Thursday, January 30, 2014

Running adventures

Guess who has run a total of 9 miles over the past two days?  This girl!  I ran 4 yesterday on my lunch break and 5 miles today.  I'm pleasantly surprised that running on consecutive days has not been nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I did struggle quite a bit through today's run and I am really, really looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.

Yesterday's run was a little cold, but I was pretty pleased with my average pace.  I guess I was running faster to get warm and get back to my car quickly.  I did 4 miles in 50:28 with an average pace of 12:36.  Today's run was really windy, but warmer.  The wind made the 2nd mile really tough and honestly, if it hadn't been for my friend, Mary, running with me, I probably would have stopped.  (Note to self:  do not run into the wind anymore. It isn't fun.)  We ended up exploring a new part of the path we've been running and came across a really neat bridge, so we, of course, needed a photo op.
About the halfway point of our 5 miler
Despite feeling somewhat sluggish today, I did 5 miles in 1:02:06 with an average pace of 12:25, which is a nice improvement from yesterday.  Mile 3 was actually a 12:08 mile, which is great.  I'm a little nervous about being able to maintain that pace for the half though; I was really, really slugging through miles 4 and 5. Or at least it felt like it to me.

I experienced a weird fluke with MapMyRun yesterday and today and I am wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences.  Mary and I ran side-by-side for all 4 miles yesterday and for 4 of the 5 miles today, but my notifications were about .3 of a mile off from hers.  We didn't start our workout at the exact same moment, so I expected some fluctuation, but certainly not nearly a minute difference.  I don't know if it might be because my phone is an older model or if our leg strides are different, but it was really weird and slightly frustrating.  I wanted to stop so badly when Mary's chimed 5 miles, but I also have this quirk about making my own workout read 5.0 miles, so I kept running for a few minutes.  Has anyone else experienced something similar when running with friends?  

My 5 mile run on Sunday was really fantastic; I felt great and I wasn't glancing at my phone near the end to see when I would finish.  It was odd then to follow that great run with two pretty difficult runs yesterday and today.  The trail we ran for the past two days has more elevation changes (I wouldn't call them hills, but it is definitely not a flat path) than my normal path, so I figure that might be a factor, but adding in some elevation will be good for my training overall.  I will likely do my 6 mile run on the flat path this weekend, though.  I could use a feel-good run this weekend to boost my confidence!  I know I will have good run days and bad run days, but I'd like to add a good one in this week.

It has been a rough week personally for me, so I found this quote to be so fitting.  While today's run was a struggle, it certainly helped clear my mind and distract me for an hour!

"A good laugh and a long run are the two best cures for anything." 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Girls Gone Sporty Guest Post: How I Became a Runner

I recently became an ambassador for Girls Gone Sporty and I have really enjoyed getting to know my fellow ambassadors on our Facebook page. Several of us decided to do a guest post swap and I was thrilled to be paired with the fabulous Kristen Gillette, who runs the Adult Ballerina Project blog.  I'm so glad she shared the story of how she became a runner! Be sure to check out Kristen's blog for other great posts and a guest post by yours truly about my running story.  

Meet Kristen, a fellow runner from Philly!
How I Became a Runner

Throughout my childhood, I hated running. I was one of those kids who came in last in the dreaded mile race. I enjoyed swimming much more, unfortunately, we only had about a weeks’ worth of swimming classes at my high school.
It wasn't until I got to college that I actually enjoyed working out outside of a swimming pool. Although I mostly used an elliptical, I occasionally fast-walked/slow ran on the treadmill. I even ran a Color Run with a few of my friends before I "seriously" started running.
About a year ago, I started training for the Broad Street Run, a race through the heart of Philly, so that I could do the race with a lot of my friends during our last semester. Unfortunately, things didn't work out as I had planned--I wasn't even able to complete the 5k I had planned in April, having to embarrassingly drop out during the first length of the race due to pain (which I later learned were the start of stress fractures).
I did eventually go on to complete a 5k and another color run before being officially sidelined due to an official diagnosis of stress fractures some six months later. Even with the injuries, I still love running, and hope to start doing it again soon.
I love running because of the sense of freedom it gives me. I love going for a run when I'm stressed out or need a break from something. I also love that it's been a cheap activity for me and my boyfriend to do together. Plus the running community in Philadelphia is fantastic with a lot of great meet-ups and events.
Hopefully I'll be able to make it to this year's Broad Street Run with a little bit of luck and a lot of training.
Kristen's first Color Run
I look forward to keeping up with Kristen and I wish her the best in training for the Broad Street Run!  I can't wait to read the race re-cap! 

"Surround yourself with people that inspire you." 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'm a Salty Sweater

Apparently, I fall into the category of a salty sweater.  Who would've thought?  Over the course of reading anything and everything I can find about running, I've read many stories of people who literally have salt on their body post-running.  I thought it was a little strange and wondered what that must be like.  Now, I know, because I am apparently a salty sweater myself.

Last weekend after my 5 mile run, when I got to my car, I felt my forehead and it felt gritty.  I don't really know how else to describe it, but it felt like little flecks of sand on my forehead.  I didn't think much about it and I didn't even look at my forehead to see what was going on.  I didn't notice it on my next run and honestly, I forgot about it.

Today, I ran 5 miles and I noticed the same grittiness on my forehead and decided to actually look at my face.  I had a little streak of white on my cheek and near my temple, too.  It was weird, to be sure, but I knew from my scouring of the Internet that this was a fairly common happening.  I thought it might be an indicator of too much sodium in my diet, as my memory couldn't remember whether salty sweat indicated a lack of sodium or an overabundance and I just assumed based on my diet, that it was due to an overabundance.

I found a great post on the Runner's World website, which answered some questions I had and provided some helpful tips, so I thought I would share the information in case you are also a salty sweater!

  • If you have a gritty feeling on your skin, like I had, after a run, or streaks of white on your skin (or clothes!) after a run, you are a salty sweater.  You may also experience sweat that tastes salty (yuck, but let's be honest, sometimes it trickles to your lips) or sweat that stings your eyes (this happens to me all the time, but I thought that was normal.  Who knew?).  
  • Typically, salty sweat happens to those who drink more water and eat a diet lower in sodium.  I found this surprising, because while I have significantly increased my water intake, I feel like my sodium intake is too high and I think I should cut back.  I guess that is not the case, though.
  • The article provided a clever acronym SALT, which stands for Sodium Advances the Level of Training and suggests adding salt to your diet (soy sauce, tomato juice, and pickles are some of the suggested ways to do so), eating a salty snack post-run (pretzels, popcorn, crackers, etc.) and drinking a sports drink when you run instead of plain water, as these types of drinks contain sodium, electrolytes, and other minerals.  
As I said, I feel like I get plenty of sodium in my diet; I add salt regularly to the food I eat, I can't get enough pickles and I have been eating pretzels almost daily.  Clearly though, on longer runs, my body needs more sodium, so I suppose I should start using the MiOFit drops again in my water bottle for those higher mileage days.  I've been reaching for granola bars as my post-run snacks and while it is a chocolate pretzel variety, I may switch to just having regular pretzels afterwards to see if that helps, as well.  

I had a great 5 mile run today and I slightly improved my time from last week's 5 miler.  I did 5.01 miles in 1:02:31 with an average pace of 12:29, which I was pretty pleased with.  My mom came with me and took the boys for a walk, which was really nice.  Nick brought his binoculars and had fun finding birds nests in the trees while they walked. Nick ran the last mile of my run with me, which was really sweet.  He held my hand most of the way and it made my heart happy (and also made the last mile much more enjoyable).  It was such a gorgeous day here with temperatures closer to 60 degrees, so it was nice to get outside and enjoy the weather while it lasts.  They are forecasting subzero wind chills for the next few days and I am anticipating some chilly runs this week!  

