Monday, May 28, 2012

Sweet wonderful workouts

Exercise is now such a big part of my life, I have a hard time imagining life without it. During my interview with Jenna from the Gettysburg Times, she asked me to expand more on it when I said something along those lines and it made me remember how key it is to my happiness.

Friends, family, and fellow ww members ask me frequently how I have enough time to workout.  Having too busy a life and "not enough time to work out" is the #1 excuse people use.  They mention that it must be because I don't have kids and my job gives me flexibility so I must have more free time. That must be why I workout so much!

It's true, I don't have kids and I'm sure that makes it worlds easier than a busy mom or dad but my job sometimes makes it nearly impossible to work out.  I really enjoy my job (when I'm not completely stressed out by it), but I travel a lot.  In fact, there was a time that I would be gone an entire week at least once a month in Pittsburgh, or some other city at a conference. Staying at a hotel.  With a crappy hotel gym.  Not ideal conditions, people.

And guess what? I still worked out.  Some days it was just 30 minutes on an elliptical or stationary bike, but I didn't let the crappy gym or fact that I was completely exhausted from work and traveling all over to keep me from working out.  Even 100 lbs heavier ago I felt that I HAD to get my butt into the gym.  Then it was more about losing weight and burning calories, but I felt the pull to exercise, whatever the reason. And I MAKE time.  If it is important enough to you, you will make it happen.  Adrian can attest that some days I get up at 5:30am so I can workout before work (he probably thinks I have lost my mind these mornings).  Other days I go straight to the gym after work and change there so I won't allow any excuses to get in the way when I get home.  Adrian has heard me say before "I'm sorry hunny, I need to get to the gym before I come home or I won't go."  Thank my lucky stars he has always been so supportive of me. <3

 Friday was stressful for me.  Jenna called me asking if they could put my heaviest weight (and current weight) into the article.  I literally stuttered and panicked my way through a "can I think about it and call you back?"  After nearly having a panic attack while driving on I-695 (not a good place for this to happen, take my word for it), my body went to I NEED TO WORKOUT. GIVE ME ENDORPHINS NOW!!   Ironically, this made me calm down almost immediately because my mind did not go to I NEED COMFORT! FEED ME! and it made me insanely happy that the binge monster was still passed out in the basement.

I called my darling husband and asked him a tough question that I know he didn't want to answer but he is just awesome so he did.  "As a reporter would you want to have my weight in the story?"  Of course, his answer was yes.  So needless to say, my weight got into the story and I'm glad it did.

Having said that.....from the moment after I gave Jenna my before and current weight and the go ahead I felt like a complete nervous wreck.  How harshly would people judge me? What would they think about how I got to that weight? You can imagine where else my imagination took me over the hour drive home.

Needless to say, I got home and drug my exhausted and stressed body to the Y.  My plan was 30 minutes of hills on the stationary bike then about 30 minutes of strength training.  Well.....I was so anxious about the article coming out the next day, I couldn't drag myself away from my comfort zone.  After about 90 minutes on the bike I finally staggered off and started my planned strength training routine.  I was so exhausted I had to do jumping jacks before traveling lunges to get me pumped up enough to do them and I repeated this pump up routine before several exercises so that I wouldn't flat out quit on myself.

I finally left the gym 2.5 hours after arriving.  I did do a nice 15 minutes of stretching because 90 minutes on the stationary bike then almost an hour of squats and lunges will make your legs ache and tight.  I also made my abs go into full muscle spasm by putting them through 2 sets of 20 reps of passovers (if you have never done these, they are like sweet death to your lower abs), leg lifts, bicycles, bench v-crunches and ball crunches.  My abs are still thanking me for the sweet torture, especially after an Emily workout today with some more.

