Saturday, September 27, 2014

No Half-Marathon for Tracy

This post may sound like it doesn't make sense, but I was writing what I felt. You've been warned. ;-)

I meant to write this post earlier in the week, but I haven't stopped moving long enough to do so, plus I needed a few days to let this sink in.

I will not be running a half-marathon in April. I may not even run one in 2015.

Before you all yell at me for going back on my word, just let me say that this decision was not an easy one. In fact, I was continuously on the fence about it. When I actually made the decision, it was heartbreaking, but I knew it was for the best.

However, several factors came into play about me not going forward.

The first is my mental confidence is really not where I want it to be. I've had runs where I feel amazing, and others where I think to myself, "Can I do this for 13.1 miles?" That alone pretty much says it all. This whole running thing is as much mental as it is physical, and the wrong mindset can send everything into a bad tailspin. Not cool.

The second is that I am not a fast nor long runner. It would take me ages to build up my endurance (both distance and speed) for something like that. I know I can train for a half in as little as three months, but at the same time, I don't want to rush it and risk being miserable or getting hurt. Neither is any fun, and recovering from injury just sucks. Not worth it right now.

The third is that damn thing called "Keeping Up with the Joneses" syndrome. Since I gave myself some tough love a few months ago, I've gotten better, but at the same time, I still struggle with it. I see all these people who have run multiple marathons (both full and half) and even multiple races in one weekend (I'm looking at all those Dopey challengers!), and feel like I've done nothing completing only seven 5K's.

Yes, I know those seven are seven more than the old me would have done. Still, I know people who have completed seven FULL marathons. Then I get the mindset of feeling like a failure.

Ridiculous? Totally.

It was last weekend when I tweeted all those thoughts when my friends Dani and Carlee pretty much told me that my time will (eventually) come and that I had to own my OWN journey. They also said that I have to believe (for myself that I am as awesome as everyone else.

You know what? I do believe it now, more than I did before.

I may not have gone from couch potato to marathoner, but I have gone from couch potato to spin fanatic and basically just enjoys movement in general.

I went from someone who didn't love herself to losing 100 pounds and enjoying the body I'm in.

Honestly, isn't that worth a hell of a lot more than a half-marathon finisher's medal?

I think it is.

Maybe I'll eventually complete a half. Maybe not. If that path isn't meant for me, then so be it. I'm happy with what I've done and nothing can take any of those 5K's, weight loss, or self-love away from me.

Except maybe for me. I just have to learn to own and enjoy my own journey without feeling like I'm not as good as everyone else.

I now believe that I am. I have the heart, passion, and soul that make everything I've done possible. I've had a pretty awesome journey, despite the ups and downs, and every moment of it has made me the best I can be.

I would say that's pretty awesome.

How about you? Have you had to make a decision that was as heartbreaking for you as it was for me?

P.S.-I'm not bashing all of you half and full marathoners. In fact, I think you all rock! I just realized that I wasn't feeling as awesome because I don't have a collection of medals like y'all do. Not the case now.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Checking In!

Happy Friday night, my friends! Currently winding down and in bed watching JAG reruns. I'm a bit of an NCIS fan, so it was only time before I got into this show (even though it ended almost 10 years ago).

Anyway, I haven't posted in awhile (okay, a week or so), and just wanted to fill you in on what's been going on here!

1) Confession: I gained five pounds in three weeks. I owned up to it all (increased sodium intake, breaking "Treat-End," and not going cardio crazy) and got back in the game this week. Result: I lost four of the five pounds! I'm now back at goal and one pound from my "ideal" weight!

2) I've been tracking for over a year! I hit the one year mark on August 31, and still going strong! Not every choice has been pretty, but I owned up to it all. That is what counts, right?

3) I had my first sub-12:00/mile run in ages today! According to my tracker (Caledos Runner), I ran just under two miles with a pace of about 11:40/mile! I'm more than happy with that!

P.S.-Top is from RunID that I won during Twitter's RunChat on Sunday night. Cute, right? ;-)

4) I've become obsessed with Stonyfield's Salted Caramel Greek yogurt. It's only 140 calories for a five ounce cup and it is FAT-FREE!

5) I took a cue from my girl (and recent Half-Ironman finisher) Dani and started drinking water before my coffee in the morning. I only do about 16-20 ounces, but it's worth it. I've ended up drinking over 100 ounces of water a day since.

Yes, I love Despicable Me and Frozen. Then again, who doesn't these days? ;-)

Oh, and today, I got a bit of awesome news...


