Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Elf 4 Health 2013

I participated in Elf 4 Health this year. When I first read about it, I knew it was something I had to do. The basic premise is this. It's a 4 week program broken up into 2 rounds (2 weeks each). Every day has a different challenge. Challenges are fitness, nutrition, or just working on you, etc. Each round you are paired up with another "elf" who you go through the challenges with, discuss challenges, successes, etc. So here's my recap!

Challenges
ROUND 1

Round 1 I was matched up with Sarah, a senior studying nutrition and dietetics at Arizona State University. LUCKY ME! She had such great ideas as far as food was concerned and was so nice to share them with me!

Day 1: Go Meatless
So I am an avid food prepper. But for some reason I chose not to look ahead at my challenges when I was prepping for the week. So late Sunday night I looked and panicked as the food I prepped for the week had meat in it. What was I going to have that was still healthy and would still give me enough energy to work out after work?? So during my lunch break I ran over to Safeway to see what I can find and it was rough, but I finally found the deli and that they had a veggie sandwich. So I had them make me the following:
Wheat Bread
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Pickles
Red Onions
Green peppers
Artichokes
Swiss Cheese
I also got a hard boiled egg and a pack of pretzels and hummus. I am currently OBSESSED with hummus. I wasn't super wild about the sandwich. It ended up being super salty. Maybe it was the artichokes, which I rarely have. But it worked. :)





For Dinner, I took the "easy way out" and went to my FAVORITE local restaurant, Spoons. I got Potato Parmesan Soup, with a Caesar Salad with a little bleu cheese on top (yum!) and their delicious focaccia bread. I brought it home and ate it complete silence. No tv, no radio, no playing on my phone. It was a nice change.







DAY 2: UNSUBSCRIBE





The challenge was to unsubscribe from newsletters that you receive but NEVER read. I felt like I did a really good job unsubscribing, but every day when I'm checking my mail I realize there are SO MANY MORE I should really unsubscribe from.








DAY 3: NEW WORKOUT
Okay, this one was SUPER challenging for me. Mainly because I've been doing the same workouts for the past 3 years. And they work really well. Sarah told me about a website called thedailyhiit.com that had some workouts. I perused it, but nothing really struck me. I took to Facebook and asked for suggestions and tried to incorporate those as best I could.



While at work I was doing laundry, so I decided to run up and down the stairs with each trip. yay! I did this "Beach Babe Booty" workout that I had on my fitness board on Pinterest. I used a kettleball (that was a facebook suggestion) and for good measures I did some box jumps!

*Note: My trainer used to make me do box jumps and I was TERRIFIED. Doing these box jumps helped me power through my fear and I was super proud of myself.*




DAY 4: MAKE A PHONE CALL
Noah and me at my graduation party in 2009



I have a confession. I have a phone phobia. I absolutely HATE talking on the phone. Which is funny because in my younger days I was ALWAYS on the phone. But not anymore. At any rate, with it being Thanksgiving and not wanting to bother people who were with their families. I kinda put my own spin on this challenge.

I texted my friend Noah. It said this: Happy Thanksgiving! I just wanted to let you know I'm very thankful for you. I hope you're enjoying your time with your family.




DAY 5: TRACK WATER INTAKE




I don't drink enough water. I know this to be true. I try, but I just don't. My job makes it really hard to keep drinking water because I get so busy with the kids that I forget. But I did really well with this challenge. I ended up drinking 88 ounces of water. WOAH!

Also I had to pee. More than ever before. Also not conducive with my job. I've heard that if you keep drinking more water your body gets used to it and you don't have to pee as much. I'm not sure I buy it.



DAY 6: TREAT YOURSELF
Pretzel Friends





Basically the whole day was a treat! I went to the CSU Vs. AFA game. The weather was GORGEOUS. (A t-shirt in Colorado at the end of November???) I was with WONDERFUL people. Life was good. But my official treat for the day was a pretzel. Katy and I have a slight pretzel obsession, and these ones were fresh baked for us!








DAY 7: 100 BURPEES
This may come as a surprise... but I HATE BURPEES. When I originally read this challenge I said "You have GOT to be kidding me." But I decided to break it up. Mostly it was challenging because I was working in the morning, but during youth group I did some burpees and had the kids take pictures of me. Which led me to a few realizations: 1. burpees in leggings, a mini skirt and boots is not the best idea. 2. Sports bras are DEFINITELY a necessity.

Hey at least it was entertaining! ha!

I did some more in my office (when no one else was there) and then I went home and did 10 every commercial break of the Broncos game until I reached 100.

I don't think I've done a burpee since!

Day 8: HAND WRITTEN NOTE






I really debated who to write a note to. I wrote a few notes, but they weren't ones I wanted to make public, so I  wrote this generic one and posted it. And I actually heard from someone that it was JUST what they needed. Success!








