Monday, June 27, 2016

I have reached my goal weight...

About 4 years ago, I was in amazing shape. I was looking better than I had ever. I was happy with my body and felt really strong.
4 years ago

Then I found out I was pregnant.

Now, some women get pregnant and do great. They have a little tiny ball where the baby is but otherwise nothing changes. But, since this was baby number 3 for me, I already knew my body was going to go insane. My whole body gets pregnant. My butt gets huge. I knew I was in for some weight gain. So, right after I found out I was pregnant I weighed, just to see where I was at my "ideal" weight. It was 134.5.

For 3 years I've been trying to get there. It has been a terrible struggle. During this time, I couldn't blame it all on baby weight. I had eating issues. I took a medication notorious for weight gain. But since December, something "clicked" and I have been losing weight.

I weighed 2 days ago and I am now 132.

I have reached my goal.

It feels really weird.

Now, of course, I'm still super picky about my body. Like, I'd really like to see my legs get more muscular. I still don't feel super confident enough to wear a bikini in front of people. But my arms are muscular again and I'm wearing a size 4 pants.

I went to put on my skinny shorts. They are too big.

So, for now, different goals.

I've decided in December instead of running a half marathon, I'm just going to do the whole thing. I have 23 weeks to train to run 26.2. I can do it.

I'll continue to weight train as much as possible. The last thing I want is to lose my amazing upper body muscles.

So, here we go. New goals. I can do it.
Progress from January to now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Checking In

Every now and then I look at my blog and I think, "I should post more often"... and then I usually get distracted and forget. But then I'll have something to say that's too long for a Facebook post, and I'll think, "Ok, I should blog that." Well, here I am, blogging infrequently, not making any promises to be consistent or anything...

Weight Loss
I can't remember what my weight was last time I blogged, but since December 2015 I have officially lost 30 pounds. At my heaviest, around Christmas, I weighed 165. I was pretty hopeless. Yesterday I weighed on my scale at home and I weighed 135.2. I'm pretty proud actually.

I made this collage. I can really tell a difference in my arms.
Here's me last Sunday after a run. I just can't smile for some reason.

I credit Thrive, weight watchers, running and lifting with helping me lose the weight. Of course, now that I'm practically at my goal, I am not at the body I thought I would have. Does that make sense? I'm going to just keep doing what I'm doing. I think the lifting will help.

Speaking of running, it is going AMAZING right now.  I ran a 5K almost a month ago. It was at the end of the day after a full day at work. I had to take some walk breaks. But my time was still 33:50, even with the walk breaks, so I'm pretty happy with that. Since then I've been consistently running longer than that, so I'm certain my next 5K time will be even better.

I started the half marathon training program put out by the same people that did 5K and 10K runner. I'm on week 2. I'm starting way ahead of my December 11 race date because I want lots of time to repeat weeks if needed and be really strong at the 13.1 distance.

Sunday I started week 2. The scheduled workout was a run (nonstop) of 45 minutes. I felt good so I ran 50 minutes. You guys! I have never run that long in my life! I was pretty proud. This week's "long" run is a run of 54 minutes and I'm pretty confident I'll do it. The only issue is I've pretty much moved inside for the summer because I can't do heat, and the treadmill only goes 60 minutes, so as the runs get longer, I'm going to have to split them up. Whatever, it still counts. Around October I'll start doing my long runs outside again, so I'll be ready for an actual outdoor race.

Team Momentum
Some of you may know the story of my brother. I call him Facebookless Jerry because he's one of the few people I know in the world who does not have a Facebook account. This was a problem while I lived away from this area for about 8 years. But, having recently moved back, I've had the opportunity to spend more time with him.  I help him a lot, taking him to doctor's appointments and doing his laundry, getting him groceries. It's one of my favorite things about being back in my hometown.

So Jerry has a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT). In the 8 years that I didn't see him regularly, his condition deteriorated dramatically. He is no longer able to get himself in and out of bed, and most activities are hard to impossible for him. It really breaks my heart which is why I try to help him as much as I can.

