My Meat Free Week

So last week I decided to try to not eat meat all week.  I was going to still eat fish (sorry, but I love seafood) and some cheese.  Overall, I did very well.  I wasn’t hungry, and actually felt better as the week went on.  I already ate a ton of vegetables, and in the past couple months added brussels sprouts and kale to my array.  I love fruit, and most grains, beans, and nuts.  So, I added in some tofu and kept the greek yogurt (my favorite breakfast is greek yogurt, almond butter and berries).  I really enjoyed the week, my body felt lighter and more alert.  I didn’t once crave beef or even chicken.  Anything that called for meat, I found a non-meat source of protein to exchange.  I have scoured sites and blogs and twitter for recipes and ideas.  Thank you to EVERYONE that posts them, this blog isn’t log enough to thank you all.  However, my true test of this…. my husband made bacon Sunday.  Not just on Sunday, but after I came home from an 8.5 mile run and was now STARVING he made bacon.  And, I didn’t want it.  Did it smell good, yes, but, I didn’t want to eat it.  Wow.  My only set back so far was a lunch meeting on Monday.  I first ordered a salad, they didn’t have that any more, then eggplant, and apparently didn’t have that, so a chicken sandwich was ordered for me.  I ate very little of the bread, but the chicken didn’t taste great and I felt sluggish the rest of the day.  Have been good other than that incident!

So, Since December 2010 I have given up soda, fast food, and 99% of processed foods (I am still a sucker for m&ms). 

Up next: continuing this lifestyle change and looking at lessening my gluten intake.  Any recipes, suggestions or ideas for that or for being meat-free?  I have already discovered and love brown rice pasta!

Here was tonight’s dinner: brown rice pasta, shrimp, edamame, peas, kale and a small amount of parmesan. 

Run, Live, Laugh, Love…. smile every day, it makes all the difference in the outcome of the day if you start with a smile!!

Color Fun and Long Run

Good evening everyone!  I am wrapping up another amazing and active weekend, and wishing I had just one more day….

On Saturday, I participated in the First Annual Color Run Las Vegas: www.thecolorrun.com.  If there is one near you, do this!!!  Anyway, a friend of mine who is starting to become physically active wanted to do this, but to walk, not run.  So, her, myself, and two other friends chose to walk the Color Run.  Along the way, we ran into many other friends.  BTW, this run is a fun run, no timing, just coloring fun.  Everyone that registers gets a pack of color (I heard it was colored corn starch) to use at the finish line party.  Once you start, every kilometer you are hit with a different colored powder by race workers.  It was SO fun!  Race attire of a white shirt is “required”.  We started out like this:

and ended looking like this:

The best part, in Las Vegas, we didn’t even stand out, lol.  It was a really good time with friends, and the atmosphere was amazing.  The Color Run locally supported Three Square, the food bank. 

After this adventure, we grabbed some grub and then headed home to shower.  Overall the color came out easily, where you sweat it kinda stained, as evidenced by my purple toes.  I later met up with K&K two of the girls in the photo for pedicures and sushi.  The look the guy at the nail place gave me when he saw my purple feet was priceless… I just shrugged, too hard to explain.  Thankfully, K&K had purple feet too. 

At sushi, I decided to be brave and try two new things.  Oyster shooter and Uni.  Yum on both, although the oyster shooter was a bit spicy.  The texture of the uni is something to get used to though…

Another running friend and a friend’s son participated in the Las Vegas Track Club’s Sole Purpose 2miler (they also held a 10k).  The track club was taking sneaker donations as well, since I couldn’t make it, I made sure they got my bag of old sneakers!  Glad they could go to a good cause vs the trash. 

