Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: A Running Retrospective

How can we possibly be this close to 2015 already?! While there are some things about 2014 that I'm absolutely ready to close the book on (goodbye, stress fracture!) there were so many amazing running memories made with so many awesome people that I'm not quite ready to move on from just yet. After seeing Lauren's Running Retrospective post, I knew this would be the perfect way to wrap up my life-changing year of 2014.

Best Race Experience
This one is a tie between the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. The WDW Marathon was my first 26.2 and I couldn't have asked for a better day. Even though he was sick, Matthew and I crossed the finish line smiling- and after having ran 22.4 miles in the three days before as part of the Dopey Challenge! And this race is where we first met Nathan, Steff, Jeff, Lauren, Dani, Justin, and a whole bunch of other cool people.

Being a marathoner is the absolute coolest.

The city of Pittsburgh- and the awesome friends we have there- totally stole my heart. The half marathon course was challenging but super fun. It was like all of Pittsburgh was having a party and there happened to be a race running through the middle of it. The crowds and spectators were incredibly encouraging. We also met Lauren H., Gloria, Chelsea, and some other amazing Pittsburgh peeps and got to spend lots of time with friends. It was such an inspiring and uplifting weekend.

Nothing but love. 


Best Run
I was lucky enough to PR lots of distances this year including a sub 2:30 half at Shamrock which I'm still super proud of and can't believe happened.

But none of those were my best run. My best run was the first one post-stress fracture. After almost four long, painful months of not running, when I was finally able to run, it was the most glorious feeling. If runner's high exists, I felt it on December 6, 2014.

It was cold, wet, and rainy but also glorious!

Best New Piece of Gear
Gymboss Interval Timer. If you run/walk, you NEED this timer. Affordable, easy to use, and works off its own battery so it won't drain your phone.

Best Piece of Running Advice
Listen to your body.

There's no reason to push yourself every run. Sometimes you've just got to back off when your body is telling you to.

Most Inspirational Runner
While all the runners I know inspire the heck out of me, this year's most inspirational runner title goes to my dad. We first started talking about him doing the 2015 WDW Marathon around Christmas last year- that was also when he started getting back into running thanks to the run/walk method.

Finishing the Sole of the City 10k together in April.

When he finally decided to do the marathon, he downloaded the training schedule to his calendar and started chipping away at it. Over the last few months, he's run in the pouring rain, freezing snow, and crazy humid heat- but he's stuck to the schedule. He's done all his long runs and in less than 10 days, he'll toe the line of his first marathon at age 58.

At the Mission 10 Miler earlier this year. Snow, hail, and freezing rain in March. Good times. 

To say I'm proud would be one hell of an understatement. This is a man who took a ten year hiatus from running and is now in marathon shape in just one year! He's my running hero and I cannot wait to watch him run in Disney. While I'm still sad that I can't run this one with him, it gives me great joy to think about him becoming a marathoner. His persistence and dedication to his training inspire me and I know I'll rely on that inspiration when I start training for distance running again.

In summary, my dad kicks ass and I'm just so damn proud of him.

After a particularly hot August training run.


  • Matthew
  • Coach Jeff
  • My speedy friends: Chelsea, Steff, Lauren, Dani, Nathan

Sum Up the Year in a Few Words
Not what I expected, but filled with friendship and love.

Seriously, this year was full of some of the most supportive and loving people I've ever known. I never would have made it through my injury if it weren't for my running ohana.

So there you have it, 2014 in a nutshell. Injuries, new distances, awesome friends- overall, pretty neat! Bring on 2015 :-)

QOTD: What's your favorite running memory from 2014?

Monday, December 29, 2014

AM: 12/29/14

Welcome to the last Accountability Monday of 2014! What a year it's been! Since I started doing these AM posts back in July, I've lost 18.6 pounds and have felt more in control of my eating/running habits than I ever have. So thank you, readers, for keeping me accountable!

I sincerely hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and got to spend lots of time with the people that mean the most to you. My holiday was fantastic and I'm really enjoying the time we've been able to spend with our family and friends.

Monday- 18.5 mile bike ride, 1.76 mile run, 13:01 pace, 1/1 intervals
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- 2.97 miles, 12:09 pace, 1:30/1 intervals
Thursday- 3.0 miles with Matthew, 11:58 pace, 1:30/1 intervals
Friday-Rest day
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- 3.33 miles with Dad and Matthew, 12:29 pace, 1/1 intervals

Even with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I'm really proud of getting my workouts in. There was a lot of running this week at faster paces and shorter intervals- I finally feel like I'm getting closer to where I was pre-stress fracture. I still haven't pushed on the distance yet but in the upcoming weeks as my training starts for the Shamrock Half Marathon, I'll start adding on the miles.

Can we just skip this part and forget about all the Christmas cookies I ate? Please? But seriously, this was a tough week nutrition-wise. Being out of my own home (where I can control what's around) is really hard. Luckily, both Matthew's family and my family are super supportive of my healthy eating and filled their fridges with low-fat greek yogurt, skim milk, and plenty of fruit. Overall, I'm happy with the choices I made and I'm confident I can get through one more week of holiday traveling and eating successfully.

