Goal Setting for the New Year.


Most bloggers by this point have posted their goals for the year 2014. I think its time I jumped on the bandwagon. Please hold me accountable.

1. Revive this blog from the dead. 
We could even give her a cute name like, “Zombie Blog”.  How cute is that? No, but seriously, I would like to put in the time and effort to really make this blog into something that people find interesting and worthwhile.  Like many of you that run your own blogs, the best part about hosting one is that you feel so connected to the cause. One of my biggest passions has been involving myself in the fitness community since I really started to take running seriously in 2010. I never claimed to be the best, brightest, fittest, or fastest, but sharing my story with you only helps to keep me connected to what’s new and innovative in the fitness world.

2. Increase blog readership.
Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), it takes a lot of effort to increase your readership from what I’ve read from those famous bloggers out there.  You have to keep up with the fitness trends, read through the hundreds of blogs that litter the internet, and comment on other people’s posts (both the big fish and the little fish) in order get your name out there! As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been reading the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, and you must be vulnerable in order to experience true happiness. The first step for the new year was by investing in business cards for Go Lauren Go via Vistaprint. Right now they have a special running where you can get 250 very basic business cards for $10.00! Now that I’m thinking about it, I guess the investment wasn’t that large. The biggest test in vulnerability will be when I actually hand them out!  For other tips on increasing blog readership, you can go to Carrots N’ Cake and click on the “Blogging” tab.

I also need you, the readers, to help me focus on what’s relevant and interesting to you!  Please feel free to give healthy advice/criticism so that I can improve features and stories on the blog. Do you like the content I’ve been putting up?  Do you find that you are clicking on and downloading the music I research? Let me know!

3. Train for another long-distance endurance event.
Notice I didn’t say “marathon” even though that’s what it will most likely be.  However, I received a Facebook message from an old college roommate trying to encourage me to dabble in the world of triathalons, with the goal of completing a Half Ironman. I can’t even describe how tempting the offer is. I did just happen to sign up at the Boston Sports Club in Wellington Circle, that has access to a pool (I know, I’m fancy) but I don’t know if I’m quite ready for the challenge.  I don’t even have a bike at the moment.

Regardless, I think my summer plans will include training for another long-distance event, so you can look forward to those posts beginning in May. Plus, if I write it in the blog, it has to come true. Otherwise I would be a liar. And nobody likes a liar.

4. At the very least, recommit to fitness and be in the best shape of my life.
After taking a cardio sculpt class today at the BSC, I was amazed at how little my running ability was able to support me throughout the duration of that workout. I know that my hips and abs are the weakest part of my body, but I couldn’t believe how weak I was in comparison to all the other woman (and 1 man!!) who completed the class with me.  I was able to keep up with the cardio component but when it came to core work, I had to rest every few reps! I know enough to not truly compare myself to anyone in the room, but hot dang, that was tough! I want to make a goal to be in the best shape of my life by the time midnight strikes and we begin 2015.  Again, don’t make a liar out of me, my little blog.

(Don’t look so sad there, Lauren. You’re on your way to being in the best shape of your life!)

5. Travel abroad at least once this year.
I haven’t been abroad since my vacation to Italy in 2011!  I guess you could say that I’m already half way towards this goal as there are a few plane tickets already booked for Israel this summer! You might be thinking to yourself that Israel is a very random location, but I am tagging along with my BFF Sara (aka Baby Snake, as she shall now be called from here on out in the blog world), her husband, and their families, as they go to visit family in Tel Aviv.  Since they had also extended the invitation to me and BF, which includes a two week adventure throughout the country, I couldn’t pass it up.

I think I would also like to make a goal of visiting at least one other state in the US that I haven’t been to thus far. Sadly, that goal won’t be too hard to meet.

6. Get engaged. Whoops! How did that one get in there?
Muahahah.


What about you?  Do you have any goals for 2014? Were you successful in achieving any of the goals you set for 2013? What are your New Years Eve plans!!?!
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Shhhut down fat talk.

