Monday, September 29, 2014

AM: 9/29/14

Welcome to another Monday! I hope you had a fabulous weekend filled with all the stuff and people you love. If you follow me on social media, you know I flooded your feed with tons of Akron Marathon and Great Race love with all my favorite running friends. I'll be blogging lots more about the whole experience this week but let me just say that I am so blessed to have friends that have become family. My Akron Marathon relay team and all our running friends in Pittsburgh really made this weekend incredible and unforgettable. Despite all the sadness and depression this injury has brought into my life, I was able to forget all about it this weekend and spend time with the most wonderful people. Thank you, friends. You are so beyond loved.

My heart.

Let's get right into some accountability!

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- 30 minute circuit of strength training
Friday- Lots of walking scootering around Akron and the expo
Saturday- More scootering around and cheering
Sunday- Cheering for the Great Race, crawling up and down stairs, and scootering around Pittsburgh

There are lots of insane pictures from this weekend of me using unconventional methods to get around- look for them in the Akron posts later this week :-)

As we were out of town three days (and I've been wallowing a little in sad feelings), it was hard to stay on track with my eating while going to restaurants for each meal of the day. Luckily, the Weight Watchers app is loaded with good suggestions on low point alternatives at a variety of restaurants. Every time we went out, I tried to pick the most nutritious and low-point option available. I think it worked pretty well. I cut into some of my weekly allowance points but there is still a good amount of them left. We'll see what the scale says on Wednesday when I weigh-in but overall, I'm proud of not eating my feelings this week and tracking every bite I took.

Beets and goat cheese might be my favorite combination OF ALL TIME.

152.6 as of 9/24/14 weigh-in.
-1.2 since last week.
-37.8 since January 2013.
-49 since heaviest; 202 in 2005.


I was SO surprised when I stepped on the scale and was down 1.2 after a full week of no workouts! I don't know if this trend will continue but I feel much more confident in my ability to manage these next five weeks and not back-slide into old habits/thought patterns.  I'm actually looking forward to the challenge of eating better and being more diligent about what I'm eating over the next few weeks. Imagine that :-)

QOTD: What was the biggest challenge you faced this week? How did you overcome it?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Race Recap & Review: Divas Half Marathon DC

Ok, enough sad talk with my stress fracture, let's do something fun! Let's recap my 15th half marathon, the Divas Half Marathon in Wine Country, DC. It was actually in Leesburg, VA NOT in DC, but that's another post entirely. :-)

As you know from the expo post, this race would be Jen's first half marathon and I'd be representing Enell on the course. We were both a mix of excited and nervous- Jen because she'd never done this before, and me because my foot was acting up and I was thinking about wearing brand new shoes for the race.

We tried to get a good night's sleep (ha!) and woke up bright and early Saturday morning- 5 am. The race started at 7:30 am but our VIP parking lot closed at 7 so we wanted to get there nice and early. From scouring other blogger's recaps from last year, I knew parking would be challenging. In fact, we'd heard that last year the event started TWO HOURS late because parking was all backed up. With the race starting at a rural vineyard with only one road in and one road out, traffic was a nightmare and caused the race start to be late.

We left the hotel around 6 am for our 20 minute drive to the race site. We grabbed breakfast at Starbucks on the way and were happily following the directions until.... a police officer directed us to go another way! Now, try to imagine this- we are in a looooong line of vehicles, it's 6:45 am, and we have NO IDEA where we're going as the way we were told to go was now being redirected. After a few minutes and some wrong turns, we finally approached the VIP parking lot a little after 7. This didn't leave us much time to get ready or give me much time on what shoes to wear. After a long internal debate, I decided to wear my hokas. I didn't feel comfortable changing shoes at the last minute and knew that I could run 13.1 in the hokas.

Once we left the car, we had probably a half mile walk to the start line. So we got to the start with only about 15 minutes to spare. The lines for the port-o-potties was insanely long so we skipped the bathroom and hoped we'd find one on the course. I wanted to check in with two people at this race- Sid Busch and my friend Rhonda. You may remember that I've met both of these folks before during the Dopey Challenge. Rhonda is a dear friend and Sid is just a legend- he's run nearly 200 marathons! It was great catching up with both of these friends as we waited for the race to start.

Sid and me and Rhonda!

She looks ready!