My new favorite holiday snack- a hot chocolate (made with the Kuerig) and two tablespoons of marshmallow fluff- only three PPV and absolute heaven in a coffee mug. Amazing.

144.4 as of 12/23/14 weigh in
-1.2 from last week
-46 since January 2013
-57.6 since HW

And the roller coaster ride continues! Let's hope it keeps going down. :-)

Enjoy the last three days of 2014 and I'll see you all in the new year!

QOTD: What's your favorite holiday treat?

Monday, December 22, 2014

AM: 12/22/2014

You guys!! Only three sleeps and a wake up until CHRISTMAS!!

Can you tell I'm just a little excited for the holidays? I love this time of year anyway but throw in a little mini vacation from work- I don't go back until January 5th- and I'm a happy, happy girl! Matthew and I will be visiting all of our families so this means lots of traveling- and lots of time away from spaces I can control. But I've packed quite a few snacks, have a plan to be active every day, and have already mapped out the Weight Watchers meetings I'll attend while I'm away from home.

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- 30 minutes bike, Runner's World Basic Yoga
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- 30 minutes bike
Saturday- 15 minutes elliptical, weight circuit, 15 minutes bike
Sunday- 10 minutes bike, 20 minutes swimming laps

As you can tell, my training was light again this week with absolutely no running or walking. My foot has been cranky and painful all week so I backed off on the walking and running I had been doing. My follow up with the orthopedic doctor will be in a few weeks so hopefully this pain I've been having isn't a big deal and is just part of the healing process. If I've learned anything through this injury it's to listen to my body and back off when something starts to hurt.

As I've mentioned a couple times on this blog, I am a HUGE fan of Panera's Hidden Menu. This week I decided to try something I normally wouldn't- the Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Bowl. With just spinach, roasted turkey, onion, tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice, I wasn't expecting this to be that great. I usually get the Power Chicken Bowl but I figured I'd at least try this one out.

Holy hell. This bowl was so good! I was honestly shocked- I didn't know that simple olive oil and lemon would taste so great. I think fast/restaurant food in this country has a tendency to always be covered in dressings or sauces or cheese so for me, it's hard to remember what just simple ingredients taste like. Any way you look at it, this bowl was delicious and I can't wait to try it again and/or make it at home.

Panera is just 100% goodness.

145.6 as of 12/17/2014 weigh-in.
+.2 from last week
- 44.8 since January 2013
- 56.4 from HW

Yeah, yeah. My weight went up again this week. When I first saw the numbers on the scale, I was furious. I feel like I have been working so hard to get through this little "roller coaster" period but nothing is helping reverse the trend. I knew that once I got closer to goal (135) this would happen. But knowing that doesn't make it any less frustrating. To lose weight, you've got to always be doing a little bit more than you did the day before- in other words, the strategies that helped me lose the first 45 aren't the only thing that will help me lose the last 10. I've got to move more, be smarter about my food choices, and really stress my body out so it will adapt to these new routines. This means more discipline with tracking and planning my food intake, more and different ways to get activity points, and keeping up all the good habits I've made- sleeping enough each night, drinking water, not eating when bored, etc. I know I can get to goal in 2015- I've just got to power through this plateau and emerge on the other side in control.

To those of you that celebrate, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! Have a fabulous week!

QOTD: What's your favorite thing about this time of year?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Let's Play A Game!

Yesterday, I got tagged by Awesome Frank (yes that's his real name) over at The Fat Runner to play this get to know you game! In turn, I'm tagging Lauren, Steff, Chelsea, and Nathan. AND- I'm tagging you! Answer any question of your choice in the comments below :-)


Four movies I've watched more than once:

1. Casino- "Back home, they would have put me in jail for what I'm doing. But out here, they're givin' me awards."

2. Elf- "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?"

3. The Wizard of Oz- "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

4. Christmas Vacation- "Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now."

Four Books I'd Recommend:

1. Sharp Objects- Basically all Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Dark Places) novels are fantastic.

2. Dracula- The original is absolutely terrifying!

3. The Thief of Always- Great young adult book with some deep themes.

4. Any Sandra Brown novel- I'm a sucker for a dime-store thriller!

Four Places I've Been:

1. Riviera Maya, Mexico

2. Las Vegas, Nevada

3. Lake Buena Vista, Florida :-)

4. Castaway Cay, Bahamas

Four Things I Don't Eat:

1. Liver

2. Mushrooms

3. Venison

4. Crayfish

Four of my Favorite Foods:

1. Chocolate

2. Wine

3. Cookies and Milk

4. Anything Chinese

Four TV Shows I Watch:

1. American Horror Story- LOVING this season!

2. How to Get Away With Murder- This one literally leaves me with a dropped jaw every week.

3. Law & Order- And any and all spin-offs.

4. Criminal Minds- I'm sensing a theme here...

Four Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year:

1. Watching Dad finish his first marathon in just a few weeks!

2. Our second Disney cruise.

3. My comeback half marathon- Shamrock in March.

4. My comeback marathon- Pittsburgh in May.

Four Things I'm Always Saying:

1. "Koda! Get down!"

2. "No Matthew, I didn't sign us up for another destination race." ;-)

3. "What time is it? Crap, I'm late again!"

4. "Matthew! Have you seen my ________?"

