Thursday, December 22, 2011

Race Recap: My 1st 10K

I'm going to write this race recap differently than others. Before today, my last blog post was mid-November. I was uninspired to write anything for a while. Tonight, I just feel like writing for some reason. My first 10K was this past weekend on 12/17/2011...

Race: Peachtree Corners Christmas 10K (6.2 miles)

Goal: To finish under 60 minutes

Route: Hillier than NECESSARY!! Matter of fact there was a hill at the last .2 miles. Good thing I hill train, but dang, WHY?! I didn't stop, but maybe if I did, I would've improved on my time. Or maybe if I did, I would've been unmotivated to get back in the groove of my pace. The route was out and back through a neighborhood. Boring. Nothing visually pleasing to look at. Some neighbors cheered from their driveways, but that's it. Oh, and the roads weren't closed to traffic. Hmph. So yeah, I don't know if I will do this race again, especially because it was 45 minutes from my home. I did it because I loved the support of my running group with the fact of this being my first 10K.

The iffy Results: I'm going with my Nike+ app, even though I started it maybe 10 feet too early. My Nike+ time was 1:00:52. My clock time, or a.k.a., the time I heard the announcer yell out as I crossed was 59:something. The printed results had me finishing at 1:00:53. Needless to say, we had timing devices and the results were still messed up. I know I finished this race at 59 something, meeting my goal, but it would've been nice to have precise results. This was my first 10K...but whatever.

What does the future hold? Well, I still have my first half marathon to prepare for. I may participate in an MLK 5K, but that's about it. Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans half marathon, here I'se a come!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thankful. Very Thankful.

This morning caused me to reflect, as I randomly do, on the things I am most grateful for. I participated in my first run with the organization called Back on My Feet (BoMF). It's a running group for those (mostly men, now) living in shelters or transitional homes that assists its members rebuild their lives (via financial assistance and confidence) through running. I had gone to orientation so I knew what to expect as far as the "type" of people I would be running with, and frankly, I grew up in this city, so it's not like I was uncomfortable about it. But, it was a truly humbling experience to pull up in front of the shelter at 5:30 in the morning and see all the people on the inside together, including children. My God, I have so much to be thankful for and so much that I shouldn't even begin to complain about. 

I had driven by this place on many evenings on the way home from work, but it was my first up close and personal experience. When I got out to ask the security guy a question, I overheard a woman on her phone upset with someone saying, "how would you like it if you had to stay in a group home!". Truly humbled by this experience. I am so much more thankful than I was even yesterday.

Well, I finally found where the BoMF peeps were meeting and greeted them all with hugs (which is customary). It makes them feel good and sometimes that's the only hug or love they'll feel or have felt for a while. Heck, the hugs help everyone out. I wasn't weirded out, especially after the initial experience. I remember thinking a hug is the least I could give them. I don't know how each of them ended up in their situations, but I do know that we all make mistakes so it doesn't matter how. It matters how you plan to get out of it.   

Meanwhile, I hoped there'd be someone who ran my pace (about a 9:30 - 10:00 mile, depending on the day) or who was at least willing to. After hearing about their goals and race results from last weekend's Peachtree Corners 5k and 10k, I knew most were all extremely faster than I. There was a guy who seemed to be around my age range who I ended up running with. We talked the whole 2.27 miles. I can tell he's a good person from not knowing too much personal information about him. Hopefully I inspired him as well. I was proud to hear that he said he stopped smoking after running for 2 weeks. And he high-fived me on my weight loss accomplishment. 

This was a good morning. I just really wanted to write this to say, Thank You, God.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I've been a mad shopping fool this month!

I'm pretty sure the hubs has been like, "wth else do you need woman!", a few times this month. heehee. Well, my running "addiction" has "required" me to purchase many items this month and last month. Hey, I still consider myself a newbie runner and I plan on a few of these purchases lasting a while. He's gotta keep in mind, it's like that when you're going from none to some. That's my answer and I'm sticking to it. 

That being said, yes, I started my running journey in February of this year wearing these...
 (um, walking shoes, I believe) and my regular cotton t-shirts and windbreaker pants to run in.  

