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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Feelings about goal weight

When we last met (ok, not really since I had to brag about my 10K PR this weekend but just go with me) I said that I wanted to think about hitting goal before I actually blogged about it.  For something that has taken me nearly three years to accomplish you'd think I'd have a lot to say and that I'd be prepared to say it.  I've been thinking about it for the past week and the best I've come up with is... WOW!  I thought I'd summarize my weight loss journey and wrap it all up in a nice bow for you fine folks but I realize that is a little silly since I've been blogging about my journey from the beginning.

Instead let me share with you some very random thoughts.  When I started on this weight loss journey I never thought about how things would change and differences that I would notice.  These are generally a thought that lasts all of a second but they kind of make me chuckle.

  1. My pants pockets are so much smaller (as are my pants, obviously)
  2. I used to be able to reach the pedals in the car with the seat all the way back so Dan and I never had to adjust them.  Now I can't reach the pedals and I have to move the seat up pretty far.  I usually forget to  move the seat back when I am done driving and Dan ends up trying to fold himself into the car the next time he drives it
  3. My feet are narrower but I keep getting bigger running shoes - seriously THAT needs to stop
  4. Clothes are smaller (obviously) and putting them into suitcases/dresser drawers is kind of comical
  5. My fingers/hands have shrunk but I hadn't realized my wrists would shrink too
  6. I can sit in any chair without worrying about getting bruises on the outsides of my thighs from the arms of the chair
  7. I was never into dresses/skirts before but now I sort of enjoy wearing them
What random thoughts do you have that make you chuckle?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

RACE RECAP: Broiler Dairy Days Fun Run 10K

A few weeks ago Dad mentioned that there was a fun run in Arcadia on Memorial Day Weekend.  I found a little information about it online (cost, time, etc..) and asked some questions on Facebook and found out more information (course options, registration info etc..) and decided to make the trek home.  The fun run offered either a 2 mile loop or a 10K loop.  I thought I was running 5 miles with my team on Saturday so the 10K would be my race.  Then I found out I'd read my training plan wrong and we were, in fact, running 10 miles on Saturday.  I began to question whether I'd be able to run an additional 6.2 miles on Sunday but was going to at least try.  

First, the 10 miles on Saturday was on a blissfully flat course and I got to spend some quality time running with some great people.  I'd considered cutting the run short to save my legs for Sunday but also knew that mentally I needed to have a good long run before heading into the taper before my June 8 half marathon.  So, I logged the miles and then spent the rest of the day driving to Arcadia/floating on my long run high.  Upon arriving in Arcadia I spent a few hours chatting with Mom and Dad before laying out my race clothes and getting some of the best pre-race sleep I've ever gotten.  

The only race bib I've pinned to the INSIDE
of my Team Challenge singlet.  I was afraid
I'd lose it on the course!
The registration and race start/end were held at the high school and while there was no pre-registration for the race there was plenty of time to fill out a short form, grab my bib, t-shirt and use an actual bathroom (no port-a-potties!) before heading out to line up for the start.  The course was an out and back route marked with cones and arrows on the road.  After asking the question on Facebook I knew generally where we'd be running and didn't think it'd be very hilly.  Considering my average elevation loss/gain is about 10 feet this course is what I'd consider HILLY at a 255 foot gain/loss.  

After a few words from the race and fest officials, we counted down from 10 and then we were sent off on our way.  I stupidly tried to keep up with the front of the pack not realizing that most of the runners were apparently running the 2 mile loop.  It took me awhile to back off on my pace, plus we were running down hill right from the start, but I finally found a pace that was comfortably hard.

Mile 1:  8:14
Mile 2:  9:10
Mile 3:  9:20

We'd gotten close to the half way point and I still hadn't seen any runners coming back.  It was at that moment that I realized that there weren't that many people running the 10K!  I tried to hold a steady pace but going into Mile 3 we were running down hill and Mile 4 was a painfully slow uphill climb.  I considered walking a few times but just kept hearing Steve (Coach B's husband) in my head when he scolded me for walking a couple of Barrington hills the week before my half earlier this spring.  I knew he was right then and he was still right now so I dropped my arms and my shoulders and tried to take a few deep breaths and just kept pulling my way up the hill.