Now a days I don't feel complete without a good sweat.  When I get stressed for any reason, my body craves the powerful and sweet release of endorphins that comes from a hard workout.  FINALLY my body does not crave food.  I couldn't feel more relieved that I have been able to train my body away from needing food to comfort me.  Of course there are some days that my binge monster rears her ugly head and demands that I eat an entire bag of chips or a giant candy bar.  That doesn't mean I have to listen to her though!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Article about me in the Gettysburg Times

Ok, several have asked to see the article since they can't access it online since it's a paid site.  I got the ok, so here it is.  I copy and pasted it from the website so if it has weird editing, that's why.  Also as a very minor note- I actually have lost 237.6 lbs, but who's counting, lol. ;)  I feel so honored and humbled that the times would want to do a story about my journey, and then feature it on the front page of the Saturday edition!  Thank you! :)  They had before and after pictures of me as well, so I am including them at the end, with the captions that were on the story.

236 pounds lighter — Colleen Martin proves determination and lifestyle change turn dramatic loss into terrific gain

Times Staff Writer
Making a significant lifestyle change can be challenging task for most people. One Adams County woman has seen her fair share of trials and triumphs on her path to losing over 200 pounds.
Colleen Martin, 27, has been working on her major lifestyle change for over three years.
"When I came back from my honeymoon in 2009, I just hit rock bottom and realized that I was killing myself by eating. I wondered how I would ever be happy married if I wasn't happy with myself," she said.
Martin said that at her heaviest, she weighed in at around 435 pounds.
Martin took the first step in her new healthy life by joining Curves. "That was the perfect first step for me because it taught me how to enjoy exercise again," she said.
Martin lost 36 pounds by changing her diet and going to Curves, but she wanted to do more. "It took me a while, about six months, to lose those first pounds. I just snapped and decided to come to the Weight Watchers meeting," she said.
This is where Martin met Joni Bonfiglio, the Weight Watchers meeting leader in Gettysburg and Chambersburg. Bonfiglio would undoubtedly become one of Martin's biggest allies in her journey to a healthier body.
"When I weighed in that first meeting, I cried. That's when Joni told me I would never see those numbers again," said Martin.
Before starting the Weight Watchers program, Martin said she tried a number of other things that didn't yield the same results.
"Joni has been awesome and she really just made it all click for me," she said.
Martin said that one of the biggest advantages to the Weight Watchers program was the new understanding of food. "Before the programs I didn't really have a handle on the food aspect," she said.
"I changed how I think about food and I can modify it to fit my life. I haven't eaten fast food since October 21, 2009. I don't do buffets either. What worked for me is that I'm not really on a specific diet," she added.
Martin's husband, Adrian, a sportswriter at the Gettysburg, Times, said that he knew all along his wife could lose the weight she wanted.
"The thing that she may not realize is the fact that she has accomplished this and it was inside her all along. She has always been a special person and this just proves it," he said.
Martin is an inspiration to her fellow Weight Watchers, and those in her support system.
(See TERRIFIC on Page A3)
"I even started going to the YWCA-Gettysburg about a year ago. It makes me want to live a healthier life," her husband said.
Having that good support system is a must in an endeavor like Martin's.
"It was a learning curve at first. I had to lay down the law with my husband and tell him certain items were no longer allowed in the house," she said.
"But I really have had amazing support from him and my family and friends and the group of people at Weight Watchers," she added.
Martin also attributed some of her success to her exercise regimen. "Exercise is now a part of the happiness in my life and without it, I feel incomplete."
Martin works out with a personal trainer at the YWCA.
"I work out with Emily Bucher at the YWCA and that is where I go for my zen. Emily keeps me motivated."
Bucher said that she foresees Martin reaching her goal weight without any problems. "She always comes in ready to work and she really likes for me to push her. I have never seen anyone lose this much and I know she will reach her goal and stay there with no trouble," she said.
Martin has a goal weight of 160 to 180 pounds, which according to her doctor, would be fine for her five-foot-six-inch frame.
"I want to see where my body wants to be. I want to find that happy weight that makes my body feel right," she said.
Bucher also said that she admires Martin. "She has done this all the natural way and that is so inspirational," she added.
In total, Martin has lost 236.6 pounds; 201.6 since starting Weight Watchers.
"I have never had anyone in the program lose this much," said Bonfiglio.
At the Weight Watchers meeting on May 23, Bonfiglio told her group to look at Martin for motivation.
"You can all be Colleens," she said.
When asked what advice she would have for others who want to make such a big lifestyle change, Martin said that keeping focused is key. "Find out what your 'why' is, and concentrate on that. Come back to that reason when you are struggling. You have to want to lose weight for no one but yourself," she said.

