Apparently I Like to Run

I’ve created a monster.

running

 

We ran the Mud Run two weeks ago, which inspired us to sign up for a local 6k last weekend. Now, we are signed up for the Warrior Dash in a few weeks and already looking into holiday runs, more obstacle runs and even Disney Runs. (OMG, Did you know there is a Princess run???) Anyways, last Saturday was the Heroes in Recovery 6k (weird distance, right?) and it was the first run where I didn’t feel like death at the end. In fact, I enjoyed the run. I felt awesome at the finish!

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This race had zero obstacles, yet it was a hell of a lot more fun than the Mud Run we recently ran. The cool, breezy slightly misty weather certainly made for a pleasant run, but the whole experience was so positive that I am certain we will be running it again next year. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 reasons why the Heroes in Recovery kicks the Mud Run’s butt.

1. Pre-race shenanigans. Before the race started we enjoyed walking around the tents set up nearby. There were local gyms, stores and groups advertising and giving away free passes, t-shirts and selling cute merchandise. We got some cute free tanks for warming up on some rowing machines. There was also music playing and a stage set up where a local jazzercise group taught a few routines. It was the perfect way to warm-up. Everyone was silly, dancing and just having a good time. Fruit, bagels, trail mix, coffee and water were also available for everyone for no extra cost. Everything was well-organized and geared towards pumping the crowd up to run/walk.

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2. Scenic route. The race was held in Leiper’s Fork which is a gorgeous part of town. We ran up and down hills, through the woods, past farms and wide open fields and around cows, horses and llamas. The race was never boring.

horses view cows

3. Cheerleaders. Everyone working, volunteering, watching and running was so enthusiastic and supportive. Before we started everyone pumped each other up, warmed up together and lined up excitedly. During the race we cheered for the people passing us and encouraged the ones behind us, as did everyone else. Volunteers on the side handed out water and constantly told us “great job!” At the finish line we were completely bombarded with people screaming, cheering and telling us how fantastic we are. We were handed metals as our chips were taken (that’s right, we got chips in this race). We also got water, more snacks and lots of praise. All of the love and support made us feel like heroes. In fact, it was so fun and encouraging that after we finished we stuck around to the end to cheer on everyone else running/walking the race.

4. After party. Once the race was over, the party continued. We were not rushed away and immediately sent home. The tents remained opened, a band played music, people snapped photos and everyone continued celebrating their accomplishments.

5. A sense of community. Heroes in Recovery is a movement started by Foundations Recovery Network and the those who are in recovery from addiction and mental illness. They want to break the stigma that surrounds substance abuse and mental health disorders and keeps millions of people from seeking help. They put together events like this 6k to create a sense of community, and they did a perfect job. Everyone was working together, supporting one another and behaving like neighbors. We were all coming together for a good cause and doing something active and positive together.

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Besides these 5 reasons, the Heroes in Recovery 6k also offered free pics and free parking. We are definitely doing htis again next year. Aanndddd probably several other races in between. Any suggestions?

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Cheers!

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My Final T25 Results

fitness

Yes! I did it! (Or nailed it! as my fellow Shaun T fans would say.) After four months I have completed the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Gamma Hybrid rounds of Focus T25. I am now 6 months postpartum and feeling very fit. Husband and I have now done Insanity twice, the Asylum twice and completed T25…do we get some sort of medal for that? I mean, it’s a serious accomplishment.

6 weeks postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum
6 weeks postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum

I love my results from T25. I am stronger , my muscles are more defined, my endurance is way better and I feel good. After a couple of months of T25 we added an extra 5 minutes to our workouts. Shaun T posts an extra 5 minutes to his Facebook everyday and being the loyal followers we are, we do them diligently. I’m also still getting at least 10,000 steps a day (thanks Fitbit!). The more I do, the better I feel and the better I feel the more I want to do. Getting back in to shape has encouraged me to eat healthier, be more active and definitely helps keep my anxiety at bay.

before and after Focus T25!
before and after Focus T25!

Event though I am happy with how I look and love my new muscles, getting back into shape has become so much more than improving my appearance. Being fit involves the health of my body, my mind and my soul. When I began T25 I was 6 weeks postpartum and far from healthy. My blood pressure and hormones have been WAY out of whack since giving birth. I was still suffering with anxiety and panic attacks. Even though I exercised through my entire pregnancy, I had managed to become very weak and lost lots of muscle mass during my hospital stay and recovery. Starting T25 was very difficult. I mostly stuck to the modifications. I felt sick some days. I had trouble catching my breath. I was disappointed in my abilities and knew I had a long road ahead of me.

