Thursday, October 31, 2013

TTT...Challenge Time!!

Let me first say it was very hard to drag my butt out of bed this morning. least I have a smile on my face because of this shiny thing!
Red Sox are World Champs and Fenway was ELECTRIC last night!!!  Love it!!! Ok as you were!

It's that time of year again...time to try to work off the calories we are eating...or for me try to hit my end of the year goal!!  To help me do that I am sharing with you some challenges that I have signed up for that you may want to join in too!

HBBC...Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge hosted by the amazing Amanda is a staple in Fancy Nancy land every year!

I love her points system and the challenge to be as active as I can be!  She also gives points for eating healthy and being good to yourself!  This year I signed up for the complete plan but she has three levels of participation.  It's an awesome challenge and there are TONS of prizes to win!!  It starts November 17th so get over and sign up!!  Let her know Fancy Nancy sent you!!!

Pile on the Miles....Since 2010 I've been joining in on the fun with Monica over at Run Eat Repeat for her Pile on the Miles challenge.

It totally helps me out with my HBBC points and gets me to my year-end mileage goal ahead of schedule!!  This year I'm setting my goal mileage at 125 which would be the highest month of the year....why not go big to end the year?!  You can sign up for free and start piling on your miles!

13 in 2013...I'm pretty certain that I have hit my 13 races in 2013 however I am adding two to the mix this month.  Next week I will be running in and out of cranberry bogs and through the famous Edaville Railroad (ok so maybe just famous around here) for the Edaville Rail Run 5 miler.
Then I'm burning off some turkey before it makes its way to my belly by pushing the ladies and running with my mother-in-law on Thanksgiving in the local We Gather Together 5k.  Last time I ran this I scored a pr of 22:38!  Don't think I'll hit that one this time around but it is always a good race!
The 13 in 2013 is wrapping up but keep your eyes peeled for something special for 2014!!

How are you finishing your year?  Are you in these challenges?  Any other challenges you're doing?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To Supplement or Not to Supplement with #SDPharma

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of SD Pharmaceuticals.

I have used supplements in the past and have struggled to find the right balance for me.  Some would not have any effect on me while others would cause me to have extreme emotions and chest pains.  I was excited when I was given the opportunity to test out a number of supplements from SD Pharmaceuticals through a Fitfluential campaign.
I was sent 5 types of supplements in addition to ton of awesome information and guides on how to use the supplements properly.  What stuck out for me right away about the company is that they only use ingredients in their supplements that is backed by solid research.  This is important when taking any supplement.  So here's the skinny....I was sent
  • Green Coffee Bean: is 100% caffeine free and used for increased fat loss and antioxidants
  • Raspberry Ketone: used to inhibit fat accumulation, increases fat break down and calorie expenditure
  • Garcinia Cambogia: used to reduce appetite, block fat build-up, and weight loss
  • Dendrobium: used for physical endurance & stamina, mental focus, and has no crash or jitters
  • Diindolylmethane: used for hormonal support
You can take each supplement on its own or you can stack them in many different variations.  I chose to try out the Fat Burning Stack which combined Green Coffee Bean, Raspberry Ketone, Garcinia Cambogia, and Dendrobium three times a day a half hour before each meal.  The last dose is taken without the Raspberry Ketone...unless of course I never want to sleep!  I also added the Diindolylmethane in my lunch dose to see how it worked.  They also had guides for other ways to stack the supplements for fat loss and performance, fat loss and muscle growth, muscle grow and recovery, optimal health, and testosterone boosting. 

I have been taking the supplements for a little over 2 weeks now.  At first I thought it was going to be a lot of pills to take at once
but they really go down easy and are really easy to take.  I will say to make sure you drink more than enough water with them to make sure they all go down.  I was certain to drink at least a full glass of water each time.  Their claims that the supplements won't make you jittery or have a "crash" as they wear off are very true.  So far I have just felt awake and ready for my workouts and the day in general.  I have even been able to cut out my 2-3 cup of coffee habit!!! (although I do miss the warmth of coffee)  I have the needed energy and focus that I need for my early morning workouts as well as my ones late at night!  In the past I would either be ready to go in the morning and crashing as night came or visa versa.  Not with these supplements!  I've also noticed I don't have that need to snack in the afternoon which was a big struggle of mine!  I've been eating just what I pack for meals and don't find myself looking for a snack even when I'm not tired.

