Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Full on Crazy!!

Hi everyone! Long time no update. Hoping there are some people that are still reading this! :)

SO much has happened since my last update so I thought I'd just share some pics...
I ran a half marathon in Edinburgh, Scotland - My first international half!

Frozen at the finish in Musselburgh. 25 mph winds and 40ish degrees. In MAY!!!

After that my favorite race of the year the Peachtree Road Race. The biggest 10k in the world. Pouring rain but SO exciting this year because I would know at the finish if my shirt design won........

It won! 60,000+ shirts were printed with MY DESIGN!

The finisher shirt is a huge deal so there was lots of paparazzi (LOL)...
...and drinking combined with yoga (do not try this at home or on shopping center sidewalks)
Speaking of yoga, it's still one of THE MOST important things in my life. I think it's hilarious when people say "You're so lucky you can do those 'advanced' poses. Well luck has nothing to do with it. Almost 5 years of constant practice. Even when I was 250 pounds. I've been working for 2 months on the handstand!
You just can't beat a good 'crow'.
That's me in the front row in the middle working on my 'Eka Pada' (borrowed from Instagram from my amazing teacher @wellnesswithjenn) We have Cobra Camp every Tuesday and Thursday at 6am and I'm HOOKED!

I'm was also made the pace team captain for the 10 minute milers for this session of fall half marathon training. I'm 10:30-11 min mile usually and I've had to significantly "up my game" to keep the group on pace.
These ladies are in my pace group and they are WARRIORS. Over 500 pounds lost between the 5 of us. It's almost hard to believe!!

Thanks to the Track Club and yoga, I'm now a morning work out person. I run with these other fools at 5:45 every Wednesday morning to get our interval/speed training in. It's so hard to get up but we are done before sunrise and that is one of the greatest feelings in the world!

What's next you say? I've been wondering that for a while. My goal for this year was not to have a goal and just enjoy my new life for a while but this year is coming to an end (FAST) and I have definitely chosen a big one.
That's right! 26.2 is in my future. I'm TRULY only planning on doing this one time because I want to keep running until I'm really old but I just HAVE to do it once. There are people out there that don't think I should do this but I have everything in place I need to be successful. I have an incredible support system, the greatest running friends on earth and a real Olympian for a coach who will make sure I'm trained and (God willing) injury free.

It's going to be an interesting experiment with nutrition for this. I've gained about 10 pounds which is something that doesn't seem fair at all but happens during distance running training for a lot of people. I require more carbs and can justify more carbs because of running but as a full on addict, I can lose control pretty quick. The honeymoon is over with the sleeve. It's all me now and the struggle is VERY real. Today I tried steel cut oats before speed training and I could really feel the energy from that. I'm going to keep track of how different foods work for energy during running and appetite after. Evening is the worst for me - after dinner and before bed is a dangerous time. I keep telling myself I'll just drink tea and it won't happen. LOL. Right.

So, now I'm officially in training for a marathon! I will continue to coach my half marathon training up until our race on Thanksgiving and then after that start increasing my mileage per my training plan. I've never run farther than 13.1. Here's to new miles!!!  I'll keep you posted!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

13.1 v6

Hello from the land of the runners high! I'm still celebrating 2 half marathons in 7 days! Woot!! I even did speed work and a 5k course run in between!

As you can see the weather was VERY different. 85 and sunny in Sarasota to 50 and raining in Atlanta. Luckily I ran with a great friend and fellow coach and we had a blast despite the weather. There was something extremely magical about running down the middle of the usually crowded streets of my city in the rain.

Another challenge conquered. It's the best feeling in the world!!!!!

What surprises me is how good my body feels after all of that running. 36 miles in 7 days and it was almost easy ?!?! I think I've found a really good balance of running, strength training, yoga and massage. I'm desperate to work a spin class into the mix but the logistics are driving me nuts so I just decided I'm going to pick a class and go tomorrow. I'm going to have to "date around" before I can commit :)

Trying to update here more often so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

13.1 v5

Hi everyone! I'm freshly back from my FIFTH half marathon and I must have desperately needed some sun and a good race because I feel amazing!!

I drove down on Friday and came back on Monday so it was a quick trip but it couldn't have been much better. Traveling for a race can be stressful for me but it was so nice to just grab a few things and hit the road. I didn't need 6 layers or a jacket or neckwarmer or hat or gloves or any of that crap!!

The race was Sunday so I got to spend the whole morning on Saturday with my sister out in the bay stand-up paddle boarding. That is one of those things that as a fat girl could have NEVER imagined doing and now I do it every chance I get! Saturday night I ate dinner by myself then unashamedly walked down the street eating ice cream. Another former fat girl victory!! Sometimes it's the big things, sometimes it's the little things.

The race was early and sunrise was gorgeous.