Somehow, Jen and I managed to be in wave two out of four. At a little past 7:30, we were off! We raced through a bit of the vineyard and then were on paved roads the rest of the race. The course itself wasn't that great- lots of out-and-back sections (that can mess with your head!) and little to no spectators. We ran through many housing developments; some of which were still being built! There were some great views of the mountains and some breathtaking flower fields. All in all, it was just an ok course. I did try to entertain us by counting the men on the course (around 20) and we were able to see Donna (who I ran into at the expo) and Sid a few times and wave hello- that's the good thing about those out-and-back sections.

What you can't see on that map is the HILLS! Oh Lord, was this thing hilly! I felt bad for Jen- usually your first half marathon should be nice and flat! We were doing well through the first 10 miles- keeping a nice and easy pace somewhere between 12- 13 minute miles. I promised Jen we would pick up the pace at mile 10 if we felt good. And guess what? We felt GREAT at mile 10 and picked it up like crazy! Our last three mile splits were something like 11:45, 11:30, 11:06- it was fantastic!

Some pictures from the along the course.

As we were racing towards the finish, we were both so pumped and talked about how THIS is why we take walk breaks- so we can pass people like crazy at the end and finish feeling strong. I can't put into words how proud I was of Jen- she had worked her butt off all winter, spring, and summer to do this half marathon- and she was KILLING it! The feeling as we came back into the vineyard, knowing the finish was less than a mile away, was just amazing. It's the reason I run.

In less than five minutes, Jen would be a half marathoner!!!!!

As we got close to the finish, there were cheerleaders handing out pink boas and tiaras to finish the race with. We both grabbed them and kept pushing towards the finish. As we crossed the announcer shouted out both of our names- so freaking cool.

Jen did it. She was a half-marathoner! (PS- I'm crying as I type this, I can't help it!)

We went through the finish chute, got our crazy blinged out medal from some very beefy (and VERY young!) men, got a glass of sparkling cider (no champagne due to VA liquor laws), and waited in line to get an official finisher picture.

Look at this rock star! What a finish!
Wow. Just wow. Photo credit: Kathy Peraza

We went back to the car to grab a jacket (it was a little chilly and had started to drizzle) and our free wine tasting ticket. After waiting in another looooong line for free wine, we finally had our chance to taste Tarara Winery's Boneyard line- two reds and two whites. Lucky for me, Jen is allergic to red wine and the other ladies beside us didn't like red wine so I got almost two full glasses of red when they shared their samples with me!

I bought a few bottles of wine and then we made the long trek back to the car to head home. There was a finisher party back at Lansdowne Resort from 2-4 pm but we were pretty wiped out from the race so we decided to head back home.

Would I do this race again? Probably not. It was a hilly, lonely, not very pretty course. And the waiting for the wine at the end of the race was not fun. I wish there had been more of an after-party at the actual finish line rather than having it at a second location 20 minutes away.

What worked well for me in this race: My new Enell bra was AMAZING! Seriously, I hadn't noticed how unsupportive my old one was until I had a newer, smaller size on. Ladies, replace your Enell at least once a year- if not once every six months. You can really notice the difference when you're in a correct size and newer bra. It was heavenly to run in! :-)

I'm glad I did Divas but I don't think the "DC" race will be on my list in the future.

Happy finishers.

QOTD: Have you ever run any of the Divas races? What did you think of them?

Disclaimer: My registration fee for this race was paid for by Enell as part of their Ambassador Program. I received no other form of monetary compensation. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

AM: 9/22/14

Well folks, I survived my first weekend on crutches. If you read last week's post, then you know that I'm out of commission for at least six weeks. I am very much looking forward to my ortho appointment this afternoon so we can get a better picture of what the next few weeks will look like. Make sure you're following me on facebook; I'll recap the visit there as soon as it's over.

This weekend was rough but I am so grateful for the outpouring of love and support I received from all of you and my insanely awesome friends and family. Between the tweets, texts, emails, phone calls, and comments, I never felt like I was going through this alone. Thank you, so, so, so much.