The nice weather, though, was a nice teaser of springtime weather.  I noticed as I was on my run that many people were taking advantage of the weather and barbecuing.  We decided to do the same and Matt made one of my favorite spring/summer dinner dishes, barbecue pork steaks!  We made baked beans and corn on the cob and it was like a little slice of summer on this January day!

Are you a salty sweater, too?  If so, what steps do you take to avoid salty sweat? 

I love the quote below, because if you had asked me even a year ago if I thought I could run a mile, much less 5, I probably would have laughed at you.  Running has completely redefined my impossible, to the point that I feel like nothing is impossible as long as I put my mind to it. 

"I believe in redefining my impossible." 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K

Today, I participated in my first virtual 5K, the second annual Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K in honor of Katie Foster's birthday!  Katie began the Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K on her birthday last year and she had such a great turnout, so she decided to do it again this year.  I've heard a lot about virtual races and I was looking for the right virtual race to get my feet wet.  Katie's blog was one of the first blogs I started following and when I heard about her virtual race, I was excited to participate!

Happy Birthday, Katie! 
If you have never participated in a virtual race before, it is a race done on your own, as your schedule allows, which is nice for me, because this means it is not an early wake up call as most races are!  A virtual race gives you the flexibility to participate outside or on a treadmill and to run or walk as you'd like.  In this case, Katie asked us to run or walk 3.1 miles (5K) today (her birthday) and post our results to her Facebook page, as well as on her blog.

I loved the accountability provided by signing up to do the virtual race!  I took another rest day yesterday and I was really looking forward to logging some miles today and tomorrow, particularly since the weather was supposed to be so nice.  In all honesty, I should have gone for my run first thing this morning, particularly since my children decided to wake up earlier than normal, but I slept so poorly last night, that staying in bed and attempting to get more sleep proved to be the winning option.  After a busy day, Jack and I settled in for a late nap and I nearly missed my window of daylight to go for a run.  It was so tempting to stay in bed, but I really wanted to participate in the virtual 5K, so I got up, threw on my running clothes and headed out the door to do a quick run in our neighborhood before the sun set.

I have to say, I missed running on my normal (flat) trail, but getting in some hills was probably very beneficial for my training.  I guess I never realized how hilly parts of our subdivision are.  It's always a little different running in the neighborhood and dealing with cars and dogs, but it was a nice change of pace.  My pace was a little slower due to the hills, I suppose, and the fact that I haven't run since Monday, but overall it was a great run and I'm glad I was able to participate in the virtual race.

Side note: I just figured out to screen shot on my phone!  I might be the worst iPhone user ever.  Thanks, Mer, for teaching me this! 
Katie also provided downloads for a race bib (see above) and t-shirt logo, which was a really nice touch.  She is also offering a few Runner's World subscriptions as prizes!  I'm keeping my finger's crossed, but even if I don't win, I will be purchasing the April issue for sure since Katie will be featured along with her Ragnar Relay team. 

I hope Katie continues her birthday tradition next year!  It was a great experience and I've enjoyed reading the recaps from other participants.  

Did you participate in the Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K? 

"Either you run the day or the day runs you." 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

To Run or Not to Run

That was the question today.  Despite my quote at the end of yesterday's post about not waiting for the perfect conditions to run, I ended up letting the weather get the better of me today.

It took a lot of convincing though.  I was bound and determined to go for a run today, despite the fact that it was 4 degrees when I left my house this morning.  I had my running clothes packed and brought them to work with me.  My co-workers said it was too cold to run and I, being the rebel that I am, said "No, I really need to run today so I don't lose my training momentum."  All the while, I kept thinking that I ran the Hot Chocolate Race a month ago in similar weather (blissfully forgetting how cold that run was).  A few hours into my day and I was still set to go for a run.  Then my sweet husband, as if he was reading my mind, sends me a message and all it says is: Too cold for a run.  That is when I threw in the towel.  I gave him the same spiel about how I needed to run so I wouldn't lose momentum and he convinced me that doing a little cross-training today instead of running wouldn't set me back.  

I was a little discouraged, but after a quick step outside this afternoon, I decided that I would have been pretty miserable on a run this afternoon.  Instead, I am setting my sights on a few longs runs this weekend when the temps are supposed to be back in the 50's (and then returning to the teens early next week.  Seriously, wake me when it's spring).  

I'm looking forward to running a virtual 5K (or maybe more) on Saturday in honor of Katie's birthday at Runs for Cookies.  For more information or to sign up for the virtual 5K, click here.  I have never participated in a virtual 5K before, so I am looking forward to this event and to celebrating Katie.  She is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for me through her blog, so it will be nice to help her ring in her 32nd year! 

Have you ever participated in a virtual race before?  If so, which one?

I ended up going to the Rec Center at work tonight and doing a few miles on the elliptical.  I had hoped to do some leg presses and leg lifts after that, but the elliptical was making my tailbone tinge a bit and I thought that perhaps doing leg presses and lifts might not be the best at the moment.  I almost worked up the nerve to run on the treadmill tonight, but I chickened out at the last minute.  Someday, I will conquer my fear, but today was not that day.  

I appreciated the feedback about weight gain during training!  It's nice to hear that I'm not alone in that and that it can be a normal part of training for an endurance race.  I still think I need to be a bit more mindful of what I'm eating, especially since today I felt like I could eat anything in sight, but I am going to pay less attention to the numbers on the scale.  For that reason, I found the below quote to be pretty fitting! 

"I'm not training to be skinny.  I'm training to be badass." 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rest Days

I planned to take a rest day yesterday and it was a success!  I hadn't slept well on Tuesday night, so I was incredibly tired and the weather was cold and snowy, so I figured a rest day was in order.  I ended up going to bed a little after 9 and it was delightful.  I felt well-rested this morning, which was a nice change of pace.

Today, it was another bitterly cold day and I took another (unintentional) rest day.  I am a little nervous about taking two rest days in a row and how that will affect the momentum I built over the weekend with my training runs. I also know, though, that my body took a beating over the weekend between running and falling at the bowling alley, so perhaps a few rest days are just what I needed.  I think my co-workers are amused and slightly irritated by the fact that I groan every time I stand up from my chair and I'm almost always holding my rear end when I walk.  My tailbone is feeling slightly better, so that's a plus.  Despite the fact that tomorrow is supposed to be even colder yet, I plan to fit in a run during lunch (fingers crossed).

It was just a few days ago that I posted that I wasn't going to worry about weight loss while I train and what did I do this morning?  I weighed myself and got a little irritated with what the scale read.  While I don't think there is anything wrong with being aware of my weight, I do think I need to stop beating myself up over the ups and downs that are naturally going to occur.  Particularly as I'm training and building muscle, I'm sure slight increases are to be expected.

I'm curious to know from others who have trained or are training for a half or full marathon, did you gain weight while training?  

