Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New power songs

It really feels like the beginning of autumn here in St. Louis, so I'm continuing to take advantage of the lovely weather and enjoying my workouts outdoors.  Today was a cross-training day, but rather than being cooped up indoors on the elliptical, I took a walk with my three favorite men.  We went to the trail by our house after dinner and we did nearly 4.25 miles or about 1 1/2 loops around the park.  It was a touch humid, but there was a beautiful breeze to offset the mugginess.  Nick walked tonight instead of using his scooter and we were pretty proud of him for keeping up and making it the whole way.  Jack enjoyed saying hi to everyone who passed us by and pointing to all the dogs and saying "Do."  He's almost got the word "dog" down.  It's pretty adorable because when he sees a dog, he will say "Do" and when he sees our cat he says "Ka."  However, when he saw two little Chihuahua's tonight, he pointed to them and said "Ka."  I think he thought they were cats!

I have a few new power songs that I'm obsessed with at the moment, so I thought I'd share.  The first is a complete guilty pleasure and it makes my inner 14 year old self happy.  I love the new One Direction song Best Song Ever.  It's pretty damn catchy and it has a great beat.  I'm also really digging two songs by Walk the Moon.  When Nick and I went to the Cardinals game two weeks ago, we saw a promo for LouFest, an upcoming musical festival, and the song that played in the background was stuck in my head for days.  I finally found the promo on-line and through SoundHound found out that the song I loved was Tightrope by Walk the Moon (unplugged version here:  I've been playing this song non-stop for about a week, so I looked up some other songs by Walk the Moon.  All of their songs are great, but the other song I'm really enjoying at the moment is Shiver Shiver.  It's got a great beat and it's just an awesome song.  Check out an unplugged version here:  I am seriously considering going to LouFest to see Walk the Moon live because I kind of love them right now. 

What new powers songs are you jamming to? 

"The hardest thing about exercise is to start doing it. Once you are doing exercise regularly, the hardest thing is to stop." 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Challenging myself and Birthday Challenge Update

I must have been more tired yesterday than I thought, since I fell asleep at 8 last night when Jack went to sleep.  It was actually rather nice, but of course, this meant no blog post yesterday.  I'm fighting the urge to go to sleep now, but I wanted to share the Week 6 Birthday Challenge Update with you!  This week I've lost 1.9 lbs bringing my total weight loss for the Challenge to 9.8 lbs!  I'm incredibly pleased with my progress thus far and I'm looking forward to the last few weeks of the Challenge!  I'm also trying to think of another Challenge to issue myself for the fall; perhaps between my birthday and the first part of November.  

Yesterday, much as I wanted to run, I stuck to my cross-training plan and rode on the recumbent bike for about 25 minutes after work.  Today, though, I was able to get a run in despite it being a bit rainy and I pushed myself a little bit farther than last week.  I went to the park by my office and did my usual loop around the lake and while it was a bit humid, the misty rain felt good on my face.  I decided that since I ran 1.1 miles straight last week, that I would run an additional .10 miles tonight.  And I did!  I ran for 1.2 miles straight tonight.  My calves were screaming at me but I pushed on and accomplished what I set out to do.  I hope to keep adding a little bit to my runs each time and gradually increase my distance.  I'm taking baby steps to work up to my 1/2 next Spring! 

Thanks to one of the newer blogs that I follow (, I discovered an amazing new snack.  It was a great post-run, pre-dinner snack tonight and I might be a little addicted to it.  I was reading some of Katie's older blog posts and she posted about a party some of her friends threw for her birthday.  She posted pictures of the decorations and food and that's when I saw it; the heavenly snack you see below.  Graham crackers, peanut butter, and chocolate chips; oh my!  It is amazing!  

My post-run snack tonight; yum!
Do you have any ideas for a fall weight loss challenge? 
What is your favorite post-workout snack? 

Love the quote below from another new blog I'm following (

"Commitment means staying loyal to what you said were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you." 

Monday, July 29, 2013

New PR and Race Re-cap

Today was a great day for many reasons, but let me start from the beginning.  I woke up bright and early to get ready for the Unstoppable 5K and left my house around 6:30 a.m.  The temperature in my car said 56 degrees and it was sufficiently chilly that I turned on the heat in my car to take the chill out of the air, but I knew that it would be great racing weather.  I arrived at the designated parking area for the race and grabbed a shuttle bus which took me to the area of the starting line.

As I headed to the starting line, I noticed a gentleman in front of me with a sign pinned on his back.  As I read the sign, I snapped a quick picture because I was moved by what he wrote.  The top of his shirt said Spectator Mile 26 April 15, 2013 2:50 PM and below that he wrote: To All Terrorists You may kill us, you may hurt us. But you won't defeat us, We are Runners! We are Boston Strong!  Indeed! While this was a smaller race compared to some others that I have participated in, it was so powerful to see everyone in blue and yellow and to know that we all came out to support the victims of the Boston Marathon.  I admit, I got a little teary eyed at the end of the National Anthem.  We live in a great country and while we are far from perfect, I am always amazed at how we band together in times of adversity and support one another.  Today's race was an example of that and I am anxious to hear the total donation made to the One Fund (I hope to have that soon and share it with you!).

...We are Runners! We are Boston Strong!
After a moment of silence for the victims and the playing of the National Anthem, we were off!  I felt pretty good heading out and ran the first 1/2 mile or so and then took a quick walking break.  I got back into my running groove (on a lovely downhill stretch) and finished the first mile in about 13:36.  The rest of the race was a mix of walking and running, as there were a few gnarly hills throughout the course, but I really, truly enjoyed the race today.  The weather was perfect and I had a great podcast playing so it made the time fly by.  When I got to 2.6 miles, I knew I had my PR in the bag and that was a great feeling!  I ran the last 1/2 mile and heard the announcer say "Laura from St. Louis just finished. Great job!" as I crossed the finish line.  Shortly thereafter, I got a text message and an e-mail from Fleet Feet with my official time:  43:10!

Not only did I crush my goal of completing the race in under 45 minutes, but I also PR'd by 2:30!  When I ran the Komen St. Louis Race last month, my time was 45:40 with an average pace of 14:44/mile.  Today, I finished in 43:10 with an average pace per mile of 13:55, nearly a minute faster than last month.  I'm incredibly proud of myself and I can't wait to keep pushing myself to improve! 

I know I've said it before, but for me, running is almost as much (if not more) about mental strength than physical strength.  I had such a positive mindset going into the race this morning and it made a world of difference. Not once today did I doubt that I would finish sub-45:00; I knew I could do it and that positive attitude helped me run faster, longer, and up a bad ass hill that I would have normally walked up. 

After the race, my tired feet were treated to a pedicure (thanks, Mom!) and it was heavenly!  Mom and I also set out to find some new running shoes and while I found a few that I liked, I'd like to get fitted at one of our local running stores to see which pair will be a better fit for my feet.  Mom scored some new Saucony kicks though and they are pretty awesome! I also had a nice, long nap with Jack, which was much needed after such an early (and active!) morning.  We finished off a great Sunday with one of our favorite dinners; spaghetti!  Yum!  

It will be hard not going for a run tomorrow since the weather is going to be just as beautiful, but it's a cross-training day, so I think the recumbent bike will be calling my name. 

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." 

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Quick post tonight, as I have an early morning tomorrow.  The Unstoppable 5K is bright and early, so I need my beauty sleep!  As I mentioned yesterday, I feel really good about this race and I'm planning to PR, which for me is sub 45:00.  The race time forecast calls for sunny skies with temps in the mid-50's so thankfully, there will be no heat or humidity to contend with.  Stay tuned tomorrow for a race re-cap! 

I will be unstoppable tomorrow! PR here I come!

