Monday, May 27, 2013

Race Weekend 5K

So this past weekend was the big day .. Race Day!
The starting line. Look at all those runners!!
Not gonna lie - going into the 5K race, I was a little gloomy. Having to stop my training for this race mid-way because of the allergic reactions attacking my lungs put a damper on the day. I knew I wasn't going to be setting a PR, I knew I probably wasn't going to be able to run even half the distance without slowing to a walk, I knew that I felt like my body totally let me down.

But I didn't let anything stop me. I wanted to push myself as much as I could go and do my best, and use the race results to gauge where I was at with my training. 

And yeah .. I wanted that medal!!

Daddy Lego is the best race partner I could ever ask for. I am so happy and proud that we run together. Makes every event that much more special, knowing that we're in it together!

We started off in the red corral (translation: the verrrrrrry last one!). At first I was down about it (especially when they announced us as the walking group!) but I turned out to absolutely love being there. Everyone around us was so happy and upbeat! They were there for fun!
Waaaaaaaaay at the back! 
The race began and we were in the second wave, so it took some time to hit the starting line. Once we crossed it, off we went .. And this is where being in the "walking group" benefited me: everyone in front of us was either walking or jogging at a slow pace, which helped keep me from rushing off in the excitement of the moment. They helped me keep a steady pace that I was able to maintain and I found myself being able to run for that much longer because of them!

I was so inspired by the people in my corral. I saw all sorts of body shapes and sizes, many incredible seniors, young children, and people walking for causes. Seeing a grandfather running hand-in-hand with his seven-year-old granddaughter? So motivating. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and my lung struggles, put a smile on my face and put my best foot forward.

I ran as much as I could and when I needed to slow it down, I speed-walked but I did not ever stop. When Daddy Lego felt me struggling, he held my hand and encouraged me to kick my butt into high gear!

When we passed the halfway point, I started to struggle a bit - then a little girl who was watching the race high-fived me with SO much excitement that it reminded me of my babies at home who were cheering for us, and that got me going again. Run!

We made a dash for the finish line and crossed the line at one hour and two minutes clock time .. I was disappointed to have at not come in (at least!) under an hour but was still happy that we did it and that I pushed myself as hard as I could! I knew that I did my best!
Note to self: three layers of clothing do not flatter the figure.
We collected our awesome medals and walked our way back to the mall to rest our feet for a few minutes. I google'd our race results and we were thrilled with what we saw ..

48:51 CHIP TIME!!!

That's only three minutes and one second longer than our first official race, The Army Run! (And I remember that even though I ran 90% of the Army Run, it was a slooooooooow run .. Even slower than I had run / speed-walked for this race!). I was elated, and still am. 

My results helped me ease up on myself. Injuries and illnesses will happen, that's an unavoidable part of life ... But what is important is to not let them stop you. They may deter you a bit, but push past them! 
Happy and tired on the bus ride home
Knowing how well I did this race gives me so much more confidence for the Army Run this coming September (where I WILL set a PR!!!!). I know I can do this!!!

There were some flaws in the organization of the race (no mile-markers along the way to track your distance, the water station was right at the end instead of part-way through) ... but all in all, it was a great race and I'll definitely participate next year. I'm anxious to see the pictures of the race when they get posted :)

Boy Lego wearing my medal :)
I got to share my medals with the Lego Kids when we got home .. And they surprised me with birthday cake. Such a great day :)

The icing melted, but reads: Happy Birthday! lol

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Healthy Foodies, Losing Booties!

I can't believe a whole year has gone by since I started my healthy living journey. There have been many MANY fantastic things that have come from my choice to live happy, healthy and active. I'm grateful that I blogged about every step along the way because I have so much to look back on! And I'm even happier for all of you guys for joining me! 

So reflecting back on before and after pictures is always lots of fun .. Now since I was stupid not thinking ahead at the time, I didn't take a "before" picture of myself at the beginning of my journey .. But I can still share pictures of my progress on just about everything else!

So that was me a year and a month ago. I was sedentary, very inactive, VERY overweight, constantly exhausted, moody, depressed, unmotivated, unhappy with myself, and struggled through day to day activities. 

