Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Old habits die hard

You know what's interesting about grocery shopping?  You get in habits and you just kind of go through the store on cruise control.  Today I went to the fancy, new Kroger at Short Pump and I realized quite a few things. 

Nutritionists will tell you to stick to the outside of the grocery store for the healthiest, most natural food and the great thing about the new Kroger is the the outside "aisles" are loaded with LOTS of yummy, delicious options AND it is a pretty far distance from the inner aisles and processed foods.  Now don't get me wrong, I eat packaged foods, I can't stick to just the outsides but I try to at least eat some natural foods.  As I was searching for the bagel thins, I came upon my weakness of sweets like Swiss Rolls and oatmeal pies.  The interesting point to all of this is I realized how much I was into my old routine - when I wanted to put the Swiss Rolls into my basket, I looked around and realized I was in the front of the store which is a very open area that can be seen from almost all sides of the store.  That's when it hit me - I was ashamed of what I was about to do.  I know I don't need that trigger food in my house when I'm trying to get back on track, yet there I was.  So I quickly turned my cart around and went to the next aisle.  It amazed me how I was so comfortable with my normal Kroger because my yummy, "bad" foods were in an area in the back of the store, so I could quietly slip the food into my cart, go to the self-checkout and no one would be the wiser I just bought a box of something I swore I wouldn't buy again after the last time I devoured a box.  What have I learned?  I think I need to get out of my comfort zone - try new grocery stores, new floor plans that keep me honest and be more aware of what I'm doing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The culmination of Do Life 5k's and bday celebration week

My birthday celebration week has officially come to an end with a trip to Atlanta.  It was such a fun trip filled with lots of sweet niece hugs, kisses and a blowing-kisses-off and a little peek-a-boo thrown in there for good measure.  It was also the last leg of the Do Life 5k tour I was able to attend.  As Andrea and I pulled into the parking lot, I was excited to see we pulled up next to the Do Life car!

At least that meant we were in the right place. =)  We met up Sunday afternoon at Centennial Olympic Park and as we were walking to the meetup, I couldn't believe how nervous I was even though this was my third event.  Andrea and I walked in and let Maddie run around for a little bit and as I was sitting on the bench making sure Maddie didn't get into trouble, Ben called me out for not coming over to say hi....though I assured him I was only letting everyone else get their time and pictures with him since I had already hung out with him twice.  Of course I had to document Maddie's first "run".

What event would be complete without a little run-in with the cops?  Thank you Atlanta cops for trying to stop 55 people from running...the horrors that can come from people exercising are just astonishing.  After we assured them no money was exchanged - we were just going to go for a run, we were about to set off until the cop told us he couldn't let us leave until his supervisor arrived.  Everything turned out fine and they let us leave to run our 5k.  It was blazing hot in the Georgia sun but definitely not as humid as DC.  I'm happy that everyone finished, no one had heat stroke and then we were off for lunch...where Sasha showed up!!  I haven't seen Sasha since the end of 9th grade when my family and I moved to Charlotte.  It just made the trip THAT much more enjoyable.  I was sad to see my time with the Do Life tour come to an end but I can't wait to see what fun things await this team in the cities coming up.  Seriously, if you're near a city they're visiting - you should go!  Check out the site and click on the map to find a city they're coming to near you!

Some things I have learned from the Do Life 5k's:
I'm stronger than I think
I may have an aversion to running in the heat, but I can do it and be proud at the end.
Everyone has a story and you can be inspired around every corner.
Whether you are first or last, there is nothing to be ashamed of; as long as you go out there and take a step in the right direction, you have won.
If you have a passion for something, others will see it and build you up and support you.  Case in point: Ben & Do Life.

