June 27, 2012

"free"

Another great night to run — a rare, cool summer night at one of my favorite parks.  That's the best kind of free enjoyment there is... physical exercise, being outside, "disconnecting" for a good hour or so.  Time to think, time to talk with God.  Free in more ways than one, really.

It's been awesome to run just for the fun of it again, no training.  Training has its benefits, too... but nights like tonight remind me why I run in the first place...


June 18, 2012

Ummm...

Almost 20 pounds down since Christmas?!  Almost 15 pounds down since starting the Body by Vi 90-Day Challenge on April 1st?!

This is crazy for me.  I was never the girl who yo-yo'ed with her weight.  I worked out hard, all the time, and yet was the queen of maintenance.  I worked out so I could at least maintain what I had... I could never seem to lose.

My first 5 pounds down were shed over a period of three months while training for my half marathon.  I lost 6 in my first week on the Body by Vi shakes.  I have only had two days since April 1st of having two "normal" meals that day and only one shake as a meal replacement.  Every other day besides those two, I have had these shakes as meal replacements for two of my main meals for the day.  That's crazy!

The discipline has certainly paid off.  You absolutely have to be determined and dedicated.  In my mind, why in the world do something halfway if by doing it right you can reach your goal?!  The one and ONLY thing I haven't liked (lately) about doing the shakes is that is has de-motivated me to work out.  Why go to the gym at all this week when I know I'm going to lose 1 to 2 pounds anyway?  This is a whole new thing for me.  I used to get anxious about having even ONE weekday a week that I WASN'T able to work out!  I used to work out every single weekday and at least once on weekends if I could.

I am definitely an advocate for BOTH diet and exercise.  I absolutely believe you need both.  So even though I obviously can lose weight just by adding the shakes in my diet alone, I am so ready to get back into a routine with working out.

One reason I haven't done a thing over the past 2+ weeks is being sick with bronchitis...  I am only JUST NOW feeling back to normal and like I'm ready to hit the gym (or go running) again...

I dreamt of running the other night.  I can. not. wait. to run again.

I can update more later, but I just wanted to check in with results from a 90-Day Challenge that is nearing completion.  I only have one more pound to lose until I reach what I had projected to be my "goal weight."  It was hard to guess what I would look like at that number from the front end, so I may actually end up pushing that back another 5 or so pounds.  But I am SO PLEASED with these results.  Eventually I will be doing just one shake a day as a meal replacement... to maintain my weight at a place where I WANT to be!!!

It has taken so long to get here.  I am so thankful to God for giving me the strength to do it and for giving both Trey and I another way - through it - to help others.  We are so looking forward to our next shake tasting benefit coming up... details to follow...


Exciting!  Thanks, everyone!

April 29, 2012

Hunger, Worship, and Peanut Butter Shakes


Looking back over the past week, I am thankful for so many things.  For the purpose and context of this blog, here are just a few things I wanted to record...

Body by Vi Challenge
Today marked 4 weeks for me on the Body by Vi 90-Day Challenge.  I lost another 2 pounds this past week!  I always weigh in on Sunday mornings to see my progress over the last full week.  I am definitely happy with that number.  It is still steadily going down, and as I get closer to my goal weight, I don't expect to lose as much as I did that first week (6 pounds!).

It's been going really well.  I feel so good knowing this is a healthful way to lose weight.  I actually look forward to my shakes (especially Peanut Butter and Strawberry Banana), and I have found that for my one "normal" meal of the day, it is starting to take less to make me full!  I feel like I have worked through balancing out my blood sugars while adjusting to this change in my diet, and I LOVE that I am still able to run without feeling "weak"!  What's amazing is that I am now 2 pounds away from being 15 pounds lighter than I was at Christmastime... crazy!!!  I began losing when I started training for the half marathon, and the shakes have only escalated that progress.  They are simple, extremely tasty, convenient, healthful, and they WORK.  (What's not to love?!?!)

The shakes are an incredible product that will meet you halfway on your health & fitness journey, whatever your goal may be—as long as YOU have the drive, desire, and discipline to meet it the other halfway.  Nothing will do it for you, but this is one product that will help you get there fast, effectively, and safely, all while giving you GREAT, natural nutrition.  I am so extremely happy with the investment that we have made in this as a family.  Our dependence and our source is always in God, first and foremost.  And so, through that, we are grateful for His provision and His gift of health through what we are doing (praying as we go to keep in check that it is, in fact, His will for us).

