Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Refinding my Niche.

Firstly, I want to thank you all for the support I felt after my last post.  I felt it, every gracious word given to me, and I feel a bit renewed.  Thank you.

After this little bender, I've found my head again.  I'm refocused and while I've got a crazy schedule, I've got goals.  Remember that little goal (or really, really BIG goal) of the bikini on my honeymoon?  I've not forgotten about it.  It's always in the back of my mind, just like when I thought about running a marathon.  I didn't forget about it, and you all know that I came through and I. DID. IT.  I can do this too.

I'm exploring some options, but for now I'm back on my meal plan from Sara.  I've looked into the "If It Fits Your Macros" approach, I've ready KMaeKag's e-book on Flexible Dieting (another Macro approach), I stopped Weight Watchers because I honestly wasn't even tracking points and even when I was, I wasn't losing anything.  I think because my body has been so used to the way I've been eating over the last 15 months that eating ice cream, just because it fits my points, doesn't always agree with where I'm heading.  I'm not 100% sure where I'm going or how it's going to happen, but I'm determined now more than ever to get to my goal.

I'm working, studying for the GRE, looking at dates for Zumba instructor training, and going to Minneapolis for my training session with the HDYO in 10 days.  I saw that the HDSA has 14 spots open this year for the NYC Marathon in November and I'm like…. well, if I had the money to travel this year I'd SO do it.

Nothing structured, nothing super important, but these are my thoughts.  Off we go to explore the next part of this journey.

By the way… I think my next post may be THE post.  You know, the one where I finally reveal my "before" and current pictures.  Yep.  I think I'm ready.

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's all so difficult.

Friday morning on Instagram and in my 24 Day Challenge group, I posted my results and comparison pictures.  I was feeling on top of the world, at my lowest weight of my entire weight loss journey and 8.5 inches smaller than I was 24 days before.  I was getting ready to go into my first of three 12 hour days in a row and I was faced with what I hope is the most difficult assignment of my nursing career.

We all get attached to patients, some it's truly the family you become connected to and bond with, others it is the patient with their lack of family and your heart breaks for their loneliness.  I've experienced both over my three short years as a nurse, and so far I have handled myself.  When I find out one of our patients die, I immediately think of and pray for that family, regardless of whether I took care of them or knew them at all.  They've been through battles I cannot begin to imagine, and whether they were long battles or very short ones, saying goodbye to a child is heartbreaking.

I found myself in a situation of having become attached and having to go through the grieving process with a family.  While I obviously cannot give specific details, the background story was enough to make you feel for them, let alone what they were going through now.  I put on my brave face and did my best to provide the comfort they needed, and whether it was enough I'll never know, but what I do know is the emotional exhaustion I felt on my way back from the morgue.  My hands could not get warm again the whole rest of the day as they felt the cold touch of the cart as I placed it into the cooler.

After all of this, I had about 40 minutes before having to take a new assignment and I needed to get my lunch in as well.  I brought my own, but made my way to the cafeteria and bought the only thing I wanted which was some ice cream and the biggest sugar cookie in the world that happen to be sold in my hospital.  I sat and tried to begin to process what had happened that morning and ate my feelings.  I went back to my unit and found a co-worker had dropped off cupcakes, and I had two of those too.  Later in the day another unit that we're helping out during a busy time had sent up pizzas.  So I had some.  I came home after this day and told Kyle that I needed a drink and a steak - so off we went for those.  A margarita, steak, fries, salad, and bread later, I came home and went to bed.  I prayed for peace for the family, I prayed for my own self control and that my soul could be renewed upon my waking.

Saturday I woke up for work and I was miserable.  I don't know if it was from all that food (likely), or whether it was still all of the emotions overcoming me (maybe), but I wasn't happy to be putting on my scrubs.  I did it anyway and made my stop at Starbucks and was on my way.  Luckily I had the cutest patient in the world and an easy assignment because in all honesty my mind wasn't 100% where I needed it to be to have been doing anything more taxing.  I signed the bereavement card to be sent to the family and as the day went on I felt more like myself.  I blared some Mumford & Sons for my drive home and was feeling better but made the stop at Chipotle on my way home for the next comfort meal.

