Monday, September 29, 2014

My Napa Adventure (in several parts)

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I last blogged!  I meant to blog at least one more time before I left for Napa a few weeks ago, but between finishing packing, getting the house ready for my absence, and getting work ready for my absence, I ran out of time.  I am a notorious last minute packer and I was up until about 1 a.m. the night (morning?) before I left packing and finishing up a few last minute things, so needless to say, a blog post did not happen.  I hope that you were able to follow my journey a little bit via my Instagram and Facebook photos and posts!  I will be re-capping my Napa adventure in several posts, as there is so much to share!  It was an incredible, life-changing adventure and I am still in my Napa Ragnar withdrawal zone, so thank you for letting me share my adventure with you.

In the days leading up to my departure, one of the things I was finishing up were some gifts for each of my Ragnar teammates.  I wanted to bring them each a little something from me and after mulling over a few ideas like reflective slap bracelets (a play on my contest entry as well as a solid accessory for our nighttime legs) or something quintessentially St. Louis, I settled on little notebooks for them to document their Ragnar adventures.  I also included a Cardinals pen for a little touch of St. Louis.  Inside each notebook, I included a little note from me along with my contact info for post-race correspondence, some of my favorite quotes, and questions or comments to jog their Napa memories (funniest moment, best costume, etc...).  I loved how they turned out and it was really fun to give them to my teammates upon their arrival in San Francisco.

Finished notebooks for my BAMRR gals 

On Wednesday, the 17th, I worked for a few hours and then headed home in the early afternoon, as my Mom was picking me up to go to the airport.  We stopped to pick up Subway for an early dinner and then made our way to the airport.  We had a direct flight into San Francisco, which was nice.  I started to get really sleepy while waiting to board the plane, which I guess is to be expected after several late nights tying up loose ends.  I figured I could catch some zzz's on the plane since I was traveling sans kiddos for the first time in about 7 years.  I tried to take a little nap on the plane, but I guess I got a second wind, because I couldn't sleep for the life of me.  I tried counting backwards from 100 and when I got to 0, I started counting forward.  I eventually gave up, because I think the excitement was winning over my exhaustion.

On the plane and ready for another fantastic Mama/Daughter adventure!
We landed in San Francisco a little before 9 local time (11 our time) and after getting our luggage and rental car, we headed into the city to find our hotel.  I visited San Francisco over 20 years ago; my parents and I made a trip up north when we lived in Southern California, but I was still in awe when we got to the city.  I love traveling and it was so fun seeing a different city and its architecture and general vibe.  We got to our hotel, The Marina Motel, which was just as darling as I pictured it to be, and when I got out of the car, Sarah Bowen Shea walked around the corner with her friend Kate Boyd.  I was so excited to see Sarah and I ran over to give her a hug.  I promised myself that I wasn't going to geek out and be too much of a fangirl during the race weekend (I think I did a pretty good job, too, after this next moment), but I did squeal a little inside when she said Hi, Laura!  Kate was so sweet, too!  She is a friend of Sarah's, from her rowing days, if I remember correctly, and since she lives in San Francisco, she offered to store some of the non-running luggage for my teammates, which was really nice!  (Note, if you are in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend the Marina Motel.  It is in a fantastic location on Lombard Street very near to the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge and a short bus ride to Fisherman's Wharf.  It has a darling courtyard, cute rooms, and incredibly helpful staff who gave us ice aplenty and lent us several blankets for our race, but more on that soon.) 

Beautiful courtyard at the Marina Motel 

The Marina Motel, a hidden gem in San Fran
Once mom and I got settled in our room, I headed over to say hi to Melissa and Erin since they were still awake.  It was so awesome meeting them in person!  We have been getting to know one another all summer on our Facebook page and I really felt like I had known them forever, but it was wonderful getting to hug them in person.  I should have warned everyone that I'm a hugger, but no one seemed to mind!  Jodi arrived a little while later, so I popped back over to her and Melissa's room to say hi and we chatted for a bit before heading to bed for the night.  We had planned to meet at 8:30 the next morning for a shakeout run across the Golden Gate Bridge, so we needed our BAMRR sleep!