I'm looking forward to see how the next two weeks go using these supplements.  I know people out there tend to shy away from supplements but these I would recommend!  They give you the focus and energy you need to reach your fitness goals without the nasty side effects!

I was provided the 5 supplements from SD Pharmaceuticals for free through a Fitfluential LLC campaign but my opinions are 100% me myself and I!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Motivation

I was talking candidly with another woman at the gym the other morning about how even after showering we were both still sweating.  Yes my makeup slides off my face each morning...yes I have to wake up at o'dark thiry...yes my bed is comfy and warm...and yes I LOVE this feeling!  I love heading off to work knowing I kicked my own butt for an hour!  It's a feeling I miss when I don't do it!  Exercise is part of my everyday life in many shapes and forms...because I need that feeling every day!
Do you love sweating?  Do you chase that exercise high?

Friday, October 25, 2013

FItness Friday....Kettlebell Fun

I'm sharing with you all today a "fun" workout I've been doing with a friend and our fearless leader trainer the past few weeks.  If you remember this summer, I discovered the pain kettlebells can inflict and of course fell in love!  Here's been our workout lately!  Have fun!

First things first get yourself some kettlebells...
I am trying to challenge myself to increase my weights...thus the line-up!  Make sure you do have a range though.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why I Teach

I'm deviating from my usual banter about running, weight loss, and parenting to recognize those lost this past week....
"In the line of duty"....this is a phrase used for some professions like police officers when they are killed while on the job.  I never envisioned it to be used for a teacher yet this week we have lost two teachers in the line of duty.  Teachers who strove each and every day to not only educate their students but to make them better people.  Teachers that were amazing people in and out of school who had dedicated their lives to helping children be the best version of themselves.  Teachers like me.  Watching the scenes from yesterday's murder in Danvers made me shudder...having a place you know so well broadcast on Nightly News hits home way too quickly.  The North Shore was my home...where I began my life as a teacher...molded my craft by attending countless hours of post graduate classes...and taught for 10 years.  Never in those 10 years did I ever once feel like this job that I loved would ever be a threat to my life.  It was a job I had wanted all my life...

My husband teases me when we talk about people finding jobs by saying, "Not everyone knew what they wanted to do when they were born!"but it's so true!  I can remember getting my Highlights Magazine in the mail and teaching my dolls and stuffed animals how to read!  When it came time for me to go to college I was focused from day one....I wanted to be a teacher.  I had a passion for students and a drive to teach.  As time went by my focus narrowed onto just who those students were going to be...guiding me to ESL.  I wanted the hard kids...the ones that other teachers didn't know what to do with. 

My first application for employment was to a job in the which my mother asked me not to pursue!  I landed in Lynn (Yes...Lynn Lynn city know the rest!) and would spend the next 10 years doing amazing things!  Just talking about my work there makes me light up!  I was a third grade ESL teacher...meaning my students were brand new immigrants to the US (many of which were refugees) and I taught them English and 3rd grade.  I was their teacher...their cultural guide...their translator...their confidant...their toughest boss...and their biggest fan!  I organized events pairing families and refugee families ensuring that everyone had all the winter essentials they never knew they needed.  I pushed students farther than they thought they could go and then celebrated each victory along the way.  I've kept students away from the gangs that were so willing to take them in.  I showed them places they may never have had a chance to see like the symphony or opera house.  I taught them that hard work will always win...I have and always will teach them to never give up on themselves! 

