Monday Brain Exchange Week 20- Stay Fit Through Holidays

Links from week 18- Kandi, KitzzyKim and Whitney

Links from week 19- Darlene, Kitzzy and Kandi

*If you are playing, and I am not linking you, please let me know!

Every Monday, at the end of the current weeks M.B.E answer, I will post a question for the following week.  This way you can cue your post for Monday if you wish.  If Monday doesn’t work for you, you can still play along any day of the week that works best. If you want to play along, all you have to do is post the question and your answer on your own blog.  Link your post to my blog so that I know you have participated, and in the following weeks post, I will link all the participant blogs from the prior week.

This Weeks Topic: Staying fit and healthy during the holidays

This Weeks Question: How do you manage diet and exercise during the holidays?

It’s no secret that November and December are tough months; it is hard to get outside and workout (at least for us NorthEast folk!) and even harder to resist all the amazing food.  And everyone knows that the only way to truly stay fit is to eat less and workout more.  so how do I get around the holidays?  Truth?  I don’t stress out about it!

Look, I am not suggesting anyone go ape-shit crazy over holiday foods.  A month of eating nothing but crap will hurt in more ways that just around the waist.  So don’t go stuffing your face and blaming onelittletrigirl.  However…it is also best not to come to me for advice on how to keep away from holiday treats because my advice is, and always will be, don’t deprive yourself!  This is a time of celebration and food/drink is a part of that celebrating.  No reason for you to sit in a corner eating carrot sticks.

Here are a few of my tips for enjoying the holidays without going overboard:

  1. Moderation is KEY!  I like to have a little of everything I want to try, rather than too much of one or two things.  This way, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything and I feel satisfied.  Additionally, I try to eat the healthy foods first, so that by the time I get to the goodies, my stomach is already somewhat full.
  2. Be a social butterfly.  The more you move around a room and spend time with others, the less time you will spend at the food table.  I find that if I am in a coversation with someone, I am less likely to be shoving my face with food.
  3. Eat before you eat.  You’re thinking: Say what huh???  But really…it works; before attending any event where I know there will be a lot of food out, I eat something small at home.  This way, I am not tempted to eat everything in sight.  Do not attempt to “save calories” by not eating all day…all this will do is result in you eating twice as much as your normally would eat.
  4. Choose alcohol wisely.  A mixed drink is great if you plan to have only one…but more than one and you have just tacked on 300+ calories to your night!  For the record, an ounce of sour mix is 27 calories- AN OUNCE!  I recommend wine or a light beer if you plan on throwing a few back.  Not into wines and beers?  Try a spritzer or  use a low-calories mixer with your drink.  For example, I use a low calorie cranberry juice for my cosmo’s making them very fit-friendly 🙂 
  5. Forgive yourself 🙂  Did you eat more than you planned?  Feeling guilty?  Don’t!  Acknowledge that it happened, figure out where you went wrong and work out a plan for the next time. 

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Next Weeks Topic:  Alternative Activities

Next Weeks Question:  What activities do you enjoy outside of swim/bike/running?  Are you a winter sports person or summer sports person?  Do you enjoy team or individual sports?  Do you participate in more alternative activities during the off-season?

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How I Spent My Thankgiving Break

Hi bloggies….long time, no write 🙂

I cannot think of a better way to tell you about my break, than in my favorite…list format!

Wednesday

I had a half-day at my day job and spent the time in between that and going to my night job, getting my hair done.  My friend Michele does my hair, so it always turns into a catching up and gossip session too.  I decided to cover some of my blonde so my hair is a bit darker now (although, as it seems, I am the only one who notices) and I really like it.  After my hair was done, I pretty much had to get ready for work.  I had the WORST.NIGHT.EVER.  My day had been pretty bad and the night was a great match-up.  I used to live to go out the night before Thanksgiving…this year, I could not wait to get home, have a glass of wine and go to bed!

