and through a shopping plaza. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever see mile 4. Just as I was losing hope I spotted a fellow runner who had finished cheering us on! From her Minnie Mouse ears and Sparkle skirt I wondered if she was also a fellow runDisney fan! As I went past her I heard her say one more turn and you’ll be in the park! One more turn, just one more and I would get my first glance of Hershey Park. I pushed a little harder and by golly if there wasn’t ANOTHER hill once I passed through the back park gates! Ugh! But the coasters – holy cow!!

With only 2 miles left on the course I was doing good until, you guessed it…MORE FREAKING HILLS and would you believe it, the beginning of a terrible Charlie Horse! But, at least the race photographers got some great photos of me in action! So glad I bought these!

With only a quarter-mile and two turns between me and the finish line, there was Minnie Mouse ears and Sparkle skirt again! How did you do that?! Didn’t I just see you about a mile and a half ago?! Once again she cheered “Mariah, two turns and you’re there! You’ve got this!” I was so tired and emotional I almost burst into tears! With pain shooting through my leg and the finish line in sight, I dug a little deeper and gave it my all as I completed my race with an official time of 1 hour 29 minutes and 34 seconds! It was great having Catherine, her boyfriend Matt and his dad there cheering me on at the end! This is what complete exhaustion and accomplishment look like!

And so, yet another race is in the books – this one however I have dubbed a one and done kind of race. I’m not meant to be a mountain race kinda girl and that’s okay! Finally it was time for some much earned breakfast (Catherine and I had split an English muffin before leaving for the race, but it was long gone by now!) I had the pleasure of enjoying the most delicious sourdough french bread at this cute little diner while we waited for Hershey Park to official open for the day.

Since I had a long drive home ahead of me that evening I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time exploring Hershey Park, but I did have a chance to go on the Hershey Chocolate World Factory Tour ride, Skyrush, Lightning Racer, and Wild Mouse. All day long I had been wearing my Fitbit Charge HR so it was fun for me to see what my heart rate was when we go off each ride!

And before I left on my long journey home, Catherine and I took a couple of celebratory photos with our shiny new medals!

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On the road again by 2:45 PM, this time in beautiful, sunny weather. Still hate mountain driving and tunnels, but way less stressful when you can actually see the winding roads you’re driving on. One insensitive to get home quickly was the large chocolate chip cookie that was in the snack pack bag racers received at the finish line. When I finally got home at 7:30 and went to take a big bite, much to my disappointment I discovered it to be a RAISIN COOKIE masquerading as a delicious Hershey Chocolate Chip cookie. What a let down! But cookie mix up aside, the weekend was a blast on so many levels! I got to add racing in a new state to the list, hung out with one of my wonderful Disney sisters, explored a theme park I’ve never been to before and once again proved to myself that while running may not come as easy to me as it does to others, with a little determination, training and a supportive running community, there’s nothing that will stop me from crossing the finish line of any race I commit to!   

My Priority Statement:

4 Jan

My fitness and health are my number one priority – I will honor this by committing to loving my body as it is today, while pushing myself to become stronger, trimmer, and healthier tomorrow so that I can be around for a very long time.

I will honor my priority when I feel love for myself and remember to use only words and phrases that will build up my self-esteem and confidence. I will remember that my body is just the shell where I live – it doesn’t define me or limit my potential; however it does house my soul and my true self.

I will commit to exercising 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week and will come as close as possible to the recommended 10,000 steps per day as I can. I will also be more mindful of how late I am staying up so that my body has a chance to fully recharge and recover during a full 8 hours of sleep each night. I will be more aware of the food I am putting into my body and why – am I really hungry or am I thirsty, tired, stressed, anxious or mad? I will choose water more often than ice tea and juice, even if that means drinking it at room temperature. I will do better at counting my calories and using the resources available to me (i.e. My Fitness Pal and my Jawbone Up 24 app).

I will not feel guilty when I turn down my coworkers offer to order out for lunch or feel obligated to eat a cookie or something sweet they brought in to share.

I will limit my time reading for pleasure or watching TV so I can fit in my workouts.

I promise myself I will notice one thing I love, that is beautiful about my body everyday. I will never talk negatively when clothes don’t fit right or if I have yet to master a simple yoga pose. I will stop comparing my body to my friends, family members and celebrities as we are all at a different place on the fitness journey.

I will work to not punish myself for “bad days” or “slip-up days”. I will acknowledge that I was not trying at a 100% and will start again tomorrow; I will get up and try again. Failure is not an option and is not in my vocabulary any longer.

I will know I am perfectly committed to my fitness and health when I feel pride and joy in my progress and power in my choices. I will see a girl who is confident, radiant, self-assured of her place in the world and a beautiful person inside and out. I will have a smaller dress size and a smile that lights up the room! I will have energy to spare, smaller body measurements, healthy lab levels, control over my emotional eating, knowledge of how to live a healthier lifestyle, the desire to share that knowledge with others and the piece of mind that my outside finally matches the beauty I’ve always felt on the inside. I will hear the compliments of people who’ve noticed my progress and want to know how I’ve done it, I will hear my breathing is easier, no wheezing in my lungs and my heart won’t be pumping as hard. I will hear the roar of the crowds cheering when I cross the finish line of future races!

I will know that I have done my best and that I gave it my all. I will know that I am worth spending time on. I will know strength, power, and freedom and have a clear understanding that I am in control of my life and that I have the power to change the things I don’t like with a little hard work and determination.

 

**Are you wondering how I came up with my personalized priority statement? Interested in creating one for yourself? Watch the same videos I did by Chalene Johnson – I’ve made it very easy for you to find the videos on this playlist! If you’re interested in following along with the worksheet she mentions, here it is: SSS Life Balance Worksheet! I hope that you’ll take what she has to say seriously to heart, I have a better understanding of the things I need to change and focus on in my own life now!