I need to repeat the following to myself over and over tomorrow before my run:

"If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done." 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Half Marathon Training Tidbits

Now that I am starting my second week of half marathon training, I've come to a few conclusions:
  1. Running 3 days in a row won't kill you.  I have been very nervous about running for consecutive days because my normal m.o. is to alternate running and cross-training.  I'm still a little nervous given that I am so early into my training, but I ran 3 days in a row this weekend and it didn't suck!  
  2. I am not going to focus on weight loss too much until after my half in April.  This doesn't mean that I am going to eat a lot of crap and let myself go, but instead, I am going to make sure I eat better for proper nutrition and fueling during training and race day and worry less about the number on the scale.  I really want to focus on my mileage for the next few months and I know myself well enough to know that doing just that will be enough.  If I obsess over the numbers on the scale and my training, I will overwhelm myself and I'm determined to avoid that. 
  3. I just want to cross the finish line for the half, but the competitive side of me is floating numbers around in my head.  I have no idea how my body will react to 13.1 miles but I would really like to finish in under 3:00.  I really, really, really would like to finish in 2:45 and I think it is possible, with a lot of hard work (and speed work and hill repeats) over the next few months.  I did my 10K in 1:19 and some change so I don't think either one of my goals is too lofty.  In all honesty, though, as long as I cross the finish line, I don't think I will care (much) what my time is. 
  4. Chocolate milk after a run is really amazing!  Chocolate milk, in general, is amazing.  I do not care for pre-made chocolate milk that you can buy at the store.  I find it too chocolate-y (blasphemous, I know).  However, when I recently made it at home with my own proportions of chocolate syrup, it was life-changing.  My oldest son and I can't get enough "homemade" chocolate milk.  I had a glass after my 5 mile run on Saturday and it was the perfect post-run treat. 
  5. It is not a great idea to listen to a podcast about Zombie runs whilst you are running through a wooded trail on a somewhat cloudy afternoon.  I may be a little skittish, but every squirrel that scampered next to me in the woods, every twig snap, and every biker that came from behind me made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  I had to keep repeating to myself Zombies aren't real, Zombies aren't real. I love horror movies, but spend most of the movie with the sound on low and my eyes hidden behind my hands.  Perhaps I should amend the first sentence to read: It is not a great idea to listen to a podcast about Zombie runs if you are a scaredy cat.  End of story. 
  6. I am genuinely excited about this race.  It is going to be a challenge, but as I put in the miles during training, I know I can do this and it is pretty empowering and exciting.  My goal for the next few months is to train smartly, enjoy the ride, and get to the start line injury-free (yesterday's bowling mishap does not count) and happy to take on the challenge. 
I did 4 miles this afternoon (and listened to the Zombie podcast as mentioned above) and it wasn't quite as wonderful as yesterday's run, but it wasn't awful either.  Time seemed to be dragging and I thought for a bit that MapMyRun had stopped, but I guess I was just too focused on time and didn't really let go and enjoy the run.  

My pace was slower than yesterday, but I am learning that this could be the normal pace for me on a longer run.  I did 4.01 miles in 53:16 with an average pace of 13:17.  My splits were:  13:29, 13:05, 13:31, and 12:46. 

Have you ever done a Zombie run before?  Would you recommend it to others? 

"Whether a mile or a marathon, you get there the same way...a step at a time. Such is life." 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Run Day

There are some things you think you will never say and for me, one of those things used to be Wow, I feel so much better after that run.  It's amazing how things can change, isn't it?  I had an amazing run today that was probably the best thing I did for my sanity all day.  I love my family and we had a great afternoon bowling with some dear friends, but I have been on an emotional roller coaster the past few days and I needed to be by myself to clear my head.

My schedule called for 3 miles today, so I headed out and was actually really looking forward to it.  That was a nice change of pace from the dread I felt before yesterday's 5 miler.  The weather was mild today, the sun was out, and it was really lovely hitting the pavement, listening to my podcast, and enjoying the outdoors.

I took a little tumble at the bowling alley (my daredevil little guy decided to sneak away from us and run past the foul line straight towards the pins and I was right behind him blissfully unaware of how slippery the lane was past that line.  I managed to knock us both out and fall on my tush) and I'm fairly certain I bruised my tailbone, but I wanted to get out for a run and clear my head.  Surprisingly, running actually made my tailbone feel much better and it really only bothers me when I'm sitting down or bending over.

Today's run went by really quickly and I never felt like I couldn't keep going.  Most of my runs lately have had some period of difficulty where I felt like I couldn't keep running, but today that wasn't the case and it was wonderful.  I felt really great while I was running and the miles went by quickly.  I don't know if it is because I did 5 yesterday, but I'll take it!

Another exciting thing that happened on this run is that I didn't come to a halt when MapMyRun said I had completed 3 miles.  I actually felt pretty darn good, so I kept going until I reached a stop sign near my car and I ended up doing 3.1 miles in 38:59.  It's not much more than 3, but the fact that I wanted to keep running even after I had completed the miles on my schedule was a big victory in my mind.  My average pace was 12:34 and my splits were 12:40, 12:30, and 12:27.

All in all, it was a great run today and I'm looking forward to a 4 mile run tomorrow!

Am I the only one who didn't realize how slippery the bowling lanes were after the foul line?  I've never felt the desire to step past the line, but now I know!  If you made it out for a run today, how was your run? 

"Running allows me to set my mind free. Nothing seems impossible, nothing unattainable." 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Running for Meg

It has been a really rough week for me, so last night, I decided a relaxing evening was in order.  I rented Despicable Me 2,  made popcorn and homemade chocolate milk (also known as milk with Hershey's syrup, but this is how my oldest likes to refer to it), and snuggled up with my sweet oldest son to have movie night.  It was much needed!

I also took a rest day yesterday, even though my training schedule called for a 3 mile run.  Have I mentioned that I might be the worst follower of training plans ever?  I didn't wake up early enough to run yesterday, and truthfully it wasn't really even in the forefront of my mind to do so, and I had a lunch at work that precluded a lunchtime run.  I didn't feel too guilty about missing a run, since my game plan was to run 5 miles today.

My training plan called for 4 miles Thursday (check), 3 miles Friday (nope), and 5 miles today (big ol' check but more on that soon).  I wondered if I should do 3 miles today since I missed yesterday, but I decided to go big or go home.  I'm not sure if it was the right call, but I did it anyway.  I have been dreading the 5 mile run on the schedule and I just wanted to get it over with so I could shake out my nerves and it worked.

It was hard to make myself go out for a run today, because I was especially tired and it started to snow as I was getting ready to leave, but I was determined to run today in honor of Meg Menzies, a mother runner who was killed on Monday morning by a drunk driver.

You can't quite tell in this photo, but it was snowing pretty good at this point. Luckily, it was melting as soon as it hit the ground. 
I decided to change up my route a bit today since I knew it was going to be a bit of a mentally challenging run.  I know the length of my normal running route to within a tenth of a mile no matter how many different ways I do my out and back.  Rather than subject myself to ongoing statements of Oh great; I still have 2.5 miles to go or Good grief! I've only done 1 mile so far, I decided to go further on my normal path to experience new parts of the trail that I haven't memorized.  For me, this meant crossing a busy street, which I have been nervous about and I'm not sure why because there is a crosswalk.  After I crossed the street, I experienced a new part of the trail which was kind of a blast from the past.  In my high school days, Matt and a friend of ours would bike along this trail regularly and I can't tell you how many countless hours I've spent on it.  It was fun to go down memory lane and enjoy that part of the trail from a running perspective.

My run was pretty good today; I had a little tweak in my right quad, but nothing too major and my pace improved a bit.  I did 5.02 miles in 1:03:03 with an average pace of 12:33.  My splits were 12:59, 12:24, 12:55, 11:58 (where did that come from?), and 12:54.

I thought about a lot today on my run; part of my rough week involves someone I love dearly going through a tough time and I thought about him.  I also thought about Meg a lot and when my legs started to hurt and I wanted to walk, I remembered her and kept going.  I continue to keep her family and friends in my thoughts and prayers.

