Sunday, November 30, 2014

Getting excited for the Seattle Half Marathon!

It is that time again! I will be running the Seattle Half Marathon in the morning. Today Anthony and I had a crazy adventure into downtown Seattle to pick up my race packet. We couldn't find parking and then when we did we couldn't get out of the parking garage! The stairs didn't go up all the way into the building and the elevator wasn't working. We ran around until we caught a ride on the service elevator with some employees. Which we were so thankful for! 
 We we got to the expo things went much smoother. There weren't as many people there as I thought there would be and we loaded up on give freebies. It was a really great experience for Anthony, he had never been to a race expo before. We packed up and headed out, mission completed! But... then when I was driving into work I realized I forgot my running shoes! Who does that!? Who forgets their running shoes for their race they just packed for? Well ... the fellows I work with are thankfully being really awesome about it and are letting me leave a bit early to run back home to grab my shoes. DOH! I just hate rushing, I packed up all my stuff like normal because, for this race especially, I didn't have time to go home and get ready before heading to the race. 
So in my panic Anthony offered to find my running shoes and when I text him to see if he found them, this is what he sent me. 

I laughed so hard when I saw this I almost peed my pants! This is why he is perfect for me! 

I have flat Katie all laid out and my race bib and shirt. But most importantly I finally have a cowbell! I am so excited about that! It only took 3 years but I finally have one!
A recap to come! 
Keep on Running!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Week Craziness!

Okay all y'all, I do still exist! It is just been so busy that I can hardly breathe yet alone stop and write a new post. On Sunday I volunteered at the Green Lake gobble with Trisha and then we walked it with Anthony. It was an interesting experience it started off with pouring down rain and unorganized volunteers but the day ended up being great we tried out blender bikes and went to brunch afterwards to fill up our bellies.
 Then Monday and Tuesday I was running errands to prepare for the week, then Anthony and I celebrated our one year anniversary on Tuesday. Which was completely wonderful! He took me out for dinner, window shopping, ice cream, dancing and we went back and cuddled up on the couch for TV time. Could not have been a better anniversary. 
Then on Wednesday before heading into work and I got up extra early and baked four pies! A blackberry pie, cherry pie, sweet potato pie, and a pumpkin pie.
I decided to bake everyone's favorite pie for Thanksgiving because we had to work and I felt bad that no one could spend the day with their families. So I was more than happy to make the pies and it was a lot of fun. I learned a few things about myself with these pies, first; I can bake four pies that turned out great under a lot of pressure and time constraints, second; I like sweet potato pie more than I like pumpkin pie and third;I absolutely love blackberry pie. I'm very proud of myself for these pies and that might seem silly, but that's okay.
Then on Thursday I got up early to go to Anthony's family's Thanksgiving dinner. Which was a lot of fun and I'm so glad that I was able to go to, then I headed straight into work from that. Today I slept in to recover from getting up so early two days and then when I did get up I pulled out my Christmas decorations in hopes that I can put up the tree with Anthony on Sunday after running in the Seattle half marathon. So as you can see I have been crazy busy but thankfully it has been good busy. 
Now let's talk about tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll be getting up early, again, but this time it will be to go to downtown Seattle to pick up my race packet before work. Which I'm very excited about because Anthony has never been to a large race expo before and I think it'll be a fun experience for him. And I finally get to pick up my FLUR Seattle Green Lake running group T-shirt, I've been trying to pick it up for weeks now. But then I'll be heading straight back into work and then after I get off work I'll be heading directly to the race. Hopefully if I get to the race early enough I can meet up with the Green Lake running group before the race, which I am very excited about. 
I'm hoping the race goes well but the forecast is looking pretty grim. It was supposed be about 40° during the race but now is looking like 25° and I don't have any cold-weather running gear. So I might have to do a last-minute scramble to get some "throw away" sweatpants and sweatshirt for the start of the race. If you don't know much about the "throw away"sweatshirts and sweatpants, runners sometimes wear disposable warm weather clothes that they can just toss aside for donation later during the race after they have run a couple miles and are warmed up. 
So on top of the crazy weather I'm also a little worried because I haven't been able to run in the last couple of weeks. So I'm kind of doing this race cold turkey I know I can finish that unfortunately it won't be the time that I was looking for. 
After the race, Anthony and I will be baking a turkey and decorating my Christmas tree! I'm very excited about that, then I'll be headed to bed early because on Monday I'll be starting dayshift which I can't describe how excited I am! 
So as you can see I have been going going going and just not having any time to update you! I plan on taking many pictures the next couple of days and posting a full post race recap on the Seattle half.
Stop, breathe and Keep on Running!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sit back, relax and drink some tea.

