Monday, November 23, 2015

Becoming a Run on Thanksgiving Person

I continue to have people ask me all the time how I lost all the weight and how I've maintained it. There is no 'simple' answer. Holidays are especially hard. So how the heck did I go from starve myself all day leading up to 3 Thanksgiving dinners to running a half marathon before 10am on the Thanksgiving?

Lifestyle Change
I was walking out of the door yesterday to go on one of my first 40 degrees and windy runs this fall, my friend said, "You're the type of person that runs on Thanksgiving, you've got this." The statement stuck with me throughout my run. It's true, now I'm the person that runs on Thanksgiving. My lifestyle has completely changed since I started Weight Watchers and running, but it didn't happen over night. 

Tiny Goals
My lifestyle has changed one week at a time by making tiny goals each week. For example, one week my goal might be to run 4 days. Another week my goal could be to drink a cup of water before dinner. Then my next week could be to stock up my refrigerator with 0 points food like fruits and vegetables. These tiny goals build upon each other and lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Earn it
Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. Thanksgiving means family and food-- plain and simple. I love family and I love food. The last 2 years, I have changed the way I celebrate Thanksgiving, from the day that I overeat and literally have a food coma, to a long run day. I've ran 8 or more miles the last 2 Thanksgivings followed by family and food then shopping-- earning myself the extra points to eat all my favorites while staying in control of my eating.

Only Favorite Foods
Thanksgiving, my goal could be to avoid the foods that I don't LOVE-- like rolls, they're pretty good and all but I'm not a huge bread eater. Before Weight Watchers, I would have ate the 2 rolls before I even remembered that I don't really love them. Now, I strictly eat the foods I love because I'm not wasting my hard earned points on anything less than the best. So dinner-- Turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potato mixture with some veggies on the side followed by a big piece of pecan pie will do. 

Staying in Control
Knowing myself, I've learned a lot about my relationship with food. I know that if I don't eat within about 4 hours, I'm going to get hangry. By the time I hit the hangry state, I'm already out of control with my eating. I will over eat then crash right afterwards. To stay in control, I must stay ahead of my hunger so I snack on veggies, fruits, and low points foods particularly on Thanksgiving.

My life is completely different now from how it was 3 years ago. Now, I'm a Run-to-Earn-Turkey kind of girl.

50 in 5 Completed Races:
California- San Francisco Marathon- 7/26/2015
District of Columbia- Navy Air Force 9/20/2015
Maryland- Baltimore Running Festival Half 10/17/2015
Virginia- Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half 9/6/2015
Pennsylvania- Philadelphia Oktoberfest 13.1 10/25/2015
Delaware- C&D Half Marathon- 11/7/2015

Richmond November 15, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Three Months, 4 States

Finally I'm writing again. After starting school and getting married to my amazingly patient husband in September, I spent the end of September and early October in a stress-induced sick, stupor. Turns out one of the best remedies for stress is running but when I'm so tired I can barely move, it's a bit difficult to convince myself to run. 

I've done some running, but I haven't reached nearly high enough mileage for the November 14th Richmond marathon in 3 weeks! Yikes, it might be time to look at dropping down to the half marathon.

It's been exactly three months today, since I started my 50 in 5 years goal. Since July, I have checked off California, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District from my list of states. 

I've had to rethink my 50 in 5 goal, instead of running my dream races like Chicago, NYC, and Boston marathons, I've decided to run small, cheap, medal earning races. I'm hoping this will bring down my costs-- especially since some races are so highly priced (San Francisco was $170!!!). My latest race, today, Oktoberfest Philadelphia was only $59.

States Completed:
California- San Francisco Marathon- 7/26/2015
District of Columbia- Navy Air Force 9/20/2015
Maryland- Baltimore Running Festival Half 10/17/2015
Virginia- Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half 9/6/2015
Pennsylvania- Philadelphia Oktoberfest 13.1 10/25/2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

50 States in 5 Years

Today is my 25th birthday and tomorrow is the San Francisco marathon, my second full marathon. Just like every time I'm about to run a race, I have the race jitters. When you're about to run a race, there are about a million things running through your head-- have you've trained enough? Are you prepared for everything? Do you have the right clothes, enough bandaids, Gatorade, and Gu (flavored, nutrient-filled vaseline-like substance)? Are you're going to make it? Then right before the race, there's this calm that comes over you, all the doubts go away. You just push it all out of your mind, shut up, and run. I'm waiting for the calm to come tomorrow morning.
Training Run (20 miles) Before and After the run.
Like most race runners-- I'm highly addicted to the rush I get from crossing the finish line. Each time, I find myself thinking of the next race I want to run. 

My next goal, is to run a race, half marathon or marathon, in each of the 50 states before I turn 30. I've been planning this goal for a while now. Luckily, there are these running events put on by running groups such as Mainly Marathons that runners can hit 7 races, 7 states, in 7 days. I'm hoping to knock at least a couple states off my list that way.