Thursday/Friday

I woke up pretty early on Thursday to get some stuff done with the intention of taking two naps throughout the day.  I did some random stuff around the house and then headed out to my cousins football game.  She is a cheerleader and it was her last game as a Varsity cheerleader.  As I was on my way…it started SNOWING!  Whoa…snow!  Seriously, I am still not over the snow from last year!  Needless to say, I did not last very long at the game.  Instead I went back home and tried to catch a nap.  Couldn’t sleep, so I just got ready for dinner.  We ate a local restaurant this year; it wasn’t the best meal I ever had, but I liked the idea of eating out…so much easier!  In talking with my parents we all decided to keep the tradition of eating at a restaurant, but to try a new one next year.  From dinner it was back home for nap attempt number two.  That also did not happen.  I headed to my parents house to pick up my mom…and at 11pm we were off on our Black Friday adventure 🙂

We headed to the outlets first; they open at 12am and stay open throughout all day Friday.  We did hit some good sales and it was worth going but again…we decided to do something different next year.  This was our third year there and we both kinda realized we needed something new.  From the outlets we went to grab a snack (it was about 2am’ish) and headed to a diner.  And then it was off to Kohls, followed by Target.  All in all, I did really well and saved a ton of money.  I didn’t have too much in mind for this year, but it just wouldn’t be the same if my mom and I didn’t go out on this day.  And speaking of my mom…at Target, there was a lady who’s card wasn’t working.  She was about to have to put some of her toys back…but my mom paid for her.  She just handed the money over; my mom is a generous and giving person…and this was no different.  She was, in no way, going to watch as someone put their children’s Christmas toys away.  Just another reason why my mom is such an amazing person.  All she asked is for the woman to pay it forward…something my mom and I very much believe in.

By the time we were done at Target, I had to get home and sleep.  It was about 7am and I had to work Friday night.  I slept 8 hours and was off to work.  It was slllooooowwwww and boring at work.  UGH!  I ended up out of there by 9pm and met up with my friend for a drink.  It was the perfect way to relax after a long day/night.

Saturday/Sunday

Yesterday, I was super duper productive.  Cleaned the whole house (other than my room), got our Christmas tree, decorated for the holidays and had dinner with an old friend.  It was a great day/night.  Unfortunately, I woke up today feeling like poo and ended up in bed all day.  I just could not get it together at all.  I did not get out of bed until I had to be at work.  Work was slow, but okay- and after Wednesday and Friday, I needed a good night!

 

I feel better now, but lately I have been having the worst stomach issues.  It passes eventually but while I feel that way, I feel really bad.  So I hope that ends soon because it really sucks!  I took the week off from all workouts- which I desperately needed…the break was nice.  Tomorrow it is back to the grind…the start of the off-season to rebuild and re-coop.  I am still going to stay off running for a week or so, just to really give my shins the break they have so desperately needed, but I need to do something!  So this week is back to the gym 🙂

Back to work (at my day job) tomorrow; not looking forward to that AT ALL.  I was very much loving the time off- thank goodness for Christmas break in 19 days 🙂  Monday night, my mom and I are heading to Hershey Park to go to the outlets up there and take a mental health day off on Tuesday!  Every year we take a “hooky day” and do some Christmas shopping.  I am looking very forward to it and it is making going back tomorrow a lot easier!

 

 

I am so behind on my reader…so…tell me about your Thanksgiving.  What was the best part of your holiday?

Turkey For Me…Turkey For You

Today is a half-day.  And I have off from my day job tomorrow and Friday for the holiday.  And my night job is closed tomorrow and I have off Saturday.  That’s right….I have two complete days off this weekend!!!!  Don’t know how that happened but I am going with it 🙂

Tomorrow, I am set to play football with people from my night job.  It sounds like so much fun and I am really excited, however I am still moving quite gingerly.  My legs/feet are still pretty sore from the race Sunday.  By the way…if you did not read my report, here is it…this is a must read 🙂 (Thanks so much for all the kind words too- I am STILL super excited.) After football, I’ll be meeting up with my parents to go out to dinner.  This is a first for us- we always used to go to my dad’s parents; this is our first Thanksgiving with my Pop-Pop and my Grandmother is going to my cousins…so it is just my mom, dad and me.  We figured why do all that cooking just for three people- and made the decision to go out for dinner.  I am looking forward to being waited on, although as a server myself, I almost feel bad that someone has to wait on me instead of being with their family.

