Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just Checking In

Hey everyone! 

I'm writing this on my phone so it will be a brief post today. Just wanted to check in and let you know how things are going in NJ.

Mom's procedure went very well, as expected. The surgeon told me everything went as planned, the bilateral mastectomy and removal of the right side lymph nodes. The biopsy results from the lymph nodes should be in sometime later this week or early next. 

Yesterday, after the procedure, mom was pretty much out of it all day/night from the anesthesia but we stayed with her until we knew she was out for the night. This morning we found out she was being discharged and so we made a few trips to see her before they finally let her leave in the late afternoon. 

That about sums up the events of the past couple days. We are thrilled she is home and I know she is super happy to have the surgery over and done with. I'm trying my best to be a good daughter and take care of her the best I can which means trying to cook her healthy meals and show her videos of cute animals to help take her mind off of things. 

I'll be here until Sunday morning which is great. I'm happy to be home with my family through all of this. My next big hurdle-my final exam and final paper both due Monday for my grad classes.

Oh and then a triathlon on Thursday. 

Not 100% sure I'm ready to head back to reality. Lol! 

Oh, before I go- big huge thank you for all the messages, texts, calls this week. You guys are the best and I really appreciate all of your support. You make my life so much better just by having you in it. So thank you!!! 

Love and Kisses 


Friday, July 26, 2013

This is my 100th Blog Post!!!

After I published yesterday’s post I noticed that it was my 99th. Realizing that the next one I wrote would be my 100th I thought maybe I should write something different/special for this milestone. I decided to ask out on the RRR Facebook page for ideas or topics people would like me to write about. My friend Jess came up with a great idea- 100 ways my life is different now than before I was Run. Ride. Repeat.

I loved this idea and immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do for my 100th post! So here it goes, my list of 100 ways my life is different now since Run. Ride. Repeat. was born on 8/24/2012.

1.       I moved from San Antonio to Pensacola

2.       I moved before then too, from on post in SA to an apartment also in SA

3.       I became a Naval Officer’s wife.

4.       I completed my first half marathon- Rock n’ Roll San Antonio- second half marathon- 3M Austin- and third half marathon- Gulf Coast Half

5.       I learned how to swim properly, RE: with my face actually in the water, not holding my nose

6.       I have jumped into the deep end of a pool without holding my nose (this actually happened last night) for the first time ever

7.       I wore a bikini for the first time as an adult

8.       I wore a dress to work (that wasn’t part of a uniform) and now I actually wear dresses a few times a week, maybe even more often than pants

9.       I kayaked for the first time in a river

10.   And then for the first time in the bay

11.   I paddle boarded

12.   I did yoga on said paddle board

13.   I participated in my first ever trail race (UWF Bunny Dash 5K)

14.   I started attending barre classes (first in SA, now again in Pensacola) which was intimidating as hell at first

15.   I attending the wedding of my youngest cousin

16.   I learned my uncle has cancer

17.   I learned my mom has cancer

18.   I started a new job at a university, and not as a student

19.   I started taking grad classes towards a specialist degree

20.   I attended the annual Mullet Toss at/in? Flor-bama

21.   I visited Portland for the first time

22.   I attended a blogging conference

23.   Where I made some of the most amazing connections

24.   And ate some of the most amazing foods, drank some of the best beers, laughed until it hurt, cried a few times, and left with some of my most favorite memories I will cherish always