We met in the courtyard the next morning and I got to meet Kim, Kelly, and Jen Lewis, who were just as sweet and funny as I imagined.  I volunteered to be the navigator to the Golden Gate Bridge, which was a bit of a mistake since I was taking pictures and Instagramming more than I was navigating (which is ironic considering my later role as navigator in Van 2).  We got to the parking area near the bridge early and took the opportunity for some photos.  A lovely bridge worker pulled up just as we started to navigate taking photos and selfies on our own and he was kind enough to take several (and I mean several) photos of us with all of our different cameras and phones.  

I'm a wee bit excited to be standing so near to this bridge
As we were taking pictures and taking in the scenery, we all kept commenting on how we couldn't believe we were in San Francisco and that we had to pinch ourselves to believe it was true.  As we set out across the bridge, we were chatting away and enjoying the view.  It was what I imagine is a quintessential San Francisco morning, a bit chilly (but muggier than I expected) and foggy.  I stopped for several photo opps and to just generally soak in the experience.  It was about a mile and a half each way across the bridge, so we got in a good 3 mile run.

Sole sisters united in Marin County after our first trek across the bridge
After our shakeout run, we headed to Noah's New York Bagels to grab some breakfast.  Mom and I stopped to do a little shopping because I saw a book for the boys in one of the local bookstores on Chestnut Street.  We all freshened up a bit after breakfast and I said goodbye to mom as she set out on her own California adventure.  Then the girls and I headed to Fisherman's Wharf for some sightseeing.

We visited some of the shops, ate at Boudin Bakery for a delicious lunch (tomato soup in a sourdough bread bowl), saw the Sea Lions at Pier 39, took some photos from afar of Alcatraz, and visited the Ghirardelli Gift Shop (and scored some free samples!).  It was so much fun sightseeing with the girls and spending some quality time with my van mates Jodi and Melissa and bonding with Kelly, Jen, Erin, and Kim since they were in Van 1 during the race, so I didn't get to see them as much.

See a pirate on Fisherman's Wharf, give him a kiss, right? 
Me and Alcatraz (in the distance) 
We headed back to the hotel to meet up with Lisa and JMart (Jennifer Martin) and to begin decorating the vans.  Dimity had arrived with Lisa and JMart and she and Sarah were knee-deep in editing the third Another Mother Runner book while we were sightseeing.  The edits to the book were due to their editor that afternoon, so they set out to FedEx it before our team dinner that evening.  (Don't forget that you can pre-order the third book, Tales from Another Mother: Trials, Triumphs, Tricks, and Tips from the Road, by clicking here.  The book is due out March 3rd)

Erin putting her artistic skills to work and drawing the Ragnar logo on Van 2
The back of Van 2; the BAMRR team consisted of the mothers of 28 kids in total!
We had a quick team meeting before we headed to dinner and we welcomed Smitha to the hotel, as well. Two things stuck with me that Dimity said during the team meeting.  The first was that we were not to utter the words "I'm slow" the entire weekend, which I loved.  She reminded us that we were here to have fun and enjoy the adventure.  I did mention after my first leg that my pace was off and my teammates were quick to remind me to not mention it, which I appreciated.  Thanks, girls!  The second thing Dimity said was to bite your tongue.  She said that there will likely be a point when you are exhausted and someone will say something that will bother you, but it is only because it is 2 a.m. and you are functioning on little to no sleep, so hold your tongue.  I will say that we didn't need to worry about that advice, but I thought it was very sage advice for this type of race!  We luckily didn't have any moments like that, but we did tease each other a few times to "bite your tongue" just to make each other laugh.

We walked to a great pizza place that was near to the hotel for dinner on Thursday evening and we made sure to split up so Van 1 people and Van 2 people were evenly mixed for more bonding time.  I sat with Jen Lewis, Kim, Erin, JMart, and Sarah.  We shared a bottle of white wine, two delicious salads, and two equally delicious pizzas.  I also had quinoa for the first time (it was in one of the salads) and oh my, it was delicious!  I'm going to have to try making it on my own, because I really enjoyed it.

Pre-race dinner with my fabulous BAMRR gals
After dinner we headed back to the hotel and Jen shared with us some delicious cake pops and cupcakes that she made for us (her Ragnar entry was an amazing cake with many awesome layers, including a lifelike tutu layer) and we helped Van 1 get their cooler filled with ice as they had an early morning wake-up call.  Our team's start time was 5:30 a.m. the next day, but Van 1 had to be at the start line by 4:30 a.m. for the mandatory safety  meeting.  Van 1 made plans to leave the hotel at 4:10, so we wished them good luck for their first legs and told them we'd meet up with them at the first exchange later the next day.  We also packed their non-running essentials into our van since we would have time the next morning to drop off those items at Kate's house before we had to make our way to our exchange point.  