I eventually learned that "cotton is rotten" and also that I needed actual running shoes and went out and bought these...
(with the help of the Sports Authority salesman, who at least sounded like he knew what he was talking about). Fast forward to now. I'm way more knowledgeable and knew that I should have been fitted, so now I have these... 
Due to the season change, Kohl's, and Old Navy's awesome sales in October, I stocked up on these...
all definitely not pictured.
Also, in my random trips to the store, I picked up this
foam roller
coconut water
and this
reflective vest
to try. The moral of the story is that it looks like I need to hurry up and find a J-O-B, seriously! I still think running is cheaper than a gym membership. I never wanted to join one before and the only reason I kind of do now is for the classes. For now, I'll stick to running (yep, even through the colder months) and my workout DVDs (i.e. Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred, Insanity, and random Netflix finds).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Race Recap(s): Moonlight Run 5K & Atl Marathon Relay

I have had one eventful month of running in October! It all started with me finally achieving my goal of completing a 5k in under 30 minutes in the Firefly Run Atl 5k! Next, being proud of the increasing amount of women who come out and join my running group's weekly runs of which I volunteer and lead weekly. It feels so good that while you're accomplishing your goals, you're also inspiring others whether they say it out loud or not. Next, was another night 5k I completed, with a little soreness in my knee, but I PR'd once again with a time of 28:46. I just couldn't believe it! And then, the achievement that almost, but not really trumps them all, yet it's what all of my other accomplishments have led up to... I'm talking about my participation in an actual marathon-related ANYTHING yesterday!

Waiting for the 7am race start in 30something degree weather!
Just yesterday, I completed, along with my four member team, a marathon relay. There were four legs of the race. The first leg ran 5.5 miles, second leg ran 8.4 miles, third leg ran 5.1 miles, and I (the fourth leg) ran 7.2 miles! This was a HUGE thing for me. I'm tearing up just thinking about everything I've done to change my life physically and emotionally and how it all seemed to lead up to yesterday's race.
Definitely felt the need to order this in time for the race
Where do I start? Well, first of all, I had no intentions on running in this race. I had actually signed up to be a Mile 20 volunteer just so that I could at least SEE what it's like to run a marathon (this may be a 2013 goal of mine). But, per the vision of my running mentee, who had the idea of putting together a team of women who are all pretty new to distance running, we were formed...actually about a month before the race. We were all pretty nervous, but had already been working on increasing our mileage, so we knew it could be done. We quickly just thought of a team name and went out and practiced the route.

I practiced my mucho hilly 7.2 miles (which ended up more than 7.2 in actuality), twice. The first time I practiced, that was my first time running 6 miles, let alone the 8 it ended up being because we got the route a little wrong. I realize that's not an excellent way to increase your distance and that I should of increased my mileage slower than that, I think. (I now realize that may be the culprit of my knee soreness). That first practice of the route was excellent, I killed ALL of the hills (GA is very hilly), kept a consistent 9:30 to 10:00 pace throughout, and never had to stop. The second week, I experienced a little knee soreness, still didn't feel the need to stop, felt good after mile 3 anyway. So I thought everything should be great on race day. I thought I'd just eat a little cleaner, keep up my upper body and core exercises throughout the week, and everything should be smooth sailing on race day.

So, race day. I was anxious, of course and ready to get it over with. Adrenaline was definitely pumping. My knee didn't hurt at all, I didn't have any bowels trying to escape, thank God! Everything was actually smooth sailing. The route was a little different from what I practiced in the beginning, because there was an extra hill that um, I wasn't prepared for in the beginning. Nevertheless, I made it to the top and through to mile 5 and THAT'S where the (excuse my french) SH*T started to hit the fan! The last two miles or so of that freakin' race (reminding you, I've practiced this part) was BRUTAL! I mean, I struggled. I stopped and walked a couple times. I was so mad at myself for stopping and walking on race day when I didn't feel the need to stop the TWO times I had done the route the before. I knew my team was waiting on me at the end, and at some points I could care less even about that. There was a lot of self talk involved, a lot of switching songs on my playlist, and encouragement from my fellow running group member who had been using me as a pacer the whole time (little did I know) that somehow got me near the end. Speaking of switching playlist. I'm scrapping the entire thing and starting ANEW!

