Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Happy Wednesday Friends!  Ever since my Dr. Oz Cleanse, I have been trying to improve my smoothie making skills.  I used to just make the basics for me and my family, strawberry banana, berry smoothies, mostly all fruit based.  But now, I am getting really creative with adding vegetables to my smoothies.  Spinach is a great option, it doesn't carry much taste or texture to you smoothie, just be sure to add it first.  Cucumber is also a refreshing option.  Start out with a little, and as you get accustomed to adding veggies, add more.  So, my Wellness Wednesday tip for you this week, is to try adding veggies to your smoothies, you'll get more bang for your sip.  Pull your blender out, dust it off, get creative, and enjoy.

Here's a picture and the recipe from today's veggie smoothie...
It's Cool to be Green: 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1 cup of water, 4 baby carrots, 1/3 of a long cucumber, 1tbsp ground flax seed, juice from 1/4 of lime, 1/2 banana, 5 whole strawberries, 5 mango chunks. Blend until desired consistency.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

As many of you are enjoying the three-day Memorial Day weekend, and all the BBQs that come along with it... Please remember to give thanks for those who gave their lives selflessly for the protection of our country and our freedoms.  If you know or see Active, Reserves, or Retired military personnel, honor and appreciate them, most importantly say "thank you"!  Have a Happy, Safe, and Healthy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Improve Your Stamina

Are you always wondering why you get worn out easily, or you're always out of energy... Maybe it's time to improve your stamina.  Stamina, is basically the ability to keep yourself going, a key component for athletic performance.  Improving stamina can be done through a variety of means, it will also improve your overall wellness and will help you achieve more in your daily life.  

Here are some tips for improving your stamina:
  • Modify diet- adding healthier foods to your diet will improve your overall stamina.  As weight gain starts to sneak up on you, your physical performance will suffer.  Adding more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains will help you maintain a healthy weight.  Avoid refined sugars, fatty-fast food, junk food, and food that is high in sodium.
  • Improve flexibility- physical activities can be difficult when muscles are tight.  Tight muscles  require additional energy to get moving, which can lead to faster onset of fatigue.  So, improving your flexibility will improve your overall stamina... Be sure to stretch before & after exercise, try adding yoga to your daily life, to keep muscles limber all the time.
  • Stay hydrated- keeping your body hydrated is essential for it to function well, under any circumstance.  The old '8 glasses of water a day' rule, is still a good baseline for hydration.  Try to limit caffeinated drinks, like coffee, tea, and soda, which dehydrated you and can add unneeded sugar to your diet.
  • Get Active- for everyone who wants to improve their stamina in everyday life, getting active in any capacity will help.  Walking, swimming, playing golf, playing tennis, playing basketball, biking, or doing exercises at the gym are great ideas (there's an exercise for everyone) to get the heart & lungs pumping, which will improve your stamina.  *for athletes (beginners to elite)- incorporating interval training, sprints, and/or hill repeats to improve your stamina quickly and greatly.
  • Stabilize blood sugar- your brain is responsible for everything that goes on in your body, it sends signals constantly.  The brain runs on glucose, but has no way to store it.  When your blood sugar fluctuates too much, it does crazy things to the inside of your body and can affect your stamina.  When blood sugar levels are too high, the excess is stored as fat, which leads to weight gain and can decrease your stamina.  When your blood sugar drops, your brain has no fuel,  which causes fatigue and can affect your stamina.  Eat smaller meals, more frequent to help maintain a stable blood sugar throughout your day.