Hello all! This is my official Tea Review post! Sounds silly and not nearly all of the teas that I drink will be in this review, however, many are. I hope you can sit back an sip a cup of tear while you read.  As far as I know you can buy all of these Teas at QFC. I have also included a link for each tea. :)
Coconut Cocoa, this tea is more cocoa tea than a coconut tea. I am personally not a fan of coconut but this tea is still pretty yummy. It is a stronger tea that has a wonderful cocoa aroma. It is decaf so it won't give you a caffeine fix if you are looking for one. This a tea that I will drink towards the end of my work shift to help keep me awake but not keep me awake once I get home. 3 out of 5 stars.
Lipton Tea used to be a staple in my household growing up. However, no that I am an avid tea drinker I have moved away from Lipton and don't drink it very often. If you keep the bag in your cup too long the tea gets too strong and there are tea "crumbs" at the bottom of your cup. 1 out of 5 stars. 
Chocolate Hazelnut Decaf Tea is my favorite chocolate tea. I love hazelnut and it gives this tea a nice warm feeling to it. This is definitely a good tea to curl up on the couch with. It isn't over powering and you can leave the bag in your cup as long as you want. 4 out of 5 stars.
I started drinking different ginger teas to help calm tummy aches. They don't really help though. But this Ginger Peach Green Tea is still a good tea. The peach calms the ginger flavor a lot, which is good because I don't like ginger. It is a very mild tea as well. 3 out of 5 stars.
Tazo Green Ginger, as the bag says, it is a bright green tea. It has a very strong flavor but is a light tea. It has a very strong ginger taste so I am not a huge fan of this but if you like ginger you will love it. A high quality tea for sure. 3 out of 5 stars.
Earl Grey is probably one of my classic favorite teas. I have drank it for years. This Bigelow Earl Grey isn't bad at all. It is a more mild Earl Grey, and decaf. I rarely buy my Earl Grey decaf but I wanted to have a tea that wouldn't keep me awake but one that I also loved for sure. I give this Earl Grey a 3 out of 5 stars because of its weak taste.
Trader Joe's Earl Grey Tea, this tea leaves little "crumbles" at the bottom of your cup and you can't leave it in your cup very long or the tea gets way too strong, in a funky way. 1 out of 5 stars. 
Tulsi Vanilla Creme tea, this is probably one of the most subtle teas I have ever had. If you are not a tea drinker but want a warm drink that has a familiar feel to it, this is the tea for you! Very light, excellent taste! 4 out of 5 stars. 
Cinnamon Apple Spice... this tea smells like all of the winter holidays in a cup! It smells so good that I just sit and sniff it for a bit before drinking it! It is a tea that doesn't do well with the bag being left in your cup, take it out after it hits the perfect strength for you. It is very strong if you leave it in for a while. This tea tastes very yummy too, more apple taste than you'd think but doesn't leave a funky feeling after your mouth either like other instant apple teas. This tea is great! 4 out of 5 stars.
Yogi, I love Yogi tea, all of their teas are wonderful. I use them for all sorts of ailments. This Soothing Mint Get Regular tea is for constipation. It works Extremely well. I make it weak on purpose because the effects are so strong and it works every time. I highly recommend this tea if you need to get things moving. It also tastes GREAT! I love mint teas. 5 out of 5 stars. 
The Mangosteen Green Tea, this is a very sweet tea. I am not a fan but it is a good quality tea. If you like to have a sweeter hot tea you may like this one. 3 out of 5 stars because of the sweetness.
Hot peach tea? Yes! Perfect Peach tea got me with their advertising. "Just like a freshly baked peach pie in a teacup" and it smells just like a peach pie! It tastes more like a peach tea than pie though. I really enjoy this tea. It is light and sweet but not too sweet and gives you a warm feeling. 5 out of 5 stars. I can drink cup after cup of this tea it is so good.
 This is a perfect chamomile tea. Tazo Calm Chamomile is a definite recommend if you like chamomile. Very calming and soft flavor. 5 out of 5 stars. 
I am not a chai tea fan however, Tazo Chai Classic is a good tea. I was surprised. It is a nice strong tea with a strong cinnamon flavor. I highly recommend this chai tea. 4 out of 5 stars. 
I know this is not a tea but I thought I would share it with you. I HATE instant coffee however, this instant coffee isn't bad! This is the only one anyone will probably ever see me drink too. Super fast and easy to make and has a great hazelnut flavor. Nescafe' Taster's Choice Hazelnut is a great staple for your instant coffee supply. As far as instant coffee's go, 4 out 5! 
I hope that you enjoyed this Tea review and you go out and try something new! Sit back, relax and drink some tea. 

