Saturday, November 26, 2011

GivingThanks 5K Recap

I hope that you all survived Thanksgiving - if you ate too much, don't stress - today is a new day!  If you were able to stay on track - good for you, you have made it through! 

I ran a Thanksgiving 5K on Thursday with the Challenge Charities.  I have really enjoyed participating in their races - the community they have developed and fostered is so encouraging and just makes you feel good.  I am going to make sure that I make this a new family tradition!  Might even bring Zoe next year and let her run with us!

I had the privilege of running next to my dad for the entire race.  Less than a year ago my dad was laying in a hospital bed and now he is running again!  My dad and I ran the race in 32:30 - it was the best 32 minutes that I have ever experienced during a race! In fact, it was better than the 32 minutes that brought me to the finish line of my first half marathon, it was so fun and such a great way to start the holiday!  Before the race he told me was expecting to finish in about 45 minutes - I knew he had it in him to finish faster and he sure proved me right!  I am so proud of my dad, he ran the entire time - didn't stop once - I think I have discovered where I get my competitive nature from!  I am so thankful that I was able to run this race with my dad and I can't wait to do it again!

My Dad and I - prerace!

I also was able to introduce my dad and step mom to some of my amazing blogging family.  So many great people were at the 5K yesterday - I am so fortunate to have so many like minded friends in my life. 
Aunt Jeanne, Dad, Sue, Me

Me, Ann, Sara - My Girls!

I also decided that I am going to participate in another challenge this holiday season.  My running friend Ann posted about a challenge that Runner's World magazine is sponsoring.  The challenge is simple - run at least ONE mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's.  The Turkey Day 5K took care of Day 1.  And Friday I went out for a 5K run on my own.  I ran 3 miles in 27:30 minutes today.  The funny part is I should be more proud of my time from Friday as it was a little bit faster - but honestly I am way more proud of that 32 minute finish with my dad.  We did that together and it was awesome! The Thanksgiving 5K was about so much more than getting a 5K PR - it was about being with family and friends and giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives.  I really try hard to be thankful every day but I think having a special day like that really brings it home and is a good reminder of all of the wonderfulness we have! 

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our extended family.  It was a long day of going from one house to another but seeing the joy in our girls when they are able to spend time with our family is worth the tired feeling I have at the end of the day.  I am so blessed to have so many supportive family members and its always great to reconnect! 

Today is Day 3 of the #RWRunStreak - going to be hitting up the gym for weights and a couple of miles on the treadmill while the girls nap! 

Be happy and healthy my friends!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for Change

It's Wednesday night, Thanksgiving Eve to be exact, I am sitting here attempting to put a Thankful blog post together when I should probably be in bed so I can get up early and run a Thanksgiving 5K in the morning. 

I am still trucking along with the no diet soda thing - 10 days in and I am doing well, haven't even craved one in two days.  Tonight I am thankful for water, tea, and Gatorade - they have saved me! 

I have gotten my workouts in this week despite lacking my normal workout partner.  My friend Jen had surgery last week and will not be able to work out for quite awhile so I am on my own.  I was going to write a whole post whining about that situation and how hard it is to get up at 5AM to go workout by myself, but decided it was a silly thing to whine about.  I am fortunate to have friends that I can count on to workout with - and I will be calling on others to make sure I stay on track while I am flying solo!

I am thankful that one year ago I decided to make a change.  I chose me, I chose to change my life and start living it!  I started running and haven't looked back.  I like the person that I have become.  I like that I put my health first.  I like that I take time out of my schedule for me - to get a run in, to get to the gym.  Making all of these choices has made me a better wife and mother.  And I would like to think it has also run over in to my professional life as well.  I have not taken a sick day in at least 8 months and I think that was for a migraine that I couldn't shake.  Making my health a priority has been one of the best choices I could make for me and my family. 

I am thankful for my husband and two little girls.  It's hard to imagine what my life would be if the three of them were not a part of it.  I fell in love with my husband, I fell even more in love with my daughter Zoe and didn't think I could possibly have more love to give until I met my daughter Ava.  My heart has tripled in size with the addition of each of them to my life.  And for that I will be forever thankful.

I am thankful for my mom, dad, step mom, MIL and FIL - we are so lucky to have the best parents.  Our parents have turned in to the most amazing grandparents and for that I am thankful on a daily basis.  We have turned to each one of our parents over the last several years and they have come through for us and beyond on every occasion.  They take care of our girls and enrich their lives with every moment they spend together.  I remind myself and my husband every day that we can not take for granted the roles that our parents play in our lives.  I am thankful every day with the blessing of our daughters' grandparents. 

I am thankful for my family and friends.  We have so many wonderful people in our lives it would take an entire blog post to thank all of them personally.  I personally have felt so much support from so many people on this journey to lose the weight and get healthy and it's been overwhelming at times.  So, thank
you to all of those that have supported me over the last year, it has meant more than I could possibly explain to you. 

