Monday, December 21, 2015

#MotivateMe Monday: A Monday Off and Other Happenings

How are we at Christmas week already? If the weather is as wonky as it is here in Jersey, it doesn't feel like it! It was a bit chilly this weekend (by which I mean temps in the 40's), but will be 60 again by Christmas Day! Not complaining though, since I'm not a huge fan of the cold. ;-)

Since it's Monday (and I forgot last week), it's time for #MotivateMe Monday! To join on the fun, link up at Janice and Rachel's blogs! =)



I worked on Saturday morning (long story that I don't want to get into here), so I missed my morning classes at the gym. Instead of doing nothing, since that would pretty much be a cop-out, I went to the gym after work and banged out my Rock n' Roll Bonus Track Virtual Run, complete with #WeRunSocial gear. ;-)



Not the best I've done, but given that I was on tired legs, and dealing with a sore hip, I'll take it! If you love virtual races, go for this one! It's only $25 (including processing), you can run ANY distance from now until New Year's Eve, and the medal is awesome! Check it out here!

Yesterday was uneventful. Gym, laundry, and watching the Giants, Dolphins, and Rangers ALL lose. All I want for Christmas is one of them to win. That's not asking too much, right?

Since I worked Saturday, I was off today. I decided to hold off on my workout until tonight (Monday night Fight has become my jam again!), since my sister is also off. The two of us went to this new local place called Meemom's for brunch. Totally worth it! I got the Peppermint Bark French toast, which had vanilla bean marscapone, dark chocolate peppermint drizzle, powdered sugar, and white chocolate shavings. All washed down with a Thin Mint latte. Um, totally amazeballs.





The sissy got The Big Bun, which is a cinnamon roll served French toast style. As she put it, "That was yummy."




Okay, so the fun is over for a few days. Time to buckle down and get back at it! Here's the workout plan for this week:

Monday: Core and Fight
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Ride and Power
Thursday: REST
Friday: Short run or REST
Saturday: Ride, Core, and possible Centergy
Sunday: R30 and Power

As for food, I'm not too worried. I plan on sticking to my normal way of eating and limiting the treats as much as possible. After brunch this morning, I think I'm good for a few days there. ;-)

Have a great holiday week, everyone! 

Monday, December 7, 2015

#MotivateMe Monday: Keeping the Momentum Going!

I actually find myself looking forward to Mondays a bit more than I did. Partially because of spin and also because I get to link up with Janice and Rachel for #MotivateMe Monday! Join the fun on their pages too!



This week was a good one, both food and fitness wise. I took yoga for the first time in ages, and loved it! It's tough if you do it right, and it's also awesome for the mind! Think I will be adding it in to my workout schedule now! It's working for me. 

I did change a few things up in the gym, like doing Fight instead of Ride last Monday. I was just in a rut on the bike and needed a break. Plus, I forgot how much fun cardio kickboxing can be! Not to mention that my arms were on FIRE for about three days! Who says you need weights to get a good upper body workout? ;-) I only did one and a half spin classes last week, and think the break was what I needed. Ready to get back on the bike again.

I've been doing really well with the stretching too. It has been a rude awakening in realizing just how tight my body is, especially in my hamstrings. I'm not all Gumby yet, and probably will never be, but I'm noticing improvement already after just a week.

As for food, I did awesome! I ate at home more than out, although I did have pizza with the family once. There was one night where I wanted to crack and grab something after the gym, but I stopped myself and stayed on track! This will get easier with time, but as long as I have food to cook in the house, then it will be no problem.

For this week, I'm keeping it almost the same. Only change is I may have soup ONCE this week. It's getting cold here, plus I love Wawa's baked potato soup! So I may have that one day

Here's my workout plan for the week:

Monday: Core and Ride
Tuesday: REST
Wednesday: Ride and Power
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: 2 mile run
Saturday: Ride and Core (possibly Centergy too, see how I feel on Saturday)
Sunday: Power and 20-30 minutes easy/moderate cardio

This week, I decided to set mini-goals just to keep myself in check. The monthly ones are good, but it's nice to break it down into smaller ones every so often. So here's what I hope to accomplish this week:

1) Cook something new! 
2) Unplugged and in bed by 10 every night. 
3) Blog once (other than this post).
4) 10,000 steps at least four days.

There you have it! Planning on keeping the awesome momentum going this week!

Have a great week everyone! =)   

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Goals!

How are we at December already? I'm not ready for Christmas, or winter, or any of that stuff! Can I just go back to summer and sit on the beach all day? 

I guess not. ;-) So, I'm looking forward and setting some goals for the coming month!

Here's what I want to accomplish:

1) Stretch daily. I don't stretch nearly enough, and when I do, it's very brief and usually at the end of a class. All it takes is 10 minutes, and with a plan, I can do it! Plus, I'll feel better!