Once I finally reached the near end, and probably had the look of "F this ISH!" and "why the HELL am I doing this ISH again?" look all over my face, there was my relay team waiting for me. Once I saw them, I got this sudden boost of energy in my legs and sprinted with them towards the finish line. Our team goal was to finish the marathon in 4:30 minutes. Our clock time said 4:32 minutes.
My goodness! What a wonderful feeling to be a FINISHER!
I had a good overall pace, even with the stops during the end (my split for mile 7 was like 11:something, and the rest were 9's and 10's). I felt no pain, like I said. I was just TIRED towards the end. I don't know what I needed to get me through. I hadn't trained with carrying water or whatever. I always made sure I had proper nutrition and hydration prior to the event. Because this was only 7 miles. Or so I thought. I definitely don't know about participating in the Thanksgiving Half Marathon now. Not because I don't think I can do it, but because I may need to give my body a rest. I may just focus on doing my first 10k race in November or December instead, I don't know. Overall, I am pretty proud of my team. At least we finished. Now, to get our correct official time.

Nike dri-fit shirt, Yeah! I love race goodies!

This from the shy girl who never liked to sweat and hated P.E.

Cajun Red Beans & Rice

It just dawned on me that I did not count the calories for this meal. I haven't counted calories in about 3 weeks now. Partly due to laziness and the other part is that I've wanted to wean myself off of counting calories so much. I just can't see myself doing it everyday anymore. I've talked about how I don't want to do it forever anyway. Now, I have been monitoring my weight, and it's only fluctuated maybe 3-5lbs. I'm definitely not worried about that. Now, an additional 10lbs, yeah. I've been maintaining my running schedule and cross training workouts in the mix pretty consistently, so I have nothing to worry about. I've also had a major race and a PR (personal record) I wanted to finish with specific goals, so that kept me on track by itself. That will be a separate post. For now, here's a new recipe I had been meaning to try.

I found this recipe, which was originally a vegan recipe from someone's blog I read. This is like the umpteenth time I've found a recipe and then forgot to note whose blog I've found it from to give them proper credit. Anyhoo, it was my every intention on trying the vegan version, but (and I hate that I used this as an excuse to) my local grocery didn't have it AND the closest full-blown organic grocery store is forever away from my house. I would need to already be in the area to go there. I'll probably make a trip soon.

The recipe is somewhat clean, minus the beef sausage and Worcestershire sauce I used in place of the vegan versions.

(for 4 servings--I clearly made a huge pot, which was way than more than 4 servings): 
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, chopped
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 green bell pepper
-1 1/2 cups cooked red beans
-1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
-4 oz vegan sausage
-2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
-1 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp liquid smoke
-hot sauce
lots of onions, bell pepper, beef sausage, and garlic

sauteed (can I use that word, I'm no real cook? lol) using olive oil 

I had never cooked red beans before. I didn't know it was so much of a process. Also, the taste was actually kind of bland at first. My suggestion is to season it to your liking. I just added more sea salt and hot sauce to my portion. I still think this is a good go to comfort meal for the colder months that's still a healthier option. =)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You've set your goals, now how will you stick with them?

I'm the type of person that needs structure.  I need a plan in order to reach my goals.  Mental plans, written out plans, whatever...they all work for me. Most people I know join gyms to help motivate them to continue with their workout plans because they are a) paying for this b) are surrounded by like-minded folk and c) it's what the cool people do when you want to lose weight. 

A little known fact (well, for people who actually know me in real life) is that I've never wanted to join a gym or have felt completely comfortable the times I've gone. I would always stay the bare minimum and do the same thing each visit for fear of looking like a rookie. The gym can be an intimidating place for a newbie.