Smitha and I shared a room on Thursday night and even though we were both exhausted (she had come to California nearly a week early to sight see with her husband and two girls and they had even been "glamping" in Yosemite), we stayed up until nearly midnight chatting and getting to know one another.  I loved chatting with Smitha; she is hilarious and gave me great advice about her Sparkle Skirts and whether or not I should run a marathon someday.  She votes yes and sweetly offered to come run it with me.  We shall see!

I will leave tonight's post there and continue tomorrow with the story of the actual race itself, which I might have to break down into two posts based on my verbose post tonight. 

If you are antsy for more Ragnar tales, please visit the Another Mother Runner page here, as all of my teammates and I have submitted a photo and a short, 200 word or less summary of our race.  It was wonderful to read the recaps from my teammates and re-live our adventure (I miss you all terribly and am looking forward to our reunion).  Melissa from Van 2 (my van) and Kelly from Van 1 joined Dim and Sarah on the AMR podcast this weekend, so check that out, as well, by clicking here.  I can't wait to listen to it; I've been saving it for my next run!  

My quote for tonight's post is our mantra from Van 2 during the race:

"We were born to be awesome, not perfect." 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Last run before Napa

Happy Monday!  Just a quick post tonight as I am super tired and in need of some sleep.  I figure I'd better stock up on sleep now, since I won't be getting much at the end of the week.  However, as Jennifer (aka JMart), one of my teammates, says, I didn't sign up for this race to sleep!

This afternoon at lunch, my friend, Mary, and I went on a run; my last one before Napa!  We went over to the park by our office and ran for a few miles, including a few hills.  We also found two STL 250 cakes on the way.  Maybe "found" is the wrong word.  I should say I sought them out and appreciate Mary being a good sport about it in addition to being my photographer.  It looked a little overcast about midway through our run, but luckily we did not get rained on.  It was a little warmer and muggier than we thought it would be, but, all in all, it was a good run.  Thanks, Mary, for being such a great motivator!

Last night as I was in the midst of pre-race packing and a bit of general anxiety, one of my teammates shared a video with me and the timing could not have been better.  The video, which is now posted on the Another Mother Runner website, was a sweet message from the 2013 BAMRR DC Relay team with some words of wisdom for our 2014 BAMRR Napa Relay team.  My favorite tip is from Joan, who says that if you decide to relieve yourself in a cornfield on the side of the road at 2:00 a.m. to remember that you have blinking safety lights on your back and you will be seen, likely by Dimity.  The Another Mother Runner community is such an amazing group of women who nurture, inspire, and support one another and I was really touched by this sweet gesture from last year's team.  Thank you to the wonderful 2013 BAMRR ladies!  The 2014 BAMRR will wear the slap bracelet proudly!

"A runner is 'real' when she takes the first step." 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A lovely Saturday

I was so glad to see the sun today after what seemed like an endless string of cloudy, rainy, dreary days!  It was a beautiful fall-like day today; blue skies, a light breeze, sun, and temperatures in the 60's.  Perfectly lovely!

This morning, Nick made us a delicious pancake breakfast.  He set the table, mixed the pancake batter, and cleaned the dishes when we were done.  Earlier this spring, my Mom and I stopped at the big Smuckers store  (it's in Ohio near where my Dad used to live) and we bought a few things, including funfetti pancakes, which I thought the boys would like.  This morning seemed like a good day for funetti pancakes and they were delicious!

This afternoon, we headed to a local outdoor festival and we had a great time.  Since the weather was so gorgeous it was a bit crowded, but it was a fun afternoon.  Nick played a few games in the kids area, we saw animals at the petting zoo, the boys played on the playground, and we looked at many vendor booths featuring local craftsman.  I think the highlight for the boys, though, was riding the yellow school bus that provided shuttle service to and from the festival.

I also picked up a few things for Napa today, including glo sticks, which should be really fun for the night legs, and window paint to help decorate our van.  Tomorrow begins serious laundry day and a true focus on packing.  My teammates and I have been commenting on the fact that preparing for a Ragnar race is not for the unorganized!

