Sunday, August 31, 2014

BFF

I keep promising myself I'll get back to blogging more regularly again... But there's just been so much going on!

This past Friday, thanks to a WVU football game being played at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, I was reunited with my very best friend and her husband after nearly 6 years. 6 years!!! The last time we had seen each other, I had no children. Now I have a 5 1/2 year old and a 23 month old. Crazy. How does that much time just fly by?!

Just like old times...

Admittedly, my BFF and I have fallen out of touch at times throughout these past almost 6 years, but the past year or so, we've really made an effort to stay connected. And no matter how much time goes by between phone conversations, it's always like no time has passed at all when we talk.



I'm not sure there are even words to adequately describe what it's like to see such good friends again after such a long time... Amazing probably comes close. And to also have these friends meet your kids for the first time? Surreal.

Hubby on the left, best friend's hubby on the right
We had dinner in downtown ATL with the kiddos, and then were lucky enough to go out for the rest of the night sans kids and just catch up and reconnect. We had such a fabulous night! So much fun!

The big brother I never had...
I honestly didn't even realize just how much I missed both my best friend and her husband until we saw them and spent time with them. I had such a mix of emotions throughout the night. And as soon as it was over, I was left very sad - sad that I don't know when I'll see them again; sad that I don't live near them; sad that I let so many years go by without seeing them.



We made many grand plans for the future over the course of the evening. Now to go make them a reality....


Monday, August 25, 2014

Race Recap: Hotlanta Half Marathon 8/24/14

I survived my 5th half marathon - or should I say 12.8 miler?? (More on that in a minute...)



In order to keep the rambling to a minimum, I'm organizing my thoughts into major buckets. (Organizing is just what I do!) But first, a brief description of the event, directly from the website:

Come see Atlanta from a whole new perspective. Never before has there been a race that speaks to the heart and heat of Atlanta, Georgia. HOTLANTA Half will take you on a journey of Atlanta icons. The course kicks off at Atlanta's Underground, winding your way through the city streets and onto the vista views of the city along the Belt Line. You will pass through historic Piedmont Park and pay homage to the Olympians, as you run by Centennial Park. Feast your eyes on the sun shining off the gold Georgia Capital as you make your way to victory to the finish back at Underground ATL. This is a world class event and finishers will be awarded the HOTLANTA Half medal, race shirt and SwagFest bag. Come and experience the city in a whole new perspective. Join us on August 24th for the inaugural run that will sure to be an instant classic and a time honored tradition for all Atlanta.

Packet Pickup & Pre-Race Swag
I loved the way the packet pickup was organized! Since it was a relatively small event, rather than having an expo, they had several designated packet pickup days at a different Big Peach Running Co. location each day. I don't exactly love crowds, so I thought this was great! I parked on the street by the Midtown location on Friday, walked in and picked up my packet and swag bag, and was back in the car in minutes.

Up early and ready to race!
The swag was pretty good, too. I didn't need to buy any Clif Shot Bloks because there were some in the bag - score! There were a few bars in there that I won't eat (they are glorified candy bars with more calories than a typical meal for me), and there were a few too many pieces of advertising in there, but the t-shirt totally made up for all of that! Women's fitted soft cotton tee - booyah!

Location & Getting There
The race started and finished at Underground Atlanta. I had never been there before, and I was a little worried about parking. I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled into a mostly empty lot right next to the start area and parked 1 space over from the exit. They hyped up the "lack" of event parking way too much, and public transportation ended up being much worse than just driving to the race. Score 1 for me! I zipped right out after the race. Lesson learned though - next time, bring a towel (or several) to sit on for the drive home! Needless to say I had to Febreeze the heck out of my driver's seat afterward...



Course & My Finish Time
This course was TOUGH! So.Many.Hills. It was 82 degrees at the start of the race too, which made those hills even tougher. On the upside, it was very scenic, taking runners along the Atlanta Beltline and through Piedmont Park.



I was running pretty strong from the get-go, exceeding my own expectations. This was good and bad - I was doing better than I expected, but I had probably started out too fast. My goal was to run it around 2:02:00 (about 3 minutes slower than my PR). I scored a free pace tattoo prior to the start for reference which reminded me along the way that I needed to run a 9:09 pace to come in around 2 hours. 


