Friday, August 30, 2013

Five Things Friday...

1)      Got some great news yesterday- Mom does not have the BRCA genetic mutation which means no more surgeries for her and no ‘tough talk’ between me and my doctor about me getting tested and what to do if I had the same mutation. Huzzah!


2)      I also got some news today from my doctor. My blood work results came in and my results were awesome…my cholesterol is 142, my LDL (the bad cholesterol) is 60, and my triglycerides are 76. To give you some perspective of healthy numbers; total cholesterol should be below 200, LDL should be below 70 if you are high risk for heart disease (given my family history I would say I am) or below 100 if you are just at risk for heart disease, HDL (which mine is 82) should be above 60, and triglycerides should be below 150. BOOM! My numbers are awesome! I don’t remember exactly where my blood pressure was when I went in for the appointment but I think it was 110/73 (the tech said that was excellent) and my resting heart rate was 58 bpm. Seeing numbers like this always makes me happy- especially since I am still overweight. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely want to get to a healthy weight range but it is good to know that I can carry a few extra pounds and still post great numbers.



3)      I downloaded a printable wellness calendar for September from Cassie at Back to Her Roots. I think this calendar is fantastic and I plan to print it and post it on my bathroom mirror. I am very excited for September. My FB group is going to be weighing in and helping to keep each other focused and accountable, I am going to be participating in a back to basics challenge through Colleen the Fit Bee (she is awesome, one of my biggest inspirations) and using a custom workout and meal plan she created for me, I will hopefully meet with a nutritionist later this month (still haven’t received a call from them) and I have my follow up appointment with my primary care doc where I will hopefully be able to get the ball rolling with paperwork for the abdominoplasty so I can try to get it scheduled for the end of this year/early next. I am pretty sure September is going to kick ass!


4)      It’s official- I am breaking up with Crossfit…again. I told Paul that when I decide next year I want to give it another shot that he needs to remind how miserable I was and how badly my body reacted to it. After days of icing, wearing compression pants, deep tissue massage (with the moji and having Paul help), stretching, walking, resting, you name it- my legs still hate me. My ass is doing better but my IT bands and the area around my kneecaps still are just really pissed. So that’s it. I’m throwing in the towel. On to something new. Boot camp next week. Oh, and on the 7th I am trying out aerial yoga…how cool is that? I’m also thinking about signing up for a 5K on the 14th. And like I said in my previous post, I may even try out a personal trainer session. Who knows?



5)      I love long weekends but I am guessing that goes without saying. Who doesn’t love them? I told Paul that we could do whatever he wants at night as long as each day this weekend is filled with some sort of fun activity. Our agenda now is to take a long bike ride down at Pensacola Beach tomorrow, go hiking and swimming at the state park on Sunday, and go kayaking on Monday. Fingers crossed that the rain doesn’t ruin our plans. Tonight Paul is making me a surprise homemade dinner and then we are going out for the tapping of one of the only 2 kegs in the entire state of Florida of Beard Beer from Rogue. Since I had this beer in Portland and failed to bring any back I was super excited that it made its way down to Pensacola. I think it’s kind of random that only 2 kegs made it to Florida and both are in Pensacola. I’m not complaining, I’m thrilled. I love my funky, beer-loving mini-metropolis!
Walking around campus on my lunch break...took this at my new favorite spot. Great start to my weekend :)

How are you spending this holiday weekend? Are you excited or terrified that September 1st is this Sunday?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

OK Crossfit...

Ok Crossfit…I’m giving you a few more classes to prove you are really worth it before we break up.


But to be honest…it’s not looking good.

I apologize to all of my readers out there that love Crossfit. This isn’t about Crossfit, it’s about me. It’s totally awesome if you love it, if it’s your ‘thing’. I just don’t know if it will ever be my 'thing'.

Why, you ask…

Well, honestly….it’s just too much. It’s a bit too intense for me. Not the workout itself- that I enjoy. It’s the after workout that is making me miserable.

 If Crossfit was going to be the only thing I did for exercise I would probably be ok with it but it’s not. I am training for a half marathon (a slew of them actually) and I love cycling. And Crossfit is preventing me from doing either. Because it is just killing my muscles.

Right now every large muscle group between my knees and up to/including my ass is sore. And not just ‘that was a good workout’ sore, it’s more like ‘oh, you would actually like to stand up from a seated position? Nice try’ sore. I don’t like that sitting/standing is a challenge, I can barely navigate the steps in/out of our apartment without leaning on the railing, I am walking slower than a snail’s pace and I cannot run. I was able to jog a bit yesterday- for like a few hundred feet downhill- but running, forget about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not in pain really. Just complete muscle fatigue/failure.  And every day it gets worse. Who can live like this?

And trust me…I am doing everything possible to help speed up my muscle recovery. I’m stretching (what seems like all the time) and walking- just trying to keep moving because I know being sedentary, even though it feels good, won’t help me one bit. And of course eating really great foods to help rebuild.

Again, I have to reiterate- if Crossfit was the only activity I wanted to do I would be ok with this. But since it is preventing me from doing anything else I am none too happy.