Fun accessories for Napa Ragnar
"The journey may be long, but the accomplishment is great." 

Friday, September 12, 2014


I am so glad it's Friday!  Particularly since I thought all day on Wednesday that it was actually Thursday, which meant I thought yesterday was Friday.  I have no idea why I was so messed up on my days this week, but I am glad it is finally, actually Friday.

I am also very glad that I think I am on the upswing of this virus that has been plaguing me for almost two weeks.  Which means that I shall run this weekend and that makes me happy!  While I normally listen to Another Mother Runner podcasts while I run, my Napa teammates have been talking about their musical playlists for next week and it got me thinking about what songs I would put on a playlist at the moment.  My current favorite jams are:

  • Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne: this song makes me happy and it is impossible to not groove when you listen to it.  An added plus is that the background music sounds like the music from any of the Mario Nintendo games
  • BO$$ by Fifth Harmony:  Be prepared to have the following stuck in your head all day "C-o-n-f-i-d-e-n-t, I'm confident." The acoustic version of this song is awesome, too.  They have great harmonies!
  • Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj: super catchy and fun!
  • All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor:  this is a fantastic song with an equally fantastic message
I'd love to add some other songs into the mix, so tell me what is going on in your world musically? 

In preparation for my trip to Napa next week, I am preparing my social media outlets so that I can update everyone when I can.  I've added an Instagram feed on my blog to the right and I will endeavor to make my way out of the Stone Age and actually use it.  So far so good; two Instagram photos in 2 days!  Thank you to my friend, Mary, for helping me think through my social media plan!  

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One week

In exactly one week, I will be landing in San Francisco to begin my Napa Valley Ragnar adventure!  I am so excited and part of me still cannot believe it is happening.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was submitting my video for the Another Mother Runner contest and now here we are, just a week away from the race!  As a side note, Dimity and Sarah are running some amazing giveaways this week during the "Back to School 5K", so pop on over to the Another Mother Runner website and check it out.  The giveaways are back to school themed and there are some amazing, drool worthy prizes being given away each day to multiple winners.

I took today as another rest day, per the nurse practitioners advice from yesterday, and I am feeling somewhat better thankfully.  Hopefully this virus will be done in a few days!

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that we received our start time for the race, which is 5:30 a.m. next Friday, and that I was going to enlist Matt's mathematical skills to help me estimate the start times for each of my legs.  Fortunately, I have some math-y Ragnar teammates, too, because they were able to determine our approximate start times.  This is, of course, just an approximation, but my legs should be roughly as follows:
  1. Begin at 10:47 a.m. on Friday, ending at 12:03 p.m.
  2. Begin at 12:09 a.m. on Saturday, ending at 1:16 a.m.
  3. Begin at 10:56 a.m. on Saturday, ending at 11:26 a.m. 
It seems so official writing that down!  It helps me to visualize the race, though, too.  I was listening to one of the Another Mother Runner podcasts on my run Monday night and they were talking to the two women "cadets" they are coaching for the Saucony 26 strong program.  One of the things they discussed was visualizing yourself on race day as you train for a big race, or any race, really.  I thought it was a great idea and when I really stopped to think about it, I do that much more than I realized.  Every time I've run hill repeats this summer or up a hill in general, I imagine what it will be like to run the hills in northern California.  I imagine what it will be like at the exchange points and I definitely visualize what it will be like on my night leg.  Visualizing your race can also be a really great positive motivator if you happen to have a difficult run, and we all have those days! 

Do you visualize yourself on race day as you train?  

"One day she decided to stop letting fear hold her back and chose to live bravely.  From then on, she flew."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trying not to overdo it

I finally bit the bullet and went to the TakeCare Clinic at my local Walgreens tonight.  This was partly inspired by a lackluster run last night (more on that in a minute) but mainly by the fact that I am still not feeling remotely close to 100% and I want to feel on top of my game for Napa next week.  I hoped that perhaps this was a bacterial infection that could be knocked out with some antibiotics, but alas, it is a viral bug that needs to run its course.  It sounds like I might be on the downswing of said bug and it appears that my cough is a result of post-nasal drip, which will hopefully be alleviated with some Sudafed.  My lungs were clear, which I was relieved to hear.  The nurse practitioner advised that I get some rest and stay hydrated, so that is what I plan to do for the next few days.  It's hard taking it easy, but I need to be rested and healthy for my trip.

