Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thinking Out Loud

You mean it's only Thursday? Damn it! It needs to be Friday already! This week seemed to drag! 

Anyway, I decided that since I have a rest day today, and haven't done a Thinking Out Loud post in awhile, I decided that today would be a good day for it!

If you don't know what Thinking Out Loud's just that! Amanda over at Running with Spoons came up with the idea and it's all about just putting those random thoughts that seem to make no sense anywhere else in one post!

Well, here's what I'm thinking this week!

1) I can't wait for Saturday! Margo (better known as Brooklyn Fit Chick) is hosting a NYC area Fitblogger meet-up and I'm heading up there for the fun! It's at a German beer hall called Reichenbach Hall, and it should be an awesome time!

2) I've become obsessed with Booskerdoo coffee. For those of you not from Jersey (more specifically Monmouth County), it's a local chain with coffee fresh roasted and brewed within the week. The espresso especially is amazing! Price-wise, it compares to Starbucks, but it is so worth the money!

3) After watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, I've decided that Linus VanPelt from Peanuts is the answer to all the conflicts in the world. Just sit everyone down with a blanket and tell them to empty their minds! We'll have world peace! Yeah, I'm delusional... 

4) I'm going to be a guest blogger on Jenn's blog Comeback Momma as a success story! I basically wrote about weight loss and maintenance not being a straight line and that the non-scale victories matter so much more than the number on the scale. Be on the lookout on my social sites for the link to the post when it goes live!

5) I still haven't gotten a Christmas ornament yet. Any ideas? I'm leaning toward Frozen, but might get something else. Ideas?

Well, that's what I'm thinking out loud this week! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Recap and December Goals!

Seriously, where the hell did this year go?! I felt like 2014 just started and here we are, just over a month from 2015! I don't like it!

Well, let's not think about that right now. Instead, I'm thinking about how awesome November was!

Here's what I set out to do:

Here's how I did:

1) Two spin classes a week. NAILED IT AND THEN SOME!! First two weeks of the month I got two in and the last two weeks I got three in! Awesome! I wanted to get back on the bike and that I did!

2) Write a to-do list weekly. I did really good with this. I didn't accomplish everything on my lists, but got a lot more done than if I didn't write a list at all. Success!

3) Plan holiday shopping and budget. Done! It took quite some time, but I figured out everything I want to buy for everyone I want to shop for. Now to keep it in check...

4) Complete a Photo-a-Day challenge. Yes, I did! I finally finished one! It was so cool to look at my life from a different perspective! I might go for it again in December!

5) Clean and organize my storage room. Did that too! It took a few hours one Saturday, but everything is sorted and (mostly) in a storage bin in the room. Plus my books are on a bookshelf! I call this a win!

Since November was so awesome, I earned my cookbook for sure! I will be ordering it on Tuesday after I get paid. I can't wait to see what Skinnytaste has in store!

With November being so awesome, I decided to up the game a bit and work on some stuff that I let fall to the wayside in December.

1) Two days of strength training a week. I have been slacking with this over the last two weeks or so. Time to plan some new workouts and hit the weights again!

2) Unplug for 30 minutes nightly before bed. This needs to happen. I'm online for minutes before I go to sleep, which is just not healthy. I think that disconnecting for a half hour before bed will do wonders.

3) Try two new recipes. I always seem to get in and out of a cooking rut. With my new cookbook coming, this should be an easy one to accomplish!

4) Read one book. I love to read, but never seem to make time for it. I decided to make time to read Edward Kennedy's memoir True Compass this month. It's a bit long, but I can make it happen. I've only been meaning to read it forever anyway...

5) Celebrate daily victories, no matter how small. I never seem to do this. I always focus on one bad thing instead of all the good ones. Well, that's about to change in December!

As for my reward? I decided on a Momentum bracelet. They're workout friendly bracelets with motivational sayings. I bought a few as gifts, but none for myself. I need to rock December so I can get one too! ;-)

In addition to these goals, I decided to sign up for Brooke's Skinny Snowman challenge. Basically, you get points for doing healthy stuff like working out, getting veggies in, drinking water, etc. Plus, there's prizes! I mean, who wouldn't want a chance to win stuff?!

Well, that's what I plan on in December! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday Funday!

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Am Enough!

Warning: This post sounds a bit ramblish. Tired, but I had to get this out there.

Confession: I am struggling.

Struggling with mostly the fact that I don't feel like I'm enough.

Often, I don't feel like I deserve to share much of anything. 

I mean, I'm not a multi-time marathon runner or someone who shed half of their body weight. Hell, I don't even live on my own.

I could have an awesome day at work or kill it in spin class, but all that can go down the drain in a matter of minutes after seeing people complete their Xth half or second race in two days.

I'm just proud of saying I completed nine 5K's and maintaining a 100 pound weight loss for a year. 

Yet, I feel like that isn't enough.

Granted, I know that those two tasks are tough, but I still struggle with seeing so many other people do so much better than me.

Then I realized that what is good for one person isn't necessarily good for another.

I never started running to try and complete multiple marathons. I just did it to do something different. Eventually, I liked the pavement. I probably will never be the fastest runner out there, but isn't getting out there what it's all about anyway?

So what if I never do a marathon? So what if I didn't lose half of my body weight? I did what I didn't think was possible, and feel awesome about that!!

I started this journey to healthy living for me five years ago, and just have to remember that's why I do this. Not for the glory of marathon medals or the features in magazines. I did it to make myself a better person and I am a much better version of me than I was five years ago.

