Saturday, May 4, 2013

Fitting in the miles and date night

Fitting in the Miles

Great news! My Physical Therapist officially approved approved my 8 weeks to awesome plan to build up my mileage! I was a little nervous about whether or not she would approve. The only change she suggested I make was add another rest day. I am going to make my pure 30 minute cross training day an optional day and try to listen to my body. 

Friday, was a pretty busy day for me and I had plans for dinner so I had to get creative about fitting in some miles. 

First let's talk about food. My friend and I used our lunch hour to go buy some sunglasses. I broke mine  on Tuesday. If there is one thing you need in Arizona it's sunglasses. Since we used most of hour lunch hour shopping we decided to stop by Trader Joe's to pick up lunch and then head back to work. 

I tried this citrus chicken salad. It was pretty tasty and only 220 calories with the salad dressing. 

I haven't had yogurt in forever but decided to pick up some mango yogurt. Not going to lie, it was delicious. Since I knew I wanted to do some serious hiking on Saturday I really tried to hydrate on Friday.

Friends, I love sparkling's awesome. 

After work I had about an hour before I needed to head to Downtown Phoenix for dinner. I decided to try to get 2 miles in. Since it was only about 92 degrees out and there was a nice breeze, I decided to run outside. The last time I ran outside was about a week and a half ago when I was just running in 5 minute intervals. I really wanted to run 2 miles and run them the entire time. It was pretty rough but overall I didn't have any pain in my knee. Towards the end of my run I started to get some aching in my right knee. I have started taking notes after each run so it's easier to tell my physical therapist how the run went. 

I just take some quick notes while I am walking to cool down. 

All right folks, it's true, I am a very slow runner but you know what? Running is running, I don't have any shame in the 12:24 average pace. Not all of us can run 7:30 minute miles but that doesn't make me any less of a runner. I work just as hard as they do :)

So even though I didn't have a lot of time, I had 30 minutes and I knew I could get a few miles in and feel good about going out to dinner. 

Date Night

We went to Pita Jungle in Downtown Phoenix for dinner and it was pretty good. I had the cilantro jalapeƱo hummus with tuna. Marty and I also shared a side of veggies. 

Now this is more hummus than any one person needs to eat, but I shared and it was delicious. 

After dinner Marty and I used a Groupon that I bought in December as a stocking stuffer. LASER TAG!! This place was a little sketchy but we wanted to use our Groupon. We played with 2 younger kids and had a really great time. 

After playing we had a few tokens for the batting cage and we realized that the astroturf was really dirty  and my legs were covered with dirt.

Not going to stop me!

We had a great time and I know that I was able to enjoy myself a lot more because I had fit in a workout. 

Blog Changes:
Folks, I am going to be moving my blog to shortly. Yay! I bought my own domain. Just want to let you know that in approximately a week that will happen. I will make sure I post it when the official change happens. 

Questions of the Day:
How do you squeeze in a workout?
Do you have a favorite activity for date night?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Be More Awesome Wednesday: 8 weeks to Awesome

8 Weeks to Awesome!

I love the beginning of the month. It's like a fresh start, a time to reflect on the past month and decide how you want to move forward. As I have slowly begun the process of running again, I wanted to create plan to start to build my mileage base again before training for a half marathon. 

After searching the internet I decided to use Hal Higdon's 8k novice plan since I really enjoyed his novice half-marathon plan before I injured myself. 

I decided to reformat the plan so I could include my Best Body Bootcamp workouts as well. 

I'm pretty excited to move forward, building my running base and doing the right thing by strengthening, not just cardio! I am meeting with my physical therapist later this week and hope to get the plan approved. 


That's all I can say about the tacos I had today at Ranch Market. So delicious. I ate two of the three tacos and was stuffed. 

I also decorated my cap for graduation. I can't believe it's only one week away!

Other decisions that led to awesomeness today? Listening to Phantom of the Opera while at work. 

Questions of the Day:

What do you listen to in your office?

Are you more of a strength training person or a cardio person?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Running Without Pain, New Runner and Worst Critic

Running Without Pain

Today was the first day this year that we hit the 100s; summer is on it's way here in Phoenix. Because of the heat I thought I would try the treadmill. In my two previous runs since being cleared to run I have been able to jog a maximum of 10 minutes without having to walk. Today I jogged for 25 minutes straight and didn't have any aching in my hip or any pain in my knee!! I really feel like I am working through this IT Band injury and am starting to feel more positive.