Four people to pass this on to:

1. Lauren

2. Steff

3. Chelsea

4. Nathan

Please answer one the questions in the comments below- I can't wait to hear your answers!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Race Recap & Review: 2014 Jingle Bell Run/Walk

This past weekend, Matthew and I did the 2014 Jingle Bell Run/Walk in Harrisburg, PA. You might remember that we did this race last year and had a blast- lots of entertainment, lots of free food, and overall, just a well-organized and fun race.

This year, not so much.

There had been some changes in sponsorship and venue this year. We arrived at 9:20 on Saturday morning for the 10:00 am race. We figured this would leave plenty of time to pick up our packets. We were wrong. There was a ridiculously slow-moving line for the folks who had pre-registered and absolutely no line for those who were signing up day-of. It sure made it seem like we should have just waited to register- there was no benefit to signing-up beforehand.

Selfies in the never ending- and COLD- packet pick-up line!

Once we finally got our packets- which included a really cute long-sleeved cotton t-shirt- there wasn't enough time to take our stuff back to the car. So, I asked the nice people at the Giant table (local grocery store) if they would watch our stuff while we ran. Luckily they said yes.

At about 9:55, we lined up to start. As we were standing there, I heard someone behind me say, "Are you Sarah?" I turned around and saw Anne- a fellow #runchat-er from twitter! It was so great to meet her and congratulate her in person on completing her first marathon just a few weeks ago in Philadelphia. She is local to the area and was there running with a friend. We chatted for a few minutes as we got ready to start the race. Anne mentioned that some of the volunteers at packet pick-up were a little rude when they complained about the line being so long. Apparently packet pick-up opened at 7 am (for a 10 am race) and the volunteers basically chastised them for not coming earlier to get their stuff. Yeah, I think that's a bunch of crap.

Head over to twitter to congratulate Marathoner Anne @annemasorti!

The course itself was pretty boring- just a hilly out-and-back around a medical complex parking lot. We used 2:30/1 intervals- walking for the longer portions. Since I am still recovering from my stress fracture, I'm feeling out different intervals and speeds to see what keeps my foot pain at bay.

When we started coming back towards the finish, Matthew and I noticed that runners who had already finished were walking back to their cars with cases of Turkey Hill (local convenience store) iced tea and lemonade. Before the race, they had been setting up a table, similar to Giant's, where they would be giving out drinks. Some of the runners were yelling to those of us still not finished, "Hurry up before the iced tea is gone!"

Soon enough, we rounded the corner to the finish line. I looked at my phone- the course was exactly 3.00 miles; not the 3.1 miles it was advertised. Not a huge deal, but still, it's annoying when it's advertised as one distance but ends up being short.

Matthew and I headed toward the Turkey Hill table- even though I could see that they were already packing up and getting ready to leave. We asked the guy there if there was any left and he said no. Keep in mind, this was only 40 minutes after the race started- there were still plenty of runners and walkers still out on the course. I don't know if the guy purposely gave away all the iced tea and lemonade because he wanted to leave early or if runners just took cases instead of one or two per person. Either way, the back of the pack got nothing.

Nothing to see here, expect an empty table and a giant fake cow and ice cream carton.

We made our way back over to the registration tents where Matthew thought he had seen some coffee and hot chocolate earlier in the morning. We eventually found empty coffee pots and "hot" chocolate made with cold water. There were some bananas and some packaged doughnut/coffee cake things so we grabbed a couple of those and then headed back to the car.

So, in summation: long lines, rude volunteers, short course, no iced tea, cold hot chocolate. This race was a total opposite of last year's race. Now, I know that this is a race that benefits a charity and that the intent is not to pamper the runners. However, the reason we did this race again this year was because of how well-organized and fun last year's event was. And isn't that a good way to sustain money coming into your organization? Provide a quality event that keeps people coming back year after year? Unfortunately, we won't be back next year to do this race; it simply wasn't worth the entry fee.

While I love the organization this race benefits, I'd much rather just make a donation than spend my money on a poorly executed event.

You know it's bad when Creepy Elf is a highlight of the event.

QOTD: Have you ever made the decision to stop supporting a race? If so, why?

Monday, December 15, 2014

AM: 12/15/14

Good morning! Well, it's another Monday folks. This week was full of celebrations: holidays, babies, and new marriages. In other words, lots of food! It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and to put fitness/weight-loss goals on the back burner. I've done this probably a hundred times! But this year, I feel super focused on reaching the goals I want to reach before 2015- and part of that is continuing to publicly post my weekly results here. So thanks for keeping me honest, readers! :-)

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- Ran 2.25 miles, 13:44 pace, 4/1 intervals and Recovery Yoga from Runner's World
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- 2.17 miles, 13:47 pace, 3/1 intervals
Saturday- 3.0 miles, 13:29 pace, 2:30/1 intervals

7.4 total miles

I'm a little disappointed with my training this week. I have got to commit to more cross training so 2015 will be injury free. I think I need a more specific training plan- I will look into it this week and post about what I find next week.

Also, as I talked about last week, I reset my ActiveLink and I think the results are MUCH more accurate than the last time- it says I'm earning five PPV per day and the "challenge" will slowly work up to seven PPV. I'm cool with that!