In the end, that's really enough. As long as I love myself and what I've done, that's really all I need. 

I. Am. Enough!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Recap and November Goals!

Hey, everyone! I can't believe that we're almost at November already! Where has this year gone?

Anyway, I had set some goals for October, and here's a quick recap of what they were:

Here's how I did:

1) One new recipe a week. Three out of four weeks I did! I found some new ways to cook oatmeal and made an AWESOME pulled pork! Not perfect, but I'm finding my way into the kitchen again!

2) Place $30 into savings! NAILED it! I think this will stick long-term. $15 a paycheck is totally doable, and a little bit can go a long way!

3) Three days of core work a week. FAIL! Thinking back, I probably should not have made this a goal of mine. I wound up running two 5K's this month, and more of my time was spent on running. I did accomplish this one week though, so it's not a total loss.

4) Blog once a week. Done! I wrote two race recaps, two "fluff" posts, and this one. Not too shabby.

5) Empty inbox once a week. Done as well! I actually did this about twice a week. Winning!

I didn't quite earn my cookbook, so I will be trying again for it in November!

Speaking of November, here are my goals for next month!

1) Two spin classes a week. I'm not running anymore until sometime in March (except for one virtual 5K Thanksgiving week), so this is totally doable. I have options every day except for Wednesday and Friday, so no excuses! I need to get back on the bike! 

2) Write a "To-Do" list weekly. I never seem to do this, although I know it would help me get a lot done. Originally, this was going to be a daily goal, but given my work schedule, it won't happen. Once a week is realistic for me though.

3) Plan holiday shopping and budget. It's that time of year already? Damn it! Seriously, I need to get the ball going. I already started (Let's Imagine Elmo for the nephew), but need to think about the rest of the family and a few other people, plus a Secret Santa or two. Oh, and those damn things called cards and gift wrap. 

4) Complete a "Photo-A-Day" challenge. I'm the queen of starting these, but never finishing them. This will change in November! I found one that looks awesome, but easy enough. Plus, it's an excuse to post to Instagram more! ;-)

5) Clean and organize my storage room. This. Needs. To. Happen. My family and I moved into this place in January and the fourth room in my third floor (the other three are my bedroom, exercise/gaming room, and walk-in closet) is a storage room, but looks like a tornado went through. With the changing of seasons, it's time to bring out the winter clothes, put away the summer, and finally unpack the rest of the cardboard boxes!

There you have it! November is looking to be setting the foundation for a solid holiday season! Get in the habits now, be merry and bright later! Yes, I know I stole that from a Christmas song and it sounds cheesy, but it suits me. ;-)

Happy Halloween tomorrow, everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trick or Trot 5K (Long Branch, NJ)

Note: At the time I wrote this, I did not have an official time. All I know is I was off my PR by about 1:30. I will edit when I have my time.

I knew after the Little Silver 5K that I would be on board for one more race in 2014. I found out about this one and was sold on two things: an 11:00 start time and costumes!

So, I signed up about a week and a half ago, and started planning my costume. I knew I wanted to do something Disney related, and thought of Jessie from Toy Story. I went with that.

I made my own shirt, paired it with an accessory kit, and bought some cow print knee socks. It wasn't perfect, but it was definitely recognizable once I got to the race site. WIN! 

As I mentioned earlier, the race had a late start (11:00). However, there was a kicker. There was no packet pickup the day before the race (Lame!), so I had to wander down to the site early to pick up my race number and shirt. 

I got down to Long Branch about 45 minutes before the race start, got my number and shirt, and went to the park where the race was starting and did my best to stay loose before the race start.

Oh, and get a pre-race pic of course. Okay, maybe two. ;-)

This was the one I posted on Instagram this morning with the caption "Jessie is ready to rock it in Long Branch!"

This one, on the other hand, didn't get posted until later in the day. Hey, I had to save some data! ;-)

As I mentioned earlier in the post, this costume was recognizable almost right away. There was one little girl who every time she saw me just kept saying, "Jessie!"

Can you say it was a hit with the little kids? I think so. =)

Soon enough, it was time to make our way to the start area. I say "area" because there was no actual start line. Uh, fail much? Seriously, if it's one thing any race should have, if nothing else, is a start line. I felt like the start was a little chaotic, since there was no actual spot.

Before the national anthem, I took a pic with the water as my backdrop. Hey, when you race along the ocean, it's a must!

The national anthem was sung, last minute instructions about the course were given, and soon enough, we were off! 

I knew from the start that this would not be a PR race by any means. No start line at all, plus the wind was nasty this morning. Cold, rain, and even moderate heat I can handle. Wind? Not so much...

The course was pretty much a out and back loop, but the wind wouldn't do much damage until the second half of the race. I ended up with a first mile of 10:30, which was a little faster than I was hoping for. Still, I was feeling good!

After about another half mile, the turnaround came. And the wind roared its evil face. I hit the second mile at about 22:30 (ish?), so that was a sign to just let thoughts of a PR go, and enjoy the rest of the race.

Which I did. I soaked up the views of Pier Village (gorgeous area) and the Atlantic Ocean on each side. I mean, how can you NOT enjoy anything like that on a race course?

Seriously, if I can have a view like this on every run, I would be a happy girl.

Soon enough, it was back into the park for the finish. I took off my headphones early and just soaked it in. This was my last race of the year, and I wanted to enjoy the last moments. 

