Thursday, October 20, 2011

We're Official!

The Chicken Scoop has moved!  It is official!!!  It now has its own domain name!  You can find me here now:

The Chicken Scoop (

Right now, I have it powered by Wordpress but I had 2 other bloggers options too.  It is a work in progress as I try to move everything over.  I will start adding new pages (About Me, My Workouts, Nutrition, etc.)  I would LOVE to hear any suggestions you guys have for it! 

So from now on, I guess I will be posting my blogs there so switch over your shortcuts!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Fitness Gadget: The FitBit

The FitBit

My friend Lauren (over at Dimples Does It) has had this little contraption for a while now so she is much more experienced with it.  I just got it on Sunday and used it for the first time yesterday but I will tell you what I know so far!

Basically, its a little clip on tricked-out pedometer that you can wear anywhere on your body (I wear it on my bra, TMI?  LoL).  I have the FitBit Ultra which tracks steps, calories, distance, and stairs climbed (not on regular one).  It syncs wirelessly with your computer to upload data to the FitBit website where you can see all your data (OMG graphs!!!) and log your food and other activities throughout the day.  You can make goals and have friends on the website also.  It costs $99 and I believe is available at Best Buy.

Food Log

When you start your day, it gives you a baseline calorie target for the day based on if you were to lay in bed and not move the entire day.  My target intake for the day is shown at the top here.  It shows how much I have eaten so far (178) and how much I have left (1386).

Then as you begin moving around and logging activities, it will increase your calorie intake for the day as shown in the second box.  So far today, I have moved around enough to increase my calories by 52.

Additionally, I have mine set to have a weight loss goal of 0.5lbs per week until I reach 140lbs.  "Easier" is the 0.5lbs per week.  It shows the date I should reach my goal all the way on the right.


One really cool thing about the FitBit is that it will monitor your sleep. It really just watches how much you move around but it is still pretty cool.  Apparently I don't move at all when I'm sleeping!
I think this feature will really come in handy!  Only issue is, when do I charge it then???  Well, this morning, I put it on the charger while I was in the shower and then just tracked "Standing - preparing for bed" for 10 minutes.  LoL!

Activities & Steps

This one is pretty self explanatory.  You just track what you were doing during a certain time.  You can track everything throughout your day including things like sitting at your desk, cleaning the house, etc.  If you click on the picture to the right, you can see where I tracked standing this morning.  I will probably only track major workouts in this.  I guess it just helps to give a more accurate picture of the calories you burned throughout the day.  It works with the readings from your FitBit for better accuracy.  Below, you can see my Calories Burned chart for today so far.  You can also view steps, floors and your "active score".

Ok, now you guys can all see why I love this thing already!  Lauren has been just raving about it for months.  I wanted it but didn't want to spend the money and find out I didn't like it.  Of course I love it!  Look at all those charts and graphs!!!  But seriously, this is really going to help me get back on the band wagon.  I have been struggling a lot lately.  Here comes confession time.

I've gained 2% Body Fat and 6lbs  (7 yesterday but I lost 1 since yesterday)

This summer was emotionally rough.  Then the moving, then school started.  I just haven't been able to get into a groove.  I'm finally feeling more like myself now though and armed with my new gadget, I am totally ready to tackle this weight loss thing again!  I took my measurements immediately when I set up my FitBit yesterday morning:

My tactic is going to be the same one I used to lose the weight the first time.  I'm going to think about my calorie differential (difference between how many calories you burn during the day and the calories you ate, i.e. calories in, calories out).  And the FitBit basically does all that for you with the way it increases your calories intake the move active you are.  I'm going to concentrate a lot on building muscle so I'm going to make sure I eat at least 1500 calories per day (under 1400 and you break down muscle) and take my measurements every few weeks, not just weight.