I teach because...
  • I can't imagine myself doing anything else
  • the sound of a child reading for the very first time is priceless
  • I believe in each and every one of them
  • I have been called to do just that
  • the magical things that can happen inside a classroom can transform the world!
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Mike Landsberry and Colleen Ritzer and with all my fellow teachers out there.  Schools are a safe haven...and magical things do still happen there.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Matters Most

The past few days I have been in a funk...just feeling discouraged and weighted down by just about every aspect of my life...getting to the end of my day and just feeling like I did not do one thing well!  I know part of it is work and losing sight of why I am a tends to happen when you are piled high with paperwork and red tape. 
I was going to post this picture as a "Wordless Wednesday" post and leave it at that...unable to come up with anything witty or inspiring to add to it.  But then looking at this picture and the phrase written across my LuBelle Fit tank.  This is what matters....these two sitting in the bright yellow stroller...with a dollie and fly swatter (just in case)...the journey every other day while mom huffs and puffs behind them is not about time.  It's not about losing weight or making it up yet another hill without's about the journey.  It's about the laughs exchanged as they tickle and grab.  It's about the squeals of joy as Aub sees a dog walking up the street....or a well decorated yard for Halloween.  It's about the half hour journey around our neighborhood...this is what matters most!  Some days it's as simple as a picture to jar me out of my funk and remember what matters most!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Motivation

I'm going with an oldie but goodie for this Monday!  Last week I feel like me muscles were sore...I reached the end of my day with nothing left in the tank...I pushed myself and hit my felt awesome!  This week I'm going for the same!  It will take all of these things but I am pushing for my goal and I know in the end it will all be worth it!!  Whatever your goal may be this week...go all in!!  It's worth it every time!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


A little late today but better late than never!  
Here is this week's dose of randomness!!

Biggest Loser....So this week the Biggest Loser started again.  Of course there is never a season that doesn't bring me to tears and this year is the same!  Seriously...hold it together Nance!  At one point during the show my hubby asked me who I would want as a trainer if I could choose.  My choice...Jillian!  I do like the other two trainers a lot...I mean Bob Harper is awesome and really connects with his people, and well Dolvett.....Sorry honey you know how I feel about him!  Maybe it is because I have been an athlete so much of my life or maybe it is just how I tick...I need to be pushed....a lot and Jillian does just that!  My hubby even commented that even if I was with one of the other trainers I would be longingly watching Jillian yell at her people!  Lol...very true!  So who would you choose?
Tired...I'm growing tired of the phrase, "I'm so tired" but this week for some reason I can't help but keep thinking it!!  There are days when I wake up and feel like this....

And then lately for whatever reason my days have me waking up like this....

It hasn't been too much of a problem since I am still getting in my workouts and actually really kicking my own butt, but my treadmill is starting to miss calls to me when I go downstairs to do laundry...and I think this morning it shed a tear!  I'm hoping it is just the change in seasons and I will adjust soon.  I mean my husband can only take so many nights of me in my flannel pjs sleeping on the couch at 8pm!

The elephant in the room...Ok so it seems as if everyone is weighing in on this picture
so I might as well do it too!  Let me first say that when I first saw this picture, I really thought nothing wrong with it.  Go ahead and search Pinterest or Google for motivation pictures and you'll find hundreds very similar.  Perhaps being in social media so much and the fitness world, it has desensitized me a bit.  After thinking more about it I can see both sides of the fence on this one.  Kudos to her for being in that great a shape with three little ones.  As a mom with 2 I know it is not the easiest task to find time and energy to workout so pats on the back to this mom.  I can also see the negative side but probably more from my own personal experience....which is not this woman's or anyone else' fault but my own.  After having Aub I became overwhelmed with shame for how my body looked...and to be honest it is still a battle I fight with myself.  I was shameful of how I looked when others in my position looked so much better...ashamed of my fitness level when others like me were rocking their workouts and races.  I avoided blogs that just made me feel less and less.  If I had seen this at that time I probably would have felt bad as well.  The point here is that was not her calling her a bully I feel is extreme.  Every woman is different and unique....I put in the work but take a little longer to see the results.  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

When I'm struggling pushing 60+ lbs up and down the hills in our neighborhood.....
these little tootsies bouncing around always makes me smile!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tough Talk

After taking two weeks off from being on a training plan, I was so ready to get back into the mode of training again!  Yesterday was the day and nothing says I'm ready to rock like an early morning 10 miler!!  It was the most beautiful Fall day and I was so excited to be out on the road!
About 4 miles into the run, I was at a point where I could start to walk and slow down or I could decide to start really going to work.  I began to repeat things to myself like, "Finish what you've started!" and "What are you afraid of...push!"  I did have to repeat these phrases periodically throughout the next 6 miles but in the end I felt awesome!! 
I ran a route that I haven't run in a while and I was psyched at how well I ran the hills (I'm convinced there is not a flat area anywhere!). 

