Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stay tuned!

Sorry that I've been MIA -

The winner of the Go Sport ID will be announced within the next day or so.

I have so much good stuff to tell you about!

Stay Tuned!

Thursday I'm flying to Kentucky for business! So excited

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saying goodbye to your toxic friends

OK. So I don't mean "friends" like the cranky b*tch who shows up to a cocktail party and proceeds to bring the whole vibe down.

I'm talking about other friends and by friends I mean food and food products.

I've broken up with a lot of "friends" during this journey. Long ago I said good-bye to mayonnaise, ice cream, potato chips, soda… even diet soda... Oh sure, we bump into one another every so often but for the most part - they've been kicked to the curb.

I take great pride in having a "pretty good" diet most of the time. Whole grains, veggies, fruit, healthy fats are the base of most of my meals but deep down inside I know that there are other changes I need to make  that I've been resisting.  It's just annoying to have to give up freaking everything.

Like what?

Breaking up is hard to do
Like artificial sweetener. I use the stuff in the yellow packet or I did. It was my friend. So sweet, so tasty - no yucky aftertaste and no calories. Ah. What's not to love? A Weight Watcher's dream. I mean I shouldn't have to give up a sweetener. Pout. But...

Deep down I had suspected that this can't be the greatest stuff in the world for you, I mean it's pretty much a chemical - no? But I lived in denial of it and then my mom posted a link on Facebook that read: Toxic Chemical being sold as Health Conscious Sweetner.  It wasn't about the pink or blue stuff. It was about my stuff.

Now, it's not like I'm downing fifty cups of it a day. A packet here and there in my coffee and occasionally some in other items like oatmeal.

But still. Why am I going to use something that can be considered harmful? It's dumb. I quit smoking and mayonnaise and now I'm going to get cancer because of this crap? Ugh. So I have to say goodbye to my friend.

And please Mr. Yellow Stuff - don't come after me - what do I know? You might be 100% safe and awesome - I'm just not taking any chances.

I bought this tonight:

welcome to the family
And though it's got calories, it's low glycemic and I'll just have to use it in moderation. I *think* it's better than regular refined white sugar. I hear there is some debate about Stevia too - so I will skip that.

Who's next?

Well I am a salt addict and I have to work on breaking that habit. I also should say goodbye to a few of the pre-packaged processed frozen meals that I rely upon for the occasional lunch in a pinch.

All in good time. I can only lose so many friends at once.

These friends, however, I have no plans of saying good-bye to:

I will not be saying goodbye to coffee, wine or my
occasional martini - so sue me. Girl's gotta have some fun

How about you? What's your poison? Who do you have to break-up with?


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If you could run with anyone…

Who do you want to run with?
Photo Credit
I am a Facebook Fan of the ING NYC Marathon - I figure I might as well be as I'm planning on getting very lucky in the lottery this year and running it this fall. (Hey it's just as easy to be optimistic than not… so might as well put it in the universe. And if I don't get in, I can stalk all the people I'm jealous of…)

Anyway, every so often they pose questions to their followers - the other day they asked, "If you could run with any celebrity who would it be?"

There were runners who'd wanted a little comedy:
Big Ang (from Mob Wives)
Jim Carrey
Peter Griffen
Whoopi Goldberg
Ricky Gervais
Robin Williams
Robert Downey Jr.

There were runners who wanted to be uh, moved, by sexiness:
George Clooney
Ben Affleck
Scarlett Johanson
Ryan Gossling
Natalie Morales
David Beckham
Mila Kunis

Some wanted to run alongside political icons:
Nelson Mandella
Hillary Clinton

And finally others went a more Elite route:
Kara Goucher
Lance Armstrong
Dean Karnazes
Katherine Switzer

So got me to thinking - what celeb would I want to run with? Hmmm. I've thought about it all weekend and I'm having a tough time coming up with one! I would want someone who ran about my pace - someone that could muster something funny and / or motivational when need be. Huh. Gotta keep thinking about this.

