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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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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?

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Hiking and climbing

I enjoy trying new things, I want to avoid total repetition (and a potential rut). I have been hiking, running, and biking for awhile now. I absolutely love all three,  but I was open to trying something a little different. A friend invited me to go check out Echo Canyon at Camelback Mountain with her. This still falls under the category of hiking but it has A LOT more climbing involved. The climb is nearly 1300 feet, whereas my normal steep incline at South Mountain is just over 800 feet. Camelback has a much more intense incline as well, it’s not switchbacks but instead steep boulders throughout most of it.

It was a beautiful journey throughout. Strenuous. And to be honest, parts of it were a little scary to me. One part of the trail definitely gave me a feeling of vertigo.

Here are a couple of pictures from that first trip. This is the view looking up at the mountain, near the parking lot:

Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon, Arizona

Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon – looking up

This photo was taken of me at the top of the climb:

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I was thrilled by it. The next day, my body was sore all over! I used so many muscles to pull and steady my balance, scrambling up and down giant rocks. I felt tender not only in my legs but my arms and sides. I knew that this provided a completely different type of cardio than I was used to. After one trip I really wanted to try it again. I told my husband about the hike and he was interested. My best friend hooked up to do some hiking so the three of us hit it again today.

I wanted to try to get a photo to try and provide a little perspective of how steep some of the climb is:

Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon trail

Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon – looking down

I don’t think pictures do this place justice.

Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon - Sunrise

Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon – sunrise

Gorgeous.

 

I’ve been continuing with long trail runs every Sunday at too. During the last two my running buddies and I have been doing a 7.3 mile at South Mountain by going to “the waterfall” and back. There is no actual water, instead there’s a steep section of boulders – more famous with mountain bikers.

I took a photo from a ledge on it this weekend:

View from "The Waterfall" National Trail, South Mountain

View from “The Waterfall” National Trail, South Mountain

Plus an artsy photo I took and played with, just for the fun of it:

National Trail, South Mountain

National Trail, South Mountain

Another exquisite Arizona sunrise, taken at South Mountain:

National Trail, South Mountain - sunrise

National Trail, South Mountain – sunrise

I am completely addicted to beautiful sunrises.

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Progress – February 2014

Current status: Maintenance mode successful! Still 123 lbs, same as January.

My focus has shifted towards building endurance and physical strength for longer running. I am still really in love with trail running. All new, shiny, and exciting to me. I want to have to take less walking steps when I go trail running. I’ve gotten really good at it – my speed is still pretty slow (12 minute miles avg) but I am walking less each time. One issue was the last two runs I got searing stitches in my side during a stretch of the run. I ran through them for the most part, but for each I had to stop for a couple minutes and breathe very deeply to work them out. I read a few things and it seems that my problem is most likely that I’m not breathing deeply enough. I was told by another person I have gone trail running with that I should keep uneven breaths in and out so I don’t always exhale on the same foot, like counting 4 in, 3 out. It hadn’t really dawned on me that breathing a certain way could be so important, beyond just you know… remembering to breathe. There is a very steep mountain on the trail I typically run, and I have been working on trying to run up more of it. I can run up a few of the switchbacks now, and I also take more opportunities to run for short distances up a few of the less steep portions. Progress! I’m sure someday my goal will be to aim for lower run time but for now, just doing it has me feeling proud and accomplished!

Here’s my morning playground

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Gorgeous. That’s South Mountain in Phoenix. It’s cool seeing the sun rise while I’m out there running over rocks. Just an exhilarating way to begin a day. My schedule will be changing again, so I sadly won’t be able to do this before work soon. I plan to still work it into my week on one of my days off, it just means less opportunities to hit it.

The never-ending cycle of dri-fit (or similar) clothes to be washed and hung dry.

dri-fit

I’m sick at the moment. It drives me crazy, I want to get out and do something outside because the weather here is amazing. But I’m stuck here in my home, constructing a tissue mountain. Lame.

My husband got me another pair of BlackMilk leggings for Valentines. He’s the best. I am obsessed with these leggings, and how my get-away-sticks look in them.

mermaidlegs

Went to Renaissance Festival. I love it, I get totally nerdy with my husband and we even dress up. Whatever, it’s my guilty pleasure and my husband looks HOT in a kilt. I have a before/after photo of me dressed up. The left was 2012. The right was last weekend. At least 40 lb difference there.

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Progress – January 2014

Current status: 123 pounds, 19.3 BMI. (I am 5′ 7″ for anyone wondering)

Feeling good about my progress. I’m not really trying to lose weight anymore, but I still have a mini goal in my back pocket to reach 120 pounds at some point. It’s nice to have a little weight goal, I suppose, but I’m not pushing hard for it.

One of the big reasons I started this was to better fit into my clothes. For example: I used to never, ever tuck in a shirt. Because I overcame that fear over the past few months, I’ve decided to use my outfit from a few days ago as my progress picture:

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No muffin top! No love handles! Smooth sides. That is one of those things I never valued when I was young and effortlessly had slim sides. Now that I have earned that back, I’m proud.

I am going to be able to do some more trail running soon, with a temporary change happening with my work schedule. Since I love it, and even just hiking in general, I decided it was time to upgrade my shoes. All I had was a pair of running shoes that I’d been wearing out for well over a year. I know I waited too long to replace my sneakers – I used the same pair for every gym trip, every run, and even for hiking. They were good shoes, but I definitely went beyond than the recommended replacement length in them. I decided to upgrade by getting new running shoes and also new trail running shoes! I love them both. Haven’t snapped a picture of my running shoes yet, but here are my trail shoes taken during yesterday’s hike:

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I have a couple of new goals. I am focused on my upcoming 5k, which is just barely over 3 miles. I can currently run it in just a little over 30 minutes. Last time I tried I did it in about 33 minutes. My goal is to slice a tiny bit of time off and hit the 5k in 30 minutes or less. My other goal is to not hurt anymore though. I hurt my knee when I did the first trail run. I also hurt the same knee doing my last 5k practice. It was all my fault too, I didn’t stretch! What a dummy. Ultimately the goal is to not only get better at the 5k, but to take care of myself while doing so! I want to be able to keep on doing this for a long time, I need to take care of these joints and muscles. I mean, I’m already 33 – no more youthful and near immediate bouncing back after injuries. This was my painful reminder to ALWAYS stretch before running.