My Half Marathon Journey: Part 1

Have you ever been disappointed in yourself? Sickened by what you saw in the mirror? That was me just about six years ago. I was at my heaviest weight and scared for the person I’d become. That’s why I started running, and why I refuse to be stopped. Follow along with me as I share my half marathon journey – I’ll be running my second half in Pittsburgh this May – with weekly updates. (*articles may contain affiliate links*)

half marathon journey

If you’ve been following along with my Instagram, you probably know that I started training for the 2017 Pittsburgh Half Marathon in December. Even though I did some running in 2015 (including finishing last but placing first for my age group in a local 5k), I really wasn’t committed to it and it really wasn’t doing anything to help me lose the weight I’d gained after having the twins. It truly was a “started from the bottom now we here” moment, pulling my running shoes out and hitting the dreadmill.

Combined with YFit, I’ve been faithful at working out since December and it is paying off. I shared my successes with my Whole30 journey earlier this week, but I know it is also due to my dedication to running, resting, and lifting.

Why the Half?

I decided to sign up for the half again this year for several reasons:

  • I know I can do it. I know if I did anything less (a relay leg or two), I’d be sad like I was at the 2014 race.
  • I need to do it. If I don’t set a high goal for myself, it will be very easy to quit. Quitter I am not.
  • There’s totally a chance to PR. My first half was quite an accomplishment, and even though I’m currently about 20 pounds heavier than I was back then, I’m fitter and improving with every day of training.

Training Plan

The goal was to train for a 5k using the Couch to 5k program (9 weeks to a 5k) then transition right into the 10k plan. After that, I was going to follow the plan I followed in 2013 to train (with 8 weeks before the half). Cross-training would come from Tuesday/Thursday YFit classes.

How’s that going? I’ve accomplished the C25K and have one week two weeks left in the 10K plan. Other than some regression from getting sick the past two weeks, I am lifting more and more at YFit (but I have some big work to do there). As for the next steps, I really can’t follow the plan I followed in 2013.

Why? It’s 8 weeks to a half which is perfect for what remains between next Sunday and May 5, but that’s not the problem. The “problem” is that it starts with long runs of 2 and 3 miles in the first two weeks. Sorry, but I am beyond that. Oh. And there’s the fact that I miscalculated something in my plan and still have two weeks left in the 10k training (see the cross out above? Yeah…I realized it while writing this post).  Some combination of the two plans below are what I’ll be doing, with a few adjustments to the days because of my YFit, church, and work schedules as well as determining if I’ll start with the 6 mile week as my week 1 of 8 or drop back to a 5 and do I run 11 or 12 miles the week before (I did 11 in 2013 – comment with any tips!!!):

…definitely not ending with 10 miles from this one…

Current Progress

February Miles (follow me on Nike+): 35.91
February Average Pace: 13:32

March Miles (so far): 4.8
March Average Pace (so far): 13:43
Current Projected Finish Time: 3:59 (+6 minutes from 2013 pace of 13:13 / 2:53)

I’ve been training at work, really getting to know the Liberty Mile to Penn Avenue to 16th Street Bridge. These will be some of my toughest because of the crowds and other runners (like Greg who will be doing Relay Leg 1) – basically I’ll likely gas myself in these miles because I’ll be pushing hard to keep up with everyone. I want my body to know this part of the course and just take it loosely. It’s great to work right in the middle of this part of the course, and having days that have been gorgeous enough to run along the river have definitely been a perk, too.

Looking forward to logging some longer runs next week and sharing more with you. If you’re running in the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon events, let me know. Be sure to follow along on my social media – I’ll be using #fitmomintheremaking #pghmarathon and #runpgh with my shares!

Pro Tip: If you are running in the early morning or evening, I highly suggest a LED slap armband. They can be a solid or blinking light to alert others of your presence on the trail. Enjoy your weekend runs in the nicer daylight weather, but put one of these in your Amazon Prime cart for Monday’s run!

