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Monday, July 29, 2013

Weight Watchers

I have decided to join Weight Watchers again!  And by "decided" I mean, I did it.  I joined up.  Paid for three months which will take me to my 34th birthday in October.  YAY!  I am actually very excited.  I had been going by an 8/16 hour fasting routine...eat for 8 hours only a day, then fast for 16 hours straight.  It was actually awesome.  I liked having those guidelines to follow!  I certainly didn't gain any weight, but I also didn't lose any.  And I was beginning to not like the feeling of being hungry...particularly on my early morning running days.  I think I will get back to that way of eating/living in the winter, though. 

So, I started Saturday.  I have my first goal set and I have asked one of my co-workers (and dear friend) to purchase a gift for me (I am giving her $25).  She is not to tell me what it is, and I only get it when I reach my first goal.  I am pretty excited because this woman is very thrifty and trendy and cool!!!  So, obviously, she will buy me something that fits all of those things, I'm sure.  :)

This is a short post.  I am still in love with running and my Monday/Thursday running group is really something I am looking forward to this week!  We have had some cooler temps here in town, so that has probably helped the love continue...

I did want to mention one other even I have started with my sister!  It is called Think.Drink.RUN.  It's crazy, wild fun and we are going into our 4th event in the month of August.  Did I work that right?  It is a monthly event.  The 4th one is August 19.  Basically, we have included trivia, beer drinking, and running in one fantastic evening!  Not even an evening...more like a couple hours!  :)  We have a "starting line" at one bar, where everyone meets up, the start time is 6:45 sharp (after pictures and trash talk), each team (of up to 5 individuals) gets instructions on where to go first and we are OFF!  At each of 4 bars, you will drink and beer and read some trivia questions.  The beer has to be consumed (one per team member) before you can leave and you will answer the questions you read at the next bar.  After 4 bars we all head to the after party location to answer our final round of questions and, hopefully, wait for the remaining teams!  The first month we only allowed 2 teams (my sister made one and I made one) because we truly weren't sure how things were going to pan out...it was so much fun we just couldn't stop talking about it!  So, month 2 we had 4 teams of 5 people and we all 20 ran the same route.  That was pretty exciting because of the constant heckling and yelling at each other.  For this most recent run, last Monday, we had 4 teams once again (2 of the teams were different) and we each had a different route to run.  So you really didn't know how you were doing until the finish line.  Again, it was amazing great fun!!!  Of course, people got drunk.  Silliness occurred.  Some plank contests happened.  :)  But, nobody vomited and nobody got in a fight.  So, I call that a winning night! 

The plan is to trademark the name/idea and take this show on the road!  So, we may be in your town next.....     ;)

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Where to begin?

Good morning!

So, I think I set out to start writing again and I was really excited to sit down at the computer this morning...then I got distracted by reading up on some blogs I had stopped following and now I am completely confused.  I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but not I am all overwhelmed with new thoughts swirling based on what I have seen other people doing...

But I am not other people.  I am me.  I am going to write what I want and I am going to trust that YOU are going to read if you like it and move on if you don't.  Ok?

Anyway, I have much to tell!  A lot has been going on around here.  Not only "here" as in, in my house (um, can you say school starts in just one month?!?!  For ALL FOUR!!!), but also "here" as in, my world.  Where do I even begin???

1.  Baby Boot Camp.  Feels like a great place to start.  Because it kind of started me back in the whole working out "thing".  I joined back in February after reading about their meetups (safely via e-mail) for probably a year.  I noticed an email about a "Challenge" and you all know how I love a good challenge!  I went to my first workout class and loved it.  Not only did I love the workout (because holy moly, turns out running doesn't involve many arm muscles!), but I absolutely adored the women I met that day.  So nice and encouraging and just there to workout together and coo at each other's babies and make friends!  It was awesome.  Still is awesome, by the way.  You can check out their website (www.babybootcamp.com) to see if there is a class near you and for more details, but the overview for Charlottesville is that we have the option of attending any or all of the 5 days a week classes held 9:15-10:15.  You bring your child/ren and they are free to play or sit in the stroller while you work out!  All of the exercises incorporate a stroller and there is tickling of babies and singing of silly kid songs....all while working out!  It's super fun.  Our head instructor is Kira and I am just such a fan of hers.  She rocks.  And kicks my rear on a regular basis.  However regular I can make it to class, that is.  Ha!  So, at the beginning of the challenge, I was weighed and measured and we had certain fitness tests we did...then we did all of the above again at the end (plus a few times throughout the three months).  Would you believe I lost NO weight (ugh), but increased my push-up ability from 9 in 1 minute to 30 in 1 minute!??!!  Real push-ups, by the way.  I definitely was feeling fitter and even running became easier with all of the cross-training....this was very important because of my next topic....