I wound up coming in at about 36:00, just about 1:30 slower than my PR. Given my unfamiliarity with the course and the wind, I was okay with that time. I loved the scenery and had fun seeing everyone in costume!

Overall, I have mixed feelings over this race. I loved being able to rock a costume and having ocean views on the course. However, I was disappointed with lack of a start line as well as a timing chip. The packet pickup situation was not a fav of mine, but I wasn't too upset about it. I would do this race again, but have to plan it as more of a fun run. I mean, how many times a year do you get to run in costume? 

That's a wrap on my 2014 running season! Looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings my way!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Currently: October 2014

I haven't done one of these type posts in ages, and I'm kind of at a loss for words this week, so I decided to do this post instead today!

Thinking...about all the laundry I have to put away. I'm so lazy about putting clothes away after I wash them. Did I say that? Oops! ;-)

Feeling...tired. Work has kicked my ass this week. So happy for the weekend. Even though I'll be in the gym for some time, I don't have an eight hour shift before I work out!

Watching...How to Get Away with Murder. I never thought I would get into a show as crazy as that one! It's a legal mystery drama where a college law professor and a group of her students become involved in a twisted murder plot. Viola Davis rocks it week in and week out. If you haven't checked it out, do it. So worth watching.

Excited...for my 5K next Sunday! It's a costume race and I decided to go as Jessie from Toy Story! I'm not revealing the whole thing until next weekend, so look for pics on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram then! =)

Missing...summer! Okay, maybe not the heat as much as the beach, wearing tank tops without hoodies over them, and my birthday, but still, it's all part of summer! Only eight months until next summer!

Wanting...a chocolate chip bagel from Gem's! I haven't had one in about a month! I must make it happen this weekend! (P.S.-If you don't live in northern Monmouth County, I feel sorry for you. You're missing out on some awesome

Wishing...that I was in Bethlehem, PA for Runner's World Weekend! I would only be doing the 5K (and possibly the 10K), but it seems like the place to be this weekend!

Eating...all the salad! I've eaten salad most every day this week, and tomorrow is my usual Saturday Saladworks dinner. Never thought I would love it as much as I do!

Loving...the unseasonably warm weather here in Jersey! Too bad it's about to get cold this weekend. =(

What's new in your world?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Little Silver 5K (Little Silver, NJ)

There's a first time for everything, right?

Well, this race was not one, not two, but THREE firsts for me at once!

This was my first time ever racing in the fall (2012 was cut short due to injury and 2013 was more focused on goal and maintenance), as well as my first Sunday race. All eight of my others were on Saturdays in the spring.

Therefore, this would also be my first time racing this course.

After hearing that this course was flat and mostly shaded, I was sold on it. So, I signed up back in July after I got a discount code on early registration.

Like I said, this would be a whole new experience for me in more ways than one. Plus I had my usual "This training cycle sucks." moments, so I decided that if I was close to a PR, I would go for it, but not getting it wouldn't kill the race for me.

One perk to this race: Awesome swag and a virtual race bag! The flyers got e-mailed as a PDF download, which meant better swag at number pick-up! Hello, pint glass AND water bottle! Oh, and the shirt is awesome too!

Of course, when picking out my race outfit, my beloved Sparkle Athletic skirt would make a return appearance after both my PR's in the spring! For this race, I decided on white and silver with a splash of orange.

Okay, maybe more than a splash. Still, it brought some color, right? ;-)

This race had the latest start out of any race I had done (9:30 a.m.), but since it was about a 20 minute drive, I still had to get up around 7 to leave my house at 8:30.

Once at the race site, it was a lot of walking around, checking out the one-mile run, and staying loose until start time. Oh, and keeping warm too.

One of the lessons I learned is to be prepared for COLD this time of year! I was one of the few runners in short sleeves and I was freezing before the race. Arm sleeves will be an investment for me in the near future. Some runners were as extreme as wearing mittens and snow hats, but I don't think I would go that far, at least not in October.

Around 9:15, it was time to make our way to the start. This would be another big race (close to 600 runners), and it was crazy lining up. They may have mentioned a few times to stay toward the back if you couldn't maintain a 5:00 mile. How many listened? I can't say.

Before the national anthem, I got someone to snap a pic of me in my cold but cute Sparkle glory. The skirt was a hit with other runners this time too!

One of the drawbacks to this race was the lack of timing mat at the start. I swear this is where the Spring Into Summer 5K spoils their runners. Everyone had the same start time, which I think is why there's such crowding at the front. Maybe next year some of these races will learn.

After the national anthem and the usual pre-race announcements, the horn went off and we were on our way!

My plan was the same as it always was: Run when I felt comfortable, walk when I needed. Usually this would be about a minute run/minute walk ratio.

Yeah. That went really well for the first few minutes. I was more like two minutes running/one minute walking while dealing with crowding for the first half mile or so.

Like Union Beach and Keansburg's races, there were no mile markers. Again, spoiled by Spring Into Summer! Thankfully, I was running with Caledos, so I had an idea of my splits. No guarantees as to total accuracy, since I was dealing with weaving, but at least I had an idea.

I hit the first mile at 10:52, a little faster than I was aiming for. One of these days, I will learn to not go out so fast in the beginning. Still, I was feeling good and secretly wishing for a PR!

After the first mile, I dropped to the one/one ratio for walking and running. My second mile (which is usually the hardest for me) was at 11:25. I was on pace to tie my current PR (11:09/mile at that point), but I realized that I could either push myself and get it, but not have as much fun doing it or let it go and just enjoy the last stretch.