Workout
Yesterday’s workout didn’t go quite as planned, but I was able to get one in at the very least.  When I was about to leave to head out for my run, BF mentioned that it was POURING out and that was no joke! I couldn’t believe how hard it rained yesterday!  The streets were flooding because of how quickly the rain was coming down and it was about 39 degrees when I left, so I decided…let’s instead do a little treadmill workout at my dirty basement gym.

I am not the biggest fan of this Workout World location. Even though its only $10/month for full gym floor use or $20 a month for full gym floor use/classes/tanning/bring a guest every time you work out I,

1. never use tanning beds
2. never go to the classes, and,
3. never bring a friend with me.

I think BF and I are going to check out the Boston Sports Club at Wellington Circle today as they have newer/nicer facilities, a pool, and have a promotion where you pay $30 for 30 days of gym use.

I ran 3 miles to start, finishing with a speed of 7:47/min/mile. My average pace was about 8:40.  It just gets so hot in that basement sweatbox that I decided to take a break and do about 30 minutes of weights before hopping back on the treadmill to run 1 more mile.  I am feeling sore today because I’ve started to incorporate more of the body weight machines (assisted dips/chin ups).
                                                                                                                                                                   
Shut Down Fat Talk Campaign

Some of you may be aware of the Shhhhut Down Fat Talk campaign, which is popping up all over the internet via blogs, facebook, and internet newscasts.  Special K is igniting a movement to encourage women to stop using negative language to describe their bodies. Special K has also released a series of videos to bring awareness to the very women who use social media as a way of “fat shaming” their own selves. Take a look:

Special K has also released a video that depicts women shopping in a jeans store, while women narrate the horrific task of shopping for jeans.  Shopping in the “Rethink Your Jeans” store means having the sizes disappear. Getting the right fit requires the associate to measure your waist with a measuring tape that has once again relinquished the use of numbers as a way to define your size. 
When I clicked on the next video in the series, Special K encourages women to explore what they “gain when they lose” (i.e., lose weight, most likely on the Special K diet). Women should instead measure their weight loss by the feelings they’ve developed, such as “self-esteem” and “confidence”, as compared to the numbers they’ve lost when looking at the scale. 
I will not be sharing my opinion on these videos, the campaign, or what I think Special K hopes to gain from launching these ads.  I simply wanted to begin a conversation about what it would take for women to begin using positive language to discuss their own bodies and when describing the women around them.

I am one of the worst offenders of fat talking among my friends, peers, coworkers, family, etc., and I know that everyone has had enough of my negative thinking.  I could guess as to where this learned behavior came from (modeling) and past experiences (I think I started to hate my body in middle school). I distinctly remember a boy telling me that I had a “bulge” like him, as we had both carried a little fat in my kangaroo pouch. I’ll never forget it and I’ve hated my body in the years since.  Managing my weight has always been a struggle, and it takes a lot of energy, me time, sleep, and shorter work weeks for me to feel my happiest. When things get stressful and I find that I’m eating less home-cooked meals and exercising with much less frequency, the fat talk continues to increase.  Its such a sick cycle at times.

So, what do you think encourages women to use negative language about their figures? What do you think it would take to get women to stop judging themselves and those around them so harshly? If you have been able to use positive language to describe your own body, what helped you to get there? Why do you think it is so hard to let go of the image that we should all be thin/petite in order to be happy?

A Healthy Little Quiche Recipe

Good morning, readers!  I hope you are having a wonderful day.  Its a little overcast here in the Boston area and I’m not even sure how cold it is because I haven’t made it outside yet.  Looking forward to doing a 2.5 mile run to the gym, lifting weights, and then trekking the 2.5 miles back to my apartment.  Because I’ve gotten off to a little bit of a slow start thanks to school vacation and a BF that was out way past his bedtime, I’d love to share a recipe that I’ve been using from the Weight Watchers program.

