Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Wordy 8 Month Catch Up

Woah Nelly! I left in the summer, survived the winter and am back in the spring! Life has been such a whirlwind during these past few months. So much has happened in my little world.

Where do I begin?

August to September

My honey and I went on a 3 week Backpacking European Vacation! We left on August 23rd and didn't come back to the United States until September 14th.

We started in Barcelona and traveled via the Eurail for the next 10 days to Nice, Monaco, Florence, Siena, Rome and Bari. From Bari we took a ferry to Greece where we spent the last 10 days of our trip between Athens and Chios.

I just have to say that this vacation was more than we ever expected! It was such an adventure and even though we were backpacking and didn't stay long in each place until we got to Greece, it was so relaxing and so much fun! I also managed to lose 6 pounds on the trip! Win!!!

September to October

After returning from our trip, like the next morning because we couldn't sleep, we returned to our regime of morning running. I must say, we took 3 weeks off from running and it felt like we never stopped! It felt amazing. So amazing that a week later I was contemplating signing up for a fall marathon.

Guess what? I did! With 8 weeks to spare for training, my honey and I both signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon.

Let me tell you, this training cycle for a marathon was the best one I ever completed. I have never felt so prepared for a marathon before and I knew I was ready to rock it on November 17th.

November 17th

My honey, myself and a dear running friend of mine rocked the Philly Marathon! My honey is a super speedy runner and he finished his first official marathon in 02:51! He qualified for Boston with 29 minutes to spare. Too bad he isn't interested in running it, but I am just amazed at how awesome a runner he has become.

A couple weeks before the marathon I found out an old friend that I hadn't seen since 2007 was also running the race. We decided that we were going to start the marathon together and see how things went from there. Let's just say, we ran the whole entire race together! It was the most amazing racing experience I have ever had. The miles flew by for us. We kept the pace that I had planned out for the race and we supported each other every single step.

Our official finish time was 04:47, but in reality we ran a 04:37 race. There was a 10 minute porta-potty line stop that we made at mile 4. It was 10 minutes that we could never make up and I know we ran the race that I had trained for during the previous 8 weeks. I look forward to running another marathon together!

Thanksgiving

My honey and I flew down to Georgia to spend the holiday with my family! Even though it was a quick trip, it was wonderful to spend time with my family, especially since it's the first holiday without my brother.

We all stuffed ourselves with a homemade dinner and yummy desserts! My father made this incredible Peanut Butter Pie that we apparently couldn't get enough of it!

December to April

The month of December really was a blur with the Christmas holidays and New Year's! I didn't take any time off from work like I usually do and before I knew it, January was upon us.

January through March has been the longest, hardest, coldest winter ever! All I wanted to do was hibernate like a bear. It truly amazes me how last winter I ran outside through the whole entire winter and this winter not so much. My running, and let's be honest, my working out really took a turn for the worse. I became a slug. My winter softened belly shows this so perfectly well.

April has really been my turning point. The weather has turned to spring, with the exception of yesterday and today, and I have been working on getting my running act together. I have spent the last 2 weeks running 4 times a week. The past 2 Sunday's my honey and I have gotten back out to our trails to run and let me tell you, this is exactly what my little cold winter heart needed so badly. Nature, sunshine, wild animals these do a mind and body good! I am now in my 3rd week of running consistently. It's still a little bit of a mind game struggle, but I know once the weather turns a bit warmer in the mornings, I'll be back at the top of my game.

Other Life News

Back in February, my honey and I decided it was time to move out of our little basement apartment to the top floor apartment! Of course, we couldn't move right into it. We decided to do a little remodel that ended up turning into a complete remodel! Funny how things work out that way.

As of right now we are 9 weeks into this thing and hopefully we will be completely done in the next 2-3 weeks. I am so ready to be done and moved in to where there are big beautiful windows that let sunshine into the apartment from all sides! If you have ever lived in a basement, you know how sunshine window deprived they are.

Anyhoo, I have been taking pictures of the whole process. Once we are done, I will be doing a little reveal here on the ol' blog. It's going to be pretty amazing if I do say so myself!

So that's what's been happening in my life for the past 8 months. Can't believe I've been neglecting my little blog for that long. I am hoping that once we are moved and things settles back into some normalcy, I'll be back to blogging on a more regular schedule. I can't wait to get back to my scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, exercising. I'll definitely have lots to be sharing!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NHerShoes Fall Shred

Oh my gosh all you lovelies! The wonderful Bobbi over at NherShoes is at it again! She will be putting on a Fall Shred for everyone who missed out on her Summer Shred's.
Everyone has been asking me how I have gotten into shape. This is the program that started it all for me. I signed up for her June Shred and haven't looked back. I had such awesome results in just 1 month that I immediately signed up for her Extreme Shred in July and right now am doing the Ultimate Shred.

