I Returned To The Place Where It All Began

I seriously cannot believe it’s October, y’all! Where did September go? Well, I’m happy it’s here! With the start of a new month is a new beginning.

For those who don’t know, I’m a past Weight Watchers (WW) member. I was first introduced to Weight Watchers by my sister when she was in college preparing for pageant competitions. She was highly successful with the program and she is now a Lifetime Member. She tried to get me to try it several times, but I didn’t think I needed to. I was young and I thought I was “fine”. Not in a conceited way, but I didn’t think I needed anyone to tell me how to incorporate healthy habits or how to lose weight. That was until LIFE hit me…

WW Simple Start MPBBI had to make a change for me. Growing up, I was very active (cheerleading, dance, sports, band, etc.) and I never had an issue with my weight. I didn’t care about what I ate, drank, etc. The older I got, the more I discovered so many people were being diagnosed with diabetes (or borderline) or facing other issues related to an inactive lifestyle and poor diet and nutrition. That was the wake-up call and that’s when I realized I needed to lose weight, become more active, and practice healthier habits. I knew I wanted a different path so I had to create it. I joined Weight Watchers in 2008 and I had great success. I lost 55 lbs in seven months and I have the photo in my little black dress to prove it.

Fast-forward eight years later…

I’m older, much wiser…and I recognize the older I get, the harder it gets. Yes, it’s true what they say…things start to slow down after 30. I’ve tried it all and have come to realize that Weight Watchers really is a great fit for me. It just WORKS! People always laugh about Jennifer Hudson sangin’ with robust vocal thrusts in the WW commercials, but I say it’s because she’s happy that it really does work! lol Over the years, I learned so much from the program, meetings, and success stories and even when I’m off the program, I carry pieces of it with me.

Weight Watchers is the place where my journey to better health FIRST began. I always miss it when I’m away too long, but I’m happy to say, I have returned to my roots! It’s true what they say…diets DON’T work! Eating healthy and practicing healthy habits DOES! I need accountability and structure. “You snack it, you track it”…”You bite it, you write it.” I want to be the best ME and I’m excited to be a part of a program that encompasses the tools I need to help me make it happen. It’s a lifestyle change that will benefit me for the rest of my life. Slow and steady wins the race!

It feels good to be back!

 

 

 

 

#TotalFit Challenge

Happy Monday! I just wanted to share a little bit about what I’m doing over the next few weeks. I’m participating in Mr. Shut Up and Train‘s 21 day #TotalFit Challenge! Rahman “Ray” Grayson (aka Mr. Shut Up and Train) is an Atlanta Personal Trainer and he and his team are committed to helping others meet their fitness goals, improve their appearance, lose weight, gain endurance, build muscle and self-esteem.

Mr. Shut Up and Train has created a free challenge to help kick-start you into your fitness goals. You can find the overview here.

So the question is…

What is your why?

My Why is…

I want to be the healthiest ME I can be!

I only get one body and I must take care of it. 

I want to be a better, stronger runner.

Who doesn’t want look good when they look in the mirror?

It’s not about being “skinny”, it’s about being FIT—and that’s what I strive to be!

I’m not getting any younger.

I am “preserving my sexy”!

My legacy starts with me.

Why not?

 

MrShutUpTrain“I am doing the  TotalFit Challenge because I am 100% committed to living a healthier lifestyle!”

 

Baseline AssessmentThe Baseline Assessment reminds me of the Insanity Fit Test. Yes, I completed ALL 63 days  of that insane craziness. Let’s just say the warm-up was harder the most workouts. I’ll be doing this tonight!

 

Sharing is caring! See others via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest) who committed to the challenge by using the hashtag #TotalFit and #BeTheBestYou.

 It’s time to TRAIN!

 

Disney Marathon Training…The Plan!

7daysgoalsmpbbIt’s officially training season and I’m 17 weeks away from the Walt Disney World Marathon! I’ve sprinkled a few races in the mix including the Sweat With Your Sole 15K in Atlanta. You can read that recap here. Also, the Women’s Running Series Half Marathon Nashville is two weeks away (SO EXCITED!) and possibly another local half marathon in November. 

