Happy Thursday!

No time for a big post today, but I’d like to wish everyone a happy Thursday!

Stay strong – the weekend is almost here! We can do this 🙂

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The Top 3 Things They Don’t Tell You About Losing 100+ Lbs

As you can probably tell by my blog header, I’ve lost a good amount of weight. From 2004-2009, I lost more than 100 lbs and have kept it off since then, naturally. I’ve blogged about this a little bit before, but today I want to talk about the things that they don’t mention in those weight loss stories you read about. Because even though I lost a whole bunch of weight, I’ve been faced with a whole new set of problems that I never expected as a result.

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3. You’ll lose weight in places you’d least expect.

Did you know that you can lose weight in your feet? Yeah. Neither did I.

Back in college (when I was at my heaviest), I was a shoe hound. Full on Carrie-Bradshaw-style, spend-your-rent-on-shoes addicted. Because one indulgence I could depend on when shopping – after getting upset that nothing fit or looked good, of course – was that a cute pair of shoes always fit!  But after losing the weight, suddenly all of my shoes were way too big. It pained me to donate the strappy black “date night” sandals that had carried me in and out of a number of bars, restaurants, and parties. I shed a tear when I finally retired the sleek peep toe pumps I rocked while interning with the NJ Devils Marketing Team… But they were all simply too big. All told, I went from a size 10 to a size 8.5!

2. You’ll learn a lot about biology.

Sure. When I was bigger I knew what body parts were what, I just wasn’t pleased with any of them. And I knew that they “recommended” we take in 2,000 calories a day. But what the hell did I know about how many calories were in the chicken parm at the diner? Pfft.

Once I started to lose weight, though, it was like there was a whole world of biology and math that I never knew existed. A lot of it is common sense, but we didn’t talk about food issues and weight when I was growing up, and they didn’t teach this stuff in school! By working at a gym with knowledgeable trainers and group fitness instructors, I discovered what triceps were and how heart rate affects weight loss. By collaborating with a nutritionist, I learned how many calories I should eat on days I work out vs. when I’m not training, and the importance of protein in muscle recovery.

I certainly didn’t become a fountain of fitness knowledge, but I definitely picked up a bunch of healthy tips and tricks that I still call on from time to time, which I think is pretty cool!

2003 2

1. Your relationships will change.

College was when I was at my heaviest. As I navigated the social waters and made new friends, I often connected with other not-stick-thin gals like me. In each new social circle I joined, there were girls in all shapes and sizes, but there was always someone to bond with over balancing our mutual love of the dining hall buffet with our desire to be thin. But then one night after (I lost most of the weight), I met up with a handful of college friends that I hadn’t seen since before the weight loss. At one point after the gang ordered another round of appetizers, I turned the plate down, saying something about not wanting to go overboard. That’s when one friend replied sarcastically, “Oh please, the skinny bitch needs to watch her weight!” And everyone had a good laugh. 

I was shocked: I know she meant it jokingly, but the way she said it made me feel like she viewed me as a traitor for losing weight! I never expected someone’s opinion of me to shift so drastically, especially since I was still so new to the whole weight loss thing. I was trying to figure out what it meant to have this new body while working through some lingering food issues, but these folks didn’t see that. They just saw the weight loss. To the people who didn’t really know me very well, I didn’t look like the same girl – so I wasn’t treated like her anymore.

2004

These are all just my own experiences – I’m sure that others in similar situations have their own discoveries too, but that’s what fascinates me. The changes I’ve gone through by going from a size 22/24 to a size 8/10 in 4 years affected a lot more than my closet, and I’m interested in exploring all of them!

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how hard it is to balance things out without feeling like I’m stuck in an endlessly repeating loop.

giphyKind of like my friend the gray rat there..

In the past when a big race loomed on the horizon, I would get so focused on The Plan (with a capital P) that by week 10 I felt like a zombie. I’d spend most of the last few weeks wishing the monotony was over, plodding through each workout while repeating the faithful mantra “trust your training”.

duhFat lot of good that did me through endless treadmill miles.