So, how did I stick with my plan to lose the weight? Well, because I am a person who needs structure and also a self-motivated person, I was completely fine with following workout DVDs from home, following the C25k running program, and other genius iPhone fitness apps (i.e. Nike Training)  I've discovered along the way. Now, I did go to the gym to use the elliptical machine and occasionally lift weights, and matter of fact that was where majority of my cardio would come from. My apartment complex has a very small gym barely used by the residents, so most times I'd have it all to myself.
Most people need workout buddies, and maybe it's my personality, but I don't. I wanted to lose weight so bad I could taste it. Well, maybe not taste it, but I sure could see what I wanted to look like anyway. I constantly visualized myself the way I wanted to look (& still do). Those mental pictures kept me going on days I wanted to stop. I set short term goals to reward and encourage myself along the way. My long term goals began to seem more easily attainable once I knew I could meet those short-term goals.  I never deprived myself of foods or even activities I knew I would enjoy because I wanted to lose weight. I remained focus, but you HAVE to learn how to get "along" with foods that ARE going to be around regardless. Fact is, everyone else is not on the same journey as you are and regardless to whether or not you want to completely give up sugar, for example, you need to learn how to be around it without having a mental breakdown and causing a setback.
Once something has become routine, it's hard to stop. Decide what works for you and dedicate yourself. Remember that it didn't take over night for you to become "that" way, so it's not going to take overnight to "fix" it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Race Recap: Firefly Run ATL

I'm super late with this post...
The FireFly Run Atlanta was my first night 5k (10/1/11) and it was so much fun! At first I was going to use this as a "fun run", but with a $35 registration cost, I quickly recanted that thought.  I decided this was going to be the perfect race for me to earn a new personal best in the 5k.  Not only had I done the route several times with my running group (before they made the route public), I loved that it was at night and we'd have glow-in-the-dark gadgets, etc.  I love, love, love running in cooler temps.  Matter of fact, that's how I started out.

The most exciting news is that I PR'ed! Yep, I'm finally apart of the sub-30 club, finishing at 29:10.  I had a goal of finishing sub-29, so that 10 seconds is kind of annoying.  I'm blaming that on the hill at the very end though.

In other news, I'm back down to 140lbs (my original -60lb weight goal and what I now consider my "race weight") I have two more races this month. One is another night race I'm doing for the camaraderie and in support of another up and coming runner.  At the end of the month I'm doing a major race (at least for me), the Atlanta Marathon Relay. I'm very excited to be apart of a relay team, and not until last week did I think being apart of a marathon (besides volunteering) would be occurring so soon.  But more details on that in a later post.  

Here's a few pictures from my night race...(I vow to get better with remembering to take pics in the first place lol)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Race Week To Do's

It looks like I may have to halt my Nike 10k training for this week.  I have a 5k race on Saturday evening (my first night race) and I really, really want to PR. I'm going for sub-29.  My 10k training program scheduled me to do 5, 2, 4, and 6 mile runs this week.  Instead here's how this week will go for me:

Sunday - rest
Monday - 5 mile easy run
Tuesday - Insanity's Cardio Abs
Wednesday - 4 mile run
Thursday - 2 mile run, Insanity's resistance (or Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred)
Friday - rest
Saturday - *Race Day* - Firefly 5k (3.1) Run

I've tweeted about going to track workouts one day a week to work on my speed to improve my 5k time.  That has shaved seconds off of my time, but I think the type of speed training that has really worked better for me is Fartlek training.  Fartlek training is just casual speed work where you run fast and then at your normal pace for intervals.  I've been very consistent with running each week, but what I hadn't done was push myself out of my comfort zone. Why did it take so long? Because it is uncomfortable!  But, you can't expect different results by doing the same thing.  So far by doing this I've been able to conquer hills like no other and last week I ran at 9 minute and some second mile paces consistently.  No, 9, 10, 11 minute miles...all 9's.  I think I have a pretty good chance of at least beating my last time and finishing at sub-30 if not sub 29 anyways.  Wish me luck :)

I'll be trying to eat as clean as possible, significantly increase my water intake (I've been slacking), and get at least 8 hrs of sleep at least the 2 days before the race.

My last run before this morning's 5 mile easy run was another 5 miler on Saturday.  Although I rested on Sunday, I think me running that 5 miles on Saturday was the reason I felt a little something in my shins and below my knee.  I haven't felt pain in either places in a while.  I've read that's one of the signs you'll encounter when increasing your mileage.  Or maybe I shouldn't have run two long runs so close together?  After the second mile, my legs started to feel fine which led me to believe all I needed was a proper warm-up.  Through trial and error, I will eventually figure it out without injuring myself too badly.  I made sure not to forget to stretch and iced all areas I felt a little pain in afterwards.

How do you prepare the week of a race?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Somebody Stop ME!