I thought I felt well enough for a run last night and since I've been itching to hit the pavement, I decided to go for an easy run.  You could certainly say it was an easy run, too.  I went to the hilly trail by my house and did 3 miles, which went something like this.  Run the first mile, run/walk the second mile, and walk the third, and last, mile.  In reality, I did not feel all that well and I could tell when I headed out that it wasn't going to be the greatest run.  While it wasn't the greatest run, it did feel fairly good to get a workout in.

I brought my running clothes to work today, rather optimistically, but I did not feel good when I woke up, so I decided to forgo the run and go to the doctor.  It's hard accepting that your body needs to rest more than it needs to run, but hopefully after a few days of rest, I can get a few runs in later this week or over the weekend.

One of my awesome teammates (and van mates!), Melissa, posted a great article to our Facebook group page today and I thought I'd share it.  The author writes about what she wish she'd known before her first Ragnar and I particularly appreciated the tip she shared about her night leg and embracing the solitude.  It's no secret that the night leg has been my particular area of concern, but I have heard from several people that the night leg is often one of the the best parts of the experience.  Several of my sweet teammates have offered to run my night leg with me, although at the moment, I'm leaning towards pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and going it alone.  I may change my mind at midnight next Friday, which is when my second leg is predicted to start.

I'll be anxious to write my own post about what I wish I'd known before my Ragnar, although I have been fortunate to have some great advice from my great teammates who have done overnight relays before and my own research.

Feel free to share any of your tips for running an overnight relay below! 

The below quote is rather fitting, especially considering two of my three Napa legs have some pretty epic hills (both up and down)!

"If you never attempt the ascent, you'll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side." 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Gearing up for Napa Ragnar

This was such a lovely weekend!  Friday evening we had a quiet evening at home and I crashed early since I still wasn't feeling great.  Saturday morning ,we got up early and went to a local homecoming parade, which Nick was marching in with his friend, Logan.  It was fun watching them hand out candy to the parade-goers and it was equally as fun watching Jack pick up all the candy that was thrown at his feet.  It was a bit rainy, but the temperature was in the 70's and it felt wonderful!  After the parade, I took a little nap and then Matt and I had date night!  Nick spent the night at Logan's house and Jack spent the night at my mom's house, so Matt and I went out to dinner and then rented a few movies to watch.  After the drizzly morning, the sun decided to come out and it was an absolutely beautiful night.  Matt and I ate outside and enjoyed the delightful weather.

Our view at dinner last night.  Lovely!

Today, I did a bit of de-cluttering around the house and went to a Thirty-One party (I have a Thirty-One addiction; so much great stuff in the new fall catalog!).  I also did some meal prep for the week and I tweaked the recipe for my shrimp pasta a bit.  I added some lemon juice and a touch of Italian breadcrumbs in addition to the olive oil and garlic.  The little bit I taste tested this evening was delicious so I am looking forward to more delicious lunches this week at work!

I've mentally started packing for my Napa trip, although I won't start physically packing until likely the night before I leave.  I did pick up a few things this weekend, though, and I guess I have started a Napa pile in my dining room of things I need to bring with me.  Ragnar requires each person who will be outside the support vehicle during nighttime hours of the race (6:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m.) to wear a reflective vest,  i.e. essentially all teammates should have a reflective vest.  I very much appreciate the concern for safety, but I didn't know that I would necessarily ever use a reflective vest other than for this race, so I wasn't too keen on buying my own.  Several of my teammates mentioned that they could bring a spare in addition to their own so that we would have the coverage needed.  However, after talking to a few of my teammates, I realized it wouldn't be a bad item to add to my running arsenal.  In addition, when I got my shoes a few weeks ago, I found out I had a credit at my local running store that was exactly the cost of the reflective vest.  Coincidence?  I think not!

So, I headed to my running store on Saturday after the parade and picked up a sweet, pink Amphipod reflective harness.  I love that I found several reflective items in pink.  I realize that safety is far more important than looks, but darned if I don't want to look good whilst being safe and I much prefer the bright pink color over the typical neon yellow color.  

My  new reflective harness.  In pink!
I also grabbed a few packs of Nathan shower wipes.  I typically use unscented baby wipes after I run at lunch during the work week, but I figure giving these wipes with a fresh, clean scent a whirl will be a good bet considering I will be sans shower for the better part of two days, during which I will be running the equivalent of a half marathon.

