Thursday, December 31, 2015

What I learned from 2015

I know that time flies, and every Christmas we ask ourselves, how is it December already? How is a New Year already upon us?

I'll tell you how.  Go through your iPhone and delete 530 photos to free up some memory, and you will see all the moments that made the year fly.

Every year I have good intentions to better myself, and I can finally take a deep breath of satisfaction knowing that in 2015 I did just that.

Since I blog mostly about running, I am happy to say that I got back on track, after healing a broken ankle and bulging Achilles tendon. I conquered my favorite Tipp Hill Shamrock run without incident or pain.  Which lead to a hot but happy Boilermaker 15k, then to my first dusty, tricky, yet successful Old Forge Half Marathon trail run.

Since the half I took some time off from running, and after joining our local Y, focused on mixing things up.  The one rule I have for myself is that I need to do something different every time I go.  I am focusing more on strength training, and less on the machines.  It takes great effort for me to limit times on say the elliptical for only 30 minutes and challenge myself with other things. I must say I absolutely love the star climber, 20 minutes on that and I am a puddle.

After four months of this, my fat jeans are falling off me, and I had to return my Christmas presents for smaller sizes.  I have yet to get on the scale, and I don't want to.  Putting on my 2 sizes smaller skinny jeans are enough proof that I'm doing well.  The key is, to keep up the activity whenever I can. This isn't a short term thing, it's going to be for the long term.  I would like to drop ten more pounds, which I'm confident I can do.

I do have a bridesmaid dress hanging in my closet for my sister's wedding in March. I plan on trying it on a month before the big day to see how it looks.  It's in my bigger size. I'm hoping to have to pay to have alterations done, which I will happily do!

My fitness goals for 2016 are to tackle my first relay with some friends, the Seneca 7 in April.  Then hopefully my 9th Boilermaker in July, then the Wineglass Half Marathon in October.  That will also be a first, but I've head good things about it, and it's a beautiful time of year.

Family wise, we had some tricky months.  My doctor finally confirmed that I went through early menopause.  When I say early, I mean ten years early.  It took a while to figure out which hormone replacement therapy levels that work best for me.  HRT is needed to prevent heart disease, but when I'm in my 50's I should be able to stop taking them.  Now I'm learning what thinning hair and dry skin is like, but I'm happy to finally know how my body should be acting. And how I should act in response.

Mike and I had a lot of stress due to outside forces.  I won't go into details because it doesn't matter, but we finally had some resolutions to those stresses.  It's amazing how much the burdens we have carried have been lifted. I am cautiously optimistic.  I am very aware of the hardships that others in this world face, and our problems are minuscule in comparison.  But I feel like we are coming out of our difficult space, and I am thankful and grateful.

I did some soul searching career wise.  I enjoyed my time at the running store, it was an interesting place.  I was fortunate to have flexibility with my hours there,  but I was ready for something new. So I took a leap and a chance and landed a position that will give me the same schedule as the kids, with new challenges in a new environment.  After an interesting two weeks, I am taking a deep breath and am looking forward to a true fresh start on January 4.

I learned a lot about people this year.  Friendships are an interesting thing.  I am still amazed at how high school seems to have never ended.  One thing that I need to remind myself is that people are the way they are mostly because something inside them causes insecurity.  I have no one to impress other than my husband and my kids.  My true friends are my friends because they genuinely like me.  I need to focus on that, to appreciate them, and be a good friend back.

I truly feel like I appreciated every moment of 2015, and I lived every moment, good and bad.  I am thankful and grateful for it all.  I don't like to make resolutions, because that means I have something negative about myself that I need to change.  I want to focus on the most important things to me, That means to be a friend and partner to my husband, and a positive role model for my children, and to love them to pieces.

Because that's what it's all about.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Review Time! Sigvarus Compression Socks from BrightLife Go!

I'm a fan of compression.  

I've experimented with socks and sleeves, wearing them during a long training run, or after a run for recovery. While training for my first marathon I hadn't discovered compression yet, but I did use the socks for my second, to great effect.  I honestly felt a huge difference in my recovery and performance that time around.  

