April 30, 2013

5K Linkup April 30, 2013


Good morning, friends!
It's time for an update on the 5K Spring Training Challenge!
Unfortunately, my update is that I got hurt, boo.  I'm pretty sure it happened last Tuesday when I was doing my butt exercises and I guess I got a little butt crazy because I woke up on Wednesday morning and my inner thigh/groin area was in a lot of pain.  I just thought it was from the squat challenge and that it was a sore muscle or something from working it.

So, that morning, I got up, got ready and I went out and ran 2.6 miles and it seemed like the pain went away.  I was so excited that I had the time to run and that I could go...I felt like a real runner.  I guess I still get excited about that.  Anyway, I went about my day afterwards, was a little sore, but actually ran that night, too and even ran in the rain!  When I woke up on Thursday morning, I could barely walk.  Again, I just thought it was sore muscles not an actual injury.  By the end of that night, I was in a WHOLE LOTTA pain and I finally accepted that I had actually hurt myself.  I was warned by my friend, Missy that I was to REST for a few days and take it easy.

Do you know what I do when someone tells me that I should rest?  I want to NOT rest.  So, I asked her, "What exactly does that mean?  No running?" and she said, "It means rest...as in try not to do much at all." and I said, "Like, not even walk??" and finally she conceded that easy walking might be okay.

Well...on Friday, I went out for my walk and I quickly realized that it was a BAD idea...and the worst part is that I didn't fully admit it to myself until I was about a mile out...which meant, I had to walk about a mile back...I'm obviously stubborn and can't admit weakness...is that a bad thing??  I know, I know, better to rest than to suffer a severe injury down the road.

SO, I had my first injury...and it sucked...and it sidelined me for the weekend and I still haven't run this week yet.  I plan to, though, tomorrow.  I feel great and I hope that I've given myself enough time to fully heal and that this little injury is behind me.  Because I have a race to train for!

Tomorrow, my buddy and I are going to do some sprint training.  Has anyone does this?  Apparently, it can really help when you're training.  Basically, you warm up for about 5-10 minutes with a jog, then alternate for 30 minutes of sprinting then jogging, then a 5-10 minute cool down.

I'll let you know how it goes!  Hope everyone has a great, injury-free, week!

April 25, 2013

Non-Scale Victories Linkup April 25, 2013

It's time for my favorite post of the week, Non-Scale Victories with Katie and Lex!  And this week, I have lots to share with you!
1)  I started serious strength training.  I've been doing a lot of research lately on different things I can do to not only lose weight but to start toning and gaining some more muscle definition; apparently hours and hours of cardio is NOT the answer.  If there was a tiara for Cardio Queen, I would own it.  I spend SO much time doing cardio as well as watching every calorie that goes in and out for so long,  and I've been just slowly losing...and many weeks, losing nothing at all.  It's SO frustrating.  So, I took to the Internet to do some research and what I found was pretty eye opening.  Well, for me anyway.  Cardio alone will not melt the pounds away.  We need to incorporate more strength training into our routines AS WELL AS, limit cardio time.  I'm not saying not to attend your favorite Zumba class because believe me, no one is going to take that away from me.  But on days when you aren't doing cardio, do some strength training.  This could include something like Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred or kettlebell training.  Just add some muscle-building into your routines.  Now, I know you could go online and find an article supporting any type of subject you could imagine...but for me, I've been at a standstill for awhile now, and I'm going to try to see where this strength training thing goes.  I learned that even resting muscle helps to burn calories.  Here's a few articles I found on limiting cardio or including aerobic AND strength training:
If you have a bit more time and like graphs and math equations:  http://www.precisionnutrition.com/rr-cardio-vs-weights
2)  After doing my research, and the feeling I had after an amazing run last week, I'm putting my scale to rest.  No more weighing every week.  I'm not even going to weigh every other week.  I am making a commitment to only weigh once a month.  And that might even change if I continue to see results.  One takeaway from the second article above is that scale weight is NOT precise:  Weight is not fat mass.  Check out this photo below from that article:
fat vs muscle Research Review: Is cardio better than weights for fat loss?
I am so sick and tired of the scale dictating my emotions.  I LOVE the feeling I have after a great workout and the excitement of smaller clothes, and I want to feel that good all the time...which leads me to NSV #3...
3)   I went shopping and I'm officially in the next smaller size - 16!  Since about Fall and through Winter, I've been stuck between 18 & 16, which in the big scheme of life is great...but NOT fun when you need new clothes!  I also took my measurements which I haven't done in almost a year and the difference was pretty profound!  I have lost a total of 13.25" off various parts of my body since June of 2012...guess where the biggest loss came from?  My girls!!  How frustrating is that??  I did NOT need to lose from that area, one bit!  Another cool part of this is that it was super cool last week and my Hubs had a sweatshirt in his truck so I grabbed it and not only was it loose, I could zip it up!  THAT hasn't happened in 18 years...just sayin'.
4)  My last NSV happened just yesterday.  I had a Dr's appointment which was a followup to labs we did a few weeks ago and everything stayed about the same as last year.  Which is good according to him, but bad according to me.  I had hoped that I was doing so well that I could be off the cholesterol medicine altogether.  My cholesterol levels were good, though...they went down where they were supposed to and my good cholesterol went up, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear.  I almost cried actually and I think he could tell because he all of a sudden came to stand right in front of me and said, “Jenn, you are MY success story…do you know that?  I tell people about you.  What you have done to change your life is amazing and you need to know that.  We cannot help genetics, and it sucks that you were dealt this little bump, but you are on your way and you can’t even spend one more minute thinking of this.  I DO think that if everything keeps going the way it is, this time next year, we will be having a different conversation.  Everything that you are doing to get healthy is working!  I am not concerned one bit and you shouldn't be either.”  So that made me feel much better...He even suggested that I write a book.  Funny, but I don't see that happening.

