Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ainsley's Angels!

I have some exciting news!!! After looking a couple different times over the last couple years and learning that there is not a local Ainsley's Angels chapter, I have decided to do something about it.  A few weeks ago I contacted the organization as someone who is interested in being an Ambassador. I received an e-mail, watched a video, and this week participated in a conference call. I was e-mailed the official documents and submitted my application minutes ago. I will, hopefully, be joining the next class of Ainsley's Angles Ambassadors-in-Training!!!

What is Ainsley's Angles?
The short version is that it is an awesome group that pairs athlete riders (in wheelchairs) with angel runners.  The angel runner pushes the athlete as they run a race together.  This group not only allows individuals with disabilities the chance to participate in a race, it spreads awareness!!

 Ainsley's Angels was started by the family of a little girl named Ainsley Rossiter, who lived with a rare genetic disorder called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, or INAD. Her parents wanted Ainsley to live a full life, part of which was competing in races.  With the inspiration of Team Hoyt (Dick and Rick Hoyt; a father-sun runner/rider team), Ainsley's Angels was born. Her story can be found at the Ainsley's Angels of America website.  Also, her big sister, Briley wrote a terrific book, Born an Angle, which is all about Ainsley. I bought it to take to work to share with my clients, especially children, because I think that it's a tool to use to spread awareness of different abilities and the cool things everyone can do to help others.

 Ainsley passed away in February, at the young age of 12, surpassing an average life expectancy of 10 years. Ainsley's spirit is very much alive and lives on through Ainsley's Angels. Ainsley will continue to inspire and help others for years to come. She's touched the lives of many people, including those whom she's never met.

What is an Ambassador?
As an ambassador, I will bring Ainsley's Angels to my area!!! I will contact race directors, do fundraisers, recruit Angel runners, Guardian Angles (to help with various tasks/serve as chairs), and many other things to help spread the word and get people involved. This is the shortened version of what is involved in being an Ambassador.  

How do I get involved?
Just visit the Ainsley's Angels website to learn about different levels of involvement and choose which may be right for you! You do not have to be a runner to be a part of this amazing group.

Why I am doing this...
I first heard about Ainsley's Angels through the I Run 4 Michael (IR4) group. This is the group that connected me to my fantastic buddy, Maverick (who just turned 7 yesterday!!). I started seeing things about Ainsley's Angels and thought that it looked pretty cool.  At first, I saw runners who are part of the IRun4 family who were also involved in Ainsley's Angels. I thought maybe it was another way to connect with their buddies.  I researched it and learned what it was about.  As I mentioned, I checked into it a couple times and found nothing in my area (although in the book, there are stars in two Michigan locations, so I'm not sure what happened there). I feel that this is something that needs to be around.  People with different abilities should be able to cross a finish line; not just in a wheel chair division of a race. Learning about various disabilities is always a good thing. Awareness is important. Honestly, it's just something that I care deeply about and want to see in my area.

Of course, my little Maverick is always on my mind.  If it weren't for being a part of the I Run 4 family and being inspired by him, I probably wouldn't know anything about Ainsley's Angels. I have a friend who has a wonderful daughter who spends her time in a wheelchair. Her Mom bought a chair so that her daughter could be part of her running experience.

So why... Because I have been touched by some pretty cool people who I think should have the opportunity to cross the finish line.  I wasn't always a runner. I was morbidly obese.  I cannot find words that can describe the feeling of crossing a finish line. Even my first 5K was a huge accomplishment for me. My most memorable (and most emotional race) was my first half marathon. I'll never forget that feeling; the feeling of doing something that I never thought I would do; or even be able to do. That feeling is one that everyone should have the opportunity to experience.

Sometimes I have rough runs and remind myself that God gave me the ability to do this. I'll always be slow.  Right now, I'm not my slowest but I'm also not back to my fastest (however, I am working on that!). I may be faster than I ever was.  Or maybe I'll get to where I was and stay there. My goal is to at least get there.  I'm slow and some days the runs just suck... But you know what? Fast, slow, hard, or easy, I am able to do it.  We are all different in many ways.  Not everyone has a body that can carry them throughout a race. Just because they may have legs that don't work the same way mine do doesn't mean that they shouldn't be able to feel the excitement of crossing the finish line.

I'm so, so excited for this opportunity!! I'm hoping that they love my application! I'm hoping that my dedication, determination, passion, and love is evident when they read it.

They say that in life, everything happens for a reason.  There are reasons we do things. There is a reason for every person we meet. We're put through hard times for a reason. Life is full of ups and downs and every single one of those has purpose. We can get caught up in negativity easily. It doesn't seem to be as easy to choose to be positive. When you do it though, it's amazing. It's peaceful. Learning to work through the rough stuff, to let go of drama and negativity (and realize that it's not something fun to get sucked into!) is huge. If you choose to rid your life of that toxicity, life can be pretty amazing.

I found this organization and applied because it's something I'm interested in.  I am determined to make my chapter successful. There is a reason I've been drawn to it.  There is a reason I was connected to Maverick.  And little Ainsley.... There was a reason she was born with INAD. Look at what this little life started! How can you not believe that she was put on this Earth, her own version of perfection, for a reason. Look at all the good that one little girl has inspired.

I encourage you to go reflect on your own life. Find your reasons. Release the negative and embrace the positive. And just love...

XOXO

Friday, November 11, 2016

Hello, Again!

I'll really try not to have a super long post since I have a habit of trying to cram several weeks into a blog post once every six (weeks) or so. I keeping thinking "ohhh I should blog." And then I don't. I think it's more of a time issue. I'm a busy girl these days.  Between work, working out, and social/fun things I don't take the time to sit and write. I'm also way more apt to sit and relax with the iPad than sit at a computer (after sitting at a computer most of the day during sessions/writing client notes). I guess the last thing I want to do at home is sit at my computer desk. I think the blog got to be "I need to" or "I should" more than "I feel like" or "I want to." That's probably why, over the last couple years, I haven't written as much.  That and the weight gain.

So... The update last time was mostly about the half marathon. I didn't find another that worked with my schedule in October and not so far in November. The next will be in February. Which means vacation! I started this round of training a few weeks ago and it's going well. I'm doing my "long" runs, which haven't been long yet, on the weekends. I've also been running with a friend once a week, on the weekends. We usually stick to the 5K length but last week I had four on the agenda and she did four with me. This week is five, but since I've already done five, I may not do five with her.  Or maybe I will.  Hmmm... I feel like I'm (somewhat sneakily) prepping her for a half too. If this one wasn't sold out, I'd try to convince her take vacation with me. RATS! We have talked about doing one this Spring, so that will be fun.

I already have one schedule for Spring, the Flying Pig, in Cinci. There are a ton of races in April and May that I want to do. Unfortunately many of them fall on the same dates or very close together. Given that I do training runs that build on miles weekly, I'm sure I could do a half one week and then another a couple weeks later. However, they're all over the place and all that travel gets pricey. So, I have some narrowing to do!

I've recently gotten into yoga again. This is something I've gone in streaks with - probably because I was doing it at home and that gets kind of boring. And it's not a huge calorie burner so I found it ten times easier to do something else. Huge calorie burner or not, it is necessary. Especially for someone who runs a few times a week. Speaking of which, so far, I'm doing better at sticking to a training schedule of only running three times a week, maybe four on some weeks. I'm really bad at that. I could run 5-6 days a week. I am trying to be very mindful of the bad things that result for that. Like over-training injuries. I don't want those.  I'd get super focused on it because I love it and it torches calories. Torched calories translate to pounds lost.  BUT injury and inability to do most activities results in (usually) pounds gained, boredom, and anger over not being able to run. SO, I'm working hard to stick to my training plan.

Well, that sidetracked me... Back to yoga.

I'm now going to yoga class at a studio. I can typically make some of the morning classes, and every now and then, I might be able to go to the more intense, evening class. I'm also considering adding spin for my cross training a couple times a week. I've heard it is really good cross training for runners. It's a great workout and calorie burner, but it doesn't add on steps and those damn fitbit challenges (and my own goal of 10K a day) keep me focused on steps.  But once or twice won't hurt!

So, AGAIN, yoga...

It's awesome. I love it ten times better in the studio than at home. The yoga teacher, Lauri, is awsome. And let's face it, an awesome yoga teacher in real life is far better than an obnoxious yoga teacher on a video. Videos also do not give you that live teacher element so that your poses or postures can be corrected or you don't have reminders and cues. Plus the cool down at the end is a million times better than on a DVD. And longer.  Plus, she gives us affirmation cards to read and essential oils to smell.  I leave class feeling relaxed but also refreshed.  Some days I can REALLY feel my muscle tightness (from cardio) which tells me "oh yes, you needed this today." I feel like I get a lot more out of class than a video.

My affirmation cards have been a little eerie.

Last Friday, I got some about bringing back a childhood dream.  When I was younger, I wanted to be a dancer. In High School, I longed to do color guard. Why? Because I didn't have confidence.  Writing is another thing I've always loved and been passionate about.  I write now and then... Typically through this blog, because as awesome as a novel would be, it would take me two years to write one, unless I quit working and did that full-time which is a risk I cannot take right now. Prior to getting that card, I signed up for the Saturday morning choreo-yoga class. It's a yoga flow set to music. It's beautiful. It's a little bit like..... Dance.

Monday's card was about getting rest because I work too hard. I don't usually think of my work as hard (mentally it is sometimes) but maybe that was more about sleep. I'm not always good at sleep. I also stress if I can't fit an intense workout in. I've eased up on that this week. Yesterday was just yoga. I didn't have time for an intense cardio because my day was so crazy. And you know what? I'm just fine today.

