Saturday, July 20, 2013

Today, I am a runner!

This morning I woke up full of pride and emotions. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was my bib for my next race, Queens 10K. Running has changed my life. 

After running my very first race in November I never turned back. I should have stopped running after being unprepared for the Manhattan Half race. That race went un-scored. I had many injuries from that race. At one point I couldn't walk straight. I didn't let it stop me. 

One week later I ran the Gridiron. It was the first time I ran a mile without stopping or walking. After that race it took my an hour to walk out of Central Park. My injuries did not healed from the Manhattan Half and I am sure I made it worst. 

I should have stopped..right? 

I used the disappointment of not getting credit for the Manhattan as fuel to train for the Brooklyn Half. 

Race after race, run after run, I got better. I

 met and befriended amazing people along the way. I gained an amazing friend and race buddy, Alnardo. 

There was literally no sleep until Brooklyn. When the Brooklyn Half arrived I had that fear that I wasn't going to finish. 

I finished! 

I cried after I got my medal. I cut my time by 21mins. 

I didn't stop at Brooklyn...I kept going. I reached my 9 plus 1. 

I cried in the arms of a great friend, Sheryl,  after completing my 9th race. 

Today I consider myself a runner. I didn't let anything stop me. I kept going. I know that I am not the faster running and if I was the slowest I wouldn't let that stop me. 

Clean It Up

Since starting my weigh loss adventures,  I have learned a lot of things about eating.

While on Weight Watchers the biggest thing that I learn was portion control. I could eat anything that I wanted I just needed to watch how much of it I was going to eat. Portion control helped me understand that I was over feeding myself, even with good foods.

When I started using my ActiveLink I noticed that I was not being consist enough with my activity. I wasn't working out every day and not moving around enough. I wasn't reaching my activity goals for the week. Not having the lights turn on my ActiveLink was discouraging.

It's been about two months since I have left Weight Watchers.   I haven't turned back. I switched over to Lose It! This gave me a better understanding of my calories. I wasn't burning nearly enough calories to lose any weight. Weight Watchers made fruits and veggies "freebies." This is not a good thing if you want to lose the amount of weight I need to lose. I am not saying that you should do WW. I truly believe that it is a starter program. It definitely helped me to get on track with healthy living.

At the start of my summer vacation I began clean eating. I am following the led from @mankofit. What is clean eating? For one thing it is NOT a diet or a meal plan. It's about eating food at it's most natural state. The less processing the better.

"These are some of the basic guidelines that I associate with clean eating.
  • Unrefined, whole-grains.
  • A diet with an abundance of fresh, local, organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Free-range and grass-fed meats and dairy.
  • More vegetable-centered meals than meat-centered each week.
  • Plenty of water or other no-calorie drinks (NOT diet soda)
  • Making healthy cooking choices, such as baking, steaming, and light sauteing whenever possible.
  • Consume healthy fats from natural sources such as nuts, avocados, organic coconut oil, etc." (Share It Fitness, 2013) 
Here is my shopping list set up by @Mankofit:

Fruits allowed only in the morning : 
Strawberries 1 cup 
1/2 grapefruit 
1 cup kiwi
1/2 cup blueberries 

Carbohydrates allowed: 
Brown rice 
Sweet potato 
Unsalted rice cakes 
Ezequiel bread 

Lean proteins allowed: no shakes allowed, time to rely on food for protein intake. 
Eggs (only one yolk allowed) 
Chicken (breast only) 
Salmon (twice a week, cannot be paired with good fats) 

Vegetables allowed: 
Brussels sprouts 
Spinach/kale/iceberg lettuce 
Green beans 

Good fats allowed: (only by the tablespoon ( 1tbs at a time 2-3 times a day only depending on macros.) Olive oil/coconut oil 
Almond butter 
Peanut butter 
Avocado (1/4 cup only). 