Along the route I decided to run along a few paths that I have passed by several times but never ventured in.  The paths are made of planks with each one donated and carved by a different person.  As I made my way deeper into the park I started to find the coolest things!  Several local families had made gardens and there were paths leading to each one.  One I found was the garden of verses.
At the end was a park with a few kids toys dedicated to a boy who passed away as a child.  It was heartbreaking.  I was so glad I ventured in and found all these hidden gardens!

How do you talk to yourself to keep motivated?  Ever venture off the beaten path?  Find anything cool?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fan Friday

Hey all!!  Today I'm reaching out to all you social media folks and basically anyone who is reading this today! 
Right before we ran over the Jamestown Bridge!
My BRF Jill who blogs at Lipstick and Plimsolls is leaving Boston today on her way to Chicago to know that little race they have there!  Jill is an awesome runner and this is not her first marathon rodeo...girl has run 7!!  She logs rediculous amount of miles a month and she is headed off to tackle her first of 2 marathons this month!  I would puffy heart love you all to really send her off with LOADS of well wishes!!!  Pretty please with GU on top! 

Here's where you can find her!
Twitter - @lipstick_plims

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Year in the Making Part 2

To my Aubrey Girl...from the bottom of my heart I thank you.  I thank you for teaching me to grab hold to faith when the storms are blowing, to laugh louder, smile often, explore and discover, and love deeper than I ever knew possible!  I am honored to be your mom and I can't wait to see where God's plan takes you!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Year in the Making..Part 1

Don't be afraid of the part 1 of the title!  I'm not going to gush too much but I am going to revisit Aub's birthday on her actual birthday later this week.  I do want to share with you pictures of the party this past weekend.  I honestly love planning parties and this one was no different!  I often say that if only I had an unlimited budget I could be dangerous!!  Our theme was pumpkins and the colors were orange and bright pink!  The day went off without a hitch and from what I could tell it was just a great time of fun and fellowship celebrating our baby girl!  A lot of the crafts I did myself like the Happy Birthday banner, the picture banner, the tutu, favors, and the monogram sign.  The cake I can not take credit for!!  It was made by a friend of ours who is clearly very talented!!  If you live near the Cape contact her!!! 
Just had to get the cake and our dolly!
The big kids painted pumkins
The entry way...just love this!
The birthday girl!!
A great time with friends and family!
This cake not only looked amazing but it tasted great too!

Photo banner through the year, adult and kid favors (mini pumpkins and a rice crispy pumpkin)
Credits: Photographer-My big sis!, shirt Bowdacious Baby Etc., cakes- MaryEllen Clady, unlimited amounts of ribbon and paper-Michaels

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Motivation

Quitting not only would be easy but at times sounds great!  No more 4am wake-ups...eating whatever I want whenever...not being sore most of the time...having all the time in the world to do other things.  However quitting is just not me.  I would be lying to myself if I said that I could still be happy after I quit!  This journey is far from easy...but you best believe I'm not going to quit!
What keeps you from quitting?  What got you started?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Five for Friday

Well considering I didn't do my TTT yesterday I figured I would switch it up and give you five!  Lucky you!!

1...Party hearty!  Tomorrow is baby girl's big first birthday party.  I can't even begin to wrap my head around the fact that she is going to be one and I probably shouldn't since I am at work and people are going to talk if I start the ugly cry right here at my desk!  I am just about ready with all the preparations...tutu is are in a banner...goodie bags made...I just have a few more things to do and you best believe my Cricut is going to be working overtime tonight!  I really LOVE planning parties...I get lost in all the little details that make it special!  I can't wait and of course you'll get a full post!!!