In the words of Jim Carrey in The Mask, "Somebody stop me!" (lol). Yes, I realize that was a bit corny, but that movie line sort of sums up this past weekend for me.  My last post about me wearing a swimsuit with confidence now seems like the beginning of something totally new I started.

Hold up, I'm not that advanced!
My weekend started on Friday evening in a pole dancing class with a friend. Yes, pole dancing.  It's not just for strippers anymore.  Hopefully you've heard by now anyway that a lot of women take pole classes for several different reasons.  It doesn't mean you are, dare I say, a "freakazoid", if you take one.  My first time taking a pole class was 2 years ago.  Well, 2 years ago I was busted and disgusted.  I had fun, but I did NOT feel confident nor sexy.  Good thing I have no problem laughing at myself, so I'm pretty sure that's how I got through that whole embarrassing ordeal.  Now that I am in a totally different place mentally and physically in my life, I could tell a major difference from 2 years ago to last Friday night.  

The class was pretty cool.  I was glad to be among other beginners and even those with little rhythm such as myself. And it didn't hurt that I was smaller than the first time I started.  The main benefits I've experienced from pole dancing are that I feel a little sexier and it provides a great arm workout depending on the moves the instructor has you doing.  The stretches in the beginning felt SO good for my running legs and hip area.  I liked it so much my friend and I are going to sign up for more classes.


On Saturday, my running group celebrated a major milestone.  The day started out with a 5 mile group run, which you can read about here.  We reached over 2000 members so we had a social to celebrate.  I normally don't do clubs, but this was an event I didn't want to miss.  I'm so glad I didn't and I am excited to be apart of 'the movement'.  It was nice to relish in all of our hard work.  We all looked so great dressed up!  

After the social, I headed to a family members birthday celebration at a nearby restaurant and lounge (I tell ya, Tiff's just been a role lately lol).  But, my point is, I am so proud of myself and the goals I've accomplished. These are things I would've normally automatically shied away from and not given a second thought. (Shirt off the shoulder 2 years ago? Not me!) I did not feel one ounce of insecurity because of the way I looked.  I know I'm not perfect and I haven't even reached all of my goals yet, but weekends like this reassure me of why I do what I do every day.  Once you set your goals and are doing something to accomplish them for at least 2 weeks (IMO), I think it has already become habit.  Make healthy living and an active lifestyle continue to work for you and it'll start to feel like second nature.  I canNOT go back to the way I was!

With that being said, my goals for the week are to continue 10k training (I haven't registered for one yet and I've also begun to consider a half marathon on Thanksgiving) with the following:

Sunday - rest
Monday - speed work (track workout), Insanity
Tuesday - 4 mi run
Wednesday - 2 mi run, weights (upper body)
Thursday - 4 mi on hilly route
Friday - rest
Saturday - 5 mi

What has made you feel like your hard work is paying off?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

#OperationBikini - Check!

Ya just don't know how often I visualized myself at the point I am in my life right now.  While either trying not to watch the timer on the elliptical, psyching myself up to finish the entire workout DVD, or reciting whatever personal mantra came to mind while attempting to run uphill; All of that was for a weekend like the one I just had at the beach.

I tend to renew my goals in October the past 2 years for some reason.  Well, last year I made the goal that since most of my weight had shed, my next goal would be to get into that bikini and wear it proudly.  As my tweet states, I didn't want to wear the bikini JUST for vanity reasons (although that is a pretty huge reason), but having the confidence of wearing that bikini and just letting lose and having fun on the beach was priceless.  I'm not done with "sculpting" my body yet (or ridding entirely of the pudge), but this weekend made all the hard work over the past 2 years on my weight loss journey worth it.  This weekend has definitely inspired me even more to continue onward with my goals.  This time next year, maybe I'll visit a nude beach. ONLY KIDDING.  Here's a few pictures I deemed Internet-safe :)


There's a first time in life for everything :)

Panama City Beach, FL - It was nice w/o the "Spring Break crowd" lol

With that being said, my goals for this week are to take full advantage of this perfect Fall running weather and continue trying to increase my mileage.  Sunday is usually my rest day so I didn't do anything today. I'll do a speed work out tomorrow, followed by Insanity (maybe).  Tuesday-4 miles. Wednesday-2 mile run and weights. Thursday-4 mile run. Friday-Insanity. Saturday-5 mile run.

