“Sh$t just got real”

This is what Aaron said to me this afternoon after work when he saw the results from the week one weigh in for “The Hungry Games” weight loss challenge we’re apart of. I hadn’t seen the results yet of the 50+ people who are competing for a chance at some serious cash.

When I weighed myself this morning, I was very surprised and happy that I weighed two pounds lighter than my initial weigh in. I was hoping a day of horrible eating and six days of not so perfect eating mixed with some workouts here and there didn’t leave me disappointed. But after seeing that some friends had lost an impressive amount of weight the first week and seeing several people losing three and four percent (weight loss), I became not as proud of my success. Then I started thinking about all the things I didn’t do enough of or could have not consumed. I could have pushed myself more to workout on the days I just wanted to loaf around (thank you polar vortex). I shouldn’t have had that piece of cake at work on Monday. But, then I looked back at all the small changes I made and stuck with since the start. I’ve tracked my food intake every day since the new year, which has helped me make myself more accountable for my food choices. And, by doing so I did hit the goal of losing two pounds a week that I have My Fitness Pal set to. And I’ve been hitting my water intake goals while at work all week. (96 oz of water a day minimum)

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So, after hearing Aaron say we need to buckle down and get serious (not that I haven’t been, but I definitely knew I can improve in areas), I felt like doing this wasn’t going to be this daunting and impossible task. If,individually and together, we focus on collectively eating even better and working out more, we can continually have success over the remaining 11 weeks.

I have to constantly remind myself that this is only the first week. Weight loss isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. I’m not on The Biggest Loser and am working out with professional trainers 10 hours a day. I live in the real world. I have to schedule and plan my workouts and meals. It’s gonna be hard work, and I know that I will feel like caving in and giving up when times get tough. But I need to remind myself that I once before shed 50lbs. I can do this again and reach my goals.

So, this next week I am challenging myself to get the workouts in (no excuses) and get back on the running bandwagon. Hoping this, along with continuing to track my food intake, I can have another successful week on the scale!

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What motivates you to keep going to reach your goals? Do you evaluate your progress and modify your strategy?

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Yes, I am still here.

I know its been a VERY long time since I’ve posted. This bloggy has been put on the back burner this summer/fall due to living life.

So let me catch you up real fast!

June: I changed career paths. I left the newspaper world and joined a photography studio that is part of Lifetouch as a photographer. I still take photos, but in a much more relaxed and enjoyable environment. I get to photograph awesome high school seniors, high schoolers and a variety of other people. I work with some pretty cool and talented photographers. 🙂

July: Aaron and I ventured to Punta Cana to celebrate his brother’s wedding and have a vacation at the same time. It was my first time traveling out of the country and definitely was enjoyable! You can see more about my trip here.

August/September: These two months are such a blur of team sports days and school photo days I don’t think anything monumental occurred.

October: If you haven’t noticed, in the previous months not too much has been mentioned in the way of health and fitness. While getting adjusted and learning a lot in my new job, I tried my best to sneak work outs in when I could. After a disappointing CLE half and only running two 5ks over the summer (both must-do races of the summer for me), I needed to take a hiatus from running because I was simply burned out. But this hiatus kind of turned into a way for me to make an excuse not to work out regularly. Knowing that I needed to get whipped back into shape if I wanted to be able to survive half marathon training for spring, I decided to try something completely different.

Enter in INSANITY.

After hearing my friend Allie rave and go on and on about how awesome this program is, I knew I needed to give this a try. She graciously let me borrow her copy of the 60 day workout program. I knew that if I wanted to transform my body and get into better shape, I had to fully commit to doing this workout 6 days a week (Sundays are the “off” day.).

So thats what I did. After a week or two of being intimidated of starting the workout program, I put in the first DVD and took the fit test. Image

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The fit test measures your cardio and core strength. You have one minute to perform as many reps of each move as you can. You take the fit test every three weeks to see your progress. After taking the fit test the first day I knew the work outs where definitely gonna challenge me, but make me stronger, improve my cardio endurance.