Mother Tucker

Caught your attention, huh? Mother Tucker.

My recent weight-struggles have kind of made me curse similar words lately. As a mom who is still in her 4th Trimester (shh, I know it’s been 6 months, but this trimester’s going to last awhile for me), my “new body” has a habit of catching attention. My butt’s back. And my chest. But then in between, there’s a saggy tummy with a lovely hernia sag.

As you can tell, there’s tons of reasons why baby five is out of the question if you get my drift.

Ok, enough self-hate and let’s get some self-love going on around here. I’ve found a way to sort of tame my tummy and thighs when I’m wearing the skirts and dresses to hide all my lovely lady lumps. Hello to the Mother Tucker Shorties from Belly Bandit.

The Mother Tucker Shorties aren’t the fat sucking contraptions I used to wear as a teen. They are comfortable. They stay put and don’t roll up (or down). They don’t require wiggling and waggling and rolling on my bed to pull up. And they haven’t been tucked in my purse midday because they feel good all day long. (Admit it. We’ve all done this, ladies.)

Have they done much to skinny down my thighs? Not yet, but they sure do contain all the wiggly parts that I am most self-conscious about post-babies. They’ve upped my confidence, and that in itself is a win.

I’d caution you that if you pair the Shorties with a shorter skirt, you might catch yourself sitting un-ladylike because you feel like you have shorts on. You can’t tell me that I am the only “lady” who didn’t practice crossing her legs growing up because it was too uncomfortable, right? (Now the keep ’em together and sweep to the side of my ankles? Yeah, I’ve got that.) Oops. At least as far as I know I haven’t flashed anyone yet.

Mother Tucker Shorties
Photo From: BellyBandit.com

I wanted to show you the shorties, but I’m still working hard at looking good like that ^ again! 😉 

If you are a new mom (heck, aren’t all moms really “new” at this motherhood stuff because it’s all new every day?), what makes you most frantic about getting back into your routine? Is it trading in the yoga pants for skirts (like me)? Leaving baby with a caregiver? Making and keeping friends post-baby? Let’s be sure we’re connected on social media (TwitterFacebook) and talking about how we can tackle this motherhood thing together.

And if that means me asking you if my butt looks too big in a skirt, I am perfectly fine with you saying ‘Yes, honey. Go put on your Mother Tucker Shorties.’ (You can get your own pair at www.bellybandit.com)

 

mothertucker

 

*articles may contain affiliate links*

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Better Me For Them

Long & Lean! #lilburghers

 

It’s time, friends.

It’s time for me to be a better me for them.

For me.

It’s time to get back to the basics of my health and start to focus on small changes to make a big impact. Starting with my eating and exercise. We will be joining the Y tomorrow and I signed back up to be a BeachBody Coach.

This is what I need in my now. I’ll take things slowly – this weight didn’t come on quickly, so it’s not coming off quickly. My body is not the same as it was this time last year, oh no. My body has been at rest for a year and it’s time to slowly come out of hibernation.

What’s that mean for you? You can cheer me on. You can criticize me. You can join me. You can watch as I try to balance a busy work/home life and eat right and work out. You can be there when I fail and you can be there when I succeed. You can remind me that first and foremost come the girls and their nutrition. You can ask me anything and I will get you the answer.

It’s time to be a better me, for them. Again. Let’s do this.

For more information on the programs that BeachBody offers / my journey, I invite you to join my Facebook Group, “Making A Better Me“. 

 

Monday Momday

Yeah. It’s a Monday Momday. I didn’t mistype. And it was a well played one, too.

After a mini hiatus from social media to recharge and enjoy some time with my family over the weekend, I had grand plans to take Monday by the horns.

I woke up early and fed the girls then went back to sleep until 7:15. My coffee was piping hot and my computer ready to go. (I’ve been working from home more often to help with the girls’ weight gain.) Things went beautifully as I checked lots off my to do list (probably because my Outlook is broken and I had to rely on the Web app).