Yesterday's card was about love.  The day before (Wednesday), I thought a lot about love. I try not to get political on here, but dang there's a lot of hate right now. On both sides.  So on Wednesday I really tried to stay positive and stay away from the negative.  I didn't get into any hefty conversations. Instead, I simply spread the message of love.... That all this hate is doing us no good. I'm actually a little frightened because this is probably the time the "bad guys" would prey on us.  Hit us while we are weak and fighting with one another.... I haven't seen anything in the news but that's a scary possibility.

Today's affirmation was similar. It was about reflection.... Looking inside myself. Although I can't remember exactly what it said, there was also something about kindness or joy. I remember reading it and thinking "well that's weird... I was just looking up random acts of kindness cards and sayings while drinking my coffee this morning." I actually pinned a few ideas on Pinterest. And then went to class, where at the end, I received that card.

Okay, this is almost starting to creep me out.  These cards of affirmation are chosen at random. We just grab one (like when you grab a card at random and the magician says he knows your card). I find it interesting that these are pretty much fitting in with things I've done or I've thought about.  Apparently I must be on a good track with my thoughts and actions because these affirmation cards are definitely providing affirmation!

So I'm in love with yoga more than ever before.

Now, I need to go get a quick run in so that I can get back to work!

Hope life finds you well and you have a fantastic weekend!

XOXO

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Am I Boring?

That's the question I just asked myself when I saw how long it's been since my last post.  Seriously, I used to have something to write about here nearly every day. Then I got off track. Then sort of on track. Then off track again.  For a while I probably should've re-named htis Workouts and Weight gain just because that's what was happening.... Still working out but gaining weight.  I like to "blame" picking up my boyfriend's horrible habits but even if I did let them slip in, I should've been in control.  I think that's really when I got out of blogging and have just had a hard time getting back into it.  That plus being busy all day and busy at night.... And basically just doing lots of other things!

So my last post was in July...

I don't see where I ever posted about my super fun Chicago trip with my friend Ashley.  I had decided to do the Bears 5K. Then the boyfriend and his Dad were gifted baseball game tickets. The same weekend. I can do the Chicago trip solo; it's not a big deal. It's close. I always drive anyway. I know my way around... BUT it's kind of a little bit more fun when you have someone with you. So I thought "hmmmm who can I convince to go?" and put a post on FB. Ashley is another IRun4 runner from my area. She responded and we decided to go! What a fun trip!! It was quick, we went down Friday afternoon, raced Saturday morning, spent Saturday there, and came home Saturday night. We packed a lot into our time!

The race itself went pretty well. I eventually slowed down a little because it was hot.  The heat really gets to me.  Well, actually it's the sun. Or the humidity. Or a combination. I guess because I always ran in the evening, I didn't realize how much of an ass the sun is to me. I SHOULD know this because I've had pale skin for my entire life.  I used to go tanning but finally realized how incredibly stupid that is... First, skin cancer. Second, totally fake.  Third, sometimes people look the color of Oompa Loompas. Finally, I don't want to look like an old beat up handbag. I really enjoy looking younger than I am. It's just gross all the way around. I never tanned all the time. I would go in spurts of times I'd tan and times I wouldn't. Then I'd go only a couple times a week. Then I stopped all together because I'd much rather have healthy, youthful skin than look like an old beat up handbag. My personal opinion...If you tan, enjoy.  Anyway, so I'm not tan. I have fair skin. Fair skin that the sun likes to skorch. So I could feel myself burning and slowed down.  As usual, I forgot the sunscreen for my arms and back. I always remember the face and lips (okay, not always, but most of the time). ANYWAY...So I got hot and slowed down. I finished slower than I anticipated. I was a little bummed but then realized I was standing ON Soldier Field and let it go. Ashley and I drank our free beer, waited for the race to finish and bought medals for our buddies, and our awesome tutus attracted a reporter and we got interviewed - which focused all on our IRun4 buddies (and a little on football... Ashley may have gotten some flack for not being a Bears fan).  It was a lot of fun and like other races I've done in Chicago, right on the gorgeous lake shore.  I'll forgive the sun.

I didn't do any races in July. I did the Color Run in August but that was with my boyfriend's little cousin so running was limited.  Goofing around was through the roof.  It was fun! Most of July and August were focused on training for the next half marathon. I had short runs. I had long runs. I struggled with humidity. I struggled with heat. I got pissed off at the sun way more than what was probably necessary.  Honesty, how have I been running for so long that I haven't figured out this sunblock thing yet? Or maybe I forgot about it. That plus change in times for training made a huge difference. MOST races are done before it gets too unbearable. Running at lunch is far different than running at 7am or 7pm. Like with what happened with Gazelle Girl, running inside on the tready is much different than outside.

I didn't really go too far from home in July either.  August was a tough month. My workouts were very inconsistent for two weeks. My Grandpa hadn't been doing well for almost a year and had declined for the last two.  He got really short of breath one day so my Mom had the ambulance take him to the ER. He was eventually admitted and tests revealed that he had fluid around his lung. We didn't realize how much until the doc drained off over two liters. So, let's say a two liter of pop and a half.  The liquid was dark. But it was gone.  So we waited for his little lung to expand.  It didn't. There were things that could be done to help it along but it didn't work.  Eventually, it was decided that they would not opt for the more invasive procedure.  People can breathe with one lung.  His other lung had a section missing  (past biopsy site - which was just scar tissue), so it was a little lung but it was just fine. He started declining during his time in the hospital and we sort of knew what was coming.... We decided to take him home on Hospice. He wasn't in terrible condition and was pretty alert for those first few days.  As the week progressed, he was sleeping more. He was crying out in pain more. It happened to be that the Friday that he had gone into the hospital my Aunt and Uncle were here from Kentucky.  So, most of us were there that following Friday night - minus my cousins and their significant others.  Both my Mom and I had "that feeling" in the morning.  I went for a run and pounded the pavement hard. At a 10-something mile for a short time. It was super humid and miserable, but I ran hard. That night everyone was there for pizza...I think. My boyfriend and I were there. My Dad (who wasn't going to come but my Mom said "you need to") was there, my Aunt and Uncle were there. At one point, I remember my Dad telling him that he, my Mom, and my Uncle had gone and made all the arrangements that morning, so he'd know everything was taken care of. I'm not sure when I realized it, but at one point I said to my boyfriend "we can't leave." And I told my Dad the same.  For some reason, we just knew we were sitting there, waiting for him to let go.  We watched him decline all day and when my Aunt and I were outside, my boyfriend came out and said "they want you in there now - they think he's dying."). So I went in and saw him struggling to breathe.  We all stood around him. He looked so helpless. He was alert and responsive to us. That day I did the absolute hardest thing I've ever had to do.... I looked him in the eye and said "Papa, it's okay to go. We love you but it's okay. I promise we will take care of Nonie." At that point, he started to cry. I noticed a little tear rolling down his cheek.  He closed his eyes and within a few minutes, he was gone. I still can't picture his sweet little face or think about it without crying. Thank God for my boyfriend being by my side through all of this. He's been my rock. The following Tuesday was the funeral. My cousins made it up that weekend. I had taken a couple days off of work and spent time with my family, then we had the funeral. I was tired and exhausted. I took a few days after just to adjust to life in general, I guess.  My workouts were... well I have no idea. They were there and they weren't there.

After that I knew I needed to get back on track. I'd missed two long runs and had a half marathon coming up. I don't think I missed a day of doing something from then until the half.

The half was in Chicago last weekend. I did well.  I remembered my sunblock. I listened to my body. I started out strong (my fitbit and strava both said stronger than my race time -- for all of it, but whatever). Other than a quick stop at the hydration stations, I didn't walk until past the 10K mark. And, as I felt my skin getting hot and burning, I did the smart thing... I stopped at the aid stations. I asked for my sunblock and I put it on.  I felt better. I did this a couple times during the race.  Here's the thing with races, any stops count... Potty stops, medical stops, even those less than one minute walks for hydration... It all counts with your time. So I finished slower than I expected... At least five minutes slower. But, even with that extra time added in, I was about 10 minutes faster than my last half. Still slower than my first, but that's to be expected.  As I lose weight, I will get faster. As I train more, I will get faster.  The best part is that... I felt much better during the race and after. I think that those stops, time added or not, really helped keep me from getting too warm. It feels ten times better running when you don't feel like your skin is burning.  It was a beautiful morning along a gorgeous course.

Then this weird thing happened.... I realized I LOVE HALF MARATHONS. The first one ever was a goal. I wanted to do "just one." I didn't do another for just over three years.  This year I've done two.  The second one, earlier this year, was a miserable experience but I finished. This last one... It felt so good and I wasn't worried about things like time, pace, or sweepers (total fear during the first one which was funny because I was running 11-12 min miles and the time limit was based on a 16 min mile - weird first half anxiety I guess!). I just ran.... I picked a pace that was comfortable and went with it. Sure, as time increased, I slowed down a little. I even walked a little after mile 8-ish. I think once I even walked an entire mile (right before I needed sunblock again).  But I picked it up and ran/walked after that.  I didn't hit a wall at mile 10. I didn't feel like I wanted to quit once. Mile 11 seemed a little long but I kept going. I felt so good after!!! Now, I have fallen in love with this distance. My next half is planned for February but I'm looking for one sort of near by for the end of October or early November, just to keep long distance momentum going. I have to look at my training plan for the half in February. I hope to be down another 20 pounds, based on my 5 pound per month rate of loss, by then. I think that will continue to help with endurance and speed. I'll be closer to my lower weight, but will still have some work to do.  I will be happy if I shave off another 5-10 minutes.  But part of me wants to work my butt off and PR it.... I'll strive for that but will be happy with a small improvement.

So that's that... Maybe next time I won't wait so long!!