Yesterday I continued feeling more like myself, but thought about all of my hard work that I had undone the past two days and I was upset with myself.  My body didn't know what the heck was going on between my head, my heart, and my stomach, and it didn't like it either.  Yet I neglected to pack my lunch, had pizza anyway, and said "screw it, you're off work tomorrow, and it's a new day and a new week to get things back to normal".  I'm all about a cheat meal, but the cheat day and in this case DAYS are unlike me. I've lost three grandparents since September and coped pretty well.  But this event shook me to my core.  While it's unfortunately part of the job, especially in the ICU world, it's not totally real until you are part of it.  I've dealt with death in the adult world, and I think we'd all agree it's often times more accepted of adults when they die.  I was in school still when I cared for a patient who died on my unit when I was a PCA and that was pretty sad to me. But I put him in his body bag and took him to the morgue and it was just part of life and my job.  I lost one patient in surgery and it was terrible being the one to go to the waiting room to talk to that family since things weren't going well and the surgeon couldn't leave.  THAT was awful.  I knew then I wasn't meant to be a doctor and I was absolutely meant to be the nurse holding that families hand and not the one delivering the news.  But in this case I was holding their hands, rubbing backs, being present for not only the family but for the staff who love the patients like family.  I held myself together until the final goodbyes between a parent and child and it shattered me.  The life left unlived is tragic.

It won't be the last time.  I know this.  But your first pediatric death is the one you won't forget, this I now know is true.

I am healing.  I am getting myself back together.  I will be okay.  I will never forget what I felt, and that is what's important.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Shoes.

Sunday when I ran the Heart Mini half marathon, I knew it would be the last time I ran in *the* shoes. 

Running shoes have a limited life span of a few hundred miles. It sounds like a lot, but considering in my 30 week training cycle I ran 560 miles, it's safe to say I earned my third and last pair at that time for such a long schedule.

I was sort of upset at first when I was fitted not only for a wide shoe, but a MENS wide shoe. No pretty colors, no bells and whistles, but they fit, I had zero blisters or black toenails the whole time I trained. I bought the same shoes again about halfway through as replacements, and ordered my third and current pair the week of my 20 mile run (and engagement!) and used them the last 2 weeks for my taper to break them in for marathon day. It's safe to say I'm pretty attached to these now women's size but-still-wide shoes. The perfect baby blue color to go with my favorite training capris. As I lost weight, my feet shrunk too - bonus!

Anywho, I knew these babies would carry me on my 26.2 mile journey of my life and I was relying on them to keep me going. They did just that, again blister free and with all my normal colored toenails intact.

I hadn't ran but maybe 10 times before my 10K two weeks ago and finished the race in these shoes. Two for two.

Then the first half marathon of my year was upon me and I ordered the new model of my current shoes - in wide, but in PINK! - and knew this would be their last race before being retired. I even got my first back of the ankle mark during the half and got a spot of blood on them, I think it signifies the battles we've run through. (Or for you Sox fans, I felt like Schilling!) 

I don't know that I've ever felt so strongly attached to shoes as I do these, but they brought me to the finish, more than once, and I'm greatful.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Heart Mini Half Marathon Recap.

Please hold your applause for my recap coming the actual day after the race. Shocking, I know!

As you knew from my Shamrock Shuffle post Saturday, I knew I was unprepared going into this half. I knew I'd finish, but it was going to be far from a PR. I also live on the fairly flat, northern part of Cincinnati and the downtown area is quite hilly which made me nervous.

We were out of town visiting Kyle's parents most of Saturday and got in and visited with my older brother who is staying with us for a few days to play in a big poker tournament down here. I headed to bed around 9 with a 5:30 alarm set for Sunday morning. Yes, it's early, but I get up for work at 4:30 so it wasn't too terrible. 

I woke up at 4:30 thanks to last weekends time change and was awake on and off til the alarm sounded and I hopped out of bed, ready to go! I had my outfit laid out and expected cold weather despite the previous two days being 55 and 65 degrees. I was met walking outside to 27 degrees with 20 mile per hour winds making the windchill in the low teens! I was glad to have asked for a new hat for Christmas that I wore. I ate my very first bagel since marathon morning in October as I made the 30 minute drive downtown.