I also owe a big thank you to Matthew- I'm pretty much dependent on him for a lot as my mobility is pretty restricted. He makes me coffee every morning, helps me move around, and has picked up doing all the stuff around the house I usually do- and he's dealing pretty well with my bouts of sadness/frustration at my situation. He's a keeper for sure :-)

One of my biggest concerns about this injury is the fact that I won't be able to do much for activity over the next few weeks. I don't know if I'll be able to swim or bike or really do anything cardiovascular and that makes me really nervous. I've come so far in my weight loss journey; I don't want this to set me back. I'm scared that with all the time I'll be spending on the couch all I'll want to do is eat and feel sorry for myself- I can't let that happen.

After today's appointment, I'll know more of what I can do for activity. Based on that information, I'll develop a workout plan so that I won't lose ALL the fitness gains I've earned over the last few years. I also know that I'll really need to watch what I'm eating. Without any physical activity, my body needs less food than what I normally give it- this will be tough for me. Food has always been my source of comfort but I can't let it be this time. I've got to be able to keep up all the healthy habits I've been building. This is why this "Accountability Monday" post will be more important than ever- to keep myself on the path I want to be on.

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- 3.68 miles- my last run :-(
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- 25 minute circuit- some abs, pilates, leg lifts, clamshells, and push-ups- all with no weight on my foot.

Total: 3.68 miles

Since I got the diagnosis on Thursday, I have really reigned in my eating. I stuck to my points target everyday except Saturday when I used some of my weekly reserves when Matthew, me, my dad, and his girlfriend went out to eat. It is so different not having any Activity Points to use.

On Wednesday night after my Weight Watchers meeting, I went to Panera to try their seasonal Turkey Cranberry Flatbread and Autumn Squash Soup. At 14 PPV, it's not a low option but it was super tasty. I really, really liked the squash soup. It was like a less sweet version of pumpkin pie :-)

Guiness Crab Dip (YUM), Panera goodness, Steak and Calamari salad, Wendy's Asian Chicken Salad (8PPV with dressing)

153.8 as of 9/17/14 weigh-in.
-1.4 since last week.
-36.6 since January 2013.
-48.2 since heaviest; 202 in 2005.

I made Matthew take a picture of me on Tuesday night before our run and I'm glad I did for a couple of reasons. First, to have my last run with a broken foot documented. Secondly, I was able to put this picture side-by-side with one from just before I started back with Weight Watchers and look at the differences. I am so proud of how far I've come and I have a feeling I'll be using this picture as motivation to stay focused on my long-term goals while I recover from this injury.

This must be my signature pose :-)

QOTD: Have you tried any fall seasonal foods/drinks yet?

Friday, September 19, 2014

And the Verdict is... A Stress Fracture

Devastated. Crushed. Disappointed. That's just the tip of the iceberg of how I feel today.

Yesterday, I received a call from my orthopedic's office- the MRI shows a stress fracture on the second metatarsal of my right foot. Six weeks of no weight-bearing activity; no running, no walking, no driving; basically, total immobilization of my foot.

I don't know much about the prognosis- only that right now I'm using crutches and will be for the foreseeable future. I have an appointment with the orthopedic doctor on Monday and hopefully I'll know more then. I don't know if I'll be able to swim or bike or really do any activity at all in the next six weeks.

What I do know is this- all my races (Akron, The Great Race, Rugged Maniac, Runner's World Half Festival, Crawlin' Crab) from now until the first week of November are out. I will not be able to participate in them. I don't know about Wine & Dine or WDW Marathon Weekend. By the time my foot is healed, I'll have eight weeks until the Goofy Challenge- not quite enough time to build up to marathon distance from zero. And Wine & Dine is only seven weeks away; six of which I'll be laid up.

I know this isn't life threatening. I know this could be a lot worse. I know it's just six weeks.

But today, right now, it feels pretty damn devastating.

While there are a lot of things I'm upset about, what hurts the most is that my Dad is coming to Disney to run his first half at Wine & Dine and his first full at the WDW Marathon with me. Now I don't know if I'll be able to do them with him. My heart is just broken.

Running is central to my life. It's what keeps me sane, keeps me fit, and makes me happy. I'm a runner.

But who am I if I can't run?

My dear readers, I'm taking a little break this weekend to reflect and recharge. No social media, no blogging. Just some time with my love, my puppy, and myself. I want to sulk, cry it out, get angry- and then I want to move on. I won't let this set me back but I've got to confront it head-on first. So, I promise I'll be back on Monday with a little dose of accountability and then I'll be back later in the week with the Divas race recap. In the meantime, check out Jen's awesome recap.

