Category: Alex

It’s All Getting Real

It’s All Getting Real

Happy Friday and First Day of December! I can’t believe 2017 is almost at an end. The countdown to Germany has finally begun. We have dates set for movers and plane tickets booked. It’s finally feeling real – we are moving overseas soon!

The past week has been a series of errand-filled days with a healthy dose of stress. Good thing I have running to keep me sane. Alex and I got to run the Wheatland Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving Day! This free event was sponsored by my Moms Run This Town group to collect canned goods for the local food bank. A lot of families turned out for the race and it was a lot of fun! As always, I’ll take any chance I can get to run with my MRTT ladies!

Follow my friends on Instagram! Gail @spaceangel92 and Misty @disneyprincess_on_the_run!

Stroller running with my son Alex is more and more fun as he grows up. He sits up and looks around when he used to lay and chill. We talk about the blue sky, the cars, the trees, the crunchy leaves, going fast, going slow, and everything in between. We love to sing songs too! He is definitely the best running buddy I could ask for.

After the Turkey Trot, we spent the day watching the Macy’s parade, cooking, and relaxing! Once my husband Chris got home from work, we enjoyed our tasty meal. Turkey for them and vegan sides for us all to enjoy. Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, and Mushroom Gravy. I used all Minimalist Baker recipes and they were so delicious you’d never suspect they were vegan!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Sliced Almonds given to us by a friend. Very tasty!

Some of you may remember I participated in a #RunChatHunt running scavenger hunt over the summer hosted by @TheRunChat. It was a blast finding new running routes to check things off the list and I get to do it again. @TheRunChat is hosting a holiday-themed #RunChatHunt and I’ve already been hard at work seeking out the new catalog of items! If you’re a runner and have a Twitter account, you should join in on the holiday fun! There’s a whole list of prizes you could win by participating!

Christmas lights, Wildlife (a small owl!), Star Wars decorations, Cup of Coffee – Check!

The adventures of being vegan continue and I’m still feeling great about it! (Wondering what vegan eating looks like? Read this post!) A family member of mine decided to try veganism after seeing me make the switch. After a week or two, they gave it up because they were worried about receiving enough of the proper nutrients. This made me dig deeper into making sure I was getting a good balance of nutrients myself which led me to this article. I was pleased to see that I eat most of the foods listed so I am, at the very least, on the right track. I’ve decided to up my superfood intake and plan my meals out to have a more well-rounded, mixed up diet day by day. That will be my dietary focus this week. I started today by making this quinoa superfood salad. Tasty and filling!

Quinoa Superfood Salad – missing pomegranate seeds because sadly, I couldn’t find any pomegranates.

This weekend I will be attending the Running With The Elves 5k in Marysville, CA! It’s the first time ever (and probably last since I’m moving away) that I’ll be returning to a race I’ve done before. I’ll be stroller-running but I believe I will still set a nice course PR! Here’s a photo of me crossing the finish line last year.

I’ve made literal great strides with running since this was snapped!

On December 16th, I’ll be running the YSTC River Run 5k in Yuba City and I’ll have cheerleaders! My in-laws will be visiting from Mississippi so they, my husband, and son will be there to watch me race!

On December 30th, I’ll be hosting a 5k! As a Move More Fitness Ambassador, I got the opportunity to host a meet-up for the MMF Jingle Dash Virtual 5k! Everyone is welcome to join us, including strollers, kids, and pets! If you’d like a bib and medal to commemorate this 5k, you can register here. Registration closes December 10th. This will be my farewell run before I fly out of California two days later. I hope you’ll join us to walk, run, and jingle into the new year! If you use Facebook, you can RSVP to the event through this link.

‘Tis the season for holiday races! What holiday-themed shenanigans will you be getting up to this month? Comment below and have a wonderful week!

My First Half Marathon!

My First Half Marathon!

I’M OFFICIALLY A HALF MARATHONER! I couldn’t be more happy or proud of this fact! After running 115 miles during 8 weeks of training, I ran my “victory lap” at the Urban Cow Half Marathon with 13.1 miles!

In last week’s post, I told you how I was having some serious hamstring problems in my right leg. My 8 mile long run was cut down to 3.5 and all my efforts to release the tightness were unsuccessful. Thankfully, a few days before the race, I tried a lying down hamstring stretch and felt it release! I was excited but still worried about it affecting my performance at the race. I continued doing this stretch a few times a day along with my usual rolling and stretching.

Because I was part of the Moms Run This Town HERD (team) I was invited to a special, early VIP packet pickup! On Thursday, I headed down to Fleet Feet Sacramento for this event and it was fun getting first access to all the special apparel and goodies created for this race! Plus, I got to bump into my friend Lisa who was there to pick up packets for almost our whole MRTT chapter!

