Hot Chocolate 15k Recap

There really is no better motivator than chocolate.

My expectations for the Hot Chocolate 15k were not very high because my husband’s company party was the night before (and hello finger foods and open bar!) I’m not a big drinker but because my husband had been out of town for so long (an eternal month!), I wanted to enjoy the night with him and eat, drink, and be merry–not worry about what I ate because of a race the next day.

All cleaned up

All cleaned up

So I indulged and had two cocktails and paid several lengthy visits to the other bar, the cheese bar 😀

We still made it home early because, well, we’re not much of the party type. Seeing 9 o’clock before my head hit the pillow made me at least feel like I’d get a decent night sleep.

I woke up, er, my son woke us up at our usual 5 a.m. time and I began getting ready. I wasn’t sure whether to go with shorts or leggings as the weather in Arizona is still pretty mild (don’t hate me). I decided capris because I’m a wimp to even the smallest drop in temperature.

I had a ton of friends doing this race so I made sure to get there early with enough time to take pictures and chat. There were 3 running groups that I was meeting up with–2 before the race and 1 after–and two co-workers who were also running. Trying to find everyone proved to be an awesome warm up 🙂

20141207_073613

My AZTNT crew ❤

 

20141207_075128

Several MRTT chapters 🙂

 

20141207_073313

Teachers on the run!

The race had corrals which I liked and was happy that I was in the first one with several friends from my running group. We all run similar paces so when the gun went off, we all stayed together at the beginning.

We were chatting and not really even paying much attention to our pace which was great considering I hadn’t wanted to anyway.

The first mile beeped a 9:00 flat and I was pleasantly surprised as I felt great and had been talking the entire time. We kept running, keeping up our conversation, giggling, and just having fun. The second mile beeped 9:06 and again, we were happy to have maintained our pace talking the way we were. The third mile beeped, 9:07. Now I was starting to get a little competitive with myself and figured if I had been keeping such a steady pace, I might as well try and keep it that way the rest of the way. One of my friends began distancing herself and sped up her pace, another friend began to slow down a bit. I kept it steady.

I checked off miles 4-7 at

8:58
8:53
8:54
8:58

Yes, please congratulate me for those beautiful splits! 😀 I was feeling so good and felt like I was on total cruise control.

Part of the credit does go to my husband though– he had not signed up to run the Hot Chocolate 15k because he thought he’d still be out of town. Since he’d made it, and needed to get some mileage in anyway, he decided to run part of the course with me 🙂

Mile 8 was part of an awful long out and back and I beeped it away at 9:09.

The last mile was all about finishing strong and getting to the chocolate as quick as I could.

8:48!

And the end result was a brand spankin’ new PR!!!!

Almost a 2 minute improvement!!

Almost a 2 minute improvement!!

I was so incredibly thrilled! I wished this would’ve been a half marathon because the way I felt would have earned me a new 1/2 PR lol! I was so happy with my splits and felt that this was by far one of the best races I’ve ran this year. Such a good way to start to close out the season (I do still have one more race, a 1/2, on Sunday!).

Having such little expectation and going into it with purely fun in mind I think allowed me run such a good race. I want to remember all of this for future races! All stressing out does is make me overthink things and lose focus on why I do this in the first place–to have fun!! 🙂

After the race was more socializing. Seriously, this race just had good vibes all around.

One of my friends I’d started with finished just behind me and we met up with some others in our group to pose for pictures.

IMG_1364

My AZTNT girls

 

20141207_100244

Mandatory podium shot!

 

I was also finally able to meet up with another one of my running groups to take a fun group pic

20141207_104548

#RunEatTweetAZ (follow us on Twitter!!!!!) 😀

 

And then best of all, several co-workers had come to cheer me and two of my fellow teachers at the race.

20141207_101916

Love my job and co-workers ❤

 

I must have stayed a good hour post race just hanging out. It was so. much. fun.

20141207_095454

Oh, look who I ran into!

 

I can’t forget that along with an awesome race, the swag is what makes it even better. Along with a sweet jacket, finishers received this awesome medal

20141207_114813

It didn’t melt!

 

and of course, chocolate!!!

20141207_094635

Nom!

 

If you’ve never done a “fun” race, this would be the one to do. It’s still a race you can be competitive at if that’s your style (the top finisher ran it in 49 minutes!), but it’s also one that’s all about having a good time.

Having done it two years in a row, it’s become a yearly race that I will for sure always have on my calendar 🙂

–Have you ran for chocolate?

–What would be your favorite food to “run for”? (mmm, pizza)

This post was written by me and contains my own honest opinions. I was not compensated in any way by Hot Chocolate 15k organizers. (But if you guys wanna hook me up next year, I’m all for it!! 😉 )

 

 

 

BRF (Best Running Friend) and…..best pick up line?