Please run some miles for me this weekend- it should be beautiful weather :-)


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Race Recap & Review: Divas Half Marathon- The Expo

Last weekend, I completed the Divas DC Half Marathon in Leesburg, VA. This post will recap the expo- look for a race recap post later this week!

As you might know, my friend Jen and I were doing this half marathon together to celebrate her 30th birthday. This race was about an hour and 45 minutes from us. We left around 3 pm on Friday afternoon so we'd get to the expo with plenty of time to shop.

The expo, affectionately called the "Diva's Health and Fitness Boutique," was held about 15 miles from the start of the race at Lansdowne Resort. We couldn't park at the resort because they were holding the 5k on-property at 6:15 pm. So they directed us to a lot in the nearby business park. This is an important detail- we'll come back to it.

After parking, it was a little confusing as to where the expo actually was. We asked a group of women where the expo was and they explained we needed to follow "the path." Eventually we found it and hiked over to the expo.

Once we entered the resort lobby, there was plenty of signage to help us find the pink explosion expo.

We easily picked up our bibs, t-shirts, and swag bags. Apparently I ordered an XL shirt but when I went up to get it, the volunteer looked at me and said, "Are you sure you want an XL?" I grabbed a large instead and it fit perfectly. Smaller sizes for the win :-)

Then we headed over to pick up our VIP parking pass. Because the starting line of the race was at a rural vineyard, the Divas organization had different shuttles and off-site parking lots available for runners and spectators to use. Last year, parking was one of the biggest issues that lead to an almost two hour delay in the race start. There was only one road that leads to the vineyard so you can imagine the back up caused by 3,000 runners. So this year they implemented off-site parking and shuttles.

However, you could purchase VIP parking and park directly at the vineyard. Since this was a new race for us and I didn't want any parking stress on Saturday morning, we opted for the VIP pass. Which meant no line for us! There was a crazy-long line for the shuttle option- I guess you had to choose an off-site parking lot and shuttle at the expo.  For VIP, they gave us a hang-tag for the rear-view mirror and detailed instructions on how to get to the vineyard.

Right after we grabbed our parking pass, I heard someone behind me asking if I was sparkly runner. It was Donna- a friend from instagram and twitter! She recognized my Enell Ambassador shirt and decided to say hi- and I'm so glad she did! That's the one thing that I absolutely LOVE about the running community and social media; I've been able to meet the coolest people. After a quick chat with Donna, Jen and I started making our way through the vendors.

I was slightly disappointed with the amount of vendors. With this being a women's focused race, I expected more vendors- especially those that cater to women. But some of my favorites were there- Hippie Runner, Bee Cause Charms, Bay Six, and York Sign Shop- if you ever need an affordable, high-quality medal holder, be sure to check them out!

Just a sampling of what York Sign Shop has to offer. I especially like the "Donuts" one :-)

Jen bought a few shirts, we bought some distance charms for our shoes- 13.1 for Jen, 39.3 for me, and we both picked up a belt from Hippie Runner. Luckily for my wallet, we got out of there without spending a tremendous amount of money.

As we left the expo, the 5k was starting so we were able to see the front runners at the first water station. Then we realized that we had no idea where we parked. All the buildings and parking lots in the business park looked the same and nothing looked familiar. Thankfully, we eventually found the car.

From the expo, we needed to make one more pit stop before getting to the hotel. Since I have been losing weight, I needed a smaller Enell sports bra. Unfortunately, there isn't a place near where I live that carries Enell products. But I used the store locator on Enell's website and found a place in downtown Leesburg just a few miles from our hotel.

We made a quick stop at Potomac River Running Store and I picked up a brand new Enell in black. I was also able to see the new Scuba Duba Blue and let me tell you, it is so gorgeous!

This swanky running store uses monogrammed wooden hangers. Fancy.

From there, Jen and I grabbed a carb-o-licious dinner at a local irish pub-type restaurant. Then it was off to the hotel to get prepped for the race and to get some sleep. After all, we had 13.1 miles to chase in the morning!

New Enell + new Sparkle Athletic skirt = Diva ready.

QOTD: What's your favorite part of a race expo?

Monday, September 15, 2014

AM: 9/15/14

Hello and happy Monday!