So let's talk about holiday splurges. For most of the last two years, I have avoided sweets- especially in the form of drinks. But not during Christmas! This is the one time of the year that I love spending my PPV on yummy seasonal treats.

This weekend, Matthew and I went to Christmas Candylane at Hershey Park. There are awesome Christmas lights, carolers, reindeer, holiday entertainment and more. But what I was looking forward to the most was hot chocolate made with Hershey's chocolate. And it did not disappoint! Matthew and I split a hot chocolate with "the works:" marshmallows, whipped cream, and Hershey's chocolate chips. Oh sweet baby Jesus, it was divine. We also split a "S'more" made with two chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows, and Reese's peanut butter cups. It was everything I could have imagined and more!


We also found the largest chocolate bar in the world and I calculated the PPV for the entire bar- 360 Points! To be fair, it is five full pounds of chocolate. Wow!

Don't worry, I only took a small bite.
145.4 as of 12/10/14
-2.0 from last week
-45.0 since January 2013
-56.6 since HW

I high-fived my WW receptionist when she told me I'd lost two whole pounds this week! I've been struggling since the boot came off over a month ago so I was overjoyed to see some progress towards my goal weight.

Speaking of, I am only 10.4 pounds away from my goal weight. WHAT?! I can barely believe that I'm so close to a weight that I've dreamed about since I was in middle school. It's such an unusual and scary feeling. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it- I'm sure it will be a blog post soon :-)

QOTD: What's your favorite holiday treat?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gifts for Runners: Splurges & Steals!

With only five days until Hanukkah and just 13 days until Christmas, time is slowly running out to locate that perfect gift for the special runner in your life! Maybe you want to help them celebrate their accomplishments or perhaps give them something that can help take their training to the next level. Whatever your runner needs, here's a list of splurges and steals- something for every budget.

Foam Roller
Ok, so I personally have not tried the foam roller YET, but I'm hoping that Santa leaves one under the Christmas tree for me this year! From Runner's World, "Using a foam roller can provide similar benefits as deep-tissue massage, helping to prevent injury and improve performance through the increase of flexibility and decrease of muscle tension."

Splurge: I haven't tried this but have heard that it works wonders! Rumble Rollers range in price from $25 for a massage ball or $30- 70 for an actual roller. You can find the closest retailer to you here

These look slightly scary but are probably great for sore muscles. Source.

Steal: For just $14.77 you can own this Gold's Gym Foam Roller, available at your local Wal-Mart.

Blue is always a good choice. Source.

Medal Rack
Every runner needs a medal rack to show off their bling! There are tons of different types and styles out there, from funny to inspirational and everything in between. Matthew and I have ordered racks from both companies below and were completely impressed with the quality of the items.

Splurge: Ranging from a single medal holder ($22) from one with room for 10 medals ($40- 130), Sport Hooks has beautiful and unique designs to celebrate any athletic accomplishment. If your runner is a run Disney fan, this is the definitely the place to look!

Some models are offered in color. Source.

Steal: Starting at $30, York Sign Shop's medal racks are simple and functional. You can even add on an extra row of hooks to almost any design for just $5. We have two of these types of medal racks- each one holds up to 26 medals! These are affordable customization options as well.

I bought this exact one for Matthew for his birthday. Source.

Tracking Device
If you've got a special runner in your life, then you know it's all about the numbers: pace, distance, heart rate, etc. Using different technologies- like a GPS watch or a running mobile app- runners can easily keep track of their all-important numbers and progress towards training goals.

Splurge: A Garmin Forerunner is one of the leading GPS watches for running. Ranging from $100- 450, they offer a variety of features based on the model type. All offer distance and pace but some offer live tracking, training plans, sharing on social media, and heart rate.

Garmin Forerunner 10. Source.

Steal: Does your runner always run with her phone? If so, purchasing the MVP package of the free app Map My Run might be the perfect gift! The free version tracks distance, pace, and splits. But for $5.99 per month/ $29.99 per year, the upgraded package also can track heart rate, provide coaching and training plans, and allow others to track using the live tracking feature.

I don't know what a power analysis is but I want one! Source. 

If all else fails, a gift card to Running Warehouse is always a hit! One of the largest online selections of running apparel and shoes coupled with FREE two day shipping and a 90 day return policy (even on worn shoes!) makes this a fool-proof gift for even the pickiest runner in your life. Matthew and I have both ordered from this company and are big fans of the easy, no hassle return process. I especially like the "Shoe Fitter" which compares different brands and helps you find the correct sized shoe in various brands.

Regardless of budget, I hope you can find that one-of-a-kind gift that will make your runner's heart happy this holiday season. Happy Holidays and happy shopping!

QOTD: What's on your wish list this year? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

AM: 12/8/14

Good morning and happy Monday!

