Sunday, April 6, 2014

Can I get Some Fries with that Shake?

Has anyone ever tried shakeology before?

A friend of mine has been using it for awhile and really loves it. She is also gluten-free and has a lot of other food allergies (like this kid) and finds it a great, nutritious option for her breakfasts each day.
I'm the kind of person who does not usually like to eat a big breakfast because I'm lazy not a morning person and snooze my alarm too much to have time to make a good breakfast.Today I did the chocolate shake with a banana, a gluten free graham cracker, and unsweetened almond milk. It was super yummy! (Even my fiance kept trying to steal sips!)

I'm not looking to lose weight with shakeology, I'm looking for a healthy alternative (gluten-free) that will make me feel better. I got the sampler pack this past Friday and have had a shake each day for breakfast. I have noticed a difference in my energy level, as well as noticed that I am not as hungry throughout the rest of the day. Shakeology offers a 30 day trial policy where if you try shakeology for 30 days and end up not liking it or not thinking the product is working for you, you can return it for your money back. So, I'm going to take the 30 day challenge and see how it goes.

On top of that, my back is still pretty messed up. I'm still in physical therapy twice a week, but nothing seems to be loosening. My therapist recommended that I start doing gentle yoga to add in more core strengthening and flexibility to help my back heal and get stronger. I took my first class at Bloom Yoga studio last Thursday and I loved it! I was very uneasy at first because I'm not a flexible person and when I think of yoga, I think of crazy poses with people wrapping their feet around their necks. But the instructor was wonderful and provided us with foam blocks, blankets, pillows, and straps that we could use to modify our poses so that we did not hurt ourselves. I actually only had difficulty with one or two poses, so I was happy. But, after not having had a good adrenaline and endorphin release in a very long time (due to not being able to run or do HiiT or strength train) the gentle yoga class moved slowly enough that I could keep up, but was intense enough that I worked up a small sweat. I felt so relaxed and fluid afterwards, it was a great feeling!
I plan on continuing my yoga classes once a week for the next few months. I do not want to do two times a week because I'm not sure how my back will handle that just yet. Once I get the okay from the doctor (and my work schedule) though, I will definitely be up for doing gentle yoga twice a week.

Anywho, I refer back to my original question- has anyone ever tried shakeology, or anything similar? If so, what was your experience?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Why Did I Stop?

So, it has been awhile. A good long while. Almost a year or so?

I bet you're wondering (if any readers are still out there) where I have been? 
Or why I stopped blogging and interacting with the running community here in the blogosphere?

Those are valid questions, my friends. 

The long answer is this: I got engaged at Disney in February of last year and have been devoting a lot of time to wedding planning. I also got accepted into graduate school and so most of my free time is spent reading and doing homework assignments. I also was promoted at work to a position where I work a lot of crazy hours. On top of that, I was in a car accident in November and then ended up having emergency gallbladder surgery right before the holidays in December. 

The short answer to your questions: I stopped running. After the Disney Princess Half, I did a few 5k fun runs, but I didn't have anything serious lined up and so I stopped running. Looking back on it, it makes me sad because running made me so happy. I don't know why I stopped, but I did and it stinks. 

I want to get back into running, but I know it is going to be tough - almost like starting over from the beginning again. My body is still in the recovery/healing stages from my surgery. The doctor said I can only do some light jogging and weight lifting for now. Maybe in a few weeks I will be able to do more, but I have to go slow. I don't generally like to share this fact about myself, but I can be a rather impatient person (shocker, I know) and going slow is going to be incredibly difficult for me. I expect major results right away and get discouraged when they don't happen.

Does anyone have any advice for a "re-beginner" runner?
What are some exercises or routines you did after a major injury/recovery period?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Strength Training

Today started my new 2 week training plan from Coach Kurt. 

(Maybe one day I will have big arm muscles too!)

Previously, I had been doing 5 exercises: chest press, shoulder press, row, bicep curl, and tricep extension. I did 2 sets of 20 reps each on a 1-1-4 count (push/pull for 1, hold 1, bring back for 4). The first week I spent most of my time messing with different weights to see what was too easy and what was painful. The second week I worked more on making sure my breathing matched my motions. I never realized how quiet and focused one could get while doing strength machines. It's like the whole gym turned into a giant white noise and I was left with only myself and my thoughts. The same thing happens when I run. I love it!

