Monday, January 26, 2015

Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

In the past week since I last wrote...

... I Immediately ran out of willpower and for lunch the next day after my victory in willpower, had a burger and onion rings.  However, I did count all the points, work it in to my week, and not obsess over it too much.  And I also made a plan for the future about how to get through similar situations.  I recently read the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (which I totally recommend) and learned that research shows willpower can be like a muscle - if you use it too much it will get tired and weak.  Behavioral studies have shown this and hypothesize that it is why successful business people who have to show a lot of restraint and control in one area of life, do stupid things and break down and have affairs stuff.  ANYWAYS, the book also says that you combat the fact that willpower can weaken, by removing it from the equation and turning things from choices into habits.  To do that takes practice, but it helps to visualize how you will react in different situations.  I did that on the way to dinner the night before, but didn't do that at lunch on Wednesday.  Now when I am driving or falling asleep or something, I try mentally preparing myself for things that could come up like unexpected sweets being around.  Meals out to delicious restaurants.  Unbudget-ed (points wise) meals.  Dinner parties.  Etc.  I think it can work because over the past couple months I've somehow managed to train myself to say no to the biscoff cookies on the airplane.  And I love those things!


... I lost two pounds, despite the burger and onion rings!  I really worked my points well last week and managed to fit in a business trip, football game, weekend out, etc. and still lose weight.  That was a real confidence boost to me and I am really proud of that!  Since I started counting points again (3 weeks) I lost 8.8 lbs.  I feel frustrated thinking that I have further to go than I originally thought because my body is different at my current weight, but am still proud of the progress.  It helps me to break things into smaller chunks, so right now I am focusing on wanting to lose 1.2 more lbs to be able to have lost an even 10.  This mental strategy what helps me with running and with long plane rides, etc.  Anybody can run for 1 mile, just focus on that (when in reality it's a 10 mile run.)  Anybody can keep entertained on a plane for 1 hour (when in reality you have 7 more hours to go after that.)  And anybody can lose 1.2 pounds (when in reality, it's a longer road ahead.)  Break it down and focus on one thing at a time.

It also really helped that I kept up my training throughout the whole trip.  I did a spin class and weights the morning before I went to the airport.  Did an interval sprint workout on Tuesday morning and my tempo run and leg day on Wednesday morning.  Having things written on a piece of paper reallllly helps me stay focused.  


Plus, the gym at the hotel was literally right across from my room.  I am standing in my doorway and the gym is the door on the right over my shoulder.  No excuses.


... I started really getting into weight training with finishing my first full week of the plan I am on.  My friend made a little weight training schedule for me that focuses on 3x a week doing weights, with 5 exercises each time.  There is a "push" day, a "pull" day, and a legs day.  I don't fully understand the logic, but I like that it is scheduled and I know exactly what to do on each day.  We're calling this "Katelyn's 2015 HOTlanta Bikini Body" plan and I sure hope it works.  Okay, nobody is really calling it that but me.  But I hope it works.  I can't wait for my muscles to increase my metabolism so much that it just burns away all my stomach fat and reveals the 6 pack I have been building and hiding under there for the past couple years.  That's how weight training works, right?


... I ate some delicious food.  Although I wish I could spend every meal that I am in Atlanta for eating out at restaurants, I need to stay home and cook more to balance the time that I am traveling and make being healthy a possibility.  That being said, it doesn't mean I don't have to eat deliciously!  This week I tried out this old quinoa sausage stuffed pepper recipe (that I also randomly added some spinach to because I had it in the fridge).  Oh and sorry, I didn't think to take a pic until I was half way through eating it.


And I used some of that leftover spinach, sausage, peppers and mozzarella cheese also on a flatbread pizza (which I used with some of the tomato sauce I made back in December that I pulled out of the freezer this weekend.)  It's really fun to me how many of the very same ingredients... I'll spell them out again... spinach, sausage, peppers, and cheese... can make such a different dish.


