Weeks 8 & 9

Coming to you live from the elliptical in my gym because well, I’m a busy gal and if I don’t write this during my work out it probably won’t get done.

So again, nothing spectacular happened in the last couple weeks, specifically with running. Winter hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s actually spring time so I’ve been doing almost all of my runs inside on a treadmill which has not been ideal. As far as lifting, I signed up for another 4 weeks of online coaching and I’ve finally started to see changes in my body. Thank goodness because I was starting to get frustrated, but obviously changes don’t happen immediately.

Most of my clothes are now a little bit loose and I feel so much more comfortable in my skin, I’ve been waiting a really long time for that. My legs feel more defined and my core and back feel strong, which as a runner those are super important. I got weighed last week and my hard work is starting to pay off because I lost 2.5lbs of fat in 4 weeks.

If I can keep this up, which I intend to, I’ll be at my goal weight by my marathon in October. Losing weight will significantly help my average pace and my efforts to cut an hour off my marathon finishing time.

The Pittsburgh half marathon is only a few weeks away now, so I’ll be posting weekly until then!

Till next time!

Week 4 & NEDA

Can’t believe I’m already a month into training for my 5th half marathon. So crazy. Last week I mentioned that I started a new strength training program and after only doing it for a week I can definitely tell it’s going to be a game changer. I feel like it’s already helped my running form and stamina, and it’s definitely helping my sleep because I am so exhausted after every workout. I’m not mad about it.

As of yesterday my 26th birthday is 2 months away and I’d like to lose 10-12 lbs before then. My eating habits have been getting significantly better over the last few weeks so I feel like everything is finally coming together. With my past though, the desire to lose weight can be a slippery slope….

I shared some of my story on Instagram (cpier10 if you want to follow) but last week was Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I felt like it was important to talk about this because ED’s are very common in athletes. While I have never been diagnosed with one, I have had anorexic/orthorexic tendencies from my teens through 22-23. I’ve never fully disclosed everything I put myself through during that time to anyone but my nutritionist and the guys I dated during that time. I think I’ll still keep some things to myself but I’m hoping that by opening up some, it helps others to feel like they’re not alone.

I’ve always struggled with my weight, I gained a lot of weight the summer before 4th grade because I wasn’t very active and I was constantly overeating. My body image issues started shortly after that. It wasn’t until I was in my sophomore year of high school that I really started “dieting”, and by dieting I mean eating maybe 500-800 calories a day. I started to lose some weight and I had allowed it to get to the point where I felt better when I didn’t eat. Of course this isn’t sustainable so I’d go through a couple of months of that followed by a couple of months of binge eating. This peaked when I was 19, I had gotten a gym membership and I quickly became obsessed with Spin, the elliptical, and  burning as many calories as possible. I would go to the gym, get on the elliptical for  an hour, go to an hour-long spin class, then go back home to get on the treadmill because I NEEDED to lose weight. It consumed me. During that time I was dating a guy who went to Pitt and I would visit him on the weekends, every weekend I would get so drunk because I was never eating enough and exercising too much. I used the alcohol to briefly forget that I didn’t like myself and to finally let loose. I was a hot mess.

I did this for a year until I decided to do my first half marathon for my 21st birthday, I ended up gaining back all of the weight but I did cut out alcohol for 5 months in order to take training more seriously. Once the race was over I started celebrating 21 and put on even more weight and drinking even more. I was so depressed that I would come home from work, close all the curtains and go right to sleep. By the time I was 22 I had put on so much weight I had reached a number on the scale I’d never seen before and was being told by my doctor that I had fatty liver. (Fatty liver can be caused by alcohol as well as gaining a lot of weight because the fat has to go somewhere) I immediately went back to my old habits of restricting calories, counting every single thing I ate, cutting out alcohol, and I started to see the number on the scale go down.

When I met my nutritionist a few months after the fatty liver diagnosis, I was still only eating 800-1000 calories a day. He made a meal plan for me and I started eating around 1300-1500 and the weight started to come off because for once I was finally eating the right amount of food. In all honesty, the fatty liver diagnosis was the wake up call I needed and looking back I’m glad that happened. I’ve been working with Andrew from Case Specific Nutrition for a little over 3 years now and we’ve been through a lot; several meal plans, a few whole 30s, setbacks, screw ups, but I’ve also learned a lot from him. My number one goal isn’t to be skinny anymore. It’s to live a balance life and to be strong, confident, comfortable, faster and HEALTHY.

Everyone has their own journey, and some don’t come out on top. I finally feel like I’ve got my head above water. I still struggle with these habits, but I see the goal and I’m getting there in a safe and healthy way. It’s a good feeling to have…

 

Till next time…

One week out!!!!

Holy smokes, where did this training cycle go?!?! It feels like it took forever but flew by all at the same time. I’m so excited to get this done and have a nice rest period once I get back home to Pittsburgh.

