Monday, January 12, 2015

Be the Best You You Can Be

When I lost 50ish pounds back in 2009/2010, I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have a "perfect body" image I was trying to obtain. I have never posted celebrity bodies to my fridge to try to look like them. Because I'm not them. I have this body and I can only aim to look like the best me I can be; I can't look like anyone else.

And while I know I can't aim to be 25 again, I can at least have an idea of what my body can look like at a healthy weight. Today's Motivation Monday is pictures of me when I was at a healthier weight.

I was almost at my goal weight here. I think this was about 148ish.

This was my healthiest weight ever.
And it was shortly after this that I started to regain.

Those shorts no longer fit.

This shirt no longer fits

I broke a strap on this dress trying to get into it last summer,
so I don't have it anymore :(

This was me at my absolute fittest,
yet I still wasn't at my goal running speed yet.

These jeans no longer fit and that upsets me.

These jeans no longer fit

These PJs no longer fit.

Look! My face isn't chubby and I have just one chin!

Note: Just looking at the shape of my arms and face here
for weight reference. I weighed approx 128 pounds.
I'm convinced that this sunburn is what gave me skin cancer.

Look at that flexibility! I want/need that back!

Everything about this is great.

I never had a completely flat tummy, but was completely okay with that. I'm not trying to have flat abs or reach anything unsustainable. I just want to be at a healthy weight that makes me feel good on the inside and out. Plus I'd like to fit into those shorts and jeans again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Like Chapters In A Book

This year was pretty great. I most definitely did not accomplish all of my goals. I didn't lose weight. I didn't get my finances fixed all perfectly. I didn't read all the books I wanted to read or watch all the movies I wanted to watch. But I did have a happy year of marriage. I did PR the Shamrock Half Marathon. I did redesign the website at work. I did ace my first semester in grad school.

I talked about "last chances" for weight loss a lot over the last two years. I wanted to get to my goal weight for the wedding and didn't. I wanted to lose a certain amount of weight before school started and didn't. But when I say this is my last chance to get into the best shape of my life, I really mean that.

I will never be younger than I am right now. And I want to get into the best shape of my life before we have kids.

Yep, I'm going there.

I'm completely terrified of having kids. I don't like kids. I really don't. Sorry, not sorry. They're gross. And you can't have adult conversations with them because they haven't learned all those things necessary to have adult conversations. I didn't like kids when I was a kid. I was born 30 years old and that's a fact. Ask my mother.

But Josh and I do want to have kids. I'm continuously told I will like kids when they are my own. And I sort of think that might be true because I actually like my nephew even though he's 5 and noisy and gross. Even if I don't like kids, I'll probably like them when they are my adult kids, so I'm keeping that in mind.

Sorry about the digression, but I wanted to make that clear. I do not have baby fever. I'm just aware that my biological clock is a thing I should probably address since we want kids. We're going to wait until I'm done with school before having babies. I'm on track to graduate in August 2016, which means I have about a year to get into the best shape of my life if I want to get any enjoyment out of it before getting pregnant.

I joined Weight Watchers about a month ago but I haven't lost any weight. I am paying for Weight Watchers. With money. I don't have much of that, so I don't want it to be a waste. This was probably a stupid time of year to start it since we pretty much eat our way through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and drink our way through the New year.

I'm registered for the Shamrock Half Marathon and have a plan that, if I stick to it, should get me to a PR. I'm also registered for the Big Blue 5k, which is about three weeks after the Shamrock. My goal is to do better than I did for this past year's race, but I'd really like to PR that too.

I'm registered for two classes for the spring. One of them is taught by the university president, so I'm pretty excited, but also nervous. This summer I'll take a class and do an internship. I'm also sort of hoping that Josh and I can go on a real vacation together either between the Spring and Summer semesters, or between the Summer and Fall semesters. I'm hoping to run another half marathon in the fall as well, but I haven't picked one yet.

I know this is some serious advanced planning, but the plan is to ring in 2015 here at home and save some money before our ski trip with his dad. But for 2016 we want to go all out and either celebrate in DC or NYC. We want to go all out for 2016 because we're hoping to have (I'm having a hard time typing this because it freaks me out so bad) a baby on the way before the end of 2016.

And enough of that.

I'm hoping the combination of Weight Watchers and half marathon training will get me to the weight I need to be. I'm also researching either a regimented at home yoga practice or a good/fun weight lifting schedule. Without a schedule, similar to a half marathon training plan, I obviously will not do it. I'm just not the type to say, "I think I'll lift weights today," or, "I want to do yoga this morning." That's seriously not going to happen. I have to have a plan. A routine. A schedule.

Once I have one, I'll post it here. It will pair nicely with my half marathon training plan and my Weight Watchers plan. By the end of 2015, I will be in the best shape of my life, plus I'll be half way to a masters degree.