I went from being excited to dreading those workouts, and if we’re being honest here, that kind of defeats the purpose of running, right?

So once my big spring races were done back in April, I scaled back my weekly mileage and looked for other ways to get my fitness kicks. And wouldn’t you know it, my running endurance has improved overall a result!

obvs I maintained a lower base mileage per week, kept my long runs to 5-6 miles on the weekend, and found that I looked forward to weekends because I could fit even more fitness-y type fun things in my day! On days when my knees and my heart just didn’t feel like running, I started doing stuff like yoga and walking (who knew?!). I biked more, both down the park on my trusty two wheeler and on my DeskCycle at the office.

IMG_5516Seriously, 18 miles while working? A few times a week? Hello, leg muscles!

As a result, the past few runs and smaller races I’ve done in May and June have been immensely better than my training runs and races in March and April. I go out strong and don’t waver after 10 minutes like I used to. My pace is consistently improving, even if by a few seconds. I feel stronger, more confident, and less anxious about race day in general. I’m also a few lbs lighter, which never hurts! Hell – yesterday I caught myself jogging up the spiral staircase at my office – I’ve never done that in the 2+ years I’ve been here!

hyperApologies to my coworkers for my new found energy.

I’ve got a 10K race coming up this Saturday and while I haven’t actually used a Plan with a capital P to prep for this race, I’m 100% fine with that. I’m trusting my training, even though it doesn’t fit into a rigid schedule and add up to a certain amount of miles per week. Sure, I’ll probably feel like dying halfway up those Central Park hills, but I look forward to it! Instead of “trusting my training”, this go-round I’m “embracing the journey” and look forward to smiling through all 6.2 miles.

How about you – have you ever just thrown “The Plan” out the window and gone for it? How did your race turn out? Want to race up the spiral staircase with me? 🙂

Everything’s Better at the Beach

This weekend the hubby and I made our 9th annual trip down to Long Beach Island, NJ, for a few nights of relaxation, seafood, claw games, and fun – and even though it rained for most of the time, we still had one of our best trips yet!

We arrived in the early afternoon on Friday to a brisk 59 degrees and a light on-and-off drizzle, but we made the best of things by hanging out at Ron Jon’s Surf Shop and heading out to one of our favorite low-key restaurants before taking over the arcade for shoot-em-up video games, skee-ball, Donkey Kong, and claw machines!

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I won little Grumpy Cat on the first try!

The next day I woke up and decided to go for a run. I tried something different and took a gel (peanut butter flavored, my new fave!) about 20 minutes before I hit the pavement instead of during the run, and I think I’ve finally cracked the fueling code! It made a huge positive difference in my run and I look forward to trying it out at the Oakley Mini 10K this weekend.

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It was a perfect 55-ish and still drizzly but not enough to stop me – I took off down one of the super-long, super-straight roads that go the entire length of the island and fell into a rhythm almost immediately. See the runner in the dark blue shirt and shorts in the distance on the left up there? I kept her about that far away from me for the first mile and found that her 11:15/mile pace was almost effortless for me! That was a huge shock, especially after all the wine (and ice cream!) I had the night before – hey, it’s vacation, I don’t deny myself the yummy stuff!

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I set out with the goal of doing 5 miles, so I planned on going out 2.5 then heading back. LBI is my favorite “destination running” spots because the roads are as flat as you can possibly get and the area is so runner/biker/fitness-friendly that you can’t help but want to get out there with your people as often as possible. Even in the miserable weather, the 2-3 other runners and bikers that passed by gave me big waves and hearty “Good morning!”‘s – I swear if it weren’t for our jobs, we’d move down there in a heartbeat!