I went with the latter.

Of course, no race is complete with a mid-race selfie, right? ;-)

The third mile wound up being about ten seconds slower than the second, but at that point, I didn't care. I just wanted to go out enjoying myself and I feel like I did that!

The last stretch led us to the Red Bank Regional track where I left everything out there. I was the only one when I was there, so the announcer called me out. Kind of felt cool, to be honest. Hey, we can all dream of being elite runners, right? ;-)

I knew then I didn't have the PR, as the clock was just over 35:00. Still, I felt awesome and completed my eighth 5K!

After I crossed the finish, I immediately went for water. I also got a sample of Rook iced coffee. No food at the finish as they apparently ran out of bagels. A little annoying, but what can you do.

Before I left, I got my official result: a 35:05 (11:18/mile). Missed a personal by 30 seconds. I was actually happy with that time. I ran this race for the first time, felt solid, and had fun! Usually I get so wrapped up in going for personals that I forget to live in the moment and enjoy it! I let the PR go and wound up enjoying myself more this race than either my May or June ones!

Was this race perfect? No. I would have liked to see mile markers and a timing mat at the start, so that crowding won't be as much of an issue and those of us not running with Garmins or apps have an idea of mileage. Still, other than that, this is one of my favorite races to date! Flat and fast course with awesome scenery will probably have me coming back next year!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thinking Out Loud

Hi, all! I have some rare downtime today, so I decided to do a Thinking Out Loud Thursday post!

For those unfamiliar with Thinking Out Loud, the series came about by Amanda over at Running with Spoons. However, I actually found it through Brooke (of Brooke: Not on a Diet).


Basically, the whole idea behind these posts is to, well, think out loud! You know, all the random thoughts that you need to get out but don't make sense in a "normal" post.

So, here's what I'm thinking this week!

1) My eighth 5K (and third this year) is on Sunday in Little Silver! I'm still unsure as to whether I'm going for a personal or not, but I know that this will be an awesome time no matter what. Hello, Rook Coffee at the finish!

2) Hockey season is here! Okay, technically it's still preseason until next week, but hey, it's back! The Rangers officially own my soul (and good chunk of my T-shirt collection) until June!

3) I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who actually likes the new U2 album. You know, Songs of Innocence, the one that iTunes offered for free and magically placed into most users' libraries. I had to manually download it, but it was worth it. I'm into that kind of music anyway, and this is a good album. My fav track? "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)."

4) I've been at goal weight for over a year! Sunday was my anniversary and I celebrated with a run and Power class! Oh, and pumpkin pie Italian Ice from Ralph's. ;-) (P.S.-Separate post on this is coming!)

5) I'm getting back into TV! I wasn't able to last year because, you know, I was working at 5:30 in the morning. Now, I can watch my shows at night. My three fav newbies: The Mysteries of Laura, Madam Secretary, and How to Get Away with Murder. Of course, y'all know my fav returning show is The Good Wife. Anyway, check these out if you haven't already. All four shows are incredible!

How about you? What are you "Thinking Out Loud?"

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September Goal Recap and October Goals

I'm pretty sure September can be summed up as a "Life happens, deal with it" month.

The month was anything but perfect. Work was crazy with the audit happening a week and a half ago, but it paid off. We got the highest score (platinum) in the district and one of only five in the franchise. So, yeah. It was worth it.

With that, my goals went a little downhill, but I still got a lot accomplished this month.

Here's what I set out to do:

Here's how I did:

1) Complete The Conscious Runner's 30 Day Plank Challenge. Done, but did a little tweaking along the way. I got the days in, but altered my rest days a bit. So this was a success.

2) Run three times a week and NOT on consecutive days. Uh...I did good the first week! The rest of the month I only got two days a week in, but not consecutive days. The stress of work got to me and I took extra rest days with my running. This one was half-successful.

3) Place at least $50 into savings. Bust! I only got $30 in. Tough early in the month and I couldn't save anything. If it wasn't for seven hours OT, I wouldn't have even got the $30.

4) No daily weighing. Okay, I nailed this one. I weighed once a week, saw myself lose the five pounds I gained, then ignored the scale. Eventually, I'm hoping to get to once a month weigh-ins, but as long as I don't weigh myself every day, then I'm good.

5) Try at least two new recipes. I did good with this too. I made a black bean and quinoa burger that was pretty tasty. I also ate a PB and cinnamon oatmeal that was good too (and microwaveable-WIN!). So I got myself out of a bit of a rut, but still can do better.

My reward was two Sparkly Soul headbands, but since I was only half-successful this month, I'm only getting one. Hey, I have to get something for what I did right! ;-)

Okay, now that I recapped September, time to look to October!

1) One new recipe a week. I'm in a bit of a cooking funk and want to get back in the swing. Pinterest has a TON of stuff, and I do have a few cookbooks. Time to get back in the kitchen!

2) Place $30 into savings. No matter how small my paychecks are, I can afford to save $15 a check. No excuses.

3) Three days a week of core work (15 minutes or more). This one is going to be a challenge, but doable. My core work has been slacking lately (shame on me), and I need to get back into the mix. Core classes at my gym are starting to get few and far between, so it's up to me to come up with the workouts. I have a Nike training app, plus I see workouts all over the place.