Remember when I filled out that application? Almost three months ago? Well, I kind of forgot about it.

Until today, when this popped into my e-mail:

I never thought that someone who has a following as small as mine would end up getting something like this! Wow! Guess it goes to show that, like they said in Horton Hears a Who, a person is a person, no matter how small. Seriously, I feel honored and thank FitFluential for the opportunity and can't wait to see what it brings!

Have a great weekend, everyone! I'm working tomorrow night, but don't go in until 5, and am off on Sunday!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Twenty-Nine Miles Done...Plus One More, Along With September Goals!

Happy September, everyone! Drinking a pumpkin coffee from Wawa as I write this since, you know, it's the season after all! Seriously, if you're ever in Jersey, get to a Wawa and get some coffee and chocolate milk. They're both awesome.

Anyway, since it's now September 1, I guess I should recap my August goal, huh? ;-)

Well, if you remember my post in the beginning of August, I said that I wanted to run 29 miles since my 29th birthday was on the 7th.

Guess what? I didn't run 29 miles.

I ran 30!!

I ended Friday at 29.5 miles, and thought I would be happy with that. Here's the pic I posted then as proof of my excitement (Sparkle Athletic skirt and all):

I let it sink in for a day or so, then yesterday, I thought that if I put in just another half mile, I would be at an even 30 for the month, and since you all know I like things nice and even, I decided to go out yesterday and do it, despite it being the hottest day of the month.

Boom. I started off the month not sure that this would happen to going a mile over my goal. You know, for a girl who used to HATE running (I WALKED the mile in high school, for crying out loud!), I did pretty good for myself. Granted, I may never be the fastest, but I finish what I start. That's what counts more, right?

In case you're wondering, I still haven't decided on my reward for this. I'm leaning toward this Alex and Ani Champion bracelet, since I've not only been wanting it forever, but at the same time, it's a fitting symbol of how far I came with this!

All five of my current bracelets are in silver but I think this one looks awesome in the gold, no? Well, I have to wait until next week anyway, but I think this is what I'm getting myself!

Well, since I rocked my one BIG goal in August, I decided to go back to smaller ones for September. Here's the lowdown if you haven't seen it on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram:

1) Complete The Conscious Runner's 30 Day Plank Challenge. I got invited to this on Facebook (only have a personal page), and decided to go for it. It's four planks (side on each arm, basic, and reverse) for a set amount of time each day, with rest days built in to the challenge. Perfect for me!

2) Run three times a week and NOT on consecutive days. I have a 5K coming up on October 5, and want to keep running so I'm race ready that day! I'm trying not to run on consecutive days, mostly for injury prevention. I did in August (mostly to meet my goal mileage), and want to prevent that in September. I'm taking a week as recovery, and planning on going full force after the 7th!

3) Place at least $50 in savings. Hoping I get to save a little more this month. I wasn't able to in August (Okay, $10--which is better than nothing!), and want to get some more money set aside for a rainy day or maybe a Fitbloggin' trip next summer! ;-)

4) No daily weighing. I was doing good with this, then started to let this bad habit sneak back in toward the end of August. So, back to banishing the scale except for once a week!

5) Try at least two new recipes. I fell into a cooking rut. Again. I found a vegetarian recipe online that sounds amazing and want to try! I'm finding so many other recipes now that I'm back in the Pinterest game (hoopsfreak03 over there), so I have TONS of inspiration!

My reward for this month will be two new Sparkly Soul headbands. It's been awhile since I bought any, and there are several that I want!

Anyway, that's my recap of August and plans for September!

Here's to starting the fall off right!

Do you have any awesome September goals?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The "HOW" of My 100+ Pound Weight Loss

Happy Sunday, friends! Unwinding a bit and enjoying the last few days of a much needed week off work.

Anyway, I've been getting several (good) comments about how good I look and if I've lost weight recently. Shocker, I haven't! I've been around the same two or three pounds since last September, when I hit goal. I think it might be toning and replacing muscle with fat. I've been lifting and doing core work like crazy as of late. Still, if it helps me look good, roll with it, right? ;-)

After all that babble, people keep asking me HOW I lost over 100 pounds.

Here's another shocker: I did it on my own.

Yup, y'all heard that right! No pre-packaged meals, no counting points, and NO SURGERY.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking down on those options at all. What works for one doesn't always work for another. I wasn't overweight enough to NEED the surgery, plus other options (Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, for example) were too much money for me. So, I decided to just watch what I ate and worked out. That's all.