25.   I’ve made new friends

26.   I’ve watched some leave (downside of military life)

27.   I’ve left some amazing friends behind (see #24)

28.   I drove through, and visited since, Alabama for the first time

29.   I drove to a different state to run a race (also Alabama- we live very close to there)

30.   I ran my first sub-10 minute mile

31.   I ran a 5K at a sub-10 minute mile pace (30:26)

32.   I ran in below freezing temps

33.   I ran up the ramp I saw pictured in Runner’s World magazine and swore I would go there when I was in Portland

34.   I rode my bike wearing my running UA leggings over my bike shorts because I was so cold

35.   I ran in NJ, alongside a vineyard

36.   I learned what it feels like to spend Christmas without Paul or my family

37.   Same with New Year’s

38.   And my birthday

39.   And our wedding anniversary

40.   Had my first all vegan Thanksgiving dinner thanks to some wonderful friends back in SA

41.   I made my first vegan pumpkin pie

42.   And vegan whipped cream (using coconut milk)

43.   I saw some bands for the first time ever like the Black Keys

44.   And Florence + the Machine

45.   And the Alabama Shakes

46.   And Band of Skulls

47.   I bought a spin bike

48.   I bought a tri suit

49.   I ate a donut shaped like a penis…well, technically I only ate part of it

50.   I was able to celebrate the engagement of two of my favorite people, C+M, in person

51.   And celebrate J+A’s engagement over the phone

52.   I visited the Naval Base in Newport, Rhode Island

53.   I watched my husband graduate from OCS

54.   I toured Fenway

55.   I drank blueberry beer in Boston and celebrated with so many amazing people

56.   I visited the U.S.S. Constitution

57.   I started geocaching

58.   I’ve swam in the Pensacola bay

59.   I’ve drank lots and lots of Pensacola Bay Brewery beer

60.   I drank beard beer (at Rogue)

61.   And probably 100 other beers I’ve never had before

62.   I attended a pub crawl, like a real one – organized by a social group- where I met one of my best friends.

63.   I went to a Blue Wahoos baseball game

64.   I’ve eaten a vegan grilled cheese from the Pensacola food trucks, ironically I cannot say the same for Portland

65.   I took a jump fitness class (trampoline)

66.   I participated in a boot camp class held outside

67.   I saw a naked woman on a street corner

68.   I visited/traversed the 17th St bridge (aka graffiti bridge)

69.   I started a team for trivia night

70.   I realized that reading all of the books and seeing all of the movies did not make me a Harry Potter expert

71.   I bought a vitamix

72.   I started making my own almond milk

73.   And sometimes rice milk

74.   And almond butter

75.   And all sorts of flours and cornmeal and whatnot

76.   I made my own chutney

77.   And I made Aloo Gobi for the first time too

78.   I biked through some crazy sandy trails, which took me forever to figure out how to navigate

79.   I rode the Pensacola observation (Ferris) wheel which is no longer in Pensacola

80.   I visited my friends in their new home in Daytona

81.   And attended a wedding of two complete strangers

82.   I went to Gallery night (three times now)

83.   And the Pensacola Symphony (twice)

84.   I rode the Blackwater trail

85.   And ran on it too

86.   I played with bubbles in a fountain

87.   I bought my first, second and third pairs of Brooks running shoes

88.   I ran in a torrential downpour, in a white shirt nonetheless

89.   I ran on a bunch of trails- nothing like I had ever seen in SA

90.   I broke up with my Garmin

91.   I got rid of cable (of course, it’s back now since Paul lives with me)

92.   I took my first ice bath

93.   I went to acupuncture for the first time

94.   I drank homemade chai tea

95.   I attended a vegan cooking class, twice

96.   I stopped chewing gum

97.   I started watching the West Wing

98.   I dropped a couple sizes (from 10 to 6)

99.   And broke away from weighing myself daily

100.                        ….and lastly….I wrote 100 blog posts!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Power of Positive Change

When I first started out on this adventure back in February of 2011 there was only one goal in my mind- save my life.

I was obese, inactive, and headed down a very short path to self-destruction.

When I started off, my journey was 100% focused around me. What I needed to do to lose weight. What activities I could do to get in shape. What foods I needed to eat that would allow me to both.

When I first started writing I shared my blog with a few of my friends, Paul after some time, and that was about it. I kept it pretty private, at least at first. I didn’t share it with family, I kept it off Facebook, and I never discussed it at work. Why? I don’t really know. Maybe because I was ashamed of myself, maybe because I thought no one would ever want to read it.

But in time, I changed. I became more accepting of myself and in turn open with my story. I openly discussed my weight loss with friends, family, co-workers; you name it- pretty much anyone that would listen.

Now, well now I am here. You know pretty well that I will talk openly in pretty much any forum about pretty much any topic. I’ve talked about the shitty stuff; mom’s cancer, our infertility and I’ve talked about the awesome stuff; running my first mile, Paul’s commissioning, and everything in between.

But one thing I don’t think I have ever written about, or even realized would happen, is the impact the changes I make to my life have on other people. You see, when I sit down to write I really just write about what’s in my head, what’s going on in my life, things that matter to me. I never really think about what I write and how  it could possibly affect someone else’s life. That same rings true for posting on FB or Twitter, talking with friends/coworkers, phone calls with family- I never really have given much thought to the impact my stories, in whatever form, have.

Until recently.

I am starting to notice more and more lately how my life changes are affecting the people in my life. And that is really cool.

Like my Dad-the kale addict. He’s not a vegan, or a vegetarian for that matter, but he ate kale when he was visiting back in 2011 and has been a kale junky ever since. He recently called to tell me about how his blood pressure and cholesterol were in the normal ranges for the first time ever. I asked him why, what had he done to change them and he said ‘I eat kale!’
Is this not the best shirt ever???

