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...


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!


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!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016


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).