DAY 9: EAT THE RAINBOW




Same problem as with Meatless Monday. I wasn't prepared... But I think I did pretty well....
Red: Red Peppers
Orange: Oranges
Yellow: Yellow Carrots
Green: Green beans
Blue: Blueberries
Purple: Raisins








Day 10: MAKEUP FREE



This one was DEFINITELY a challenge for me. Make up is a NECESSITY in my book. And I was convinced that the kids would ask me what's wrong with me. One of them told me I looked pretty so that was interesting. We also had a snowstorm this day, so not having to put make up on was kinda nice! :)

The best part of this challenge was all the other elves commented on pictures telling everyone how beautiful they were. It was SO NICE to see women building each other up, rather than tearing them down.



DAY 11: WORKOUT BUDDY



Confession time again. I hate working out with other people. I've tried it and I just don't do it because it either gets too competitive, I feel judged, or it just puts unnecessary strains on the friendships. I'm better just working out on my own. HOWEVER.... Wednesday nights, Katy and I go to Hip Hop and we have a flipping BLAST. We stand in the back, pretend we have moves and basically just laugh the whole time. Now that's the best workout buddy to have!






DAY 12: OPERATION BEAUTIFUL
Prior to Elf 4 Health, I knew nothing of Operation Beautiful and I LOVE IT.

For my piece, I wrote 4 notes and left them in various places in Kohl's. I hope they lifted someone's spirits.

They said...
1. Your smile is your best feature. Smile as bright as the sun shines. You are beautiful!
2. You are beautiful on the inside and out!
3. Keep on smiling. You are beautiful!
4. You are beautiful. You don't even know.

*So the last one is actually a lyric from an Andy Grammer song (Ladies) that I just adore*



DAY 13: FRIDGE & PANTRY PURGE
So I actually didn't do this one. I was out of town because my cousins were visiting, so I was 3 hours away from my fridge and pantry for the weekend. I still plan on doing this at some point. I didn't think it would be nice to do to my grandma just to complete the challenge. ;-)

DAY 14: GRATITUDE LIST





Seeing as how I participated in #ThankfulNovember i didn't find this particularly hard. So I sat down and quickly jotted down 50 things I am thankful for.









And with that... round 1 was over.

ROUND 2

For Round 2 I was matched up with Samantha, a senior studying Business Legal Studies at Arizona State University. (What are the odds that both of my elves would be seniors at ASU?!) She actually graduated during round 2!!!

DAY 15: CIRCUIT WORKOUT





Again... new workouts are so hard for me. So, again.... I went to Pinterest. and found this one. It was awesome!











DAY 16: PAY IT FORWARD

I stopped at Starbucks on my way into work with the intention of buying coffee for the person behind me... except for the first time in the history of EVER, no one was behind me. I had a crazy busy day of working 9 hours at my first job, driving 1 hour down to the other job for a meeting and then making the hour trip home.... So there wasn't a whole lot of time. So I discovered that you can "Tweet a coffee" so I sent coffees to my cousin Rachel (who was working so hard on her finals) and my dear friend Chance.

*Note: Apparently when you do this, it requires the recipient to give Starbucks unlimited access to their facebook and twitter.*

Funny thing: When I finally got home, I checked my mail and I had $45 worth of Starbucks gift cards from my brother's in laws! HOW NICE!


DAY 17: HEALTHY SNACK

Cookies, Chocolate, Donuts,  Cake, Cupcakes... The list goes on of the stuff that usually makes it's way to this table in our staff lounge. My boss actually said recently one day she is going to put fruit out just for me.... Apparently I have some sort of reputation. :)

So I brought a healthy snack for the staff! I signed it "Elf" but I'm pretty sure between the handwriting and the fact that it was healthy, everyone knew it was me.

I love hummus.



DAY 18: YOU-TIME

This challenge could NOT have come on a better day. I had a busy and LONG day at work due to it was my class' Christmas Program which meant an 11 hour day for me. I took this challenge very serious!

When I left work, I went to Garbanzo and got a DELICIOUS Chicken Shwarma pita with some falafel. I also had some of my favorite wine as I sat on the couch, watched Sean Saves The World and the Broncos game.

It was the perfect way to de-stress after that long day!

DAY 19: FASTEST MILE
Due to my long day on Thursday, today I got a 2.5 hour break to avoid any Overtime. I was exhausted but I told myself to just go to the gym to get this out of the way so when I was done with work I could just go home.

It was Pajama day at work so that was nice. So I drove alllll the way to the gym (30 minute drive), got in to the locker room and realized half my workout clothes (shirt and sports bra) were in my car. And the other half (workout pants) were at home.

But I drove all that way and luckily it was pj day so I was in sweats and a t-shirt. So I told myself to just go do the stupid mile. The only time I ever run a consistent mile is when I'm running a 5k. And I'm a SLOOOOW runner. But despite all the obstacles, I did it. Hooray!

DAY 20: CLOSET CLEANOUT





I'd recently done a closet purge, so that wasn't necessary... but my desk was definitely in need of some TLC.









DAY 21: PLAN YOUR MEALS
Ever since I started working a 2nd job on Sundays, my meal prep has fallen to the wayside. I've done it a few times on Fridays or Saturdays, but I pretty much just suck at doing it these days.