I decided in conjunction with the Dallas Half Marathon to fundraise for Team Momentum. This is the Muscular Dystrophy Association's charity. It is a small way I feel like I can honor Jerry, who really is my hero. Every time I have a pity party, or feel like something in my life is hard, I think about Jerry, and how *everything* is a challenge for him.  I hope this in some way can help give him some hope.

You can visit my fundraising page here, and make a donation if you like. My fundraising goal is $1000, and of course, I would love to exceed  that if possible.

So that's the update. Maybe I can blog more often than once every 3 months. I actually plan to chronicle both my half marathon training and my fundraising efforts, so here's hoping I can keep it up!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Friends with Running

So, running and I are friends again at the moment. I had a chance to do over Monday's terrible run and I think I did pretty well.

I think my biggest mistake in Monday's run was going too hard too soon. So, I put the incline at only .5 (the very first level after "flat") and slowed from 5.6 to 5.4.

I always divide runs into 5 minute intervals. I just think "I only have to get through 5 minutes". Somehow that makes it easier.

I made it through the first run and then walked for 3 minutes.

The second run was hard, but I did it. I told myself first "I just have to get through 5 minutes", then "I just have to make it halfway", then once I hit 15 minutes, I knew it was too late to stop and I was going to make it.

And let me tell you the feeling of making it was so great.

I was so sweaty my arms were dripping everywhere. So for the first time ever, before I cleaned off the treadmill, I wiped my arms with paper towels. #gross

Do you know why this picture is blurry? Because my phone was covered in sweat.
Here I am after the workout. Somehow I managed to clean myself up and librarian successfully the rest of the day after looking like this.

Friday the scheduled workout is *almost* the same- 2 20 minute runs- except the walking interval is 2 minutes instead of 3.

I took Friday off to finish our taxes, because I love the stress of doing things at the last minute. So after I drop off the kids at school, I'm going to go run at the lake. I'm looking forward to a run outside. I know I'm stuck on the treadmill for the lunchtime runs until October sometime when it cools down again, but the mornings are cool, so I'm going to take advantage of it.

So Tuesday was our weigh in with Weightwatchers. The week before, I weighed in at 151, so I was super excited to hopefully get back into the 140s again this week. Well, I weighed in at 152.2. Because I'm a big baby, I left right away and planned to sob at my desk.

Luckily, I pulled myself together and instead went for a 2 mile walk. I didn't bring any workout clothes or shoes with me, so it was interesting. But I'm glad I did it. I felt better.

I had my Weightwatchers settings set to swap activity points. But I'm earning 9 or 10 activity points a day. I definitely wasn't using them all, but I think I was using some. So I decided to change the settings so it doesn't swap activity points. If I have an extra long run or something I'll just use some of the weekly points. So far so good.


By the way on my home scale this morning I was 149. So take that, Weightwatchers scale.

I'm going to a conference next week so I'll miss the weigh in, so when I next weigh in it will be 2 weeks. Surely I'll see some significant weight loss during that time (if I can manage to behave during the conference...)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Touché, running. Touché.

I was feeling so great about running last week. But I think putting that in writing was a bit of a mistake.
I did go to the gym on Saturday and do my last workout of the 5K Runner program on the treadmill- it was 5 minute warm up and cool down and a 35 minute run. I felt super accomplished and like I could do anything. In fact, here's my post workout shot:
This is my accomplished face.
Well all day Sunday I got excited about my next run. I decided to go on with the 10K runner program and couldn't wait for the next workout. I walked 5 miles on Sunday for cardio but I considered it a rest from running.

So Monday I had some things going on. I was distracted. I looked forward to my run because I thought it would surely help me with some of the stress.

The scheduled run was 5 minutes warm up and cool down, and run 20-walk3-run 20.

I set the treadmill to hills to mimic the outdoors and because I was way too overconfident. At about 15 minutes I changed the setting to flat. I made it through the first 20 minutes (barely) and started walking. I knew I could physically run 20 more minutes. But when I started, I just had problems.