November: I signed up for a 4 mile race a few days before hand because it was an all women’s race and I knew Allie would be running it as well. I had run a 5k the weekend before but hadn’t run since. I was a little nervous since I hadn’t run 4 miles since May, but knew I could manage the distance. The day of the race the course changed from 4 miles to a 5k due to flooding on the part of the course from Superstorm Sandy. Phew! Saved me a bit there. It was an out and back race (ugh!). I felt the first mile out was really slow, but when I looked down at my watch it was just over 10 minutes (holy hell! TOO fast!). Of course the last two miles were slower, but I was able to finish two minutes faster than my 5k the previous weekend. The small push I was able to give at the end was awesome! It was this little burst of energy that came out of nowhere! I was able to visualize powering down the stretch, lifting my knees high and using my core. Which is exactly what you do during the warm up for Insanity. I could definitely feel the affects of Insanity in my running during the race.

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Allison and me before Women Who Run

Skip to three weeks later and the Cleveland Turkey Trot 5 mile race. The week leading up to the race I maybe ran a total of three miles. Um, yeah, definitely NOT the ideal way of preparing for a distance I haven’t touched since May. But, I had progressed through one month of Insanity, so I knew I could run this race. My goal was just to finish.

The morning of the race I was still feeling the fun of the festivities I partook in the night before. I told myself if I could finish this race in under an hour it would be a success!

Running with 6,000 people in a very hungover state was very trippy in the beginning. But I kept my head up and focus forward. I knew not to let the crowd pull me out too fast and just settle in at a pace I could keep up with. Which I found and ran the first 3 miles straight! Such an accomplishment! I was almost all the way up the hill around Browns Stadium when I had to stop and tie my shoe. Got back into my stride until that DREADED uphill known as E. 9th St (its much more enjoyable when its the downhill finish of the CLE half than the halfway point of a race :-(). I ran as much as I could up and then just power walked the rest of the way up. After getting cut off by a woman who was dragging her dog behind and bumped me (I don’t mind if you run with your dogs in a dog-friendly race, but run in the middle, not along the sides to cut people off), I turned the corner down a long straight away and found my stride again.

I can proudly say I crushed my goal and finished 5 miles in 55 minutes. While its nowhere near what I’ve run 5 miles in before (49 min), it was quite a feat completing that distance without running that far in many months. Never once during the actual race did I feel winded until I made the final push towards the finish line. My legs, on the other hand, by mile 4, were toast and definitely not used to the miles. But that will come back once they get used to consistent miles again.

That race was a great testament to the progress I’ve made in the Insanity program. My aerobic base has gotten stronger. I am so glad I decided to do this program and can’t wait to finish it and get started with 2013 spring half marathon training! I definitely want to continue using these workouts to supplement my training to keep my aerobic base up.

So I bet many of you are wondering what spring half marathon I will be running? I am excited to announce that I am taking my talents to the Indy Mini Marathon! I’m pumped to finally running a race in my home state and running a great race! I’m even more excited that my friend Celina decided to train for her first ever half marathon! I can’t wait to help her in a journey that I know will be life changing for her and provide her with tips and information I’ve learned in my journey of running and training for races.

So, there in the briefest recap possible is what I have been up to.

Oh, wait! I totally forgot something awesome and important!

At the end of October I became a certified SPINNING instructor! After almost two years of loving the mind-body experience I get from a class, I decided that it would be fun to motivate others and teach! (Plus, its a fun way to make some extra $$). I taught my first class a few weeks ago. There were only two of us, but we completed an awesome ride! I will start teaching on a weekly basis starting in December! I can’t wait! Another great way to keep motivated and on track!