XOXO

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Inspirational Women in Yoga.

First, I have to say that my head is POUNDING but I really want to write this. I'm a little concerned that it may impact on my writing but I think it'll be okay. Plus there's always that awesome editing feature which I needed yesterday because..... I am not good at posting from my iPad.

I'm sure I've written a bit about yoga before. I love it. Yoga makes me feel strong, both physically and mentally.  Yoga challenges my body differently than other activities. I am constantly surprised at what I can do or in progress that I make. I don't practice at a studio because my work schedule is all over the place. It makes it hard to get to classes. There are some on Saturday mornings; right when I do my long runs.  I'm hopeful that something a little later in the evening or earlier in the morning will open up.  I do yoga from DVDs that I have. I find new things on-line. I practice some moves on my own. I do Piyo which is a hybrid but includes yoga poses. I would love, love, love to take a class but it's a matter of finding one that works with my schedule.  Something may have to change though.  I have thought, at various times over the last five years, about wanting to include exercise in my professional life. I had a goal of getting my personal trainer certificate back in 2011 or 2012.  I've thought about yoga a few different times, especially over the last year.  Something has stopped me each time.

I've discovered what's stopping me.  Me.  Well, my perceptions of what others MIGHT think about me in those roles.  Back when I was at my smallest, I had achieved a tremendous goal.  I'd lost the weight of an adult. But I felt like I didn't fit the look.  I had the passion but felt that my own appearance wasn't good enough. I ordered the books and started studying but that's as far as it went. I met my boyfriend in 2013, and gained weight back (not all of it, thank goodness!). It was clear then that my books needed to stay in a box. And that's where they sit. Looking back, I looked good. I didn't think so because I didn't look like whatever it is I thought I needed to look like. I didn't think so because the numbers on my scale were higher than what I felt they should be. I look at pictures and I look fit, healthy, and in some ways even thin... My collar bones and spine were showing. But not my ribs. I didn't have protruding hip bones.  My abs and muscles didn't show like I thought a trainer's should. I had a picture in my mind of what I thought a trainer should look like and it wasn't me.

I've thought about becoming certified to teach yoga a few times.  Again, I thought that this would be my goal when I reach my weight loss goal (this time - where I'm staying). I had another picture in my mind (this one a bit different but still NOT my body) of what I should look like.  Several pounds and a few years away from where I was, I thought "when I get there again..." and realized that at that time I totally could've worked for those goals.

Yoga has been on my mind a bit more lately. I love yoga for the entire experience. When my body does something I didn't think it could do, or I can master a pose, I feel awesome.  It's work and takes time, like anything.  I love how it can relax people but at the same time make people strong.  I totally love the mental part of yoga. I incorporate similar thoughts in my life and what I do at work. I want to become certified so that I can actually teach poses and help clients in that way. A few months ago I decided that when I reach my weight and fitness goals, I'll do that.

Guess what! Trainers, like people, come in all shapes and sizes.  I'm finally learning that it is okay to workout and not look like a fitness model or the stereotypical trainer I had envisioned. Yoga instructors come in all shapes and sizes too.  Bodies can do a lot - no matter the shape or size.

I've been a person who believes in body positivity in a way that we should all embrace and accept others. We are different souls in different bodies. Why should your body look like mine? Why should mine look like yours? It shouldn't. We are unique and different and go through life in these amazing masses of all sorts of cool science-y stuff like matter. That's what our bodies are for... To carry these brains around and, well, they're part of what make us people; living beings. I think that we've gotten away from really thinking about what our bodies are and have focused so much on what they look like.  We have sexualized our bodies. Instead of looking at them as just bodies, we have made them more - basing it on what is physical appealing to the eye. Well, someone's eye because the idea body didn't just become ideal all on its own. Someone came up with this; the media continues it.

Let's think about it... Boobs.  They're blobs of fat and flesh that are meant to provide nutrition to babies. Someone decided that boobs were sexual (to look at, I mean; I'm educated I know about erogenous zones). Someone decided that these big blobs were so pleasing that they were sexually arousing. Now people go out and spend thousands of dollars on making them the size of their heads (or bigger!).  Butts are the same for some people.  Our butts help power our bodies; help with movement and lower body strength, Someone decided that butts were sexually appealing. So now the sight of Luke Bryan shaking it in a pair of tight jeans makes women drool.

We all admire different things for different reasons. I may see beauty in something that you don't. I have recently started to see beauty in bodies in a different way.  I see them as beautiful in what they can accomplish.  Someone with awesome muscle in a pose that's been captured beautifully by a photographer is pleasing to my eye.  I think that fit bodies are beautiful - and muscle can be graceful. Check out Adeline Gray, a female olympic wrestler or some of the other athletes in ESPN's body issue.  It really is about movement and the way their individual bodies are created differently. And it's absolutely gorgeous.  

Yes, I've had plastic surgery to remove skin.  Why? Because I didn't like it. Because I worked hard to achieve a physical goal and I wanted the reminder of past pain to be gone.  This time I won't go through more surgery (but I'll likely bounce back a bit better this time too). I don't have any pain associated with the amount of fat on my body.  This is the result of being too lax on nutrition and having too many indulgences.  It's been in fun. I've still been active too, so I guess that's a part of it.  And yes some of my past surgery was probably based on how others would see me.  This was also done three and four years ago.  People can change and, apparently, my outlook has in that time.

Now, I agree with body positivity but please know I do not agree with promoting poor health - at any size. I believe in treating my body well through fitness and nutrition (but yes I do still indulge sometimes!). A person can have fat but still treat their body well.  I don't know, by looking at someone, what their health issues are. I can see an overweight person and make the assumption that they have high cholesterol.  I can look at a thin person and think they don't.  I could be totally wrong.  I'm overweight right now and the only thing wrong with me is that I seem to have a headache today.  My lab work is all great. My functions are great. My body works well.  Yeah, I don't eat clean 100% of the time (but am making great strides, and realistically I will never be perfect nor do I want to). Someone could look at me think I'm fat, ugly, and unhealthy. And they'd be wrong. I'm not fat.I HAVE fat (we all do!). I'm actually like really pretty. Other than my weight being too much I'm healthy.

I have found some amazing women in yoga who have been inspirational. They are not thin. But they are athletes. They are strong. They are beautiful. They have bodies that are not the idea but they are beautiful.  They have bodies; bodies that can do amazing things.

Dana Falsetti.... LOVE her!!! Anna Guest-Jelley created curvy yoga; yoga classes and teacher trainings that are for all bodies. She has included ways to help those who have bodies that may function differently so that they can do their best practice. Amber Karnes created body positive yoga. Rachel Brathen does yoga on a paddle board.  I'm not that good on stable ground sometimes!! A headstand on a paddle board? Badass. Chelsea Roff is a woman with a story that makes me cry when I read it. She survived a traumatic childhood and anorexia. She founded Eat Breathe Thrive. Our bodies are wonderful, capable things. They can do a lot. There some other awesome yogis out there too.

Whether we do fitness for mental health benefits, physical benefits (improvement or weight loss), or just because it's fun, we all do something. Thanks to these ladies for being awesome and showing that it's okay to be you in your body. And that has helped me to realize I DO want to do this.

With that, I need to find someone local who is able to train new teachers.

Go find the beauty in someone else....

XOXO

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Patches, Pink Drinks, Powders, and Pills - Oh, my!!!!

I decided today that I'm going to stick something in a bottle, give it a nice name, some flashy packaging, and tell people that it's THE life changing product. It will make you energized, cleanse your colon, and help you lose weight.  I'll find a way to make people believe in it. Then I'm going to convince people to sign-up to become distributors to go sell it for me so I can sit back and make millions. BUT I'll let them know that by signing up they too can make money (if they put all of their time into it) and earn the miracle product for free!! 

Sounds like a pyramid. Sounds like something I hear about in one way or another, a couple times a week. Now there is a fancy name for it; Multi Level Marketing. It's not a pyramid scheme and differs in a couple ways; the main one being that it is legal. However it is still a pyramid business when you think about it in he basic sense....

Two others and I join your team. That pushes your rank up and you get a raise. I add three people. The others and two and five, respectively. Wow - by adding 3 to your team, you  just had others add 10 more to your larger team. Of course they can create their own.... And so on. Pretty soon the person at the top is making money thanks to the work of every single person that signs up under them. They get on social media and promote but they don't need to continue the legwork. Meanwhile new girl A is at the bottom, struggling to add people with the belief that she'll get free product and make extra money. The problem is that now the market is over-saturated. She's struggling. No one above is sending referrals her way or helping her build her team. She signed up. They told her what to do. That's it. 

Yes, this IS a generalization in the most simple context. But it makes my point. 

Now please know - I've done a couple of these. And I sucked at them because I love my career more than some random side thing. One thing ended up being used just for the discount. After the fees, the discount wouldn't actually be a discount (fees added up, over time). So I quit. The other? I just didn't have time for. I honestly LOVE the products and will continue to use them. BUT....Extra work outside of work is going to be for my career - kinda like lesson planning for teachers. I don't want to work to push or sell a product in my free time. I want to workout. I want to walk my dogs. I want to spend time with my family and my friends. I want to take trips. I want to sleep. I want to watch the three TV shows that I like. I want to read running and other exercise magazines. I want to write.  I don't want to be stuck sitting around late at night or during the weekend. I want to do things I enjoy in my free time; not things that are work. I didn't love it. It's not my passion. So? I'm done with that. Now you know I have a background and experience. I'm not just babbling. I'm also bit bashing and saying no one should ever do those things. If you love them, go for it. I love therapy. That's my thing. 