During the last 20 minute interval I started running but after a few minutes had to walk. I thought about quitting. I thought about just walking the rest of my scheduled time. But I ended up running 5 minutes, walking 3 and then running a little over 5 minutes to finish it off.

I was disappointed. I think though that this was 100% mental. I let myself feel daunted by the idea of 20 more whole minutes of running. I felt discouraged. I felt worried about my problems. And I just didn't feel good about it.

I ended up going 4.3 miles in 53:05. I had estimated (when I was still going strong) that I would end up at about 4.5 miles so I guess that's not too bad.

I contemplated repeating this run, but the next scheduled run is exactly the same thing (run 20-walk 3-run 20), so that will give me a chance to do it over. And then the third run of the week is the same except the walk break goes from 3 minutes to 2 minutes.

So I'll keep going. I'm already starting to get excited about running again. I'm actually forcing myself to NOT run (or even walk too much) today just because I think my body needs a break. It's going to really freak me out not to hit my 10,000 steps...

Also, on Monday I started 21 Day Fix Extreme in the mornings. I had tried this once before but thought it was too hard. But after many rounds of 21 Day Fix, I figured I was finally ready (and to be honest on Monday I would rather do anything than those effing Surrenders). So far so good- 2 workouts down.

My coworker just reminded me that any run where I don't fall on my face is a good run, so there's that...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Running and me- a surprise result

Something totally crazy and unexpected has happened to me. Running has started to go well.

Throughout the past several months I've been following a program designed to help me work up to running 5K with no breaks. Appropriately enough, it's called 5K Runner. I've had to rewind and repeat several weeks along the way, so it's taken me way more than 8 weeks.

It also tells you the mileage you ran and gives you little encouraging statements..

During the "training" (and I use that term loosely) for the last half marathon, I did these workouts during the week and did a "long run" (again, using that term loosely) on the weekends. Well, after the race, I was able to focus solely on these workouts and my training has really taken off.

Before the race, I was up to running 10 minutes without stopped. After the race I ran 15, then 20. I skipped a few workouts because I felt really confident and yesterday ran for 30 minutes. 30 minutes without walking you guys! The last time I did that was before I was pregnant with my second child (so like, 6 years ago!)

Me the last time I ran over 30 minutes without stopping (2009).

I've been on such a high from the last race that for a while I even considered training for the full marathon in December. I don't have to make a decision until June, but I think I've pretty much decided against it. I think what I really want to do is work on a strong half marathon.

The same company that puts out 5K Runner also has a 10K runner program and a Half marathon (21K) program as well. I've downloaded those and am going to follow them.

I have one more workout and I'm done with 5K runner. It's a 35 minute run (with walking warm up and cool down). The plan is to do it tomorrow morning.

Then I'll run 5Ks for a few weeks and then start 10K runner.

I'm confident that by December 11 (The Dallas Half Marathon), I'll be running a strong half marathon. My time goal is 2:30:00.

Oh and on the subject of things going well, I've joined Weight Watchers at work. Several of my coworkers joined last semester and a new 17 week session started on March 22. Our work pays for half of the entire cost, and then the rest comes out of the paycheck a little bit at a time. So I figured I would try it. And you know what, I really like it.

At Christmas on my home scale, I weighed 165. At the Weight Watchers weigh in on March 22 (on a different scale) I weighed 155.6. Last weigh in on Tuesday I weighed 151.0 (and at home I was 149). (That's the 140s y'all!)

So for now I've found something that works. For cross training I've started another round of 21 Day Fix in the mornings. I'm going to try to work up to doing 21 Day Fix Extreme. It's always seemed too hard for me, but since things are going well at the moment, this is probably the best time to try it.

I'm actually really looking forward to tomorrow's 35 minute run. I can't wait to say I completed it. Stay tuned!
I'm still going to tell everyone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

So, I ran a half marathon this weekend...

Last Sunday was the Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon. I wrote previously about how I had initially hoped to do better than I had in the Dallas Half Marathon in December, then I got really burned out on long runs and decided to quit training and just walk it.

