Monday, February 22, 2016

Taking a break

You may have noticed (or maybe you haven't) that I haven't been blogging very much the last couple of weeks. There's been a lot going on, and it's hard to blog when you can't talk about certain BIG things that are happening.

Because of this, I've decided to take a little blogging break. Nothing huge, just a week probably--but I really feel like I need to remove the pressure of feeling like I HAVE to blog while I sort out some other things that are happening.

Don't worry--these are GOOD things that are happening, and I absolutely cannot wait to spill the beans to you all!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

10K Training Tuesday (on a Wednesday... again) - Week 5

Haha, well, here's another another 10K Training "Tuesday" (on a Wednesday) for ya.

Tuesday: NOTHING
Wednesday: NOTHING
Thursday: NOTHING
Saturday: NOTHING
Sunday: 4.5 miles, 2:1 intervals, 14:48 overall pace

So as you can see, it's not like I have a whole lot to report about last week's training. Considering my utter lack of activity all week, I was a little nervous about Sunday's long run. However, it ended up being an absolutely GORGEOUS morning and I had a FABULOUS run!

I seriously felt great throughout the entire run; my legs started getting tired toward the end, but I powered through because I really wanted all my miles under 15 minutes--and I did it! Just look at those splits:

I'm not counting the last half-mile in my "all miles under 15 minutes," just FYI :) I love how mile 4 was juuuuuust under the 15-minute mark. Anyway.

Just 5 and a half weeks until my 10K!

Also, there's still time to help me raise money to support Girls on the Run New Orleans. I've reached my goal of $1000--but you can definitely still donate via my fundraising page! (I may raise that goal again, but I haven't decided yet.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Weigh in (2/13) + Star Wars Birthday party!

I had another great weigh in this week:

Down another 2.4 lbs! Of course, I probably put it all back on over the weekend, but we'll see :) 

This was a pretty big weekend for us... Ryan's birthday, my dad and step-mom came to visit, and our RCIA Rite of Election happened. We were busy! 

The visit with my dad went really well; Friday night, we went to the Lenten Fish Fry at the kids' school, Saturday was Ryan's party and then Parkway Bakery (our favorite place as of late) for dinner, and Sunday we got up and went to the Ruby Slipper for brunch. We were so busy, that's really all we had time to do! 

Sunday's Rite of Election was pretty neat; we went to St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter with all of the other RCIA candidates under the New Orleans Archdiocese and met the Archbishop. Despite there being hundreds of people that were individually called to go up and shake hands, the whole thing was done in less than 2 hours. My only regret is that we didn't take a photo with Marc's grandparents (they're our sponsors--kind of like godparents for us, since we're converting from a different Christian denomination); we all were dressed up and it completely slipped my mind! 

So now, what you really care about--Ryan's EPIC Star Wars birthday party! I'm just going to give a rundown of everything, but let me know if you'd like any more info about any part of it and I'll make another post that goes into more detail! 

First things first, the cake--I baked a super fudgy chocolate cake from scratch, and make the buttercream frosting from scratch as well. The cake itself wasn't awesome (it wasn't bad, but it's not the perfect recipe I've been searching for), but the frosting was absolutely perfect; super smooth and not too gritty or sweet. Marc helped me by outlining the design with a toothpick, and he also did the writing. 

Decorations! I brought the balloons (including giant R2D2) and favor bags, but the facility did all of the other decorations! I was extremely pleased with how everything turned out. 

I took this after the party, hence the sad state of the food. We provided Yoda :D
Getting ready to sing; printable on favor bags here
Helping him blow out his candles
Of course we all wore Star Wars shirts!
I'm super pleased with how everything turned out; I literally could not have asked for it to go more smoothly! 

Happy Birthday, Ry-Ry!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What's in a picture?

Earlier this week, one of my Facebook friends "liked" a photo of me from 2010. I thought, "Ugh, I hate that picture. She must be going through my photos," and didn't think much else of it.

The next day, someone else liked that photo. I thought, "Great, she must have seen that so-and-so liked it. Stupid Facebook!"

A few days later, another person liked it.

And then another.

And then another.

And then I closed my eyes and prayed that no one else would see it. 

Beijing, China; I don't know my exact weight, but I know I was close to 300 pounds.
You see, this photo, it's more than just a picture. It digs at me, reminding me of my former self, how I wore my misery on my body for everyone to see.

It taunts me, causing me to question the progress I've made, leaving me to wonder why people are actually "liking" this photo.

Do I still look like that? 

Is that really how people perceive me? 

I thought I looked pretty good these days... but maybe that picture is the reality.