2.  My sister, Jo.  Back in April, I believe, maybe even March?  I think April, though.  Jo began dieting to lose weight.  And lose weight she DID.  She joined Cross Fit and was feeling excited about those workouts, but also came to me and expressed an interest in running with me!  At the time, I was not running much.  I, obviously, still wanted to, but I just had no running buddies and was finding all sorts of excuses to get out of it anytime I had a run "scheduled".  So, for the month of February (when I began concentrating on Baby Boot Camp as often as possible), I literally logged 7 miles run for the MONTH.  7. Miles.  Ugh.  Somehow I even dropped to THREE miles for the month of March!!!  What?!?  (I am pulling these numbers from dailymile because I always made it a point to log every run on there, but I am just really feeling like maybe I forgot to log a run or two or more?!?)  Anyway, regardless, you see what I mean about dropping back on my running.  I probably hit the gym a time or two and did some elliptical.  Okay - so Jo comes to me and wants to begin running with me.  As I watch her drop all of this weight and get serious about fitness, I start to get inspired by her!  I start to remember what it was like in the beginning!  It's amazing!  In April, I logged 23 miles...likely most, if not all, were with her.  We started a little bit slow, but quickly upped the mileage.  I wanted her to start with the Couch to 5K program so she wouldn't get injured, but I realized quite fast that she was ready to GO!  So, we got out of that training once we ran 3 miles without stopping and she felt fine.  We ran our first 5K (together) on June 1 and finished in 32 minutes.  Jo said she hated every minute of it, but she's still running with me....so it must not have been that bad!  As I watched her improve, I realized I wanted to be a part of her running career forever....so that meant I had to make sure I improved as well.  And kept improving.  I found a half marathon, we signed up, and now we are training to run that in September!  We train together two days a week and then hold each other accountable for the other 1-2 runs.  Luckily, I have more people holding me accountable....because....

3.  I started a Couch to 5K running group on Mondays and Thursdays!  I am having the best time with these women.  Although, I should say we had one man consistently coming...no, wait, 2!  So, I should say I am having the best time with these people.  One day I was out on a run by myself.  I had started the Runner's World run streak (run one mile each day between Memorial Day and 4th of July), and I really wasn't sure what I was feeling up to.  So, I headed out with the intent to run 1 mile.  I ended up running 5.  I felt SO good and light and just FAST....it was awesome.  I did a lot of praying during that run and a lot of listening, just checking in to see if there was something more I needed to be doing.  I felt so incredibly moved and led to SHARE my love of running and the changes it has made in my life.  I realized I wanted others to know you don't have to be fast and you don't even have to love it all the time.  You just need to be out there and know that your body CAN RUN.  Every body can do it.  It doesn't have to mean your feet are far off the ground and your legs are spread in a sprinter's stance.  You just have to get out there and set your mind to something.  Also, the close relationship my sister and I now share (after a long 30+ years), is completely due to all the running we do together.  When was the last time you sat with a friend and talked, with no distractions, for over an hour?  It's virtually impossible in my world.  Our runs are our gab time.  We are doing something healthy for ourselves (in more ways than one) and we just talk and talk and talk.  In the beginning, it was mostly me doing the talking as Jo figured out her breathing and pace techniques, but now the time just flies by.  And somehow, even after almost 2 hours sometimes, we still have stuff to talk about later!  :)  I'm getting off track.  So, I have a couple of women who have been very consistent in showing up to the track on Monday and Thursday nights and even doing a workout on their own at home during the off days.  They are amazing.  They have no idea how much they inspire me with their own determination to DO this thing they really weren't sure they could do at first!  They show up and they work.  I simply asked everyone to get out of their "comfort zone" whatever that may be.  I truly am okay with someone showing up and just walking the 30 minutes, but to see them pump their arms and get their heart rate going when I blow the whistle is just awesome.  I have started running with them to chat their ears off and distract them from the run times   :)  They all promise they like it.  With it getting so hot in the past couple of weeks, I have had several people drop out, but I have confidence they will come back when things cool down.  The hard core ladies who have stuck it out with me will continue to progress and I have no doubt they are already inspiring many with their perseverance.  I have a "group" that starts at 7 and then I start another workout at 7:30.  Speaking of them being inspirational leads me to my next big news....