My Summer Shred Week 1 Recap is here, Week 2 Recap is here, Week 3 Recap is here and my final results for the Summer Shred and Extreme Shred are here.

I always say proof is in the pudding and I am the proof this program works. Of course, you only get out of it what you are willing to put into it.

As of yesterday I am down a total of 18.5 pounds, over 16 inches lost and am down 3 dress sizes.

I am stronger, a faster runner and feel like a new woman! I am mentally and physically in such a wonderful place right now that I can't imagine this not being my new lifestyle, because folks, that is exactly what this is. It's not a diet. It's healthy living!

I encourage anyone who is on the fence, or needs that little extra help of a personal trainer without the huge expense, to get your booty off that dang fence and RUN, not walk, to sign up!!!  Registration closes on August 29!

Please let me know if you do sign up. I will be here to cheer you on!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

...and the Bad Blogger Award Goes To...

Me! I know I was just plain terrible about blogging in July. All I can say is that there were many times that I said to myself I needed to write up a post, but it just never got done. I spent the whole entire month focusing on myself (mentally and physically), that I just found there weren't enough hours in the day left to compose a proper blog post.

So now it's August and I am committing myself back to my blog because I truly miss sharing everything that has been happening. So, what have I been up to?

Well, I successfully completed Summer Shred 13 in June, then the Extreme Shred 13 and the TrulyCommitted Instagram Challenge in July and now I am participating in the Ultimate Shred 13 for August!

I feel amazing and unstoppable!

My June workouts look like this:
Blue is my running, Red is my bike trainer (injured my calf  halfway through the month and thankful I had my bike to turn to for cardio) and Gray are all the Shred Workouts.

Participating in Summer Shred 13 really was a life changer for me. I mentioned previously that I had signed up for it when I realized I was spiraling deeper and deeper into a depression over my brother's passing. I did not like where I was heading and knew I had to do something, I just needed someone to tell me what to do and I'd do it.

After 30 days of total commitment to numerous sweat puddle inducing workouts, clean eating and tracking all my food (including measuring all food) in My Fitness Pal, the results were in:
I also participated in the Diet Bet challenge and was one of the winners!

The month of June showed me exactly what I needed to do to successfully continue with my health journey!

So, OF COURSE, I just had to sign up for NHerShoes Extreme Shred 13 for July! I wanted more food plans! I wanted more sweat puddle inducing, heartbeat raising workouts! Call me crazy, but I wanted it!

My July workouts looked like this:
As you can see there was a lot more running! I took 2 full weeks off for my calf and continued to cross train and was back at it in July!

At the end of July my results were:
I like to say the proof is in the pudding and after 8 weeks of my commitment to myself, here is what I looked like:

 
 I was pretty amazed and proud once I did these side by side photos!

The added bonus of July was participating in Truly Jess' "Truly Committed" Instagram Photo A Day Challenge! Oh my goodiness! This is what I needed. I drew SO much inspiration from Jess herself, but also from all the lovely ladies who participated! The love, support, inspiration, motivation that I received and drew from everyone was more than I ever imagined. So thankful I did this challenge and still have all these lovelies with me on my journey!

As part of the challenge we had to state our goals for the month of July:
...and at the end of the month we shared how we did with our goals:
I am pretty proud that I accomplished 4 of the 5 goals. I know the push-up will happen in due time. I am still doing them from the knees and I am ok with that because I know I am getting stronger. Holding the plank for the full minute was a huge challenge and one I was able to meet a couple of times during the month.

So crazy me decided to sign up for the August Plank Challenge on Instagram to help assist me with my planking and building my endurance/stamina/strength. By the end of the month, I am suppose to be able to hold the plank for 5 minutes. We will see if that actually happens, but I am going to give it my all!

Just because I couldn't get enough of the shred workouts from the past 2 months, I decided to also sign up for Ultimate Shred 13. This is the 3rd installment of NHerShoes Summer Shred Series so of course I just had to continue on with all my lovelies from the previous 2 shreds.