Speaking of family... What's also very exciting is my husband's progress over his first week on the shakes.  Today was Week 1 for him, and I am so proud of his accomplishment!  He lost 2 1/2 pounds and 1 3/4 inches off his waist!  It is amazing to have his accountability and motivation.  He is an excellent promoter, but even more than that, he really has a heart for helping people and helping them get healthy.  I am so thankful and humbled by the way he has gotten so many of our family and friends involved.  I am THRILLED beyond belief to see this product start to transform their lives, and I could not be more excited to be doing it alongside of them.  We are very blessed!  

Running
I put in 13 miles this week, which isn't a high number compared to when I was in training, but it's probably the most I've done in one week since the marathon.  Three on Monday, 4 on Friday, and 6 on Saturday (yesterday).  Six yesterday felt especially good.  I've generally stuck to mostly short runs over the past month or so, and while this was a shorter "long" run, it was nice feeling capable to knock it out without being completely exhausted!  I've seen different variations of the same basic quote several times recently, and the gist of it is this: If running had nothing to do with losing weight, staying in shape, training you for a race, or anything along those lines... if it were simply "for fun"... would you still do it?  There are days when I would say no.  But more often there are days that answer is a resounding "YES"!  And that is why I keep going.

Spiritual
There are many aspects of my walk with God that I could scroll out from the journal of my mind or copy from paper about so many different things.  The hardest part about keeping a "themed" blog is having so many different thoughts about many different subjects!  But I can absolutely say there is a spiritual aspect to both running and the other big health-related part of my life right now: the shakes.

  • I've had a similar conversation recently with more than a couple different friends (who are also drinking the ViSalus shakes) about the spiritual component that accompanies them.  Not that any of us started doing them as a "fast" (honestly, my only motives were the health and weight benefits), but it becomes quickly apparent where you draw from as a source when you are brought out of your comfort zone.  Being out of the familiar will always make you feel a loss of control to a certain extent.  In those times you can either freak out over trying to regain control, or you can surrender it to the One who is in total control anyway.  Drinking two shakes a day as meal replacements is going to take you out of your comfort zone.  Not only do you have to change a few aspects of your lifestyle in order to stay disciplined with it, but sometimes (especially at first) you are just left wanting more.  And NOT because it isn't enough—it is.  But because you are used to more, or because you would rather have more or something else (although, seriously, they are soooo yummy!).  It comes down to realizing—or rather remembering—the simple fact that God provides everything, including what we eat.  This one shake for my lunch has been provided for me by God.  It is enough, and I am grateful for it.  I may want more sometimes, but it causes me to remember my dependence on Him.  I am made more aware of my overindulgence of the world—not that I didn't watch what I ate before, but I'm sure I have been guilty of taking more than the appropriate, necessary portion size at times.  Changing my diet was a big deal for me, in ways I did not realize until after I did it.  Hunger is simply NOT a feeling I am comfortable with.  It is hard for me to say that, working in the profession that I do, and seeing what real hunger is about—my "hunger" doesn't come close.  But hunger pangs, to me, immediately alert red flags because of my diabetes.  I have passed out and had enough low blood sugars in my life to know I do not like or want or welcome them, and hunger is one symptom of that happening.  The slightest feelings of hunger coming on make me over-aware of what is happening in my body and whether or not my blood sugar is crashing.  It's more about making sure I'm "OK" than actually wanting food—I have to take care of it right away.  I eat six small meals a day mostly to stay in control of that (besides it being what you should do anyway).  I am always prepared, no matter where I am or where I'm going, with more than enough snacks "just in case."  When I hear girls say they completely forgot to eat because they were running around doing stuff, that just doesn't translate to the comprehension part of my brain.  I don't understand it because I am ALWAYS thinking and planning ahead for food.  One, I have to because of my diabetes, and two, I have simply been programmed to since being diagnosed with it.  It has been the oddest thing for me to feel hunger, immediately associate it with starting to "go low," and then check my blood sugar only to discover that I'm fine or even on the high side—and then not eat (if it's not time to).  This has been a little hard for me since starting the shakes (hunger was almost an unknown FEAR to me, in a way, that I never realized), yet extremely good for me to experience.  To know that I am actually OK, it's just that I'm cutting back my portion sizes, has been almost freeing in a way.  I can wait 30 minutes until dinnertime if I start to feel a tiny bit hungry.  Hunger is not something I have to "take care of," it's sometimes that happens every once in a while to anybody; I can feel it and actually experience it, and be "OK."  These verses have had to become very real to me: "God is my portion"; "My food is to do the work of the one who sent me."
*** I do have to note here that I do not feel extreme hunger on a regular basis doing the shakes.  It is not more than anyone would normally.  I simply have certain, specific times that I drink the shakes, eat snacks, and normally eat dinner, so if/when I have a little time before those times come and feel like I wish they'd hurry up, that's what I mean. Hunger for anyone else probably means something different, not as "urgent."  For me, as I said, I relate the slightest, faintest feeling of hunger to the beginning of a low blood sugar, which is what makes it a little different to me.