And that’s ok. I don’t have to love Crossfit. And I don’t have to force myself to keep up with it just because I know it will make me stronger. Lots of things can make me stronger- and it’s looking like it’s time to find one that will help me build lean muscle mass without me having to sacrifice what little cardio endurance (and of course the residual happiness from being active) I have.

So yesterday I started to do some research.

I found a boot camp class that is offered at the university where I work. It’s twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, right after work. The timing is perfect. The location is super convenient. And the best part- it’s free.

And I love boot camp classes. Back when I started boxing very, very early on in my journey (like I think I was still above 260lbs or so) I would take a boot camp class at the boxing gym. I loved it. It was intense. There were definitely times where I felt I wouldn’t be able to finish the workout but I always did. And the best part- it never prevented me from doing other activities.

I think it would be a great fit. It would allow me to still be able to run and bike in the mornings and then a couple times a week I could take this class right after work and still make it home at a reasonable hour that would allow me to eat dinner with plenty of time to digest before bedtime.

Another avenue I looked into was a personal trainer. At the university they offer one-on-one sessions with a trainer for an astonishingly low $20 per session! Isn’t that unreal? So, if the boot camp classes don’t pan out or even if they do but I still need additional help trying to get in shape for the Spartan race and my crazy fall/winter half marathon schedule then I know I have something else I can try.

So my plan is finish out my free week at Crossfit (you never know, things may get better)and if after that I want to try something different I will check out the boot camp classes here at the rec center.

I’m not giving up on strength training.

I’m just looking for a better fit.

And I am confident that I will find something that helps me become stronger AND allows me to still be active.

I really don’t think I need to limit myself to one or the other and I certainly wouldn’t want to if I could find a better fit.

Is strength training a part of your routine? What type of strength training activities do you like to do?

Monday, August 26, 2013

An Apple a Day...

Since my mom’s breast cancer diagnosis I have been meaning to get in to see a doctor here in Pensacola in order to discuss my health and find out whether or not I should start to have regular mammograms and whatnot. Even though Paul is still military, and I still have the same health insurance, I had yet to set up my local primary care doctor even though we have been in FL for 6 months now.

Side note: six months! Can you believe it? Some days it feels like we just moved here and other days I feel like I have been here forever- but in a good way. I love Pensacola. It is definitely one of my most favorite places I have lived.

A few weeks ago I finally got around to switching my doctor and scheduled an appointment. That appointment was this morning and I am happy to report it went really well. I went there with a laundry list of items I wanted to discuss with him and am thankful he took the time (an hour) to go over everything with me. That was awesome.

As I mentioned before, I wanted to discuss whether or not I needed a mammogram. I am 35 and have a family history of breast cancer, should I be concerned? After he conducted a breast exam, in which he found no irregularities, we talked about mammograms. For many reasons (all of which he discussed with me) he saw no need for me to start having mammograms until I hit 40. However, there was one caveat.  My mom recently underwent genetic testing for BRCA mutations. Women with these gene mutations have a much, much higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.  If her results come back positive, then my doctor wants me to undergo the same testing.  If I do end up needing the genetic testing then our plan to hold off on the mammogram will probably change. But we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it. I am not too concerned.

While I was at the doctor I also wanted to have some blood work drawn. It had been 18 months since the last time I had lab work (I tried to have it done again before I left SA but my doctor there said no) and I wanted to see how everything is going internally.  My new doctor obliged and after our exam I headed to the lab to have 5 vials of blood drawn. He checked my sugar, thyroid, lipids, iron, vitamin D as well as markers for tetanus and MMR – for vaccine requirements for school. I am supposed to schedule a follow up appointment with him for 4-6 weeks but I may just call in sometime next week to see if I could get the lab results- I’m impatient.

We also discussed my weight loss (I gave him the abbreviated version of my story) and how I am struggling with getting back into weight loss mode and how I really want to focus on lowering my body fat percentage.  He set me up with a nutritionist (yay!) and hopefully I will have my first appointment with them soon. They actually call me to schedule it, not the other way around.

And since we were on the topic of weight loss I brought up abdominoplasty (aka tummy tuck) with him. My previous doctor was all for me having the surgery and wanted to submit paperwork to get me on a waitlist (in SA they have military plastic surgeons and so I could have it done at the Army/AF hospital but the when part would have been completely up in the air) but since I knew I would be moving and I wasn’t sure I was ready to go under the knife, I put it off. Now that I am somewhat settled and much more prepared to handle this type of procedure I wanted to make sure it would still be covered by my insurance and find out how it would work since they aren’t a medical training facility. The doctor told me that since the excess skin causes skin irritations/open sores from the rubbing (especially from activity) that there is a medical need (high risk for infections) for me to have the surgery and therefor it would be covered. And since they don’t do plastic surgery there I would just go to a plastic surgeon in Pensacola for the procedure.