Colleen Martin feature
ROCK BOTTOM - at her heaviest, Martin weighed 435 pounds.   
Colleen Martin feature
PROUD PAIR -  Colleen Martin, 27, this week with Weight Watchers meeting leader Joni Bonfiglio. "Joni has been awesome and she really just made it all click for me," Martin said of her dramatic and determined weight loss.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Awesome day

Disclaimer: This blog post is totally vain, and darn it I'm allowed a vain moment where I enjoy a good compliment. Haters can step off :P

So there are some days that just suck...

Today was NOT one of those days! (finally)  Work was great, we had a market meeting and I was in my element.   This is not a brag, just the truth.  I am good at speaking in public and can be very inspiring.  Today was no exception.  I needed a day like today :)

I gave a friend a ride back to her now fixed car in Mechanicsburg and she gave me one of the most awesome and random compliments ever, something along the lines of this: "I mean this in a totally non-sexual way but I couldn't help checking out your butt today.  It looks awesome!! I'm jealous and hate you!" I bust out laughing and couldn't help beaming from ear to ear.   We then had a blast catching up, she rocks my socks!

I grabbed some subway for dinner on the way home and busted out two fast miles outside then headed into the Y to finish out with an incline workout.  George was there again and was so incredibly encouraging I literally could not stop smiling the whole rest of my workout.  There used to be a time when I found him a bit intense but really, he's just a nice guy who is really encouraging to everyone he sees.  It's so infectious and just makes you feel so good.

An occasional dose of ego boost feels sooooo good.

Monday, May 21, 2012

10k or no?

So I have been looking (very casually) for a good 10k race to run as one of my next goals.  And then one fell in my lap via Emily and I got super excited, checked out the race and it was perfect- flat, close by, a good first 10k.  I could totally demolish this race!

And then reality came crashing down around me.....because the race is June 2nd. And I learned about the race on May 19th....

So I would need to double my average running distance to do this race and in 2 weeks time.  The next day Emily reminded me that you only want to increase your running distance 10% a week. So, no ArtShip 10k for Colleen.  Actually kinda bummed about this because I already had down which runs I would do in the 2 weeks leading up to it. But, the last thing I need is to end up with an injury because I was too quick to increase my running distance.  I've been running mainly 2-3 miles about 2-3 days a week with a few 4 mile runs thrown in, so it would definitely pushing it to get to 6.2 miles in just 2 weeks.  I know my body could do it....but at what cost?  If there is one thing this elbow issue is bringing to my attention it's the importance of rest and preventing injury.

I want to listen, Tony!

But I did go out and have a decent (albeit hot and hilly) run on Sunday.  I've had this mental issue for a long time against walking at all when I run.  I get it in my head that if I walk I won't be able to run again.  Well Sunday it was hot, sunny and I was sick.  Yeah, darn sore throat/head colds they really suck, especially when you are trying to move oxygen through your lungs. But I worked through it, and took a couple mini walking breaks. And you know what? It was freaking awesome. I was still able to run the majority of that last mile and I finished my 4 mile run like planned, then walked another mile as a cool off and did a nice long stretch at the Y.

So, sorry Tony- I might not bring it for the 10k race but I am bringing it every day!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Take control of your own happiness!

"The only person that can make you feel bad about yourself is yourself" my boss reminded me this morning.