I decided to take a rest day today, but I did get in some walking this afternoon.  We met our friends at the Museum of Transportation and all of the kids had a great time riding the train, the trolley, and the tram and looking at all of the trains, cars, the boat, and the planes!  Jack, however, decided to be contrary and go in the exact opposite direction of everyone else, so I spent much of the time chasing him around, which is a workout in and of itself.  He might be more like me than I thought; just a touch rebellious. Then we went to the park for a picnic and to let the kids play on the splash pad.  It was a great afternoon and such a beautiful day!  It was in the mid-70's with no humidity and it certainly felt more like October than July! 

"Every day gives you an opportunity to improve. With every run, you can try to be better. Not just a better runner, but a better person." 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Race Rundown

Ha, word play.  Love it.  I have a pretty full race calendar (and race wish list) for the next few months, so I thought I'd share with you what's coming up!

  • This Sunday, I will be running the Unstoppable 5K which benefits The One Fund for victims of the Boston tragedy (  I'm feeling pretty pumped for this race; the weather forecast looks perfect (low of 63 and a high of 80) and I'm feeling pretty confident at the moment so I'm hoping to get a sub 45:00 time.  I'm not sure about the elevations on the course though, which might be the only thing to damper my goal, but I'm sure going to try to PR! 
  • In mid-September, I will be participating in my first Color Run ( and I can't wait!  This is going to be a purely fun race for me with no worries about pace.  I've heard so many great things about the Color Run and I'm so excited to experience "The Happiest 5K!"
  • In October, I'm going to challenge myself to the GO! St. Louis Halloween 10K (  I signed up for this race last year, but I wasn't feeling well on race morning and I was running by  myself, so I ended up not running it.  Not this year, though!  Halloween is my favorite holiday and I'm excited to participate in this race.  Now, I just need to think about what my costume will be!  
  • I'm also considering attending Homecoming at my alma matter in October to celebrate my 10-year reunion (yikes!) and there is a 5K as part of the festivities.  I will definitely participate if I can make it up to Kirksville that weekend! 
  • I'd like to do a race in November around or on Thanksgiving, perhaps a Turkey Trot, so I need to do some research and find one nearby!
  • I have two Races I'm mulling over for December; the first is the Santa's North Pole Dash ( where participants receive a long sleeved Santa shirt, hat and beard to wear during the race (how fun does that sound??).  Kids that participate receive a snowman shirt; cuteness overload!  I just found out about a second race in December called the Hot Chocolate 15/5K ( and I really want to do this race.  All participants receive a fleece hoodie and I'm kind of obsessed with it.  It looks awesome and perfect for cold weather running! I could possibly do both races, but they are the same weekend (one on Saturday and one on Sunday) and I think that might be a bit much on the ol' legs.  I could always do one this year and one next year, I suppose.  
  • And last but not least, next April I will be running my first 1/2 marathon with my dear friend, Dana.  We are tackling the GO! St. Louis 1/2 ( in early April and I'm pretty excited about it (only a little nervous)!  I'm still trying to figure out which 1/2 training plan I'm going to follow, but I have time to figure that out. 
If you hear of any fun races in the next few months, let me know! 

I had a late workout tonight on the elliptical in our basement (meh.  I would have rather gone outside or taken a spin on the recumbent bike, but time was limited tonight) since today was a cross-training day.  Debating about taking a rest day tomorrow or going for a walk before the race on Sunday.  Decisions, decisions. 

Love this quote: "Most people think your life changes forever the second you cross the finish line. Runners know that your life changes forever the second you decide to go to the starting line." 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Huge accomplishment

Something amazing happened today; I ran for 1.1 miles.  Straight.  As in, without stopping.  I'm pretty sure this is a record for me and I am thrilled!  Even when I was at the peak of my Couch to 5K training and running for 10 minutes at a time, I still wasn't running 1 mile stretches.  As I've eased back into running and started running on my own schedule, I've been running .25 to .5 mile stretches.

On our walk last night, I told Matt that I wanted to try to run a mile today.  He gently reminded me that, at most, I've been tackling .5 stretches and it's mostly downhill (I think this was a ploy on his part to push me to try harder, because he knows that if someone tells me I can't do something, I sure as hell am going to do it).  I replied that my long, downhill stretch is at the end of a series of gnarly uphills and that my legs are tired, so I was curious to see what my legs could do on a mostly flat stretch while my muscles were relatively fresh.  

So, today at lunch, I took the opportunity to go for a run outside and push myself a bit.  It was gorgeous outside, 79 degrees and sunny and I loved being able to run at the park near my office without feeling like I was going to melt.  I went to my normal (flat) path around the lake and took off.  I walked for the first .3 miles and then started to run.  It felt pretty good for the first bit and then I looked at my phone and it said .7 miles. I had only run .4 miles and my legs were starting to cramp.  I thought I wasn't going to make it much past .8 miles (or half a mile of running), but I kept going.  I kept telling myself I could do it.  

When I got to .8 miles, I thought "just make it to 1 mile" which would have been a running stretch of .7 miles. My friend the Nike+ lady told me "1 mile complete" and I knew I could keep going to 1.3 to get my 1 mile of running in.  I was on a stretch of gravel near the lake and I could see the pavement ahead, so I told myself to keep running until I reached the pavement.  When I reached the pavement, I looked at my phone and it said 1.4 miles.  I had run not .5 mile, not 1 mile, but 1.1 miles without stopping!  I certainly didn't set any world records with my pace (I was at about a 13:30 pace and I can usually walk a mile in 14:45 -15:10), but I did it!  It's not a long distance by any means, but for me it was huge!  I was the girl in P.E. who hated doing the mile run and really only ran when the P.E. teacher was paying attention.  Today's run was a huge accomplishment for me and a great boost to keep pushing myself and my body to the limit, because when I set my mind to it, I can do it!

Thanks, babe, for lighting the fire in me to push myself! 

"When someone tells you 'you can't.' Turn around and say 'watch me!'" 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Workout Essentials

As promised a few days ago, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite workout essentials.  While it can be said that the only workout essentials you really need is yourself and perhaps a bottle of water, I've got a few more things that I simply cannot workout without.  My hat is off to those people who are minimalists when it comes to exercise, though!  (Note: the opinions below are mine and I have not been asked by the brands/companies listed to provide my opinion.  I am simply a huge fan of the below products and love to share them with people.)

1. My running shoes. I love my Asics.  A few years ago, I won a gift certificate to a local running store following a race I participated in and I admit, I was a bit nervous to go in.  I do not look the part of a runner and I was afraid of feeling out of place. The staff at Big River Running ( were so helpful and friendly, though.  I was fitted for running shoes and got to take a few pairs on a test "run" outside the store.  I loved the way the Asics felt on my feet and so I took home my first official pair of running shoes.  Sadly, I think I have about reached the max. mileage on these babies and I might need to invest in a new pair.  These shoes have crossed many a finish line though!

My Asics, my first true running shoes
2. Yurbuds.  I hate the way earbuds feel in my ear.  They never stay in my ear and when they do, they hurt like hell.  I've heard the new earbuds for iPhones and iPods are much better, but I am content with my older earbuds because I found Yurbuds (  I learned about Yurbuds a few years ago, as they were a sponsor for the Komen St. Louis affiliate, for which I am a volunteer.  At the time, Yurbuds was a fairly new business, but I was drawn in by the fact that they were a local company that supported an organization I was passionate about and they promised to stop the dreaded earbud issues.  I have a hot pink Komen inspired pair of Yurbuds that I love.  I cannot say enough good things about them.  My earbuds have never fallen out and they are incredibly comfortable to wear; it's a fantastic product.