Then he asked me a really tough question…when do you want to have it? Since I would be going outside of the naval hospital I could basically have it any time I wanted so he wanted to know when. I told him that I wanted to wait. I want to be back down to 160, a weight that I not only felt really good at but a weight I maintained for almost a year. I told him once I was back at (or really close to) 160 then we would talk. Ultimately, I would like to schedule the surgery around Christmas because then I would be able to take advantage of the two weeks off I get at the university for the holiday as recovery time and not need to take much sick/annual leave in order to make this work.  Like I said earlier, I will have a follow up visit in the next month or so and I will broach the December idea with him. This way I can start the hunt for a surgeon and try to get everything booked up a few months out so that way I have time to prepare.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier about how today’s visit went. I’m nervous, of course, about mom’s genetic testing (a positive result for her means she will probably end up having her ovaries removed) but happy to have a plan in place for her and for my health. I am excited for my lab results to come back. I know, I am such a dork but seeing good results and having them reaffirm the life choices I have made is exciting.  I am super stoked to be able to start seeing a nutritionist- I really think it will be great to have someone really evaluate my eating and exercise habits and try to find any gaps or weak areas I can work on. I am beyond thrilled that even though I am away from a big military medical facility I am still able to have insurance cover the surgery. That’s a big deal for me. It’s the only one I want to have. It is uncomfortable running and riding a bike while having constant chafing from my stomach flab. For me, this surgery is out of necessity.

Well ok, maybe like 90% necessity, 10% vanity.

What? I’m still human. Don’t judge me ;)

But more than any of these things I am just really happy and consider myself very fortunate to have a doctor who wants to help me meet all of my goals. A doctor who is on board with nutrition and exercise and weight loss ‘on my own’ (his words, not mine) and wants to provide me with any resources I need in order to meet my goals and live a healthy life. Yeah, he’s pretty awesome and I cannot wait for our next appointment.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On a Quest to Become Less Lazy...

This journey…it’s all about progress. I talked recently about laziness (or what I like to call my active sedentary lifestyle) here and plans I had to start getting in more movement throughout the day and not sitting so freaking much. I also mentioned I ordered a fitbit flex. Which finally came in last Friday. Yay! But more on that in a minute.

Last week I decided I wanted to start walking again during my lunch breaks. I also wanted to add in evening walks with the doggies. And I also wanted to start back up at Crossfit…that’s a whole heck of a lot of stuff to start in one week on top of the normal continuation of my half marathon training and meal planning and cooking all my meals.

Needless to say last week did not go as planned. I, of course, knew it wouldn’t. I know me; I can’t start like 50 new things at once. I have to ease new habits in slowly…one at a time. So last week I started off with the lunch time walks. A couple walks outside (in the hot Florida heat) and a few inside the library on campus. And I learned quickly that the library is an awesome place to walk. Four floors, air conditioned, quiet, and a quick 5 minute walk from the building I work in. Plus, it smells like books which is quite possibly my favorite smell on earth.

This week I started to incorporate night time walks into my routine. My goal for the evening walks is four a week; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday plus one weekend day to get out and walk around the neighborhood with the dogs, weather permitting. Tuesday night during my walk it started to rain so I brought the girls back inside and grabbed my umbrella and kept walking. So far this week is going well. I am doing a good job of checking off my daily goals; even if my goals are as simple as walk one loop around the building I work in (this takes me maybe 3 minutes) twice a day.

This Saturday I will go back to Crossfit; a decision that was hard for me to make. I tried Crossfit last year and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. BUT Paul has been going to this Crossfit box here and loving it. I need something to help get me in ‘fighting shape’ for the Spartan race and for the trail half marathon and I know CF will do the trick. So, I am going to give it another try. The box where Paul goes does a one week free trial (is that not awesome?)  as well as a substantial military discount (applicable even for me) so if I like it I may keep it up for a month or two. We’ll see how Saturday goes. I will definitely keep you posted.

The arrival of the fitbit has really helped me be more aware of lack of movement. I love that it has the ability to program alarms (I have the flex which is a bracelet and the alarm vibrates) which act as a reminder  to get up and take a walk. I take four short walks, just a few minutes each- not sure my boss would appreciate me leaving for very long, throughout the work day. Add those short walks with the  lunch time walks and occasional evening walks and any time I spend running and my step count is getting pretty good. Monday was my first day wearing the fitbit and I logged over 15,000 steps. Then Tuesday (since I ran a few miles) my step count hit over 23K. Yesterday I did 18 miles on the spin bike (which doesn’t do anything for the step count) and only did a lunchtime walk and was still able to hit the default target of 10,000 steps. Today looks promising, since I ran this morning, that I may pass 20K again; I am already at 16K and I still have a walk planned for tonight.

It’s nice having a new tool to get me focused on an area I know I need help with. The fitbit tracker also links with My Fitness Pal (my username is dacialee33, if you want to add me) so I have started logging my meals/snacks there. Tracking my food intake regularly is something I got away from a long time ago but I think it can be a good tool if I can use it correctly. For me it’s all about finding balance- tracking for informative purposes only. Just like the scale.

Honestly, I have so many things I want to talk about right now; body image, acceptance, nutrition, diet bets, fat-shaming, health at every size, but right now I am not ready to open that can of worms. Today, I just want to focus on the positive changes I am making and talk about what I am doing to try to create new healthy habits. Last week I barely moved. I was the definition of couch potato. This week I am back in the swing of things. This makes me happy.  So for today, I choose to focus on that happiness. I am not pretending that everything in my life is perfect; I simply just want to bring the good stuff to the forefront…where it belongs.