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Everything’s alright down the shore – even a run in the rain 🙂

Suddenly around mile 1.5, the skies opened up and unleashed a full-on monsoon! My unwitting pacer slowed down slightly but I kept pace – I hate passing people then seeing them pass me when I inevitably slow down later! So for about 10 minutes we ran through the rain, me about 15 feet behind her and both of us wiping buckets of water away from our eyes every few feet. I was drenched in seconds, but I can’t lie – I felt pretty badass 😉

I briefly considered turning around at mile 2 and calling it at 4 miles, but persisted. After 10 minutes, the soaking rain started to taper and my pacer slowed to a walk. That’s when I decided to keep going for my 2.5 miles and passed her, thanking her for pacing me as I did, to which she smiled widely and said “No problem!” I love that island.

From there I stayed steady for the next half mile and finally turned around at around mile 2.5, seeing that my pacer had vanished. I briefly worried that I would slow down without her, but I did just fine! At mile 3.5 I stopped briefly to adjust my BioSkin (both the brace and my capris were completely soaked through so a little slippage was expected!), and  the wet weather did cause my ACL to ache in general. But other than that I felt great all the way through mile 5 as I stopped right at our hotel and discovered what an absolutely stunning time I had posted!

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Seriously, I haven’t seen consistent, effortless numbers like that since before my ACL surgery, so this was a serious breakthrough. I haven’t been logging as many pavement miles as I feel like I should be, but my knees need a break and the DeskCycle is evidently keeping my endurance up quite nicely! The only negative part about this run though? The completely solid, knotty rat’s nest that was my ponytail after an hour in the wind and rain:

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Ouch!

After 20 minutes of conditioner and painful combing, I managed to tame my mane and we headed out to the local Wine Festival, conveniently being held right down the road! I swear I didn’t plan it like that, it was just a happy coincidence!
IMG_6016The next day (yesterday), I woke up early and took off for a quick, watchless 2-miler to wake up and stretch out – the hotel bed was absolute murder on my back. I also wanted to keep up the momentum from Saturday’s run, and had a great time! While I don’t think I was as fast (I can’t be sure), the beautiful sunny weather and gorgeous scenery made it perfect. After we packed up the car, we ended our vacay with a walk on the beach and the most perfect ice bath ever:

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As I stood there letting the water freeze up my toes, I looked out at the waves and breathed in deeply a few times. Things have been a little hectic lately; and without getting into too much detail, I got a bit of a wake up call a few weeks ago and realized that I had to refocus and re-prioritize what’s really important to me.

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It’s a hard lesson to learn (especially when you’re a stubborn Polack like me) but this weekend was just what I needed, and those few moments of peace were the cherry on top. And as if I needed any more proof that was the case, a little waterlogged ladybug landed on my toe in the water as I stood there!

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Don’t worry – I saved him and left him on a wooden dune fence to finish drying out 🙂

So that was my weekend – how was yours? Did you have any running adventures, or do you have any planned in the future? How do you find a proper balance between life, work, and family? Have you ever experienced the ponytail from hell after a messy run like that? Tell me everything!

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Monday Motivation. On a Tuesday.

Back when I started my fitness journey in 2004, I had a big crush on Joaquin Phoenix. I technically still do, actually. 🙂 And despite the negative reviews and cheesy premise, I really enjoyed the movie The Village and watched it pretty much weekly on DVD. I especially liked Bryce Dallas Howard in the film – she was spunky and fun and… well, she got to kiss Joaquin Phoenix and that was cause enough to be jealous if you asked me!

She stood out for another reason though, too: she wasn’t stick thin. In publicity photos she looked like a normal sized woman, with some hips and curves and freckles and all. And at 270+ lbs, that gave me hope. With hard work, maybe I’d get to “normal woman” status myself. I’d watch the DVD and read every interview she did, and found even more inspiration.

You see, in one interview, Bryce was asked something like “How do you get in character, how do you get the job done?” And she simply replied, “Get out of your own way. Forget about yourself.”

11374500_1396725907323335_330485219_nThat really struck a chord with me. Even though she didn’t mean it in terms of fitness or working out, those simple words really boiled down to the perfect mantra. So I wrote it down on a post-it note and Bryce became my spirit animal. Every time I wanted to quit – when I was too tired from exams or work to drag myself to the gym at 9pm, when I told myself I could skip that day’s workout, I realized that I was the only one standing in my own way. I had to forget about myself and just do it.