Although I have big running goals, I'm hoping that I have enough money to get to and run races in all 50 states. Races are pricey-- ranging from $40-250 per race plus the cost of hotels and food. But, I figure that I better do this while I'm young. There's a saying that I absolutely love: There will come a day when I will not longer be able to run, my body will give out, my knees will give up, my mind won't be quite so sharp, and my body will be laid to rest, but today is not that day. Today, I will run.

So tomorrow, as I run across the Golden Gate Bridge, for a bit I hope to stop thinking about my journey here-- all the training, preparation, and planning that goes into a marathon and my future with all the races I plan to run. During my marathon, I will remain present in mind and lay the future and past aside as I run in the moment. Here's to 25 years on this earth, today, and the upcoming years-- I will to strive to make them the best.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How to Eat like a Marathon Running Weight Watcher

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a food addict. I like shopping for, prepping, cooking, and most importantly eating food. I used to think that to be healthy, I would need to cut out all the sugar, carbs, chocolate, fat or whatever the latest diet trend of the day happened to be. So I'd spend one day eating salad (no dressing), yogurt, and a tick-tac for dessert and the next day I'd eat everything in the house and an entire bag of Reeses.

When I finally joined Weight Watchers, I realized that I really could eat any food that I wanted as long as I ate it in moderation. So I still go to seafood buffets because they are my absolute favorite but I start with broccoli, mushrooms, and salads before I move onto the buttery, shell-fish heaven on a plate. This helps me to savor the main course but still get the food that I want. Another plus is that I'm still eating with everyone else and no sitting there drooling and dreaming about having just one more plate. I can still stay within my WW points range too.

In order to be able to run for 5+ miles, it is so important to eat. You really have to eat the right foods too or you'll end up in a port-a-potty, praying, and crossing the finish line 20 minutes later than your pace group. So my biggest tip when people ask me for eating advice is to eat TONS, like literally tons, of fruits and vegetables.

Add Vegetable to Everything
I add vegetables to every single meal in some way. When we eat spaghetti, I put grilled mushrooms on top. I should own stock in the Steamables frozen food bags, my freezer is stocked to the brim with snow peas, broccoli, mixed vegetables, and whatever other veggies look good to me. Especially during the school year, I'm too tired to cut and cook veggies so sometimes I buy them already and that really makes it more convenient to eat more vegetables.

This is a quick lunch for me. I sauté peppers (prepackaged and cut), add balsamic vinaigrette, and mushrooms. Heat a wrap for about 10 sec. in the microwave then add cheese. 

I've even convinced Thomas to do meatless Mondays with me. I make a vegetable as the main dish, my absolute favorite being Poor Man's Crab cakes, a recipe from Clyde Howard's Farm, they're made out of zucchini and taste exactly like crab cakes. I make a remoulade to go on top too.

Snack on Fruits 
Snacking on fruits throughout the day has saved me so many times from afternoon, boredom hunger. I normally have apples, oranges, and bananas in the house at all times then I add in season berries, peaches, etc. You can also try putting extra fruit like strawberries or raspberries in smoothies to bulk up the recipe and add extra fruit goodness.

To eat like a marathon running Weight Watcher, you should try to fill up on fruits and vegetables. Fats, carbs, and protein are important too but it can be scary, especially for a Weight Watcher, to add those at first. There are plenty of recipes to make vegetables and fruits taste great. Share your favorite recipes in the comment section so that we can all try new ways to get fruits and veggies into our diet.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

10 Reasons Why Running is the Perfect Introvert Sport

Introverts aren't necessarily ant-social, we just recharge by being alone. We love all our friends and family but we just have to be by ourselves, sometimes. Running gives us a reason to be alone that doesn't make us feel like complete jerks.

1. Crazy Eating Habits 

No one wants to eat with us. Our crazy fueling habits disgust the average human being. We'll also probably try to steal anything that looks like it's yummy and full of carbs off your plate.

2. Long Runs

Nothing says alone time like: "Hey, I'm going to run 20 miles. See you in 4 hours!"

3. Snot Rockets & Spit

No one wants to be close to us when we're spewing bodily fluids. We're probably covered in sweat, blood, tears, mud, shit, and snot. You definitely want to stay out of our personal bubble.

4. Slow Running

We don't want to hold you back. "O honey, you don't want to run with me. I'm a slow runner, go ahead..."

5. Shoe Shopping
We're going to spend a good 200-300 miles with these bad boys. You don't want to go shoe shopping with us, it's going to take a while.

6. Prep time
I'm sorry I can't go out today, I have a long run tomorrow.

7. Recovery time

I'm sorry I can't go out today, I had a long run yesterday.

8. Less Small Talk

Introverts are notoriously bad at small talk. When we're running it's socially acceptable for us to only say the important stuff.

