Month: May 2012

Race Recap: ODDyssey Half Marathon

Half marathons are a pretty big deal for most people. I’m not sure why I felt like that no longer applied to me just because I had three under my belt, but I majorly slacked during training leading up to my fourth half, which was this past Saturday in Philadelphia. I wrote about my bad “long” “run” the weekend before, which was a 7.2 mile walk/run instead of a 12 mile run, and I’m sure that didn’t help much leading up to the race considering it was my last long run.

On Friday, I headed up to Philly to stay with my sister since the race started early Saturday morning. The first big mistake I made (besides the lack of training) was wearing my flip flops to the race expo.

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I didn’t realize the expo was 2 miles away, aka 4 miles round trip, and by the time I got back to my sister’s house after 4 miles of walking in the flip flops, the bottom of my feet felt RAW. Not a smart move the day before a half marathon. But, I did get a good bib number for the race.

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The next morning, I woke up around 6am and got geared up for the race. I had my standard pre-race breakfast – an english muffin toasted with peanut butter and half a banana.

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My first time ever having Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter and omg was it good!

So we leave for the race at 6:45, and its about a 15 minute drive. We thought the race time was 7:30am, so we left with plenty of time to get to the start and get situated. My plan was to get in line for the porta potty immediately because my stomach was feeling kind of off, so once we parked we headed towards the start. It was around 7:05am, and we saw a few runners going by us pretty fast.

At first, I shook it off thinking the elite runners were just warming up and we kept walking. But then, more and more runners ran by us, and we realized something wasn’t quite right. Wendy asked some of the runners if the race had started, and they said yeah – turns it out was a 7am go time, not 7:30am like we thought! Yikes.

We were told we had one minute to get through the start line, so we sprinted across the green and were literally the last runners to go through the start. No time for the portapotty or anything really – we were running a half marathon – the fourth one for both of us.

Wendy and I decided to go our separate ways because I wanted to run fast and PR, so we wished each other luck and off I went. The first couple miles were uneventful and I was passing runners left and right since we had started so late.

    • Mile 1: 9:19
    • Mile 2: 9:20
    • Mile 3: 9:43
    • Mile 4: 9:53

After Mile 4, I took my first GU and kept on trucking. In the car on the way to the start, the temperature said 74º, so by this time it was about 8:00am and it was HOT. I started to slow down a bit because the heat was really getting to me, and the bottoms of my feet were not feeling so good either. The next 2 miles were fine, but then things started to slow down quite a bit.

    • Mile 5: 9:43
    • Mile 6: 9:55
    • Mile 7: 10:26
    • Mile 8: 10:45

After Mile 8, I took a second (and the last) GU, and then things started going downhill pretty quickly. My feet were killing me, and my stomach was in knots since I hadn’t gotten to use the bathroom. I didn’t feel like I had to “go” right then, but I just felt really uncomfortable, and I think the heat was just making the situation much worse than it would have been otherwise. I ended up run/walking the last 5 miles and would pick landmarks to run to and then walk for a bit, before starting to run again.

My pace obviously drastically reduced when I started doing this, and I readjusted my goal from PRing to just crossing that finish line, which honestly felt a bit lofty at a few points along the course.

    • Mile 9: 11:31
    • Mile 10: 10:41
    • Mile 11: 10:52
    • Mile 12: 10:54

After the 12 mile mark, the course did something just plain mean. There was an extremely uphill part from miles 12.5 – 13, and basically everyone was walking up it because it was so steep. This picture doesn’t even do it justice, though you can see the girl in front of me is obviously walking as well.

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Cruel way to end the race.

    • Mile 13: 11:16

I somehow managed to dig deep when I finally made it to the top of that hill and ran my heart out to the finish, pulling in front of a couple people, but mostly so excited to finally be done with this one.

Not only did I not PR, it was my second slowest half, and the only one I have walked during. The final time was 2:15:20, or a 10:19 pace.

I waited to watch my sister cross the finish line, and then we promptly collapsed in the grass.

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I’m not sure why she made that face, but our second attempt looked like this.

