Zooma Texas & Disney!

I just have a few things to mention before the end of the year πŸ™‚

  1. Just a reminder: I’m a Zooma Texas race ambassador and would love for you to join me April 12th at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort for the Zooma Texas half marathon, 10K or 5K! Prices increase starting January 25th so sign up today! Also, you can use TXAMB1 to get 10% any race. I ran Zooma Cape Cod this September and had a BLAST! Consider making it an awesome girls weekend!
  1. Check out that race bling!
  2. Those of you that have been around A Balancing Act for a while know that every year I go to Disney in February to run the Disney Princess half marathon. Well this year, one of my closest friends, Julie, is running for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. It’s such a great cause and I couldn’t help but post and ask anyone who can to donate! She’s 2/3 of the way there and only needs $100 more dollars. So if you can, share $5-$10 to support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals! I couldn’t help but to promote a great cause that’s also tied to running!

That’s Julie, Alison and I in the picture on the left! We’re all running again this year!

Okay that’s all! Happy New Year!

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2013: A Year in Review

2013 has had it’s ups and downs for sure. It’s been a year of growth and change for me to say the least! Here’s a glimpse at this past year with a few of my favorite pictures and some of my favorite times!
We rung in the new year with the best of friends. I ran my first marathon. Celebrated my second blogiversary. Traveled to Colorado to see amazing friends and a pretty cool little brother.

I ran my first color run! Ran the Rhythm & Blues Half Marathon on a whim. Tried to help my tummy get better by changing my diet. I went to Disney World! And Harry Potter World πŸ™‚
We celebrated my dad’s birthday with a bang! The Pope was chosen. We went to the rodeo…a few times. JP and I ran up in Dallas and got to see my seester in love!

April was the month of celebration! We celebrated Easter with my family. Our 3rd wedding anniversary. Amber’s bachelorette party! And we started trying to figure out what was really wrong with my tummy.

I visited Julie in San Antonio for the last time before she moved to Orlando. I started hinting at the idea of a career change. Spent a girls weekend in Austin with my mom & seester. Ran a 5K with two best friends and a blog friend! Celebrated my husband’s 27th birthday
Charlotte moved to Texas! We cheered on America with a 5K, swimming and grilling out. Floated the river & went to Schlitterbahn. Emily turned 23. A few mimosas were had at the Houston Bridal Extravaganza.

Moose officially became a member of the family. We celebrated Kate’s 23rd birthday and the start of Aggie football in College Station. I quit my job to become a full time fitness professional. Went to Dallas for a fitness convention!

We kicked off Aggie Football Season. Celebrated Chris & Caryn’s wedding in Houston. More and more Aggie football. I passed the NASM CPT exam. Ran a half marathon PR on my birthday in Cape Cod. Explored Boston with my best friends and met another blog friend!

I started getting serious about marathon training and started The Long Run series. Went to even more Aggie football games. Ran the Houston Half with JP and my two best running buds! I got sick and made my poor dog be a banana.

I was very sick & spent the last home game in College Station on the couch. Went bridesmaid dress shopping for Chandra’s wedding. Maggie turned 3. I met JP in Calgary while he was on a work trip! John & Kelsey got married. We spent Thanksgiving in NYC with Nikki & Cliff!
I started a new job as a fitness specialist & trainer that I love! PR’ed the FLS 30K with Chandra. Celebrated the Christmas season with friends and family. Spent Christmas Eve & morning with the Timmers. Spent Christmas day & the day after with the Gouglers. We said good bye to our sweet Dixie dog.

We’re going to end this year the same we be brought it in. With our best friends πŸ™‚ 
Of course, not everything is butterflies and rainbows. Like I said, 2013 was a year of growth and change for me but it wasn’t always happy. I had so many happy moments along with some struggles. I believe those struggles are what make us stronger and will help us to develop year on year. I am thankful for everything that has happened to me this year: the good, the bad and the ugly. Everything happens for a reason and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my family in 2014!
Happy New Year’s Eve Y’all!