Since I work at a running store, I learned about the science behind compression. Basically, the material is tighter by the ankle, and gradually lessens as it stretches up the calf and to the knee.  This helps force the blood back up to the heart, to increase circulation.  This action helps keep the muscles fresh, to give support as needed and even help with injury recovery. 

BrightLife Go

Thanks to the lovely folks at BrightLife Go, I had a chance to choose a pair of compressions socks from their vast selection of different styles, price points and compression levels.  I had a hard time picking just one, some of them were really cute, like this pair from Zensah:

  I ultimately decided to go with a pair from Sigvarus, which was from the Athletic category:  

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The first thing that I noticed was how soft the socks were, with a cushioned bottom.  They were definitely more comfortable that my other brand, and seemed more pliable, and easier to put on.  Compression socks are a bit of a struggle to put on, like super tight panty hose, but these were a breeze.  

I also liked the different panels, which you can see by the grey seams, one hugged my calf, the others, the arch of my foot. 

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I wore these a few times on the treadmill as I started training for the Boilermaker 15k, giving myself some extra help near my injured ankle. I was trying to be cautious as I slowly made my way back to longer runs.  

I have a half marathon coming up on September 12.  The other morning I ran nine miles, then spent the morning packing up the car for one of our trips to the ADK.  I decided to put the socks on after my run, and wore them all day, until dinnertime, after we unloaded the car, unpacked, and made dinner.  I happily woke up the next morning without any soreness or stiffness, just fresh feeling legs.

If you're in the market for compression (and I highly recommend it) head right over to BrightLife Go and get shopping!!

*Note: I was sent a pair of socks for the purpose of this review, the opinions on the product are my own.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Boilermaker 15k #8 Race Recap!

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You know that saying, "Time Flies when you're having fun?"  That seems to be an understatement, as it's suddenly August.

I have been feeling good these past several weeks.  I have been running consistently, taking every opportunity I have to do so.  The kids are now done with their summer camps, so this morning I forced myself out of bed and out the door to run six miles before Mike left for work.  It was so worth it.

I know I have lost some weight, but I'm afraid to get on the scale, I'd rather go by my clothes than obsess about a number.  I did put my skinny jeans on last week, I can button them, but if I sat down, I would blow the button off. My eating habits have gotten cleaner, it's so much easier in the summer with all the produce available at the farmers market. Now when I need a snack I try to ignore the chips and heat up some leftover roasted veggies, or pair them with hummus.  I have figured out some minor things with my Doctor that have been going on with me physically, wich has also helped, and I'll go into more details about that in another post.

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Post run, post shower, wet shirt, size 12 feet. 

It's been almost a month since the Boilermaker, my eigth one! I trained well for it, my sister in law J and I tackled some pretty intense hills during our long runs leading up to race day. J and I ran it for the first time nine years ago, and in the past couple of years, ran with various groups of friends.  This year, our friends had to drop out of the race for various reasons, so it came full circle, as it was just the two of us again this go around.

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Race day was actually really nice, the sun was out as usual, but there was a breeze and no humidity, it didn't get hot until mile 8.  I kept a consistent pace, drank water just when I was thirsty, and had a couple of GU chomps here and there.  It's funny how my perspective on time has changed, unlike past years, I didn't even look at what my finish time was, I was just happy to run a good race.  We didn't stay at the after party for too long, choosing instead to head home to a lunch of chicken from the smoker, courtesy of my brother in law.

I had a chance to try out Sigvarus Compression socks from the lovely folks at BrightLife Go, so check back tomorrow for my review!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Progress!

It is February 25, and in this month alone, we have had 20 days of sub-zero temperatures.  The kids maxed out their snow days, our driveway is shrinking due to snow banks, and our family room ceiling has cracked and water has been leaking on the floor for the past week due to ice dams.

But Daylight Saving is next weekend, so Spring must be on it's way!

