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Progress – Summer 2015

Back in December I decided to stop tracking my calories and just see what happens. For a long time I stayed in my weight range. I moved to TX, my entire routine changed… and I slowly gained a few pounds. It is not a massive amount so I’m not overly stressed, but I have been hovering around 133-135 for a few months. I feel fine and I know I’m healthy but I made the decision to try inputting my calories into MyFitnessPal again to try to drop back to the mid 120s. I’ll see how that goes! I told myself when I stopped counting calories that if I felt like I was backsliding I could always come back to the app and do what I know worked before. I am doing it for myself, first and foremost. A secondary and very cool reason I am using it again is because Matt asked me to help him start using the app as well. He is doing P90X 3 (yay Matt! So proud of that dedication!) and he wanted to make sure he was mindful of what he is eating. Since I had been thinking about using MFP again anyway, when he asked for help/accountability with inputting his calories I decided this was a good time for me too.

Everyone has a soft spot, something they are sensitive about. Here is one of my honest self-loathing picky things, and one main reason I want to drop a few pounds. I have mentioned it before, but I get fat faced very easily. I feel like my face is looking chunkier with these few extra pounds and my jaw line is less defined. And, quite frankly: I hate that. It’s my least favorite thing about my body. When I was down in the 120s my jawline is fine, my face looks normal. When I crawl up over 130+ my double chin starts to slowly appear. Ick. Time to lose that shit!

It’s rough right now too, we’ve had a pretty tame summer but recently it finally started getting really hot and humid. Humidity can make it tough to run. This article from Runner’s World explains it better than I can, but it boils down to not being able to cool down and feeling like you’re breathing through a straw. Humidity can feel nice when it’s cooler and breezy out because the air on your wet skin instantly cools you down but right now it’s just trapping the heat in. The last few weeks I’ve been spending more time in the gym and less time outdoors to make it through, but I get bored running long distances in the gym. Still getting out at least once a week to run outdoors but for no more than 3 or 4 miles. But that’s ok, I figure by the time it cools off I’ll be primed and ready to run longer!

Went kayaking this past weekend – I loved it! Man, what a fucking workout. My upper body felt like noodles when I finished. I am absolutely going to get out there again soon. It was so cool floating and rowing through downtown, surrounded by green growing things and turtles as well drifting under bridges with skyscrapers on the horizon. What a cool way to spend the morning.

Kayaking on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake)

Kayaking on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake)

Kayaking on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake)

Kayaking on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake)

I’m also super excited about my new running shoes! I am WAY overdue on getting some new kicks to run in. My sister and her husband have been running in Asics for awhile and love them, I finally went and tried some on, and dude. So comfortable. And they look rad!

Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 9

Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 9

Going to start to break them on today’s run! Stoked.

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Summertime

Jesus I am in love with my city. I really love living here in Austin. I’m so happy with all there is to experience here, there is no way I’ll ever see and do it all. Summer here is fantastic, it gets hot but we can still get out and enjoy our surroundings. Refreshing after spending years in a scorching desert.

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Onion Creek Wildflowers

 

 

I have been trying new things – one night I went longboarding with an old friend. I loved it! (I’m the goober in the center) Planning to meet up and do it again this weekend. She has a rad blog as well: The Sartorial Skater.

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Longboarding

 

As usual, Matt and I have continued exploring the city and parks. Everything I’m posting is within just a few miles from my home.

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Barton Creek Greenbelt

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Thistles Growing at Circle C Park

Lady Bird Lake, Austin TX

Lady Bird Lake, Austin TX

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Barton Creek Greenbelt

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Arbor Trails

I am very happy that Matt has decided to try running with me as well. He has never been too much of a fan of it but recently he had a change of heart and we are running together once a week. We are alternating running and walking and he is already running more than he is walking on 4-5 mile loops. So proud! It took me so much longer to get to where he is, it’s awesome. And it’s really nice to have a running buddy again.

Matt and I after a run

Matt and I after a run

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Settling in

Still getting settled here in Texas. I’m learning my surroundings better every week and finding great spots to enjoy in Austin. After being here a month, I found a job that I’m really enjoying so far. Still waiting on our house to sell in Arizona. We had a buyer, but last night we got news that there is a problem with his lender so it looks like we might have to start over with a new buyer. Man, what a pain in the ass. I just want that part to be done, it’s a scary dark financial cloud hanging over our head. I guess I shouldn’t worry too much; the weekend we listed we had an open house, by that Monday we had 7 offers to choose from. From here the next step is to reach out and see if any of them are still interested. If not, another open house should bring plenty of potential again! I just hate this feeling, like this long cord that is forcing me to stay attached and keeping me from completely getting comfortable here. It stresses me out.