2) Limit dinner out to one night a week. I've been eating out more than I should. I do pretty good overall, with mostly salad places, but it's not good for the wallet. So I figure one night a week out is good. It'll take some time and planning to eat at home more, but it will be worth it.

3) Do one "self-care" activity a week. I don't take enough downtime for myself. My life consists of work, sleeping, the gym, and playing with the nephew. No wonder I'm bored and exhausted! Once a week, I plan on taking some time for myself that isn't related to any of the above. I need it for my mental and physical health.

4) Two core workouts a week. I've been slacking in this area. Again. Even if I can't get to a core class (which I usually do once a week), there are still TONS of options to rock my core! I just need to utilize them!

5) Plan a budget. I struggle with living paycheck to paycheck, and with the holidays coming up, that can't be the case anymore. I have three paychecks this month, and plan on sitting down before payday and budgeting where my money is going for the two weeks. I'll be able to do more with less that way, plus won't struggle as much.

Part of how I plan on accomplishing everything this month is by utilizing all the resources at my disposal. One of which is Pinterest, where I actually found this nifty printable for my goals! I have so much I can use, so now I need to actually USE IT! 



As for a reward, I am getting myself another Sparkle Athletic skirt! I haven't decided which one yet, but I will when I accomplish all the goals! 

What do YOU plan on accomplishing in December? How do you plan to do it?
 

Monday, November 30, 2015

#MotivateMe Monday: Back Into the Groove

This is my first ever #MotivateMe Monday post, and I hope to continue these in the future! I love looking back on the previous week and seeing what worked (or didn't) while setting the tone for a new week! Join the linkup with Janice and Rachel too! More details are on their blogs!  



Blogging has, once again, taken a back seat to that damn thing called real life. Meh.

My dad has been in and out of the hospital for the last month, mostly with his meds being out of sync. It looks like everything is in balance now, and hopefully with it staying that way!

Also, I got sick a week and a half ago. I thought I had a bad head cold, but when it started to not clear up after a few days, I got checked out. Turns out I had a sinus infection. Not contagious, but enough to make me miserable.

Work has been work. You know, same boring thing every day. I'm one of those people who always has to be doing something, and always feel like I can do more. I don't always get to, but at least I'm still going there.

All this has meant healthy living has taken a little detour. I haven't been eating the greatest, with eating almost nothing for two days while I was sick. Water was also an issue for a few days. I was living off of soup, hot tea, and orange juice. Not cool. I was also out of the gym for a week, and was just plain miserable as a result. 

So, instead of letting the pity party go on, I decided to do something about it!

Food is simple: Be consistent with my tracking, eat veggies at least once a day, get as close to my calorie goal as possible (One of my problems is not eating NEARLY enough), no soup, and no beer or sweets until the weekend (fruit and yogurt are cool). Oh, and get back to my water! I usually do about 80 ounces a day, and want to get my intake back up there!

As for the workouts, I need to get consistent with them too! I have been MAJORLY slacking in the mind-body department, and know that it really helps with my spirit and keeps me from getting tight (especially with my hip flexors)

Here's the plan:

*Monday-Core and Ride Fight (Needed to change it up!)
*Tuesday-REST
*Wednesday-Cycle
*Thursday-Yoga or REST
*Friday-Power and 20-30 minutes easy/moderate cardio
*Saturday-Core and Centergy
*Sunday-R30 and Power 

In addition to this, I am setting goals again for December. October did not go as well as I hoped, and I didn't actually set goals for November. Real life got in the way, and I kind of forgot about the goal thing.

Here's to getting things in control before I let life control me again!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I'm a Momentum Ambassador!

Hey, everyone! Like the title of this post says, I just wanted to share with you all that I am a Momentum Jewelry ambassador!

Now you may ask, "What is Momentum Jewelry?"

The simple version, according to the website: "Function + Inspiration = Momentum: Motivational Fitness Jewelry."

For the full story, check out their "About Us" page here.

I saw the pieces on Twitter and Instagram, and actually bought a few for my awesome gym girls as gifts. They LOVED them!

Of course, I bought my own. I wanted a custom one for my first piece, and knew exactly what I wanted.


Totally fitting, right? ;-)

I love that the bracelets are designed to be able to be worn during activity, and I tend to look at them when I feel like I'm not having my best workout or just when I'm not in a happy mood.


Letting the bracelets remind me to be MY best and not worry about anything else. =)

Since I got selected to their Champion level of ambassadorship, I got two bracelets, a foot note, and a necklace. Here's the full package of pieces:


I love all of them, and they each have a different reminder for me. 

In exchange for all of this awesome jewelry (as well as 40% off two orders), all I have to do is post ten pictures to my social networks. 

Like this one here I posted on Sunday:

I love this company, and am so thrilled to be representing them for the next five months! 