But what about you? Who would be your celebrity running mate?


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Keeping safe and Go Sport ID giveaway

With the heinous disappearance of Sherry Arnold, safety has been on my mind a lot lately.

I admit, I've been guilty of hitting the road and having accidentally forgotten to bring any kind of ID. I've been lucky but foolish to not make it a bigger priority.

Recently, I became twitter / FB friends with Go Sport ID - when they were kind enough to recognize a recent blog of mine, I decided to reach out to them to see if they'd be interested in doing a giveaway with me. They said sure.  They were even kind enough to let me try one out for myself too.

I got mine in the mail a few weeks ago and I love it. It's comfortable and strapping it on has become as second nature as putting my sneakers on before heading out. I have some peace of mind knowing that if something happens while I'm out during a run, someone can use my emergency contact numbers that are strapped around my wrist.

I like Go Sport ID because they are functional, stylish and affordable. Here's the one I got (and I ordered those colorful bands on the side to mix it up for fun!)

So if you are interested in winning one, it's mandatory to be a follower of my blog and then just leave a comment below.

No matter what you do, be safe out there!!

If you want to visit Go Sport ID on Facebook - find them here.


PS: I was provided with the Go Sport ID to check out but there has been no compensation for this post and the opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

LA Firecracker "Year of The Dragon" race recap

Well I'm back in the dirty Jerz and reunited with my family. I missed my husband and son tremendously so it's great to be home.

Before flying back East on Monday, I participated in the LA Firecracker 'Year of The Dragon' 10K on Sunday.

I was pretty excited about this race, it sounded cool, starting in China Town and running up to Dodger Stadium.
view of Dodger Stadium
Now I was warned prior to the race that it was a little hilly. Eh. No sweat. I'm from Jersey. I am used to hills. Bring them on.

Me and Ang - I got a new green shirt for the occasion

This was my very first timed 10K. 10K is a tricky little race - I mean in a 5K you kinda run balls to the wall, it's 'only' 3 miles and I can suck it up and run as fast as I can for that… And then for 13.1, so much of that is about pacing.  So what to do in a 10K?  What to do in a 10K where the first 2 miles are uphill?

Well. If you're me, you start off too fast and run as hard as you can until you feel like you're gonna die. Uphill

I don't know why I did that but that was my strategy.


The first two miles were not just hilly, they were entirely up steep hills. The hill felt like it was never going to end. Many around me walked, I pushed and ran and ran until I finally had to white flag it for a minute and walk, and then I ran and walked again. Boo.

Hill - OMFG when will it end?


When I tucked a gu in my race belt I thought I was being dramatic. "It's only a 10K" I thought. "I'll never use it" i believed. As I reached 2.5 miles and I was starting to feel spent, I was happy I had it and took it. It gave me the 2nd wind I needed.

I have to say, these hills sucked so bad that I cursed like a sailor for a good portion of it - I had to dig deep. I vacillated between hating the world and telling myself to suck it up, "you are training for awesome." The other thing that was annoying was the pavement was cracked and jacked the whole time so you had to be careful of footing in addition to booking up hill.

My legs were burning - I even had cramps in my glutes. A literal pain in the ass.

If the first 2 miles were hell, the next 2 miles were glorious - mostly down hill. It felt so good, letting gravity help pull you forward after all that work.  I thought the hills were behind us until what we came upon what I've affectionately called, "WTF mountain." Now, "WTF mountain" wasn't really a mountain but it was enough of a steep hill for me to literally growl WTF? when I saw it. I was not happy to see it but up and over it I went.

Finally, the finish line was in sight and I turned up the engine as much as i could and raced past several people to finish strong.

well earned
Final time: 1:02:44 - about a 10:08 mile 49th out of 161 in my age group.  All in all I'm super happy about this time. I could only imagine how much better I would've done if only the first 2 miles weren't uphill and if I hadn't walked twice. This time far exceeded my expectation.  :)

While I swore to myself I would never do this one again, I have to tell ya - I really would. It was fun.