At about the halfway point, I was running an 8:58 pace. But I hit the wall coming out of Piedmont Park and up the hill on 12th Street. It was mostly uphill from there.

Heat, humidity and hills are not a good combination. Thank goodness there were well stocked water stations every mile. I think I dumped more water over my head than I drank.

I used Runkeeper during the race, and I noticed that somewhere around mile marker 8 the GPS and the mile markers weren't matching up. When I crossed the finish line, I was quite disappointed to see that I had only logged 12.8 miles, with my official finish time being 1:57:13. Did I cut corners? Was the course mis-marked somewhere? Or not marked well enough? Still not sure what happened, but I do know, thanks to Facebook, that pretty much everyone else using a GPS logged 12.8 miles too. Major bummer. I was definitely happy to be done, but bummed that I can't really compare it to my other half marathons since it wasn't the full distance. Maybe I'll just keep that to myself and claim it as my new PR! ;)





Post-Race Snacks
Best described as: not bad, but not great. There was Nuun hydration, but it wasn't remotely cold. I could've used an ice cold Powerade! There were buckets of bananas, but they were all cut into thirds, which I found super annoying. I had to grab 3 of them and peel them individually! There were also loads and loads of Einstein Bros. Bagels, but there didn't appear to be anything to put on them. Bagels really aren't my thing anyway. Maybe I didn't look around enough, but I didn't see any energy bars or anything else. Meh.

Good thing we had French fries later on!

Overall Organization
If I had to grade this race, I would probably give it a B, which actually isn't that bad given that it's the inaugural year. Will I run this one again next year? Not sure. Right now I'm leaning toward no, mostly because I've learned that training in the summer just doesn't work for me - at least not while I'm living in the south.

Highlight of the Race
Hands down, best part of the race was rounding the corner on the Georgia Tech campus at about 10.5 miles and seeing the hubby and my 2 baby girls waiting to see me run by. They looked so excited and so proud of mommy, and it was just the push I needed to make it through the last couple miles.




Saturday, August 23, 2014

What's Happening...

Oh, hey there. I'm back - fell off the face of the virtual earth for a bit. There was a whole lotta life happening last week, so blogging fell off the priority list.

I won't recap everything I've been up to, but here are a few highlights:

- Business trip to Minneapolis: lots of good food and wine, a restful night in a hotel room, fresh air and sunshine, and a great client meeting. Not bad, other than getting home at 12:30am and then being up with a puking toddler...

I made this on the plane on the way home. :)

- Pure Barre: I am newly addicted to the 5:30am class. What an awesome way to start the day! I started to get really bummed that my new client special was expiring and I had convinced myself that it was too expensive and I would just have to go back to working out at home. I received the 20% off email and had until my last day of the NCS to take advantage of it. At the 11th hour, I decided to go for it! 3 months unlimited. So pumped! I had heartburn thinking about the price tag (although I did save $120), but ultimately I think it's a good investment for me. Not only only have I seen amazing physical results, the classes are really like 55 minutes of zen for me.

(source)
- Prepping for my half marathon: And by prepping, I mean cutting back my mileage, eating plenty of carbs, and drinking loads of water. Less than 12 hours until race time! I'm not anticipating a PR, given the way my training went and the fact that it's going to be hot. I'm just hoping to finish a couple minutes faster than my first half marathon, which was 2:04:58. Maybe 2:02:00ish?



- Enjoying the munchkins: I missed them while I was gone! Don't get me wrong - it's nice to have some time away. I definitely appreciate these 2 that much more after I've been gone.



So that about sums up my week away from the blog! I'll be back soon with a race recap!

What have you been up to this week?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened When I Stopped Trying to Lose Weight...





It's only been about 2 weeks since I blogged about accepting my new happy weight and getting on with my life. Since then, I've completely shifted my focus. Instead of focusing on eating X number of calories and burning as many calories as possible, I simply focused on feeling great - making sure I felt well fueled on the days that I ran, and enjoying my new Pure Barre workouts and changes I could see in the mirror.

After almost 2 full weeks, I decided to step on the scale on Friday out of curiosity, since my clothes are feeling much looser.