Lunchtime came and went before I knew it, so I took an early afternoon bike ride instead of eating. Things went downhill from here.

While on my bike ride, a passenger in a van yelled that my “fat ass is making the tires go flat”. And? They were. I was about a mile from my house and could have walked the bike down the hill and used my mom’s van to go back home but I didn’t. I rode those going flat tires back home with burning tears in my eyes.

Have I gained weight? Yes. I had twins and was on no extra activity for a year. That’s not easy on one’s body. I’m slowly starting back, but cautious for the girls’ nutrition. But that hurt.

So I got home and told Greg about it. He told me to shake it off (maybe even sang a little T Swizzle) and that I am beautiful. I went to change out of my sweaty clothes and couldn’t get out of them because they were too tight. Pretty much broke me there.

But, I had to finish working, so I did. And when I was done? Put the 4 kids to a nap (shhh, it was 530!) and had a good cry in the shower shower. Isla, of course, woke as I was dressing. This was the signal to enjoy the evening with the kids.

And enjoy I did, until Arianna decided to cut the top and bottom off ice pops and the twins both had an exploded diaper (all over their seats in the man loft) while I was on work phone calls. Greg’s working…and was impacted by the reason I was on the calls…so he missed out on this fun end (so far) to my Monday Momday.

#MondayMomfession? Sometimes I wonder how on earth I handle it all without crying…and then I remember my showers. What’s your honest mom truth?

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Good thing she's cute.

5 Ways Training For a Half Marathon Prepped Me For Twin Mommyhood

half marathon training

People who have visited us since the twins were born have commented that both Greg and I seem relaxed and have this parenthood thing down. These people don’t see me zombie my way to the nursery for middle of the night feedings or cry when my incision is being dressed, but they are right. And my theory as to why? In 2011, I set out on a journey to better health. I lost 130 pounds and gained a lot more self love than I had before (and I had a lot even at my heaviest because I couldn’t see my weight issue and thought I was just fine). This journey led me to running, eventually training for and running the 2013 Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I believe this lifestyle change attributed to my healthy pregnancy and being ready to welcome twins. In turn, I can easily compare training for the Half to being a mom to newborn twins.

1. I sleep few hours (less than 6) but am fueled for my day. Sure, little sleep is rough on the body, but training and motherhood while balancing all the other things are time consuming. Sleep is necessary, but it happens when it can…do read number 2.

2. When I sleep, it is amazing. I sleep very deeply whether I’m training or being a mom to newborns. Running puts me in a good place and even short amounts of sleep are quality (Greg used to worry I wouldn’t hear a smoke detector). Being a new mom has raised my love for life, too. When the girls and big kids let me sleep, I sleep hard. Out cold. Sleeping while training or as a mom just is very easy for me.

3. Protein, protein, protein. My body is so thankful to training for this one. As someone who used to live life fueled on carbs and chocolate, I had a learning curve to conquer when it came to eating protein at every meal and snack. Now, I have tons of favorite options that I would not have had if I hadn’t been in training. Speaking of…I need to bake up some egg whites for quick and easy breakfasts (since that’s always been my easiest to miss meal). I even had a box of protein bars and packs of nuts on hand for snacks while feeding the girls. And while training…I ate all things protein (and often, see #4). Shakes, bars, ground turkey, turkey jerky, egg whites, almonds…always something protein to keep me going.

4. Eat often. I was ravenous while training, but was doing so much activity that it didn’t pack on pounds. Likewise, I am pretty much eating all day long post twins. They eat, I eat. And the weight? That’s truthfully a different post (I have thoughts on all the recent social media body movements and want to share them), but I have never lost weight faster in my life…even when I had lots to lose. I eat often, but try to make it good. We just finished up the welcome home cake and are almost through my birthday cookies and then it’s pretty much healthy from here out. (This was not the case in Half training with the exception of my 30th birthday cake.)