I promised myself I wasn't going to try to break any records overdo it so I kept my comfortable 10:15 pace most of the way - I got a little fast when a good song came on but I paid attention and dialed it back a little. I'm glad I did because miles 11 and 12 were really hot and really hard. That's when the brain has to take over and try to get those little legs to make it the rest of the way. It was 85 degrees at the finish!!
Finishing was awesome with friends and family waiting - usually my races are too big for anyone to get near the finish line but this time I saw and heard everyone cheering!

I got to spend the rest of day doing what I love.....boating with my friends and eating oysters!

That same day, I got to announce to everyone that my design for the Peachtree Road Race t-shirt was picked for the final five! For those of you that don't know, it's the worlds largest 10k and there are over 60,000 shirts printed. It would be a HUGE honor for me to win this and I encourage you to vote for your favorite (hopefully mine!!!) You can vote every day for the next month! or click on the banner on the side bar.

Believe it or not my next half marathon is THIS SUNDAY. 2 half marathons in 7 days. I'm also coaching this week and doing a course run for the women's 5k so it's going to be a week full of running. I'm so incredibly grateful for my new life and all that my new love for running is teaching me about myself!

Have a happy, healthy week everyone!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

No turning back AKA #thestruggleisreal

Hi All and happy March!

I like to post every once in a while about  struggles that come up just so no one thinks it's rainbows and unicorns all the time in my world :) This $#!+ is hard sometimes.

I had a 10k to run this morning after staying up until after midnight to finish a project and luckily I got dressed BEFORE checking the weather. As soon as I opened the back door to let the dogs out - what a surprise it's barely above freezing and raining - JUST LIKE IT HAS BEEN ALL FREAKING WINTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think about going back to bed but that "I'm already dressed" thing comes in very handy here.

I had some extra time since It was pouring rain (still) so I sat in my car until THE VERY LAST minute that I could and still make the start of this race. I was half a mile from the start, already soaked and my stupid brain was trying to talk me out of it the WHOLE WAY.  I even turned around at one point to head back to the car.

These are the times when decisions matter.

When I saw Deena Kastor (2004 Bronze medalist in Athens for the women's marathon) speak at our Track Club social this year, she talked about the importance of taking every single decision seriously and that has resonated with me ever since. They might not seem like important decisions at that time, but they all matter and it adds up.
Thank you for the inspiration Deena!
I decided to run to the start which was the only way to stay warm. The first 3 miles were easy and the second three miles were ALL hills - stupid brain was at it again - wanting to walk the hills. I was arguing back at my brain "You've got this. You are a hill master.  Lean forward. Shorten your stride. Arms up. Chest up. Breathe deep." That helped but what REALLY worked was pretending the ponytail posse was behind me and I had to lead them up that hill because that's what I do. So, ponytails, thank you so much for being with me on my run even though you weren't and I had NOBODY to share snack time with. Airplane arms were also done. All by myself.

There was a small miracle at mile 4. As I rounded the corner, there stood my trainer who was taking her kids to Sunday School.  Just totally random. She looked gorgeous and I was soaking wet but I have to say I was super proud to look like crap and be running in the rain. She is SUCH a huge part of my success. I could have hugged her if I wasn't so gross and muddy and sweaty :)

It was a GREAT race and  I'm really glad I did it. Even more so, I fought those demons and made a whole string of good decisions which led to a whole day of feeling accomplished...and fast :)

Oh and then I ate half a Krispy Kreme and gave the rest to a squirrel.

Have a great week everyone! Here's to good decision making!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy New Year! (oh wait it's already February)

Hi all! A late update is better than no update right??!!?? :)

December was a total blur! I turned 45, and then on Christmas Day we drove down to the Florida Keys to celebrate my husbands 50th. This was a first for both of us to not be with family but we enjoyed every minute of our week in the sun! The weather was gorgeous and this was really my first beach vacation as a normal sized person and I took advantage of all the awesome new things my body can do.
my first stand-up paddle board (SUP)!

An amazing kayak adventure all by myself!

Why not plank while on the pier? I even did one on the SUP but with no one to take a picture!

And of course the challenging 8ish mile run around the island!
It felt absolutely amazing to be so active and see this place in a way I've never been able to see it.

There were a few other victories as well...
Wearing a dress comfortably!!!!

Wearing a tank top in public!

Best. Vacation. Ever.

 Then it was back to reality and a 50 degree temperature change.
Tina Tip: if you spend a ton of money on cold weather running gear you will be more likely to force yourself out the door to go do it :)

I'm honored that I was chosen to be a run leader again this year for the Track Club. I'm starting with coaching the "women on the move" group which is an amazing group of over 100 women getting ready for the Atlanta Women's 5K at the end of March. Some of them have never run before, others are trying for a PR. We even have 13 year old twins who will probably win Boston one day :) I will be committed to this all year with Peachtree Road Race training next then fall half marathon training. Coaching has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It gives me so much joy even when my alarm goes off at 5:30 every Saturday.