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Something must have been funny. Someone must have felt bad for us because she offered to take a picture of us both, which turned out better.

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As we were sitting there in the grass, I was really beating myself up. I couldn’t believe I had finished the half “so slow” and didn’t want to put my finish time on the back of my shirt (which they are designed to do).

Luckily, my sister was there to knock some sense into me. She reminded me that first of all, we’d just completed 13.1 miles and that was nothing to sneeze at – that was something to be proud of! Second, she told me I don’t always have to be so competitive with myself. She runs for fun and for the accomplishment of it all, and feels great about herself when she finishes, regardless of the pace. I’m not saying that’s how I will or plan to approach races, but it was refreshing to hear from someone else (who is allowed to tell me to shut up because we’re related by blood) and put it all in perspective.

Though I was definitely feeling a bit disappointed, I made a conscious decision to shake it off. The heat, my less-than-stellar decision making process with the flipflops, and my stomach feeling off all contributed to my finishing slower than I wanted to. But, I still covered 13.1 miles before 10am in a very respectable amount of time, and I needed to be proud of myself for that. I decided to own it and wear the race shirt proudly for the rest of the day.

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I earned it.

Attune Foods: Cooking with Real Ingredients

Did you know that I barely dabbled in the kitchen pre-Weight Watchers? It’s funny because people come to my blog a lot just for the recipes (which I’ve got to get back on!), but the truth is I’ve really only been experimenting in the kitchen for a relatively short amount of time.

Click on the Zucchini Burger below to read all about how I figured my way around the kitchen!

It will take you over to the Attune Foods Blog so you can find out about how I transitioned from going into the kitchen only to grab seconds or chips, to learning to cook with ease and confidence!

And please leave some love in the form of a comment over on the Attune Foods Blog and I’ll be forever grateful!

Happy Wednesday!

Chobani: A Giveaway

I love me some greek yogurt. I eat it almost every single day for a snack, usually plain with fruit or other mixins added it.  When I go for the flavored kind, my favorite is Chobani, hands down. I like that they have real fruit or honey at the bottom, rather than some of the other kinds where you pour the jelly like substance over the plain yogurt. So when the folks over at Chobani offered to send me a custom case, I couldn’t turn it down!

The Plain nonfat container has 2 pts+, and most of the flavored nonfat ones have 3pts. The 2% has 3 pts+ for the plain, and most of hte flavored 2% has 4pts+, which is not bad at all. I don’t normally buy the flavored kinds, but I must admit – it’s been so convenient to just grab a container and not have to get anything else to put in it!

One of the new-to-me flavors I got to try was the 2% Blood Orange.

It was DELICIOUS. I loved the tangy-sweet blood orange chunks at the bottom – it was the perfect balance! And the other new-to-me favorite flavors were 0% Pineapple and the 2% Mango – both so, so good.

What better way to start the day after a long weekend than with a giveaway!?

One lucky reader will win your own customized case of Chobani, based on your personal preferences!

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite way to eat greek yogurt!

Contest ends at 12am EST on Thursday, May 31st. I’ll announce the winner on Friday morning. Good luck!!

Wednesday Weigh In Results

I finally had a breakthrough on the scale this week and it feels sooooo good! I think a big part of it was that this past weekend was the one I didn’t travel for during the whole month of May, and being at home really helps me be better about staying on track. Even though I was home, I did go out for dinner/drinks on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday night, one of which included pizza and bruschetta! This is why I love Weight Watchers – I can still eat things that I love like pizza (and vodka and wine) and lose weight!

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Source.

Since I knew I had a few plans that would involve dinner and drinks, I wanted to make sure I didn’t go too too crazy any of those nights eating-wise and really focus on having healthy, balanced meals at home/at work when I was preparing my own. On top of that, I resisted a bunch of office treats and sweets that always seem to present themselves, because I was thinking about the three outings I had planned and those were more important to me.