One more thing! I won a free race entry to the Santa Hustle at Cedar Point from Heather! When she posted on her blog that she was giving away a race entry, I was determined to win it! My persistent tweeting over a week paid off, and I will participate in Cedar Point’s inaugural Santa Hustle 5k and Half Marathon on Dec. 16! This race is awesome because participants receive a long-sleeved santa shirt, hat and beard to wear during the race! Plus the post-race party is gonna be great with holiday food and music! I definitely plan on running in my IU Santa hat and the shirt provided. I think I’m gonna forego wearing the beard because it might get too warm while running. Jess is running the half marathon as her comeback from injury race! I can’t wait to cheer her on as she crosses the finish line. Its gonna be a fun race for sure!

And I promise I will take photos and blog a post-race report!

If you are interested in my Insanity journey and want to follow me in the final month, check out my Instagram for my daily posts about my workouts. I decided to keep my Insanity Challenge limited to those who follow me on Twitter/Instagram because I was afraid I would quit/fail. Plus, I figured everyone in the Facebook world would get fed up with my daily posts popping up in their news feed. 

Day 1

Today was the first day of the year of 27. Which I have deemed, the year of commitment and transformation.

Today was the first of my new year. I woke up with a purpose and a plan.
A plan to start a new work out program and a new bootcamp. A plan to forget all the negativity and thoughts from the past three weeks.

I have really struggled in these first few weeks of 2012. I’ve struggled to start again with a workout regime and get back on the healthy eating track. I’ve struggled a lot internally with my emotions regarding things in my personal and professional life. I’ve wasted a lot of tears over these last three weeks on the same old same old, and some new feelings and emotions I’ve never felt before. There was a point in the past few days where I have felt like I hit rock bottom and didn’t know what to do next. But as I wiped away my tears and steadied my breath, I knew that I needed to not focus and dwell on the negative and the things I can’t change right now, and get back to what I know makes me happy and puts me in a good place.

I decided that I needed to refocus all the negativity into my fitness again, especially running. I don’t know if I’m necessarily scared to start running and training for a race again, but I need to get back at it. I’ve got a half marathon PR to set and Ragnar to complete with some pretty kick ass runners. I want to put as my time and dedication into this training as I did for my very first half marathon. Which is kind of a hard mindset to put myself in since this will be my third. But I know I am basically starting over, so I need to take everything in stride and celebrate my small achievements.

So day 1 was pretty amazing. After my dr appointment this morning, I headed to the gym to get in my day 1 workout in the 12-week challenge. Today’s workout focused on chest and shoulders. Wide pushups, dumbbell bench press, flat bench dumbbell flys, narrow pushups, standing dumbbell tricep extensions, and tricep push downs. You do 12 reps of each three times with 1 minute rest in between. By the time I reached the narrow pushups, I thought my shoulders were gonna fall off. I know my upper body is my weak point, but man, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to finish the rest. I conquered through it and my shoulders felt like Jell-o. My goal by the end of the 12 weeks is to be able to do 12 regular pushups on my toes and not on my knees.

The rest of the afternoon was spent spending gift cards from Christmas, getting a shellac mani and throwing together an impromptu crockpot dinner before I headed off to my first bootcamp at a new place.

I purchased a deal from Living Social for a month of unlimited bootcamp sessions at Strong Fitness in Avon Lake. I really like bootcamp workouts because you burn tons of calories and work a variety of muscle groups. I was excited and pumped for to be able to go to two of the three classes offered a week.

The class was small, 10 of us. We warmed up with cardio for 6 minutes changing every minute or so between high knees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and squats. By the end of those 6 minutes I had sweat rolling off my face and tore off the long sleeved shirt I had on.

Next we partnered up and rotated through 5 different stations that had two elements to them, switching on the 30 second or so mark. Think Biggest Loser in a circuit 5 times through. By the end of the third circuit, my right side was aching and my head was pounding. My favorite circuit was the ropes. We picked up two thick ropes that you would climb up and gym class and waved them up and down while the other person held on to the other end and acted like a shock absorber. Remember my chest, shoulder workout from the morning, yeah, my shoulders hated me!  My least favorite was probably the bullfrog/burpee circuit. Half the time we jumped up back and forth like a frog and the other half we did burpees, or what I like to call HELL! This was the hardest circuit to keep your momentum and speed up in and I tired quickly. Luckily side planks followed hell and it was ALMOST like a breather, until my body started shaking holing myself up.