4) Blog once a week. I've been a bad blogger. I had that stretch where I gained, plus work was crazy! Even if I only write a "fluff" post (Friend Makin' Monday, Thinking Out Loud, etc.), I still want to get something up on here weekly! Suggestions are welcome. ;-)

5) Empty inbox once a week. I'm one of those people who tends to let e-mail sit FOREVER! I need to clean out all the junk and maybe even unsubscribe to a few things.

My reward for October is The Skinnytaste Cookbook. I've heard about it, and would love to try some of the stuff for myself. Hello, guilt-free Double Chocolate and Walnut Cookies!

That's it here! October's mission is to make old habits new again! I think I set the groundwork for that!

What about you? What are your goals for October?

No Half-Marathon for Tracy

This post may sound like it doesn't make sense, but I was writing what I felt. You've been warned. ;-)

I meant to write this post earlier in the week, but I haven't stopped moving long enough to do so, plus I needed a few days to let this sink in.

I will not be running a half-marathon in April. I may not even run one in 2015.

Before you all yell at me for going back on my word, just let me say that this decision was not an easy one. In fact, I was continuously on the fence about it. When I actually made the decision, it was heartbreaking, but I knew it was for the best.

However, several factors came into play about me not going forward.

The first is my mental confidence is really not where I want it to be. I've had runs where I feel amazing, and others where I think to myself, "Can I do this for 13.1 miles?" That alone pretty much says it all. This whole running thing is as much mental as it is physical, and the wrong mindset can send everything into a bad tailspin. Not cool.

The second is that I am not a fast nor long runner. It would take me ages to build up my endurance (both distance and speed) for something like that. I know I can train for a half in as little as three months, but at the same time, I don't want to rush it and risk being miserable or getting hurt. Neither is any fun, and recovering from injury just sucks. Not worth it right now.

The third is that damn thing called "Keeping Up with the Joneses" syndrome. Since I gave myself some tough love a few months ago, I've gotten better, but at the same time, I still struggle with it. I see all these people who have run multiple marathons (both full and half) and even multiple races in one weekend (I'm looking at all those Dopey challengers!), and feel like I've done nothing completing only seven 5K's.

Yes, I know those seven are seven more than the old me would have done. Still, I know people who have completed seven FULL marathons. Then I get the mindset of feeling like a failure.

Ridiculous? Totally.

It was last weekend when I tweeted all those thoughts when my friends Dani and Carlee pretty much told me that my time will (eventually) come and that I had to own my OWN journey. They also said that I have to believe (for myself that I am as awesome as everyone else.

You know what? I do believe it now, more than I did before.

I may not have gone from couch potato to marathoner, but I have gone from couch potato to spin fanatic and basically just enjoys movement in general.

I went from someone who didn't love herself to losing 100 pounds and enjoying the body I'm in.

Honestly, isn't that worth a hell of a lot more than a half-marathon finisher's medal?

I think it is.

Maybe I'll eventually complete a half. Maybe not. If that path isn't meant for me, then so be it. I'm happy with what I've done and nothing can take any of those 5K's, weight loss, or self-love away from me.

Except maybe for me. I just have to learn to own and enjoy my own journey without feeling like I'm not as good as everyone else.

I now believe that I am. I have the heart, passion, and soul that make everything I've done possible. I've had a pretty awesome journey, despite the ups and downs, and every moment of it has made me the best I can be.

I would say that's pretty awesome.

How about you? Have you had to make a decision that was as heartbreaking for you as it was for me?

P.S.-I'm not bashing all of you half and full marathoners. In fact, I think you all rock! I just realized that I wasn't feeling as awesome because I don't have a collection of medals like y'all do. Not the case now.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Checking In!

Happy Friday night, my friends! Currently winding down and in bed watching JAG reruns. I'm a bit of an NCIS fan, so it was only time before I got into this show (even though it ended almost 10 years ago).

Anyway, I haven't posted in awhile (okay, a week or so), and just wanted to fill you in on what's been going on here!

1) Confession: I gained five pounds in three weeks. I owned up to it all (increased sodium intake, breaking "Treat-End," and not going cardio crazy) and got back in the game this week. Result: I lost four of the five pounds! I'm now back at goal and one pound from my "ideal" weight!

2) I've been tracking for over a year! I hit the one year mark on August 31, and still going strong! Not every choice has been pretty, but I owned up to it all. That is what counts, right?

3) I had my first sub-12:00/mile run in ages today! According to my tracker (Caledos Runner), I ran just under two miles with a pace of about 11:40/mile! I'm more than happy with that!

P.S.-Top is from RunID that I won during Twitter's RunChat on Sunday night. Cute, right? ;-)

4) I've become obsessed with Stonyfield's Salted Caramel Greek yogurt. It's only 140 calories for a five ounce cup and it is FAT-FREE!

5) I took a cue from my girl (and recent Half-Ironman finisher) Dani and started drinking water before my coffee in the morning. I only do about 16-20 ounces, but it's worth it. I've ended up drinking over 100 ounces of water a day since.

Yes, I love Despicable Me and Frozen. Then again, who doesn't these days? ;-)

Oh, and today, I got a bit of awesome news...


Remember when I filled out that application? Almost three months ago? Well, I kind of forgot about it.

Until today, when this popped into my e-mail:

I never thought that someone who has a following as small as mine would end up getting something like this! Wow! Guess it goes to show that, like they said in Horton Hears a Who, a person is a person, no matter how small. Seriously, I feel honored and thank FitFluential for the opportunity and can't wait to see what it brings!

Have a great weekend, everyone! I'm working tomorrow night, but don't go in until 5, and am off on Sunday!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Twenty-Nine Miles Done...Plus One More, Along With September Goals!