Tomorrow morning I am running the Challenge Charities GivingThanks 5K at Lake Como.  I get to run a 5K with my dad, step mom, aunt, and many friends that I have made this year.  I am so happy that I get to do this with my dad - a year ago he was sick and nobody could tell us why.  This year he is going to be running/walking a 5K and for that I could not be more thankful.  He is happy and healthy - what a blessing!

I met this amazing yogi at my first hot yoga class last week - this was one of my favorite things he had to say that night -  "Imagine what can BE, if you bring PASSION to your possibility?"   Pretty awesome, right?  I haven't completely decided what I think this "means" for me yet, but I was truly inspired by his soul and can't wait to go back for another class.  I have a blog post in the works on this topic.  I have been bit by the yoga bug!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Enjoy your time with friends and family.  Soak it all in - live for today! 
Be happy and healthy friends!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back to the Basics

I have been at or under my goal weight since late June.  To say that I have wandered a little off track would be an understatement.  My eating has gotten a bit out of control.  I have not tracked my food for months - I stopped paying for the Monthly Pass/online stuff at Weight Watchers.  I was so diligent on that thing while I was losing weight and even for awhile after I made lifetime.  I think with the craziness of training for the 10 Mile and Half Marathon I basically threw caution to the wind knowing I was putting in the work and burning the calories.  I have gained a smidge - like 2 pounds over the last few months.  I am still under the goal weight I set at Weight Watchers - however, that goal weight was set a little high and I don't want to be at that weight.  Go figure.  I am still within my healthy weight range - but I would feel better if I could get a few more pounds off in the coming months.  So, you are going to try and lose weight at the holidays, are you crazy?  Yes, I am indeed crazy.  But, here's the deal.  The basics work - tracking, drinking water, eating fruits and vegetables, running, lifting weights - it all works and it is what got me here!  So, why on Earth would I think doing anything other than those things would keep me here. 

I decided to join Mary's challenge over at Fit This Girl!.  She started a challenge to help her readers get on track BEFORE the New Year.  She has been sending emails with lots of great clean eating tips, training tips, etc.  I am really trying to focus on losing this belly fat.  It's really my one "trouble" spot.  I know some of it is extra skin, but I am a realist and also know that some of it is just plain old FAT.  Essentially eating cleaner and more LIVE foods will help me to start changing the way my body looks. 
I have made a great start - starting last Saturday, I have run or been in the gym every day except for Monday.  And the week before that was pretty solid as well.  I am back on track with my lifting schedule - three times a week and my other mini goal is to run three times a week as well.  Since I am not looking to shed a ton of weight I have to remind myself that the changes are going to be subtle so I have to be patient. 
Diet Mountain Dew
One other thing: some of you know that I have a great love for Diet Mt Dew.  Even though I know all of the horrible things about Diet soda it has been my one vice, the one thing I could have when I was really craving a boost or whatever.  Well, on Sunday night I drank my last Dt. Mt Dew.  I have not had any soda since Sunday night.  Today is day 4 and I am really doing okay - it has forced me to drink more water which is always a good thing.  And, I seriously think the decrease in whatever magic potion it is they put in that stuff - has helped me to not have as many sweet cravings this week.  Halloween killed me, wrecked me, I love me some chewy candy and I have said goodbye to them as well.  I have been bringing my lunch to work again and aside from saving me money, it just feels better.  I can load up on protein, veggies and fruit and feel satisfied for the day. 

So, there you have - BACK TO BASICS.  Whatever works - RIGHT????  Wish me well on the continued soda split - I am not going to lie - this afternoon when I was all kinds of cranky, a nice swig of some Dt Dew would have been so nice, but I drank water instead!  Last September, I chose me and my health - I am glad I remembered what this was all about!  Back to basics, back to basics, back to basics!

Have a happy and healthy day my friends!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Overdue Half Marathon Recap

So, I have been dragging my feet about writing this recap.  I have started and re-started this post but just haven't been able to get out what I wanted to.  This morning I was reminded by a friend that I need to write this recap for myself, because there will be a day when I will want to re-read it.  And she is right - I was worried about how I was going to accurately explain how I was feeling on the day of the half marathon - I have to not worry about that and just get it down. 

I participated in the Monster Dash Half Marathon on October 29th - two weeks ago.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning, it was definitely chilly but I have plenty of experience running in this weather so I was prepared.  I had ordered a cute Superwoman t-shirt from a store on Amazon but they failed to process my order and ship it to me in time so I did not have my shirt for the Halloween themed race.  But, it was not that big of deal - I was really just concerned with having a good race not so much about a costume.  So, I decided to wear my pink Prior Fat Girl t-shirt.  Ironically, it ended up kind of like being a costume - the front of the shirt says "I am a Prior Fat Girl, what are you?" - see?  Kind of a costume - I was a PFG!  I love that t-shirt, it reminds of where I have been and what I have accomplished - actually pretty appropriate for a day like that.