Yurbuds, Bani Bands headband, and my armband
3. Bani Bands headband.  I'm not a big headband wearer.  I don't think I can pull them off and they never seem to stay on my big noggin.  However, a few months ago one of my favorite bloggers (Megan at was raving about a Bani Bands headband ( that she had.  I was intrigued as Megan said her Bani Bands headband never popped off while she ran.  I was fortunate enough to win a free Bani Band headband earlier this year and I love my sparkly silver headband!  It really does stay in place! It has really come in handy since I cut my hair and got bangs and therefore can't really pull up my hair like I used to.  If you ask Matt, he'll tell you that when I wear it, you can see me from outer space due to all the sparkles (he is not a sparkle fan, shame on him), but I love it!  It's practical and sassy all in one!

4. New Balance armband.  My armband has been a recent acquisition, but I love it.  I've been looking for an armband for a long time and have never been able to find one that fit my upper arm (ugh), but I found this New Balance armband ( at Target and it fits!  Having my hands free while I run has been great, particularly this summer since it allows me to carry a water bottle with me to stay hydrated (next up on the accessory must have list is a hydration belt, I think).  Having my phone out of my reach has also been beneficial for my sanity.  I don't check my phone as much for my pace if it isn't in my hands, nor do I change my play list nearly as much.  Win-win!

5. My phone.  My phone has become one of the most important accessories for my workouts.  I can track my runs either through the Couch to 5K app or the Nike+ Running app (my current fave), I can listen to my favorite play list, or my current favorite use of my phone is listening to podcasts while I workout. 

What are some of your favorite workout accessories? 

It was an absolutely beautiful day today, so Matt, the boys, and I took a nice walk after dinner.  On Easter this year, we went to explore a new trail by our house that runs parallel to the Mississippi River.  More importantly (to Nick), a portion of the trail passes over railroad tracks; doesn't get much better than that.  It's a nice trail and we decided to go for a walk there tonight for a change of pace.  It was probably for the better, too, because our normal trail was packed with people due to the nice weather and there were no parking spots available!

Looks like the weather is hanging around for a few days, so I see a lot of outdoor runs in my future!

"Think about how far you've come today and how much farther you'll go tomorrow." 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


It's Tuesday and that means it's time for the Birthday Challenge update!  It's hard to believe that Week 5 has come to an end, but that means just 3 weeks until my birthday!  Since last week, I've lost 3.3 lbs for a grand total of 7.9 lbs lost since June 18th.  It was really nice to start my Tuesday on a good note with a good weigh-in!  I told Matt this morning that I'm pretty sure I haven't been at this weight since college a decade ago and that's a great feeling!  I still have a long way to go to reach my long-term goals, but I am so proud of the progress I've made so far.

I stuck to my plan of alternating workouts by going for a wog this evening.  As I headed out around 7:30, it looked a little cloudy again and I was worried about it getting too dark while I was on my run.  Luckily there were a lot of people out on the trail tonight so even though it was a bit cloudy, it was a much more enjoyable workout than Sunday.  Lately, I have a routine on the trail of running in 3 specific places; the first is a .25 mile stretch early on, then I tackle another .25 - .30 mile stretch in the middle of my wog, and I finish with a .5 mile stretch near the end (down my favorite long hill).  My short-term goal is to gradually increase all of these running stretches and hopefully make the last stretch a full mile!  It was a struggle tonight to run due to the humidity and I almost cut short my .5 stretch, but I pushed on because I knew I could do it.  It's such a mental challenge, so I just have to keep telling myself that I can do it and I will.

"Your legs are not giving out. Your head is giving out. Keep going." 

Monday, July 22, 2013


Quick post tonight, as I am exhausted on so many levels.  In fact, I fell asleep tonight while putting Jack to sleep, but it was nice snuggling with my little guy.

Today, although it was relatively nice outside and it would have been a good day for an outdoor run, I went to the rec center at lunch and did 30 minutes on the elliptical since I ran yesterday.  This week, I am going to try really hard to alternate running days with cross-training.  I tend to not be the best at cross-training, as I don't feel like I get as good of a workout on the elliptical and the recumbent bike as I do when I run.  I know this isn't necessarily true, though, as working out on the elliptical and the bike work different, yet important, muscles in my body.  The elliptical felt pretty good today and in fact, I think I can increase my resistance next time to further challenge myself.  Resistance Level 8 has previously been a bit of a challenge, but it wasn't bad today, so I think my legs are getting stronger!  If I can get in a good groove of alternating running and cross-training, the next goal for myself is to start incorporating strength training.  Baby steps, though.

Another small, non-scale victory today in regards to hydration. I am trying to be better about staying properly hydrated and today was a huge step in the right direction.  I drank a 16.9 oz bottle of water in the car on the way to work, another bottle in the morning before I worked out, another full bottle while I worked out, nearly an entire bottle after lunch, a full bottle with dinner, and I'm working on another bottle now.  I dare say this is probably the most hydrated I've ever been; success!  Now to keep it up every day!

"Don't find time to exercise, make time to exercise."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Running Safety

The sub-heading for this blog post should read: Do as I say, not as I do.  But more on that soon.

We had a great day today.  I ran some errands in the morning and then we headed to the Gottschalk's house for lunch and a play date.  The Gottschalk's are dear friends, whose friendship began 12 years ago (can you believe it, Roomie?) when Mrs. G, who happens to also be named Laura, and I became college roommates.  I'm so thankful that we have stayed close and that now our kids can play together.  Laura and Bill have two daughters who are very close in age to Nick and Jack and it is so sweet watching them play together.  We had hot dogs and s'mores toasted on the fire pit and the kids played on the trampoline and ran through the sprinkler.  Nothing brings you back to your childhood like watching kids run through a sprinkler.  It was a great afternoon!

When we got home, Matt made a great dinner on the grill; pork steaks and corn on the cob!  I love grill season! After I got Jack to sleep, I wanted to get in a wog and looking at the clock, I thought I would have plenty of time.

Since it is summertime, I have figured out that as long as I get on the trail by 8:15, I have enough daylight to get in a wog around the big loop (about 2.6 miles) before it's too dark.  When I left my house at 8 tonight, I thought "hmm, it's a bit dark outside" which should have been a red flag, but alas, it was not.  I need to start taking into account that it is getting later in the summer and daylight is getting shorter.  Not to mention the fact that we had some rain in the area, so there was a lot of cloud cover resulting in less sunlight.  I am all for getting in a workout when you can, but in the case of tonight, I should have probably moved my workout indoors (not my preferred method) or asked for company on my wog.

About mid-way through my wog, it was getting a bit too dark for my taste.  I usually prefer to be able to see my car if it is that dark.  But, I was committed and I had to get back to my car somehow, so I pushed on.  From about .4 miles to 2 miles, I saw no other people and that was a little disconcerting.  The trail weaves in and out of some woods, which I normally love, but tonight it was a bit creepy.  My mind tends to wander towards creepers hanging out in the woods or animals going crazy (have I mentioned there are a lot of deer on this trail?), so once it started getting really dark and I was in the wooded section of the trail, I pulled out my trusty pepper spray and made sure it was unlocked and ready to go.  Thank goodness I didn't accidentally spray  myself.

In hindsight, I should have also probably taken out my Yurbuds in order to hear my surroundings (in case an actual creeper was behind me), but frankly, I was listening to an awesome Another Mother Runner podcast ( and the ladies on the podcast were keeping me company and making me feel less alone.  On another run last summer that was also pushing daylight, I compromised and took one Yurbud out so I could listen to the sounds around me and still listen to my music, but I'm not sure why this didn't cross my mind tonight.  In any case, I was visually very aware of my surroundings and constantly looking around and behind me to make sure I was safe.

