"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Anonymous

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Making Some Plans to Finish

This week has been a bit interesting.  This is one of those posts I'm writing so that I can look back on it in years to come to know where my mind is right now, because I'm making some plans. 

Short Story: 
I've gotten back on track with my cross training workout days in my half marathon training plan, because my last couple of runs seem to be a bit rough and I think not doing any strength so far this summer may be mostly to blame.  Also, I had a chat with my family about cleaning up our eating habits and they've agreed to give it a go.  The cupboards got cleaned out today and the kids are going to start experimenting and letting me know what "real food" snacks they would like.  

It's not going to be easy, but I'm ready to finish what I've started and get to my weight loss goal.  I'm even willing to adjust my goal a little if I feel like I have set it too low at 140.  I'll be content with 150 and a comfortable size 12 if necessary to fit with my lifestyle.  

Long Story:
My half marathon training has been going well.  I'm finding my average pace to be picking up speed again as I acclimate to the humidity and warmth of summer runs and bring hydration along with me.  However, the last few runs have been a little rough.  I'm not exactly sure what is going on, but I think it's one of two things; either I'm not getting enough rest or I desperately need to add back weight training into my cross training day workouts.  

In all honesty, my cross training workouts have been an easy walk or nothing at all.  I'm not really surprised because summertime is a busy time around my house these past couple of years.  My three children are home and we have made a few trips each summer that we never used to make before moving to this area.  It's nice, but it cuts into my workouts and I think I'm starting to feel it when I run.

As I also mentioned, it could be that I'm not getting enough rest.  Rest is also being affected by our busy schedule, so I'm not ruling it out as something I need to work on as well.  

So, while my kids are away to a summer camp this week I've gotten my runs and exercises in.  I'm also babysitting a tot this week, so my cross training is Jillian Michaels DVDs from home in the evenings.  I know that is good enough, because those workouts are what helped me get back to running without hip pain last fall.  

My core is so weak, almost as week as my arms, and I'm learning that as a runner I need a strong core to help me maintain proper running posture.  

I also want to get to my weight loss goal this fall.

There are so many days I feel so wonderful because of how far I've come, but I know I won't ever feel 100% if I don't keep pressing downward on that scale.  I will share that I have made a choice that if I get down to 150 (10 pounds higher than my original goal of 140) and I absolutely can not lose anymore without starving myself then I will be content with that.  However, I'm not ruling out 140 just yet.  That's a very livable goal for my 5' 4" medium build frame.  

I've also had some chats with my family about eating healthier around the house.  A while back we cut out the chips and soda, but they have crept back into the house.  So, I told the kids while they were gone I would be cleaning out the pantry.  We talked about making better choices for snacks as well and they agreed to letting go of junk food for snacks.  We talked about them finding out what snacks they enjoy and I will help them by making the real food snacks available in the house.  One of my daughters said, "I can't say that I'll like it at first, but I'm willing to try." 

We agreed on one dessert a day and getting back to our eating out only one meal a week.  (Which we had started a while back for financial reasons more than health, but we've really veered off of that track.) 

My other daughter told me, "Mom, if you'll just do it and stick to it we'll do it too.  We'll be fine."  (Note:  We've had this conversation before and I'll post some day about why I never made the no-junk-food rule stick.)

My son is in a growing stage and gets more hungry.  He's been pudging out and I've been told this is very normal and he'll soon shoot up in height and thin out again.  But being that I was always the chubby friend in school and didn't always have healthier options available to me I wanted to make sure that he could have what he needs to eat as his body is growing, but also eat well.  He brought to my attention that he loves cashews and apples.  I know the cashews are a fattier nut, but I think it's great that he'd be willing to eat some nuts and apples for a snack.  

I told my kids that I understand their bodies metabolize faster than mine now and I don't expect perfect "clean" eating, but I want us to eat better.  They agreed and so while they are gone I have also cleaned out the cupboards of junk food.

I'll definitely keep you posted on how these changes are going.  For now let it be noted that I'm still pressing on towards my goals.  (And I confess, because I'm the kind that likes to be completely honest...I had Taco Bell for dinner, because I've been craving it for over a week and didn't want to waste the one-meal-out this week on something the kids don't care for.  It's almost that "night before the diet" feel, but oh well.  I enjoyed every bite and can now move past that craving.)  

Okay.  That's enough confessing.  Thanks for checking in.  I'm looking forward to rough timesgood things ahead.  :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

My [Real] Runner Moments - July

Here are a few moments that have happened in my life lately and I still think, "ME?  This is me??", because I never dreamed I'd become a runner.  And while I always said I wanted to do a half marathon before I turned forty, I also didn't dream I'd actually enjoy the process as much as I have been.

You know you're a real runner when...
-->Your daughter says, "No, mom doesn't need that (food item) because she's training for a half marathon."
-->A friend gives you an iTunes gift card for more "running tunes".

-->You check the weather for the next day to see if you'll still be able to get your run in. 

-->When stress hits you think, "I just need to run!" and wish you had a treadmill, so you could run and still be around the house for your kids, or because it's too dark to go out. 

-->You pass by a group of ladies and here, "Oh, Leah's a runner!" and someone wants to ask you about it.  

-->The training schedule says "5 miles" and you think, "Easy run tomorrow!  Yay!!" 

-->You get excited about things like a hydration belt, or figuring out how to best handle the heat and humidity for a run. 

-->Someone invites you over on a Friday and you think, "Will I get to bed early enough to be well rested on Saturday morning?  That is my long run after all." :)

-->You're willing to inform someone that you have to leave your schedule open on a certain morning, or meet them a little later in the morning, to make sure you have time to get in your run and shower (without running at 5:30, because this lady needs her sleep!!)

-->You say, "Pizza sounds great!" on a Friday, because you know it will be good carb loading for the long Saturday run.  

-->Okay...and it's kind of fun when your teenage daughter says she loves that she can tell people her mom can run 8 miles.  

As I said, these are just moments that have been occurring in my life lately; and like the other morning when I was lacing my shoes and getting excited to go run I still can't believe this is me talking.  It's such a new and great feeling!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Weigh-In ... Successful Gain & Trail Run

Today's Weigh:  165.0
Loss/Gain:  +1.0 lb

We were out of town this last week visiting my grandparents, so the fact that I only gained a pound is quite a success for me.  

My grandparents are the only great grandparents my children have living and I enjoy every visit I'm able to have with them while we are living so close to them right now.  Virginia is full of American history and we take advantage of visiting at least one historic location on each visit.  This time we visited the home Patrick Henry retired to.  Being able to walk on the grounds that men and women in history walked on is so amazing to me.  

My grandparents live out in the country and I did make it a point to take my workout clothes to get one of my runs in on our visit.  I can't say I would do this again, but I took advantage of a very nice historical bridge/state park and trail that lead out into the country and ran 7 miles.  My point in going to the bridge and trail was to be off the country roads and away from the cars whizzing past.  

It was a beautiful, overcast day and I enjoyed all of the green trees growing on either side of the trail.  However, I must say that I only barely enjoyed my run, because I had to be alert for many things in the forest that I don't have to in the city -- namely animals and the thought of some rare weirdo who could be in the woods waiting for a lone person to be on the trail.  (Yes, Mom, I did think of that and it's one reason I wouldn't go alone again...lesson learned.)  I only ran into two dogs I remembered from our last visit to the bridge trail and after I finally asserted that I was walking away and told them to "GO HOME!" did they leave me alone.  *sigh*

I'm such a city girl.  :)

So, I enjoyed my vacation, was happy to get some running in and even some walking another day and I'm thrilled that I was able to eat moderately enough to not go up more than a pound on the scale.  I know that pound will come off this week, so all will be well. 

I hope you all had a good week. I'm going to try and catch up on some blogs over the weekend.  I have a post brewing about how I've been feeling so blessed to be living a healthier life and feeling so much better than I did years ago, so check back soon for that.  

Have a good weekend and thanks for stopping by! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Weigh-In ... Something(s) to Celebrate

Today's Weight:  164.0
Loss/Gain:  - 0.5 lb

Why are we celebrating?  Let me count the ways...

  1. I turned 37 years old this past Tuesday and I'm blessed to be in good health, among other things.
  2. My husband surprised me with a combined Mother's Day & Birthday gift of a Canon dSLR Camera and all kinds of things to go with it.  It's a dream come true for me.  
  3. My birthday was spent having all sorts of fun -- bowling, shopping and dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant -- and I didn't go over my calorie budget for the day.  
  4. For my free Starbucks birthday coffee I chose a "skinny" (non-fat milk, sugar free syrup) iced vanilla latte, because I knew I wanted to save calories for Thai food. 
  5. Last weekend I was conscious of being careful of my calories and did not gain weight over the weekend as a result.  
  6. I bought a running skirt last night and wore it.
  7. I also bought some compression shorts, because my thighs are not made to accommodate short shorts that come under the running skirt.  lol
  8. I ran 3 miles in 31:34 last night!
  9. My daughter informed me yesterday she doesn't mind hearing me talk about health stuff, because it helps her learn what she'll need to do if she ever needs to lose weight in the future.  
  10. Oh, and I also lost half a pound the week of my birthday AND after a large loss.
As I was walking after my run this morning a man passed me and our pleasantries went like this:
Man:  Morning!  How're you?
Me:  Fine and you?
Man:  Can't complain.  

Me either, I thought.  :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Motivational Monday - Weekend Victory

With my weight hitting my all-time low again last Friday my goal for this week was to not ruin everything over the weekend.  I tend to not act like I'm working on losing weight over the weekends.  Okay, well recently I've acted like that everyday, but I digress.

So, today I weighed myself and I was exactly the same as Friday morning.  I did not gain anything over the weekend!!!

Huge victory for me!

Of course, my stomach was in knots again that I could actually go lower this week, so I replied to myself, "Just get through today." And so far I am.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Weigh-In ... Feeling Good, Excited and Nervous

Today's Weight: 164.5
Loss/Gain:  -5.5 lbs

Gosh.  What do I say?  :)  Well, I know I earned this loss.  First off, remember I told you last Friday I was up from a heavy dinner the night before on the 4th?  But even if I go by the weight from the morning of the 4th, I'm still down over 3 pounds.

It feels good.  I'm excited.  And I'm a little nervous. 

It feels good, because I've tracked all my food since the weekend.  I've also been choosing healthier options daily.  For example, I took the kids bowling and knew I'd treat them to lunch at the bowling alley.  I also knew the menu would be full of fried foods.  So, I packed myself a turkey sandwich and allowed myself a bag of chips and a diet soda at the eatery.  Score! I've been tweaking a little about how much and what I eat, but I'll write more about that later.  Suffice it to say, less fat and sugar meals feel so much better and when I stay within my calorie budget...well, the scale goes down.  :)

I'm excited, because I've come across a new-to-me blog Runs for Cookies and she has inspired me to keep working on weight loss.  She started the same summer I did, reached her weight, gained a bit back and then lost that bit and has now been maintaining for over a year (I think).  She is a mother, she runs and she is so very real.  I could go on and on about what I love about her blog and her story and how I can relate so much to her, but maybe another day.  Suffice it to say, she has given me hope again.  

I'm also a little nervous, because I've never officially made it past 164 in my adult life.  I've hit this before and then something happens and I toy around between this and 167.  I'm still keeping my ultimate goal of 140.  For my 5' 4", medium frame I know this is okay.  However, I have told my friend if I get to 150 and am staying active with my running and exercise and feel like I can stay there, I will.  However, even 150 means losing another 15 pounds.  It means breaking 160, and that makes me nervous.  The fear of failure crept in this morning and my stomach was tied up in knots for a few minutes.   However, I'm going to keep doing what I did this week and choose not to worry.

I am going to keep taking it a day at a time.  I will focus on what feels good - better food choices and staying within calorie budget - each day.  I will stay excited about the journey by keeping in touch with fellow bloggers.   I will try to keep my stomach from getting tied up in knots by not thinking too far ahead and whether or not I can actually get to a healthier weight.  For now I know if I succeed one day at a time it will all add up to more success. 

And there will be more success, because remember...I'm never giving up.  This week proves it.  :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy Summertime Running Days

So, I wanted to pop on here real quick before another day goes by and I realize I've skipped another week of real blogging. 

First off...
We have four little ones (ages 8, 4, 23 months and 8 months) staying with us this week while their parents are out of town, so I've been planning my runs for the mornings my daughters are home from volunteering and can be here when/if the kiddos wake up before I return.  (I am not a 4:30 am runner...I like my sleep.)  Today my daughter gets a prize, because the little boys got up 15 minutes after I left, and I was out for a 5 mile run.  She's such a blessing!!  The only help I asked from my girls for this week with the added kids was to watch them so I could get my runs in.  I'm a blessed mom! 

Secondly, and more importantly...
My summertime running is getting better and better.  I was really dreading running in the summer.  I thought I was going to have to run at 5:30 in the morning to have nice, cool temperatures to run in.  To me cooler temperatures are the best runs.  It's very humid where I live, so even if it's only 72 out it can feel ten degrees hotter. 

In June I had my first long run of 7 miles and it was horrid.  It was so hot and taking in a GU for energy didn't help at all with hydration, even though the packs say they have electrolytes.  Then I was about to die when I got home.  I couldn't get going for the longest time.  I just laid on the floor, drinking a Gatorade and was like "OH!! WHY DID I PICK A RACE THAT I HAVE TO TRAIN IN THE SUMMER FOR?!?!"  That day I decided I HAD to buy a hydration belt or I wasn't going to get my runs in.   I had a 5 mile run a few days later and my head started hurting towards the end of the run, which I was sure was due to dehydration and really knew something had to change. 