Mile 4:  9:44
Mile 5:  9:30

Right before I had to run up the last hill
There is a 50/50 shot that I was cursing at this point
Miles 5 and 6 were mostly small rolling hills or completely flat.  There was a little head wind but it was tolerable.  As I turned the last corner and headed back towards the school I saw Mom and Dad standing and cheering for me.  That was the best place for them to be because I was just ready to head back up the last hill.  I'm pretty sure I was still running but it felt so dreadfully slow.  I just wanted it to be over at this point. There were two women at the top of that hill that were cheering all the runners on and that was amazing.  If anyone from Arcadia is reading this and knows those women tell them they are AWESOME!!

There was a slight bend in the road and I could see the finish.  I found a good solid kick for that final push - my Garmin said I was running a 7:XX/mi for a brief time!  I crossed the finish line and felt good.  Exhausted but good.  

Mile 6:  9:45
Mile .2:  2:36
Official time:  58:16 - and a new PR!

However even a new PR could not delay the muscle soreness as I could almost immediately feel the hills and total weekend mileage in my quads and hamstrings.  I walked a little before laying down in the grass to stretch which helped a little bit.

My cousin, Mel, was a champ and also ran the 10K.  I had wanted to go back and finish with her but that last hill (and possibly the 10 miles from the day before) kicked my butt.  I managed to meet her with about a quarter of a mile to go (all flat) and ran in with her.  She finished like a beast cutting 20 minutes off her training time from Wednesday!  Way to go, Mel!

All in all this was a fun race.  For the $20 registration fee I received a t-shirt, free chicken dinner, and there were two water stops along the way.  Plus it was fun to race in my hometown and get to spend time with family and catch up with friends.  I'd definitely run this race again!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Product Review: Designer Whey

If you've been reading this blog for more than eight seconds you'll know that weight loss has been a struggle. Especially over the last few months.  I mentioned awhile ago that I was increasing, and more importantly  monitoring the amount of,  my lean protein intake.  And then?  The scale started moving again - I lost weight.  It was around this time that I found out that the fabulous Dr. D (who fixed my cranky IT band) was also an expert in nutrition.  When I explained about my protein intake he thought (but couldn't say for sure without further studies) that I was consuming too many grams.  So I backed off and the weight loss stalled again.

I decided to increase the protein again - especially since I am nearing the end of half marathon training I think that my muscles need all the help to recover that they can get.  However, if you've ever tried to increase and monitor your protein intake while also staying under your daily PointsPlus target (or caloric goal) you'll know that this is a very difficult needle to thread.  When I was talking about this with Coach B she suggested that I might need to add a protein powder to my diet.  At first I was skeptical... I mean I know a lot of people do it but I assumed that all protein powders would cost a lot of PointsPlus values.

Box full of deliciousness!
It was also at this point that Dan requested I pick up some chocolate protein powder.  I purchased a can of Designer Whey, as requested, and let him go crazy.  I tried it and thought that it wasn't bad but still assumed that it would be a high PointsPlus value.  Then I took the 18 seconds to calculate and found out that 1 scoop was only 2 PointsPlus.  It was at that moment that Dan and I started fighting over who was making the best protein shakes.

When offered the opportunity to review a whole lot of products from Designer Whey I definitely jumped at it!  When I received the box of (new to me) products I was shocked at all of the products they sent for me to review.  I hadn't had any of these products before so I was definitely intrigued to try them out.

The next morning I cracked open the White Chocolate protein powder and mixed it with coffee and cherries (my usual combo) and it was good but I definitely prefer the chocolate because it has a richer flavor.  The same goes for the Vanilla - it's not that I didn't like them I just prefer the richness of the chocolate.

A few days later Dan and I were planning on hitting the gym at the same time so we chilled the two pre-made shakes and popped them open after that.  They tasted good but I usually end up putting frozen fruit in mine and so I like the texture that my shakes have.  However, I am considering getting more of these to take with me to races so that I know what I'm refueling with.

Another product I received was Protein2Go which are individual packets used to flavor water.  I love having a shake after working out so I mixed the berry flavor Protein2Go with frozen berries and some water and it was AMAZING!!  Each packet contains 10 grams of protein and only 50 calories!  Plus it was fruity and refreshing - perfect for after a hard run.

