TBT – Houston Half Marathon

Throw back Thursday post – it is so fun reminiscing about previous races that I have done. I thought since I am running my first postpartum half this weekend in Houston, it would be fun to reminisce about running the Houston Half Marathon 20 weeks pregnant last year.

I absolutely LOVE the Houston Marathon/Half Marathon. I have run the half or full marathon five times and this year will be my sixth. It will be really hard to top last year’s experience as my husband and I ran it together and had an absolute BLAST.

We arrived in Houston on Friday evening and got there early enough to go get our packets that evening so we didn’t have to deal with fighting the crowds on Saturday.

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Ready to run

We were able to quickly get our packets – I love that you can save your confirmation in your passbook on your iPhone – it made it easy to show my confirmation and it was one less thing to keep track of over the weekend.

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Serious like Kara

We quickly browsed through the expo but I was tired and hungry and didn’t really see anything I was interested in. The expo would be the only thing that I am not 100% impressed with with this marathon. I haven’t ever really found anything exciting and the race gear isn’t anything that is incredibly cute. I did stop and take a picture with the giant Kara Goucher on display (she is my fav!). Skechers has been the apparel sponsor the past couple years and it looks like they are again this year.

Saturday we spent hydrating and visiting with friends! We had a pasta dinner Saturday night and then woke up bright and early Sunday morning to race. I was excited to run in my “running for two” tank with Oiselle distance shorts and arm warmers. We easily found parking that morning and headed over to the convention center where bag check is and did some last minute race preparations and got to hang out inside away from the cold weather – another big plus about this race – not having to be cold for hours before the start.

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At the starting line!

About 30 minutes before the race we headed over to the starting line – they have the race divided into corrals based on your predicted race time and are very strict about enforcing them (unless you want to move back). This makes for a smooth start (another point for Houston!) – typically your first mile isn’t super slow which is really nice. They also tend to have plenty of portapotties to use before the start which is another positive about this race.

Since i was pregnant at the time, Jim had told me we would go at whatever pace I wanted and could stop as many times as I wanted/needed to. We

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Running Selfie

started off at a 9 minute pace and slowly started picking it up as we went along. I had a secret goal of finishing under 2 hours but knew it was important to listen to my body and not concentrate on time. It was SO fun not having the pressure of running a certain pace in the back of my head. By the time we hit mile 12 we were both getting sad that we were almost done because we were having so much fun! The crowds are great in Houston as well. We ended up finishing in 1:55 which I was pumped about!

 

After the race, you get to go back inside (woot woot) and pick up your finishers shirt (and mug if you do the full marathon).

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Delicious Breakfast

They also have a HOT breakfast sponsored by HEB that is absolutely delicious! This was the first year I was actually able to enjoy it since I didn’t race, I actually felt good at the finish and wanted to eat. We enjoyed eggs, sausage and a biscuit with gravy. They also had chocolate milk, coffee and water! After breakfast we got our bags from bag check and then hit the road to head back to Dallas.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this half (or full) marathon and can’t wait to go back and run it this weekend!

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Proud Finishers

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Thinner in 30 – Week 1

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We had a wonderful weekend! I had my first run with the Luke’s Locker Half Marathon training group and had some good times and good food with friends and family — perfect little weekend! My husband and I are obsessed with “Fixer Upper” on HGTV and watched 3 episodes on our DVR this weekend — seriously how cute are Chip and Joanna Gaines?! They just make me smile. Now on to the actual topic of this blog!

Mackenzie and I go visit my mom (she only lives 45 minutes away) on Mondays and on the first Monday of the New Year, I spotted this book at her house – Thinner in 30: Small Changes That Add Up Into Big Changes in Just 30 Days by Jenna Wolfe. Jenna Wolfe used to be the fitness correspondent on the Today Show and I have always admired how fit she is and how amazing she looked during and after her pregnancy! While browsing through the book and the daily tips, I was inspired to purchase the book for myself (thank you Amazon) and start participating with my mom to make these changes. I noticed that most of the tips are things I should be doing anyways and this will just help me re-add these healthy habits to my lifestyle (if I’m not doing them already). I thought it could be a fun blog series to review these tips on a weekly basis and let you know how I am doing! As an aspiring RD, I love to incorporate more healthy habits into my daily life.