Well, as the day got closer, I got more nervous.

I was pretty confident that I could finish the distance, even if I just walked for 13.1 miles. But see my ego kept getting in the way. I knew if I walked at a pace of 15 minutes/mile, I would be walking for 3 and a quarter hours (at least). So I thought, maybe I should run part of it. Maybe I should run the first half (well, run walk intervals) and then walk the rest?

Here I am before the start of the race:
Let's not talk about what I did with my hair here..

But it went way better than I expected.

For one thing, it was cold!

It was in the 30s. This was a pleasant surprise, as we had been in the low 80s for a few weeks. I knew I would do much better in the cold.

I crossed the starting line and jogged. You can't really run very fast at that point anyway because it's so crowded. Knowing myself and my (lack of) speed, I had signed up to be in one of the last corrals. This meant we crossed the starting line about 30 minutes after the race officially started. (We each got our own official start though).

I thought, "Ok, I can run 1 minute then walk 4. Let's do that." But I found myself wanting to run longer, so I increased it to 2 minutes running/ 3 minutes walking.

This was going pretty well. I managed to stay with this pattern for most of the race. I adjusted a little based on water stations (I took water and gatorade every chance I got). I also modified a little bit depending on hills. If I was coming to the end of my running interval but was still going downhill, I kept running. I tried to run up the hills when the coincided with my running intervals but sometimes I shortened them a little bit.

In the middle of the race I turned my phone off because I was worried I would get to the end and my phone would be dead. So I really got to enjoy the environment. It was a beautiful day, there was music, a guy rapping about port-o-potties ("Port-o-potties to your left, y'all..."), even Teletubbies. In fact, I had to turn my phone back on just to take a picture of the Teletubbies. It was worth it.

Around mile 10 I started to realize I might actually surpass my goal. See, my last race time in December was 3:04:02. I was discouraged by this and really hoped to beat it. Then my training didn't happen and I kind of gave up on my time goal and decided to just finish. But with around 3 miles left, I realized I could possibly finish in under 3 hours. I got pretty excited. I got motivated. I may have run the running intervals a little faster.

I turned my phone back on when I got here. I was pretty excited.

Towards the end of the race- thankfully- there was a nice long downhill. I came to the end of my running interval but continued to run. I didn't know exactly how much further the end was but I wanted to try to run to the end. I had enough left in me to pick it up a little. I pushed really hard for those last few minutes.

In the end my official time was 2:53:41. I finished over 10 minutes faster than I did in December!!!

After finishing!
I am not sure why it went so much better than I expected. I know I weighed about 13 pounds less than I did in December. Plus, even though I didn't have as many long runs, I definitely logged more miles this time around. My running intervals were up to 8-10 minutes, so running 2 minutes and then walking 3 seemed almost easy. (Ok, not *easy*, I did start to hurt towards the end).

My plan for the summer is get my 5K under 30 minutes. Then I'll increase the distance to 10K. Then in September or October or whenever it's time to start training, that 10 mile run won't be so out of reach. And I may even do a practice half before the race rather than just working up to 10 miles. But my goal for the December race is to get it down to 2:45:00 and I think that's pretty reasonable.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Birthday Shenanigans and kind of some news

Today is my birthday...

I'm 42
Luckily, it coincides with both a Saturday and the release of a whole season of Fuller House so I pretty much had my day planned for me.

However, I still have children and they still want things, so I spent the morning doing laundry, making pancakes, watching "this*".

I did get a chance to go out and run. I moved to the next workout on my 5KRunner app and was pretty excited I made it through a 6 minute running interval. I was feeling great during my last 2 minutes of running, and running probably a little faster than I should have down a mild hill, and I tripped and fell. I got right up as soon as I could an finished the interval, but then I hobbled home, bleeding. Hopefully no one saw me fall. It was embarrassing.

But what I really wanted to talk about today was something I have been thinking about and have kind of decided.

So, when I decided to go back to school to get a doctorate, the main goal was to get a better job someday. The idea of calling myself "Doctor" is also fun, but at this point in my life, I need to think about what is going to make more money. Moving into leadership as a director of a library or a dean, or in university administration, was my goal.