If you're interested in getting some functional and fashionable motivation, check out Momentum's site and pick something out! They have something for everyone, and if you don't see a saying that suits you, you can make your own! The pieces are reasonably priced, and with the holidays coming up, they also make awesome holiday gifts!

To follow my posts, follow along on Twitter and Instagram @Tradledee85!

P.S.-If you sign up for their newsletter, you get deals and product info e-mailed to you a few times a year!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shrewsbury 5K (Shrewsbury, NJ)

I seriously wonder what I was thinking signing up for the Shrewsbury 5K when I knew it was a week after the Rook Run.

Oh, yeah. I wanted a race to make up for not running Little Silver, which ended up getting cancelled thanks to Joaquin, the hurricane that never hit the coast.

Well, it's safe to say that I am a "one and done" with this race. I could say it's both the race and me. Just keep reading.

I had my eye on the weather for last weekend throughout the week, and the forecast was clear but COLD!! Temperatures were only in the 30's. So, yeah. Already I knew this race was not going to be fun.

I knew I had to have a Sparkle Athletic skirt no matter what, and thankfully I would also have leg sleeves, so I chose a pair of capris along with a long sleeve shirt to wear on race day.

Wake up was at a semi-reasonable hour (7:00), since the race was at 9. Even with a 20 minute drive, I knew that as long as I left my house before 8, I would be good.

One drawback to this race was off-site parking. It was at a local shopping center with a walk of about two blocks to the start area. Other races I have done have this, but I am still not a fan of it at all.

Once I made my way to the start area, it was a lot of walking and trying to find sun to keep warm until the race actually started. This area was mostly shaded, which I would have been thankful for in, like, June. Last weekend, not so much.

Around 8:45, right after the one mile ended, the lineup for the 5K started. There was no start mat (ugh), so it was a bit of crowding at the start. I still went toward the middle, since time didn't matter to me too much. I got a PR the previous week, so I was doing this as more of a fun run. 

Oh, and you know I just had to get a pre-race selfie. ;-)

 

At exactly 9:00, it was go time!

The first mile wound up being the flattest and most exciting mile of the race. This was where the most spectators were, plus a family who was brave enough to sit out in the cold to play music for us. I hit the one mile marker at 11:15, which was awesome!

Then the hills came.

One thing that I was not prepared for in this race was hills. They were somewhat rolling with one somewhat big one. Since the course was almost an out and back, we saw them not once, but twice! Yay! Not really!

My second mile was 12:46. That damn second mile curse strikes again. Someday I'll learn. Le sigh.

Throughout the race, my feet and legs were feeling the cold. Don't worry, I was fine enough to keep going, but it did impact my performance. Oh well. Layer more next time, I guess?

I actually got a selfie in-race this time! I wasn't in as much of a zone, and didn't have a PR mentality, so I decided to snap a pic! 

 

I gave everything I had left for the last mile, and saw more hills. Hooray. I kept going until the finish area was in sight, then sprinted until I flew over the finish mat!

Official time: 37:14 (12:00/mile). Second slowest 5K, but I actually wasn't too upset with this one. I did just come off a PR, plus I raced up and down hills and battled the cold!

After the race, I hung out at the expo for a bit, where I got a sample of bundt cake along with a piece of bagel. Only after a race is it acceptable to eat a bagel AND cake before noon. ;-)

The bibs had to be returned since they had reusable timing chips on them. Bummer. I love keeping mine as mementos. I did make a copy of mine though, so I can still hang it on my wall.

The atmosphere of the race was the opposite of the Rook Run, as everyone was from that general area, and I was the outsider. Meh. Part of the reason I wouldn't do this race again.


Overall, this race was a hit or miss. It was a smaller race, which was a plus for crowding issues. Post-race food was also good, even if all I took was a bagel (I can't stomach a sub at 10:00 in the morning, especially after running a 5K). The course was challenging and boring in one shot (residential areas), but if I was actually training for it, I would have felt stronger. Crowds were small at best, but that's what happens with a small race.

I'm glad that I was able to cross another town off my list of races, but I don't think I will do this one again anytime soon. I would rather do a bigger or flatter race with a better atmosphere. Not every race is awesome and fun, but you never know that unless you try, right?

Rook Run 5K (Long Branch, NJ)

Sorry that this took so long to get up! Work has been crazy, plus too much real life going on! I needed a break from blogging, but ready to get back at it! =)

What do the best coffee company in the area, an awesome cause, and 5K running have in common?

THE ROOK RUN!

I am a Rook Coffee fanatic (New Orleans Style is my jam), and was excited when I saw that they had a 5K in Long Branch that benefited The Valerie Fund, but missed last year's because it was in November, after my running season ended.

When I saw that this year's would be on October 11, I jumped on registration back in April, when it was $10 off.

Of course, it felt like FOREVER away, but once race weekend came, it felt like it went too fast.