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Throughout the 4 month program I watched myself grow stronger each week. After a couple of weeks I didn’t need the modifications any longer. After the first month I could complete every move and cardio sequence. Every week got better, and I became happier and more confident as each month passed. Now, I look forward to my workouts. I love being pushed to my limits. I love my body, stretch marks and all, because I love how strong it is. I have been healing my mind, body and soul all along.

Go me!
Go me!

Next on our list? P90X3. We start today and I am excited, but a little apprehensive. I’ve been with Shaun T for sooo long, not sure how I’m going to handle Tony from P90x… stay tuned for my review and results!

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Cheers!

20 Weeks Postpartum Progress

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Guess who finished the Gamma round of Focus T25 yesterday?!? That’s right. Husband, our friend Bella and myself all completed the third month of  T25 and I am still loving it. We have just one month left and then I think I will actually be sad to leave Shaun T and start a new workout program, but I can talk more about that in a month. I’m proud of my progress over the last 4 weeks, and I think a few little changes (plus the ridiculously intense workouts) may have done the trick.

This month has been a little different because we have added 5 extra minutes 5 days a week. Shaun T has been posting 5 minutes of workouts to do in addition to your regular workout on his Facebook page. They are freakin’ nuts. How does one come up with workout moves like the “single arm plank crunches” or the “double heisman to taps”? Most days we workout at 6:30am and do the 5 extra minutes as soon as the T25 workout of the day is over. I’ve got to say it is the greatest way to start your day, although Husband would disagree.

There is something so rewarding in getting your workout done so early. I feel very productive by 7am and ready for the day. For some reason, if we wait until the afternoon to workout, I feel like I can’t get started. I am not, and have never been, a morning person, so if I don’t workout when I get up I take FOREVER to start anything. I tend to do nothing, but feed Luna and drink coffee. At some point I’ll realize The View is on and remember the importance of getting off my butt and doing things. BUT when I workout in the morning I am ready. I drink my coffee while getting ready and manage to do a day’s worth of chores and errands before most people are up in the morning.

Another new thing I’m trying this month is a Fitbit. If you don’t know what a Fitbit is you are seriously missing out! It’s really just a super fancy pedometer, but it connects with an app on your phone and charts how far you walk, how many calories you burn, how many steps you take and how many very active minutes you have during the day. You can also log your sleep and create a food plan. I assumed two things when I got my Fitbit, 1) I was already getting at least 10,000 steps a day and 2) it wouldn’t make a difference if I wore a bracelet telling me how far I walk. I was very very wrong.

It is a lot harder to get 10,000 steps in a day than I thought, especially since I spend a lot of time sitting and feeding Luna. Also, being the competitive person that I am, it makes a HUGE difference to see all of my activity documented everyday. Not to mention, Bella and Husband also have one so now we all compete for “most steps”. It’s very addicting. I can’t tell you how often we march in place while talking on the phone, brushing our teeth or watching TV. It has definitely encouraged us to get up and move much more often.

So with T25, an extra 5 minutes and lots of steps, these are the results I’ve seen.

front progress2progress2I’m very happy with my transformation over the last 20 weeks. Only 4 weeks left of T25!

Any suggestions on what workout I should try next?

Cheers!

 

 

Fat Free

As a teenager and young adult I was pretty typical in the sense that I thought I was fat and tried a million different unhealthy strategies to stay skinny. I exercised non-stop, tried a million yo-yo diets, stopped eating altogether at one point and of course, survived on a myriad of “fat-free”, “low-fat” and “sugar-free” products. From what I remember, many teens at that time dieted on these supposedly healthy options. If we only knew what we know now we could have saved ourselves a lot of health problems, money and wasted time.

sugar

In high school, I remember my physics teacher getting really upset about someone eating a fat-free yogurt. She said something to the extent of “None of you should be eating these fat-free foods! They’re terrible for you!” I remember thinking she must be concerned with eating disorders or something. I don’t know why she didn’t take the time to explain herself. In college, I became more and more involved with my health and began actually researching ways to remain thin and healthy. I was shocked when I discovered that things like fake-sugar can not only cause terrible diseases like cancer, but that they have proven to have no effect on weight loss!

