Friday, December 13, 2013

I'm still here!

Sheesh - I haven't blogged in over 3 weeks! Where in the world has the time gone?!?!  This school year is FLYING by - I can't believe we are already at the week before Christmas break!!

Things have been busy around here, so here's a small update.

The week of Thanksgiving I got the dreaded stomach bug. Tuesday and half of Wednesday I was pretty much down for the count - I missed part of parent/teacher conference day and a teacher inservice. Luckily, it was a 24-hour bug and by Wednesday evening I was feeling a lot better and drinking lots of fluids to get myself ready for the Turkey Trot in the morning!

I ran 2 Turkey Trots this year.  On Thanksgiving, I ran my city's local event - with about 4,500 people, it is pretty crowded and makes for a fun time!  On Black Friday, I ran the US Road Runners Turkey Trot.  With the stomach bug and the crowds, I decided I'd run Thursday for fun and Friday for time. But - I ended up PRing Thursday (27:28!)!


The Friday course was a ridiculous mixture of hills and grass - so it was not easy - but I was still really pleased with my time!!
 90% of the reason I ran this 2nd Turkey Trot was for the medal - haha!!

The Sunday after Thanksgiving I went on a date with someone I met online. Yep - good old online dating is a part of my life again, sigh.  He was a nice guy and we had a decent date, but I didn't think there was a "love connection".  He kept reminding me of someone, and when I realized who it was, I was cracking up.  He was a thinner version of....
...Cam from Modern Family.  Needless to say, there was no second date happening.

But - as they say, there are other fish in the sea!

Other than that, we've had some serious snow here in southern PA! We didn't have school Monday and Tuesday, then started Wednesday with a 2 hour delay! Tuesday's snow was the GOOD stuff - it was like being in a snow globe.  I even went for a half hour run in the snow - which I think is like the adult version of playing in the snow.  At least, it was for me!



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Countless

After yesterday's "old school blogging" survey revealed I was no longer dating "the guy", I've had lots of people ask me what happened.  Since I tend to over share things here, I figure I'll continue the trend and tell you all about it.  Well, some of it.  I'll call it "being transparent" because that sounds better, right?

At the end of August, a mutual friend set me up with "the guy" (who I shall refer to as simply Guy - which is not his real name, but I'll refrain from telling you that).  We went on a bunch of dates the first few weeks, including dinners out, dinners in, and even a Hersheypark trip. We texted and talked constantly.  But - then life started to get in the way.  Guy works night shift...midnight to 8am.  And then he coached from 3pm-5pm.  Between his work and coaching schedules, and my work and training schedules - our schedules were completely opposite, which made seeing each other difficult.

After a few weeks, this caught up to us and we'd go 2 weeks without seeing each other. Plus, if I'm being honest, I don't think Guy was making me a priority in his life. The more I thought about, the more I prayed about it, the more I talked about it, the more I realized that I didn't really want to make him a priority either.

He is a nice guy, he's got a lot of great qualities, and I harbor no bitterness towards him.  Really, it just didn't work out - and that's okay!

One of my favorite songs for the past year has been "Second Chance" by Rend Collective Experiment.  When I started dating Guy, I played this song on repeat again - thank God for this second chance. When things were over with us, I was sad because I thought "every time I hear that song now I'm going to think about him" - I thought he was THE second chance.

But then, I was listening to the song again and was reminded that it doesn't say "one second chance" - it says "COUNTLESS second chances".  Just because this guy wasn't THE guy doesn't mean there isn't still THE guy out there.  God is a God of second chances...and third...and fourth...and COUNTLESS chances - and I trust Him!

"Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it's where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven's heart"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Old School Blogging





Remember the days of online surveys? (ok those days were not that long ago, but still) We'd email them to each other, and then when MySpace came around you could post them there, or as a Facebook note?! This is a throw back to the days of "old school blogging" with a random survey via Miss Elaine! Happy Monday!!

Where is your cell phone? Not far away - right next to me!

Your significant other? Is non-existent...womp womp womp.  Yes - the guy is no longer! (Don't worry, I'll be over sharing about this later this week - what else would you expect?!)