I'm encouraging you to stick with your goals. You won't regret!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Own Green "Monster" and Vegetarian Meal of the Week (VMOW)

After seeing so many other bloggers post on their versions of green smoothies, naturally I wanted to try one.  It kind of happened by accident, just because I was out frozen strawberries to make my usual strawberry banana smoothie.  I never saw a recipe that I actually wanted to copy, so I ended up creating my own little version.
Sorry for the poor presentation, but the color was really pretty

2 cups of fresh spinach
1 cup of frozen banana slices
1 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1 serving 329 calories

This was so good after my elliptical workout.  I hadn't been to the gym since February.  The change was really nice.
Meanwhile, with me NOT having to cook and thoroughly enjoying THAT fact this weekend, a vegetarian meal was in order.  I decided to have spinach salad (out of whatever I had that was salad ready in my fridge) and roasted new potatoes.  I know I saw this meal on someone else's blog.  It wasn't the exact recipe, but just the idea of this combo I took.  Anyhoo, I forgot to jot it down.  It was simple, just the way I like it all.  
olive oil, sea salt, chili powder, paprika
Will make enough for about 3-4 people

I baked these at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes (or until tender)

About 312 calories
For the spinach salad, I just added part-skim mozzarella cheese and a little Italian dressing.
Follow-up from the Truth Dot Com post last week.  After facing the fact that I had gained some of my "last 10lbs" back from meeting my weight loss goal in April/May of this year, I started back paying closer attention to my food calories.  I was already doing great with my workouts, I was kinda, sorta pigging out elsewhere.  Since then, which was maybe a week and a half ago, I've lost 3 of those 7 lbs so far.  I hope I don't sound anal.  I'm not, I'm just a bit of a perfectionist, Type A if you will.

This week's workout will continue to be about adapting to increased mileage.  I'm going to run at least 3 miles Monday and Wednesday of this week.  On Friday I will run 5 miles (perfect before heading out of town).  If I feel the urge to run other days, which I probably will because the other days are my usual group run days (it's too fun to pass up), I will just take it light and easy.  I am definitely trying to keep up the momentum this week because guess what? I'm BEACH BOUND Friday afternoon! Woot Woot! And I'm wearing that bikini!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Future Speed Demon!

I'm really trying to finish my next 5K in less than 30 minutes and not 31 and some seconds.  This is my first year ever running, like for real running, and I'm really getting in to this for the long run (no pun intended).  I just started running to lose the tummy (still not gone), but it's so many other benefits I've noticed.  I'll save that for a different post though.  

Yesterday I completed my first speed training. It consisted of a 1-mile warm-up or 10 minutes, whichever came first.  I finished in 10 minutes and a few seconds.  Two 400 meter sprints at race pace, two 200 meter sprints at 90%, and two 100 meter sprints at 100%.  Hopefully I have the lingo correct, but this was my very first time doing something like this.  The entire workout lasted almost an hour including stretching and water breaks.  It was a nice change, this morning I could feel it in my abs.

Fast forward today, my first distance run for this week, I ran 3.22 miles.  I'm not sure how quick you're supposed to tell a difference in your pace after speed training, but judging by my time tonight it was immediate.  I literally shaved a minute off of what my pace has been for the past few weeks!  One thing I think did differently today that may or may not have made a difference, but I had complex carbs (whole wheat spaghetti) a couple of hours before running.  I guess that really increased my energy level.

I don't want to be too hard on myself, but I can't decide whether or not I want to increase my speed or endurance first.  Can't you do both at the same time?  I ran 5 miles the other day, so I know 6 shouldn't be that hard.  My next 5K isn't until October, but I have a feeling I should do fine since I'm getting used to enduring longer runs.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Truth Dot Com

The truth shall set you free right?  Well, I met my 60lb weight loss goal back in April.  Since then, I've gained 7-9 lbs (I fluctuate).  7+ lbs is a lot to a calorie counter.  I thought I would do well on my new increased calorie budget, which was around 1900 a day.  I took full advantage of it too.  I lost the last 10lbs by reducing my meat intake. Once I started back eating meat, that's when I started to gain back the weight.  I finally mustered the courage to log it on Lose It! yesterday.  So many people have kind of "admired" me on there for finally meeting my goal, so I kinda, slightly felt like I would be letting them down.  Anyhoo, I've logged it and now am re-tracking to lose these few pounds again.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally obsessed with counting calories (at least I don't think so), but I'm trying to be strict on my diet in order to lose the tummy.  I know that "abs are made in the kitchen" and I'm trying to do just that!  I don't think I can continue to eat the amount of calories I'm "allowed" to eat in maintenance mode and try to get a flat stomach at the same time.  Reducing them will definitely make me pay more attention to what I'm putting in my mouth as well as how much.