Or Paul, when I said earlier this week about not doing a CSA pickup since I’ll be going out of town. He said ‘no, we should definitely get it. Then I will have fresh fruits and veggies to eat while you’re gone’. Big change from the man who would have happily eaten pizza/take out every night until I returned. Now he is cooking his own, super healthy meals every day. And that is awesome!

Or my mom, who said that after her mastectomy she wants to become a vegetarian. She doesn’t want to eat dead animals (her words) anymore. I never have told anyone that I think they should become vegetarian/vegan, especially my parents. BUT I have tried to encourage them to eat less processed junk and more real foods- you know, like a sweet potato instead of rice a roni. But the fact that she views her health as something that can be controlled by diet- well that makes me super happy.

But probably the most amazing thing through all of this is hearing your stories. I am always shocked to receive comments/messages from people, sometimes complete strangers, telling me that I have affected them in some positive way- maybe through motivation to start running  again, or trying out meatless Mondays, or even just saying that something I said resonated with them. It’s amazing.

And I hope I can continue to be that way. I always want to be me and authentic to my true self but if I can be a positive light into just one person’s life- well that’s just mindblowingastronomicallythecoolestthingever….

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It Starts With Me...

My amazing friend Annabel sent me a copy of “Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year” and even though I am just a few chapters into it I’m hooked. I remember reading her (the author- Kjerstin Gruys) blog when I was first starting out on my journey. It was amazing to see what she was going through living without mirrors but at that time I was nowhere near being mentally ready to take on a feat of that magnitude. I was just starting out, I still was using my training wheels J

And no, I am not saying that now I am ready to live for a year without mirrors. I don’t think that is something I would ever do. But I do think frequently about living without a scale. It’s funny how I went from never ever never weighing myself to weighing myself (almost compulsively) daily which was how I spent about 2 years of this journey- weighing myself every single day. Now I have moved from daily weighing to weekly and now (because I am trying to help my husband out with his weight loss goals) weighing in twice a week- Friday and Monday.

When Paul and I had the discussion about the need for him to stop weighing daily I really wanted to push us to weighing just once a month. That wouldn’t work for him (you know, since his job actually depends on his weight) so I said how about once a week. He said that he liked the idea of twice weekly, at least at first, because weighing in Friday (after a week of hard work) and then again Monday (after a weekend of celebration/excess) will help to show the impact of our weekend decisions and hopefully lead us to make better choices over the weekend and reinforce some good habits. And I agreed with that logic and said ok.

So that is where I am today; weighing myself twice a week. And I am ok with that. I’m not (for the most part) obsessing about it either. And I think that is key to my happiness with my weight. I know I have said it here before but I don’t want to sacrifice my happiness just to reach some arbitrary number on a scale. Yes, I would love to be at a healthy weight but when I think about my life and my goals my main focus is on being active, doing the things I love, and setting plans in action to help me achieve my goals. All while still having an occasional beer or cupcake. J Balance, right?

You may be wondering where I am going with this post- this rambling about my weight and the scale. I’m getting to the point…hopefully soon.

In the book ‘Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall’ Gruys cites this statistic (and I am not sure how accruate/current it is but it’s a great reference point) about the average American woman; she is 5’ 4” and weighs 165 pounds. This is me, more or less- I’m a smidge taller, I am the average American woman. The average runway model is 5’ 9” and 110 pounds. This will never be me. Obviously, I will never gain 4 inches in height, but I know I will also never get to that weight. Hell, I would never want to be that weight. Even for my height, 110 lbs. is underweight which is also bad for your body just like being overweight.

But this ideal, this constant reinforcement, through campaigns and magazines and television ads, that beauty is 5’ 9” 110 lbs. is where it all starts. And I am not saying that models aren’t’ beautiful. They are. But there are so many different bodies and shapes and sizes that are also beautiful. And I want them all to be accepted and adored and loved. I want pictures in magazines to represent all women, not just one body type. I want media to stop making women (me) feel inadequate because I am not a size zero, because I have curves, because I have pudge. But is it really the media that’s to blame?

No, it’s me. I am the only one that can make myself feel inadequate. Yes, seeing images everywhere of beautiful women I will never look like doesn’t make it easy. BUT it is up to me to define what is beautiful. It is up to me to stop being afraid of my body, of being judged, of feeling not good enough because I don’t need to.

See, I am her- the average American woman. And you know what? That’s good enough.

Strike that.

That’s beautiful.

I’m beautiful. And so are you.