I don’t know how things could possible get any better but it has. So I made it into the Marine Corps Marathon and am beyond excited about it but guess what else?

MY SOLE SISTER SALT IS GOING TO BE THERE TO CHEER ME ON!!!

You guys know how much I talk and rave about my good buddy ‘ol pal. We’ve “known” each other for a couple of years having gone through our pregnancies (my first and her only) together and now our little girls are turning two!! (hers already has!). We’ve become pretty close despite not having actually met. If you would’ve told me years ago I’d have an awesome friend from the internet I’da given you a big side eye. Here I am though, with a BRF (Best Running Friend) who lives on the other side of the country and I’m finally going to meet her!!! Expect multiple posts about this excitement and tons of pictures when it actually happens. 😀

I'm meeting Salt!!!!!

I’m meeting Salt!!!!!

In other news, on Thursday I went to a Roadrunner Sports Adventure Run (that’s where I’m at in that ^ pic). If you’ve never heard of that before, the running store Roadrunner Sports puts on a fun run the third Thursday of every month. Throughout the run, there are checkpoints where you collect raffle tickets for a chance to win cool stuff like running gear, clothes, gift certificates to sponsoring stores (and bars), and even shoes! It’s kinda like a scavenger hunt but with runner’s on the  prowl for free stuff.

I went with my run club who have been to multiple of these. Being a newb, I decided to stick with them. What is supposed to be a leisurely 3 mile-ish run turned into 5 miles of intense speed work. They don’t mess around.

At some checkpoints, the restaurant/bar/store makes you perform a task or asks you a question. One bar told us we had to give them our best pick-up line to receive our raffle ticket. By this time, I was huffing and puffing and trying to think up something clever just wasn’t happening. I heard a friend give the good ‘ol, “How you doin’?” and then it was my turn.

“I’m Stacy’s mom.”

I think because I’m a mom now and pick up lines just seem ridiculous, the song Stacy’s mom has got it going on came into my head and I went with it. In any case, the bar guy and his buddies thought it was hilarious (I’m actually really glad they recognized the song. I would’ve felt really old if they hadn’t) and they gave me two extra tickets for my creativity.

We made it back by the 7:30 time limit and hoped for the best.

I didn’t win anything but a girl from my run club won one of the free shoes! It was definitely a cool fun run that I’d do again for sure.

Hope you guys have a good weekend! I’ve got a short long run today and trails tomorrow 🙂

–Do you have a BRF (Best Running Friend)?

–What is your best pick-up line?

–Have you heard of the Roadrunner Sports Adventure Run? Have you done a scavenger type run before?

Don’t forget that the giveaway for a FREE Energybits sample is still going strong. Enter here to test them out!

Losing Weight, Gaining Perspective {a guest post}

So I mentioned yesterday that my good friend Amy would be guest blogging today. (She’s a part of that healthy moms group I’ve mentioned a few times.) Amy is in the midst of a lifestyle change and….
Well, I’m just going to let her share her story with you
:  )

—————–

Hi, friends of Helly! I am so honored to be here sharing my story with you. Helly and I are internet-turned-real-life friends. Our daughters are about a week apart in age and she inspires me daily with her infectious positive attitude and her commitment to her health and her family. It’s great to “meet” you all! This is a little slice of my life, and the journey I’ve been on the past couple months to lose weight and reclaim my confidence and self-worth.

Helly and my daugher M, October 2013

Helly and my daugher M, October 2013

First, a little background. Unlike most of you, my default state is sedentary. While I like endorphins (who doesn’t?!), I can’t stand to exercise. I’ve searched high and low and I haven’t found one type that I truly enjoy. It takes a huge extrinsic motivation for me to get up off the couch and move. At the same time, I love food. Cooking and baking (especially baking!) are my passions, but most of all I love to eat. A lot. It’s so extreme that I’ve sometimes wondered if I have a food addiction. I have gone very long stretches of time where I have absolutely no regulation over what and how much I’m eating. Plus the whiter the carb, the better.

The most recent post from my currently dormant food blog of 6 years

The most recent post from my currently dormant food blog of 6 years

Because of all this couch-sitting and food-over-enjoying, I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my adult life. Along with that has come a lot of depression and shame. In 2010, after recovering from a herniated disc, I finally decided to do something about it. Together with my husband, I trained for and ran the 1st Annual Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Disney World—very fitting for my foodie self! I still consider that one of my proudest moments ever.