And things have changed.  I think I have figured out what works best for me. 

Before I ...
  • Rolled out of bed, got ready and went running within 20 minutes of waking.  
  • Felt like my legs were dead and wished I could run later in day, but knew it would be hotter later. 
  • Started getting headaches towards the end of longer runs and knew that was probably the beginnings of dehydration. 
  • Came home and felt like I really had to work hard to recover and get going with the rest of my day.
  • Dreaded my morning runs and felt like they were going to be major undertakings during this summer.

Now I ...
  • Set up my travel french press the night before with coffee grounds and water and put it in the fridge, so the coffee is brewed by morning. 
  • I have coffee and half of a protein bar while I spend some time in devotions.  Basically, I wake up.  :)
  • About an hour after I've gotten up I'm dressed and headed out to run. 
  • If I'm running over 4 miles I take my hydration belt, if I'm going over 6 I also take a GU energy gel as well. 
  • I start out nice and easy allowing my body to set the pace, knowing I may be a little slower due to the heat, but it's okay. (That's another post entirely.)
  • I enjoy my runs, even as I wipe the sweat from my brow or feel the sting of it if it drips in my eyes. 
  • I don't dread my runs, and can once again get excited about where all this training is leading me. 

One big thing that hasn't changed?  The time I go out.  It's still about 7:00-7:15 am, and it's still about 72 degrees with 90-93% humidity. 

The icing on the cake? 
This morning I ran 5 miles in 57:00!!!  I wasn't even worrying about pace today, so I was super thrilled when I could tell I was running faster.  When I finished and realized I had sustained a faster pace for the duration of the run I was in heaven.

I think making those simple changes to how I approach my summer runs has helped me as I acclimate to the warmer temperatures, and now my pace is beginning to speed up again.  

Plus, nowadays I come home, drink down a low-cal Gatorade, have some breakfast and can get on with my day no problem.  No more dying after a run, but the temperatures haven't changed.  


(Since my daughter was up I had her take some pictures of me with my hydration belt...*giggle*)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Independence Celebrations

Here's a little snippet into my life...

My family and I went up to Washington, DC a week ago for a couple days and we had a lot of fun.  We saw some historical sites and then participated in a God and Country presentation our church took part in at the bottom of the Lincoln Memorial.  

I sing and had the honor of singing the National Anthem and some other patriotic music with a band from our church.  There was narration and reenactments of historical events during our presentation.  We were able to perform twice.  To be able to stand at our nation's capitol and share the truth that our nation was founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ was amazing.

My daughter took video clips and I put this together to share:  

We also enjoyed a beautiful day at the beach on the 4th of July with some friends.  Then we went home to shower and change and go out to a local park to watch fireworks.  We enjoyed a "fair food" dinner and shared funnel cake.  It was a long, but very fun day. 

Today it's back to normal.  Kind of... I'm going to get some groceries and then pick up the house because we have four little ones coming over to stay for the week while their parents go out of town to a conference.  They are 8 and under, so it's going to be a busy place around here.

More summertime adventures for us.  :)  

Thanks for checking in and I hope you all had a nice holiday!

Weigh-In ... No Explaining Necessary

Today's Weight: 170.0
Loss/Gain:  + 2.0 lbs

Yes, technically I am up 2 pounds, but yesterday I was 168, so I'm pretty sure this is due to a late dinner last night and the funnel cake I shared with my family after watching fireworks.  

I am saying that to say that I'm okay with it.  We were on vacation and I maintained, until that late meal last night.  

Over the last month or so I've been considering taking away my Friday weigh-ins because I've basically been maintaining.  However, it is one of the key things in my life that helps me stay accountable, so I will not stop posting my weight.  

What I am going to stop doing is feeling the need to justify why the scale says what it is. I mean, I don't mind sharing what went on in the week that explains the loss or gain, but mentally I'm not going to feel bad if the scale is up.  If I know what caused it and I am not going to let it continually creep up, then I don't have to feel bad.  I just have to accept it and learn from it. 

Don't worry, this is not to say that I'm going to keep creeping up the scale and not feel bad for gaining weight.  In fact, I've been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching this past week about what I need to tweak to get back into weight loss mode.  I've had some habits start that are not the best and I am going to work on breaking those.  I look forward to good things in this area. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to close up this post and post another with a few snapshots of my week.  It's been a fun time with the family!  :)