How is your week going? What are you doing that is bringing you happiness?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Post Number One: Motivation

On Friday, I posted on the R.R.R. Facebook page about the idea of writing a post (or series) geared around healthy habits. I got some great feedback (which I always love and appreciate) and based off of the comments I think I will make this a series. Today’s post will be the first and it is all about MOTIVATION.

There is a lot I can say about motivation but maybe the first thing I should say is- I’m no expert. Well I mean, I am pretty good at finding and staying motivated, but I am just me. I am not a trainer, or coach, or any type of fitness guru. I am just one person who lost a bunch of weight and shares those details publicly. This is what has worked (and not worked) for me. It is up to you to figure out what works for you. I’m just here to encourage and support J

Ok, motivation. That slippery little snake. Often it can slip through my fingers just as soon as I get a grasp of it, other times I can coax it to stay around. It’s not always easy to find it. Sometimes it’s really just the ‘fake it until you make it’ attitude that is all you have. So where do you start?

I am guessing if you are searching for motivation there is probably something in your life you want to change or a goal you are trying to achieve. Maybe weight loss, training for a race, or even just cooking your meals at home- all of these require some motivation to get started. So my first recommendation would be to set some goals. Write them down, blog about them, tell friends/family, put them out on social media- whatever. For me, having goals (and sharing them) is a really great starting point to find motivation.

And make sure these are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals.  Don’t just say “I want to lose weight”, say “I want to lose 5 lbs. this month” or instead of “I want to run a 5K” say “I want to run a 5K in November and I will train using the C25K plan” or something specific like that.

You need these goals in order to put a plan together. Because without a plan a goal is just a sentence.  So take your goal (or goals) and write up how you plan on achieving them. Create an outline, a schedule, a meal plan/grocery list; whatever you need to get from the starting point to the ending point. And maybe you don’t know all of your needs but start with something and feel free to go back and tweak it at any time. This plan is not set in stone. Make sure you don’t treat it like it is.

Ok, with me so far? You have your goals, you have your plan, you are ready to get started…at this point you should be pretty excited. I know I always get very excited when I am about to embark into something new. That excitement is usually enough motivation to get me going. The first few days/weeks are easiest to stay excited about. And I think this is probably true for most people. I would guess that what most people really struggle with is staying motivated (dedicated, committed, whatever you want to call it) once you have been working your plan for a while. Or staying motivated when things don’t go as you had anticipated. Or if you aren’t getting the results you want. Or when life just gets in the way. How do you stay motivated then?

Here’s what works for me:

1.       Really pay attention (I first achieved this through journaling) to how good your body feels from making positive changes in your life. Note how you feel after you exercise, or eat a really nutritious homemade meal, or get in short walks throughout the day. Recognize the impact these events have on your energy level, your sleep, your digestion- any physical cue your body is sending off. The reverse is important too. Recognize how you feel when you don’t work out, when you eat fast food, when you sit all day long and note those physical cues. Associate the good behaviors/positive cues and the ‘bad’ behaviors/negative cues. Once you have started to really understand the impact of your choices motivation comes a lot easier.  Trust me, at 4 or 5am when I am trying to rationalize shutting off the alarm and going back to bed the one thing that gets me up and going is knowing how good I will feel physically and mentally after a workout. No extra amount of sleep could replicate that feeling- exercise (almost always) wins.


2.       Surround yourself with positive influences. Not only will having positive people in your life help make you a more positive person but they also make it easier to make positive changes. Just like you may want to go through the fridge or pantry and toss out expired (or trigger) foods, you may want to think about the people in your life- friends, family- and get rid of (or at least spend less time with) those that are either a negative influence on you or those who do not support and encourage you. Ok, easier said than done. I know. And maybe you can’t ‘get rid’ of these people. But you can tell them what you need from them, support, encouragement, guidance, friendship, etc., and hope they can become a positive influence for you. If that doesn’t work, maybe try adding more friends that are positive- try to outweigh the negativity with positivity. In this day and age this is a very easy thing to do. You can find so many people out there on FB, twitter, blogging, that are going through similar journeys and can provide tons of insight and encouragement. Look at me- when I first started this journey (my original blog, 2.5 years ago) I told a few friends. That group of 5 or 6 has now grown to tens or hundreds of people that I engage with regularly, that I look to for guidance, that I lean on for support.  It is not only doable to create your own positive community- I strongly advise you to do so.


3.       Don’t beat yourself and don’t hide.  It is so easy to have negative felings of failure take over all of your good intentions. A couple missed workouts, a couple ‘bad’ meals and poof….it’s time to throw in the towel. But honestly, it really isn’t. No matter how bad things get – it is always fixable. You can always turn things around. But don’t hide form the people that will help you get back on track. Often times we (and of course by that I mean me) feel like we have to hide away from our support system. That any faltering from our path will be seen as a failure. That people will judge us. But they won’t.  I think pretty much everyone understands when traveling from point A to point B we rarely ever go in a straight path. Taking a couple wrong turns, looping back around, and sometimes even backtracking does not mean failure…it just means there were little lessons to be learned along the way. All of this, the good and the bad, is all part of the journey. So, don’t beat yourself up and don’t hide away. Learn from those missteps, change your behaviors accordingly, and lean on your support system for extra guidance. There is motivation to be found when you realize that you are truly never that far from your original path.