Life is good.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Who has a 4.0 in grad school??

This girl!

I threw myself into grad school determined to do the best I possibly could and I succeeded. I got straight As, kind of made some friends, joined a couple of student organizations, and joined a leadership program, for which I got a certificate and a medal. I'm supposed to wear the medal to graduation. I've also been assigned a mentor as part of that program, but so far I've only met with her once.

Being in grad school has actually improved my work at my job. I was worried my work would suffer, but the things I've learned in school have helped me become better at my job. I redesigned the website and we're launching in January. I'm so proud of it that I could explode.

I entered a Facebook contest on the Shamrock Marathon's Facebook page and I won! I was one of 5 people out of nearly 800 who received a free race entry for the half marathon. I definitely won't take it for granted and intend to train just as hard, if not harder, than I did for last year's race. I'm visualizing that PR already.

I think I'll start writing in here more, but I also have that Tumblr I started, so I'm not sure what I'll do yet. Also, I joined Weight Watchers. I lost 1.4 pounds then gained it back. I don't want to waste the money, so seeing that scale was a wake up call. I have to put forth the effort into weight loss that I put into grad school. I know if I want something bad enough, and work for it as hard as I want it, I get it. I'm stubborn like that.

Josh and I are going to take over the world together. That's how awesome we're doing. We had Thanksgiving at my parents, we just had our fourth annual holiday party this past weekend, we'll have Christmas here with his mom and sister, we'll spend New Year's Eve with friends, then head to West Virginia for a ski trip with his dad. I also just got us a couple of Groupons to get massages after the trip so we can start off next semester relaxed. Hopefully with no broken bones. I've never been skiing and I'm nervous.

Tonight we're going on a date to celebrate the end of a great semester. We're going to Color Me Mine to paint Christmas ornaments, then we're going to our favorite sushi place.

But first!.. An easy three miler to kick off training for the Shamrock.

Life is swell, friends.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Drumstick Dash 2014 Recap

Thanksgiving break was excellent. I didn't realize how much sleep I was lacking until I had time to sleep in. Other than Thanksgiving Day, I slept until after 8:00 everyday and it felt so luxurious. The reason I didn't get to sleep on Thanksgiving Day was because my brother and I were registered to run the Drumstick Dash.

I got up around 6:30, grabbed some free breakfast from the hotel lobby, and headed to my parents' house to pick up Jamie. I thought for sure we were going to be late or that I'd have to give up on him and leave without him, but he got up at the last possible second and we left. We struggled a bit to find parking, but managed to find a place about four blocks from the start and headed over there about 15 minutes before the start.

The one and only problem I had with this race: The lack of porta-potties. Even though I went right before we left, I guess I hydrated too much and already had to pee before we started. There weren't any that I could see right by the start line, I tried to put it out of my mind. The freezing cold helped me not think about it. We took some pre-race selfies and before we knew it, the first wave was off.

There were only two waves of runners and we were at the very front of the second wave. There were photographers everywhere, but we didn't think much of it. The first mile was basically a warm-up, literally. It was quite cold.

The second mile was mostly me complaining about my bladder and the lack of porta-poties. There was a water stop at 1.5, which I had to skip because I couldn't handle it. Then there was finally a porta-potta at around 1.7. I was so happy. I felt sorry for my brother though because he'd been doing so well and my stop slowed us down.

After that point, I felt great for at least another half mile, but after that, the fact that I had just done a half marathon only four days before caught up with me. My left calf muscle that had been giving me problems since a training run a few weeks back started hurting to the point where I couldn't help but limp. I was so mad and, again, felt bad about slowing Jamie down. I told him to run ahead, but he'd forgotten to bring his phone and didn't want to lose me in the finish line crowd. So he stuck with me until we could see the finish line, then he took off and finished almost a minute before me. I finished in 35:54, and was mad about the porta-potty stop that slowed us down.

We skipped the post-race party and award ceremony because the line for bananas and muffins was too long and it was too cold out. I dropped him off at the parents' house, then went back to the hotel to shower and change. Josh, Raven and I got ready and headed to my parents' to hang out and have Thanksgiving dinner, which was delicious. A little while after we ate, Jamie and Josh went Black Friday shopping and I stayed behind with Raven to watch movies with my parents. Josh picked me up when they were done shopping and we went back to the hotel.

The next morning, Jamie and I got several messages from people saying we were on the front page of the Virginia section of the local newspaper. I immediately went and bought two copies. Sure enough, there we are, front and center of the second wave of runners. You know how you always feel famous when you go to your hometown for a visit after being gone for a while? I was legit famous. We were pretty excited.