I found my girlfriends that were also running and we headed to the start area.  There were a lot of people - all huddled together trying to use our body heat to keep us warm before the race started.  My friend Tracy and I made our way to the start - they had it all marked off based on your mile pace.  We decided to hang with the 9:30 mile group.  I was hoping to maintain that pace since I had just been able to do it at the TC 10 mile.  But, I also knew that I had yet to run a full 13 miles so I wasn't sure if I would be able to maintain that pace the entire time!  We decided to aim high!

Pre-race, Erin, Erin's Cousin, Me and Tracy
Tracy and I stuck together until about mile 4 - she stopped to go to the bathroom and I kept going.  I knew that my aunt was going to be at the mile 7 mark so I just kept thinking about being able to see a familiar face and how that would energize me.  About mile 6 my leg started to bother me - which was a relief, I had hoped to get at least that far before I was in too much pain.  I saw my aunt on the side at mile 7 and she came on to the course and ran with me for a few minutes - made sure I was doing okay and encouraging me - she has been such a great support through my running this year - I am so thankful for her!  Then I realized she was on her bike - so I was able to see her a few more times along the course - that was great! 
I don't use an iPod when I am running outside and particularly not when I am racing.  I started running without music because I was always running with people so I have not depended on music when I am running.  I know I am in the minority when it comes to that but I just really enjoy being able to hear what is going on around me and just getting lost in my surroundings.  So, during this race I had a lot of time to get lost in my surroundings.  At mile 6 I really had to start distracting myself because my leg was hurting and my feet were getting sore.  I had already fixated on the pace group at about mile 5 - I was hanging with the 9:25 group and I just made a point of making sure I could always see the sign he was carrying.  I would talk to myself about anything and everything that was not related to my leg or my feet.  I would focus on anything and everything that meant I was still moving forward. 

At mile 9 I was exhausted - my legs felt like they weighed about 50 pounds each.  The great thing about this race was that they had music about every mile and it was fun to be able to start to hear the music as you approached - it was a mini adrenaline rush each time I went by one of them.  At mile 10 there was great energy as the 10 mile racers were finishing their race - you could hear people cheering and the water stop that was there for the half marathoners was staffed by a great, very supportive group!  Mile 11 was the most brutal mile of the entire race - two weeks out from the race and I can still vividly recall how tired my legs were - and I distinctly recall the incline of mile 11!  Overall this race was not all that hilly - but mile 11 - HILLY!  The last two miles of this race were the most difficult miles of any race I have ever run.  There was a great sign at mile 12 - this woman was holding a sign that said "Kick Some Asphalt" - it got me to chuckle a little bit, despite being so exhausted! 

Seeing the 13 mile sign was one of the greatest moments.  Typically at this point in a race I would attempt to dig deep and push it to the finish line.  I tried - I really tried to accelerate to the finish - but I just had to keep moving - I had given all I had to this race and I just needed to get to the finish line!  There were so many people along the finish chute, it was inspiring and so emotional.  Right before the finish I saw my aunt on the right side cheering for me - it was so great to see a familiar face!!!  I crossed over the finish line and was handed my finisher's medal - it was all I could do to keep my composure and not burst in to tears.  There were so many emotions and thoughts going through my head - I was so overwhelmed at that very moment.  I had just run a half marathon, 13.1 miles - I had just done that.  I could hardly believe it - 10 months after I started running I had run a half marathon.  I had not imagined that this was where I would be less than a year in to running.  I was so happy, proud and excited! 
Post Race Pic taken by my Aunt
I headed over and had my official finisher picture taken - I have never done that at a race before - but I will now every time they offer that.  It was fun to have a "posed" picture from the race.  My official race time was 2:06, 9:35 mile pace.  I had beaten my goal by about 4 minutes.  Amazing. 

My husband, kids and Melissa attempted to be at the race finish but were directed to the wrong location and ended up not being able to get there.  At first I was devastated because I wanted them to see me finish so badly but I got over it - remembering there will be plenty of opportunity for them to see me finish another half marathon!  I have already decided I will be doing the Monster Dash Half again next year.  It was a great experience and I can't wait to do it again!

I want to say a special thank you to my aunt Jeanne who has been so supportive of me and was there along the way during the race and was able to snap some pictures after the race of me and me with my friend Tracy.  Thank you so much for supporting me and believing in me!  I can't wait to run some more races WITH you next year! 

Me and my auntie!

Me and Tracy post race! Half Marathon finishers!
Bottom line - this race was one of the hardest things I have ever done - I pushed myself and my body to limits I have never experienced before. Yes, I have given birth to two beautiful children - honestly, this was harder.  My body was "made" to have children, I am still not convinced that my body was "made" to run 13.1 miles.  But, I did it, I ran 13.1 miles. 

Next up: Marathon Training - oh yes, I have officially gone crazy!  More on this later!