4.       Find what works for you. Maybe this should have been number 1. And I am sure I sound like a broken record with this one but seriously. It is really hard to stay motivated when you are doing things you really don’t like. If you hate running, don’t run. Try cycling. Or yoga. Or long walks with your dogs. If doing something is making you miserable you will only be able to force yourself to do it for so long. We are not all the same. We like different foods, our bodies like different movement forms. That doesn’t make one person better or worse than another- it just means we are all unique. Not liking something does not make you a failure. But quitting everything because you don’t like one thing- well that’s just an overreaction. And I get it- finding out what works for you can be tough. Maybe you can’t afford a gym membership or don’t have access to group fitness classes. Do you have a library? Check out some workout DVDs. No library- download a free workout app onto your phone for ideas. No smartphone? Hit the closest playground. Go for a walk, swing from the monkey bars, climb a tree. Heck, you can even go fly a kite. Don’t let dislike for one particular thing stop you from getting healthy and active. Just keep searching for what you love. It may require some outside the box thinking but once you find it it will be so much easier to keep motivated. The same thing goes for food and training plans. Be adaptable, flexible, and always willing to change to make things work for you.


5.       Find little things along your path that will help keep you motivated. So, let’s say you are training for a 5K. And let’s say you are, in fact, using the couch to 5K program. Maybe you can use the idea of having three running workouts weekly to hit as a mini-goal. Or maybe use hitting a new running distance or time as a mini-goal. For me, it took me about four months to go from running my first mile to running 3.1 miles at a 5K event. Four months may not seem like much but when you are training for something waiting 4 months before you get to that point seems like forever. It can be easy to lose focus or motivation in four months. So I set mini-goals. I worked towards running for 15 minutes non-stop, or running 2 miles, or finishing all three runs in a week. Things like that. I am sure you have heard this before. It’s not a novel idea but it works wonders for me. Same with weight loss. When I started out at 286 lbs. my goal wasn’t to get to 150 lbs. (ok, it kind of was my ultimate goal) but instead my goal was to lose ten pounds. Then once I hit that goal, and rewarded myself with something non-food related, I worked towards those next ten pounds. Mini-goals plus rewards always helped keep me motivated.


6.       Understand why it is so important for you to keep motivated, to follow through on your goals. Are you sick and trying to work towards being healthier? Do you have a family and maybe you want to get in shape so you can be more actively involved? Are you someone’s role model? Are you trying to cross something off a bucket list? What is the underlying reason behind these changes/goals? THAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION! Write it down. Make it a mantra. Never let that reason get pushed aside. For me it was my health. I don’t want to die young nor do I want to be extremely sick and die a slow, horribly painful death. I would/will do everything in my power to prevent that. No, it’s not always easy. Yes, there are days when I am not motivated, when my mindset isn’t in the right place. That happens. BUT, it is very important to go back to the why. That reason why will help keep you motivated. It’s just up to you to figure out how to bring that reason why to the forefront of your mind and keep it there as often as possible. Be creative. Post family pictures around your treadmill, where a bracelet representing your cause or displaying your mantra, keep old (or current) pictures of yourself, do whatever you need to do. Because ultimately- finding your motivation and keeping it is on you.

That being said, I am always here. I will gladly call/text/email/message you any time of day whenever you need it. I have been practicing my Jillian Michaels impression so I can either yell at you or I can just be myself and try to give you loving words of encouragement. Whatever you need J You know how to reach me.

What healthy habits would you like for me to talk about? I have a few ideas but would love to hear more. Also, any ideas for a name for this series? Gosh, I am so not creative…

Friday, August 16, 2013

I'm Lazy....Part 2

As I mentioned earlier this week, I purchased a fitbit. The fitbit flex actually. After a couple years of wavering back in forth over the need/want for a tracking tool like this I finally broke down and bought one.  Of course, it was backordered and I sadly had to wait.  No, I had no idea I could have went to Best Buy or Target and just bought one until people told me that this week. Eh, oh well. It is on its way to my house as we speak. I have been checking the USPS tracking info like a neurotic person, even though it clearly said delivery would be Saturday, and lo and behold- it’s here. See, miracles do happen…LOL!

I am very excited about the arrival of my fitbit if for no other reason than to see really how pathetic my sedentary lifestyle is. I need this kick in the pants. Not because I want to lose weight, not because I feel like I need to challenge myself to do more fitness activities but because sitting for 9, 10, 12….maybe even 14 hours or more a day is bad. Really bad. No matter how many miles I run every day or how many fitness classes I take a week- sitting all day long negates all of that.  And I am about to find out how bad it really is. I'm fairly certain that it's going to be ugly.