Sunday is always a rest day for me. So tomorrow I'm picking back up with Week 3 of Insanity, the Fit Test, and I will do a speed workout.  The rest of the week will be dedicated to building my endurance to run 5 miles easily (I had a wonderful 5 mile run Saturday morning) using no particular training plan.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Couch to 5K Review: How My Running Journey Began

Once I met my first weight loss goal, which was to lose 50lbs, I set another goal to lose 10 more lbs.  Fast forward from December to the end of February, those 10lbs just wouldn't seem to vanish, so I decided to try something new (as I've always done when hitting any plateau in the past).  I've always admired the runners physique, was impressed by their endurance, running has a lower start up cost, and I still wasn't interested in joining a gym for classes yet, so I chose running.  I actually thought I'd be embarassed because I looked like a newbie, but that feeling didn't last long.  I was determined.

I had never run track or anything outside of running around with my cousins outside, so I definitely needed a structured routine I could follow so I'd be more likely to stick with it.  I heard about C25k from many users in the forums on Lose It!, so I purchased the app and started using it 2/28/11 (I found out later there are many free podcast, but I don't mind).  Couch to 5k is an app designed to help you achieve running a 5k in 30 minutes or less.
Do we share any of the same apps?
There's two versions of C25k in iTunes, this is the one I chose to go with. Both versions are pretty much the same program-wise, but based on the other versions interface, it was pretty busy on the eyes.  I wanted something simple to quickly refer to since I'd be using this for the next 9 or so weeks.

I'm not really comfortable running on the treadmill for long periods, plus the ones at my "old school" gym were horrible anyway, so I took advantage of the trails in my neighborhood to start.  I was conditioned to the elliptical and power walking, which were my primary sources of cardio until I started running.  SN: Running outside in the beginning is SO difficult very different. Now, I bet I could easily run 10 miles on the treadmill today if I wanted, only kidding :)

Week 1 wasn't so bad, with only having to jog for 60 seconds at a time. I still sweat profusely and my reoccurring knee problems (I think I did something to it as a child, and it had a tendency to ache every now and then, plus I officially sprained it in '09 as well) came back, which is why I thought I was getting this major workout.  I forgot about all of my other resistance training and was so focused on running every other day instead.  Big mistake, 'cause that still didn't help me drop anymore weight.

By Week 4, I guess my knee seemed to have gotten stronger because I no longer had pain.  I warmed up and stretched properly during every workout, so I'm thinking that helped.  I was still pretty happy with the program.  Looking at Week 4 from Week 1 seemed intimidating at first, but you never know what you can until you do it.  It was a real struggle to run 5 minutes straight.  I would be so relieved at the voice prompts telling me to, "walk now". Day 1 of Week 4 went well, but for some reason Day 2 and 3 I couldn't get through, so I decided to repeat Week 4.

Week 6 and Week 8 were two more tough weeks for me.  I can't remember which I started over, but it was definitely all mental.  By the end of Week 8 and 9, I had linked up with a running group and no longer relied on the app, even for days I ran alone.  
Here I am today, three 5k races later, up to running 4.5 miles at a time, trying to race once a month, and thinking about registering for my first 10k in November.  

Now, about that 10lbs, I started running thinking the 10lbs would just melt off, but I did have to commence resistance training (i.e. circuit training, weights, Pilates) once again and most importantly strict diet changes for a few weeks for that to actually happen.

How did you lose your last 10lbs? How did you get into running?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quest to Rid of this PUDGE!