  • While still under the "spiritual" header, running has always had a spiritual component to it for me (at least since I first began training, which was back in late December).  You can see the details of that in this entire blog—the two are threaded together to form the basis for everything I write.  I am not training anymore, but the spiritual nature of my runs doesn't cease.  Being outside in God's creation and physically using the body he gave me in a way He created it to do, I feel, is glorifying to Him and an act of worship.  Secondly, if you're running by yourself, why not spend that time with God?  Personal quiet times may look a little different, but some of my best conversations with God have been during runs.  And then there are so many analogies to be made concerning perseverance, discipline, etc.  The latest quote I've seen with a parallel to the Christian faith: "At first I feel like I'm dying.  Then I feel reborn."  Amen.  Just keep going.

Having rambled way too long already, these are just some of the things I am processing through lately.  "Engaging" in rather than "escaping" from as our pastor said today.  God continues to refine me, as you'll find He does with all of us when we take the time to pay attention to what He is doing in us.  He is always working, and we all have room for a little formation, to be shaped in His hands.  Sometimes we wish it were more comfortable, and sometimes He allows us to simply bask in His goodness.  Either way, His plans for us are always more and always better than anything we could plan for ourselves.  Thank God for that!

April 22, 2012

Run for Autism!


What a great 5K on Saturday morning!! :)

It was soooo awesome to be in a "race" again: to put on a number, get out there with a big group of people, and have that micro version of the marathon.  Races are just SO positive and encouraging.  Everyone is out there to do their own personal best; you aren't in competition with anyone but yourself.  There are no opponents—you want everyone to do well, and you are all a part of something bigger!  It was a gorgeous day, a very doable distance, and a great way to start a morning.

The best part, of course, was the cause... This particular one has become more near and dear to my heart recently due to a friend my husband and I just met, an adult with highly functioning autism.  I had other familiar faces in my mind as well while running, having volunteered for a couple years a while back at a therapeutic horseback riding center.  This was (is) an awesome program providing recreational therapy for children with special needs.  To this day I'm so grateful to have had that experience.

Here's a glimpse into the day...


My friend Shawndra and I ran together, and I was grateful for a buddy.  We kept a nice, even pace and then literally sprint-finished.  We were pushing absolutely as hard as we could go at the end!!!  It was great to feel so good on a course where I had felt so bad the last time I was on it.  The 5K happened to take place at Mayfaire—right where the end of the half marathon was located.  (It was quite "redeeming," if I do say so myself!)

The coolest part of all was seeing all the families out there, either running or supporting.  Many children with autism were either running or being pushed in jogging strollers by parents who were running.  It was incredibly inspiring.  This is definitely a run I want to support each year...

I think I could easily become addicted to running 5Ks instead of doing another half marathon this year: for the ease of training and distance, and the fact that they are usually for a cause.  You get in and out in a short amount of time, and it's just fun to be a part of!  Kind of takes the pressure off and is easy to enjoy.  (Although, don't get me wrong: there is nothing like being on mile 7 of 11, or what have you, and feeling good even knowing you've got that far to go... I can't wait to be able to do those long distances again!)

Getting ready to start.

Middle of the race!

