Friday, October 17, 2014

Currently: October 2014

I haven't done one of these type posts in ages, and I'm kind of at a loss for words this week, so I decided to do this post instead today!

Thinking...about all the laundry I have to put away. I'm so lazy about putting clothes away after I wash them. Did I say that? Oops! ;-)

Feeling...tired. Work has kicked my ass this week. So happy for the weekend. Even though I'll be in the gym for some time, I don't have an eight hour shift before I work out!

Watching...How to Get Away with Murder. I never thought I would get into a show as crazy as that one! It's a legal mystery drama where a college law professor and a group of her students become involved in a twisted murder plot. Viola Davis rocks it week in and week out. If you haven't checked it out, do it. So worth watching.

Excited...for my 5K next Sunday! It's a costume race and I decided to go as Jessie from Toy Story! I'm not revealing the whole thing until next weekend, so look for pics on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram then! =)

Missing...summer! Okay, maybe not the heat as much as the beach, wearing tank tops without hoodies over them, and my birthday, but still, it's all part of summer! Only eight months until next summer!

Wanting...a chocolate chip bagel from Gem's! I haven't had one in about a month! I must make it happen this weekend! (P.S.-If you don't live in northern Monmouth County, I feel sorry for you. You're missing out on some awesome

Wishing...that I was in Bethlehem, PA for Runner's World Weekend! I would only be doing the 5K (and possibly the 10K), but it seems like the place to be this weekend!

Eating...all the salad! I've eaten salad most every day this week, and tomorrow is my usual Saturday Saladworks dinner. Never thought I would love it as much as I do!

Loving...the unseasonably warm weather here in Jersey! Too bad it's about to get cold this weekend. =(

What's new in your world?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Little Silver 5K (Little Silver, NJ)

There's a first time for everything, right?

Well, this race was not one, not two, but THREE firsts for me at once!

This was my first time ever racing in the fall (2012 was cut short due to injury and 2013 was more focused on goal and maintenance), as well as my first Sunday race. All eight of my others were on Saturdays in the spring.

Therefore, this would also be my first time racing this course.

After hearing that this course was flat and mostly shaded, I was sold on it. So, I signed up back in July after I got a discount code on early registration.

Like I said, this would be a whole new experience for me in more ways than one. Plus I had my usual "This training cycle sucks." moments, so I decided that if I was close to a PR, I would go for it, but not getting it wouldn't kill the race for me.

One perk to this race: Awesome swag and a virtual race bag! The flyers got e-mailed as a PDF download, which meant better swag at number pick-up! Hello, pint glass AND water bottle! Oh, and the shirt is awesome too!

Of course, when picking out my race outfit, my beloved Sparkle Athletic skirt would make a return appearance after both my PR's in the spring! For this race, I decided on white and silver with a splash of orange.

Okay, maybe more than a splash. Still, it brought some color, right? ;-)

This race had the latest start out of any race I had done (9:30 a.m.), but since it was about a 20 minute drive, I still had to get up around 7 to leave my house at 8:30.

Once at the race site, it was a lot of walking around, checking out the one-mile run, and staying loose until start time. Oh, and keeping warm too.

One of the lessons I learned is to be prepared for COLD this time of year! I was one of the few runners in short sleeves and I was freezing before the race. Arm sleeves will be an investment for me in the near future. Some runners were as extreme as wearing mittens and snow hats, but I don't think I would go that far, at least not in October.

Around 9:15, it was time to make our way to the start. This would be another big race (close to 600 runners), and it was crazy lining up. They may have mentioned a few times to stay toward the back if you couldn't maintain a 5:00 mile. How many listened? I can't say.

Before the national anthem, I got someone to snap a pic of me in my cold but cute Sparkle glory. The skirt was a hit with other runners this time too!

One of the drawbacks to this race was the lack of timing mat at the start. I swear this is where the Spring Into Summer 5K spoils their runners. Everyone had the same start time, which I think is why there's such crowding at the front. Maybe next year some of these races will learn.

After the national anthem and the usual pre-race announcements, the horn went off and we were on our way!

My plan was the same as it always was: Run when I felt comfortable, walk when I needed. Usually this would be about a minute run/minute walk ratio.

Yeah. That went really well for the first few minutes. I was more like two minutes running/one minute walking while dealing with crowding for the first half mile or so.

Like Union Beach and Keansburg's races, there were no mile markers. Again, spoiled by Spring Into Summer! Thankfully, I was running with Caledos, so I had an idea of my splits. No guarantees as to total accuracy, since I was dealing with weaving, but at least I had an idea.

I hit the first mile at 10:52, a little faster than I was aiming for. One of these days, I will learn to not go out so fast in the beginning. Still, I was feeling good and secretly wishing for a PR!

After the first mile, I dropped to the one/one ratio for walking and running. My second mile (which is usually the hardest for me) was at 11:25. I was on pace to tie my current PR (11:09/mile at that point), but I realized that I could either push myself and get it, but not have as much fun doing it or let it go and just enjoy the last stretch.

I went with the latter.

Of course, no race is complete with a mid-race selfie, right? ;-)

The third mile wound up being about ten seconds slower than the second, but at that point, I didn't care. I just wanted to go out enjoying myself and I feel like I did that!

The last stretch led us to the Red Bank Regional track where I left everything out there. I was the only one when I was there, so the announcer called me out. Kind of felt cool, to be honest. Hey, we can all dream of being elite runners, right? ;-)

I knew then I didn't have the PR, as the clock was just over 35:00. Still, I felt awesome and completed my eighth 5K!