Outside of food, I remained pretty active and got in three solid workouts. Here’s what my activity schedule looked like:

    • Sunday: Rest
    • Monday: New Rules of Lifting for Women Stage 1, Workout B, plus 3 mile treadmill run
    • Tuesday: Rest
    • Wednesday: 3 mile outdoor run – 9:14 pace
    • Thursday: Rest
    • Friday: Rest
    • Saturday: 7.2 mile walk/run

It should be noted that on days that I consider rest days, I usually try to walk both ways to work, which is 2.6 miles total, or about 45 minutes. I think I had to say that mostly to make myself feel better because there’s more rest on there than workouts, but its true!

Anyways, I had a feeling I’d have a good result when I got on the scale, but I was thrilled when it said I was down 2.2 pounds! I can’t even tell you the last time that I lost that much in one week, and it feels especially good because I kept on living and enjoying myself while being mindful of what I was getting into.

This means, since recommitting on April 24, I’m down 4.2 pounds total. This has included plenty of travel, a staff retreat for work, lots of meals/nights out, and some more exciting life changes that I’ll reveal soon – so I’ll definitely take 4.2 pounds in not quite a month! This means I have “just” 12.6 pounds to go until I’m back where I need to be! I can do this!!

Some Firsts and a Menu Plan

What an awesome weekend! Friday night I laid low and just watched TV and slept, and then Saturday night I went for dinner then out on the town with a bunch of my girlfriends and had a blast. My favorite kind of weekend! And, I stayed in DC, which is the only weekend in May where that is the case.

There were two firsts for me this weekend.

On Saturday, I tried the 10:1 running method because I was having trouble getting myself out the door. The idea behind this is you run for 10 minutes, then walk for 1, and the 1 minute gives you a small break and brings your heart rate down. The idea of running 12 miles was extremely daunting, so thinking about just 10 minute segments was much better in comparison. In general, I don’t do well taking walking breaks, but I thought the structure would help me.

I was wrong.

The 1 minute break felt so short and not like a break at all, and the 10 minutes of running felt like an eternity. I think having that system in place made me so focused on the time that was passing rather than the scenery or just thinking through life happenings, and it really backfired. I ended up walk/running the entire time and after the first 3 10:1’s, I started walking more than I was running. In the end, I did 7.2 miles at a 10:39 pace, which is obviously not 12 miles but is better than nothing. I won’t be trying that method again!

The second first was far more exciting – I roasted a whole chicken for the first time!

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I’m not quite sure WHY I thought cooking the whole bird was so intimidating, because it honestly was so easy and pretty foolproof! I rinsed the chicken, dried it with paper towels, then stuffed it with a quartered onion and three large cloves of garlic. I seasoned it with salt and pepper on the outside, and then cooked it for 1 hour 50 minutes (it was a 5.5 pound chicken) at 375º. It turned out PERFECT and so juicy!

I went really basic with the flavors because I plan to use it in a lot of different ways this week for meals, but I will definitely be doing this again. After I pulled all the meat off, I made some stock with the bones, and it turned out awesome.

The last random mention is that I have been eating soft boiled eggs several times a week for the last few months and I am obsessed.

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I have been using Jenna’s method where you boil water, add the eggs, reduce the heat and cover it for 5 minutes. Then you run the eggs under cool water before peeling them. I have been having them on a toasted English muffin and then smashing the eggs and they turn out perfect every time! The meal is also super filling, especially with some fruit on the side, for just 7 pts+.

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Yum.

And here’s the plan for the week:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday Savory Oatmeal Simple Curried Chicken Salad Greek Yogurt w/Banana Soft Boiled Eggs
Tuesday English Muffin w/Egg Whites and Cheese Simple Curried Chicken Salad over greens Popcorn + Chopped Mango Homemade Veggie Burgers
Wednesday Oatmeal w/PB + Banana Leftover veggie burger w/salad Grapes + Greek Yogurt Chicken w/ Tzatziki + Baked Sweet Potato
Thursday Greek Yogurt w/fruit + cereal Leftover Chicken Tzatziki + Baked Potato Cottage Cheese w/Berries Chicken Tortilla Soup
Friday English Muffin w/Egg Whites + Cheese Chicken Tortilla Soup w/greens Greek Yogurt + banana TBD

What meal are you most looking forward to this week?