I took it to my Lovely Ladies Facebook group to hash out my feelings about it, and upon further reflection, it came down to this:
I think I'm really more worried that people are liking this photo because they think I still look like that. I really hope not, but my disordered brain still wonders, "do I look like that still? Is that how others perceive me?" It's messed up thinking, I know, and I'm fairly confident that I DON'T look like that anymore... like, I feel like I look pretty good, but I wonder, do others still see me as a fat blob? I know when I was at my heaviest, I didn't think I looked that big... but now I look at pictures from that time and I think, "Daaang, I can't believe I let myself get to that point."
And then, brilliant Anna suggested I take a current photo and make a side-by-side pic to prove the change to my brain, so I did. I had my coworker take a photo of me this morning, and I forced those disordered thoughts to go back to where the sun don't shine (or something like that... you know what I mean):

Left: size 3X top, 24W pants / Right: plain old XL

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

10K Training Tuesday (on a Wednesday) - Week 4

Apologies for failing to post this yesterday--it was Mardi Gras here in New Orleans, and it completely slipped my mind!

Anyway, here's how the last week of training went:

Monday: Nothing, again. Mondays are tough!
Tuesday: 30 minutes with 2:1 intervals; 15:52 overall pace
Wednesday: Attempted speed work, but cut short due to horrible thigh pain
Thursday: Rest to allow thigh to recover
Friday: 30 minutes with 2:1 intervals; 15:12 overall pace
Saturday: Nothing; Endymion parade festivities all day!
Sunday: 4.5 mile run, 2:1 intervals; 15:38 overall pace

I still haven't managed to follow my training plan exactly, but I'm still pleased with last week's effort.

I was pretty bummed about Wednesday; I was excited to do my speed work, but about 3 minutes in, I got this horrible pain in my right thigh/groin area. I tried to walk it out, but nothing helped. It didn't hurt when I was just walking, but as soon as I'd try to run, the pain was excruciating. It still hurt a bit the next day, so I opted to just let it rest for another day. Fortunately, it felt fine on Friday and I had a great run!

As I wrote on Monday, Saturday was spent with Endymion festivities all day. Even though I only drank about half a beer all day, the entire day just wore me out and I felt like utter doodoo when I woke up on Sunday morning. I contemplated putting the run off until later in the day, but I knew it wouldn't happen at all if I did that, so I sucked it up and just went for it. It was in the 40's on Sunday morning (freezing to me!) so I had on a long-sleeve tech shirt, thin running jacket, and a hat with my Go Warm running tights (love Old N@vy!). Of course, it was a beautiful day and the sun was out full force, so within about 10 minutes I'd removed my hat and jacket and pushed up my sleeves. I hate running with my jacket around my waist, so I put the hat and jacket on a bench and hoped no one would take them.

The first 2 miles were seriously a test of my will--I absolutely wanted to quit! I knew that I'd be pissed at myself if I gave up though, so I trudged forward and didn't worry about how fast or slow I was moving. The point was just to get the distance! I finally started to feel better around the 2 mile point though, and the last couple of miles went by much quicker. Check out my splits!

As you can see, my pace picked up as I felt better; Mile 4 is slower because I walked through a couple of run intervals, but my legs were just tired. I probably could have run them if I'd really tried, though it would have been slooooow.

All in all, I'm pleased with how my training is going so far. Looking forward to this week!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Weigh In (2/6) + Mardi Gras time!

First things first, I had a great weigh in this week...

I'm creeping closer and closer to 60 pounds lost! I'm really feeling some momentum, and I'm starting to truly believe that this is the year I will finally see ONEderland (weight in the 100's) again, and reach my goal weight (still yet to be determined).

Karinne's wagon parade on Friday was soooo cute! The parade was made up of Pre-K4 and Kindergarten students, and their 6th/7th grade buddies pulled their wagons. Man, some of the parents really went all out on the floats! Like, they actually BUILT things, and used things like papier mache! Some of them really had to get creative if they didn't have a wagon (I assume), because there were kids in wheelbarrows, boxes build on to hand trucks... it was awesome! I went to Party City and bought a bunch of Mardi Gras decorations and Marc decorated her wagon with that stuff.

Karinne in her wagon
Coming around the bend!
Being silly after the parade

Saturday was Samedi Gras, aka the Saturday before Mardi Gras, aka Endymion Saturday! As I said in my post on Friday, it's the largest Mardi Gras parade and we're fortunate that we live only a block from the route; we're also fairly close to the start of it, so we don't have to wait too long for it to get to us. I made some really healthy dishes (NOT!)--Rotel cheese dip with sausage, and Ooey Gooey Bars. I added chocolate chips to half the pan of bars, and man--that was good. It was my first time making them, and the directions really stressed the importance of not overbaking, so I ended up slightly underbaking them. They were just extra gooey ;) We invited a few friends over who we met through daycare and school, and we ran into another school friend who happened to be at another party across the street from us!

