Sunday, December 6, 2015

Goings On

Can't say much has been happening in my fitness/ health life. I've been having bad winter blues lately and have watched an unimaginable amount of Netflix in bed the past few weeks.

However, I did get my butt up to go the Huntington Turkey Trot. Which, very surprisingly, was the first time I've run 3.1 miles without walking! I don't know if it was the flat course, the early morning, or the perfect temperatures, or all of the above, but I felt good while running. I didn't take any photos because I thought there would be some posted, but I was distracted during the run by human turkeys and squirrels, Pilgrims and Indians, and Power Rangers. Oh, and lots of doggies! (The run supported Little Victories, a no kill shelter).

Finish9:41:45AM00:34:5911:16 min/mi00:34:5911:16 min/m     

On December 1st, I made an hour trip to get injections shots into my back. It's supposed to help with the bulging disc that has made me hurt countless times this year. I was hoping that it would be a miracle right away, but I'm still having pain. I start physical therapy back up, at a different place, this week. Then on the the 15th I will go back to get my other set of shots. I'm hoping with more physical therapy and the other shot that I will get to a good place again. I think the pain has taken a toll on my mental health. I'm really tired of it being one thing or another.

To cheer myself up, I went out today and bought myself a new smart TV for my workout room! haha. It's a 40" and pretty nice! Also, my boyfriend and I went out and scoped some weight home gyms. After three stores, we decided to go with a slightly more simple one:

Richard ordered it for me on Amazon and it should be here by Wednesday :)  I'm really excited. I'll post a picture of the whole setup once its done. Hopefully we can put it together without killing ourselves.

To get myself back on track I've been doing rather well with keeping track of my calories as well. I'm just taking small steps right now to get myself out of my funk. For a little while I felt like I was just giving up on myself and going back to not caring. I was becoming more emotional and it was getting harder to get out of bed. This all reminded me of when I was at my highest weight. I used to cry at night all the time, whether I had a reason to or not. And all I would do is hang out on the couch and watch TV. A lot like I've been doing lately. Thankfully, I haven't been hiding how I've been feeling and I think that makes a huge difference. I got together with friends last night and they made me realize that I've got to keep fighting. Also my boyfriend puts up with my whimsy ideas and doesn't discourage me.

When I got together with friends last night, there was also a purpose to it. My friend hosted an Essential Oils party. Particularly for DoTerra Oils. It was really interesting. I've been to a little class about them before, but this was more relaxed and informal. For those who don't know, essential oils are pure extracts from plants. Basically its part of a holistic type of medicine and living. I think there can be some good in it and I'm open to it, but I definitely don't think it's something you can rely completely on for health. I ended up buying the Physicians kit as a Christmas present, its a good sample, I hope.
This is what it comes with: Family Physician® Kit: 5 mL bottles of Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano, Frankincense, Deep Blue®, dōTERRA Breathe, DigestZen®, and dōTERRA On Guard®

If the person I bought these for doesn't like them, then I will definitely try them out. If nothing else then just for the smell. To give myself an extra boost, hopefully, I decided to give these a try:
The "Slim and Sassy" softgels. I have no idea if they will work or not, but I figured hey why not. I don't think they will hurt anything. Here is a blurb about it from Amazon. I didn't buy these off Amazon. It's just easy to get descriptions from. DoTerra relies a lot on their salesmen, so the website is not that great for information.

Product Description

Slim & Sassy® Softgels contain doTERRA's proprietary Slim & Sassy essential oil blend in convenient softgels to promote weight loss in a healthy, natural way. The flavorful blend of Slim & Sassy contains essential oils known to help manage hunger throughout the day while boosting metabolism and promoting a positive mood. Slim & Sassy contains Grapefruit and Lemon essential oils, both of which have a high limonene content to help purify and cleanse the body while Peppermint aids digestion and helps curb the appetite. Additionally, Ginger and Cinnamon provide a stimulating and positive effect on the endocrine system to assist with weight loss. When combined with healthy eating and exercise, Slim & Sassy Metabolic Blend can help you reach your weight loss goal and maintain a healthy weight for life. Slim & Sassy Softgels are perfect for on-the-go or for those wanting an easy and convenient way to consume Slim & Sassy essential oil blend.