For the next two weeks, I will be doing all of the same machines, but I will be doing 3 sets of 15 repetitions (still on the 1-1-4 count). I also have to add in 3 planks, each a minute long (or however close I can get to a minute). After work today, I hit the gym and did all of my required strength machines and then decided to do 45 minutes on the ARC trainer. That machine kicks my butt! The last time I sweat that much, I was running the Princess Half in glorious Florida humidity! Sometimes, however, nothing feels better than a good sweat fest! It definitely helped me relieve some of my built up stress over the past few days.

Not too much else has been going on lately. I work, I go to the gym- in between those I find time to eat, sleep, plan a wedding, apply for graduate school, and spend time with friends and family. I wish they offered a master's degree in multi-tasking because I am a pro at that already. Woot!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Starting Over...Reinvention

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

~ Maria Robinson

Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking about starting over. Planning for an upcoming wedding, and trying to work out my future, has my mind locked in on long-term goals. Where do I want to be working 5 years from now? Where do I want to be living? If we want to travel, we are going to need flexible schedules and money and time, or at least a job where I can go from place to place. All of these thoughts have just been circling and circling in my head (especially late at night, when I'm trying to fall asleep!). My late night revelations have me considering a few things: Starting over my blog, starting over my career, starting over with school, and starting over with working out.

I miss blogging. I really do. I often find myself composing posts in my head while driving around for work, it's just that by the time I am able to sit down at my computer and type, I've either forgotten what I was going to say or fall asleep. I miss keeping up on what everyone else is doing! I miss the support- both giving and receiving. My friend advised me to start scheduling blogging time into my life- to make it an actual appointment in my phone so I stay on top of it. I'm going to try this and see how it goes. (I've been doing the same thing with my workouts and it's been working, soI'm fairly confident I can do this!) Sometimes, as I'm sure we all can attest to, it is difficult to keep on top of social life happenings when work is so demanding.
Speaking of work, I love my job. It's hectic and chaotic and time-consuming, but oh, so worth it! When I'm out running programs with the girls and they are laughing and smiling and telling me how much fun they're having; or when I see them randomnly out and about and they run upto give me a hug, it just makes me feel like I'm on top of the world! The only down side to my job is that it is non-profit and we don't always have it in the budget to get raises. This is such a year (and I know a lot of people are in similar place, especially in today's economy). I love my job,but the pay is not a livable wage. For the most part, I end up living paycheck to paycheck every month, with only a few dollars I can tuck away into savings. It's hard to think about leaving my job, but knowing that I have a wedding to plan ($$$$$), which means that we have to find our own place to live (and pay rent and utlities, etc), makes me realize that I have to do something to bring in more money.

My only concern is that, while I do have a Bachelor's degree, it is in music and theatre, and without a teaching certificate that degree won't get me very far. I started researching areas of work that I am interested in learning more about and could see myself doing as a career. The one that interested me the most - Communications and Social Media Management. So, I've been researching a few online graduate programs to apply to and hopefully, will get accepted to one where I can start in the fall. It's going to be interesting trying to balance course work and a full time job and wedding planning, but if I'm determined enough, I know I can do it.

All of this retrospection has been euphoric. I'm very excited to go back to school and possibly expand my marketability and steer my life in a more solid and confirmed direction. To keep with my theme of bettering myself, I contacted my friend, Coach Kurt from Becomming an Ironman, and hired him to be my personal trainer. We had a 3 hour meeting where we discussed what I wanted to do (tone and strengthen and continue with fat burning), as well as completed some assessments to see where I am physically with upper body strength (FAIL) and cardio (WIN). Kurt came up with a very do-able workout routine for me to follow for the next 6 weeks. In the mornings, I do my Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD, and in the afternoons I do strength training at the gym (chest press, shoulder press, bicep curl, tricep extension, and row machine). We are starting off slow so I can build up muscle and not hurt myself. Plus, I gave him a time-frame of about a year and a half where I would like to get to the point where I solely have to maintain from there on out. It's been going very well- I haven't missed a workout yet! I'm pretty proud of myself. For example, yesterday I was incredibly tired after work but knew I had to do my strength training. I made myself go to the gym and felt SO much better for it. It's only been a week and a half, but I'm well on my way to making this a routine- afterall, don't they say it takes 21 days to make something a habit?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wake Up Call

I was persuing facebook earlier today and a friend of mine posted a link to this article HERE.
She also posted a quote from the story with the link that caught my eye:

"But also that so many people deal with this, this exact and pervasive struggle at whatever size they are, whatever shape, whatever they do. That we're not good enough, with the implication that the best we have to offer to the world is an appropriately sized pair of jeans."