Here we are with Howdy the cow!

After getting my bib packet and stocking up on gels and hydration powder, it was time to rest up for the race. On Saturday, I gathered everything together and laid out my Flat Christa.

Sunday morning finally came and although I was nervous, I was so ready and excited! My dad and I rode down to Sacramento together while my husband and son were going to meet us later.

Walking up to the event, the first thing we saw was the big She/Moms Run This Town tent! 12 Sacramento area chapters were represented at this race! We gathered for this awesome group photo.

I also found some ladies from my chapter and we all walked around sharing our excitement for the race.

Lisa, Kitty, Francine, and Gail – just a few members of my awesome running tribe!

We made our way to the start line but stayed aside while the first wave of the half marathon started. The first wave was for runners who could complete the race in less than 2 hours. While we waited for the second wave to line up, my friend Stephanie surprised me! She wasn’t intending on running this half but joined at the last minute. I was so happy to see her and feel her support!

Follow Stephanie on Instagram! @runstrongrun

Wave 1 finally cleared out and our wave lined up. My MRTT ladies all stood together and exchanged “you got this!” cheers and then they sounded the horn. It was go time!

Lisa and I ran together for the first 7 miles or so. We had so much fun chatting and checking out all there was to see! Costumes – like a man in a multi-color spiky wig and yellow legwarmers and the people running in full cow costumes! How did they not pass out from heat stroke in those things? Live bands jamming every few miles – we would dance, cheer and clap! Sights – like the famous yellow Tower Bridge and the Sacramento River!

My legs started to feel really tired around the 7 mile mark. I blame too much rest trying to avoid aggravating my hamstring before the race. I told Lisa to go on ahead because I was going to take an extra walking break. At that point, I honestly thought I’d rest a little and catch back up to her. Unfortunately, my legs never recovered and I started feeling a lot of pain in my feet, particularly on the soles. Lisa slowly crept further and further into the distance until I didn’t see her anymore.

But it was fun while it lasted!

I was kicking myself for sure but tried to remember everyone’s advice to me to just have fun at my first half. I did walk quite a bit more the last half of the race because my feet were in serious pain. Around mile 10, I had that thought that I think most runners get during a race like this, “Why did I do this to myself?” There were also some thoughts like “How do people do FULL marathons?!” haha! I just kept pushing on the best I could.

Howdy greeted me at mile 10!

During the final mile, “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga came on which ignited a small burst of energy that had me running more. I came around a corner and was met by this arch with a great cow pun and the excitement of knowing I only had a half mile to go.

That last half mile was quick, intermittent spurts of running – walking – running – walking. My feet were screaming stop but my will to reach the finish line kept me moving! I finally got to where the end was in sight and I pushed harder. Lisa had already finished and she came back to run me in. I sprinted as hard as I could and raised my arms in victory as I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:52!

Words can’t properly describe the feeling of accomplishment that washed over me. I was handed my awesome cowbell medal and then looked for my family. My dad found me first, gave me a big hug, and I started crying. While we were hugging, I saw my husband pushing my son up in the stroller with a big smile on his face. My son gave me a big kiss and my husband gave me a hug and said “You did it!” Seeing my family proud of me felt so good!

That’s Alex’s proud face

I went to the beer garden to enjoy my complimentary Lagunitas beer but, sadly, I had forgotten my I.D. My dad then told me he’d buy me a margarita at lunch. Thanks Dad!

I could barely walk so I sat down to change into my OOFOS recovery sandals. I took off my shoes and found one of my Pro Compression socks had a small spot of blood on it. I was cracking up and making jokes about being a “real” runner now. I took my socks off and found 9 blisters on my feet. This was weird because I didn’t get blisters on any of my training runs and I wasn’t wearing anything different. Also, my foot pain started at the 7 mile mark so it wasn’t because I was running further than I ever had. It’s a mystery.

We slowly shuffled back to the car and went to the Mexican restaurant El Papagayo. I wanted to give them a shout out because they have a whole page of vegan options on their menu AND their food is really good! Maybe it was because I had just run 13.1 miles, but I’m pretty sure I had the best margarita I’ve ever had there!

After lunch, we headed home and I prepared my first ever ice bath. I was scared and for good reason. It was terrible haha! I dunked my lower half in the water, lasted one whole second, said NOPE and got out. It was wayyyyy too cold! So I swapped it out for an epsom salt bath instead. That was much more relaxing!

On race day, I thought “I’m not doing another half for a long time!” The next day, I was looking up half marathons in Germany haha! It’s seriously an addiction! I’m not sure when my next half will be since it will be cold and snowy over there but I’m looking forward to the next round of training and the fun journey that will come with it!