I had a fabulous weekend with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and the Do Life crew.  I have never been more motivated to get back to my triathlon training and I'm so excited about it!  I've already started laying out my workouts for the week so I will be ready!  What goals are you taking on?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do Life DC & Reflections on 27

It's official; 27 is over.  I have always maintained I'm not sorry for anything in my past and I wouldn't change any of the good or the bad in my life because it has made me the person I am today.  That being said, I was so glad to see my 27th year come to an end.  This year has been hard and filled with lots of tears - more so than probably years 20 - 26 and I'm ready for a change and I'm ready for 28 to start kicking some butt.  Don't get me wrong, it hasn't all been bad - I've had some fun trips and memories, I've learned a lot about myself, other people and what I'm willing to accept and what I refuse to accept any less of - especially in friendships.  I've seen some friendships go that I didn't think would ever happen but I've learned a lot from those hard times and tears.  I also saw my niece turn 1.  Did you seriously think I wouldn't post something about her?  Seeing her little personality evolve has been such an amazing blessing and she has shown me what is to love someone, unconditionally, from the beginning.  There's been so much more but I'm choosing to learn from 27 and look forward to the adventures of 28!  My friend Dave names his years each birthday and I think I'm going to take a page from his book.  This is going to be the year of Elaine.  Stay tuned to find out what that means.

How did I end 27, you might be asking yourself?  With the Do Life tour in DC, of course.  I left work early and headed up to meet Erica at her house and then hopped onto the Metro to head into the city.  Getting off at the Smithsonian, we had to take a bit of a walk to the WWII memorial but we found Jed and Pa in front (I actually spotted them from a distance when Erica and I were searching for the meetup point.  I mean, they're hard to miss.)  They pointed us in the direction of the meetup and we even saw another person from the NYC 5k!  Before it was time to run, we headed across the street to get a picture of the group (75 people!) in front of the National Monument. 

Then it was time to run/jog/walk the route in the 90 degree heat with about 90% humidity.  My friend Jenn also made it for the 5k!!

I started off running but the heat was just too much, so Jenn and I were booking it at a very fast walk, with a few running sprints thrown in there just for fun. :)  We got to the end, hung out and waited for the rest of the group to cross the finish line, cheering for the last person to finish.

Before heading off to dinner, we stopped for a few pics with the Davis boys because this was the last stop for Erica and we of course wanted to document how sweaty and nasty we all are, because doesn't everyone want to document that?

We walked about 30 minutes and finally made it to a GW dining hall and it was quite delicious.  The end came way too soon and then it was back to Erica's to sleep and then get up at the butt crack of dawn to drive back to Richmond and work.  What a great and positive way to end 27 and I'm so glad I was able to celebrate that with Jenn, Erica and the Do Life family.  Atlanta is up this weekend and I hope to see you there!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

NYC & Do Life a.k.a. Bday Celebrations week part 1

What a fabulous start to my birthday celebration week!  I met up with Erica in DC and we hitched a ride with her brother into the city.  It was a quick 3 1/2 trip (not even kidding) and we entered the city with all the lights and it was beautiful.

We were up early to head to the Met for the McQueen exhibit.  We finally made it after a few subway issues and crossing the Park, but it just added to the adventure.
 It was absolutely amazing seeing McQueen's creations up front and in person.  They had quotes from him and video from his runway shows and sadly you could see the inner turmoil within him and the darkness he dealt with however that's what made him such a genius.  From there, it was a quick lunch at the Chicken Bar which was delicious!  I think there is always more room for grilled chicken restaurants.  Then it was off to see Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette in 'How to Succeed in Business Without Trying' which was hilarious and I was surprised to find out how great of a dancer Dan is and seeing him in person was a special treat.  For a yummier treat, we headed to Junior's for our own phenomenal cheesecakes.
 Strawberry Cheesecake!  Yay!!  After a quick nap, we walked around the Lower East Side and found a fabulous little restaurant, saw a bunch of different shops, including Zarin's of Housewives fame!  Sunday came bright and early and it was time for the DO LIFE TOUR!!!!  Okay, I'm not going to lie - I was nervous.  I was fine riding on the subway but as we emerged from the subway steps and walked onto Columbus Circle, I was overcome with nerves and questions.  What if no one talks to me?  What if I make an ass of myself?  What if I fall flat on my face while running?  What if the guy who's blog I've been following and have been incredibly inspired by turns out to be a complete jackass?  What if I'm the last person to finish the race?  Surely, I should just turn around and go home.  What can I say...sometimes I let my head and insecurities overrun my life, but I stayed and met lots of new people and everyone was SO nice!  I even met Ben!