It can become fun to figure out ways to reuse ingredients in different meals, and it reminds me that it is why I started this ol' blog in the first place many years ago.  When you are cooking for one, you have to get creative sometimes to reuse foods in different ways unless you want to eat the same meal over and over and over.  Freezing stuff really helps, and utilizing core fresh vegetables in different ways helps too.  I was proud of these creations!  I also tried two new restaurants in Atlanta... so I did get out a bit!  I got a couple appetizers at Social Vinings and went for sushi at Sushinobo.  Both were in my neighborhood and both were good!

Oh, and I have to tell you about the chocolate too, but first one more thing...

... I ran the Peachtree City 5K.  And learned that Peachtree City is a place, not just a nickname for Atlanta.  It's about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta and in Peachtree City and in addition to roads, they have golf cart paths and it is a totally normal and acceptable and regular thing to drive anywhere within Peachtree City on a golf cart.  This is real life, people.  Look it up.   They have paths to access pretty much anywhere in the city via golf cart.  Stores and restaurants have golf cart parking and police patrol via golf cart.  More people in Peachtree City own golf carts than in any other city in the world.  And as far as I know, there isn't really any golfing in Peachtree City.  So weird to me.

Anyways, I was proud of myself because I ran the 5K faster than I did the 5K the weekend before.  And I was pacing myself trying to keep up with an old man right in front of me for the whole race, and then I sprinted in front of him at the very end.  Take that, old man!  Oh, and apparently none of the fast people came out to Peachtree City that morning because when I randomly looked up my time, I saw that I was 5th for my age group.  If I had gotten the time that I had gotten when I PRed last summer in the 5K, I would have gotten 3rd.  Had I known this, it might have been a reason to try and run faster! 


Some of the runners from the Running Nerds group I joined were out for the race and we snagged a team picture.  Sometimes you feel like you are starting to feel good and then you see a picture and are like "Ooph."  Still have work to do!


Side note: Sunshine is glorious.

... I also ran the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K.  It was a double race weekend for me, which is nice, because I like the adrenaline from running in large groups.  It helps to use races as training runs because it forces me to push a little harder than I normally would maybe.  I was proud of myself because it was the furthest I have run since October, jumping from 7 miles the week before to 9.3 this week.  I felt strong and I enjoyed the race.  

It started bright and early in the morning at Turner Field, which is where the Atlanta Braves play, and where the 1996 Olympic games were held!  It's where the Olympians all walked out I guess, and it was my first time over there.


The course took you all throughout Atlanta and included some hills, but I don't remember them being too bad when I think back on the race.  I actually really enjoyed it and the sun being out was awesome.  I overdressed and ran the whole race with my jacket tied around my waist and my gloves in my hands.  Can't wait to see the race pictures, because I probably look pretty sweet.  I did take some pics at the end though!


The race was fun and well organized and staffed and I would highly recommend it for others who might see this race come to their city.  It was a fun mix of a real race (great chip timing, mile markers with timers, waved start, easy gear check, etc.), but also some gimmicky stuff that made it cute and different.  

Throughout the course by the water stops they also gave out sweets.  There was a couple marshmallow stations, a chocolate chip station, and tootsie rolls that I noticed.  The race gave out a great zip up hoodie, and for those who did the 15K an awesome medal that I love (they also had a 5K but you don't get the medal for that.)


Then at the end, everyone got a "Finisher's Mug" and oh my goodness...



In it there was DELICIOUS hot chocolate, and the most ridiculously good melted chocolate fondue that came with a banana, marshmallows, rice crispies, sugar wafers and pretzels to dip in to it.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It was all SO good.  Granted, I make myself fat free hot cocoa with water at home.  But this stuff tasted like it was made of heaven.  And that fondue?  I told myself I was going to have one bite and then throw it away, but I could barely stop myself from wanting to lick the thing clean.  This week is now going to be a bit tough with Weight Watchers points due to it, but man was it yummy!

I felt happy with how I did in the run itself.  My long runs are supposed to target a 10:00 min/mile pace... although to break a 2-hour half marathon I need to be running much faster than that.  I did *okay* at the target pace of 10:00 min/mile but it makes me nervous how far I need to get to be at a 9:00 min/mile for these distances.  (Mind you, the data from RunKeeper below isn't accurate on the mile split times because it told me that I ran a total of 9.5 miles rather than 9.3.  However, it is interesting to see where I got faster/slower in general.