I discovered that a funny thing happened when I stopped trying to lose weight....

I lost weight.

Yep, that's right. After months of stressing over the scale and the 5 lbs I gained while injured, and trying to adjust my diet, the thing that finally worked for me was just to simply stop stressing about it and start enjoying life more. Enjoying my food (and eating more of it) and enjoying my new low-impact, high-intensity workouts.

Just like that - 3 lbs gone.

Perhaps there is something to this "moderation" thing... and "fueling" my training.... :)

****************************

Moving on...

It's been quite an enjoyable Saturday!

I went for my last long run before next weekend's Hotlanta Half Marathon...



...some one-on-one time with my big girl...

FroYo date! Mommy had the non-dairy almond butter flavor. YUM!

...some one-on-one time with my baby girl...



...and of course, some Sauvignon Blanc.

(source)
Oooh - and how could I forget?! My new running shoes arrived in the mail!! I've been wearing Brooks Adrenaline for a few years now. I scored another pair of the GTS 13 on clearance from Trivillage.com for just over $71 with free shipping. Whoop whoop! This was a long overdue purchase! My previous pair had zero tread left and logged well over 500 miles. No wonder my shins have been screaming at me...



How was your Saturday?!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

So. Busy.


Other than taking time to gush about Pure Barre on Monday, I feel like I haven't stopped moving and haven't sat down all week!

The transition of our 5-year-old to the elementary school for kindergarten has changed up the routine, which has been a little emotional for everyone. The girls are used to riding in the car to school together, and now the older one goes with daddy and the younger one goes with mommy. For some reason it just never occurred to me that would rock their world so much!

Anyway...we're all exhausted. The week has flown by, and I can best sum it up in 2 words: So. Busy.

I waited and went running a little later tonight so I could get some extra snuggles in with my big girl before bedtime.



A couple other random shots that represent the crazy busy week...

Crockpot oatmeal - a timesaver in the morning!

Snacking in the conference room in between calls,

Brain is fried. One more day to go before the weekend....

Tell me something about your week.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pure Barre: 10 Classes Later...

I did it - I completed my 10th Pure Barre class today! And I did it just 2 and a half weeks!

Before I dive into my results though, I just wanted to quickly talk about a very nice compliment I received from a co-worker last week.

Disclaimer: This is in no way intended to be a "humblebrag"; but rather an example of the power of paying someone a compliment and a reflection of how far I've come.

I was in the kitchen making my coffee at work, when our facilities guy walked in. (By the way, one of the nicest people you could ever meet!) After saying good morning to each other, he said to me, "You know, I want to commend you on keeping yourself in such great shape." There was more to it, but that was the gist. Coming from a male co-worker, this could have come off a little creepy. But it was worded in a way that was incredibly complimentary, and reflected admiration rather than flirtation.

What a huge confidence boost! I went on to have one of those days where I felt like I could take on the world. And I definitely kicked some ass and took some names at work. :-)

This co-worker has now taken to calling me the "Queen of Fit." Wow. I'm still in disbelief of how far I've come. At age 22, I was the Queen of Hostess Cupcakes and Pepsi. Now here I am at age 31, 35 pounds lighter, significantly more muscular, and a soon-to-be 5-time half marathoner. All with 2 kids and a full-time job. I don't often pat myself on the back....but I'm totally patting myself on the back right now. ;-)


One of my faves from the summer!

*************************************

Ok, let's get to it! Just to recap: I signed up on July 23 for the "New Client Special" at the new Pure Barre studio near my office. It was $99 for 1 month of unlimited classes.

According to the Pure Barre website...

You can see results in just 10 classes! For optimal results, classes should be taken at least 3-4 times per week. Your actual results will vary, as it depends on how often you are coming and what you are eating!

See better results with Pure Barre
(source)

Obviously I wanted to optimize results! So I've been attending classes 3-4 times per week, taking some at lunchtime at the studio near work when I can, and some at the studio near my house. (Total bonus that they're owned by the same person so I can use my membership at both locations!)

I started noticing results about 6 classes in. My clothes fit differently, and I was really starting to see some more muscle definition. In the past, my first inclination would have been to weigh myself to see if I lost weight. But who needs to weigh in when you are clearly seeing results in the mirror?!