Last week was a doozy and I'm just so happy to have a new week. It's time to hit the reset button- especially with my grazing, out-of-control eating patterns that re-emerged this week. I am stressed at work and stressed about my foot. And because my foot has been acting up, I haven't been as active as I was all through the summer. I am hopeful that the MRI this Wednesday will shed some light on what's going on, how to fix it, and how to lessen the pain. I ran the Divas Half Marathon DC yesterday and it did not go as planned- but we finished! And it was Jen's first half! Stay tuned for the recap later this week.

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- 45 minute run
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- 45 minute run
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Divas Half Marathon with Jen
Sunday- Rest day

Total: 20.4 miles

Panera Chai Tea Lattes, beef brisket, pulled pork, Nutella milkshakes, cereal for breakfast, french fries, wine, Starbucks coffees, KIND bars, and smoked chicken thighs. That's all I have to say about #eatallthefoods week.

BUT! I will say that I did pretty awesome during Thursday Night Football. Football games are pretty tough for me as they typically revolve around food. However, I made a huge plate of fruit, veggies, and cheese with a few greek yogurt dips to snack on in addition to the turkey chili Matthew and I made for dinner. Though I ate more than I usually do on a Thursday night, it's nowhere near what I used to eat during a football game.

Skinny Vanilla Latte, Special K Cereal, Veggies galore, crazy-good carb loading before Saturday's half.

155.2 as of 9/10/14 weigh-in.
-.4 from last week.
-35.2 since January 2013.
-46.8 since heaviest; 202 in 2005.

A new week starts today! Let's get after it!

QOTD: What's your favorite part about Monday?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Do You Believe In Magic?

So, I have some updates on my sad, little swollen foot.

If you follow me on twitter, you know that I met with my physical therapist last week and that yesterday I had an appointment with the orthopedic doctor. Both cleared me to keep running- yay! But both have some ideas as to what is causing my foot swelling and pain.

The PT says it's my shoes. Yes, my beloved Hokas are not correct for my feet and have been causing more harm than good to my right foot. We looked at the tread of my shoes and noticed that the wear pattern on the outside of the right shoe is worn down way more than the rest of the shoe and much more than it should be. So basically, I'm running/landing on the outside of my right foot. Yikes.

I can't change the way I run or walk- it's just my bio mechanics. Instead, I need a shoe that supports and corrects this motion. The wonderful PT took one look at my Hokas and said, "That's WAY too much cushioning and it's causing too much movement and strain on your right foot." He recommended Brooks Adrenaline, which I wore for three years before making the transition to Hokas,

The ortho has some additional ideas. First, I have a scheduled MRI for Wednesday just to rule out any structural issues. Second, he thinks I need to strengthen the muscles on the outside of my lower leg. Basically, he thinks that there is muscle weakness in my leg that is causing the outside of my right foot to "slap" against the ground when I'm running- kind of like my leg is being lazy and not picking up my foot enough.

So, what did I do? I bought a new pair of Brooks Adrenalines. When I got home yesterday, I compared the wear pattern on my Hokas to an old pair of Brooks. And guess what? There wasn't that "outside right foot" wear pattern on the Brooks. It seems like they were better equipped to handle the bio mechanics of my foot.

Here's my dilemma. I'm terrified to switch shoes.

I know this will sound irrational. I know that when I type this out and when you read it you will think I've lost my mind.

I seriously think that my Hokas are magic and they are the only reason I've been able to run the distances that I've run.

Ok, there. I said the crazy thought that's been lingering since the PT hinted that I needed to switch shoes last week.

I know that my first marathon didn't run itself. I know that I put in the training and the time and the miles and that I finished that sucker on my own two feet. But there's still a part of me that believes the Hokas were the sole reason I was able to finish.

The reason I have this crazy thought? Hokas are a dream to run in. They are like running on pillows. I don't experience any foot pain or leg pain during or after long runs. When I started running in them last September, I knew I'd never want to run in anything else again. They are magic, I swear.

I'm scared that without Hokas, I won't be able to run for 10, 13, 20, 26+ miles. I'm scared that my legs and feet aren't up to the task. I'm scared I won't make it to the finish line.

Tomorrow, I'll run the Divas Half Marathon with my awesome friend Jen. And I'll be wearing the Brooks Adrenalines. I took them out for a short 3.5 mile run yesterday with Matthew and they were ok. Not great, not horrible. Just ok. My foot hurt while I was running but today it feels awesome and there was very little swelling this morning.

