Hiking in January

Howdy Ho! How’s your weekend going? If you’re in the south you’ve probably been enjoying our *almost* 70 degree weather here, like we did.

We got up this morning and packed a backpack to go hiking at Hanging Rock State Park! It’s only an hour away, so we took advantage of the weather and got to explore an area we’ve been meaning to visit for a while now.

It was pretty obvious when we started getting closer to the park, winding roads and our ears needed to pop. It was a pretty drive though and couldn’t wait to get on the mountain!

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Since we’d never been to this state park before, we stopped at the visitor’s center for a map. Someone was ready to go!

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But we made him wait in the car while we planned our route.

Then it was time to start hiking!

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We followed the Moore’s Wall Loop.

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It was so fun! We stopped and let Owen drink and play in the streams along the way and we posed for some pictures ourselves.

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We kept meandering along until we spotted a monkey..

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Apparently they’re not all that common in North Carolina. Who knew?

After more hiking and picture taking, we were almost to the top!

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Owen enjoyed being off the leash and able to run ahead of us until we caught up. Just making sure the path was clear!  Pack leader for sure.

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He even found a stick as wide as the trail, which he ended up clearing us both out of the way in order to get by with it!

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After about 1.5 hours, we made it to the top!

What a sight it was…

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We stopped and had some trail mix that I made this morning before running out the door and Owen had some doggie treats and water while we took in the view.

So peaceful and amazing that a view like this is only an hour away from everyday life!

Can you believe that while we were up there, we met a guy that is from the same town we grew up in from Indiana?! Small world.

There was a nice couple also enjoying the view that offered to take a picture for us. Too bad my devil horns are showing. Can you find Owen?

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Then, of course, I had to proclaim my love for North Carolina.

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I love you THIIIIIIIS MUCH! (and then some)

Finally, we made our way back down the mountain, still with plenty of beautiful nature scenes to take in.

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Balancing Rocks

Another stream for Owen to play in.

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We weren’t far from the bottom after that, but man was that descent tough! My quads are going to be screamin’ tomorrow!

Once we made it back to the car and started the drive home, we had a pretty tired pup on our hands.

Awkward sleeping position..

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Just checking to see if we’re there by chance?

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In that case, I’m out.

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The whole hike took about 2.5 hours, not including our time at the top of the mountain where we rested and ate. Brandon brought along his Garmin watch to track our hike. Here’s what it looked like..

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It felt good to be working hard again. We definitely worked up a sweat going up that mountain! Can’t wait to get back in the gym tomorrow and this week; doctor said I can still do elliptical and other exercise as long as nothing hurts.

Now it’s time for a night of relaxation with wine, a movie, and my boys!

Owen’s asleep on his bone as we speak..

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How did you enjoy this beautiful Saturday?

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Running and Chia Pets

I have really missed running outside. Since the average highs in NC are at least 90 degrees on a daily basis, my weekday runs have been moved inside to the treadmill. I got spoiled training in the spring with the nice weather!

Today was different. I came into work later for a speaking engagement, so I got to run in the morning. I even got to watch some of the Today Show with my cereal and chia seeds.  My alarm went off at 6:09am and I was out the door by 6:30 for a solid 3 miles. (Obviously I’m still in the baby stages of training.)

I ran without headphones so I could take advantage of the quiet morning. It was so peaceful and calm; all I could hear were chirping birds waking up and the occasional buzz of a bug. (Speaking of bugs, I’m pretty sure I inhaled one within the first 5 minutes. I do hate running with bugs. Not the first time that’s happened though and certainly won’t be the last.)  I waved at other runners and people walking their dog, and really enjoyed the “me” time so early in the day. I wish I could always get up and run outside before work, but it’s dark outside when I would have to get up.

That humidity is still slowing me down. It was something like 28 minutes for 3 miles. A full 3-4 minutes slower than normal. I’m not too upset about it though, it was just a run and not a pace run, so it’s probably for the better.

On Sunday I took a trip to T.J. Maxx and found this sports bra normally priced at $32 for a mere $12.99. It feels great, it was a great deal, and it’s pretty. What more could a girl want?!

I have been thinking about my diet a lot lately and realized that while I get a lot of nutrients from many food sources, one major thing that I am missing is Omega-3’s. With all the joint work I do, no wonder I’ve had pain. I don’t eat salmon or any other fatty fish twice a week (as recommended) nor do I take fish oil supplements because I believe in getting nutrients from food first. I have been eating more soybeans lately, but one serving of those only equal about 55% of your daily value of Omega-3’s. I’m not a big fan of walnuts on a daily basis, so that left me with flaxseed.

Flaxseed is more easily absorbed when it’s ground, but keeping it fresh is hard to do because it goes rancid pretty quickly due to the fat in them. Keeping ground flax in an opaque container and refrigerated is how to extend its shelf life. I bought the whole flaxseed thinking I would just grind them up in my food processor to add to my food. Wrong. The seeds are too tiny to be crushed in a big machine. I don’t want to buy a coffee grinder and I don’t have a mortar and petal.

So what’s a girl to do? Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Yep, your Chia pets were growing a TON of nutrients for you and you didn’t even know it. 

I have been looking at the major differences in chia seeds vs. flax and the benefits are pretty similar. Chia seeds have less of a nutty flavor so they are easier to hide in food without altering the taste, but they don’t have ALL of the minerals that flaxseeds do. They are however, a great source of omega-3’s (a little higher than ground flaxseed) and you only need 1 tablespoon for the benefits instead of 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds. They also have a bit more fiber than flaxseeds. I’ve been putting them in my green tea, my yogurt, cereal, and oatmeal for the added benefit. When they are in a liquid they gelatinize, so when they are in our stomachs, they expand to make us feel fuller, longer. It’s a pretty great super food! I think after I’m through with this bag though, I will switch to flaxseed. I get pretty full after eating them and I don’t really like the texture to chew them up. They can be kind of messy if they spill, too.  I will have to try out the bag of ground flax instead of whole flaxseeds before I can be a true judge.

It’s Bark in the Park tonight, so we’re off to take Owen to another baseball game! Below is Greensboro’s “Bat Dog,” Babe Ruth. Watch him in action!

How do you get Omega-3’s in your diet? Have you tried Chia or Flax seeds before?