Speaking of Track Club, they had a fundraiser called "Suits and Singlets" - formal wear meets running wear - and of course I went all out...

The mylar blanket pashmina was a last minute inspiration and I also loved wearing my Mizunos with fishnets - I hope I get that opportunity again!!


Hot chocolate race was next - I chose the 15k. I've never done it because I think it's kind of gimmicky and expensive but my half marathon trainees from last year were going to do it so I joined in. It was cold of course but it was so fun to run with the ponytail posse again!
It was a good race. Cold and hilly but the hot chocolate and the chocolate fondue at the end was awesome. They had stuff along the route but I can't fathom eating chocolate while running 9 miles!

Like I said the race was good but the expo the day before was THE WORST. I had just come back from a week long business trip and was WAY over-committed. I had to coach in the morning, then attend a big shopping event with a friend that was planned for months, then I had to go to the expo since they don't mail numbers and ended up abandoning my car 3 miles from the expo in gridlock traffic and walk. 6 miles round trip. Did I mention the race was the next morning? All in all I was out for 12 hours 6am - 6pm.

Here's where we come to another Tina Tip:
NEVER and I mean NEVER wear your sweaty sports bra for 12 hours. Change your clothes. Even if you have to do it in a Starbucks bathroom.

2 days later (during an unrelated uterine biopsy which turned out to be nothing thank GOD!) I mention to my doctor that I have a painful lump in my left breast that wasn't there just a few days ago when she examined me. She sent me straight to the breast specialist to make an appointment. I was SUPPOSED go 2 days later but got super busy with work and just couldn't do another doc appointment that week blah blah blah....

Over the weekend it turned into a RAGING infection. A tangerine sized abscess on the inside. Debilitating pain that was so bad it made me sick a few times. I would wake up at 3 in the morning and just cry and get ready to go to the emergency room but I knew they would only give me meds and couldn't do anything about it until I saw the specialist. I hung in there and they luckily got me in first thing Monday.

This was 3 weeks ago and I've been a complete mess. I could barely walk or bend over or move my left side much less work. I tried to work and did a crappy job and got yelled at which made me feel even worse. Oh and I paid my entire $1500 deductible in 3 visits.

Saturday was the Hearts and Soles 5k with a valentines theme costume contest and I never miss a chance to dress up so I walked it with some friends including my awesome friend Stephanie who is recovering from skin removal surgery. Much more on that topic to come in a future blog post....

I'm FINALLY feeling better and am hoping and praying that tomorrow's visit results in some good news. I HATE not exercising. It makes me feel like my "old self" again. I also have to be VERY careful about what I eat as I'm up a few pounds due to the holidays and then a few more due to inactivity. I just went back to basics during this time - lots of protein, little carbs and tracking everything. Seems to be working and I'm still very much in control but as you can probably tell,  I'm ready to be feeling 100% again! I've got a half marathon at the end of March so I'm going to have to log some miles to feel ready for that.


Other than the boob, life is good. January 29th was my 2 year surgiversary and I couldn't be more grateful for the chance it gave me at my new life. It's not a magic solution It has most certainly been tough – probably is more of a challenge now than ever – but I'm never going back!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Mix Tape - Holiday Leftovers edition!

Happy December blog readers! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday and it's been pretty monumental in my journey. I ran across this blog post from 2011 when looking for a photo and I'm really glad I did because it set the tone for my most grateful Thanksgiving ever. It's short but if you don't want to read it the part that really hit me the most was
Yesterday started with cheering on a friend in the Thanksgiving half marathon and it was really inspiring. There are so many fit people in this town and I've always had this burning desire to be one of them....
Looking back on that I TRULY was inspired because the following year I did the 5k.
Seeing this picture is always strange. I look like I'm trapped in someone elses body and that's how I felt! I was horrified when I got these photos and even more horrified when I had gained weight after. If I had a last straw that was it and shortly after that decided to have the surgery.

The following year was my big transformation year and most of that was spent training for my first half marathon. I was a newbie and I was nervous but I don't think I have ever been more proud of anything. Ever!

This year was again, amazing. A dream come true really.

Instead of being the fattest person at number pickup, I was a Track Club ambassador answering questions and helping people get ready for the race.

I ran the whole race with this amazing group of women who I was honored to help coach for 16 straight weeks. There are hardly words to describe how inspiring it was to take them from 4 miles to 13.1 in 4 months. We ran a lot of miles through every part of the city, had a lot of laughs and as like to say "gave a whole lotta guys a whole lot to look at" during our training. We finished in 2:27, happy and healthy!
It really doesn't get much better than that. I'm so so so so thankful for my new life and for all the people who have inspired me along the way. I hope to keep coaching to give some of that back!