My splits on my wog were really good tonight and it was a great workout, but I was never so relieved to see my car.  In summary, my running safety tips are below and again, do as I say, not as I do:

  1. If you head out for a run and you think it is too dark outside to complete your workout, it probably is.  Ask a friend to join you or stick to an indoor workout if you must.  Try not to run alone, if possible.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings, even if it means taking your beloved Yurbuds out and running music or podcast-free.  Continually look behind you and to your sides to make sure you are safe.  It probably looks weird, but I'd rather look weird and be safe. 
  3. This next tip might not be for everyone, but if you are in the habit of running by yourself (as I frequently am), carry pepper spray or another personal safety device with you.  I feel infinitely safer when I run with my pepper spray.  It is attached to my keys so I always have it with me on the trail. 
  4. I attended a self-defense class last year and something the instructor said stuck with me.  If you are out by yourself, make eye contact with everyone you come in contact with and smile and say hi.  This serves several purposes; by making eye contact with someone who might be a potential criminal you've given yourself the opportunity to i.d. the person and by initiating conversation with a smile and a greeting, you've proved to a potential criminal that you are confident and assertive, i.e. not an easy target.  I generally make eye contact with people I pass on the trail and say hi to be polite, so it was nice to hear that my politeness was also a deterrent to a potential criminal. 
Do you have any other safety tips for working out whether you are alone or in a group?  Next time I'm out on the trail, I will be better about following my own tips!

"What you get by achieving your goals isn't as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

Date night and non-scale victories

I had date night tonight...with my favorite 6 year old!  Nick and I had some quality Mommy/son bonding time, which was much needed.  We were able to go to a Cardinals game (thank you so much, D!) and we had a blast.  We went to a Cardinals game when he was not quite 3, so I'm not sure he remembers it.  I do.  We went for family day when I worked for a former employer and it was hot, Nick wasn't paying attention (hey, he was little and our seats were up high so it was hard for him to see the game), and at some point, he injured himself so we called it a day.  The game we went to tonight will probably be the first he remembers and I hope he has wonderful memories of it. We cheered for the Cardinals, danced, clapped, sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and we stayed until the bitter end (Cards lost 5-3, boo).  Much to Matt's consternation, I'm not one to leave a game early no matter how dire the outlook might be.  I remember what a treat it was to stay until the last strike when I was a little girl, so it was fun to let Nick do the same.

I had a few non-scale victories today, which was encouraging.  The first revolves involves a fashion emergency.  I had a shirt in mind to wear to the Cardinals game, but when I went to put it on, I didn't like the color for the game.  It was a maroon-ish red, not a Cardinal red.  I can, of course, no longer where my adorable pink Cardinals shirt because it has a certain number 5 on the back.  A valuable lesson when buying team apparel, indeed.  Don't pick a shirt with a specific name and number on it unless A) you really, really like the player and would wear it even if they moved on or B) you are certain they will play for your team until they retire.  I digress.  So I scoured my closet and found a red polo I bought probably two years ago.  I wore it for awhile, but then it started getting more snug around the tummy and arms and I stopped wearing it.  I was desperate at this point to find something red so I put it on and low and behold, it fit!  It was actually baggy around the tummy!  Victory! When I went to leave for the game, Matt asked if I was wearing one of his shirts and I said "nope, just found this in the closet and can wear it again!"  That was a great feeling.

Another victory involved food at the ballpark.  This was both a monetary victory and a health related victory.  As you may know, ballpark food is not healthy. At all.  And, it is crazy expensive.  So I brought a bunch of bottled water and a few snacks to the ballpark.  Thank goodness Busch Stadium lets you bring in soft-sided coolers and non-alcoholic beverages in clear bottles.  Nick and I did get some ballpark food, though.  We split a hot dog and fries and he requested popcorn, so we shared that, too. It was just the right amount of food.  Normally, I love all the ballpark munchies, but it didn't really seem all that appetizing tonight.  I'm not sure if that was because of money, the heat, or being healthier.  Maybe a mix of all three.  In any case, victory!

The last little victory is relatively minor, but still worth sharing.  Of course since we stayed to the end of the game, the lines to get out of the stadium and into the parking garage were insane.  As we entered the parking garage, the lines for the elevator were packed so I told Nick we were going to take the stairs.  He told me "Mom, we parked on level 8" and I said "I know, but the lines for the elevator are too long and taking the stairs won't kill us."  I said that.  Me.  The one who always wants to take the elevator, even if it's just up one floor.  We hoofed it up 8 flights of stairs and it definitely didn't kill us.  Victory!

I also got in a bit of swimming this afternoon, which felt great given that it was so hot.  The pool water felt like bath water.  I'm hoping to get a run in tomorrow, weather permitting.

In the interest of not boring you all to tears every day, let me know in the comments section if there is anything in particular you'd like me to post about.  In the next few weeks, I'm planning on doing a post about my favorite workout accessories, but let me know what else would be helpful for you.  Or if you have a question, I'll answer it in an upcoming post.

"If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results." 

Friday, July 19, 2013


I am so glad it's Friday!  As promised, I got a workout in today.  I didn't let the heat or my own excuses get in the way.  I did, however, workout inside; it was, after all, the hottest day of the year so far.  I put in a good workout on the recumbent bike. I may have overdone it a bit at the beginning though.  I initially set the resistance on the program I was doing to 10.  Yikes!  My legs could only take about an 8 today.  I did 30 minutes on the bike and got in just over 8 miles.  I felt stressed out and out of sorts before I worked out, but I felt so much better afterwards.  My head felt clearer and it was nice to have 30 minutes of me time. Sometimes, I'll take what I can get!

I was also trying to be really good about what I ate today and was doing pretty damn good for the most part.  I drank a ton of water; for two reasons.  The first was to stay hydrated in this heat because I don't drink enough water typically.  Secondly, I was using water to curb hunger.  I felt snack-y this afternoon around 3, so I drank about half of a 16 oz. water bottle and it helped.  However, I did stress eat a little bit tonight and this week's go to snack brought to you by animal crackers.  Yum!  I really have to be better about thinking before I put those animal crackers in my mouth.  Do I really need to eat them?  Not at all.  Are they going to make me feel less stressed out?  Nope.  Do I feel guilty after eating them? A little.  At least I am aware of my habit of stress eating, so I can keep working on it.

I'm hoping to get some wogs in this weekend and a fair share of swimming, too!  What are your plans for the weekend?

Next time I feel like stress eating, I'm going to remember this quote (thanks, Nicky!).

"Don't give up what you want the most for what you want for the moment." 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rest Day(s)

I'm 4 days into taking my vitamins and I think they are having the opposite effect on me, either that or I am just incredibly sleep deprived.  The past two evenings, I have struggled to stay awake on the drive home from work and that's a problem.  It is always a good idea to be awake while driving.  So, I decided last night after Nick's t-ball game, that it would be a good idea to go to bed early, thus no blog post last night, nor did I get in a workout.  I rationalized the lack of a workout with the fact that my body probably needs a rest day.  Or at least that's what I keep telling myself so I don't feel too guilty.

I think the combination of the heat and me staying up too late (damn you Internet with all your fun websites and blogs) is causing me to be so exhausted.  Speaking of the heat, last night's t-ball game was so hot!  Luckily, we have been incredibly fortunate this season with mild weather.  I remember getting the schedule earlier this spring and thinking that we were in for some hot games, but last night was the only real scorcher.  He had such a good t-ball season and we are so proud of our little slugger.  He got some great hits both with the tee and without, he paid attention for the most part, and he tried to get the ball when it was hit to him and throw it to first!  They had a cute celebration after last night's game complete with baseball cupcakes (cupcakes with plastic baseball rings on top) and trophies.  Nick is completely enamored with his trophy and he made sure to tell us that while the person on the trophy has to use the tee, he didn't always have to use the tee when he played.

I had hoped to get a workout in today, but unfortunately I wasn't able to.  I suppose I could go down to the basement and work on the elliptical, but I'm not feeling it.  I know I probably shouldn't take two rest days in a row, but I plan on getting back in the game tomorrow.  No heat, no excuses are going to keep from getting in a workout tomorrow.

I still haven't decided whether I'm going to weigh myself every day or not.  What are your thoughts on the subject?  Do you weigh yourself every day?  Why or why not?