So every day I’d get up and see this quote on my mirror and I’d move out of my own way. I moved every day and kept moving. And no matter where I go, that post-it has been on every mirror I’ve owned for the past 11 years.

Today, I challenge you to get out of your own way and get something done – forget about yourself and just do it! Who knows: you might surprise yourself.

The First 10 Minutes of Every Workout

Confession time: the first 10 minutes of every workout I do – running, strength training, cross training, you name it – are sheer hell. I spend the whole time just going through the motions while one long “UUGGGHH” drones on silently in my head. It takes a good 10-15 minutes before I’m feeling the burn, sweating it out, and reaping the benefits of the whole fitness thing.

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This is especially the case when I work out in the mornings. I simply cannot drag myself out of bed, get warmed up and get an efficient workout in less than like 2 hours, and I’m not losing 2+ hours of sleep if I don’t have to, dammit. By the time I get in a groove, I need to start cooling down, showering, and getting ready for my day. First world problems, I  know.

Having said that, I keep trying to fight the system by waking up early for a morning run every now and then. And while these runs are always technical successes in that they are runs that take place in the morning, I can still safely say that I hate morning workouts.

IMG_5303Every time I try to run before work, I only manage to get about a half hour (or 2.5 miles) in before the morning routine has to start, and then I’m exhausted for the rest of the day. Sure, it feels good knowing my workout is done, but the pros don’t really outweigh the cons there.

IMG_5314But of course that sunrise was really something to see, and I would have missed that if I slept in.

I know what my problem is: I need to build it into my schedule just like everything else to make it a habit. Once my body realizes this is the norm with more frequent sessions, it won’t be so bad. But until then, I’ll tough it out and try to enjoy myself.

IMG_5302I also battled the “first 10 minute scourge” this weekend when I did my favorite HIIT workout in the living room Saturday morning.

IMG_5328Back when I first started working out in 2004, I relied heavily on group fitness classes to stay motivated. Looking back, I’m like 90% sure the strict start times and “follow me exactly” routines were the sole reason that I was so successful back then. Working out on your own time, by your own rules, and doing your own made up routine? It’s really hard to stay focused. Especially when you’ve got a nosy cat and a husband watching Bob’s Burgers and laughing in the next room.

IMG_5332I would do one set and get distracted by the mailman or the cat or my own short attention span, but I finally managed to  struggle through the full 40-or so minutes (burpees included)! The humidity outside was a real killer, but I felt nice and accomplished afterwards – even if my legs and glutes were screaming for mercy.

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And that’s the happy, sweaty truth I have to keep reminding myself of: even though the first 10 minutes of every workout suck a pretty big windbag, the last 10 minutes are probably the most rewarding and blissful moments of my day. And SO worth fighting through that wall to get to 🙂

How about you? Do you suffer from the same affliction? How do you conquer the first 10 minutes?

Martinis, Flowers, & Ron Burgundy: My Week in Pictures

Instead of boring you with a wordy post about my week in running and fitness fun, let’s review the week in pictures! On a really gorgeous Saturday last week, I ran 5 miles in a Skirt Sports skirt (the Happy Girl):

IMG_5044I even figured out how to use the timer on my phone, too!

IMG_5064It was a perfect running day: warm but not too hot, gentle breeze – I wish every day could be like that!

IMG_5047Later in the week I continued my daily strength training (no pics for that, sorry – it’s kind of weird being the girl taking selfies with your coworkers in your office gym). But I also did some non-gym healthy things, like eat some big-ass strawberries every day for dessert:

IMG_5110I also went upside down and continued my Runners Yoga program.

IMG_5113And because life is all about balance, I had an amazing hibiscus martini at the Cheesecake Factory for date night:

IMG_5125Saturday I met up with some friends – one is training for her first 5K in the fall! – and the other brought his pup, Pepper, to keep us company.