Now, since this was a run sponsored by a coffee company, you know my shirt had to say coffee on it. ;-) I found this one on Raw Threads and thought it was fitting. 

As for the rest? I love orange, so I went with that as the other color. I thought it worked and so many other people loved it too! 

The race had a late start at 10:00, but I still had to be in the area early for parking and keeping loose and warm. It was about 50 degrees that morning, but the area was mostly in the sun, so it felt warmer.

Rook was giving away iced New Orleans before and after the race. WIN! I wasn't planning on drinking coffee until it was all said and done, but next thing I knew, I was drinking a sample sized coffee about a half hour before the race. Well, why not.

Next thing I knew, it was time to head over to the start area. This was where I was glad the race was chip timed with a start mat. There were about 2,000 plus runners, so crowding was going to be a factor. I set myself up in the middle somewhere and hoped for the best.


The arrow points to where the start flag and mat were. It took me just under 2:00 to cross the mat.

Here's a bird's-eye view of the sea of runners. Photo comes from Holly Migliaccio's Instagram. She is the owner of Rook and one awesome person. =)


No, I can't find myself in there, even with all the orange. Haha. ;-)

Next thing we knew, the horn sounded and we were off!

Once I got going, I had one time goal: All miles below 12:00. I wasn't planning on a PR that day, mostly because of the crowding. I just wanted to have a solid race and a good time.

I accomplished both and then some.

I ran with both my Polar and Caledos app, and started both a little too early, so I had no clue of my EXACT pace, but I did have an idea of where I was in terms of both time and pace.

According to Caledos, I hit the first mile at 11:46. A little too close for my liking, but still on pace for my goal. I tend to go out too fast, but with the crowding, I didn't have that problem. Maybe I should run more races with a few thousand people! ;-)

The course was an out and back, so there would be people on the return as I was still on the first loop. A little discouraging, to be honest, but I knew I would be on the flip side soon enough.

Sooner than I thought I would be, I was.

I hit the second mile a second faster than the first, and still felt strong. I was running when I felt comfortable, and walking when I needed. 

I misjudged the finish area, and wound up sprinting sooner than I thought. Oops. Lesson learned for next year!

Still, I had a time of 11:42 for the third mile, which meant I had negative splits in a race for the first time EVER! All while having a blast! I was cheering for other runners, high-fiving the Rook Run crew, and enjoying myself! I can't tell you the last time that happened!

After making the final turn and seeing the finish area for real, I ran with my heart and sprinted like crazy to the finish! I ended up with a 10:46 pace for that final stretch. I leaped over the finish mat, and just like that, my Rook Run was over. I actually was sad to see this race end. It was an awesome time!

I ended up with a clock time of 36:24, which meant a pace of 11:44/mile. I nailed my time goal! Yay! I had no clue what the chip time was, and wouldn't for a few days, but I was still very happy with how I did!

They had a black screen for people to take finisher photos, so you know I was on board for that. ;-)





I also ran into my co-worker Heather, who was one of the volunteers. Of course we had to get a selfie! This one is compliments of her. =)


Oh, and Holly totally recognized me before I recognized her. Haha. She knew of me from Instagram, since I post quite a bit of Rook related stuff. Anyway, we chatted for a few, got this pic, and she thanked me for my support. I thanked her for an awesome company and race.



After a little while of mingling, I decided it was time to head out. I wasn't feeling the post-race party, so I went and got more coffee. Haha. 

Before I got in my car though, I had to make being a Rook Runner official. Hey, it's not official until something is on the car, right?


But it turns out I was in for a surprise. 

I checked the results two days later, and saw that they posted the chip times on that one.

I came in at 34:33 (11:09/mile). PR by three seconds.

Can we say "Holy cow!"

I didn't think I was that close to a PR at all! I went into this race without the intention of a PR, and I got one. I surprise myself sometimes. =)

This race has become my favorite out of all the ones I've done! Awesome 

Is it time for the 2016 Rook Run yet? ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

NOT Keeping Up with the Joneses: The Running Editon

I have become convinced that having blogger/social media friends who are running half and full marathons the same weekend I did a 5K has messed with my mind. Especially when I saw paces that were minutes faster than mine.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled for y'all, but at the same time, it has made me feel...small.

I tweet during #RunChat on the Sundays when it occurs at 8:00 EST. One of the questions was for the participants to ask something.

So, of course, I tweeted "How do I feel like a real runner? I feel like everyone else has done so much more than me." I got several responses that pretty much told me the same thing: "Do YOUR thing. Forget about everyone else."

I know that's all I need, but sometimes, I still struggle with this.

It is partially because I've never done anything longer than a 5K. I alternate walking and running. I haven't exactly been the fastest either.  The only race where I placed was the Iron Girl where the 5K was only about 50 people. 