Also, I'm just going to use the FitBit website to track everything and not Spark People.  I know!!!  I love Spark People but now its just going to be to check in with friends and maybe do some team stuff (been too busy for that lately).  I will always love Spark People but I've got to pick one place.  I am really excited though!  How many people do you know get excited about fitness and weight loss??  Here we go!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Atlantic City Half Marathon!

Yet another crazy weekend!  In case you missed it, the Atlantic City Expo report was posted on Friday.  There are tons of new product reviews on there so you should check it out!  It was definitely a good expo for the first year!

Anyway, Saturday was my usual with Rugby all day.  But I love Rob so its ok!  The team got demolished because we were playing a really good team and its almost all new players on our team this year.  Anyway, it is always fun to go though!  It was away so like usual, we went to the Bards afterwards.

Now you would think I would eat super healthy for my race the next day, right?  Nope.  Beer (only 1), onion rings, fries, and chicken tenders.  It actually worked out well for me for the race.  I didn't have a single stomach problem like I usuall do but I don't plan on making this a regular habit.  We got home around 9 but I still hadn't gathered my race things.  I couldn't find my spie belt so no camera for the race but I did bring my phone in my fuel belt.

The morning of the race, we got up around 6 to get ready.  I had cereal (Kashi Autumn Harvest - yum!) and 2 eggs scrambled (cooked in the microwave).  I also made sure to have some gatorade to hydrate.  Of course, I had to pee like 5 times before the race (but didn't have to stop during, yay!).

I really wasn't in the mood for this race and the whole morning seemed off but I felt much better once I got started.  Rob sent me off and I let him go find a Starbucks and putz around.  Well, what happens when I leave Rob unattended?  He buys me presents! (I'm not complaining).  More on this later...

The weather was absolutely PERFECT.  The shirt I wore was a little too thick but I didn't get too hot so its ok!  The wind was a little rough for the day.  There was one point where I had to walk because the sideways wind kept pushing my foot into my other leg.  LoL.  Otherwise, it was just a beautiful day for a race.

We start off on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in front of Ballys and head down into the streets.  We got onto the highway for a minute and then headed down into the connector tunnel.  What fun!!!

The best part of the race was that during mile 9, you pass by the start/finish line again.  I called Rob to let him know when I was getting close and I stopped for a kiss!  It was a real pain though running in that area because everyone was getting in the way of the runners (since by now, its spread out and we were at the back of the pack).  I will put that in my comments when they email me!

At that point, it was just an out and back on the boardwalk.  I saw the #1 male marathon finisher and the #1 wheelchair too (only wheelchair?).  I also saw a friend from high school run by!  Ha!  I finally crossed the finish line only a few minutes longer than the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half!  Not bad for not running all month!

The best thing about the finish line... They had ice cream sandwiches!  I couldn't figure out what I wanted after the race but this was exactly right.  They also had Rita's Water Ice, chicken broth, coffee, beer, water, solf pretzels, oranges, bananas, etc.  But the ice cream sandwich really hit the spot. 

About 10 minutes after finishing, the pain started.  This was not an easy race for me.  I was sore most of the race but nothing that would make me think I would get injured so I just kept going.  Today, my calves are killing me!  Oh, and I figured out why I was having problems sleeping, I had a shoulder cramp.  I get these bad knots in my shoulders sometimes and I had one all week!  It started spazming after the race and I had to have Rob rub it out.  It is much better now!

Overall, I'm really happy with the way the race turned out!  I was in a much better mindset yesterday too.  In Philly last month, I really didn't feel like racing.  Yesterday, I didn't either but I just kind of set my mind to it.  I was more whiney last month I guess.  I was just plowing through yesterday, accepting when I needed to walk and pushing myself to run when I knew the walking was just because I was being lazy!  I even ran the last mile completely because I knew I could.

Basically, this girl is back in business!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Atlantic City Marathon Expo

Just got home from the Atlantic City Marathon Expo and I have to say I was pretty happy!  It was the first time they've had an expo for the event and from the ones I've been to, it wasn't bad!  Especially for the first time!  Of course, I came home with lots of goodies.  It was the first time Rob went with me too.  He even got some insoles for his rugby cleats!  I think he understands now why I come home with bags of stuff!  LoL, Ok here we go!