You may notice I took a picture while running (above)...  I also may or may not have called my husband. :)  Decided to hold my iPhone with earphones in instead of wearing an armband, so on a whim at about mile 1 or 1.5 I gave him a call, and Shawndra and I left him kind of a funny message.  (I was hoping he'd answer so we could "Face Time," and I could show him what it's like to "be in a race"—ha!)

Races are too much fun.  Now I've just got to convince him to train with me so we can do a 5K together at some point.  Maybe the end of the summer or the fall... we'll see. ;)

April 19, 2012

refreshed


Super encouraged by a great 5 miles yesterday! :)

As usual I had my ViSalus shake for breakfast, and instead of a "normal" lunch (like I thought I might start doing on days that I run in the afternoon), I had another shake but included a small snack bar with it.  So it was still less calories than lunch would typically be, but the bar gave me a tiny bit more.  I definitely felt like I had enough fuel to run in the afternoon, which was awesome!  It really is doable!  I didn't even need a Vi Trim at all yesterday (a little drink mix-in that helps curb hunger when you need it).  I have also discovered that my newest favorite ViSalus product is the raspberry Neuro.  It tastes GREAT and gives an excellent little boost of energy.  More natural than a diet soda, that's for sure.  The only drawbacks are of course the fact that there's caffeine (although I am not a regular coffee drinker, so it's at least not on top of having coffee), and that there are 12 calories in each one.  I am still a fan of my old staple: pomegranate green tea "to go" sticks (sugar-free, 0 calories, made by Arizona), but the raspberry Neuro is such a refreshing flavor and provides, I think, even more energy.

I kind of felt like I needed to get out there and do at least 5 yesterday, just so I'd know I'll be able to "keep up" this weekend in the 5K (3.1 miles), haha.  I have not been running nearly as much as I did in my training for the half marathon, and I have to say this past Saturday's 4-mile run was just dreadful.  It was one of those you can't wait to be over, and turns out the culprit was a plummeting blood sugar.  I cut it short when I realized what was happening and got on home.  I'd had a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast instead of a shake, so it wasn't that I didn't have enough carbs, I just for whatever reason was running on the low side.  That plus scaling back my frequency of runs had me a little nervous about this coming Saturday—but yesterday's run gave me my confidence back. :)  It even feels good to have a little soreness today and to feel my blood flowing the way it does when you're staying active.

More than anything, it felt so good to run the Loop twice in the sunshine with my music.  Being outside even for that little bit of time is something I believe we all need more of.  How often do you go an entire day inside—between work, your house, the gym, or whatever else you're doing—and are only outside for the few minutes between the door and your car?  There are so many great places in Wilmington to enjoy the outdoors, whether it's the beach, a park, downtown, etc.  I am as guilty as anyone of granted it for granted, but that is one of the many wonderful things running has given me!

Signing off until next time...

April 17, 2012

upcoming 5K



I am officially signed up for my next "race" after the half! :)

There is a 5K I'm doing just for fun this coming Saturday.  It is actually the Coastal NC Run for Autism, and I am super excited about supporting the cause!!!  It will be fun to get back out there with a bunch of people and put a number on, but mostly I am doing it for a couple friends (one of whom I recently met, who has autism).  It will be a great day to get and run, as long as the weather holds out!!

Funnily enough, I was "inadvertently" involved in a 5K this past Saturday morning. Running clockwise around Halyburton Park at 8am, enjoying the peace and quiet, I all of a sudden found myself facing a hoard of runners entering the trail through a side entrance from the road, coming straight at me!  They all had numbers on their shirts, so I knew it was a race.  Dodging and weaving around me, they flew by and left me just as suddenly back to the woodsy trail, alone again except for a few spider webs.  Turns out it was a 5K for the hospital that I had no idea was going on… See, there are runs everywhere you look this time of year!  And you can apparently be part of them whether you sign up or not! ;)

Well, once again I forgot to get a picture on Sunday, which marked Week 2 for me on the Body By Vi Challenge.  I think I'm going to give up on the pics (haha), but I can report to having lost another pound in my second week!  Yes, only 1 pound down last week... but as long as it's going down.  I didn't expect to lose as much as I did my first week, which was 6 pounds, but losing is losing.  I'm happy! 