It was also cool to run such a big race right in the city where I live.  There were 7,500 runners in the 15K and about 12,000 in the 5K.  For a race in January!  That would never happen in Albany, NY, so it was pretty neat to see the running community out in full force in my city.  Oh hey Atlanta in the background!


... I also reminisced about this time last year.  Sunday was my running buddy Jess's birthday so I was thinking about her and my friends in Albany a lot during the race.  It was one year ago today that we planned Jess's surprise birthday half marathon for her.  It ended up being a complete blizzard and one of the hardest runs of my life.  My water froze.  I had to walk.  I tried to cry but my tears were frozen.  It was a wreck.  But I did it and I did it with my friends.  We then ate a lot of food and drank a lot of wine and it was a really fun day.  This past week in Atlanta was a good one and I kept myself really busy, but it was also one where I felt a bit lonely, despite being surrounded by people.  

I know it's natural and it's growing pains of being in a new city.  Adjustments and building a network and friendships and roots takes time so I am truly remaining positive and am feeling good.  I just miss my buddies.  However, they can come here because the north east is about to get dumped on with snow and I ran through sunshine this past weekend!!!  :)

Hope you guys have a great week and I will check in soon!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Willpower.

Want to know what I did not eat today?

I didn't eat those little Valentine's hearts that were outside someone's office where I had a meeting today.

I didn't eat anything from this bag of candy that was randomly brought to the conference room of a meeting I was it.  Or the tin of cookies.  And by the way, can I just point out again that this is good candy?  Okay?  Peanut butter cups?  M&Ms?  This isn't the rinky dink goods.


I didn't drink any alcohol at dinner.  Not even the glass of wine that I wanted.  I didn't eat the delicious smelling warm bread that was brought to our table at dinner when we sat down and didn't dip it in the olive oil with some cracked sea salt and pepper sprinkled on top.

I didn't start with a cup of the polenta soup (I don't even know what that is, but I wanted it.)  Or try the fried calamari that came out for an appetizer.  I didn't eat a hundred pieces of bruschetta like I wanted to, but had one piece with lots of fresh tomato on it.

I didn't eat all of the cheese and meat off the charcuterie board and eat it in bites with the fresh bread and olive oil.  Instead, I had a couple pieces of meat and a few small pieces of cheese.

I didn't order the pizzas that were on the menu.  Including the special of the day that had truffle oil, MY FAVORITE, along with panceta and rosemary on it.

I didn't get a pasta dish, including the ones where you could combine your favorite ingredients with their homemade sauces.  Or their house specialty that sounded deliciously mouthwatering.

I did get the scallops with fresh vegetables.  I did enjoy the meal and the company very much.  I did go over on my points again today.  But I am proud of myself for all that I did avoid.



The whole way to dinner I prepped mentally telling myself that it wasn't a special meal and that it wasn't something that I needed to eat as if it were my final meal.  It was an Italian restaurant, where there are surely other delicious Italian restaurants.  Yes, the warm bread is intoxicating, but it's warm bread and it will exist again in the world.  It almost threw me off when I smelled it, and I excused myself and went to the restroom (also because I had to go) and talked myself through it a little more.  And this all might sound incredibly dramatic and pathetic to you, because it's bread.  But it's really hard for me and it's what I needed to do.  It's a habit, compulsion, addiction, to eat the food that is in front of me and it feels wrong and uncomfortable - like I am not scratching an itch - to avoid it.

After dinner tonight I texted my friend in California to tell her how good I did at avoiding the foods and she took the words out of my mouth with her reply.  She said "Don't you feel like every time you say no to something you should instantly lose a pound?"

Yes.  I think that is true.  And with the willpower I displayed today, I better wake up with abs.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Southern living - loving the weather!