I’m already getting very comfortable at my new job after a week. It’s great because it has me on my feet for most of the time I’m there. Running errands, organizing, working on projects, even dashing between two buildings with a few flights of stairs between them. It’s nice having a job that helps keep me active! I can’t sit still for very long at work, it makes the day drag. Days fly by when you keep moving, I love that. It’s only part time at this point, although I’m already being asked to stay longer some days here and there. I am hoping to get closer to full time hours before too long. One benefit to having shorter work days is that I’m easily running 3 times a week during the week (as well as getting out and hiking/exploring with Matt on the weekends). I’m back on track with my running, which makes me happy. Matt is still getting used to his life working full time in an office. It’s tough, as he primarily worked from home before. I hope he feels more comfortable in his routine soon. He’s amazing though, I have no doubt he will figure out how to juggle this new schedule.

Per usual, photos of some of my outdoor adventures:

A heart cactus found at Onion Creek

A heart cactus found at Onion Creek

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Barton Creek Greenbelt

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Barton Creek Greenbelt

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Barton Creek Greenbelt

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The view from Mt. Bonnell

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Garrison Park

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Arbor Trails

 

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Hello, beautiful

I am all settled in. The move to Austin was successful. It was a frightening move; there was a major freeze that overtook the state of Texas which just so happened to coincide with us driving across it in a giant U-Haul. But we made it! The apartment is great, we are about 95% unpacked, and Matt is doing well at his new role at work. The dogs seem to be settling in, and now that we are getting sunnier days we have finally been able to do a little exploring. Boy, we picked the worst stretch of weather to relocate. It has been unusually rainy and cold ever since we got here.

I have been getting runs in when I can – I am a total wuss when it comes to trying to run in cold + rain, so if that combo occurred I was not having it. But I’ve run at Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake) a few times now, plus I’ve explored a few other parks and trails. I am definitely not in a routine yet, and I feel less in shape than I’m used to because of the sporadic nature of my ability to get out there. But I guess I’ve at least still managed at least 2-3 runs per week, so it’s not like I’ve fallen off the wagon completely.

I’m loving it here, I’ve already been able to make a quick trip to Houston to visit family and my brother and sister have also come here for a visit. It’s so great to have the people you love nearby. Not being close to them for so many years was rough. The surreal feeling of living here is still very strong, I’m wondering when it will fully sink in.

Per usual, I have taken lots of photos of my new surroundings. Most of these were taken while out running…

Tree in Zilker Park

Tree in Zilker Park

Bridge over Lady Bird Lake

Bridge over Lady Bird Lake

The State Capitol

The State Capitol

Along Lady Bird Lake/Zilker Park

Along Lady Bird Lake/Zilker Park

Onion Creek Greenbelt

Onion Creek Greenbelt

Longview Park Trails

Longview Park Trails

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Goodbye desert

I am really looking forward to the environment we will find in Texas; green trees, grass, and lush plant life. But there is one aspect of nature I will completely miss from Arizona: desert views and rocky mountains. I’ve had a love affair with South Mountain over these last few years and saying goodbye has been difficult. This weekend I went out with a friend to run it one last time. My husband and I want to cram in one more hike if we have time once we’ve wrapped up the last of our packing. But this pristine playground will no longer be a few miles from our front door.

I took a few photos during yesterday’s run, it was a perfect cloudy morning.

Hidden Valley, South Mountain

Hidden Valley, South Mountain

Early morning at South Mountain

Early morning at South Mountain

cactus

The desert has been really good to me. It helped to inspire me to wake up at the crack of dawn for over a year now to get out there and run it. It will be missed, but I am excited to explore new terrain in Austin and elsewhere in Texas!

Just a few days left, and we are out of here. SURREAL.

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The stars at night, are big and bright

Deep in the HEART of TEXAS!

Pee-Wee Texas

 

It’s finally happening! Matt got a promotion/transfer with his company and we are moving to Austin, TX. This has been our goal for what seems like forever. It feels unreal that it’s actually happening. Before I moved to Arizona I used to live in Austin. I miss living there. Matt fell in love with it years ago when we first visited the city together. We knew it was the place for us. There’s a handful of cities we’ve talked about over the years that we thought would be a fun, interesting location to live. Unsurprisingly most of the places we like have a much higher cost of living than Arizona which would make it difficult to consider (thankfully, Texas is pretty similar). Being in Austin also means I get to be near my family, who live in Houston (I am SO HAPPY I will just be a car ride from them!!!). The company Matt works for has 2 locations that are in line for his career goals: Austin or Phoenix. We knew we didn’t want to stay here forever, so when this spot became available in Austin it was was a dream come true!