IMG_5153Isn’t she the cutest running partner ever?! Although the weather was something out of a Stephen King novel: light drizzle, whipping wind, and the temps fought to break 50 degrees.

IMG_5155After we parted ways at 3.5 miles, I went out for a full-on sprint mile alone to feel the burn without music, which is a new thing for me. It was oddly calming to focus only on my feet hitting the pavement and the crashing waves right next to me.

IMG_5167And of course I had to get a timer shot to show off my new leopard-print capris (!!!). When I got home I discovered that our neighbor’s tree threw up pink flowers all over the place, but it’s OK – it makes some pretty pictures:

IMG_5182 Sunday I had Mike drive me 5 miles away at around 8:30, and the weather was brutal. It started off at 80% humidity (UGH) and about 75 degrees. I only brought a tiny water bottle with me and blew through it by mile 2.5, but now I know: always wear the water backpack! Once I got going, the sun came out and it turned into an absolutely gorgeous (albeit HOT) day.

IMG_5200I made it 5 miles to my parent’s house where I called Mike for a ride home. Bless his heart for being my running chauffeur – that sun was cranking up the temps to 80+! Which meant it was not a good day for capri’s. Oh well – live and learn!

IMG_5211The rest of the day was super busy: we split up Mother’s Day by taking his mama out to her favorite Chinese buffet (OHH the delicious carb-filled goodness!) at noon, and later I took my mom out for a jaunt around the Keyport waterfront flea market (after nixing our plans for a Long Branch trip due to the heat), then we got salads and BS’d for an hour at her favorite diner. It was one of those perfect days where everything flows so nicely, but I was most certainly ready for bed before the sun went down!

Which brings us to Monday, when this little cutie became my spirit animal:

oopsSee, what had happened was…. I spotted a Mother’s Day coupon code for the AC Half Marathon in October and couldn’t pass up a great deal! The prices are only going to get higher, and after looking at the courses and start times of a handful of other races that month, I finally decided to pull the trigger.

acI just had to. This is the course where I tore my ACL, returned to set my current half PR, and where I’m sure I’ll set a new one. There’ll always be a special place in my heart for this race. Also: my mom is a penny slot queen and manages to score us a free room the night before the race, meaning all I have to do on race day is simply roll out of bed, make my in-room coffee, and saunter down to the starting line literally steps from the door. If you ask me, that beats waking up at 3:30AM for a 6:45AM start in NYC or PA any day.

yaasssBut it’s also kind of funny, because I went from saying I enjoyed my empty race calendar to booking two pretty major events within like 4 days.

Boy-That-Escalated-Quickly-AnchormanAnd that’s my week in pictures! How’s your week been?

Real Women Move: Spread the Love!

Happy May everyone! Or since it’s already 5/4, I should say: May the 4th Be With You! 🙂

This month, Skirt Sports is rolling out a new campaign that falls neatly in line with their already-awesome theme of empowering women to achieve their fitness goals, whatever they may be. It’s called Real Women Move, and I’m super stoked to be a part of it. They’re giving back to the fitness community in 2 ways: by creating and using the hashtag #RealWomenMove, they’re spreading the message that you can overcome whatever obstacles that get thrown in your path and make fitness a priority. Check it out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook too! CaptureThe second part of this initiative focuses on physically making a difference in the lives of fitness-focused ladies. For every 5,000 hashtags, Skirt Sports will donate a Get Started Scholarship to a woman who is actively working to break her own barriers in running and fitness, which includes a free Skirt Sports top, bra, bottom, hat, socks, and a free entry to your first 5K! It’s an awesome program – and one that made me wish it was around when I first started running, too!

You see, back in 2004 as I was just embarking on my own fitness journey, I saw runners as the pinnacle of fitness. I was never good at running, even in school when we’d have to run the mile! If I put as much effort into running the damn mile as I did figuring out excuses to not run the mile, I swear I would have been a world-class sprinter by age 15.