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The Long Run: A Year of Racing

Happy Monday y’all! I can’t believe it’s the last week of December/first week of January. One more work day for me this year! This past year has been quite the busy one. That may be a severe understatement. I guess I’m just not good at being too lazy, so busy it is! This year has actually been my busiest and most accomplished year in racing yet, so I thought I’d share with y’all my thoughts, tips and of course, some pictures!

Chevron Houston Marathon

  • Training for a marathon is HARD work, but worth it in the end.
  • Do your training runs even when it’s raining {not storming, just raining}, it will help you if race day decides to be less than ideal.
  • Run with friends. Find someone who runs your pace and train with them. Running with others is great for support, hearing awesome stories and having others see you at your worst.

Color in Motion 5K
Rhythm & Blues Half Marathon
Disney Princess Half Marathon

  • Color runs are fun. Just that. Don’t try to run fast. Just enjoy yourself and try not to breathe in the color powder. If you do one, let me know how long your boogers stay discolored.
  • In February, the weather in Houston can really SUCK for running. 100% humidity and over 70 degrees…no bueno.
  • If you ever get the opportunity to do a race at Disney, go for it! They’re truly magical. Take pictures with characters, dress up and don’t try to get a new PR. 

Dallas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon

  • Come prepared for before the race. If you know it’s going to be cold and windy, pack an extra throw away jacket to wear. You’ll be miserable if you don’t.
  • Being miserable before the race doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to race poorly. You may surprise yourself and appreciate the cold and wind later on!

Esprit de She 5K

  • Running short races in the humidity is good for you. Learn to race in poor conditions and 5K’s aren’t a bad way to start.
  • Smiling for the cameras can sometimes turn into a good thing. Aka the race may use you as their race face. I’m famous πŸ™‚ jk…kind of.

Run Wild 5K

  • Hot, summer fun runs are just that. They’re hot. They’re during the summer. And they’re just for fun. Enjoy yourself and don’t try to get a new PR…not in July is Houston at least!
  • Fun runs are much better when running with one of your best friends…and husband too {not pictured, but being an excellent photog!}

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer 5K

  • See tips above πŸ™‚ Friends…fun…hot…

Alaina Dixon 5 Miler
Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon

  • Getting a half marathon PR on your birthday is 10x better than on any normal day. Especially when it’s been 2 years since your last PR!
  • If you get the chance to run a race on your birthday, do it! Don’t forget the tiara and sash!
  • Running in the northeast is awesome. If I’m there with you, you’ll probably have ideal weather conditions and sunshine because that’s what happened to me in Philly 2011 and Cape Cod 2013. 

Houston Half

  • Again, train in the rain, it’ll help when you race in the rain. Twice in one year. Bleh.
  • Your friends will be the reason you race in the rain. Especially when your husband is trying to convince y’all that you need to just go home and get back in bed when the race is postponed. Don’t listen to him and make him run πŸ™‚
  • Don’t run in the rain if you think you’re getting sick though. You’ll probably end up sick because distance running already decreases your immune system’s defenses.

FLS Sugar Land 30K

  • Ideal race conditions can turn the most horrible race of 2012 into one of your best of 2013.
  • Racing longer than a half marathon is killer on your joints. All. That. Concrete.
  • Finishing at your goal marathon race pace is a total confidence booster. Especially when you know you’ll have your running girls by your side. Bring it on Chevron Houston 2014…January 19th!

That’s a grand total of 127.7 race miles in 2013…not too shabby if I do say so myself!

What races did you run in 2013? What was your race mileage?
What race are you aiming for in 2014?

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My Dixie Doodle

Hey y’all! I hope everyone had a very wonderful Christmas! It’s safe to say that I was very spoiled this year. Not only with gifts, but with love and family time. It wonderful how much more our time together means these days and Christmastime is the best time to share with family πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, despite all of happiness and cheer, my family had to deal with the loss of a much loved family member…our 12 year old golden retriever, Dixie. She was such an important member of the Timmer family and my heart hurts so bad now that she is gone. Luckily, we were able to have her on Christmas which will forever make this one so much more special.

