Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charleston Turkey Day Run & Wobble Gobble 5K: Race Recap

I didn't have to work this Thanksgiving and got to visit some of my mom's family for the weekend.  My mom is one of five children and every Thanksgiving we all try get together.  This year we stayed in a lovely house on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.  Two of my mom's siblings and their families were able to make it this year.  It was a short visit but I had a great time with everyone.  

Thanksgiving morning most of the family got up early to make our way into Charleston for the 35th Annual Turkey Day Run and Wobble Gobble 5K.  It is the largest 5K in the state and this year there was a new record of over 6000 participants! 

It was a colder morning than I was expecting and had to borrow my brother, Patrick's coat to stay warm before the race.  

Pre race they were handing out Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  My sister, Caroline, and I decided to split one as our "pre race fuel."  They were making the doughnuts right in the square so it was warm and fresh!

We all lined up together, but split into different groups as we ran.  Patrick, Caroline, Mom and I ran together for the first mile.  They decided to take a walk break, but I was feeling good and kept running along and ended up running the whole race.  

The race path has us run from Marion Square down to the harbor and back down King Street.  We passed quite a few Charleston landmarks on the run so it was a pretty run.  At mile three I ran into my Aunt Wendy and ran with her for a second before continuing forward.  I was feeling good and thought I might be able to earn a a new PR.  Soon came the finish line where I picked up pace to cross it with a smile.  There was a bit of a traffic jam at the line as people were tearing off their timing chips turn in.  I checked and stopped my Garmin right as I tapped my timing chip to the sensor.  I achieved a new 5K PR by five seconds - 35:16!  This race was kind of last minute thing since I didn't even think I was going to make it and to PR, if only by a few seconds is pretty cool.  

We all met up in the square after the race where there was water, beer, food, and even a band playing.  
fam turkeydayrace
The Turkey Day Runners!
We made our way back to Kiawah to cook and enjoy the rest of our Thanksgiving.  After our meal everyone took a walk along the beach while the sun was setting.  It was really pretty and we had a great time.  The weekend went by so fast, but I'm really thankful for the time I got to be with my family!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Time to Make a Change

It's been awhile since I have talked about my weight loss journey.  More of a detailed story is here, but in short over the past four years I have lost, and now maintained, a 100 pound weight loss.  
After reaching such a big milestone it has become a lot harder for me to get rid of these last twenty pounds.  They say the last pounds are always the hardest to get rid of and this has proven true for me.  100 pounds was a goal that seemed so far away for a long time and to finally get there is rewarding and kind of makes me feel like that should be it.  However, this is a lifestyle, not a destination.  In reality however, I am not at my healthiest weight.  I am not looking nor expecting to be a stick figure, but there is more work to be done.  I carry most of my weight around my midsection and although I am definitely healthier and fitter, I am not where I want to be.  

I lost the weight using the Weight Watchers plan, but as I have gotten closer to my goal I have been rethinking the plan.  I have been going back and forth about this for many months now and have finally decided to end my membership with Weight Watchers.  I think the program is great, it taught me a lot and helped me lose the weight, but it is not working for what I need now.  The new Points Plus program is definitely the best incarnation of the plan, although I do wish they didn't push some fake foods.
After hitting the 100 pound mark I had hard time losing more.  Part of it was mental, because I felt like should be finished so I wasn't really trying as hard, but some of it was also what and how I was eating.  I have maintained my 100 pound weight loss, but over the past ten months I have lost and gained the same eight pounds, which has been super frustrating.  When I started training for the Chicago Marathon I put weight loss on the back burner and just focused on training.  Many people do gain some weight during marathon training and because of all the running my appetite was pretty veracious.  

Now that training is over for the time being I am refocusing my weight loss efforts.  I am declaring it publicly on my blog to give me the extra motivation to stick with it.  I have started counting calories.  I am using the My Fitness Pal website and app to track my calories throughout the day.  It has only been two weeks, but so far so good.  I feel that by tracking calories instead of Points I have a clearer idea of how things are going.  I have the real information about the foods I am eating instead of arbitrary Points.  My Fitness Pal has a huge database of foods and restaurants, allows you to enter your own foods, and has a nifty barcode scanner to add foods to your tracker as well.  You can also track your workouts with the app.  It is kind of like I am starting from the beginning and familiarizing myself with what everything is worth.  I have also gone back to the basics, by measuring and counting how much of something I am eating.  