Personal photo's courtesy of Angela's Facebook page ;) Thanks, Ang!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Big workouts, big news and the big winner of the Healthmaster giveaway!

This week in California I've really gotten my workouts in.  I remember in the old days I would dread trips because I would inevitably skip workouts, eat too much and make excuses why I can't stay on track away.

Not this time.

As most of you know I kicked off the trip with the Surf City half marathon, I've been running in the mornings, I'll be running a 10K on Sunday and Tuesday evening I took Cardio Barre - the hot new workout in Hollywood.

I enjoyed this class more than I thought I would and I was glad I did it.

Every morning this week, I've run a few miles, soaking in the gorgeous Southern California weather.  The only morning I didn't run was this morning because I knew I was going to be attending Barry's Boot Camp that afternoon.

On paper, Barry's Boot Camp sounded like hell to me. I was seriously scared of it. It's the 'it' Hollywood workout to get your ass kicked into shape and I was fearful that I couldn't hang with the big boys.

I was seriously apprehensive. I have to admit, I would've never volunteered willingly for this class. But Angela pretty much said, "on Friday we're doing Barry's." And that was that. OK then. 

Leading up to the class I was super nervous. Truth be told, I was silently praying anything else would come up to 'foil' our plans for this. This is the workout to the stars. Their clientele list has more A-list names than a Hollywood Hills Oscar soiree - these people are in shape. Sure I can run… but could I do this?? 

We got to the class and met our instructor. She seemed too nice to be the devil, so I felt a little relieved. Well, she was tough. We did intense legs then would do these sprint drills on the treadmill then we'd jump off the mill and do arms, then we jumped back on the treads and did uphill sprints… at one point the tread going all the way up to a 15 mile incline! This workout isn't for the weak or a beginner.

Then we did more floor/oblique work before finally hitting the treads for one more sprint session.

SWEAT poured from every part of my body.


I learned a lesson here. No matter how fit I've become, I still let fear hold me back. I realize that my nerves and apprehension all stemmed from still holding a deep, subliminal belief that I'm a 236 pound, out-of-shape person who'll be the fattest, most unfit, unable to do it, girl in class.  I truly believed that I was not cut out for boot camp that I'd be ashamed of myself for not being able to accomplish this.

What should 'shame' me was that I didn't even really want to try. WTF? Why haven't I learned this lesson already? I talk a big game about having the "courage to start" with running yet, a one hour workout class was scaring me away.

I could do it.  Just like in running - I learned that first of all, I'm fitter than I give myself credit for.  Many were walking instead of jogging during the jog recovery parts - I jogged/ran/sprinted the whole time. I even (puffs chest out proudly) killed the guy next to me with speed work.  I'm sorry that I doubted myself.  I'm glad that Angela made encouraged me to take these classes because I wouldn't have on my own.

Our gorgeous instructor Astrid McGuire…
and some creepy guy checking us out behind us
So… I better get fitter and fitter because this leads me to big… no. HUGE news!

I've been invited to participate in the Ragnar Relay in Key West, Fl in January 2013!  The Ragnar Relay is a 200 mile relay where a group of 12 rotates running for two days. (Average miles per runner is around 20 each!)

Everyone in our group has lost significant amounts of weight, most 100+ pounds! So it's a very special group of runners and we're coming from all over the country to do this together. I'm so honored and excited about this challenge.

Amongst my teammates are bloggers:
Mary from a small loss
and Katie from Runs For Cookies

Here's the map of our run from Miami - to the Keys:

More about this in the weeks and months ahead.

Finally the winner for the HealthMaster Elite is number 29 who happens to be:

Laurel, you have 1 week to contact me or post here with contact information or I'll be going back to the drawing board!

Hope all is well with you all!!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Running Birthday to Me!

Yippee! Today I turn 2!