My meals looked a lot like this: 1. The famous Mac of Big! 2. Yeah, my pizza addiction can still be a problem .. hehe. 3. Hamburger Helper and LOTS of it and 4. Mac and Cheese with hot dogs (not gonna lie - I still love that stuff!)

Well, thanks to a great friend (Hi Christina!!) and wonderful hubby, I was encouraged to return to Weight Watchers (where I previously lost 97lbs in high school!) to get myself back on track. Christina kicked my arse on the days I wasn't up to going to the meetings ("but I had a bad week and the scale won't be nice to me!") and hubby helped lift me up when I was down. Another wonderful friend (ROXY!!) introduced me to her passion for yoga and her positive energy motivated me completely - when someone is passionate about something, it really is contagious . I fell in love with yoga! Then a few friends registered for this 5K Army Run thing .. and Cindy (love ya!) convinced me to register too and run with her. ME, run a 5K?! Pfffft.

I started a Couch to 5K program and really struggled at first .. but soon I was in love with that feeling you get during and after a tough run (runner's high!). And I loved the results I was seeing - the combination of running and yoga was not only helping my weight loss, but my bum and legs were really starting to tone down! Running was a challenge that I loved to overcome. Asthma shmasthma. Before I knew it, I was running my first ever 5K!

And then once day where I was lounging on the couch after a loooong week .. I came across this incredible show:

Remember how I said how someone's positive energy and passion can be contagious?! BOOM. These ladies are frickin GODS in my book. They made nutrition and healthy living fun! They showed me that healthy eating doesn't have to just be salads and baked chickens. Before I knew it, I was addicted to learning about nutrition and had purchased their amazing book, The Looneyspoons Collection (now my bible and easily my go-to for just about anything .. go buy it!!) and wanting to do something more with my life. Janet Podleski inspired me to become a nutritionist - learning how different foods can impact your body is so fascinating. I'm now enrolled in school, getting my prerequisites in order to study nutrition and to become a dietician! And I got to meet the Podleski sisters - what a dream come true!!

I became an ambassador for Fit Approach #sweatpinkGirls Gone Sporty and Greatist. I've lost 57lbs (okay, now it's 37lbs because of my winter gain - no worries, it's disappearing fast!), love running and yoga'ing, walk just about everywhere, live in my workout clothes, and have a passion for nutrition and healthy-ing up my favorite recipes. I'm happier than I've ever been in my life!

So before, my snacks and eating looked like this ..

1. Chocolate cake (and just about any baked good!) 2. Hawkins Cheezies 3. Chocolate chip cookies in bulk and 4. Pralines and Cream ice cream
My meals now look a lot more like this:

Breakfast is served! 1. Scrambled eggs w/ spinach, mushrooms and green onions. 2. French toast w/ whole wheat and flax bread, a dollop of light whipped cream. 3. Avocado, onion and tomato omelette. 4. A breakfast wrap! All served with a pile of fruit, every single day.
Lunch time! 1. Light egg salad sandwhich on whole wheat and flax bread, veggies on the side. 2. A homemade mini pizza with light cheese and a big salad 3. Quinoa salad with feta, corn, red peppers and spinach. 4. A huge spinach salad with chicken and lots of veggies!
Dinner's Served! 1. BBQ chicken breast with mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed veggies. 2. Taco night! Light cheese, extra lean ground beef, tomatoes, avocado and mushrooms. 3. My favorite!! Daddy Lego's homemade turkey burgers with provolone, mushrooms, spinach and avocado, with a huge salad on the side. 4. A lightened-up Shepherd's Pie, made with lots of veggies, lean ground turkey, creamed corn and mashed sweet potatoes.
Snacks! Larabar all-natural no-crap energy bars (the apple one is my favorite!). 2. Fruit salad. 3. A handul of almonds. 4. Grapes! Yum!
A girl still needs to treat herself from time to time. 1. Lightly sea-salted almonds with dark chocolate quinoa pearls. 2. Rocky Road frozen yogurt. 3. My favorite lightened-up frozen coffee! 4. Apple chips!