So far my month has looked like this:
I'll be going on vacation on August 23, so I am completely committed to doing the best I can with getting all my workouts done before I leave. While I won't be continuing the shred workouts while I am traveling through Europe, I will be sticking with the plank challenge through the end of the month. This is something that I can easily do before venturing out each day and really I have no excuse not to do it!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous month so far and I want to hear what ya'll have been up to!

So talk to me,

1. What have you been doing to challenge yourself lately (physically, mentally, spiritually)?

2. Has anyone else backpacked through Europe? I have always wanted to and simply can not wait to begin this adventure!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Shred 13 Week 3 Recap

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We were hot and humid here in NYC. I spent the majority of my weekend inside with the fan on high! July is right around the corner and if this week's temps are any indication of what's to come, my honey and I must get a new air conditioner pronto. And pronto probably means August to my honey.

So let's just move on to my Summer Shred Week 3 recap, shall we? I cannot believe we are 3 weeks done and started our final week today. Time is seriously flying!

Week 3 was an interesting week for me in regards to my exercising. As you know I am a runner at heart. It's in my blood and so much part of my everyday life. So, it shouldn't be a surprise when I tell you that on Wednesday morning at the track I broke down in tears when I realized I was going to have to take some time off from running.

See, 2 weeks ago I experienced a major calf cramp during my sprint workout. I was able to stretch it out and continue my run, minus finishing my sprints. I have been able to continue running since then, even ran a 10K race, with no return of the cramp. I've just been able to feel a presence in my calf, but nothing that would stop me from running. Until this past Wednesday morning. I was 1.75 miles into my run when the cramp returned. I did my usual of stopping to stretch before trying to continue. That seemed to work until I hit the 2.5 mile mark. The cramp returned with full force and stopped me right in my tracks. I finished walking my lap with tears in my eyes.

After discussing this with my honey, he convinced me this wasn't the "be all end all" I was making it out to be. This was my body telling me I needed to take some time off from running to get the calf completely healed. I know this is all true, it was just hard to accept. So instead of running, I turned to my bike trainer. I have had to modify my Shred workouts to not further aggravate my calf and have religiously foam rolled and iced. I can honestly say that my calf feels so much better today, but it will probably be another week before I attempt to run again.

During all the running drama I created in my head, I still committed myself to clean eating. With burning less calories than I would of with running, I still managed to come in just under my calorie intake each day. I was doing really good with the weight loss (inches lost) during the first 2 weeks of the Shred so I was concerned with how this week would reflect on the scale this morning, since I was burning less calories. Well let me tell you all, sweat is sweat and combine that with clean eating, it still pays off. I have lost another 2 pounds this week, bringing my total up to 7.5 pounds. My hard work and commitment to eating clean continues to show!

Now for the nitty gritty details of the week.

My Meals

Breakfast and Snack:
Lunch:
Dinner:
My Workouts

Monday:
P.M. - Summer Shred Workout #1
Tuesday:
Lunchtime -  Run at the gym.
Wednesday:
A.M. - Run cut short at Astoria Park Track
P.M. - Summer Shred Workout #2 plus Bike Trainer
Thursday:
P.M. -  Summer Shred Workout #3 plus Bike Trainer  
Friday:
P.M. - Bike Trainer
Saturday:
Summer Shred Workout #4 plus Bike Trainer
Sunday - Rest Day

I am really looking forward to seeing what this last week will bring me. Saturday is the final weigh-in for the Diet Bet that I am participating in with some of the other Shredder's. As of today's weigh-in, I have reached my goal of losing 6.2 pounds. So as long as I don't gain any weight this week, I will receive some of the money from the pot. Which would be great because momma needs new pants pretty bad!

How have your workouts been going?  Anything you want to work on this week?
My upper body has slowly gotten stronger and I want to continue my improvement with the push-ups. I started out doing them at an angle standing at my kitchen counter-top, to this week actually doing them on the floor (on my knees) with getting about halfway down before coming back up. This was a huge improvement for me and I am excited to continue it.

Did anyone else sign up for the next Summer Shred with Bobbi?
I decided to continue with the Shredding experience and signed up for her Extreme Shred for July. I am excited to get this next level of plans. While I haven't mastered all the workouts from this month, I have definitely gotten stronger and will have them at my fingertips to go back to and work on things.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Happy Thursday, almost Friday! 

It's time for my favorite part of my blog week, "Three Things Thursday!"

Thing #1:
After I came home from running the Oakley Mini 10K race on June 8, my honey surprised me with this beautiful bouquet of flowers! It's rare I get flowers from him, so this was extra special!