So basically, I'm going to see if it helps me at all with controlling how much I eat and to give me a little boost of energy instead of going to tea or soda for the caffeine. It might not work, but I've never really tried anything before and I feel like my body makeup is very different after I used steroids to help with the Myositis. I'm a little hopeful this can help with that. I'll give an update after I've taken for them a while.

Well I think that is all I have for right now. I'm waiting to make any sort of workout plans or sign up for any races until I get my back figured out. Maybe that will be soon!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Running in DC and Halloween

Last week I was sent to Washington DC for training for work. Which turned out it was for naught, but that's a different story. I'm not going to lie, I did a lot of eating while in DC, but I also did some exercising. I walked everywhere, because who wants to drive around a city I've only been to a couple of times...

Monday I traveled to DC which wasn't bad at all. I didn't hit hardly any traffic. Got to my hotel with no problem.
That evening I hung out with my cousin and aunt. We went to Old Town Alexandria. It was really pretty and of course I loved the old buildings. Even got some tea :) We went along the Potomac River.

Tuesday I started training, but I was out of work by 3:30 everyday so I had plenty of time to go exploring. I went for a run around the monuments, just because I've wanted to do something like that ever since I started running! I love the idea of exploring a place by running.

Sorry for all of the Selfies, but this is what you get when you have to go out by yourself! Thankfully I had really nice weather all week to go exploring. There were so many runners out too. That is a really nice thing about a city compared to the more country, small town scenes of West Virginia. No one cares what you're doing or even really looks at you, because there are so many people out doing the exact same thing.

I went out to find something to eat on my own this night. I wasn't overly hungry since my work had taken me out for lunch that day. But I found this shop dedicated to nothing but salads and I was in heaven. I took it back to my hotel which was perfect.

Wednesday after work, I went to the hotel gym and worked out on the elliptical and did some strength training. Then I went to Founding Farmers for dinner with a friend that I haven't seen in years that I met while studying abroad in Wales. For some reason I didn't take any pictures :( The meal was amazing though and I had a great time catching up! If I go back to DC I'll definitely go there again!

Thursday I was a little daring a took a Soul Cycle class! It was right around the corner from my hotel. I had a couple of hours before meeting my cousin and his boyfriend Matt for dinner. But when I looked online it looked like they were all booked up. Bummer! I decided to get dressed for running and check it out just in case they had some cancellations. So I signed up online to get a newbie discount and headed out. Thankfully, it turned out they did have openings! They must keep a few empty for walk-ins. I was pumped. It was still $20 to take the class, but since we don't have any Soul Cycles in WV, I figured it was probably worth the experience. And it was nice to be a newbie since the shoe rental was free the first time. You have to wear biking shoes with clips.
So I got my bike set up and was ready to roll.

 The class was packed. It was a different experience. The lights were turned off except for on the instructor who made it feel like a night club. The music was thumping and his mike was turned up loud. He could even manipulate the lights around him to have it pulsing. I had a great time! I think I kept up pretty well and thankfully my back didn't break! haha. If I lived near one and they had a good deal for classes I could definitely see going to these often. I was dripping with sweat by the end!

After that I ate all the food! I walked down to Georgetown, which is another place I had never been.
They decided to take me to one of their favorite Italian restaurants, Filomena's. They make homemade pasta right there in front. These two ladies were working away. Old school style. Though I'm sure they have more modern machines in the kitchen since they are very busy, it's nice to think that the pasta I had, which was delicious, was made by hand.

 After dinner, we headed a couple of blocks to the famous Georgetown Cupcakes. I felt like a total tourist, but I've heard about this place so much that I had to check it out! There wasn't a long line, which I think is rare so we decided to head in. I was not disappointed! My cupcake was excellent. I had the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake. Yum!