Scale Surprise

These past couple weeks have been super super busy, which has made it really hard to stay on track. The weekend before last, I was in Philly from Saturday to Sunday to run the Broad Street Run with my sister, and then I went directly from her house to a staff retreat for my day job on Sunday night. I was at the staff retreat through Tuesday, and then back in the office Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, I took a vacation day from work and drove up to Woodstock, NY to see my family for Mother’s Day Weekend, and didn’t get back until after 10pm on Sunday night. Whew!

The staff retreat proved the hardest part of the past couple weeks for eating. We had it in an old farm house, and it was fully stocked with sour watermelons, M&Ms galore, chips, dorritos, skittles, party mix, cheesy poofs, sunchips, chocolate, pretzels… you name it. And that was just for snacks!

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In addition, we had the meals catered and since we were in a pretty remote area, they were made by two sisters who cooked comfort food out of their home. Most of the food was heavy – think mac and cheese, spinach lasagna, cheesy pasta, pulled chicken, coleslaw, etc. I don’t do well having all that tempting food around me constantly, so I overdid it pretty badly with the snacks and the meals alike. I also won a crab eating contest and picked and ate 17 crabs on Monday night, so that didn’t help much either. Winking smile

The weekend at my sister’s house in Woodstock was a lot better health wise, because now all five members of my immediate family are following Weight Watchers, even my dad! This is HUGE and something I never thought I would see. He is the one who initially inspired me to try Atkins because he had such success on the program without having to use moderation, so for him to adopt a program based around moderation has been so awesome. He and my mom have lost over 8lbs each in just a few weeks on the program!! I am so happy for them.

Anyway, since everyone was trying to be on track, the meals were pretty healthy throughout the weekend, though the wine and booze were flowing from dinner on both nights. Each of my sisters took on two meals, while I was in charge of Mother’s Day brunch since I’m the only female non-mother.  Though, my 4 (and a half!!) year old niece Claire did ask me, “Auntie Beth, Do you hope to one day be a mother?” Oh, kids.

The biggest saving grace during the past two weeks of busyness has been that I have been REALLY consistent with working out, and for that, I’m proud! I got in four solid workouts both weeks despite traveling quite a bit, and you can see what I’ve been up to workout wise here, but I’ve basically been running a couple times a week, doing strength training, and using the stairmill for cross training. I even got an 8 mile run in with my sister on Saturday in Woodstock!

I already tried to take control of the meals that I could. When I was home/not traveling, I stuck fully to my PointsPlus for the day and prepared healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even while gone, I tried my best to start the day with a healthy breakfast, and then made sure to get in a lots of fruit and veggies throughout the day. I also tried to keep hydrated and drank a good amount of water throughout those two weeks. In short, I did the best I could.

So, I honestly wasn’t sure WHAT to expect when I stepped up on the scale yesterday. When I did, and found out I was down 1 pound from two weeks ago, I was actually really pleased!

The last time I weighed in and lost a pound in one week, I was a little disappointed because I had tracked EVERYTHING I’d eaten and didn’t have that many obstacles that week to get in the way of losing weight. This time, I had a lot of things going on and didn’t track completely the whole time, so I am really proud of that pound.

That means, two pounds down in 3 weeks back on the program and I am feeling good!

Other Weight Loss Bloggers

In light of the fact that I haven’t been posting quite as much lately because I’ve been spread so thin with my day job, being a Leader for Weight Watchers, traveling every weekend, and life in general, I’d love to open the comments section up for referrals to other weight loss bloggers that you guys love.

Don’t worry – I’m not going anywhere – I just will only be posting when I can until things slow down, which hopefully will be soon because I miss it! And, I’ll be back tomorrow with a weigh in result post. I didn’t weigh in last week because I was out of town for a staff retreat, but will be weighing in at my meeting today so will be back with a full report, but it’s not looking good.