Yesterday, she was diagnosed with lymphoma and my parents knew what they had to do. I’m just glad that she is not suffering and I know she’s eating all the treats in Doggie Heaven and looking down on us now.

She was the sweetest dog in the whole world.
Her favorite things to do were:
Riding in the car
Following my dad everywhere he went
Being in the same room as the rest of the family
Making people pet her

She was so smart and knew just how to get her way, how to open and close the door and how to keep cool in the nasty Houston heat!

While Maggie and Moose often got on her nerves and she would put them in their place when they were being bad, I know how much she loved when they came over. I like to think they helped keep her youthful a little longer. She would run and play until they bothered her…then the scolding would begin. She had to be an old, crotchety lady sometimes πŸ™‚
Most importantly, this year’s Christmas card will be so special because we captured a great shot of all the Timmer kids πŸ™‚ Despite the sadness in my heart, this picture will forever make me smile.
The Timmers lost one of their best friends this week πŸ™
We love you and miss you Dixie Doodle.

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The 12 Days of Christmas Workout

Guess what? This weekend, I successfully relaxed, did very little and took no pictures. It was pretty amazing I must say. Clearly that means I have no reason for any sort of weekend recap because y’all would be pretty uninterested. So in honor of Christmas Eve Eve, I have another workout for y’all to try before Christmas!

Here’s a little motivation for your Monday morning! I introduce to you, the 12 Days of Christmas Workout! A few of the other trainers and I made it up at work the other day and I just had to share. Scroll down for more info on each of the exercises!

Perform each exercise the number of times indicated below. Repeat 2-3 rounds for a total body workout.

1. Using hand weights, perform a burpee {including the push up} and once to your feet, extend your arms to an overhead press.
2. From the floor, jump onto a box/step/other structurally sound elevated object
3. Pulse 10 times in 3 different squat positions: feet together, feet shoulder width apart and feet wide. Repeat for a total of 3 rounds.
4. Frontal Raise, Lateral Raise, V-Raise, Bicep Curl. Repeat 4 times.
5. Using hand weights perform a single arm side row. Perform 5 on each side.
6. Lunge forward, lunge to the side, courtsey lunge back. Repeat 6 times of each side.
7. Start in plank position. Bring knee forward towards opposite elbow. Repeat on other side until each side has been performed 7 times.
8. Start in plank position on your hands. Lower to your elbows one arm at a time. Come back to hands one arm at a time. That is one. Complete 8 total.
9. Pretty self explanatory πŸ™‚
10. See here.
11. Squat low, upon standing lift your knee to opposite elbow. Repeat 11 times.
12. Alternating splint jumps. See here.

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment! Let me know if you give the workout a try. It’s on my to do list for today! Merry Christmas Eve Eve y’all!


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Top 5 Moments of the Week Before Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house…
All the Gouglers we’re stirring…
Yeah, I’ve got nothing else…

So here are my top five moments from this week!

Sunday: Finishing the FLS 30K 10 minutes faster than last year!

Tuesday: Cookie decorating with Chandra and Melanie!

Wednesday: Charlotte’s Christmas with the Timmer’s at my house!

Thursday: Being interviewed by Channel 11 about the A&E/Duck Dynasty controversy

Christmas Jammie snuggles with my seesters while watching Despicable Me 2

Now have a wonderful weekend before Christmas y’all!

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Just call me Santa…giveaway winners & a workout

Happy Thursday y’all! It’s officially less than a week until Christmas and I’ve had quite the Christmasy week this week! Cookie decorating Tuesday, Christmas with Charlotte Wednesday and today I’m going to play Santa! Here are the winner’s from my Rodan + Fields giveaway! And the winners are…

Grand Prize: Gentle Cream Wash
Comment #8: Amber @ Brunch with Amber!