Thing #2:
I recently ordered this bucket load of yarn from Knit Picks. What will it grow up to be? Well there is a baby boy due this September in my honey's family and I thought I could knit a blanket faster than I could quilt one. Stay tuned for details of what I decide to create and just exactly how long it takes me to make it. It would be a miracle if I finished before the baby is born!

Thing #3:
My sister! She saw a photo of me wearing this tank top and told me how much she loved it. Being the loving sister that I am, I immediately ordered one for her and she kindly sent me this pic, so I could then put it out on the interwebs. She's looking like a hot mama these days!

So tell me, what are 3 random photos that you have on your phone right now? 

Any guesses on how long it will take me to start and finish that baby blanket? Last baby blanket I knitted never made it to the finish line. I'm hoping this one turns out better.

Seen any other awesome, motivational t-shirts/tank tops that I could add to my collection? I recently placed my order for this tank in the orchid/pink combo.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Shred 13 Week 2 Recap

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed celebrating Father's Day yesterday. My own daddy is states away so I didn't get to spend it with him, but I did send him my love via the phone, even if he wasn't home and I had to leave a message.

I have officially finished Week 2 of Summer Shred 13 and hit the halfway point! This past week was interesting in the fact that I was sidelined for two days while being sick.

While I could not workout for those two days, I did maintain my clean eating plan. Day One (Thursday) of being sick, I was just trying to eat stuff that would agree with my tummy and was still on my plan. Day Two (Friday) of being sick, was much easier to get the yummy calories in my body and I was starting to get more energy. By Saturday, I was back to my old self and started working out again.

Week 2 presented us with a whole new meal and workout plan. My meal plan for the week ended up incorporating meals from both weeks. I even ventured into making the "Not Really Fried Rice" from the new meals on Wednesday night, so I would have it for lunch on Thursday, but due to being sick I told my honey to eat it so it wouldn't go to waste. He told me it was delicious, therefore, I will have to make it again so I can try it this time.

Here is a sampling of what my meals (breakfasts, snacks, lunches and dinners) were for the week:
My favorites were the "Sunrise Oatmeal" and "Veggie Curry".

Out of the five Shred Workouts for the week, I managed to completed three of them.

Monday:
P.M. - Shred Workout #1 (Warm-up and cool-down was on my bike trainer)
Tuesday:
A.M. - 3 mile run at Astoria Park
P.M. - Major subway issues coming home from work. Had to walk 40 minutes home from the subway in the heat and humidity carrying what felt like a 50 pound backpack because I went to Whole Foods during lunch. So needless to say when I walked through the door I was pooped and already had a workout. No Shred workout tonight!

Wednesday:
A.M. - 3.5 mile run at Astoria Park
P.M. - Shred Workout #2
Thursday and Friday - No workouts. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Was sick, sick sick.

Saturday:
A.M. - Shred Workout #3 (Warm-up and cool-down was again on my bike trainer)
Sunday:
A.M. - 6 miles run on the trails at Rockefeller State Park Preserve
I love my Sunday runs on the trails! It's the one day of the weekend where my honey and I get some nice quality time together.

This week I ran a total of 12.5 miles. Add that to last week's total and I have run 307.34 miles for the year.

Now that we have hit the halfway point with the Shred, I decided to take my measurements in addition to my weekly weigh-in's. So far, I have lost 5.5 pounds and a total of 4 inches off my body. As you can see by this picture that I posted on Instagram on Saturday, momma needs some new pants. Proof is in the pudding!
My honey and I have discussed at length why I think this is all working for me. I have Hypothyroidism and have struggled with losing weight, and keeping it, in the past, so once this is all over, I will do a post discussing my thoughts.

In the meantime, Bobbi over at Nhershoes is going to be doing one final Summer Shred in July!
I can personally say that yes the workout's will push you like you probably haven't pushed in awhile, leave you cursing like a sailor (I think I did a few times) and have you wiping up your major sweat puddles when all is said and done, it is all totally worth it!

So click here and go on over to sign yourself up if you want to give it a shot. You have until June 26. As for me, I've already signed up for her July Extreme Summer Shred that she's offering to her June Shredders. Call me crazy, but I want more!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Shred 13 Week 1 Recap

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Ours here in NYC turned out to be beautiful after Tropical Storm Andrea passed through here all day and night on Friday. Woke up to sunny skies on Saturday morning and it was perfect the whole entire weekend.

This past week also marked the first week of the Summer Shred 13 that I am participating in and I thought that I would share with you what my week has been like in regards to clean eating and exercising!