But on this day! I made crockpot chicken bbq (for sandwiches on sandwich thins), made salmon with veggies, protein waffles, and prepped greek yogurt and grapes.







DAY 22: MEDITATE




The challenge was to get up early and meditate. I already get up at 4:30, so there's no way that was happening. I was exhausted so half of my lunch break I just spent lying on the couch with my eyes closed and the lights dimmed.

When I got home, I found this meditation on YouTube, laid on my living room floor and felt quite relaxed. Definitely helpful!




DAY 23: WALL SIT
There is NOWHERE at the gym to take your picture
doing a wall sit without having to ask someone to do
it for you, so I crammed myself behind a machine to do this one. haha! 
I LOVE WALL SITS!!!

One day my friend Vita and I were doing wall sits at the gym and a guy approached us and told us we made them look so easy.

The longest I'd ever done a wall sit was a minute, so I set the super lofty goal of 3 minutes, thinking there was no way I could do it. When I stopped I was proud and thought I could probably hold it longer. I posted on Facebook asking people the time they thought I got and people said stuff like 17 minutes! So I felt totally lame, so when I got home I did a second one and held that for 4:03.


DAY 24: SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE

So I didn't even think I had any expertise, so yet again... I took to Facebook. I ended up writing a "My Expertise" blog.

DAY 25: 3 FOOD GROUPS



This challenge was to eat 3 food groups at each meal.
Breakfast: Oatmeal (grain) with raisins (fruit) and latte (dairy/protein)
Lunch: Ham Sandwich (dairy, protein) Fruits and Veggies.
Dinner: Salmon (protein), brown rice (grain), and veggies.






DAY 26: SELF LOVE X 6
After I did this, I read that some people did 3 physical and 3 non-physical. Oh well...
1. My heart-- I have such a giving and loving heart and I love that about me!
2. My body-- this one was hard as I think there will ALWAYS be aspects of it that I don't love, but I truly love it, how far I've come and all the things I can do with it!
3. My loyalty-- I am a loyal friend to the very end. That may get me in trouble, but I do love that about me.
4. My passion-- I am so passionate about so many things. I love it!
5. My humor-- Oh my goodness, I am ALWAYS goofy and cracking jokes. And I love it.
6. My drive-- It definitely takes drive to work as much as I do and still find time to workout and other things. I love that about me!

DAY 27: NEW FITNESS GOAL
I never got around to making a pic of this one because I was crazy busy, but I did come up with one! Coming up with these is so hard for me because I just keep working at what I have been so here we go. (I wrote it down, but can't seem to find it. Here's to hoping I remember!)
1. Try the TRX Training!
2. Hit my goal weight (that's been a work in progress for like 3 years)
3. DON'T GET INJURED!
4. Start training (maybe even do) a Tri!

DAY 28: MAKE A DONATION




I gave $75 to my favorite local non-profit SAVA.

I truly wish this kind of organization wasn't even necessary and I pray for the day that it isn't. But, as long as people are hurting others, I am SO THANKFUL this resource is available.







I absolutely LOVED this program. In the second round, I was able to join the Elf 4 Health Facebook group. It was amazing. Every post was liked and given the most wonderfully, supportive comments. It's crazy because I feel like typically, women DO NOT support each other. But the group of women I "met" doing this are AMAZING. I felt like a lot of them understood me more than most of my "real world" friends.

I hope you'll join me next year!

~Jessica~

What do you do to help get through the holidays???

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What Christmas Means To Me

During our first service in church we had a component called "What Christmas Means To Me". Throughout the service we had 3 people (a child, a teenager, and a grandma) tell of what Christmas was like in their homes and what Christmas meant to them. As I sat there and listened to them tell their stories, it got me thinking.

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

  • Spending Christmas in Florence. All the cousins slept on the floor in Grandpa's Study. The boys would wake me up really early and have me go look at what Santa brought us, and come back and report. And I did it. Also, all of us going to Grandpa's church and sitting in the front row. :-) 
  • Going to Utah for Christmas one year. 
  • Going to see the lights on the City and County building after church. And having my cousin be VERY upset because he'd rather be home playing video games. (He shall remain nameless but we all know who he is haha) 
  • That wretched video recording of us singing 12 Days Of Christmas and showing not only how unintelligent I was, but how loud and out of tune I was with my "5 Golden Rings". Yikes. 
  • The year my grandpa got me a JTT calendar. Seriously best present. ever. 
  • The year I got one of those dolls where you have to get the diaper wet to find out if it's a boy or a girl. My grandpa performed a baptism on it. And prior to Christmas, my mom pulled me aside and asked me if I would mind if my doll was black. I told her no. 
  • The year we were moving like a week after Christmas. And everyone came to our house for Christmas (that was poor planning on someone's part) and there was an earthquake. In Colorado. 
  • Tying the sled to the back of the van and having my dad drive us around the neighborhood on Christmas morning. SO MUCH FUN
  • Playing "Santa". (This is what happens when you're the youngest. And you get stuck with the job every year)
  • Going to church on Christmas Eve. As I got older it was more like reunion night where I got to see all my old youth group friends, catch up, etc. Definitely one of my favorite nights of the year. 
  • Once I started driving, after church I would always drive by our old house and look at the lights in that neighborhood. 
  • Me getting up early and making breakfast for everyone. 
  • My brother playing with the hot wax on his candle and spilling it on my leg. 
  • The running joke of who is going to set their hair on fire. :) 


As I've gotten older, things have changed. Fewer of my friends came to Christmas Eve. My brother couldn't always make it home in time for church. Last year, he didn't get in until afterwards, my dad was super sick from the chemo he was going through and I ended up going to church all by myself. It was horrible.