I thought, "Whoa. I kind of want to read this!" So I opened the article and was blown away but what this woman had to say! To summarize; the writer once weighed 300lbs and was going in for weight loss surgery. She lost 180lbs but still was not happy with her appearance because although she treated, what she thought was, the problem, she hadn't really addressed the main issue of soceital pressure to be perfect.

I don't know how many of you fellow readers are considered overweight, fat, fluffy, obese, chubby, stuffed, curvy, plus-sized, Athena, etc. (and you don't have to share) but I am. I am a size 16 and all my life I have been called all those names and more. I've struggled for years to get my weight down and become an acceptable body image- that's part of why I started this blog, it's part of why I started running to begin with.

Over the past few months with working tons of hours, training for my half marathon, and getting engaged, I've done a lot of thinking. Yes, I would LOVE to be skinny for my wedding. I would LOVE to walk down the aisle in a size 6 dress and have everyone oooh and aaah at me, but I've come to realize that that is not who I am. I am a bigger girl, it says so right in my blog name, and I'm a runner. And after reading this article, I've come to realize that I am a healthy person- I eat well, I drink mostly water, and I exercise on a regular basis. I've run 3 half marathons and countless 5k races- and I'm still a size 16.

There's another quote from this article that I love because it's the revolutionary idea that no matter what dress size you wear, you can still be a happy and healthy person. The writer says, "I want this: I want to say, don't love yourself even though you're not perfect - love yourself because you have a body and it's worth loving and it is perfect. Be healthy, which is perfect at whatever size healthy is and at whatever size happy is."

So many of us continue to struggle to lose weight- some people do it to be healthy and to save their own lives, but most of us just do it because if we become skinny, then everything gets better. Skinny is magical. Skinny is acceptable. But why? I'm not going to stop eating healthy or exercising, but I am going to transfer my (sometimes obsessive) focus from losing weight to being happy.

Because, let's face it folks, we only get one life to live- might as well make it the happiest we can.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Disney Princess

Well, my friends.... it has certainly been awhile, hasn't it?

So much has happened in the past few months- I did a lot of training and feel I am becoming a MUCH stronger runner. Multiple times I managed to run 3 miles without having to stop and walk- that's a major achievement!

As you may or may not have known- a few weeks ago, I took an 11 day vacation to Orlando. My boyfriend and I spent two days at Disney's All Star Music resort, then hopped on the Disney Dream cruise ship for 5 days! It was amazing! I was still in training for the Disny Princess Half marathon so the first thing I did was check out the spa area where the fitness center was. I was super excited to do a run on the treadmills overlooking the ocean. But, when I went the next day all the treadmills were taken! So, I went to my back up plan which was the out door running deck on level 4 of the ship. It's 2.5 laps for one mile- so I did 5 quick laps and called it a day. I enjoyed the rest of the cruise- the relaxation, the Aqua duck water coaster, Castaway Cay island, Pirate night and fireworks! If you ever get the chance, I definitely recommend a Disney cruise- they're phenomenal (even if you don't have kids)!

After we returned from the cruise, we headed to Disney's Caribbean Beach resort. Absolutely stunning resort (plus a pirate themed pool)! I did my last run before the race at the resort. The humidity knocked me for a loop and slowed me down, but I powered through it. I have to say, that was my only issue with my training for this race. I did my runs in the New England winter, mostly cold days and lots of trips to the gym to go on the treadmill because of the 3.5 feet of snow and ice outside. My body wasn't truly ready for the Florida humidity. Live and learn though, right?

On race day, we got up at 2:30am to catch the shuttle to the race area. I made my boyfriend go with me even though he wasn't running- he did cheer me on throughout the course though. The race officially started at 5:30am and my corral took off at 6:27am. By mile 1, I was already a disgusting sweaty mess, but I kept up with my 3 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking ratios. Soon, the miles were flying by and I was having fun looking at everyone's costumes (some pieces of which littered the race course).