I work downtown but not where the race was being held and am not down there enough to be completely familiar with parking garages, so I spotted a 26.2 sticker on the car in front of me and followed it right into a parking garage near the starting line - score! I saw port-a-potties and headed that way. There weren't many people in line, but the faces people were making walking out of them plus hearing there was no toilet paper in any of them made me decide to walk across the street to the Westin hotel and search for accommodations. The bathrooms had key card only access but there were enough ladies heading in and out that I was able to get in and feel better about finishing the race without any...complications :)

I waited in the warm lobby for about 20 minutes and headed out to the starting line. It was sort of emotional not only seeing all the people with shirts in memory of or in honor of those affected by heart disease and stroke, but so many teams and families of patients I've cared for out there as well. I remembered my own journey to the start line of my first half marathon 3 years ago (where I finished and insisted I'd NEVER do that again) and how my marathon was half of this and I just knew deep down I would finish this thing.

I placed myself right between the 2:30 and 2:45 pace groups considering how much better I did at the 10K than expected and thought I may again surprise myself. The national anthem was sung and the gun was fired...we were off!

I started a lot stronger than I thought despite the cold and rolling hills. I kept an 11:30ish average through mile 5 and then the biggest uphill of the course I allowed myself to walk up. I maintained a walk/run til mile 10 on the bridge over to Kentucky and I walked the last 5K of the race. In mile 11 my co-worker Denise caught up to me and we finished together! My quads and hamstrings were on fire but we were so close I just knew it would be over soon :) Around mile 9 when the 15K split off I had a moment where I wanted to turn and just finish the 9.3 miles instead of 13.1 - but Katy Perry's "Roar" came over my headphones at just the right time and I powered through. There's always that inclination to want to turn and finish short, but I'm always glad I didn't. Just like at the Columbus Marathon when I wanted to turn at the halfway point and didn't - so glad I listened to my heart and head and not my legs.

We rounded the last corner, started to the finish, running past the 1 photographer and smiling for the camera. My time was 2:50! My PR half is 2:43 and I ran Little Miami in August in 2:46 so I was more than pleased with how well I had done. We got our medals, stopped for a photo op in front of the finish line, and headed for chocolate milk and bananas and parted ways.

Overall, a great race despite the weather! Good amount of water stops and bathrooms on the course and the medals were nice. I didn't get to go to the expo but they had a Zumbathon Saturday and wish I could have been there for that! I'll be back next year, for sure.

Next up? The Flying Pig Half Marathon with Kelsey from The Go Girl Blog and Brittney from Run, Brittney, Run! I'm so excited to meet these ladies from Tennessee and I'm pretty sure if they lived closer we'd be known as the Three Amigos in no time. Can't wait!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Shamrock Shuffle 10K recap.

Did I mention how busy life has been? I think I did in my last post which was about 2 weeks ago if I remember right. Please accept my formal apologies for not hearing from me for so long :)

Last weekend I ran my first official race of 2014, the Shamrock Shuffle, in West Chester. Just down the street from IKEA (yes, it's too close for comfort - I could, and wish I did, live in IKEA!) it was a local race on a Saturday morning with an 8:30 start - perfect. I actually didn't find out about this race until Thursday of that week when my MOH Christina posted about doing the 5K. I then immediately called her a jerk and asked why I wasn't invited. She let me know they were still doing registrations and after a fabulous outside run I went and registered on the spot for the 10K. It was the first time I had run outside since we had a random warm day on February 1st and honestly the first I'd ran in awhile. I have a half marathon coming up TOMORROW that I'm no way in my best shape to run, so I wanted to do the 10K as a last resort training run. 

And while I'm being honest - I was thinking about it and I've never done a race that wasn't a half or full marathon. Seriously. I did the Color Me Rad a few years ago and it was run through a mall parking lot and I can guarantee it wasn't a full 5K and it wasn't timed so therefore not a race. Anyway, I thought it would be sort of refreshing knowing I'd only be running a little over an hour this time instead of several hours.

I got to the starting area with no difficulties and there was plenty of parking at local business offices. I was sort of worried about parking as the race information said there would be shuttles from some of the restaurant areas and there were more than 4500 people registered for the 5K, 10K, and the kids fun run. 

I met up with Christina just before I started as the 5K started 15 minutes after the 10K. I started off to the side about midway through the pack. The sun was shining and it was about 45 degrees - perfect race day conditions if you ask me! I started and just let my legs carry me. I looked at the course map and knew we'd be going into a housing development and that the course was a loop. What I didn't expect was the 300+ feet of a hill that felt monstrous to me (and the lady with the jogging stroller - you go girl! I offered to help her push it but she turned me down). After that, it was mostly downhill and I shaved 45 seconds off my average pace running a 9:58 mile (according to my watch, RunKeeper didn't agree)! My PR 10K time I set the week before the marathon is 1:11:38 and I ran this one in 1:12:58. Just a bit over a minute difference on hills and untrained legs versus in my best running shape on flat ground. I was proud and Christina finished a few minutes before me and ran out to finish with me.