The things I've noticed the most:

  • ABS, ABS, ABS! Dare I say that I see a slight six pack starting to reveal itself?!
  • My hips feel slimmer. All of my pants and shorts feel quite a bit looser.
  • Much less arm jiggle! I've been lifting medium to heavy weights for a long time, and I've never seen the same type of results that I'm seeing with small, isometric movements with 3 and 5 lb weights. My tricpes are much more toned!
  • I feel much stronger. I went on and on like an idiot to my husband at dinner over the weekend about how much stronger I felt in my core while sitting up straight.
  • My confidence is through the roof. I rocked my bikini over the weekend without a single self conscious thought.
Left: pre-vacation (early July)
Right: after 10 Pure Barre classes

And the results in numbers? Drumroll please...
  • 1/2 inch gone from my waist
  • 1/2 inch gone from each thigh
  • 1/2 inch gone from each arm
  • 1 inch gone from my hips
This is just from 10 classes! I want to take 10 more! And 10 more after that!

I got an insider tip this weekend that I should expect to receive a 20% off deal if I sign up for another package before my current one expires. I'm eyeing the 3 months unlimited package. I think I know where my commission money is going this quarter...

I still cringe a little bit when I think about the cost of Pure Barre classes. But I feel like a million bucks, and maybe that's worth the cost..?!

Have you ever tried Pure Barre?

How much would you be willing to pay for a good workout?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

In the Zone

Another weekend in the books! They fly by, don't they?

It was a pretty standard weekend here that included a long run, swim class, grocery shopping, play date, dinner out, Pure Barre, and meal prepping for the week. That just about sums it, so I'm done now! Just kidding...

I set my alarm for 5 am on Saturday. I had a 9-miler on the schedule, and I'm hooked on getting my Saturday mileage in early in the morning. It's funny that I can't drag myself out of bed at 5 on a week day but on Saturday? No problem. There's something really enjoyable about getting up, having some toast and coffee on the peace and quiet, and then spending 1-2 hours outdoors all by myself, before I've even said a word or interacted with anyone. It's totally worth getting out of bed for.

Anyway, back to that 9-miler... I felt surprisingly great when I started out at 5:55 am. I was breathing comfortably and my legs felt fresh. I figured since I felt so good, I was probably running at more of a jogging pace. Much to my surprise, Runkeeper chimed in at the 5 minute mark to let me know that I was running a 9:30-ish pace. What?! (Have I ever mentioned that I have absolutely no natural ability to gauge my pace? Sometimes I think I'm running super fast when in fact I'm going at a snail's pace, and vice versa. I'm 100% reliant on technology.)

I continued feeling great and getting faster as the miles ticked by. I could definitely tell that I was in the zone. It wasn't until I hit some hills around mile 5 that I slowed back down a bit and started breathing hard. I got it back under control and was totally pumped to finish my 9 miles at 9:10 pace! I still don't think I'll PR at the Hotlanta Half, but I'll be a little closer than I originally thought.


We hosted a play date at our house in the afternoon that was super fun! Kids ran around the yard while mommys and daddys drank beer and chatted on the porch. Afterward, we went out to one of our favorite standbys - Mellow Mushroom. I got an enormous build-your-own salad with some pretty amazing grilled tofu. The rest of the fam had Hawaiian pizza. (Of course I had to snag some of the crust - YUM!)

This teeny peanut ate TWO slices of pizza!
I hit up an 8:45 am Pure Barre class this morning that was actually taught by a co-worker of mine. It was INTENSE! This was my 9th class, and I'm taking my 10th class at lunchtime tomorrow. Pure Barre promises results after 10 classes if you take it a few times a week. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint! I plan to write about my results so far tomorrow - some come check it out. Here's a teaser:

Left: mid-April just before my first round of the 21-Day Fix
Right: today after Pure Barre class #9

We have a very big day coming up tomorrow. My littlest munchkin moves up to the next class at daycare, and my big girl starts kindergarten at the elementary school! I swear I blinked and she was 5 all of the sudden.

Hope you all had a great weekend, and have a great week ahead!