Additional Prizes: Microdermabrasion Paste Samples
Comment #6: Meghan @ Little Girl in the Big World
Comment #2: Erin @ Love, Fun and Football
Comment #10: Tami @ Leap of Faith
Comment #11: Shane @ Whispering Sweet Nothings
{Tami, if you see this, please comment with your e-mail address or send me an e-mail!}

Thanks so much to everyone who entered! I hope you enjoy the product and don’t forget to reach out to me if you’re interested in ordering anything. I’m hoping to have more giveaways in the future either on the blog or possibly Facebook so stay tuned! I’ll send all the winners an e-mail today!

I’m also going to give y’all a solid workout. It’s intense, but you can do it at your own pace. I taught this at the gym yesterday in our Strength Zone class and it was a hit…well…it was a hit after they were done!

Now get to it y’all, just 6 days until Christmas and I know you’ve already been eating those cookies! {shhhh…I have too!} Let me know if you survive!

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FLS Sugar Land 30K Race Recap

This past Sunday, Chandra and I ran the Finish Line Sports 30K in Sugar Land…my home town! Whoop! Those of you that have been around for a while may remember that last year I wrote about my worst race ever. Well this was it. Last year it was a warm, humid 70 degrees at the starting line. Did I mention the race begins at 6:30am before the sun comes up?! This year it was a cold 33 degrees. While it was less than pleasant waiting around for the race to begin, it was excellent for running!
The FLS 30K is a 3-loop course that starts in Sugar Land Town Center. You head out a few miles to get to the loops, then it’s three 4 mile loops followed by 2 miles to get back to Town Center for the finish! JP and my dad came out to support us {yeah, best guys ever to come out in the freezing cold early on a Sunday morning!}, so we got some pretty sweet pictures and they were able to catch us a few times.
The first bit and the first loop went by very quickly. We saw JP and Dad just before the mile 8 marker and were quickly shedding our outer jackets and throwing them to the guys for safe keeping.

The second loop was still pretty easy. We did a great job at pacing ourselves and starting slow, so we picked up the pace this loop and were able to maintain a 8:55-9:10 min/mile for the remainder of the race. The second loop is also when we got lapped by pretty much all of the fast runners. Nothing like knowing they’re on their final lap when we were still trudging through our second one πŸ™‚

The third loops we were still going strong. We saw Dad and JP just after mile 16 and JP ran with us for a bit to keep our spirits up. Chandra and I both agreed that the first 16 miles went by pretty quickly and really weren’t too bad. We were done with the loops and felt like we should be practically done with the race. Wrong. Just wrong. We still had two miles to go, which we realized. However, we did not anticipate them being the longest two miles in all of eternity. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it still felt like forever. 

Luckily with about a mile to go, we saw JP and Dad drive by as they were heading to the finish line. Nothing like seeing your fan club to brighten your spirits!

As we were nearing the finish, my hip started hurting pretty bad. I suppose pounding your legs on nothing but concrete for over two hours will do that to you. I was trying so hard to go faster and my body wouldn’t move. Poor Chandra was trying to be motivating and said we needed to pass this girl in front of us. In the whiniest voice imaginable, half in tear I said, β€œChandra I just can’t go any faster!!!” It was pathetic. We still passed that girl despite the fact that I was being the biggest brat. I was in pain and wanted to be done. A few moments later, we finished in 2:50:45!

We finished 17 and 18th in our age group and came in 10 minutes faster than I did last year. I think starting slow really helped us. We had an awesome negative split averaging a 9:20/mile pace the first 9 miles and a 9:02/mile the last 9.6 miles coming in at an overall 9:09/mile! This is the exact pace that we need to maintain for the marathon to come in just under 4 hours. I’m feeling confident that adrenaline will make it happen assuming race day weather conditions are good!

I felt so much better about this race this year and hope that my improvement will transfer to the marathon!

The race itself was great. Packet pick up was easy, we were able to avoid the cold air before the race by hanging out in the Marriott lobby, and the post race arrangements we very organized. The main downfall of this race is the fact that it’s a 3-loop course. It’s kind of boring, but at least spectators can see the runners multiple times without moving!