I’ll be using the Hal Higdon marathon training plan. Monday is a rest day, but I will be incorporating some cross training. The Galloway Method will also be in full swing on my long runs to help me meet my goals. Many marathoners use Jeff Galloway’s method and have had huge success including, achieving personal records and qualifying for Boston. Now that’s HUGE!

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Rest 3 m run 3 m run 3 m run Rest 6 Cross
2 Rest 3 m run 3 m run 3 m run Rest 7 Cross
3 Rest 3 m run 4 m run 3 m run Rest Half Marathon Cross
4 Rest 3 m run 4 m run 3 m run Rest 9 Cross
5 Rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 10 Cross
6 Rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 7 Cross
7 Rest 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest 12 Cross
8 Rest 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest Rest Half Marathon
9 Rest 3 m run 7 m run 4 m run Rest 10 Cross
10 Rest 3 m run 7 m run 4 m run Rest 15 Cross
11 Rest 4 m run 8 m run 4 m run Rest 16 Cross
12 Rest 4 m run 8 m run 5 m run Rest 12 Cross
13 Rest 4 m run 9 m run 5 m run Rest 18 Cross
14 Rest 5 m run 9 m run 5 m run Rest 14 Cross
15 Rest 5 m run 10 m run 5 m run Rest 20 Cross
16 Rest 5 m run 8 m run 4 m run Rest 12 Cross
17 Rest 4 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest 8 Cross
18 Rest 3 m run 4 m run 2 m run Rest Rest Marathon

It’s recommended that first time marathoners not go into their first marathon with a time goal. To finish (upright) IS the goal. Thank God fall is almost here because training will be a breeze *pun intended*! I love summer, but I’m so over the heat and humidity. There’s a big difference between the two seasons when it comes to training so, I can’t wait! I’ll also be using my Pacebands. You can read about those here.

I don’t run in the morning until my weekend long run. I did run in the morning this week, instead of the evening, and I think I may stick to it! It felt really good to have my run out of the way so I could come home and relax. Either way, marathon training comes with many sacrifices. I went to Zumba last night and I didn’t wake up early this morning to run—which means I have a dinner date with a three miler tonight!

Slow and steady wins the race and the only race is with myself!

Sweat With Your Sole 5K/15K Recap!

Marriott PeachtreeLast weekend my HB and I took a road trip over to the A (Atlanta) for the Black Girls RUN! Sweat With Your Sole 5K/15K! I won a contest for a free registration of my choice (5K or 15K). I registered for the 15K. For those who don’t know, 15K = 9.3 miles. Since the Women’s Running Series—Nashville and Walt Disney World Marathon was coming up, this would be a part of my training schedule.

 

welcome! We stayed downtown and our hotel was perfectly placed in the midst of restaurants, quick stores, etc. I’m so glad because parking was $20/per day (no in or out)—so we weren’t driving anywhere. It helped that the race start line was a few blocks away. After checking in and getting a few items from the expo, it was time to get some nourishment. The rain had stopped and the sun was out. Boy…was it HOT and humid! We walked a few blocks and found the Hard Rock Café. We were being greeted by chants of “Who Dat” from fans that were in town for the New Orleans Saints vs. the Atlanta Falcons game. WHO DAT! Yes, I’m a part of the Who Dat Nation. Not die hard, but I love the team and the city!

 

Race Day!

The race start time was 7 a.m. so BGR! Birmingham met in front of the hotel around 6:15-ish to walk over to Centennial Park where the race would start. We took our group photos, warmed up, and headed to the start line! By the way, Atlanta is a VERY hilly place to run (in my opinion and many others). I experienced it for myself back in 2013 when I ran the BGR! Inaugural 10K. You can read that recap here. This was the first year for the 15K, so I don’t think I really grasped what the course would feel like. It was so hilly, humid, and HOT! I see why most races are held during the cooler months. I started off strong with my long run pace, but before approaching mile 3, it was so hot and I couldn’t breathe. I was seriously thinking…I can just finish (not strong like I wanted to, but finish) the 5K. I kept pushing. It was a very hard course for me—so hard, I decided to walk the last 2 miles. I wasn’t worried about my pride, my ego…I just couldn’t do it and I wasn’t. I had given all I had at that moment. I was done. This was probably one of the HARDEST courses I’ve run to date.