Like I said last week, we were all giving a food and exercise plans for the week. I ended up using the food plan as a guide and laid out in nice little table everything that I was going to eat for the week. Which I shared here.

I must say that this was a huge help to me this week and really helped reduce extra stress in my life. I encourage everyone to start using a weekly meal plan, especially if you are trying to watch what you eat. Also, just because it's written down doesn't mean you can't switch things up on it as needed. I pretty much followed what I planned out, but there were a couple times when I need to make a change due to whatever reason. It's not set in stone. It's a guide to help me through my week.

So what did I end up eating?

Every morning I had this delicious oatmeal with strawberries and almonds. I spiced it up with some cinnamon.
Also, if I ran before work, I had a Whey Protein Shake (but half the serving size). In addition, twice last week I also had a fresh green juice.  All of this usually held me until noon time.

By noon, I was always ready for my first snack of the day. I had this delicious Greek Yogurt with strawberries, granola and a little chocolate Whey Protein Powder.
I looked forward to this snack every day!

I generally take a late lunch at my office, so anywhere from 2:00pm to 2:30pm, I will eat my lunch. Below is just a sampling of what I would have.
As you can see there are always lots of veggies involved. This first picture is from over the previous weekend and the other three are actual work meals. By 5:00pm I would have my second snack of the day which was usually a small apple. One day I was still a little hungry so I had a handful of almonds with the apple.

Dinner is usually around 7:30pm. 
While the meal plan provided a wide variety of choices for dinner, Monday through Thursday I generally had the same dinner. I usually eat dinner alone those nights and since I am a vegetarian (with the exception of eating salmon once a week on the night before a long run), I want to make sure I am getting enough protein. So on those nights I would have scrambled eggs along with steamed veggies and either add a slice of toast, a Wasa Cracker or 1/2 an avocado.

My other meals consisted of a simple veggie chili dish with a sweet potato (delish!) and salmon with steamed veggies and brown basmati rice.

For the most part, I skipped that last snack of the day. Sunday is my cheat day so I did allow myself some frozen yogurt. I also had one night during the week where I was still hungry, so I had a cup of cherries.

As for exercise, we were provided with five HIIT workouts to complete Monday through Friday (a different one each day). The plan also allowed for three days of running, but if we ran we weren't suppose to do that day's HIIT.

I managed to complete four of the workouts this week!

Monday:
 Tuesday:
 Wednesday:
 Friday, but doing Thursday's workout:
I got home late on Thursday and didn't really have time to do the workout. I was ok with skipping it since I had run that morning.

Let me just say these workouts were amazing, intense and seriously sweat inducing!

I completed all the workouts at my level, meaning I did have to modify some of the exercises just so I could do them, and that is ok. I know the more I do these exercises, I will be eventually be able to complete them without modifications.

While I may have been cursing through some of the exercises, and my muscles were feeling extra sore, I can honestly say that by the end of the first week I feel stronger!

Of course there was some running this week too. Since I have been a runner for a long time, I didn't really think twice about doing a run and a HIIT workout all in the same day.

I ran twice before work:
 Ran once during my lunch break:
 And of course ran a little 10K race on Saturday morning:
I decided to take Sunday as a complete rest day, so no running on the trails were done. I ran a total of 15.26 miles this week.

Where does that leave me with my Run 1,000 miles by the end of the year goal?

I last talked about my running and mileage here on May 29 through Week 21. My previous total was 270.58.

Add the two new weeks of mileage:
Week 22: 9.00
Week 23: 15.26
New Total: 294.84

Still not back at the 20 plus mile weeks to get me to my goal. I am hoping this week will get me there.

I am so happy that the first week of the Summer Shred is under my belt. I wasn't sure what the week was going to bring me or how well I would fair with it.

I am super proud of myself for all that I accomplished this week along with my fantastic fellow Shredder's!

The clean eating left me satisfied and with more energy. The workouts pushed me to my limits and let me set new ones.

I have also lost a total of four pounds since my start weigh-in! Two last Monday and two again this morning!

I am ready for Week 2!

So tell me, what did you do this weekend? 
I spent a good portion of my weekend recovering and relaxing, of course after all my chores were done.

Anyone else race?  
I will be posting my Oakley New York Mini 10K Race Recap hopefully this week.

What's one thing you could start right now to make a healthy difference in your life?
I started using my Pedometer this week. I bought the Omron HJ-112 Pocket Pedometer from here.