It was two years ago today I made a decision that has changed the course of my life. I had no idea that I was about to embark on a journey that would help me to shed the last 50 pounds of my weight loss, make countless friends, take amazing adventures and profoundly change me inside and out.

If I stop to think about all the priceless gifts that running has given me, I become truly overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. I have no idea where I would be or WHO I would be today if I hadn't decided to take that first step.

Along with my running birthday, I celebrate the 2nd anniversary of this blog! 

I appreciate each and everyone of you who has supported me in my journey with your advice, words of kindness, jokes and kicks in the ass. If it weren't for the running community and the love and support out there - I'm not sure  I would be still running. I had so much help along the way.

For my running birthday and blogging anniversary, I took a 3 mile run around the neighborhood. Still in LA working and it was nice to see this kind of landscaping and blue skies on my run: 

perfect day for a running birthday
In case you feel like taking a walk down memory lane - here was my first post.  And here was my post from my first running birthday - which also coincidentally happened while I was in LA last year!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Surf City Race Recap

First of all, I was super excited to run Surf City.

In fact, in a small way, I owe the Surf City half marathon a huge debt of gratitude because it was one of the prime movers in getting me to take up running in the first place.

You see it was right around this time in 2010 that my friend Angela posted about her medal and accomplishment in running 13.1 in this race.

Angela talked about the medal and her accomplishment on FB and I marveled how it would be cool to be able to do such a thing someday.  At that point I was about 40 pounds into my weight loss journey (with still having 50 to lose) and thought it was an impossibility. I mean, me run? Not for 13 seconds, never mind 13 miles. Ha.

But it was the perfect storm - between her pictures, my kind of wanting to do it and my making a "life long bucket list of goals" more about the back story here… and in any case, just a few days later (my bloganiversary is tomorrow in fact) I was signed up for my very first half.

So back to Surf City.

I wasn't sure I'd ever run this one even tho it looks awesome and beautiful.  Primarily the issue was that it happens on Super Bowl Sunday every year and that's pretty much a holiday in my family. Being away on Super Bowl Sunday is worse to hubby than being away for his birthday or our anniversary but somehow I was able to finagle it this year. (If the Jets were in the big game, however, that would be grounds for divorce… unluckily/luckily, the Jets remain tried and true - and out of the Superbowl…)

Anyway I made it happen and got out here for it.

The day before we went to the Free Wheelchair Mission dinner. Angela raises money for them every year and they are the main charity tied to the race. It was a beautiful dinner. The Free Wheelchair Mission raises money to provide wheel chairs for people around the world. Their mission is to literally "lift" people up and off the ground. In poorer countries, if you have a disability that affects your mobility you are literally forced to drag along on your hands. It's quite touching what these folks do.

Lin, one of the recent wheel chair
At the dinner Josh George, a primo wheel chair racer athlete who's taken the gold in event after event for the USA was the key note speaker. He's heading to London in August.

He was awesome and even let me take a picture with him:

with big time athlete Joshua George - awesome guy
I can't think of anything more motivational or inspiring pre-race than remembering how lucky we are that we GET to run and use our feet, legs, and heart to move.  These healthy legs are such a gift!

After dinner, I careful laid out my race-day clothing and we hit the sack.

4:45 AM rolled around quickly and we were up and raring to go - we strolled downstairs, waited for the shuttle and off we went.

Ready to go!!
As we shuffled around the starting line - I had to pee a million times - but I'm glad I got it out of my system pre-race because this was the first race that I didn't have to stop at all for a porta-visit during the run! Yay. I'm a big girl now!

So we were off. I felt good and I was rarin' to go. I kept trying to pace myself as to not start to fast.  The first two miles - i felt a little stiff. Probably from the traveling and I was on my feet a lot leading up to race day, unfortunately. By mile four, I was in a groove and feeling great. I definitely was feeling awesome.

It was a pretty place to run.  I kept my pace, enjoyed my music, and had my gels and beans in a good rhythm.  I skipped the sports drink they were serving because I'd never had it and didn't want to risk a San Diego repeat.  I grabbed water thru every stop but ran thru them - never walking.