So there you have it. My crazy, irrational thought process that's making me nervous. I hope I'm overreacting and just being paranoid. I hope tomorrow is an awesome race and that all the ladies and gents running it have a superb and fantastic time. And I hope my sad little foot isn't sad or swollen.

I added some sparkles hoping that these Brooks will be magical like my Hokas.

PS- Follow me on twitter or instagram or facebook for the play-by-play of tomorrow's race- it's Jen's first half marathon!

QOTD: Have you ever used product that you thought brought you a little bit of magic? 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Race Recap & Review: Harrisburg Half Marathon

This past Sunday, I ran my first race as an Enell Ambassador; the Harrisburg Half Marathon. One of the main reasons I was looking forward to this race was because the mostly-flat course ran over the Walnut Street Bridge- a pedestrian bridge joining City Island and Harrisburg, crossing the Susquehanna River. What can I say, I just like bridges :-)


We ended up with beautiful weather on Sunday morning- breezy with a temperature in the mid-60's. Matthew and I arrived at the race start around 7 am to pick up our packets. The race started at 8 am and the course would be open for four hours. But if you didn't think you could finish the course within that time frame, you could start at 7:15 am which I thought was really cool and was a great way to incorporate people of all fitness levels.

Both parking and packet pick up held on City Island and both were super easy. Our packets contained our bibs, race shirts, and the usual race swag stuff- samples of protein bars, advertisements for future races, etc. There were plenty of bathrooms to use at the start (always a plus!) and there was even water available for runners and walkers.

The view of the Walnut Street Bridge and Harrisburg from our parking space. 

After we walked our packets back to the car, Matthew and I had about a half hour to kill before the race. We found a spot near the start and just sat down and tried to relax and come up with a game plan for each of our races. Since I had been having foot issues, my plan was simple: finish. It was slightly disappointing that I couldn't try to push for a PR with this race especially because I had heard about how flat the course was. But, listening to your body is important and I absolutely did not want to aggravate any potential injury by pushing too hard.

Before long, it was time to start the race. Without much fanfare, we were off! Matthew started a little earlier than me as he was hoping to finish somewhere around two hours. I started in the back of the pack and luckily the runners spread out pretty quickly- there were only around 1,000 participants.

The course started with a quick little loop around some of the island and then across the Market Street Bridge to the main part of the city. We ran through a very industrial part of the city and then into the "Greenbelt" which I'd never heard of- it was sort of like a trail with a gravel path and lots of shade.

I felt fabulous all through this part of the race! We were running along the river to start and then once we entered the "Greenbelt," it was absolutely gorgeous. It truly was a beautiful run for miles 1-5.

Crossing the Market Street Bridge.

For real, I love crossing over bridges during races. 

On the "Greenbelt."

Yup, this about sums up my thoughts about this race :-)

Running back towards the bridge- so pretty.

The next part of the course took us back towards the Market Street and Walnut Street Bridges. We passed them at about mile 5 and then began our out-and-back journey down along the river for a few miles and then back across the Walnut Street Bridge to the finish.

Running along the river was not only beautiful, but there was also a nice breeze coming off the water. It was also cool to be able to see the front runners of the race- and Matthew! I was nearing mile 8 as he was nearing mile 10 and we were able to say hello and get a quick high five :-)

It was really cool to run this close to the river.

10 points for this spectator.

One of the front runners heading back to the finish. 

So, while I love out-and-back courses, they can really mess with your head. Watching lots of runners go past you, knowing they are miles ahead of you, can be somewhat of a mental challenge. I felt great all the way up through the turn-around and up until mile 10. Then, out of nowhere, I hit a major mental wall. I knew I had at least 2.5 miles to get back closer to the bridge I'd cross to finish and it just seemed like it was so far away. I started to feel run down, hot, and nauseous.

Luckily, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve for just this type of melt-down. First, I texted Matthew. He had already finished (2:05:34) and was waiting for me on the bridge. Just a few "you can do this" texts from him and I started feeling better. Second, I focused on the things that were within my control- breathing and form. I focus on breathing in for two steps and then breathing out for two steps. I concentrate on filling my lungs with air and then imagining that air bringing much needed oxygen to my muscles. I straighten up my posture and focus on hitting a perfect mid-foot stride. Third, I thanked the Sports Bra Gods that I was wearing an Enell bra. Wearing my Enell not only controls uncomfortable bounce, but it also helps me with correct running form. It actually helps me stand up straight. And by standing up straight, I can breathe better. And by breathing better, I can feel better while I'm running. Enell to the rescue!