(Oh I dressed all sporty for this expo because last time I didn't and Brooks was there checking your stride!  Doh!)

First up was Higher Grounds Coffee Company!  I know, coffee?  Well, every year they roast a special AC Marathon blend.  This year was an Acai blend.  We didn't try any but I tried the pumpkin spice and O.M.G.  I drank a whole cup... black.  Now, let me tell you I never drink black coffee.  Ever.  It was amazing!  We were bummed though because he didn't have any whole bean (we use a french-press).  Well, he took our names and is going to have a fresh roasted bag for us at the race on Sunday!  He said he'll even make customized labels.  He was saying that if you order some online as a gift, he will video record a personal message and record the roasting process of the actual coffee he said (they roast 1 lb at a time only so it has maximum freshness!)  Then they email that video to the person on the day that the coffee is mailed so they know they are getting it!  How cool!!  And I have to say I really loved this guy.  He seemed very passionate about his company and was just so overwhelming nice and awesome (he is bringing us special roasted coarse ground coffee on race day!!!).  Definitely check them out!!!  (Best part for me is that they are local!  Even better!)

Next stop was Try Chips.  They had samples of basically air dried fruits and oh wow was it good!  They are all natural and all about efficiently fueling your body with clean, healthy foods.  Typically I don't like air/freeze/etc dried fruits but this stuff was delicious.  It didn't have that strange space-food texture.  Best part is that each huge package is only 100 calories.  I bought a case of 13.  Ha! 

Next, we tried some ALO drink. (This guy asked me if I had business cards for my blog.  DOH!  On the to-do list...)  Anyway!  It is a drink based on the aloe plant obviously.  They say they use the inner leaf ("unlike other companies") for optimal nutrition.  My meak determination?  It tasted pretty darn good.  Only slightly sweet.  I only tried 2 different flavors and opted to just get 1 bottle of the original.  I don't drink juice too often so I didn't want a whole case.  This is definitely something I would like see hitting store shelves though!  They are apparently from California I think and are trying to spread in the South Jersey area right now.  Their website has a list of locations where the product is available in the SJ area.  FYI, I found it online for sale via google.  Amazon has outragious shipping for it but it is available at Vitamin Shoppe!  Definitely worth a try.  It might even be a decent workout drink (for the sugar and slight flavor).  I will have to investigate this...

Herbalife was also there with their 24:  Nutrition for the 24-Hour Athlete line.  I'm always wary of products like this but I do like using enhancement stuff for my running and workouts as long as its all natural, which this stuff is!  They had a sample of their hydration mix (electrolytes) and it was pretty good!  I tried asking questions but they weren't giving me very good answers.  I don't think they knew much about the products so I will have to look more at their website.  Anyway, if you like using supplements for workouts, this might be something you could look into, especially since its all natural (I will check that more in depth too!).  And what's even funnier is I had seen a FabFit friend post about them earlier today! 

This is the stand for our favorite local bike shop Beacon Cycling and Fitness.  Recently, they added a very large running section to appease the local athletes!  Their store isn't exactly cheap but they carry great products that cater to endurance runners.  Oh, and lots and lots of flavors of Gu (and they just got Honey Stinger products too!)  The guy I think even recognized us there.  Ha!

The Stick was probably my favorite thing at the whole expo.  I've heard great things about Tiger Tails but I never really was that impressed by them myself.  I never liked the foam.  The Stick is made out of plastic with a bunch of little sections.  It is flexible to bend around muscles.  They have multiple rigidities so you can buy one that suits you best (we got the stiff).  The guy selling them was just so animated and fun. I think he was just excited to chat with someone.  He even told me that he does a running club out in Philly and gave me the website so I could come out once in a while (SO EXCITED about that!)  So anyway, this thing is amazing.  I told Rob I don't need him any more.  I have a serious problem with shoulder knots and this thing works wonders.  It is really supposed to be used after endurance events to reduce delayed muscle soreness.  A lot of people say (who use these and tiger tails) that they don't have any soreness the next day.  I figured it was a good investment with marathon training coming up!  Or you know, just for a nice massage!