Run, Swim, Walk, Run

Run, Swim, Walk, Run

Last week, I blogged from beautiful Napa Valley! I made a goal to enjoy the rest of our vacation and keep running easy. It was a pretty simple mission and, boom, mission accomplished! Our getaway was the perfect mixture of romance for me and Chris and great family fun for Alex!

Life with a crazy, upside-down toddler!

On Thursday, I had a 3.5 mile run on my training schedule so I got up early and headed to Downtown Napa. (I’m training for my very first 13.1 at the Urban Cow Half Marathon!)

We had eaten at a restaurant in that part of town so I’d had a glimpse of the beautiful historic murals, river views, and interesting street art in that area. I just knew I had to run there!

After my run, we had some family fun in Sonoma and then headed home. We absolutely loved our vacation and I wish it could’ve lasted longer. We definitely need to go on family vacations more often!

On Friday, I had a 30 minute swim at 5 A.M. on the schedule. However, after getting less than 6 hours of sleep three nights in a row, I chose to sleep in. After some much needed rest, I did a half hour YouTube yoga session in my living room! With it being my first week back to running, I was needing the stretch anyway so it worked out.

On Saturday, it was time for my week 1 long run! I suited up and headed out the front door for 5 miles.

How can you not enjoy a run with this view?

I wanted negative splits and I wanted to take things slow as I have been, so I walked a good portion of the first mile to warm up. I continued to take walking breaks as needed throughout the remaining 4 miles. Somewhere between mile 2 and 3, I ate an energy gel and it helped get me in the groove to finish my run strong. I did achieve negative splits going from 13:37 in mile 1 to 11:31 for mile 5. As you can see, I’m definitely taking things nice and slow.

On Sunday, my beautiful mom flew in from Washington to stay with us for a couple of weeks! It’s the last time we’ll see her before we move to Germany later this year so it’s an extra special visit.

Alex and I picked her up in Sacramento and we spent some time in the city. We had lunch at a delicious taqueria and hit up my favorite running store, Fleet Feet Sac!

Alex only had eyes for his Grammy.

I grabbed a basket and loaded up with an assortment of new gels to try in all different flavors.

I’m excited to experiment with these as I train to see what I like for my half marathon! What’s your favorite gel brand or flavor?

On Monday, it was a 5 A.M. swim again and this time I got up and went. Fortunately, I can use one of our local pools for free! Unfortunately, it’s not the best quality. First of all, it was very dark.

Yes, that’s as lit up as it got. There were two lifeguards out there watching me so it wasn’t because somebody forgot to turn the lights on. There’s a second reason it’s not the best pool around. I had been thoroughly warned that because this is an outdoor pool, there would be little buggies from time to time but I was not expecting the little friend that came to visit. A mouse jumped in and wanted to swim some laps! I’m not much of a scaredy cat so I just moved out of the way and let the lifeguards scoop him up with a net. I guess if I want to keep swimming free, I have to accept I’m sharing the pool in the dark with some critters. I’m not exactly thrilled about it but it’ll do for the next 7 weeks.

When we were planning our visit, my mom told me that she wanted to exercise together because she is on a weight loss journey of her own. She has lost 45 pounds in the last year! (You can read about my weight loss journey here!) So after my swim on Monday, we went for a 2 mile walk.

On Tuesday, I headed out for a pretty 4 mile run. Along my route was a giant, beautiful sunflower field so of course I had to check it out 🙂

I definitely struggled with this run. There was quite a bit of walking but I had an overall pace of 11:57 which isn’t terrible for me. I’m used to running very early when it’s cool outside. This run, however, didn’t start until about 9 A.M. so even though it was nice weather, it was a lot sunnier and warmer than what I’m used to. It was a hard run, but hey, I got it done!

I have still felt that feint, dull ache occasionally in my shin that, as I previously posted, has never gone away. It’s not bad yet, but I can tell it has slightly increased in discomfort since I started running again. I’m looking into a new pair of shoes which is a bummer since I just bought the shoes I have back in May. I’m looking at the Asics Gel Nimbus 18s because I’ve worn Asics in the past and they were on a list of shoes good for shin splints. I’d love to hear any opinions on shoes good for this!

This weekend, my mom and I will be participating in the Gone For a Run Run Now Wine Later Virtual 5k with my Moms Run This Town group! I’m really looking forward to doing this with her and it’s going to be a fun time with my MRTT ladies!

My goals for the week are to keep running easy, be extra diligent with stretching and foam rolling, make sure I get up for my 2 swim sessions, and I have my long run of 6 miles on Saturday! What are your goals for the week? Comment below! Have a great one!

Walking the Walk

Walking the Walk

In last week’s post, I talked about the bane of my current existence, shin splints. I have been practicing active rest by walking instead of running. They are doing much much better but I still feel some aches here and there. I did finally break my streak after 48 days straight of running or walking at least 1 mile every day.