I somehow made it to mile 13 and was able to see Matthew as I was crossing the bridge. The finish was literally just past the end of the bridge on City Island. I mustered up the strength I had left and pushed across the bridge. I finished in 2:37:54 and I don't know that I've ever been happier to finish a race!

As I crossed, there were plenty of volunteers handing out medals and these two wonderful women- at the same time- yelled to me, "You ARE a big deal!" as they gave me my medal. It was pretty damn awesome :-)

The bridge I'd been waiting 13 miles to cross!

Mandatory bridge selfie.

Matthew got a great action shot :-)

After we got our medals, we headed down to the packet pick up area to get some water and food. They had an incredible spread- Panera bagels, cookies, chips, and an assortment of fresh fruit. So delicious. We ate some fruit, got a few finisher's pictures, and then made our way back to the car.

Those cookies were hard to resist.


Another half marathon in the books.

The benefits of this race were numerous- small field of runners, flat and scenic course, very organized, good amenities for runners. There were only a few complaints- mainly the medal and the shirt. Last year's design included the capital building; this year it was just a generic "13.1." But those were just minor preference differences. Overall, this was a great race that I'm sure we will run again in the future.

QOTD: Your thoughts on bridges and running- love them? Hate them? Don't really care? I'd love to hear what you have to say. I can't be the only one who loves running over them!

Disclaimer: My registration fee for this race was paid for by Enell as part of their Ambassador Program. I received no other form of monetary compensation. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

AM: 9/8/14

Good morning and happy Monday!

I hope you enjoyed your week/weekend and are ready to take the second week of September by storm! Or at least tackle it with some mild enthusiasm :-)

As mentioned last week, I am having some issues with my right foot. After my run on Tuesday- which was painful and made my foot swell- I took off the rest of the week and spent a lot of time in compression socks and with ice on my foot/ankle. I scheduled an orthopedist appointment for 9/11 (to rule out any bone stuff) but was able to sneak into my physical therapist's office on Thursday afternoon. He thinks that it's a soft tissue issue- possibly the rubbing of a ligament between two of my metatarsals. But, he cleared me to run the Harrisburg Half Marathon on Sunday. So I did!

While my mileage was low this week, I thoroughly enjoyed my mini-break from running and exercise. However, without my usual 40+ APs, I had to be much more focused on my eating and spend my points judiciously. This focus on my diet was a great refresher as we head into the fall season as I hope to set some ambitious weight-loss goals.

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- 45 minute run
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- 2 mile run with Matthew
Sunday- Harrisburg Half Marathon

Total: 15.2 miles

My eating was on point this week! I stayed within my daily points all but two days- date night on Saturday and after the half on Sunday. However, I have got to figure out how to manage my fuel on the long run. Before the half, I had a banana and a 4 PPV Kind Healthy Grains bar. By mile 4, I was starving so I had half of another Kind bar. Then I ate the other half around mile 10. I hit a major energy slump after that but wasn't hungry. I think I'll try a different combination next week at the Divas Half Marathon.

The major win of this week was discovering Panera's Hidden Menu. I had heard about this through #wwchat and was eager to try it out. Holy. Deliciousness. I had the Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey and it was divine. Warm spinach, roasted turkey, egg white, and basil pesto. Unbelievably good and only 5 PPV.

Maple Pumpkin Seeds FTW, gems from the hidden menu, and my crazy good cheeseburger and beer after the half. 

155.6 as of 9/3/14 weigh-in.
-.6 from last week.
-34.8 from January 2013.
-46.4 from heaviest (202 in 2005).

I'm still plotting out my fall goals, look for them in next week's Accountability Monday post. Have a great week!

QOTD: Have you ever tried a "hidden menu" at a restaurant?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Highs and Lows

Did you ever play a game/icebreaker called "Highs and Lows?" This is how it works, every one goes around the room and says one high point of their week and one low point of their week. So, here's my version- I'll give you two highs and a low.

