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Every time I have an upcoming trip for work, I plan out how I am going to keep it as healthy and close to my normal routine as possible – I pack my work out clothes, plan out where I’m going to run and what I’m going to do for resistance training, I vow to drink plenty of water and eat only the healthiest things off the menu at restaurants.  I plan on steering clear of alcohol and catch up on some much-needed sleep that I don’t get at home.  Well, I can tell you that never happens.

When I travel for work (I am the Vice President and an account executive for Elite Tradeshow Services; we install and dismantle trade show exhibits and corporate events all over North America) I am on show site at a convention center ensuring my clients are happy and that their very expensive trade show booth is setting up properly; by the time the day ends I am usually totally drained and I usually get invited for a drink after my work is done then dinner usually gets planned for 7:00 or 8:00PM which gives me little time to get ready and make it to dinner on time.  I go to dinner and end up choosing the not so great for me option, stay out too late and indulge in a few alcoholic beverages and work starts at 8:00AM the next day.  In my line of work it’s fairly unrealistic that I will be able to completely keep up with my normal clean eating and healthy lifestyle so I came up with a few tips to at least keep it as healthy as I possibly can while still doing my job and being social and heck, having a little bit of fun that I never do at home.

Walk as much as possible!  While I might not have got my runs in while I was in Vegas over the weekend, I walked to and from the convention center from my hotel every single day.  The walk took about 30 minutes, plus I walk all day long at the convention center so I got many miles of walking in.  It really is very easy to walk a lot in Vegas.  You see the place you are going to and say “look, it’s not that far away” then walk to it and before you know it you’ve logged in a good 30-45 minutes of walking.  That sure is better than taking a cab plus you end up saving a ton of money by skipping those super expensive cab rides.  In many Vegas hotels, you have to pay to use the fitness facility so if it’s not included in the room rate I’d suggest a lot of walking, running outside (if time allows), bringing resistance bands and doing exercises that use body weight like push-ups.

Drink plenty of water!  I drink on average, about 5-6 liters of water every day.  I love water, I need water and it’s not hard for me to do.  Drinking water all day long hydrates you and keeps you from drinking high calorie/sugary drinks.  Why not commit to this one rule?  During the day, only drink water and maybe a cup of coffee in the morning.  You can save the alcohol for the night-time.  Drinking water all day can also help prevent the nasty hangover if you choose to indulge in a few cocktails later on because you will go in to it totally hydrated.

Choose your alcoholic beverages wisely!  If you are going to drink alcohol, be sure you are choosing simple beverages mixed with water as opposed to high sugar juices and soda.  Whatever you do, DO NOT order up margaritas or Pina Coladas!!!  1 frozen margarita can cost you 800 calories, and who has only 1 margarita?  If you want a cocktail try to choose a clear alcohol, like vodka, with water or soda water with a lemon or lime, if that’s too much, try it with a “splash” of juice or coke.  There is no healthy way to booze it up and alcohol is all 100% empty calories that do you no good at all but you can always make the better choice.  Also, try drinking a glass or bottle of water along with every single drink you have.  Sticking with beer or wine is a much better choice that sugary/high calorie cocktails as well.  We all deserve to indulge and have fun every now and again but don’t make it a regular thing.

Look for healthier options when dining out in restaurants!  I find it very exciting to go to a new city and trying the local cuisine and local restaurants.  I am a total foodie, I like almost everything and I’m always up for trying something new however I always try not to get too out of control when ordering off the menu.  I generally don’t order salads (I’m an athlete and I require meals much more filling) but I also will try to order something off the healthier section of the menu.  I will always stay away from the fried food!  I am a big fan of Mexican food and while in Vegas this past weekend I went to El Segundo Sol at the Fashion Show Mall and it was delicious.  I ordered some fresh salsa, tableside guacamole and chicken fajitas with corn tortillas instead of flour (making that switch can save you at least a good 50 calories per tortilla) and I didn’t use the cheese or sour cream.  It wasn’t the healthiest option on the strip, but I still went to a place that I knew I could make the best of what I was eating.  For breakfast, I ordered oatmeal with fresh fruit from the room service menu with tea.  Breakfast is easy to keep healthy and you’re generally not eating that meal in a social setting.

Lastly, if there is something that you really want and it’s something you can’t get anywhere else – just get it!  You need to indulge every now and again and I think the perfect time to indulge is when you are out-of-town.  You’re out of your normal routine to begin with so it’s not like this is going to become a habit.  I have to admit that I had In and Out Burger when I was in Vegas and it was delicious!  I haven’t had it in 2 years so I just went for it.  My craving was gone and I was ready to snack on a banana later and eat something healthy for dinner.  I would just suggest only eating something like that for one of your meals during your trip.  You don’t want to totally indulge for every meal every day.

My tips are realistic and easy to follow.  It’s next to impossible for me to mimic what I do at home when I’m traveling for work so I just try to work with what the situation is and make the best of it.  I will have a good week to detox and get totally back on track but I can go home knowing that I didn’t completely derail my fitness goals.