I hope these tips help to improve your stamina and your ability to get through daily life.  Whether you're an elite athlete or a professional couch potato... Remember a good stamina is an important part of healthy living and wellness.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

This Wednesday, you'll find me in Florida.  I joined my mother at her conference in Ft. Lauderdale.  Since she was in session every day, I sat by the pool.  I enjoyed the beautiful weather, 3 out of the 5 days we've been here.  After reading both of my magazines the first day, I took the other two pool days to get in extra meditation sessions.  I plugged in my ear buds, turned on my favorite yoga pandora station to tune out the surrounding conversations, and just relaxed.  Even though I was by the pool, I found these lovely cushiony lounge chairs under an umbrella, to help limit my sun.  My Wellness Wednesday tip this week, is limit your sun intake.  Yes, the sun is a natural way to get vitamin D, and can give your skin a nice glow, but with skin cancer on the rise. Everyone really needs to make sure they use sunblock and limit their sun exposure.  No matter your skin complexion, too much sun is not good.  So, as we enter into summer this weekend... Wear sunblock, reapply, and don't overdue it in the sun.  Happy Summer!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Heavy Heart

My heart is heavy this Tuesday. Tears fill my eyes as I think about the families affected by natural disasters too often. Monday afternoon, a 2 mile wide tornado hit Moore, OK... With not much warning. Homes, businesses, schools were destroyed. Lives were lost, children especially. Everyday Heroes live amongst us, I am in amazement at all who reach out to help and save lives... paramedics, fire fighters, police, Red Cross, neighbors, and teachers. Please do what you can to help, be a Hero... Donate to the Red Cross, send prayers of strength and hope. Most importantly, reach out and tell your friends and family you love them. Put negativity and differences aside. Enjoy this precious time we have on earth, and be appreciative that you and your family live to see another day. Sending lots of love and light to Moore, OK... And to all battling natural or health disasters in their lives.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Am I Half Crazy?

Happy Mother's Day!  Or Happy Race Day, for me & 3,000 other runners!  Today was the day... Sunday, May 12, 2013. The day of the Delaware Marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay!  I had done all I could do, could I have trained harder... Sure... But that was neither here nor there.  The time had come.  I set my alarm for 5:30 am, boy did that come fast.  I thought going to bed at 9:45 pm, would still leave me rested. Oh well, I had no time to dwell on how tired I was.  I had to get up & run!  I laid out my clothes, pinned my bib to my tank, and laid out all the rest of my running junk the night before (smart).  I hopped in the shower, brushed my teeth, threw on a little sunblock & a lot of deodorant... Then it was time to put on my clothes. I strapped on my braces, even though my legs were feeling pretty good, tied my sneaks then headed to the kitchen.  My usual run breakfast is pretty consistent, PB & J on wheat toast with water... And recently 2 ibuprofen.  I peed on last time, then headed down to the park... By the way, I decided to crash near by at my cousin Lenise's, to eliminate having to wake up even earlier and that drive from Newark.

Lenise & I got down to the park, right around 6:30 am... And boy was my stomach in knots... Was this nerves? I found my fellow BGR runners, chewed the fat for a minute or two, then we all posed for a picture... Cheese!

After the picture, it was time for the marathoners to start, 7 am on the dot.  Guess who I saw... Christina Colon, looking for the rest of her relay team.  It was nice to see another familiar face, in a sea of strangers.  Then the relay runners started, it was 7:05.  Opps, I need to pee again... Lenise and I race to the train station, the line was 30 women deep.  The POPs had an even longer line... Well, I realized it was probably just nerves... So I let it ride, and hoped for the best.  It was time to line up, I gave Lenise a big ol' hug, like I was never going to see her again, and I found a place amongst the crowd of 1000.