Whatever shape or size.

Inside AND outside.

If I want the world to look at me and see beauty then I have to see it for myself first. It starts with me, not you. I can’t expect others to change their definition of beauty if I cannot change mine first.

And so I have.

I have committed myself to seeing my beauty every day and I have committed myself to seeing the beauty in others. Always. No more judgment. No more picking other people apart. No more self-hatred. No more competition. No more.

And so this average American woman finally felt the freedom to take her average American body out to the beach this past weekend…in a bikini nonetheless.

Because it was time for me to stop hiding my body. Because I am not ashamed of how I look. I’m proud. I stopped seeing my body as having flaws but instead I think of them as just my personal characteristics. Just like my eye color or my height or my tattoos.   

It has been a whirlwind transformation internally. Just two months ago I wore a bathing suit in front of a friend (my very, very close friend AC) for the first time. It was just two months ago that I had enough courage to let someone else (besides myself and Paul) see me in a bathing suit and now I am out on a public beach, filled with strangers, in a bikini.
First time in my adult life in a bikini....pretty crazy!

You may be asking what happened to trigger such a change. Well, I haven’t lost any weight. Actually if anything I probably weigh more. My body still looks the same. So it wasn’t a physical change that brought me here.

No I think I finally had that mental shift I have been waiting for to happen. That release from an image, a number, a definition of beauty. I stopped obssessing over my future self and realized that 150 lbs won’t make me beautiful, nor will 140 or 130. Skin removal surgery won’t either. Nor will magically becoming 5’ 9”. Nope, I realized (over time of course) that beauty is universal. I always had it. It’s not something I should be striving for because I am already there.

Yes, there are things I would like to improve about myself. I would like to be stronger and faster, I want to be more patient and understanding, I want to be a better friend, a better human. And I try to work on those things daily. But beauty, particularly beauty associated with a specific weight, is no longer something I obsess over.

Who could have thought wearing a bikini would be so liberating? 

"We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do”. ~ From the Collected Works of M.K.Gandhi

Monday, July 22, 2013

Triathlon Training Week 6 Recap

Before I get into the recap of week 6 I should probably tell you my plans have changed, just slightly, for my first triathlon. My original plan was to participate in the women’s only tri here in Pensacola on Thursday, August 1st at 6:15p. That’s what I registered for and what I’ve been training for. However, I won’t be here in Pensacola on August 1st. I will be back home in NJ with my family since my mother is undergoing a double mastectomy on Monday, July 29th.

 And really, I don’t care about missing the triathlon.

That is the least of my concerns.

My mom is way, way, way more important than any race. I cannot stress that enough.

I am very thankful to be able to go home and be with my mom and dad through all of this. I am lucky to have a very understanding and accommodating boss and a husband who would never keep me from being with my family, especially during these trying times. And of course I am very lucky to have some of the most amazing friends that have been here for me since the day I found out. Thanks guys!

I think I mentioned in last week’s post that since I didn’t know when my mom’s surgery would be scheduled for and when I would be going home and for how long I was planning on continuing to train for the triathlon. And now that I know all the details about the surgery/trip home I am going to keep on training, at least while I’m herein FL, because there is another triathlon on August 8th as part of the same series. If all goes well with mom’s surgery, which is of course what we are hoping for, and I am back in Florida I will sign up for that one.

So this week will be week seven of training. Next week, when I’m in NJ, I will just do what I can. I don’t plan on trying to keep to any type of training schedule. My family, and taking care of them, comes first. If I can get in a run or a swim while there- awesome. If not, no big deal. When I get back I will jump back into week 8’s training plan and go from there.

Week 6 Plan:

Monday- strength training

Tuesday- swim 15 mins, run 40 mins

Wednesday- bike 40 min, run 15

Thursday – run 40 mins, strength

Friday- rest

Saturday - run 5 miles

Sunday - swim 30, bike 60

Total planned for week 6: two strength sessions, 95 minutes plus 5 miles (not for time) running, 100 minutes biking, 45 minutes swimming

Week 6 Actual:

Monday- unplanned rest day

Tuesday- barre class, swim 40 mins

Wednesday- barre class

Thursday - run 47 mins (intervals and hills), barre class, swim 40 mins

Friday- bike 45 mins

Saturday - run 5 miles (49:08), barre class, reformer session

Sunday - unplanned rest day

Actuals for week6: 4 strength sessions, 80 mins swimming, 45 mins biking, 47 mins plus 5 miles running

+2 strength sessions, +35 mins swimming, -55 mins biking, -48 mins running

Week 7 Plan:

Monday- strength training

Tuesday- strength training,  bike 40 mins

Wednesday- run 45 mins

Thursday – swim 30, run 30

Friday- rest

Saturday - run 6 miles

Sunday - swim 30, run 60

My half marathon training plan calls for, in addition to cross training, a 2 mile easy-paced run, an interval workout, a tempo run, and a 6 mile run at an easy pace.