I think there's a lot of truth to hip and glute strengthening. I have been working hard to keep up with my strength routine. I will do an embarrassing tutorial next week.

As I was running and it started to get a little hard, I kept thinking about how grateful I was for every step. Every step and run is a gift, I hope I don't forget that and get lazy and stop doing my strengthening exercises.

It wasn't a fast two miles but I'll take 'em!

New Runner

Huge shout out to my running buddy today, Katie. She is breezing through C25K and working very hard to get ready for her first 5k in May.

Katie also agreed to run a half marathon with me in November. I put it on the blog because now, since it's on the internet that makes it real. Seriously. :)

Worst Critic 

I am very critical of myself and have a hard time accepting compliments. This weekend I had graduation pictures taken by one of my very talented and wonderful staff members and honestly it was pretty uncomfortable for me.

First, I don't really love getting my picture taken, if I do get it taken I prefer to keep it cheesy and fun, not too serious.

There's risk, trying to be pretty or feel pretty.

Today I got my pictures and had a small melt down in my office. It's so hard for me to see a difference in the way I look from when I lost weight. I know it's pretty crazy but when I looked at these pictures all I could see were the problems and I had a hard time celebrating the difference, which was the whole point of getting these pictures done.

So, instead of concentrating on what I didn't like, I decided to do a side by side comparison so I could help visualize the differences, forcing myself to get out of such a negative self-hating mindset.

Everyone can take a bad happens. It's time to celebrate where I came from and keep moving forward. So instead of the pictures I don't like, here are a few of my favorites and how my graduation announcement turned out.

Thanks to Bianca and Katie for being amazing and helping me get out of my comfort zone.

Love yourselves people, we are all works in progress.

Question of the Day:

Are you your own worst critic?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The First Run

I can distinctly remember the first time I ran a mile. I was doing the C25K program, and it was the big 20 minute run. I was completely terrified. Every week I had pushed myself to run farther than I had run before. It was empowering but so scary. In the C25K program the 20 minute run is a big leap from I think 10 minutes to 20, I strongly doubted I could do it.

At the time, I lived in Colorado and did all my running on a treadmill. I weighed about probably around 220 pounds and honestly had never run a mile in my life.

The last five minutes of that run seemed to go in slow motion. I couldn't believe that I was running and I had run over a mile. I felt strong and like I could lose the weight. I finished that run and for the first time felt like a runner, an identity that has been closely tied to my weight loss journey.

Getting injured is more than missing a race or to. For me it brings back the fear that the weight will slowly creep back up. With that fear and stress comes bad eating.

BUT! my physical therapist said that I could try to slowly start incorporating jogging back into my life!!!! Last Saturday was my first run after injury. Or should I say my first pain free run after injury.

So exciting! My leg is still not 100% but I feel like there's some progress. I will continue to work with my Physical Therapist and hopefully be training for another half marathon soon.

Question of the Day:

Any good news recently?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Scottsdale Culinary Festival and Hiking!

This morning I did something I've never really done before...went hiking alone. I discovered I really like it!

It was a beautiful morning. Seriously people, you need to move to Phoenix. I hiked 3.5 miles in one hour. It was really great. Even though the trail was busy, I felt like I was there by myself. There's something really special about hiking in a city. There's this amazing juxtaposition between nature and the city. I had a great morning and look forward to exploring more trails on my own!

Scottsdale Culinary Festival

Today Marty and I went to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival! We volunteered at the CityEats booth. CityEats is a great website created by the Food Network where you can make reservations at restaurants in your area without worry. These restaurants are handpicked by the Food Network, making dining out at a new restaurant stress free! It was really great to talk to people about awesome restaurants in Phoenix, I know I will be using CityEats when it's my turn to plan date night. 

After volunteering we went to explore the festival. I didn't take pictures of everything but trust me, we were super full when we left. 

Volunteering for a festival is a great way to get free admission. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet people in your community and experience the great events your town/city has to offer. I would suggest checking out your city center to see what kind of events they have in your town.

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. A little present when I was making dinner. 

Questions of the Day:

Have you ever hiked alone?

Have you ever been to a culinary festival?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Workout C, Sweet Potatoes and Unfortunate Looking Vegetables

Workout C

On Sunday, Katie and I got together to conquer Workout C from Tina's Best Body Bootcamp. I really felt the burn on this one and super enjoyed it. I jokingly called this Workout "Let's do Sh*t on One Leg" because that's basically what we did the whole time. These were the two favorite selections from the workout:

This morning I was really feeling this workout in my glutes. I also think my Physical Therapist exercises contributed to the soreness a little bit. Soon I will take some pictures to share the exercises with you all. Yay hip and butt strengtheners. 