Hardest workout I’ve ever had, but I can’t wait to go back for more!

I just hope I can function well enough to get through Day 2 of my workout tomorrow and a 2-mile run! 🙂

Day 1= success! 🙂

Project Refresh Week 1

So this past week was the first week of my fresh start.

It was definitely a challenge, but I think I did a really good job. I made MUCH better food choices and writing down what I put into my mouth definitely helped me be accountable for my choices. There were some not so perfect moments, aka Friday afternoon, but I chalk it up to my job and not being able to feel full and content.

 But something I AM  very proud of myself for doing is working out EVERY day this week. I made it to the gym three days this week and run 5 days. Working out every day is something I haven’t done since my senior year of college. I think that time I’ve taken for myself has allowed me some sanity when I struggled quite a bit this week mentally with other aspects of life.  I am definitely thankful I have running and working out as my outlet to escape from the real world and focus on myself.

Yesterday (Saturday) I ran my first race since the half in Cleveland. It was a 5-mile race I decided to sign up for on Wednesday. I had no goal for this race, just to finish and get the miles back under my feet. Saturday morning when my alarm went off at 7 am, I had no motivation to race and wanted to just sleep. I’ve never had that feeling the day of a race. But, I went to the race and ran it anyway. Two minutes before the race started, I went to sync my Nike+ on my iPod and realized that i left my receiver that I plug into my iPod at home. So, no big deal, I’d just run to music and not worry about pace times, etc. The race was d-chip timed anyway so I’d get my official time and pace that way. Just bummed because I wouldn’t be able to log the miles on Nike.com. But the race went well and I set a new PR for a 5-mile race.

50:06 (10:01/mile).

Not too shabby for not having any goals set for the race.

Now, tomorrow is the real test. I will step on the scale for the first time in 7 days and see if Project Refresh has helped. I am actually scared that when I will step on the scale and the number will be the same, or worse, higher. I’ve never been so terrified in my life to weigh in.  If one week of change and hard work doesn’t pay off, what will it take for me to shed weight?

Well, no sense of freaking out and worrying now. I’ll worry about that tomorrow once the three-digit number stares back at my face.

Here’s to a weight loss tomorrow.

Fingers crossed.

Two months jammed packed into one super-sized post

I haven’t updated since I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of the end of February. Lots of things have happened since then.

I have began dating someone. Well, not just anyone. His name is Aaron and is definitely the best guy I’ve met in a long time. I think he’s a keeper. 🙂

My training for my second half marathon (Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon) is quickly winding down, 15 days until zero hour. And while this training has been a rough one (nasty winter weather, battling illness, nasty winter weather that wouldn’t go away), I’ve managed to get my miles in and should be a go come May 15. Whether the race will be as pretty as the first, that is yet to be determined. My goal is to beat my first half time of 2:28-we’ll see if I can push it out.

Ran my first ever Hermes Cleveland 10-miler. The weather was amazing. The course was amazing.

My race friends were amazing.

My mind-set, not so amazing. But my time, was kind of amazing: 1:50.  But I definitely kicked my butt, deserving the shirt that reads “Run like a God” on the back.

But the biggest thing that has happened in these last two months-ish. I’ve put on some lbs.

Like 6.5 lbs.

While that’s not a TON, it feels like it and it makes me hang my head in shame. Proving like a couple of other runners I know, it is possible to train for a big race and gain weight. How does that happen one asks? Its called slacking MAJORLY on your eating habits and thinking because you’re running several times a week you can eat whatever you please, and lots of it.

WRONG!

In fact, you can’t. You still have to burn more calories than you take in. Simple science really. It is tough to lose a significant amount of weight when you are in training mode because your body is in need of fuel (food). I’ve just not been smart about it. Call it being happy, comfortable and invincible to packing on the lbs., but I CAN’T eat whatever I want whenever and still expect to see results. I definitely have felt the negative effects in my training-running can be a bit more challenging at times with the little bit of extra weight I’ve gain (which I feel like is going straight to my mid-section, the one part of my body I absolutely hate and wish I could afford lypo.).