So there, you have it, my NSVs for the week.  Not a bad week!

April 23, 2013

5K Linkup - April 23, 2013

Hello lovelies!!  It's time for the 5K Challenge Linkup with Katie and Kim!  I'd like to thank them both for encouraging all of us to do this little thing because it has honestly changed me so much.
Well, it's official:  yesterday, I registered for my race - AHHHH!!  Sh*% just got real.  I think I was actually the first person to register; I guess I'm THAT excited to do this.  Even though every time I think about it, my tummy does a little lurch.
I also have another accomplishment from training this past week.  On Friday, I ran 3.8 miles in 48 minutes!  I really don't care about my time at this point because my goal is really just to run the whole thing so having two of my own 5K's under my belt is really beginning to boost my confidence.
When I started off on Friday, I just gave myself permission to do whatever I felt like doing.  In other words, didn't go with the mindset that I was going to run 1 mile, 2 miles or 3 miles; I was just going to run.  So that's what I did.  One of the things I've learned about myself during my training is that I am a morning runner.  I have tried numerous times to get some distance in an after work run and I just haven't been able to do it.  At about 1 mile, I just peter out.  So, it was a beautiful morning, kind of cool so I just went out.  I did a quick warm up of about .3 miles and then started running in my neighborhood with no real plan about where to go.  I have a lot of hills in my 'hood so I sort of tried to avoid those, but when it was inevitable, I just took them...sloooowlllyy.  My phone gives me updates at every half mile and I was a little surprised that it said that I was averaging 4 mph because that used to be my fast run; I thought that was kind of cool.  
I do have to admit, though, that at about mile 1.5, my little RunKeeper chick came on to tell me how far I'd gone and I thought to myself..."This succcckkkksss..."  I couldn't believe that I had been running for 17 minutes or so and I still had halfway to go.  I wasn't in pain, nor did I feel like I needed to stop so the only thing I had to keep doing was to keep running.  And that just made it suck more.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that in that moment, I honest to goodness just thought, "How in the HELL do people run a marathon or even a half marathon??  It takes for - e - ver!"  But, I sucked it up and stomped that whiny puss down and just kept on going...and I did it, I ran past my 5K mark and by that time, I wasn't at my house, so I just kept on running 'til I got home.  And when I looked at my phone and saw that it was 3.8 miles, I literally laughed out loud.  I mean, how in the heck does a chubby chick like me run 3.8 miles without dying?  Well, I've lived to tell about it so it can be done.
When I was done, I felt amazing.  I burst into my house and yelled to my dear Hubs:  "THREE POINT EIGHT, BABY!"  What I'm about to describe to you became my A-HA moment of the week.  I felt as good about that run as I do when I see a loss on my scale.  Honest to goodness feeling of euphoria.
YES, it was that good.  And that is why I made a huge decision (for me, because I'm addicted) about the scale that day which I will expound upon on Non-Scale Victory Thursday...so check back!