I was shocked and appalled that all these food companies had been lying to me for so many years. This just inspired me to dig deeper and learn a lot more about what I’m putting into my body. Thanks to the Internet and the ability to gather and share critical information so easily, I have learned much more about the various disgusting things that most of us eat: fake sugar, fake food colors, preservatives and a ridiculous amount of chemicals. These chemicals are wreaking havoc to our bodies, but it’s so hard, like really hard, to cut them out.

aspartame

I’m a mostly healthy eater, but even I have to admit that I love some pretty crappy foods… hot fries, reese’s cups, taco bell, fast food fries and sour gummy worms are all some of my favorite treats. Over the last year, especially since having Luna, I have put in an extra effort to cut out processed fake foods, but damn, it’s hard! Honestly, cutting out fake sugar has been mostly easy. I’d much rather a real sugar product over a fake sugar, or diet, one. The only problem is, fake sugar sneaks into so much stuff.

shit

I learned the hard way that basically anything that claims to be “sugar-free”, “lite”, “diet”, “fat-free”, “low-fat”, “less sugar” or “zero calories” actually means “full of fake sugar and chemicals to make the product taste better”. I hate that I have to read virtually every food label now, but it’s often the only way to be sure that I’m eating real food and not a bunch of chemically engineered crap. What’s worse is that many food companies do not even have to put all of their ingredients on their labels. They are actually allowed to sneak that shit into their products and not tell us.vodka

Anyways, I’ll step off my soap box for a minute to get to my point. As of lately, I am eating way less processed and frozen foods. I haven’t managed to cut them completely out because come on? Who seriously has the time and money to always eat fresh food? Not me. Since eating more fresh, real, organic food and drinking tons more water I am feeling unbelievably better! I look better, my skin is clearer, my hair is healthier and I am rarely bloated.

marketing

I don’t deprive myself of stuff I crave either. Instead, if cutting carbs, snacks and desserts out of my diet completely, I just find healthier versions. I still eat carbs and chocolate and other things I crave (moderately, of course) and I am not gaining weight….at all. However, weight is not a priority anymore either. I want to be fit and healthy and I want to create healthy habits for my daughter. I think I’m on the right track and I hope to stay on this path for the rest of my very long life!

Cheers!

A Recent Panic Attack

Every since having Luna (remember that whole traumatic experience?) I have been battling high blood pressure and anxiety. The anxiety was expected. I’ve always had very high anxiety, so I just assumed it would be a little extreme after having a baby, with all the crazy hormones and whatnot. I did not ever think I’d be in the hospital for 10 days, be put on tons of medication and end up seeing a hypertension specialist at Vanderbilt. Since coming home with Luna, and a new list of prescriptions, I have  started (been ordered to) take my blood pressure daily.

For the first couple of months it was very low, like “my body only moves in slow-motion” low. The doctor cut my meds down and it stayed on the lower side so my meds got cut back again. (Woo!) About a week after cutting out one pill my blood pressure shot up. It was through the roof all night, and it sent me into a panic. And, in case you weren’t sure, having a panic attack isn’t a good companion for high blood pressure, nope not one bit.

My doctor is very cool, straight-forward and blunt. I called him late at night (bet he regrets giving me his cell number now) and tried in my calmest voice to say “Oh hey, so my blood pressure is high and also I am freaking out a little, okay a lot. Should I be worried about dying?” My doctor basically said, “Stop it. You’re fine. Take your medicine and chill out.” He so does not get “anxiety” or “panic attacks”. Anytime I mention it he just says, “Why? I don’t understand. You’ll live to be a 100. Calm down.”

His inability to relate or understand is somehow very calming to me. That night, I managed to go to sleep, but anxiety took over the next day. I don’t know what it is about health problems, but anytime something comes up with my health I completely meltdown. I kid you not, but for 2 straight days last weeks I was incapable of almost anything. I physically and mentally shutdown. I could not write, get dressed, run errands, clean, eat…nothing. I hate admitting this because it sounds lazy and selfish. It’s all so dramatic, but I truly can’t help it.

know that the more I do, the better I feel. I know how to take deep breaths, think positive and do all of that crap, but nothing would work. Whenever I panic, like for real panic, it seems impossible to reverse the effects. My mind was consumed with images of my funeral, with thoughts of Luna being raised without me and a constant stream of negativity. It’s awful and weird to admit these fears that reveal themselves during an anxiety attack, but they’re real for me. I don’t think I went half an hour without breaking down in tears for those two days.

I could feel myself sinking. As I got lower, everything good in life seemed further away. Husband, Luna, my life…they were all just above the surface as I struggled to keep my head above the water. By day two, I could see a little light. I could see the stress on Husband’s face when I broke down, and I knew I had to start taking steps. I remembered two very important words of advice at this point.

The first is a quote from my Grandmother’s journal.