4.  I am going to be a part of an article in Fitness magazine!  About a year ago a friend of mine contacted me to let me know she had given my name as having been instrumental in inspiring her to get fit when asked by a freelance writer.  This reporter/writer (?) contacted me to ask who was my inspiration.  At the time I gave the name of Ashley, who you may remember from her guest appearances on here.  :)  She was the first person to ever tell me about the Couch to 5K program and I think you can tell from this entire posting alone how much I love that program.  Ha ha!  So, I gave Ashley's name and then didn't hear anything for quite some time...then all of a sudden the reporter e-mails back (several months ago) and tells me the magazine has decided to run the story and I will need to interviewed.  Well, that was exciting enough, right?  I get the phone call and chat with her at great length.  She ends the call by saying I will be contacted regarding a photo shoot.  Wait, a what?  Yes.  A PHOTO SHOOT!!!  So, that was cool.  My thoughts were all over the place, I had no idea what to expect.  A photo shoot?  What on earth?  I get a few emails about scheduling and then it was set up completely....they bought me a plane ticket to Little Rock, Arkansas.  I was going to be photographed by a professional photographer, complete with hair and makeup artists!  Eek!  I don't even know how to explain the grand ol' time I had.  Let's begin with the fact that I was gone from my kids and husband for 2 days.  2 glorious days.  Before you get all judgmental about my honesty, just know it has been a LONG summer.  We have hit some horrible ages and there seems to be nothing but fighting on most days in this house.  Truly.  This break from all of them was long overdue.  And it was very, very much appreciated.  So, I get to see Ashley who I haven't seen in over 2 1/2 years.  It felt like no time had passed.  Then I get to go to dinner with Ashley for lots and lots of conversation and no worries about being home at a certain time.  It was just perfect.  Her daughters were spending the night at her mom's, so we even got to go home and just chat with her husband and try on all of the clothes we had been sent for the photos.  I swear, I felt 21 again!  :)  Not that I got photographed at 21...just the whole trying on clothes together and being silly.  The photo shoot was the next morning.  I actually thought I was going to get up early and get a run in, but I instead decided to lay in bed and enjoy the silence.  Ahhhhhh.  We showered and headed to the Scott Plantation.  I am not going to give a ton of details on the whole shoot because I feel like I've already typed so much, but I will just say having your hair professionally done and then someone follow you with hair spray for the rest of the morning - then having makeup applied to make you look natural and beautiful (how did she DO that??)....and makeup artist follow with some powder to keep you looking that way even in the hot sun.  Oh, a girl could get used to all of that.  I didn't even mind all the smiling for a few hours!  I will say, though, that we totally napped later that afternoon.  Getting to meet Ashley's daughters (one of whom I met when she was 2-ish) and hang out with her and just relax with no pressure....there aren't words to express how great that was.  I came home feeling refreshed and ready to get back in the daily mess of my household.  Truly refreshed.  So, the article is set to be in the November issue and I CANNOT WAIT!

I think I'm going to stop here.  Mostly because my children have been running through the house screaming and fighting this entire time and I am sick of getting up and down from the computer.  :)  But also because I am not even sure anyone will have time to read all of this mess!  Now that you have mostly been brought up to current day, I plan to continue blogging each day about our half marathon training and the Couch to 5K group.  I want to be sure to document feelings expressed by everyone so I can bring it back up and show them how far they've come if they begin to get frustrated later on in this program.  I also hope to one day share stories straight from them.  I want to SHARE inspiration and success stories and sometimes even some not-so-successful stories that ended up being successful in other areas.  One message I keep taking from church is to just JUMP.  Get out there and do what it is you have been feeling led to do and have FAITH that you will succeed.  And even if that success doesn't look the way you expected it to look, you have to believe that it was right in the grand scheme.  I know that, even if I got injured today and had to stop running for a while...or, (ugh) forever...I have planted some seeds in others.  I would continue to be with them in any way possible during their journey.  It isn't about me proving anything.  It is about assisting others to do things they don't entire believe are possible.  Things they may have dreamt about doing, but came up with excuses about why not.  I am loving the friendships I am making.  Even if I don't see some of these people more than once or twice a week, I feel like these are some of the strongest relationships I have ever formed.  And a woman cannot have enough strong friendships!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Random thoughts from my hiding spot