April 16, 2013

5K Linkup, April 16, 2013


Hi everyone,

This seems an obviously fitting time to say how sad I am for the folks of Boston and those lives that were lost.  What a terrible, horrible thing to have happened at a such a wonderful event.  The timing, the cowardice of those who are responsible - it just breaks my heart.  My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost and with the people of that great city.

With that, I'm dedicating today's 5K Linkup post to them.  Last night when I ran, I ran for those spectators and the marathon runners and everyone involved. I left my house with tears in my eyes and as I walked and ran, I did it with sadness in my heart but as a tribute to them.  Through strength and coming together good things will rise, I believe that truly.

This past weekend was a big one for me.

I have some huge news to share and I'm just going to get right into it.  I ran my own 5K.  I did it, I did it, I really, really did it!!

I started out with the plan to just try to get to two miles since last week I was able to complete 1.6 miles.  So my buddy and I did our thing and we were running along and then we decided to take a different route through this quarry area near our houses.  Well, it lead us back into a different part of our neighborhood which was kind of cool because we tend to stick to a set area.  And when I looked at my Runkeeper, I realized that all of a sudden, we had hit 2 miles - of course, I was very excited about that and we even high-fived!  Technically, I could have stopped there, right??  But it was on a decline and I thought to myself "Why stop now when I'm running downhill??  That's my favorite kind of running!"  So, we kept running and had a plan to stop at a point that would have brought us to about 2.5 miles.  But that put us at the bottom of a hill so we went the opposite way and by that point we had to go back through that quarry.  I just kept saying to myself, "Um, you planned to TRY to get to 2 miles and look at you, you're almost at 3 miles now - DON'T stop!  You could freaking ass do this, Jenn!!"  So, I did it...we got back to my house and I had run 3.35 miles in 49:35.

It was pretty awesome.

A cool part about it was that I didn't even feel like I NEEDED to stop while we were out!  I even ran a little faster than I have been averaging - I guess I was just so excited??

But the greatest part???  When I was much heavier - and back then my thinking about running was that it was the stupidest thing EVER - I used to have these very vivid dreams of just running.  Not running FROM anything or TO anywhere, just running and loving it.  Very Forrest Gump-y, right? That's the feeling that I felt on Saturday...an honest-to-goodness dream come true...I was runn-ing.

And it was amazing.  Today, I'm proud to say, "I'm a runner."

April 11, 2013

Non-Scale Victories Linkup April 11, 2013

'Allo, Loves!
It's my favorite post of the week!  Let's talk about our Non-Scale Victories; those little triumphs we achieve throughout the week that don't have anything to do with that darn scale!
My victories are actually kind of silly, this week - but I want to share them anyway.
It seems we went from Winter to Summer and no Spring in between here in the Mid-Atlantic.  A few weeks ago, I was wearing earmuffs and gloves to run and now I am trying to wear as little as possible to avoid dying of heat, while also trying to save the public's eyes from burning when they see me...it's a very fine line.
Anyway, with the warm weather, comes open-toed shoes and sandals.  One of my victories this week was slipping on a pair of strappy sandals that were always a bit tight on me and this year, they were loose even on the last little hole!  In fact - and I'm not so sure how I feel about this because I have some amazing shoes (my collection is over 100 pairs!) - ALL of my shoes are now too big, boo...I've gone from a size 7 to 6.5!  I started noticing this a few months ago because my shoes kept flipping off my heel.  I guess that means going out to buy some new ones, but who has the budget for that??  Well, I'll figure out a way, don't you worry about that.
Another victory was having a few of my neighbors cheer me on while I ran by them.  I know that's so little, but it felt really, really good!  And it felt even better to smile and wave at them all casual-like vs. choke on my own breath and hope they don't notice that I barely had the strength to carry my iPhone, let alone lift my 2,000lb dead weight of an arm in an attempt to acknowledge them.
And finally, the silliest victory came early in the week when my running buddy complimented me on my...ahem...booty.  Yup, my butt - I don't know why, but that was probably my favorite little victory this week because I don't have many admirable body parts but that's one I know I can work on.  Annnnddd, since obviously someone other than my hubby was looking at it, I figured I better ramp those workouts up gotta get firming it up!  So I did lotsa badonk exercises this week and this booty is sore!
What were your NSV's this week???
Don't forget to check out today's recipe at A Healthy MakeoverStuffed Spaghetti Squash, yum!!