I was disappointed there was no race bling and I had to drink Christina's water because I didn't see any but that was okay. The community came together and set up water stops in their driveways and that was awesome.

I feel better about tomorrow's half marathon and know I'll finish but am not going for a PR time on the hills I'm expecting by any means. I'm running the Heart Mini half marathon to benefit the American Heart Association and to honor my heart patients, big and small. Heart disease kills 1 in 3 people and 1 in 100 babies are born with congenital heart disease. It's my honor and privilege to care for these babies and hold the hands of my adult patients as they go to sleep in surgery. 

See you at the finish line! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - March Edition!

I know a lot of bloggers planning their weddings do a weekly "Wedding Wednesday", but I just don't think I have that much to say on a weekly basis between now and December about the planning, so I decided to try a monthly version!

At this point we've gotten a TON of the planning done, now it's just working our butts off to pay for it all!  Here's the run down of what we have done:

Venue: The Columbus Athenaeum for ceremony and reception.

Photographer: Erica Coffman of Erica Kay Photography will be doing both engagement and wedding photos for us!  She's a doll and I can't wait to work with her - I found her through Instagram of all places and was IN LOVE with her pictures.  We met with her just before our cruise and knew we had to have her!

Videographer - The fella's at Addvision will be capturing the moments as they happen and letting us replay some of our favorite moments after our day and for years to come with our family & friends with a  trailer teaser to share and the full day on HD DVD so we may never forget our vows, our friends and family on the dance floor and the way we looked during our first dance.  I debated heavily on the expense of the videographer but got a coupon for them via The Knot just before Christmas and saw it as a sign after drooling over the teaser videos for weeks online of other peoples weddings!

DJ - Columbus's own Mark Dantzer, formerly of WNCI 97.9 turned full time wedding DJ and podcast maker was on our vendor's approved list and I called him up and snatched him before the bridal shows started happening because I knew he wouldn't last.  I admitted to him I listened to him on the radio growing up and was having a bit of a fan-girl moment.. no big deal.

Officiant - Damian King will be performing our ceremony!  He was highly recommended on The Knot and since we don't belong to a church I wanted someone who will actually do a real ceremony and not just "I do", "I do" and it's over in 5 seconds.  Damian performs all types of weddings (multi-faith, non-denominational, etc) and I'm excited to have his experience and enthusiasm on our day.  We met with him and felt like old friends.

THE Dress! - As you all know, I said Yes! to the dress just a few weeks ago and went shopping in the Bridal District of Reading, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati.  I went to Bridal and Formal and had a fabulous experience.

Hair/Makeup - One of my bridesmaid's sister does hair, so she agreed to come to our hotel to do our hair!  We're working with January Adams, a licensed aesthetician, who will come to the hotel also for our makeup. Easy peasy!

We've met with our coordinator at the Athenaeum, Gina, and we've picked our bar selections, our decor, and colors.  She's going to be incredibly helpful and has been working and coordinating weddings at the Athenaeum for over 8 years.  They do all the set up, tear down, in-house catering, and just make it all work.  I'm so glad we went with them for the fact that I don't want my family, friends, and bridal party rushing around to set things up and have everyone stressing out on that day.  My goal is to relax, do as little as possible, and enjoy the day to the fullest and soak up every detail.

What's left?  Well, we need to choose the cake and flowers (also from the vendor list, so not high priority to find someone, but the cake is what Kyle is looking forward to most!), honeymoon location, registries, take engagement photos and make our save the date's and invitations.

The next thing on our To Do list is choose our Honeymoon location!  Since it will be mid-December, we think it would be best to do someplace more tropical but we're not big "sit on the beach" kind of people since I get so sunburnt!  I want to be warm but have options of things to do!  We're thinking of an all-inclusive somewhere (Jamaica? Punta Cana?) or a cruise but would love to go to Hawaii but can't stand the thought of being on a plane for a whole day each way of travel.  Suggestions are welcome!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My second Challenge!