9. Smelliness 

My mom once looked at me after a race and said, "All runners have a smell, yuck." I proceeded to ask her if I smell and she said, "O no honey, not you." Yea right! After a run, I smell like a bag of shit wrapped in onions. Nothing says don't talk to me like smelly pit-sweat that reaches your waist and stains from substances we'd rather not know the origin of.

10. Races

But ultimately, we do actually want to be around people. We're just not that good at it. Races give us a way to be surrounded by people without the expectations of small talk and constant conversation. We get to be with others, while also having an excuse to move along or stay behind.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

So you wanna run your first race?

Recently, I've been slacking a lot on writing. But now that schools out for summer, this Teacher-Runner is hitting the pavement and blog board to prepare for my next race. Look out San Francisco Marathon, here I come.

Alright ladies and gentlemen, it's almost time to start training for the fall race season. One question I get a lot is: How do I prepare for my first race?

Quotes often turn into mantras for me while I'm running. Sometimes, I have such a hard time getting started but once I do, I feel great. Try something new, try a different race, but remember there is always a beginning and everyone has a time in their life when they were just starting something. 

I highly suggest starting a training plan, most plans are 12-20 weeks long. My favorite training plans are Hal Higdon's plans. He's a long time runner and Runner's World writer. He has plans for everyone: 5K, half, and full marathons and novice, intermediate, advanced and even senior plans.

Here is a link to his 5K novice page:

Invest in a good pair of running shoes. I highly suggest going to a shoe shop, like VA Runner, to have a specialist fit you for your perfect shoe. Sketchers might be "cute" but they're not the best for running.

Also, don't wear a brand new pair of shoes for a race.

Water, water, water

Water is so important for runners. You should make sure you drink plenty of water the day before, the day of the run, and after the run.

Other beverages: Even though some people don't believe in it, I drink coffee before every run but to be far I drink coffee like an addict. If you're running a long run or it's hot out, make sure to drink some sort of drink with electrolytes, like Gatorade, after the run to replenish your body with the essentials after you've sweat out everything.


Don't each anything out of the ordinary before your run. I ate jalapeños about an hour before my first 5K run, BIG mistake. My stomach was killing me. But obviously I still didn't learn, I ate the spiciest Chipotle burrito bowl the night before my marathon, horrible idea. Learn from my mistakes, don't eat spicy. Many runners eat pasta the night before they run.

You will be nervous before your first run. Try to get a full night's sleep. Sleep is so important. I once heard that runners should add 10 extra minutes a night of sleep for each additional mile that they add weekly during training.

I absolutely love it when people ask me for advice about weight loss and running, partly because it gives me time to think back and reflect on my journey but mostly because I love helping other people and seeing their success. Please send me a message, email, or smoke signal if you have any questions. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Hard Runs

Running isn't all rainbows, unicorns, and lollipops. There are days when running is brutal, like today. It's March 29th and the temperature was in the low 40s for most of the day with a ridiculous windchill. The winter months are ruthless to me, I hate the feeling of being cold more than anything. Hints why I haven't posted to my blog in a very long time. During the frosty months, I turn into a gym runner, which means I dwindle down to about 3 miles a run, maybe 6 on the weekends and blast Pandora in my headphones to keep me going. So today's run was raw, painful, and bleak, it happens that way sometimes.

There's a point in most every run that I have, where I stop bitching to myself about how tired, sore, or cold that I am and relax into my run. Normally it takes me about a mile or two to shut up and run. I call this process, "settling into my run". In reality, it's probably just my runner's high kicking in. Today, it literally took me 7 miles to settle. 

This woman is one of my heros. Her name is Hyvon Ngetich, she is an elite runner.  Ngetich made the news a couple months back at the Austin marathon when she collapsed at the 23 mile mark. She refused to get in a wheelchair and literally crawled to the finish line.

About two miles in, I had to find a bathroom. Then I spent about 3 miles crying to myself and yelling into the wind, "Why is it to $#@!ing cold outside!?" I convinced myself that instead of my scheduled 12 miles, I would just run 10 and call it a day. Who cares if I have training to do!? At about 6.5 miles, the tears and whining had stopped. I started saying my life-mantra, the Serenity Prayer, which I say to myself when things are particularly rough. I repeated it to myself as I ran up a hellacious hill. 

Then, I hit the 7 mile mark. I started to calm and feel a bit warmer. I decided I'd push myself and turn around to go home at about 7.5 miles that would put me almost back up to my scheduled 12 miles. The rest of the run, I was in a daze. I made it 12 miles today and that was a victory.

Although there are days when I want to do anything and everything but strap on my tennis shoes. Running is my medicine. Sure, there are side effects like soreness, fatigue, complaining, sunburn, chaffing, stomach issues, etc. But once the running kicks in there is nothing like the feeling I get from a long run. I feel strong, happy, healthy and afterwards I drift into a numb peace. That's why I run.