I will miss my desert. I will especially miss South Mountain, my favorite place to trail run. But there are miles and miles of greenbelt and trails where we are going, which just means a different environment in which to hike and run. I know I will always miss SoMo but I am not worried about being able to find new outdoor venues to fall in love with. I am not going to miss the AZ summers, they’re brutal. For several months it’s so damn hot the temperature barely drops even after the sun has set. Texas summers are hot too, don’t get me wrong, but there are cooler mornings and evenings that make it much easier to handle even the hottest days. This has become a bigger concern ever since I’ve been running. This last summer in Arizona was more torturous than previous ones because I knew the only chance I had at running for practically 5 months straight was waking up as the sun rose and being done before it was too high in the sky, to avoid possible heat stroke. There was such a short window to get a run in. But those desert views – I will definitely miss those views.

I am very excited to discover new spots! I already know I love Lady Bird Lake (just called Town Lake back when I lived there), I used to love taking my dog for walks around it. Hell, that was even one of the places I made a few failed attempts at running years ago. I also used to spend time wandering through parts of the greenbelt around Austin, but looking at maps I see there is still so much of it I have yet to see. Austin just has so much for outdoorsy types like myself and my husband, I am ready to explore. If you are familiar with Austin and have any suggestions for great places to run/hike/bike, feel free to add it to the comments!

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First half marathon – complete!

I did it! Yesterday I ran my first half marathon at the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. The craziest part was I really enjoyed it. Sure, it was tough but I felt pretty great the whole way through. Plus I finished close to the goal time I had set for myself. Seeing as how this was my first time ever running this distance, I aimed to finish in 2.5 hours. My official chip time was 2:36:01. Practically nailed it! I think I would have hit it too, if it wasn’t for a spiral of tiny errors. The race started at least 40 minutes (or more) later than it was supposed to. That caused a problem, as I was hydrated to start on time. Right as I started to run I realized I desperately needed to use the restroom. Yeeeaahh, no bueno. The first porta potty I saw was a standalone, and the line was more than 20 people deep. I decided to keep going. The second one I saw had the same LONG line. I was so stressed! I knew if I waited for 20+ people to go to the bathroom it would take forever so I said a quick prayer and ran ahead, hoping the next bathroom opportunity would be better. It was, slightly. The next stop (around mile marker 2) had a few porta potty’s lined up, each with about 8 people waiting. I figured this would have to do. I bit the bullet and stood in line to wait.

I knew my pace was blown at this point, it put me at least 10 minutes behind. The delay was clear when I looked at the breakdown of my checkpoints. See, I normally run a 5k in about 30 minutes or less. Because of the bathroom debacle my 5k time was about 40 minutes. Oh well! Other than that, the rest of the run was exactly what I hoped for. I slowed slightly for water/gatorade along the race. I also got a wicked stitch in my side around mile 11 and took a quick breather to stretch and walk for maybe a quarter mile. Aside from that, I ran the entire half marathon! I made sure to keep a nice even pace, running over 5 mph but less than 6 mph for most of the race. I usually only keep 6 mph pace when I run 3-4 miles max, so rather than try to push and burn out I opted for a more relaxed approach on this 13.1.

I loved it. I saw bystanders holding hilarious signs along the way, and I got lots of high fives. But the best part was knowing I had followed though. My family and friends all reached out with calls and messages and I felt real pride for my accomplishment. And now I have a baseline goal. I want to run another this year, and I have a personal time to compete against! Plus now I know, no matter what, I am waiting in line to use the bathrooms before the gun goes off so I won’t lose time on the track. I’ve already scoped out another couple half marathons to do in Texas.

Did I mention this already? My husband and I are making plans to move to Texas soon. We are waiting on a few details regarding his job relocation, but planning is heavily underway and we should be there well before the summer, possibly early spring! I’m so excited, it’s a great opportunity for Matt and his career, plus I will be closer to my family.

Speaking of family, I proudly posed with a Rolling Rock in hand, just like my own dad whenever he finished a marathon.

Rolling Rock runner

And a photo Matt took of me shortly before I crossed the finish line, grinning like a damn fool:

Half Marathon

 

So much fun. I don’t know if it’s insanity or excitement that had me searching out my next half marathon while I recovered on the couch mere hours after finishing my first. Probably a little bit of both.

 

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Progress – December 2014 to January 2015

I have been in my weight range (120-125 lbs.) for most of the last two months. I jumped up a couple extra pounds during X-mas and New Years (no huge shock). I quickly dropped back down below 125, but the last couple of days I am up again to 126/127 pounds. The last week or so I have been eating more carbs for my calorie intake to prep for the half marathon on Sunday – TOMORROW!! Based on what I have read I knew I could expect to add a few extra pounds on with a heavier carb based diet even if I am eating the same general amount of calories overall. Once I get back into normal eating mode after the marathon I’m sure I’ll drop back into my normal maintenance weight range.