This week’s topic is Outsmarting the Grocery Store – and as you probably know – grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do, so I LOVE the topic! Last night’s meeting was so awesome, even though we ended up talking about cheese the whole time – another one of my favorite things. Smile

So… please leave a comment below and list one or a few of your favorite weight loss bloggers that isn’t me! Give a little background about what they write about/why you love them and we should all be able to find a few new great blogs to read!

Be back soon!

BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza

I could eat pizza for every meal of every day and die happy. Just had to get that out there.

Recently, I’ve been really into making personal pizzas where I can eat the whole thing for a filling meal with a reasonable amount of PointsPlus. I had some leftover chicken in the fridge and came up with this idea of BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza and it turned out AWESOME.

Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza

    • Prep time: 5 minutes
    • Cook time: 15 minutes
    • PointsPlus Value: 8

Ingredients:

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    • 1 large Whole Wheat Pita
    • 2 oz. diced chicken
    • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
    • 1 oz. Mozzarella
    • Red Onion
    • Cilantro for Garnish

To start, preheat your oven to 425º.

While that’s heating up, add the BBQ sauce to the chicken and mix well to combine.

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Spread the chicken over the pita as the base layer.

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Next comes the cheese. I found this brand at Trader Joe’s:

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And you get 3 mini balls for 2 pts+.

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Slice those up and spread them out over the chicken.

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And then sprinkle on red onions to taste. I love ‘em but you might want to use a few less if you’re not a huge fan.

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Pop the pita in the oven for 15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and melted, the crust is crispy, and the chicken is heated through.

Last addition – sprinkle the cilantro on top.

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And then slice and eat!

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Sooooooo good. I might make this again tonight!

What’s your favorite kind of pizza?

I looove white pizza. I am not that into red sauce on pizza, so that might be why I love this one so much too!

Race Recap: Broad Street Run

Racing in Philly holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I ran my first half marathon in September 2010. Since then, I’ve run several times in Philly since my sister lives there, but Sunday was my first race there since that half marathon – The Broad Street Run.

And the best part? I got to run the whole thing with my sister, Wendy.

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People say we look alike, but I don’t see it!

It was also good practice for me since I’ll be running my fourth half marathon there Memorial Day weekend, and it had been ages since I’d traveled for a race, so it was good to think through everything I was going to need for race day.

Saturday night I laid my stuff out on my suitcase:

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And then the 6:30am wakeup call on Sunday came far too fast. I got up and very quickly decked myself out in running gear.

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Downstairs I made my standard pre-run fuel – an english muffin with PB + banana.

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And then we were out the door at 7am. We headed to the Subway, and in all the years I’ve been going to Philly, not once had I ever taken it before. It was CROWDED.

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This year was apparently the first year that they opened the race to 40,000 runners – the biggest 10 mile race in the country. And there’s no better way to say it than that it was a NIGHTMARE getting to the start of the race because public transportation was just not cut out to deal with the volume of runners.

We got to the platform at 7:10am, and had literally 8 to 10 full subway trains pass without stopping because they were packed. Finally, after over 50 minutes of waiting on the platform, a train with room pulled up and we were able to get on. We made it to the subway stop for the race 2 minutes after the race started (8:32) and headed to the start immediately.

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Notice my bib number?

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The first time I’ve ever had an even race number… so cool!

And then with literally no time to waste… we were off!

My goals for this race were simply to run it side by side with my sister, and that I did. It was a very different mentality than I usually have, where I’m trying to pass runners left and right and go as fast as I comfortably can. It was challenging in different ways because I went a bit slower than I was used to – but it was so awesome being right next to my sister and having someone to talk to and relate to over funny signs – my first time ever!

    • Mile 1: 10:22
    • Mile 2: 10:07
    • Mile 3: 10:11
    • Mile 4: 10:00

After Mile 4, I took a GU and we also stopped to use the portapotties. I stopped my Garmin so my Garmin time is our actual running time, rather than the chip time, but since we weren’t running for time, it didn’t really matter!