At first, I felt weird smiling in this picture, but I have a feeling Meg is smiling down on all of us today as we put in our miles. 
The trail was fairly empty today, but I did come across a few runners.  Generally speaking, the people on the trail aren't too chatty.  Everyone seems to kind of go about their own business, but I'll usually get a nod or smile or two.  Today, though one fellow runner gave me a boost early on in my run and I'm grateful!  I wasn't even a half mile in and still trying to psych myself up for the run ahead when an older lady ran by me and gave me a thumbs up.   It made me smile and I gave her a thumbs up back and said hi.  It was a nice sign of encouragement, so thank you to the nice woman in pink who gave me the thumbs up!

While on my run, I was, as usual, listening to one of the Another Mother Runner pod casts and several things stuck with me.  Dimity was answering a question someone had about which marathon training plan she should use.  She was essentially debating between a beginner's plan and an intermediate plan and she had already completed a half.  Dimity advised that she use the beginner's plan for her first race.  I'm paraphrasing here, but Dimity basically said that the goal of your first long race should be to finish it.  This isn't the race you want to try to PR in.  You want to get to the starting line, healthy (i.e. injury-free), happy, and stress-free.  I love that!  I'm not trying to PR by any means for my half, but I do have a time goal and a stretch time goal.  Honestly, though, I just want to cross that finish line and my time is irrelevant.  There will be other races to try to reach a PR!

The other thing Dimity said (and again I'm paraphrasing) in response to a different question that I honestly can't remember at the moment, is that at the end of the day, you are running 13.1 miles and that doesn't suck.  I might feel differently at mile 8 of the half, but being able to run and push both my body and my brain past the limits I thought they had is a beautiful thing.

Were you able to run for Meg today?  I'd love to hear about your #megsmiles

"The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you." 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

4 miles

Whew; much as I was nervous about my 4 mile run today, I did it!  I went for a run at lunch and it was fairly good.  It definitely ebbed and flowed, though.  The first mile was great; I went out slow so I could sustain my energy through all 4 miles.  The second mile was ok, but when my app chirped "two miles" I couldn't help but think that I was only halfway through.  Mile 3 pretty much blew and mile 4 was a mix of euphoria since I was almost done and a bit of agony (why isn't it saying I'm done yet??).  I'm a little irritated by my pace since I was much slower than my average pace of late, but I guess I shouldn't complain too much since I actually did my planned 4 miles despite my reservations.  I ran 4.01 miles in 52:47, with an average pace of 13:09.  My splits were 13:40, 12:50, 13:28, and 12:15 (ha, can you tell I was in a rush to get done?).

I neglected to mention in yesterday's post the little adventure I had yesterday morning.  Let my adventure serve as a little PSA for anyone out there who owns a car.  If something doesn't seem right with your car, take it in to have it looked at!  Trust me.  For a few weeks, my car has been giving me a little trouble when it starts.  I usually have to turn it over a time or two, but it has been getting worse.  I chalked it up to the cold weather and put off taking it to the shop because 1) it's inconvenient to take it in and 2) that costs money!  Tuesday and Wednesday it was really a struggle to start my car; so much so that yesterday I thought I was going to have to put Jack in his stroller and walk Nick to school.

Fortunately, the car finally started and I dropped both boys off at school.  However, when I went to leave Jack's school, my car wouldn't start at all.  It wouldn't turn over, so I called a local shop and they sent someone out to jump my car.  It still wouldn't start, so I had to call a tow company to come tow my car to the shop.  (Nick was thrilled when he found out my car was towed and that I got to ride in the tow truck.  Cool Mom points for sure!)  Apparently, it needed a new starter and now that I have it installed, my car turns on beautifully.

A funny story from all of this is that while I was waiting at Jack's school, the Pastor of the church came out to see if I was ok and needed anything.  I was frazzled and said I was ok, but that my husband wanted me to open my hood and look at the battery.  I told Pastor that it was too cold to mess around under the hood and truthfully, I wasn't sure how to open my hood.  While I was talking to Pastor, I pressed the button to open my hood and went to try to open it to no avail.  Bless his heart because Pastor managed to say with a completely straight face "you just opened your trunk."  My husband had a good laugh at that and I admit, it was pretty humorous.  I should really know more about my car!  Step one: learn how to open the hood.

A little non-scale victory to share is that I have not had a soda since Sunday and miraculously, I have not noticed extreme caffeine withdrawal headaches!  Success!

Were you able to go for a run today?  How was it? 

"The only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you've come." 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vega One Review and #OneChange

It is hard to believe that is already a few weeks into the New Year!  I know that I personally always love the beginning of a new year and the promise it brings.  It's an opportunity to start fresh and if you are anything like me, you resolve to make more time for your family, evaluate your professional goals, and challenge yourself to become healthier.  Losing weight or revamping your diet, or any goal for that matter, can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be.  All it takes is #OneChange to make a difference and achieve your goals!

As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I was given an opportunity to try Vega One as part of my #OneChange for the New Year.  Megan at has mentioned the product on her blog, so I have been intrigued for awhile and anxious to try it.  One of my biggest hurdles in my weight loss journey is snacking!  You might even say I am a serial snacker as defined below by Vega One.

  • Serial Snacker: Yes, you can snack and feel good about giving in. Your stomach talks to you all day (it never shuts up!) Your bag or desk drawer is strategically stocked with a wide assortment of get-me-through-to-the-next-meal morsels. You struggle to turn down a slice of office birthday cake—hungry or not. And the 3 PM growlies can lead to pre-dinner nachos or a midnight snack over the kitchen sink.
Hi, I'm Laura and I'm a serial snacker.  
So, I was excited to receive a sample of Vega One French Vanilla shakes to help me make #OneChange of snacking less!  The shakes are plant-based, dairy, gluten and soy free, and it contains no added sugar.  As someone who is a fairly picky eater and therefore worries about receiving enough "good stuff" from her food,  I was impressed by all of the vitamins and nutrients that each serving provides.  I was curious to see how the shakes would curb my snacking habits.

10 servings ready to be sampled!
I struggled with creativity in the recipe department for my first two shakes, but fear not, I have found some great recipes from other Sweat Pink Ambassadors (including peanut butter protein balls and a peanut butter/banana smoothie!) and I will keep you posted on future recipes!  

I had my first shake last week during Snowmageddon.  I found myself incredibly snack-y while at home during our snowstorm.  I was constantly snacking, even though I wasn't really hungry, so finally, by Thursday, I decided to try one of the shakes and attempt to cut back on snacking.  I read the package and it suggested mixing one packet with 1 - 1 1/2 cups of cold water, juice, or other non-dairy beverages, so I decided to go with water.  I must say, if you are a visual eater, as I am, when you empty the packet into your cup, you may be a little disenchanted (see below) as the mixture is a kelpy-green color and it doesn't smell too much like vanilla.  I was pleasantly surprised by my first sip, as the flavor was much sweeter (and vanilla-like) than I imagined.  The consistency is a little gritty, so I decided to try a smoothie for my next recipe.  Overall, I was really impressed by how filling the shake was.  I had a shake in the morning after a small breakfast and did not feel hungry until around 2:30 that afternoon with no snacking in between. 