However, there are a few things that ANYONE trying to lose weight MUST do, regardless of what diet plan you use (in no particular order):

1) Watch what you eat. Common sense here, right? Right. I'm not gluten-free (no need to be), not vegan/vegetarian (or even close), and I don't rely on pre-packaged meals. I just eat good, healthy food in portions that work for me and enjoy a treat sometimes. Which leads me to...

2) Treat MEAL one day a week. Confession: I love pizza. I love fro-yo. Chocolate chip cookies and French fries will forever be in my life. However, the trick is to LIMIT how much you enjoy these items! I usually limit myself to one treat meal a week. It might be pizza, chicken fingers from Sonic (pretty much the only fast food I eat anymore), or even baby back ribs (like I had on my birthday). I keep it to one meal and move on. Same goes for sweets, even though I usually limit them to the weekends (one treat per day Friday-Sunday).

3) TRACK! I can't stress this enough. I do so much better when I track what I eat. I've actually been tracking for about 350 days straight. I'm a visual learner, so it helps to see what I eat and how I can adjust my patterns based on my goals. Oh, it also helps me own up to anything I mess up on (Lemon Chicken Orzo on a DAILY basis, for example). I use MyFitnessPal (hoopsfreak03 over there), but there are a ton of other options out there for you to choose from! If all else fails, there's always pen and paper!

4) Get moving! I'm not saying to get out there and run a marathon. Hell, even I haven't done that! Everyone has to start somewhere. Try something as simple as walking for 10-15 minutes at a time. I eventually worked myself up to Wii Fit and Biggest Loser DVD's. I even completed Jillian Michaels's 30 Day Shred! Eventually, I got a gym membership, fell in love with spinning, and completed several 5K's! Find what works for you and go from there!

5) Find support. I have a crazy, but loving family who supports me in this 100% (even if I don't think so sometimes), but I have so many friends and supporters online too. Point is, you need someone to cheer you when times are good, support you when they're not, and maybe even give you some tough love when you need it most but least expect it. There are so many out there who have similar struggles (I try not to say "same," as no two people are exactly alike), so there's always someone to listen! You can even message me or shoot me a tweet, and I'll help you too! ;-)

Last, but certainly not least...

6) Do it for YOU!  So many times, I've seen people wanting a friend or family member to lose weight, but the person rebels against it. In fact, I was that person myself. This is one of those things where you have to want it for yourself; not to please your family, not for an event, and not even to be accepted by society. If you do it for all those things, are you going to stick with it after everything comes and goes? NOPE! I know from experience that I didn't really want it until just over five years ago. At that point, I was just sick of being overweight and wanted to be healthy and happy in my own skin. Sure enough, I am today!

Well, there you go! That's how I lost over 100 pounds and kept it off for ten months, but planning on keeping it up forever!

Do you have any tips for losing or maintaining weight?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Goal Recap and August Goal

Where has July gone? It feels like the month just started, and we're already in August! I don't like it!

Well, since July's over, guess I should recap my goals from the month, right?

In case you missed them, here they are:

And here's how I did!

1) Put at least $50 into savings. Nailed it halfway through the month. I would have loved to made it more, but a less than normal paycheck last week didn't make it happen.

2) Blog at least once a week. I think I made it at least three out of four weeks. Not perfect, but better than it was. I'll take it.

3) No running AT ALL. Tough, but I did it! I never thought I would say it, but I was missing the pavement! I started running again on Friday, and it's been slow, but I know I'll be back fiercer than ever!

4) Plank-A-Day. I went 31 for 31! Still keeping the streak alive too! Hoping to keep this up through the rest of the year! Or at least through August. ;-)

5) One movie a week. Another three out of four. Although I think that three hours of Parks and Recreation makes up for the one week, right?

So all this earned me my reward. I will eventually get my Yankees bracelet, probably after my next paycheck or the one after. Still have a few bills to figure out. =P

Anyway, I was thinking of what to work on for August, and I couldn't think of anything. That was when I decided that I wanted to do something tying to the number 29 (since I turn 29 on Thursday).

Then it hit me: Why not run 29 miles in August?

I was honestly on the fence about it, then on Friday, I put the goal into RunKeeper, and there was no turning back.

This picture actually reflects my total distance (all 4 miles) as of today. Still have 25 to go, but I think that if I pace it right and make the most of my runs, it will happen!

You can follow my progress on Endomondo (the app I use to actually track my runs) and RunKeeper (where I plug them in and have the goal set up). I'm hoopsfreak03 on RunKeeper, but you have to enter my full name (Tracy Carroll) on Endomondo.