I am going to take next week as a trial week to gauge where I am right now before I set any goals. I do hope to be able to set a daily goal that really just focuses on my non-workout times. I want to make sure that on top of running I am still getting in a certain number of steps or a certain amount of movement every day.

And thanks to the awesome comments you guys left on  my post earlier this week I have some great ideas how to get in some extra movement throughout the day. Lunch time walks are great, although I can only squeeze in 30 minutes, but not enough. I was thinking about trying to take a short 5 minute walk every hour or two as well. I think I could make a nice loop outside around the building I work in which would involve coming up or down a big set of stairs on one side and up or down a steep ramp on the other.  I also like the idea of walking around the mall (or even coming back up to work and walking the library) on evenings when the weather sucks and I can't take the doggies out for a walk.

Oh, and I am working on a way to convert a workspace in my temporary office into a desk that I could both sit and stand at. Because it really doesn’t have to be all about walking, just standing is far better than sitting all day long.

Honestly, I do not know the last time I have been so excited about something- especially a gadget. It’s definitely a good thing to help me focus more on an area of my life that needs help.  Being sedentary is definitely starting to take its toll and I don’t like it. I mean if I am going to focus on being a healthier person this is an area that needs help. If an active person leading a sedentary lifestyle is just as likely to suffer from the same problems and ailments as a couch potato I definitely need to stop sitting all day long. Nope, my desk job isn’t going away any time soon but I am smart and I have great resources (you) and I know I will figure out ways to combat this problem.  It may take some trial and error but I am ready for the challenge!

Stay tuned! You know I will defintiely be keeping you posted!

Please feel free to leave any/all ideas you have in the comments. I really appreciate it J

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday: A Birthday Wish

Today is my best friend’s birthday.  She lives 1,100 miles away from me and I miss her so much!

I am thankful that I was able to see her a few weeks ago and celebrate her birthday early.

We’ve been friends for the past 15 years, which is crazy when I think back on it.

July 2009 ~ our last Phillies game together

So many memories. It’s fun to sit and reminisce and laugh about all of the crazy things we did.

 New Year's Eve 2005 into 2006, I think...

And it’s also fun to be able to spend time together (albeit limited) and create new memories.

J, me, and the husbands at Dogfish Head brewery ~ 02/2012

I am so thankful to have someone like her in my life. 
 Enjoying a girl's night out....

So, if you have a free minute please give her some love today:
James & Jax  BLOG
James & Jax FACEBOOK
Or on Twitter @jamesandjax
 It would really mean a lot to me.
Happy Birthday James! I love you!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm Lazy

Yep, you read that right.

I’m lazy.

Ok, well maybe lazy isn’t the right word.

Sedentary is probably a better way to describe myself.

Are you shocked reading that this is how I think of myself?

It’s true. Yes, I work out most days. Some days I even get in two workouts. But the rest of the time….I am on my butt. And that 45 mins- 1.5 hrs a day of exercise just doesn’t cut it.

You see,I work a desk job. I sit in meetings. I hover over my computer. During my eight hours of work, I only get up to walk to the bathroom.

I used to walk on my lunch break but once I started in with classes I started using my hour of downtime to do homework. Having 5 ‘extra’ hours of time to devote to homework made the amount I needed to do at home substantially less and I loved that.

But because I now work through my lunch break I basically have 9 hours straight of sitting time.

After work I usually go to barre class for an hour, and that is awesome, but once I get home I end up on the couch for the remaining hours of the day watching TV, playing on my phone, eating, etc.

Then bed.

So what does that mean for me.

16 hours of awake time, minus 1.5 hours of activity (if I’m lucky), means that over 90% of my day is spent sitting. Yep, you read that right. NINETYFREAKINGPERCENT!

This number, it’s not good.

So, yes, I do think I am lazy. Maybe not completely by choice but still, 90% of my day being spent on my ass- yeah, I feel like a slug. I literally can feel the damage sitting all day long does to my body.

My injury to my psoas last year was caused by underuse, not overuse. From being so inactive (all while training for a half marathon mind you) and now I still feel how weak my psoas is when I run. And I hate it. It’s really not a good feeling.
And I felt it before the triathlon Thursday night. I leaned over to get something out of my bag when I was getting set up and I felt how stiff my back was, how sore my shoulders were from sitting and hunching all day. I felt like an old lady. Not really how you want to feel right before starting a triathlon.

Like they said in Runner’s World ‘sitting is the new smoking’ – doesn’t sound very healthy does it?

So what am I going to do to fix it?

Well, there is not much I can do about the 8 hours of work time. My job requires me to work at a computer. I do want to ask about a standing or adjustable desk but right now I work remotely on a laptop in a building cross-campus from my office. Not sure there is much I can do about this until I am back to working in my real office. Although I am thinking about bringing in a stability ball to sit on- better than nothing, right?

I am going back to taking lunch time walks. It will cut into my schoolwork time in the fall but I am ok with that. My goal is to get in at least 3 a week with 5 a week being ideal.

I am actually changing up my exercise routine to help accommodate Paul’s new training schedule and the needs of my household. So all of my workouts will be in the morning and I will be coming home after work every day, cooking dinner, and taking care of the dogs. My plan is to take the dogs for an hour walk every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and at least one long walk on the weekends. Then come home and work on schoolwork- not watch TV. Still sitting but at least my brain is being active.