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New Book!

Week 1:

Day 1Drink 20 sips of water when you wake up in the morning – Start rehydrating immediately when you wake up! I haven’t had any trouble with this habit.

Day 2Log your Food! — I have a love/hate relationship with food logging. I can get a bit obsessive with it and love seeing all my food add up for the day but I do think it is a beating to log my food. But as Jenna mentions in the book, it will make you think twice before putting something in your mouth. I did okay with this one – I logged 5.5 out of 7 days. It definitely is crazy how quickly calories can add up though!

Day 3 – Walk 10,000 Steps a Day — Obviously taking more steps burns more calories! This will encourage me to take the dog and baby on more walks throughout the week! Days I don’t run this is definitely a challenge. I have realized that errands like the grocery store, Costco and the mall definitely help get in a lot of steps.

Day 4 – Stop Eating Simple Carbs After 6:00 pm —  I was happy to read you can still eat the healthier carbs found in beans and grains! I would say overall I FAILED with this one but plan on stepping up my no simple carb game this week!

Day 5Pick Two Exercises and Do Them 50 Times Throughout the Day – I did pretty well with this one. This is just what I needed since these abs need a little bit (errr a lot a bit) of work! I decided to do 50 ab exercises and 25 pushups a day – I thought 50 pushups may be a bit too many to start with.

Day 6Redo How You Chew — Chew each bite 20 times before swallowing! FAIL – I will start doing this on Monday! I imagine this habit will help me make sure I stop eating when I’m actually full.

Day  7Adjust Your Expectations — Basically don’t expect to lose weight quickly and stay mentally tough with the program! I feel like I learned this lesson throughout the Whole Life Challenge. Patience Patience Patience is the key.

I would definitely recommend purchasing the book as there are great tips and explanations to go with each change. Jenna has exercises to go with Day 5 and really explains WHY she has included each of the steps that she has.

Anyone else doing some sort of get healthy program now that it is January? Any suggestions?

Whole Life Challenge

As I mentioned in my year in review post, I participated in a challenge with my crossfit gym called the Whole Life Challenge. As the name suggests, it is a challenge that encourages healthy choices in all parts of your life – not just food and/or exercising. This challenge came at the perfect time for me, it started in mid September and ended in November (right when we were going on a beach vacation to Mexico). It was 8 weeks long. Within the Whole Life Challenge there are 7 categories where you could earn points, each day you could earn up to 5 nutrition points for eating compliant foods according to your nutrition level (3 different levels), 2 points a day were earned for 10 minutes of exercise and 10 minutes of stretching, 1 point a day for drinking the proper amount of water, 1 point a day for taking your supplement, 1 point for posting a reflection on your team page and then 1 point for the healthy habit of the week (this varied from sleeping a proper amount to having meals without screens).

One thing I liked about the challenge is that you had the ability to earn “cheat points” and free days! So I didn’t feel too guilty if I used some cheat points. With the nutrition level I picked, I was also able to have 1 glass of wine per week without losing a point!

As I mentioned, this challenge came at the perfect time, I was 3 months post baby and just feeling large and unhealthy. I was still carrying 7 pounds of extra weight and didn’t feel like it was going to come off unless I made some changes. As anyone who has had a baby can understand, with sleep deprivation I was eating way too much sugar and way too many carbs and it was easy to come up with excuses on why I should have ice cream and wine every night.

The Actual Challenge

The day before the challenge began, I did a benchmark workout that I repeated at the end of the challenge – this helps you see improvements in fitness over the 8 weeks as well.

The first week was ROUGH when it came to the “diet.” While there were many great choices but I just couldn’t feel full! It took a couple weeks to really start feeling full and actually to start losing weight. I would say the majority of my weight loss occurred between weeks 3 to 6. I slept SO well during this challenge and just felt great. I felt stronger in the gym and running. This is definitely a lifestyle my husband and I hope to continue (especially after all the indulging we did over the holidays).

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Sweet potato hash! A recipe my husband perfected during the challenge!

The challenge encouraged us to find new ways to cook and to do some major food prep on the weekends! We started spiralizing vegetables, making egg muffins, oatmeal, and chopping veggies and fruit up to snack on.

I didn’t find the exercising, water drinking and supplement taking part of the challenge too tough however, I did find myself doing my 10 minutes of stretching before bed almost every night.

