Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weight Loss Update (sorry not a clever title)

Just an update. If you're new to the blog, or haven't read How it All Begin or Photo Journal and are interested on how I went from: 80 pounds overweight to running half marathons, I suggest you take a look! :)

For those who have been staying updated, thank you! I love all your support and comments. It really is so very helpful hearing your stories, suggestions, ideas, encouragement...everything, it's wonderful!

So - it's pretty short, but I posted a new update on the Photo Journal (just scroll all the way down). You'll notice I did miss a weight goal by 4 pounds earlier this month. However; for the first time in a long, long time, I feel amazing. I feel thin, fit, healthy, and I'm loving every minute of it.

I'm still going for my goal to reach 140lbs (I'm 5'8") by my 25th birthday (June 1, 2010) so I'll need to stay on track.

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement. Seriously bloggy buddies - you guys rock!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Moving Comfort

So, a few months ago I bragged and boasted about my new Moving Comfort sports bra. I started running over a year ago, doubling up sports bras. I call myself "blessed" and even 2 sports bras (one of them 1 size too small) wasn't giving me the support I needed. Not only that, but because the bottom bra was 1 size too small, it was crushing my ribs and making it VERY difficult to breathe. Try running a half marathon with your ribs feeling like they were being crushed...not fun!

I had almost settled for having to double up on sports bras, being uncomfortable, and on the verge of suffocation while running, until I came across Moving Comfort.

I went into a woman's sporting goods store Betty Sport and they helped me tremendously! They gave my numerous sports bras made for "blessed" runners such as myself and were designed for high impact. I ended up with the Calli Bra and love it!

Well, after about 10 washes, the underwire started poking through the bra. I stopped machine washing and drying it, but running alone made the underwire poke through more and more until eventually the underwire came out completely on both cups 2 days before my last half marathon.

I didn't want to return it because the thought of going back to doubling up made cringe!

Anyways, I emailed the customer service department and let them know about my problem to see if they could do anything about it. I found out that they had this problem with this bra with the larger cup sizes and that it's since been fixed.


So, I sent my bra to them. Since the problem had been fixed I bought a new one. They looked at my old bra and replaced it with a brand new one. Just got it in the mail today! Now I have two...yeah!

Ladies - if you're looking for a new, more supportive bra, I highly recommend the Moving Comfort Calli Bra. Their excellent customer service is reason enough to try them out!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chocolate is good for your soul!

I’ve said this for as long as I can remember, it’s cheesy, I know, but it’s true: Chocolate is good for your soul.

For reasons I can’t really get into too much detail about at the moment, I’ve been having a rough couple of months. The past week has been especially bad. I’ve been contemplating the future a lot. The bf is in his third year of law school (which is the final year!) and things are getting stressful. I’m sure you’ve all been paying attention to the news, and I’m sure it’s directly affected some of you, but the job market SUCKS!

I am a planner…P-L-A-N-N-E-R! I like planning. I like knowing what the future holds. I like having a plan B and HATE deferring to that plan B…even more, I hate plans C or D!

Yes, I realize that often times life doesn’t go according to plans, but guess what, I STILL LIKE PLANS!

I sucks not knowing what the future holds. It sucks not knowing what the options are. It sucks not knowing where to even begin.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but life has been SERIOUSLY NOT GOING ACCORDING TO ANY OF MY PLANS LATELY! Not just with the bf’s school but with other life things.

I think this is just a time in my life that I’m being challenged to see how well I can “go with the flow”…I’m not doing so hot at that right now and know that I need to work on it. Believe me, I’m trying! I’m trying so hard to just relax and roll with the punches, but it’s hard for someone like me!

Anyways – back to the whole “chocolate is good for your soul” thing…

I bought a bag of Dove chocolates to keep at work for those I-just-don’t-care-and-need-chocolate moments (if you haven’t noticed, I’ve seen those moments much more often lately!).

On the inside of each Dove chocolate there is a saying or quote. In the past few days I’ve come across these quotes that have really hit home for me and felt that I should share. I’m big on picking up “signs” or trying to be intuitive, so I really liked these…

  • You cannot discover new oceans unless you have courage to lose sight of the shore.
  • Life may change us but we start and end with family.
  • Count your blessings not your worries.

I don’t write this for pity, I’m going to be A-OK and I know it. Luckily my bf (man of my dreams and absolutely perfect for me in every way) is so supportive and is the PERFECT balance to my I-need-to-plan-our-next-twenty-years-out-now personality!

I just thought maybe one of you might be struggling with some of the same things and that the little quotes in my chocolate might help!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I might be crazy...

As the bf would say "you've been crazy, but that's why I love you!" Yes, it's true, I'm crazy. But if I'm crazy, then most of you are too...

Sunday (yes just 1 week since HELL - I mean since my last half marathon) I decided that I'm ready to run with the big kids.

I already have my third and fourth half marathons planned in December and February. Well, I'm ready to give it a try...the big one...the FULL MARATHON.

OMG - I canNOT believe I just said that.

One of the reasons the bf said I'm crazy is because the first words I uttered out of my mouth after I crossed the finish of my last half was "There is no F*^&ING way I'm doing a full marathon!" I had been contemplating WHEN I'd do it since my first half back in February...

So, July 25, 2010 (if everything goes according to plans) I will be taking my little booty to San Francisco to punish myself - I mean run the FULL San Francisco Marathon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Running!

October marks somewhat of a milestone for me. October, 2009 marks my one year anniversary with running and what a year it has been.


Dear Running,

Thank you! Thank you for all you've done. I know I haven't always been nice, haven't always been fare, and you and I both know I've been pissed off at you more times than I can count. Thanks to you, I have seen amazing transformations in my life.

Since I found you nearly 1 year ago, I'm convinced that you saved my life. I was on the losing end of a weight battle, that I knew I couldn't successfully (and healthfully) win without help from you! Thanks to you (and some pretty good eating habits) I've lost 50 pounds and am on track to successfully lose 30 more by June!

You've turned my legs into long, muscular yet lean, beautiful creatures that I love showing off every chance I get!

Thanks to you I've lowered my blood pressure. It wasn't an immediate problem, but higher than normal blood pressure for someone in her 20's couldn't be a good sign...it's normal now, thanks!

Also, you've helped me enjoy life more. Not only have you given me more self confidence but you've given me something I enjoy. Something I can go outside and do. Something I can take with me where ever I go and just enjoy. I even take you on vacation...that's how much I love you!

I can't forget to thank you for the wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Seriously, just one year ago I would look at people who run and think "No way could I ever do that...". Well guess what, I did do that. Do you have any idea what it feels like to finish something you knew -- knew for a fact -- that you would NEVER finish!? Let me tell you, it's amazing! Not just did I finish a half marathon, I did it again, and am planning for more. You've changed the impossible for me. Ya, that's because of you, running!

Thank you for giving me a new look on life. Thanks for giving me a second chance on life. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us - hint: it's going to involve at least 2 more half marathons and probably our first full marathon!

Cheers to you, running!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Strays, Bucks, the Devil's Course, and a Surprise!

AKA my Run Austin Run Half Marathon Race Report

Note: If you don't like race reports, you can scroll down to the bottom for Cliff Notes and a Conclusion, if you do enjoy race reports like I do, please enjoy!

So, today, if you didn't get the memo (aka - me shouting it from the rooftops) I had another half marathon today. I ran the Run Austin Run racing series put on by USA Productions. Now, I was slightly nervous about this one because it was my second. My first, is an automatic PR, just finishing was the biggest accomplishment of my life. The second, to me, was almost like you're not quite a veteran, but you're not a novice, so you better get out there and prove yourself. You wanna be a long distance runner? Go out there an own this race! So, that friends, is what was going through my mind.

5:00 am rolled around, alarm went off, and man did I feel rested! I actually got to sleep and slept well last night which is so rare before long runs and race days for me. Turned to the bf and had to double check the scores from last night's games. He stayed up, I crashed at 9! Good news, Texas won! Hopped in the shower to loosen up.

5:30 I crammed the much loathed fruit down my throat. The most vile fruit ever created. The banana. Blehk, I don't like them, but knew I needed to eat something. Bf and I are out the door!

6:00 we hit the starting line area. Hmmm, is this the right place? Today is the race, right? Why are we the only ones here? I cannot possibly be the only one that doesn't like to be rushed and stressed in the morning with road closures to want to get here early...am I? Oh wait, there are a few others. Ok, good! Strange, but good!

6:30 text from a good friend confirming she's on her way and bringing her dog, yay! It was so great hanging out with the bf and friend before the race, although I was kinda in the zone! Freezing cold at 55 degrees (you have to understand it was 90 on Friday...I think the entire country got a cold front - better than running 13.1 mi in 90...right??)

6:45 ok, enough with the chit-chat, I need to head to the start (this is the planner in me!). Of course the race didn't start on time (they never do) but this one was about 20 minutes late. 20 minutes...come on! Just shoot the gun already and let me run!

7:20 tunes are in and I hear the glorious riffs of the electric guitar playing in my ears. This sound always gets me jack up; in fact I start every race to this:
She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stared too long
I'd probably break down and cry
Sing it with me now: Ohhhhh oh, sweet child o' mine!

This is it folks, here I go. Garmin timer...go!

I was cruising pretty well, but kept my pace. I tend to get so excited that I could easily sprint the first 3 miles, but know I can't do that if I actually want to finish the race. I was doing alright, getting a little warm, then it hit me at about mile 1.5...side cramps! DAMMIT! Are you F*@!ING KIDDING ME? I seriously had to check myself: chill Jen, just slow down a bit, try to stretch, and keep going, you'll be fine. I was, eventually.

Miles 2 and 3 were predictable. Cold, hilly, but ok.

Sweet! Mile 2ish I saw another girl wearing her Race for Strays team shirt...rock on!

Mile 3.5 something amazingly awesome happened. I'm not gonna lie though, I did fear for my life for a brief moment. While running through one of the neighborhoods (not too woodsy) I turned the corner to find myself within 10 yards of a buck. Yes, a buck. Not a cute, tiny, little deer. A buck. My height, with antlers. BIG antlers. He was running! Running, towards me! OMG, I don't want to die. Apparently, he was more afraid of me running towards him than I was of him running towards me so he darted into the yard as I passed him. Oh thank you Lord! Seriously, I was praying out loud, I'm not using His name in vein, I was actually praying out loud!

Miles 4 and 5 came around and I wanted to murder the person that that mapped the course. Honestly, either they didn't run this course, or they are sick and demented. I'm used to hills, in Austin, it's difficult to run outside without running into hills, but this was not a hill, it was a mini mountain of death followed by another mini mountain of death, and another. Um, why do I run these? My thought was distracted... Wait, what? Was that a drop of rain? There are no rain clouds, nah, it wasn't. Half mile later, no, that was a drop of rain...nope, no it wasn't. Phew! That would seriously suck!

I remember thinking hmmm, I keep having all these crazing uphills (mini mountains of death), where are the downhills? I start and finish in the same place, so eventually I have to run downhill, right? Is my logic completely FUBAR at this point? I'm pretty sure I'm right!

I spoke (er, thought) too soon! These downhills made me wish the race was all uphill. My knees felt like they were going to give in at any moment. Honestly, it may have been a health hazard having a running course through hills like this.

I'm pretty sure the volunteer thought I was kidding when I asked for beer at the Mile 6 water station, little does he know, I was dead serious!

Mile 7 rolled around and I wanted to die. For some reason my body wasn't into the whole running thing at the moment. My legs ached. My knees where throbbing. My hips hurt. My back was tight. Oh man, seriously, worse race ever. Couldn't get worse. I'm too far from the finish to feel like this.

Oh, what do you know, I spoke too soon, yet again! Rain! Rain! Rain! I didn't say mist, I didn't say drizzle, I definitely used that awful 4-letter word! DAMMIT! By about mile 7.5 I looked and felt like I just went swimming in the Pacific Ocean in January. I was freezing, shivering, and drenched from head to toe. Seriously...sopping wet! Surprise! The weatherman was VERY wrong, yet again. Today was supposed to be the only day with no rain this week...jerk!

Miles 7.5 through 12.5 were such a blur. A rainy, cold, windy blur.

Everything in my body, everything in my mind was saying just stop. There is no shame in NOT running 13.1 miles when it's 55 degrees, pouring rain, and windy outside. It's ok, you can always finish the next one. Honestly, no one will blame you.

It's true, most people would completely 100% understand me not finishing the race. But guess what, I didn't run hundreds of miles, spend hours upon hours training, miss weekends out on the town to not finish. That's not my style, that's not what I came here to do. I did however come to peace with not PRing...I cried when I realized I wouldn't PR, but then I remembered that it's not about the time, it's about finishing something you started, and completing something that just 1 year ago you thought was impossible for you to do!

I turn the corner for the .5 mile stretch to see my bf and friend standing there in the rain, yelling my name, jumping up and down...oh, that was SO awesome! That's when I put on the jets (well as much of the jets I could put on with the amount of fuel I had left!). I finished in 3:09:56 and honestly, all things considered, I couldn't be happier.

I will say, for anyone thinking about running an USA Productions race, I highly advise against it. I realize that the weather was a factor, but here are a few things I was very disappointed in:
  • there were only 7 stations for water, they said there would be 12 stations
  • in my opinion, the course was not well planned out well at all. I've done a half marathon in Austin that was challenging but was NOTHING like this. I felt that some of the hills were not meant for running, it could seriously injure someone.
  • when I crossed the finish, they had run out of half marathon finisher's medals (the course was open for 4 hours, I finished in 3, there had to be at least 200-300 more runners out there). Supposedly my medal will be mailed to me.
  • they also ran out of half marathon finisher's shirts, they didn't mention anything about having that mailed to me...
  • all the volunteers pack up and left by the time I crossed the finish. There was no water left, no power aid or GU2O left. There were no bagels.
  • Part of the race was "Come for the Race, Stay for the Party." They were to have live music, beer, pizza, burritos, fruit, drinks, bagels, and massages for the runners. When I crossed the finish line, the only thing left was the band.

Conclusion: I've had better days, but in a way all things considered, I think this finish even though it wasn't a PR was more impressive than my first half marathon. I'm very glad I finished. I'm very thankful I had supporters cheering me on at the finish. I am very much looking forward to a flat, nice weathered half marathon in Scottsdale in December!

Cliff Notes: I ran a half marathon. I was charged by bucks. I climbed a few mountains during the race. It started pouring rain at mile 7 and didn't stop the rest of the 13.1. -- you should read the full report. ;)

Stats: 13.22 miles, 3:09:56, 14:22 min/mile average, 1443 calories burned

Tomorrow, I will be enjoying a massage and pedicure!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sunday's racing threads

Sunday is the big day and I am so excited! This will most likely be my last post until my race report, so enjoy! :)

So, a little over a year ago, I founded this organization called helpsaveastray.com that is dedicated to raising adoptions and donations for animal shelters across the country, while raising overall awareness of adoption. With that said, I started a racing team called Team Race for Strays to help raise funds for a local animal shelter that I work closely with. One of the benefits of being a runner on Team Race for Strays for this event is a team shirt that was generously printed and donated by Austin Cotton! I picked them up yesterday, and dropped them off to the runners today. I think they turned out great! I will be rocking my shirt for my half marathon on Sunday.



my kitchen table last night!