Yes, you read that right…Weight Watchers.  If you followed me during my journey in 2011 on Go Lauren Go, you’ll know that I am inconsistent about diet and exercise.  Some days I’m on fire and the rest…well, it goes up in a puff of smoke.  While never gaining more than 5 or so pounds throughout the year (and if you didn’t know, 5-10 lbs makes a huge difference on a 5’2″ frame), I always feel better when I’m on the lighter side of my “Happy Weight”. “Happy Weight” is described as the weight you are when you feel your best, are working out, and are mindful in what you eat, but don’t obsess about the number and generally appear satisfied with your appearance. Basically, you feel good even if you aren’t at your “perfect never ever going to be, but hot dang wouldn’t it nice to be that small, weight”.  Self.com has an online calculator to help you discover what your “Happy Weight” should be. You can find the calculator by clicking here, but mine just told me I was 15 lbs. over my happy weight. Haha!  I think your “Happy Weight” is a feeling and can’t necessarily be defined by a calculation.

I forgot to mention all this yesterday when discussing my Race Improvement Plan, in that I’m committing to losing some weight in order to improve speed when racing. Its no secret that for most runners, the less you weigh, the faster you go.  With this in mind, I have absolutely no desire to look rail thin like many of the elites, but it would be nice to drop a few L.B’s in order to help me improve my time.

Many of my friends also know that I have recently been obsessing about some body image issues, from weight gain to wrinkles, which doesn’t help me when embracing my “Happy Weight” and “Happy Face” (I just made up the happy face part. Don’t expect that to catch on).  I’m currently reading a book that Go Mom Go gave me for Christmas called, “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, Ph.D., LMSW. You should be expecting a book review within the next day or so because I’m flying through it. It discusses how shame holds us back from being vulnerable, which ultimately limits our greatest potential and happiest selves. Who doesn’t love a little soul searching? 30 years and counting.

Anyway….I’ve been seriously craving the quiche’s that have been featured in the recipe section as part of the online Weight Watchers Tracking Program. I have also circled back to Weight Watchers when trying to keep on eye on my weight.  I find that My Fitness Pal is too restricting and leaves me feeling obsessed about keeping my calories below 1200 (although I do know several friends that have found success using My Fitness Pal).  With Weight Watchers, you are able to have a little wiggle room (as they give you a certain number of points based on your weight per day, in addition to points to use throughout the week). It also helps you to stay focused on incorporating fresh fruits in veggies into your diet, since they are 0 points. You find that you are more likely to include them in your meals since they add bulk without adding points. One of my favorite recipe’s is listed below:

Here is a picture of the finished product, in two different light settings…in case you have an affinity for either soft or dark lighting. I think I’m  leaning towards the soft lighting on this one.

It’s honestly amazing.  I have been eating it for breakfast and lunch every day since BF was feeling a little creative in the kitchen and decided to whip up one of these quiche’s.  What a guy, what a guy. Some mornings I pair the quiche with 2-3 slices of turkey bacon (about 2 points for those of you that track).  So give this recipe a try regardless of whether or not you want to look a few pounds lighter or not.

(For those of you that really know me, you might notice that the pie crust we are using is not gluten-free. In another post, I’ll discuss my constant struggle trying to find my food triggers after having been diagnosed with IBS in 2007.  Mmm that’s something you wanted to read after having looked at a picture of a quiche.)

Have any of you readers found any success using Weight Watchers?  Have you tried another fitness tracking tools in order to see weight loss that remained lost for years?  Do any of you stick to mindful eating and notice the same successes? How much does mood influence your eating habits? I’d love to know.

What happens next.

Since I left you in 2011, I’ve run 6 long distance races. I keep a steady pace no matter what race I’m running, with the tortoise beating the rabbit but I’m certainly no competitor. Regardless, with that steady pacing, I’ve been able to improve my marathon time of 4:24:05 to 3:49:40. I went from a 10 minute marathon mile to an 8:45 min/mile. I incorporated speedwork into my routine, in addition to longer easy runs on the weekdays.  It also helped to train in the summer months where I pretty much died from the humidity each day but come October, 50 degrees was feeling mighty fine.