Mixed with cold water; again, don't let the color dissuade you!
On Sunday afternoon, I decided it was time to start training for my half marathon, so for my pre-run meal/fuel, I made a smoothie using the Vega One French Vanilla shakes.  I tend to eyeball my smoothie recipes, but my Strawberry/Pineapple Smoothie recipe is below:

- a large handful of frozen strawberries
- one 6 oz can of pineapple juice (you could use frozen pineapple, if you'd prefer)
- two handfuls of ice

Blend until smoothie is the desired consistency.  I wish I had picked up some bananas at the store before the snow storm, because I think the addition of a banana to this smoothie would have been perfect!
My strawberry/pineapple/vanilla smoothie
The smoothie was much more flavorful than just the shake mixed with water, but it still had a pretty gritty consistency.  I have some ideas to remedy that for future smoothie recipes, which I'm anxious to try.  Again, though, I was really impressed with how long this shake sustained me.  It lasted through my run and well into dinnertime, too.  I would really love to try some other recipes, as I love how filling the shakes are and how well they curb my snacking habit, which is #OneChange I can make to meet my weight loss goal in 2014.  I just need to find a few great recipes that work with the consistency of the product!  

Have you tried Vega One before?  What is #OneChange you can make this year to meet your goals? 

(Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary box of Vega One to review.  All opinions expressed are my own.) 

"If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough." 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Today, I decided to do a bit of cross-training to see if I could work out some of the soreness in my quads and it worked!  I went to the rec center at work and did 28 minutes on the elliptical as well as some strength training.  I did leg presses and extensions and lifted free weights for a bit.  I must say, this afternoon my quads felt much better, so hurrah to cross-training.

I have been trying desperately to eat better this week by cutting back on soda and eating more nutritionally sound food. I have been doing great at work, but my problem is at night.  I come home from work and I am ravenous.  I want to eat everything in sight!  It's a little annoying, but I'll get through it.

A co-worker introduced me to a new granola bar last week and I am obsessed with it!  It is the Nature Valley Chocolate Pretzel Nut Sweet & Salty bar.  Oh. my. yum.  It has been my late-morning/pre-workout snack and it is fabulous.  I think I will buy two boxes next week; one for work and one for home, so that maybe I can curb my after-work hunger with a delicious granola bar.

Chocolate + pretzels + nuts = amazing!
 The other thing that I picked up at the grocery store on Sunday was a box of individual drink mix packets to help curb my soda drinking.  I love water, but by mid-day, I am usually about two Tervis cups full of water and thirsty for something different, which is why I usually end up getting a soda.  Well, that and there are so many convenient places right by my office to get soda.  At lunch, I have been drinking a big glass of fruit punch and it hits the spot.  I switch back to water after lunch, but having a glass of fruit punch is a nice, mid-day change from water and it's only 5 calories per serving.

My go-to favorite flavor
 For the past few weeks, I've noticed a new product in the dairy section called Saute Express by Land O'Lakes and we gave it a try tonight.  It is a saute starter containing butter, spices, and, in most cases, olive oil, so you just add 1 square of the product for each 1/2 lb. of fish, poultry, or veggies and your meal is made.  I  picked up the garlic and herb flavor and we loved it!  It was very easy to make and the flavor was superb.  We will definitely keep this in the mix and hopefully try out a few more flavors, too, like Lemon Pepper and Italian Herb.  It may not be the healthiest option given the butter content, but we eat a lot of chicken in our house, so it is nice to have other recipes and flavors to use in our regular meal rotation.

Two thumbs up from our house
I wanted to share a few other things tonight, too.  The first is an incredible blog post by Martha at  Yesterday, Martha celebrated one year of streaking; running streaking, that is! Martha has run at least a mile, every day for the past year, which really blows my mind.  It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, particularly with kids, so I really admire Martha's determination and commitment.  What started out as a month-long challenge evolved into so much more and I hope you hop over to Martha's blog to read more about it!

On Facebook today, several of the groups I follow posted a tragic story of a fellow runner who was stuck and killed by a drunk driver yesterday morning while out on a run.  This Saturday, her family and friends are encouraging anyone to walk or run in Meg's honor to "raise awareness of drunk driving, texting and driving, and overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere."  This quote from the Megs Miles Facebook page says it all.

"This Saturday, January 18, 2014, no matter what your distance, no matter where you live, run for Meg. Take in the fresh air, be aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it--for all of it. The sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold...everything. Be grateful for that moment."

While I didn't know her, Meg's story has impacted me greatly and I will be proud to dedicate my training run this Saturday to her memory.  For more information on Meg's story and the Megs Miles event, please go to the Megs Miles Facebook page. 

Please be safe out there when you run, my friends!  

I think tomorrow will be a rest day for me.  My next training run calls for 4 (!) miles and it is intimidating me a bit.  I'm not sure why, considering I know I can run 4 miles, so I need to change my outlook and think positive thoughts!

"She turned her cant's into cans and her dreams into plans." 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Half Training: Day 2

Day 2 of half marathon training is in the books.  Hooray!  Holy quads Batman!  My quads are really tight and were bugging me quite a bit today, but I pushed through a 3 miler on my lunch break.  My pace was a bit slower today due to the fact that my normal path around the lake at the park by my office was crazy slushy and muddy, so there was a lot more Prancercize happening today.  I'm not too worried about my pace, because at least I got out there and did it and that's all I'm going for at this point.  There will be plenty of time for speed later.  I did 3.02 miles in 39:37, with an average pace of 13:07.  Tomorrow is a cross-training day, so I think some elliptical work is in order to help alleviate some of the tightness in my quads.
Thanks to my co-worker and running buddy today for taking this picture!  Thanks, Mer!
One of our local Fleet Feet stores was offering a Garmin seminar tonight, which I attended.  I am chomping at the bit to get a Garmin and I thought it would be helpful to learn about the various models of Garmin watches and their features.  A Garmin representative led the session and was very helpful in answering our questions.  We were able to look at the different models and I found it to be very helpful.  Although, now I am wondering if I should get a model with a heart rate monitor.  I am really just looking for something to help me track distance, pace, and overall time, though, so I think the Forerunner 10 will suffice for my needs.  I think a heart rate monitor might be a little more than I need now.  There are so many options!  In any case, going to seminars like the Garmin session tonight reminded me how thankful I am to have so many great local running stores to frequent.  It is great having the resources at Fleet Feet and Big River Running to help me on my journey!

Do you use a running watch?  If so, which one do you have and what do you love about it? 

"Your body hears everything your mind says. Stay positive." 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Half Marathon Training has commenced

Guess who started her half marathon training today?  This girl!  I am feeling leaps and bounds better than last week and the weather was just gorgeous today, so I decided it was time to start training for my half.  It was supposed to get up to about 60 today and you can't beat that, given that it is January and this time last week we had about a foot of snow and temps below zero, so I headed out to my favorite trail for a 3 mile run.

The first mile felt great; unbelievably lovely, although parts of the trail were still covered in slushy snow (mainly in the shaded areas).  There were narrow foot paths through most of the slush, but only enough for one person to get through.  There were a lot of people out on the trail today (we've been cooped up for a long time, folks) and several times, I had to run through the slush to pass others on the trail.  I felt like I was Prancercizing and I'm sure it was comical to watch.  The second mile wasn't quite as glorious as the first, but it was manageable and fairly quick (for me).  The last mile was another story; it was a struggle and the last quarter of a mile was pretty brutal.  I was counting down the seconds until my app chirped 3 miles complete.
A beautiful day for a run 
I ended up doing 3.05 miles in 38:29 with an average pace per mile of 12:36.  Not too shabby considering I haven't run since mid-December.  As much as I struggled through the last part of my run, I felt really great afterwards and I'm so glad I made it a priority today to run.  I also got to try out a new running app today and I was very pleased.  It's no secret that I've been increasingly frustrated with my Nike+ app and the seeming inaccuracy on my recent runs, so I decided to give MapMyRun a try.  So far, I am impressed and I really liked the accuracy, as well as the notifications received after each mile, including distance, pace, and split times.  I'm anxious to try it again tomorrow for my scheduled 3 miles at lunch!