Then there was the token weird thing at the expo.  It was called C Prime.  Its a bracelet with an "antenna" in it as she called it.  Think of those commercials where the people get pulled on and they fall over and then magically when wearing the bracelet, they don't.  Well, this is apparently totally different "technology".  Rob and I are extremely skeptic but we played along (but we weren't easy on her at all!!!)  Anyway, Rob refused to try but I played along.  She had me just hold the bracelet in my one hand and a short pole in the other hand.  She pushed down on the pole and I had to resist.  Well, sadly, coming from a huge skeptic... I think there may have been a difference!  OMG I know!!!  Who is this??  But at $50 a pop, I did not purchase one... But I'm seriously thinking about putting it on my Christmas wish list!  She had a bunch of stuff she gave me.  It is supposed to help with overall fitness, not just "balance".  Have any of you ever tried this type of thing??  I'm really wondering if its just all in your head or now.  But She had me do it more than once (with and without the bracelet obviously) and I performed much better holding the thing than not...  Weird.

So that's pretty much all the interesting stuff I saw!  I got some new sneaks for serious marathon training.  Can't wait!

I have been wanting these running gloves with the mittens for over the fingers.  I also got some socks and lots of flyers for local races.  I am thinking about doing the Lung Cancer one and definitely going to do the 7K or 11K April Fool's Day Run (how funny is that!?).  There was a flyer for a triathlon too!  Exciting!!!  Anyway, had an awesome time at the expo.  It was on the smaller side but made up for it with quality booths!  I hope they keep it up next year too!

Weekend Plans and Goals

It is shaping up to be a fabulous weekend!  Tonight, I am excited to head over to Atlantic City for the race expo and packet pick up!  That's right!  Its race weekend!!  Then probably dinner out with Rob (since I'm sure we'll be short on time and famished).  Then hopefully home for some quiet time.

Tomorrow is a full day of Rugby in Lancaster, one of our favorite places.  We are going up early to stop at a little tiny Amish pie shop for some ShooFly Pie.  Yum!  Then its off to the Bards after the game as usual!

Sunday is the big race day!  My plan is to walk/run it and just finish.  Don't care about the time at all.  I haven't run since my last race, the Philly Rock and Roll Half!  The first weekend, I just skipped my run due to rain (I know, bad excuse!) and then I got sick and couldn't run!  What can I do?  Well, I can complete this weekend without getting hurt!  And then start up my running seriously again immediately.  A light run on Monday, even if I'm sore!  No excuses!!!

It is looking like it will be a great day for a run too!
Perfect running weather!!!!  I am pretty excited about this race.  I wasn't really a week or two ago but now I am.  I really like running the AC events, even if it nothing but boardwalk (but its ALL flat!).  Its funny because this weather calls for a light long sleeve shirt and I'm debating on wearing the same shirt I wore for the past 2 years for it!  HA!  I guess its that time of year for a light long sleeve?  LoL.  What do you think?  Or should I change it up?

Oh, and I will not be ordering the same thing I got at the Bards last time...  (Remember my boating experience?)  I'll get a pumpkin ale maybe but not the stew or the gelato...  We don't want any issues on race day!  It is always so tricky figuring out what to eat the day before a run.  You would think I would start tracking such things, especially me with all my graphs and charts and data!  This has always been one thing that's slipped by, the correlation between a good/bad workout and what I ate that day/day before.  Maybe a goal for next month?

(Old graphs and charts from old blogs - see I love data!!!)

Oh what's that?  I'm planning on making goals for next month?  That's right!  Angela is BACK!  And I'm going to be setting up a personal challenge for myself that anyone can participate in at any fitness level.  I will let you all know about it when it gets closer to November!  I hope some of you will join me!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stress Relief

You all know how busy I have been and you have to know that it of course leads to lots of stress.  A lot of things have happened this year to just really stress me out.  I didn't handle a lot of it well but I've been moving along, doing what I can. 

This week has lead to lots of good news.  Midterms are done and I did really well!  School is really starting to pick up and I love it actually.  We are having seminars in interesting topics.  I'm hoping to soon find a research adviser too.  There are a few other things too but I would prefer to keep them private but they are all good things!

But basically, I'm a happy camper this week!  (Despite being tired and a little cranky today, lol).   Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

She's Alive!

I know, I skip one day of blogging and I feel like its been a month.  LoL!  I just get so excited every day to write that I feel like I'm lost without it!  Anyway!!!

What is there to say really?  I feel squishy.  Yep, you read that right.  Squishy.  I haven't worked out in FOREVER!  This cold is still lingering.  I think it has a lot to do with that fact that I am dehydrated.  Of course, today at school, they are out of water for the water cooler (and remember my Water Snob post?).  I guess I'll have to hunt down a vending machine later!

But the point is, I'm working on my water.  Right now, I just have this annoying sniffle that won't go away and a little cough.  The good news is that I am in decent shape to do my half marathon weekend!  At least when it comes to the cold.

My legs might disagree.  I am really worried about how far I can make it in this race.  It will have been 4 weeks since my last long run.  That is a LONG time!  The last one, my legs killed the last 2 miles but then again, I started off hard since I was trying to keep up with someone else.  This time, I will be on my own completely so I can set my own pace at the start.  I am thinking that I will do an easy jog to each water station and then walk through the water station.  That way I have regular walking breaks.  I can totally complete the miles, even if its all walking!  And I am excited to take part for the 3rd consecutive year!

Anyway, on to other news, I picked my Marathon Training plan!  Sort of...  You all knew I would end up doing my own thing, right?  Cause I'm predictable like that!  Anyway, I did lay out Hal Higdon's Marathon 3 plan on my google calendar as a guideline.  I will follow the rules I laid out in my other blog (First Marathon, Help!).   Here is the basic outline again:
  • Monday:  Strength/Cross Train
  • Tuesday:  Medium Length Run
  • Wednesday:  Strength/Cross Train (or rest)
  • Thursday:  Speedwork
  • Friday:  Rest day
  • Saturday:  Long Run
  • Sunday:  2-3 miles (or rest)
I got some other really great advice from my wonderful friends that I will keep in mind throughout the training too!  Next up is to figure out how I'm going to fuel my body through all of this.  I know how to eat properly but I also want to make sure I'm eating enough/not too much.  I don't want to gain that 5lbs that every marathoner seems to gain.  Just because I run doesn't mean I get to eat whatever I want!  Anyway, I really want a plan too because my eating has been way off where it should be.  I don't know yet if I'm going to worry about macronutrients (how many carbs? how much protein??  what about fat?!)  because it gets overwhelming!  But having a plan keeps me in line!

So there are my random thoughts for today.  I must go because its still midterms week!  I have one more take home midterm due tomorrow and then I'm done (and then the homework starts again anyway!)  Let's hope this weekend is light on homework because I am REALLY busy again.  Surprised?  Me neither!  LoL!  Have a good Tuesday!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekend Excitement: No Rest Again!

Wow it was yet another crazy weekend!  I don't know how to be mellow I guess.  LoL!

Friday, I was just itching to get out of the house.  I had had a long week and really just wanted a night out with Rob.  We decided to head down to the outlets to look for new cleats for him and running pants for me.  Rob wasn't successful but I got some new running gear.  I really want to go back and get this shirt.  I did get myself some really nice running tights from Under Armor.  They had the best options and I am really going to need them this winter!