Which, brings us to today… I was going to meet CR again for a 10 miler, her plan was to run 5 walk 1 run 4.  I was willing to try, because this gal is motivating, and when I run with her, I just seem to keep pushing myself and mental walls crumble (I believe her that it’s me doing the work, but her company is helpful).  It helped that she was planning on heading out at 11, so I didn’t have to get up early.  Then, came the text in the AM that she twisted her ankle the night before in what I will call a classic Clutzy Ange move…. I can totally relate CR.  So, she wasn’t running.  All morning I was pretty ADD, I would start one thing, then something else would catch my attention, it was not pretty.  Seriously, at like 10ish I ran upstairs to change to go running and thought hmm, I should finish cleaning out the clothes that no longer fit so I can donate them.  See what I mean, TOTALLY ADD.  Somehow I got ready, prepped my water bottle, had my cliff shot, and headed out the door.  I decided to aim for 8 today, as I did 10 last week and will probably do 12 next week before I taper for the half.  So, in sticking with CR’s plan, I was going to run 3.5 walk 1, run 3.5.  Well, I ended up running 3.5, walking 1, and running 4.  8.5 miles total.  My pace was crazy consistent.  Miles 4 and 5 were at 13:30 (I walked from mile 3.5-4.5) and the other miles were 10:30 average.  So, thankfully my pace is on point.  I am excited.  Initially the 1 mile walk seemed to take too long, but it definitely helped me plow through the last 4 miles.  However, mentally my head was not in this run.  It was a struggle at times to keep my body in it.  I was still ADD and unfocused.  It was by far, a good mental training day, and it really did help me keep going when turning around or cutting it short and going home to my couch sounded way better.  I am glad I went, and glad I kicked butt pace wise.  Hopefully, tomorrow when I head out for a short 2-3, my head is more into it.   I am happy I got in 15.5 miles this week and 14.5 were running… very very happy with that!!

Workout plans: I am doing yoga Tuesday, short run and ST tomorrow, a run Wed, ST Thursday and resting Friday.  This weekend, I will get 11-12 miles in. 

As for cooking…. nothing spectacular, just some veggies around the house, potatoes and crab cakes for dinner tonight.  Have several recipes to choose from to try this week.  Stay tuned…. (oh, and I added one for this past week under the recipes tab).

However…. I did head to the grocery store without a list (this is NEVER good for me, especially with today’s ADD episodes) so in winging it, got my standard veggies and fruit, grains, beans, etc.  When I got home, I realized I already had a lot of broccoli, and go figure, bought more.  Guess what I am eating all week?!  Good thing I like it!!

I apologize, I didn’t get to the race lists… I will work on those this week, promise.  As for now, I am going to go do some reading and relax.  Have to pick a co-worker who is coming to town to work with me for the week up at the airport at 11pm. 

Run, live, laugh, love.  Have a wonderful Monday everyone, and remember to be active!!

Finally Friday….

Actually, this week has been pretty darn good all around, so I can’t complain. 

I achieved the goal of running 5 miles straight with no walk breaks.  This was big for me, as anything over 4 I was doing a run/walk combo on.  I kept an average pace of 11 min per mile, and had several inclines throughout.  My running buddy Wednesday night, taught me how to “slay the dragon” as well on those inclines.  It was a great night, and I am still flying high.  So thank you Charlene: and everyone, please check out her blog: www.fabrunning.com!!  Apparently, my next goal is 8 miles with no walk breaks.  Thankfully she is giving me a few weeks to work towards this, lol.  She even gave me this gift:

to always remind me I can accomplish what I set my mind to, and to remember: Form, Attitude, and Breathing.  I am F.A.B.-O and Charlene, so are you!  I have probably thanked her a bazillion times, and for what she has done for me in just two runs on knocking down mental walls and reminding me of my abilities and confidence, I am not sure it’s enough.  Cannot wait for her to kill it at her first full marathon in March! 

So… weekend plans: The Color Run, but, I am actually walking it with a couple friends.  This run/walk is all for fun, it is not timed, and… well, you get sprayed with colored cornstarch at every Km.  Anyway, one friend that wanted to do this isn’t a runner and is trying to become more physically active, so, I am walking with her, and very excited to do so!  Cannot wait to post pics from this event (I even bought colorful and fun socks for it)!!  Then, on Sunday I am meeting a few new running buddies for a 10 mile run.  This will actually be the first time I run 10 miles two weekends in a row, but, if I set my pace, and stick with my comfortable run/walk ratio, I will have no problems on the 10 miles.  Sprinkle in some dog walks, some workouts and some yoga, and it will be a nice weekend.  I am looking forward to it, as next week is going to be hectic at work. 