I've seen people run more in one day than I do in a week. Granted, I should be thankful that I'm doing something, but some days, I feel like my fastest or longest isn't enough.

Long-distance running isn't for everyone, and I've come to the conclusion that my body is not meant for it. I can handle three to five miles, but the thought of anything more makes my body hurt. I am totally okay with this, but at the same time, I don't feel like one of the "cool kids." You know, all of you who've done multiple half and full marathons.

Ridiculous? Totally.

I am human, and sometimes I let numbers mess with my mind. Similar to the scale (which I just started to let go a bit, but that's another post), I let myself get caught up with everyone else and not be happy with all I've done.

I mean, five years ago I wouldn't have thought of doing ONE 5K, and now I've done THIRTEEN, with my fourteenth on Sunday.

One of the lessons I've learned is to do what makes me happy. I've also realized that running is PART of me, but not ALL of me. I have too many other fitness interests to be able to commit to any more running than I already do. 

Plus, with a crazy work schedule, it's hard to block out time for long runs. I'm lucky I get the two miles at a time I do now. 

Besides, I love the atmosphere of local races, even the one I did this weekend with about 2,000 people. 

In a nutshell, I am okay with never being a long distance runner, but need to work on not letting myself feel small. Like my one Momentum bracelet says "Be the best version of YOU." As long as I do that, no matter how far I run or whatever, I'll be fine.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

October Goals!

Hi, everybody! Hope your weekend has been awesome and your teams are doing better than my Dolphins, who are getting humiliated by Buffalo. Meh. Hockey season is right around the corner anyway. ;-)

I was doing some thinking, and realize that I have lost focus a bit. I let myself use the excuse of wanting to focus on work and going after a promotion to let monthly goals slide. Well, last Friday I got the promotion and am now a Key Zone Leader at work! Basically, I can do stuff that managers do, like card swipes for the associates and prepare deposits, but I can't be in the store alone or pay bills. Hey, it's a step forward! I'm in a good spot and happy with it.

Anyway, since I got what I was going after at work, it's time to get back to focusing on ME! I am reinstating monthly goals, starting with October!

Here's what I'm working on:



1) Two new recipes. I'm in a food rut BIG time! I live off of food from work and a few more meals out than I'd like. Not cool. While I still plan to eat at work while I'm there, I plan to do a little more experimenting in the kitchen at home. Plus, cooking can be fun!

2) Read one book. Yeah, I haven't been reading much lately. I bought myself Shopaholic to the Stars, and hoping to get it read in October!

3) Track CONSISTENTLY. There are days where I start off good...then forget to put anything else in the tracker. I'm going to set myself reminders to keep from track-a-lackin! How else am I supposed to keep 100 pounds off? 

4) Blog one to two times a week. Hopefully I can come up with some more stuff other than two race recaps and Playlist Thursdays. Suggestions are welcome! =)

5) Two days of 11,000+ steps a week. Just want to move a little bit more! I've been barely hitting 10,000 most days! 

As for my reward? This Sparkle Athletic skirt! I've been wanting it forever, but never felt like I should get it. This WILL change in October!



There you have it! Getting back to focusing on ME in October! I have two 5K's coming up, and while I plan to rock both, I won't forget the basics and the goals I have set! 

What are YOU working on in October?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Iron Girl 5K (Sandy Hook, NJ)

I can finally say I'm an Iron Girl!

One of the races I was wanting to do forever was the Iron Girl. However, there were none in my area, with the exception of the Sandy Hook Sprint Triathlon. And since being a triathlete is not in my budget or radar right now...yeah, no tri for me.

The crew behind Iron Girl Sandy Hook must have read my mind, because they added a 5K only option this year, complete with finisher medals.

SOLD!

I was actually more excited than nervous about this race. Then I saw the start time: 7:15 a.m. Can we say "Early?" I know, those of you who have run Disney and/or Rock and Roll races are used to the early starts, but for those who've only done a handful of local 5K's...yeah, 7:15 is a tad early.

Still, I wanted to be an Iron Girl, and if that meant a 5:00 wake up on race day, then so be it!

I knew going into this race that I wanted my outfit to have as much pink as possible, since this was the Iron Girl and all. ;-) I put together something that was pink, sparkly, and awesome!



Part of my Instagram post said, "I may just be racing the 5K, but I still put forth the blood, sweat, and sparkle to make this happen!" Totally got that from the shirt. ;-) Still, I knew that I would look awesome, so that meant I would feel awesome too, right?



I actually got up a few minutes before my 5:00 alarm yesterday, ate, checked my socials, got dressed, and was on the road at about 5:50. Win!

That was, until I actually got down to Sandy Hook.

Since the bike course of the tri down by the park entrance was set up, the road in was one way, and narrow at that. Can you say "Not fun?"