At Epcot after our race

At Epcot after our race

My healthy momentum from the race carried me for a while, but over the past few years I have slowly slipped back into my mega-eating, non-exercising ways. Since then, I’ve been yo-yo-ing, and have been up and down within a 25 pound range.

A couple months ago, I found myself at my highest weight ever.  Despite adding in a bike commute to work (something I’m so proud of!), I hated how my clothes fit and I hated looking in the mirror.  I hated my obese BMI and I hated looking like I was 5 months pregnant. It was time to make a real, permanent change. I wanted to hold my head up high, have more energy, and set an example of good health for my daughter.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever but I will always regret how heavy I look; Halloween 2013

This is one of my favorite pictures ever but I will always regret how heavy I look; Halloween 2013

This change needed to be sustainable, given my yo-yo tendencies. This time I’m committed to setting myself up for success instead of expecting that I’ll fail. There are a million diets and methods and clubs out there to lose weight, but I started out simple. In early January of this year, I started a Dietbet (something that’s helped motivate me in the past). I bet $25 that I could lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. My husband and about 75 friends and friends of friends joined us, and those of us who reached their goal (spoiler alert: including me and my husband!) split the pot.

To reach my Dietbet goal, I started logging every single thing I ate with My Fitness Pal. This has been so key to my success. There have been days when I’ve overeaten or slipped up, but logging it has helped me realize that I’m so very hard on myself. I’m allowed to mess up, and messing up doesn’t mean that I’m a total failure. AT ALL. It’s also helped with this sustainability thing. I can have a cookie for an afternoon snack once in a while or my beloved Chinese food in small doses and I can still stay on a downward trend of weight loss.

Now, about that pesky exercise. I’m about to share my dirty little secret with you, are you ready? Promise not to laugh at me. A friend gave me a series of workout videos by trainer Leslie Sansone. Her thing is “Walk at Home.” Yes, I said walk.  At home. I know it sounds ridiculously low-impact and I’m mildly embarrassed to share this on a running blog. But as out of shape as I was, it started out hard! She has a wide variety of workouts and I was quickly able to increase difficulty. I still find the harder ones extremely challenging, and I’m in much better shape now. I took her 30-day challenge to work out 6 days a week, alternating days of cardio and strength. I successfully finished that challenge a few weeks ago and have continued with her videos since. I couldn’t have done this without Leslie!

My favorite 4-mile "walk"

My favorite 4-mile “walk”

 I also got a Fitbit since I walk a lot at work, and these Leslie workouts have helped catapult me past my 10k step goal every day. I picked the Flex model; the fun interchangeable colored bands was a must for me! Orange and Teal are my favorites. Fitbit’s “gamification” of working out has definitely won me over.

I have started plateauing a bit with my weight in the past couple of weeks and have been ready for a new challenge, so I just started the Focus T25 program. I’m only 1 day in but WOW, that is a workout. I can’t believe I did that voluntarily. I’m really excited to see what kind of new results this adventure brings.

Now, for the punchline: Since I started in early January, I’ve lost 7.3% of my body weight and one pant size, and am no longer in the Obese BMI category!

Before and after my 4-week Dietbet. I've lost another 5 more pounds since then

Before and after my 4-week Dietbet. I’ve lost another 5 more pounds since then

That brings me to why Helly asked me to write this post. It’s been SO satisfying checking off my daily exercise and watching the scale tick down. But I have a lot of work to do on my mind and spirit. I still feel like the fat kid. When I look in the mirror, it’s hard for me to see what I’ve accomplished. I have some hard-wired patterns of self-doubt that are going to take a lot of hard work to undo. What I’m starting to realize is that this part is going to be as hard, if not harder, than exercising or counting calories.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud of my progress, and I know the numbers don’t lie. I have accomplished so much. I can do more reps with more weight now, my endurance is so much better, and I really am holding my head up higher just like I had hoped. But this is just the beginning of the journey for me. As I continue to creep down towards my goal weight, my biggest challenge will be treating myself kindly. Yes, that means treating my body with respect, but also allowing forgiveness when I mess up, and knowing that I am strong and I am capable and I can do this.

Thanks so much to Helly and all of you for letting me be vulnerable for a few minutes. Writing out my story really helped me gain some insight, and I hope maybe you got something out of it too. If you’d like to stay connected and follow my progress (and see lots of pictures of my kid!), I’m amy_i on Instagram.

——————-

Isn’t she awesome?? I’m so proud and honored that Amy shared her story on my blog. She’s been such an inspiration to me and I know that many of us can relate to the struggle that is weight loss and being good to ourselves. Thank you for visiting my page today and I’ll try my best to get Amy back here for a follow-up post soon :  )

Have you struggled with weight loss before?

Why do you think that even after losing weight we are still hard on ourselves?