My other goal this weekend is to go through and list all of my 2011 races and times as well as my 2012 race schedule plan.  

To all those racing this weekend, have a great race, finish strong.  I know locally there are a few good events: the Las Vegas Track Club is doing a Sole Purpose 10k/2m and the Color Run.  RunDisney is holding the Princess Half… best of luck to everyone there, cannot imagine the costumes that will be at that event!! 

Remember, have fun, smile often, and love completely.  Enjoy the weekend and most importantly, enjoy the run!! 

Fat Tuesday….

Or, let’s call today: From Fat to Fit.

So, I know in my initial post I discussed how I was overweight… I figured I would give a little more insight.  And, today being Fat Tuesday…. let’s talk about how far we have come in our lives.  I remember years past making donuts for today (in some places today is fausnaught (donut) day) with my mom… and enjoying plenty of donuts.  When I look back at how I ate, I am surprised my body didn’t totally revolt.  I did not treat it well.  I smoked, I drank, I ate fast food and all kinds of junk and candy, slept poorly, and occasionally tried working out.  I’ll admit it, I LOVE food.  Here is my unofficial before picture, taken Christmas 2010:

So, after seeing this photo, I made some serious changes in my life, and I am happy to say I have never looked back.  I actually now get grossed out at the smell of fast food, drink on occasion (hey, I am still human), exercise regularly, and became a runner.  Some days it is still hard to wrap my head around this.  It is no longer a forced decision to choose the healthy option on the menu when I dine out.  I love that my grocery cart is full of produce and fresh foods.  I love cooking, and to be honest, still love food.  I just eat the right types of foods.  And, they taste amazing when fresh prepared!  So, I dropped around 50 lbs.  Not too bad, but I am not at the goal weight… yet. 

I have always been a fan of The Biggest Loser (not so much this season)… but, on facebook was following Sarah Nitta, who was on season 11, she started a Commitment Team to help keep people struggling with weight loss motivated through the power of online friendships.  I have “met” several people… but, a few that really stand out: Tracy, my 2012 running motivation; AMJ: who has lost well over 60 lbs with a lot of personal struggles along the way, and Tim Fenell. 

Tim has lost over 100 lbs.  He seriously changed his life.  He started at 327 and is now around 200 lbs.  He has now run 3 half marathons, and is working on a personal goal of his: 12 half marathons in 12 months.  He’s got 2 down so far this year.  Please check out his story at www.timfenell.com or find his page on FB: Tim’s 12 in 12, talk about motivation!!  His before and after shots…. unreal.  He doesn’t even look like the same person!! 

Tim and I are actually also going to finally meet (ah, the power of running!) we are running a half marathon together March 17th.  Finally!! 

So, all this talk about changing… I now workout in some way 4-6 days a week.  I run at least 3.  I am working on eliminating my walk breaks altogether on long runs.  I am continuing to eat healthy, including giving up most meats, most of the time.  I really love eating fish, so am not ready to make the switch to vegetarianism.  Yet….

The point of this blog, is you can change your life.  It’s never too late, your never too old, it’s never too hard.  To really show change…. before I moved to Vegas, I would spend all day on St. Patty’s Day with friends drinking and watching the parade in town.  I mean we would be drinking with breakfast and continuing all day.  This year, for St. Patty’s day, I will be running a half marathon (my second) at 8:00 am.  Talk about changes!  (I may still have a drink at some point that day, I am part Irish). 

And, here is my unofficial after picture, taken as I crossed the finish line at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon:

What changes are you going to make for yourself?