I have to say, Disney definitely is the best race I have ever done. They had water and Powerade at every mile marker. And every few miles they had medic tents with gallon pump bottles of BioFreeze. My legs held up pretty well, I only stopped around mile 10 to slather some BioFreeze onto my calves. I managed to keep trotting along, all the way across the finish line! My official time was 3:34:45. Not as good as I had hoped, but I finished and that was my main goal. If I do do another Disney race, I will try and start one corral up from where I was. I was having difficulty doing my jogging portions every now and again because I had to continuously weave in and out of all the walkers. Don't get me wrong, I definitely had many times when I walked, but I made sure I went to one edge or the other of the course. I was slightly disappointed about being able to run through the castle. I was really looking forward to doing that but once I hit the back of the castle, I came to a dead stop because there were SO many people going through the castle at the same time (a total of 26,000 runners!). We kind of herded our way through and then once we got past the castle a bit I was able to run again.

All in all, it was the BEST race ever! The 13.1 miles went by pretty fast compared to my last half marathon. Perhaps I was in a better mindset because I stuck with my training and felt stronger overall? Maybe it was just being swept up in the Disney magic? I don't know but I loved it!

My boyfriend and I after the race with some pretty sweet Disney bling!

There is another part to this story though! It turns out that my Princess medal is not the only shiny and sparkly thing I came home with! While on the cruise, my boyfriend proposed to me (on the grand staircase, in front of tons of people!) and I, happily, said yes!

 February 18, 2013

We haven't set a date yet. In fact, we are planning on at least a 2 year engagement in order to save up money. In lieu of all of this amazingness, I have decided to step up my healthy eating and living. I have come SO far in my weight loss, but I still have a ways to go in order to be where I want to be. I am challenging myself to lose another 50 pounds in the next two years so I am ready for my wedding and honeymoon (I would really like to be able to wear a bikini and not feel self conscious on my honeymoon). My goal is to get back into blogging. I am starting off slow, because it is the most hectic time of the year at work, and aiming to post twice a week. I still plan on running 2 times a week, and am going to add in 3 times a week of 30 Day Shred. I am begging you to please keep me honest with this. I often get overwhelmed by work and life in general, but this is a totally do-able weekly goal! I may just need a kick in the pants every now and again!

What do you say? Who has their kicking boots on?

Monday, December 10, 2012

For the First Time...

I felt like a real runner today.

I was at the gym doing a 10k run for my current training. I ran the first 1.3 miles straight through, then walked for 3 minutes/ran 7 minutes for 90 minutes. I was pouring sweat, settling into a nice pace, pumping my arms when I needed an extra boost, and running through every excuse I had to stop or cut my run periods short. This chick managed to do 6.22 miles in those 90 minutes! Woohoo!!

I NEVER would have thought I could do that. EVER. And for the granted it's only about half of what I need to run for my half marathon, but the pacing felt good and I felt strong. It's the first time I've done a run and not been panicked about the possiblity of being swept off of the Disney Princess course.

I was, at one point, a week behind on my training, but now I am only 2 days behind. Thursday I am doing a short run of 3.1 miles and then over the weekend I am doing an 8 mile run. Once those are done, I will be back on track.

How is everyone else's training going? I stop by and read blogs when I have a free moment, I just don't always have enough time to actually sit down and write out a blog post of my own. Maybe once the holidays are done? Who knows, right?

Anyway, in other awesome news, I bought a pair of size 16 jeans at Marshall's the other day and I didn't muffin top over them! Plus, the size 16 jeans I bought at Old Navy on Black Friday are too big on me. I'm excited because while the number on the scale isn't going down, it is staying steady but my clothes are getting a little bit bigger on me. It makes me feel good. It makes me want to stick with my training because if I do, I might be able to squeeze into a 14 by the time I go down to Disney in February.

Here's a comparison just for fun, so you can see what I sometimes have a hard time seeing:

Myself and my friend Joe in fall of 2010 before I started running. Size 22

My boyfriend and I this past fall- after 2 years of running for me. Size 16

Here's hoping I can keep whittling myself away!