Total planned for week 6: two strength sessions, 135 minutes plus 6 miles (not for time) running, 40 minutes biking, 60 minutes swimming

And of course, like I always do, I will be rearranging this training guideline to fit my schedule.

Since I will be flying home on Saturday I am already planning on moving the 6 mile long run to Friday morning before work. And since I have swim lessons Tuesday and Thursday that is when I complete my two weekly swim sessions. I know I sound like a broken record but I firmly believe that you should make the training plan work for you, not the other way around.

What are you currently training for? Do you strictly/loosely follow your training plan?  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Spartan Race Giveaway Winner

Happy Friday!

Just a quick post to announce the winner of the Reebok Spartan Race giveaway.

I'm pretty low-tech here on RRR so to select the winner I just assigned a number to each of the 10 commenters, plugged the limits into random number generator and used the number generated to determine the winner.

I just wanted to say a thank you to all who entered! I really appreciate it!

Also, mad props to all the women who entered- 7 of the 10 entries were from women. That's awesome! You guys totally make me feel less crazy for signing up for this ;)

Ok, so without further ado....

Our winner is....


He said in his comments that he would sign up for the Spartan Beast in Texas. That is awesome! You rock, Alberto!

Please email me at axid200 (at) gmail (dot) com so I can hook you up with your entry code.

Remember that even if you didn't win you can still click here for a 15% off code.

Thanks Reebok Spartan Race for all the awesomeness! I cannot wait until October!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Triathlon Training- Week 5 Recap

Sorry for the mid-week, delayed recap. I’ve been busy and sadly that means blogging is one of the first things to get bumped. BUT, I’m here now- ready to recap week 5! Can you believe I am just 15 days out from my first triathlon? I can’t believe it!  I should note that if Mom’s surgery is scheduled for that same week I will obviously miss the tri in order to be home with her. I’m still training like I will be here but I won’t be sad if I miss it- family first!

Week 5 Plan:

Monday- strength training

Tuesday- bike 30, strength training

Wednesday- run 40

Thursday – swim 30, run 25

Friday- rest

Saturday – run 50

Sunday – swim 30, run 45

Total planned for week 5: two strength sessions, 160 minutes running, 30 minutes biking, 60 minutes swimming

Week 5 Actual:

Monday- barre class

Tuesday- AM: run 40 mins PM: barre class,30 min swim class  

Wednesday- bike 52 mins

Thursday - AM: run 34 min PM: barre class,30 min swim class  

Friday- rest

Saturday - run 50, barre class, reformer session

Sunday - unplanned rest day

Totals for week 5; four strength sessions, 124 min running, 52 min biking, 60 minutes swimming

+2 strength sessions, +22 minutes biking, -36 minutes running

Yay! I’m getting closer to meeting all my training goals. This week I was only off by 36 minutes of running. Not too bad. My least favorite aunt (flo) came to visit me this weekend so Sunday and Monday I was pretty much out of commission. I think this week’s training schedule might be a little under too but such is life, right? I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and just try to do my best.

So, what’s in store for week 6? I’m glad you asked J

Week 6 Plan:

Monday- strength training

Tuesday- swim 15 mins, run 40 mins

Wednesday- bike 40 min, run 15

Thursday – run 40 mins, strength

Friday- rest

Saturday - run 5 miles

Sunday - swim 30, bike 60

BUT- don't forget, I am also starting my half marathon training. Actually, I messed up and last week was my first week. I only got in three runs instead of the four planned but I’m pretty sure I’ll survive. It’s only the first week. For this week I have four runs on the schedule; an easy-paced 2 miler, an interval workout for speed work, a hill run, and a 5 miler as my long run. I already added the 5 milers onto my schedule for Saturday and will just use the three other run days listed on the tri schedule to do my half marathon training plan runs. Does that make sense? If not, it should next week when I list what I actually did.

Total planned for week 5: two strength sessions, 95 minutes plus 5 miles (not for time) running, 100 minutes biking, 45 minutes swimming


Don't forget to enter the giveaway for the Spartan Race entry. The entry period ends tomorrow and a winner will be announced Friday!

I am pretty sure I took this photo from someone's Facebook page. I thought it was awesome.