I took a couple home, which weren't as good the next day, but still pretty darn good. There was a pumpkin spice cupcake (which I gave to my sister), a cookies and cream mint cupcake (which I gave to Richard, a chocolate ganache (I ate while stuck in traffic the next day!), and I took one more peanut butter one home.

On Friday before I left to go back home I hit up Trader Joe's and Starbucks. It was a good time. I didn't take a picture of all my goodies, but I picked up pumpkin rooibos tea, pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin soup, spice popcorn, spicy chile lime cashews, Speculoos cookie butter, some organic peanut butter....and I think that might be it. It was a nice haul. I picked up a Washington DC Starbucks cup to go with a couple that I've gotten from my travels abroad. :)

On my way out I noticed the signs for the Marine Corp Marathon! That would have been fun to spectate if I had realized sooner it was the same weekend. It went right by my cousins apartment too!

Maybe one day I'll get to run in this one! That would be so much fun!

Unfortunately, for some reason my trip to DC put me in a weird mood and I overate and under exercised all week. I was in a binge type of mood all week. I'm ready to remedy that this week though. It just stinks since my weight went way up. Same story all of the time! It would be nice if I could get out of this cycle and just stick to staying in check. Takes time to get there mentally I suppose. Just have to keep moving forward and keep striving!

Now though I'm relaxing from celebrating Halloween last night! I participated by being Hermione from Harry Potter. It was a good time!

Try not to be jealous of my tie I made with a Walmart tie and some duct tape! Here you have Hermione, Princess Aphmau (from Mine Craft), kid zombie, and Super Girl! We had a good time. I indulged in some candy, but will try to stay away from the leftovers that Richard kept!

Stick and Stones May Break My Bones

This is a bit delayed, but life has been busy lately. I'm laid up on the couch after going trick or treating in hills last night so I figured it was a good day to catch up.

On October 10th I "ran" the Stick and Stones 15K. I put ran in quotation marks due to the fact that I walked up all of the hills and for most of the last mile, ha. Due to my back I felt like I would suffer a lot more if I tried to run up them.

This was a trail run and it rained the entire week prior to the run. So I went out and got some new shoes for the occasion ;)
These beauties are the Brooks Pure Grit 4. The local running store rushed ordered them for me since I have a foot the size of Big Foot. (Size 11's!). But I got them on Tuesday and therefore I was able to get a whole whopping six miles in them before the race. But it was fine. I liked them a lot and they were pretty comfortable. I did roll my ankle a couple of times, but I don't think that was really do to the shoe I think that was more due to wet ground and my clumsiness.

The race was located at beautiful Babcock State Park, which is around 40 minutes from my house. So I got up bright and early. Driving there was fun, it was a cool morning with lots and lots of fog.
You can kind of see the fog behind this building at Camp Washington Carver. The race was a point to point, which I love. So the buses dropped us off here for the starting line.

The fog was already clearing up as we began. The first mile was kind of frustrating. It was single track and where there were spots to pass people, I kept getting stuck behind couples that liked to run side by side and not move over. I eventually just had to start asking to pass people. But the field started to spread out after the first mile to where I could get into a comfortable pace.

The first half of the race I loved. It was mostly downhill :) The scenery was beautiful the entire time. I don't like to wear headphones on the trails, especially in new places. I'm glad I didn't here so that I could hear the rivers and little waterfalls and the people that would eventually pass me as they were coming up behind me around the massive uphills at around mile 7.

These bridges were extremely slick! I was holding on to the sides for dear life.

 When we started climbing the hills, I knew I wasn't ready to run them. I would get a bit of pain every time I tried. It was beyond frustrating to walk for so long. One hill lasted for over a mile.
One of the few places that was on paved road.

Then by mile 7.5 or 8 it got very steep in some places and that just wore me out. My legs were spent even though I was walking them! I guess it's not that surprising since I haven't been able to really practice that many hills lately. But my overall time was not that bad.

     Place   Name     Gender CityStateCountry  Clock
     Pace   Age

108    Alisha Lilly F     Beckley WVUS         2:24:34   15:31    29



I was actually kind of pleased with the time. Hopefully next year I will get even better results if I can get myself stronger and practice some hills!                     