Doesn't seem like a lot right? At first I was very scared. I didn't think I could live without some many things. The first couple of days were hard. I didn't know how to pair up my meals to make my tummy happy. After looking at post on IG from others following this I got some ideas. Day by day my choices became easier. I prepped 3 cups of brown rice and 10 sweet potatoes  Since these things take the longest to cook I made them head of time so the excuse of 'it takes too long' could not be made. That amount of cook last for two weeks. This made life a lot easier. My overall cooking time is shorter. Since all the foods have been cooking is in it's natural state or close to it, it cooks up in no time. 

There have been moments where I really wanted to eat something that wasn't a good choice. I have actually bit into things....I was completely grossed out by the taste and texture I spit them right out! My tongue did not like it. 

So far I feel better inside and out. I have lost 6 pounds since the start of July. It wasn't diet alone that did it. I am up to day 41 on the Insanity calendar. 

This is truly the summer of awesomeness. I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer is going to bring. 

Summer Time in The Land Of The Awesome

Before a Little Al was born summers were pretty uneventful. We would go to the beach every now and then. Maybe a theme park but that's about it. Once Big Al was referred to Early Intervention that all changed. We had a completely booked summer. There was only a five month difference between Big Al aging out and Little Al entering Early Intervention and the same for CPSE.

Little Al is doing her last few weeks of her 12-month IEP with CPSE. A 12- month IEP no longer exist for Big Al. He gets his summer back. He learned last summer that no summer school is pretty awesome. That doesn't mean that we sit back and have an uneventful summer like we use to have in the past.

Big Al is a lucky little boy. His mother has the same amount of time off in the summer. Big Bea is pretty lucky too. She spends half of her summer with her dad's family. So what happens during our summer?

First things first...I signed the kids of three session of free swimming classes at our local pool. Little Al only gets to go to the last session because of summer school. The parks department offers these free lessons what all public pools. The best part of these lessons it's not open to the public. So it's the same group of kids for each session.

We go to the movies often. Since going to the movies with Little Al is impossible, take the other two to an early movie. The first showing at most theatre are discounted. Some times I feel bad that we go without her, but she wouldn't have enjoy the movies we have seen without her.

What is summer without going to the beach? Beach time is a must.

When it's too hot to be out, we stay indoor and play video games. This is usually when I go batty. Video games can be addictive, so I try to limit the play time so much as I can. Big Al doesn't want to hear anything about limits. It's a battle royal.

In order not to drive myself into totally crazyville I do racing events and bike tour.

I truly enjoy my summers now more then ever.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Slow and Steady Wins The Race.

As I was checking my email I noticed I got an email from Transportation Alternative thanking me for riding the Tour de Queens on Sunday. I was surprised to see the link for the photos that were taking during the ride. The photographer for the event was Daniel S. Burnstein. I quickly searched for my picture. I am on the first page of photos!

 Photo taken by Daniel S. Burnstein
I was so excited to see just how amazing this photo came out. I can see all the joy in my face. I quickly searched for my picture from last year's tour to do a side by side.

This makes me so happy. Some times I feel like I am not making any progress. I often have to remind myself that small changes add up to big ones.

This picture also reminds me of a lady cheering on the side lines during the Brooklyn Half said, "The medal they give the winner is the same medal they give all finishers. The finish line is waiting for you." 

I am not at my finish line yet....but I am getting there.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Adventures in Self Confidence

As long as I can remember I have always have had self confidence issues. (Honestly, who doesn't have a little confidence issues.) I wrote about self confidence two summers ago in my post Life of a Fat Girl.

One thing that I have noticed I take pictures of myself every single day. It's very hard to find picture of pre-2011. Pictures do exists of me between 2002 and 2010 only because my sister took them of me. Now my iPhone is full of pictures of me. I started wearing more tank tops, showing off the guns. I love this person that I have become.

Today I took a major step in self confidence greatness. I wore mid-thigh length shorts....outdoors!!! Check it out!

I am very proud of myself. At first I was nervous. I got use to see the cellulite in my thighs and got over the nervousness.