Also, I am going to try and be better with housework during the week. A) because it will keep me off the couch and B) it needs to be done.

Oh, and I bought a fitbit (just waiting for it to ship) and I am hoping this helps get me moving more. I am sure seeing super low step counts every day will motivate me to get off my butt more!

So, those are some of my ideas for how to be more active in my sedentary world. Any other suggestions?

Are you an sedentary active  person like me? How does it affect your health and fitness?

Friday, August 9, 2013

I Survived: A Recap of My First Triathlon

Well, I did it. I survived my first triathlon.

And yes, survived is the right word to describe what I endured last night.

It’s funny, I have talked about this tri and all the training for it openly on my blog and shared details on FB and twitter but outside of social media I really tried to keep it to myself. However, once people found out about the swim lessons the conversation inevitably moved to why and I then started talking about the training and working up to my first triathlon.

Here’s the thing. There are a lot of people that think Ironman when you say triathlon. Which is ridiculous (and strongly ill-advised as your first triathlon on the IM website) because of the sheer intensity and endurance required to think that would be my first. Then there are others that once you say that your first is a super sprint that think it as probably the easiest thing ever since the distances are short. Which is also ridiculous. Because of these reasons I really limited my tri talk to people of similar fitnessy understanding because no one wants to feel like what they are doing is of little or no importance.

Especially when it requires so much hard work and dedication.

And I am pretty sure I have mentioned it before but I will say it again just so you can fully understand how much training went into this….when I started 9 weeks ago I couldn’t swim with my face in the water. I did not know how to hold my breath/breathe underwater – I never learned. So to progress from that point up to swim lessons to swimming in open water as the first leg of a triathlon is a pretty huge evolution for me. This progression alone makes me feel supremely excited to have made so much progress so quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no world class swimmer but I am definitely leaps and bounds better than I was in June.

Yay for progress!

Which is the whole point of this journey, right? Forward progress. Setting new goals and working to achieve them. Celebrating every victory along the way and trying not to beat yourself up over the ‘road bumps’.

Can you believe I only ran my first mile ever January 2012?

Then I started bought my bike the following March- another activity I really never did growing up.

And then this summer I took swimming lessons.

And now I am recapping my first triathlon.

Mind blown.

So, how did it go you ask?

Well, it was a whirlwind. I could probably write a post just on each leg but I won’t and I will try to keep this pretty brief and not inundate you with every single detail.
I was behind this car almost my entire drive there. She not only was going to the tri, I ended up racking my bike next to hers and talking to her for most of the event. How funny?

My bike

My gear

I was number 18- I did a pretty crappy job getting my number on. Looks like 10, doesn't it?
Our required swim cap

SWIM: This was the hardest part for me. I felt really comfortable swimming at first but a few minutes in I got a really awesome cramp in my calf that stayed with me all the way to the end of the run. I swam freestyle at first, switched to sidestroke, and then kind of swam willy-nilly as I was starting to lose my breath, then back to freestyle at the end. I was one of the last out of the water but I was neither surprised or defeated by this. I did not expect to kick ass in the swim. I was hoping just to make it out of the water on my own.
Thanks Jodi for taking some awesome pics of the race! This is the Santa Rosa Sound where we swam.

 I'm in the back on the left, walking up to the beach...
I heard Jodi cheering and saw her taking pics so I had to give her the thumbs up!

I saw the clock as I ran into transition at 8 something minutes. My friend AC who was there spectating texted Paul and said I was out of the water in 7.5 minutes. I totally believe that it took me a minute to run from the beach to the transition area.

Also, this is a pretty informal race. No timing chips, no split times, none of that. Just my finish time. And since I could only see the clock in one direction I am not sure of the times leaving the swim-bike transition or the bike-run transition.

Transition 1: this one took some time. Not sure how long but I am guessing probably 3-4 minutes, maybe longer. It was just trying to make sure I had everything I needed while trying to catch my breath still from the swim. It was a blur.

BIKE: The bike was awesome….for the first 2 miles. Coming out I had an awesome wind at my back. I was cruising around 22-23mph. I was able to relax. I felt super excited I would gain some ground on this leg. Then we turned and had a nasty head wind for 4 miles which made me curse life as I struggled to hit speeds above 15 mph. Most of the time I was around 12-14mph. Even though it felt like riding through molasses, I was able to pass a few people on this stretch. Hit the second turnaround and cruised back the last couple miles back in the 20+mph range again. Saw the clock as I pulled into transition at 40 minutes and change. Best guess, that leg took about 28-30 minutes- lot quite what I hoped for but it was hella windy. A complaint I heard amongst many of the finishers after the race.

Based off the direction I am heading, this is me coming up to the bike dismount point...

Transition 2: this one was pretty easy comparatively- helmet, sunglasses, gloves off, bike racked, visor and spibelt on. Not sure how long this took but AC said I came out of transition around 42 minutes and change.