Sweet Potatoes

Okay guys, my life is changed. I discovered that I can cook sweet potatoes in the microwave. I know people have been doing this for awhile now but seriously, my life is changed. 

Here is a little sample of my experiments. 

Some other discoveries this weekend:

Frozen basil cubes. If you're like me and kill every basil plant you buy but really like the stuff, they have it frozen! IN CUBES! That you can melt into butter. Seriously. The only caution...there is some salt added so be cautious when adding additional salt. My new favorite way to eat these cubes? I melted it with some Earth Balance and put it on a microwaved sweet potato...awesome.

Okay, I know this isn't the most amazing picture, but you need to know what's happening here. I purchased the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe's. I was very skeptical about how delicious frozen rice would taste...well I'm here to tell you, it's amazing! 3 minutes and you will have perfect, firm brown rice with awesome texture. I added 3 basil cubes with some Earth Balance to this combo and then some roasted veggies. Yum!

Unfortunate Looking Vegetables

Right? It's okay, you can laugh...I did. 

I'm also trying to eat less sugar...this is how it's working out for me:

These are Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread cookies, Marty's favorite. Yum

And today in my office:

I'm a work in progress...

Questions of the Day:

Have you ever microwaved a sweet potato? 

Do you crave sugar in the afternoon? 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Injury Blues

I can be kind of irritating with how positive I am. But today I kind of feel a little sad. After my second session of needling at the Physical Therapist's I had a hard time feeling positive and like I was moving forward. All I could think of was the fact that when I run, I am still in pain and now, after letting some lady stick a needle in my leg, I am in more pain.

Luckily wearing my compression socks relieve some of the pain in my calf. Yay! And make me look super cool.
I know that when I can run again (hopefully end of May), I need to remind myself not take every mile for granted.
Now, I just need to work on not eating emotionally to cope with the fact that I'm struggling today.

Need to feel more uplifted? This picture did it for me also I purchased more Pro Compression socks


Questions of the Day:

Have you ever struggled with an injury? How did you stay positive?

Are you an emotional eater?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Devil Cake, Cardio Circuit and Surrender Squats

Today, I kind of mixed up my usual elliptical and tried a cardio circuit. I really wanted to do 60 minutes of cardio to "make up" for the fact I slipped and ate the Devil Cake.

It was filled with fudge, I am weak.

Cardio Circuit!

Like I mentioned before, I was feeling the guilt of the devil cake and wanting to get a good sweaty workout in without staying in one place for 60 minutes. I decided to do a 60 minute rowing and elliptical circuit. Here's how it worked. 

Every 15 minutes I switched from rowing to the elliptical and than back again. I did 2 sets of 15 on each machine. All together my heart rate monitor said I burned about 600 calories. To keep it fresh, I changed my pandora station for each set and changed the program. On the rowing machine, I changed the resistance and raced a pace boat. On the elliptical, I did a fat burner hill workout and then a 4-3 interval workout. I felt like the time was much shorter than 60 minutes and switching between machines kept it pretty fresh.

If you're new to the rowing machine here is a great video to assist with form:

This morning, I went to my physical therapist and talked about Tina's Best Body Bootcamp. I really enjoyed the first workout but I had a serious problem with Surrender Squats. When pushing up with one leg I felt pain in my IT Band. I showed my physical therapist the exercise and she suggested some ways to modify it and encouraged me to use a mat under my knees because it would cause pressure on my patellas. For those curious of what a surrender squat is, the lovely Katie has decided to model it. 

I'm excited to see what work out B brings tomorrow and am working to really dedicate myself to this program by making sure I complete both the strength and cardio portions. 

Questions of the Day:

Do you have a sweet tooth?

Ever tried the rowing machine?

Friday, March 29, 2013

IT Band Injury: The Plan and Dry Needling

IT Band Injury and Treatment

Since December I have been suffering from an IT Band injury on my right leg. I injured myself in a 7.5 mile race and compounded the injury by wearing heels all night on a date. Since December, I have been to a chiropractor, physical therapist, general physician, orthopedic surgeon and a second physical therapist. 