Happy September, everyone! Drinking a pumpkin coffee from Wawa as I write this since, you know, it's the season after all! Seriously, if you're ever in Jersey, get to a Wawa and get some coffee and chocolate milk. They're both awesome.

Anyway, since it's now September 1, I guess I should recap my August goal, huh? ;-)

Well, if you remember my post in the beginning of August, I said that I wanted to run 29 miles since my 29th birthday was on the 7th.

Guess what? I didn't run 29 miles.

I ran 30!!

I ended Friday at 29.5 miles, and thought I would be happy with that. Here's the pic I posted then as proof of my excitement (Sparkle Athletic skirt and all):

I let it sink in for a day or so, then yesterday, I thought that if I put in just another half mile, I would be at an even 30 for the month, and since you all know I like things nice and even, I decided to go out yesterday and do it, despite it being the hottest day of the month.

Boom. I started off the month not sure that this would happen to going a mile over my goal. You know, for a girl who used to HATE running (I WALKED the mile in high school, for crying out loud!), I did pretty good for myself. Granted, I may never be the fastest, but I finish what I start. That's what counts more, right?

In case you're wondering, I still haven't decided on my reward for this. I'm leaning toward this Alex and Ani Champion bracelet, since I've not only been wanting it forever, but at the same time, it's a fitting symbol of how far I came with this!

All five of my current bracelets are in silver but I think this one looks awesome in the gold, no? Well, I have to wait until next week anyway, but I think this is what I'm getting myself!

Well, since I rocked my one BIG goal in August, I decided to go back to smaller ones for September. Here's the lowdown if you haven't seen it on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram:

1) Complete The Conscious Runner's 30 Day Plank Challenge. I got invited to this on Facebook (only have a personal page), and decided to go for it. It's four planks (side on each arm, basic, and reverse) for a set amount of time each day, with rest days built in to the challenge. Perfect for me!

2) Run three times a week and NOT on consecutive days. I have a 5K coming up on October 5, and want to keep running so I'm race ready that day! I'm trying not to run on consecutive days, mostly for injury prevention. I did in August (mostly to meet my goal mileage), and want to prevent that in September. I'm taking a week as recovery, and planning on going full force after the 7th!

3) Place at least $50 in savings. Hoping I get to save a little more this month. I wasn't able to in August (Okay, $10--which is better than nothing!), and want to get some more money set aside for a rainy day or maybe a Fitbloggin' trip next summer! ;-)

4) No daily weighing. I was doing good with this, then started to let this bad habit sneak back in toward the end of August. So, back to banishing the scale except for once a week!

5) Try at least two new recipes. I fell into a cooking rut. Again. I found a vegetarian recipe online that sounds amazing and want to try! I'm finding so many other recipes now that I'm back in the Pinterest game (hoopsfreak03 over there), so I have TONS of inspiration!

My reward for this month will be two new Sparkly Soul headbands. It's been awhile since I bought any, and there are several that I want!

Anyway, that's my recap of August and plans for September!

Here's to starting the fall off right!

Do you have any awesome September goals?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The "HOW" of My 100+ Pound Weight Loss

Happy Sunday, friends! Unwinding a bit and enjoying the last few days of a much needed week off work.

Anyway, I've been getting several (good) comments about how good I look and if I've lost weight recently. Shocker, I haven't! I've been around the same two or three pounds since last September, when I hit goal. I think it might be toning and replacing muscle with fat. I've been lifting and doing core work like crazy as of late. Still, if it helps me look good, roll with it, right? ;-)

After all that babble, people keep asking me HOW I lost over 100 pounds.

Here's another shocker: I did it on my own.

Yup, y'all heard that right! No pre-packaged meals, no counting points, and NO SURGERY.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking down on those options at all. What works for one doesn't always work for another. I wasn't overweight enough to NEED the surgery, plus other options (Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, for example) were too much money for me. So, I decided to just watch what I ate and worked out. That's all.

However, there are a few things that ANYONE trying to lose weight MUST do, regardless of what diet plan you use (in no particular order):

1) Watch what you eat. Common sense here, right? Right. I'm not gluten-free (no need to be), not vegan/vegetarian (or even close), and I don't rely on pre-packaged meals. I just eat good, healthy food in portions that work for me and enjoy a treat sometimes. Which leads me to...

2) Treat MEAL one day a week. Confession: I love pizza. I love fro-yo. Chocolate chip cookies and French fries will forever be in my life. However, the trick is to LIMIT how much you enjoy these items! I usually limit myself to one treat meal a week. It might be pizza, chicken fingers from Sonic (pretty much the only fast food I eat anymore), or even baby back ribs (like I had on my birthday). I keep it to one meal and move on. Same goes for sweets, even though I usually limit them to the weekends (one treat per day Friday-Sunday).

3) TRACK! I can't stress this enough. I do so much better when I track what I eat. I've actually been tracking for about 350 days straight. I'm a visual learner, so it helps to see what I eat and how I can adjust my patterns based on my goals. Oh, it also helps me own up to anything I mess up on (Lemon Chicken Orzo on a DAILY basis, for example). I use MyFitnessPal (hoopsfreak03 over there), but there are a ton of other options out there for you to choose from! If all else fails, there's always pen and paper!