BAM... They're off... But all of a sudden I have a strange desire to bust out the wobble... Oh wait it was playing... Any way, back to running.  I started off strong, remembering my run yesterday with Mia, this was the same course, I smiled. We headed towards the riverfront, down Justison, towards the chase center, through the outlets, and back up the river walk.  I had a great pace, and surprisingly, little slow me, was passing people.  We headed past Big Fish, Joe's Crab Shack, Firestone & Harry's seafood grill, all getting ready for the big Mother's Day rush.  We curved around back past the park, and off the abandoned warehouses (I knew there was water there, bonus). I maintained a great pace, a little faster than I usually start, but I wasn't fatigued... And before I knew, I was passing mile 3, and I thought, only 10 more to go... Lol.  Walnut street was coming up, with a slight incline, I knew I could handle it... And I did!  As walnut street was coming to an end, I looked up, and saw some BGR angels cheering us runners on, Yay!  Then water and a shot block break, another yay!!  We curved into the brandywine, shade and a breeze.  This is one of my favorite parts of the city; the Brandywine river, zoo, and monkey hill.  Once I passed monkey hill, I knew the Nova time keeper was up ahead, and I picked up my pace. 5 miles done!  I crossed the 5 mile mark, somewhere around 58-59 minutes.  My goal was to get to 6.55 before 1:15... But I knew I had an ugly, curvy incline ahead of me.  I slowly ran & walked some, up the woodsey road.  But I also remembered there was a water station on the other end, so I forged on.  Grabbed my water & Gatorade from a little kid, mixed them, and continued on my way.  SIDE NOTE: I always mix gatorade & water and walk through water stations... For those who know and love me, know I have no coordination, so running & drinking at the same time, leads to chocking and spilled Gatorade all over me, no bueno!  Anyway, around some more woodsey curves, and we approach kentmere.  I hit the 6.55 mark, at 1:12, I figured if I kept up the face I would smash last years time... p.s. This is another one of my favorite areas in the city, Rockford park... The homes are are beautiful and historic, the streets are lined with trees, the neighbors are all out of their houses cheering runners on... Makes for a pretty, encouraging run!  We head down Bancroft parkway, towards little Italy... Another favorite neighborhood.  My pace was ok, I was definitely slowing down a bit.  As I turned down 4th, the headed back down Lincoln. Fatigue was starting to set in... But what did I see... A sign for the Italian festival... Starting June 9!!  All of a sudden the thought of spaghetti dinners perked me up again! The thought of food, and good tunes kept me going back down the parkway until about mile 10.  I knew I only had 3 more miles to go, my pace was slow, some walking in between, but I knew what was a head of me at mile 12... So, I decided to keep it slow & steady.  It was all downhill from here, right?  Well, Kind-of!  At the next water station I took my last 2 chews, and back down winding Lovering I went.  I walked behind the hospital, saving my energy for the final push at mile 12.  The sun was shining, my energy was coming back, I saw Dawn, from BGR, cheering me on... And here we go... I started the final climb- King Street!  It had been breezy all day, but some how moving up king st, I felt like I was in a wind tunnel, with crazy headwind.  I was pushing my body to sprint, and all it was doing was jogging.  I finally got to the break, Rodney square... Downhill!  Yes!! Thank you, Lord!  I picked up a little speed moving downhill, but those headwinds were crazy... Or maybe I just was.
Right when King intersects MLK, I saw the most handsome cheerleader... My husband, snapping photos.  I picked up my speed rounded the corner, and what did I see 3 iPhones in a row (my parents), and 2 little smiling faces, holding signs, yelling "go mommy". That was the best and final push, I dialed in to whatever energy I had left, and finished strong!  With a final time of 2:39:40... 3 minutes off of last year's time.  Here's the added bonus, GPS tracked me running at 13.61 mi... So, I really kicked my last year's time of 13.46 mi in 2:42:36!

All in all, it was a good race, I finished strong and didn't feel like a Mac truck ran over me! I hydrated well, stuck to most of my plan, reached my goal (improving my time, & coming in under 2:40), but more importantly I enjoy the run! Wilmington is my hometown, I love seeing the beauty of it on foot, surrounded by 3000 runners!  An enormous thank you to the Delaware Marathon, Races 2 Run, and the volunteers for putting on an amazing, organized, warmhearted race.  A big thank you to the Wilmington Police department for keeping us safe from cars, the paramedics, and all the sponsors. Also one more, thank you to my fellow DE marathon festival runners, and of course Black Girls Run for all of the love, encouragement, and support throughout the race!  A big question lies before us... Will I be back next year?  As my aunt, mother, & cousin say... YBYSAIA... I've got to beat this years time, who's with me?  Ok, ok... I am crazy!