The rest of our trip was fun (movie with Liz, Chuck E. Cheese with James) and relaxing (hanging out with friends/folks, sleeping in). I've decided to give myself an entire week off from running to give my legs a chance to completely recover, then I'll think about training for the 2015 Shamrock Half Marathon...

Monday, November 24, 2014

2015 Shamrock Half Marathon Training Plan

Mondays: Rest day
Tuesdays: Easy morning run
Wednesdays: Yoga
Thursdays: Treadmill run at the gym after work
Fridays: Easy morning run or yoga
Saturdays: Yoga or other exercise/activity
Sundays: Long run
During lunch breaks at work at least 3 days a week: Weight lifting at the gym

Tue Dec 2 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @12:01
Thu Dec 4 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 9:47 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Dec 5 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @12:01
Sun Dec 7 Long Run Dist: 8 Mi @12:01

Tue Dec 9 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:58
Thu Dec 11 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 10:20; Cool
Fri Dec 12 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:58
Sun Dec 14 Long Run Dist: 9 Mi @11:58

Tue Dec 16 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:56
Thu Dec 18 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 10:17; Cool
Fri Dec 19 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:56
Sun Dec 21 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @11:56

Tue Dec 23 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:53
Thu Dec 25 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:53
Fri Dec 26 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:53
Sun Dec 28 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:53

Tue Dec 30 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:53
Thu Jan 1 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 9:40 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Jan 2 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:53
Sun Jan 4 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @11:53

Tue Jan 6 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:51
Thu Jan 8 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 10:13; Cool
Fri Jan 9 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:51
Sun Jan 11 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @11:51

Tue Jan 13 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:49
Thu Jan 15 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:16; Cool
Fri Jan 16 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:49
Sun Jan 18 Long Run Dist: 11 Mi @11:49

Tue Jan 20 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @11:46
Thu Jan 22 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:46
Fri Jan 23 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:46
Sun Jan 25 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @11:46

Tue Jan 27 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:46
Thu Jan 29 Speedwork Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 3x1600 in 9:34 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Jan 30 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:46
Sun Feb 1 Long Run Dist: 11 Mi @11:46

Tue Feb 3 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:44
Thu Feb 5 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:11; Cool
Fri Feb 6 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:44
Sun Feb 8 Long Run Dist: 12 Mi @11:44

Tue Feb 10 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:42
Wed Feb 11 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:42
Thu Feb 12 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:09; Cool
Fri Feb 13 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:42
Sun Feb 15 Long Run Dist: 12 Mi @11:42

Tue Feb 17 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39
Wed Feb 18 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39
Thu Feb 19 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39
Fri Feb 20 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39
Sun Feb 22 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39

Tue Feb 24 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:39
Wed Feb 25 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:39
Thu Feb 26 Speedwork Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 3x1600 in 9:27 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Feb 27 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:39
Sun Mar 1 Long Run Dist: 13 Mi @11:39

Tue Mar 3 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:37
Wed Mar 4 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:37
Thu Mar 5 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:04; Cool
Fri Mar 6 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:37
Sun Mar 8 Long Run Dist: 13 Mi @11:37

Tue Mar 10 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:35
Wed Mar 11 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:35
Thu Mar 12 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:02; Cool
Fri Mar 13 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:35
Sun Mar 15 Long Run Dist: 13 Mi @11:35

Tue Mar 17 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:32
Wed Mar 18 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:32
Thu Mar 19 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 9:21 w/800 jogs; Cool
Sun Mar 22 Race Day 13.1 Mi @10:07 Time: 2:12:39

Harbor Lights Half Marathon Race Recap

Even though I haven't felt like blogging anymore, I still feel the need to recap the half marathon I ran yesterday. I went to packet pick-up on Friday because I knew I'd have to work the football game on Saturday and wouldn't be able to go then. The expo wasn't nearly as big as Shamrock, but it is an inaugural race and the space was much smaller. So that was uneventful. I did snap a picture of the finish line.

Saturday I had to work the football game. Afterwards, I went home to just rest up. Josh and I grabbed dinner at YNot that evening and didn't do much else.

I didn't sleep very well Saturday night/Sunday morning. I don't really know why. The alarm was signaling 5:30 a.m. before I knew it. I got up and had an English muffin, some water/Gatorade, and some coffee. I got dressed, walked Raven, then Josh and I headed out. He dropped me off as close to the start as he could get me.

I dropped my bag off at gear check, then hung out around the porta potties for a while. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't have to stop on the course, so I went through the line twice before heading to the start line. I got in the middle of my corral and hung out until the start. I spotted the 2:30 Pacer as our corral got closer to the start line. I decided I'd stick with the 2:30 people for as long as I could, but I knew I hadn't trained nearly well enough to easily pull off 2:30.