The streak was SO FUN while it lasted but I feel like I need the rest to heal completely. Plus, I’ll be taking rest days during my upcoming half marathon training so the streak couldn’t have lasted much longer. Here’s a rundown of my week:

I’m still going for my goal of 75 miles in the month of July so my strategy is to walk out the remaining miles ASAP and then rest until the Fit Approach EMPOWER Race 5k on August 5th.

Speaking of races, I changed my mind and signed up for the Urban Cow Half Marathon to be my first half!

I was previously going to do the Healdsburg Wine Country Half but decided Urban Cow overall works better for me. The biggest reason is that my dad will be in town from Colorado for my son’s birthday and I think it would be really special for him to be at my first half marathon! In fact, Urban Cow is on October 1st which is the day my son was born 2 years ago 🙂

Look at this nugget!

This does give me a few weeks less to train but I think it will be fine. The race has a generous time limit so I could even walk it if I had to. Don’t worry, I will definitely not be walking my first half!

My goal this week is to REST. I have a friend visiting over the weekend who can walk my last few miles with me! After that I’ll just be lazing about and hopefully healing and ridding my leg of these shin splints for good! What are your goals for the week? Comment below!

Those Dreaded Shin Splints

Those Dreaded Shin Splints

Happy Hump Day!

I went from my BEST RUN EVER last week to taking it easy this week. Running 6.26 miles irritated some minor shin splints in my right leg that I had already been battling for a couple of weeks. Then, to add the cherry on top of the ouch sundae, I did 2 miles of speed work a few days later (read: running about as hard as I can!) My shin was hurting quite a bit more so I knew I had to take it easy this week. I even went to see my doctor just in case and she told me to rest. I’m currently trying active rest by walking and I can tell it’s working.

Run to your nearest doctor’s office for these couture shorts! Pay no mind to how pale my legs are…

One week ago today, I almost broke my streak. Knowing I needed to rest didn’t help, plus I’d had a busy day and put off my walk until the afternoon. At 7 P.M. it was do or die time because my son had to be in bed at 7:30 and I couldn’t leave the house after that because my husband was at work. FINE FINE – I kicked my butt in gear and went for a 1 mile walk. Alex was raring to go!

This is how the stroller works, right?

I’ve kept the streak alive walking or running at least 1 mile every day since June 1st (it started with Streaking with the COOL KIDS) and I’m on day 49! Here is a breakdown of my workouts this week:

Saturday was the Marysville Peach Festival 5k!

It was my first time pushing my son in the stroller in a race and it was really fun. You can read all about my experience in my Race Recap!

I’d say I’m not super thrilled to be walking because it’s kind of boring BUT it’s a lot better than laying on my back not being able to move! So…I’ll be positive and say I’m thankful for walking! Plus, I got stroller miles every single day this week! Alex loves going on these walks, eating snacks, snuggling a stuffed animal, and chatting about everything we see 🙂

Could there be a cuter walking partner?

My goal this week is to focus on healing! I need these shin splints GONE before I start half marathon training on August 6th! When I first set that date, it seemed so far and now it’s only about 2 weeks away!

What are your goals for this week? Comment below! Have a wonderful, health-filled week!

Empowerment

Empowerment

Happy Tuesday, everybody! I usually post on Monday but I’m thinking Tuesdays will be better. It’s honestly just hard for me to take the time to write on Sundays after having a busy weekend. I need a day to just chill, who feels me?

Anyway! What a great week I’ve had! First of all, I started that clean eating plan. I stuck to it for 3 days before kind of stopping. I won’t say it failed because it definitely helped me stop snacking and got my head right with food again. I eat pretty clean as it is (when I’m on track) so I’m sort of doing a halfsies thing with the plan. I’m still making some of the recipes half the time and then eating like normal half the time. I didn’t like having to make complicated meals 3 times a day plus making separate food for my son and husband. I also couldn’t kick the caffeine. Those 3 days were the most tired I’ve ever felt in my life I think haha. I have cut the coffee down at least from 2-3 cups per day to 1-2. What’s my favorite saying? Small victories. So, maybe the plan didn’t work out but I’m feeling excellent! Plus, I got back down to my lowest weight of 197 pounds (after being up 3 pounds last week). Hopefully I’ll start losing again. 🙂 For now, I’m still at a total loss of 108 pounds!

Next on the list of why my week has been great: I’ve been able to run consistently and pain-free!! This is huge for me because I was getting worried that I’d have to take a break. I was even nervous that I might not be able to train for my half marathon. Okay, I was getting overly paranoid haha. As a somewhat new runner, I think it’s understandable that I don’t really understand how injuries work. Thankfully, I followed the RICE method and did stretching and foam-rolling every day and the pain went away. In fact, I’m still doing this daily as a preventative measure.