The best time of year for a NOLA kid!
The parade lasted about 3 hours, and the kids had a blast! This is the first year we were able to stay for the entire parade; in the past, the kids have always gotten way too exhausted to finish it. They got tons of beads and blinky toys; Ryan got a really awesome sword, but on our way home he tripped and smacked his head on the pavement, thus dropping it. We forgot about it until we got home; Marc went back to see if it was maybe still in the road, but it was gone. (Ryan's OK, by the way!)

I didn't take a single picture of the actual parade this year, so here are a couple of pictures from Endymion 2014. The Lead float is the same, and you get an idea of how extravagant the floats are; I should work on taking more photos!

Sunday morning, we took it easy. Marc and I were super sore from holding the kids on our shoulders for so long, plus just standing up for most of the day. I did manage to get in my 4.5 mile long run though!

FYI, we are off work tomorrow for actual Mardi Gras day, so expect more Mardi Gras pictures later this week!

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Thoughts - Mardi Gras Edition

First of all, thank you all for your sweet comments on yesterday's post. They definitely made a dreary day a little sunnier.

Secondly... it's Friday! It's not just any Friday, either... it's the Friday before Mardi Gras!!!! You know what that means? It means I get to show up at work like this...

So, in case you don't know... Mardi Gras is kind of a big deal in New Orleans. For the last 2 weeks, there have been like a bajillion parades; honestly, we don't go to too many because we have little kids and parading is a lot of work when you have little ones. The parades are put on by different "krewes", aka groups of people that have paid a lot of money to get to ride on a float and throw stuff at people.

The largest (and best) parade is the Endymion parade, and the Krewe of Endymion is considered a "super krewe"--they have over 3000 members! It's HUGE, and we are fortunate enough to live right on the parade route! The parade is tomorrow afternoon, but yesterday, there were already tarps and chairs and other items claiming space along the route. Technically, someone is suppose to stay with their stuff so the police don't remove it, but the police never seem to be that serious about it (honestly, the NOPD has much bigger things to worry about); it's pretty nuts!

So tomorrow our street turns into a big block party and there will be hot dogs and hamburgers, spiral sliced ham and jambalaya, beaucoup sausage, chicken... and sides and sweets and beer galore. I haven't decided what I'm bringing yet; last year I made kind of a tex-mex black bean and tomato salad, but no one really ate it. Apparently, healthy food doesn't go over so well at these things ;) I'll probably end up making ooey gooey bars and buffalo chicken dip or something. We'll see! (And I'll be sure to post some pictures on Monday!)

Karinne is also having her "wagon parade" at school today; we decorated her wagon like a Mardi Gras parade float, and her 6th grade buddy will pull the wagon while she throws beads and other items to the students and parents. Only PreK-4 and Kindergarten make wagons, so there should be quite a few people watching! I'm taking a half-day from work so I can watch it; there's also no aftercare today, so I'll be taking the kids home at normal dismissal time. I swear, the day feels so much longer when I can get the kids at 3 instead of 5:30!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 4, 2008

Eight years ago today, we buried my mother in the ground. She died on January 31, 2008, after suffering a massive heart attack on January 18. I don't know if she knew she was having one, but she knew something wasn't right because my dad took her to their local hospital's ER. Unfortunately, their staff must not have recognized the signs of heart attack in women because after sitting for an hour without anyone talking to her, they decided it must not be serious and went back home. On January 19, they called an ambulance and went to UAB Hospital, 45 minutes away; they knew it was serious. My dad called us around midnight and told us that she'd had a heart attack and we should get to the hospital. A few hours later, she went in for open heart surgery and that was the last time I ever got to hear her voice. On January 31, my family made the hardest decision of our lives and chose to turn off the machines that were sustaining her life.

The first (and only) time the kids visited her grave. We moved to New Orleans a short time later.
I've written something every year since then to commemorate my mom; the post below is my favorite, written for my old blog 6 years ago, 2 years after her death.
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother."

Abraham Lincoln said that (according to the Internet anyway). It's so true.

This entry has absolutely nothing to do with Korea. It's really a pretty selfish entry, if you must know.  Tomorrow it will be 2 years since my mother was buried; I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed. (Doesn't that sound cliche'?) I debated whether or not I would write anything, but I think she deserves some mention.

My mom was really goofy. Some people have trendy mothers, some people have old-fashioned mothers, and some people have soccer moms. Mine was all 3, with a dash of Rose from the Golden Girls. The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I was to have the mother I had. She truly was my best friend.

The stories. Ooooooohhhhhh, the stories my family can share about my mom! I remember being in college and my parents took my best friend (at that time) and I to Six Flags in Atlanta; on the way home we stopped at IHOP for a late night dinner. My family has always had this strange fascination with bodily noises, and such stories inevitably came up during dinner conversation. I remember the four of us laughing SO hard, tears rolling down our faces, just telling fart stories. Yes, I said it--fart stories. I'll refrain from telling the actual stories themselves, because I'm pretty sure Mom would be pretty angry if I told the whole Internet world about her *ahem* fluffles.