Since the weather was so nice today, after my run, I took the boys to the park for some outdoor fun.  The park was also incredibly busy and all of the kids there were having a great time running around and playing. There was still some snow at the playground, so Nick and Jack had fun picking up some of the snow and throwing it at the ground.  I'm hoping that we can have more of these milder days interspersed throughout the winter so we can avoid cabin fever like we had this week.

I officially signed up for the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Run and I'm looking forward to it.  It will be my first race of 2014!  What is your first race for the year? 

"Every day is a new chance to run."

Friday, January 10, 2014


I am pleased to say that we escaped from the house today!  Nick went back to school after a nearly three week holiday break, as did Jack.  Nick was really excited to go back to school, but Jack wasn't quite as thrilled with the idea.  It was a rainy day here, but the temps were mild enough that the snow is melting rapidly.  On Sunday, it is supposed to be about 55 degrees, which is nearly 70 degrees warmer than it was last Sunday.  Got to love St. Louis weather!

I will be adding another race to my 2014 calendar!  I just received an e-mail today about an upcoming race in February, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge Run.

About three years ago, ground was broken on a new bridge connecting Missouri and Illinois and it is set to open on February 9th.  On February 8th, runners will be given the opportunity to traverse the bridge before it is open, which I think is pretty awesome.  The new bridge will be named in honor of Stan "the Man" Musial, former Cardinals player and all around great guy, who passed away last January.  He is a pretty big deal to Cardinal Nation and the city of St. Louis in general.  Stan's number when he played for the Cardinals was 6, so this race is, of course, a 6K.  I was seriously considering running this race for a number of reasons, but what sealed the deal is that my Mama is going to be a race volunteer!  I love that she is volunteering for a race and I'm proud of her!  I'm looking forward to seeing her at a much needed water station.

If anyone in the STL area wants to join me, I'd love company for the race!

Happy Friday to all!

"Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A little inspiration

As I mentioned yesterday, I am getting really antsy to start training and running again.  I am still a little nervous about the level of commitment involved as most of the training plans I am looking into involve 5-6 days of running per week.  However, today, I came across the video below posted on the Run Like A Mother Facebook page and it really inspired me, so I wanted to share it with you.

A woman posted a time lapse video of her visiting the gym for 100 days.  I empathized with her completely at the beginning of the video; you could feel her frustration and sadness and I have been there before.  As the days progress, she blossoms and you can't help but share in her joy at the end of the video.  Her enthusiasm and joy are contagious!  I'm going to keep this link handy when I need a little inspiration and I hope a little bit of her dedication and commitment rub off on me in the coming weeks.

At the end of her video, there is a link to, which invites visitors to "practice something for 100 days" and to take a video every day.  It looks like there are some other great videos on the site, so I'm looking forward to checking those out.

As of midnight last night, the school district we live in tweeted that they were planning to have school in session today, but I awoke to the sound of our house phone ringing at a little after 5 a.m. this morning with a message that school was closed again, due to additional snowfall overnight (not much, maybe an inch, but enough to make the still somewhat messy roads even messier).  I appreciate that they have a phone tree to alert us of closures, because back in my day, you had to get up and watch the news to see if school was closed, but darned if that phone call doesn't scare me every time.  We don't get a lot of calls on our land line, so when it rings at 5 a.m., I can't help but think it is an emergency.

I probably should have bundled up the boys and taken them outside to play in the snow since it was actually pretty mild outside, but I'm recovering from the sinus and ear infections and Jack has the sniffles, so I didn't want to risk it.  It probably would have done us some good to get outside for a bit, but we enjoyed watching movies and the boys discovered that our recliner in our family room makes a great indoor slide!  I love their ingenuity and seeing their imagination come to life!

Feel free to share any additional inspirational stories or videos below (especially your own stories!).  I would love to have an abundance of motivational and inspirational stories to keep me going during training! 

"The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you." 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cabin fever and Race Calendar

On Sunday night before the temperature really plummeted, I went outside and played in the snow like a kid.  I had to practically twist Nick's arm to come outside with me and he looked at me like I was crazy as I made snow angels in the huge snow drifts in our backyard.  We don't get that much measurable snow, or at least it hasn't seemed like it the past few winters, so I wanted to enjoy it for a little bit.

I am now ready for the snow to go away, thank you very much.  Nick's school was called off again today, but I think that was the right call.  I saw so many posts on Facebook yesterday about the horrible condition of the roads and Matt told me when he got home that he was glad the boys and I were at home yesterday.  It normally takes him between 7-10 minutes to get from his office to the highway and last night it took him 45 minutes to go the same distance.  However, after 4 days being home bound, Mama Roeseler and her two boys have a bit of cabin fever.

The boys and I are usually out and about, so it's rare for us to be home so long.  I would much rather us be safe, don't get me wrong, but we've pretty much run the gamut of fun snow day activities. Jack and I have been playing a game for a few days involving me trying to keep him away from his Daddy's computer.  It pretty much looked like Fort Knox today; the third time was a charm and kept him out of the area where Matt's computer is, but he sat next to it for a few minutes and I could see the wheels spinning in his head trying to figure out how to get to it.  He's so curious and adventurous!  We've watched a lot of movies, snuggled, cleaned, read, played, and made another batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Nick made the cookies all by himself and very sweetly told me while reading the recipe that there was an ingredient missing; love.  He is such a sweetheart!

In any case, yesterday our cabin fever reached its peak and it was a bit of a rough Mommy day for me.  So, after Jack fell asleep last night, I made a cup of tea and curled up with my Run Like a Mother book. It has been months since I've read a book and it was really nice to lose myself a bit in the book and enjoy some quiet "me" time.

I was thinking tonight about how restless I am and how anxious I am to start training for the half.  I think my gnarly ear infection and this crazy weather was fortuitous in the sense that I was very apprehensive just over a week ago to get back to running and preparing for this race.  Now that I am not able to train, I am yearning to hit the pavement.  I need to follow up with my doctor to make sure my ear is healing properly before I begin my training, but I'm hoping that perhaps I don't have to wait until the 20th and I can get started at some point next week.

I've also been giving some thought to my race calendar for the year and this is what I have so far:

- St. Patrick's Day Run (5 miles), Saturday, March 15th: I walked most of this race last year, although I did a few running spurts.  I was so terribly sore afterwards, too.  I am looking forward to running this bad boy this year!

- GO! St. Louis Half Marathon, Sunday, April 6th:  !!!!!

- Make Tracks for the Zoo 5K, mid-May (Date TBD): I've done this race for the past few years, with the exception of the year I had Jack.  Last year, Nick joined me and participated in the Kids Run.  It's a great event!

- GO! St. Louis Halloween Half Marathon, Sunday, October 12th:  Last year, I participated in the 10K and loved every minute of it.  Costumes are encouraged and it was just a great race overall.  Provided all goes well in April, I'm looking forward to making this my second half marathon.

I'd also really like to do the Color Run and Hot Chocolate 5K's again this year and I may sprinkle some other races in, as well.  What is on your race calendar for 2014?

"Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running." 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow Day

The entire Roeseler family was home today due to Snowmageddon 2014, but unfortunately it was too cold to actually do any fun snow day activities.  Unless you count shoveling snow as a fun snow day activity, and I don't. Although, I guess I got a workout in today.  Shoveling for 90 minutes has to burn a couple hundred calories, right??  Matt and I tackled the driveway and front stairs and we are now able to get both of our cars out if we need to.  I love our driveway for about 10 months out of the year, because we have ample parking for shenanigans at our house.  It is a bear, though, when it snows and needs to be shoveled.  Our typical m.o. is to shovel two tire tracks down the length of the driveway so we can get out, but the amount of snow we got over the weekend necessitated a larger area of removal.  Some of the driveway had virtually no snow, which was great, because it meant we had less to shovel.  Other areas had drifts that were easily 2 - 2 1/2 feet deep.  While I was shoveling a path up our front stairs for the mail carrier, the snow came up to my thighs in places.  The wind was crazy last night, which I'm sure explains all the horrendous snow drifts.  We tackled the driveway in spurts, though, because it was so freaking cold.  We waited until it warmed up to a balmy 2 degrees before we headed out, but the windchill was still well below zero.  It was nice to see the temps above zero, albeit briefly, because the high was only supposed to be -1 today.  It was nice to warm up with some delicious hot tea and a warm shower after shoveling.  I am incredibly grateful for our roof over our heads, heat, and warm, cozy blankets!

We left a giant mound of snow in the corner of our driveway.  We were exhausted and hey, we can at least get our cars out.  That snow pile may be there until May though, it's nearly taller than my oldest son. 

The snow here near the base of the stairs came up to my thighs.  Oy!
I was really nervous about posting my starting and current weights yesterday; enough so, that I thought about deleting that information from my post several times.  Honestly, though, I knew at some point that I would post the numbers to show how far I've come and I figured yesterday was as good a time as any.  I really appreciate a comment that I got from Jessica ( about how sharing my progress might help someone else and I hadn't thought of that.  As she mentioned, it can be really frustrating at times trying to find others who have a similar story to yours or who have similar goals.  I remember finding great blogs when I first started out, but it seemed to me that no one else was at the same starting weight or had as much weight to lose as I did.  It makes you wonder if what you are trying to do is even a possibility.

It wasn't until I found Katie at that I thought "There is someone like me.  If she can do it, so can I."  I, of course, have found other great blogs and I know that what I set out to do is possible, but it helped finding Katie's blog and reading about her success, determination, will power, and even at times, her set backs and frustrations.  I started this blog for two main reasons:  1) to hold myself accountable and 2) to help others and if posting my starting weight and current weight, embarrassing as it might have been, reaches out to someone and gives them hope that they can reach their goals, too, then it was absolutely worth it.

It looks like we will be at home again tomorrow as the wind chill advisory isn't set to expire until around noon.  Maybe then it will be warm enough for snowmen building and sledding?  We will see, I guess!

I love the quote below, since I definitely need to find my determination somewhere and put it to good use!

"You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction." 

One year ago today

One year ago today (on 1/5), I decided to get serious about my health and my weight.  I almost always experience that typical New Year's resolution-fueled drive to lose weight and be healthy, but it never lasts more than a few months. This time, though, I had the added desire to lose weight to avoid diabetes.  Having experienced gestational diabetes with Jack, I knew I wanted to do all that I could to avoid diabetes later in life.  I also wanted more energy to enjoy life with Matt and the boys.  I started tracking my food intake using MyFitnessPal and I began training for a marathon relay that took place in early April 2013.  I've certainly had my highs and lows (hello November and December) this year, but in the past 12 months, I've participated in said marathon relay, walked a few 5Ks, become a runner who participated in several 5Ks and a 10K, started a blog about my journey, and I've lost 58 lbs and kept it off.

Christmas 2012 
Christmas 2013
The hubs and I.  Both "losers" in 2013.  He's down almost 30 lbs and I'm down 58! 
I've been really reluctant (embarrassed, terrified, shy, you name it) to post my before and after numbers, so I've been referring to everything in pounds lost and how much  more I want to lose.  However, today, I'm going to suck it up and share the results.  What better time than on the one year anniversary of my journey, right? Right.  This is also a huge kick in my ass to remind myself that I never want to go back to where I was, so I'm going to put it out there on the Internet.  So here goes nothing.

When I weighed in last year on January 5th, I weighed 286.2 lbs.  Yep.  Gross.  Ridiculous.  How did I let myself get there?  (A whole other blog post, really.)  Let's move on to lovelier things, shall we, because while that was terrifying and I'm not proud of where I was, I am damn proud of where I am today. 

When I weighed in this morning, I was 227.9 lbs for a total weight loss in 12 months of 58.3 lbs.  Yahoo!  I would really love to get down to a goal weight of 180, but if I can get under 200 that would just be delightful.

2013 was a really great year and not just weight/health wise and I can't wait for what 2014 has in store.  I'm trying to keep my "resolutions" short, sweet, and realistic this year:
  1. Enjoy life and live in the moment 
    • This includes spending more quality time with Matt and the boys and trying not to take on too much.  It has been spectacular taking a break from the daily grind the past two weeks.  A little break from work, PTO, Cub Scouts, homework, etc... was really good for my mental health. Every now and then I have this thought that maybe I spend far too much time trying to create memories for the boys instead of enjoying the moments we are in now.  These are the deep thoughts I have at night.  I came across a great article about this subject a few days ago and it's worth a read if you feel the same way sometimes:
  2. Finish my first half marathon in April
  3. Get down to my goal weight of 180, so just shy of losing another 50 lbs.  Since I lost that much and then some this year, I think that is fairly realistic, although I realize that as I get closer to my goal weight it will be harder to lose weight and I will undoubtedly experience plateaus.
Here's to a great 2014! 

Thank you also for the words of encouragement about my setback and ear infections!  I am slowly feeling better, although you definitely still need to talk into my good (right) ear!  Honestly, even if I felt up to starting my training tomorrow, it wouldn't happen.  Nearly the entire city is shutdown tomorrow after we experienced Snowmageddon 2014 today and are expecting bitterly cold temperatures with wind chills in the -15 to -30 range tomorrow.  Our "high" tomorrow is -1.  I haven't seen the official snowfall totals yet, but there are drifts in my backyard that come up to the top of my calves, nearly to my knees.  I think the pictures below speak for themselves. 

I can barely see the top of my front tire.  Fun times. 
I don't think I've seen this much snow in the nearly 20 years I've lived here. 
Stay safe and warm to those of you who are in the midst of this arctic cold Snowmageddon!  

I couldn't agree more with the quote below.  I might add that in addition to finding what works for you (everyone is different and what works for someone else, may  not work for you), you have to find something that is sustainable.  It's not a quick fix; it's a lifestyle change and you have to be able to stick with it day after day. 

"The only successful way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to find what works for you." 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Frustrated...a setback

Well, sadly, I am not going to be able to start my half marathon training on Monday as I planned.  While I was slightly nervous to start training, I was looking forward to that start date and to getting back in my groove.  Alas, my body had other ideas for me.

I've been fighting what I thought was a cold since last weekend, but recently I began to suspect that I actually had a sinus infection.  Not a big deal, but yesterday at work I fainted.  That is a big deal.  It freaked me out a bit and I, of course, starting googling everything I could on the subject.  I thought that maybe I had fallen asleep because the night before I stayed up entirely too late, but I think I definitely fainted.  I waited a few minutes and then drove home with the intention of going straight to bed.  As I was getting ready to fall asleep, I noticed what felt like fluid in my ear.  I figured some water had made its way into my ear from my shower, but then the pain started.  It gradually got worse and I couldn't find any position to be comfortable in.  Matt came upstairs to find me sitting in bed, rocking myself while holding my ear and crying.  I'm sure it wasn't pretty.  I couldn't believe how painful it was, but I chalked up my reaction to being sleep deprived.  Matt looked up some remedies online and suggested a warm compress and olive oil in the ear.  I was very skeptical about the olive oil, but I was desperate for relief and sleep so we gave it a try.  I must say, the olive oil was miraculous!  I'm still not exactly sure what it did, but a few tiny drops of olive oil combined with a warm compress alleviated the ear pain enough that I could finally sleep.

