Friday, January 31, 2014

WW week 1 and another kind of loss.

This week was all sorts of backwards - firstly I scheduled myself four 12 hour days and two 8 hour days plus call leaving me with just Thursday off.  I'm going to a conference in February and will have a nice chunk of time off and I have goals to meet to make payments on things for the wedding so I'm working a ton right now.  I also had my first orientee's in the ICU this week - just 6 months after being out of orientation myself.  It's a lot of responsibility and it says a lot to me about what the educators and management think of me.

So naturally, I wasn't getting a lot of workouts in this week.  I did get to Zumba and did my Best Body Bootcamp at home workouts but admittedly not to my full potential.  I didn't run AT. ALL.  This makes my third week in a row that I haven't consistently ran.  I literally slept in my running clothes Sunday night with intentions to run Monday morning before work and the alarm went off and I saw it was -20 degrees outside and I just couldn't get out of bed.

Monday afternoon I found out my Grandma died.  About a year ago she was diagnosed with a pericardial effusion (excessive fluid around her heart) and they weren't going to aggressively treat it, so they sent her to a nursing home to rehab and then my Aunt Susan had her in her home for awhile when it became more than they could handle.  about 18 months ago my Grandma was fully independent, driving, living alone in an apartment, etc, then she ended up hospitalized and got a UTI which can make older people really out of it.  She started acting really strange and being inappropriate when she was in the nursing home and she found her car keys in my Aunt's house and decided to drive and got lost for many hours but finally was able to make it back unharmed.  They sold her car, got rid of her apartment and she was placed into an Alzheimer's/memory care unit at another nursing home where she spent the rest of her days.  There were times things made sense to her and she was frustrated that she was there, and other times she didn't make hardly any sense at all.  It was sad to see such a sharp, witty person lose their spunk.  Recently I was told she had been falling a lot and about two weeks ago she fell before the staff heard her bed alarm going off and got there too late and she was already down.  Her whole left side was bruised up and she had a huge knot on her cheekbone and by her eye.  I was told after that she wasn't conscious most of the time and they had hospice in with her already due to her declining state so they made sure she was comfortable and she passed peacefully.  I think, just from seeing her yesterday at the viewing, she had a stroke and a slow bleed and that would explain her facial droop and state of consciousness this last week.  They made her look very nice and the family who ran the funeral home was very sweet to all of us.

I worked Tuesday and Wednesday in the OR and had fairly uneventful days.  Tuesday I went to my first official Weight Watchers meeting and I loved the leader that runs this one. I sat in on another meeting and that leader was okay but this one really had a lot of spunk and was a lot of fun. I'm hoping to continue with the Tuesday night meetings as my schedule allows.  I was down 5 pounds from my weigh in at home the previous Tuesday when I signed up!  There's a Zumba class at 7 that fits perfectly after the meeting and I think it sounds like a great Tuesday tradition for me.  Wednesday Kyle drove up to Columbus to see his Mom who had surgery that day so I was on dog duty and it was way too cold to take her for a walk still so I decided I would relax, get caught up on my DVR, and call it a night.

The viewing was yesterday and I ran errands in the morning while Kyle worked part of the day before we headed up to be with the family.  The funeral was this morning and it was just how she would have wanted it.  It was tough to see how upset my Mom was and knowing there wasn't anything to make her feel any better.  Grandma wanted to be cremated so tomorrow we will lay her ashes at the cemetery and  put her to rest.

My Grandma was a beacon of strength.  After burying two of her own son's as children, her husband of cancer, and in more recent years both of her sisters, she was never one to dwell on the bad.  She always was smiling and laughing - maybe a little goofy to some but it is what got her through.  I'd like to think my positivity came from her, that and my love for reading.  Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers love reading, but her, my maternal grandma, was a librarian for 18 years.  I remember growing up and spending a lot of time with her there.  My mom and I even lived with her for awhile when I was young after my dad and her divorced and before she met and we moved in with my now step-dad.  I remember starting kindergarten and getting on the bus at her house and her being home when I got off the bus.  She'd make me "coffee milk" (just warm milk while she drank coffee) and her famous sausage and eggs. She taught me to bake pies from scratch and with love.  Everyone laughs about how thrifty she was but she lived 81 years and was a child during the Depression and I'm sure raising 6 children made her value every penny she had.  She would be that person ordering water at a restaurant and asking for extra lemons and sugar to make her own lemonade.  A treat for her was a single taco from Taco Bell and maybe an ice cream cone.  She valued the simple things in life and we would do well to do that ourselves.

Life will resume after this weekend.  I'm thankful my employer allows for up to three paid days off for bereavement and it allowed me to come up and be a part of all of this.  I'm the oldest granddaughter and I'm sad she won't be at our wedding but in all actuality she wasn't well enough to have come even if she hadn't passed.  At the funeral home last night there were wedding pictures of her and my grandpa and one of them running out of the church with everyone throwing rice at them was just so precious and stuck out to me.  I asked to borrow that one for our "in memory" photos at our wedding for those who can't be with us.  You'll all be seeing that one when the time comes.

I'm sort of glad January is coming to a close.  I'm ready to put it behind us and start February with a fresh start on all things running, workouts, life, Weight Watchers, and hope we don't have any more losses anytime soon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rewriting part of the story.

I think many of you know my journey to this point. Overweight, continue to gain weight, do some Beachbody videos, try Body By Vi, try Weight Watchers, try being more active but still eat like garbage, go back to doing nothing, end up being asked to get off a roller coaster at a major amusement park because the belt didn't fit, think about doing a marathon on my birthday. Then the lightbulb turned on and everything changed.

I've spent the last few months after the marathon trying to find a balance. Trying to find a way to continue on my journey, continue losing weight, continue to get healthy and make it all work.

I am friends with and follow so many people who are doing this and the central theme has been Weight Watchers. These fabulous men and women are losing weight, eating real food, and making things that their families and loved ones can eat with them. It's not chicken or tuna in baggies and shaker bottles in a big bag all day. I love the results I had following a specific plan and killing it in the gym but my life was so out of balance. My fiancé was often at home, alone, eating bologna sandwiches while I was making this all about me instead of a healthy lifestyle for both of us. 

I talked with my friend Karli more about Weight Watchers and went to a meeting. When I did Weight Watchers before, I did it ALL wrong. I never used the points I was allowed and lived off of pineapple because it was "free". I've seen some of my favorite bloggers become national Weight Watchers Success stories like Dani at Weight Off My Shoulders and Brooke from Brooke Not On A Diet. Simply amazing!

I think I've been so stuck and fluctuating between 5-10 pounds from my lowest weight pre-marathon despite my working out and eating 90% on point because I wasn't eating enough. There were days I would run 8 miles in the morning and Zumba at night and wouldn't be losing. 

I've become somewhat obsessed with calorie counting and counting macros (protein, carbs, fats) and scared of going over certain numbers and gaining weight again. Well guess what - I gained those 5-10 pounds regardless and there has to be a reason. I need to look at food a new way and not feel deprived or like if I ate a cookie every now and then that I'd find myself at 245 pounds again.

I've seen these people living successful balanced lives and make good that looks delicious and still lose weight with AND without regular exercise.

So I'm giving it a go - I re-joined Weight Watchers this last Tuesday and I'm going to my first weigh in this Tuesday after work. I always weigh myself first thing in the morning so I'm nervous about an evening weigh in but that's what works with my schedule this week. There is a Weight Watchers store super close to my house with meetings 7 days a week so I know I should be able to go every week. 

So that's it...that's the big news.

So far in the first week I think I've done well. I used exactly all my points every day and loving regularly incorporating fresh fruit back into my routine more. I used some of my weekly points for a brunch date with my love this morning with NO GUILT, and that's the important part. Here's to continued healthy, happy, and most importantly balanced, fresh start.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm not always Supergirl.

As I was working this week, thinking about all of the things this weekend I had going on, I was overwhelmed.

I have always kept my plate pretty full, even back to middle and high school where I was in every club, activity, and sport possible and a steady job when I turned 16.  I'm used to being busy, I don't know what to do when I'm not, and that's just how I operate.  It's rare that I feel like I can't do it all. I know, I know.. not everyone can.

I was thinking about all of the things I have going on - working a rotating schedule, picking up overtime for wedding costs, planning said wedding, running, Zumba, a conference in February, a conference in April, my niece's birthday, Kyle's birthday, work committee meetings, studying for the GRE, studying for my CCRN certification and getting my applications done for nurse anesthesia school.  I was having a moment where my brain finally caught up with real life and I was like WOAH.  I'm the queen of having it all together, anyone who has seen my planner knows I've got a system.  It works for me and I like the visual organization of my insane life, but it was just over the top.

I made the decision to back out of the full marathon in May and just go for the half.  I won't stop running, I'm hooked now. I can still safely run a half even now and I think my focus for the year is going to be on doing half marathons, improving my time, and finishing my sprint triathlon.  It was a hard decision to make but I think for my sanity it's what I need to do and I'm 95% okay with it.  I wanted to kill the hills but it's just not in the cards right now. I wrote about being realistic when training for a marathon and that's what I'm being right now.  For once, I'm taking my own advice.

Here's to multiple 13.1 PR times for the year and a little less stress in my life.

Have you ever committed to a race and life got in the way?  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'm going to bootcamp!

You read that right… this girl is going to bootcamp!

I was introduced to Best Body Bootcamp by Kim over at Fabulous Fit Foodie and knew I had to check it out.  I get so caught up in training for my marathon that I often overlook strength training.  I was big on it over the summer but found myself in the gym for 3 hours a day and I have a hard time justifying THAT amount of time when I have so much else going on in my life.

That's when I realized I can have a plan in place that I can do at home along with my running AND win prizes along the way.  Who doesn't love prizes?!

This is what the creator of BBB describes it as - 

  • 8 weeks worth of workouts from a certified personal trainer – new workouts every 2 weeks to keep your body working and the progress happening!
  • Email access to certified trainer. Email me anytime with questions!
  • Video demos of EVERY workout. That way you can know exactly what you are doing when you start your workout and can finish your workout that much sooner.
  • Beginner’s Workout Series. For everyone newer to working out regularly and looking for a plan to follow and a great community of support to join. 
  • Weekly motivational newsletter. Every week receive important news and Best Body Bootcamp updates as well as a message to keep you going.
  • Access to group site for members only. Get immediate access to program documents after registration. Easily get to all workouts with no need to keep track of them in your email. Forum for group members to post questions, connect, and encourage one another.
  • Entry and chance to win cash prizes. By staying active and making healthy choices, you earn points to gain entry into prize drawings – $100 weekly prize and $1000 grand prize.
  • Additional 50+ workouts included! With every registration, you will receive the new “Cardio, Core, & No Excuses Workouts” e-book. Find numerous cardio interval workouts ranging from 20 minutes to 50 minutes, a mix of core focused workouts, and five body weight only workouts done in 20-30 minutes for when you are short on time.

  • I thought for me that 20-30 minutes is totally doable, especially in my own home.  All you need is at least one set of dumbbells and I happen to have two laying around.  I'm excited to get started on Monday the 20th and I'll of course be updating you all as I go along with it and marathon training.

    Interested in Best Body Bootcamp?  Check it out here and get started for only $40 (that's $5 a week! Not too shabby!)

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

    What's it ACTUALLY take to run a marathon? From a former first-timer.

    When I decided I was going to run a marathon, I scoured the internet for tips for first timers.  Some of these included a training plan that was manageable for my level of fitness at the time, shoes, clothes, routes, forms of fuel, water intake, and anything else that was swirling around in my head as I was starting and even more as the weeks went by.

    I followed the plan as best as my crazy schedule allowed and got the miles in one way or another each week.  I ran alone, and planned my route I would run in my Brooks near places with available bathrooms while wearing my FuelBelt and chomping my gummies and listening to my playlist.  I ate a plain bagel pre-run, got up around 5AM for long runs all summer to beat the heat since I was pretty slow and would lay out my clothes and fill my water bottles the night before.  I charged my Garmin but almost always used RunKeeper as long as my phone battery would allow.

    This routine was fine tuned throughout the 30 weeks I trained and it was because of the little hiccups along the way that I fine tuned my routine.

    Here's what I learned training for my first marathon:

    1.  Eat before long runs.  I can't eat anything but straight up, 100% carbs pre-run.  I eat a whole, plain bagel about an hour before I run.  I tried oatmeal and eggwhites, I tried not eating anything and just fueling along the way. That was not a good plan because I was out of gas halfway through.  The eggwhites & oatmeal (and anything else I possibly tried) didn't sit well on my stomach and I had to call my fiancé to come rescue me on my route for an emergency bathroom trip.  It might take a little time but don't skip that pre-run fuel!

    2.  Eat every 45-60 minutes while running.  I couldn't stomach the gel packs and settled on sports beans and Honey Stinger wafers while I ran.  On marathon day around mile 22 I got the best and most welcome gift of oranges and it really was what I needed to keep going and greatly improved my mood. I'm going to use orange slices in training for this next marathon during long runs!

    3. Get properly fitted for running shoes.  My first half marathon I chose the shoes I was so graciously gifted because they were pretty and they felt okay.  I think my use of regular cotton socks with these shoes lead to insane blisters which never healed and I limped constantly for the entire training cycle.  I don't know if my feet have ever been the same!  I've run in Brooks and keep getting fitted because as I have lost weight my feet have gotten smaller too!  I've always had a wide foot but my initial pair of marathon shoes were a MEN'S WIDE.  My feet thanked me for them and I ended up with 3 pairs of shoes for the 30 weeks and I'm still in my last pair for right now which are a women's wide and a half size smaller.  Just get fitted!

    4.  Invest in several pairs of spandex.  At first I wasn't comfortable wearing tights at my size but now I won't run without them.  Chafing is NO GOOD and you'll be glad you saved your skin.  Besides, no one is paying attention to your tights when you're running miles and miles.
    Tights are my friend!

    5.  Make a schedule.  I rotate between 12 hour day and night shifts and my weeks are never the same schedule as far as days I work each week.  I looked one week at a time and looked to see where I could fit a run in.  When I work 3 days in a row I often run before work (getting up at 3:45AM or PM depending on if I'm on days or nights!) and get one of my shorter runs for the week done.  I know I'm not going to want to run AFTER a 12 hour shift or get up that early the next day either.  So I just do it.  Schedule your runs just like any other appointment in your life and you will get them done.

    6.  Be realistic.  I know I have a lot less obstacles than many of you do as I don't have any kids. But, my work schedule is crazy, I'm planning a wedding, have a husky who wants exercised (no, I don't typically run with her.  Once I'm done training for a race and back to running without a schedule I am planning to work with her on getting better at running with me.  When I first started I was learning myself about how to get through the miles without her pulling, tugging, tripping, darting, etc with me and risking getting injured!) and time I want to spend with my fiancé, friends, and family.  So maybe you've got small kiddos that need constant supervision, a job, and are a single parent or have a spouse with a crazy schedule themselves and maybe the marathon is too much of a time commitment right now.  Use your best judgement and don't be hard on yourself if it truly isn't in the cards right now for you.

    7.  Trust the training.  I didn't know if ONLY running 20 miles before the big day was enough, but sheer determination and a lot of encouragement along the course kept me upright for the last 6.2.

    8.  Have spectators along the way.  My wonderful fiancé was my "cheering section coordinator" for the day and I was so thankful to have someone to see at mile 9, 12, 13.1, 15, 17.5, 22, 25, and of course 26.2.  It was a lot of work on his part but knowing there was someone up ahead was a huge, huge help in getting me to the next mile(s).

    9.  Enjoy the expo, enjoy the day, enjoy waiting at the start and the energy and excitement that surrounds you.  Miles behind you and hours spent training will be worth it the moment you cross that finish line.  Just have fun!

    Anything I missed out on, fellow marathoners?  What would you say to a first timer?

    Saturday, January 11, 2014

    Flying Pig Marathon - week 2.

    I have been so busy these last few weeks that it's hard to believe how fast they have gone by!  The Christmas decorations are down, life is back to semi-normal, and the calendar is starting to get full again with work, training, my work conference at Disney mid-February, wedding planning meetings, Kyle's birthday coming up, my niece's birthday coming up, the Advocare Success School conference next weekend and lots of other odds and ends.

    I was supposed to work last night through Sunday night, the dreaded but sometimes necessary 3 shifts in a row.  I got called off and it was all I thought it could be!  I got caught up on my wedding binder, got things together for Best Body Bootcamp (post to come next week on that!), Kyle and I watched a few episodes of New Girl on Netflix, and I was relaxed and content for the first time in awhile knowing my run was out of the way and I had nothing to do for today but go to work later tonight.

    So, week 2 of Flying Pig marathon training is officially under my belt and it was a good training week despite being stuck on the treadmill.  I was hoping to get my long run outside but a surprise 1/2 inch of snow Thursday night covered the sidewalks that I knew had icy patches lingering that I couldn't see so I thought I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    Monday - Worked day shift - rest day.

    Tuesday - 5 mile pace run.  I knew I was working in the OR Wednesday and I'd probably need to run before work since I was on call. I knew working all weekend I would be doing my long run likely Friday during the day so I wanted to get my second highest mileage done early.  Plus I had all day to do it since I had the day off.  10:45 pace/53:47 total time.  Fastest 4-6 mile range by a full 30 seconds that I did 5 miles in back in September.  Woop woop!

    Wednesday - 3:45AM wake up for an easy 3 miles.  The gym is a dark, lonely place this early in the morning but I get to play music out loud instead of using headphones so that's kind of a plus!

    Thursday - Another easy-ish 3 miles.  10:45 pace/32:15 total time.

    Friday - 9 miles in the books.  11:37 pace/1:44 total time.  I set it to 5.1 for a nice pace and did the first hour on the rolling hill setting.  I hate hills.  Really.  BUT, the marathon has some beast ones and I know I need to do them.  Plus it made the hour go by super quickly, so that's a plus.

    Total miles week 2: 20
    Total miles run this training cycle: 38.6

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

    Word of the Year.

    I've been seeing posts all over thanks to my new found love of BlogLovin' and the amazing bloggers I follow (like Cori and Courtney) about having a word to describe the year ahead.  I'm still riding the new year's high and haven't missed a run, have still been going to Zumba regularly when my overtime schedule allows AND cuddling on the couch with the fiancé and the pup. 

    For Christmas I got the ladies on my dad's side of the family (and myself) all Origami Owl necklaces.  I'm a fan of anything personalized and of course, cute.  Everyone got their own necklace with things about themselves and us as a family.  Mine is silver and the charms inside are of an "L", a blingy dog bone and cat paw, the word "love.", a nursing/RN charm, and a ring.  The most important part of my necklace to me is the backplate.  I have been a fan of the word "Believe" for the better part of last year and really it's become my mantra.  I have it written on my bathroom mirror and I wear it every day on this necklace.  I truly feel that if you believe you can do something, you certainly can and more importantly you WILL.

    My word of 2014, 2013, and likely the rest of my life is "Believe".

    I believed I could run a marathon and I did.  I believed that if I wanted to bad enough, I could lose weight, and I am.  I will keep doing all of the above and am heading for marathon number 2 in just 114 days and I hope to hit my next weight loss goal of hitting 175 pounds by that date as well.

    Do you have a word of the year? A personal mantra?

    Sunday, January 5, 2014

    Flying Pig Marathon training week 1!

    Happy first weekend of 2014!  I hope the first few days of the new year have treated you well.  We're anticipating a snowstorm today and through the night which should make things interesting for the drive to work tomorrow.  We were to have our last family Christmas today but decided with the weather we weren't going to chance getting stuck away from home/work/our animals.

    Yesterday concluded my official week 1 of marathon training for the Flying Pig!  I chose an 18 week program that kicked off this week just as we were ringing in the new year.  I'm using Hal Higdon's Novice 2 program since the back 2/3 of my first marathon training plan was Novice 1.  It was a good plan for me but the mid-week runs got up to 10 miles and my schedule is pretty tight these days with working overtime to pay for the wedding, getting all of my runs in for the week, and life in general.  So I chose the Novice 2 program that uses more distance/endurance runs starting sooner and going further with midweek tempo/pace runs which I plan to alternate with hill training for this race specifically that are shorter. I think it works better with my schedule and having the additional endurance runs will get me through to the finish line a bit easier than the first time around.  The Pig course is hilly and miles 5-8 are completely uphill so I need to be properly prepared for that - the first time when I walked the half marathon it was ugly right about there. I was SO over that hill.  If I'm running up it this time, it should go by a lot faster.

    Monday - I was scheduled for 3 miles but I decided to take Penny, my husky with me and we got to 2.53 before she was too much to manage. I would love to get her properly trained to run with me but as a newer runner and having specific distances to cover it's hard.  I'm going to work with her more but for right now it's usually easier to walk her separately from running. So we didn't quite make my 3 miles, but she had fun running with me as we got a nice, light snowfall.  I also went to Zumba class that evening.

    Tuesday - New Year's Eve and I had 5 miles on schedule at "pace".  I'd noticed on my shorter runs while I was doing the Run Streak that I had significantly increased my pace from when I started back in March.  My comfortable pace had gotten to about 12 minutes/mile and my marathon goal pace had been to stay as close to 12:30 as possible.  That went out the window on marathon day but I figured I had 18 more weeks to focus specifically on endurance and pace so I'd choose 11:30 as my race day goal pace. I went to the MetroPark near my house and bundled up for my longest run in super cold weather.  I was running and miserable and told myself if I got to 3 miles I could stop and finish the other 2 indoors on the treadmill.  I stopped at 3 miles and my pace had been 10:39!  I was amazed at what this former 14 minute/mile runner had done!  I got to the car to thaw out and finished my last 2 miles at 11:10 pace at my apartment gym.

    Wednesday - I worked 12 hours on New Years Day - life of a nurse.

    Thursday - I had 3 miles to do and I was working night shift that night.  I pulled off a 5K in 10:37 - my fastest 5K by almost 2 minutes EVER.  I don't know where this is coming from but I like it.  I'm pushing but I don't feel like I'm dying.  It's awesome.  This is the part of running that I love is seeing how much you've improved by your pace and how you feel.

    Friday - I went to Zumba after sleeping part of the day after working night shift, no run today.

    Saturday - It was COLD with a  -4 degree wind chill.  I don't know about this cold weather running!  Brr!  (We have a front coming in behind the snow that could bring us -40 degree wind chills Monday and Tuesday and I'm shivering just thinking about it.)  I headed up to my apartment gym to bust out 8 miles on the treadmill.  I love being the first one in the gym and the last one to leave, it gives me a sense of accomplishment.  I did my 8 miles in 11:30 pace and felt good the whole time with my average heart rate of 165.

    Today I'm heading to morning Zumba and we're getting all the Christmas decorations taken down and the house back in order.  I get sad when it's time to put away the tree and lights but since the dog and cat knocked the tree over last night it's time for it to go away.

    Week 1 - 18.6 miles ran at 11:11 average pace.  Not too shabby for this girl who hasn't run much since October.

    Are you training for a race? What program are you using?  Do you run solo or with a group? Best winter training advice?