This year things are a little different. And honestly, it doesn't even feel like Christmas to me. I have to work all week, for the first time EVER. I always get the week of Christmas off, but this year is different. So that is kind of weird. My brother and sister-in-law aren't able to come out until next week so we aren't even really celebrating Christmas until then. And now that I have a job at a church, I don't get to go to the church I grew up in on Christmas Eve. Which made me a little sad. I missed my friends and all those familiar faces I've known forever. On the flip side, it has been such a blessing to get to know this new church family. It's just very different. And the big part.... I miss my brother. :(

Tonight at church as I was standing in front of the congregation and we all had our candles in the air an we were singing Silent Night, tears came to my eyes for the old memories that I miss so much. But then I looked out and I saw all these people, a lot of them young adults who I've seen grow up over the last few years and that just warmed my heart.

After church, I drove back to my old neighborhood (because let's face it... I can't leave the past alone) and I was so sad at how none of the houses on my old street had Christmas lights up.

To me, Christmas is a day when we can just stop being so dang busy, be with our families and just relax. It's a day to think of how lucky we are and thank God for the wonderful things we have. I am so lucky to have all these wonderful memories of families and friends on Christmas Day. And though I may be a little sad tonight and not feel like it's really Christmas, I know when my family does celebrate it, we will have a wonderful time together.

May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.

~Jessica~

What is your favorite Christmas memory??

What is the best gift you've ever received/given??

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Elf 4 Health: Share Your Expertise

Some of you may know I've been participating in a program called Elf 4 Health. It's a 4 week program where we are matched up with another "elf" and have a challenge every day. We are in our last week and at the end I will be blogging about the whole experience. 

Today's challenge is to "Share Your Expertise". When I first read that I thought "expertise? I don't have an expertise" so as with most important decisions, I took to Facebook. I asked for ideas of what to write and I decided to write about all of them. 

Here was what I got in return: 

"Um, I think I heard somewhere that you TEACH kids. And you know about getting healthy. Need I go on?"

"So much! You know how to believe in yourself to do something, tenacity, ability to go to the gym when EVERY cell in your body wants to watch desperate housewives. You know how to deal with extreme tragedy and survive to see another day! You are a DAMN expert!!" 

"Pretzels... hip hop dancing are 2 just off the top of my head"

So here we go!

TEACHING




I've been teaching preschool for about 5 years now, and even still a lot of the time I don't feel like an "Expert". I kind of wonder if teachers EVER feel like an expert, mainly because every day is different. But I have people tell me how good I am at teaching, how I'm a natural and how it's something I was born to do. So I guess I'm doing SOMETHING right. So here are a few of the components in my teaching philospohy. 

  • EVERY child is different. What works with one, may not work with another. The key is to find what works with each child and do it. It may not be your particular style, but what's important is helping the child succeed. Step out of your own comfort zone to help a child. When you find out what makes a certain child tick, do research. Find ways to related to him or her. Seeing things from a different perspective can change your world as well as changing theirs. Being the first person to believe in them can be a rewarding experience for both you and the child. 
  • EVERY child deserves love. Kids these days are held to such high standards. It's important that each child feels loved and special. 
  • FOLLOW THROUGH! I CANNOT stress this enough. When you say you are going to do something, YOU MUST DO IT. A teacher/parent with no follow through will not be taken seriously and walked ALL OVER. It's hard, but you have to just tell yourself you are doing what is best for the child. 
  • BE IN THE MOMENT! When I was interviewing for my internship, I asked the interviewer's favorite part of her job. Her response was "being in the moment with the kids". There is not a day of my job that goes by that I do not think about that moment. Playing with the kids, watching them learn, not worrying about anything else is THE BEST. 
  • POSITIVE. It is SO easy to be negative. Don't do this. No. Stop that. it's SO EASY to do. So when you first walk into the classroom, make sure you walk around and say at least 3 positive things to the kids. It's a great way to start the day. 


I really could write an entire blog on teaching. But I'll stop there. 

GETTING HEALTHY


Honestly, it kind of makes me laugh when people say this because it's so surreal that I'm here. It feels like a dream because I think of how I used to be and it feels like another lifetime. I constantly have people ask me (and my mom) how I lost so much weight. The answer is simple. 

Eat less. Move more. 

The funny thing is this isn't a complicated concept. I always knew that was how to do it. But these days, everyone is looking for a quick fix. So I'll break it down for you. 