Tour de Queens 2013

I have renamed the Tour de Queens to the Tour de Surface de Sun. Oh my lord it is so hot on Sunday! The weather really made this ride harder than what it really was.

This year's tour route was changed. Last year, we started in Flushing Meadows. This year we started in Astoria Park. Good thing The Chubby Cruiser said something about it on Instagram. I would have showed up to Flushing Meadows wondering where everyone was.

For this tour I really wanted to stand out. So I decided to play up the pink! I did get a bunch of attention for the pink...just what I wanted. You would think that pink was my favorite color. In fact blue is my favorite color.

I took Lenny on the train and got to Astoria in no time. Who is the first person I see when entering the parking lot? Kristina, The Chubby Cruiser! I got a great T.A. welcome from her.

Then I realized...I got there super early. I wanted to get a good spot at the front of the tour but a crowd didn't even form yet. That's cool because I wanted a buffer zone between me and the end of the tour. I didn't want to be left behind in case I couldn't handle a hill or two. I was in a very great spot.

My spot was so awesome that Sheryl found me in no time. She demanded that I take off my helment and take a picture with her.

Picture taken by Sheryl Yvette
We look so awesome in this picture together. Our pinks matched perfectly. Sheryl also got a back side picture of me. If it wasn't for my clothing I would have never thought it was me. I look amazing even from the back side.

Picture taken by Sheryl Yvette
For the first ten miles I was able to keep up with a pace of 10-11mph for most of the distance. Until I hill a horrible hill! I was going and going and I could not go anymore. Sheryl rolled passed me and snapped a picture of my red face stopped.

Picture taken by Sheryl Yvette
Once I got up that hill I was fine. Some where in Forrest Hill this picture happening. Not paying attention my balance and paying attention to the camera I ran into Sheryl's back tire. Thank god both of our bikes are super heavy. We would have both fallen. That would have not been pretty. I am so embarrassed that I ran into The Bitch Cakes.
Picture taken by Sheryl 

We made it to our rest stop. I have no idea what the name of this park was. I am Bronx girl. I only truly know Bronx Parks. While at the rest stop I found Sheryl again. I officially met Sheryl's bestie Amanda.  I also had the honor of meeting Cory the official TA mascot. lol

In a blink of an eye it was time to go back to where we started. I was happy to go back but I was unhappy about how hot it had gotten.  When we rolled in Corona my vision became spotty. It was very painful to keep my eyes open. I pulled over and put on my sunglasses. I blinked half a dozen times and my vision was back to normal. The sun was destroying my vision. I was very hot to begin with I didn't need to fall because of my vision. Well...I didn't need to fall period.

Then the greatest thing happened. We rolled down a block that had an open fire hydrant!!! It was like a movement in heaven! I felt so refreshed. I wanted to roll in a circle in that hydrant to get all of me wet! After the hydrant we made it back to Astoria in no time.

That's where I hang out for a few minutes with these girls. @TheChubbyCruiser and @DalisDoll

These girls are coolness squared!

Then I was off to the Bronx to get my kiddies. While rolling home I found out that the West Farms entrance to the Bronx River Greenway is OPEN!!!! I took a little peak.

I am planning on rolling up the length of this greenway very soon.

I truly enjoyed myself on the Tour de Surface de Sun.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

NYRR Front Runners Pride Run & Achilles Hope and Possibilites Run Double Header Weekend

I kicked off my summer vacation with a double header race weekend. I signed up for back to back races. Both race were 5 miles each. Yes, I have lost my ever lovin' mind!

On Saturday I ran the Front Runners Pride Run. This is a very big day for me. This race was my 9th race. It takes 9 qualifying races to have entry to the 2014 ING New York City Marathon. I was very nervous the night before. There really wasn't a good reason to be nervous. I have run this course a lot of times. There are not surprises. I guess it's because it's the qualifying race.