Maintenance mode still feels like a success, especially since I know why I’m temporarily a little heavier on the scale. I’m feeling really positive about this because I’ve done it without using MyFitnessPal as I mentioned in a post a little while back. I was worried there would be a major backslide, but other than the normal holiday enjoyment I think I’m doing really well!

My very supportive and awesome husband Matt surprised me with a gift after I signed up for the half marathon. He got me a massage roller. Holy cow, amazing. My muscles were a little sore from last weekend, I ran nearly 9.5 miles on the trail. I used it on my tired muscles and it felt great. I know I will need it after the 13+ miles tomorrow! I also made sure to have a box of Epsom salt ready to bathe in after the run. I’ve been pretty lucky so far to not have major joint issues, just muscle soreness. These items really help to alleviate that.

Last thing – I’ve been to plenty of marathons and cheered from the sidelines. I loved when people had names written on their shirts so the crowds could cheer for them as they ran. I decided to make my own shirt in the hopes that I hear a cheer along the way. Never know, that could come at just the right moment when I need it the most!

Homemade marathon shirt

Homemade marathon shirt

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Half

My brain has been my biggest obstacle. At the end of 2013 I wrote:

…my ultimate goal is to train for a half marathon. I don’t know if I will run one this year, I’m leaning more towards training during 2014 to ultimately run in one by early 2015. I am going to try! Exciting to think about… and a little scary.

I have been training all year, just as I said I would. In 2014 I became a stronger and more capable runner. A week didn’t go by where I didn’t run at least several miles, 2-4 times. Early in 2014 I decided my aim was to run the half at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon; not only because it was early 2015, but also because it was a marathon that my own father has run. It excited me to think of being able to cross that finish line myself (even if it was a half instead of a full marathon like my dad had done).

Even in December 2013 when I wrote the goal I acknowledged my problem. Being scared. Ultimately it is the fear of failing. I have been working on getting healthy and fit for so long now, and this is an actual marker of success. This is a clear and definitive goal to achieve rather than just getting healthy, or posting before and after pictures. If you run a marathon, you either finish it or you don’t.

As the race drew near I contemplated whether I was ready. While I knew I was ready physically, my fear took hold. I wussed out. A couple of friends asked if I was going to run, even tried to talk me into at least running the 10k. I said I’d think about it but deep down I knew I really didn’t want to run the 10k. I wanted that half and if I wasn’t doing the half, frankly I didn’t want anything to do with the event. I knew it would be a giant neon sign of failure in my own brain if I did anything less than run that half. And after all the hard work and effort I had put in, my brain put up a wall and I chose to cowardly skulk away from the whole event.

The other day someone asked if I would be there to watch her finish the race. I made up a completely lame excuse about not wanting to deal with the parking. I felt awful about it. So I talked to my husband. He knew how I felt, and asked me if I really wanted to run. After some hemming and hawing I admitted: YES. I was really scared but yes, I wanted to run. I had always wanted to run.

Last minute and way too much money later, I am signed up to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. I’m going to crush it. And yeah – I’m still scared. But I think that it’s okay to be scared. It will be all the better when I cross that finish line. My time might be wimpy, but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is completing the goal I made. I’ve turned my life around over the last 2+ years. I’ve earned this, and I am really proud of myself for going for it. I’m going to cross that finish line, just like when I watched my dad cross it.

I got this.

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Progress – September to November 2014

I haven’t done an official “progress” post in months. Not much to report, other than I’m really dialed in with maintaining. Still hitting right in the 120-125 range I aim for.

Finally, cool weather! Hitting up my normal weekly runs, as well as mixing in some hiking and biking as well.

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South Mountain, gloomy day

Running South Mountain

Running South Mountain

Screen grab by Matt of me running South Mountain

Screen grab by Matt of me running South Mountain

I’ve been running at my work’s gym during the week a lot but now that the temperature dropped I think I will be able to just go running outdoors after work. Finally! I mean, it’s November already for Christ’s sake. It’s about damn time I can go running in the afternoon without roasting alive.

Hiked/ran a mountain new to me today. North Mountain.

North Mountain, view of Phoenix

North Mountain, view of Phoenix

It was cool, pretty steep but a little less intense than Camelback. Hiked up and ran down, nice little workout!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was able to model for a local photographer, as she was looking for tattooed people to shoot. I got the photos back, and I really love them!

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Photo by Araya Photography

Thrilled. (If you are local to AZ and want a great portrait photographer, check out Araya Photography.) I don’t know how to say this without sounding a little lame: I feel pretty. It’s really fun to see photos of myself that look so nice! When I saw the first one, my mind was blown. I didn’t actually recognize myself at first. I recognized the tattoos before my own face. Weird, right?