After I crossed the finish, I immediately went for water. I also got a sample of Rook iced coffee. No food at the finish as they apparently ran out of bagels. A little annoying, but what can you do.

Before I left, I got my official result: a 35:05 (11:18/mile). Missed a personal by 30 seconds. I was actually happy with that time. I ran this race for the first time, felt solid, and had fun! Usually I get so wrapped up in going for personals that I forget to live in the moment and enjoy it! I let the PR go and wound up enjoying myself more this race than either my May or June ones!

Was this race perfect? No. I would have liked to see mile markers and a timing mat at the start, so that crowding won't be as much of an issue and those of us not running with Garmins or apps have an idea of mileage. Still, other than that, this is one of my favorite races to date! Flat and fast course with awesome scenery will probably have me coming back next year!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thinking Out Loud

Hi, all! I have some rare downtime today, so I decided to do a Thinking Out Loud Thursday post!

For those unfamiliar with Thinking Out Loud, the series came about by Amanda over at Running with Spoons. However, I actually found it through Brooke (of Brooke: Not on a Diet).


Basically, the whole idea behind these posts is to, well, think out loud! You know, all the random thoughts that you need to get out but don't make sense in a "normal" post.

So, here's what I'm thinking this week!

1) My eighth 5K (and third this year) is on Sunday in Little Silver! I'm still unsure as to whether I'm going for a personal or not, but I know that this will be an awesome time no matter what. Hello, Rook Coffee at the finish!

2) Hockey season is here! Okay, technically it's still preseason until next week, but hey, it's back! The Rangers officially own my soul (and good chunk of my T-shirt collection) until June!

3) I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who actually likes the new U2 album. You know, Songs of Innocence, the one that iTunes offered for free and magically placed into most users' libraries. I had to manually download it, but it was worth it. I'm into that kind of music anyway, and this is a good album. My fav track? "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)."

4) I've been at goal weight for over a year! Sunday was my anniversary and I celebrated with a run and Power class! Oh, and pumpkin pie Italian Ice from Ralph's. ;-) (P.S.-Separate post on this is coming!)

5) I'm getting back into TV! I wasn't able to last year because, you know, I was working at 5:30 in the morning. Now, I can watch my shows at night. My three fav newbies: The Mysteries of Laura, Madam Secretary, and How to Get Away with Murder. Of course, y'all know my fav returning show is The Good Wife. Anyway, check these out if you haven't already. All four shows are incredible!

How about you? What are you "Thinking Out Loud?"

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September Goal Recap and October Goals

I'm pretty sure September can be summed up as a "Life happens, deal with it" month.

The month was anything but perfect. Work was crazy with the audit happening a week and a half ago, but it paid off. We got the highest score (platinum) in the district and one of only five in the franchise. So, yeah. It was worth it.

With that, my goals went a little downhill, but I still got a lot accomplished this month.

Here's what I set out to do:

Here's how I did:

1) Complete The Conscious Runner's 30 Day Plank Challenge. Done, but did a little tweaking along the way. I got the days in, but altered my rest days a bit. So this was a success.

2) Run three times a week and NOT on consecutive days. Uh...I did good the first week! The rest of the month I only got two days a week in, but not consecutive days. The stress of work got to me and I took extra rest days with my running. This one was half-successful.

3) Place at least $50 into savings. Bust! I only got $30 in. Tough early in the month and I couldn't save anything. If it wasn't for seven hours OT, I wouldn't have even got the $30.

4) No daily weighing. Okay, I nailed this one. I weighed once a week, saw myself lose the five pounds I gained, then ignored the scale. Eventually, I'm hoping to get to once a month weigh-ins, but as long as I don't weigh myself every day, then I'm good.

5) Try at least two new recipes. I did good with this too. I made a black bean and quinoa burger that was pretty tasty. I also ate a PB and cinnamon oatmeal that was good too (and microwaveable-WIN!). So I got myself out of a bit of a rut, but still can do better.

My reward was two Sparkly Soul headbands, but since I was only half-successful this month, I'm only getting one. Hey, I have to get something for what I did right! ;-)

Okay, now that I recapped September, time to look to October!

1) One new recipe a week. I'm in a bit of a cooking funk and want to get back in the swing. Pinterest has a TON of stuff, and I do have a few cookbooks. Time to get back in the kitchen!

2) Place $30 into savings. No matter how small my paychecks are, I can afford to save $15 a check. No excuses.

3) Three days a week of core work (15 minutes or more). This one is going to be a challenge, but doable. My core work has been slacking lately (shame on me), and I need to get back into the mix. Core classes at my gym are starting to get few and far between, so it's up to me to come up with the workouts. I have a Nike training app, plus I see workouts all over the place.

4) Blog once a week. I've been a bad blogger. I had that stretch where I gained, plus work was crazy! Even if I only write a "fluff" post (Friend Makin' Monday, Thinking Out Loud, etc.), I still want to get something up on here weekly! Suggestions are welcome. ;-)

5) Empty inbox once a week. I'm one of those people who tends to let e-mail sit FOREVER! I need to clean out all the junk and maybe even unsubscribe to a few things.

My reward for October is The Skinnytaste Cookbook. I've heard about it, and would love to try some of the stuff for myself. Hello, guilt-free Double Chocolate and Walnut Cookies!

That's it here! October's mission is to make old habits new again! I think I set the groundwork for that!

What about you? What are your goals for October?

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?