Here is a general timeline of my injury:


In December, I limped around and felt sorry for myself. I tried to run just about every day but within a couple steps I would be in pain. I felt a lot of tightness in my right knee and it hurt to walk. I was seeing a chiropractor for a previous injury and though he tried to help, it wasn't really the right doctor. Towards the end of December I purchased a foam roller and started rolling.


In January, I started to come to terms with the fact that something was kind of wrong. I made an appointment with a physical therapist after I had been injured for a full month. This physical therapist combined massage with strength training. I saw this physical therapist for 3 weeks but didn't feel a connection or an improvement. I am kind of a type A person and really need a timeline. Since I didn't have pain when I walked he told me I could run. Unfortunately, I pushed myself to run longer than I should have, after a mile I was really limping and foam rolling felt like torture. 


In February, I finally went to a doctor. I went because after pushing myself to run the leg pain was pretty persistent. My doctor told me that she was concerned that I might have a torn meniscuses. I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who asked me to get an MRI. From the MRI, they diagnosed me with ITBS, basically inflammation of the Iliotibial Band. 

My doctor prescribed physical therapy, and a topical cream to aid in inflammation. He said that he would like the Physical Therapist to try a technique called dry needling and if my injury still persisted he would like to inject cortisone into my IT Band, worst case scenario would be surgery. 


In late March (I know really late March), I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and made an appointment with the physical therapist recommended by my orthopedic surgeon. My first appointment was Monday and I felt like it went really well! My PT was very optimistic that she could help me treat the injury. She had me do a lot of different exercises that concentrated on strengthening my butt and hips ( I will take pictures of the exercises later). My PT told me that in two months she thinks I should be up and running. Unfortunately, she thinks I need different shoes

So I should be training by JUNE!!! 

So Let's Talk about Dry Needling

I think of dry needling as aggressive acupuncture. Best way I can think to describe it. Here is a full description of dry needling, you can also youtube it but if you're not into the needle thing I would pass.

Basically, they take a small needle and stick it in a muscle pressure point, then wiggle it around.

First of all, I swear I'm wearing pants. Here she is trying to release pressure in my calf. Once the PT puts the needle in they move it around making the muscle twitch/clench/freak out.

After killing me with my calf, she started working on my knee and IT area. 

So here's the deal, I'm not going to lie to you and say it doesn't hurt. You don't feel the needle go in but you feel it moving around. Some areas hurt worse than others. My calf was the worst. It feels like a really intense Charlie Horse. My PT office is one big open room and people were definitely looking at me because I was screaming  protesting loudly. The pain wasn't scream worthy but uncomfortable and I did cry. I am telling you this because I read some blogs and they described the pain as "uncomfortable" "weird feeling" "pleasant". Let's just say I wasn't prepared. 

Here's what my leg looked like after she was done, I wanted to show you so you weren't picturing blood or anything. 

My leg is still sore, it feels like muscle soreness but this technique is to promote blood flow and healing in the injured area. 

Since working out helped alleviate the soreness, I was able to do the Best Body Bootcamp Round 5 fitness test today. 

Here was the view from my elliptical.

Yeah, my gym has amazing views. 

And since it's PIZZA FRIDAY, here's a glimpse of our dinner: Butternut squash pizza with feta cheese and green beans and asparagus.

Questions of the Day:

Ever tried Physical Therapy?

Have you ever had IT Band issues?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ranch Market: Discovering a New Grocery Store

Ranch Market

So if you live in the Phoenix area there is a place you need to go: Pro's Ranch Market!

Pro's Ranch Market is a grocery store that specializes in ingredients found in Mexican cuisine. The best part? It's not just a grocery store. 

They have a juice bar!! With fresh juiced watermelon!

Additionally, they have an amazing hot food section that you can get a wonderful and reasonably priced lunch!

 El Pastor Torta

Rice, Beans, Torta and Carne Asta Tacos

The best? THE BAKERY!!!! Mexican Pastry is amazing, seriously! (this is only half the case)

We picked a yummy assortment of pastries that were enjoyed much later. 

Why try something like a grocery store for lunch? This is a great opportunity to try different types of food and find out where the good chilies can be purchased. I was worried about going to Ranch Market because I didn't speak Spanish, but don't let that stop you! The staff were awesome, super helpful and the lunch was delicious. 

In other news?

I picked up my graduation gear!!!

I was pretty excited.

People think I'm crazy...

I can't wait! I graduate with my Masters in just about one month!!!

Questions of the Day:

Ever go to a supermarket for lunch?