Sometimes a certain someone doesn’t want to let me 🙂

Here’s a breakdown of my runs this week:

I had lost a little stamina from having to walk for a week or so but I’ve been slowly building it back up. Yesterday, Monday, I ran 3.1 miles with my Moms Run This Town chapter and though I had to take a few walk breaks, I kept a 10:36 pace! That’s pretty fast for me so I was feeling really proud and strong after that run.

Have I mentioned that I love running with this group?!

Speaking of moms running this town, this mom (#motherrunner!) had to do a lot more stroller miles this week than normal. It’s harder than you would maybe think! It’s an extra 35+ pounds that you’re not used to and my pushing hand always starts to hurt after a couple of miles. I’m actually trying to sell my current stroller to afford a jogging stroller to hopefully get a little relief. That’s mom life, though, right? We do what we have to do! At the very least, my son LOVES riding in the stroller, enjoying the sights and sounds, and talking about everything he recognizes.

Another great thing this week (I know, there are a lot of them…) is I won the MRTT Scavenger Hunt!

Park bench, pine cone, a person on a cell phone, and me creeping on someone on a bike haha!

We had a tie breaker and I was feeling very competitive so I set out on the first day and got all 15 items which snagged me the win! I still don’t know what prize I’m getting but just the bragging rights are good enough for me. I know I keep saying it but man, that was just SUCH a fun challenge! I look forward to more in the future.

As opposed to the scavenger hunt, I was faced with an unexpected challenge this week. I did the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Maybe you know who Kelly Roberts is and maybe you don’t. I’m only just recently learning about her. I had already fallen in love with her message of body positivity when she announced Global #SportsBraSquad Day. On June 24, she empowered female runners to run in just a sports bra because “strength comes in all different shapes and sizes.” While I LOVE this message, I was still not planning on running in a sports bra. The thought of going down the street like that absolutely terrified me.

Throughout the day on Saturday, it seemed like every female runner I follow on Instagram was joining the #SportsBraSquad! So many AMAZING and beautiful stories of body positivity and self-love were popping up and I was so inspired. I was still too scared to do a full run sans shirt BUT I did find a nice area for a photo, lost the shirt, and ran around for a few minutes to get a picture.

I won’t lie, I was ready to put my shirt back on. I’m just more comfortable that way, but I’m proud that I took it off in the first place. It proved to me just how far I’ve come down the road to self-acceptance! Who knows, maybe by this time next year, I’ll have no problem doing it for real. Did you join the #SportsBraSquad?

While we’re on the subject of empowerment, I received an email with a discount code for the Fit Approach EMPOWER Race that I’ll be running in August.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to register and join me! I’ll be doing the 5k but they also have a 10k and half marathon at the event. The code (“SUMMER”) is only good for today so act fast!

My goal this week is to finish June strong by completing my streak for #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS, hit my goal of 65 miles this month, and do a long run of 5+ miles one day. I’ve also been trying to plan a special run for Independence Day. I was going to do the We Run Free Because of the Brave Virtual 4 Miler but it was sold out when I went to register. Major bummer! I’ll have to think of something else. What are you planning to do to celebrate 4th of July? Have a wonderful week, stay hydrated in this summer heat, and I hope you hit some goals!

My Perfect Runner Mother’s Day

My Perfect Runner Mother’s Day

I’m starting Motivation Monday by appreciating my calf muscles in this photo! I’ve always been very self-conscious of my legs. It feels so good to see them getting leaner and getting stronger!

It was week 1 of my accountability group on Facebook. These ladies have helped me immensely for the past 7 days! I was really struggling to get back to good habits after my super feast but my accountability buddies turned me around. I had the same usual temptations: Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer, bag of chips on top of the fridge, uneaten portions of my son’s meals, etc. Knowing that I was telling other people everything I was eating helped get me back to healthier eating and I lost 2 lbs for the week!

I’m SO thankful for the women who joined 🙂

I didn’t run much this week thanks to my old Asics running shoes. My (still) sore knee and occasional foot pain (think bone-hitting-pavement level ow) made me less and less inclined to get out and run. I didn’t want to make things worse before I got new shoes for Mother’s Day.

Here’s my workout rundown for the week:

Speaking of Mother’s Day, I hope you all had a great one! My husband and son treated me to a nice day 🙂 When I woke up, the house was totally cleaned and they had made me breakfast and a homemade card. The card was even interactive with coloring pages for Alex to color as we read it. After breakfast, I got a quick 1 mile run in, then we all got ready and headed to Sacramento to Fleet Feet Sports to buy my new shoes! I had been waiting for this day for about a month so I was very excited!