The protein bars were a surprise to me.  In the box I received 3 varieties, Peanut Butter Crunch, Triple Chocolate Crunch and Chocolate Caramel Crunch.  I'm not generally a big fan of protein bars because they are generally high in PointsPlus value for what you get so I was a little skeptical to try these.  However, when we tried the Peanut Butter Crunch bars I didn't care what the PointsPlus value was - it was DELICIOUS!  Plus each bar has about 160-170 calories and 10 grams of protein!  Dan said it tasted like a crunchy peanut butter cup.  I'm pretty sure I'll be hiding the rest of those bars so that he doesn't eat any of them!

All in all I think this was the best package I've ever gotten.  I mean being able to get in all the protein I need and having it be delicious?  Excellent.  You should go out and get some of these products.  Seriously.  Do it, now.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

And finally...

I have thought of writing this post for nearly three years.  Now that it's time I'm not entirely sure what to say, so for now... check out the new bling.  The star means GOAL!!!!
This happened!

It started like this:

Along the way these things happened:

Eagle River 5K (my first race) with my sister, Brenda
Walk to support canine cancer research with Sheri & Bri

Running with Jen
Goofing for the camera
Meeting Corey & Anna
Met some amazing friends
More racing with Brenda
Hiking on Matanuska Glacier in Alaska

Seriously awesome biking in Alaska

Training with this amazing woman, Coach Barbara
She said she'd get me across the finish line - and she did (best photo ever, by the way)

Sharing my story at Weight Watchers
Another running photo - cause this race was AWESOME!

More later...

Monday, May 13, 2013

RACE RECAP: Journey's 5K

The Start/Finish
This weekend we drove back across the cheddar curtain so I could run the Journey's 5K in Eagle River, Wisconsin.  I first completed this race back in 2011 and again last year.  I was very excited to get back out on this course.  I was especially delighted to have Mom, Dad and Dan all there to cheer me on.  I awoke to a cool 30ish degrees and strong winds.  I knew it'd warm up a little bit and once I started running I would warm up so I dressed in shorts, t-shirt and my Team Challenge singlet.  Then I threw on a sweatshirt to stay warm.

Here we go!

Once we got to Eagle River I jogged over to pick up my packet.  I love small town races where I can walk up a half hour before the race and pick up my packet without having to stand in line forever (same with the port-a-potty lines).  Though I was disappointed when they said that the only size shirts they had were large and extra large.  If you're going to ask me what size shirt I want during registration then you should be able to provide me that size when I pick up my packet.  Oh well...

Course Map
My plan was to wear my sweatshirt before the race and then hand it off to Dan but as I started to run I decided to keep it on because I was still cold and worried about the wind.  The narrowest part of the race is the start and while I tried to line up in the middle of the pack but I still spent a lot of energy (and time) trying to get around walkers and slower runners.  I got to see Mom, Dad and Dan before turning to head back into the woods.

As I headed up the first "hill" (total elevation gain/loss was about 20-28 feet) I remember thinking that in 2011 I hated these "hills" and that today I barely noticed the inclines!  I still had a lot of bobbing and weaving to do and I nearly got punched in the face by a little kid who'd suddenly stopped and threw her arms up in the air.

I would randomly check my watch and I felt like my pace was adequately difficult for this being a race.  There was a part of my brain that told me to slow down.  First, because I was running MUCH faster than I'd anticipated and I figured that I wouldn't be able to maintain this pace for the duration, even if it is only 3 miles!  Secondly, even if I did maintain the pace that everyone would be in the coffee shop when I crossed the finish line (it happened to my sister in 2011) so I'd slow down (for about 2-3 breaths) and then I was right back at the same pace.

Mile 1:  8:50
Mile 2:  8:52

I neared the half way point/water stop and realized that I still hadn't seen anyone on the way back yet.  This made me feel awesome!!  I made the turn and started heading back and I felt great.  I was looking ahead of me and picking people that I wanted to pass and I'd drop my arms and pull past them.  It felt absolutely amazing and as soon as I saw that we were headed down the straightaway to the final turn I took off my sweatshirt.  I figured that in case Mom, Dad and Dan missed my finish that the official photographer would capture me crossing the finish line (my bib was covered up with my sweatshirt) so I kept running and tied the shirt around my waist.