I really need to hold onto this quote and take it seriously.  This person was a complete and utter jerk to me earlier in the week harassing me when I'm trying to work out because they wanted to know how much I weighed (WTF?).  First off- that's just screwed up.  Second off-  This is my happy place, where I come to de-stress and feed my soul.  Yeah, yeah, sounds cheezy, but it's true.  When I am having a really bad day I go to a couple different things to find some peace- horseback riding and exercise.  Those are the things I think about to get me through the tough times.  So don't mess with my whoooosa!

But in listening to this quote - I need to take better control of my own happiness.  But, it doesn't hurt though to have great people to help keep me calm and happy, just saying.... 

But those difficult feelings of insecurity can help me as well....I started out with a gentle warmup walk on the treadmill but within 30 seconds I thought again of this jerk and suddenly got spurred on by my anger....and I turned a 5 minute warmup walk into 15 minutes of "nearly falling off the treadmill, sweat dripping off my face and every surface" type workout.  Ever since reading about the benefits of a 15% incline workout, I've enjoyed interjecting them into my workouts when I am feeling like being on the treadmill.  Emily had me working on high incline before, so this is nothing new, but reading about it recently reminded me of how much they kicked my butt!

In case you have never tried getting the incline up higher, I recommend it, especially if you want a good workout for your glutes and legs! A few suggestions from my perspective....
- Build up to having the speed at the fastest walk you can manage before needing to jog.  Then when you feel like you can push higher, step up the speed so you can jog.  I did 30 second intervals of fast walking and jogging today.  I managed to get through it and A- not fall off the treadmill, B- not hold on, C- still have a smile on my face.
- Work up to(or start off) not holding onto the treadmill.  Sometimes it will feel like holding on is your life line, but you CAN do this- I don't hold on ever, including at 15% incline.  Just think, when you are walking up a hill outside do you hold on? Duhhh of course not, there is nothing to hold onto!  Every time I think about wanting to hold on, Dolvette in all of his BL hotness busts into my thoughts with this: GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY TREADMILL!!!!

Mmmmmm Bob and Dolvette. Obviously the real reason I watch BL.  You can bust into my thoughts any day.
That picture is the only one I could find that Dolvette was not smiling- hence about to yell at you as you hold onto the treadmill!  I would love to train with either one of these trainers some day.  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to walk the next day because they would beat me into the ground (excellent!) but it would be 200% worth it. 

Dolvette has such a beautiful smile so here ya go....enjoy ladies!

If you thought for a second I would give you a picture of him with a shirt on, you were obviously delusional.

Just remember: The only person that can make you feel bad about yourself is yourself.  Remember to love yourself!

Monday, May 7, 2012

DOCF Teal blue ribbon 5k race recap

Yesterday was awesome. Plain and simple, it was amazing actually.

Yesterday was the Delaware Ovarian Cancer Foundation's annual teal blue ribbon 5k on the Wilmington waterfront.  My family walked or ran in support of my mom, who was diagnosed 3 years ago and is the strongest, bravest person I know. <3 There was quite a crowd there supporting DOCF, it was awesome to see!

I thought overall the race was well organized except for one minor issue- our registration was missing.  We later discovered the problem was they had put us in the walkers qualification even though we had both registered as runners.  All was fixed and we got signed up and got our chips and t-shirts.  And then....we waited.....and waited.  My mom had told us that start was at 9am- it was actually 9:30am.  In my infinite wisdom I didn't check the registration so us getting there at 8:15 am for a 9:30am start was kinda boring, but we had fun hanging out, warming up forever, and of course it's ALWAYS better to arrive early than late. DUH!

So we had plenty of time to take pictures....

My family complete with the Hughes family and the dogs!
Aren't we awesome?  The Hughes family really is- I'll give you some concrete examples later.