Before I say anything else, I wanted to write a quick thank you to everyone who has written or texted or messaged me about my post about my body not being the way I wanted and my concern over the numbers on the scale.  I think it is a combination of getting older, less muscle, changes from running, and a number of other things.  However, I want to work on getting back to a place where I feel confident and am at my best running and clothing-wearing self (I miss my clothes that don't fit me right now.)  So, to combat my body woes, I've started to add some weights to my routine.  I know extremely little about weight lifting and I am getting input from some people smarter than me and looking up a lot of online GIFs to explain how to do some of the moves.  I'm determined to learn though!


Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program... I mentioned that the race this weekend was a bit cold standing around in the morning, and I realized afterwards that I should have clarified that.  First off, it was cold.  But nothing like what I was running through last year.  Remember my polar vortex running survival guide?  Yeah, not necessary in Atlanta.  And even though it was chilly in the morning... you guys... the weather this long MLK Day weekend was BEAUTIFUL.  Temperatures of 60-65 degrees and sunshine in the middle of January?!  I will take it!!

Following the race, the weather really warmed up and once I was showered and out enjoying my day, it was windows down and coat off/light jacket kind of weather!

I spent the afternoon checking out the Red Brick Brewery in Atlanta, which I arrived right in time for a tour of, and then sample some of what they had on tap while enjoying the weather!  It seems like a ton of people had that idea because it was packed and a really fun atmosphere.  There were some food vendors, corn hole, and people were there with their dogs hanging out.  Red Brick is the oldest brewery in Georgia and their most popular beer is called the Laughing Skull.  I am so excited to be trying all of this new stuff in Atlanta and every time I try something new, I think about how happy I am to have these things available to me and who I want to take to do what when they come to visit!

Oh and the weather doesn't hurt either.  I do not miss you, sub-zero temperatures in January!


The beautiful weather continued through Sunday and today, as I flew out to Wilmington, North Carolina for work, we had another gorgeous day!  I had today off of work, but I flew in midday to spend the afternoon in Wilmington because I had heard it was a pretty neat town.  It was right on the water with lots of cute shops and restaurants that I checked out this afternoon, and just really enjoyed the fact that it was January and I didn't wear a coat for a portion of the day!!




Since I was in Atlanta this morning, I worked out there, doing a spin class and some weights this morning.  I had exciting news about the spin class, in that, after spinning for about 5 years, I finally made the investment on spin shoes!  However, I gave them their first test run this morning and I think they are too small as my feet went numb during the class.  I am going to try to exchange them, so more to come in the future on that topic.   Not going to lie, after building up the anticipation for so many years, I was a bit disappointed that my whole life didn't change after wearing them for the class.  They were uncomfortable and distracting, so need to try and fix that!

Also, I've only been traveling for a little bit and I'm already frustrated at how hard it is to eat healthy while on the road.  I had dinner out and just ordered a salad with chicken, but it wasn't as healthy as I imagined it to be, and I obviously cannot stop myself once food is in front of me.  So, I need to try and be careful about what goes down the next couple of days.  My Weight Watchers weeks start on Saturdays, so that's when I "reset" for the week.  I've already used a bit of my extra weekly points drinking some of that beer on Saturday and also out on Sunday night, so I need to stick to my dailies for the remainder of the week.  The struggle is REAL.

That being said, I don't regret the decisions I made over the weekend.  I am new to Atlanta and my goals are more than just to lose weight right now.  They are also to have a social life, to meet people, to explore the city, and to improve my running.  I may eat more than I want this week, but I definitely accomplished all my other goals/did my job this weekend in other aspects!

And you know who else did their job this weekend?  The New England Patriots, baby!  We're going to the Superbowl!  Woohoo!

Now, I don't mean to be more of a fan than I actually am.  I don't watch the games regularly and I can't tell you all sorts of facts about the players or the season.  But, I like to get into things around playoff season so I went to the game last week with the Atlanta Fan Club, and joined again this Sunday night for the championship game.

Since last weekend it was a bit hard to meet people, I suggested on the Facebook group for the event that they reserve a people for all the other people who don't have friends  Patriots friends in Atlanta.  Well, when I got there, I saw that they had taken my suggestion and even made reserved seating.  I could not stop laughing!