Black Friday is almost here!!!!!!!  I love Black Friday!   I don’t even have that much to get this year, and I don’t even know really what I AM getting yet, but Black Friday is still fun for me.  I have been part of the Black Friday adventure since I was a kid.  My mom, gram and I used to go out super early in the morning and shop all day long.  My mom and gram were extreme shoppers!  One year, I was about seven, K-Mart was giving a vacuum away for some ridiculously great price and with it came a handheld dirtdevil for a penny.  I remember my mom and I pressed up against the doors ready to run as soon as the doors opened.  And we got the vacuum!!  Other years, I have saved huge amounts of money on jewlery, coats, entertainment centers, tv’s and etc.  The last few years my mom and I have changed up our tradition by heading out to the outlets at 11pm on Thanksgiving night and shopping overnight.  My gram no longer is able to come along with us so it is just her and I now and we are usually completely done our shopping by 8am.  Yes, the time most people are waking up!

How do you spend Thanksgiving?  Are you a Black Friday shopper or a Cyber Monday kinda person?

Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Report

Other title options:

-Redemption!

-Dear Philly, I kicked your ass!

-How the hell did that happen?

-Will I ever PR again?

Notes:

  • I had worked Saturday at the expo for 3 hours and then again at my night job until closing!  Not kidding…no one would cover my shift, or switch with me, so I worked from 5pm-12am the night before. 
  • I resigned myself to the idea that this race would be just for fun and that I should have low expectations.  In fact, I never even thought about a time goal…I basically just wanted to finish happy and not injured.  I told my mom to expect me around 2:30-2:35, although I did say I was going to try to stick with a pace group and there was a chance I could come in before 2:30.

Pre-Race:

I was so wired when I got in from work that I could not sleep.  I ended up dozing off for about two hours but it was 4am before I knew it!  My mom met up with me at my house and we were off.  We met up with my friend Brian and followed him to a garage and then headed over to the Art Museum. 

About 30 minutes before the race my stomach started hating me and I needed a bathroom STAT.  The line was 2390823908 people long and I seriously thought I might die.  The pain was unreal and I could not even imagine how I would run in it were to continue through the race.  I made it through the line and to my corral but within minutes, I needed the bathroom again.  Ugh, this was not good!  Luckily after stop number #2, I felt a little better and even luckier, I was done just in time to start with my corral, although I was at the very back.

Race:

Miles 1-3; I did not start off well.  Between my stomach bothering me and having to move through the crowd of slower-than-me runners and walkers, I was having a hard time.  I got to the 5k at just under 36:00…I was not happy!  Then it occurred to me that I had two options.  1- allow this to ruin my race and just give in or 2- get through the rough patch and press on.  I did not want to get down on myself early; I pretty much said to myself “get it together” and then that is exactly what I did!

Miles 4-6.2; At about the mile 4 mark, I realized I was making up some time and when I looked up, I saw the 5:00 pace group not far ahead of me.  This was the pace group I had hoped to spend some time running with but because I got into my corral too late and got behind because of my disastrous first three miles, I had lost sight of them.  But here they were just a little bit ahead.  I knew if I pushed a little harder I could catch up to them.  I stopped at the water stop to take a GU and then pressed on with the 5:00 pace balloons in sight.  I saw my TT friends cheering and it was exactly the boost I needed to pick up my pace!  And then I was there- running with the pace group 🙂  The thing is, once I got there, I felt like I could go faster; I went with my gut and kept on moving.  I was feeling so good- everything was going right…this was the best I ever felt and i decided at that moment, unless anything insane happened, I was going to PR this race.  I was going to make it happen.  I reached the 10K mark at 1:07:30…I was under an 11:00/minute pace.  I had made up SO MUCH time!