4) Get moving! I'm not saying to get out there and run a marathon. Hell, even I haven't done that! Everyone has to start somewhere. Try something as simple as walking for 10-15 minutes at a time. I eventually worked myself up to Wii Fit and Biggest Loser DVD's. I even completed Jillian Michaels's 30 Day Shred! Eventually, I got a gym membership, fell in love with spinning, and completed several 5K's! Find what works for you and go from there!

5) Find support. I have a crazy, but loving family who supports me in this 100% (even if I don't think so sometimes), but I have so many friends and supporters online too. Point is, you need someone to cheer you when times are good, support you when they're not, and maybe even give you some tough love when you need it most but least expect it. There are so many out there who have similar struggles (I try not to say "same," as no two people are exactly alike), so there's always someone to listen! You can even message me or shoot me a tweet, and I'll help you too! ;-)

Last, but certainly not least...

6) Do it for YOU!  So many times, I've seen people wanting a friend or family member to lose weight, but the person rebels against it. In fact, I was that person myself. This is one of those things where you have to want it for yourself; not to please your family, not for an event, and not even to be accepted by society. If you do it for all those things, are you going to stick with it after everything comes and goes? NOPE! I know from experience that I didn't really want it until just over five years ago. At that point, I was just sick of being overweight and wanted to be healthy and happy in my own skin. Sure enough, I am today!

Well, there you go! That's how I lost over 100 pounds and kept it off for ten months, but planning on keeping it up forever!

Do you have any tips for losing or maintaining weight?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Goal Recap and August Goal

Where has July gone? It feels like the month just started, and we're already in August! I don't like it!

Well, since July's over, guess I should recap my goals from the month, right?

In case you missed them, here they are:

And here's how I did!

1) Put at least $50 into savings. Nailed it halfway through the month. I would have loved to made it more, but a less than normal paycheck last week didn't make it happen.

2) Blog at least once a week. I think I made it at least three out of four weeks. Not perfect, but better than it was. I'll take it.

3) No running AT ALL. Tough, but I did it! I never thought I would say it, but I was missing the pavement! I started running again on Friday, and it's been slow, but I know I'll be back fiercer than ever!

4) Plank-A-Day. I went 31 for 31! Still keeping the streak alive too! Hoping to keep this up through the rest of the year! Or at least through August. ;-)

5) One movie a week. Another three out of four. Although I think that three hours of Parks and Recreation makes up for the one week, right?

So all this earned me my reward. I will eventually get my Yankees bracelet, probably after my next paycheck or the one after. Still have a few bills to figure out. =P

Anyway, I was thinking of what to work on for August, and I couldn't think of anything. That was when I decided that I wanted to do something tying to the number 29 (since I turn 29 on Thursday).

Then it hit me: Why not run 29 miles in August?

I was honestly on the fence about it, then on Friday, I put the goal into RunKeeper, and there was no turning back.

This picture actually reflects my total distance (all 4 miles) as of today. Still have 25 to go, but I think that if I pace it right and make the most of my runs, it will happen!

You can follow my progress on Endomondo (the app I use to actually track my runs) and RunKeeper (where I plug them in and have the goal set up). I'm hoopsfreak03 on RunKeeper, but you have to enter my full name (Tracy Carroll) on Endomondo.

Edit (8/24/14): I am no longer using Endomondo and switched over to Caledos Runner for Windows Phone as of two weeks ago. The miles automatically sync to my RunKeeper. Still hoopsfreak03 on RK.

As for my idea what it is yet! I'm sure I'll think of something during the course of the month!

That's all for now! Happy August!

Have you ever set a mileage goal for a month? Was it for race training or for yourself?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

If Only People Knew...

This post is going to be a little ranty. You've been warned.

Since hitting my goal weight ten months ago (That long already? Wow.), I've gotten more than my share of "If I was your size..."

Let me just say one thing (okay, scream): YOU HAVE NO F&*KING IDEA WHAT IT TOOK TO GET TO BE THIS SIZE!!

Whew. That feels better.

Seriously though, I wish people did know what it took.

They have no idea about the sacrifices that I had to make in terms of both food (not being able to eat what I want when I want) as well as time (two hours in the gym when I would rather be chilling).

Nor do they know that being my size will be a battle forever. I probably won't drink soda ever again (as much as I want a root or eat bread bowls of soup whenever I want (third of my day's calories and then some). In addition, I will probably have to keep busting my ass at the gym when I would rather be home watching NCIS reruns.

Do I get jealous of people who seem to be able to eat what they want and not break out into a sweat yet don't gain an ounce? Sadly, yes. I wish was one of those people.

However, I think that if I was, I wouldn't be as thankful for the body I have now. Nor would I be as proud of it. So what if I don't have a "perfect" bikini body or a thigh gap? I busted my ass for five years for this body! It's real, it's mine, and I'm damn proud of it!

So, next time people say "If I was your size...", I will simply think to myself that I'm glad that I am my size and will keep doing what it takes to stay there.

Oh, and I will probably never say that to anyone again.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Product Review: Flapjacked Protein Pancakes

Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for the following review and bought the product myself. Pictures and opinions are my own.

Happy Saturday, friends! This week seemed to go a little slow, and I'm just glad it's the weekend!

Over the course of about a month or two, I was hearing about this awesome protein pancake mix called Flapjacked. The mixes come in three flavors (Buttermilk, Banana Hazelnut, and Apple Cinnamon) and have about 15-17 grams of protein per half-cup serving. So, basically, they will keep you fuller longer than your average pancake.

It was about a week ago that I ordered my own bag and gave these pancakes a whirl myself. I was lame and went with the plain buttermilk, but I plan on trying the other two soon enough!