This store was everything I had been dreaming of! Walls filled with shiny new running apparel, shoes, and accessories.

They also had a kids table full of toys to keep Alex entertained. What a great idea! He absolutely loved it and my husband didn’t have to chase him around to keep him from making a mess of the store while I was getting fitted.

An associate named Garrett helped me and he was so friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful! If you have a Fleet Feet store near you, I highly recommend them. Unfortunately, they didn’t have my size in stock in the color I wanted so I didn’t get to take a pair home. Luckily, though, they were able to order them from their website and ship them directly to my address. They should be here in 3 or 4 days!

After Fleet Feet, we went out to lunch and then headed home and played in the back yard. It was a perfect Mother’s Day 🙂

This morning I walked out the door at 5 A.M. and ran my One Awesome Mother Runner Virtual 5k. I had never run a virtual race before but it was kind of nice to do it on my own time! I was able to participate because I’m part of the Moms Run This Town community. I ordered my bib packet on goneforarun.com and it came with a cute medal! After my run, I posed with Alex because without him I wouldn’t be a Mother Runner and he’s the reason I keep going on my fitness journey!

With the prospect of new shoes and no pain, I’ve been getting the itch to increase my running distance. First, I was looking into what 10k races I could do but then I happened upon a link to a review of The Golden Gate Half Marathon. The idea of running The Golden Gate Bridge instantly appealed to me. The entire 13.1 miles would be beautiful! It would be quite a challenge, especially because there are a lot of hills, but it wouldn’t take place until November 5th giving me plenty of time to train. It just seems like a dream race that I don’t think I can pass up!

In the meantime, I’ll be running the Run Around the Rice 5k this weekend! Check out my Races page to see what other events I’ll be running! What are you looking forward to this week? Comment below and be sure to subscribe to my blog via email to see future posts! Have a great week!

What Losing 100 Pounds Has Taught Me

What Losing 100 Pounds Has Taught Me

As you may have seen this past week, I have now lost over 100 pounds! It took 16 months, healthy habits, hard work, determination, and a lot of sweat! Now that I’m 30 lbs away from my goal weight, I can see that I still have a long way to go. However, I’m taking the time to celebrate how far I’ve come and reflect on everything this journey has taught me.

When I set my sights on losing 130 lbs, that seemed almost unattainable. When I hit the 30 lb loss mark, I thought about how I had 100 lbs to go. That number is huge so I put it out of my mind so it wouldn’t overwhelm me. I just kept working for that next pound.

In an ideal world, I’d reach my goal weight, go back to eating pizza and chilling on the couch, and never gain a pound back. This is not an ideal world. Honestly I’m kind of glad! It’s rewarding to work so hard for something I really want! Plus I just feel so much better physically and emotionally when I treat my body right. This is a lifestyle now. There are always improvements to be made! I love the quote “It doesn’t get easier, you just get better at it.”

“Willpower is like a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger it gets.” This is incredibly true! I still struggle with willpower from time to time. I’m an over-eating type of person. I love to indulge! It’s taken a lot of discipline to train myself to have some self-control with food. Educating myself on ingredients and health effects of different foods definitely helped. Logging my calories every day and sticking to my limit helps a lot too. Most of all, knowing how much better I feel when I eat right keeps me in line.

When I started running, I couldn’t even run a tenth of a mile. Now I run 5k races! I no longer see challenges and think “Pfft, no way!” More often than not, the challenge actually makes me excited! I don’t doubt myself anymore. I have learned that when I put in the work, I can reach any goal.

Losing weight and working out has really brought out the “go get ’em” attitude in me. It’s what made me start this blog. I decided that I wanted to tell my story and hopefully help other people who are struggling. I have big dreams for helping people with health and fitness that I’m hoping will come true. I’m working on it!

When I make a mistake, I can be pretty hard on myself. I am still learning the art of self-forgiveness but I have come so far since 100 lbs ago. Before, I would get so frustrated at myself over a bad food decision that I would just think “well, I already messed up so whatever!” and I would keep making bad food choices. I had such backwards logic and it held me back for years! Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t throw in the towel and give up completely. Acknowledge the slip, make a plan to get back on track, and stick to it.

I used to live my life according to what other people said. I had little to no self-esteem as a result. Now I do what I want, I set my goals, I crush my goals, I feel amazing! There have been a couple of times when I heard “oh you don’t need to lose that much weight!” It was meant as a compliment which is nice but it’s misinformed. In the past, this would’ve caused me to start caving on my health choices. Thankfully, I’ve learned to listen to my gut and know exactly what I want to achieve and then I work hard to achieve it!

