A Different Light

IMG_7423Most people who know me know that I LOVE exercising. It’s part of my life! I don’t eat to diet, I eat to fuel my body (ice cream is the best fuel;)

But my exercise and eating habits have changed drastically over the last few years. Just a few years ago I would only go to the gym because I felt that if I didn’t go I would reverse all of my progress. I could imagine the pounds plopping themselves on my body, which is just ridiculous. I worked out 7 days a week and ate 1200-1300 calories a day, which were meticulously logged. Going out to dinner put me into a cold sweat, and the thought of going on vacation and not having access to a gym caused extreme anxiety. People would compliment me on my weight and I would smile, but inside I truly thought that it wasn’t enough. No matter what I did I was never happy with what I weighed or how I looked.

I honestly did not see any problem with how I was treating myself back then. The only thing I could think about was being “skinny”. Important people in my life would constantly tell me that I wasn’t “fat” and that I was beautiful but their words would go in one ear and out the other. A link was sent to me once about body dysmorphia and I read through it scoffing, not wanting to believe that it sounded like a description of myself.

Fast forward to today and I am the happiest that I have ever been with my health, fitness, and body. I look in the mirror and a true smile appears on my face. I spent years consistently logging my meals and calculating what and how much I was eating. The last year I have taught myself a lot about nutrition and I see food in a completely different light. I don’t do hours of cardio a day, instead I workout for about an hour a day and don’t cry if I miss a workout. I lift weights, do HIIT, add in shorter increments of cardio and I now see myself as strong. I have gained muscle, along with confidence. A weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and energy that was spent agonizing over my body is now being spent on the relationships in my life, things that truly make me happy. I still have moments and days that are rough, but it is night and day compared to where I once was.

I am 15 pounds heavier than I was at my lowest, but I feel my lightest. IMG_7373IMG_7392

(PC: http://www.xothelittleladybug.com/)

Heavy Heart and Running

The last several weeks my family has been dealing with a sickness in the family. I have never, fortunately, had to personally deal with death or serious illness before, and it sure has left my heart heavy. My uncle is one of the kindest and most loving people that I know and it breaks my heart to see him fighting this battle with brain cancer. He has miraculously pulled through some tough patches over the past couple of months and I have high hopes that he will be that 2% that is a miracle.

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My dad and I took a trip up to Canada to visit my family and it was heart wrenching, but good for my dad, and good for me too. On the way up there my dad stopped at all of the old places we used to stop at while taking trips up there, all the while with my Uncle Bill in our hearts. It warmed my heart to see all of these places with my loving father.

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I think about my uncle everyday and am hoping with all of my might that this cancer takes a turn for the better.

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While we were up there my dad took me to an old trail that he let me run on to let me stretch out my legs…and my emotions. Running is probably the last thing that a lot of people think about when dealing with stressful or emotional situations, but it always has a way of making me feel better. It relaxes me and lets me sort out my emotions with each step. It lets me let go of certain pent up feelings and come to terms with things that are dragging me down. The run on this beautiful trail was just the thing I needed.

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And then on the ferry ride back, my dad and I got to see a grey whale jumping out of the water, which is both of our favourite thing on this planet. It sounds small, but it was the perfect thing to see after this heavy trip.

I hope that everybody has a great weekend. If you have anything heavy on your heart, take some time to yourself and pound out your emotions on the pavement. It will help, I promise.

Hugs,

Shan 🙂

One Day at a Time and Lots of Pumpkin!

I have always known that I get stressed very easily, and this past year, that fact has become more evident. If there is something that is out of my control, if there is something that I need to get done but haven’t yet, money, tests, scheduling my days, or as Cody likes to say “things that you know, and things that you don’t know stress you out.” So pretty much everything. But something really important that I have learned about myself is that if I just take one day at a time, and not look too far ahead, then my levels of stress drastically decrease.

Often times I find myself becoming stressed about the unknown, or my ability to handle future situations that aren’t even in my line of sight.

This really relates to my running because sometimes during longer runs (or just when I am on the treadmill 🙂 I can only think about how much further I have to go and it makes me anxious. But if I just focus on completing each quarter mile and my times for each, then my run is more relaxing and enjoyable. When I am running in the present mile, I am running in the moment. And this is the same in life! When I live in the moment and don’t focus on everything that could stress me out, I enjoy my days just a little more!

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(photo by my cute friend http://www.xothelittleladybug.com/index.html)

And on a different note, whoohoo! I sure do love the weekend “a latte” (see what I did there?;)

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Yesterday I went running with a friend and she took me to this really awesome trail. It kind of kicked my butt because there were so many hills over a short distance…my legs were on fire!

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And Cody and I painted our pumpkins this weekend! His is still in progress, but mine is complete! I painted some bears because they are my favourite. And then we hit up Trader Joe’s and I went pumpkin crazy. You could say it was a pumpkin filled weekend!

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And right now the Codester and I are watching the Seahawks game and then we are heading out to go play a little football ourselves with a HIIT workout added in there!