Then I made that final turn and started to head across the bridge when I saw Dan - but he was walking away from me so I yelled to him.  He turned around and said "Oh Sh!t, you're going too fast!" but he managed to get a few photos.  I tried to find a good solid kick for the finish.  I crossed the finish line, crossed my hand over my heart and knew that I left it all out there.

Mile 3:  8:41
Mile .1:  7:19

This was the first year they offered space blankets - which was REALLY nice given how cold it was.  I took the blanket, my medal and had Dan snap a few finish line photos before grabbing water and snacks.  I stopped to check if they posted results and saw that unofficially I'd finished 6th in my division!

Official Race Results
Overall:  69 out of 330
Division:  6 out of 24
Gender: 27 out of 217
Time:  27:52
Pace:  8:58

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's Beautiful?

Full Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Under Armour through FitFluential

A couple of months ago I was asked to come speak at my Weight Watchers meeting location as part of the Open House.  They had three members who have been successful on the program come and tell their story and I was THRILLED to be part of the program.  While I was telling my story a few photos were snapped and I'd sort of been thinking about what to do with them because they are kind of dramatic... and then I read a post that I published back in 2011 about going through clothes that were now too big.  I'd said that I wanted to have a private "look how much weight I've lost" moment with them.  It wasn't quite so private since I did it in front of a crowd but it's still shocking...

Yes, those are pants that I actually wore prior to joining Weight Watchers

It got me to think... now what?  I realize that I am not at goal yet (a little over 5 pounds away) but I want to think ahead and set my expectations.  There are things about my body that I don't like and I look at myself in the mirror and wonder what other people think.  I question whether some clothes is appropriate on me or not.  I mean, do people notice that my legs are very jiggly when I'm running or biking?  Does anyone think that the sleeves on that shirt are too short and it shows off my batwing arms?

Now, don't get me wrong there are certain parts of my body that I've started to come to terms with.  I will continue to work out and push myself but at some point some of it won't change.  The reality is that for 30+ years I abused my body with food and drink and it compensated by continually growing and that isn't going to go away without surgery.  I have begun to notice (it also helped when my fabulous chiropractor commented on my hamstring muscle definition) that my legs are pretty muscular and they've gotten me through half marathons, glacier treks and more!  I am beginning to love them.

I've also been spending more time strength training and can start to see baby biceps and while I still feel completely weak in my upper body I know that muscles are beginning to develop and while I may never have perfect arms they are mine.  They "pull" me through miles when my legs start to tire so that I can finish those long runs.

This is all my way of saying that as part of my partnership with Fitfluential I am thrilled to be taking part in the Under Armour #WhatsBeautiful campaign for the second year in a row and over the next several weeks/months I want to really learn to appreciate my body.  

I am really hoping you'll join me and we can encourage each other to reach and exceed our goals.  I know that having the support of friends, both in real life and via social media, as well as family and teammates has really helped me succeed in the last three years, so let's keep it going.  To join the What's Beautiful Campaign.  Once you've created your profile you can also join my team so that we can really support each other.  I'd also encourage you to ask your friends and family to join in because reaching our goals is way more fun when done with others rather than alone.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Race-aversary

It was THREE years ago that my sister, Brenda, convinced me to make one of the best decisions of my life.  Saturday will mark the third anniversary of my participation in the Journey's 5K Race in Eagle River, Wisconsin.  I can't help but be tremendously thankful to Brenda for the encouragement to start my journey to being more active because without her I know I wouldn't have (among other things):
Yeah!  More Race Photos!!

  • Lost an additional 118.2 pounds
  • Completed an additional 22 races of varying lengths
  • Met some of the greatest friends I could ever imagine - my #TeamChallenge teammates
That first race was hard - it was cold and rainy and this was LONG before I knew anything about wicking/dry-fit clothes.  I completed that race wearing layers of cotton everything!  From a short-sleeved t-shirt and long sleeved t-shirt, yoga pants, and socks!  I topped it all off with a fleece sweatshirt, winter hat and gloves.  Brenda (who was running the 5K) and I stopped at a Walgreens for pre-race bathroom needs and on the way out we grabbed two rain ponchos.  There is nothing like sweating your way through all that cotton clothes and wearing, essentially, a plastic bag over yourself to hold in all the sweat/heat!  