It worked out great because I met some really cool people who are now new friends (one of whom works at the same company as I do!), our table all bonded, and the other "solos" (I purposely did not want to use the word "singles table") were all really appreciative that I had made the suggestion.


AND my feeling of being VIP continued when I won a prize during the half time raffle!!  I became the proud owner of a Gronk jersey last night that happened to fit me like a glove.  I am SO excited about this and didn't want to take it off!  I will for sure be wearing it for the Superbowl in 2 weeks.


Sorry I look so awkward here.  I'm trying hard to not think about the fact that the Jersey is a size XXL and fits me so well...

But anyways, I am going to head to bed.  I hope everyone had a great long weekend and took some time to remember why we had the day off.  MLK day is almost more relevant than ever right now with a lot of what has been in the news.  If you are looking for a great article to read, I encourage you to head over to my friend KO's blog Everyday Ambassador and check out this post there.

It is pretty amazing to me that I now live in the city where Martin Luther King Jr. is buried and I want to visit the graveyard/memorial in the very near future.  Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekend running recap - MLK 5K & run club long run

As I mentioned, this week I kicked things up a notch from 0 to 60 with my running levels, which is in large part to the fact that I made the decision on Monday to officially join a "training team."  The group is a part of the Running Nerds run club in Atlanta that I had randomly heard about from a runner in Atlanta and had been following on Instagram since August.  The group is all trying to tackle breaking 2:00 hours in a half marathon.

I signed up on Monday and did a workout with them on Tuesday morning for some speed work, then a tempo run on Wednesday (which, meant that I ran hard but not full furce) on my own, and then a easy run on Thursday all per their plan.  The training team is just a small segment of the broader "Running Nerds" run group, and I had my first activity with exposure to that broader group at Atlanta's MLK 5K in Piedmont Park.

This isn't a race I probably would have signed up to run without the group, but since we had a run to do that was at "race pace" and I knew it would give me an opportunity to meet more people, I decided to go for it.   I picked up my packet on Friday night and was excited to see the t-shirt that came with it.  For whatever reason, I love when races give out these shirts.  Fitted, cotton shirts.  I NEVER wear the unisex cotton t-shirts you get at races, and I rarely wear the tech t-shirts.  If I am wearing a tech shirt, I am probably usually wearing either a tank top or a long sleeved.  I love these long, fitted cotton shirts and love the colors/design of this one.


As far as races go, the race itself was... okay?  It had a "cross country" start, which I have never experienced before, but essentially meant that they just let us loose on a field with no official start line.  We sprinted across a field, and up a hill to a path that the course started on.  The rest of the race was along a path within Atlanta's Piedmont Park and was a pretty course, the hills were fine, with a bit of downhill.  And the coolest part was that all along the course there were different groups of drummers banging out some impressive beats that definitely kept you moving.



I wasn't a fan of the start and I wasn't a fan of the finish either, which brought you again, off the path, to finish by first running through mulch, down a short steep hill, and then back across the grass to the finish shoot.  It felt awkward and I am not used to running not on pavement so I get overly cautious.  We've had some cold weather in Atlanta and on Saturday morning there was lots of frost on the grass and some parts of the course, such as a wooden bridge we ran over, were pretty slick.  The race also started about 20 minutes after I thought it was going to start.  Which, just meant a lot of standing in the cold.


But, I did love the drummers along the course and it was fun to have a group of people to stand around in the cold with!  The Running Nerds had a booth at the race, with some hot chocolate and snacks and hand warmers, which were very clutch!  I started to meet some new people both before and after the race, and it was a cool experience doing a 5K with a team like that.  I finished the race in 28:09.


On Sunday morning I was up early again to meet the group that is a part of the training team to do my first long run with the group.  Today's run was 7 miles and I was realllly nervous going into.  The target pace for the run was 10:00/min miles and that was supposed to be a "slow" run.  I have been running more about a 10:40/pace lately on flat and even slower on hills, so I was unsure of what I was going to be able to do.  The run coaches keep everyone together so I was really nervous that I would be way behind and dragging the group back.  [Side note: the nerves didn't stop me from appreciating the beautiful morning as I head out to meet the group!  And yes, I stopped in the middle of the road to take this picture.  Nobody was coming!]