This morning I decided I was going to stay a step ahead of the kids.  Maybe...just MAYBE...we could have a morning of no fighting?  I often wash and slice a pound of strawberries before anyone realizes they are hungry, then place them on a table near the tv watching/game playing.  This buys me some time as they figure out exactly what they want to eat for breakfast, right?  Well, every time I do this, we run out of strawberries just a tad early.  Today, I sliced TWO pounds!  So smart, yes?  No.  There was still fighting.  Over who got more strawberries.  Children stuffing their cheeks like squirrels with strawberries and spitting juice out as they attempt to exclaim, "I got FOUR!"  Ugh.

Tomorrow, I slice 4 strawberries.  One per kid.  Then they can have size wars..

Anyway, not really what I wanted to blog about, but it is fresh on my mind.  So, you're welcome. 

This morning I have lost 7 pounds!  Over the past 8 days I have been focusing on meeting all of the goals set by my FitBit.  The "generic" goals are 10,000 steps each day/5 miles/10 flights of stairs.  I also told it my current weight and my goal weight and it gives me a calorie allotment based on that goal.  If I burn extra calories, FitBit will increase my allotment.  Nice, right?  Out of the past 8 days, I missed my goals on just 2 of those days.  However, I didn't miss by much and I really concentrated on eating fewer calories than I burned.  Also started concentrating on my water intake.  YAY!

I have started the Runner's World run streak...1 mile each day between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Today is Day 4 and I plan to hit this gym this afternoon.  I had a 5+ mile run yesterday, so I will likely just keep the running to the one mile, but I will definitely do some extra strength training while there.  And some Tetris Blitz.  :)

Sunday's planks and burpees went well.  Sadly, I only made it through 8 rounds before having to leave for work, and then it was so busy at work I couldn't sneak away even just twice to complete it.  I also have to admit that some of my "thanks" were repeats.  I realize there are millions of little things to be thankful for in this world...it is just a little bit hard to think of those little things when your abs are shaking and kids are screaming. 

We are taking our first ever family vacation this weekend!  We are heading to Virginia Beach on Saturday and staying at a hotel ON the beach through Monday.  Just my husband and I and the 4 kids.  No grandparents.  No aunts/uncles/cousins/nannies.  Pray we survive.  Seriously.  Close quarters are not usually great for us...but I just really feel the need to get out of town.  I am hopeful that the hotel is exciting enough to keep the kids indoors some.  I know that sounds crazy, but the ocean is kind of scary!  Keeping track of four wild kids at the ocean is scarier!  Last summer my sister and I took the kids to the beach for one day, and I was exhausted just from the constant head counts.  This year, though, we are taking beach toys (shovels, buckets, etc.) so maybe that will keep a couple of them entertained on land. 

While at the beach, I am going to have to sneak away for at least a mile run on each day.  Today I will run at the gym this afternoon, tomorrow I will try to get up early (before Shaun leaves at 6:30) and get at least 3 miles in.  For the past couple of days, running has felt SO great.  Yesterday, I even ran a sub-10 minute mile!  I haven't done that in I don't know how long.  Especially considering it was hot and muggy outside, I was running by myself...I actually felt like a dog that had been let out of it's cage finally!  Haha.  Truly I think it has everything to do with my diet.  Watching my calories for the first day or two left me hungry...until I realized eating healthy things counts as less calories and fills me up better.  Hmmm.  Amazing.  :)  Another sad thing I learned?  Papa John's pizza has around 300-350 calories PER SLICE.  Sad, sad, sad.  I don't think I have ever eaten less than 3 slices in one sitting.  And more often it's 5 slices.  WOW.  Last week, though, I had one piece.  Just one.  Mini success!

Okay, the fighting is getting out of control, so I will stop distracting myself with the computer.  I think a better idea for a vacation would be all 6 of us going to a different location for the weekend.  Maybe if we missed each other a bit we would hear less "I hate you!  You are a baby!  You pee your bed!  Pshhhew!"  That last one is how I spell out the noise they make as they pretend to shoot each other with lasers. 