I’d shlump into my gym in my baggy workout gear and take shelter near the elliptical machines and bikes, or scoot into the group fitness room for dance classes, kickboxing, weight lifting – basically I’d do everything but run. I was intimidated and easily defeated. Every time I tried to run, I would tire after only a minute or two and get increasingly frustrated.

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Fast-forward to around 2006 when I started making friends with the group fitness instructors at my gym. Some of them were the intimidating, buff-and-blustery types, sure. But many of these chicas were just normal people ranging in age from their 20’s to their 50’s, with real bodies… and real athletic abilities! It was then that I started to realize: I don’t have to be super-chiseled to do the things that I want to do! These ladies were confident, encouraging, and most of all: inspiring. And while I envied the physical bodies of those super-fit folks, I gravitated more towards the positivity that those “Real Women” were spreading! That made a huge difference in the way I viewed fitness, and ultimately helped me adopt a more healthy lifestyle. Once I realized it wasn’t about how I looked or what I couldn’t do, I took up running and realized it was all about what I could do. And the rest is history!

Now, to help motivate and inspire others to focus on their own fitness journey, I invite you to take part in this campaign in two ways:

  1. Snap a pic of yourself breaking down walls and keeping the focus on fitness, and tag it with #RealWomenMove – let’s spread that positivity!
  2. If you or someone you know deserves to win a Get Started Scholarship, share your story or nominate a friend here!

If you’re ever in need of a pick me up or a motivation boost, I’m telling you – lace up your sneakers and search for the “RealWomenMove” hashtag, because there are some seriously inspirational people out there, you just need to know where to find them. And SkirtSports has brought them all together!

Protein Pancake Recipe

It’s been a while since my last recipe post – probably because training took over my life and I was seriously neglecting the kitchen! But now that things have settled down and I’ve got some extra time on my hands, last night I finally tried out a recipe I’ve been flirting with for months: Protein Pancakes. And it was a mild success! I say “mild” because they weren’t pancakes as much as they were… super-thin, super-soft cookies?… but they were delicious either way and I can’t wait to perfect them!

pancakesProtein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • splashes of water to get the desired consistency
  • sugar-free syrup (optional)

*This recipe makes two servings, so cut in half if you’re just cooking for one.

Directions:

Heat up a non-stick skillet and coat with butter.

In a mixing bowl, combine the powder, eggs, and a splash of water to start the batter. Keep stirring gently to break up any lumps and thin it out. I had to add one or two more splashes of water (I’m sorry I didn’t measure it!) to get the batter pliable enough to pour, but it was easy enough to eyeball and see when it was right.

Note: Not all protein powders are created equal! I used Adaptogen Science Tasty Whey in Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor, because I stinking love it. It doesn’t give you that nasty protein powder aftertaste – it really tastes like a milkshake! But depending on what brand you prefer you might need less or more of everything. Keep an eye on it 🙂

Once the skillet is ready, pour the batter in small circles about an inch apart from each other. Let them sit about 2-3 minutes and watch for bubbles to form on the sides. Once the bubbles pop and *no longer close up on their own*, flip your cakes and cook for another minute or so on the other side, then set aside. This recipe makes 4 medium sized pancakes, so once the first two are done you’ll have to do this again with the remaining batter.

After you’re done cooking all of the batter like that, your pancakes are ready!

Another Note: Keep in mind, this was my first attempt at protein powder pancakes – and it shows. They were delicious, don’t get me wrong! But they were denser than normal pancakes and needed something else… although I’m not sure what! I’ve heard of people adding oats and/or mashed banana to the batter, and I’ll definitely try that next. But this is where I turn to you guys for help: What do you use in your protein pancakes? Please share your recipes with me! Let’s spread the love and crowdsource the perfect protein pancake recipe 🙂

Kicking Off Spring in a Healthy Way

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend – I know I did! It was my first weekend without “having to” train, and I lived it up by doing what I wanted and when, and I loved every minute. It started on Thursday afternoon when I followed up my 3×3@3 workout with 40 minutes of cardio hell on the Arc trainer and 40 minutes of Runners Love Yoga‘s new Hip routine.