I’ll be in Chicago from Thursday afternoon to Monday night, and for the most part the entire weekend is already filled. Friday morning I’ll be at the expo, that afternoon I’m hoping to do some kind of tour of the city, then that evening I’ll be at the team dinner for Team DetermiNation- I’m running through the American Cancer Society this year. Saturday, the day before the big day is going to be limited to the Chicago International 5k in the morning and resting most of the afternoon/evening. Monday is for exploring before I head back home to my puppy.

I figured I’d share my travel essentials for a trip like this. My parents are driving out again this year so I am leaving all of my stuff with them and just taking a purse with me on the plane (thanks mom and dad!). Obviously your race outfit is super important to pack; mine includes a tank and capris from Lululemon, feetures socks, Brooks running bra, my Brooks ghost 10s, and my flip belt.

Aside from the most obvious thing to pack, I’m also bringing along a ton of other essentials. In my bag will be:

  • My vital proteins collagen peptides, I do not drink coffee without it.
  • Foam roller, because no one likes a tight back and hamstrings before race day.
  • All of the snacks! I’m bringing a few rxbars, epic bars, and gomacro bars.
  • My own bread, jelly, and PB for my pre race PB&J sandwich. I eat one of these before every long run ever and it totally throws me off if I don’t have it.
  • Imodium! I see a lot of people waste a lot of time at the port a potties, I take a couple before bed and a couple when I wake up the morning of the race and I have yet to have a problem.
  • My TENS machine, compression socks, and magnesium. All of these are for after the race to help me recover.
  • Honey Stinger chews and nuun. The chews are for during the race and nuun is for before and after. Hydration is so important these next 6ish days.
  • Note cards to writing inspiring messages to myself to put around my hotel room.
  • Lastly, I’m bringing along my Clean Sport Collective temporary tattoos to put on my shoulders for Sunday morning. CSC’s mission is to end doping in sports, although I am only an amateur/recreational runner, I still want to do my part to help end doping in running (and all sports really).

 

Next time you hear from me will be after the race! Good vibes are much appreciated!

Why running?

As I continue to introduce you to myself, I figured I’d explain why I chose running several years ago and why it’s become so important to me. I get asked this question several times a week, in fact my dad asked me again last night, “Why do you torture yourself? Cycling is so much easier.” My answer was something about how I like a challenge, and that is true but it goes much deeper than that.

Prior to this point in my life, going back to high school here, I had a really warped view of myself. I was constantly trying to lose weight and going to extremes to get there, this peaked the year after I graduated when I started to restrict my calories to maybe 700 a day and working out for 3 hours a day at minimum 5 days a week. I was miserable. I eventually got burned out and turned to drinking to quiet that negative self talk. After I turned 21 (and finished my first half) I really relied on alcohol to self medicate and fell into a funk of depression. A year later my weight had peaked to over 200lbs (I’m only 5’3!!) and later in the year I had gotten sick and discovered I had fatty liver.

Things changed after that. I slowed down my alcohol consumption considerably, went to a psychiatrist for medication and started seeing a nutritionist. We worked on getting over my disordered eating habits and getting back to eating healthy. Once I got my diet in order and I lost some weight I worked on getting comfortable running outside again. The more races I signed up to do the less I “fell off the wagon” because I just didn’t have the time to go back to old habits.

It’s been a few years since all of that happened but I now run 4-5 days a week, I’ve learned to control alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks a week (if that), and as of July I came off of all my anxiety and anti depressant medications. Running helped me through all of this. It’s helped with my self confidence, my mental health, my diet, and made me a better person all around. I’m so glad I picked this crazy sport as my passion.

 

Why do you run?

What is a “runner’s body”?

I wasn’t planning on talking about this subject until after the marathon, but something happened the other day that made me feel compelled to touch on the subject this week. I received a message from someone whom I don’t know, have never met, and never plan on meeting. The message went something like, “you don’t need reflective gear when you run, no one could ever miss you”.

Now for those of you who don’t know me in real life, I don’t look like the “average runner”. I’m short and overweight, not tall and skinny like so many other runners I see out there. I’ve heard my share of rude comments about my weight and I’m very aware that I am not what people think of when you say the word “marathoner”. Yet here I am, training for 26.2 number 2. The thing that irritated me most about this person’s comment was that they don’t know me, they don’t know how hard I work to be a distance runner, and they certainly don’t understand the struggle of being a short overweight person in a sport full of tall and/or skinny people.

The point of this post is to encourage others who aren’t their ideal size or height, that those things don’t matter. I once went through a phase where I refused to run outside because I was worried that people driving by would judge me, but at the end of the day you’re doing something good for your body that you love. Who cares what anyone else thinks of you? The only opinion about yourself that should matter to you is your own. We can’t change our genetics so we have to learn to work with God has given us. So if you run and have a body, then you have a runner’s body.

I have one, do you?