SO.... The latest I've seen (some still; some again) are "health" related. Pink powders, flavored powders, a skin patch, some random "supplements" that you pop. And people are quick to join becaus it sounds so amazing. Every single one of those products is going to give you energy, make your bodily woes disappear, help you lose weight, and whatever else.  That product that isn't required to be evaluated by the FDA (although there is some apparent credentialing they can get). It's bit the same evaluation. I wonder how many people look into the validity. The ingredients. The safety. I prefer to know exactly what I'm putting into my body. I try to aim for ingredients I can pronounce. This is most likely why I'm sling weight. Because I care again. I know exactly what lettuce is. I know where apples come from. I don't know what some -ose -Ide -whatever -whatchamacallit might be. 

Guess what!!! Clean eating, water, and exercise will make you.... Have more energy, feel better, and get rid of the junk in your body. Oh and if you get up and move... You can actually get pain relief!! Throw some chia seeds in your yogurt and - there's your awesome, a,axing, miraculous super food. 

I'm the type of girl who asks her medical professional for input before taking whatever supplements or proteins she may read about or think about taking.  I asked my PA about my pre-workout and if it's safe because it has things in it that I can't pronounce. And I sure as heck don't want to put something in my body that could be harmful. 

I can see where you think I'm being hypocritical or contradicting myself. Unjust said that I take pre-work out but earlier stated I prefer to know what's going into my body. There. Please note and understand that. I'm not being hypocritical....  I'm saying I don't just jump on board with something that is presented to me. I won't put something into my body (and don't use it on a daily basis) that I didn't discuss with my PA. 

I don't buy into gimmicks. I'm very skeptical of these types of products. I'm not going to throw $200 at something for a month. I'd prefer to buy an entire Lululemon outfit (more on sale or at an outlet!) that I can wear to workout. I can wear it to do something good for my body that's gonna last more than eight weeks. 

I guess I'm like "Carrie Bradshaw " - "I like my money right where I can see it hanging in my closet." 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I Guess It's a New (again) Trend...

I see I've been absent for almost a month again. Gosh, time is FLYING by so fast!! I have been working lots of busy days and between other things and making sure I have time to fit in some exercise, by the time I sit down at night I'm in that mode where I just want to zone out.  Not sit down and write.

I believe I posted about my weight loss before. I'm moving down, however it's slow going.  I'm eating mostly clean but not super clean where I'm dropping pounds as quickly as I did in the past. I'm all over the place with exercise - it's getting done but not at on any kind of schedule.  I had family up (unexpected surprise!) so I was working with that. I also did a June biking challenge - 100 miles in the month - to raise money for kids with cancer.  I've had lots of support on what I'm doing and my biking but not much as far as donations.  Awareness is something in itself though. Now more people know about the challenge so when it comes around next time, maybe more riders will sign up. 100 miles in a month is really not bad, even if you bike at a leisurely pace. I generally keep it fairly light and bike around 10 miles per hour.  One day I think I did about 14 and that was a day I was moving a bit faster because I started getting rained on. At ten miles a ride, that's only 10 rides in the whole month.  That's only 10 hours of time.  Not bad at all. Due to my schedule mine were more spread out. Then I was out of town for a couple days for a 5K and doing some running on other days, I ended up in crunch time last week. Most of my workouts were biking; at least ten miles. June went by much faster than I  was prepared for! But I finished, on time, and with over 100 miles.  It's The Great Cycle Challenge USA and they'll continue to add miles and donations in throughout this month. There were over 26,000 riders so I'm sure it takes a bit of time to gather all the data.

Anyway....weight loss... I'm sitting around the 25 pounds lost that I was at in June (okay I'm like a pound, almost two, more pounds lost, but close enough). I'm working on 30.  My goal is to have lost over 30 by the time my next doctor appointment comes up.  that's on the 15th of this month, so just under two weeks.  I see no reason that I cannot lose five pounds in two weeks.  As of yesterday, or maybe the day before, I was thisclose to being to that 2 more pounds lost, so it's really only four pounds which is totally do-able for a two week span. More would be great.  I weighed this morning and even with increased sodium (cookout yesterday) my weight was not up as much as it could've been... Not even a pound, so that should come off with water in the next couple days.  I feel that just biking and walking last week had something to do with it too. Until the weekend, I hadn't done much running so the last two weeks were pretty light as far as activity. I was still doing activity but not as intense. Lots of biking and walking but only a few runs until this weekend. I had done a 5K on the 25th and then it was walking and biking until Saturday. I did a couple runs the week of the 5K to get ready for it but I'd been running a couple times a week before then and no long runs since what turned out to be a five miler when I did my last 5K (ran/walked a mile to/from to add a couple more on to the run). I think running will really get things moving again!

This weekend, I did just over four miles Saturday, three Sunday, and a virtual Independence Day 5K yesterday.  Saturday's run was a bit of a struggle; probably because I hadn't done a run in a week! With all the biking and being so busy and not wanting to run late (because then I'd be energized and miss sleep!) it just kind of worked out that way.  By yesterday I noticed my endurance was already better. My speed was also improving. Saturday was more of a struggle and each day got a little better. The 5K the previous weekend was a little brutal. It was hot early in the day - like 80 by race time. And the Windy City had a lack of wind, even right on the lakeshore. There were also lots of people. I lost my friend within the first mile because she was able to squeeze through some people and as I went to go through behind her, someone else came up from the other side and he and his buddies went through, then there was another group I couldn't get around. So I got stuck. Several times during the race, actually. Somehow my time wasn't as awful as I thought it would've been given getting stuck and it being so stinking hot. I was slower than usual but not too terribly far behind - only a few minutes.  It was still an awesome race and when I realized just how crowded it was, I realized time would probably be a factor at some point. I got to finish ON Soldier Field.  I could've been stuck walking the whole thing and would've been totally fine!!!

So weight-wise I'm doing pretty good. I'd have hoped to drop 8-10 pounds a month before this appointment. I was really wanting to be down 50 pounds from February (five months) which is the rate I lost at when I lost weight the first time.  But I'll be okay with 30+. Is it slower than I want? Yes. But I'm doing it in a way that's better for me. Previously I cut off a lot of socialization because that's so centered around food. I was also a little obsessive about my eating habits. Yesterday I decided that I wanted to have an adult beverage because it was the 4th of July! I typically have a beer or drink once every 1-2 weeks.  And that's usually one drink.  Yesterday was a rather large mimosa but after that I was done and back to water.  Moderation.  Yesterday was also a cookout and I ate like a normal person... Not too much and not in an obsessive way.  I had hotdog. I had some pasta salad. I had a few chips.  And I was good. I ate to where I felt satisfied but not super full. I didn't freak out and chug water or struggle because there were not fruits or veggies. I ate a white bun (gasp!). In the past I would've loaded up on fruits and veggies avoided pasta salad and chips totally, and maybe would've had a some of the meat without a bun. I'm losing at a slower rate, but it's a more comfortable, more realistic rate. And I'm not beating myself up like I did before. I ran and burned lots of calories and although I don't like to eat calories back, if I ate a few of them back (wasn't all of them), that's okay. Life goes on.  I'm happy. I'm not self-isolating for fear of what food or drinks will be around.  Life is fun! Would I like to be down 50? Of course.  Would I like to be down 50 but not doing anything or have problematic eating and anxiety in social settings? Nope.  I'll take slow and meeting the needs of my life as it is at this stage.  A few years ago, I was okay self-isolating. My then-boyfriend lived away. I had no one else to worry about during the week. It worked.  Now? It won't work the same way. But I'm eating as clean as possible and putting in the work in way that's working for me now.

Around 20 pounds lost people started noticing. I didn't.  And I still struggle. But I struggled when I was at my smallest weight. In some way, I'll probably always struggle with body imagine. I think that's something that's true for many of us.... I know very few people who are absolutely comfortable with their bodies and would change nothing about their physical appearance.  It doesn't have to be weight loss... It can be that they want to gain weight; maybe they have a nose they don't like; maybe they're short... Anything. Body image is tricky and in same way most of us have some sort of issue with it. BUT it's in how we handle it and how big we allow it to get. So at 20 pounds I didn't notice much.  At 25, I started seeing some differences. I'm also feeling better about how I look in pictures and take mirror selfies regularly to help monitor progress.  I didn't do this last time but this time I think it's a good thing since my weight is moving a bit slower. I'm getting there.  And maybe I won't hit 50 pounds lost until September.  That's okay.  I'd say my goal for the end of the year; another five months would be to hit 70 pounds lost, total.  That's another 40 from where I am now. I think that if I'm a bit more strict, I can do that.  But I will accept a loss of another 30, for 60 overall since February. The good thing is that I'm done beating myself up. Progress is progress. Progress is good. Progress not perfection. I think I'm finally back in a place where I've done my best to block all other negativity from my life and am just working to respond in a different way to bad vibes... You don't like me? Cool. You wanna talk about me? People who know me won't believe it. People who know you will (but do I even care what they believe? Nope.).  People somewhere in between won't want to get involved, will ask the second side of the story, or will let it roll away. Got a problem with how I look? Don't look at me. You think I should/should not be wearing make-up? Okay. Don't like my hair color? Okay. I do. I'm just at that point where I know I can't control what other people see or say and that's okay. My body image isn't about them. It's about me. It's about how I feel. Why should someone saying "oh she's gained some weight back!" bother me? It shouldn't. I'm WELL AWARE of that. Yeah, I have.  Why do you care? What people don't know or see is what I'm doing.  I exercise at least 6 days a week. I usually take a rest day but not always. My exercise varies - I do light cardio, intense cardio, weights, yoga... A variety.  The thing is, I don't control what anyone else thinks about how I look. I don't control what they say. I only control how I see myself; how I feel about myself; and what I choose to do (or not do) about it.  Right now I'm eating mostly clean and I'm exercising a lot. Exercise makes me feel good. I'm losing weight but I'm not stressing.  I'm happy. Maybe that's what upsets people... I'm not showing that I'm totally miserable with how I look. I'm not. But it's also not anyone else's business how I see myself or feel about myself. I share things here because I want to. Because I've heard it's helped other people.  I've had people tell me I've motivated and inspired them. I've had people tell me that my determination has helped them to be more determined.  That is by far one of the best feelings I've ever experienced. Ever.