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Beckley Half Marathon Walk/ Run

This past week I was getting really upset about the race that I had signed up for months ago. The bulging disc in my back was keeping me from running the whole thing and I found out there was no shorter distances. Only the half marathon and a full marathon. I thought I would have to drop completely. Blah!

But then I started thinking...there is a walk option...could I possibly walk the WHOLE half marathon? long would it take me?...would it hurt?....would I have the endurance to finish?

Then I thought, what the heck. I'm going to go for it! So I emailed the race director to make sure there were no time limits, since it could possibly take me over four hours to finish! He replied back that there wasn't a time limit and that did it for me. I was all in.

So Friday I went and picked up my packet. I skipped the spaghetti dinner to prepare some things for a small dinner party I was having the evening of the race.

I live barely a mile from the race start, so I didn't have to get up too early for the 8:00 AM start. I only had a small peanut butter and jelly sandwich that morning. It's all I could really stomach. I wish I had eaten a bit more because I got hungry out on the course, but hindsight you know.

My initial plan was to simply walk the whole thing. If I started hurting, I had my phone with me to call my boyfriend to come pick me. I took two Gu Gels with me and Gatorade chews to eat since I knew I would be out there a long time. It was a beautiful day. It started off cool. The sun was shining brightly so it did get warm, but it was a really nice day to be out there.

When the gun went off, my plan went out the window. Everyone started out running and I got caught up in the excitement of the course. So I started running out, very slowly. I wasn't being completely dumb. I knew running hard would hurt my back and endurance. I ran the first mile in about an 11.30 pace. Right after the one mile mark we hit a little hill. I figured that was a good place to start walking. So I did...for a while. I then started thinking towards running the downhill portions. And that's what I ended up doing. It worked out rather well actually. I ran a few flat portions, but mostly I walked.

I ended up walking with a girl that I went to high school for most of the race and she was also walking with intermittent running. I think hanging out with her really helped me not push it too far. Also talking with her really made the miles fly by (she had lost well over 100 pounds! Wow!). I took my first Gu around the 5 mile mark and had some Gatorade chews at around mile 9ish I think. There were plenty of water stops along the way since it was basically an out and back route, you had to go on the other side of the road at some points and there were some circles thrown in, but mainly it was out and back. Anyway, there were lots of water stations, but it would have been nice if they had some Gatorade or something. I think that may have helped me and I'm sure the marathoners could have used something like that when it got warmer out there.

 I started to really feel my legs around mile 11. My calves and hips were just getting sore. I wasn't used to power walking so much. It used much different muscles than I was used to using. Some points I had to run just so relieve the pain! I also felt some hot spots starting on the pad of my foot so I was afraid I was getting some bad blisters! Thankfully, it didn't turn into blisters. If I had to go further I would would have had some for sure. Around mile 11, I started picking up the pace to relieve my muscles a bit, so I lost my walking partner. I tried to just get to the finish line as quickly as possible. At one point I thought I might be able to make it right at 3 hours! But it wasn't going to happen. I got pretty close at 3 hours and 11 minutes! Well under four hours that's for sure! My pace was around 14.30 which I was really pleased with. That's really only 2 minutes and 20 seconds more a mile than most of my training that I had been doing. And since I hadn't really planned on running any of it and walked the majority of it, I was really happy.

I also didn't get passed by the marathoners. If I hadn't run any of it I would have, but I'm pretty happy that I didn't. The winner may have finished a mere five minutes behind me, but that is besides the point! Kudos to the marathoners though. The had to do the same course I did, but had to do it twice. That would be a feat of strength, physically and mentally. It's definitely a West Virginia course with hills. None of them were monstrous hills, there were just a lot of them. 

After the race. Don't be jealous of my blue counter tops!
And it turned out that I won an award! I had asked to be transferred to the walking category, but that didn't happen. Turned out that was fine since I did run some. It was also fine since no one else in my age category ran the race!! I knew it was small this year, but I had no idea it was that small! The girl I walked with, Jasmine, won the women's category for walkers. We were both thrilled!