Miles 6.2-10; This was the hilliest part of the course (you know, as hilly as it gets for the area) but also the best miles for me mentally.  I kept reminding myself that this was a fun race and that I was having fun.  I thought about how Kate told me that she felt like her Ironman went as well as it did because she stayed postive, so I just tried to channel all my positive energy.  I made myself run up each hill no matter what…just kept telling myself one foot in front of the other.  And every time the thought of walking crossed my mind, I just reminded myself that I was on my way to a PR!  I took a GU at mile 8 and Mile 10 was reached at 1:48.  Still under an 11:00/pace and very much on target for a PR.

Miles 11-12; In every half-marathon in the past, I have fallen apart at mile 11.  So as I approached mile 11, I had a little chat with the asphalt.  My legs were hurting…my shins were on fire and my left calf was angry.  But I was not stopping.  No way.  I directed my mind to think positive and get the frick to the finish line.  I had come this far…made up time…and was well on my way to a PR…I was.not.stopping!  I thought pushing through mile 11 was the toughest part of the race until I reached mile 12.  Now I had to pee.  I tried to run through it…just get to the finish and then pee.  But my bladder was having nothing of it- and the porta-potty lines were FAR too long.  I was NOT going to ruin my PR by waiting in a damn porta-potty line.  No friggen way.  So I did what any classy Jersey girl would do in this situation…I pee’d in the bushes.  Free of my need to pee and back on my feet running, I blasted into mile 13 ready to get to the finish.

Mile 13-13.1; The crowd support through the finish was amazing.  And not even kidding, I texted my mom to let her know I was on my way in- I didn’t want her to miss me.  I could not believe I was at the finish- I was elated.  The crowd was cheering and I saw my mom and Brian and I was running as fast as I could- and then…I crossed the line at 2:23:08!!!!!

Post-race: GLOW GLOW GLOW GLOW 🙂  Followed by some pictures, gatorade, a banana and the very slow walk back to the car.  Then it was home to sleep for a few hours because I am crazy and went into work that night!

Prior to this race, my PR was 2:27:44…so I improved by over 4 full minutes!  I have been chasing that damn PR since May 2009 and it felt so good to finally reach my goal.  In addition to a 4 minute overall PR, this was a 10 minute course PR!!!

More Notes:

  • I walked the water stops and I stopped once to stretch my calf and once to pee.  Other than that I ran the ENTIRE race.  I never stopped moving (except to pee) no matter what, I just kept going!!!
  • Mike- I looked for you at medals!  I asked all the way through the line if anyone knew where Mike was- but to no avail 😦  One guy thought I was looking for my dad and tried to direct me to the meet-up area and a few others looked at me as though I had a personality disorder.  Awesome.
  • The crowd support for this race was really good- especially in the cheer sections.  Music going, people dressed up…Philly does spectating well 🙂
  • This race would not be possible without the help of volunteers and the Philadelphia Police Department.  The officers throughout the race are wonderful.  I appreciate them being out there more than I can say.  Philadelphia cops have a tough job every day and it was a joy to see them on the course. 
  • I am quite sore.  I chaperoned an ice skating trip yesterday and that has only added to the soreness.  I plan to spin out my legs this afternoon but I am taking a week off from running.  It is officially the off season!!!

Thank you for all your support- all the well wishes and happy vibes.  My excitement over my PR has not ended yet.  I smiled through writing this whole report.  This is the report I thought I would have to wait until 2011 to write.  2010 has been a rollercoaster year- being injured and told I might not be able to run until summer…proving THAT wrong and running as early as April.  Racing back to back weekends over summer and PR’ing through them was amazing…but nothing tops this race.  This was the highlight of my year.  I had to bag so many races…and I fought with myself over each one.  I was hard on myself for not running Philly Rock and Roll…I did not feel ready and I did not feel I should race.  I know more than every that I made the right decision.  This was to be my comeback race…and my only plan was to get to the start and finish lines.  The PR is the AMAZINGLY SWEET icing on top 🙂

Photos:

Monday Brain Exchange Week 19- Giving Thanks (In Photos)

(very sorry: did not get the links up in time!)