Have a great weekend!!

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

THANKS with planks and burpees!

Good morning!!

I've been gone.  Now I'm back.  No excuses, that is just the way it is.  :)

So, today is Sunday.  For those who are friends with me on Facebook, and/or part of Baby Boot Camp you know we had a few weeks of challenges presented by our fearless leader, Kira.  For those who aren't, here are some more details! 

One Saturday it was push-ups.  The next it was Burpees.  We were trying to do 100 in a day and these were broken up by doing 10 each hour for 10 hours.  "We" are the members of Baby Boot Camp.  If you are a mom (or even a nanny!), you should check out your town to see if there is a local group!  It has absolutely been the best "club" I have ever joined.  During those challenges we all took pictures of the silly places we did our challenges...one mom did push-ups at Target, one mom was doing them on the side of the road.  I tried to find ridiculous places to do mine just to make the challenge even more fun.  I can't always be consistent in my class attendance, but I will ALWAYS rise up to a challenge.  Especially one that can be done wherever I am!  So, I posed another challenge (mostly to myself) one weekend to do 10 flights of stairs each hour.  That one was rough.  I have purchased a "FitBit" and noticed that Tuesdays and Thursdays are my most sedentary days...I'm talking an average of 3,000-4,000 steps total.  That is terrible!  So, those two days I have been taking the "every hour" thing and running down and back on my street each hour.  This is .36 miles every hour...which definitely adds up!  Sometimes I would walk fast, sometimes jog.  The bonus part?  There is a hill at the end of my road that apparently counts to FitBit as 2 flights of stairs! 

All of this background is bringing me to the point, I promise. 

In Bible study this week the author of the book we are studying (Ann Voskamp) said something that just resonated with me.  It was just a rhyming of words "thanks for planks".  We had just finished a quick (off topic) discussion about the various challenges I had been posting pictures for and I even gave a little demonstration of how to do a plank...so, the phrase just stuck with me.  (by the way, Ann was referring to trusting the bridge maker when you drive across a bridge...giving thanks for the planks that make up the bridge)  Anyway, I was thinking about one Sunday when I posed a challenge of doing one minute planks every hour.  (um, that one hurt the next day!)  Making the PLANKS about giving THANKS.  On a Sunday.  To the ONE I should be thanking every day! 

Today's "challenge" is to do 10 burpees and a 20 second plank every hour.  Every hour I will also thank God for 10 blessings in my life.  Since my children get up ridiculously early, I was able to start my challenge in the 7 o'clock hour.  Amidst yells and screams and fighting children I did my 20 second plank and gave thanks for 1. This Day, 2. Comfortable beds for sleeping, 3. Waffles for breakfast, 4. My husband getting the 3 boys dressed before heading to work, 5. An amazing church that I can look forward to even when I've only had a few hours of sleep, 6. A great job (both mine and my husband's), 7. Sweet kitty cats that love to sleep at my feet, 8. Energetic children (this sometimes doesn't exactly FEEL like a blessing!), 9. The internet...my favorite way of keeping in touch with far away family and friends, 10. The ability to complete a 20 second plank and 10 burpees!

It is nearing the end of the 8 o'clock hour, so I will be getting down as I post this.  I am feeling a little stressed and sleepy and annoyed, so coming up with 10 blessings feels like a struggle right now.  However, as I watch the sun stream through the trees and see the thermostat warming up and hear the birds (ok, and the cicadas) singing their songs....there is 3 right there.  It is the little things I forget to notice each day.  It is the beauty all around me that I just walk quickly right on by and continue worrying about the yelling children and the "mom! mom! mom!" I hear constantly.  There are always 10 blessings around you.  You just have to be quiet (for 20 seconds!) and LISTEN. 

8 o'clock:  1.  Sunshine, 2. Roof over our heads, 3. DVR so I can always catch up on my shows!, 4. Text messaging...so I can keep in touch with others even when the screaming is way too loud for phone calls, 5. The promise of 74 degrees today, 6. Plans for a Memorial Day cookout with great friends and family, 7. Hotel reservations for a beach vacation, 8. Sloppy Joes (for so many reasons, I am thankful for Sloppy Joes.  Honestly), 9. A very close relationship with my sister, 10. This blog as a forum for getting my thoughts "written" down!

Have a great day! 

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