  • Track what you eat. This is probably the most important part. Write it down. EVERYTHING. Count the calories in it so you can figure out what kind of balance you have going on. A great resource:Fitbook
  • Figure out how many calories you are burning throughout the day. I swear by my Bodybugg.
  • Take your favorite recipes and find out how to make them healthy. There are so many resources out there! I'm obsessed with my Biggest Loser cookbook, Skinny Mom and Cooking Light. There are also awesome bloggers out there with great ideas! 
  • DO NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF. There will be times where all you want is chocolate. Have some freaking chocolate. 
  • DO NOT LOOK AT IT AS A DIET. It is one of my pet peeves when people ask me how my diet is going. It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle. If you look at it as a diet, when you go back to your old ways, you will gain back what you lost and possibly more. 
  • BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. You can do it. I promise. 
BELIEVING IN YOURSELF

I'm kinda surprised someone suggested this because I have days I don't believe in myself. At the beginning of my fitness journey, 2 things helped:

  1. I had a personal trainer who was expecting me to do certain things. I am a people pleaser to the core, always have been. And I really wanted her to be proud of me and not disappointed, so I went to the gym when I needed to. Did what she told me to. And before I knew it, I actually liked doing those things. 
  2. My journey was NOT a secret. I posted weekly pictures on Facebook and discussed the challenges and successes. Having all my friends and family members along for the ride and offering encouragement when I needed it and knowing that TONS of people were supporting me was an AMAZING help. 
Now the biggest part of believing in myself is doing A TON of self pep talks. "You can do this. Don't stop. You've got this" are things I tell myself almost every single day. I may not believe it, but I know if I don't say it, the negative thoughts will seep in. And we hate those. 

GOING TO THE GYM

If you knew me 5 years ago you would know I was (and still can be) THE BIGGEST EXCUSE MAKER. Knowing this about myself is why I picked 24 Hour Fitness. It's open ALL THE TIME and on my way home from work. There is no reason NOT to go. My previous gym closed at 8 which I would use as an excuse not to go. In the 3 years I've been going to 24 Hour I think I've been past 8:00.... once. So that excuse was stupid. 
If I don't go, I still pass it. There are times when I truly just can't-- yesterday was one of those days. But for the most part I just tell myself to suck it up and get my butt in there. 

SURVIVING AND THRIVING

Quick recap for newcomers: When I was 17 I was in a near fatal car accident where I broke my hip and developed bursitis, which was a HUGE hurdle in my fitness. I was overweight because it hurt to use my hip, but it hurt to move my hip because I was overweight. And somehow I told bursitis to take a hike! 

As someone who is EXTREMELY accident prone, it seems like I'm always getting hurt. I could easily just throw in the towel and give up. Except I'm a fighter. I always have been so quitting isn't really an option for me. The point is to just take it one day at a time, believing in yourself, and working toward your goals. And you will get there. It may take years, but you WILL get there. Just keep going. 

PRETZELS AND HIP HOP

This one cracked me up. Katy and I have an obsession with pretzels. They. Are. Amazing. (See: Don't deprive yourself) The best kind of pretzel is a fresh baked one with no salt, while you are watching the Rams dominate Air Force. 
Pretzel Advice:

  • Always enjoy with friends
  • Only eat when hot
  • ENJOY!


Hip Hop is a class I got into at the gym a couple years ago. I missed dancing and decided to do it and learned that I hated it. But I kept going and once I learned the dances and Katy started joining me, it became one of my favorite parts of the week. Hip Hop Advice:

  • Don't take yourself too seriously. Laughing is the best way to do it. A good ab workout too
  • Push yourself to reach that 500 calorie burn.
  • Don't look at yourself in the mirror if you are as white as I am. 
  • HAVE FUN!!!!!


So there you have it friends, my expertise at the recommendation of my friends. I hope you took something away from this one!

~Jessica~ 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Foodie Pen Pals

This month I was matched up with Arlette from New Orleans! I was really excited about this as New Orleans has a special place in my heart. My brother lived there for several years (that's where he met my lovely sister in law!) and we have some friends who live there still. I was able to go visit one summer and just loved it.

When Arlette and I e-mailed I knew it would be a good pairing. She was so sweet and promised a great box. And ohhhh boy, did she deliver! (no pun intended there haha)



In one of the e-mails we exchanged, she told me she knew what she was going to get me and was going to spoil me and she sure did! I made a joke about how much I love beignets and how they probably don't mail well and she sent me a box of beignet mix!!!! So excited to make those! Which I will when I have more than just myself to cook for. :)
 She also sent me A TON of cajun food which I'm totally excited to try. I honestly haven't had time to try any of this because I've been ridiculously busy and I want to share it with someone else. So if there are any takers.... :)

The cookies and fruit leather I'm saving. I'll probably pack the fruit leather in a lunch next week. And I love it because it reminds me of my childhood, which I've really been missing lately.


She wrote me the sweetest card and included it in the box and said to let her know if I'm ever in New Orleans again. I definitely will. It would be great to meet her and personally thank her for this wonderful box. And maybe go get a beignet together! :) 

I'll have to write another blog when I try all this delicious food! 