I have noticed that it will be difficult to continue running as much as I was while on two shakes a day.  (In fact, I don't know if I should be doing two shakes as meal replacements while exercising strenuously.)  There are days when I simply don't feel like I have the fuel to get out and do a 4-miler (don't worry; I am definitely getting at least the recommended 1,200 calories/day—not starving myself here!).  So I am either going to stick with two shakes a day and cut back on running a bit until I reach my goal weight, or I am going to simply do one shake a day on the days that I run.  Then once that goal weight is achieved, you better believe I'm going to pick up running more regularly again (and with one shake a day)… to maintain that weight but also because I love it!


The shakes are extremely simple—but it's not always "easy."  I guess that's why it's called a "challenge"!  The thing to know is that there simply are no "quick and easy" fixes.  You have to put the effort in to get results.  The shakes are really yummy, convenient, and nutritious.  But two shakes a day as meal replacements will take a little will power and determination—at least until your stomach "shrinks" as it gets used to not putting in as much.  Overall, I am extremely pleased with them.  They have been a great and very doable way for me to lose weight, get better nutrition, and stay in shape!  Simply put, it will always take effort on your part to meet any program or product halfway—that's when you see results.  Nothing is going to do it "for" you!


Looking forward to a fun race this weekend... Let me know if you're in Wilmington and want to sign up!



April 11, 2012

Catching up

I completely missed getting a "Week 1" picture this past Sunday.  I'm not even sure if I'm supposed to take a pic each week...?  And mine are probably useless anyway since I'm wearing clothes instead of a bathing suit or whatever you're supposed to do.  Haha!  But for the sake of playing "catch-up" and "just in case," here is my Day 11 photo, a week and a half into the Body by Vi Challenge (oops)...

On my way out to lunch - HA!

Yep, you saw that right, I got to eat a "real lunch" today since I am running this afternoon after work.  My second shake of the day will just be at dinnertime instead, which is perfect because I'll be getting lots of protein and other "muscle recovery" nutrients after my workout.  Again, it's all about being flexible so you can fit your lifestyle with your goals.

I'm excited to finally get back out there to run for the first time since Saturday!!!  What's funny is a quote I just saw today (the newest one I've added to my "inspire" page) that seems to fit this week:

"'I don't have time' is just the grown-up version of 'The dog ate my homework.'"

So true!  No excuses!!!  Happy running this week. :)

April 10, 2012

update


Wow, lots to catch up on!

It's been a busy week to say the least.  Being that I work for my church, we had a LOT of preparation to do for Easter weekend.  I say Easter "weekend" because we actually held 11 identical services over the course of three days (Friday-Sunday) across our two campuses!  Three of the services were streamed live over the Internet, and there were over 9,300 people in attendance.  This is not to boast even a tiny bit about the numbers; that is never the point.  We are just extremely grateful to have been able to accommodate that many people coming to church for Easter—to not have to turn anyone away, and to have hopefully created a welcoming environment to which they will want to return!!  (You can check it out here.)  Happy belated Easter, everyone! :)

So what's all this have to do with running?  Well, for the sake of blogging, all that just to say it's been quite the busy week, leaving little time for writing a post!

But I am excited to report back after my first full week doing the Body by Vi Challenge.  (See previous post "shake it up!" for reference.)  I began on April 1st, so Easter Sunday marked Week One for me.  I'm kicking myself for not taking my measurements, but as far as weight loss goes…

I lost 6 pounds in one week on the shakes!

I maybe lost something close to that while training for my half marathon… over the course of three months, that is!  It just goes to show you that exercise PLUS diet is the true way to go.  You can't be crazy about your workout routine without reducing calories and still expect the most results.  Best of all is what I know I'm putting into my body.  These shakes are not some kind of gross processed foods.  There is real, natural nutrition in each one that contain WAY more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than I would getting otherwise—even with a well-balanced meal I cook for myself.  (Not saying that "normal" meals are bad in any way, but you can get so much more with MUCH less calories and carbs doing the shakes!) 

Let me back up to the beginning of last week to describe how this all went down…

The first few days were awesome.  I was very pleasantly surprised by how "not hungry" I was drinking shakes as meal replacements for breakfast and dinner.  (Just to recap: I do a shake for breakfast and one for lunch, with snacks in between and a normal dinner.)  I went about my day after each shake and found myself "satisfied."  I say this because I did not feel "full"… nor did I particularly want to!  I think, if nothing else, doing this Challenge will help me realize when I am content and satiated.  Not that I gorge myself beyond the point of being full as it is—just that getting to the point of full is not really the point.  To be satiated with appropriate portion sizes is what you want.