So I'd say things are going well... I've done a three 5Ks in June/thus far in July.  I was thinking of another half this month but got off-track with my training. I have one for sure in September so training will start for that soon enough. I'm sure I'll do some more 5Ks and 10Ks this summer.  Running is good. Eating is pretty good - I could clean it up a bit but I'm okay where I'm at. Weight loss is happening. I'm going to make sure I don't miss tracking any bites during this two weeks and hope to be at 31, or more, lost on the 15th. Other areas of life are going great!

Hope life finds you well and your summer is fantastic!!

XOXO


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Month...!?

I've been busy.  Super busy lately.  It seems like time has gone by very quickly.  I'm going to give quick run down of what I've been up to and will write a more detailed post later.

In the last month I have....

1. Lost more weight. Not as much as I could have (or feel I could have) in a month. But I'm down five more pounds. My weight loss had plateaued for a bit and within the last couple week. It's been moving again. I've added some more light activity so maybe that little bit of extra has made it move again. I've also been trying to vary my routine more, which typically helps break plateaus. Slow loss is okay but in a month I'd have ideally lost 10 pounds.  I would have accepted eight. But I'm happy it's moving again.  Any loss is good.

2. Run a 10K.  I wasn't ready for the 25K at Riverbank, especially after Gazelle Girl in April.  The morning of Riverbank was cold, which I was happy about. It had rained but it wasn't raining at race time. It was windy which I didn't enjoy but it wasn't bad and didn't slow me down too much. I felt really good after the race. I'm still slower than I used to be and have some speed work to do to get faster (which I hope will improve with continued weight loss). It was a good race and I felt good about things.  I had started half marathon training again so the 10K was before my long run was scheduled but that was okay; I have varied my runs since then. I missed my seven mile run last weekend (due to biking 14 miles instead and out of control allergies the next day) but I have eight on the agenda this week. I'm usually okay up to 10...It's over 10 that I need to work on so missing one seven mile run should be okay.

3. Gotten back into biking again. I started cycling challenge to raise awareness and benefit kids with cancer. I have a goal to ride 100 miles in the month of June and people can sponsor/donate. It's the Great Cycle Challenge. On days things aren't hectic (or cold, or rainy..)  I plan on riding to and from work which will give me a minimum of two miles a day. On a day where I could work it, that would be four with going to/from lunch. I also plan on a long ride every other weekend (at least) to see my Grandparents, plus other rides throughout the week. As of now I'm sitting at 20 miles. 80 miles in 23 days (including today) isn't bad.  I have a short tempo run to do this evening and will most likely at least ride a few miles... At a comfortable pace I can do five in half an hour so it's not like it takes much time out of my day.

I suppose that's the short version of my health and fitness update.

I saw this awesome video today and feel like people should check this out - and the awesomeness of this woman, Dana Falsetti! She seems like such a strong, confident woman.

Hope you're doing well!
XOXO






Tuesday, May 3, 2016

This is a LITTLE Late: Plexus Slim Review. Results not Typical....?

As you may (or may not depending on whether you've read before) know, I did a trial of Plexus Slim that ended last week Thursday. I weighed and measured before. I paid attention to my body. Summed up in one sentence, a seven day trial was not enough for me to notice any changes. This does not mean that others haven't experienced something else.  The thing to keep in mind is that I was already eating clean (probably about the 80/20 that I strive for) and exercising routinely. I had started just after completing a half marathon. A half marathon itself can really do strange things to your body.

Weights and measures.
As far as measurements; no changes. However I didn't really expect any changes. When I've done measurements in the past, I've done so monthly because weekly is excessive. Changes in body composition and a loss of inches aren't typically seen that frequently. Weight is a bit harder to figure out.  My weight after the half marathon was up two pounds. Here's what my half marathon weekend looked like - carb loading the night before. Depletion of sodium, fluids, and whatever else during the half. It was ugly (running is always ugly for me).  I was soaked in sweat. I had those white lines that I thought were the body glide, but my friend informed me were lines for sodium loss, on my pants.  I was pretty interested about that and took to Google.  I'm a salty sweater. That day, post-race, included eating out again. Meals out contain a lot of sodium and considering I'd just lost a bunch, it was needed. However, who knows how much sodium exactly is lost or gained... Not me, that's for sure. I bloat when I run. My fingers looked like sausages. My hands were almost as big as my boyfriend's. I do not typically have large hands.  Right before I started my trial, I put my body through the ringer, doing my longest run in three years (training runs were 10 and 12 miles; the second and third longest runs in three years).  Whatever the reason, my weight was up two pounds.  It was gone by the end of that week and even less after the trial... As of last Friday (30th) I was down five pounds compared to the Monday after the half (18th). Given the crazy race effects on my body, I was actually down three pounds compared to what I had been the Friday before.

I really cannot say whether Plexus Slim had an impact on my weight during that time because the half caused my body to do strange things and I'd already made changes.  My weigh-in day isn't until Friday but I anticipate continued loss given my dietary changes.  Some will say that Plexus is meant to be combined with a healthy diet and exercise, which is the reason it promotes loss. Again, I was losing before (down 20 pounds, FYI! Wooooo!!) so I don't know how much Plexus played a roll in that. I've heard that people don't typically lose that quicky when using it; some even gain weight. So, take my experience as that... My experience.

Sleep.
PS (I decided to abbreviate) is supposed to help you sleep better. I was sleeping pretty well before and didn't notice a change in my sleep patterns either way.  Fitbit says I was just as restless while drinking the pink drink as I was prior to that.  My 3-5 hours a night was the same.
NOTE: I do sleep more than 3-5 hours.  Fitbit tracks restlessness which is probably every time I move.  I move a lot.  I am still sleeping the 20-30 some times it tells me I'm restless.  Sometimes I awaken, but again there were no changes there.

My sleep patterns were not influenced by PS.

Overall Body Feeling.
I honestly didn't feel any different after my seven days of using PS. It's said to increase energy, but I didn't see a change. However, I'd seen an increase in energy before that due to other changes. My appetite was unchanged.  I ate about the same as I had before PS; mostly clean, healthy, nourishing foods.  I try to eat every few hours so that I don't get too hungry (and because that's supposed to be better for the body). I had my typical morning shake and coffee (I added the PS to my shake all but one day). Lunches and dinners varied a bit but are typically about the same in terms of calories.  I sometimes eat freezer "diet" meals for lunch because they're convenient. Or dinner leftovers.  I might make something else...  The point is that I don't think my eating habits changed much.  Maybe I was less hungry a couple times but those could've been days I didn't drink my usual amount of water (which keeps me full). I did feel like I was peeing a lot more than usual, which apparently it can do. My friend said that it's how PS gets all the yucky stuff out of your system. I do think I'm just being more aware of my water intake. I mean, even today I feel like I'm peeing a lot. Which I am because I drink a lot. So that may not have really been the PS.

I'd say overall, I cannot say after my seven day trial was well.... Anything. It could be because of the changes I'd already made.  Most people are supposed to make changes when starting PS.  I also had the funky body stuff doing on after the half.

I will say that it wasn't bad. I actually liked it when mixed into my protein shakes. It gave it a little extra flavor which I enjoyed. I wasn't a fan when I drank it on its own, but my friend said she likes hers to be REALLY cold.  It had a sweet taste and aftertaste and she said most people don't say that. Maybe I'm weird - or I don't have much sweet stuff so I responded differently. Or it wasn't cold enough. At any rate it was good.  Will I spend money on it? Probably not.  For me it would basically be extra flavor for my shakes.  It is not a miracle weight loss answer; even if it might be marketed that way. It is supposed to be used with clean eating and exercise. It is helpful in some as far as making them feel better in general however that could also be because of clean eating and exercise. As I said I didn't see those same differences.

I loved the protein shake (P96) and it's comparable to my current shake as far as cost and ingredients. That is something that I would purchase.

So that's my experience with Plexus Slim....I suppose I'd say I'm neutral. Nothing exceptional for me but nothing horrible either.

Hope you're doing well!
XOXO

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Gloomy Tuesday!

It likes like we are in for clouds, clouds, clouds, rain, and cold for the next couple days.  Yuck! Today looks pretty gloomy, which stinks after it turned out to be so nice yesterday.  It rained, then the sun came out, and then it got cloudy and rained later but when I left work it was so warm! Low 70s. Then the rain started and it dropped. And dropped some more.  This morning, when I came to work, it was pretty chilly.  I haven't been outside yet to see what it's like now, but man does it look gloomy out! I'm happy that it's not snowy and super cold but I am seriously ready for it to be a little warmer (we've had some teases and now I'm like "okay, just get to it...") and some sunshine.

 My schedule is pretty crazy today... Not much time at lunch to do a workout. At least not the workout that I like because I don't have time to do that, shower, eat, and get back to work.  I did have a cancellation before the group that I do so I'll have time for a walk then - but still nothing intense because I don't have time to shower too.  I was going to get up early to at last do some Turbofire but didn't sleep well last night, so that didn't happen.  So far the day is winning! BUT I will get that walk in later, even if it has to be on the treadmill.  I am usually home a little after eight so I won't have time to do anything intense (unless I want to be energized and unable to sleep), but I think I'll do some arm work.  I can handle a good 30 or so minutes of arms; maybe make it a little longer and do some ab work too. We shall see.