Hoping these wipes will work in lieu of a "power shower" since I won't get one for a few days in CA!

Disclaimer:  I purchased the above products and all opinions are mine alone. 

The last piece of gear I have in my Napa pile is the sweetest gift I received from a dear friend on Friday.  I had lunch with my friend, Amy, which was a celebration of our birthday's, both of which were in August.  She gave me two lovely silver shoe lace charms for my running shoes!  One says "Lovely Laura" and the other says "You've Got This!"  I love these and I know they are going to give me extra encouragement and motivation in Napa!  It will be great during each of my legs to be able to look down and remind myself that "I've Got This" and that I have sweet friends and family cheering me on all the way.  Thank you so much, Amy, for such a sweet, thoughtful gift!

My sweet shoelace charms from my friend, Amy!
I didn't do much in the way of exercising this weekend, which was unfortunate considering how beautiful it was here.  My head feels better, but all of my congestion has moved into my chest and I can't seem to shake a really bad cough.  In fact, Saturday as we walked to the parade route, my chest felt a little tight.  If that continues, I will definitely go to the doctor to get it checked out.  I feel  much better this evening though, so I am planning on a run tomorrow.

I also want to send a huge virtual Congratulations to my friend, Stacy, who had a fantastic race this morning at the Cardinals Care 6K.  I'm so proud of you!  

Have a great Monday everyone!

"Ships in harbor are safe, but that's not what ships are built for." 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Almost on the mend

Unfortunately, I am still feeling under the weather, so I have not been to the gym this week, nor have I gone for a run.  I have been itching to go for a run, though, so it's been hard being out of commission, but with another heat advisory issued today, I didn't feel quite so guilty for missing out today.  I am hoping to feel well enough to either go to the gym tomorrow night or to go for a run.  If I don't make it for a run tomorrow, then definitely this weekend as the weather is supposed to be significantly cooler with highs in the upper 70's (yes, please!).

Yesterday marked the two week countdown for my departure to San Francisco for my Ragnar relay and I am getting really excited!  There is a lot to do between now and then, mainly planning what I'm bringing.  There is a lot to bring and I definitely have to be strategic when it comes to packing since my running gear needs to fit in a van along with my teammates' belongings.

I've found quite a few helpful articles on packing for a Ragnar Race (here and here) and I am also fortunate to have a few overnight relay veterans on my Ragnar team who have shared their advice and tips, as well.  My favorite tip so far has been to pack each of my running outfits for my individual legs into large, gallon size Ziploc baggies and mark them accordingly.  This way, each is easily identifiable and post-running, I can put the appropriate clothes back into the bag to contain the inevitable eau de sweat smell that will occur.

I've also been feeling a bit apprehensive of late about getting lost during one of my legs (particularly my night leg).  I don't know why I have this fear and I know how irrational it sounds, but I am nervous nonetheless.  One of my teammates suggested printing my leg maps and putting a copy in the appropriate Ziploc bag with my running gear for that leg so I can bring it with me.  Another genius idea!  Bringing the leg map with me (just in case) will be good peace of mind.

Happy (almost) Friday everyone!

A friend posted the below sentiment on Facebook today and I adore it!

"There is inner beauty about a girl who believes in herself, who knows she is capable of anything she puts her mind to.  There is beauty in the strength and determination of a girl who follows her own path, who believes in herself.  There is beauty about a girl who loves herself now while she fights to be the girl she is becoming." 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer Cold

Sadly, this is not a post about unusually chilly summer weather, but rather a head cold that I picked up from the hubs and Jack.  It is not fun being sick in summer, but I am counting my lucky stars that this happened now and not two weeks from now when I'm in Napa!

I briefly considered going for a run tonight or going to the gym, but thought better of it.  I figured being sick is my body telling me I need to rest, so tonight, the boys and I did a little crafting.  I saw a link on Facebook a few weeks ago for this adorable pumpkin made out of mason jar lids and I knew I had to make it.  I love, love, love Halloween and this looked like a perfect fall/Halloween decoration for our table!  Luckily, a co-worker of mine is a canning guru and she had a bunch of rusted can rings that she gave me.  She was a little shocked at first that such a craft would "waste perfectly good canning rings" but she was happy to share the rusted lids with me.  Everything has a purpose, right?