Introducing Heidi Arnold; a truly inspirational woman.

I will officially be hosting my “Meet a Runner” Series in December, however, due to recent events I felt like Heidi’s story should be shared sooner rather than later. Please take a moment and read Heidi’s very moving story. I didn't glam up her story or edit her responses in any way. This is 100% Heidi.
Heidi Arnold a kick butt 40 year young runner from Philly and this is her running story.
Heidi started running in around 2010 “I always said “I am not athletic”. I took a class that taught me to see my assumptions about myself and let go of them. Since then, when presented with an idea, instead of saying no, I say “do I want to do this?” and I’ve tried a bunch of things like climbing mountains, and found new joy. So, I was on the YMCA treadmill walking to get healthy, and started going faster, and found myself running. When I noticed, I was surprised, because I have always hated, HATED, running, and at this moment, I didn’t hate this. One day I saw a button on the treadmill that said “5k” so I pressed it out of curiosity. I totally had no idea what “5k” meant. Really. After a few of those, I figured it out. I signed up for the YMCA 5k, about 2-3 months after that first treadmill jog.”

What’s your running surface of choice? “Road. Trails have tree-root tripping/rock ankle turning issues, and I really like to experience nature in more detail at a slower pace. I save trails for hikes, backpacking, and mountain climbs. Treadmill is too boring, and often too hot. When I’m on a road, I can run with my inner spirit. I live in suburbia, but we are lucky to have hawks and sometimes bald eagles hunting overhead. Sometimes I turn to follow them, as if I could possibly keep up. I love running towards the setting or rising sun. I close my eyes and feel the warmth soaking through, enjoy the orange glow inside. I feel most alive and powerfully at peace like that.”

Have you run any races? If so what is your favorite race so far? “My favorite is still my first distance event. I’m so proud of it showing me what I can do-opening a world I never thought I belonged in. Broad Street 10 miler, 2012. My local running friend and partner used to bug me to do it with him. We’d been running maybe two years off and on. I said no all the time. Eventually he caught me in an odd moment and I guess I said yes. It was like 2-3 weeks before the event. I had only done 3-4 miles before then. I “trained” up, maybe to 6 miles, maybe a little more? Like I probably ran 4 more times. It’s comical what I got away with. I shouldn’t even have been in it at all. It sold out in March(?) in 5 hours, as I found out while riding the subway up to the race (a friend of his legally transferred their bib to me when they couldn’t run). We went as a group of three, started together, lost track by running three different styles, and then caught up with each other in the last mile, and crossed the finish line at the exact same time. Within days I registered for a half marathon, and I’ve been stuck on distance for the next 2.5 years.”

Other than PRG are you in any running clubs or groups? “No. PRG has been a great thing to join. I was on my own amongst my friends as a runner before I was put in the group. Since then, another friend has gotten into running from it, too. I still have the “I am not a real runner” mindset, although that’s starting to crack away.”

What are your favorite pieces of running gear? And least? Best-Gloves. Took me three years to add in something so simple. Warm hands when facing an early morning race start. Warm fingers when running below freezing. Take them off and tuck them in a belt when I’ve warmed up. Stretchy, breathable, just so comfortable. Also, calf sleeves. I bought them for the “red socks” frenzy in the week after the Boston attack. Happened to wear them on every long run. When I finally ran one without them, I learned what they do. Prevent cramps from exhaustion. Least-Any bra that chafes. I’ve gone through so many. Moving Comfort at $60 a pop felt great at first, but after a few months, I’d find my skin rubbed off after a long run. Even the adorable VSX broke down and failed after two 20 milers. I still have its zipper marked into my flesh a month later. Right now a $12 Joe Boxer, of all things, is the no-chafe, lift, separate, protect, no bounce winner. It just doesn’t look too good on its own.”

What inspires you to run? “I have kids, a stressful job. Who wouldn’t run fast in the other direction? Now, I look in the mirror, and don’t feel grossed out at how I look in sweatpants. I don’t want to lose that.”