This morning my ear pain was gone, but my ear was still tender to the touch and I could tell there was still a lot of fluid in the ear.  It feels like I have my head in a fish tank; every sound I hear is muffled by the fluid in my ear.  I decided I had better go to the doctor to see if I could get some medicine for my sinus infection and probable ear infection.  I had two nurse practitioners look at my ear and their responses were as follows:

Practitioner 1: Oh, wow.  Your ear is pissed.  (it made me laugh, but is that the clinical definition? My ear is pissed?) No wonder you couldn't sleep last night.  If you could see your ear, you'd understand. (I'll take your word for it.)

Practitioner 2 looking at my ear at the request of Practitioner 1:  Oh.  Yikes.

That did not sound good.  Practitioner 1 did not think my eardrum had ruptured because she could not find the perforation but she wanted Practitioner 2 to take a look for a second opinion.  Practitioner 2 suggested that we treat it as a rupture.  Fun.  I asked if it would heal and I was assured it would, although I may have some scarring.  It appears that I have both an inner and outer ear infection and I guess possibly a rupture.  Luckily I have good medicine and should be on the mend soon.

I asked Practitioner 1 at the end of our visit if I could start my half training on Monday, although I was pretty sure I knew the answer (I should note that I have no desire to run at the moment, but I figured I might feel up to it on Monday).  She recommended I hold off on training until my ear heals, as the infections could affect my equilibrium and were likely the cause of my fainting spell yesterday.

It was all very strange, especially given that my ear was completely fine until about 8 last night.  I'm a bit disappointed about not being able to start training on Monday, although with the amount of snow we are expecting and temperatures expected in the negative degrees, maybe I am not that disappointed.  Honestly, though, the best thing I can do is rest and make sure my body heals so I can tackle training head on when I do start. I did have a minor panic attack when I thought about knocking two weeks off of my training.  I looked at the calendar, though, and even if I can't start training until the 20th of this month, I will still have just shy of 11 weeks to train, which is completely doable.

How have you dealt with circumstances that hinder your training?  Any words of advice? 

I hope that if you are in the paths of these gnarly winter storms that you are staying safe and warm!

"Running is an art and the runner the artist." 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a brilliant farewell to 2013 and that you are having an amazing 2014 so far!  We had a wonderful New Year's Eve, which started off with a yummy breakfast with my Mom at Bread Co., followed by some bumming at the mall, and concluded with a fun night with friends!  What a great way to ring in the New Year!

Nick also had his very first (non-family) sleepover last night! My little guy is growing up so fast!  He had a wonderful time and is already asking me when we can have his friend over to our house to spend the night.  He and Jack both stayed awake until midnight last night, but interestingly enough, Nick crashed tonight before Jack.  He partied hard, that sweet boy.

I intended to post my recap for The Final Nut of 2013 Challenge yesterday, but time got away from me and I wasn't able to blog.  As a reminder, my original goal at the end of August was to lose 24 lbs. by the end of the year, but I decided that my goal was a bit of a stretch.  I modified my goal to 18.7 lbs at the end of October. So without further ado, my final number for The Final Nut of 2013 Challenge is 4 lbs lost.  No where near the nearly 19 lbs. I had hoped to lose at the start of the challenge and a far cry from the almost 13 lb. weight loss I had attained at the beginning of November.  I'm a little pissed at myself for gaining 8 (!) freaking pounds over the past two months, but I suppose to look at it on the bright side, I still lost weight in this challenge.  It's a small silver lining and I mean small.  I really don't like not meeting a challenge, but as with my first weight loss challenge, this challenge taught me a few things:

  1. When I push myself too hard for a short time to reach a goal (a la the Birthday Challenge), I tend to burn out and fall out of my routine very quickly.  The key for me in my weight loss journey is slow and steady wins the race (this is also my mantra for running).  I have to be able to find a lifestyle that is sustainable for me, even if it means losing weight at a slower rate than I want. 
  2. I also learned that if I decide to continue with weight loss (or other) challenges (and I've not given up on my challenges yet; I still like a good challenge) a shorter time span is better for me.  If I break the challenges up into smaller pieces, I can focus more clearly.  I think having an almost 4 1/2 month challenge, combined with the issues mentioned above, made me more lackadaisical towards this challenge.  I wasn't as motivated because I felt like I had all the time in the world to complete my goal and I'm a pretty good procrastinator (in college I could write a massive paper like a boss...the night before it was due).  
  3. Trying to lose weight during the holidays is difficult.  Certainly not impossible if I'd had the right mindset, but definitely difficult.  I hope during the holidays this year I will be in maintenance mode (fingers crossed!), which I'm sure will present a new set of challenges, but maybe it will be a bit more manageable (or I'll have better willpower). 
  4. If I give myself a pass, I'm going to take it.  My mindset, willpower, call it what you will, is the biggest factor to my successes and failures.  I've seen how my mindset can work to my benefit while running as I've described before, but this challenge was a good look at how I work against myself when given the chance.  As I hit plateaus with this challenge, it didn't light a fire inside of me as it would normally.  Instead, I'd cut myself some slack and tell myself that all would right itself when I started training for the half.  While it's true that I hope to get in a better space over the course of the next few weeks while I'm in training, I can't help but think how much better it would have been to start off on a good foot (i.e. not an 8 lb. weight gain from the holidays). 
  5. This challenge was a good lesson in maintenance for me.  I worry a lot about maintaining my weight loss once I get to my goal weight.  When I first started "falling off the wagon" with this challenge, I was in the same 3-5 lb. weight range, which actually made me feel good about maintenance mode.  I wasn't doing much to stay within that range and when I get to my goal weight, I am ok with being in a small range, as I know my weight will fluctuate.  When I really "fell off the wagon" and fell hard, it was because I really had let myself go.  I was enjoying holiday treats to the max, drinking a lot of soda, eating poorly, and not exercising.  So to get to my goal weight, I need to keep working hard (but in a way that is sustainable for me) and when I get to my goal weight, I can continue with my healthy lifestyle and stay within a comfortable weight range. 
So with all of that being said, yes I am more than a little disappointed to not have met The Final Nut of 2013 Challenge, but I can take the lessons I learned above and apply them to the next stage of my journey.  After all, today is the start of a New Year! 

On an exciting note, you might notice a new badge on the side of my blog...I just received an e-mail today indicating that I've been accepted as a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador (!  I was drawn to their founders and their community of women who work, and play, hard to be their best selves.  They "encourage women everywhere to embrace whole health and an attitude of adventure - body, mind, spirit and lifestyle- right where they are now."  I love the concept of whole health and I've really taken this to heart this fall.  I have to take as much time to take care of my mind and spirit as I do my body and lifestyle.  One of my goals for the New Year relates to my whole health and I will be sharing my goals with you soon!  In the meantime, I am thrilled to be a part of the Girls Gone Sporty community and I look forward to meeting fellow members of the community! 

In light of my post above, I came across another great quote on Cori's ( Facebook page.  I think I would feel a bit better about The Final Nut of 2013 Challenge if I had put my whole heart into it.  I know that I wasn't successful because I wasn't in the right mind space, so going forward, I plan to keep the below quote in mind. 

"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory."