Week 2 and 3 on Weight Watchers plus A Recipe!

2 Sep

This past week was slightly tougher than the first two, but I’m trying to claw my way back to where I was!

Week Two loss: 2.5 pounds (!)
Week Three gain: 0.5 pound
Total loss: 4.5 pounds

I completely forgot to track this past weekend. Life got a little stressful and I’ve learned that stress is a motivation killer for me! I also got an ear infection and some weird sickness that really threw me for a loop and had me confined to the couch for nearly the whole day on Sunday, and at the doctor for half the day on Monday. Let’s just say I ate a lot of bread and didn’t move a whole lot.

2 walks (3.0 mph) with Frank, total of 2 hours.
Thursday: 40 minute walk with Frank (3.0 mph) plus 30 minutes of Power 90 DVD
Friday: none
Saturday: 47 minute run with friend
Sunday: Sick, none
Monday: Sick, none
Tuesday: 30 minute walk with Frank, 30 minute treadmill run

One thing I did do on Sunday was make soup! I was feeling very awful, so I felt the urge for some chicken soup. However, I didn’t want just regular old Chicken Soup, so I decided to spice things up a bit, and the end result was amazing! I thought I’d post a recipe here (mainly so I would remember it):

Middle Eastern Style Chicken Soup

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2 large chicken breasts
Vegetable scraps (onion skins, carrot tops, etc.)
7 cups water
1 whole onion
1 clove garlic
1 can tomato paste
Seasonings of your choice (I used salt, pepper, garam masala, curry powder and cumin — use to taste)
3 small or 2 large carrots, chopped
2 small or 1 large sweet potato, skinned and chopped
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
2 handfuls fresh spinach

Yield: 5 servings (about 1.5 cups each)

Put chicken breasts into a pot with vegetable scraps and water to cover everything. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then reduce the heat to simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Strain off the fat floating on top, and remove chicken to bowl. Strain the veggie scraps out of the broth and reserve the broth.

In the same pot, add a couple tablespoons of oil and heat over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, sweet potatoes and seasonings (I just added a dash of everything and added more once the soup was closer to done). Allow the veggies to cook for a while until the onions are translucent, then add your garlic and tomato paste. Stir well and add broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, allow to simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.

Meanwhile, shred your chicken and season with salt, pepper and anything else you might like (I used garlic and onion powder). Once your soup has simmered long enough for the veggies to be soft, add the chicken and chickpeas. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add two handfuls of spinach. Allow spinach to wilt, remove from heat and serve hot. I added a small amount of sour cream (you could sub greek yogurt if you’d like) for some creaminess.

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories 226, Fat 6 grams, Carbs 31 grams, Fiber 7 grams, Protein 12 grams (5 Points Plus)

NOTE: I derived the nutrition information by plugging the recipe into My Fitness Pal, and then I used the Weight Watchers calculator to figure out the Points Plus

See you next week!

Week 1 Progress and Notes: Weight Watchers

20 Aug

One week down on Weight Watchers, and things are going well, but also could be going better! Note: My Weight Watchers Weeks start on Wednesday, so yesterday was the start of Week 2.

Week One: – 2 pounds

25 minute walk (3.0 mph); 40 minutes of HIIT (YMCA Weightloss Class)
Thursday: 1 hour morning walk w/ Frank (3.0 mph); PM 35 minute run outside (5 mph)
Friday: 70 minute morning walk w/ Frank (3.0 mph) followed by 20 minutes of Zumba YouTube videos in my living room
Saturday: 46 minute run (5.5 mph) w/ friends (AM)
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Sunday: 80 minute walk w/ Frank (3.0 mph)
Monday: 40 minute walk w/ Frank (3.0 mph) followed by 20 minutes of Zumba YouTube videos
Tuesday: 20 minute (rainy) walk w/ Frank (3.0 mph); 30 minutes of Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30 DVD
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Biggest Challenge this Week: 

This week was the annual Rails and Ales Festival in my town and boy was it fun, but it’s no secret that craft beer is heavy on the calories, and it’s also really hard to track points when you’re just going around sampling beers, and just grabbing some food to eat along the way. Also after we were done with the festival, we were very tired and very hungry so we just went to a restaurant. The good thing is that I was well aware of this challenge ahead of time so I was sure to save up my “weekly” points and also get a good workout in before hand so I had plenty of points to work with — while still making semi-smart choices.


Biggest A-ha! Moment of the Week:

Turning my walks with Frank into a workout! One of my biggest challenges lately has been getting a workout in. In the morning, I feel guilty skipping Frank’s walk in lieu of a workout and after work most days I’m just wiped out and not wanting to workout. So, in addition to just forcing myself to get a workout in, I’ve turned Frank’s morning walk into a workout. I turn on my Runkeeper app and try to keep my pace at 3.0 mph or better. That means less sniffing for old Frank and more sweating for me. Walks with Frank used to be leisurely, but now I find myself breaking a sweat and huffing and puffing a bit. I’ve also started to just get out of bed earlier to make sure we get a nice long walk in. If I get up early enough, I can usually fit something else in after the walk — usually Zumba YouTube videos (which are SUPER fun and have the bonus of nobody actually witnessing my horrid dancing skills).


Sometimes Frank gets tired because of the fast pace of our walks….

Other Random Notes:

I feel great this week! I had a few slip ups (I ended the week with a few negative points), but I still saw a loss. One thing I really need to work on (and I was pretty good about this past week) is snacking/drinking in the evening. After I have finished work, gotten a workout in, cooked dinner and cleaned up the kitchen, it’s relaxation time for me, and usually that means an adult beverage and a snack! I’ve been working hard to leave myself enough points to enjoy a beverage and some popcorn, but I really need to just not allow myself those things if I don’t have enough points. I don’t want to use up all my weekly points on indulging each morning, because I’d really like to save them! Weekends are my biggest struggle — though I have lots of time to gain activity points (and I’m definitely more active) there is usually lots of temptation to indulge.

Dinners have been healthy and flavorful this week! I also checked out some cookbooks from the library that have Weight Watchers friendly recipes (Points Plus values listed) so I’m hoping to get a meal plan set up for next week as well.

Steak, baked potato and veggies -- 12 Points Plus including one small pat of butter and 2 tablespoons of sour cream

Steak, baked potato and veggies — 12 Points Plus including one small pat of butter and 2 tablespoons of sour cream

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Chicken Scampi (Olive Garden knock-off) – 13 Points Plus w/ 2 oz of cooked Penne

My highest Points Plus meals tend to be breakfast and lunch — but I definitely need the activity points each day to feel satisifed, even when I’m eating pretty healthy.

Things to work on next week:

  1. Get to the gym more often: I’ve been pretty good about working out at home, but haven’t actually been to the gym much. Part of this is because work has been so crazy and stressful, but I need to just make it a point to pack my gym stuff and hoof it to the gym after work more often.
  2. Curb nightly snacking/drinking – as I said above
  3. Meal planning to include lots of WW friendly meals, and also doing food prep early in the week so it’s easier to eat healthy without thinking much about it.

See you next week!

Sometimes Your Lowest Point is also Your Highest Point

13 Aug

I’m going to start blogging here again. Here’s what’s up:

I have fallen off the fitness/health wagon hard. I can’t even really tell you where it started, because I’m pretty sure I’d have to go back 2 years or more. It’s been a slow progression of adding more and more bad habits and subtracting more and more good habits. I’m not back to my highest weight…..yet, but I know I’ll keep heading in that direction if I don’t act now.

Back in November (so nearly a year ago) I tried to take some steps to start getting back on track. I re-enrolled in a program with my health insurance that aims for weight loss. Basically you get a gym membership for just a copay, and you get some personal workout sessions, and somebody reviews your food logs.

The problem with this program is that I get frustrated when I turn in my food logs. The person who makes notes on our food logs isn’t somebody I ever speak to, so I can’t talk to her about her notes. Furthermore, her notes are frustrating. Once I logged a Chickpea Salad and she said to be careful about chicken salad because of the mayonnaise…what??

Regardless, it’s nice to have a gym membership for cheaper than I’d usually pay, and I know that the motivation and willpower to lose the weight I’ve gained comes only from me, so I can’t really let that discourage me. If the pounds were coming off, maybe she wouldn’t be as critical of my logs, but it’s not coming off. In fact, after 3 weeks off of weighing in (gym shut down week, followed by vacation week, followed by me being scared to step on the scale week), I’ve actually gained 5 pounds since my last weigh in.

I spent the whole workout class yesterday feeling terrible about myself. I was doing the workout, but I was just thinking over and over again about the habits that lead me to feeling this way. It’s so hard because you constantly hear how people are saying to “Throw out your scale!” and “Just eat mindfully and exercise!” and I DO believe that your weight doesn’t tell the whole picture, but I know there is something wrong when I feel like I’m trying (sort of) and the scale just keeps creeping up. Why is it that it’s so hard to see the weight gain until you’re so far from your goal?

Anyway, I just feel like this is a very low point for me, but I also feel like it’s a high point – in motivation. I started counting Weight Watchers points again yesterday, and by the end of the day I didn’t have much leftover in points. I know that I have an indulgent Saturday ahead of me (my town’s annual beer festival is on Saturday), and I want to save my weekly points for that, so even though I made a pot of yummy homemade macaroni and cheese, I skipped that (except for a small taste) and loaded my plate with veggies and fruit along with my grilled chicken. I had a couple points for a snack, and I chose between popcorn OR a beer, and I stuck with that choice.

That’s only one day, I realize, but as they say “One Day at a Time” right? So wish me luck! I’m making a goal to try to blog here at least once a week. I don’t think I’m brave enough to put my weight on here, but I’ll blog after my weigh ins to be kept accountable for my progress.

Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon

7 May

Hello! As I type this, it is now 72 hours since I’ve finished the Flying Pig Half Marathon, and my legs are still sore! If there is one thing I can tell you about the Flying Pig it’s this: It’s pretty hilly.

But let’s rewind a bit. On Saturday, Zach and I woke up bright and early and hit the road for the three hour drive to Cincinnati. Our plan was to get there early and hit the zoo before checking into the hotel.   The weather was sunny and warm with a slight chill to the wind, which made it perfect zoo weather. When we were waiting in line to pay for our tickets, I was regretting not bringing my jacket, but once we were walking around I was fine.

I love the Cincinnati Zoo! That was my first time there, and it was a lot better than some others I have been to. The animals seemed more relaxed. I know there is a bit of controversy about the Zoo in general, but I can’t help but love it. 10333426_10100900153826733_2115547184449372019_o The tulips were beautiful!

Pregnant gorilla!

Pregnant gorilla!


Just getting a drink….


I think this may be my favorite picture. The female gorilla's face is the best. That baby gorilla is 1.5 years old.

I think this may be my favorite picture. The female gorilla’s face is the best. That baby gorilla is 1.5 years old.

My favorite part of the zoo was probably the gorillas, followed closely by the giraffes. Their was a baby giraffe, but the line to see her was very long and you couldn’t get a good glimpse of her because she was inside a building, but once you got beyond the line, you saw the male giraffe out in the yard.



At some points, he was so close that I felt like I could reach out and touch him! I had never seen a giraffe up close before and my friend said it best: They look like aliens! It’s so neat to see an animal that looks nothing like any other animal you’ve seen before. I also really liked the polar bear. He was a distinguished gentleman:

Well, hello good sir!

Well, hello good sir!

I was so sad when it was time to leave! But the clock was ticking. I had to head to the Expo to pick up my bib. That’s when the nerves started. I was feeling incredibly nervous about the race. This was my first “big” race. Overall for all the events, there were over 36,000 participants! Once I grabbed my bib, we headed over to the Expo. One thing I was very grateful for was having my friend Shannon by my side. As nervous as I was, I might have had a heart attack if I didn’t have a friend there that I knew would be with me every step of the way!

Both of our husbands were taking the same picture so we were laughing because we didn't know who to look at!

Both of our husbands were taking the same picture so we were laughing because we didn’t know who to look at!

After the expo, we had some dinner and then Shannon and Ben headed to the hotel while Zach and I met up with some other friends at a bar called Arnold’s. This bar was voted one of the top ten bars in the country by Esquire Magazine and I could definitely see why! It is over 150 years old and has the best patio I’ve ever seen.

Not the best photo...

Not the best photo…

It was almost like we were sitting in a little French bistro or something. There was a jug band playing called the Cincinnati Flying Pigs, which seemed appropriate. However, I wasn’t able to stay long — I had to get to bed because I had an early wake up time! _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The race started at 6:30 AM, so Shannon and I set our alarms for 5. I had no trouble getting up (I never do on race day, the anticipation is too high), but my nerves were still going strong. I had my outfit out, so I put that on and proceeded to try to prep my IT band for the run. If I haven’t mentioned it, I have IT band pain on long runs for the past few years so I was trying everything I could to keep that at bay. I rolled out a bit, rubbed some topical pain relief on it and used an IT Band strap like this:

Spoiler alert: It didn’t really help at all. After that, we left the hotel and headed toward the starting line, which was a little less than a mile from our hotel. Our plan was to grab breakfast on our walk to the starting line, which was a huge rookie mistake. That would have been fine if the race had started at 8, but with a 6:30 start time there isn’t anything open to grab breakfast. We slowly made our way to the Millennium Hotel, where we had planned to meet up with a friend from Huntington who was doing the full marathon, so we just hoped they would have  something there –  I was thinking a vending machine with a soda and a granola bar would have worked for me! Luckily, when we got to the hotel, there was a makeshift breakfast bar in the lobby for race participants! Score!

Yum! Sugar!

Yum! Sugar!

Once we were fueled, we used the bathroom a couple of times (nerves!) and waited for Meghan to come down (she was staying at the Millennium).

Found her!

Found her! — Photo Courtesy of Meghan Elkins

Oh, and I should mention: Meghan wasn’t just running the full marathon, she also had done the 4-Way challenge, which means she ran a 5k AND a 10k on Saturday followed by the full marathon on Sunday — yeah, she’s pretty much a rock star. After parting ways with Meghan, Shannon and I headed toward the starting line.

Got a pretty sweet photo of the Cincy skyline on the way!

Got a pretty sweet photo of the Cincy skyline on the way!

Once we found the starting line, we walked and walked and walked trying to get to our corral (E). I have no idea what the proper way to get to your corral was, but people were climbing over the fences. I knew I would hurt myself trying that, so luckily somebody had opened up a gate at the E corral and we slipped in. There were so many people around us!

A sea of people!

A sea of people!

With that many people, I thought it would take us a long, long time to get to the starting line, but the race started really quickly once we were in our corral and once the sea of people started moving, before we knew it, we were at the starting line and started running.

One really cool thing about the Flying Pig is you get to run through two states.

That sign says Kentucky. I am not good at taking photos and running at the same time.

That sign says Kentucky. I am not good at taking photos and running at the same time.


Not long after crossing into Kentucky, we saw Meghan again! We thought that was pretty cool, so she took a photo. Then she told us that she was keeping a slow pace, so if she caught up with us again, she would make us run faster. I was glad not to see her again! Ha!



Photo courtesy of Meghan Elkins

Shannon staying positive while crossing back into Ohio.

Shannon staying positive while crossing back into Ohio.

Ok, after getting back into Ohio, I kind of lost it. My IT band strap kept slipping (Pro tip: Don’t wear one of those on your bare skin. When you sweat, it slips right off). I could feel my IT band tightening up and I had to keep adjusting my strap. Plus, I could see those famous Flying Pig hills formulating in front of my face. I had to make Shannon stop to stretch a few times, and then we started the longest climb of my life.

Not kidding, you guys, I feel like we climbed a hill for 8 miles. I’m pretty sure it was 2.5-4 miles, but it was about 85% uphill. I was in tears and shouting curse words at one point. It was definitely not my best moment. Shannon kept me going, though! She’s amazing! I found myself being consumed by negative thoughts. I could feel the nagging pain in my IT band starting to bother me and the hills just didn’t end. It was rough. I could tell Shannon wasn’t struggling nearly as much as I was, and I knew it was the difference in our attitude, so basically I got myself through it by thinking about seeing my husband after the race, getting that medal, and drinking a beer. I just kept repeating “You can do this” in my head and thinking of putting that medal around my neck. It definitely helped!

Our friend Sarah told us to stop and take a photo at the highest point in the race, and the best way to express the never-ending hills is to show you these two photos, taken 30  minutes apart. The first one is where I thought the highest point was and the second one is actually the highest point.

I was so happy! Then, I realized that there was more of a climb to come....

I was so happy! Then, I realized that there was more of a climb to come….

The actual highest point!

The actual highest point!

After all the hills, all of the sudden there was an amazing downhill portion. It was about half a mile downhill, and although I normally don’t enjoy running downhill, I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to just let gravity pull me for a while. My IT band stopped hurting and I felt exhilarated!

Once we got on flat ground again, we ran through town and I was struggling a little again. We were at mile 11 or so, and I was just ready to be done. My knee started hurting again and I was just tired, but I wouldn’t let myself stop running. Shannon and I stopped talking and I just kept saying, “I can do this” over and over again. Finally, I ripped off my IT Band strap and miraculously, my knee stopped hurting. I just ran. We were on a straight away at this point, and there were spectators everywhere so I knew we were close. I just kept my eyes peeled for the “Finish Swine” as they call it and we finally saw it! It was glorious! We held hands at the finish and raised our hands above our head and just smiled! It felt so awesome to be done!

We grabbed our medals and headed through the recovery area to the finish line party. There was all kinds of food available for us for free, but nothing looked good to me. I saw Swiss Cake Rolls, which I thought looked good but I took one bite and threw it away. At this point, my knee was hurting so badly that I was limping so we made a bee line for the medical tent and I texted Zach that we were there. A very nice medic gave me a huge bag of ice and wrapped it tightly around my knee and we met up with our husbands.


After we got to the Finish Line party, I bought a chili dog and a beer. Two things have never tasted so delicious!

Beer at 9:30 am!

Beer at 9:30 am!

After that, we had to walk to our hotel. I can’t tell you how much that hurt! My knee was throbbing and it was a long walk. But, I really think that helped cut down on my soreness (although I was pretty sore for the past couple of days).



On the way home, I checked my email for our finish time. It’s definitely the slowest half marathon that I’ve done, but with all the hills, I’m pretty proud of that time. I can’t wait to run the (flat!) Marshall Half this November!



Healthy Habits I’ve Kept, and Healthy Habits I’ve Lost

27 Mar

After I lost the majority of my weight, I became obsessed with having as many ‘healthy habits’ as I could in order to maintain my weight. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve gained a bit of weight back. So, I thought I would highlight some of those healthy habits that I’ve kept and which ones I’ve lost in the past year or so. I would like to get most of these healthy habits back, so I’ll say it, then I’ll do it!

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Eating a healthy breakfast.


I’m actually great about eating a healthy breakfast. I always manage to get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat, and I always get some fruit and/or veggies in there as well (definitely try peas on your eggs if you haven’t already). Unfortunately, it’s usually lunch and dinner when I fall off the wagon. I haven’t been very good at bringing snacks with me to work, so by lunch time and dinner, I’m starving and I end up eating way too much. I can definitely improve in this area by snacking smart.

Healthy Habit I’ve Lost: Taking the stairs

My office is on the third floor, and I used to be religious about taking the stairs every single time. Well, I’ve definitely lost this healthy habit. Starting today, however, I decided that I’m banned from the elevator. I think I can improve here by giving myself some sort of stair related reward. A star chart in my office? A weekly stair climbing goal? I’ll think on this, but in the meantime if you have any suggestions, I’ll take them.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Running

So grateful for this one!


I’m training for the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, and I’ve been pretty great about sticking to my training plan. I’m definitely going to stick with it! I’ve also purchased two five-class passes for a local yoga studio, so I’m definitely getting my yoga in. The only thing that is suffering fitness wise is weight training. I have no interest in doing even a short body weight or free weights exercise lately. I don’t know what my deal is. I can improve here by making a workout plan each week that includes a yoga class, running and one or two strength sessions.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept/Lost: Counting Calories

This one is a toss up. Although I’ve been logging my food religiously, I’ve gotten in the habit of ignoring things like cocktails and sugary creamer in my coffee.


Green beers on St. Patty’s Day

I know these things add up – to a lot – but I’ve been having trouble tossing them and not logging them at all is absolutely terrible. I can improve here by logging these things so I can see the damage I’m doing to my healthy lifestyle, and hopefully cutting back on these things.

Healthy Habit I’ve Lost: Walking

It’s been a long winter, huh?

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I used to walk Frank every morning and walk home from work every evening — and that was the very least amount of walking I would do every day. Since we’ve moved to the new house, I haven’t been walking to or from work because it’s a bit farther. But, as I learned during some nice weather we had last week, it’s not too far to walk. It turns out that it is exactly 2 miles from my office to our front door, and it’s a nice walk through the park and everything.

As for walking Frank, I’m going to commit to start walking him in the mornings again. The reason that stopped is mostly winter. It’s been dark until after we leave for work, and the evenings have been cold. I walk him when I can — but I need to do it more often. We both need the exercise. While I’ve kept up very long walks on the weekends (we usually do 3-4 miles most weekend days), he deserves a walk every single day.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Drinking water all day

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I have a water glass at my desk that gets filled every time it’s empty. I’ve kept up with my all day drinking water habit, although I tend to slip a little during the weekends. Although I’ve kept up this habit, I could definitely improve.

I think, overall, I can see where I’ve been slipping in these healthy lifestyle habits. I need to keep up with these things in order to stay healthy and happy. I mentioned my weight gain at the beginning of this post, but really I just want to keep my healthy habits up so I can live my best life. I do feel that I became a little obsessed with these habits after I lost the weight, but now I feel like I’ve become too complacent with them. I’d like to find a happy medium. As I’ve mentioned before, I am perfectly content with my body right now.

Do you commit to healthy daily habits? Which areas can you improve on? Which habits are you keeping up with?

That Time I Did Two Races in One Weekend

25 Feb

Last week, I did something crazy.

Every winter, there is a local “Winter Series” of races held in Barboursville Park: a 3 mile, 4 mile and a 5 mile race. I’ve never signed up for the full series (but I’d like to next year), but one of the races always seems to catch my eye. Last week, I noticed that the weather was supposed to be perfect over the weekend, the 5 mile race was happening on Sunday and it just so happened that my long run in half-marathon training was 5 miles exactly. After hitting up my fellow trainees on Facebook, I got a partner and paid the $15 for the race registration.

5 miler


It may seem crazy to pay $15 to run a scheduled training run, but I find the race atmosphere to be considerably motivating. I knew if I paid money, I would run and I would try hard!

Then, something kind of crazy happened. My friend Sarah posted on Facebook about signing up for the Marshall Recreation Center’s Indoor Triathlon, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and despite the fact that I hadn’t been in a pool or on a bike in over a year, I immediately signed up. Pretty much right after doing so, I had a bit of a panic attack — a triathlon one day and a five mile race the next, on top of the fact that we had planned a surprise party (at my house!) for my sister-in-law’s boyfriend and I had a few other things on my to-do list!? I knew it was a lot, but after I paid good money I wasn’t about to back out. I pretty much put it out of my mind until later in the week. On the days leading up to the race(s), I took a couple of back-to-back rest days and just tried to relax. Then, on Friday I realized that I had no idea where my goggles were and I didn’t know if my TYR swimsuit even would still fit, considering I purchased it when I was twenty pounds lighter. I went to pick up my packet for the tri, and realized that the little equipment shop at the gym didn’t sell goggles. Uh oh.

I woke up bright and early on Saturday on a mission to get everything ready. I went to Wal Mart and found goggles, a swim cap and some fuel (energy jelly beans!), pulled out my old TYR suit (still fit, sort of) and packed my bag as best as I could.

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The triathlon, luckily, was a very short distance: 300 m swim, 8 mile bike (on the spin bike) and 2 mile run (on the treadmill) and the transitions would not be timed. I knew I would be able to finish everything, so I went into it just wanting to finish and have fun. When I signed up for the race, they asked me to estimate my swim time in order to set up heats. Since I hadn’t been in the pool for ages, I had no idea what to estimate, so I over-estimated — by a lot. That meant that everybody I knew was in a lower heat than me. I waited around for nearly two hours to get in the pool. Luckily, that meant I got to watch everybody else and got some good pointers.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

One thing I noticed was that a lot of people went out very fast and ended up having to switch to breast stroke or back stroke to catch their breath. I knew I would have to do this eventually (breathing while swimming isn’t a strength), but I knew to rein it in a little at the start to not wear myself out too quickly. When it came time for my swim, I had just downed my energy jelly beans (those things are great!) and I was ready to go! I ended up swimming a lot faster than I expected with a finish time of 6:09! I was very happy with that time.

Next up was the bike. Since transitions weren’t timed, I should have taken a bit more time between skills. I was so amped up that I rushed up to the bike and hopped on immediately. I ended up finishing the bike in a decent time — 14:26, but when I got off the bike I had a side stitch. Again, I should have taken some time to breathe, but I was in a hurry to finish so I hopped right on the treadmill.

tri finish

I ended up running the two miles slightly slower than I had hoped, and ended with a total time of 40:53. I was very proud of this because I didn’t train at all, and this is my very first time attempting a three-sport race, or even doing three different sports in one workout! I definitely want to do this again. I’m hesitant to say that I’ll try a triathlon, because the gear needed is pricey, but I will definitely sign up for the indoor event again. It was very fun!

After the triathlon, I was busy, busy. Zach and I had to run some errands, I had a workshop to attend, and I had to do some straightening up since we were hosting a party that evening. Needless to say, I didn’t make through much of the party before heading to bed — I was so tired! Not to mention, I had  a five mile race the next day….

I woke up on Sunday not feeling so hot. So, I made waffles and vegged on the couch. I could see out my big front window that the weather was getting nicer and nicer, so I texted my friend Shannon to make sure she was still in for the race. She was, and though I thought of backing out, I pulled on some running clothes and headed out the door. The weather was perfect. It was like we were meant to run that day, because about an hour after we finished the rain started and then it turned to snow.

I won’t go into much detail about the race, just that Shannon and I both just treated it as a training race. We both ran with our music on low and talked the whole time, running just under an 11 minute mile pretty much the whole time. The course was great, and it was a change of pace from our usual long run courses, so that was helpful. We ended up finishing in just over 55 minutes, which was confusing to us because our GPS was telling us we were running under an 11 minute mile the whole time. Then, when we both looked at our devices after the race, they both said that we ran about 5 and a quarter miles. So I don’t know if our GPS devices were off or if the race course was long. At any rate, we finished and felt great. Plus, pizza!

5 mile run


I think all races should have pizza at the finish line!

So, I finished two races in two days and I lived to tell the tale. I’m glad I did it, but by Sunday night I had trouble keeping my eyes open.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever done a triathlon? Did you love it? 

My First Home DIY Project

21 Feb

Good morning! 

When Zach and I bought our home last summer, it was pretty much move-in ready. We liked the paint colors and general decor of the house, so we just moved our stuff and started living there. Despite having a lot of ideas of things we wanted to do eventually, we agreed with could live with the house as is — with one major exception: The downstairs/guest bathroom. 

downstairs bath 1

This is actually the only photo I have of the bathroom in (some of) it’s former glory. The previous owners were kind (?) enough to also leave the fishing-themed shower curtain and garbage can, which you can see from this photo I replaced promptly. Also, that cabinet above the toilet was just — odd. I’m pretty sure that the previous owners re-did the kitchen and this cabinet was left over. It was very awkward in the small space. 

The above picture was taken as I was prepping to remove the wallpaper. I used a steamer (as you can see above) to remove it. It was very slow going. I swear, they used some sort of industrial bathroom-strength wallpaper glue on that wallpaper. It took me a whole day to remove one wall, and then an entire day to do the other wall. Next, I removed and painted the baseboards and chair rail, and painted the trim around the door. Then, the bathroom stayed like that for about…5 months. 

Finally, about a week or so ago, we bought the paint and started painting the walls: 


Painting progress

Painting progress

When I painted the trim, I used white Valspar paint + primer that we had in the basement. When we decided on the main colors for above and below the chair rail, I decided to use a light grey above and a darker grey below. Well, lesson learned: Always go a shade or two darker than what you think you will need to use. The “grey” color above the chair rail looks identical to the white trim and white ceiling (I think it comes through a little more grey here. In person, there is no difference). Here’s how it looked in progress after I painted below the chair rail: 

bathroom edit 2


I’ve never painted a whole room myself before, so I was really worried about the splotchy-ness of the paint, but I was told to relax, it would look better when it was dry and it did! Before I painted, Zach took down the eyesore of a cabinet, and then last night he hung some beautiful white floating shelves. Here is the finished product: 

bathroom done 2 edit


I bought a few accent pieces at Target last night — that cute yellow bowl (holding cotton balls) and that yellow candle (smells SO good). Despite sticking to the yellow/grey theme, I love the pop of green with the towel. I’ll probably add a blue one too. I also hung a couple prints from our wedding. This one reads “This will be the best day ever”. 

bathroom done 3 edit

This print reads: “We are so glad you are here” –  Zach said, “We are so glad you’re in the bathroom!?” — he’s a joker. But I wanted the guest bath to feel warm and welcoming to guests! Hopefully nobody else takes it that way 🙂 

bathroom done 4 edit


..and a shot of the shower curtain, which was a wedding gift and I love. 

I’m so happy with how it turned out! The floating shelves are functional, but so much better looking than that bulky cabinet. The only thing I’m regretting right now is not buying a hand towel/bath towel in this design last night at Target: 

target towel


…but Zach agrees it would fit perfectly so we’re planning to go back and get it this weekend. I’m so, so pleased with how this little project turned out. I have always wanted to be a person who does her own home projects. I realize this is just a small one, but hopefully we’ll branch out to larger projects soon. I’d love to do a backsplash in the kitchen! 

Question of the Day: 
Do you like doing home repairs? 


On Weight Gain and Being OK With It

7 Feb


There is something I want to say, and although I rarely blog, this is a topic I would like to blog about. But first, let me rewind.


I’ve been a lot of sizes over the past 8 years or so. The photo above is probably not me at my heaviest, but it’s close. Here are some at my smallest, and there are more because  I can look back and go “Damn, girl”:

Sorry for the grainy photo on the left, but my legs were looking good then.

Sorry for the grainy photo on the left, but my legs were looking good then.

So all in all, after weighing over 200 lbs in 2007 (ish), I’ve lost and kept off about 50-60 lbs. That number has gone as high as 70 total pounds lost, but has settled on about 50 at this point in time. Although it’s been almost 7 years since I began my weight loss journey, I still worry about getting back up there, and when I recently gained 20 lbs after my wedding, I got a little freaked out. You’ve heard the statistics that so many people gain back the weight they have lost. It’s sort of similar to being in remission from a life-threatening illness, the longer you go without gaining back the weight, the more likely you are to keep it off, but it’s always a struggle. I hate to compare my weight loss to a life-threatening illness — being overweight, despite the horror stories, isn’t a death sentence. Everybody has a different body type — I just knew I had let my body type get a little to heavy when I decided to lose the weight.

So, here I am 7 years later. So much has changed. I went to graduate school, and got a job that has nothing to do with what I went to graduate school for. I met the love of my life, and a bunch of really great long-lasting friends. I got engaged, married, bought a house and adopted a dog. Life was good, so we went out for wings, and beers. We stayed at home and got pizza. Then I stepped on the scale and noticed that I had re-gained 20 (ish) pounds.   My immediate reaction was to freak out, and express my discomfort with my husband, who of course said I looked great but he supported whatever I wanted to do.

So, I started working out again and trying to eat right. I’ve been doing that for about 2 months now and I’ve lost about….6 ounces. That is not a joke, I literally have lost 6 ounces in two months. But, then something amazing happened. I looked in the mirror and decided I liked what I saw. I can’t squeeze into my size 6’s, and my size 8’s look a little silly on me. But I decided that I didn’t care.

I’m still working out (although not nearly at the intensity I once did — I now consider going for a long walk a workout, and the old me would have, well, not), and I’m tracking my food through My Fitness Pal, but I don’t stress if I go over my calorie count. I can’t say I would be comfortable gaining any more weight, but I can say I don’t really care if I lose anymore. It’s all about comfort, and I feel like I’ve gotten there.


A Spring-Like Weekend

13 Jan

We had amazing weather this weekend, and I really took advantage of it.

Yes, we take walks in the cemetery.

Yes, we take walks in the cemetery.

I think I mentioned here before that the one problem with our new house was the lack of sidewalks around the neighborhood. Lucky for Frank, we’ve figured out a solution. It turns out that there is an entrance to the Spring Hill cemetery only half a mile from our house, so we’ve been taking advantage of it every time we get the chance. The cemetery is huge and has lots of hills, so it’s perfect for long walks. It may seem kind of weird to walk in a cemetery, but it’s actually very peaceful and seems to be a popular route for walkers (there are lots of garbage cans for Frank’s waste bags). Don’t worry, we’re very respectful and stick to the walking paths.

Frank certainly enjoyed it. When he yawns, it means he's having a good time.

Frank certainly enjoyed it. When he yawns, it means he’s having a good time.

After our walk, I got to work on this weekend’s January Cure challenge: Tackling the kitchen. As it turns out, the kitchen was the part of the house that I picked for my ‘big’ goal for the challenge, so I was excited to get to work. I started by moving everything from the counter-tops to the dining room table:

photo 1 (4)


Then I got to work scrubbing the counter-tops, cleaning out the fridge and wiping down the cabinet fronts. Once the initial scrub was done, I re-organized everything on the counter-tops and re-organized the inside of the cabinets. Ok, you know how to clean a kitchen so I won’t go into too many details. Here’s the finished product:

photo 2 (4)photo 4 (1)

The funny thing is, I know how to clean a kitchen too, but it’s incredible how dirty a kitchen can get when you only “surface” clean it. I definitely will keep this in mind next time I do my daily kitchen cleaning. The worst part was the refrigerator — wow. After this challenge is over, I’m going to make a list of things that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly and annually — that refrigerator is going on the monthly list. I guess you just don’t notice  how icky it gets until you take everything out and start scrubbing. After all was said and done, I got a smile on my face every time I walked into the kitchen. I love having a clean home!

Now that the kitchen has been tackled, I need to get another “big” project for the remainder of the challenge, so I’ve decided to tackle our storage spaces. We have a pantry located directly outside of the kitchen that has become a dumping ground, and despite having shelves in our basement, everything is just tossed down there. So my goal is to get those spaces under control. I think once all is said and done, this challenge is going to make such an improvement on our home.

The other task for this weekend was to shop for ingredients and make a nice meal. I put that off to do sometime this week, because Zach wanted to get out of the house for dinner last night.

The weather this weekend was top notch in Huntington. I mentioned our Saturday walk (I wore capris and a light jacket!) and then on Sunday, I had a training run planned with a few friends. I wore a running skirt and a light jacket and felt great the whole time. Yay for nice weather in the middle of winter! Frank went with me on the run:

photo 2 (3)


He’s not the best training run partner, but I know he appreciated the exercise. So far, half marathon training is going super well, so I’m grateful for that. After the training run, my healthy and productive weekend gave way to a dinner out (hot wings – yum) and some couch time with the husband and The Golden Globes.

Question of the Day:
How was your weekend? 


How To Cook a Turkey, By Kristy (Age 8)

10 Jan

how to cook a turkey


This was re-written by my grandmother, but I’m sure my mother has the original somewhere. I’d say Zach is happy I’m a better cook now than I was back then. Happy Friday!