It didn't matter, the course was nice - imagine country roads winding through the most gorgeous northern Wisconsin woods - though hillier than I was used to.  My goal was just to finish and while I didn't doubt that I would I was terrified at how long it would take me.  I walked that day for 57 minutes and 41 seconds before crossing the finish line.  I was hot and sweaty and my feet felt raw from walking in wet cotton socks for so long but as I approached the finish line I could see and hear my friends and family cheering for me.  I felt like such a badass!  I also knew I was hooked!!

I can't wait to run this race this weekend and while my goals have changed significantly (aiming for a sub 29:00 finish) from that first 5K three years ago I know that it'll be an amazing race and I feel so fortunate to have been given this gift.  I cannot believe all that I have accomplished and I look forward to everything that is yet to come, including more feeling like a badass!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Half Marathon Training Update: Week 10

#MiddleforkSavanna = BEAUTIFUL!
This weekend was another wonderful group run with my Team Challenge North teammates.  The weather was, surprisingly, cooperative.  It was a beautiful crisp morning which made for a perfect 7 mile run.  It was also fun being able to catch up with everyone and even getting to meet a few new team mates.  I love that our team continues to grow and we hear more mission moments - that story about how someone is connected to Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis.

This week I followed the training plan much better than last week and I felt pretty good during the 7 mile group run on Saturday.  Here's what the training plan called for:

Monday:  Run, 5 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train or Speed
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles, start easy build to fast finish
Thursday:  Strength train
Friday:  Run, 30 minutes, medium
Saturday:  Run, 7 miles
Sunday:  Rest

Here's what I actually did:
Monday:  Run, 6 miles @ 10:01/mi

Tuesday:  Bike, 14.43 mi @ 1:06:33 & strength train
Wednesday:  Run, 4 miles (splits:  10:14, 9:31, 9:35, 9:34)
Thursday:  Bike, 14.11 miles @ 1:01:00 & strength train
Friday:  Bike, 10.18 miles @ 40:00
Saturday:  Run, 7 miles @ 10:14/mi
Sunday:  Bike, 8.20 miles @ 36:30

Friday, May 3, 2013

Product Review: Kona Kase

A whole lot of new things to try!
*Disclosure:  Kona Kase provided this delicious box of goodness to me for reviewing, but all opinions are my own.

I'll be the first to admit that I love trying new products but that I'm picky, both from a financial and PointsPlus perspective.  That's probably why I've never tried one of these subscription services before.  Recently I had the chance to try out a Kona Kase and I'm really glad that I did.

I'm sure you're wondering, what is a Kona Kase?  The description from their website says that Kona Kase is a subscription service delivering premium endurance nutrition samples right to your doorstep, monthly.  Each Kase has an assortment of premium endurance nutrition samples from gels to bars to granola and more.  Each box costs $15 and it ships for free.  Here's what was in my box and the PointsPlus value per item:

Barbara Llewellyn Cashews
Journey Savory Nutrition Sea Salt Bar - 3PP
Chia Seeds - 1PP
Justin's Honey Peanut Butter - 4PP
Milk Chocolate Caramel Cups - 6PP
SoyJoy Cranberry Bar - 3PP
Kind Almond Walnut Macadamia - 5PP
Rickland Orchards All Natural Greek Yogurt Cherry Almond Bar - 5PP
Zing Cashew Cranberry Orange Bar - 2PP
Zing Chocolate Coconut Bar - 2PP

Most of these products are new to me so I was excited to try them.  I added the chia seeds to my smoothie yesterday and I thought they added a little bit of a fruity taste.  I added them after I'd blended it (my mistake) so I got a lot of them stuck in my teeth which was annoying but the texture in my shake was good.  Dan and I each had a bite of both of the Zing bars last night for dessert.  I have to say - WOW!  Those little bars have a TON of flavor and for 2PP they were the perfect size/sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Dan loved the Cranberry Orange bar and I loved the Chocolate Coconut Bar - go figure!  I can't wait to try all the other goodies!

So, do you want to get your own Kona Kase?  Well, you can order now and get $5 off your first shipment!  Just use code FF2 during checkout.