    • Mile 5: 9:52
    • Mile 6: 9:41
    • Mile 7: 10:08
    • Mile 8: 10:02

Until Mile 2, and then again after Mile 8, the course was SO crowded and narrow, so it was frustrating to be tripping over myself and others runners. It was kind of funny though because during the race a few times I’d stop paying attention and just go into my natural pace of running a bit faster, and Wendy would tell me to either go ahead without her or slow down if I wanted to stick with her, which is what I wanted.

But then, around mile 9.5, she saw a sign that gave her an extra pep in her step and started BOOKING it without telling me! All of a sudden I saw her out of the corner of my eye weaving in and out of people towards the finish line, and I had to fight really hard to keep up!

    • Mile 9: 10:07
    • Mile 10: 9:44

And then, hand in hand with our arms raised up the air, we crossed the finish line feeling awesome!

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But after we did, the logistics of the race really started to fall apart again. As soon as we crossed the finish line, people were lined up waiting for water and we had to completely stop walking, which is the last thing you want to do after running 10 miles! We finally got some water (and some Philly pretzels)…

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Before making it out of the zoo of runners and sitting in the grass to stretch a bit.

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Then, we wanted to get back to the Subway, and we couldn’t figure out how to get there because we were turned around from where we started. Though we asked the cops, other runners, and volunteers, no one seemed to know where it was, despite the fact that they encouraged everyone to take public transport to and from the race.

When we finally got on the train, it was a breeze getting home, but I think the race organizers need to work with the city better for next year to get runners to/from the race, or else reduce the number of runners from 40,000, because it was not fun getting to the race or away from it.

That said and despite the logistics, I loved getting to run side by side with my sister for the first time ever in a race. It was awesome to approach a race with slightly different goals and to just ENJOY it, and that we did.

And the best running quote we saw during the race?

“Life goes fast. Running slows it down.”

Love!

Wednesday Weigh In

Last week for the first time in I can’t even tell you how long, I tracked EVERY SINGLE BITE that passed through my lips. Even when I first started Weight Watchers in March 2009 (for the second to last time), I would allow myself one “cheat day” where I wouldn’t track and would just consider all my extra points gone but wouldn’t actually track it to see how bad the damage was.

So how much did I have? I ended up eating all of my daily points each day, plus 56 extra points, which included all 49 Weekly Points and then some of the Activity Points I earned. Tracking can be so eye opening because there were times when I felt like I really wasn’t eating that bad, but I was using way over my daily points. They go so quick! But, that’s what the weeklies are there for – to make the plan livable.

Activity wise, I got in 4 solid workouts, earning a total of 34 Activity Points:

    • Wednesday: 45 minute walk
    • Thursday: 30 min intervals on the stairmill + free weights
    • Saturday: Run for Shelter 10k
    • Sunday: Biking outside, 20 mins intervals on stairmill, NRLFW Stage 1, Workout A

Though I’ve been doing more strength training lately than I have in the past, it’s been incredibly random moves and routines. It’s been moves that I’ve learned through Jillian Michaels, things I know that are good for me like pushups and lunges, and also random ab work. I have really been wanting a bit more structure so that I know I am getting a solid, full body strength training routine in, so I decided to purchase the New Rules of Lifting for Women, which I’ve heard awesome things about. I just did the first workout on Sunday and am planning to do the second one tonight and will do a dedicated post soon. I did actually take measurements on Saturday for the first time ever, so I am excited to hopefully see and share some results with you, too!

So how’d I do on the scale?

Down 1.0 pounds!

While I am happy that the scale is down, I was hoping for a bit more since I made an effort to be really good and tracked all week for the first time ever. I know 1 lb is a solid weight loss and would tell a member he/she was silly for not being proud of that result, but when the tables are turned it’s hard not to wish for more. That said, I really am happy to be moving in the right direction and it feels awesome to be back in control!

One More Thing

I am excited to report that yesterday’s morning meeting was probably the best one yet. I feel like I am finally really starting to hit my stride as a Leader and am LOVING leading the meetings. I feel so comfortable in front of the group and really look to the members to teach me! I learn and hear new things at every single meeting, and as of yesterday, my meeting officially doubled in size from when I took it over!! I am so excited!