Favorite recovery food? Beer n brownies. I learned this during Philly Marathon last year, where strangers in front of Manayunk bars will hand this out to runners. In the middle of the wall, that perfect balance of sugar and taste and nutrients just did me so much good. I passed up the rest of the Gu stations with a “thanks, but I just had some beer and brownies!”. Of course a banana is mandatory. You’d think I could eat anything after burning 1000-3000 calories, right? Actually my stomach gets incredibly sensitive, and I can only eat little amounts, and have a very picky appetite. If I overdo it, it’s a bad situation. I’ve put my boyfriend in charge of my recovery, because he’s more sensible, and isn’t affected by my big fat runners high. He currently likes to feed me Pad Thai post marathon. (Now, if I could only turn over my credit card to him to prevent me from registering for more races during that drugged up runnerbrain state.)”

If you have a weight loss journey can you provide a brief description of your start and current progress? “I did lose about 40 lbs from a healthy diet, but this is before I started running. Actually, I’m very glad I did it like that. I call it laziness-but it’s SO much easier to exercise at a lighter weight. I tried to start jogging years ago, and it was a hard and miserable experience-definitely couldn’t get far enough into it to start enjoying it. The asthma was an issue, which weight loss has probably helped. After running, I eat so much from hunger that I can’t lose weight. I feel like the only person that can gain 5 lbs from running a marathon. After this next one, I think I’ll take a break and diet down 10 lbs. My knees would seriously rather me bounce a few less pounds on them.”

Have you seen any health improvements? “Since regular running my arthritis (knee since 16) and asthma are nearly nonexistent. I used to take regular medicine for nasal allergies, and now I’m on none ever with no symptoms. I stopped taking a stimulant for ADHD.”

What if a runner stereotype that you would like to debunk? “That fat people can’t run. I’ve not put it to the test, but I’ve met so many people who are overweight and even obese that are distance runners. I am so impressed by them and their fortitude.”

If you run races, how do you feel about receiving a finishing medal for short distances like 5ks? “I love bling. I didn’t participate in sports when I was a kid, and was sorta jealous of the trophies my friends had on their bookshelves. Now I understand. I wish there were more short races that have medals, because my kids are seriously motivated by that kind of thing.”

Have you ever traveled for a run? If so how far? What was the race? What did you like and dislike about your race/trip? I live in Philly but grew up in Chicago. I work for Bank of America, and they give employee discount and guaranteed entry. Since this was “THE MARATHON” of my childhood (even though I was not athletic and never thought I would be) it was my ideal first marathon. I missed 2013 registration, so I got in 2014 and travelled. I stayed with my family, brought my boyfriend, and my sister and nephew came out to watch. I’ve NEVER had spectators at an event before, and it was so very special. It was also a ton of work, coordinating all of those events and people, and wore me out. Four days ahead I woke from a terrible nightmare… that I had signed myself up to jump out of a helicopter in 4 days and I was so worried about how I’d be able to do it, had been practicing for it, jumping out of a helicopter a few feet off the ground, over water, etc. I woke up and I was like “duh, is this related to worrying about the marathon? Thank GOD it’s just a marathon I signed up for. I can do that. I get to stay on the ground the entire time!!!? I’m looking forward to doing the Philly marathon this weekend-and just waking up and going to the start line. Easy peasy, no stress-right!? Traveling did make it more special-I get the “race weekend” thing. The theme even carried to the flight-1000 miles away I was eyeing people’s shoes, guessing who would be running with me. On the way back I made sure to wear my medal through airport security, (oh, do I have something metal on!?) and I got a big cheer from one of the guards! J”

Do you run outdoors at night and if so do you carry any protection? Do you wear reflective gear and lights? I don’t. I need to get some. I stay on the side walk, mind my crossings, use slow residential streets, or trails. I love running at night in the summer, but during the cold fall it’s really lonely and depressing.

Tips or advice for beginner runners or runners who are thinking about quitting? “Do what feeds the joy. Running is a very miserable thing to be doing if you aren’t enjoying it. I try to keep a smile on my face as I run. If I can’t smile, something’s wrong. Growing up, my (unathletic) family made fun of the faces of joggers-they always looked so miserable. I’ve gotten compliments on my smile during races. Smiles are important-joy is important. When you express that out in front of others they react, and then they put amazing stuff out there, too. It makes the world go around. I mean, there are studies showing that any exercise you enjoy has more physical benefit than others. But who needs a study to just want to do things you enjoy? So, if it’s taking a rest day, running slower, stopping to enjoy a view, changing a route or company- do what you’d rather do instead of what you should do. Also, “Be a person who ran today”. When have we ever regretted going out for a run vs. not having gone? I recommend just two miles. The first one always feels bad and lies. Takes a bit to warm up your body. If by mile 2 you still aren’t feeling it, go ahead and head home-fair enough. Maybe you are sick or injured or worn out.”