Your hair? needs a trip to the salon - but I only do that about once a year...I'm totally hair lazy!

Your mother? Is AWESOME!!!! Seriously.  She's my best friend.


Your father? Thinks he is pretty funny - and he is. Also, he is great at fixing things and lawn work.  And vacuuming!

Your favorite thing? Jesus.  And coffee.

Your dream last night? I rarely dream - if I do, it's usually the night before a race and I dream things about losing my race bib or arriving late!

Your favorite drink? Water. Seriously - I drink it all the time.  Other than that, coffee and good beer.

Your dream/goal? To run a 1/2 marathon in under 2 hours!

The room you are in? Living Room

Your ex? I don't really have anyone I was dating seriously enough to consider an "ex" - and I'm thankful for that!

Your fear?SPIDERS!!!

Where do you want to be in six years? Oh geeze - hopefully married again...probably still teaching, maybe a mom or foster mom to a kid or two.

Where were you last night?
Watching "The Walking Dead" with my friends! I think it's one of my favorite times of the week.

What are you not? Patient

Muffins? Huh? Sure, muffins are good.

One of your wish list items? Under Armour Cold Gear tights

Where you grew up? Shrewsbury, PA

The last thing you did? Said goodbye to my students, drove home

What are you wearing? This question seems suggestive.  But - black leggings (ok, they're actually running tights that I am pretending are leggings), a polka dot tunic and a sweater.

Your TV? Isn't in the living room, so I don't watch as much of it as I used to!

Your pets? Max and Min - my fatty cats!

Your computer? Belongs to my school district!

Your life? Is not even a little bit how I thought I would be when I was in high school.

Your mood? Good, but tired.  Staying up late for Walking Dead....bad plan, but oh so fun!

Missing someone? Always!

Your Car? 2007 CR-V.  Actually mine is a CR-I because part of the V broke off.  I'm fancy like that.

Something you are not wearing? a necklace

Favorite store? Target!!!

Your summer? Seems quite far away in November!

Like someone? I like lots of people.

Your favorite color? PINK!

When was the last time you laughed? I teach elementary school - I laugh every day!

Last time you cried? I got a little teary eyed on my way to church yesterday thinking about some life things.

Who will repost this? This made me laugh!!! Remember when these things used to say "Repost this in the next 20 minutes and your crush will call you"?!?!?  Ah the good old days.  HA!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Weekend in Virginia

This weekend I traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia to spend some time catching up with my roommates from college - Kellie and Kristin.  Kellie grew up in Charlottesville and now she lives in the area and teaches Pilates and barre classes at Momentum.  I arrived Friday night after fighting traffic around Washington, DC. Kellie and I just hung out and relaxed for the evening in our comfy clothes - one of our favorite things to do when we get together!

Saturday morning, Kellie had a barre class to teach at 9:00 and a beginner's Pilates class at 10:00.  I've been wanting to take a barre class, so I joined Kellie at the studio.  I really enjoyed the barre class! It uses small weights (2-3 lb) and a squishy ball.  The class is a strength based class and the movements are tiny, but they hurt!

No one came to beginner's class, so we headed out early to hit the Charlottesville City Market. Kellie has a friend who makes really pretty, unique jewelry and crafts.  Her shop is called Curbside Pickins and they have a stand at market.  I got some really great jewelry!  


Kristin and her husband, Justin, arrived Saturday around lunch time.  They traveled from Washington, DC (where they live) to Richmond for a wedding Friday night, and then joined us Saturday! We decided to enjoy the sunshine by heading to a local winery called Pippin Hill for a glass of wine and then to the Blue Mountain Brewery for some lunch and beer sampling. This area of Virginia has many great breweries and wineries to tour if you're ever in town!


Pippin Hill Farm is an absolutely gorgeous vineyard and winery in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It offers wine tasting and a small menu.  Pippin Hill is a popular destination for weddings because of its rustic charm and spectacular mountain scenery.  Justin snapped a few pictures of us before we headed out to our next destination!