I'm so so happy that I went for it! I would have felt rather blue if I hadn't given it a shot. My back feels just fine today, my calves and thighs are a little bit of a different story, haha. This gives me hope that I won't have to back out of the 10K on October 3rd and my 15K Trail race on October 10th. I have to get steroids shots in my back, but it might be a while before the doctors can get me. This gives me the confidence that I don't have to quit it all! I was even able to clean and cook dinner for my small party after the race yesterday! It was a good day, that is for sure.

Finisher's Certificate
By the way, it is also funny to me how this is by far my slowest half out of the three that I have done, yet I'm so excited about. I guess it's because I didn't think it was possible at all. I think I will have to remember this gratitude in the future when I get down on myself about my paces or how far I'm able to run.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Healthy State of Mind

For Labor Day weekend, I jumped in the car with my Mom and her friend and we headed to Vermont. It only took us around 14 hours to get there, but it was well worth it! Vermont was a beautiful state, with lots of farms, apple orchards, and quaint towns. An interesting aspect of Vermont was how conscientious the state is about recycling, keeping their state clean, and having a safe environment for bikers and runners (which there were a lot of). I loved it!

Our trip was jammed packed so I won't go over all of the details, but here are some highlights. We started the first day, after sleeping in, with a wonderful farmers market.

 That is mushroom tea I'm holding! It had citrus and ginger in it. I know it sounds gross, but it was so incredibly good! And refreshing, which is good, because it was 95 degrees and we were dying.
Rutland, Vermont

Then we took a tram (or gondola) up a Ski Mountain in Killington. I would have like to hike up the mountain, but that wasn't going to happen with my mom, haha. It had beautiful scenery.

It was a Mountain Biker's Paradise! There were so many!
We went on a spontaneous trip to Maine!

Nubble Lighthouse

We went sailing on Lake Champlain and ran into a bike race!

They were going so fast, it was the last day of a four day race. This part consisted of going .06 miles 32 or so times!

 And of course I got some hiking in!

This trip really was lovely. I didn't even mention all of the good food we indulged in! And yes there was lots of indulging... C'est la vie. We didn't see any moose though! :( haha. I would love to go back with some friends that like the outdoors as much as I do and try out more hiking and some kayaking. The lake we sailed on was massive and there were lots of kayaks out there. The area that we were in was truly a haven for people that like to get outdoors. Bikers (road or mountain), runners, walkers, hikers, kayakers, etc. would like it here. Plus there are the cutest B&B's and hotels to stay in. We didn't stay in any since were visiting someone, but there are lots of options close to anything you could want and close to restaurants and shops for the down time. I'm not big into shopping, but even I had a good time going into the little shops. And looking for local cider! ;) And I'm so happy we went to Maine. Though it was just for the day, Maine has always been a bucket list place to go for me. I have no idea why, but it was definitely beautiful. A little crowded since it was the holiday weekend, but nevertheless I was so happy to make it! I will have to head North more often, though I may fly next time!


Yesterday, to try to get back in the swing of not sitting on my behind, I drove 30 minutes to a gorgeous little town and went along the rail trail there and just did some walking. I didn't take any pictures this time because I just wanted to enjoy being outside. I walked a little over 5 miles. Well worth it.

Then today, I almost skipped working out completely. I got caught up in doing things around the house and then going shopping for groceries and so on. But it was an amazingly cool, Fall-like day and I knew I would regret not going. So I laced up my shoes and went on a short trail run. It was the first outside run I've done in probably over two weeks! And it felt great. I still went slow and still had to walk, but just being able to go outside and move was fantastic. I've been battling trying to decide if I should do any of my upcoming races and I think today showed that I can still do them. I just might need to walk, because of my back. Which I had an MRI on Thursday so hopefully I can get something resolved soon. I've gone as far as physical therapy and stretching can take me.

The past two weekends have been wonderful. This coming weekend I have a 5K. It was supposed to be my half marathon weekend, but that is just not feasible at this time. However, I'm still looking forward to it and hope it's a cooler like today. I just hope it's as good a weekend as the last two!