All of my meals have fruits or vegetables (or both - and LOTS of 'em!) whereas before, I was lucky to have a banana or have Subway (there are veggies on my sub!). I always make sure to have a snack between meals so that I don't get too hungry and over-indulge come meal time. I drink lots of water and love to put lemon in it! I rarely buy packaged foods and eat mostly foods I prepare at home. 

I love being active. Running and walking are my go-to exercises, and when I want to tone and stretch, yoga is the one I choose. Being outside makes me happy. Soaking up vitamin D while exercising releases all those happy endorphins that keep my depression in line. I have never been in better shape - and I plan to keep getting better!

The absolute BEST reward for my decision to live a healthy lifestyle? Seeing the joy on my kids' faces because mommy has the energy to run along with them, kicking a ball, or chasing after them at the park, or playing Ring Around The Rosey for the millionth time without losing steam. I'm able to be the mommy I wanted to be - happy and energetic and active with my kids! And I'm a role model for the lives I want them to lead. They will want to be active and eat healthy because that is what they know right from childhood, and because their parents practiced what they preached. I LOVE IT.

Family runs, chasing bubbles, and a yogi-to-be!
Healthy breakfasts of eggs, toast and fruit, no-sugar-added applesauce snacks at the park, strong boys eat their fruits, and PB & J on whole wheat and flax with cheese and veggies.

So that was this past year. Better food choices and active living can make for a pretty darned amazing life, you know!? I'm so proud of this past year, slip-ups and all, and I know it can only get better from here.

To my hubby: I love you. Thanks for being my partner in crime and my number one biggest fan. You're pretty kick-ass!!

To my kids: thank you for being my cheerleaders, my motivation, my reason for healthy living. You both saved my life.

To my friends (my girls!!) .. Christina, Christine, Cindy, Roxanne .. You're all amazing. Thank you for inspiring me and for giving me the kicks in the butt that I needed.

Thank you all for being a part of my journey. I can't thank you enough for your kind words and support! 

Always remember: Healthy Foodies, Lose Booties!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lego Lately

Hey guys!

So Daddy Lego and I have been solid on our commitment to healthy living. We've been preparing healthy meals and snacks, exercising regularly (and with the kids!), drinking plenty of water, and tracking what we eat. So far, he's down about 12 pounds and I'm down 11! (Which means I've chomped down on my winter weight gain of 32 lbs .. Now it's only 21!) :)
The Lego Kids holding hands on a family walk :)

Our local Farm Boy just recently put in an incredible salad bar. Here's a Greek salad I made!

Jumping back into the healthy living zone was quite natural for us - it felt like we never went off track to start with. If ever we're craving something "bad", we do what we did all along - make a healthy version and enjoy! 

Breakfast is served! An egg, baby spinach, tomatoes, light swiss and green onions, wrapped in a whole grain tortilla, served with fresh fruits. Total points: eight!
Homemade pepperoni mini pizza and a baby spinach salad - total lunch points:  six!

I'm feeling fantastic. I have so much more energy and am feeling much more confident. It is really great to feel in control of my diet again, instead of letting the food control me! And if I can do it, anyone can!

We've also been training for our 5K run for Race Weekend, coming up in two weeks! I'm not as fit as I was this past Fall when I ran the Army Run so I'm not pressuring myself to run the whole race as fast as I can with no breaking and get a PR. I did originally want to get a PR but being sidetracked with horrible chest congestion due to severe hayfever  (trigger: asthma) means taking it easy and waiting for my lungs to clear up before trying to run (or wind up in the hospital on an oxygen tank!). That being said, if I'm only able to run for 10 minutes and have to walk the rest of the race, I'm okay with that. I'll give it my all and finish with a smile, knowing I did my best :) 
Me and the kids made it on Run With Jess' Mother Runner collage!