Heck YES you are correct in thinking that’s awesome, but at the same time…I only have 1, COUNT IT, ONE long distance race in the books since my marathon in 2012 (although I did do a 5k post marathon and the BAA 10k which I apparently didn’t claim on Athlinks).   So what happened…why haven’t I made any improvements since 2012 and why haven’t I been racing?

 

Well first off, I suffered an IT band injury following the Baystate marathon, Not only did it take months upon months for me to get back onto my feet, I lost my running mojo. I fell out of love with running and it left me feeling kind of lost.  I have been slowly getting back into the game by training for the half in December, but I in no way had my heart completely in it.  Even though I coached Middle School Track and Field and then Cross Country in the fall, I was not a living example. My shoes were worn out, my brain was worn out.  So this is why I’m reaching out to the blog world for support.
I want to light that fire in my butt again.  I want to be Go Lauren Go.  Let me show you some changes that have helped in the last few months, that have inspired me to get back on my feet and at least try.

1. I started strength training at the gym. I am not ripped nor do I follow a strict routine, but at the moment, I’m just happy to get in about 20 minutes of strength training 3-4 days a week.  That is so much more than before (aka 0 minutes, 0 days a week since I left College). Keeping up with a routine will help with preventing future injuries. I need to strengthen a weak butt and weak hips, which is what originally caused my IT band injury.  Game on.

2. I’ve dialed back my training since my half in December.  I’m seriously going back to basics by only doing about 3-4 mile runs about 4 times a week. I need to build a base again. I can’t be doing these 9 miles here, 6 miles here, and then taking time off because I don’t have the energy or stamina to continue in this direction. I’m also adding in my crosstraining into my schedule.

3. I also reconnected with my new/old shoes.  After training for the last marathon in Nike’s and then switching to Mizuno’s, I went back and bought the tried and true Asiics Gel Kayano’s. These ladies is looking MIGHTY fine. I also should do a little plug for Road Runner Sports. If you sign up to be a VIP member, your first year only costs a $1.99 and you get discounts on gear/free fast shipping. I have also found coupons each and every time I’ve needed to shop almost always landing a 20% discount. I got a Brooks running jacket for $76 as compared to $110 at City Sports. I was also able to purchase the FitBit for $85 as part of GodadGo’s christmas gift. SCORE.

4. I got a new Garmin for Christmas.  Ok….this really isn’t going to improve my running game any more than my last gps. I’m just excited because its not as bulky as the Forerunner 305.  Look at this beauty.  She’s my muse. Certainly not the most expensive or tech savvy version within the Garmin line, but she’s got a bit of sass and that’s what I like in a running watch. 

5. In this exact moment, I’m signing up for another race.  Its going on the calendar as we speak. DONE. It’s happening.  Anyone care to join me?  Its on April 6th, 2014 and is situated along the coast of Gloucester, MA and Cape Ann.  I just ran a Yukanrun sponsored race in December called the Half Merrython. While hilly (even more so than my Zooma race in the Cape), I think I liked that about the run. It took me to some parts of Gloucester that I had never seen before and were absolutely gorgeous. I also enjoyed the out and back loop because I discovered that the way out had more uphills than the way back. SCORE!  
The Fool’s Dual in April includes a 5k and half marathon. However, the strong of heart run it as a Fool’s Dual, as you can participate in both races back to back. I’m thinking I’ll just stick with the half, since that’s what I paid for. The only annoying thing was that the price went up to $59. It was about $45 last week when I looked. Wellllp, whatever. 
You get a cool shirt, some nice swag, good food after the race, a small field of racers, plenty of water stops, and a race sticker that says 13.1. NOT too shabby!
Ok, so now my friends.  Will you help me reinvigorate my running mojo?  Anyone interested in running this race with me?  Any stories of inspiration about getting back in the game when you thought you had nothing left to give? Do you think I’ll ever make it to Boston, besides just hopping on the T?