I’m happy to say that I made it to the finish line! Had there not been any hills, I’m pretty sure it would have been a PB (Personal Best). I am happy that I stayed the course and did not give up. I know for the most part, running is mental. When you can keep pushing through the doubts, fears, humidity, leg cramps, the smell of BBQ, and everything else running through your head (there goes that mental thing again)…you’ve accomplished something.

  flat runnerI was excited to find a new Bondi Band to match my Sparkle Athletic shwings and shirt! My armband matched perfectly too! You can find them here.

 BTR1 BGR! Birmingham (Just a few of us)

  swys14

 swys

 swys3One more to go!

 wpid-img_20140907_151230.jpgI did that!!!

 Bgrbham1

  wpid-2014-09-12-10.09.42.png.png

 

BGR15K!!! Yes, I clean up pretty good. I EARNED this medal!!! And you know who else did too?!

 

image

swysinspiration

Instagram: heartbeat4many

This great woman (pictured above, R) completed the 15K with a smile on her face! If you could have seen the outpour of love and support as she crossed the finish line…it was beyond amazing! I cried like a baby because she showed me and everyone else witnessing that great moment that ANYTHING is possible! #TeamNoExcuses

 

And We’re Off…

swys2a

A little bit of “blurred lines”

It was a short stay, but it was fun while it lasted! Glad I had my HB with me to carry my bags while I was in recovery mode!

 swys1Time for some grub! We headed over to one of our favorite spots in Atlanta called, Gladys Knight and Ron Winans Chicken & Waffles! I’m pretty sure you’ve heard both of their names before. They are music legends! You can’t go to ATL and not stop there. We prepared to wait. I’m so glad I wore my compression socks!

 Gladys KnightsI had my usual…the “Midnight Train” + Mac!

 

GK Sweet Potato Cheesecake Dessert to go, please! Even though I felt like I earned it and wanted one all by myself…moderation = 1, Artney = 0. My HB and I decided to share a slice of Sweet Potato Cheesecake. One word…DIVINE!

 

Inspirational Moment!

If you didn’t know, Oprah Winfrey was in Atlanta for her The Life You Want Tour!  Then this happened…

TLYWTour

Instagram: officialblackgirlsrun

Co-founders Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey of Black Girls RUN! were honored at Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour! They were presented with the Toyota Standing O-vation Award by Amy Purdy (Paralympic bronze medalist snowboarder/Toyota brand ambassador)! What an honor!!! Congratulations Ashley and Toni on such a remarkable accomplishment! Being presented with an award by Mother O? It can’t get any better than that!

Thank you again, Black Girls RUN! for my registration and for creating such an awesome space for women to come together and celebrate each other! Also, congratulations to everyone who participated in SWYS14 Festival weekend and race! I love my BGR!

 

About Black Girls Run!

Many people have comments and/or questions about BGR’s name and how it came about…

The mission of Black Girls RUN! is to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80 percent of African-American women are overweight. BGR! wants to create a movement to lower that percentage and subsequently lower the number of women with chronic diseases associated with an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.

In March 2011, Black Girls RUN! launched more than 60 Black Girls RUN! running groups across the nation. The groups range from the most novice to the most experienced runner in hopes to educate African-American women about health and fitness and provide a support system to help them reach their goals. The movement has been extremely successful with thousands of women joining in and making a commitment to defy the odds and take charge of their own health.

Black Girls RUN! is open to women of ALL races and all levels (runners, joggers, sloggers, and walkers). This movement was created to change the statistics of African-American women by combating diseases, to get AA women active and moving, to provide education regarding fitness and health, and to show that black girls run! We would love for you to join us in helping put an end to the statistics.

You want to know more? Learn about Black Girls RUN! here AND join the movement!