The Blue Mountain Brewery  offers craft beers and great food, all with more gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountain views!  We decided to indulge a little at this venue!!  And since I normally post pictures of foods that involve things like spinach, kale, and quinoa, I'll share our dining selections with you to prove I'm not always the healthiest eater!

10 samples of beer!

Nachos

Thai Burger (7oz ground chuck burger infused with a BMB dark ale topped with a dry-rub Thai spice, house-made sweet chili sauce, marinated cucumbers and Asian Napa slaw)

Bread Pudding (we shared this!)

I was surprised to find that the 2 beers I enjoyed the most were the darkest! I have always claimed to dislike dark beers, but perhaps my palette is changing as I age. The Foreign Stout and Dark Hollow were smooth and delicious!


After our touring, we headed back to Kellie's apartment and spent some time amusing ourselves with the game Heads Up.  If you have an iphone, download this game!! It's like modern day charades.  We had a blast!!!


The next morning, I enjoyed a run on the campus of Martha Jefferson Hospital.  The campus is surrounded by ponds and paved paths, making it the perfect spot for a few miles!


We then headed to Horse & Hound for brunch, where I enjoyed a mushroom, spinach, and goat cheese omelet. 

My last stop before heading north was Trader Joe's! I brought my cooler and stocked up on some of my favorite items from TJ's like rolled oats, quinoa, goat cheese, and coconut oil!


If you're looking for a weekend getaway, Charlottesville is a great place to consider!  There's a lot to see and do in the area!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fit to be Featured!

I've been "Instagram friends" with Sara from Fit for a Bride for awhile now.  She recently asked if she could feature my weight loss success story on her blog - and of course I said yes!  


Head on over to Fit for a Bride today to check out my feature and find some inspiration from other success stories and tips Sara shares! Thanks for featuring me, Sara!!!

You can also find Sara on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Some Like it Hot

Have you heard of Bikram Yoga? Or maybe "hot" yoga? A Bikram Yoga studio opened in my town recently, and I decided to give it a try after hearing some great things about this type of yoga. 


Bikram Yoga is a type of yoga that is practiced in a hot room - VERY hot...105 degrees kind of hot.  The beginner series of Bikram is 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises completed in 90 minutes. The heat is used to help warm up your body.  Because your body is warmer, you're able to stretch more and go deeper into the poses.



I've been practicing yoga at my gym for over a year now, but with race training the past few months, I  haven't had time to fit it in.  I'm also working at mixing up my routine this month so Bikram was the perfect chance to get back to yoga!

Before my first class, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I searched the internet for "first Bikram yoga class" and read some information.  I talked with a colleague who has taken it several times before and reached out to some friends on Twitter.  My biggest question was "What do I wear???"  The overwhelming response can be summed up with - "as little as you're comfortable wearing".  I ended up with a lightweight/moisture wicking tank and some "booty shorts" (these)

Besides wardrobe options, another big takeaway I got from my research was "it's okay to sit down if you need to".  I tend to be a person in group exercise who gets a little competitive, so this was tough for me. But, at a few points during the first class I was feeling a little light headed so I sat down for a minute or two.  During my second class, I didn't have to sit down at all. 

So just how sweaty is this yoga?  For me - VERY sweaty.  But really, I sweat just thinking about exercising, so this didn't surprise me.  I weighed myself before my first class and then again when I got home.  Even with the 32 oz of water I drank, I still lost 3 pounds during class.  Now if only that was fat and not just water weight - haha!!


Overall, I'm loving Bikram yoga.  The 90 minutes passes really quickly and I feel awesome afterwards! The poses are simple enough for beginners and don't involve any headstands or craziness like that. The instructor guides you through each step, and it ends up being a moving meditation.  Even my busy mind was able to shut out the chatter and concentrate on my practice.  It's a great way to relax and destress!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Keep Moving Forward


 

My 2 big races are over. Months of training and hard work culminated with successful races that I am super proud of!

Now that those races are over, it's time to start looking at my next set of goals.  My next long race isn't until the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon in March, so I have the next 2 1/2 months to focus on something other than running long distances.