Last Friday I went bathing suit shopping for the first time in 5 years.  It's our 3-year anniversary on the 15th, so we decided to go on a quick getaway.  I don't know how to swim and just sitting splashing in the water becomes boring after a while, so I had no real reason to buy one.  Oh, and having zero body confidence at the time played a major role as well.  I was pretty nervous about how things would turn out and whether this would be an ALL day thing.  Fortunately, I found what I needed in store #2.  It's the end of the season, so Target had a few pieces I was surprisingly happy with on the clearance rack.  (My confidence is SO much higher now, I can just tell).  I really went looking for a nice one-piece because my stomach is no where near where I'd like for it to be, but I decided to get the two-piece anyway because I could always a) hold my pudge in (haha) or b) wear a tank over it.  
I will admit when trying it on, I was still pretty proud. I didn't look horrendous and I really felt like all of my hard work over the past 2 years has paid off, I just need to keep pushing it if I ever want to lose the gut.  We ended up not going to our original destination, Florida, due to a rain forecast (& I don't even think it rained down there) and the hotel we did stay in didn't have the Jacuzzi we hoped for, so I didn't even get to wear it.  Not to fret though, I just have more time to get it right!  

I opted in YumYucky's Finish What You Started Challenge to tame the pudge, but it's going on 3 weeks and I still don't have the motivation.  Last week I scored 22 points.  My exercise was on point, but my eating habits fell by the wayside.  Week 2 was worst. I scored 13 points. I'm so ashamed to say that all I've eaten for my dinners since Thursday night has been fast food. *hangs head in shame*.

Now, going into week 3, I have a new plan.  I need something new. After months of watching others, contemplating, and nagging the husband (lol), I got Insanity.  I get bored, and I think this will get me out of the rut.  I'm still in pretty good shape (check my last 5k time lol), so this is why I decided on Insanity versus P90X.  I hear that Insanity is for those that are already in shape.  I need SOMETHING that will get rid of this belly! I know abs are made in the kitchen, but I feel like adding this extra intensity to my running routine instead of the circuit trainings (sorry, Jillian, but anytime you start to memorize the script of a workout DVD, it might be time to let it go lol) as well as not allowing slip-ups on my "diet" so much will make it better.

Enjoy a few pictures from the beautiful Appalachian Mountains...

I may be prissy, but I still like nature "stuff" lol
I was obviously not dressed for a hike, but this was a spur of the moment, walk and talk kinda thing. The exercise nerd in me, turned on my iMapMyRun app so it was a little over a 1 mile 'hike" around this state park.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Race Recap: ATL's Finest 5K

Feeling a little nervous on the way to the race
This past Saturday I ran my third 5K AND I made a PR! It wasn't the time I was shooting for, but I'll take it and be proud about it!  I finished at 31:18.  I feel like once I get past that speed goal of finishing under 30 minutes, I can shoot for my first 10K (if there's any left to register for this year).  Just like I used the c25K app back in February to help me get started running, I'm going to use either the Bridge to 10K or Couch to 10K program to increase my distance (start date is pending). 

I don't know why, but I've become kinda obsessed about finishing in under 30 minutes.  I haven't done any "official" type of speed work, I've been more focused on the endurance part. IDK. I'm still a beginner in my eyes, so I'm trying to really figure out where to start with it.  I've done it before, just not during a race. I completed 3.1 miles on a flat trail at 29:37-something seconds.  But anyway, back to Saturday's race...

Doing my leg swings

I got there later than I should have. I'm not that much of a wake-up-at-5:30-a.m. type of person. So I hit snooze until the very last minute. My clothes and everything else were already layed out, so I got dressed, grabbed half a banana and was out the door. I arrived at the race with maybe 5 minutes to spare. I had to take advantage of the little walk from the train station to the bib pick-up tables for part of my warm-up.

I looked down at my Nike+GPS app and saw I was already at 30 minutes, so I started sprinting towards the finish!

A proud girl representing an awesome running group
I knew what to expect with the route since I had practiced it with my running group the week before, but those hills maaan, I let 'em get to me.  During Saturday's practice run, I trotted up the first and kept it going, trotted up the second and walked for a few seconds. During the actual race, I stopped to walk in the middle of both.  I think I started off too fast in the beginning and it affected my overall pace. Either way, I'm still learning from my mistakes and will keep it moving. I'm still proud of myself :)