Can you believe there are less than 20 days until Christmas?! I hope you are looking forward to the holidays- with almost two weeks off from work, I am so anxious to spend some quality time with all my family and friends. It's amazing how different this year's holiday season is from last year's. This time last year, Matthew and I were gearing up for Dopey and doing our last long training runs. This year I'm planning out routes for him and Dad and earning my "cyclist" status by following them on a bike. Even though it's not what I had originally planned, it's still really fun to be able to do the long run with them. And I get to yell out encouraging things and maybe sings some songs from Rocky IV. They are so glad I'm their cheerleader :-)

Monday- Runner's World Yoga- Seriously, why haven't I been doing this all along?! It makes me feel amazing!
Tuesday- 20 minutes elliptical
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- 3.95 mile run/walk- yup, I actually RAN with 5:1 intervals!
Sunday- Runner's World Yoga and light upper body weights

The smile says it all- happy to be back!

You may have noticed that my training was a little light this week. Well, after my weigh-in, I knew that I needed to change something up this week because I gained again- for the second time in a row. This is unusual for me. Both weeks I had lots of activity points left over so theoretically, there shouldn't have been a gain. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ActiveLink is overestimating the points that I am earning.

So I did two things- 1. I am doing another assessment with ActiveLink. I hope this reset will give me a more honest version of the points I'm earning. 2. I made a goal this week to not use all the APs that that I am "earning." I wanted to see if this would make a difference on the scale. We shall see on Wednesday.

Matthew and I ate out a TON this week/weekend and I went to two holiday parties. But overall, I'm very happy with the food choices I made. The Weight Watchers app is a lifesaver- whenever we are at a restaurant, I can always look up different options for meals in the app and then make the best choice based on where we are. I managed to only use eight APs in addition to my 49 weekly PPV.

Lots of eating out and holiday parties this week.
And I had watermelon- in December! It was awesome. 

Pretty good PPV management if you ask me.

147.4 as of 12/3/14 weigh-in
+1.2 from last week
-43.0 since January 2013
-54.8 since HW

I can't sugar coat it. I am super frustrated with my weight-loss this week. After last week's gain, this was a crushing blow to my goals. I started out December at a higher weight than November. I just don't understand how I can lose seven pounds while I was non-weight bearing and then gain once I start moving again. My hopes of hitting the 50 pounds lost mark in 2014 are fading quickly. I'd basically have to lose over seven pounds in the next three weeks- unlikely.

I know that this is only one week and I know that it's not a ginormous set-back. But it's still crazy frustrating, especially when I have been working out and staying within my points each week. Hopefully by redoing the assessment with ActiveLink and by changing how I view and use the APs, there will be some movement on the scale. Either way, I want to power through this gain and get back to losing.

QOTD: What are you looking forward to most this holiday season?

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Losing List

Happy Friday!

Today I want to share a post with you about motivation. Not just a few inspirational quotes (which help me a ton!), but what helps me to have real, lasting motivation to keep being healthy. Shout out to Dani at Weight Off My Shoulders who shared her list last year- it inspired me then and it inspires me today!

In our Weight Watchers meeting this week, we each created a "Losing List"- all the "whys" of the reasons we joined Weight Watchers and why we continue to stay. Reflecting on those reasons and actually writing them down can help further cement the motivation and commitment to stick to the behavior changes you have made.

When thinking about my list, I had to first think about the reason I finally walked back into a WW meeting on January 16, 2013. We had just returned from Walt Disney World where I completed the Family Fun Run 5k and the WDW Half Marathon. My grandmother had just passed away on New Year's Eve. Growing up, she was the only grandparent I'd really remembered having so it was quite an adjustment coming home and not being able to share all the details of my trip with her. As she had been in declining health the last few months of 2013, she and I spent a great deal of time together when she moved into my mom's house. We'd talk about Disney, running, life, our family- all the normal things you'd talk to a grandparent about. So it was pretty hard to come home after vacation and not be able to talk to her.

Christmas 2008 with my stepdad, mom, mom-mom, sister, and brother.

I'd been putting off going back to WW for a long time. I figured, if I can run half marathons, then I must be healthy, right? That even though I was 40-55 pounds overweight, I was still working out so I should be ok. But deep down, I knew that it wasn't ok. It wasn't ok for my health. When my mom-mom passed, it kind of kick-started this idea for me that I wanted to live a long and healthy life- and that's harder to do when you're carrying an extra 40- 50 pounds of weight around. So, I knew I wanted to get healthy and I knew that WW had worked for me before. I'd been a member several times in the last 12 years and I knew that I would lose weight. Keeping it off is another story entirely. That's where the deep, lasting motivation has to come in.

For me, it wasn't enough just to lose weight. Been there, done that. This time, I knew I had to keep it off. I had to make changes that would stay with me for life. I wasn't going to gain it back. The reasons I am choosing to be healthy are much too important for me to lose sight of. 

So here is my Losing List that keeps me focused, especially when I'm struggling:

  • Health- for myself, for my future children, for my family
  • Self-esteem- to love myself, who I am, and all that I've accomplished
  • Running- it's a hell of a lot easier and enjoyable to run without 40 extra pounds
  • Role model- to inspire others to get healthy and stay healthy
  • Clothes- to feel comfortable and attractive in the clothes I want to wear
  • Conquer demons- to finally gain control over food addiction and destructive emotional eating patterns and thoughts

So yeah... about that last one....

For me, the mental part of weight-loss/healthy living will always be the hardest. But it's probably also my greatest motivator to stay on the path I'm on now.

