Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Motivators: Jessica (Jesse...or as she'll always be to me, Jemsey)

Everything has a beginning. That seems like an obvious enough statement, eh? Well, when it comes to this whole weight loss, running, eating better, being a happier person thing - it started with one of my best friends, Jesse.

I like to put Jesse in headlocks.
Jesse and I have been friends since I was in 6th grade and she was in 7th. I won't go find any pictures from back then because seriously, we were (okay, ARE) big dorks and I doubt either of us want proof of that on the internet for the rest of our lives. But here - this should prove to you that we're actually friends - this was taken in 2006 in front of Mellow Mushroom in Jacksonville, FL. We're really friends. You can be jealous.

When I got married in 2010, I weighed approximately 220 pounds. I wasn't feeling fat, really, but I most definitely wasn't feeling "good." My friend Jesse was one of my bridesmaids, even though I hadn't seen her in over a year, she'd always been there for me so she had to be there for me when I decided to wear a big white dress and marry a boy who likes dragons.

Jesse - pre-WW
Nothing against Jesse, but she (and I) had always been chubby, but at 5'3 (or 5'4, whatever, she's effing short) it was just more obvious on her, of course I loved her anyway. We were the ones who dressed more like boys because girl clothes just didn't work on us as well as they did on other people. We bonded over some things that we have had to go through that others haven't - and of course boys. Jesse has always been my "therapist" when it comes to boys. She's always been my "Here, help me talk this out" person - this might be one of the reasons why she's always been such a big influence in my life.

<----Anyhoo, this is Jesse back before she joined Weight Watchers and starting being all super freaking awesome about her weight and food and working out. She's probably going to want to kick my butt for putting it on here, but she'll survive. Because I'm just about to show you how HOT Jesse looked when she came to New Orleans for my bachelorette party. But not just yet.

From the moment I saw her in New Orleans I knew that if Jesse could do it, so could I. She taught me tricks about eating out, taught me about spray butter (!) and most importantly, was there to cheer me on when I needed her. I'd call with food questions and she'd give me all of the information she could. She was my first big motivator.

Jesse in NOLA! HOT!
Jesse looks so amazing now and you can tell she feels great. She's always been beautiful of course, but she looks so healthy and confident that it really just gets the emotions flowing when I think about her and what she's been able to accomplish. She runs now and completed her first half marathon on the same day I did mine (hers was at Disney though). Jesse and our friend from high school, Jen have been super tight as long as I can remember.  Jesse got Jen started going to Weight Watchers and they've both lost a lot of weight - Good Housekeeping even did an article that featured them! Yes, the one with the flamingo leg is my wonderful friend Jesse. They made her stand like that. I still think she looks amazing -
I'm so damn proud of her. 

Thank you for everything you've been to me over the years, Jesse. Thank you for pushing me when I wanted to stop and for telling me that I really could do this whole thing. Thank you for doing it first, too. I wouldn't be able to do this without someone else blazing a trail. Thank you for always being a friend, even when I wasn't in touch like I should be or when I was a pain in the butt to be friends with (let's be honest, this happens a lot). Oh - and thanks for teaching me about spray butter, natural peanut butter and the joys of almond milk. I love you Jemsy!

Us all gussied up so I can get married
Us getting ready for my wedding

Friday, January 27, 2012

Beat the workout music blahs...

I love to dance, groove, sing, whatever. I do this all of the time. I'm actually pretty awesome at dancing as this pic from my dear friend Leah's wedding will clearly show you --->

Good lord, I've got mooooooves. The chick in the leather jacket? She's one of my best friends from back home, Jessica. (She is the reason I started losing weight and running in the first place and she's the one who introduced me to spray butter. I love you, Jemsey.)

Anyhoo, back to the task at hand, people, we're talking about TUNES! In this post from October, when I first started running, I had a symphony of awesome tunes come through my headphones - as if by magic - keeping me going just a little while longer. Everyone has those songs that pump them up and will always put them in a good mood.

When I was doing my half-marathon, at about 1.5 miles in, "Jacob's Ladder" by Huey Lewis and the News came on. While I know it's not like a super "I'M GONNA PUMP YOU UP!" song, something about the chorus "Step by step, one by one, higher and higher, step by step, rung by rung, climbing Jacob's ladder" - it got me going. I guess because at that time, I was literally stepping and going one by one. Whatever, it helped. I zoned out - I felt pumped up - it was on.