Big thanks to my dad and JP for being out there for us. It’s amazing how having someone out there gives you something to look forward to and lifts your spirits!

Are y’all doing any winter races? Fun runs?

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25 Questions to Ask Before 2014: Part 2

Today I’m linking up with Chelsea again for 11-20 of the 25 Questions to ask before 2014. I’m not always super deep on the blog, but I feel like these questions are very though provoking and allow me to open up and be more vulnerable. I also figured that if I find these questions helpful, maybe someone else will too! Without further ado…

11. When did I feel most creatively inspired?
In the kitchen! Mostly with my crockpot. I’ve been bad the past month or so due to business, new schedules and holidays, but I feel like I made quite a few new recipes this year. Here are a few of my favorites…
Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow
Paleo Banana Bread {Fan favorite in the Gougler house!}
Chicken Parmesan Tenders w/Spaghetti Squash
Taco Turkey Bags

12. What projects have I completed?
My First Marathon: I finished my first marathon this January and I’ve been training for my second since August. Anything you put that much time, effort and energy into must be a project. It is one of my greatest physical accomplishments and one of my proudest moments by far!

Studying for my NASM PT Certification: Reading a textbook is not an easy task. Neither is making countless flash cards, cramming the last two weeks or stressing over taking what would be a life changing test. But I did it! The hours I put in made everything worth it!

13. How have I procrastinated?
I am an evening procrastinator. As a morning person, I am tired and much more lethargic in the evenings. I don’t want to do much once I get home from work. This causes me to push off cleaning up the kitchen, starting laundry or even cooking dinner. I want to make a “chore sheet” for 2014 to make sure I’m doing at least one thing I don’t want to do a day. That will help avoid procrastination and keep me from having to do everything on the weekends.

14. In what ways can I re-structure my time?
My new schedule is still, well, pretty new. It’s going to take some time getting used to my 4am wake up calls. I want to be more productive from 2-5pm. Occasionally I will need a nap, but I want to be able to spend some quality time working on my blog, reading blogs and getting things done around the house {see above πŸ™‚}. 

15. How have I allowed fear of failure to hold me back?
Fear of failure is such a natural emotion and I know I have succumbed to it many times. I believe this year was a year of conquering my fears. I completed my first marathon after being terrified of the distance. I quit my job despite fearing the idea of not having a full time, steady pay check. I continued to push myself to new limits this year, and for that I am so proud. Despite these accomplishments and overcoming fear, I did still let it hold me back. I even wrote about about being afraid to take a leap of faith just this Spring. But I came back and did it. I also let fear hold me back in relationships this year. I was closed off towards some of my loved ones for fear of hurting. Luckily, I was able to overcome that as well. Let’s just say that the second half of 2013 was much better than the first!


16. Where has self-doubt taken over?

Earlier this year, I let self doubt take over me. I let one person’s words hit me to the core. I doubted my abilities, my friendships, my love, my heart. I was hurt and lost bits of me, but luckily I was able to remember who I am and the friend, wife, daughter and sister I am. I am so thankful for my friends and family helping me to overcome my self-doubt. These are just a few of the amazing women that have lifted my spirits this year!

17. When have I felt the most alive?
Traveling around Europe with just my husband. It was an amazing adventure, seeing new sights, spending time together and just exploring part of the world neither of us had ever seen before.

18. How have I taught others to respect me?
Respect is earned. In order to teach others to respect you, you must give them a reason to. Different people offer others respect for different reasons. I earn respect in my workplace by proving I am a good trainer, teacher and friend. I earn respect in friendships by showing I am kind, caring and understanding. To teach others to respect you, is to know their standards and show your worth. 

19. How can I improve my relationships?
I believe that relationships can always be improved upon. For one, I can be more understanding and empathetic. I also think I could be less defensive. I have a bad habit of jumping into a defensive position when not even necessary. My goal is to be more open, loving and patient year after year.