For those who are not local and are unfamiliar with Sandy Hook, the park is about seven miles long with a marine high school as well as a former military fort which you can tour on the weekends.

You can kind of guess where we had to go. The race parking was in the three lots closest to the fort and school, since the run and swim parts of the event were along the bay and the fort. Thank goodness that pretty much every park ranger was on duty that morning, and all of them were super helpful with directing traffic.

What Iron Girl forgot to mention was that these lots were also super far away from the start lines. It must have been about a mile trek from my car to the race area. Not fun. 



Pretty sure the map was not to scale. Whatever. 

Of course, I had to make the best of it and get a pre-race selfie along the fort! I mean, how many other races can you do that? ;-)

 

At this point, I was really glad I was doing the 5K only. I wouldn't have to worry about being late setting up transitions or getting body marked. The only thing I had to worry about was finding the 5K start area, which was a challenge, but as I saw other pink bibs (5K only was pink, triathlon was blue), I knew where I was going. 

I then found out that there were only about 50 or so 5K runners. I knew going in that the 5K would not draw as much attention as the tri, but was not expecting an event that small. Yay for a top 50 finish?

Before all the fun got going, I had to get a pre-race pic in the full outfit. This was not the best pic, but it got the job done. 

 

Since this was such a small run, there was no start mat. If the national anthem was sung, we didn't hear it either. An event official gave us a run down of the course, then yelled for the start. We were off!


This was a pretty simple out and back course, the same one that the triathletes would eventually run on. Gorgeous views of the bay on one side with the historic Fort Hancock on the other. 

I realized that my app didn't start right when I did, so I knew it would be short. Whatever. I would have an idea of my pace anyway. I wasn't going for a PR, so I wasn't trying to drive myself crazy or anything.

My plan was to stick to run-walk intervals of about 90-60 as long as possible, going to 60-60 as needed. I was in a zone for pretty much the entire race, and did not get a single selfie during the race. Fail, much? Some would have been cool, especially with the barracks and even some troops on the route. I didn't think they would appreciate it too much, so I decided to go on my merry little way.

Even though I was in a zone, I was still cheering other runners as we passed each other, and even was giving out high-fives throughout. With so few of us, how could you not? Awesome vibes the whole time. I loved it.

Pace wise, I wasn't the greatest, since I still can't get negative splits in a race. Maybe some day. Still, I was able to keep all my miles below 12:00 each. I'll call that a win. =)

I admit with 5K's even, there are parts where I want to cringe and say "This sucks," especially when I see other runners on the other side of an out and back course. Still, as fast as you say that, the sight of the finish line is right in front of you!

Which is pretty much what happened to me yesterday. 

As soon as I saw the finish area, I ripped off my headphones and bolted for it! I crossed the timing mats, went under the white arch, and was able to call myself an Iron Girl! 

Event volunteers weren't out at the finish line yet, since the fastest triathletes were just starting the run. However, there were several troops at the area, and I can say I got my medal from a troop. Uh, coolest thing ever! I shook his hand, thanked him for all his service, and went on. I did the same thing to the officer who gave me my water bottle. 

Shortly after, I stopped my app. It had me at 33:59 for 2.9 miles. I knew it was off by about a tenth of a mile or so, so I wasn't surprised. I was more surprised that the course wasn't a full 5K, but in reality, I should have seen it coming. We were on the same course that the triathletes were running on, and they were promoting that as a three mile run. Still, I felt awesome with how I did! I had miles consistently below 12:00 for the first time since May! 

Once I had finished, I stuck around to see some of the other runners, and we were all congratulating each other. Again, I loved the vibe. As my friend Dani says, "Positivity breeds positivity!"

After a few minutes of walking around to loosen up and let my stomach settle a bit, I grabbed a bagel and juice from the post-race refreshment area. I just wish they had more water available, but it was what it was. 
 
Most of us who ran the 5K wanted to stick around to see the first triathletes finish. I almost never stick around a race long enough to see other finishers, so this was awesome. 

In between spectating, I had to get a post-race pic with my medal. This one has the face of "Tired, but proud of myself!"




I hung around for a bit and congratulated some of the tri finishers. I give those women credit. Doing a tri is something I wouldn't do anytime soon, but I realized fitness and sports in general are not a one size fits all thing. 5K's are my thing, so I'll stick with that.

Eventually, the fun had to come to an end, and I made my way out of the park. But first, I knew I wanted to stick my feet in the ocean as a way of celebrating my awesome morning.






Official results were posted online a few hours later. I wasn't listed right away, but a few e-mails fixed that, and I had an official time of 34:03. If this race was an actual 5K, I was on pace for about 35:00, which was what I was going for anyway. I ended up first in my age group (of only three...lol). I never place, and even though I didn't get anything for it, I decided to have my moment of happy. =)

 

Will I do this race again? YES! Despite the hike to and from the parking area, and the course being a bit short, I LOVED the atmosphere and camaraderie among the athletes, whether you were a triathlete or a 5K only runner. The atmosphere is something not seen at too many other races, so that was an awesome takeaway. Not to mention that Iron Girl is probably the only event where even the 5K participants get medals! 