2...Best Body Bootcamp- This week has been the first full week that I have been healthy since this challenge started!  Crazy!!  I have to say that now I remember why everyone loves Tina's bootcamps....I am a hurting unit!  I may be crazy but I love that feeling of sore, tired muscles!  It makes me remember what I'm working for and that I am challenging myself!!  Hubs has been awesome taking the morning shift and letting me go to the gym these past two days and I am feeling awesome!!  I have been mixing up my cardio this week since I just had the half on Saturday and am getting ready to start another training cycle.  I'm loving sneaking in fitness throughout the day to get my workouts in!  Week 5 I'm ready for you!

3...Plans for 2014?  This year my plan was to get this booty back into shape and to run 13 races.  Well since Saturday was race  #17 I think I hit that goal and am now thinking about goals for 2014.  I want to continue to challenge myself while also maintaining balance in all areas of my life (r.e. I don't want to get to the point where running is taking over where life should be).  I'm thinking of some mileage totals...races to run...cross training possibilities.  Anyone running any awesome races?  Plans for 2014 already? 

4...These boots were made for walking-So this year I have decided that I am going to sport a pair of tall boots.  I see them everywhere and I may be a little late to the party but I'm ready to join in!  My struggle is that I have pretty thick calves so finding the right boot is tough.  Today I have on these babies..

They are comfy and come right under my knee.  As sad as it is I am waiting to see what my students say.  Working in a high school these girls will tell you how it is...if these boots are not working they will not hesitate to tell me!  Hilarious!

5...Spray tans?  I have not made it any secret on this blog or social media that I the beach.  To go along with that I really like having a tan.  I know, I is so bad for you...but I always feel like I look healthier when my Portuguese side is showing through!  This time of year and into the winter is known as my fake-out tan time...meaning my face is tan from running outside but everything else is pale since I am bundled up to my chin!  While I normally embrace (kicking and screaming) my fading tan in exchange for Fall, we have a wedding to go to in a few weeks and this is the dress that I am wearing....

See where I'm going with this?  This dress would look perfect....with a tan.  So since I am trying to be a good doobie...or rather a better one I am staying away from the tanning bed (happy mom?)  That leaves me with the spray tan option and the question to all of you...have you ever spray tanned?  Will I look like I should be working for Willy Wonka?

Have a great Friday and weekend!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life...Airbrush Needed?

This week I have had this post swirling around in my head as I pour over photos from this past year in order to make a project for Aub's first birthday....let me just pause and reflect on how wicked fast this year flew by!  I'm not certain if this post will make much sense to anyone but me but I just needed to get my thoughts out.

The other day I was on picmonkey and was making up some collages when I saw the editing buttons.  You can pretty much make yourself look like a completely different person.  With a nip tuck here and a zoom whitening there, you can make yourself look any way you want!  It got me thinking about the past year and where I am...where we are as a  Looking back there are places in this past year at first glance I would love to airbrush right out!  The periods of time that I was riddled with shame over how my body looked and how slowly the weight was coming even getting out the door to pick up my daughter from school took hours of clothing selection only to settle on the same stretchy pants and a frown.  The day spent with our stomachs in knots in the waiting room of Children's Hospital while our sweet baby girl was being operated on and the worry that followed with phrases like "loss of sight" and "infection".  The days of doubt and frustration trying to make my body do something I so badly wanted it to do and being ashamed of finishing times I had deemed too slow.  Moments watching the people I love so dearly hurt both physically and emotionally and knowing that there was nothing I could do to change it.  Get out the airbrush please!

However, I began to really think...think about what those times have brought to us...who we are now after going through them and I can't help but think about putting that airbrush away.  There is something major about going through something difficult and coming out the other side.  You are never the same.  If we had never had this day....
I would never have such an amazing respect for families that are there every. single. day with no end in sight.  I would never have known the amazing support we have out there from friends and family.
If I hadn't struggled with weight loss...and postpartum body fears...and getting back into running, I never would have known how sweet it is when a mile just ticks by effortlessly.  I still have a long way to go but I know at the end of the struggle I will be like this...
I have the ability as I go through these pictures to edit the ones like this...
or the ones where I feel like I look too fat...or not right...or doesn't show the perfect perfect, but then that wouldn't show what our life real life...with bumps and bruises...and love...and support...and the family we really are...the runner I really am...the life I really treasure.