The announcer counted down and we were off. We wove through downtown Norfolk for a bit before hitting Colley Ave and following it to ODU where we took Monarch Way to the end, headed north on Hampton Blvd, then entered Larchmont. The scenery and spectators were a little better though this section and into Colonial Place. I also wasn't as familiar was this area, so it was more entertaining. I should also mention I lost the 2:30 pacer somewhere after the second or third water stop. The water wanted to slosh around in my belly, which upset my stomach so I had to walk after water stops long enough for the sloshing to stop.

We ended up on Granby, which was absolutely my least favorite part of the course. The road was only partially closed and there were some really cranky drivers wondering why the hell the streets were closed for crazy people who were running really early in the morning in the cold. That's my main complaint about this race - the lack of communication to the Norfolk residents. Traffic was frustrating for them and uncomfortable for us (I was next to a stinky truck for a while), and there weren't a lot of spectators. It's the inaugural race though, and I imagine it took Virginia Beach residents several years to get used to the Shamrock. It will take Norfolk a while to get used to Harbor Lights too.

After the uncomfortableness of Granby, we were back into a less busy area. Somewhere in Mile 9 there was a pie stop! I took a little bit sized chocolate pie. It was great and totally perked me up after Granby freaked me out.

As I usually do when I'm out on my training runs, I love running through Ghent and Freemason to the Pagoda and the USS Wisconsin. That was a great part of the course. My only other complaint about the course is that you see the Mile 12 mile marker right before you see the finish line party. You have 1.1 miles to go, but you feel like you're so much closer to finishing because you can see all the people who've already finished hanging out at the finish line party. It was a little disheartening to see all of them and to be cheered on by the people who were faster than me.

The course continued passed the party and Waterside, around the parking garage by Dominion Tower, and picked up the Elizabeth River Trail by the Sheraton and marina where I always run. I imagined what that part must have felt like for people who didn't run it every weekend like I do. It really is pretty and is absolutely my favorite part about running in Norfolk. The course finally finished along the water by Town Point Park.

I crossed in 2:45:26, which was way slower than I would have liked, but that's what I get for slacking off in training. I got my medal, food stuffs, and a nice finisher's pint glass. I think it's a pint. It might be slightly smaller. But I like it a lot. I also got wrapped in one of those space blanket things, which I've never gotten at a race before. It actually did keep me from freezing to death.

I wanted to wait around for some other people I knew who were running, but I was hurting and really cold so Josh picked me up. We went to Yorgo's for the perfect post-race brunch. I took a shower and a nap when we got home, but my stomach woke me up from the nap demanding to be fed. I foraged for food and hung out on the couch for most of the rest of the day.

I'm quite sore today, but not as bad as I was for Shamrock. I'm registered for a Thanksgiving Day 5k, which is three days away. I actually LOL every time I think about it because right now, I can't imagine running 3 yards, much less 3 miles. But I'm sure I'll feel better by then. I'll write a little recap after that.

A few non-running things I've been up to lately since I haven't been blogging...

...I'm almost done with my first semester of grad school, which wasn't nearly as scary or difficult as I thought it would be. I have actually loved it and can't wait to learn even more next semester. I'm kind of a nerd and want to stay in school forever and learn all of the things because knowledge is power and whatnot.

...I joined Weight Watchers and today was my third meeting. I lost 2 pounds the first week, but gained 1.6 pounds this last week. I probably didn't really gain that much and have a lot of water weight from eating and drinking more than usual yesterday. Normally I think it would even out before next week's meeting, but Thanksgiving is this week. I do really like the program though and think I can lose weight as long as I stick with it. Since I'm paying for it, I am more likely to stick with it because I don't have money to waste. Oh I should add I'm doing it through work, so it's discounted and the meetings are on campus, which is super convenient.

...We're going to Roanoke for Thanksgiving and I'm really, really excited to see my family. My brother is registered to do the 5k with me. We'll be here Norfolk/Virginia Beach with Josh's family for Christmas and we're going to his sister's on Christmas Eve, which should be fun. Then the weekend after the New Year, we're going on a ski trip with his dad. I'm not sure how I feel about that because I've never been skiing and I hate the cold and snow, but I like doing fun things so I'm hoping this is fun.

...I'm tentatively planning to do the Shamrock Half Marathon, but have to get the money to register for it first. It has the potential to sell out before that happens. I need new running shoes too, but I think I can probably manage that after Christmas sometime. 

That's pretty much it. I may or may not keep writing here. I might at least check in and do a recap of Thursday's 5k. I like that I can review my training so well on here for last year's Shamrock and I'd like to be able to do that again. It sort of just depends on how much time I have. Plus I keep thinking I'll switch to Tumblr and haven't really done that yet. So we'll see. I'm on Twitter and Instagram if you're interested in keep up with me: @EricasLens.