20. Have I been unfair to anyone?
I think it’s safe to say that we are all unfair from time to time. I can think of a few instances this may have happened this year whether it was to them specifically or internal. So if anyone thinks I’ve been unfair to them this year, I’m sorry! I’m not perfect just yet…still working on that one πŸ™‚

One more thing before I go…don’t forget…today’s the last day to enter my Rodan + Fields giveaway! There will be 5 winners chosen tomorrow, so more chances to win! Plus who doesn’t want to try some the best skincare products for free!

Now tell me one of your answers to the above questions! Don’t be shy!

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Running, Christmasing and Reminiscing

Happy Monday lovelies! Another weekend is behind us which means we’re that much closer to Christmas! It’s already next week πŸ™‚ Which means 2014 is the week after! So today not only do I have a few glimpses of my weekend, but I’m also linking up with Chelsea at Life is a Sunset for the first 10 questions of the 25 Questions Before 2014 link up.

First, don’t forget to enter my Rodan + Fields giveaway! It ends Wednesday! {And there will be 5 winners! So enter!}

Second, a glimpse at my weekend!

one. Puppy snuggles with coffee and the DVR sounds like a perfect Saturday morning!
two. Decorating the Christmas tree at my parents
three. Awesome blogging Secret Santa gifts from Kayla at Bluegrass Dreams
four. Finished the Sugar Land 30K! Full recap and pictures later this week!
five. Bam…on pace for a sub-4 hour marathon
six. Nap time on the floor with my Maggie girl.
seven. Tacky Sweater Christmas with the 4 best friends that anyone could have!
eight. PRESENTS!
nine. My handsome man.
Third, onto the questions…
1. What am I most proud of this year?
Quitting my full time job and actually following my dreams to become a full time fitness professional. It took a lot of guts, will power and support to make the change and it was completely worth it. I think I’m finally at a gym I can call my work home!

2. How can I become a better ____wife____?
Be more gracious
Not get mad/irritated at little things
Act as a woman of God
Show love often and always

3. Where am I feeling stuck?
I’ll gladly admit that I don’t feel very stuck currently. Earlier this year, I felt very stuck in my job and career. Now I see many new doors, paths and opportunities. If anything, I would say my health. While I’m not deathly ill by any means, my stomach issues fluctuate greatly and there’s honestly not much I can do about it. It’s awful to not be able to run because of my stomach or eat what I want for that matter. I’m just hoping I can gain more self control and stop eating the things I know may hurt me in 2014 despite how delicious they may be!

4. Where do I need to allow myself grace?
There are many aspects where I need to allow myself grace. For personal reasons, I’ll go ahead and reflect on those myself πŸ™‚

5. Am I passionate about my career?
Yes! See answer to question number 1. This year, I took the plunge.

6. What lessons have I learned?
Not everyone in your life will be there as long as you think they will. People go through changes in life and sometimes friendships fade, or are stopped abruptly. It’s not always easy and sometime the change is not presented to you in a kind manner, but life does go on. It may sting every so often, but you other friends and loved ones will lift your spirits and help you to remember the person you really are.

7. What did my finances look like?
I was nervous about what my finances would look like after quitting my full time consulting job, but everything is working out beautifully. I’ve had to cut back in a few departments, but overall our savings are still standing strong.

8. How did I spend my free time?
With loved ones

9. How well did I take care of my body, mind, and soul?
Body: Amazing – running, yoga, Pilates and group fitness – they all kept me healthy and happy!
Mind: Studying for the NASM PT certification opened my mind to new interests and topics that I didn’t realize I was so passionate about. I also read 50 books this year! So proud!
Soul: I could take care of my soul a bit better. Trust in myself, attend church more regularly and meditate/pray more often are my goals for 2014

10. How have I been open-minded?
As a control freak, I feel like I’ve been more open to going with the flow. Not every second of every day is planned and I’m doing better about not freaking out when something doesn’t get done. Baby steps. I also didn’t go crazy with planning for our trips this year which honestly made our European Vacation, Boston trip and New York trip even more enjoyable. I know it may seem like a silly thing to be open-minded to, but control is hard to let go, and it’s something I’m still working on.

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