Then it was time to run and while I started out relatively strong, my aversion to heat and running when the sun is on me started to get the best of me and figured a jog/walk was the best course of action.  I ended up jog/walking with a few different people and it was great to hear everyone's stories of weight loss, what they've overcome, where they are, how they deal with certain things and of course we all had to share our blog addresses.  I'm happy to say everyone who started the 5k, finished and we all celebrated with a group picture and then headed to Whole Foods to eat and hang out.

I will always remember the faces of the Do Life crew when Erica and I told them we were from Virginia and we would see them at the DC run on Wednesday and that I would see them at the Atlanta run on Sunday as well.  They seemed to be blown away...that or who are these crazy people...but I choose to think they were blown away.  =)  I truly don't think Ben has any idea of the impact his blog has had on people all across the nation and I can't wait for him to realize this as people continue to show up across the US and share their stories, share their life and run.  Eventually it was time to head out and while I was sad to go, we had a bit more shopping to do and then had to de-funktify ourselves so we could catch our bus back to DC.  We had a little drama when we realized the train we needed to take would not be stopping where we were due to construction, but after a last minute scramble and getting a cab, we made it to the bus!  After getting back to Erica's, it was time for me to head back to Richmond.  I made it in town around 11:30 and pretty much sank into my bed.  Exhausted but happy with such an amazing weekend. 

I had tweaked my back two days before leaving for NYC and I think I overdid it this weekend with traipsing all over the city and the run on Sunday, so I'm taking it easy tonight and I'll be hitting the gym tomorrow for some eliptical work and swimming to ease my back pain and then it's off for the DC run on Wednesday!  I'm so excited to be taking part in any of this tour and to meet some of the amazing people and hear the stories of how their lives have changed and how they are changing; the ups and downs, the tears and celebrations.  We are all linked together by a common goal: living life to its fullest - whether by weight loss, adventure, pursuing a passion, being involved in others lives, etc.  I really hope to see you in DC and/or Atlanta!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Birthday celebration week commences Friday!

This weekend I head off to NYC via DC and I can't wait.  It is the official beginning of my birthday celebration week, I get to see the McQueen exhibit at the Met, Junior's cheesecake in celebration of my day, and the first of 3 5k's with the Do Life crew.  If you're going to be in NYC, DC or Atlanta, come run and/or walk it with me!  Ben (of the Do Life movement) is hitting multiple cities all over the country (Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, LA, etc) and it's such a positive movement to be involved with - and did I mention it's FREE????

While I'm excited to go to NYC because I love the city and wish I could move there, if I could only find a job, I'm also nervous.  I start thinking I'm not prepared, I'm going to fail, I will be the last one to finish, everyone will laugh at me and I'll be a huge joke.  I have realized I struggle with not being able to do what I once did, either by distance, speed or just the activity and instead of facing those and saying I'm working towards those goals again, I start to self-sabotage and only think negatively.  I think of why I can't, why I shouldn't, how I'll humiliate myself and just be a hassle to everyone else.  I don't know why I do this...part of me knows it's something all girls deal with - the negative thoughts, but that's not enough of an excuse.  Which is why I'm also happy that I have people going with me because they're not going to let me back out over my insecurities, which unfortunately is something I seem to do more often than I would like.  No matter what, this is the beginning of my birthday celebration week which is the beginning of the end of 27 for me, which has been an incredibly hard year.  I'm excited to put 27 behind me and start 28 off on the right foot and hopefully it will be a much better year, full of positivity.  If you're in NYC on 6/19, DC on 6/22 or Atlanta on 6/26, I would LOVE to see you and would love to do the 5k with you.  It's going to be SO fun and we're all hanging out afterwards!  Hope to see you out there, celebrating with me!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Keep on keepin' on