One of my favorite quotes that has helped me tremendously throughout this process is one about self-love: "You can't hate yourself into a version you'll love." In other words, you can't beat yourself up with negative thoughts/words and then expect that to motivate you to become the person you want to be. 

When I was a chubby kid, I thought this would work. I thought that if I berated myself enough, I would be motivated to lose weight. In fact, I actually wrote the initials "Y. A. S. F." on all of my seventh grade school text books in an effort to constantly remind myself to not eat or eat less. If you're wondering, those initials were an acronym for "You Are So Fat." Looking back, it makes me incredibly sad that at 12 years old, I hated my body and myself. 

I never want to hate myself like that again. I never want to raise children that would hate their bodies like I did. The pain that comes with body image issues/eating disorders is intense and can feel consuming and hopeless at times. That's why it's on my losing list- to remember how far I've come and to motivate me to keep working at it.

Through personal counseling- and lots of WW meetings- my food issues are no longer the biggest obstacle in my life. But just like any addiction, I'll always need to remind myself it's there. As they say in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), "just make the next right decision." And that's how I live now- meal to meal, snack to snack. I focus on the present day and how to successfully navigate my food choices for that day/week only. 

To me, being healthy encompasses so much more than a number on a scale or a dress size. It means loving who I am, striving to be stronger, and being good to myself by doing things my body needs- eating healthy foods and being active. That's why my Losing List is important- it's all the reasons I need and want to keep going, especially when it's tough or not going as planned. 

If you are struggling, I'd strongly suggest you write down all your "whys"- you might find that your motivation has been with you all along!

And if you're still reading, you get a gold star for finishing this long post! :-) 

QOTD: Enough with the heavy stuff, I want to hear from you- what's on your "Losing List"? What motivates you to get or stay healthy?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Stress Fracture Diary: A Return to Running?

Yesterday marked one full month since I've been out of the boot and off the scooter. It went by wickedly fast and thankfully, the memories of being non-weight bearing are fading.

So now the question remains; when can I start running again?

The answer isn't easy to determine. There is no "one size fits all" treatment to stress fractures. Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, healing could take six weeks or six months or even a year or more. That doesn't mean that you can't run during that time, but it does mean that precautions have to be taken and mileage can only be built up very, very slowly.

When I visited my orthopedic doctor last month, he told me I could start running as soon as two weeks ago. He said to take it easy, continue with my low-impact workouts, and start to incorporate running into my walks. Anytime I had pain in my foot I was to back off and take a rest day. His instructions were a little ambiguous and I was eager to have a more concrete plan as I didn't want to re-injure the fracture and have to go back in the boot or have surgery.

So I scheduled a visit with my PT two weeks ago. He suggested that I start walking three times a week, starting with a half hour, and then increasing by a few minutes each time. When I asked when I could run again, he said two things needed to happen:

- Walk two pain-free miles
- Walk pain-free on back to back days

In the last month, I've been following all my doctor's orders to the letter. Walking slowly, backing off when I feel pain, taking rest days when my foot hurts. I even called the orthopedic doctor a week after the boot came off because I was having pain at the site of the fracture. He assured me that this was normal and that I'd continue to have pain for quite a while as the bone heals.

Pain is a funny thing- it's hard to judge what's "normal" healing pain and what could be re-injury pain. A quick google search of "stress fracture recovery pain" will give you all sorts of timelines about when it should hurt, where it should hurt, and for how long it will hurt. But pain is subjective and it's difficult to measure- especially when you've never had pain like this before.

I know I'm being overly cautious with this injury and that I could have started running earlier. But the risk of re-injury with a stress fracture is high. And if I were to injure this foot again, the options would be crappy: surgery, more time in the boot/scooter/crutches, or never running again. I'd like to avoid all of those if possible, thank you very much.

But here's the good news. Last week I tried back to back walking days for the first time- and both workouts were 95% pain-free! I'm fairly confident that I will try to run a little this weekend- maybe only for 3-5 minutes. But I think I'm ready. I'm still terrified that I will re-injure the fracture or incur some other injury, but I know I have to get back out there and try. Running is a large part of who I am so no matter how scary it will be, I will get back out on the road.

Monday, December 1, 2014

AM: 12/1/14

Ummm... how is it December already?! Only 31 days left in 2014- wow!

Ok, let's talk about holidays. They are wonderful. And, if you're anything like me, they can be a little stressful. Matthew and I spent the last five and a half days traveling between his family's and my family's homes creating lots of fun memories with our families. And I spent a lot of time eating foods I don't normally eat and struggling to gain activity points while out of my routine and my spaces.

But, reflecting on how I used to spend the Thanksgiving holiday- stuffing my face any chance I got- this year's plan was a definite improvement.

Monday- 2 mile walk, 15:15 pace
Tuesday- 30 minutes on recumbent bike
Wednesday- 30 minutes on the elliptical
Thursday- 5k walk with family, 18:21 pace; 20 minute walk after dinner
Friday- 5k walk, 14:42 pace
Saturday- 21 mile bike with Dad and Matthew
Sunday- Walked at all of the commercial breaks during Sunday afternoon football. I'm serious.

38.2 total miles.