When I asked Heidi this next question I had no idea that I would get such a response. This is why I decided to share Heidi’s story now. 
What run, personal or race, are you the most proud of accomplishing? As I was writing this last night, PRG runner and my new friend, Tiffany Eckler Furguson was being killed by her ex. We met in PRG, and I talked with her about the separation, supporting her journey up and out. What running takes, so does getting out of domestic abuse. What I am most proud of is running DESPITE a bunch of things. I was an overweight kid, always picked last for gym class teams. I decided “I am not athletic” a long time ago. I LOVED a few things, like cycling and paddling, but never pursued them because of this idea. When I started running, I was living in an abusive marriage. There were very few positive things to hold onto, but they were precious. I ate more healthfully and started to exercise, probably because my soul was attracted to the positive health of it. My husband never minded the yoga classes I took at the YMCA, but when I started running on my own, little things started to pop up. When I ran my first 5k, it was two blocks from the house and a nice day. I asked if he’d bring my two sons out to see me finish. He BLEW UP, yelled at me for half an hour about how I shouldn’t try to change him into a cheer leader. I learned a lesson not to ask for any kind of support. He’d regularly point out to me “you know, you don’t HAVE to go running.” It would be said with a particular judgmental tone of voice. Like when he’d try to make me feel weird if I cleaned something that was dirty…. “What, do you LIKE cleaning or something?” I felt guilty when I’d ask him to watch the boys while I went out for a short run. Eventually, as my confidence was growing in other ways, I’d just let him know, and ask if it was OK. One day he snapped “Sure, and while you’re out, make sure to run in front of a car and get killed!” (This wasn’t a statement out of concern.) This was in front of my second grade son, who stared at me with such an expression of confusion as he tried to understand this statement. I knew this was intended to keep me from going, but I just calmly thanked him and went out anyhow. He started accusing me of having an affair with my running partner. This running partner (clearly not my type) I spent no time alone with. He was married to one of my best friends, and was supposedly one of my husband’s only friends. He had very little money. I changed the password on my PERSONAL checking account-a little thing that held lunch money for work. So my husband said he was my sugar daddy. Yeah. Obviously designed to punish me for running.
When one lives in the control and manipulation of an angry spouse, one’s reality is slowly twisted so we can’t tell what’s what anymore. As little as I could trust myself, I could see there was some sort of logic in all of this. Running is good for me. It asked nothing of him, took nothing from the family resources. I wasn’t buying any special equipment, paying race fees at this time. It simply threatened him that I was doing something good for myself. At the same time I was going on this running journey, I was finding how unhealthy my life was. I couldn’t shake a growing anxiety, even though I was doing all of the right things (like exercising) for myself. I talked to my doctor, and he refused me medicine. He asked: “Do you feel safe in your home?” and I broke down. Went to get help at a domestic abuse center. I separated from the 20 year relationship. As busy as I was, I kept running throughout this. These were times away from him when I felt safe. I was in public. He didn’t know exactly where I was. He had the kids to watch. The exercise burned off some of the useless fear, and made me more tired to find sleep at night. As a now single mom watching two young boys, I’ve had to get creative to get my training runs in. I’ve packed my gear to stay in the hospital with my son’s appendix issue, and went for runs while the nurses saw to his needs, or family visited. I’ve run around in circles in the street in front of my house while one stayed home sick. I’ve fed them dinner at the track, them doing their homework in the bleachers while I ran laps. I’ve run to the vet and carried back a 40lb bag of dog food because I knew if I got in the car for errands I’d never get out again to run. Running expresses the freedom that I have. The same skills I used to get out keep me going to my goal distances. The focus, the determination, the ability to shut down non-essential negative input, and go for something very far ahead. I was tired out in that relationship, but after getting out, I climb mountains and run marathons… hmm...what kind of energy drain must that have been? Two and a half years after separating, it still seems to get to him that I run. I register for races during weekends that they stay at his place. I had to ask him to take the boys an extra day so I could go to the Chicago marathon. 12:30 AM, he starts texting me about the kids’ emergency information. Obviously I cannot ignore this. He rants about a bunch of stuff. I had to dig to find out-there was no emergency with the kids. They were fine. He was just trying to sabotage my sleep the night before. It didn’t work. I ran, I finished, but I had to shut down all of that negativity.”

Thank you so much for sharing your story Heidi. Your strength and courage are a true inspiration to us all. 


Friday, November 21, 2014

Green Lake Gobble 5k/10k and Mashed Potato Munch Off!