When left with the option, I think I'll choose to put down the airbrush and embrace my life just the way it is...blemishes and all!
How about you?  Airbrush or no airbrush?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

ZOOMA Half Marathon...Cape Cod Edition

During the ZOOMA Women's Half Marathon last year I was 9 months pregnant due just 2 weeks later.
This year I was 40lbs lighter and ready to run....or so I thought!  Two weeks ago our family battled the flu for 3 days and then just 2 days before the race, I was at the clinic with strep throat.  I went to the Mocktail Party hosted by Honest Tea with small goals.  Before I get ahead of myself let me start with Friday's number pick-up and party.

After our weekly play date at the park with friends, we came home to meet up with fellow ambassador Dani who was coming from Somerville and staying with us!  I walked up to unlocked the door and had a spiffy care package waiting for me from Honest Tea!

Lots of goodies that hubs and I are loving!  After hubs got home from work we headed to the Seacrest to pick up our numbers and a quick Q&A with runners. one had a Q so we were left with only As!

Me, Dani, Amy, and Jess
Shopping was awesome and I scored a new plum colored skirt for only $20 from the lovely ladies at Bayside Runner!!!  SCORE!  Plus Jess and I scored the same skirt so I'm thinking there must be a team race on the horizon!  After some snacks and dinner with the fabulous Amy and her always positive hubby Chris, Dani and I went back to my house knowing an early alarm was in our future!

I woke up on race day at 5am (start was at 7:30), drank some coffee and had my English muffin with peanut butter.  I probably should have eaten more since around mile 3 I had a grumbly tummy but I hadn't eaten much in the past few days and didn't want to risk it!  Got dressed and off we went...may I add that Dani always has the most perfectly coordinated race outfits!  Seriously the girl has skills...and Sparkle Skirts!
Dani and I
We got to the starting line no problem (after meeting up with Jill who drove down that morning), used the potty (serious best porta potties ever...they even flushed!!!!), and snapped a quick ambassador photo!
Nicole, Amy, Dani, Kelly, and I
Before we knew it the 10kers were off and it was our turn!  My goal for the race was to finish...and possibly get negative splits!  I ran with Jill for 10 miles...they seriously ticked by like nothing!  We haven't seen each other in a while so we had a lot to catch up on!  I took a GU at mile 3 since I was starving and was good to the finish!
Jill and I at the finish
Mile 10 was when it got a little shaky.  I was doing really well running with Jill keeping my mind ocupied and the miles flying by.  Then well...poor hubs couldn't find Em's soccer gear and sent me a text.  That was all it took to shake me off my game.  The pacers who I had kept behind me the whole race passed me with their yellow balloons bouncing.  A few texts exchanged and a phone call and my resolve was shaken....I started to doubt myself...doubt my training...doubt my health...until I looked at my Garmin and realized I was in fact going faster than I had run the last 11 miles!!!  Apparently I should thank the hubs for getting me frustrated!!  We turned the corner and there stood a hill...not just a hill but a WICKED big...long...twisty hill!  You know me and hills....we aren't friends!  I looked down though and remembered I was wearing my Team Tough Chik shirt....
How could I wear that and walk it up the hill?  I couldn't!  I dug deep...started powering up that hill passing runners by the handful.  Oh and those pacers...those yellow balloons...yeah ate them for lunch!  I was not going to let it all unravel.  That mile...that climb...forever proved to myself that I DO have it in me no matter what!!!  I sprinted it in and smiled ear to ear as the announcer said my name!!  I grabbed a water, medal necklace, and a Muscle Milk and headed for the beach!  A snack in hand and a lounge chair later....

I had done it!  I didn't pr...not even close...but I didn't let the race beat me...I didn't let me beat me!  I know there will be cruddy runs ahead but knowing that I do have it in there shows me that there will be a day where I am crossing that finish line with a smile and my goal time on the clock!!!
The ZOOMA Cape Cod course was hilly but wow you really can't beat the views...cranberry bogs, ocean views, and an awesome Shining Sea Bikepath!  I have loved being involved in this race with all the great women of ZOOMA!  Honestly as cheesy as it sounds, I have made such great friends with my fellow ambassadors!!  The race was very well organized and the little perks were worth it all!  You really can't beat your toes in the in hand...and a massage post race!!