Fundraising is still going on, so if you too are an animal lover like me, and feel moved to donate to Lifelong Friends (the animals shelter I'm working with on this race), you can still do so here: http://www.active.com/donate/raceforstrays. Here you will also notice that funds are down from what was anticipated. Just know that even $10 helps!

Ok - race weather - I'm not even going to speculate. The weather has been insane here; yesterday was 90 degrees with 80% humidity, today was 55 degrees and pouring rain. I'm just hoping for a happy medium between the two.

Good luck to all those who will be running this weekend! I can't wait to hear about the races.

Well, off for a short little run just to keep my legs warm!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A plethora of awesomeness!

Wow, so I had a pretty good day of shopping and listened to your suggestions. I didn't spend a ton and got some good classics to mix with some of the clothes I do have that still fit. I hit Stein Mart and Target, two of my favorite places. Let me tell you, if you have the time, you can find some GREAT finds at Stein Mart!

Items I purchased
  • Black Pants (a must!)
  • A-line skirt (another must!)
  • Black Dress with elegant cream/white design
  • 3 cardigans (black, red, burgundy)
  • 3 sweaters (teal, green, red)
I bought everything a little "clingy" so I will be able to wear even as I lose more weight. I gotta say, buying clothes that fit really can make you feel pretty good about yourself! Clothes that fit, really show off the hotness I've been working at! ;)

So, thank you for all your suggestions!!!

Switching gears...

My next half marathon is just days away, 5 to be exact! I'm getting so excited. This weekend I worked on the most badass playlist of all playlists. If you have suggestions, I'm always up for new ideas and downloads, I love all music, and am always looking for new stuff!

  • Swing, Swing - The All-American Rejects
  • Happy Endings - The All-American Rejects
  • Move Along - The All-American Rejects
  • Night Drive - The All-American Rejects
  • Gives You Hell - The All-American Rejects
  • Real World - The All-American Rejects
  • Love Drunk - Boys Like Girls
  • Still Dirrty - Christina Aguilera
  • Candyman - Christina Aguilera
  • Good Girls Go Bad (feat. Leighton Meester) - Cobra Starship
  • I've Seen Better Days - Everclear
  • Remember the Name - Fort Minor featuring Styles of Beyond
  • American Idiot - Green Day
  • Holiday - Green Day
  • She's A Rebel - Green Day
  • Last Of The American Girls - Green Day
  • Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
  • Lying from you & Dirt off your shoulders - Jay-Z & Linkin Park
  • Numb & Encore - Jay-Z & Linkin Park
  • Points of Authority & 99 Problems - Jay-Z & Linkin Park
  • Papercut & Big Pimpin' - Jay-Z & Linkin Park
  • Down (feat. Lil Wayne) - Jay Sean
  • The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
  • Sweetness - Jimmy Eat World
  • Fingerprints - Katy Perry
  • Best Days of Your Life - Kellie Pickler
  • Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
  • Let It Rock - Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne
  • Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
  • Scotty Doesn't Know - Lustra
  • Paper Planes - M.I.A.
  • Flagpole Sitta - Magnificent Tracers
  • Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5
  • Little Of Your Time - Maroon 5
  • Party In the U.S.A. - Miley Cyrus
  • Hey Ya! - OutKast
  • The Way You Move - OutKast & Sleepy Brown
  • So What - P!nk
  • U + Ur Hand - Pink
  • SOS - Rihanna
  • Disturbia - Rihanna
  • List of Demands (Reparations) - Saul Williams
  • Swing (feat. Soulja Boy Tell`em) - Savage & Soulja Boy Tell 'Em
  • Sound of Madness - Shinedown
  • Live Your Life (feat. Rihanna) - T.I.
  • That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
  • Yeah! - Usher
  • Untouched - The Veronicas
  • Hook Me Up - The Veronicas
  • Popular - The Veronicas
  • Buddy Holly - Weezer
  • Switch - Will Smith
PS - Today I officially signed up for the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon in Scottsdale, Arizona and purchased my plane tickets! December 6! My bff is flying in from Chicago to run it with me...it's gonna be awesome!