Date nights and dinners with friends were definitely tough but we found some delicious meals to cook for our friends and learned to slowly sip on that wine and lose points when necessary! The challenge encourages you to celebrate when necessary and don’t panic if you have a couple rough days, get back into it.

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Birthday dinner at a restaurant with many compliant choices.

By the last week, I was definitely over logging my scores and staying 100% compliant but I would HIGHLY recommend this challenge to anyone looking to feel better about themselves. Another challenge actually starts in January! I was lucky enough to have my mom, husband, sister and brother-in-law doing the challenge with me – if you are interested in starting this, I would highly recommend finding a partner in crime and someone to hold you accountable.

Results

I ended up losing 10 pounds during the challenge and actually lost a couple more after the challenge ended. I took over 2 minutes off of the benchmark workout and felt like myself again at the end of it. I definitely still have a ways to go to get to my “former self.” I still have areas to tone up and am still not sure if my stomach will ever look the same again but overall, thanks to the challenge I am feeling wonderful. I also am hoping to get some of my running speed back again too! I have my first post baby half marathon coming up in less than 2 weeks! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I am not brave enough to post my before pictures and never took an after photo!

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Baby Mack and Mama post workout!

If you are interested – sign up at http://www.wholelifechallenge.com

Have you ever done a health challenge before?

Do you have any questions about the Whole Life Challenge?

2015 – What a Year

2015 was definitely one of the most memorable years of my lie due to the birth of my daughter! In the haze of being pregnant and in school and then with the birth of my little one, I completely stopped blogging. I am definitely hoping to start up on this again and can hopefully start blogging once or twice a week consistently (maybe more!). I thought I would follow what I have seen other’s blog about and do a year in review of 2015!

January – Ran the Houston Half Marathon 20 weeks pregnant with my husband! We had so much fun and were on such a high after a race. Running a race with no time pressure and not allowed to really push yourself is a blast!

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After the Houston Half Marathon

February – Traveled to San Diego where my in-laws through me a wonderful baby shower! It was fun catching up with family friends and celebrating the fact that Baby KJ was coming! We also had SNOW in Dallas!

March – Ran the last half marathon of my pregnancy – it also happened to be my first trail race! I will need to do a separate blog post on this (and trail running in general) – it was slow but fun and my mom ran the whole way with me. I believe I was 29 weeks pregnant at this race! My husband and I also went to Spring Training in Phoenix, AZ on our last vacation before the baby arrived!

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Meeting my favorite baseball player at spring training! Kyle Seager!

April – Ran the last race of my pregnancy – a 5K (under 30 minutes!) with my mom. I also had another baby shower thrown by my best friends and mom and sister!

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5K in 26:52 around 31 weeks pregnant!

May – Finished the semester of school with a week to spare before the birth of my little girl! Mackenzie entered the world on May 27! I also was thrown another baby shower a couple weeks before Mackenzie was born. Mackenzie was one lucky little one even before she was born.

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Sweet Mackenzie

June – The haze of having a newborn! I don’t really remember anything about this month besides being extremely sleep deprived and taking in what being a new mommy.

July – July looked a lot like June! However, I was able to start working out again which made it a little better. We also had our first holiday as a family of three!

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July Fourth with one of our favorite families!

August – Celebrated 3 years of marriage with my husband and started school again! Towards the end of August was when my husband and I started to emerge from the haze of having a newborn and slowly get into a new routine of what our new normal is.

September – Ran my first race (a 10K under an hour woot woot) since having the baby and began the Whole Life Challenge to lose the rest of the baby weight and work on getting back into shape! I will do another post on this challenge as well! This month is when the baby started sleeping – it was pretty life changing when that occurred.

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We love family running!

October – Nothing too exciting occurred this month – just continued on with the Whole Life Challenge and participated in another 10K – this time maintaining a pace under 8 minute miles!

November – Went on our first vacation as a family of three – we traveled to Mexico and had the best time!

December – Had our first holiday season with the little one! It was so fun taking the little one to get her first Christmas Tree, visit Santa and help her open presents. I know Christmas will only continue to get more fun as she gets older.

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I am definitely looking forward to what 2016 will bring!

What were your favorite parts of 2015?