I saved the best for last. I couldn’t have done this without the tremendous support I’ve gotten from loved ones. I’ve gotten advice and encouragement. I’ve had shoulders to lean on when I’ve struggled. I’ve had people who helped keep me accountable when I couldn’t stay accountable to myself. I’ve had cheering and hugs when I’ve met my goals. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed! Have the strength to do it alone and then don’t. I feel like my relationships with these people are closer now than before because I have depended on them and realized how lucky I am to have such an amazing support system!

It may be cliché, but as the saying goes, “If I can do this, anybody can.” It’s the truth. I’m still an over-eater at heart but I’ve learned that what may taste really good in the moment makes me miserable in the long run. It’s a lesson that has taken my entire life to learn. I refuse to go back to old habits. It’s not just about losing weight or being “skinny.” It’s about my health. My biggest motivator is being a good example for my son and staying healthy so I can live a nice long life to be here for him. I’m not going to stop!

Race Recap: Harmony Health Earth Day 5k – Part 2!

Race Recap: Harmony Health Earth Day 5k – Part 2!

Welcome back! At the end of Part 1 of my recap, we were heading to the starting line ready to run our 5k!

All of the runners got to the starting line and we began patiently waiting.

The organizer was waiting for one of the color stations to radio her and tell her they were ready. So we kept waiting.

Katharine and Alex had found a place to sit nearby and they were watching. I kept waving at them and I could see Alex saying “Mama Mama Mama.” We had to wait about 15 minutes before we were finally ready to go. The organizer yelled “READY. SET. GO!” and we were off!

Big lesson learned from this race? Pace yourself. I ignored negative splitting and just went for it. I was running a pace that wasn’t quite as fast as I could go but it was definitely above what I normally do. This caused me to keep speeding up and slowing down and I even had to stop for a couple short walk breaks within the first 2 miles. Not good!

One of my favorite things about races is that you kind of get these stranger running buddies! You’ll have people going about the same pace as you and for me, they help me push myself to keep up with them or even go faster than them. There was a man in his 50s or 60s with a bright green shirt doing the right thing and running nice and steady. I kept passing him and falling behind him because of my very unsteady pacing. I hope I’m still running at his age. He was inspirational and motivated me to keep going!

We started out running on sidewalk and asphalt but then we headed out on a trail. It was unexpected for me and I had never run on a trail before!

It was kind of hard just because I was being careful with every step. The trail had a lot of holes and dips and I didn’t want an injury. We did a couple of laps like that and then ventured back to the familiar concrete where I felt much more comfortable.

I was running faster than I ever had. My Nike+ Running app lost signal for a while so I had no idea how far I had gone. We came to a part of the race where we were close to the starting point and it seemed like the finish line was close.

Alex clapping for all the runners going by.

I could tell the woman just ahead of me was in my same age group so I sped up to pass her and started running as fast as I could. I really wanted a medal haha! The joke was on me because we still had 3/4 of a mile to go and I had just burned myself out.

Once I realized there was no finish line in sight, I had to take a walk break. The woman I passed rightly ran past me and I didn’t see her again. She was awesome! I kept trying to get into the music playing in my earbuds to keep running. This definitely helped me to push myself but my body was just not up to it. I had to take several short walk breaks for that last 0.75 mile stretch. Running too hard in the beginning like that was a rookie mistake but I’m still happy with my overall time.


I crossed the finish line in less than 35 minutes!

Katharine and Alex were waiting for me at the finish line and I felt so good even though I was totally worn out. They were ready with bottles of water for me and we found a nice spot to sit for a while and talk about my run. After I caught my breath and rested a bit, we went back over to Olive Hill to wait for the medals to be handed out.

When we got there, we saw a wonderful sight!

SNO-CONES!

These sno-cones were exactly what we needed. It was sunny and warm out so they were the perfect post-race treat!

Alex liked it too!

I came in 3rd place in my division only to find they were only giving medals to 1st and 2nd place. Major bummer! I had to remind myself that it’s not just about medals even though it would’ve been really nice. I ran harder and faster than ever, and while I made the mistake of wearing myself out early, I have improved immeasurably since I started my running journey last September! I like to remember back to May of last year when I first started working out. Katharine and I were walking on treadmills together and she was doing some jogging intermittently. I told her how awesome I thought it was that she could run. I also remember telling her “I’ll never run!” with a scoff. Ha! I wouldn’t have believed then that I would be a full-time runner less than a year later. Never say never!

My next race will be the Sutter Buttes Spirit Mountain Run 5k on May 6th! You can check out my Race Page here! I hope to see some friendly faces there!

My Journey

My Journey

Welcome to Sweating Awesome!

Hi, I’m Christa Levesque! I’m a mom, a military spouse, a runner, and a health and fitness enthusiast! I transformed my life more than a year ago through changing my eating and exercise habits. I’ve come quite a long way but let’s start at the beginning.