For those of you who don't know, my very first race EVER was a Turkey Trot in Springfield, MO. It's one of the largest Turkey Trots in the United States! There were almost 10k people that year. My mom and I did it together and now Thanksgiving themed races have a very special place in my hear. This year I will be participating in the Green Lake Gobble 5k! Firstly I will be helping out at the registration tents and then I will be walking the 5k with my friend Tricia. I normally wouldn't walk a race but I have done a couple of races now with Tricia and I have yet to actually "do" one with her! 
So I am really looking forward to Sunday, should be a nice and chilly, wet day for the race. AKA a typical Seattle Fall day! So I have a pretty warm outfit picked out. Mismatching colors and all.
A race recap to come!
Keep on Running!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Half Fanatic October Newsletter

The Half Fanatic October Newsletter has been released! Why is this exciting? Because I am in it! Go to page 11 and look for #9279 and there is my name :D I am so proud of being a part of this group, it is such a huge accomplishment for me. Check out the Newsletter, it has lots of fun photos and stories. 
Keep on Running! 

Nutrisystem revisited!

So I started Nurtrisystem in February, I lost 20 lbs very quickly on it then I switched plans to a Maintenance plan, which I have been using only on the days that I work,and lost another 8 lbs or so over several months. I have been struggling a bit with my eating the last month or so, so Anthony and I talked it over and I decided to go back to Nutrisystem 100% and he would help support me through the next month and a half. My whole goal of the next few weeks is to just avoid the holiday weight gain that EVERYONE seems to do every year. I am hoping that going back to NS full time I will be able to resist temptation and keep my weight off. 
I will be going back to the Weekends My Way Select Plan, which gives me Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Desert for Monday-Friday and I will be able to eat whatever I want on the weekends. But I will still be on the NS guidelines for the weekends. I will be taking Thanksgiving Day, Anthony and I's Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve off. Because they are called Holidays for a reason! I just don't want to be eating all of the holiday yummy's on non-holiday days.
Maybe I should create my own Nutrisystem video, huh? :D 
I hope you all can find your best fit to get through the holidays without ballooning up! I hope that you aren't like me in that regard. Seems like every year when I do gain those 10-15 lbs during the holidays it takes me through spring to get that weight back off! So I am really trying to not let that happen. 
What are your tips and tricks to get through the holidays?
Keep on Running!

Where or where has Katie Gone?

Well, I am still here. I have just been in recovery mode from the last two weeks of complete Crazy. I took my weekend off from Everything! I haven't been working out either. Sadface :( I just feel completely drained. The GREAT news is (drum roll please) I will be going to day shift in December! I am beyond ready and I am very excited to change shifts. The only sad part is I will be changing supervisors too and I have the best supervisor ever! I will miss him that's for sure. T-Minus 10 days and I will get my life back! (Hopefully that's the official date, still working on the details.) My current shift is (Every other Wed) Thu-Sat, 6pm-6am! I will be changing to Sun-Tues (every other Wed). Do you know what this means!?! I will have Fri and Saturdays off! OMG!!! 

It is 818 days from the start of my Night Shift Imprisonment to the end Or 2 years, 2 months, 27 days! 
Other ways to look at my night shift imprisonment:
§  70,675,200 seconds
§  1,177,920 minutes
§  19,632 hours
§  818 days
§  116 weeks (rounded down)

The last time I went to day shift for a couple of weeks, without changing my diet or exercise I lost 4lbs without trying! Why? Because for once I was sleeping during the night hours, not flip flopping back and forth every weekend. I am so happy to be able to sleep at night. One of the first things on my To Do List is to remove my black out curtains from my bedroom windows! 
To be on only one schedule, to be able to go out and do things on the weekends, to make plans without dreading being a zombie, to be way less stressed and to work with a crew that is fun and upbeat, what?! I am too excited! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fat and Lazy

This week has been a huge test and I feel like I failed. Miserably. On Monday evening I suffered from a severe leg cramp which I decided to rest from for a couple of days because my leg really hurt. On Wednesday I decided to go and complete the first half of my virtual half marathon and then Thursday I completed it but that night I was tossing and turning all night because my leg hurts so bad. So yesterday I took the day off and today I took the day off because it still hurts when I go up and down stairs so I'm hoping by tomorrow my leg will be fully healed. 

Then tonight we had a really really bad night at work so I stress ate about six handfuls of chips and one slice of pizza which is really really bad, thankfully it's something I don't normally do but I can also say tonight at work was a very abnormal night and it's not usually this stressful. 