The kids were set to spend two nights in a row at my sister's so I didn't have to worry about sneaking out of the apartment in the morning. I also didn't have to worry about being late because the race both races started at 9am. As a result I got to the park super early. I worn a very special gift. I worn my new Wonder Woman crown. This crown was a gift from Wendy. Wendy and I met via a Weight Watchers Facebook group. Thanks Wendy for the awesome gear.

I got to the park so early that the corral signs weren't even up yet. So I sat and waiting for the signs to go up. Once the sign went up I started my warm up. This is when I realized that my race was going to be terrible. The humidity was so high. I had never run in humidity that high. Not good. I didn't remember much about the course. I remember that it was hard! Before the first mile my favorite road runner, Sheryl ran right pass me. She didn't realize it was me. She was having a hard time with the weather too.
Picture taken by Sheryl 
At each water station I grabbed three cups of water. One went down my front, one down my back and one to drink. That saved me from the heat. I just kept going and going. I walked up every hill. I pushed to make it to the end. I didn't care about my time. When I saw the mile 4 sign I saw my Brooklyn half running buddy, Jackie. She was sweating into her eyes but she didn't stop. She looked amazing!
Picture taken by NYRR
The next thing I knew I was approaching the finish line. I was looking all around for Sheryl. I show he bright pink sports bra as I crossed the finish line. As soon as I crossed over the last sensor I started to cry. Sheryl quickly ran over and hugged me. I could not believe that I completed my 9th race. (Dang it! I am crying now.)  I completed all the requirements for guaranteed entry to the 2014 ING New York City Marathon. This is something that I never thought I would want to do.

After the race was over I spend sometime with my BBB. She ran the course bib-less. She forgot to sign up for the race before it was too late. I am terrible friend. I didn't remind her to sign up and I never took a picture of us after the race. TERRIBLE!!

I came home and hung my pride and joy.

My qualifying bib.

I rested that night to start all over again the next day.

Sunday's race was the Achilles Hope and Possibility Race. The weather was hot and humid again. It was not fun. This race a bunch of my IG peeps were running this race. I was looking forward to see them.

The first person I bumped into was Kathy from NYC Runner Girl. We finally took our picture.

We were both wearing our winnings from the Oakley Mini 10K sunglasses give away. Since I am much slower than she is I went back to my corral. (I look so dorky in this picture. )

While I was waiting for the race to start I got a few text from my race buddy. He and I no longer have the same start corral. He moved up to the green corral for this race. I am very pride of him. He worked hard to make it to that corral. He text me that we were getting medals! I had no idea that we were getting medals. I actually didn't believe him until I actually ran pass the medals table.

I did my best to keep going. It was very motivating to see all of the athletes with disabilities and wounded warriors out on the course. I saw my buddy Jackie right at the mile 1 marker. She was running slowly. She had an amazing weekend. She ran the two NYRR 5 milers and a Glow Run 5k. She ran 13.1 miles!

I kept going. I paced with a lady with an Under Armor tee shirt that said, "Don't come in last." We paced the entire race together. She rocked out over the hills. She kept me going. We crossed the finish list together.

I was happy to get my medal and a bagel.
After that I had to track down my race buddy, Alnardo. I found him!

 We had some fun at Race Day Central. While waiting on line for a trivia game Alnardo spotted Joan. She is @MissJonazy from IG. She is running her first NYC Marathon this year. She mention on her IG that it was great to talk running without people telling her that she is crazy. I think she is awesome!

(Wow I am tall.)

I really love the running community that I have become apart of.  It's nice to being friends with individuals after the same goal, fast and slow. We don't judge each other, we encourage each other. We are a good kind of crazy.

When I got hom I add my new medal to the medals wall I created in my living room...

and I added my bib to my victory wall in my bedroom.

I did say that I wasn't going to do a double header weekend ever again. I am sure that will change. Despite the hip flexor soreness and the awful heat, it was a great running weekend. I never thought that I would ever be able to run back to back 5 mile races. I am very proud of myself.