As far as workouts I am still running about three times a week to maintain my fitness as I try and figure out what my next race will be.  I have also added Jillian Michael's Six Week 6 Pack DVD into my workout rotation.  My midsection is the area that needs some attention, so I think workouts focused on my core in addition to cardio will help.  Changing up my workouts is going to be good for me.

I have been eyeing the Body Media arm band as well.  It is a band you wear throughout the day that monitors calories burned, workouts, and sleep efficiency.  My mom and aunt both use it and love it.  My mom wrote a review of it on her blog.  I am an information junkie, so I think knowing all I can about my body would be interesting and useful.  I have also considered the fitbit which is similar except it clips on to your shirt or waistband.  I know a few bloggers use this and seem to really like it.  The biggest difference between the two is the price point, but if it is for my health, price really doesn't matter.  I am leaning toward the Body Media, just because I feel like it is the more accurate of the two.  

As I make my decision I am going to keep tracking my calories and focusing on my goal.  I know I can get there is just takes time, dedication, and the right attitude!

How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?  Any opinions on the Body Media or fitbit?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Five for Friday {Nov 2nd}

1.  This past Saturday I finally got a chance to attend the book club some Chicago area bloggers have put together.  I have been working the days it was scheduled before, but this month I was free to attend the meeting at Diana's place.  It was great to see friendly faces and some new ones too!  We spent the afternoon eating and chatting.
pic from Sierra
We read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  I have heard lots of people talking about her most recent book Gone Girl and was looking forward to reading one of her books.  

The synopsis from the back of the book:
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her. 

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

The story is definitely dark, but I couldn't stop reading it.  None of the characters are particularly like-able, but Flynn's writing style and story pulls you in.  

2.  My workouts this week have been so so.  My work schedule has been a little all over the place so I have been quite tired.  My left leg still feels weird too so I have been taking it easy this week.  I feel a little guilty about not working out as much, but I know that my body needs some rest.  

3.  Fleet Feet Chicago is having their annual See and Be Seen Fall Fashion Show next Wednesday, November 7th.  There are still tickets left for the 9pm show.  It is a great event that showcases some awesome running gear.  A ticket gets you entry to the show, a great goodie bag, and access to the store after the show for beverages, food, and shopping.  I am excited to attend.  If you are local you should get a ticket and come check it out!

4. I have been eating up spaghetti squash like it is my job.  I tried it for the first time last fall and was happy to see it at the market this year.  It is so easy to make and can be used in many different recipes.  I have substituted it for spaghetti and eaten it with marinara sauce and veggies.  I have also made a Mexican bowl with the squash, homemade black bean salsa, and cheese.  Both are great, nutritious meals and perfect for an easy dinner after work.  I bake the spaghetti squash in the oven and have tons of "spaghetti" to have meals throughout the week.  Here is a casserole I shared last year with instructions in the beginning of how to roast a squash.

5. For the past two weeks I have been listening to Mumford & Sons and The Civil Wars on repeat.  I just can't stop listening to their music.  I listen to it on the way to work, hum it all day long at work, listen to it on the train ride home, and listen to it when I get home.  Mumford & Sons is categorized as English Folk Rock.  Both of their albums are amazing.  Their sound is unique with a guitar, banjo, piano, kick drum, and even horns.  Their songs are performed with such passion and I find it hard to not be enveloped by their interesting lyrics.  
The Civil Wars have a quieter sound to their music and is in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter genre.  Their songs are mostly about the good and bad of relationships.  They are emotional and beautifully written and performed by Joy Williams and John Paul White. 
You should go take a listen to both of them, I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Have you read one of Gillian Flynn's books?  What is a song you have on repeat?