I need to get back on the weight training road. I've focused so much on running and cardio because of that half that I have gotten away from that. I love squats, lunges, and leg day in general (okay that's a love-hate relationship) but I'm not going to add that in for a while. It'll be upper body.  I'm really trying to not stress my legs too much because I am planning on another half marathon soon. I find that if I do leg day and try to run, it decreases my running performance. I'll start adding some leg work into my routine, but it won't be a full-blown leg day like I'd been doing. I don't want to avoid leg day completely even though running does work those muscles.  I guess I just like the extra  - and running doesn't hit ALL of the muscles so there's room for some exercises.  Anyway, I'm going to work on a plan at lunch, starting with arms and abs and see where it goes from there. My schedule at work is super busy so I need to make sure I can do strength work on days I do maybe Turbofire or other cardio, but when I can also fit it in. It'll likely be shorter periods in the evenings.  There's always time to fit something in.... I just have to put the puzzle together!

As of this morning I'm down almost 20 pounds. It was a loss of 19.8 so I'm hoping to be over that 20 pounds lost mark by the end of the week. I continue to eat healthy and eat mostly clean. I do have some foods that aren't clean here and there but I'm really trying to focus on healthy stuff more frequently (like I used to do). And of course, continued exercise.   Apparently the combo is working again since I am losing. Yay! I love being back on the weight loss road.  I'm hoping I will reach where I want to be (no specific goal; but a general one) by my Birthday (basically the end of the year). If I continue on this track and with the loss, I'll be there before then. But since I know things like plateaus occur, I'm giving myself a longer period of time. Plus if I say I'll do it by fall, then I tend to stress more and the pressure builds which sometimes leads to failure. So my goal is by December. This is realistic for me.

Tomorrow is the last day of my Plexus Slim trial. I haven't really noticed any changes that others report yet, but I am still keeping an open mind.  Obviously I've had some weight loss (a few pounds), but I don't attribute that to just Plexus.  I was already working for that and losing prior to starting this. I just wanted to see what changes it may do for my body.  I'll be taking measurements the day after my trial ends...Or I plan to. It could be a busy morning so that might not happen until Friday morning. Anyway, though, measurements and a post about the experience and results will happen later this week.

I suppose that's about it for now...

XOXO

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Plexus Trial

I have a few friends currently selling Plexus. One was offering a free trial of their Slim product so I decided I'd give it a try. I'm all about testing a product. I'm already doing things that are healthy and working to lose weight (again). So, if you read the final report, please keep that in mind. As with any similar product, I'm sure the results are best see when combined with a healthy diet, exercise, and lots of water drinking. So, the results that I see may be different than someone who just takes the drink with no other lifestyle changes.

I started today with the Slim and one of the vanilla P96 shakes. Apparently a lot of people use the two together. The typical combination is the Slim, P96, some berries, and coconut milk. I generally have a protein shake in the morning for breakfast anyway (quick and easy - and I'm not a big breakfast eater) so this isn't a change for me. I read on the Slim package that you can do it twice a day, 30 minutes before a meal. I have a seven day trial that includes seven packets so I'll just be using it once a day. This may cause my results to be different than someone using it twice a day.  Anyway, so I'm currently out of my almond milk (not that much different than coconut milk, in my opinion) so I made mine with water.  I used the Vanilla shake, Slim has a berry flavoring to it, I added strawberries, and water.I felt that mine was a bit tart compared to my usual shakes (however I use chocolate powder, fruit, sometimes peanut butter, and almond milk). It actually reminded me of a cherry banana smoothie I tried at the race expo last week (only that was better).

Obviously Slim is to help with weight loss, and I've seen varying results as far as that's concerned. I have read a lot of information about how it helps the body in other ways, which people are really loving. I am, admittedly, a skeptic. I'm a firm believer in the proven fact that there is no magic pill. It is really about a lifestyle change. You have to eat healthy, drink water, and throw some exercise in the mix (although diet is the biggest part). Do that and you'll see results (unless you have a medical issue which you should address with your doctor). I'm not a believer in quick fixes or short cuts.  Like with anything, you have to put in the work to get the results.

I am also a little on the cheap side. I'm a former Shakeology drinker and quit because... It didn't seem to be the amazing miracle that others said it was. It also got clumpy if it sat too long which I didn't like because I'm a sipper. Anyway, I couldn't justify the price. Slim is pretty pricey for a month (in my opinion). But I am willing to go into this with an open mind and give it a chance to see if it will, at least, make me feel as awesome as people seem to be saying. I don't buy into anything without proof - proof that I find on my own. My mind isn't easily influenced by the power of persuasion. So, I'll try it and see what it does.

As far as weight, my friend said not to expect much within the time period. In fact she tells her customers not to weigh for the first month.  She mentioned something, and I'm sure this is information provided by the company, about fat converting to muscle.  According to things I've read on other sources, that just does not happen. You can burn fat. You can build muscle.  But one cannot become the other.  I have not read any of the information Plexus has put out about this (yet) so all I have to go on is what I've read from other sources which consistently say that fat does not convert to muscle.  This could be a matter of wording or interpretation (as in she may have meant something other than the way I read it). BUT, I didn't want to come off as being a rude know-it-all by questioning that, So, I will see what the company says about that.  Anyway, for whatever reason people tend to not see weight loss.  In many of the reviews I've read, people have actually gained weight. Side note: I found this to be the case with Shakeology (used as a meal replacement) and so did a couple of my friends who tried it.  For this reason I took both measurements and weight today and will check in a week to see if anything of note has occurred. I don't expect much in a week but if the company offers trials, I'd assume some form of change is seen or felt in that time. I hope that I continue to see a weight loss since I'm already working to do so. A gain would definitely not be welcome or desired right now. But I am willing to see how it makes me feel.

I only had one sample of the P26 shake and had that today.  I can say that it was good. Similar to other shakes.  The price point for the shake is pretty consistent with other shakes, even those you can buy at the drug store. I could see myself trying this more long-term to use as I use my current protein powder.

I will report back in a week to share any changes and my full, honest, informed review of Plexus Slim. I can say that, at this point, I may purchase the powder next time I am out of my current powder.

In other news, workouts are going good - all that muscle soreness is finally working it's way out of my body.  I expected that. I was pretty sore after my two longer runs during train (10 and 12 miles). I have a 5K this weekend and will most likely do either a 5K or 10K in a few weeks.  My next half is planned for September, however I may consider one in July. I feel like September is a long way away. That's good because it gives me time to train, but I also want to be sure I don't get too far off with consistency. Having a goal to work toward keeps me motivated.

That's that for now... Hope life finds you well!

XOXO




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gazelle Girl Half Marathon Race Report

I could wrap this up in a short sentence but that would not explain the overall experience. That sentence would be a run-on too, both good and bad.  So really, a sentence couldn't given an accurate picture.  It also would not capture the range of emotions I felt during the race and after. I guess I'll start with the race experience itself... Keep in mind I've done one other half and it was huge (Run Disney is the best ever, I swear!).

The expo for GG was good - there were some things to try - gluten free protein bars, wine, and cherry juice - made into a smoothie (and oh my gosh... a cherry juice and banana smoothie was the stuff!). Family and friends could create signs.  There were sales vendors there. And of course some vendors just advertising which was kinda boring (who like swag - at least give something free to listen to your speech). There were activities but we did not get there for those. The shopping was nice - there was a a  selection of merchandise from the sponsoring sports store, as well as special race apparel. Sizes and selection was limited for some of the merchandise (unless you were there right away) because things were picked up quickly. As a shopper, a larger shopping selection would have been nice. So, the expo was pretty nice - in a space that could get really crowded but we waited to go so it wasn't too bad. Picking up our Bibs and shirts was very easy.

Race day was pretty typical....I was up and ready early, with enough time to do some stretching and a little foam rolling, mix-up my pre-workout and eat a little something. I did however goof up and forgot to grab my cliff bar to eat on the way. So I had a banana and two scoops of C4 in my system pre-race...Not exactly a great idea. But I did my energy chews so thank goodness for that!

We arrived shortly before the race was to begin, which was perfect. There wasn't so much extra time that I could just sit around and think about how nervous I wanted was (which I felt on Saturday). Sunday I just kind of got up, got ready, and was like "okay I'm going for a run...a long run." The race started right on time and off we went. I started toward the back of the pack with the other slower runners, but ahead of the walkers and the sweeper lady. The morning was great - it wasn't too warm or too cold.  I was chilled before but knew it would be perfect running weather for a tank top. Some people started with long sleeves and pants.  I'm glad I decided to pick up a pair of capris the night before because I had packed some leggings/tights which would've made me hot....Hotter than I got later in the race which was roasting. Supe roasting. I'll get there.

I started off a little ahead of my normal pace but it still felt comfortable.  I hit the mile markers almost exactly at the time that I did throughout training.  I didn't take any walk breaks for the first four.something miles and then it was only for a moment to drink some water.  I got to mile six-ish, still feeling pretty good. I noticed I had slowed a little bit but only a matter of seconds so I wasn't worried.  I noticed it getting warmer before mile six but not too bad- still tolerable and running was comfortable.  Then after that mile six-ish point I realized that it was hot. Not just warm but the sun seemed to pop up out of no where, casting it's powerful rays on me, while the temperature seemed to drop about 10-15 degrees in a matter of minutes. Then we were on a trail through a field area, between the river and the expressway. It was then that I got really hot. And was thrilled that I decided to bring a water bottle (I typically just use hydration stations and didn't really use my belt during my first half...which was in Florida but since it was so early in the morning, it was much cooler). I finished my water and got a refill at the next aid station.  I drank that quickly and had my boyfriend grab me a bottle when I saw him at the next view point (I should mention we stayed with friends and us ladies did the race and the guys hung out and traveled around various areas to cheer us on) and I stopped to refill again. It must've been there that I was getting super hot because his friend asked if he thought I'd be able to keep up my pace. I must've looked as rough as I felt.