Have y'all seen ABC's new show Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss edition?  It is absolutely amazing.  It amazes me how much difference a year can make.  When I think about it, a year seems so incredibly far away and way too long, but really it's not...4 counts of 3 short months.  The people on this show are at their seeming end and they reach out and ask for help and that simple action of asking for help can actually be the most difficult for a majority of people.  It doesn't matter if you struggle with weight, depression, alcohol, drugs, pleasing, shyness, etc.  Making yourself vulnerable and asking for help, knowing the answer can sometimes be no is an incredibly brave thing to do.  These people transform not only their bodies but their entire lives - their personality comes out, they discover the inner person they always wanted to be and thought was there but never dreamed they could be and do things they never thought they could do.  Case in point - Rachel from the first show hiked up a mountain and bungee jumped off a bridge 400 feet in the air.  Two words:  BAD ASS.  Yes, their lives were documented for a year and they had to put themselves out on national TV in their skivvies but they get this amazing personal trainer who gives them the confidence to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  That's what I hope to remember every day: just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep on keepin' on. =)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Au Revoir to the Miller's

Tuesday evening I met up with the recently married Ronnie & Deana Miller!  It was the last time we could hang out before they moved to the Raleigh area for Deana's residency so I told Ronnie the choice was up to him what we did.  He chose a bike ride around a park in Glen Allen.  R & D had told me about this park a few times but I never filed it away in my brain and boy was I missing out.  I forgot my camera so I can't show you all the fun we had but no worries, I'll be going back soon.  This place is great!  It has softball and baseball fields, a football field, a playground, 2 trains to play on, a lake with dukes, sheep, goats, horses and trails galore!  We had so much fun going around to all the different places and Deana was telling me about the duck she aptly named Herbert.  I've been a huge fan of Deep Run Park for years now however Glen Allen's park kicks Deep Run's butt from here to Wednesday AND it's maybe 2 - 3 miles from my house, so I can totally bike there!  SCORE!  With all the fun we had at the park, I didn't want to stop riding my bike because that meant it was time to say goodbye to the Miller's.  Ronnie has been a close friend of mine since my sophomore year of college and it's been great having him just a few streets away.  Have no fear, we'll be meeting up again soon...I can't imagine a whole football season passing without seeing them.  Ronnie and Deana - I hope you have a fabulous time in Raleigh....though I don't think I can ever cheer on Duke, but I think I have grown enough to not root AGAINST UVA when they're playing other teams, but that's only because you went there, Deana, and have changed my mine (a little bit) about the school.  Ha.  What can I say, rivalries die hard.  GO HOKIES!  I can't wait to see how this adventure plays out for y'all and the fun you'll have in NC.  Love y'all!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Memories, memories

When I was younger, I was on year-round and summer swim teams - I basically spent as much time as I possibly could in the pool and I loved every second of it.  As I got older, it changed to only summer swim teams because we were moving around and I wanted to do different activities - gymnastics, soccer, tap, ballet, jazz, etc. until I stopped after we moved from Augusta, GA.  Every time I enter a pool area and smell the chlorine, my memories of that time in my life just take over me and I feel like I've gone home; it's a safe place where I can just be.  I went to the gym after Bible study Thursday night because I had a lot on my mind and when I'm in the pool, cutting through the water, all the outside noises and complications are blocked out so it's time for just me and my thoughts.  Another great plus?  If you're upset, and you need to cry, the pool is a fabulous place to get all those emotions out because no one knows that you're crying.  I'm very fortunate that I'm still able to do some of the things I was so involved in when I was younger because it has so many memories attached and I'm glad to know they still provide that comfort...it's like going home and your mom fixing your favorite meal.  It just doesn't get better than that...and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's June! It's June!

Happy first day of June!  Did you know that June contains the scientifically proven happiest day of the year?  It's true, it does!  Don't believe me?  Check out the article here .  Sure, it's Just pure coincidence that the happiest day of the year happens to also be my birthday.  :) 

Things I'm excited for in June:

Junior's cheesecake
McQueen exhibit at the Met
Meeting up with the Do Life tour for 3 races.
My birthday & the happiest day of the year!!!
Hanging out with my niece
Sharon returns from 1 year in the Phils

June is also the month that my good friend, Ronnie and his newly married wife Deana move to NC...that will be a sad day when such a close friend (and my resident fix broken stuff at my house :) guy) moves away.  However they're starting their own adventure with Deana's residency at Duke and I can't wait to see how awesome it is and how much they love North Cackalacky.  It's also the start of the summer, more time to hang out with your friends, relax by the water, enjoy the sun on your face and enjoy the slower pace to life.  I'm also hopeful for June to bring some of the changes I've been praying for and working towards.  What are you excited for in June?