Every Monday, at the end of the current weeks M.B.E answer, I will post a question for the following week.  This way you can cue your post for Monday if you wish.  If Monday doesn’t work for you, you can still play along any day of the week that works best. If you want to play along, all you have to do is post the question and your answer on your own blog.  Link your post to my blog so that I know you have participated, and in the following weeks post, I will link all the participant blogs from the prior week.

This Weeks Question: In the spirit of Thanksgiving…tell me what you are most thankful for; one thing, five things, or many things.  But here’s the fun part…tell me, in photos!

Parents

I hit the jackpot in the parent department!

Family

 We put the FUN in dysfunctional 🙂 

Best Friends

 Cannot imagine life without these girls

 These girls

Cousins that are more like sisters

Spending summers downtheshore

Home away from home

Teammates

 Support crew 🙂 

Coffee

How else would I function?

 My adventurous spirit

 Amazing!!!!! 

Having friends home safe from war

Thank you soldiers!

Being Alive

Cause really…isn’t it just a great thing to be here!

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Next Weeks Topic: Staying fit and healthy during the holidays

Next Weeks Question: How do you manage diet and exercise during the holidays?

North Carolina Trip Report- Kate Is An Iron(wo)man!!!

This past weekend my friend Victoria and I headed down to Wilmington, North Carolina to spectate the Beach2Battleship Ironman!

I was up at a very bright and early 5am to finish packing and was off to Vic’s house by 5:30.  As planned we were on the road by 6ish- grabbed some gas and coffee and we were on our way.  The ride was slated to be about 9 hours so we settled in for the long haul.  We were super excited and chatty and kept the laughs going the whole way.  We made a breakfast stop, some pee stops and a lunch stop and hit very little traffic 🙂  It was a smooth ride but we were super exhausted.

As soon as we got checked into the hotel we called Kate to see if she wanted to join us for dinner.  We ended up at Carrabas and I won’t lie, my meal sucked.  I am not the biggest fan of Carrabas in the first place and now I am even less of a fan. Erg.  Hey, at least the company was good!  🙂  After dinner we headed back to the hotel and went straight to bed…at 8:30pm!

IRONMAN DAY- 🙂

Wake up call was a bright and early 6am so that we could be down to the race start by 7am.  Victoria and I were almost jumping out of our skin with excitement.  I am sure most spectators have fun but I think for people who participate in triathlon it is that much more exciting!

As soon as we got to the site we found a great spot along the run in from the swim.  Spectators were not allowed at the swim start so T1 and the surrounding area was super crowded.  Luckily, I am short and Victoria is tall so we could stand in one spot and she could look over me.  Before we knew it, Kate was out of the water and running towards us.  She actually saw us before we saw her- she was smiling ear to ear and Vic and I were cheering like mad!  We ran next to her until she got into the T1 and then jetted over to the bike out to see her ride off.  We both almost missed her again, but I was able to grab a few shots from behind her as she mounted the bike and took off for 112 miles. 

Victoria and I decided not to go out to the bike course because we weren’t too familiar with the logistics.  And we wanted breakfast 🙂  Plus, we both had our own training runs to get in and we wanted to make some signs for Kate while she was on the run.  We grabbed a small bite from the hotel breakfast and then headed out on our runs.  I had 9 miles and Victoria had 13.  She is super speedy runner; we figured it would take approx the same time for us both to run our distances.  We had mapped out our runs the night before and decided to use the mile markers for the race to help guide us.  On my run out there weren’t any racers on the course yet but it was still cool to run through it- plus there were lots of people out there 🙂  I wish every training run had that many people along the way!  On my way back in from the run, I saw the first and second runners coming through.  It was really fun and exciting to be that close to them!  My run went pretty well- the first two miles my legs took some time to warm up but after that I ran really well.  If that is any indication of how Sunday will be, then I will be happy.  After our run, we grabbed lunch and chilled out for a while.  Before leaving to catch her on the run, we made our signs.  We had bought all the materials beforehand but we were too tired to make them Friday night.  Victoria and I are not very artistic but we were both very happy with our end results!