Here are some more fun anecdotes & information:
Training for Half Craziness #1, #2, #3, #4
Course map

Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday is back, fresh off of a week vacation, due to training. This past Sunday, I ran the Delaware Half Marathon... Yes, yes, I know... You already knew that. But coming off of such a tough race and workout, I've been stretching my muscles both morning and night (& sometimes in between). I already stretch every night with a little bedtime yoga routine, to help release the stress of the day before going to bed... But I need more after Sunday!  This week's Wellness Wednesday tip is to Stretch. Whether you're a fitness enthusiast, hardcore athlete, or a couch potato.... Stretch!  Keeping your body and muscles limber will aide in your overall wellness and stress levels.  Take your time and enjoy the stretch, most importantly, don't forget to breathe!

Here are some 'wake me up' stretches for the morning:
  • Chest stretch. Sitting on your knees or cris-cross Applesauce, back straight, reach your hands behind you, & clasp. Now, lift your clasped hands as high as you can, squeeze your shoulder blades together, open your chest. Hold for 5 breaths.
  • Forward Fold w/ a knee. Take a deep breath in, as you exhale bend at the waist and bring your head towards your knees. Drop your hands/fingertips to the floor. Hold for a few breaths. Then bend one knee, while trying to straighten the other. Hold for 5 breaths, and switch.
  • Leaning mountain. Standing, try to reach your hands to the ceiling. Grab the right wrist with the left hand, now lean towards the left corner of the ceiling. Hold for 5 breaths and switch sides.
  • Neck Stretch.  This simple stretch can be done standing or seated, just make sure your back is straight, and your shoulders are relaxed.  Tilt your head to one side, ear towards shoulder (but don't shrug your shoulder to make them touch), hold for a few breaths, then switch sides.
Here are some 'help me sleep' bedtime stretches:
  • Seated Forward Fold. Sitting on your bed or floor. Stretch legs out in front of you, slight bend in knee. Inhale arms up above head, and exhale folding over your legs. Reaching for your toes. Hold for 5 breaths.
  • Spine Twist. From seated forward fold, sit up straight, bend right leg, cross & place right foot over left straight leg. Twist toward right leg, holding for 5 breaths, switch legs.
  • Knee Hug. Lay flat on your back. Bring both knees into your chest, and hug. Hold for 5 or so breaths.
  • Laying Twist. Laying on your back, knees bent over your hips. Let them fall to one side, arms out to the side, turn your head the opposite way of your legs. Hold for 5 breaths. Return legs to center, then repeat on other side.

For more stretches and flexibility exercises, check out Stretch and Improve Your Flexibility.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Training for Half Craziness #4

I bet you wondering, on the edge of your seat... Did I do it? Did I finish my training? Did I, Ashley Thayer, run the Delaware Half Marathon, again?  Well, let me tell you about weeks 14, 15, and race week (16) first.

Coming off of a strong week 13, week 14 was even stronger!  Monday, I had a great cross training day, with a 30 min Spin class, followed by 5-4-3-2-1, and 15 minutes on the cybex machine.  Tuesday I had a great speed work run at Glasgow Park, and did the big hill 3 times!  Wednesday and Thursday are my yoga days... However they weren't easy, a tough yogilates class and the Body Flow (release 60) is still no joke!  I had a nice long 9 mile run on Friday!  Saturday was a much needed rest day from working out, but I deep cleaned my house from top to bottom, so there was no real rest!  After an inspirational church service on sunday, I met the BGR ladies at the riverfront for a practice run on the DE marathon course.  We ran part of the 4-person relay course, a total of 6.3 miles, and at a solid pace.  It was nice to get out on a beautiful day with these awesome women!  I had a great 21 mile week, except... Uh-Oh, what to my wondering eye should appear... Shin splints that hurt like a ripped ear!

