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~