After I got back from Orlando, I decided on doing my second Advocare 24 day challenge and really wanted to get others involved too.  I felt good when I came back and we had gotten good workouts in while I was gone but the scale said otherwise and I knew Operation Wedding Dress was ON.

So I put it out there to my friends and family on my personal Facebook and to my followers on Instagram and my Training Lindsay page on FB as well that I was doing a challenge and looking for 10 people to do it with me for a chance at a $250 CASH prize!  I was excited for others to be excited about it and I currently have 6 people in the group!  I am taking people who order through my site until March 9th to be considered for the prize and a few people have already started - one even on a Friday!  Boom!  You know, you don't always have to make changes on a Monday :)

So what do you have to do?  Order your 24 day Challenge kit here - and I'll send you the "rules" and another cute free-bee to use to help along the way!  Have questions? E-mail me at and we can chat about it. I weighed myself on day 5 (yesterday) and was already down 5 pounds!  I'm sticking to the plan and know I'll reach my goal of being in the 180's by the end of my challenge!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My love of Title Boxing & Orlando.

Holy shoot guys, it's been far too long since you've heard from me.  So much has happened that I don't even know where to start.

I've been meaning to write for 2 weeks about my Title Boxing classes, then about my trip to Orlando, now about my second 24 day challenge and group that I've got going on AND my new position as a Chloe + Isabel merchandiser AND the fact that my first 13.1 of the year is 13 days away.  Phew.

One. Thing. At. A. Time.

So.. Title Boxing!  Wow.. the best "power hour" I've ever been to!  Not that I was ever a big drinker but in this power hour, you can burn 1,000 calories. I was sold.

Your "First Shot" is free so I picked a 6AM class on Valentine's day and I was so glad I did!  The instructor was super nice and even helped me wrap my hands and got me some gloves to use.  The first 15 minutes are a warm up (but it was more like a total body workout!  Running laps around the rows of bags with intermittent burpees, squats, lunges, mountain climbers, etc) followed by 30 minutes of boxing on the big 100 pound hanging bags.  They do 8 rounds with breaks between to make up that 30 minute session.  The last 15 minutes are cool down and core work.  I've got the punching part down and the squats and running are no problem, but my core is WEAK.  Planks and side planks and flutter kicking let me know that. Phew!  My abs were sore for that whole weekend and then I went back on Monday for more, this time sporting my new pink gloves and scarlet and grey wraps.  I love the early morning classes offered, one location even offers a 5AM class and they also have kickboxing classes.  With one membership you can go to any location and there are several around here plus a few in Columbus when I go home to visit (Carrie - you're coming with me!).

I'm hoping to make it to at least one of these classes a week and ideally on my days off start with a morning class and get my Zumba on in the evening.  In a perfect world this would work out all the time but we'll see - it's my intention to get there!

I made it to boxing in the morning and Zumba at night on the Monday before I left for Florida last week so I was happy getting the week off on a good foot.  I attended the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Cardiology 2014 conference at the Disney Yacht Club & Beach Resort with a lot of other incredibly intelligent people working hard to better care for babies, children, and now adults who were born with congenital heart disease.  I have the coolest job.

The only negative was trying to get medical professionals to sit through several hours of lectures and presentations.  Some were excellent and very pertinent to my job but I'm used to being on my feet for 12+ hours a day and some of us got a bit stir crazy.  I did workout 3/5 days we were gone and even did my first Crossfit workout (called a WOD) with two of the other girls.  They also had amazing treadmills in the gym that allowed me to run through the trails in other countries virtually, however, it was hotter inside that gym than it was outside!  There was a loop outside that made up the Boardwalk area that was 0.8 miles around and there were lots of people out running on that too.  The Disney Princess Half Marathon was last weekend and I was lucky enough to meet 5 followers who recognized me while I was out and about on Disney property and in the hotel.  You guys are awesome!  I wish I had run the race and did have a possible opportunity but there were no transfers for registrations that weren't used.  Bummer!

Overall it was a great week with some great ladies, we learned a lot, had some great meals, got some workouts in, and I don't think I've drank that much coffee in my whole life as I did last week but who's counting? :)  The 80 degree weather was even much appreciated by my very pale skin (that did get sunburnt sitting outside for lunch) after this horrid winter we've had here in Ohio.

Did you run the Princess Half marathon?  What did you think?  Would you recommend a RunDisney experience?  Have you ever gone boxing before?  Did you enjoy it?