I'm hoping that the 5K comes back to Iron Girl Sandy Hook next year! It was an awesome experience that I was not expecting to enjoy as much. I ended this one much differently than in June, and I have a huge surge in confidence going into my goal race in Little Silver in three weeks!

(Disclaimer: The two map pics are from Iron Girl. The rest are mine.)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Playlist Thursday: Girl Power!

Hello, blog world! I haven't blogged in FOREVER! Work is kicking my ass, and I've had a lot going on outside of that. Plus, I'm training for three 5K's in a month span, the first of which is on Sunday!

Sunday's 5K is the IronGirl, so I decided to do an all-female artist Playlist Thursday! 



For those of you unfamiliar to Playlist Thursday, you can thank Pavey for this awesome idea. He came up with the cool format for all of us to follow. Three songs, and all from different points in time:


Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old. (I know that isn’t too long to be considered old, but music turnover happens quickly.)
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever.


Here's what I came up with this week:

Something Old

Artist: Madonna
Song: Like A Prayer
Side Note: First off, any all-female playlist NEEDS to include the Queen of Pop! Second, this is one of my favorite songs ever. It is a pop song that has elements of gospel and funk, which makes for an awesome sound. At the same time, the song has dual religious and sexual meanings. As a result, it didn't sit well with several groups of people. Whatever. The song is still awesome and one of those I can blast in my car, sing at the top of my lungs, and not care who's listening. I will continue to do so. ;-)
Quotable: In the midnight hour, I can feel your power. Just like a prayer, you'll know I'll take you there.


Something Current

Artist: Rachel Platten
Song: Fight Song
Side Note: This is your typical "girl power" song. Basically, this song is about feeling small and learning to believe in yourself. I can totally relate to this in more ways than one. I have struggled with feeling small and have recently started to truly believe in myself in almost anything I do. I mean, at 30, I still have a lot of fight left! It's just a matter of finding it!
Quotable: My power's turned on, starting now I'll be strong.


Something to Consider

Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Song: People Like Us
Side Note: Totally awesome song. The beat is uptempo, while the message is powerful. Themes of empowerment, strength, and assurance are conveyed throughout. I think that the song speaks to the world as a whole because we all may have been either a misfit, damned, or forgotten (okay, maybe not damned) at some point in our lives. This another song I can blast and sing to and not care who's listening.
Quotable: Oh, people like us we've got to stick together. Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever.



There you have it! Some girl power to get me through the IronGirl 5K on Sunday! Hoping for an awesome race! 

What are YOU currently listening to?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Accepting Compliments: Struggling But Getting Better

At times, more often than any of us who've been through weight loss of any proportion would like to admit, there is always some sort of struggle. It can be mental, physical, emotional, or a combo of the three. 

Personally, even in maintenance, I've seen my share of the three. It will always be there, and I can only do my best to not let it get the best of me.

However, there is something I still struggle with to this day: accepting compliments!

Yes, I still don't believe that people actually say nice things about me. Anywhere. Anytime.

For example, I remember when we got audited at work in March, and the manager we were training told me that the auditor said I blew them away (in a good way, of course). My response: "I did?" Yup, the little bit of doubt popped into my head, and negated what was something that should have been awesome to hear.

Another time was when I raced the George Sheehan Classic 5K back in June and had my worst race ever. People were telling me that I did a good job for finishing a tough race in hot and humid conditions, but all I saw was my time, and kept coming down on myself for being as slow as I was.

Plus, all the time in the gym and the few occasions I go out, people keep telling me I look good. I say "Thanks," but really think to myself "Okay..." Again, self-doubt popping into my head.

I've come to the conclusion that I am my own worst enemy. I have more self-doubt and come down on myself so hard that it's crazy.

In a way, that is a good thing. I come down on myself for stuff that I know I can do better, and as a result, have gotten stronger, at least a little.

But for the most part, it just gets in the way. 

I found this quote on Pinterest, and I think it pretty much says it all.

 

I need to love (and stop underestimating) myself before I can see the love that the rest of the world has for me. Well, the part of the world that matters. ;-)

I'm starting to get better with the self-love. A week or two ago, I wore a top that wasn't too loose to the gym, and felt AMAZING in it! I even took a mirror pic (which I normally hate, for other reasons) to show how happy I felt! 

Now I just need to work on that more of the time!

I won't be perfect with this, but I can keep moving forward and love myself more. The more I love myself, the more that I can see the love everyone else has for me.

I'm actually thinking of making that a challenge in September (again). I found one on Pinterest (of course), and plan on rocking it! More details on that to follow!