Yeah, so this ActiveLink is a bit obsessive. Since having a goal to reach, I have been a bit of a maniac in making sure I reach my 100% each day- including walking around the house late at night to get the full seven points. Which is a good thing, I think.

Matthew, Me, Dad, and Adam (my brother) before we ventured out for 21 chilly miles.

In addition to Thanksgiving dinner with Matthew's family, I also had a bunch of leftovers at my mom's and then had another feast on Saturday at my dad's house. By some miracle, I'm starting this week only -3 PPV.

New this week, I tried chicken soup at Chic-fil-A (6 PPV), hot chocolate with marshmallow fluff (3 PPV), and my mom's famous sweet potato casserole (one million PPV).

146.2 as of 11/28/14 weigh-in.
+.2 from last week
-44.2 since January 2013
-55.8 since HW

So yeah, I gained. It happens. Also, I should mention that I weighed in the day after Thanksgiving at a meeting I found that was on the way from Matthew's family's house to my mom's house. My original plan was to go to a meeting Wednesday night near Matthew's family's home. However, that meeting was canceled due to snow- which we found out when we drove 23 miles in the storm to get to it. So I found another meeting on Friday and Matthew graciously agreed to stop there in the midst of our travel. He's the best :-)

Even though I gained, I'm still proud of myself for getting to a meeting and tracking everything I ate. Sometimes you have to focus on the little things you can control and remember that a temporary gain on the scale isn't failure; it's feedback. And I'm choosing to take this feedback, make some adjustments, and tackle the last 31 days of 2014 with a purpose.

A few weeks ago, I made some fitness goals that I'd like to accomplish before January 1, 2015:

  1. Weigh 139 or less.
  2. Start running again.
It doesn't look like number one is going to happen. In fact, in the whole month of November, I only lost two pounds. It's pretty unlikely that I'll lose seven pounds in the next month. So I'm revising that goal to weigh less than 145 by 1/1/15. 

For number two, I'm really hoping to start running this week! It has been almost 10 weeks since the stress fracture diagnosis and all the signs of healing are positive. Stay tuned here for updates!

QOTD: How will you spend the last few weeks of 2014?

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope this post finds you happy, healthy and enjoying your holiday with the people you love.

Growing up, it was tradition for each person around the table to share what they were thankful for before we ate ourselves into a coma. In following that tradition, here's a list of what I'm thankful for this year:

These guys. It's a joy to come home to this little family every day. I'm so grateful for Matthew and Koda in my life.

My heart.

Best Running Friends. I would have never made it through my stress fracture this year without the love and support from some of my best running buddies. There are way too many to name here but you know who you are :-)


Family. My family and Matthew's family are so good to us. It's hard not to be grateful for all they've done for us. And we've made some pretty awesome memories this year :-)

Ziplining, running, and trips to NYC.

#wwchat community. It's amazing how people you meet on the internet can become such a force for good in your life. I'm thankful for the #wwchat community and especially thankful for Dani who started and hosts this weekly chat.

The one and only Dani!

A fellow #wwchat-er Jessie and me at the Jingle Jungle 5k.

Health. I'm thankful for healthy lungs, heart, and legs that carry me wherever I want to go.

Happy feet!

YOU! You, dear blog reader, are a reason I have to be thankful. Thank you for reading, thank you for your comments and emails, thank you for motivating and inspiring me every day. Y'all are awesome.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

QOTD: What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 24, 2014

AM: 11/24/14

Good morning and welcome to Thanksgiving Week!

If you follow me on social media then you know that Matthew and I were in Philadelphia all weekend as he raced the 8k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. Matthew lived in Philadelphia when we were first dating so it was fun to be back in the city and visiting some our old haunts. And, Wawa coffee is truly the best thing on earth and I am depressed that the closest one to where we currently live is like 80 miles away. Sadness.

Tomorrow night, we will be traveling again- this time to visit both of our families over Thanksgiving weekend. All this travel makes it hard to stay committed to my fitness and nutrition goals but I'm just trying to plug away at them and take it one day at a time.

Here's last week in review-

Monday- 30 minutes on the bike, light weights
Tuesday- balance exercises (from the PT) and some light weights
Wednesday- rest day
Thursday- rest day
Friday- 2 mile walk on the treadmill, 1.81 miles, 16:34 pace
Saturday- 1 mile walk outside, 15:11 pace
Sunday- balance exercises, planks, push-ups, squats

I went to my PT on Wednesday to inquire about a plan to help me get back to running- I'll detail that in a post later this week. In short, he recommended that I do 3-4 balance sessions a week (basically balancing on one foot for a minute at a time, 10 minutes total) and start to incorporate other core-strengthening exercises into my routine. Hopefully, this will all be helpful as I start running again- when that will be is a little more of a mystery as it all depends on my level of foot pain.

I also finished the ActiveLink assessment period and will start the ActiveLink Challenge on Wednesday- my weigh-in day. The challenge will basically take where I am now and encourage me to earn more activity points each day. According to the assessment, I currently earn seven PPV a day. Which is insane because I NEVER would have thought that I was that active during the day. For the next few weeks, that number will increase as it encourages me to earn more than seven each day.