Since we last spoke about my health and fitness goals, I seem to be making some progress.  I still haven't stepped on the scale, I have a tendency to obsess about the number so I decided to forgo it and continue to let my clothing be my guide. My "larger" sized jeans are fitting much better (ex: I can button them) so the weight I gained after breaking my ankle must be gone.

Food wise I've had my ups and downs, my birthday in January plus Valentine's Day ended up with cake and chocolate on my kitchen table.  Now that it is Lent I've given up chocolate, which is what I usually do. I had a battle with a bag of BBQ Lay's chips, and ended up sending them to work with Mike to save myself.

I'm still eating my fruits and veggies, which has never been a problem.  I've been making soup on the days I'm not working, besides a great lunch, a bowl at four o'clock when the snacks are calling to me seems to help fight the hunger pains.  I do love vegetables, always have.  The other day Mike came home from the store with a cabbage, he saw it and thought I would like it. Who needs flowers? Nothing says love like a head of cabbage.

Next weekend is the Shamrock Run, which I'm really looking forward to.  Today I ran/slow ran on a high incline four miles on the treadmill, my longest post injury.  My last three mile run, I tweaked my knee on the same leg that has the ankle/Achilles issue, so I must still have some weakness there.  But today I felt great, rode the bike as well and did some planks and PT exercises.  Great day in the pain cave!

I tried out a new pair of shoes that I got from work, they are the Newton Kismet.  They aren't a true stability shoe like I usually wear, but my orthotics fit the shoe really well, and they felt great.  They have five lugs under the mid-foot, and end right before your toes.  It does take a bit of getting used to, my toes feel like I'm hanging off the edge of a box.

Plus they're pretty, and if you look closely at the above photo, Frank is practically standing on them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm not dieting, I'm being more aware.

I don't usually enjoy January.  It's cold, and all the holiday spirit has been packed away. This year is different though.  My mind is clear and focused on what I want to accomplish this year, and hey, there is always something to look forward to.

On area that I have been working on is my fitness.  I'm looking at my broken ankle and achilles tendonitis not as a blessing, but after healing, I now have a true clean slate to get my body back.  Mike got me a bike trainer for Christmas, I set it up in the basement next to my treadmill, and moved some weights there too. Now I have my very own pain cave! I was good about going to PT, and was cleared for activity last week. As long as I stay on top of keeping the achillies healthy, I can start running.

Starting from the beginning again is hard, but I've done it before.  Instead of weighing myself, I've decided to just put my head down and soldier through.  When I get back into my favorite size 8 jeans I will then weigh myself so that I have a number that I need to hover around to stay healthy.  I will say that I do need to lose 30 pounds.  Ugh.  It's one thing to know it in your brain, it's another to see it in print.

Instead of following a specific diet, I am going to make smarter choices.  By now I know what I need to eat to lose weight, my problem is that I'm not disciplined.  I need to be aware of what I'm putting in my mouth.  I've realized that I eat mindlessly. At work I walk by the snack table and reach out to grab an m&m. It happened the other day, and I pulled my arm back when I realized what I was doing.  As I talk to Mike in our kitchen after work, I watch myself turn from him, open the cabinet, then the bag of chips.  Again, I stopped myself.  It's little things like that.  Taking a few bites of the kid's leftovers. Having just a couple of Mike's fries at lunch.  A little bit of this and a bit of that adds up.  To a lot!!

It feels really good to move again. In this area I have to keep focusing on cross training.  Today I got on the treadmill and slowly ran two miles! I felt good, I kept my pace around 11 minute miles, but I have to be cautious until I get my ankle sleeve.  After that I rode the bike for 20 minutes, which is going to be key, if I have only ten minutes I'm still going to use the bike to complement my running.
I'm hoping to go to the pool as well, when my schedule allows it. Finally, every day I need to do the exercises my PT gave me for my injuries, and I've added planks to my sessions as well.

So that's my plan.  I'm looking at it as a lifestyle change, that I will stick to long term, not a diet that will have an end point.  I want long term success, not a short term fix.

Okay, here I go!