I was able to squeeze in three days of running during the second half of last week, and I will be honest enough to say that the game changed a bit at that point… I was noticeably more hungry between meals.  Not starving by ANY means, but definitely not feeling completely satisfied.  Here are my observations:

  • For someone coming off training for a half marathon, with my metabolism hiked up and my body being used to getting the kind of fuel required for that much exercise, cutting back calories is certainly going to be a difference you can feel.  (I do believe, however, that for anyone NOT already on a strenuous exercise routine, switching to the shakes will NOT be a hard transition.)
  • To accommodate for my current lifestyle, without compromising my goals with the shakes, I decided that on days that I run in the afternoon after work, I will simply do a shake for breakfast and one for dinner (instead of lunch).  I am still doing two meal replacements, but having a "normal" lunch will give me more of the fuel I will need to run in the afternoon.  (PLUS, I realized that this way I am sleeping for the majority of the time between my two back-to-back shakes! ;) )  Flexibility is key.  You have to recognize both your own, personal goal(s) + your own, individual lifestyle, then find a way to make this work for you.

One other thing I found to be very helpful in my last couple days last week was the ViSalus product "Vi Trim."  That and the shakes are the two products I am using right now, and the Vi Trim has been just the added support I need to last me through to the next meal or snack (should I need it).

Speaking of snacks, I have found one that I love, made by Glucerna.  It's their snack bar in "Double Chocolate Crisp."  The Glucerna products are great for diabetics in that they include slowly digestible carbohydrates designed to minimize blood-sugar spikes.  (I sound like a Glucerna rep, lol!)  I'm sure the ViSalus snacks are great, too, I just haven't tried them yet. :)

Mmm...

Speaking of diabetes, my blood sugars have been probably one of the most significant effects I've seen from my first week+ on the shakes.  The whole time I was training for the half marathon, I had very little problems with blood sugars.  Yes, I was going low more often in the beginning, but once I adjusted my daily basal pattern (by decreasing the amount of units of insulin delivered through my insulin pump per hour), it was truly smooth sailing from there.  With the shakes, the reduction of carbs in my diet has surprisingly had a much greater affect on my blood sugars than even all that strenuous exercise.  I have been going low much more frequently and have had to adjust my basal pattern even more.  Once I get the right basal pattern figured out for me while doing the shakes, I do not expect it to continue being a problem.  In fact, the MOST frustrating part about all of that so far is how it affects my running.  There have been at least a couple days so far this week that I have NOT been able to go run when I had a window of time to do it because of my blood sugar running low.  (One example being this morning.  These morning lows waking me up 30 minutes before my alarm is set to go off are getting old!  But... it's definitely a good thing they wake me up.)  My observation: I think the first couple weeks of any change in exercise or diet is always going to be a transition period that requires monitoring and, for lack of a better phrase, a little "trial and error."  It bothers me a tad to have not run at all since this past Saturday (for maintaining my endurance AND my weight loss), but once I get my blood sugars back up and back on track, I am excited to proceed!

In general, I do not expect to lose as much this week as I did last week—and perhaps I shouldn't.  Once I reach my goal weight (which I am well on my way toward soon at this rate), I will likely drop down to just one shake as a meal replacement per week.  And even while I am still on two shakes per day as meal replacements, as long as I am still running so much I may even have a small snack bar with my shakes each day.  It will still be less calories than I used to get but more than just two shakes for meal replacements.  Here's what I know: Your body NEEDS calories for fuel—especially if you're expecting it to perform physically.  The trick is finding the balance between too much and too little.  When I reach my goal weight, I will likely continue the shakes at just one per day in order to maintain my weight and most especially to maintain the increased overall better nutrition in my diet.  (Not that it was terrible before by any means, but why not get so much more?)

As far as running goes, I had a couple good short runs last week and a GREAT "long" run on Saturday morning.  Thanks to the community and accountability of my runner friends, I got up and went out to the beach at 7am on Saturday with temps in the 30s (where did THAT come from?!?!).  We did a great 6+ miles, and it went so much better than last weekend due to pacing myself better.  My friend and I averaged a 10:20 minute/mile, and I felt sooo good afterward.