So, I’m not gonna whine and complain about this set back. I’m going to suck it up and move forward getting back into good habits, kicking the old ones, and get my ass back into better shape. It truly is a 95% mental struggle for me when it comes to food. I know I can survive a day without the bad stuff-I proved that to myself yesterday. While it really was challenging at times, and I was close to breaking down and giving in more than once, I was able to pull it together and change my thinking. That’s really what I need to do to be successful with this. While its hard not to stress about my food intake, I really want to reach my 100-pound weight loss. I am so close (well, a little further off now with this set back), and I want to achieve this. If it takes me another year, so be it. It has taken me five years to get to this point and I’m not gonna let it slip away from me. My short term weight-loss goal is to lose 10-15 pounds before I begin my marathon training. Use the time between my half marathon and beginning of marathon training to hunker down and focus on slimming down. I feel like losing this small amount of weight will help me get a great start to my big goal for the year: running 26.2 in Washington D.C. Oct. 30. I really want to start seeing a nutritionist to help me figure out a good combination of food to help me slim down and help me fuel my body during my training this summer/fall.

I will NOT go through another training session and pack on lbs.! I will NOT!

I’ve come too far to lose now!

Now this is (self) love

A healthy, home-cooked dinner for one on Valentine’s Day! Lemon peppercorn grilled chicken, fresh steamed broccoli, and a spinach and tomato salad with crushed walnuts and a little raspberry vinegarette dressing.

I am on my second week of eating healthy, fresh meals with smart snacks between meals and skipping out on the ‘crack’ (aka candy). It wasn’t easy and my mind was screaming at me for some sugar lovin’, but I did my best to resist. Okay, so maybe I had some Twizzlers at a girls basketball game, but sue me, I needed something to munch on before the game and to curb my hunger until I could have dinner. Eating well combined with pushing myself in my workouts last week resulted in major confidence and feeling good about myself. Gotta love endorphins! 🙂

So on this Valentine’s day I will not stuff my face with candy and other garbage because I don’t have a Valentine (although it was really tempting to order pizza from lorenzo’s for lunch today because my room mate’s leftovers would stare me in the face every time I opened the fridge), I am going to show myself some love and fuel my body with healthy and nutritious goodness!

Here’s to week two of healthy eating and ass-kicking work outs!

Cheers!

Get out of my head

I am smack in the middle of my 10th week of training for my half marathon. Things are progressing well, except that I can’t get out of my own head. I am trying to focus on keeping up my endurance and progress with my running while keeping on top of my diet so my long runs aren’t brutal. Again, like in the early weeks of my training, I’m struggling and stressing out about my diet.

My biggest pitfall- my sweet tooth.

I will do fine through out the day, eating healthy, balanced meals. But at a certain point during my day I crave something sweet. And since this happens to be while I’m working I’ll either go to the vending machine or gas station to satisfy my sweet craving. Not a good thing when I’m trying to keep off the eight pounds ive managed to lose since June and want to lose more weight. I wanted to go on a 21-day no sugar kick to kick my sweet tooth, but I couldn’t even last one day. I thought I had more control than that, but obviously not. Now this obsession with diet is totally psyching me out when it comes to my daily training. I know I can accomplish my goal and finish this race, but I can’t get out of my own head long enough to stop stressing and worrying about it. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten any faster in the last couple of weeks and am just nervous about my long runs ahead of me ( 9 miles this weekend, 10 next weekend, then the big day, 13.1 on 10/10).

I guess I’m just worried I won’t be able to do this and will let myself down and prove to all the people who think I’m crazy for attempting this right that I can’t do this.

Just got to find some way to shake out the negative and fill my head again with positive thoughts.

Maybe I just need to get into depressed mode again, where I don’t eat a lot and have confidence and motivation to run.

Who knows, but I need to change and fast before I spoil this one myself.