RUN: The run was pretty challenging at this point. We started off running against the wind so that felt pretty much like torture. I felt like my mouth was super dry (I think from all the saltwater I accidentally ingested) and I was just longing for the water at the turnaround. I knew I didn’t have too far to go but I was struggling. My calf was bothering me, I had a side stitch, my shoulder was sore, and I was ready to be done. I was alternating walking and running just to get through the first half. I was having issues getting my heart rate down and mentally I needed a few breaks just to reset my focus. After I hit the water point I knew I was in the homestretch. I drank a cup of water, poured one on my head and slowly jogged back with a nice breeze at my back.

Jodi said the pictures are blurry because I was just so fast... ;)

 AC snagged this shot as I exited transition. I like that it's next to the 'Athletes Only' sign...
Waving, super happy to be in the home stretch!
And just like was over!

The heat and humidity were brutal yesterday but it is the Florida panhandle in August so I wasn’t too surprised. It certainly did not make running easy. This was really the only leg where I felt the effects of my effort during such high temps. I was physically exhausted.

Once I hit that turn coming in the last few tenths of a mile to the finish I just felt happy. And relieved it was over. And proud. And a bit nauseated. It was unbelievably hot. I was 100% ready to stop moving.

I crossed the finish line at 01:01:30. I am happy with that time. I really didn’t have a set time goal in mind. Paul told my Pilates instructor I was thinking 45 minutes but I knew that was unrealistic. I did think the run and bike would both go a bit better, and the swim would have taken longer, but given the circumstances I am so happy to have just been able to muscle through it. It was tough. I am not 100% sure I would want to do another one. My swimming sucks and it showed. But maybe in time, as I get more comfortable in the water, I may change my mind.

I am so happy I did it.

It is a wonderful memory I will be able to keep with me for the rest of my life.

It’s also fun to be able to add another item to my list of accomplishments. Since I couldn’t really swim I never, ever, never thought I would do a triathlon so that makes this a really sweet victory for me.

 Me and Jodi- after, in case you couldn't tell.

 Me and AC
After I packed up all my gear and decompressed a bit. I love this pic!
Thank you Jodi and AC for coming out to support me- you are awesome. And a big thanks to everyone else who sent me texts and messages before, during, and after. You guys all rock! It was great to receive so many well wishes. You really make a girl feel loved.

So, what’s up next? Well I am just a little over 7 weeks out from my next half marathon. And it’s going to be another big personal challenge for me. The North Face Endurance Challenge in Georgia- a trail half marathon on some pretty intense technical trails and almost 1900 feet of elevation change. Nothing I have seen before. So now my focus is going back to trail running and more strength training- which I will talk about another day.

Have a great weekend!


Run.  Ride. Swim. Repeat J

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's Almost Tri Time!!!

So it’s almost here.

My first triathlon.



I say hopefully because there are (no big surprise here) thunderstorms in the forecast for tomorrow. Thankfully the chance of storms dropped from 60% to 40% but lightning, especially if it’s the PM storms they are calling for, could put a hold on the race. If it’s bad enough, they may even cancel.

BUT, I am staying positive that it will go off as planned. Last week, while I was away, they got so much rain that they were forced to reroute the bike portion. Even with bad weather the race still went on, just with a shorter bike leg.

I’m not going to lie- I’m a bit nervous. Because of the ridiculous stormy weather we have been having I have yet to do an open water swim. The ONE DAY I made it to the beach this summer we were under a storm/lightning warning and we weren’t actually allowed in the water. So there’s that.

Plus it’s been at least a month since I’ve ridden my bike. I mean I ride my spin bike and other standard bikes at the gym a couple times a week but again- because of weather I have had to move my ride indoors the last few times the schedule called for it. So there’s that too.

I also have yet to test out my tri suit. Well, I tried it on last night to make sure it still fit (which it did- huzzah!) but I have yet to actually swim, bike or run in it. So there’s another reason for the nerves.

BUT- here’s the thing. Nerves are normal. I’m not freaking out. Just a bit anxious. Honestly- I am not really scared about the swim since Paul’s first ever open water swim was at his triathlon and he did great. I am not really scared about the bike because well, it’s riding a bike. And it’s my strong suit. Even with time away from the bike I know I am still ready and it will probably be the easiest part for me. As for being scared about the damage an untested tri suit can cause- well I am prepared for that. I have a brand new stick of body glide already packed in my bag- ready to be applied generously over every area where chaffing can happen.

I know I am ready. I have trained for this. I am prepared.  I am not concerned about failing.

I am just a bit nervous because it is something new. It’s like a mix of excitement and a bit of anxiety.

 I think that’s pretty normal though. Well, at least it is for me.

 I know I was nervous the first time I ran a 5K. And nervous for every increasing length I’ve ran since.

I was nervous during swim lessons- learning the butterfly stroke, diving into the deep end.

And I was nervous the first time I took my bike out for a long, hilly hard as hell ride.

But I don’t mind the nerves. I think they come with the territory. Or like I said, at least they do for me.

New stuff is exciting. Nervousness is just an indication of that excitement.

Maybe that’s just me.

But I'd like to believe I am not the only one who gets this way before they try out something new.