Some songs recently that have come on while I was running that really got me singing along and just enjoying the moment were:

Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
Wannabe - The Spice Girls
Livin on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
It's Gonna be Me - NSync
Joy to the World - 3 Dog Night
Stronger - Kelly Clarkson (okay, not classic or nostalgic, but this song is catchy!)
PYT - Michael Jackson
New York Groove - Ace Frehley
Don't Stop Believing - Journey
Master of Puppets - Metallica

Of course, there were more, but these were the ones that came to mind from recent runs. Do you have a song that randomly pumps you up like nothing else? A special Pandora station or internet radio station perhaps? Tell me about it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

She bought me something awful...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I have the greatest cheerleaders in the world.

One of my favorite and most hilarious friends is Mel (if you're wondering why I say she's hilarious, just check out that blog - but I suggest you pee first).

Last weekend, I'm laying in bed and my phone goes off - I have a little notification that Mel mentioned me in a Facebook status. At first, as I always do when I realize Mel has mentioned me in a public forum, I freaked out for a minute - Mel is known for surprising/embarrassing her friends with little or no motivation to do so. This is why we love Mel (perhaps we're sadists). Obviously, even in my sleep stupor, my next move is to see just what kind of damage control I'll need to come up with after Mel has talked about me in her Facebook status.

To my surprise, no damage control was needed. There was simply a link to this post on her blog. 

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but Mel? She's an evil genius.

Mel had sent me something awful as a "congratulations!" gift because I ran that half marathon but there was no way of knowing when it was coming, what kind of package to be looking for, and of course, I had no clue what it was. I was at the mercy of the United Parcel Service and my witty friend, Mel.

Of course, when someone tells you they've purchased you a gift, you get excited - anxious even! However, something about the fact that the gift giver told me it was awful just made it all the more enticing.

Lots of different "awful" gifts ran through my head for days - yes, days. I won't share them here, because honestly, I didn't even come close to figuring out how amazingly awful this surprise would be. After 6 days of coming home and searching hopelessly for a package of awful from New Jersey, I rounded the corner of my street, and I saw it. A huge box at my doorstep.

I was overjoyed! My awful present from the great state of New Jersey had finally arrived!...In Hanukkah Paper! Mazel Tov! But what could it be?

It was definitely a big something, whatever it was. And it even came with a card that had a picture of KY on it! Mel is a very lubey friend. She understands that when it comes to giving awful presents, it's important to lube your recipient up a bit first with a sweet card. 

This beast of a gift was my problem now. Wonderful! But what the hell is it!? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The finish line is my crack - maybe it could be yours too!

That's me. Finishing my first half marathon. Note the amazing form. Note my jubilant expression. Note my boobs all the way up by my chin! Just kidding. I was effing tired!

I promise this will be my last update about the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon - but I need to make something very clear: Finish Lines? They're my crack. I tell myself that running is fun, but who am I kidding? It kinda sucks to be running for 3 hours and knowing you're going to end up exactly where you left off. I tell myself the blisters don't hurt and my muscles aching for a few days isn't a big deal, but it definitely isn't super awesome to hobble around after a race. I tell myself these things because of finish lines.

Finish lines are a destination. Finish lines are a rush. Finish lines mean you've completed something and you deserve a pat on the back - and probably a beer. Sometimes, you even get a medal - which, if you ask me is pretty freaking fantastic. I like shiny things.

I've had a lot of friends/family/randos ask me recently why I run, how they can get started running and why the hell they should run; my answer is "finish lines." Sign up for a 5K, 10K, whatever! Just give yourself a finish line. Once you cross your first one you'll feel one of two things: 1) "I'M NEVER DOING THAT SH*T AGAIN" or 2) "THAT. WAS. AMAZING! I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN!" More often than not, I'd say the latter will come soaring out of your mouth moments after you cross that line. If it doesn't, well, that's fine too! Running isn't for everyone and that's a-ok.

However, if you've been thinking "maybe I should try it" or "I really need some motivation" or "I'm so bored of the gym" - try it. Sign up for a 5k. It doesn't matter if you run the whole way (I sure don't), and it doesn't matter if you are the last person to cross that finish line, what matters is that you did it. The best thing you can do for yourself is try. See if you can make finish lines your crack too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My favorite foods swim in oil.

When I started this blog, one of my main goals was to eat better. I wanted to step away from fried foods and gain control of my eating habits. I like to think I'm doing better with this whole eating well thing - better than before at least; however, I know I'm not really. I still have a serious love of fried foods.

French fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, catfish, pickles, corn nuggets, fried green beans, gator tail, etc, etc etc. The possibilities are endless, really. If it's deep fried, I want to dip it in ranch and put it in my belly. There's something magical about that combination of batter, fried object and ranch dressing that makes my mouth water.