Wanna be a part of Foodie Pen Pals? Go to theleangreenbean.com 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

~Jessica~

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gymspiration, where have you gone? I miss you.

This blog is gonna be a quick one. I really want to go to bed. :)

I'm not really sure where to start. Back in March/April (it's been so long I've actually forgotten when it actually happened) I hurt my knee and my workout regimen got put on hold. In one way I kind of saw this as a blessing in disguise as I had just worked out A TON and really hard, trying to meet a goal and to be honest, I was burned out on the gym. I was ready for a break. But I was not happy about being injured. My doctor said I could go to the gym and start going on the bike 1 minute and increase a minute every day. Which I did for about a week and then decided I was over it. Didn't wanna go to the gym, change, and then go ride the bike for 3 minutes. Seemed dumb. Then my knee slowly got better and after a while my doctor said I could go back to the gym and start with the stairs. I hate stairs. So I didn't go. Could I have been going the whole time and do upper body? Yep. But I made excuses, because I'm good at that. And it just made me sad that I couldn't do it all.

My knee recovery was VERY slow. I tried to go back to Hip Hop and Aqua Boot Camp before my knee was ready and I paid for that. My biggest fear through this whole injury was that without working out, I would gain weight. And when that didn't really happen, I was kind of shocked. I had figured out a way to maintain my weight without working out. Now, I wasn't at my goal weight, but I wasn't far from it and as time went on I put on a few pounds, but I was still in the range I'm in while working out so I didn't worry about it too much. I figured when I got back to it, I'd take care of that fast.

And in the last few months slowly but surely I've lost control of how things were. Have I been working out? Off and on. I started doing Pure Barre which was my biggest focus, but that's frustrating because it's not a cardio workout which is essential for weight loss. Between working 2 jobs now, my full time job being switched up a little bit and having my work load be INSANE leading to me being stressed outta my mind and constantly EXHAUSTED, at the end of the day, do I really want to go work out? Nope.  I used to eat a perfectly portioned bowl of cereal for breakfast every morning before heading off to work. Now I have to be at work earlier, which leaves little time and so I've just been eating at work. Mistake number 1. I used to pack my lunch every day. I've been just eating with the kids. Mistake number 2.

And the biggest mistake.... I've been doing A TON of stress eating lately.... and stress eating is NEVER good healthy food choices. So there's that.

Last Saturday I decided it was time to light a fire and get back so I decided to do my intense leg workout (one that I haven't done since I got hurt, and even at my peak it was challenging). I was afraid to do it due to my knee but I paced myself.... and IT. WAS. HARD. I almost gave up in the middle of it too. There was a ton of pep talking. I had to convince myself that I could do it. And I was so proud of myself. Unfortunately, I was sore (abs, legs, butt, ALL OF IT) to the point I could barely move.... for the next 4 DAYS!!!!! So while I should have gone to work out after work, I told myself I couldn't even move, so I had to go home.

Yesterday i went for a run before I went to Pure Barre. Today I decided I was going to go to the gym and run for cardio and then do a muscle group. Now last week, I worked 70 hours. I'm still not totally recovered from that. I'm still exhausted beyond belief. I went and ran. And during my cool down, I looked through my fitbook at possible workouts and in my head I heard the same thing for all of them. "NO. I don't want to do that. That's hard!"

I weigh myself weekly. It's not a big deal to me, it's mostly just to see, to make sure I stay on track. This morning when I weighed myself it was like a slap in the face. I had gained about 3 pounds in the last 2 weeks. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but it shot me into the next 10s digit. I told myself, "maybe now is the time to hire that trainer." Right before I got hurt, I told one of the trainers at my gym that I was going to hire him for my birthday. Then I put it off because I was hurt, then I kinda quit working out. A part of me feels like i need that accountability. So my goal tonight was to go talk to him. Didn't see him. I actually don't think he even works there anymore. I digress.

So between the weigh in (which didn't make my day a very happy one) and my negative self talk and being exhausted, before I left the gym I knew something needed to change. So I texted my old trainer. I decided to get her opinion on things before I hired someone else.

And here's how it went
Me: (Not really knowing what to say so here's what I went with) Okay so.... basically I suck. I feel myself slipping into old habits and I let that dumb injury become my biggest excuse for everything. So here's your chance to beat me over the head tell me what an idiot I am, tell me to get on the stairs and do sprints. (But really, just motivate me to not suck at life anymore).
Trainer: I think you are starting to motivate yourself!!!! Everyone has lulls in their gym motivation and everyone has moments of needing to remember why they started working out in the first place. So.... Why did you buy those first sessions with me? What thought/desire got you in the door the day of your free session? What standards are you holding yourself to?  Remember it's you against you. No one else will make you get to the gym and eat healthy. No one else will give you motivation. It's your responsibility.

Okay, so despite the fact that tears welled up upon reading that, this is why I love her. She knows how to say just what I need to hear, but not yell at me. And she got me thinking.... So here's what I've come up with.