April 9, 2013

5K Linkup April 9, 2013


It's 5K Challenge time!

I was worried about this post this week...the reason being is that it's been quite a struggle for me to improve the past few times out and I was getting discouraged.  And I mean, pissed off-crying-discouraged.  I am in Week 5 of the C25K, and it was kicking my ass.  I could not do it and it made me angry.

I had no idea what kind of a competitor I am and it's not that I want to beat anyone else...I want to beat ME.  I have found this inner beast within myself since I began my journey and I can't believe how strong she is.  Mentally and physically I am not the same person that I was when I began 17 months ago.

Then came this challenge...if you ever want to know what you're capable of, begin running.  Is that weird to say??  Honest to goodness, in my case, it is true.  In the past, if anyone asked me if I wanted to run, I would recoil violently and squish up my face in disgust and say, "NO!!  Why in the HELL would I EVER want to do that??  Have you ever actually looked at a runner??  No runner EVER looks like they are having fun!!"  And following those statements, I would go on a rant about how bad I'VE HEARD running could be for your body - your joints get all jacked up and seriously, WHY would anyone want to just RUN?!!

Now?  Well, I'm a runner.  I can officially say this because just last night, I ran a WHOLE mile straight...in fact, I ran 1.1 miles, thankyouverymuch.

But here's the cool thing...I was getting discouraged this last week because I was trying to do too much too fast.  Instead of staying on my C25K path, I decided that I could just do what I wanted to and even though I didn't have any distance under my belt, somehow I thought it would be pretty badass to try to shave off some time.  THIS was a bad idea.  I mean B.A.D.  I couldn't do it.  I was dying after just a little distance.  My heart rate was so high that I couldn't catch my breath and it was awful, I HATED it.  I seriously began doubting if I'd be ready for my June 1st race.

Then, one of my training buddies sent me this great article from RunnersWorld(dot)com and it MAGICALLY changed things!!  Basically, what the article states is that if you are running, you should be running at only 55-65% of your maximum heart rate.  And I wasn't...I was running very damn NEAR my maximum heart rate and that's why it was so hard.  What did all of this mean for me?  I had to slow things down.  If you have been following my 5K Challenge journey, you know that I like to call what I do "wogging" - a combo of walking & jogging because I'm not at all fast.  NOW, I had to go even SLOWER.  But guess what?  It freaking worked.

So for the next few weeks, I'm going to work my training this way.  And THEN I'll see if I can work on shaving some time off - right now, I'm not going to worry about how long it's going to take.  My whole plan all along was just to be able to run the whole thing - I have no idea where I got it up my butt to try to do it fast.  But let me tell you, I have tossed that idea right out the window.

BTW - that mile felt amazing - my first runner's high - yayyyyy!

I love this quote; it's SO me and damn if I'm not proud to shout it to the world:

April 4, 2013

Non-Scale Victories Linkup - April 4, 2013

Hello lovelies!!
It's my favorite blog post of the week - the one where we get to talk about all of the healthy things we did this week that are NOT scale-related!
I'm usually a whole lot better at writing these things down, but I didn't have time this week so I'm just winging this one.
First off, my entire week has really been about training for the 5K I'm doing on June 1st.  On Saturday, I set out to run and ran a whole .9 miles, but since then I haven't been able to do it again.  I'm kind of bummed about that, actually.
Right now, I'm in a state of excitement and despair because I keep thinking to myself, "Wow, you're really running!"  Then, separately:  "How the EFF am I going to do this??  I can't even run a #$%@&% mile yet."  Obviously, the excitement part comes from just being able to run at all since I never thought I would EVER be able to.  My despair comes in because I know that it takes time, but up to this point, I've been able to do a little bit more each time and twice now, I've tried to run the whole mile and I can't.  I've heard that running can be a huge mental thing and right now, I can't get my mental state to a place where I'm not chastising myself and I really need to.  I'm running with a buddy who is also in a whole lot better shape that I am and even though she's not a runner either, she can run much farther than I can.  We stop to walk because of me.  It's hard for me to feel okay with her trying to "stick by me" because I HATE feeling like I am holding anyone back.  I've always preferred to work out on my own and in times like these, I feel it even more.  I don't think that's helping my mental state, either.  I keep telling her that she doesn't have to keep my pace, that I want her to try to run it better for herself; this is her race, too.
Okay, those are my complaints and here are the good parts about what I AM actually proud of.  Last week, my best time was 5 minutes; I could sustain my pace for 5 minutes and not feel like dying...this week, I was able to run a full 1/2 mile without stopping and yesterday I did that THREE times.  It is definitely getting better...but I have no patience, clearly.
Separately, for Easter, I did not overdo it - don't get me wrong, I ate some damn yummy Easter dinner, but I didn't go over my calories for the day so I'm okay with it.  I also did so much better for the weekend as a whole than I normally do.  And all I had for Easter candy was about 15 jelly beans for the week.  Pretty good, right??
I hope you all had some great NON-Scale victories of your own this week!