Edit (8/24/14): I am no longer using Endomondo and switched over to Caledos Runner for Windows Phone as of two weeks ago. The miles automatically sync to my RunKeeper. Still hoopsfreak03 on RK.

As for my idea what it is yet! I'm sure I'll think of something during the course of the month!

That's all for now! Happy August!

Have you ever set a mileage goal for a month? Was it for race training or for yourself?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

If Only People Knew...

This post is going to be a little ranty. You've been warned.

Since hitting my goal weight ten months ago (That long already? Wow.), I've gotten more than my share of "If I was your size..."

Let me just say one thing (okay, scream): YOU HAVE NO F&*KING IDEA WHAT IT TOOK TO GET TO BE THIS SIZE!!

Whew. That feels better.

Seriously though, I wish people did know what it took.

They have no idea about the sacrifices that I had to make in terms of both food (not being able to eat what I want when I want) as well as time (two hours in the gym when I would rather be chilling).

Nor do they know that being my size will be a battle forever. I probably won't drink soda ever again (as much as I want a root or eat bread bowls of soup whenever I want (third of my day's calories and then some). In addition, I will probably have to keep busting my ass at the gym when I would rather be home watching NCIS reruns.

Do I get jealous of people who seem to be able to eat what they want and not break out into a sweat yet don't gain an ounce? Sadly, yes. I wish was one of those people.

However, I think that if I was, I wouldn't be as thankful for the body I have now. Nor would I be as proud of it. So what if I don't have a "perfect" bikini body or a thigh gap? I busted my ass for five years for this body! It's real, it's mine, and I'm damn proud of it!

So, next time people say "If I was your size...", I will simply think to myself that I'm glad that I am my size and will keep doing what it takes to stay there.

Oh, and I will probably never say that to anyone again.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Product Review: Flapjacked Protein Pancakes

Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for the following review and bought the product myself. Pictures and opinions are my own.

Happy Saturday, friends! This week seemed to go a little slow, and I'm just glad it's the weekend!

Over the course of about a month or two, I was hearing about this awesome protein pancake mix called Flapjacked. The mixes come in three flavors (Buttermilk, Banana Hazelnut, and Apple Cinnamon) and have about 15-17 grams of protein per half-cup serving. So, basically, they will keep you fuller longer than your average pancake.

It was about a week ago that I ordered my own bag and gave these pancakes a whirl myself. I was lame and went with the plain buttermilk, but I plan on trying the other two soon enough!

If you noticed on the package, they said "No Artificial ANYTHING!"

Say WHAT?!

That's right! All-natural ingredients!

I can pronounce everything on the label! Yay! 
Oh, and did I mention how easy they are to make?
All you have to do is add some water to the mix, let sit for a few minutes to thicken up, and cook on a low heat setting like you would any other pancake! That's right! If you don't believe me, here's proof that the company even said so! ;-)

So, on Monday night, after an intense cardio kickboxing class, I decided to make these!

One of the company's tips that I saw on their Instagram was to use a food scale to measure the mix since a half-cup is equal to 56 grams. Plus, people tend to pack their cups, so they end up with WAY more than a half-cup without realizing it. So, that's what I did. I put my mix right into the bowl though, so I saved myself a

Anyway, once the mix was measured, I added my water, mixed it, and let it sit for about five minutes while the griddle heated up.

After about five minutes, my mix was ready to go, and I scooped it onto the griddle. Half a cup of mix will get you quite a few pancakes! I was surprised at this!

I love how the company even puts on the label to cook until there are no more bubbles in the pancake. Some pancakes can be hard to tell when they're done, so having this helpful hint was awesome. Not that I'm kitchen illiterate or anything, but still, it helps. ;-)

Less than 10 minutes later, I had pancakes! The company has all sorts of recipes for each mix, but I was simple for my first time out, and just topped mine with some syrup. One word: DELICIOUS!

Oh, and yes, I was full for the rest of the night. So, there. Protein does keep you fuller for longer!

Since they take less than 15 minutes to make from start to finish altogether, I might be making these for breakfast before work during the week! Maybe adding some yogurt or turkey bacon to make them a more complete meal!

Next time I make these, I plan on being more adventurous and using some of the recipes on their site, but they're just as delicious on their own!

The company occasionally runs sales on their items, so be on the lookout for them! Still, a full bag will run you about $12, plus S&H, which isn't too bad, considering how yummy and filling they are!

Have you tried Flapjacked pancakes?