P.S. I had a Pepsi today.  I've been craving one all week, but I have been resisting and just drinking water and lots of it to stay hydrated.  I did, however, just get a regular size Pepsi at Bread Co. instead of the large that I would normally get.  That's progress, right?

Baby steps, I say, baby steps.

"Take small steps every day and you'll eventually get there." 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

This is what I keep repeating to myself, particularly today.  I might be a slightly impatient person (somewhere my Mom and Matt are rolling their eyes over the use of the word slightly.  Perhaps overly impatient is the better phrase) so sometimes I get a little frustrated at the rate at which I'm losing weight.  Then I have to bring myself back to reality and remember that I didn't gain weight overnight and I sure as hell am not going to lose it all overnight either.  While there are drastic things I could do to lose weight quickly, and believe me, they crossed my mind this morning, like increase to two-a-day workouts or drastically cut back on my calories, I'm not looking for a quick fix.  This is really about make a lifestyle choice, thus you will not hear me say I'm on a diet, and keeping the weight off for good.

With all that being said, here is this week's Birthday Challenge update.  4 weeks into the challenge and I am down 4.6 lbs overall and I lost 0.4 lbs since last week.  If I may pout for a minute, I think I might need to stop weighing myself everyday.  It's screwing with my head and I don't like it.  On the one hand, I like the accountability that weighing myself everyday provides.  If I get on the scale, like today for instance, and I don't like what I see, I am much stronger when it comes to resisting bad foods or my beloved Pepsi.  However, my weight fluctuates so much day-to-day and it's driving me insane.  For example, had yesterday been my update on the Birthday Challenge, I could have reported a 2.6 lb loss; frustrating, no?  I'm going to mull this over for a bit and perhaps just weigh myself once a week.

I was wallowing about the aforementioned things at lunch today with a friend and we had a great talk about perspective (this is probably going to be my topic of conversation every Tuesday when I weigh-in for the challenge).  Rather than lament about how I'm not as far along in my challenge as I feel I should be at the half-way point, I present my successes so far (thank you, J!):

1. I'm losing weight, which means I've overcome the plateau I was at for so long
2. At some point in the past 4 weeks, I've officially labeled myself a "runner" because I actually enjoy when I run and don't dread it.
3. I've decided that my first 1/2 marathon in April will not be my last and I'm already planning how I can get to Florida in 2015 to run the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon (i.e. I've started a running bucket list; who would have thought?)
4. I started a blog to track my progress and I'm learning a lot along the way (Google Analytics is awesome!)
5. I became a Sweat Pink Ambassador and became part of an inspiring, positive community of people who "sweat hard, play hard, and inspire those around them to achieve their best selves." (
6. I don't back down from a workout when I start getting sweaty anymore.  I feel a sense of accomplishment and bad-assness after a gnarly, sweaty workout.  Sweat is a badge of honor.  Last night I was actually boasting to Matt that I was sweatier than he was on our walk.  I think he thought aliens had abducted me.

Halfway through (ahem, someone's birthday is in one month and two days.  Who's counting?) and the Birthday Challenge is serving its purpose; it's holding me accountable to a healthier lifestyle and it's pushing me and challenging me in ways I hadn't imagined!

It was a touch hot tonight, so I thought it would be better for me to tackle a wog without the boys in tow.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to push my time a little bit, but tonight was not a night to set a PR by any means.  I ran a few stretches, but I mostly walked at a good pace.  I did just over 5K and even though it was hot and humid, it felt great.  It was a bit lonely on the trail though and I missed all three of my walking buddies!

"The length of time it will take to reach where you want to be isn't important. What's important is that you get there. Keep going." 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Funday

Or not.  Why am I still sore today?  Seriously.  I had hoped that by today my leg muscles would feel a bit less sore.  Not so much.  In fact, I had just about talked myself out of a workout at lunch, but I made myself do 30 minutes on the elliptical in the hopes of loosening up the muscles a bit.  It actually felt pretty good and I'm glad I went.  I still felt pretty sore afterwards, but here's hoping that tomorrow the old legs feel better.  Pretty please.

Although, I wonder if I should continue with the exercises I learned on Saturday at personal training to continue to strengthen these muscles that hurt.  Clearly, this group of muscles didn't get much use before strength training on Saturday, so it's probably smart to keep building them up.  Although, tonight, I tried to show Matt the exercises and it was hard to work through the pain.  I know I probably should, though, so I'll try again in a few days.

We went for a walk after dinner tonight, which we all enjoyed, as usual, although it was really humid. We saw a ton of deer out on the trail and we also saw a tiny frog.  Matt picked it up and Nick and I both shrieked, but Jack loved the frog.  It jumped out of Matt's hand into the stroller with Jack and it hopped up his arm to just under his chin and he just giggled the whole time.  It was pretty darn adorable.  I didn't even attempt to run tonight.  I figured another day off from running would be good for my legs and couldn't hurt after an elliptical workout at lunch, too.

Tomorrow's post will include the week 4 Birthday Challenge update!  I'm nervous about weighing in tomorrow after last week's set-back, but we shall see what happens!

Thank you, Nicky, for the below quote!  I love that friends are finding quotes to send to me for the blog! If there are any quotes that inspire you, feel free to send them to me.

"When you feel like quitting, think about why you started." 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where oh where has my energy gone?

I had hopes, and still do, that when I started losing weight I would gain a bunch of energy.  It's no secret that I love to nap, but I don't like feeling like I could curl up in a ball and sleep all day long.  40 some-odd pounds later and I'm a little disappointed that this feeling hasn't gone away, so I bought a multi-vitamin today to see if that helps.  Up until about 6 months ago, I was taking pre-natal vitamins; they were free and Jack was nursing much more frequently.  I stopped taking the pre-natals and didn't replace them with another vitamin.  I need to be better about eating more vegetables, which is a struggle for me, to get the nutrients I need, but in the meantime, as I work on that, hopefully the multi-vitamin will help and my energy level will increase! 

I'm feeling a little sad today.  When I posted my power songs a few weeks ago, I'm sure you noticed an abundance of GLEE songs on the list.  I'm a huge GLEE fan and I'm not afraid to admit it.  I love the show and have since the day I saw the pilot episode.  I love the characters, the story lines, and the music. In fact, the show has introduced me to many artists I may not have otherwise known about.  It just makes me happy. When I logged on Facebook this morning, I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Cory Monteith, who plays Finn on the show.  I know that I don't even know him and it seems silly to be so sad about someone you don't know, but he was so young and talented.  All accounts I've read indicate that he was a sweet, genuine, good guy and it's incredibly tragic that he is gone too soon.  I guess it is a bittersweet reminder that life is short, love with all your heart, don't hold onto grudges, and live life to the fullest. 

I gave myself a rest day today, partially because I was feeling a little blue, but mainly because I'm sore.  Super sore.  It's a good sore (?) from my personal training session yesterday, but I was going downstairs to our basement to do laundry and this is what Matt, Nick, and Jack heard:  "Ow. Ow. Ow."  They thought it was hilarious and Nick started walking around the house imitating me and saying ow every time he took a step.  I'm glad my pain humors him!  We did go swimming today at my Mom's pool and that counts as some exercise, I suppose.  I love swimming and am lucky that my Mom has a pool that we can use.  The boys are fish, like their Mama, and it's quite a workout keeping up with both of them, especially since Jack thinks that at 16 months old, he is Michael Phelps.  He is too cool for flotation devices!  

Hopefully, my ol' muscles will feel up to a workout tomorrow!