After an over trained week 14, I started to question if I should participate this year... My shins were on fire with every step.  On Monday, I rested... With ice rotations.  Tuesday I tried to run on the treadmill before swim lesson, and holy mother of goodness... What pain I felt.  After swim I headed right over to Delaware Running Company for some support, literally & figuratively.  I bought a brace for each leg, and got some sound advice on what to do.  On Wednesday, I tried a warm up run with braces before yogilates, right foot, left foot, right... I switched to a walk! After school, my athletic Mia, begged to ride her bike, so I went along for another walk. It wasn't so bad. But I continued my ice rotation.  Thursday, all I kept thinking was RICE, Rest Ice Compression Elevation, and my shins were doing ok... I did another warm up walk before Body flow.  Then after school the girls and I hit Glasgow trail for a 2.6 mile walk.  Friday, I swapped my 10 mile run for RICE!  Saturday, the entire family did yard work all day.  Sunday, I woke up feeling great!  I woke up extra early and headed to Glasgow park for a trial run with my shins, and what do you know... They felt great!  I ran 3.3 miles, plus the hill at an awesome pace! Even though I only logged 9 miles this week, I was starting to feel a little more confident in my shins and my ability to run next Sunday.

Race week, week 16... Agghhhh! Monday was a RICE day, all day!  Tuesday was Jordan's Mother's Day Tea, so I had to squeeze in a quick run before swim, but it felt good.  Wednesday brought a butt-kicking yogilates class with awesome weight training integrated in.  Body flow on Thursday, I found my calm before Sunday's storm, Ooommm.  On Friday, was Mia's muffins for mom in the morning, but that afternoon, she, D and I went for a great walk-run at Glasgow park. The weather was awesome!  Saturday was Delaware Marathon's packet pick-up and the Family Run 1 4 Fun Race... this was D'reardon, Jordan, and Mia's race debut!
Let me tell you, They did awesome!  Mia and I ran the 1.2 miles in about 12 minutes.  My baby ran the entire way, and wanted to keep going!  D & Jordan finished at about 17 minutes.  They came in with a strong sprint at the end!
Even Mickey & Minnie cheered them on!!
That evening, I tried to let loose with the ladies from BGR, a nice stress reliever before the big day... But was I up to it?  Would my legs hold out?  Ibuprofen & RICE had become my new best friends, what was I to do without them on the course?  I laid out my clothes, said a long prayer, and off to sleep I went...

Stay tuned to see what happened on Mother's Day... Or Race Day for me and 3000 other runners!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Black Bean Salad

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!!  Tonight the Thayer family had our usual Cinco de Mayo Taco bar, featuring make your own tacos with chicken or flank steak, lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, and plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  We also had my favorite, yummy black bean salad.  I love making this salad, it's easy, flavor-filled, great for BBQs, and you can make it ahead of time.  

Black Bean Salad
Serves 6-8, Total time 15 minutes
In a bowl, mix beans & corn.
Chop pepper, onion, & tomato. Add to beans/corn.
Add cilantro, garlic, & lime juice.
Toss in vinegar & olive oil.
Here's the recipe...
1 can (15oz) Black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15oz) Whole corn, drained & rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 roma tomato, diced
1-2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
4-5 tbs Red Wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

In a salad/serving bowl, combine beans & corn. Then add green pepper, onion, and tomato. Mix in cilantro, garlic, and lime juice.  Toss with oil and vinegar, mix well.  Serve right away, or cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for later.  Enjoy as a side dish, over a bed of lettuce, or with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Ever since I can remember, my Dad has always said to me: "Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it"... So, this Wednesday, I am sharing the same advice.  You have the choice to react negatively, constructively, dramatically, calmly, or positively to something that happens in our life.  It doesn't really matter what happened, but how you bounce back, learn, and/or accept what has happened.  I try to look at every experience or event in my life positively and as a lesson I can learn from.  I choose not get bent out of shape or become overly dramatic if things don't go as planned.  I encourage you to do the same, save the drama for reality tv... And remember, Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.  Stay well and drama-free, my friends!