Why did I start working out in the first place?
        I initially joined 24 hour to start training for a triathlon. My ultimate goal. Still haven't made it                 there. I was in talks with Team In Training when I got hurt. BUMMER.
Why did I buy those first sessions?
         I NEVER even CONSIDERED personal training. But for some reason I was intrigued when                they mentioned the intro package. I figured I might as well just give it a shot.
What got me in the door that day of my free session?
          Well at that point I think I'd paid for the into package so the money was a factor, but also the fact           that someone was expecting me helped. That was a big factor in my success in the beginning. It              wasn't just me. Someone else would notice if I wasn't' doing the work and they would be                       disappointed in me. And I didn't want that.
What standards am I holding myself to?
           I honestly don't even know the answer to this one. My biggest thing is that I am so afraid of                    letting people down and I know a lot of people look up to me, see me as inspiring and                            motivating and when it comes to situations like I'm in now.... I feel kind of like a fake.

So now I must set some goals for myself. I need to start tracking my food again (that's my biggest enemy) and actually getting my butt to the gym and getting in those workouts. Yea, my life is busy but I need to just figure it out. So bear with me as I figure this out.

I will get back to where I was. If for no other reason but the fact that I hate feeling this way. And I deserve better than that.

Here goes nothing.....

~Jessica!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Getting Caught Up on 5Ks

Remember waaaay back in April when I hurt my knee? What was the most devastating thing about this injury? It was just the beginning of racing season and I was going to miss it. Well, I decided in August that I needed to get back in the game.

So I signed up for The Run For One 5K for September 7. This is one I did last year (Run For One 2012) and if you recall, was NOT easy. So naturally, why not do it again??? Especially when you've been injured. Yep, GREAT idea.

Well let me tell you, this race was R-O-U-G-H      ROUGH! I ended up walking about half of it. My body was just not up to par.... and those hills were pretty hard on me. But I did have a few pivotal points in it...

Fueling up before the race
Most of my pivotal points had to do with the music I was listening to. Anyone who knows me knows that music is basically the center of my life. It inspires me and I almost feel like it's my therapist. The words that other people say somehow speaks to my heart and are the words I can never seem to find. 

The night before I'd made my 5k playlist and put it on shuffle. 

1. Best I Ever Had--- Gavin DeGraw    I LOVE THIS SONG. I didn't even think to put it on my playlist until the night before. I had to run an errand real fast, so I jumped in the car and it came on and I thought "This would be a GREAT running song!!!" and that it was. It was a great song to get me started up hill # 1. 

My parents were at the first water station and I gotta say, I was slightly frustrated. The water station was at the top of a gnarly hill. I got up there, mainly gasping for air as I watched what I thought was everyone else at the race ahead of me. All I wanted was water.... and as I had seen my parents hand water to everyone else, i had to grab my own as they were too busy trying to figure out the cameras for photo session #1. 

Seriously thought I was dying


























I have to be thankful that I had my parents there to take the pictures, but I thought it could be at least a little more candid. Oh well. ;-) I drank my water and was off..... slowly but surely. Up more hills.....

My body was giving out. I wondered why I even attempted it. And in the midst of this.....

NOTHING EVER HAPPENS by Rachel Platten came on. This is one of my favorite songs because it reminds me that I need to live. The main point of the song is that nothing ever happens if you just sit down and let life pass you by. And with that song, I kicked it up a notch. Started running a bit, passed a couple people, and kept it going. Shortly after HEART STARTS by Matt Nathanson came on. Another great one- one of those songs I mentioned earlier that speaks what's on my heart when I can't even come up with the words.

I had another moment where I just felt like it would never be over, like I couldn't do it. And then Pink's "Slut Like You" came on. Not a super inspiring song, but a fun song that makes me laugh and smile and think of a friend who has done multiple marathons. It was the perfect inspirational song to get me going again.

Shortly after that, Roar by Katy Perry came on and it came on right as the course is starting to go downhill a little bit. It was perfect.

A friend recommended Paris (Ooh La La) by Grace Potter and that came on afterwards. I love putting on songs that other people recommend. It makes me think of them as I'm running and makes me smile and pushes me because I want them to be proud of me.

The race ended with Brave by Sara Bareilles which has been an anthem for my life since it first came out and was very metaphorical for this race. My official race time was 40:00 and that was a mixture of walking and running. Which later baffled me when I learned that my race time the year before was 40:05 with about 98% running.... so that doesn't make sense.

Post Race 

YAY I DID IT!!! :) 
Hanging with Daddy after the race :) 
Family Friends who put on the race.

SEPTEMBER 22--- SECOND WIND 5K

I don't think I've mentioned this on this blog but since I posted last, I got a new job! Remember in my last post I talked about the mission trip? I am now the youth director of that group! Yep, I now work 2 jobs (6 days a week... i'm nuts). But when I was starting to plan the calendar, I was made aware of a 5K called Second Wind. It's proceeds go toward counseling for teens who are at risk for suicide. So, GREAT cause. Would be a great event to do to create awareness, do good in the community and promote fitness. FANTASTIC. Sounded great.... in theory...