With that in mind, I made this declaration on Facebook a few weeks ago...
 Yes - I am declaring war on the last 20 pounds.  You might remember that back in August I wrote about NOT focusing on those pounds - and being content where I am right now.  I didn't write that to say that I would NEVER go after this last but of weight - but just at that time, I couldn't focus on it.  I needed my mind to catch up with my body.  I needed to focus on distance running, and anyone who runs distances knows that it is actually difficult to lose weight while running like that because your body requires a lot of fuel!

These last 20 pounds are not going to go quietly.  Everything I read and research talks about how difficult this part of weight loss is.  Our bodies want to hold onto these pounds.  My body is very content at around 170 pounds.  I haven't counted a thing in months - and actually I haven't been eating that terrifically either - and I've maintained my weight just fine.

I could stay here and be okay. I could tell myself that I've worked really hard to get where I am and I should just settle here - but then I'd be SETTLING.  And really - I've worked too hard already to settle for stopping right now.

 
I've enlisted the help of the "cardio queen" - a trainer at my gym named Jeanean (referred to affectionately as "J'Mean" by fellow weight loss blogger Kristina) and I'm checking out my friend Jeremy's "Gruver Fitness Outdoor Boot Camp" to help me mix things up a little.

It will take hard work and sacrifice - but I'm willing to do both!  It's time to get comfortable with being UNcomfortable! 

Current Goals:
1. PR in a 5k (my fastest unofficial time is 26:55)
2. Lose the last 20 pounds.
3. Get back to tracking my food better
4.  Mix up my workouts more - try new things!





Monday, October 28, 2013

Men's Health Urbanathlon Recap

This weekend goes down as one of the best weekends of 2013.  Between the race, the time with my fit friends, a great Sunday at church (several friends were baptized!), and "The Walking Dead" - there was so much JOY in this weekend!!

Last year I did the Urbanathlon as part of a relay team with my friends Barb and Laura.  When we started training last year, we barely knew each other and now we don't go a day without talking! 

Together with our friends Dawn and Cathy, we call ourselves the "Fab Five" - we text each other daily, check in on workouts, and encourage each other.  We committed to doing all 10 miles and 10 obstacles together - and we did! 

The race begins at CitiField (home of the Mets) and runs through Flushing Meadows park, around the Arthur Ash Tennis Stadium, and ends with a run through CitiField.  The race is a total of 10 miles, with 10 different "urban" obstacles throughout.  Each obstacle was separated by a run of about 1-2 miles.
  

Many of the obstacles included things pictured below - parking barriers, cone hurdles, pallet walls, police barriers, and tire runs.





One obstacle that had us all a little nervous was the MONKEY BARS.  These are not your average playground monkey bars.  They're much farther apart and thicker than playground bars.  But - every single one of us conquered the bars! We were so excited when we finished them - and then remembered we were only at mile 3 - haha!!
(we're in the back in the lime green shirts)

An obstacle that I loved was "Over, Under, Through" - which I did on my leg last year.  Last year, I needed help getting over the 5 ft wall.  This year - I did not need help! I climbed over both walls, army crawled under, and jumped through with no problem!


The last obstacle before the stadium was a combination of "marine hurdles" and a tire carry with balance walk.  The marine hurdles are 5 foot high hurdles made of two 2x4s together.  Most people required help to get over these, as they are difficult to pull yourself up onto and over.  

(yoga came in handy here!)

The last mile of this race is a little unique - it's run inside the CitiField Stadium!  We entered the stadium and climbed stairs allllllllllllll the way to the nosebleeds.  From there, we ran up and down the nosebleeds 4-5 times (I can't remember).  Then it was back down, under the stadium, through the visiting team clubhouse, out their dugout, and a lap around the outfield!  It was a very cool experience - though it would've been cooler if I'd been a baseball fan.  Funny - I just realized both of my October races ended at baseball stadiums!
(NYonAir got this shot from their helicopter!)

After exiting CitiField (that took us about 15 minutes), we headed for the "Finish Sequence" - which involves 4 obstacles.  First is the taxis, followed by a cargo net up and over a bus, then under a fence/barricade, and finally over the 8 foot wall!