Last Day of a 3-Day Weekend

So today was great… a bonus day on the weekend, which, for as busy as this weekend was, was a nice treat.  The plan for today: brunch with Karen, then cleaning the house.  Squeezing in some workout time.  Oh, and that darn laundry.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I can avoid housecleaning like there’s no tomorrow.  Unless Hoarders is on, then I feel the need to scrub my house in bleach.  Or, oddly, if I have a big deadline, then I prefer to clean vs work on project.  Anyway, after brunch I stopped by a sporting goods store to see if they had the foam roller I wanted in stock.  Nope… oh well.  Then, home to grab the hubby to head to the Office Depot to get some stuff printed.  Perfect.  Aimless window shopping is the ideal way to avoid cleaning.  So, wondering around the store I found this:

Okay, so really, I am NOT girly, at all.  It kinda annoys my one friend who is girly enough for both of us.  Her name starts with a J, but, for now, we won’t sell her out.  However, shoes… shoes are my weakness.  I love shoes, of all styles, shapes, you name it.  As long as they are not pink or sparkly.  Now, had it just been me at the store, this would absolutely be sitting on my desk right now.  Alas, that silly husband thought I should not spend the money on it right now.  Hmm, right now?  Okay.  So, then I convince him to go to Target.  I can wander aimlessly there for hours… who needs to scrub a bathroom anyway.  And, I had already gotten in the core/glutes/hips workout this morning.  So…. wandering around Target I realized people will spend money on the silliest of things.  I understand some people like pink and are girly.  But, is there really a need for this?!:

Not to mention, it is $80.  Wow.  And J… if you would buy this… please don’t tell me.  I don’t want to know.

So, we left, and I convinced him to stop for coffee.  Yay, more cleaning avoidance.  But, I came home, started the laundry 🙁  and then, took the dogs out for a nice 2 mile jog.  🙂  They were very happy.  I didn’t even get overly annoyed at the lady that sighed heavily and drug her uncooperative dogs clear across the street at the sight of me with my dogs.  Hey, my dogs were beyond happy to be out running with me lady, you and your dogs were not a concern of theirs.  I know they are big, but really, they are gentle giants.

Well, the laundry is still going… I FINALLY got all the invites done, stuffed and stamped to send out for our belated wedding reception back East.  We were married in November here in Vegas at the JP and are going to celebrate with our families in April.  I worked out, took the dogs for a jog, and, may even squeeze in an upper body workout.  I have been extremely productive this weekend.

We did buy white board cleaner and new markers today.  So I can now turn my husband’s previous studio white board into my workout board (sorry about the shadow in the pic):

Tomorrow it’s back to work, then yoga with Kristin.  Wednesday, I am going to give 1010% and running 5-6 miles with no walk breaks.  I know I can do this physically, I just have to convince my mind that I can do it.  It’s the mental part I am struggling with.  So, please, send the motivation my way!  Then, a rest day.  Going for another 10 miles this weekend with new running friends.

Have a great evening!!

Weekend Recap

Well, it was  a great weekend so far, and thankfully, I have off tomorrow to do that not so fun stuff like cleaning and laundry.  Yesterday was date day with the hubby.  Our goal is to have two date days a month, more if we can.  So this weekend was active date.  I know he had a great time, but, am sure the idea of hiking wasn’t top on his list.  Since we had plans for dinner at night we ventured to Red Rock Canyon with the dogs, to get them out and moving.  To say they loved it is an understatement!!

Mia, so happy she’s smiling!

….and Brinx loving life.  We hiked them 2 1/2 miles through sand and rocks.  It was really a great time, and they were loved by everyone!  We even got them to sit still for a family photo!

Then, it was time for dinner… we went to Marinelli’s at the M.  I had amazing pumpkin squash ravioli in a brown butter sage sauce.  I have now harassed my brother into giving me a recipe to make this brown butter sauce.  (The brother is a chef)  Apparently, it’s not difficult, we will try it this week.

Today, I set out for a long run, hoping to do 8-10.  Overall I felt great on the run, my legs were strong, my breathing was good…. even with head winds I swear in EVERY direction I ran.  I ended up doing 10 miles, and between miles 8-9 I struggled, but got through it, and finished strong.  My goal for the next half was to run at an 11:30 pace (I’m a slower runner) for the first 10, and 11 min for the last 3.  So, today’s run, my pace was 11 min.  Guess I have to think this over…. maybe I can do a better pace.  I need to figure out in the next few weeks if I should stick with the plan, or try to do an 11 min and speed up to a 10:30…. decisions decisions.