I'm also on the second week of my flipping back and fourth between day shift and night shift which has put me in a completely an energy, mentally drained state where I can barely function yet alone get out and run or do my strength workouts. So I feel like my giving in today was just a collation of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. I know that this coming week I'll get right back on track I don't have any flip-flopping back-and-forth for work and I will be able to stick on my diet and get back on the horse. We all have bad days but that's okay it's part of being human. As long as those bad days are kept to a minimal and we don't let them just build up day after day. 

I'm also struggling little bit on this blog because I put a lot of time and effort into it and I feel like it's being wasted and that very few people actually read it, even though I post it on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Writing a blog is something I have always wanted to do and in high school I actually wrote a very successful blog for a couple of years but now I wanted to have more meaningful content and to be able to reach more people in a beneficial way. I want to help others through my life experiences, through my struggles with health and fitness and diet and just living life to the fullest. Some of things I write about I know don't interest a lot of people but there are some things I desperately like to share with other people like trying new things or a new recipe. If you like to hear specific things feel welcome to email me comments at any time and I would love to share.

I'm currently working on putting together a review of tea which sounds kind of silly but my friend Tricia just wrote a blog post titled "Virtual Tea Date – Feeling Overwhelmed, Fancy Pants Clothes + Epic Sweat Sessionsand it made me realize I personally drink a lot of tea. I have about 10 different kinds of tea in my work locker at this very moment. So that is something I am looking forward to sharing with you in the next couple of weeks. I am also working on a runner feature series. Featuring many different runners in the Pathetic Running group on Facebook. These runners were kind enough to share their stories and I am excited to bring them to you. It's a perfect way to show that you can become a runner even in the bleakest of times and all kinds of people can be runners. There are no boundaries, which I absolutely love about running. 

Times for some uppers to negate those downers! 
Some things I am very much looking forward to: 
  • Anthony and I will be baking a cake tomorrow from scratch for his brothers birthday which is something Anthony has never done before. 
  • I am looking forward to buy a Christmas tree tomorrow with Anthony, our very first Christmas tree together.
  • I am also looking forward to Thanksgiving, I absolutely love Thanksgiving! 
  • I am looking forward to our one year anniversary which is technically November 26 but we will be celebrating it December 1 because of scheduling conflicts.
  • I am looking forward to Christmas, not just because it's Christmas but because my mom and sister will be in town visiting me as well which is very exciting! 
  • And then in January something very big is happening I will be closing out my lease and moving in with Anthony. We will have been together for well over year by then and I think it's about time especially since I miss him all the time! 
And on a positive note: 
  • I have managed to stay in the 130s for a couple of weeks now. 
  • I have not lost my drive for health and fitness despite the blah stuff. 
  • Anthony has completely cut out sugar, which is amazing! Go Anthony! 
  • I am almost done with my Christmas shopping. And I know exactly what I want to get for the rest of the shopping I had it to do, and already have a plan to get the rest a.k.a. all online on Black Friday. 
  • BooYah! 
This time of year is by far my most favorite time of the year I love food, I love baking, I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, the decorations, the sheer, the parties, the friendship and just all the round joy and love that is literally felt in the air during this time of year. I am a spring kind of lady weather wise but there's just something very special about walking into the kitchen and smelling baked goods or having a cup of tea when it's very cold out. 
What is your favorite time of year and why? Please share I would love to hear.
Keep your head up in the hard times. Keep on Running!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A little about leg cramps

I have had leg cramps my whole life and there just isn't a whole lot that I can do to prevent them. No medications have worked so far but eating at least one banana a day sure helps lower the frequency of them. Source Here.

What are muscle cramps?

muscle cramp is a strong, painful contraction or tightening of a muscle that comes on suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. It often occurs in the legs. A muscle cramp is also called a charley horse.
Nighttime leg cramps are usually sudden spasms, or tightening, of muscles in the calf. The muscle cramps can sometimes happen in the thigh or the foot. They often occur just as you are falling asleep or waking up.

What causes muscle cramps?

The cause of muscle cramps isn't always known. Muscle cramps may be brought on by many conditions or activities, such as:
  • Exercising, injury, or overuse of muscles. (One of my causes)
  • Pregnancy. Cramps may occur because of decreased amounts of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, especially in the later months of pregnancy.
  • Exposure to cold temperatures, especially to cold water. (Monday night was the first truly cold night of our fall)
  • Other medical conditions, such as blood flow problems (peripheral arterial disease), kidney disease, thyroid disease, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Standing on a hard surface for a long time, sitting for a long time, or putting your legs in awkward positions while you sleep. (Sitting for 12 hours straight might be a cause... Is one of my causes)
  • Not having enough potassium, calcium, and other minerals in your blood(One of my causes, that's why I eat a banana every day)
  • Being dehydrated, which means that your body has lost too much fluid.(One of my causes during long runs this happens)
  • Taking certain medicines, such as antipsychotics, birth control pills,diureticsstatins, and steroids.