Here's to healthful living and feeling great! :)

This Thursday night, Trey and I are having our first Shake Tasting (also known as a Challenge Party).  We are stoked!!!  Since he has become an individual ViSalus distributor, he now has his own website and goals to hit, etc.  However, both of us are just exited to help others get on these products and get on their way toward a healthier lifestyle.  We're excited to have people over to our home, to taste some shakes and just to help them learn more.  I told Trey I am his number-one saleswoman, not to mention his marketing advisor and now his example of a personal testimony… lol!  (I am a much better salesperson when I don't have the title of "salesperson"… It truly is all about helping people!)

So that, in a nutshell, is my recap of the last week+.  I am excited to see my results after this second week, all while keeping realistic expectations.  I want to be able to run and have flexibility in my lifestyle, but also remain challenged and disciplined in the things I know I need to do in order to stay healthy and fit.  As with some of the very best things in life, you aren't going to get them the quick and easy way or by taking any short-cuts.  And oftentimes that is exactly why we appreciate them so much…  

April 2, 2012

Quote That

Since I began training and distance running in late December of this past year, I have learned a LOT about the value and significance of community along this journey.  It's not just about getting to know others through a common interest.  It's about accountability, motivation, challenging/pushing each other, bearing the load with one another, forming relationships, helping in all kinds of big and small ways along each run and even along the process as a whole.  It's not so very different, I've found, than having a community of believers: designed for edification, to build each other up, to keep one another on track, and so forth.

What's been really eye-opening to see, beyond my own little community of runner friends, is this entire "culture" of running.  It truly is a whole culture of its own, complete with its own lingo, passion, and even equipment.  I'm sure there are different pockets of running cultures all over the place, but where I live, the running community as a whole is VERY positive.  I just love it.  People are fit as a way of life and can be fanatical about their running, but it is so much more than just about themselves.  As it is with running no matter where you are, the competition isn't with the other runners—unlike just about any other sport.  We are all runners, no matter how fast or slow, advanced or beginner, training or for fun.  You encourage one another along the roads, you greet one another crossing paths, and with every nod or smile, you exchange this unspoken recognition of having the same goal in a sense and the same "knowing what it takes" to get there.  It is an amazing big picture to be a small part of—yet again like the body of Christian believers.  We all have different strengths, but we're all playing for the same team.  You're rooting for everyone else because you understand that the competition is not your placement within it, or even how fast you can get it done, but the mindset with which you step out the door every day: to be your best, to finish, to get better, to never give up, to persevere toward a worthy goal.  It's an incredibly uplifting process in that, the way you choose to live is actually developing your character as you ever improve—with results that are physically tangible, internally unmistakable, and spiritually rejuvenating.  It simply can't exist by way of shortcuts or "faking it."

The feeling of being a part of that culture is probably what I've taken away the most from my half marathon.  For the first seven miles or so (before I was blind-sided with illness!), the encouragement and passion of the onlookers coupled with the inspiration and motivation from the other runners lit a spark to inside, so to speak.  You feel like you are each one carrying that light within you with every stride, all moving toward the same finish line.  You want everyone to do well because you know exactly what it took for them to get here in the first place.  There are no separate teams.  The courage to start and the challenge to keep going are all the competition you need.

It helps to know there are others with whom you can relate on your journey, and lately I have been really "Amen"-ing and incredibly inspired by different online communities of running blogs and Facebook pages.  There are so many quotes I've found that have astounded me for their ability to speak the things I have felt over these past several months or that I haven't found the words to say myself.

For all the words of wisdom, encouragement, and sheer relatability that I have come across recently, I decided to create a second page for this blog just for quotes.  I plan to continually update the page with new quotes (along with updating the actual blog page, which is what you're reading) and refer to it when I need a little push to get going.  It is called "inspire."  You will see it up near the top of this "home" page.  Thanks for checking it out, and please let me know if you have any great running quotes that I should add!

April 1, 2012

shake it up!

