Yesterday’s bombing in Boston had us in a bit in shock. I seriously sat on the bed and cried for several minutes. Greg stared at EPSN instead of eating a juicy burger. It was my rest day, and I wanted to run (but I didn’t, I feel some guilt!). Runners everywhere have to feel the heaviness we are. When I did the Warmup on Walnut on April 6, I realized how awesome the running community is. We won’t let this get us down, but we will band together and grow stronger. Saying some extra prayers today for Boston, and runners everywhere.

Keep Trying

A few weeks ago I started to train for the Pittsburgh (HALF) Marathon.  I was hardcore. I was ready. The training was going to take me to a whole new level, a new weight I can never remember being.

This would be week five of my training, but I got inside my own head.

One, the bibs sold out. (I could run for charity but would need donations and I don’t like asking….plus imagine the pain if I ran for them and DNF!)

Two,  the Did Not Finish fear. When I give it my all I am at 12:00-12:30 per mile. Turtle I am, still so proud.  I was around 18-20 last year. The 14 minute average scared me.

Three, my feet and knees hate the treadmill….and have you ran outside?!?! Cold.

Four, my weightloss hit a standstill.  Too much, perhaps?

So now instead I train only for Mud on the Mountain.  And for my health. This morning I put in an hour. Three miles on treadmill. Two miles on elliptical.  Forty five squats. I will not be defeated, just adjusting my outlook.

Like the kids’ show says…”keep trying, don’t give up”…and I won’t. 

Finding My Peace

I’ll admit, for the last 29 years I have not been so kind to myself. This year, I turn 30 and have turned over a new leaf in my quest to be healthy (and that’s not just the physical, it’s the mental, too).

Specifically, the years I spent in college and in Myrtle Beach were the harshest on my body. I entered college at  253 pounds (eek!) and “never looked back”. There were days when I would eat pizza for all three meals and did not care in the least. I had a “plateau” weight that I pretty much maintained through college then dropped a good bit of it off upon moving to Myrtle Beach, only to pack it back on during an abusive relationship (where I forgot how to love myself, since I figured I was unlovable being beat and broken).

Enter Arianna. I lost 42 pounds during my pregnancy (part of it was that I was worried sick about being a single mom, the daughter of a pastor, and having an on-again/off-again “thing” with a black man in the south, the other part being I danced my butt off, literally, 3-4 nights a week at the Beach Wagon). I kept that off for all of 5 months after she was born and then I found my happy with Greg and moving back home to (cold) Pittsburgh full of family, food, and cuddles.

Being pregnant with Evan was much different. I was just as sick, but was put on Zofran around month 6 so I could actually eat with him…and eat I did. That scale tipped so far, so fast. I thought that breastfeeding would help, but I found myself using the excuse of “I am really still eating for 2” and I hovered at post-baby weight for 6 months.

Then, through work, I was introduced to a nutritionist who has literally saved my life. I did a “10 in 10” program and lost 16 pounds in 10 weeks. That was great, but for me it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t 10% of my body weight. I put off personal nutrition coaching for a few months and easily gained back 4 of those pounds in 3 months. It was clearly time to say YES to myself and get a new start on life.

For those of you that personally know me, you know I strive for perfection. The past 14 months of working with Jeff have been a great blessing, but I find myself still hating parts of me, feeling like I am not enough. Struggling to love me, whether or not the scale shows what I want it to. It’s not been an easy ride.

During this time, I was inspired by a friend to start running and tried the “Couch to 5K” program. My VP at work said we’d do Mud on the Mountain for team building, but budget issues kept that from happening. Too bad, I set it as a goal and instead of a 5K, I did 7 miles in the mud. Two weeks later, Greg and I did run a 5K (unofficially, it was actually a walk), but then I stopped because I was running on a sprained knee, busted up MCL, and severely pulled hamstring (ouch). I had a few months of PT and kept working on the eating part.

In November, you know I ran the Turkey Trot and hit an all-time low in weight…but have kind of stuck there over the holidays (and a ‘lil beyond). It’s been cold, and I’ve been whiny. Blah!