"Pain is just weakness leaving your body." 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Thoughts on before/after photos and personal training

 As I've been progressing towards my short-term and long-term weight loss goals, I've thought about posting before and after pictures.  You know, the before picture where you look pissed at the world and miserable followed by the happy, healthy photo where you look like you can take on the world.  Right.  And don't forget to make sure you are in the same outfit for both.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I don't have a lot of pictures where I look miserable; I love taking pictures and I pretty much love life.  In any case, I've been debating about whether or not I want to post before and after pictures (mainly due to lack of courage), but also thinking that I don't really have any good before pictures.  I guess as much as I love pictures, I don't have a lot of pictures of myself where you can see me from head to toe.  Most pictures of me are from the shoulders up.  As I've looked at pictures from last summer, I haven't noticed much of a difference between the me then and the me now.  However, Friday, I found a "good" before picture.  It's not a good picture by any means; I detest the way I look in this particular photo, but it's a good before picture, because by looking at it, I can see the difference between Laura circa late fall/early winter 2012 and the Laura now.  We had staff photos taken, I think in the fall, for our new website and I came across mine on Friday.  Yikes.  I was talking to my co-workers about it and one of my co-workers said "Laura, that was you almost 45 lbs ago."  Good point.  So, as much as I really don't like that photo, it's a great reference point for where I was then and where I am now.  I promise I will post a link to said photo soon and provide a current picture for comparison.

We've been enjoying the great, relatively mild summer weather this weekend and I'm thankful for all of the outdoor time we've had.  Last night, we went to a free concert at a local park with some friends and it was so much fun!  The band was really good and it was a perfect night to sit outside and enjoy the music and let the kids run off some energy on the playground.  Tonight, we went for a walk and yes, I mean a walk not a wog.  I tried to run one of my normal little stretches and I was so sore (more on that below), that I nixed running for the rest of our time and just walked.  We ended up doing the full, big loop on the trail plus another half loop so we did just over 4 miles.  I gave Matt a high five at about 3.3 miles and said "Congrats, you just did a 5K!" and he, Mr. Math, I might add, looked at me in surprise and said "Really?  I could totally do a 5K!"  Yes, babe, you could and you would crush it.  It was nice just walking for a change and we kept a good pace the whole time.

This morning, I got experience my very first personal training session.  You might remember a few weeks ago, I went to a fundraising event at a local training center, Evolve Personal Fitness (, at which I got to try my first spinning class, as well as do a bit of core work and strength training.  My friends and I took home some information that day about other programs offered and we decided to do a small group personal training session today.  I admit, my perception of personal training prior to this was a mental image of me in tears while some mean body builder yells in my face and makes me do like 1,000 squats or a 20 minute plank.

However, our training session today with Doug at Evolve was nothing like my perception!  It was wonderful; a great, sweaty workout with a great trainer.  Doug is awesome; incredibly knowledgeable and he challenged us for sure.  There are muscles in my body that are sore (in a good way) that I didn't even know existed before.  He let us know when we had good form and were doing the exercises correctly but he also helped us fix our form if we were a bit off, which I really appreciated.  We got to work with the TRX suspension training apparatus again (I love TRX, a lot) and I got to use a kettlebell properly!  I really liked the kettlebell, too, and may have to ask for one for my birthday.  We even did some planks today and they didn't suck nearly as much as last time.  I don't know if it was because we did the planks relatively early on in our workout or if it was something else, but it was much better today.  I was able to hold 2 planks for 20 seconds each and I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it was.  I really loved my first personal training session with Doug at Evolve and I'm looking forward to more in the future!

I indulged a little bit today.  I was in the area of Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and I have been craving a Dottie concrete, so I had one.  Those of you who live in St. Louis will understand.  Those who don't, next time you are in St. Louis, go to Ted Drewes and then you, too, will understand.

I'm guessing I'm going to feel a little sore in the morning from all of my training today, but it's totally worth it.

"You can feel sore tomorrow or you can feel sorry tomorrow.  You choose." 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

You learn something new everyday

How true this is and I learned something pretty cool last night!  Let the record state that this whole blogging thing is new to me and I'm still trying to figure much of it out.  Mainly, I've been trying to figure out why the e-mail notifications to subscribers of my blog are a day behind.  I always blog between 10 p.m. and midnight after the boys are in bed, but the blog update e-mails weren't being sent until the following evening.  I looked into it and it's because that's the time it was set to in Feedburner.  Imagine that.  So I changed the delivery time of the subscriber e-mail and the notification e-mails are no longer a day behind.   Thanks for bearing with me, friends!

I didn't make it out to run around the lake at lunch, but I did go for a wog with all my boys after dinner tonight.  It was a beautiful evening; not too hot, not too humid and a lovely breeze.  I even sweet talked Matt into coming with us!  I love spending time with the boys, but I especially love our wogs.  Sometimes, it seems like in today's world, we (myself included, talk to me about the time I thought I lost all the data on my iPhone) are so attached to electronics and spend way too much time inside, so I love taking the boys outside for some fresh air and exercise.  Bless their hearts, because someday I fear genetics will catch up to them, but I hope that we are inspiring them to lead a healthy lifestyle and I love that they get to see Mom and Dad being active.

On another note, I had an amazing salad at lunch today.  Field greens with tomatoes, grilled steak, and a bacon vinaigrette.  It was so delicious!  For dinner, Matt barbecued chicken, which was also amazing!  I had hoped to have some green beans, too, but my children ate them all.  No joke.  My youngest (16 months old) ate the most green beans of all, easily half of the can.  I think that's great, really, but I'm definitely buying a bigger can next time.  Mama likes her green beans, too.

Is anyone else as I glad as I am that tomorrow is Friday?

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Making time to workout

I was afraid I wasn't going to get a workout in today, but I prevailed!  The original plan was to go for a morning walk at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  The garden (one of my favorite places in St. Louis) opens early on Wednesday's and Saturday's for people to come walk the grounds and last week a few co-workers and I went for a morning walk.  We decided to go again this week, but I woke up to thunder and rain.  Most unfortunate considering I knew I wouldn't have time for a workout at lunch (staff luncheon) or after work (Nick has t-ball games on Wednesday evenings and the boys are usually beat after his games).

I decided to make time for a workout though, particularly after dinner tonight.  On t-ball nights, we grab fast food for dinner (judge away, not a mom of the year moment either, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do), but I will usually try to stop at Subway first for myself.  Sadly, I did not have time for Subway tonight because I was running late (what's new?), so I figured a little McDonald's wouldn't hurt.  Wrong.  It was gross and I felt gross after I ate it.  I don't need McDonald's for a long time.

I thought I might hop on the elliptical after t-ball, but the thought of doing 30 minutes on the elliptical was really unappealing.  Give me the great outdoors anytime.  So after Nick's t-ball game, we came home, changed clothes and the boys and I headed out for a wog.  Jack was a little tired and Nick had just played a game of t-ball, but they both love going for wogs with me.  Plus, the beauty of summer is that it stays light later, so even though we didn't get to the trail until a little after 8, we still got 2.7 miles in before it got dark.  It was a touch humid; I don't really like feeling like I'm running with a wet blanket on, but it wasn't terribly hot, which was nice.  It was a good, sweaty run and I felt great afterwards.  And, I ran a few .25 mile stretches and a .5 mile stretch!  It was awesome!

The forecast for tomorrow looks promising for an outdoor run at lunch and I'm looking forward to it!  I'm going to challenge myself to run the entire way around the lake.  I got this!

"Run with your legs to be fast, run with your mind to be faster, run with your heart to be unstoppable." 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Today did not start off on a good note, but things got much better at the day's end.  Why did my day not start off on a good note, you ask?  Because of the damn scale.  Yesterday, when I weighed in, I was down .8 of a pound from last week.  Not great, but still a loss.  This morning when I weighed in, I had gained weight.  So the Birthday Challenge update for this week is a 0.7 lb weight gain over last week.  It is hard to post a weight gain on my weight loss blog, but I want to be honest and real.  You get the good, the bad, and the ugly from me!  Remember how jubilant I was after the first week when I lost 3.2 pounds?  I was cautious though because I knew some weeks would be better than others and let's just say this past week was not great.  I realize that it is just a minor weight gain, but I'm definitely not looking to go in that direction.