We met up at 8:00 a.m. and went out a little bit afterwards.  For the first half of the run, I was a good visual distance behind the main group, keeping up with them but not too far behind.  I ran with one of the running coaches and she said our first mile was in 9:25 so I felt really good about that!  I actually felt pretty strong for most of the race, and the just tried to focus on staying with the group.  I knew that I was running harder than I would be on my own, but also felt like I had enough in me to keep going for at least the current mile.  I kept waiting for myself to crash, but I think I did okay with how I kept going.

It was really, really cool to see more of Atlanta on foot.  We ran through the neighborhood of Little Five Points, which is definitely something I want to return to check out, through Virginia Highlands, and then finished at a little coffee shop which is exactly where we started as well.  I used RunKeeper to track my run (my Garmin broke in the fall and I haven't replaced it yet) and RunKeeper told me that my splits were 11:08; 9:47; 10:11; 10:42; 9:33; 10:42; 10:55.  Since the coach said our first mile was 9:25, I think the different is from me starting the run a bit early and then waiting at a stoplight.  As well, I know that there were a few stop lights that I was stuck at in the middle miles too, so I think the first 10:42 can be attributed to that.  The last two miles were slower because it was pretty much entirely uphill, which you can see from this chart!


The whole run was in 1:14:02 which averages to a 10:25 min/mile.  At the end of the run, I couldn't decide if I was proud of it or not.  I did not hit the 10:00 min/mile goal, but I also pretty much knew that was going to happen.  So, truly, I think I should be proud of this run.  Especially compared to what I have been running lately, I know I pushed myself and I know that I ran harder than if I were to have run on my own.  What makes me really nervous is that 10:00 min/mile wasn't just the goal, but that was supposed to be the EASY pace.  I ran a 10:25 min/mile but that was pushing it!  And I was still in the back of the group!  So I have mixed feelings.  But I did earn my coffee today!


It was nice to not have to think about where I was going and have a group leading (although a few times I thought I was going to get lost and I think ran harder to try and keep up!)  We hung out for coffee afterwards and I am excited to get to know the group more and do more runs with them!  It also doesn't hurt that they have the same affinity I do for taking lots of pictures :)


I still haven't picked a goal race to work towards, as I am waiting to see how some of my upcoming travel turns out.  However, whatever it is, it will be fun to work towards it with this group!

P.S. Missing my #TeamBABU crew always!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fitness & food update

Hey guys, so I told you yesterday I would have a more food & fitness-y update for ya and here it is.  So, if you didn't get the jist from my New Year, New You post I got into the whole New Years, starting over type of thing and when I need a reset, for me that means going back to Weight Watchers.  I started counting points again on January 5th and started exercising again regularly.  I was mixing in some swim, spin, running, and taking advantage of the free personal training sessions that came with the gym membership I signed up for in December.

I've been trying to prepare meals in advance and do a lot of cooking as well.  One of the things that I brought back after Christmas break was a brand new crock pot that I got from "Santa" this year (thanks Santa!) I tried it out for the first time last week, trying a recipe from Emily Bites, who has awesome and delicious Weight Watchers friendly recipes up on her site.  Her "Bubble Up Pizza" and "Bubble Up Enchiladas" are both to die for and this week I tried out the Thai Peanut Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken in my new crock pot.  It was SO simple and SO delicious.  At first I was shocked that the portion size seemed so small, but it's been keeping me full when I pair it with a bunch of veggies.  You can barely see it in there, so this picture looks sort of pathetic, I will admit.  But it's good!  A few nights I have had 1.5 servings for dinner and it still works out okay.  Broccoli slaw is a perfectly easy and delicious side to have with these.


I've been back to making myself protein smoothies, on an oatmeal kick with fruit, soup, fruit, tea, fat free hot cocoa, and of course, ample amounts of water..