Honestly, I'm still a little skeptical that I am actually earning all these points. And I have a tendency to eat ALL of the points I earn which could end up hampering my weight loss in the long run if I'm eating more points that I have been since starting Weight Watchers in January 2013. But I am willing to try this out and not make any judgment calls until it's been a full month of using it.

Apparently, I'm pretty active.

I'm not going to lie, I have definitely NOT been as disciplined as I should be with regard to my nutrition habits these last two weeks. It is amazing that I lost seven pounds in six weeks when I was laid up but now that I've been walking for the last two weeks, I've lost .8 total.

I know that I must be more diligent about what I'm eating- even when traveling. I managed to lose every week while I was in the boot AND we traveled at least four of those six weeks. This upcoming week will be challenging as I won't be in "my" spaces because of the holiday. I've got to remain focused and stick to the plan that will get me to my goals- return to running, and 50 pounds down by January 1.

Matthew eating a ginormous piece of pizza in Phildelphia. We split it :-)

146 as of 11/19/14 weigh-in
-.4 from last week
-44.4 since January 2013
-56 since HW

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

QOTD: Do you find it hard to stick to fitness/nutrition goals during the holiday season?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Running at Disney, Minus the Running- Final Thoughts on Wine & Dine Weekend

It's been over a week now since we returned from our second home Walt Disney World and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. It was a wonderful weekend; albeit different from what I'd originally planned.

As most of you know, I had to bail out of the half marathon due to my stress fracture. I started walking again just two days before we left for Disney. It was pretty depressing to be around all the runners at the expo and race knowing that I wasn't going to be able to do it, especially because this is my favorite race in the entire world. But there were A TON of fun things that happened on this trip that totally made up for it:

Dad finished his first half marathon! He's officially a half marathoner! Even in the cold and rainy conditions, he and Matthew rocked it. I am so, so, so proud of him :-)

We got to see lots of friends that we only see at runDisney events. I finally got to meet Heather from Heather Runs 13.1, Jessie- a #wwchat friend from twitter, and Lisa- a blog reader who ran her very first half marathon at Wine & Dine! I also got to see Justin from Always Running Forward and Stephanie from Goober Monkey. And Patrick, Lauren, Nathan, Jenn, and Dave (all friends from past runDisney events) were all there and there were lots of hugs and squeals. And we got to hang with Matt from Hokey Blog and his wife at one of the best restaurants in Disney.

runDisney events are all about love and friendship. And a little bit of running :-)

I finished my first post-injury 5k! [Check out the recap here!] It took a little over an hour and we walked the whole time but we made it. Our friend Jenn walked it with us and Nathan grabbed some awesome pictures of us finishing. It truly was a magical moment. I will forever be grateful that the injury gods allowed me to complete my first post-injury race at Disney.

So grateful Nathan captured this moment!

We got to spend a lot of time in the parks with both of our families. Dad and his girlfriend Margie came on the trip with us and Matthew's cousin Bridget and her husband Alan came up for a few days. It was truly a fun vacation in the happiest place on earth. We visited all four parks and rode almost all of our favorite rides. We also got to enjoy amazing food and beverages at Epcot during the Food & Wine Festival.

Overall, it was a kick ass weekend- even without running. If you are considering visiting Disney during the Food & Wine Festival or participating in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I highly recommend it. It's a great weekend to be in the parks and the race itself is awesome- even with crappy weather.

In less than two months we'll be back at the World for our Goofy Challenge trip which includes Margie's first 10k and Dad's first marathon. And I know this trip will be just as awesome as the last- Disney sort of has that effect on you :-)

Monday, November 17, 2014

AM: 11/17/14

Good afternoon and Happy Monday!

It's a gray, cold, and dreary day here in central Pennsylvania- I hope the weather is better where you are!

Monday- Came home from Disney- does rushing through the airport count as a workout? ;-)
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- 30 minutes on the bike
Thursday- 15 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes on the bike
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- 20 minutes on the bike, 10 minutes on the elliptical, light weights

As you can see, I've been slowly incorporating the elliptical into my training. I say slowly because Edna (that's what I've named my cranky right foot) acts up sometimes and I have to switch to the bike which doesn't hurt my foot at all. That's the plan right now; if it hurts, stop. So I am slowly working back up to walking and running. Very, very slowly.

Also, as you may remember from last week, I bought myself a new ActiveLink 2.0 from Weight Watchers. I am still in the "assessment" phase (for the next seven days) so I'll have more to report next week. But, it also tracks my sleep and I was really intrigued by the data collected. I can't wait to have more information about my activity and sleeping patterns- I've never really looked at it before so hopefully it will give me useful feedback.

Last night's sleep pattern

We weren't traveling this weekend (shocking, I know!) so I was able to manage my spaces pretty well and stick to my daily points target- most days. Lately, I've been loving the hidden menu from Panera- especially the Power Chicken Bowl: chicken, veggies, hummus. Ah-mazing. Seriously. Just try it.

Perfection in a bowl.

146.4 as of 11/5/14 weigh-in
-.4 since last week
-44 since January 2013
-55.6 since HW

By some miracle, I lost .4 last week with -81 PPV left. Sometimes, there just is no rational explanation for weight loss- but I'm still excited about it :-)

QOTD: Do you use an activity monitor like the ActiveLink or Fitbit? Does it motivate you to move more?