But even though I was determined to finish long distance, moving and changing jobs has made it really challenging. I managed to finish my incomplete last semester and take a class on law in higher ed, but this semester I didn't enroll in any classes. The main reason is I just can't afford it.

I have taken out so many student loans in my life that I am not allowed to take out any more. Wow, thats an accomplishment. But it's incredibly depressing and even if I could, I won't take out any more student loans. I can't afford to pay out of pocket either, since we are still spending more than we make (that's a story for another day).

However, one of my benefits in my new job is a full tuition waiver. I mean, they pay for everything except books and the matriculation fee. This is an amazing opportunity (It's a very high quality private school), but none of the doctoral degrees really appeal or apply to me. So I started thinking about what degree I could get that could help me make more money at some point and give me a better chance of moving into leadership.

So I decided to apply to the MBA program.

It's such a significant program at our university that I think getting involved with it will inspire me and give me the tools to create some pretty awesome library initiatives for the students. So I think it will help me be a better librarian as well.

I applied and I'm waiting for my transcripts to arrive and then to hear if I'm accepted. If I am, I hope to start this summer.

I'm not giving up on the doctorate, but maybe in a few years when we are out of our financial hole and my kids are older, I can pick it up again. I mean, I'm only 42...

*"this" meaning some sort of dangerous gymnastics type stunt usually.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The meaning of life...

So, in just a few days, I'm turning 42 years old.

I'm finding myself doing what I always do around birthdays: Wonder what I've done with my life.

- Had three kids
- Earned a Bachelor's degree and 2 Master's degrees
- Have a job I like that I'm good at
- Ran some races

If you can tell, I'm feeling a little under-accomplished (is that a word?) There are a lot of things that are crazy right now. I think about if I were to run into someone I haven't seen in 20 years, would I be proud of where I am? Not sure...

I mean, having kids has been awesome. They are amazing and I've managed to keep 2 of them from getting suspended from school at least.

I am very lucky in that I have a job that I like and that (I think) I'm pretty good at. I am respected and enjoy my work. I just don't make enough money to live.

I have goals and maybe this time next year I'll look back and feel like I accomplished a little more. But for now I'm just going to be happy we made it this far, and add "catching up to current episodes of Shameless" to my goal list..

Monday, February 8, 2016

So, about that big race...

There have been so many obstacles lately keeping me from getting my long runs in. A few weeks ago, I was injured. Then I was sick. Then I didn't have time. I'm doing ok on my runs during the week (where I'm using this program to work up to 5K). I'm repeating workouts to take it slow, but I'm doing them. I'm getting between 2.5 and 2.8 miles per workout, and I'm happy with that. But the long runs just add so much stress to my life.

This week and next, I am playing for two different shows. This means every night this week I have rehearsal until 10 pm, then wake up at 4 the next day to do it all again. Saturday I work all day, then a show. Sunday, my husband has church, and I have rehearsal for the NEXT show starting that afternoon (so no time for the long run). Then Monday I start it all over again with rehearsals every night, shows all weekend and finishing off with a matinee on Sunday, 2/21.

The thought of rearranging my life to fit in a weekly long run seems pretty impossible right now. Plus, I'm behind on training. Plus...

My weight loss has stalled. I keep reading articles about how long distance runners end up gaining weight and I know this to be true. I know that what works (and has worked for me in the past) is serious weight lifting, minimal cardio and strict diet.

I used to look like this...

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to stop training for the half. I'm going to keep running, just 3 times a week, working up to 5K. I'm not going to run a longer distance than 5K.

And when race day comes around, I'll probably go and walk 13.1 miles just so I can say I earned the shirt.

And maybe I can finally lose those last 20 pounds of baby weight before my baby turns 3 on May 1....

Friday, January 15, 2016

Almost finished with 21 Day Fix, Running, Work, and What Comes Next?

After a pretty lazy holiday break, I feel like I'm back with a vengeance..