It's kind of pathetic how much I can think about food. I assume it's similar to how a junkie thinks about getting his next fix. In the car, I literally think about what the fries taste like at a particular fast food restaurant. I'm super thankful that I don't like Burger King's new thicker cut fries. Their old fries were my weakness - knowing that I'm not a fan of their newest deep fried potato creation means I can finally drive past a BK without thinking about swinging in for a small fry. I consider this an accomplishment, even if it has nothing to do with me making the change.

I'm writing this blog entry because no matter how many times I say I want to stop eating fried food, I never seem to stick to it. I had fried chicken yesterday. I'm sure I had something fried on Saturday. It's so hard to stay away from because I know it's so damn tasty!

Do you have any tricks/tips to stay away from the foods you know are horrible for you? I would say I'd try getting full off of veggies and whatnot, but I also can't seem to make myself full enough that I won't eat food if it's sitting in front of me. I think I have some serious food issues.

And I'm sorry, but does that not look amazing up there?!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Living like a meme

My whole week has been one huge food fest. It's as if everything I have learned about eating has just gone out the window and I'm giving in to every single food want that I have. I've eaten gobs of food. I've made so many trips to the kitchen that I'm pretty positive there's now a rut between my spot on the couch (yes, I'm like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. I have a spot. Stay out of it.) and the pantry. It's depressing.

I should also add that for the past few weeks, Brian and I have been doing a weigh in every Wednesday morning. This Wednesday morning, I was officially back in the 200 lb club at 202.6. I cried in the shower that morning. I couldn't believe that after running 13.1 miles just days before, that I had GAINED so much weight. The rest of the day, I just kept eating; and I haven't stopped. 
To make it worse, I haven't moved all week. Well, not in a strenuous way at least. I'd say it's because I haven't had time - and I won't lie, this week was busier than most, but I just didn't make the time or use the available time I had. It was all out of lazy. PURE LAZY. See, I'm even too lazy today to write "laziness." I'm full of fail.

Tomorrow is Monday and hopefully it's the start of not eating all of the things. Unfortunately, I'm just not sure that'll happen. I need to get off my ass. I need to get on the road and run and I need to eat like a woman on the road to healthy living again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


funny gifs

I'm pretty sure that if I could have managed to dance after I ran those 13.1 miles, I would have danced exactly like that kid up there. Holy crap. My insides were all "WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" My muscles, however were all "omg dead. DEAD. Please stop moving, just lay down, sleep, do not move anymore!" I may have fallen asleep in the tub after the race. Maybe.

Me and Chrissy at the Expo
Some of your might know that my friend Chrissy flew in from Oregon to do the Mississippi Blues Marathon while I did the 1/2 Marathon. She was answering my questions and teaching me stretches and basically just being my moral support before I started the whole thing. I was so nervous before the race that I literally clung to her for dear life a few times that morning. She was so supportive and reassuring. I honestly don't know what I would have done that morning without her.
Posing like losers - because we are losers.

We went to the expo before the race and collected our bibs and bags o'swag, walked around to visit some vendors and listened to some live blues music. It was a great atmosphere to get us pumped for the next morning. Oh - and of course, we posed with the big ole guitar, because we're nerds like that. Check our how much taller than Chrissy I am. NICE.

Anyhoo, that night, we went and ate hibachi (Chrissy didn't even know what hibachi WAS...I know...I KNOW) so we had some delicious fried rice and carbo loaded, kinda. Next time, I'll choose something a tad more healthy. Especially since the cook was using an incredible amount of butter; yikes. However, it was delicious, Chrissy got to experience hibachi and dammit, I got to watch an onion turn into a volcano and then a locomotive.

In front of the MS Capitol Building
That night, I couldn't sleep. Chrissy had told me what to expect, but I couldn't help but be terrified that by mile 6 my body would just stop and I'd be one of the losers without a "Finisher" medal. I woke up the next morning, showered (to wake up), got dressed, ate some whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter and sliced banana and headed out (at this point, I'd like to add, that peanut butter and banana is delicious and if you don't like it, you suck at life). I'm pretty sure I was shaking the whole way to downtown Jackson - but we made it!

The Finish Line!
The starting line was crowded! There were about 2,500 people registered to run the Mississippi Blues marathon and half marathon and we tried to get towards the back of that group. Chrissy did a great job keeping me focused on where the finish line was, what I'd have to do to get there and that there was no way I'd be the last person to come in. On top of that, moments before the gun went off, I started receiving texts from friends and family wishing me luck and sending me good vibes. Those meant the world to me. I have the best cheerleaders ever.

We also took some time to do a mini photo shoot to calm my nerves. Yes, We are attractive people. We had to calm my nerves somehow! We look so awake! I'm sort of shocked.
Chrissy before the race
Us before the race.