5. I am motivated by my kids. When you run, you don’t just run to run or because you have to. Deep inside, there is something that moves you, that motivates you to push past steep hills, shin splints, and forward to the finish line. When I look at my little girls and big kids, I am motivated to push past the hurdles of running and life because they are (and I AM) worth it.

And probably the most crazy thing? I’d do either one all over again because of what they’ve done for me and my spirit…but the Half Marathon is way more likely now that I am a new mom of four kids and have college and weddings to look toward paying for some day – that’s nothing compared to the price of a race bib!

The Booth

A few weeks ago, I took the kids to Arby’s because it seems like at some point in every pregnancy I’ve had a craving for roast beef and curly fries. It was a cold night and I was overwhelmed by a walk/date at the mall with Greg that wore me out, so we decided to eat in versus just grabbing the food and heading home.

The entire restaurant was booths, but that didn’t phase me until I tried to sit in the seat with Evan. I couldn’t. The belly just would not fit. I tried, but I was squeezing the babies. And let’s be for real. I have a big belly, measuring about 5 weeks ahead of my actual due date, but I was actually not all that big when I got pregnant. That belly should fit in a fast food restaurant booth. I grabbed a chair, one of two in the whole place, and sat on the end, crowding the aisle. As I shoved calorie-filled food in my mouth, I got angry. That booth should NOT have been as small as it was, considering it was a fast food restaurant. No way. Have they seen an average American? Even someone who was not overweight by medical standards would have been tight in there.

Somewhere between Arby’s sauce and horsey sauce, I let it go. That was until last weekend when we had our family Valentine’s Day date at the local Chinese restaurant. It was in the middle of the white-out snow storm and moments after Evan had his blood drawn up at the hospital, so we wanted to make it special and eat in versus doing take out. Arianna scoped out a table as we ordered, then loudly proclaimed, “We have to go home, Momma. There’s only booths in here and you are too big to fit!” I turned around to see that she was right, yet a lone chair sat against the wall, my savior in the moment. Both kids were sad that I couldn’t eat with them, and I was sad I couldn’t stare into Greg’s eyes as we shared some hot and sour soup.

But, it’s my reality. This belly is full of love and babies. And someday after I deliver them, it will go back down to a smaller size, but I’ll still think about this booth experience. I think back to when I was a bigger woman. What on earth did I do then? How did I ever gain the weight eating in places I couldn’t even sit down at? What would I have done if I wasn’t pregnant and had my kiddos with me and couldn’t fit – how would that have felt?

Even as a “smaller person” the pain and struggle of being overweight is still very real, very raw for me. I’m angered at how we have to be some certain size or build to be able to sit and enjoy a meal in-house with our family and friends. I’m angered that my daughter is already seeing the impact of being bigger and how it makes her want to just eat healthy and drink water so she doesn’t get big like I was. I’m angered that I would not have been able to eat at those places with many of my family and friends. I’m angered that even when people bust their butts to be healthy, it doesn’t always change their emotions.

Yet, I did get a moment of redemption yesterday. Greg and I went to lunch in between oil changes and work. Our choice, Qdoba. I remembered not fitting in the booth pregnant with Evan or even for about a year post-Evan; however, they do have tables there so I wasn’t worried. Greg asked me to try to head to the back, where the booths were. I was skeptical, but I gave it a shot. And guess what? We fit. Barely, but me and my sweethearts fit and got to sit in a booth and nosh on guacamole while looking into the eyes of the man I love. Thank you, Qdoba, for being just a little more “average” friendly.

It was close, but I made it!
It was close, but I made it!

I Made You Big

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While on a drive, the kids asked for a snack. It was probably the 78th time they had that day, and I got frustrated. The snacks they want lately are sugar filled junk, and real food doesn’t seem to please them.