Good news first: I got my first Enell Ambassador package in the mail Wednesday! It included an Enell Sport in Scuba Duba Blue- the newest limited edition color; a tech t-shirt; a tech long sleeved zip up jacket; a hat; and some other little goodies. I am so excited to run the Harrisburg Half Marathon this weekend as an official ambassador!

More good news: I got featured on the #runchat blog! You can find it here as part of the 2014 Running Blogs Month. Pretty cool, huh?

Ok, now here's the low. There's something weird going on with my right foot. For almost a year, I've had intermittent top-of-foot-pain accompanied by some swelling. I've seen two doctors for it- one physical therapist, one orthopedist. Both told me that the most likely problem was shoelaces that were too tight- they didn't see any signs of a fracture or something more serious.

June X-Rays

But after last week, when I ran four days in a row, my right foot and ankle were swollen and hurting again. The swelling is almost all gone and the pain comes and goes. My x-rays in June were fine and the doctor wasn't worried. However, he told me to come back if it flared up again. I recently started lacing my shoes differently and I'm praying that the previous lacing was the problem. It could be nothing, it could be a stress fracture, it could be extensor tendonitis. I have an appointment with the orthopedist next week. Please keep your fingers crossed that all is ok and I won't need to take weeks/months off of running :-/ Matthew (who is just a wonderful man, by the way) keeps telling me not to freak out and that we'll figure something out. But I am freaking out. A little.

There you have it- two highs and a low. I'll keep you all updated with the foot situation as it unfolds.

QOTD: What's your high and low for this week?

Disclaimer: I received the clothing items shown in the photograph above as part of my participation in the Enell Ambassador program. I received no other form of monetary compensation. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Accountability Tuesday: 9/2/14

Good morning! Welcome to the post-Labor Day accountability check-in!

I hope you had a great holiday and are ready to make it an awesome September. I'm a little sad that the summer is officially over but I'm looking forward to the fall for many reasons; cooler weather, pumpkin flavored everything, and lots of fun half marathons on our race calendar.

So, how did this week go? Well, better than last week. I was back to my regular routine and felt like I could better control my eating and the spaces around me. That is...until I went home for the weekend. We went to a winery, had two cookouts, and went out to eat multiple times. I tracked all but Labor Day- and I just grazed all day long (I entered 30 PPV for the day). I'm starting this week with -11 PPV. And I'm ok with that. It's been a slightly-off weekend but I am happy to be getting back on track this week.

Monday- Walked 2.27 miles
Tuesday- 45 minute run
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- 45 minute track workout
Friday- 10.42 mile run with Jen
Saturday- Walked Color Vibe 5k
Sunday- 4 mile run with Dad

Total: 27.08 miles

This week I did so much better with fueling for the long run. Since I was running 10 miles with Jen on Friday night after a full day of work, I knew I needed to eat well throughout the day. For lunch I went to Panera and got a Mediterranean Flatbread Sandwich and Chicken Noodle Soup. The sandwich is a little higher in PPV than I usually eat (11) but I knew it had a great mix of protein and carbohydrates that would keep me full without making me feel too stuffed. I also had a salad from Wendy's (Apple Pecan) about two hours before the run. The result? I only had a handful of sport beans 30 minutes before the run and didn't get hungry for the over two hours we were running. Success.

Apple Pecan Salad, obligatory vineyard shot, doughnuts involved in the "grazing" day, and Panera goodness.

156.2 as of 8/27/14 weigh-in.
-1 from last week.
-33.4 since January 2013.
-44.6 since heaviest: 202 in 2005.

Update on August goals:
As part of the instagram #TeamrunDisney August photo challenge, I set out some specific goals for the month.

PS- You can follow me on ig @sparklyrunner :-)

So... I met one of these goals. I actually ran 90 miles in the month of August. :-)

I lost 4.4 pounds and ran my Akron Marathon leg training run (3.9 miles) in 43:42. But September is a new month and I'm confident I can set and accomplish some new goals for fall... whenever I figure out what they are.

By the way, summer has historically been the worst season for me in terms of weight-loss. I have ALWAYS gained over the summer- featuring all my favorite foods and the mentality of being on "vacation," summer has always been a struggle for me. BUT, this year I actually lost 10.6 pounds from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Here's to hoping the fall season will be just as fruitful!

QOTD: What are you most looking forward to about the fall season?