For tonight, I will end with a positive self-affirmation: I am amazing. I have done awesome things. I love myself for all that I am. 

How about YOU? Do you struggle with accepting compliments?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Playlist Thursday: Mixed Bag

Happy Friday Eve, everybody! This week seemed to fly, which is unusual for me!

Since it's Thursday, and I forgot to post a playlist last week (silly real life getting in the way), here's one for you this week!



I can't thank Pavey enough for putting this idea in my head and I've gone with it for a few weeks now! I love putting these together!

For those unfamiliar with Playlist Thursday (either through here or Pavey), here's the format:

Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old. (I know that isn’t too long to be considered old, but music turnover happens quickly.)
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever.


Here's what I came up with:

Something Old

Artist: Coldplay
Song: White Shadows
Side Note: Some people say that this song is underrated, which I kind of agree with. However, I'm kind of glad this song never hit the radio in the United States (It did in Australia, Italy, and Mexico). It made for a nice treat for those who bought the whole X&Y album. Everything about this song screams Coldplay, and it is awesome. Personally, I feel that this song is about recognizing things that you didn't know were there or that you wanted, and acting upon that realization. You may not get them, but at least you know what you're going for.
Quotable: Little white shadows glisten, part of a system plan.


 

Something Current

Artist: Florence and the Machine
Song: Queen of Peace
Side Note: The whole album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is awesome, but this song was my favorite from the time I first heard the album. The message is not the happiest, since it's pretty much about the girl being "the queen" trying to make everyone happy and the guy being "the king" ruining everything and driving everyone away. The song is catchy yet powerful, like much of the band's songs, and part of the reason I have become a Florence and the Machine fan!
Quotable: Like the stars chase the sun over the glowing hill, I will conquer.


(Note: I couldn't find a vid with only Queen of Peace, so this is what you get...)

 

Something to Consider

Artist: Fun.
Song: Carry On
Side Note: I try to stay away from anything really mellow and sappy with these. However, this is a great song. It is a bit cliched, with the whole "Never give up" theme, but at the same time, it's typical Fun. The beginning starts with feeling empty and alone and ends with "No one's going to stop us now" bit. I love this song when I'm feeling down and know that I just need to realize that if I carry on, it will be fine.
Quotable: 'Cause we are, we are shining stars, we are invincible, we are who we are.

This week's playlist may come across as a mixed bag, and that's because it is. I couldn't decide on a theme for this week, so I just picked a few of my favs. Hopefully, I can come up with an awesome theme for next week!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Playlist Thursday: Defining My 20's

Happy Birthday Eve to me! This time tomorrow, I'll be 30! Where has time gone? I seriously feel like I just turned 21! Wow.

Since it's Thursday, it's time for another playlist! Pavey had some good ones, and after he randomly did one again, I decided to start my own!



Here's the format:

Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old. (I know that isn’t too long to be considered old, but music turnover happens quickly.)
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever.


Since tomorrow is my birthday, and I'll be in a new decade of life, I decided to make this week's playlist songs that reflected the crazy journey that my 20's took me on! Here's what I came up with:



Something Old

Artist: Bon Jovi
Song: Everyday
Side Note: You knew Bon Jovi was coming in a matter of time. I am from Jersey after all! I just realized this song was released my junior year of high school. Talk about feeling old. ;-) This is an awesome song though. The message of the song as a whole is having enough of living in the past and feeling like crap. Basically, living life every day as full as possible! I would have never done that if I was still overweight. I plan on embracing it even more in my 30's!
Quotable: Life, learning how to live my life, learning how to pick my fights, take my shots while I'm still burning.



 

Something Current

Artist: OneRepublic
Song: I Lived
Side Note: This is probably my favorite song on OneRepublic's album "Native." It is a catchy, yet emotional song. The message of the song is to live (or have lived) with no regrets, and nobody wants to have regrets. I run to this song all the time, and it makes me want to give it my all when I'm on the road. It was also the last song on Glee, and it was a fitting one too. I feel like this song spoke volumes about my 20's. While I struggled, I still gave everything I had, and even did some stuff that I never thought would have been possible.
Quotable: The only way you can know, give it all you have.




Something to Consider

Artist: Jordin Sparks
Song: One Step at a Time
Side Note: Another one you had to see coming...haha. Jordin was the American Idol winner in 2007, and was my favorite that season. This song was actually her second single, and was the song that started it all for me. I try to take life one step at a time, although I'm still a work in progress with this. Still, taking everything one step at a time more often than not got me to where I am today! I actually had that mantra custom made on a Momentum Jewelry wrap bracelet as a constant reminder.
Quotable: It's gonna happen when it's supposed to happen, that we find the reasons why, one step at a time. 



There you have it! Three songs that defined my 20's and the crazy ride the decade took me on! Here's to making my 30's rock!