Standard pre-race pose.
Have I mentioned yet how amazing and uplifting Chrissy is? She ran/walked the first part of the run with me, about 3 miles, until she had to go and do her own course for the marathon. She kept track of our times on the first few miles and let me know we were doing well and even gave me one last hug before she left me. I won't lie, thinking about how truly motivational she was kinda makes me teary, I'm going to miss running with her at my next half marathon (yes, this means I'm doing another, which means I didn't hate it! - keep reading!). After a quick hug from Chrissy and a few more motivational words as I ran away, I was on my own.


There were people around me going at their own pace - people who I thought I should be beating. There was even one guy who was wearing a shirt that said "This is my first [half] marathon - there are many like it - but this one is MINE." Having him in front of me motivated me - if this guy can do it so can I! I can't really remember much about the actual running, to be honest. I remember where we ran, but I can't remember how I felt other than "it's mile X...that's no so bad...keep going!" Plus, while we were running, there would be blues bands on the side of the roads to keep us pumped up. It was a fun run! Hilly - looooots of hills, but definitely fun!

My Medal!
Of course, the most important part of the race was finishing, grabbing a beer, stretching out and getting this bombass medal. Check it out! I'm sorta proud of that baby. I sprinted my last .05 of a mile and made the little girl at the end put it around my neck. She hadn't just run/walked 13.1 miles - she could do it for me, dammit.

I finished with a time of 3 hours, 3 minutes and 1 second - which is about a 14 minute mile! Faster than I had hoped for! Yay! However, I was sore. So, so, sore. Chrissy said the way that marathoners/half marathoners walk after a race is called the "Marathon Strut" - her mother prefers to call it a Waddle. I agree with her mom. I was a waddlin' fool.

Lots of stretching and BioFreeze and Aleve later and I'm finally back to walking like normal today. You should have seen it though - I kept Brian chuckling, especially going up and down the stairs (which hurts just to think about)! But even being sore, I will definitely run another half-marathon. Holy crap that was fun. Plus, it's always fun to win a medal and drink beer!
Chissy with her HUGE medal

Me with my FINISHER medal
Chrissy finished her marathon in 5 hours and 30 minutes - which, to me is AMAZING, but she's used to finishing within 5 hours, so I think she was bummed. I'm just thrilled she was able to run with me! Look how great she looked when she finished! I guarantee that if I did 26.2 miles I would not look this adorable.

All in all, I'd say it was a success! I gained confidence by actually surviving this 13.1 mile trek through Jackson and I'd say I gained a lot of knowledge about distance running and about myself. I can't wait to do another one.  Who wants me to come visit? My only request is that you join me and do the run! YOU CAN DO IT TOO!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Howdy, 2012. Please don't suck.

Well, here we are. 2012. If the Myans didn't just run out of room while they were making their calendar and actually had something insightful going on, then we might not be here much longer. Hell, if this really IS the last year that we'll all be here, I might as well do it right, eh?

Most people make some sort of resolution(s) for the year around this time; I'm no exception - which is no surprise. However, I'm trying to continue my "Be Realistic" theme and not set goals that can't be accomplished. List time? I think so.

1) Run one race a month. 5k, 10k, 15k (I'm hoping to do the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, FL in March!), Warrior run, half marathon (?) whatever. Just do one a month. (Or 2...).

2) Reach 170 - or a solid size 12 (where most 12s fit, not one here and there). I understand that muscle weighs more than fat, so reaching just a weight goal isn't exactly the best idea. That's why I put that size 12 thing there. A hot, muscular, 175/180 is fine with me. I just want to be less jello-y.

3) Work on my eating out skills. Eating out is hard. I see delicious things on the menu and then I see the healthy things...of course those delicious things keep holding my attention and, more often than I'd like to admit, the delicious wins out over the healthy. I need to make better decisions, try new things and learn some self control!

4) Be an inspiration to others. Without some of my friends, I wouldn't be where I am today. They have inspired me and passing that inspiration on to others is just paying it forward. Plus, it's just more people to hold me accountable!

5) Which leads me to my final resolution of 2012 Hold myself accountable and be accountable to ME as well as friends. I'm terrible about this. My friends stop asking how working out/eating well is going and I stop working out/eating well. It's stupid. Why can't I do this for ME!? I can, dammit and it's time.

2012 - BRING IT ON.

 And now, your 1st of the month pics - not much has changed. I'm still at 198.8 - but I've started this whole showing my gut to the world thing, so I might as well keep it up. I need to start doing more weightlifting/toning stuff. Currently, I'm all cardio. Which is great, but without making some muscles, I'm going to remain flabtastic.