Arianna’s response to my frustration? “We promise we won’t get as big as you did, Mommy.” Cue the tears, right? Oh no. It gets worse.

I tell them I love them and want them to be happy. To be able to run and play and breathe without it being a struggle. I want them to be healthy and yes, smaller than I was as I grew. That I didn’t want them to work like I had to in order to get to where I was [pre-twin belly].

Evan pulled his hood over his face and started to cry. “You didn’t make you big, Mommy. I made you big when I was growing in your tummy. It’s my fault you had to work hard to be small.”

I start bawling, wishing Greg was with us. Between tears, I try to tell him it’s not his fault. Arianna tries. Nothing makes him happy. He believes he made me big and I can’t stop the tears.

Finally, we came to an agreement that it wasn’t being pregnant with my 9 pound bundle of love that led me to weigh right at 300 pounds but it was years of my life that made me the mama I was when I had him. Arianna assured him that I was the same mama now as I was then and as I was before having him, both promising me they understood and it wasn’t his fault.

Having these talks with my kids is hard. Evan doesn’t remember his mama being big, and Arianna vaguely does. For the most part, I hid from cameras because I couldn’t stand my own picture [how I found the above one for this post is beyond me].

Then one day, somehing clicked and Evan and Ari made me smaller. The very thought of being around them for life was enough to decide to get up and take care of me for them. To run. To eat better. To be there for my kids.

So, Evan? If you think you made me anything, know that you made me smaller, healthier, and happier. Remember that, Bubby. And remember that I love you no matter what size you are or I am.

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And PS to the twins? I do miss my smaller body, running, and doing yoga…BUT I wouldn’t trade those things for the amazingness that has been the last 28 weeks/4 days of growing you, either. I’m gonna miss this belly that’s keeping you all close to me when you decide to make your mark on this world.

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Get Active with West PA Pride and UnitedHealthcare

Even in the cold winter weather, Western Pennsylvania is a great place to get out and be active. (And after you indulged in all the deliciousness of yesterday’s food, I am sure you probably are like me and wanting to get out move a little bit, right?) UnitedHealthcare is bringing their campaign, Western PA Pride, to our area just in time to motivate you to get out and do something active in your community.

You know, something like running yesterday’s Turkey Trot in Downtown Pittsburgh (which I didn’t get to do this year due to being on hold with my running game, so let’s celebrate with last year’s photo). Earning your pie Being thankful that you are taking care of yourself is a great reason to run a race like this!

2013 Turkey Trot

UnitedHealthcare’s Western PA Pride campaign is looking for Western PA residents who are being active or healthy in their communities that they love, and they are looking for you. To participate, they are asking you to submit an “activity-inspired photo” of you participating in healthy activities – and there are prizes involved, too (more on that below!).

I love this campaign and spent some time yesterday checking out all the awesome entries they already have – a huge shout-out to all of you who love our area and their bodies and lives! Think it’s time for me to get an updated photo of being active and submit it (maybe something like my Ambulance 5k first place walk?)!

Beyond looking for participants in the campaign, UnitedHealthcare is sponsoring several local events to inspire you to get out and doing something good for you and your community. A few options for you are:

  • Bundle Up Telethon for WTAE-TV – December 5
  • Holiday Party at Uniontown Fire Department Social Hall – December 6

You can check out the campaign page (westpapride.com) to find more events near you AND submit your active photo! Prizes that you can win for submitting your photo include:

  • $25 Visa gift card (11 weekly winners)
  • $100 Visa gift card (for photos revolving around events)
  • $400 Visa gift card (1 grand prize winner)

Remember, your photo should be of you (or your family) being active or healthy in your community or of you participating in one of the upcoming events. (Have a picture from yesterday’s Turkey Trot? That counts!)

Take advantage of this slight warm spell and get active this weekend!

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(Looking for health insurance during this year’s enrollment period? UnitedHealthcare provides options for Western PA residents to be covered for their medical needs.)