I couldn't remember my Jersey Shore half time but wasn't thinking I was gonna beat it. That was my previous PR race. I was mid-marathon training at that point and long runs were 16 -18 miles. In any case, my goal this time was to finish this one under 2:30.

So I ran, and pushed, and ran. Around mile 6 or 7 I started to get annoying side stitches.  Nothing too terrible but annoying - eh, I've run thru worse - I shook it off and kept going. The 10th and 11th miles I was definitely starting to feel tired and my legs  were starting to feel pretty fatigued.  But I was in the homestretch!  I like to pour it on in the last mile and did all I could to pick up the pace.

I love the finish chute - the crowds, the excitement, that big beautiful "FINISH" sign. Ahhhh - I crossed the mat. I thought I came in around 2:24 or so - Yippee! I well beat my 2:30 goal. I couldn't exactly remember my Jersey Shore half time so I looked it up: I did the Jersey Shore in 2:24:47 (11:01 min mile…)   Another medal on the books!  :) 

sweetest medal
As far as PR, it was going to be close. My Nike + was a little off (actually was reading 13.3 miles for a 10:48 min mile… it's kinder than my mother) so I was going to have to hold my breath and wait for the chip time results… When I went online I was psyched to see:

YIPPEE! 2:23:47 A PR by mere seconds… And I broke out of the 11min mile avg - something so pretty excited about 10:59 ;) I'm also pretty proud of the split time as you can see on the bottom left.

A great race overall.

Me and Ang after the race!
I would definitely recommend Surf City and hope to do it again next year (that is if the Jets don't make it to the Super Bowl. Hey. Stop laughing. It could happen… ;) 


Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello from California

Cutest race shirt and swag bag ever!

Surf City was fabulous. What a great race - if you are ever considering this one I would definitely recommend it.

Sorry I haven't been around, lots of work, travel and other stuff to talk about!!  I'll be in Los Angeles the rest of the week movin' and shakin'.  I may be doing the Chinese Fire Cracker 10K in LA on Sunday while I'm out here.

Remember - I was going to do it last year and then injured my ankle in an accident when I decided to have a few cocktails and wear heels.  Ooops.

In any case, just wanted to check in and celebrate that half number 5 is in the books! Yippee :)

Hope you are all doing well.  Post a recap very soon.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Giveaway: Win a Living Well with Montel HealthMaster Elite!

Want to make smoothies?

Your very own frozen yogurt?

How about breads, soup, pizza dough, baby food, dips, salsas and even an occasional margarita?

Well, you can do all that and more with the Living Well With Montel HealthMaster Elite!

In full-disclosure, I was recently hired to write some blogs for the Living Well HealthMaster and I've been well-familiar with the product for years (I used to work for Montel Williams) and remember early-on when he wanted to help develop a solid product, at a reasonable price point for the health enthusiast.

This is a great versatile kitchen appliance and I enjoy having it. I primarily use it to make smoothies, hummus, soup, pesto, frozen drinks, almond milk and I also make a mean gazpacho with it.

So, anyway, thanks to my side work with the HealthMaster folks, I was able to finagle one of these bad boys for my very own giveaway!

If you'd like to enter here's what you need to do:

Be a follower of my blog and leave a comment (mandatory)

Earn extra entries (you must leave a comment for each entry):
1. Tweet or Facebook share this giveaway
2. Follow me on Twitter
3. Like HealthMaster on Facebook and let them know "Jen sent you"
4. LIKE ME (From Fat To Finish Line) on Facebook (thank you) :)

Contest will be open from Feb. 1 - Feb. 9th. Winner to be announced on or about February 10th.

PS: If you like them on Facebook you can also enter their own Facebook giveaway for the HealthMaster!

PSS: While I am paid to write health blogs for the HealthMaster website, I was not paid by them for this giveaway or review - just thought it might be a cool giveaway for someone!

Have a great day,