I'm happy to say that since I have started eating healthier and exercising more, I have lost about 7-8 pounds.  Which means I am (still) about 17 lbs above what was my lowest ever ever (which I think I weighed for about a day in March 2012, and about 10 lbs above where I was comfortable.  However, I have been at this point before and I remember my clothes feeling different at the weight I am at right now.  It's something that has really been bugging at me and weighing on my mind.

Why do my clothes feel so tight when I weighed the same a little over year ago and these clothes fit then? (I know my exact weight throughout history because I have it all logged in my Weight Watchers app.)

I have a few theories and I don't know if they are true are not.  One of which is that all of my clothes shrunk.  Another is that training and running 2 marathons last year changed my body in a weird way and that even though my weight is the same in numbers, my body is wider and bigger.  I have no idea if that is possible or not, but the other day I did a little experiment.

I pulled up this picture from November, 10 2013 at the Stokadathon race:


I tracked my weight on the Weight Watchers app on November 9, 2014 and that number is 1 lb higher than what I weigh today.  However, the other day when I wore the exact same running outfit for my run and took a picture, I feel like I look so much larger!


Okay different headband but otherwise, I even put on my little fanny pack thing to make this shiz as real to life as possible.  I know I am crazy (remember when I told you that I have a tendency to overanalyze) but I have been looking at these pictures side by side and trying to figure out why I feel so much larger today when my weight is lower than in that photo.

I feel frustrated because because my body is different than it used to be, I feel like I have more weight to lose than 17 lbs to be at that same point.  I spent the year avoiding the scale for reasons such as these because I didn't want the scale to be consumed by the numbers and I'm 2 weeks in and already there!  I am glad that I weighed myself though because to be honest, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  And it is motivating to see the scale move.  But I'm just thinking too much about the fact that I don't seem to be feeling the same way when I was at this weight before. Grrr.  I guess I just keep moving and keep working hard and see what happens!

I know I go up and down in my motivation at times, but I am feeling really determined right now.  I know it's hard and it's been SO hard.  There is so much delicious-ness EVERYWHERE in Atlanta. So many restaurants I want to try.  And so many social outings that involve food as well.  I went to dinner at Taco Mac this week and luckily they had their menu and nutritional information online so I was able to look up the points of my meal and find something that worked - but that's not always an option.

The real test will be this coming week when I have my first business trip while on this latest kick of exercise and eating healthy.  It's a trip not too far away so I am hoping that there won't be too many tempting treats and I won't have long flights and whatnot to distract me.  But still, being out of a routine is always hard for me.

Anyways, I'm happy I am making progress and will be even happier when I hit a few more milestones and I am looking forward to the fitness routine I am getting into as well!  It's been a while since I've been training regularly and I am enjoying it!  Happy Friday to you all!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Life in Atlanta

Hey everyone, so I wanted to post and let you all know a bit of what I have actually been up to in Atlanta since I got back from the holiday break!  I have been keeping really busy, finding new people to meet up with, starting to see new parts of Atlanta and try new locations and I am slowly but surely starting to "live" here.  In fact, I started the (painstaking) process today of getting a Georgia license and registration for my car.  Things will be OFFISH over here!

So let's just tick through some of what I've been doing since I've been back and some of what I have experienced.  First up, is the one thing I have had planned for months and that I have been looking forward to for so long - going to see my Syracuse Orange play against Georgia Tech!


This outing was the start of a string of girl dates I've been going on, and I am happy to say that they've all gone great and I am hoping to see all of them again :)  I brought a friend from work to the basketball game with me, as she went to Georgia Tech.  We were both good sports about rooting for opposing teams and I was thrilled that Syracuse pulled out the win AND that there were SO many Orange fans at the game!!

I also had girl dates with a couple friends-of-friends, where we took the obligatory "Look _____ - we're hanging out pictures!" to be able to send to the friend who set us up.



I've tried out some new bars in different neighborhoods including a really fun place called Ormsby's with bocce ball, darts, shuffle board, board games, etc. inside.  Since I love games, I was all over that.  Oh, and I should mention too that while I was there I tried boiled peanuts for the first time!  Since I am not a fan of peanuts regular, I didn't have high hopes but I actually enjoyed them!  In addition last weekend I tried out bars with fun names called Mother and Church, and explored a market that I had read about online called the Krog Street Market that had deliciiiious food shops and an ice cream market called Jeni's that has the most insane flavors.  I wanted to eat them all but settled on a turkey sandwich from Fred's Meat and Bread that was delicious.  The line was the longest so I figured I had to try that place and it didn't disappoint.