I’m convinced that I will never be without problems of all sorts, but still I must never see the dark pit again. Only an idiot is continually happy, joyous and has no problems; but stupidity is another thing. A stupid person hangs onto that first step and enjoys all that muck he is in. Boy, this second step feels better all the time.

The second is something my Mom told me after having Luna.

Focus on the small victories.

I took their wise words and consciously made an effort to start climbing up that ladder and focusing on my little accomplishments. I forced myself to stop the negative thoughts. They still came, but each time they did I replaced them with something positive…like Luna’s face, dancing, good music, a smoothie, and yoga. I then took action. I forced myself to exercise (hallelujah, does that help!), I only talked about happy things, I hugged and kissed Husband A LOT and before long I actually began believing the positivity.

It wasn’t instant, but I was coming to life again. By the end of the week I was back to my regular kind-of-anxious self. By the time I went to my specialist this week I could actually laugh about my freak out and talk to him without crying. My health still isn’t where I want it to be, which is disappointing, but it’s not horrible either. I’m mostly healthy. I’m happy. I’ll most likely make a full recovery, but if I don’t that’s okay too. That’s why we have doctors and drugs, right? I think my doctor is probably right…I will live to be 100.

Cheers!

Postnatal Workout Update

Alright, we did it. We completed the first 5 weeks of Focus T25, the “alpha” round, as it’s called. I have eaten healthier, not exactly healthy all the time, but healthier. In fact, didn’t eat any chips, except while we were in Texas. But, how can anyone go to the land of Tex-Mex and not eat chips and salsa?! They couldn’t and wouldn’t. Actually, we did a great job sticking to our “get healthy” postnatal workout plan except the time spent in Texas. We were on vacation and visiting family so we may have splurged a little when it came to food aannndd we may have missed a couple of workouts. Woops.

Even after having an entire “cheat week” I am still seeing results and feeling stronger. This T25 business is for real. It is an intense workout with zero breaks and I am still sore almost daily, especially after double days! Speaking of double days I’d like to point out this isn’t exactly a 25 minute workout.. Monday through Thursday is a 25 minute workout with a 2 -3 minute cool down. I guess you could skip the cool down if you are really set on only doing 25 minutes. Then, Fridays are “double days”, meaning you do not one, but two of the 25 minute workouts plus both cool downs. So, Fridays are basically an hour. Again, you could just skip the 2nd workout, but it seems silly to do the program, but not do it full out.

t25

Since we have a newborn there have been some challenges added to our daily workout regimen. Sometimes I squeeze in a workout while Luna naps, sometimes she’s happy to watch us from her oscillating chair and sometimes I have to stop halfway through to tend to her and finish the second half later. We often even hold her during the cool-down or while doing some modifications. “Whatever it takes” and “no excuses” are our mottos lately.

My health is better too. I am down from 16 blood pressure pills after having Luna to only 2 a day, and I will hopefully be down to zero in the next month. Yay me! I also feel 90% back to normal.

We still have about 2 months left (the beta and the gamma rounds), but here’s my progress so far:

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1month
First picture is 6 weeks postpartum and second picture is 11 weeks postpartum.

I’m 11 weeks postpartum and I’m proud of my progress and hard-work. I’d like to see my abs tone up, but I think that won’t happen until I really cut out the crap in my diet. Can’t wait to see how strong I am at the end of this program. I hope to be 100% feeling normal, off all my blood pressure medicine, happy and healthy!

Cheers!

I’m Sorry Shaun T

Tonight, I will make each of you feel better about yourself. While I did manage to workout this morning…I think I pretty much voided any good it may have done for me. I ate halfway decent through the day with every intention of eating a super healthy dinner tonight, but then…then I asked Husband to make dinner.

We just ate several beer-battered fish crunchy tacos, and because Husband didn’t want to waste the left-over batter we had homemade donuts for dessert. Donuts that were topped with powdered sugar and chocolate-chip ice cream. We did not eat a little of anything. We just ate EVERYTHING and it was damn good.

Husband’s logic is that if it’s homemade it’s healthy. I don’t think Shaun T would agree.

shaun t

After we stuffed our faces, while sitting on the couch and watching Dancing With The Stars, Husband looks at me and says, “Shaun T is going to be sooo mad at us.” We’ve been with Shaun T for so long, done all his workouts, follow him on too many social media outlets and talk about him like we are actually friends…it’s kind of pathetic. We often use Shaun T guilt to motivate each other.

If only that guilt kept us from indulging in the worst possible foods. Eh…I guess we can always do T25 twice tomorrow.

That probably won’t happen.

Cheers!