How can you stop a muscle cramp when it happens?

You may need to try several different ways to stop a muscle cramp before you find what works best for you. Here are some things you can try:
  • Stretch and massage the muscle. (Best way for me is to have someone help me with massaging the cramp out, none of the others work for me but they might work for you!)
  • Take a warm shower or bath to relax the muscle. A heating pad placed on the muscle can also help. 
  • Try using an ice or cold pack. Always keep a cloth between your skin and the ice pack.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • If your doctor prescribes medicines for muscle cramps, take them exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you have any problems with your medicine.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, will often help leg cramps.
Here are some things you can try for a leg cramp:
  • Walk around, or jiggle your leg. (One of the best ways for me is to get my leg straight, if I can, but usually they are so strong that I can't unless someone is there to help me.)
  • Stretch your calf muscles. You can do this stretch while you sit or stand:
    • While sitting, straighten your leg and flex your foot up toward your knee. It may help to place a rolled towel under the ball of your foot and, while holding the towel at both ends, gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your knee straight.
    • While standing about 2 ft (0.6 m) from a wall, lean forward against the wall. Keep the knee of the affected leg straight and the heel on the ground. Do this while you bend the knee of the other leg. See a picture of how to do this calf stretch camera.gif.
I find that stretching for several minutes after a workout will help reduce the risk of leg cramps as well. It seems silly to spend another 10-20 minutes stretching but some times that is what it takes. I have tried many vitamin supplements and even over the counter meds but nothing has worked better than eating bananas on the regular and stretching consistently. I will admit I have slacked a bit on both the last two weeks. 

Bum leg... forced my to take a time out

This week is definitely not going as planned. Sunday after my volunteering was completed I was so tired I could hardly stand so I decided to take a rest day instead. Then Monday evening right after getting off work I suffered a severe leg cramp, which was crippling. Yesterday I was took a rest day because I was limping through the day :( 
This was my week's plan...
Workout guideline:
Sunday - 6 miles
Monday - 30 Strength
Tuesday - 13.1 Mud and Chocolate Virtual Run
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - 30 Strength and 3 Miles
Friday - 6 Miles 
Saturday - 30 Strength and 3 miles
Total Miles = 31.1
Total Strength = 3 x 30 
My first cold run of the year!
I am so sad that I was unable to run my Virtual run all at once. I was able to get out and complete a 6.3 mile run today. Tomorrow I will be doing almost a 7 mile run to get in my full half before the 15th. I'm am so disappointed but I am also so glad they are letting us break up the run to fit into our personal schedules. 
My favorite trail, Mt. Rainier dead ahead!
As of right now I am 13.1 miles behind for this week! But that's ok, I am going to try my best to run every day through Saturday and get my 3 x 30 done at work to make up for lost time. I know it'll only be about 24 miles this week but that is still really good. My hope was to average around 30 through the end of the year but I can't run injured, it'd only make things worse. 
Wednesday - 6.3 miles - 30 Strength
Thursday - 7 Miles - 30 Strength
Friday - 6 Miles 
Saturday - 6 Miles - 30 Strength
Such a wonderful day to run!
I sure hope that my leg feels better by tomorrow. I can get through the runs but it just is a lot harder. My whole purpose of sharing and keeping up such intense workouts is so that I stay on track and don't fall off the wagon during the holiday season. 
Running selfie time!
My weight loss goal to lose a few lbs by the end of November is on track thus far. I am now about 2 lbs away from my 135 lb goal. I already feel much more confident and happier being in the 130s again. It has been so long! 
This week I was able to put 5 pairs of jeans and just as many shorts in my donation bag. Such a great feeling! I personally don't keep baggy clothes around, why? So I don't feel I can just gain a few lbs and it's ok. I get rid of them so I don't have clothes to wear if I do gain weight! It's a very good checks and balances system. No one wants to spend money on clothes because your others are too snug. Plus it feels so good to donate clothes, I grew up wearing hand me downs, if there wasn't someone to give me clothes I wouldn't have had a whole lot to cover up with! 
Donate if you can! Salvation Army is my favorite charity for donations. 
Keep on Running!