So, to the real reason I set out to write this post, finding my peace. In January, I went on my annual girls’ trip to Myrtle Beach to scrap and craft. Jess and I bought a pass to do unlimited yoga at Inlet Yoga (if in Myrtle Beach, you should ABSOLUTELY GO). I thought I couldn’t do yoga because I can’t relax. I am working on finding my inner peace, you know? Well, I found it there. I fell in love with the studio, with the readings, the music, the mats. It was beautiful. I cried (I guess I might not of had they not played “Angel” during the relaxation part of hot yoga?). I breathed. I found my peace.

Upon coming home to Pittsburgh, I knew I had to find a mat to put in my Inlet Yoga strap I bought and a place to wear my Inlet Yoga t-shirt. I had bought the Bob Harper “Yoga for the Warrior” DVD and decided to give it a try since I am not sure I am ever going to find another beautiful studio like that. It’s been working, although finding “ohm” at home isn’t always the easiest thing (as you’ll hear about in a later, funny post), so I am still consider a drop-in at a local studio once the weather warms up and I can wear my capris out of the office and into the “wild” of the city.

I am not quite there, but folks, I am so close to my peace. This morning, I cheated. I felt lighter, so I stepped on the scale (something I only like to do on Monday mornings). I found out I’ve lost 3.4 pounds this week (so far). I swear, it’s because I’ve been running again and feeding my yoga addiction. I am so close to my peace. I was going to be “okay” with only hitting -88 pounds by my birthday, but now that’s only 4 pounds (and 2 months and 1 week) away. I can do this, I can hit -100 by my birthday, and I will.

But I am also going to find my peace. I am going to understand again what it means to love myself (because, I am sorry, I am beautiful inside and out) and what it means for someone (Greg, Arianna, Evan, both of my sets of parents, my best friends, my favorite cousins and aunts and uncles) to truly love me with no conditions. Whether I am tipping the scales or wearing baggy skinny jeans (I love you, Ella!). I am finding it, I promise. God made me beautiful, and this body was a gift. It’s time to really love it.

source: pinterest

Team Tote Bag

Greg and I have made the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project and food banks (such as the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank) as our main community organizations to support. Yesterday, we had the chance to walk in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community as Team Tote Bag, raising money for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and spreading awareness of the Tote Bag Project. Greg even got Highmark to donate a box of totes!


This was supposed to be a walk, but we had a few traffic issues. Coming from 28 in the North, we couldn’t get to the North Shore via 28, so we had to detour downtown. Another event (which we’ll write about later) had roads blocked and we couldn’t get to the ideal garage downtown, resulting in a detour back to 279, luckily toward the North Shore. By the time we parked, we had to start the 5k walk with the people doing the 1 mile fun walk. After about 5 minutes of walking, Greg asked if I would be ok running to catch up with everyone else who was walking. I agreed, and next thing I knew, we ran 95% of the event. The only unfortunate thing is that I forgot to track the entire run on Runtastic…but what I did learn from results of the run is that I ran the fastest miles EVER (14:54…shhhh, I know that’s SLOW but at least I am running) AND that I ran the furthest from start to finish that I’ve ran since spraining my MCL. Victory!


Are we Crazy?

Perhaps a little.

Last week, my cousin J told me that the managers of the team we’re part of had been invited to do team building at Mud on the Mountain, a 7-mile run through Seven Springs. A what? A 7-mile run. We laughed a bit, and I have to admit, I know it’s not something I would see myself doing, but I was a bit jealous. Of course, this mama wasn’t going to spend the registration fee to have her butt kicked, so I didn’t volunteer to join in the “fun”.

Then I saw a tweet from the Pittsburgh Marathon asking for people interested in taking part in the “Biggest Winner” challenge, culminating with a 5K on May 5th. There were a few things that stopped me–a friend’s wedding (where I’ll be taking photos) and the fact that I’d need to commit two days a week in an already crazy schedule. My application got no further than reading the fine details. I was resigned to the fact that I’d just keep on with my current patterns and throw everything I had into work’s Live Healthy Challenge starting at the end of the month.