Another thing I did was this past weekend I found a MeetUp group for the local New England Patriots Fan Club and joined them at a bar to watch the Playoff Patriots vs. Ravens game!  It was SUCH a good game!  I don't always watch football incredibly closely, but this game had me on the edge of my seat.  I didn't talk to a ton of people, but it was nice to just be in an atmosphere of like-minded people.  The energy was so fun and I am definitely going to join for the coming game this weekend too!


I tried out some new running groups, and actually signed up for a full training program with one of them called the Running Nerds.  They have a program with a group of "athletes" (that's what they call us, it feels weird to call myself an athlete with what I do) who are all trying to break 2:00 - hours in a half marathon time.  It is a goal that I have for myself and have had since I ran a 2:03:47 half marathon in Providence in September of 2013, and since I am a little burnt out on the loooong distance training, I decided to just go for it.

However, what I failed to take into consideration is that I haven't been running ANYWHERE near the paces that I need to be for that goal.  It was a year and a half ago that I ran in that time and haven't been focusing on times for the past year whatsoever.  I have actually never even done real speed work or speed training in my life.  The last time that I ran trying to run fast was at a 5K in July when I got a PR and then at the Ragnar Relay in September when I surprised myself with a super fast unofficial 10K.  I am definitely on the slow end and am feeling the pressure and putting anxiety on myself as to whether or not I am going to be an embarrassment through this training program... but I figured I will keep going it and hopefully at least see improvements if I don't get to a sub-2:00 hour half right away and will get me running again!  I have run EVERY day since Friday, which is crazy given the number of miles I had been doing before Friday.  Running with the Movers & Pacers, Run Smyrna, and Running Nerds have all been fun experiences so far and there will be more about that to come!



Being a part of the training team means that there are a number of coaches to help with everything and I met up with one earlier this week for coffee at a place called Amelie's which was super cute and adorable and I wanted to eat everything there!  I settled on a fancy coffee drink while we discussed how I am already super overwhelmed with the training program laid out for us.  I haven't been running a lot, my times are slow, I have other goals I want to do too (Olympic tris, I'm coming for you!)  When I said I was overwhelmed she mentioned something like, "Well, you know how it goes, you don't have to do EVERYTHING on your training plan. You just make it work and do as much as possible."  I was like ummm... I don't know if you know how I work, but I did EVERY mile on my training program for my first marathon except for 2 when I was in Turkey and they literally kicked me off the treadmill because the gym was closing.  And those 2 miles eat away at me mentally to this day.  But hey, the team is super supportive and seems fun and in the same philosophy of my running buddies on TeamBABU -- and plus, the coffee was good!


And in addition to the eating and drinking and running, I also tried out a glorious little thing called "Whirly Ball" which although it wasn't founded in Atlanta, I haven't heard of until I got here.  So I now assume that everyone in Atlanta plays Whirly Ball on a regular basis.


It is like a weird version of lacrosse combined, for some reason, with bumper cars.


You start nice and orderly like that, but trust me, it doesn't last that way for long.  You have this weird little cart that you crank a handle to make move, and you have to scoop up a plastic whiffle ball and throw it into the center part of that yellow board in the back to score.  It is so silly yet so addicting and I cannot stop talking about whirly ball.  Every visitor I have to Atlanta is playing whirly ball.  So, just, be aware, people!

Anyways, there is so much here to see and experience and try out.  My restaurant list grows every day.  My understanding of where everything is and how far it takes to get there... is... ya know... it's coming along.  My network is starting to build and I am starting to scheme about when I can have people over and entertain or throw a dinner party.  My schedule is starting to get FULL, especially with this new training plan I am working off of.  So, life in Atlanta is coming along everyone!

Tomorrow I want to tell you about where I am with my running and eating more.  So stay tuned!