Six+ miles yesterday morning, 7:30am at the beach.  First official "long run" since the half.  After a couple "encouraging" short runs, and especially since feeling better, six was a little harder than I felt like it should have been!  But there are lessons I seem to continue to learn:

•  Pace yourself from the start, no matter how good you feel.  You'll need the energy for later.

•  Don't compare your mileage on any given day to longer runs you may have done in the past.  You can't take even a shorter one for granted; you still have to work for every mile.

Needless to say I was struggling a bit at the end, but I'm so glad I went out.  It was an awesome way to begin a Saturday morning, followed by spending an hour and a half with a friend at a coffee shop, then a hot shower... all before lunchtime! :)

There is also something new this week that I want to record, and hopefully it ties into running because, for the purposes of this blog, I want to see how it affects me regarding weight and energy levels as I continue to train...

I was recently introduced to (and recently purchased) the Vi-Shape shake mix by Visalus Sciences.  The shakes are a meal substitute, and I plan to drink one for breakfast and one for lunch, with snacks in between, followed by a normal, healthful dinner.  In fact, today was my very first day on the 90-Day Challenge!!!  The shakes are PACKED with nutrients, and if nothing else you can drink them for a more balanced, nutritional diet.  Substituting them for meals obviously adds a weight-loss aspect to the other benefits of the shakes, and that's kind of where I fall in all of this: hoping to lose around 10+ pounds while working out and putting really healthful things into my body.  I'm excited to see how it goes!

The shakes, by the way, are unbelievably delicious—which certainly doesn't hurt the cause. :)  They call it "the shake mix that tastes like a cake mix" (so true!), and anything you add to it makes them even better.  Here are a couple recipes I'm starting out with:

Peanut Butter Shake
8 oz. almond milk
2 scoops shake mix
1 tbsp peanut butter
5 ice cubes

Key Lime Pie
8 oz. almond milk
2 scoops shake mix
1 tbsp frozen limeade
Wheat Germ (still need to figure out the amount on this because I'm substituting it for the crushed-up graham cracker that the original recipe calls for)

I drank my first shake this morning, and it was REALLY good.  I'll admit, I was worried before I started all this that I wouldn't feel satisfied after "just a shake" until my next meal or snack, but I was actually pleasantly surprised.  I'll record more about how it goes as the week progresses, but for now I'm really happy with my purchase.

What's more is that after looking further into it, my husband, Trey, has decided to become a consultant for Visalus!  He has always enjoyed anything health & fitness-related, and since he never went the route of personal trainer or physical therapist, this will be a way for him to use something he is passionate about as a way to help others.  It's really exciting for me to see him step into this role that I know he will excel in—not only because of his interest and knowledge, but because of his heart for people.  Like me, Trey is also going to drink the shakes, but as snacks between meals, for all the protein.  (He is also going to try out all of the other products as well.)  As you can see, we are really investing in this as a family, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the benefits it brings to our health goals, finances, and overall nutrition.

So here is my official "before" picture... It's probably a little deceiving since I decided NOT to wear a bathing suit for it, and it was taken "on the fly" as I was heading out the door.  (Hopefully in my "after" picture I will be having a MUCH better hair day... can you say FLAT?!?!  Haha.)  So here I am on the day before starting the 90-Day Challenge:  5'6", 15.5% body fat, and X lbs (maybe I'll post that number after I actually reach my goal, lol).  But I'm most interested to see how keeping weight off and having so many more nutrients in my diet will affect my running!  (Click here to read an interesting article.)

Before

If any of you are interested in trying this journey with me, let me know, and I'd be happy to give you more details or let you talk to my husband... You can order straight through him if you decide to try it!  You can really do as much or as little as you want, depending on your individual personal goals.  I didn't get any of the "kits" myself, just the shake mix (a la carte).  That's where I'm starting.  Once I run out of the GU gels (for running) that I already have in my pantry, I will probably try Visalus' Go and Pro, which are for performance/endurance.  (I'll definitely record how those compare if anyone is interested.)  My current plan is to continue with the shakes for the full 90 days.

Well, tomorrow is a "rest day" as far as running goes, due to sushi night with the girls... :)  This week's plan is three short runs during the week and then bumping up to 7 miles this weekend.  (As long as I'm still up in the air about the Diva Half Marathon in May, let the training continue!)  Hope everyone has an awesome week.  Happy Palm Sunday, and God bless!!!