I was pissed this morning after I weighed in; mad at the scale, at the world, just generally ticked off.    However, as the day went on, I started to put things in perspective.  3 weeks into my Birthday Challenge and I'm still down 4.2 lbs in that time and to-date, I've lost 41 lbs.  Not too shabby.  Matt and I were talking about a Biggest Loser challenge that he is participating in at his work and it got me thinking about the percentage of my body weight that I've lost.  So I did a quick calculation and since the first of the year, I've lost 14.36% of my body weight.  That's pretty awesome and seeing that number and reminding myself how far I've come was the push I needed to get past my bad mood.  It's all about perspective!

I also got in a good workout at lunch.  The heat index at lunchtime was around 99 degrees, so I nixed the thought of an outdoor run and decided to do a few miles on the recumbent bike.  I did about 7 miles and it felt great!  I was still a little perturbed at the scale at lunch, so getting those few miles in on the bike was good for me.

I also received an exciting e-mail today that helped brighten my spirits!  You may notice to the right a brand new badge on my blog.  I am now a Sweat Pink Ambassador!  I noticed that many of the bloggers I follow are Sweat Pink Ambassadors and I was intrigued (pink is, after all, one of my favorite colors and I have been doing a lot of sweating lately!).  I checked out the Fit Approach website ( and fell in love with their mission:  

"We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We've learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we're also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We're convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too.  We're all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We're all for looking great and feeling even better. We're committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick. 

How do we get there? We climb. We journey. We balance. We reward."

So what exactly is a Sweat Pink Ambassador?  Sweat Pink Ambassadors live the Fit Approach mission every day: they sweat hard, play hard, and inspire those around them to achieve their best selves.  How awesome is that?  I filled out an application a few weeks ago and I received my e-mail notification today that I am now a part of the Sweat Pink Ambassador community!  I am so excited to be a part of this inspirational and positive community and I'm looking forward to connecting with others who are trying to reach their health, fitness, and life goals!   

"Don't lose faith. You got this." 

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's the little things

On top of the obvious benefits of losing weight (more energy, improved health, loose fitting clothes, etc.), there are also little hidden perks that appear at the most random times to give you a little push.  I was standing talking to my husband, Matt, over the weekend and he gave me a weird look and said "what are you doing?"  I was perplexed, so I asked him what he meant.  I had my arms crossed and he asked if I was pushing my arms down.  I told him I wasn't and he proceeded to touch my neck around my collarbone. He said "that's weird" so I looked in the mirror and I could see my collarbone!  Before I lost all of this weight, I could only see my collarbone if I dramatically shrugged my shoulders, but now it is very pronounced.  It freaks Matt out, so for the past few days I've made a little game out of talking to him with my hands on my waist and shrugging my shoulders a bit to make it more noticeable.  It's highly amusing!

I got in a great 30 minute workout on the elliptical at lunch (and listened to my first podcast while doing so!) and I had a good food day today.  I made sure I ate every few hours to keep from going into starvation mode.  Guilty Mom moment though; I bought some of those squeezable applesauce to-go packs for my pre-workout snack (60 calories and a decent about of fiber for a little snack).  I just bought one 4-pack, because in my mind, they are a bit on the pricey side.  My boys do enjoy them from time to time, but I bought them chocolate pudding for their lunches this week instead.  Who doesn't like chocolate pudding, right?  So, while I was packing lunches this morning, my oldest sees the applesauce to-go and asks if he can have that in his lunch.  I tell him that it's for Mommy to eat before she exercises, but that I got him yummy chocolate pudding for his lunch.  He was not amused and seemed to prefer the applesauce to-go, but I promised him he'd like his pudding better.  Not a mom of the year moment by any stretch of the imagination.  I really should have let him have the applesauce, though, because he was on a field trip today without access to a trash can at lunch and I guess he didn't finish his pudding.  He put it back in his lunchbox and it got everywhere.  Maybe tomorrow I'll send him with animal crackers.  Mama is still holding onto the applesauce to-go. 

An update on Week 3 of the Birthday Challenge will be posted tomorrow! 

Love this quote and find it to be so true as I work towards a healthier life.  "Strength doesn't come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't." 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Getting back on track

What a great weekend!  It was also an exhausting weekend, hence, the lack of a blog post yesterday.  I decided a nap was in order after Master Nick's birthday party and what a long and glorious nap it was!  Then I spent some much-deserved quality time with the hubs so I figured a blog post could wait until today.

It's time to get back on track and I'm ready to get serious going forward by continuing to workout every day, but also changing the way I eat.  I still believe that the past week or two that I haven't been eating enough, thus forcing my body into starvation mode, so I'm going to try to increase my food intake (particularly high protein food) and see if that helps my current plateau.  I'm also going to try to eat every two hours, so I bought some good snacks at the store today and I also made a batch of hard boiled eggs (yay, protein!).  I hope this will help avoid starvation mode and help me resume shedding pounds!

Hopefully the scale will be kind to me tomorrow, but I definitely enjoyed some birthday cake this weekend.  I don't want to miss out on life and celebrating my kiddo's birthday is an important part of life. I know that some people will say that life, celebrations, holidays, etc. shouldn't revolve around food, and while I agree to some extent, I don't think I could live in a world without birthday cake.  I guess that means I can't get mad at the scale tomorrow then, right?

The boys and I went to our favorite trail for a wog tonight.  It was hot, but I really had the itch to run and I needed to get Bruiser, aka my baby boy, Jack out of the house lest any further catastrophes happen.  As a quick recap, Friday he fell at school on a rocking chair and got a gnarly black eye, today he slipped in the shallow end of the pool and hit his chin on the side resulting in a bloody lip (I was right behind him but couldn't catch him in time), and for the grand finale, he managed to get stuck under the train table trying to save his sippy cup. Oy!  So, Mama decided some outdoor time was in order.  We had a great time: Nick on his scooter, Jack in the stroller, and Mama wogging along.  The running portions of my wog weren't quite as euphoric as last week, but I attribute that to the heat.  Better get used to it; it is summer after all!

"Strive for progress, not perfection." 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Birthday and Scale Frustration

Today, my oldest, Nick, turned 6!  I have no idea where the time has gone; it seems like just yesterday he was a sleepy newborn who loved to snuggle on my shoulder.  Now, he's my rambunctious, sweet, sensitive, inquisitive, loving boy, who thankfully, still loves to snuggle with his Mama (and I hope he never changes!).  We had a great day together starting with brunch at IHOP, followed by a trip to a playground that his Oma helped build, and then a fun-filled afternoon at Raging Rivers water park.  We had a blast in the wave pool, lazy river, the kids splash area, and of course, all of the water slides! Then the whole family went to O'Charley's for dinner, he opened his presents, we had cake and ice cream, and we were treated to the fireworks from JB Blast from the comfort of our own front porch; can't beat that!  The birthday festivities continue tomorrow with his rocket ship themed birthday party! 

On another note, I am super frustrated with the scale (or rather myself, I suppose since the scale tells it like it is).  It seems like no matter what I do, I am stuck at a plateau again.  After losing another few pounds recently, I'm stuck in this same 2-3 lb weight range and I can't get past it.  It is so incredibly frustrating! I don't know if I am building muscle or what, but I'm annoyed.  Certainly, indulging in two big meals today plus cake and ice cream didn't help the cause, but it was a very special occasion.  Next week, I am definitely kicking my workouts and eating habits into high gear (although I kind of feel like I've been doing that already, but I digress). I think I might also go for a run tomorrow after Nick's party (and after a well-deserved nap, too) and see if that clears my mind a bit from this scale frustration.  

I know frustration and annoyance aren't the best responses to a plateau, but it is fueling me to try harder in the next few weeks.  A little spark to fan the flames of my determination, I suppose. 

"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." 