I did realize in today’s run that running into the guard pole in front of target that is mid-thigh height, was not a smart thing to do.  BTW, I trip standing still.  How as a runner and yogi I still have no balance is beyond me, but, really, I have not.  As the yoga teacher says when we do tree pose, “for some, it’s a windy day”.  Anyway, I felt it instantly when I ran into the pole yesterday, and hoped it was better.  But that aggravating knot pain hung out the entire 10 miles.  Grr.

Based on conversations and recommendations, I am investing in a foam roller this week.  Have any of you used one?

My goal this week, is about 18 miles running, yoga 2x, and strength training 2-3 times.  Not too bad I guess.  My food goal, trying to be a pesce-vegetarian for the week.  I am pretty confident I can do this, but not sure how the no cheese thing will go…. maybe I should just give up beef, pork, etc… and stick with fish and on the rare occasion, chicken.  We’ll see how the week goes.  If anyone has any vegetarian or fish recipes, please send them my way!!

How I got here

How I got here…. Well, let’s just say the last few years have been life changing, to say the least.  On a visit back to Vegas to see my best friend, I met one of her current roommates (quick FYI, I lived in Vegas briefly and left) and well, he and I are now married.  I’ll spare you the details of the quirky love story.  Suffice it to say, after a summer of emails and phone calls, we drove cross country together.  Since we still liked each other afterwards, we became a couple and 10 months later, I was back in Vegas. 
So, I was back in Vegas, unemployed, but happy.  Oh, and about 65 lbs overweight and unhealthy to put it mildly.  Some friends and I, one local (Karen), one in PA (Jen) decided to try this Couch to 5k program and run a 5k.  I somehow survived the program and my first 5k, but slacked considerably after that race in October 2010.  Then, in January I saw photos of me at Christmas.  Wow.  I couldn’t believe that was me.  So… a new journey began.  I set out to lose weight and get healthy.  I started running again.  I researched all about running, ways to get better at it, programs to try, etc.  I joined a gym briefly (more on that later).  I revamped my eating completely.  It worked.  I dropped 50 lbs.  I BECAME a runner.  Seriously, I’m a runner.  I’ll admit, here and there I dabbled in it, never stuck with it, and sucked at it.  But this time, something changed…. I loved it.  Loved how I felt, loved to see myself get better.  I ran 15 races in 2011 between a 5k and 11k distance.  I ran my first ever half marathon this past January, the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, in 2:33.  I now live to run. This whole running thing is apparently contagious.  Jen started and is now a runner as did my friend Kristin.  They are great running partners!  Even though I only see Jen a few times a year….
So, that is how I got here.  The short version.  I am 37, I am a runner.  For a day job I am a health educator and manage a research grant.  It’s fun and inspirational to encourage people to get healthy!  I volunteer doing social media.  I have two awesome dogs who you will undoubtedly hear all about, Brinx (mastiff mix) and Mia (boxer/shepherd mix).  I also love yoga as much as I love running, for many of the same reasons.  My life is very full of love, laughter and inspiration.  I want to share that with you.
(Mia on the left, Brinx on the right… and the hubby in the back)
The end of 2011 was hectic, putting it nicely, but all for great reasons: I got married, one of my best friends (Jen) got married, I graduated with my masters, the holidays, you get my point.  But for the first time in my life amidst chaos, I stuck to something.  I still ran several times a week, increased my mileage each week and prepared to kick butt at my first half.  So, now that life appears to be calming down (I so just jinxed myself), I will drop the last 15ish lbs.  You will all have to hold me to it. 
I will be sharing my journey through life with all of you.  The running, the smiles, the silly things my dogs do, even the bumps in the road along the way.  I will be hoping to inspire and motivate you to take a step into the unknown, to care for and love yourself and to succeed in life.  To make it fun, I’ll even post a recipe of the week, so you can try new meals!  On that note, I love food, so feel free to share recipes!! 
So welcome to my insane life!