And what about the flat tire story? Remember when Mom was driving me and Bethany down the interstate and we got a flat tire in the van? It was like 10 o'clock at night and she was POSITIVE that nobody would help us because she didn't have her nails on? And then she was worried that we would roll down the embankment so we all had to huddle on the left side of the van? *cue Rachel's terrible Bronx accent imitation*

Oh, and what about UAB Day (wasn't that it?) when Dad decided it was a good idea for mom to drive downtown and she turned left into oncoming traffic? Rachel (I think?) and me and Dad we all screaming for our lives, and all she could say was, "What? What's the big deal?"

I really miss her advice sometimes. She always warned me about certain people in my life growing up, but I never believed her. I always told her she just didn't understand. Years later, when the day finally came that I learned she was right, she never said, "I told you so." All she said was, "To hell with them," and took me to Starbucks.

She never tried to be my friend. She was always my mother. She always told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. And she was persistent. Relentless, even. I'm so grateful for that. I hope I'm as good a mom to my kids. 

Pregnant with yours truly!

My birth day

College graduation

Her goofy side

My wedding day

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

10K Training Tuesday - Week 3

Here we are, 3 weeks into training for my first 10K! Last week was definitely better than the previous week:

Monday: Nothing; I had good intentions, but it just didn't happen.
Tuesday: 25 minutes with 1.5:1 intervals; 15:52 overall pace
Wednesday: 20 minutes speed work (run fast 20 seconds, walk 1 minute); 13:55 overall pace
Thursday: 30 minute walk with Marc
Friday: Nothing
Saturday: 30 minute bike ride
Sunday: 4 mile run, 2:1 intervals; 15:44 overall pace

One thing I'm learning is that I'm a lot slower in the morning! My first week of speed work I did in the morning, and I was super sluggish; my overall pace was around 17 minutes. Last week, I did it after work, and I felt so much lighter--springy, even!

The 4 miles on Sunday was the farthest I've ever run at once; I really need to start incorporating more strength training, because legs were exhausted. I also have to hydrate better; I've been terrible at drinking water for the last couple of weeks and I'm sure that contributed to the leg fatigue.

I also think I pulled a hamstring or something, because the back of my left thigh is SO sore. It hurts to sit down too long at work. I rested yesterday to give it a chance to heal, which helped a ton, and it feels much better today.

Any tips or suggestions for me? Do you notice you run slower/faster at different times of day?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weigh In (1/30) + Weekend update

Well, another weekend has come and gone... they always go by so fast! We had another taste of springtime weather--I'm ready for it to be spring for real!

I was up 2 pounds at Saturday's weigh in; I can totally blame Aunt Flo for that one, as she made a surprise visit yesterday when I wasn't expecting her for at least another week! For the record, I really don't like her. At least that explains why all I wanted was junk food for the last week!

I got my RoadID on Friday; I'm so excited! It fits on my FitBit, so I don't have to wear yet ANOTHER bracelet (I already feel silly when I wear my FitBit and my Garmin when I run.)

"As long as it takes" is my weight loss AND running mantra; I'm slow at both ;)
On Saturday, we went to the zoo with the kids and Marc's parents, and later we went out for super tasty dinner at Brigtsen's. Why does food have to be so delicious?! After that it was nap time, and I took the opportunity to venture out with my bike all by myself; New Orleans drivers are kinda crazy, and several cyclists are killed each year. However, I pulled up my big girl pants and rode to the library to return some books, and then down Esplanade Avenue to CC's Coffee to enjoy a few quiet moments. 

Sitting in front of CC's where I could keep an eye on my bike and enjoy the view
Sunday marked 8 years since my mom died. It was easier this year than it has been, but either way I knew I wanted to get out and enjoy the day. So I got up and did my 4-mile run that was scheduled (my longest run to date!), then Marc and I took the kids to their Great-Grammy's house to hang out with Marc's parents and grandparents while we went to Mass. They live about 3/4 of mile from the church, so we decided to walk since the weather was so nice. For the record, we do typically take the kids with us to Mass, but our RCIA class now dismisses just before Communion and we go talk about the service; the kids are way too distracting and make it difficult to get anything out of the dismissal so they probably won't be coming to Mass with us again until Easter.

Later in the day, we loaded the kids into the bike trailer and took a ride around town and then to eat dinner at Parkway Bakery. It's SO YUMMY. I love their gumbo and fried pickles. I could probably eat that every day and never get sick of it.

I wound up getting a TON of exercise on Sunday, and was just under 20,000 steps for the day!

How was your weekend? Do you have a FitBit? Let's connect! My email address for FitBit is christina.prados at gmail dot com.