April 2, 2013

5K Linkup April 2, 2013


Time for this week's Spring Training 5K Challenge with Katie and Kim!

Wow...what a difference a week makes!  You may recall that last week's Week 4 of C25K required me to run for two 5-minute sessions - I'm happy to say that I completed Week 4 and I'm here to report about it!

But guess what I did this weekend??  My race buddy challenged me and instead of running when someone else told me to, she said to try to just run until I just had to stop.  In other words, don't look at my heart rate monitor, don't listen for my the nice C25K lady to say, "Begin walking", just run until I can't do it anymore and let's see where we get!  I have to admit, I was scared.  She had just run excitedly to my house not a few hours before to say that she ran a whole mile without stopping.  This is the same girl who hates working out, and has never even WALKED a 5K let alone run one.  How in the world was I going to do this??  I almost wanted to cry from the challenge to tell you the truth.  Here I was moving on to Week 5 in my training and I hadn't even run longer than 5 minutes straight...and THAT was hard!  I didn't even think about how long it would take me to run one mile.  The thing about my race buddy is that she is SO supportive...she's been supportive throughout my whole entire journey...and she was willing for me to set the pace, and we'd do whatever I could do; no pressure for me to keep up with her (clearly she was the expert having just run it!).

So, we set out...and I started wogging...and then I kept on wogging...and wogging...

I didn't look at my monitor, I didn't listen for the nice lady, I just found a comfortable pace and I ran.  I felt so good!  I didn't feel like I needed to stop and even when I hit a little incline, I slowed my pace (*cough cough* if you can call it a pace...) and kept on going.  My buddy said to me at one point, "How are you doing?  You good??"  I can only grunt and make guttural noises when I wog, so I grunted an affirmative.  As we rounded a bit in our track, my buddy said, "Let's just go to this stop sign up here and then we'll stop....how are you feeling?  You feeling good?"  Another grunt from me.  Then she said, "Jenn, I can't wait for you to see where you are when you finish....you are going to be so happy with yourself."  Well, that just made me want to get to that damn stop sign!!  SO, I did...I got to the stop sign...and then she said, "LOOK at your phone!!  See how far you went!!!"  SO, I looked...and wouldn't you know, the dang phone said that I had run .9 miles in 11mins 30secs...?!?  What??!!!  Then my buddy said, "A mile would just be up this little hill...you almost ran a MILE!"  In truth, I don't feel like I could have run up the little hill, even as excited as I was to have run as far as I did...I was dying by the time I got to the stop sign!  But still - the feeling was amazing...and my buddy, she was so proud of me!

So of course when you've accomplished something so huge, you want more, right?  Last night, I set out to do the exact same thing as well as add a little bit more of a challenge.  Strangely, I couldn't do the whole first .9 miles like I did on Saturday - I'm wondering if any of my blog friends know if that's normal?  I just couldn't catch my breath and it was HARD.  However, I did run/walk for a total of 4.2miles....and at the end of it I received this from my handy Nike+Running App...it feels sorta like a little medal of honor:

So my goal for this week:  I'm going to get to 1 mile - I can just taste it!

How did my fellow Spring Challenge buddies do this week?

Be sure to stop by my recipe blog, A Healthy Makeover, and follow me there, too!  Yesterday's recipe is below:

Thanks for stopping by!