(I should note - this picture makes it appear as if I actually went over the wall using the rope.  In reality, I attempted it - and then used a rope ladder at the end of the wall.  Haha!)


My 3 favorite parts of this race were - 
1. The CitiField Stairs.  The stairs weren't as tough as I thought they'd be, the music was blasting in the stadium, and the atmosphere was just awesome!

2.  Standing on top of the bus with some of my best friends after we'd conquered the race!!!

3.  Crossing the finish line holding hands with "The Fab Five" - we trained together, raced together, and finished together! 

 

 



 

 
 
 

Friday, October 25, 2013

It's go time!

Today we're heading to NYC for the Men's Health Urbanathalon!


 Last year I did one relay leg of this race, but this year - I'm tackling the whole 10 miles! After half marathon training, I keep saying "this is ONLY 10 miles" - seriously?!  I laugh at myself when I say that because a year ago, the longest I'd ever run was 4 miles. I'll be back next week to recap the race!  I can't wait!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Stuff I Love - Running Edition

I've heard it said many times that running is a "low-maintenance" sport because you don't need a lot of "stuff" - a good pair of shoes and some sweats is all you need to run!  Well, anyone who has been a runner for awhile will tell you that's not true.  We runners actually can be a fairly high maintenance group!  Yes, at its core, running doesn't require anything more than sneakers and gym clothes - but, in my year of becoming a runner I have found that there are some items that make my runs easier.  I thought I'd share some of those things with you today!

1. My SpiBelt

First of all, let it be known that the Spibelt is NOT a fanny pack.  It is a "small personal item belt".  Totally NOT a fanny pack.  I have 2 of these non-fanny packs.  I bought a plain one several months ago and I have worn it for literally every single run I've done since I bought it.  At the Baltimore Half Expo, I bought a second SpiBelt - one that is water resistant and has loops to hold gels.  The SpiBelt looks small, but it stretches enough to fit my iPhone, a gel, extra gum, and my headphones.  It stays put on my waist and doesn't bounce at all.  It's a great alternative to an arm band!

I'm wearing it under my shirt in this picture and you can't see it.  If it WAS indeed a fanny pack, you'd totally be able to see it. Told you it wasn't a fanny pack.

2. The RockMyRun App
I haven't listened to my iPod playlist during a run since I downloaded this app.  It is AWESOME! RockMyRun is an app that provides DJ created playlists specifically for running.  You can search by genre and then choose a playlist based on the length or the beats per minute.  Mixes under 45 minutes are FREE (yes - seriously, FREE) and you can get mixes over an hour for a small fee.  I paid for the 3 month "training" membership - $12.99 for 3 months.  I've run to a different mix almost every long run and it's fun not knowing what's coming next, and being surprised with fun songs! 

3. Gum
This really doesn't require a lot of explanation...but I really can't run without gum.  It helps me feel less thirsty. I used to HATE fruity gum, but I found that mint gum mixed with Gatorade or NUUN is a terrible tasting combination, so I learned to love fruity gum when I run.  Specifically Trident Island Berry Lime.  

4. NUUN


I've written about my quest for the best hydration additives before, so I won't spend a lot of time on this one.  But, I ended up using NUUN through all of my training runs for Baltimore.  It doesn't have a sticky sweet taste, transports easily, and I could divide the tablets in half and put one half in each of my 8 ounce bottles when I was doing long runs.  Plus they have a bunch of flavors! (local folks - they sell it at Vitamin Shoppe, Flying Feet, and maybe also Dick's but I'm not sure)

5. Foam Roller


The foam roller - oh it hurts...it hurts so good though.  I actually have 3 of these - one in my living room, one in my den, and one travel sized.  The foam roller is used for self massage, which is great since I don't want to drop a bunch of money getting a massage every time I run!  I roll my quads, hips, hip flexors, and any area that feels sore or has knots. I spend a lot of time in the position pictured - rolling out my IT band.  It's painful, but feels SO much better when I'm done!!  Read more about foam rolling here!