But come September when we participate in the Army Run again ... I'm going for a PR baby!!! 
Posing for a picture after a good run in the sun!
Allergies aside, this May weather has been just gorgeous! I've been walking to work and back again, which I just love .. 45 minutes to myself, enjoying the scenery and my favorite music. It's meant getting up earlier for my Saturday and Sunday shifts, but it's worth it. I start my work day in such a better mood. 

How is your month going? Anyone struggling to get back on the wagon? Or are you powering through too?! 

Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing Mommies! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Positive Self-Talk

I went for a run today. And I almost did a very bad thing: put myself down for not doing as well as I imagined I would.

I've re-started my 5K training program to kick-start my spring / summer running. I didn't run at all over the winter so I knew I wasn't in the right physical shape to just pick up my running schedule where I'd left off in October (I would probably pass out if I attempted to run for longer than six consecutive minutes!). So right from the beginning I went .. Only this time, instead of just running for the sake of learning to run, like my first run, I ran with a purpose: to speed train.

The intervals were simple: one minute running, 90 seconds walking. I pushed myself to the limit with every sprint I ran. At the end of every minute ran, I was desperately waiting for the little voice app lady to tell me to begin walking. I was close to throwing in the towel. But I didn't!!

At the end of the run (after I was done celebrating that the run was over!!!) I'd start to think back to last summer, and how much easier my running was back then, how it seemed so much more effortless compared to this time around, and I'd start to put myself down for not doing as well today.

Duhhhhh Mama, you're not in as great a shape as you were at the end of last summer! You're carrying on winter weight and running FASTER! Of course it won't be easy! Starting a running program never is! Stop being so hard on yourself! If a friend was in the same position, you'd be congratulating her for an amazing effort! 

But did I enjoy my run? Yup!

Was I happy with my results? Upon reflection, yup!

Did I succeed in running faster than last year? Damn straight!

Am I proud? You'd better believe it!

Am I gonna kick ass when I run next? YES!

I am so proud that I'm running again and I feel amazing. Sure, I may struggle through my runs but I feel fantastic at the end, I get that high that only working your heart will give you. I'm hot, sweaty, and smiley!

I'll remember not to ever put myself down. Maybe my runs are tough, maybe I'm slower than I'd like to be, but I'm RUNNING and that is way better than gaining weight on the couch!! :)
Runner's high!
The same thing can apply to my diet. I didn't do well this winter at all. I was pretty well the poster child for bad eating. I'm not proud of the choices I made (in fact, I try my best not to feel regret over anything in my life because everything happens for a reason, but .. I really do regret how I ate this winter!). Especially wanting to be a dietician - I felt hypocritical for wanting to teach about healthy living but not doing it every day myself. Sure I ate healthy - but it certainly wasn't balanced. There were a lot of unhealthy choices made.

I started to really get down on myself today about those choices. I mean, gaining 32lbs over seven months?! That's bad living! (Please don't judge - I'm hard enough on myself as it is for gaining so much!)

But instead of being mad about it and putting myself down, I'm using the regret I feel over my bad choices as fuel for my motivation to keep going. We stumble, we fall, but we take what we learn, get back up, brush ourselves off and keep on going. And that's what I'm doing :) Learning to live a healthy lifestyle doesn't happen overnight, and neither does changing bad habits. Patience and understanding in yourself is so important. Don't be mad when you slip up - it'll happen! Just learn from it, smile and move right along.

This past week and a half, hubs and I have been detoxing our bodies of all the junk we fed into them over the winter. We've been eating healthy homemade meals and lots of fresh produce and lean meats. We all feel great! (And tmi warning: we've all never been so regular, in the #2 sense!). I feel 200% better than I did two weeks ago when I wasn't eating well.
Some of the amazing meals we've been cooking up!
Each bump in the road is a lesson learned, and though I may regret my eating choices this winter, I'm grateful for the lessons I learned.

Healthy living has never felt so good! :)

Positive self talk is key in keeping on track with anything you are pursuing in your lives. My eighth grade teacher wrote this quote in my yearbook: "if you think you can, you will!". And it's so true.

Don't put yourself down. You've GOT this! I've GOT this!!

I had to throw these in here - my first pair of REAL running shoes!! Aren't they perdy!?