Today, everything changed. I got an IM from Cousin J saying, “I’m sorry”…and I had a good idea what she was about to tell me…”you can’t have team building without the whole team”. I was in (that’s what happens when you are fresh to a team yet still transitioning from another…). And the thing is? I got excited! I immediately started thinking I was getting off my butt and doing the Couch to 5K thing again (and sticking with it). A brief description to Mr. Burgher, and he wanted to sign up, too.

So, here it is. I’ll be attempting a 7-mile “run” up the mountains with my team. I have 91 days to get prepared, so expect some major changes over my way. This girl is in training! (Wish me luck after you stop laughing.)

May 12, here I come.

Mama Burgher

Couch to 5K

You all probably read that title and laughed your cute butts off. No kidding, Mama Burgher and Mr. Burgher are turning a new leaf.

Sure, we’ve been eating healthier together and I’ve been talking lunchtime walks, but it’s not enough. I know that because I’ve been doing a “Drop 10 in 10” program through work and with one class left, I am sitting here down 14.6 pounds. You might be like, wow, that’s great, that’s normal! But to me, I’d like more. See, the thought is 10 pounds or 10% and Mama is nowhere near that. . . but Mama is happy with the results nonetheless. Something is working.

But I need more. My lunchtime miles have been pacing faster, which is great, but I am clearly not getting enough. My energy is still down, and my hunger is on the rise. So, after a weekend with friends (one of which runs a 5K every night), we decided to tackle this together. Mr. Burgher ran Cross Country in high school and he loved it. I lettered in track (ha—what a story—I was the manager yet was given a letter), so we’ve both always loved the sport of running. Doesn’t mean I am good at it at all—frankly, I am awful. I think my senior year of high school I took gym just to take gym and “faked” the mile—jogging three laps with some guy friends and we got away with it. That’s how much I actually “love” to run.

If I love to watch running, why don’t I do it? Ready to shake your heads again? I don’t do it because I have a fiercely addictive personality. I am addicted to shoes, bags, chocolates, cheeses, brews, line dancing, technology, my phone, my family. Sure, mostly good things, but when I start something, I usually can’t stop. That, my friends, is what kept me from wanting to run. Fear of addiction. Say what? Running is a great addiction to have, but I knew that if I started, I would soon be getting up early or staying up late, wanting to run. Wanting to run to blow off steam. Wanting to run in the hot. Wanting to run in the rain.

And yes, that is exactly what is happening. The Couch to 5K program has us couch potatoes up and running a 5K in about 10 weeks. Sure, it might take longer, but only two workouts in, I can tell you three things.

One: I am addicted. I love it. I went out and bought new shoes (squeee!!!), running pants (please avoid the track around 8 pm if you don’t wanna see), and a running tank top. I want to live in these clothes. I wake up in the morning and want to go out and do it all again. We were stretching last night and I wanted to get up and do it over. When something upsets me, or stress is high, I no longer tap my vertigo, I tap my “running” addiction.

Two: Stamina builds over time. So, two workouts in, we are walking 90 seconds, jogging 60 seconds for 20 minutes (following a warmup). Last night, against the theory of the program, I asked Mr. Burgher if we could kick it up and do one more set of jog/walk because what should’ve been our final jog just felt too easy. On Tuesday, I was probably 8 seconds from passing out at the end of that last jog. Sure, I am the slowest runner around, but I am getting better and I L.O.V.E. it.

Three: You have to want it and not care what anyone else thinks. I don’t care how many of you laugh and get skeptical of my goal. I am going to do it anyways. Even in running pants and a tank top, I couldn’t lose my confidence…not even when the high school football team took the track. I want it, it’s what’s good for me. I am lucky to have a good running partner. Mr. Burgher sure could pace a lot faster, but he enjoys working through this with me. We want it, and we’ll do what it takes.

I promise to keep you posted on our journey to the 5K. We probably should set a goal for one to participate in this fall so that we are running for something, but I honestly haven’t checked anything out. Thanks, C, for being an inspiration!

Lil Miss A and Mr. Burgher stretching pre-run