My whole family struggles with weight but most of them are not obese like me. I have been overweight since I was a kid. I remember a family member pointing out my bulging belly at 10 years old and asking me how much I weighed. “Well, I didn’t weigh a hundred pounds until I got pregnant!” she said. My family didn’t have much money. We ate a lot of McDonald’s and Hamburger Helper. As a result, I learned unhealthy eating habits from the start.

Me on the left at a High School dance.

All the years from Elementary through High School I was teased and left out because of my weight. Even as an adult, I have had to deal with rude comments or dirty looks. This molded me into a miserable and very insecure person. As a teenager, I would try to lose weight. All I wanted was to be thin and I’d even challenge my friends to diet with me. We would give up soda for a month or we would eat salads for lunch at school. We would turn around and eat burgers and fries for dinner. Well into my 20s, I didn’t understand what eating healthy really meant. I just wanted a quick fix to be skinny because I was ridiculed for being fat my whole life.

In 2009, I did a low-carb diet and initially found success with it. I went from 290 pounds to 220 pounds. I felt amazing having lost 70 pounds! However, I fell off the wagon after 9 months of being very strict on my diet. On my birthday I allowed myself to have some potatoes with my dinner and cheesecake for dessert. It was all downhill from there. I’d had a taste of those delicious carbs and I couldn’t stop cheating! I struggled to get back to my disciplined eating and eventually gave up completely. I gained 85 pounds back.

Over the next 6 years, I tried to do the low-carb diet several times. I would always lose about 15-20 pounds before caving and gaining it right back. In January 2015, as a New Year’s resolution, I was trying that diet yet again. The first month went well with some small weight loss. In early February, I was on a lunch break at my former job and took a bite of a Slim Jim. This is a perfect example of something that I thought was healthy because it was low-carb. I instantly felt nauseous and spit it out. Turns out, I was pregnant! This was great news and ultimately the biggest and best change my life has ever seen. I started to really educate myself on healthy eating for the first time ever at 27 years old! I wanted to eat right for my baby and I knew that I’d want to set the example of health in the future. I didn’t want my child growing up with the same struggles I did.

Pregnant me in Monterey, CA

Pregnancy was the first time in my entire life that I had a reason to celebrate my body. Learning about the changes a woman goes through during pregnancy really opened my eyes to how amazing our bodies are! I decided that even though I wasn’t always happy with how I looked, I was going to love my body. I had gained 30 pounds during my pregnancy landing me at 335 pounds before giving birth. After my son was born, 12 pounds disappeared instantly and I worked to lose the other 18. I didn’t exercise at first, I just continued to eat healthy and focused on being a new mom. I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight of 305 pounds in December 2015 and I started counting my pounds lost after that. After losing about 20 pounds, I joined a gym in May 2016. I set a goal of working out 4 days a week and stuck to it. My workouts were simple: walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then doing 30 minutes of machines or light weight-lifting. I would also do Zumba classes because I enjoy dancing and it’s a great workout. After only a few months, I had jumped up to a 45 pound loss!

I always told people that I would never run. It just seemed impossible to me. In September, my gym started a new running group. They caught my interest because they were very insistent on being open to beginners. I was really scared to join but suddenly, with this encouraging group, running no longer felt like an impossibility. I told myself that I would just go to one meet up and see if I liked it.

Me on the right with the TZ Road Runners at our first meeting.

I was terrible at running. I couldn’t even make it a quarter of a mile. The poor instructor had to stay back and run/walk slowly with me while the rest of the group ran together. She was very positive and supportive and told me to keep running! So I did. I registered for my first 5k and followed a Couch to 5k program on my own. I ran on the treadmill or around my neighborhood. I slowly built up my endurance and my confidence with running. Pretty soon I was able to run a quarter, a half, three-quarters of a mile, and so on. Every little milestone made me feel so accomplished! Running also brought my weight loss to a new level. I was dropping pounds faster than before and that was a big motivator to continue running. I would also register for a new 5k race every month to keep giving myself an event to work toward.

This all brings us to now. I’ve lost over 100 pounds and counting! I have participated in several races and I’ll be competing in my first half marathon this fall! I still continuously set achievable goals and push myself to the next challenge.

It’s hard to put into words how amazing I feel. It has been a complete transformation inside and out. Where I used to feel sluggish and lazy, I now have loads of energy! I used to struggle with depression and now I’m happy and upbeat most days! When I would go shopping before, I would cry in dressing rooms because I felt so hopeless. This journey has brought me such confidence! I’m still a work in progress and I am far from perfect. I still have plenty of jiggle but I don’t care. I know that I am loving myself by treating my body right and I’m living a healthy lifestyle that’s going to carry me above and beyond my goals!

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