Me during the break... (I found this here)

A few days before the New Year, I started a round of 21 Day Fix. I finish on Sunday and I'm pretty proud of myself. I had a few goals:

1. Get used to waking up early and working out again.
2. Run regularly and work up to 5K without walk breaks.
3. Lose some weight too.

I've done great at waking up. In fact, I wake up at 4:15 every day and don't even hit snooze. It's so nice to have a little quiet time in the morning. Some days, the baby (who is 2 and probably should not be referred to as "The Baby" anymore) wakes up, and I give her the Ipad so she can watch Barbie videos on YouTube, and in exchange she lets me workout.

Here is where this came from

The running has been going pretty well, actually. For "long" runs, I've stayed with my run 3/walk 2 plan. I've gotten up to 6 miles doing that, and I'm 60+ days from the race so I think I'm doing pretty well. For my short runs I've been following 5K runner. I'm just addicted to it. It's so encouraging.

I worked up to the Week 6, Day 1 workout, which is a 10 minute run, 5 minute walk, and 10 minute run. I did that successfully in the neighborhood near my house. But then I tried to do the next workout- run 10/walk 3/run 10- in the neighborhood around my work. There is an extreme hill on the path I take. Actually, there is a mild hill starting off and then STEEP downhill, so for the first 10-13 minutes I feel pretty good. Then when it's time to turn around I have to climb this ridiculous hill. I have yet to make it the full second 10 minutes. So, I went back to an earlier workout -run 5/walk 3/run 6/walk 3/run 5- and did that yesterday. Tomorrow I'll change the middle running interval from 6 to 8. Then the last workout of Week 5 is two 8 minute runs with 5 minutes of walking in between. So I'm working back up to that Week 6 workout. I will conquer that hill!

This was here

As for weight loss- well, I didn't really follow the eating plan the first week. I went a little off plan on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. But for the last 2 weeks I've been following the 21 Day Fix eating plan with the little containers. So far I've lost about 5 pounds. I think that's pretty reasonable. Not sure what my final numbers will be. I didn't measure or take before pictures (yes, I know I should have), so unfortunately I'm just going by the scale and how my pants fit (good news, they fit better!)


I'm pretty lucky in that I love my job. The only thing I don't love is I don't really get paid enough for us to live on. So, I've been considering getting a second job for a while. That's tricky because with most jobs, you can't just tell them when you want to work. It's been a little scary. But, I've started to get some accompanying gigs which is awesome. Yes, it means late nights and early mornings, but I've got my Thrive to help me get through. I think I'll be ok. Plus I really have missed it.

So, on Monday I'm starting a new program since I'll be done with 21 Day Fix. It's called The Master's Hammer and Chisel. It's got the gal from 21 Day Fix in it (who I love, although I recently heard from several people that they think she's annoying) and the guy from Body Beast (who I also love). This program is a little more hardcore than 21 Day Fix. There are pull ups in most of the workouts. I'm going to have to dig out my pull up bar. But I think this will be good. I do plan to continue training for my race. In fact, this is a 60 day program so the end coincides almost exactly with the race. I may sub some Sunday workouts for long runs, but other than that I'll stick to the schedule and do these workouts in the morning, and run at lunch. It seems to be working for me.

They look pretty serious. I'm actually scared.

I also get to follow the 21 Day Fix eating plan, so that's cool. I have a pretty good handle on it.

I started taking Thrive in May, and saw some results. I was pretty excited about it. But around October, I felt like it had quit working. My energy was low. I was relying on coffee again. And my appetite was ridiculous. I ate everything. And I didn't just eat one cookie- I had to eat ALL THE COOKIES! Turns out this medication is notorious for weight gain. I know it was affecting me. So, I asked to be switched to a different medication and the difference is amazing. I think the Thrive is finally working the way it's supposed to. I wake up early even if I didn't get my 8 hours. I'm motivated. I just feel capable. That's the word- capable. Like I can handle things.

Overall, things are going great. I'm excited that I made it through the 21 days, and I'm excited about starting another new program. I'm just excited about everything at the moment!