IMG_4737It’s a great 14 day Instagram program where they post a pose a day that focuses on opening up those tight runners’ hips. I started on Monday and in just 6 days, boy do I feel a difference! Hell – in my run yesterday I was easily able to start right up and fly from the start. I felt loose as a rubber band!

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I’m looking forward to seeing where the rest of this program will take me! By the time I got home Thursday night my head started to throb with a migraine – I get one once a month (ladies, you know what I’m talking about) and I ended up having to take off of work on Friday to stay in a dark room and sleep it off. I finally started feeling better after dinner so we went to Shop Rite to restock the kitchen with healthy staples and cook-ahead meal supplies. Once we were done with that, I listened to my body – and my body was screaming “Bedtime at 10pm please!”

I woke up 11 hours later on Saturday, 100% better and ready to run as far as I damn well pleased! It was a gorgeous, sunny morning, and I decided to layer up my Skirt Sports Marathon Girl skirt with a pair of my favorite capris (because this booty + that skirt = a running peep show) and created the perfect spring running combo. PS: they’re having a major Sale on clearance stuff over at Skirt Sports, so go check it out! And if you find any full priced-items you like, be sure to use my discount code SSJRH20 for 20% off (code only applies to full-priced items, not on sale stuff).

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I set out towards the park and just went by feel – and I felt great! The first mile clicked by without me even realizing it, at 10:43 pace, and I ran like I was light as a feather. If only I moved this well a week ago for my race! Ah, such is life.

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day down the park, the breeze was light and the sun was shining, and that runners high was in full effect. After a miserable winter like the one we had, I’m truly treating every nice day as a gift and taking full advantage of it by getting outdoors and being active!

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I breezed through the park and back towards home around mile 3.7, and coasted through the next few blocks for 4.05 and walked a nice cool down the rest of the way home.

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The rest of the day was spent helping my mom & dad move furniture and bringing a new mattress set from the store up to their 2nd floor (another workout entirely!), and then we had an awesome seafood dinner at The Barge in Perth Amboy. Highly recommended!

Sunday morning I had a date with my dad to head down to the flea market in Collingwood for some good old-fashioned daddy/daughter treasure hunting!

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We had a blast! My dad has always been super supportive of everything I do, including running, and we spent the whole time wandering the flea market aisles talking about training and sneakers and life and music and everything in between. I even found some awesome treasures too: a shelf-sitting mermaid (who looks like she’s doing a sit-up when you lay her on a flat surface!) and a copy of Circus magazine with my favorite band on the cover: The Smashing Pumpkins! I remember buying two copies of this when it came out in 1996 – one to read and the other to cut up and hang all over my bedroom walls. Today I got to take a trip down memory lane with the same issue for just 50 cents!!

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After that I came home for a nice lunch with hubby, and then we headed out to the park again to take advantage of this still-gorgeous weather! But this time instead of running, I brought out my trusty bike for the first time since last summer!

At first it was cold, but after a mile or so, I warmed up and fell right into the groove again while Mike walked a few laps. The park was packed with people enjoying the weather, so I had to stop a few times to get around large groups (and let’s face it, I had to stop and take pictures of the scenery!), but it was a great ride.

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I was just about to call it at 5 miles, but I couldn’t help it and powered through for another 1.2 to make it an even 10k.

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I had to laugh when I saw my final stats: my 6:49/mile pace is half the speed I ran last week’s race at, and it still wouldn’t be fast enough to keep up with the amazing athletes that led the Boston Marathon. I was cranking as hard as I could. To imagine running that fast? It’s simply unbelievable how speedy those folks are!

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When we got home I started working on dinner (and lunches for the next few days too): Ground turkey, stewed tomatoes, onion and chopped broccoli stir fry over quinoa!

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I even roasted up some chickpeas for snacking in the coming week too. The result of all that cooking meant that the whole house smelled delicious when we woke up today!

And that was it for me! How was your weekend? Did you get outside to enjoy the nice weather? Did you race? Tell me all about it, I want to know!

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