Mom and I hanging out before the race. Much love! <3
The runners waiting at the starting line!
Can I just pause to let it just sink in to my brain that I was one of the runners....

I'm still trying to get over the shock of enjoying running and not just suffering through it because it's good for weight loss. It's pretty incredible. 

I really enjoyed this run! It was pretty flat and had some nice scenery because it was on the Wilmington waterfront most of the time and I ran with my wonderful hubby!  It was actually the first time Adrian and I have run together and hopefully not the last.  We both listening to music so only talked when I was encouraging him or updating him on our pace- I don't even know if he heard me half the time.  At first I thought this would be awkward because any other time I have run with somebody we talked....but it worked for us.

My goals for the race were to A- PR, B-get sub-36 minutes, C- have negative splits (so faster in the last mile than the first).  My previous PR was 42-something so that was going to be cake to beat, but goal B would be pushing my typical pace of 12:00- 12:30 over 3 miles, but I thought it was reachable.

So....I finished at 35:37.4 which was a 11:30 pace!  That obviously KILLED my previous PR and.....I had negative splits, sort of, lol.  My middle mile was a little bit slower, but mile 3 was faster than mile 1....barely. lol.  Also, it took me a bit to remember to hit my watch after we finished, hence ignore the final time (these are the stats from my garmin forerunner). But, look- I did punch the end with a half decent push! :)

Split Time Moving Time Distance Elevation Gain Elevation Loss Avg Pace Avg Moving Pace Best Pace
1 11:27.1 10:55 1 0 0 11:27 10:55 9:11
2 11:37.4 11:35 1 0 5 11:37 11:35 10:39
3 11:21.4 11:00 1 3 0 11:21 11:00 10:08
4 01:24.7 1:21 0.14 0 0 10:13 9:46 7:28
 Summary 35:50.6 34:51.0 3.14 3 5 11:25 11:06 7:28

 My cousins KILLED it!! They both got PRs and Johnny got 1st place in his age group, Genny 2nd place in her age group! Medal winners!! So proud of them!! :)
So in conclusion- awesome race with awesome people!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Run run run!

I hope that this recent obsession with running is not just spurred on by my race last weekend and the upcoming race this Sunday in Wilmington...but if it is I'm going to ride it out for as long as possible and try to keep it going.

My thoughst have been consumed with running over the past couple weeks or so.  Before the race I was obsessively reading about race prep on all the runner blogs I read and runner's world.  Since the race it has been "worse" if you want to call it that.  I see it as being better! :)  I've been reading running blogs, runner's world, plus watching running videos about form, hill training, speed work, and on and on.  O yeah and looking up training plans for half marathons.

Because, duhhh I have to do one.  As I'm writing this it is becoming a more concrete decision in my head.  I haven't felt this excited about a goal since I first set out to complete a triathlon.  A half-marathon is a much bigger step and I finally feel like I can start realisticly training for one.

This morning when I woke up the first thought into my head was "is it raining because I want to go for a run."  I made the decision to go into the gym and do 30 minutes of bike hill work instead since it was foggy, muggy and gross this morning, promising myself that if the weather was nice after work I would run at my parent's place.  Alas, it was dark by the time I got home and these roads are borderline too dangerous to run on already, let alone at night.  Let me just point out that 6 months ago I had to drag myself onto the treadmill to run and it was something I dreaded leading up to it and suffered through.  What a turn around!

The funny thing about this week?  Monday I went for a 4 mile run and had to stop halfway because my stomach did the "you better make it to a bathroom immediately" crunch at me.  While this totally sucked, as I was stretching post-sickness all I could think about was how this must make me a "real runner" because it's another one of those "things that all runners deal with" according to my runner friends.

What is wrong with me? Why do thoughts like this even enter my brain? I'm so glad I found this quote from John Bingham today. "If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run"

I need to remember John Bingham's wise words.  I have nothing to prove to anyone, only myself.  I am a runner, darn it. 

I am going to crush my PR on Sunday!