If you noticed on the package, they said "No Artificial ANYTHING!"

Say WHAT?!

That's right! All-natural ingredients!

I can pronounce everything on the label! Yay! 
Oh, and did I mention how easy they are to make?
All you have to do is add some water to the mix, let sit for a few minutes to thicken up, and cook on a low heat setting like you would any other pancake! That's right! If you don't believe me, here's proof that the company even said so! ;-)

So, on Monday night, after an intense cardio kickboxing class, I decided to make these!

One of the company's tips that I saw on their Instagram was to use a food scale to measure the mix since a half-cup is equal to 56 grams. Plus, people tend to pack their cups, so they end up with WAY more than a half-cup without realizing it. So, that's what I did. I put my mix right into the bowl though, so I saved myself a

Anyway, once the mix was measured, I added my water, mixed it, and let it sit for about five minutes while the griddle heated up.

After about five minutes, my mix was ready to go, and I scooped it onto the griddle. Half a cup of mix will get you quite a few pancakes! I was surprised at this!

I love how the company even puts on the label to cook until there are no more bubbles in the pancake. Some pancakes can be hard to tell when they're done, so having this helpful hint was awesome. Not that I'm kitchen illiterate or anything, but still, it helps. ;-)

Less than 10 minutes later, I had pancakes! The company has all sorts of recipes for each mix, but I was simple for my first time out, and just topped mine with some syrup. One word: DELICIOUS!

Oh, and yes, I was full for the rest of the night. So, there. Protein does keep you fuller for longer!

Since they take less than 15 minutes to make from start to finish altogether, I might be making these for breakfast before work during the week! Maybe adding some yogurt or turkey bacon to make them a more complete meal!

Next time I make these, I plan on being more adventurous and using some of the recipes on their site, but they're just as delicious on their own!

The company occasionally runs sales on their items, so be on the lookout for them! Still, a full bag will run you about $12, plus S&H, which isn't too bad, considering how yummy and filling they are!

Have you tried Flapjacked pancakes?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Showing Myself Some Tough Love: Be Yourself!

This is a post I've been meaning to write for some time, but not exactly in this format.

However, in the post-Fitbloggin span of about two weeks, I've been seeing a lot of "tough love" posts. Basically, as bloggers (and friends), we can be a little too easy on each other, and not push as much as we know we should, which in turn, lets us keep living in a bubble of "It's okay." Truth is, it's not always okay, and we need to call ourselves out on crap.

Recently, I came down with a huge case of "Keeping Up with the Joneses" syndrome. In a nutshell, I spend a lot of time comparing myself to others and feel like my life is an epic fail because I'm 29 (almost), not married with kids, still living with my family, and not having a "real job." Oh, and not to mention the fact that I didn't go from couch potato to marathoner in a blink of an eye. Yes, I know things can always be worse, but I was in a mindset of "I'm already at the bottom. There's nowhere else to go." Not exactly what I want to be thinking.

My friend Dani of Weight off My Shoulders wrote an awesome post about this some time ago (which you can read here). The whole point of the post was that everyone has their own journey, and we just have to live our own. I reread it yesterday and realized that I needed to call myself out on this big time because I'm not doing that at all.

So, here's to showing myself some tough love!
Dear Tracy,

You've been spending a lot of time comparing yourself to everyone else around you, right? I thought so.

You think that because you don't have a real job or a marriage and kids, and still live with your parents, your life is an epic fail at almost 29, right?

Well, guess what? IT'S NOT!!

Epic failure would be not having any sort of job AT ALL! At least you have some way to make money to pay your bills and feed yourself! Yes, times are tough, but there are people who don't have any sort of job! Be thankful you have one, even if you're asking people if French baguette is okay with their meal!
So what if you still live with your parents? Do you have a roof over your head? A warm bed at night? Yes on both? Good! Then, you can't say that you have nothing. You have someone who cares enough about you to let you stay with them!

Oh, and this whole thing about not being married with kids at 29? So what? Those people were ready! You weren't! You still had to focus on yourself!

Speaking of which, you are a ROCKSTAR just for doing what you did by losing over 100 pounds and still keeping it off! Honey, there are people who would LOVE to do what you did and are still doing!

Are you getting it now? You are? Good.

The whole point is that no two people live the same life!

Our journeys are all so different, and we need to follow our own in the best way for OURSELVES. Comparing yourself to everyone else won't do that.

Yes, I know it's so easy to get wrapped up in trying to keep up with everyone else, but really, at the end of the day, the only person who matters is YOU!

I mean, really, would you have lost over 100 pounds if you didn't love yourself? NO WAY! That alone says a lot!

So, instead of saying "I'm not as good as everyone else," try saying "Why would I want to be like someone else? I can be a kick-ass version of myself and love it!"

I needed to get this out for a long time and already I feel better about myself.

Physically, I'm the best I've been in a long time. I've completed two 5K's this year, and planning at least two more. Mentally, I'm in a much better place than I was. I love myself and realize that if I had the same life as everyone else, that would be boring.

So, I've decided to stop dwelling on everyone else, stop trying to keep up, and remember that I am the only person that matters at the end of the day!

I mean, isn't it all about taking life one step at a time? No matter how long it takes, it's still a step!

I know I'll get to where I'm meant to be, but for right now, it's about letting it fall into place, enjoying the ride, and being that kick-ass version of myself without worrying about other people!

After all, success is a JOURNEY, not a DESTINATION!