Logistically, not so much. It was on a Sunday around noon so it was HOT, we had to rush out of church, eat on the way (and we chose McDonald's which probably wasn't the best idea) and it had the most (and steepest) hills I'd seen since San Fransisco. Seriously, WHAT IS WITH ALL THE HILLS?! But I was in it with my youth. Oh yea.... and I had a wedding to go to that evening. 

Before the race. My first shoe chip! 
This race was even harder than the first and I think I walked AT LEAST half of it. I finally just quit caring and was just overwhelmed by the freaking hills. At one point, I even just stopped to take this picture of the scenery.
Beautiful Colorado
My official race time for this one was 39:12.95.... How do I explain the shorter time when I did more walking?? I got nothin.....
Seriously.... I hate hills.




When all was said and done and everyone from our group was finished, we got some free food (totally didn't know THAT was happening) and then we went to get FroYo to celebrate. I was SO PROUD of these kids for doing the race. 

Kelsey and I were totally stoked for some free food. Even if it was cold

Melanee, Kelsey, Bailey, Me, Casey (in back), Rhys, Clark and Tom
This was my first experience running a race with other people and it made me kinda nervous. I never know if I'm supposed to run with them, just do my own thing and meet up at the end. We ended up just going our own paces. It turned out that Tom and I were about the same so we mostly hung out together, passed each other numerous times but it worked out just great. And we were there to motivate each other at the end. 

After this one I told myself I was finished with 5ks. I always think they're such a good idea.... and then I'm running them and realize I hate running. And it's not fun. And they have hills. And they're HARD...


And then somehow I got wind of the CSU Homecoming 5k. 


Now.... anyone who knows me knows what a huge CSU fan I am. 

Back in 2005 (yep, that was 8 years ago) my college roommate SOMEHOW talked me into doing the Homecoming 5K. Now this was back in the time where I was NOT an active person whatsoever. Mostly due to my hip that I had broken in 2002 that was still causing me TONS of pain at the time. She convinced me to just walk it. So I did. I remember at one point she told me to run and I looked at her like she was nuts. I literally COULD NOT run. Just walking.... halfway through my hip started hurting and i limped the rest of the way. I have no documentation of that race. No pictures, no race time, NOTHING. I still have my shirt and there have been many times I've thought back on that race and on the one hand I feel ashamed that I ever was at that place, but also SO proud of how far I've come. *Note: the broken hip thing wasn't my fault, but the many years of a sedentary lifestyle were* 

So, I started looking into the Homecoming 5K and I saw one word that made me decide to do it: "FLAT"

No Hills? LET'S DO IT!!!! I talked my friend Katy into doing it with me and I was excited. 

As time progressed, I thought more and more about the time I tried it 8 years ago, how hard it was on me both physically and emotionally... and i knew that this one was going to be pivotal in my fitness journey. This would be my test. And I thought there was a good chance I may cry at the end. 

I had such great plans in prepping for this race the week leading up to it. Monday I was going to go to the gym and do an intense workout with some running.... Had a wretched migraine all day. Wednesday I was going to go run before hip hop. Headache and almost didn't even go to hip hop. So there goes that idea.... But I told myself I'd give it my all. 

We got up early and headed over to campus. That was the other great thing about this race, it was on my college campus. Which is just beautiful, especially this time of year. 
Me and Katy pre-race
The race started on the Oval, looped around and then went by the plaza, up the street past Corbett/Parmelee, cut over by the rec center, past Moby, down Shields a bit until you hit Ingersoll, then back towards campus, passing Summit, Academic Village (formerly Ellis), back over past the health center, then another loop through the oval. It was so interesting because running through it was just like I was running through my college years. The memories all came flooding... the good ones and the bad ones. 

Katy is a little faster than I am, so she went at her own pace (which I was totally glad she did!) and we met up at the finish line. There was a lot of pep talking in this race. There were moments where I wanted to walk but I told myself not to. To just keep going, and keep going is what I did. What did that result in? Absolutely NO walking. And as I was doing my second loop around the oval and nearing the finish line something in me said "Jessica, you've got this. Just go." so what did I do? That's right? I SPRINTED to the finish line. I must have passed at least 5 people. And it was the absolute best feeling in the world. I was so proud of myself for running the whole thing. I ran the same course that just 8 years ago I couldn't even walk. If that doesn't show how far I've come, I just don't know what will. 

There were no tears at the end, but just an overwhelming sense of pride. When I crossed the finish line I saw Katy there, waiting for me. It was fantastic. 

Imagine Dragons is mostly what got me through this race. One song in particular was "I'm On Top Of The World" which played as I was making my way back to the oval and I thought yep this is pretty accurate. 

Official race times were JUST posted and mine was 35:39.The fastest I've EVER run a 5K. And when I saw that clock I couldn't believe my eyes. I have NEVER been this proud of myself. Persistence my friends. And it doesn't end here. It just makes me wonder where I will be in the future that I will look back on this day and see how far I've come from THIS moment. 

It's getting pretty cold out here in Colorado, so I'm hanging up my racing shoes until next season. Let's see how much better I can get in the next year... And maybe, just maybe, I won't get hurt. :) 

~Jessica~