So, after dinner tonight, the boys and I went outside to our back yard and had some spray painting fun with the rings.  I'll be sure to post a picture of the final product; I can't wait until it's done.

On another note, the bow tie pasta with shrimp that I made last night was fan-freaking-tastic for lunch today!  I paired it with a side salad with craisins, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and some red wine vinaigrette and it was a delicious lunch!

I'm hoping to feel up to a run tomorrow, but I guess I will have to see how I am feeling.  It's off to bed for this girl!

"Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work." 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lessons learned from my August Goal

I am proud to say that I met my August goal of not weighing myself save for the two times I had my weight and measurements taken at the gym!  I had my first weigh-in at the gym on August 2nd and did not weigh in again until Saturday, the 30th.  That is a huge accomplishment for me given that for most of my weight loss journey, I've weighed myself every day.  I've spoken a lot about the pros and cons of this method, so now I will share with you what I've learned from weighing myself on a monthly basis.  However, first, I will share with you my progress, or rather my lack thereof.

According to the scale at the gym, I gained 5 lbs (repeat to myself, I am more than just a number on a scale, I am more than just a number on a scale.)  I was originally somewhat ok with this number as I figured I had gained muscle mass.  However, my friend the body fat measurement tool told me otherwise, as my body fat percentage went up nearly a full 1%.  My BMI number also went up.  As far as my  measurements are concerned, everything stayed the same (shoulders, waist, hips, and arms) with the exception of my shoulders and chest, which each went down 1/2 inch.  So I lost a total of 1 inch.  Hooray, I suppose.

To say I'm disappointed with my numbers would be an understatement, but I'm not dwelling on it.  Yes, I have been going to the gym pretty regularly, but I have also been eating a lot of junk food.  In the interest of full disclosure, for the past two weeks, I have been drinking weight loss shakes for breakfast and for most of my lunches to help jump start my weight loss.  In my heart of hearts, I know this is not the solution for me, both in the short term and in the long term. I've been down this road before, but I thought that perhaps this time it would kick start my weight loss so I could get my momentum back.

However, what I found was happening was that I was so hungry around 4 p.m. each day, that I was continually eating from that point on.  I was famished when I got home from work and would munch on whatever was around.  And to think, the scale said I gained 5 lbs.  Who would have thought?

In any case, I talked to the trainer at the gym on Saturday a little bit about my numbers and my eating habits and he encouraged me to look at the ingredients on the weight loss shake.  He told me if I could pronounce even one of the ingredients on the label, then by all means, continue to drink them.  I didn't even have to look at the label to know that he was right.  I know that the shakes are not the solution for me and talking to him was the kick in the ass I needed.

I need to go back to eating three healthy meals a day with healthy snacks interspersed throughout the day.  Tonight, I prepared a big batch of steel cut oats to have for breakfast each morning as well as a batch of bow tie pasta with grilled shrimp that tastes divine (I may have had a taste test before I put it in the fridge) for my lunches at work this week along with a side salad.  I also made a batch of homemade trail mix (peanuts, mini chocolate chip morsels, and raisins) to snack on during the day.  Having such a good lunch to look forward to well help curb the inevitable "I want to eat out today" thoughts that happen around 11:30 in the morning.  By having healthy, hearty day time meals and snacks, combined with healthier dinners and a return to running mixed with cross-training, I feel confident that I can get back on track.

I certainly don't mean to diminish the plans of anyone who has found success with weight loss shakes.  I think that if you find what works for you, you should stick with it, however, I know that it is a plan that does not work for me personally, so I need to return to what does work for me.  Running, cross-training, and eating healthy meals throughout the day.

Back to my thoughts, though, about weighing myself on a monthly basis.  I really enjoyed the freedom of not weighing myself everyday (maybe a bit too much), but I admit, it was hard some days to not get on the scale.  It was tempting on more than one occasion, but I stuck to my plan.  I think, though, that it would have been helpful to see at some point mid-way through that I was not on track for weight loss.  Rather than wait an entire month to see that I've gained 5 lbs. perhaps it would have been helpful to see that I was up a few pounds a few weeks into the month to get back on track.  I don't see myself going back to daily weigh-ins, because it is emotionally draining, but I think that perhaps weekly weigh-ins will be key to help keep my sanity and keep me on track.

Wishing everyone a great week!

"You don't have to eat less, you just have to eat right."