XOXO The Glam Runner

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Anyone who considers themselves a runner has had this question asked of them at least once…”why do you run”? Followed by, “it’s so boring”, “you’re going to ruin your knees”,” that can’t be good for your body” etc. The truth is, running is not only one of the best exercises for your heart and cardiovascular system but it’s the fastest, most effective way to burn calories and lose weight! Running is hard. Running is hard on your body, it tests your endurance and it tests your mind. Believe it or not running is a very mental activity; more times than not, your mind will give out before your legs. Sometimes when I’m exhausted and running a 5 miler I literally can’t get through that last mile but then the next day I could run 15 miles no problem. It’s a mind game and you have to learn to overcome it with positive thoughts.

I recently shared my story as to why I run on Keri’s Runway (www.kerisrunway.com a fun supportive and inspiring website for runners, fitness enthusiasts and fashionistas); I also wanted to share it in my blog. I started working out about 9 years ago when I moved to Orlando from Chicago. I didn’t know anyone or have anything to do so I joined a gym and really got in to fitness and I’ve been a fitness enthusiast ever since. I worked out with a personal trainer for a long time; I was in to lifting weights at the time with a little bit of elliptical and a spin class once per week for cardio. My fitness goals were very unhealthy and superficial. I was only worried about being skinny and having “abs of steal”. I worked out like crazy always comparing myself to unrealistic airbrushed women and feeling like I failed at my fitness goals miserably. I would cut back on carbs, feel weak then binge later and feel even worse about myself than I did before. I started adding in more cardio and started running on the treadmill for about 30 minutes every other day. It was uncomfortable and painful but I still did it. This whole cycle of me working out like a crazy person and not meeting my “fitness goals” went on for years until around New Year’s Resolution time going in to 2009 I decided to sign up for the 2009 Disney Princess Half Marathon. I had friends who had run half marathons and I liked the idea of taking 3 months to train then actually do something.

I started training and my long runs were painful! Every Sunday I’d do my long runs, increase mileage and be more sore than I can ever remember feeling. I trained for 3 whole months, ran the 2009 Disney Princess Half Marathon and finished in 2 hours 3 minutes! I LOVED it! I was hooked – I started looking for the next one which was the 2009 Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (1:54:23) then the 2009 Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (1:47:04) with a few 5Ks in between. My time improved every time and I felt so accomplished every time I crossed that finish line – something I’ve never felt before with my previous fitness goals. I ran the 2010 Disney full Marathon, 2010 Disney Princess Half Marathon, 2010 Minneapolis full Marathon, 2010 Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, 2010 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon with some 5Ks and 10Ks in between until I took a year off to have my son. My previous PR in a half marathon (my favorite distance to run) was the 2010 Disney Princess Half Marathon: 1:44:55. I won 1st in my age group in a 10K and always placed in the to 10 in every single 5K I had ever done. As I said, I felt so accomplished! I was actually good at running – who knew?

My first race back after having my son was the 2011 Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K. Training for that race felt like training for my first half marathon – I was also 15 pounds overweight and completely out of shape while training for that one. I ended up finishing in 1:24:27 and I felt great after the race! My time was nowhere near what I could do but great for my first race in over a year and being overweight. I couldn’t wait until my next race – the Orlando OUC Half Marathon – I finished in 1:54:38 which was right around my previous average time. I was back – but not quite. The holiday got to me and my training slacked for the 2012 Disney World Half Marathon, I finished with my worst time on record. I was so upset with myself and I got that old sense of failure again. It was a horrible feeling and I decided to kick it up, drop my weight for good and train hard for the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon. I lost the weight by then and finished that one in 1:47:42 which was my 3rd best half marathon time ever. I officially felt like I was back and ended up qualifying for the Half Marathon Fanatics for completing 3 half marathons within 90 days. Since then I ran a 10K, four 5Ks a 10 miler, a 15K and 4 half marathons! I met my goal of running a half marathon in the 1 hour 30 minute range – I finished the 2012 First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon in 1:39:41 which got me 3rd place in my age group and is still my PR so far! In all the smaller local races (5, 10 and 15Ks) I have never placed lower than 7th on my age group and even won 1st in my age group in the Run for the Trees 5K. I would say my running goals are going well even though I still get angry when I don’t PR – it’s just the determination in me.

I have a number of races left in 2012 and I just started training for speed by adding Tempo runs and repeat days 2 weeks ago. I have more running goals in mind and I am having so much fun working towards them. If I did that well without speed training in the past, what am I capable of now? Placing overall in a 5K? Place in another larger half marathon? Qualify to run Boston? The possibilities are limitless!

The reason why I run is because I’m working towards a positive, healthy non superficial fitness goal. It’s good for my heart, good for my body and soul. I love running! No matter what you choose to do for fitness, make sure it is positive and healthy and don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know where your talents may lie.

XOXO The Glam Runner