I had a bit of a rough time from mile seven to eight. I saw the guys again at some point and I think I looked so crappy that I avoided looking at them. My boyfriend told me later that I looked "pissed." Ha! I wasn't...I just started to feel gross. And the goosebumps came... Ohhh the goosebumps. Of course, I was getting hot and sunburned so I suppose my body wondered what the heck I was doing by throwing my temperature all out of whack. I also tend to get really hot while I'm burning.  I didn't bring sunscreen because.... The heat wave and sun were NOT expected (by anyone). I knew it would get hot, but I thought that it would be later in the day. So then around mile eight I felt better. I'd been walking a lot more by this point so maybe I rested enough, and we were in a park so there was a bit more shade (a lot of the course was in the sun). I got to mile ten, behind pace, but feeling pretty good.  At mile ten, I told a struggling runner, "now we just have a 5K - you've can do that!"  Funny that I could be so encouraging to others but was in and out of my own head with the negativity. Like on my last long training run (a 12 miler), life after mile ten was not fun. It was like a hit a wall. Hard. I also allowed myself to think of that training run and how hard it was after ten miles. I'm sure that didn't help. But I pushed on, slowing even more.  There was a cheer station where someone had ice. Ohhhh I loved those people. I grabbed a couple handfuls and tossed some down the front of my tank, some down the back, and a few cubes into my mouth.  that felt great and got me to mile 11 without too much difficulty (but also slower with a little more walking). At this point I was like "are you frigging kidding me?" But I pressed on. Mile 11 felt long.  Then I finally hit mile twelve and thought "I'm in the home stretch now!"  Honestly there were lots of words of encouragement to myself during those last three miles.  I passed some people around mile ten and thought "okay I need to stay ahead now" just to encourage myself.

I think I experienced running hell during mile 12. It was long. The longest mile ever. I was quite sure they added distance. And it was hot... SO hot. There wasn't much shade after mile ten and it was a hot and sunny.  I just kept going, following "the two girls in orange" (as I named them) to make sure I stayed near them.  My goosebumps were still there and I was hot but getting chills.  Around mile 12.5, I was nearing the last aid station and cheer station.  And uphead, was my friend taking a picture of me (I think). At first I thought "oh my gosh why is she taking a picture of this!?" Then I thought "I'm so glad to see her." I knew the end was near and I needed some encouragement. I walked a lot during mile 12; most of it, I would say.  She walked with me and tried to encourage me to run and catch the girls in orange. But I said "I...just...can't" and proceeded to whine about the hell I was experiencing. I saw that there was a hill ahead (yeah, who puts a hill at the end of a race!?? CRUEL!) and I think the hill itself was why I didn't want to run. I honestly think that I was thinking that I'd need all my energy just to walk up the damn thing. It looked like a mountain. Later I was kind of bummed that I didn't run when she encouraged me to earlier. She was so nice and I guess I felt (still feel) like I should've pushed a little. I mean, that's why she was there!  I did reach the top, mile 13. I ran the last .1 into the finish.

 I finished within the time limit for the race (although I later saw that they kept the finish open quite a bit longer). I was behind pace so it took me longer than I anticipated. My overall pace was just over two minutes slower than I trained at. So, that tells you how much walking I did at the end and how much I slowed (especially since I started ahead of pace). I had a few points during the race that I wanted to cry for various reasons. I am quite surprised I didn't collapse into a fit of tears when I saw my friend.  I've gone to races with friends and they've waited for me at the finish (obviously since we traveled together). This was the first time I had someone walk back part of the course to find, and wait for me, to finish with me - to get me to the end. I've seen this happen but I can't even begin to find the correct words to express how much emotion I actually felt and how thankful I am.

I was disappointed after. I still am. I am bummed that I was slower. Part of it was definitely the heat. A huge part. Probably the majority of it. I wasn't prepared for that. I also realized that my training runs on the torturemill were more broken up.  All those times it would stop on me added up. And those gave me breaks.  I didn't stop at all during the race. I may have walked slowly getting water or throwing away my trash but I didn't stop and stand like I did during those training runs where the torturemill acted up. In hindsight, that was probably a bigger factor than I thought of.

So today, two days post-race, I'm sitting here feeling a variety of emotions.  My goal was to finish within the time; to not take so long that I'd be moved to the sidewalk, swept, or finish last. None of those things occurred. I finished on the actual course. I wasn't swept nor was I last. I even passed, and finished ahead of a "skinny" girl who was walk/jogging like me. Finishing without death was basically my goal... But I did have a time goal in mind. I kept saying I was giving myself a cushion and would be okay finishing in that range, knew I wouldn't PR, and was okay with just a finish. But then the race came and started so, so wonderfully.  And went downhill so quickly. I guess it's normal to feel some disappointment of taking longer than I anticipated. I probably whined a lot after the race about everything, which I think was my way of trying to find some sort of validation that it was okay to have finished in the time it took me. I guess I needed others to pull me up. And I probably still do.  My boyfriend is great, giving me those "I couldn't do that" and "you finished though and that's what counts" comments along the way.  I've gotten the "I'm proud of you" from family and friends. But inside, I'm still down about it. I'm trying to be positive but when you have a goal in mind (even if it's not set in stone and you give yourself a cushion for "just in case") it stinks when you don't meet it.

The overall experience was wonderful! We had a great weekend with friends (and now I super wish my friend lived closer so I could hire her to be my running coach because she's been running forever and I now view her as a running guru). I can say that the race really did have more good points than bad.  It's very easy to get caught up in the negative but I just keep working to stay positive.  I know I'm not ready for a half next month, but keep thinking that with more training (outside!!) I can be ready for one this summer. As long as it's one of those early morning ones where I'll be done by nine or ten in the morning. I also have a lot of room for improvement before my next half.  So the negative can be easily refuted with positive things. Knowing that I will be able to improve before the next one is huge.  Knowing that I completed my second half marathon is an awesome feeling. Especially given that my weight is up from last time and when I last weighed this I hadn't even started running yet. So, that in itself is a bit of an accomplishment. And like my friend said during that last part of the race, "you're doing more than 98% of people" - and she's right. My family and friends have been amazing and supportive.  This was probably one of my better race experiences despite it being my slowest overall pace. No one has ever appeared at points on the course before - and this time I had my boyfriend and his friend there.  They watched me cross the finish line of a half (my parents were too busy talking to the people next to them and missed me at Disney...don't worry I won't soon let them forget that!). My friend came back, after running (and getting a PR by the way!!!) her race. She walked with me and even jogged (in flip flops!) with me toward the end. That's never happened for me.  People have shown so much encouragement, support, and congratulations... It may have been my second half but it feels just as good as when I finished my first. Probably because it was harder this time.

So, there's my race report!

XOXO


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring!

I think Spring has finally arrived! Yay! I'm ready to get outside and do some things. I hate the cold. I hate the ice and snow (or more falling on it; or the the idea of falling). We haven't had a lot of that lately but the cold...Ohhhh the cold.  I get so completely chilled to the bone that I have trouble getting warm.  I cannot stand being cold.  Anyway, so I have not wanted to do much exercise (running) outside because it's cold. I'm so over the cold.  It needs to go away, like yesterday. I'm getting tired of the treadmill.  Good news! We are expecting a warm up this week - and it looks like it should last this time.  Or at least for the next couple weeks.... Let's hope it does not snow anymore.  

Anyway, so other than being ready to run outside, things are going well! I have a half marathon coming up in a few days (Sunday) and feel pretty good about it.  I'm a little nervous because my training has been on the treadmill (which likes to stop randomly; I'm sure I've mentioned that before). So I have these random short breaks where I just stand there because the treadmill is being a jerk... Otherwise the training has been going well.  I'm glad I deferred my February race because I definitely was not ready. My runs were a lot harder back in November and December, at a slower pace. I remember doing either eight and-a-half or nine miles and it was....Horrible.  I did that a few weeks ago and it definitely was not as bad.  My longest training run has been 12.5 miles and because of the treadmill it took way longer than it should have. I didn't take any huge breaks so I don't think it will have a huge impact on my training.  

Last weekend I was going for 10 but I was so sick of the treadmill (and it was another snow and ice morning day), I just could not stay on that long. I felt this weird anxiety... Not the kind of anxiety you feel in your stomach when you're worried.  This was a "I'm going to crawl out of my skin" type of feeling. And I felt it in my back.  Weird.  I think I managed five before I threw in the towel and called it good.  The last time I did ten miles, it felt good. The day I did 12.5; not as much but not too awful...And 12.5 is almost 13.1 so I think I'll survive. I'm not going for a PR or anything... At this point, just finishing will make me a happy runner.

I'm feeling pretty good about the race - and confident that I will be able to finish without too many problems... Or death.  I've tested shoes, clothes, nutrition. I've run long distances. I've worked on walk breaks.  I've been drinking more water than on past runs which means I've had some potty breaks.  Even with quick trips built in, I should be fine with the time limit.  I always stress about that pre-race.  Then I run and it relaxes me and I just go with it and enjoy it. I suppose it being my first half in a little over three years, it's common to worry about everything. 

In other news, I have focused on weight loss a bit more. It was weird. I noticed an 11 pound drop when I started.  When I weighed-in the next time I had gained about half back.  So I worked harder and lost that again after a couple weeks. Thank goodness.  And I've continued to lose. My goal for approximately two months (a bit ambitious) was to lose 20 lbs (by race day).  Today I am at 15 pounds lost, I'm happy with that. I'm confident I'll be down another pound or two by race day... Not quite 20 but close enough to make me happy.  As I said, 20 was ambitious but it gave me something to work toward.  It feels really good to be back on the losing track again!! 