Happy 4th of July

Happy Independence Day!  I hope that you all had a wonderful day celebrating our country's independence!  I'm so grateful to all the men and women who have served our country to protect our freedoms.  Thank you!  We had a great day filled with swimming, a delicious BBQ dinner (pork steaks, yum!), and of course, fireworks.  I was telling Nick tonight before the fireworks started that 6 years ago tonight, we were at the hospital waiting for him to arrive, because I had gone into labor early on the morning of the 4th.  I labored until the morning of the 5th, but he's still my firecracker baby. Time sure flies by!

I gave myself a bit of a reprieve today in regards to exercising.  While I didn't officially work out on the elliptical or go for a wog, I did swim for a bit, cleaned part of the house in preparation for Nick's birthday party on Saturday, and we did have a pretty good walk from our car to the fireworks display, so that counts, right?  I was itching to go for a run towards the end of the night, but there is nothing wrong with a day off.

I was famished after watching fireworks and trying to decide what would make a good late night snack.  I know it's a bad idea to eat this late, but I get so hungry if I am up this late (which is a lot).  I remembered I had a little treat in the freezer and wow; it was amazing!  I was at Sam's about two months ago and got to try a free sample of a Healthy Choice Greek frozen yogurt and it was pretty good, but for some reason, I didn't pick up any.  When I was grocery shopping recently, I saw them and picked up a three pack of the raspberry frozen yogurt. It is amazing!  I have a major sweet tooth and it definitely hit the spot.  The serving size is just right and it is only 100 calories!
Deliciousness that is frozen Greek raspberry yogurt
I'm always on the lookout for healthier sweet treats, so if you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments section below! 

"Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort." 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

You are what you eat

If this adage were true, I would be a Cheez-it.  Seriously. There is some addictive quality to Cheez-its and I succumb to them every time.  I find that I eat so well during the day while I'm at work, but I am starving by the time I get home and start snacking on whatever I can find, usually Cheez-its, before dinner is ready.  After a few weeks of this intense evening snacking, I started eating a late afternoon snack at work.  Typically, I will have a granola bar or yogurt around 4 p.m. but I find that I am still fairly hungry when I get home.

So I think it's time to re-evaluate what I eat throughout the day and perhaps alter my diet a bit.  When I was pregnant with Jack, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which ended up being a good wake up call for me.  Diabetes runs in my family and having gestational diabetes was the kick start I needed to lose weight to prevent having diabetes in subsequent pregnancies and when I'm older.  While I was initially quite upset about being diagnosed and the impact it would have on Jack, I was able to meet with a nutritionist and learn a lot about the proper balance between carbohydrates, fats, and protein to help keep my blood sugar in check.  Although I continued to worry about Jack throughout the rest of my pregnancy, I was able to see him regularly through extra ultrasounds requested to monitor his growth and I lost weight during my last trimester by watching my diet.  I think that perhaps it is time for me to revisit the principles I learned while pregnant with Jack and more carefully monitor the carbs, fat, and protein that I eat.

I'm looking forward to celebrating the 4th of July tomorrow; it is my second favorite holiday (after Halloween).  I can't wait to celebrate our country's independence by swimming, enjoying some BBQ goodness, and watching some spectacular fireworks!  Happy 4th of July to you all!

"It's not how much you eat, it's what you eat."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Birthday Challenge Update

Week 2 of the Birthday Challenge is done!  I've lost another 1.7 lbs this week, which means my total loss so far for this challenge is 4.9 lbs.!  All in all, since January 4th, I've lost 42 lbs and while I have a long way to go, I'm thrilled with my success so far!

On another note, I've been wondering lately about my food intake and thinking that perhaps I am not getting enough to eat. I have been working out at least once (sometimes twice) a day and I thought I would lose a bit more weight. So I think either I'm not eating enough and my body is going into starvation mode or perhaps what I am eating isn't rich enough in nutrients.  I'm trying to add more protein to my diet and increase my fruit and veggie intake.  I've also considered adding a multi-vitamin to my diet (there are so many to choose from though!) as I think this would help with a myriad of things (energy levels, general well-being, etc.).  Hopefully the above changes to my diet will help!

I must have jinxed the weather yesterday with my blog post filled with wishful thinking for an outdoor run today.  Sadly, it was rainy and chilly (it is July, right??) today, so I moved my workout indoors.  I had a good 30 minute workout on the elliptical at lunch, but I definitely didn't have that same euphoric feeling that I had yesterday after my two brilliant wogs.  A workout is a workout, though, and it was a good, sweaty one!

I need to get all the workouts that I can in this week, since we will be celebrating a sweet little boy's 6th birthday and there will be lots of cake to enjoy!  I can't believe my Nick-Nick will be 6 on Friday.  He's so excited about his birthday, as he should be!  I love birthdays and I love making them special for my boys, so it makes my heart happy when he gets so excited for his birthday.

My mom sent me the great quote below (thanks, Mom!) that really solidifies the idea of the Birthday Challenge and other challenges I have in mind.  I really like taking my weight loss goals and breaking them up into smaller, more achievable goals (or challenges).  So once the Birthday Challenge is complete, I'm thinking of another challenge to take me from my birthday to Thanksgiving.  If you have any ideas for future challenges, let me know by posting in the comments section below! 

"Break the unreasonable down into little reasonable chunks.  A big goal is only achieved when every little thing that you do every day get you closer to that goal."

Monday, July 1, 2013

I am a runner

I feel like today I can officially call myself a "runner."  And I've been bragging about it to pretty much everyone, so thank you tolerant people for putting up with me today, but damn it I'm proud.  I started this running journey last summer and got sidetracked big time, but came back again in January.  As I've said before, I do not typically enjoy running in the moment, but I love the sense of accomplishment afterwards.  The past few days, however, I have legitimately enjoyed it.  A funny thing happens when you have fun along the way, you can run farther and at a faster pace.  It's a pretty incredible feeling overall.

I took advantage of the exceptionally beautiful weather today (seriously, someone pinch me. It does NOT feel like St. Louis in July) and I did not one, but two workouts outside.  Rather than continually explaining the fact that I walk and run when I workout, I'm going to borrow a phrase my dear friend, Dana, coined and refer to it henceforth as wogging (a clever combination of walking and jogging).  I went for a wog at lunch and then the hubs, boys, and I went for a wog after work.

I honestly don't know if it was the fact that the weather was perfect (I think it barely made it into the 80's today and there was a delightful breeze) or the fact that maybe, just maybe, I am finally building up my strength and endurance, but I really, truly enjoyed the running portions of my wogs today.  I never thought I would say that out loud, but I did say that several times today and I just typed it, so it must be true!

When I went for my wog at lunch, I did the smaller loop of my normal path, and I ran a fair share of that loop.  It was definitely over 1/2 a mile, which doesn't sound like a lot, but coming from this girl who has never, ever been a runner, it was awesome.  Not only that, but I could have kept going.  I felt great and, as silly as it sounds, I felt powerful and strong.  I should have kept going, but my running shorts were being stupid.  It's awesome losing a lot of weight, but then your clothes get too big and baggy. Note to self: get new workout clothes that fit. 

After work, my boys and I headed to our favorite trail and had a good wog.  Jack is always at one with nature and he was perfectly content chilling in his stroller enjoying the breeze while Nick zoomed along on his scooter.  Matt even got in on a little running action!  I ran down my favorite long hill and while it was only .35 mile, I felt great while doing it and kept a pretty good pace.  I love this feeling of accomplishment!  It's incredibly motivating, but I'm going to take things slow.  I'll gradually increase my distance, but keep my pace on the slow side and work my way up to 5K in the next month or two.

I'm looking forward to another lunch wog tomorrow since it looks like the lovely weather is going to stick around for a bit.  Don't forget to check back in tomorrow for the Week 2 update of the Birthday Challenge!

"I am a runner because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far."