After that, we decided to head to Tun Tavern for dinner since its right next to the outlets.  The food was ok but the beer was excellent.  I got apple stout and loved it!  It is seasonal so we got a growler of it to take home.  Yum!

Saturday was again a bit crazy.  I had to get (more) gifts for my friend Callista's baby shower.  Usually I am on top of these things but it snuck up on me!  I headed out and got back home to wrap them.  I had enough time to head over to the Irish festival with Rob for a bit (he was there with his rugby buddies selling shirts and recruiting). 

Then it was off to the baby shower and wish Callista well.  She is just the cutest pregnant woman ever.  She is only 5 months along but she is still tiny.  She looks lovely!  It was a nice party!

 I went back to the Irish fest for a bit to walk around with Rob.  We went to my two favorite shops (Historic Smithville is like a little old fashioned shopping area).  I got some good things!

Dutch Chocolate Coffee
Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Granulated Honey
Hawaiian Sea Salt
Horseradish Cheddar

We finally got home exhausted but went out to eat with Jess.  See, we go nonstop!  Finally, we got home, relaxed for a bit and crashed.

Today has been spent cleaning, cooking, and doing midterms.  I have two take home midterms due tomorrow.  I worked on them and whenever I needed a break, I did something around the house so it worked out well!  I started my day off with a nice hot cup of "pumpkin latte" coffee.  Pretty good!  But a lot of the pumpkin settled on the bottom.  I also tried my first version of savory oatmeal.

It was really good!  I loved the flavor.  I made my usual oatmeal but without the milk.  I used a little less water but I think next time I need to use the whole amount.  Anyway, I made an egg over-easy.  I added some tomatoes to the oatmeal, pepper, and olive oil.  I then topped it with the eggs, some of the horseradish cheddar and a sprinkle of the Hawaiian salt.  It was DELICIOUS!!!  The oatmeal still had a "this should be sweet" flavor but I will definitely do this again, especially since I'm trying to cut down on my fruit addiction.  LoL.  I can't wait to have it again tomorrow!

Anyway, we had quite a few things going on today.  Rob decided to bake up a storm because we had like 6 dozen eggs in the refrigerator.  Time to get cookin!  The first task was homemade pasta.  I convinced Rob to make Butternut Squash Ravioli.  We found recipes in my two cooking-from-scratch type cookbooks and got started.  We both worked on them together.

They were pretty good!  The pasta was a little too thick though but we don't have a pasta machine so I had to roll it out by hand.  I did the best I could!  They were still pretty darn good!

Next up was Angel Food Cake.  First, we had to make "medium peaks" with the egg whites... without a hand mixer.  You heard me right, we whipped up egg whites for about 45 minutes, taking turns between Rob and I, to get a nice meringue going!  I'm counting it as an upper body workout for today.  LoL

We didn't have cake flour so we used whole wheat.  We also didn't bake it quite long enough so it came out kind of strange.  It tastes really good though.  Its more moist than angel food usually is.  Still tasty! 

Now, I'm just relaxing with a glass of the apple stout (even better out of the growler!!!).  In other news, I'm feeling a lot better but I still have a lingering part of the cold.  I stopped taking the medicine I was using and I think that actually helped.  Tomorrow, I really need to work on getting in all my water.  I have been bad about that and I can feel it.

My eating was much better this weekend.  We ate out but I really felt like I controlled myself.  I didn't go crazy at any point and didn't have any ice cream (which was an issue last week because its in my freezer!  How did that get there?)  I think feeling better from the cold helps a lot.  When I am sick, I get pouty and cranky which leads to a lot of splurging!

Hopefully I can go for a little run tomorrow and see how it goes.  I think there will be a lot of sniffling and maybe some minor coughing but nothing terrible.  Half marathon is next weekend!

To end, some pictures of the cute kitties.  They were just being adorable today and the lighting was great in the apartment for photos!

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