I've been exercising, of course, and really worked to clean up my diet.  Last week and this week I'm trying to go as clean as possible because the race is coming up. It's more to make sure I'm full of the right foods so that I'm properly nourished (and hydrated) for Sunday.  I've upped my proteins, fruits, and veggies a lot; no snacks, no alcohol (not that I am a big drinker - waste of calories!). 

I suppose that's that. Things have been hectic  lately - work and training! I will for sure be back next week with a race report (if not before).

XOXO

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

That Strange Thing That Happened.

Yesterday was a bit of a crazy day so my workouts were all over the place. I got them done; just had to break them up into three different times. So, I got an hour of legs done in the morning. Legs were torture yesterday.  I added weight and, dang, was it harder than I thought. Who knew what a difference five more pounds could make.  I may have added it too soon... Thinking back I'm not sure what I thought about my form throughout the sets. The first few were okay but I probably should have taken a few pounds off later. I don't know - it's always hard to tell; is it my brain saying "ugh this is too hard" or is it actually more difficult than it should be....Which is correct? Today my legs don't feel as sore as they did last week, so I'm guessing it was more my brain than anything yesterday. So that was done before work.

I had a longer lunch but it was my Papa's 89th Birthday yesterday so I planned to spend some time there. I went home and ran a quick two miles and walked for the remainder of the time to cool down, showered for the second time, and then went to see my grandparents. It was not a scheduled running day, but I just felt like running... I ended up doing some speed work intervals, so that was nice. Anyway, after lunch, it was back to work until eight (Tuesdays is my group night).

I got home just after eight and watched the second half of the Kentucky (basketball) game.  I knew I wanted to get that other 30 minutes of cardio done, so I sacrificed part of the next game (Michigan State) to do Combat 30.

A strange thing happened during combat.

It was easy. Like way easier than last time I did it. I had a hard time getting my heart rate to go up. Even with all the jumping and punching, it didn't go higher than 140.... And that was when I was really pushing the jump kicks just to get my heart rate up.  Mostly it stayed in the 130s.  I was able to work up a sweat with all the jumping around but as far as my heart rate; definitely not as high as during other things.  BUT it was a nice way to end the active part of my evening. I really enjoy  combat but now I'm starting to think that it should be come an extra... Maybe an active rest day activity.  Or maybe I'll just keep tossing it in whenever I decide it would be fun to do.  I guess we'll see.

I'm not sure if it's the weights; the weight loss; the fact that I've been doing harder cardio... OR WHAT, but Combat just felt so much easier and less intense than it had for a while. Strange. Good strange, but strange. Since it was nine in the evening, I didn't take pre-workout. I was actually super tired so it doesn't seem that it should've felt so easy. I guess, for me, it seems like when I'm tired, everything is about ten times harder.  My brain must have just been ready, despite being sleepy. I really like that it wasn't as intense because it didn't keep me up. If I do intense cardio too late at night, I am wired about have trouble sleeping.  I was worried about that before I started but really wanted to get that other 30 minutes in.

I have managed to stay off the scale, despite the fact that I keep wanting to jump on just because I'm curious. I'm working really hard to stay away from it. I have a tendency to get obsessive about loss. If I am on that thing too often, then I'll worry too much. For example, say as of today I haven't lost any weight since Friday. My brain would go "but you were consistently losing, so what's the problem?" Then I'll worry about what I ate over the weekend and if I've flushed away enough sodium, and on and on... Sometimes I push harder to workout more.  It just gets to be too consuming. So I'm really trying to limit it to once a week, on Friday mornings since that's when I started tracking it again. It just really starts to mess with my head... As does the full length mirror. I start to look, almost obsessively, for the changes in my body - even though I know that changes are not seen (especially by oneself) that quickly. It. Takes. A. While.  I'm doing weekly progress pictures just to keep track, but I have to keep hiding the mirror from myself. I had it out last week and then realized, "nope, I can't do this." It triggers me to look at my body and think negative things. So, that's enough of that nonsense. It's only allowed out on Fridays. I keep forgetting to do measurements which are really important, so I'm going to try to remember to start that on Friday as well. I'm bummed that I've forgotten to do that (although that day I went to the doc, I was sick, and measuring wasn't even a consideration). But, that's okay... I'll start here and continue to watch the changes.  I used to measure weekly, which seems to often to me.  I used to do them every couple weeks, or monthly, to monitor progress.  I guess I'll see what I feel most comfortable with when I start.

So that's the update for now... I'm actually quite proud of myself for taking a few minutes here and there to blog again. It's SO much easier to do when I am focused on my fitness and health and weight loss.... When I feel like I'm not giving it my all, or trying, it's a lot harder to write. But when I'm doing good things or have progress to share, it's much easier. This keeps me motivated and helps to keep me on track.  So, I really need to stick with it, even when things are difficult.

Hope your week is going well!!

XOXO

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week Two Wrap-Up

Week two went super well!!! I think I mentioned in another post that my lifting is improving.  I can lift heavier and I feel like it's transitioning to other areas of working out. I consistently upped my weight throughout the second week and today, the start of the third week, I upped it again.  However, some of the moves I may have gone too heavy because I'm questioning my form. We'll see though later this week.

 I feel that my running is improving again (yay!!!) and I have more energy in my other workouts (generally Turbofire right now).  I mentioned I lost some weight (11.2 pounds).  I am really trying NOT to get on the scale until Friday, as that's the day I went to the doctor. I was very tempted to peek but decided that would not be a good idea, especially considering I must have a ton of sodium running through my body from eating out this weekend.  Which, by the way, I'm really starting to not enjoy again.  I work my butt off lifting and running and whatever else. I torch some major calories. Do you know how bad a restaurant meal is in terms of calories? And, seriously, even those "light meals" at restaurants are not always so light.  My friends and I went out for Mexican on Saturday... Between margaritas and food, it wasn't pretty.  I thought to myself, "I just ingested what I burned." Luckily (?) I was so busy I hadn't eaten much (pre-workout, workout fuel, and a protein shake) so I had a lot of calories to work with. I just don't want to eat back what I burn... It makes me all stressy. And despite the good it does for my body, I feel like all that work is wasted by eating crappy restaurant food.

Hmm...This may be the part where I withdraw even more.  Actually, no. It won't be.  I only get together with this group every couple months so a splurge is okay now and then. I just have to continue to avoid take-out. I feel like my family has gone out a lot lately though because of celebrating various things. It feels like we've met for dinner weekly lately but I'm sure it's not been that bad... I think it's just because we went out two weeks in a row. I think... Something like that. I'd have to look back. BUT the point is that I really need to keep up with the healthy foods. And hopefully next time I go out with friends it won't be the day after going out with family.  I've been downing the water like crazy because I can FEEL the sodium. I know it'll be gone in a day or so, but I really don't like it. I work too hard for this nonsense.

So my two week weight loss was crazy. I don't expect it to continue to be that quick, although it sure would be awesome.  I did not expect to lose 11 pounds in two weeks. I thought that would be more like a monthly thing. I'm sure it was the change in routine that caused such a large loss so fast.  This is not typical. It will not always happen this quickly. However, I'm going to continue to work hard so that loss happens, as I need to continue to lose for quite a while.

After week two I am feeling stronger and still loving my workouts. I haven't gotten bored or felt like "oh I don't want to do this." Not once.  I feel like the old me again... Workouts are not a drag (this wasn't often that they were anyway but some days...). Workouts are one of the best parts of my day. I look forward to them. I'm even getting out of bed earlier for them - even on nights I haven't slept well!! Yes, friends, I am feeling like I am back to where I need to be. Such a huge part of this journey is mental and I am definitely in a good place as far as working out and eating well.

I have to add that I think my pre-workout is helping me to feel more energized during my workouts. I didn't really know that I noticed a difference before but lately I am.  I also am using it more consistently. I take my pre-workout drink about half an hour before I start. I also fuel after weights, before cardio (if it's all done at once) with some energy chews.  I am sure to drink a bottle (22 oz) of water during weights. I also try to drink that during cardio. If it's a longer run day, I'll aim for one half way through and refill.  I think that really paying attention to my hydration is helping as well.  I have protein shakes after workouts which is ending up to be pretty much breakfast since I've been trying to get them done early.

Today was a little bit of an odd day. I did my weights and 30 min of Turbofire this morning. I have a three and-a-half mile run on the schedule for today but at lunch only had time for just over two (had to do that, eat, and shower again before going back to work).  I'm happy to have been able to squeeze that in. Tomorrow will be similar to today - weights an probably a quick turbofire (30 min) in the morning. I'm not sure if I'll get to another cardio or not. It's the night I do group for work. And it's my Grandpa's birthday so I'm going to visit my Grandparents for lunch rather than going home.  I'm not quite sure where I'll fit in more cardio, unless I do it after I get home tomorrow night... Which would be around 8:00. If I'm being realistic, I don't see that happening. I'll have time to do both my weights and miles and the cardio the rest of the week, so I'm not too concerned. AND, I've gotten something done so it's not like I'm totally slacking or something... I would like more but I'm also a realist. Tomorrow will be okay...I keep telling myself that.

So that's the update for now... I'm taking progress pictures but keeping those to myself right now.  I don't really want to plaster too much of myself around the internet. And let's face it progress pictures are generally with lots of skin exposed. I just don't think that's so appropriate. Or what I want anyone to see right now.

Hope you had a fantastic weekend!!!! Make it a great week!!

XOXO