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service above in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Spartan Race

*articles may contain affiliate links*

In just about 2 weeks, the obstacle-running enthusiasts of the world will likely have their eyes turned to the 2014 Spartan Race Triple Crown and the World Championship Race in Killington Vermont on September 20th. Or maybe you’re one of the people tuned into NBC’s series on the Spartan Race and dream about wanting to do one of these races yourself.

Good news! Because I’ve got a passion for running and love to participate in not-so-girly events like mud runs and obstacle races, I’ve been asked to share some info with you about the Spartan Race. From their website, you’ll find that:

Spartan Race is on a mission to get you active, healthy, excited about change, and return to our ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life. Our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal.

Our events challenge the familiar, today’s perception of normal living and getting you out of your comfort zone! At Spartan Race, we do this everyday and it shapes everything we do.

This I  love. I truly believe that every body is capable of pushing their own limits and challenging themselves mentally and physically. I don’t love obstacle races for the medals or beers at the end. I love them for the teamwork, the mental challenge (I cried more in the races I’ve done than I did in childbirth), and the glory of finishing even if it takes hours.

And because Reebok and the Spartan Race embrace a challenge, they have “a level for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate level Super Spartan, the advanced Spartan Beast, and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race”…and a series for kids ages 4-14!

What’s even better? You can participate in any remaining 2014 Spartan Race (open heat) for 15% off the registration fee by using my special code, SPARTANBLOGGER. Or, you can enter to win a free entry right here through September 13. Check out locations near you and enter today!

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Creative Bioscience Part 2

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

A few weeks back, I shared with you some details on some weight loss supplements and promised a follow-up. To be honest, life happened, and I forgot to circle back and share. Kids – it happens as you get  older. Anyways.

There were two products I wanted to have some more time with, if you recall:

I was also sent a bottle of the rcc 1234 which is a 4-day rapid colon cleanse. We’ll be going to Aruba very soon, and I haven’t been feeling quite myself, so this might be an option I include after the holiday weekend to feel back to my normal self. It’s to be used to supplement any part of your diet, so I am expecting it to go smoothly with my current plan.

And finally, I was sent the eac 1234, an energy and appetite control supplement. I am most excited about this one because it’s one I feel strongly that it’s okay to take.

The rcc 1234: I used to not think that cleanses were all that okay, but my mind has changed. You see, there are times and places when it makes sense…just don’t you go and think a cleanse that’s just a pill or just drinks is going to cut it for you. Sometimes, we really do need cleaned out. If you feel like you just need to get back on track, the rcc 1234 could be an option to consider. Be prepared to spend 4 days feeling a little “off” – c’mon, it’s ridding itself of years of toxins and gunk, you should feel a little different. Be sure to check with your doctor before considering this (or any other cleanse).

–> Results? Weight loss was minimal for me (~1 pound). I’ve been on a 3-year journey to get to the point I am, so my body has pretty much been ridding of toxins for a while. My results do not mean there wouldn’t be changes you’d notice if you tried.

The eac 1234: Upon reading a little bit more about this product, I found it has a laxative included. Sorry to divulge here, but I don’t need to add that to my already looser than normal system (see 3 years of eating healthy). Initially, I was pumped to test out the energy and appetite suppression, but the laxative factor made me nervous. A few days in, I did notice more energy without the jitters, but stick by the fact that I much prefer natural energy boosters (like exercise) to give me what I need.

–> Results? No noted weight loss, I think my stomach is much adjusted to my caloric intake (been plateauing for months), but this didn’t cause a drop.

Conclusion

I get it that there are people who need help with weight loss via supplements – this product could very well work for someone who needs it. While I enjoyed getting to test, my original thoughts were confirmed — MY body relies on veggies, lean meats, and exercise to make big changes. That’s MY reality, so if this is a product you think you’d like to try, visit creativebioscience.com and talk to your doctor to make the best decision for you.

Source: creativebioscience.com