We had planned to see Kate on the run five times.  First we took the bus over to T2 to watch her come in on the bike and come out for the run.  Then we took the bus back over to where most of the run took place.  The run was a loop so we would see her around mile 3, looped back around mile 7ish and then after dinner we would come back to see her at mile 23 and again at the finish.  We did not take the signs with us on the bus so after we saw her come out of T2 we had to run back to the car to get the signs.  Except neither of us paid any attention to where we parked!  WTF!  So we were scrambing up and down streets to find the car in time to get back down to see her come through the first 5k portion.  Finally, we found the car…and not a moment too soon- as we were headed down the street, Vic spotted her.  We went running like lunatics (Kate later said: “you two came out of no where running with your signs”) and ran next to her screaming, cheering and being complete tools- but everyone loved us!  We were getting cheers from the runners 🙂  As soon as she was out of sight (and we kept up the yelling the entire time!) we headed into a cafe to grab some coffee and a snack.  Then it was back outside to see her again around mile 7.  This time we saw her coming and once again we jumped around like crazy girls screaming, hooting and hollering.  Trust me, we did Jersey proud 🙂 

As soon as mile 7 was over we headed back to the car to grab dinner and get ready to be back for the finish 🙂  Everytime we thought about her finishing we would get all giddy and excited.  As soon as we realized there was a Panera near us, we had dinner figured out!  And before we knew it, we were getting ready to head back down to the race.  We stopped back to get changed (we changed four times in the day!) and then grabbed a coffee (there were numerous coffee stops throughout the weekend) and parked ourselves at mile 23.  After a while had passed, I was getting antsy so I decided to walk back down to meet up with Kate- I ran into another girl looking for her sister and we got talking.  A few minutes into the convo I discovered this girl was Kate’s sister!!!  She was also looking for Kate.  And even funnier…at mile 23, we were standing next to Kate’s parents!  Small world!  We walked until we saw Kate and then began to run with her.  She was still so happy and smiley 🙂  It was great to find her in such great spirits.  We had about a mile to go before getting back to the 23 marker and we pretty much just chatted while we ran…asking her how she was and how the race was…etc.  At mile 23, I told Vic I was going to keep going with Kate and her sister and I would meet her across the bridge at Mile 25.  (Note: Vic was not wearing her running shoes, so she carried the bags on the bus, over to mile 25.  This was the same bus we took earlier in the day.)  Kate, her sister and I continued to run and in no time we were at Mile 25…Vic joined us (bags and all) and we all took Kate to Mile 26.  We left her to cross the finish line and met her as she came through.

KATE WAS OFFICIALLY AN IRONMAN FINISHER!!!!!

The whole day was amazing.  As I write this (over the course of a day or so) I find myself struggling to articulate the days events.  It was so busy and exciting and really…it is so hard to put into words.  Victoria and I had an absolute blast- we kept all Kate’s friends updated, met so many fun and exciting people and I cannot even tell you what it was like to run with Kate.  What an amazing opportunity to support my friend. 

Post Race- we celebrated with mini-wine bottles and headed back to the car.  Kate was cold and tired and honestly, we were tired too.  He hit up an IHOP, ate some pancakes and headed back for some much needed sleep.

Sunday morning we met up with Kate for breakfast (IHOP again, 10 hours later 🙂 ) and then took off for the long drive home.  And it was a looonnnnnnggggg drive!

Like I said, this report is not as detailed as I wish I could write it- I don’t think I could ever write out everything that went on, all the crazy fun we had.  From the trip down jamming to old school rap, to our million pee stops, to talking about “boys and fashion and nails…yeah right”, to ardvarks and buffalo’s, to Walmart trips, to young waiters hitting on us, to meeting people, to running with cowbells, to wayyyyy too many coffee stops, to pumpkin obsession, to our messy hotel room, to everything…the whole trip was just awesome.

You didn’t think I’d leave you without photos, did you?!?!?

Dinner- night before race

T1- look at all those bikes!

Out of the swim- just missed her!

Bike- there she goes!

Running out of T2

Still running…still smiling!

Finisher!!!!

Post-Race 🙂

And these were our signs:

 

If you ever get the chance to spectate an IM, I highly recommend the experience.