Also I posted my workout from this morning below! I did shoulders and glutes because they are my favourite 🙂

4×15 weighted cable kickbacks

4×10 barbell thrusts

4×10 db side raise above head

3×10 side lateral raises

3×10 barbell shoulder press

3×20 weighed step ups

Have a great day everybody!

The Washington Coast and The First Run

Hey everybody!

I hope that you have had a good day! 🙂 Today marked the first day of my half marathon training cycle! This is the 3rd half marathon that i will be running and I am so excited. I am going to run the Historic Half up in Vancouver B.C. and cannot be more excited. I have two friends that will be running it with me! Whoohoo! The one thing better than running is running with friends 🙂

I ran 3 miles at a 9:00 minute average pace and it felt so good! My goal is to finish the half marathon in under 2 hours and I can’t wait to attain it!

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PS I am proud of my baby bicep…

Also, who has had these protein cookies?

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They are so good and whenever they are in my cupboard I want to eat all of them in one sitting. Same with the buffbake and the quest bars…It’s kind of a problem.

On another note, my fella and I went on a mini tip this weekend to the Washington Coast! It was so fun! We rediscovered our love for teatherball (I don’t know how to spell that). See in the above picture the bruise on my wrist? That’s from going hard and winning 2 games (out of 7 lol;)

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And taken it back to last weekend, I hung out with Cody’s family all day in Seattle while he was at work and it was so fun!

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That is his cute mom 🙂

And this is random, but does anybody out there grind their teeth at night? I do and I’ve recently invested in a mouth guard to help out my situation. It is AMAZING. I used to wake up with a headache and throbbing teeth and now most mornings both of those nuances are gone! So here is a flattering picture to show off my newest fashion statement.

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All in all it was a good time and tomorrow I’ve got another 3 miles callin my name! Have a great night/day!

xoxo,

Shan 🙂

Quality Vs Quantity

Well this weekend was a blast! I got to see my old roomies from good ‘ole Bellingham and boy oh boy do I miss them on a daily basis. It always surprises me that, with the best of friends, you can go weeks without seeing each other but nothing changes.

Call me cheesy, but I have always looked for quality rather than quantity with my friendships. I enjoy friendships that contain laughter and silly conversations but also friendships that are built with honesty and loyalty.

Sometimes I feel that people are constantly looking for acceptance, myself included, but I have found that I am more confident with myself and don’t need validation from others when I find peace with where I am at.

I think that these things can really relate to running because in order to meet your race or running goals you need to have quality runs. Quantity isn’t always the answer. And when you have an awesome run that means that you are doing something right! It’s important to acknowledge what you are doing in your life to help you achieve these runs, such as enough sleep, nourishing your body the right way, recovery/rest days, incorporating strength training, etc. It’s important to run for yourself and not base your happiness or confidence on comparisons with other people.

As my half-marathon training approaches I am constantly thinking about my reasons for running and how to make those 10 weeks of training my best yet. If you have any great reasons for running or tips feel free to share!

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Have a great day!

Shan 🙂

PS. The above photo was taken by my cute best friend, Amanda Hoffmann xothelittleladybug.com

Race Recap

Last Saturday was the Seattle Rock and Roll half marathon and it was a blast! It was so beautiful and really great weather. There were so many people that there were 36 waves before everybody was running, crazy! I was in wave 12 and started about 20 minutes after the first wave. Also, the space needle shot off fireworks to start the race!

I heard a lot of people say that this race was hilly but I really didn’t think that it was that bad! There were probably two hills, both near the end, that made me want to stop and walk but that’s it! It was a good amount of hills, especially for Seattle.

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I’ve lived here for 9 months and haven’t really explored Seattle much, so it was fun seeing the city and beautiful scenery while running. There was one section of the run that gave me goosebumps, and that was the memorial leg. While we were running along a path on Lake Washington there were stakes on either side with veterans pictures on them. After that there were people holding American flags and cheering us on for probably about 10 minutes. It was so amazing and I didn’t want it to end.

Running brings me so much joy and I can’t stop smiling when I am surrounded by thousands of people who have also logged hundreds of miles to get to a race.

There were two things that I didn’t like about this race…1. The tunnels. There were two tunnels that we had to run through and the second one was extra long. I did not enjoy those, they were dark and cramped and yucky. 2. My legs chaffed so badly. I have never heard of somebody’s legs chaffing as badly as mine did last Saturday. Wow.

Be back soon! Have a great Monday!

xoxo, Shan

Being a Runner

My whole life I have wanted to be a runner. Back when running a half mile around the track made me bend over my knees and hold my side, all I could think about was becoming a runner. When running 1 mile had me gasping for air, looking for excuses to stop I imagined myself as a runner. The first time that I ran 3 miles, when I was sitting on the sidewalk with sweat dripping down my face and pooling around me, I could only think about calling myself a runner.

I ran intermittently during high school, trying so hard to become a runner. I thought that I needed to run a certain amount of miles per week, run a certain pace, run a certain amount outside..etc etc etc.

The summer before college I ran on the treadmill almost everyday, usually between 3 and 5 miles. I would read Fitness magazine while I ran, specifically articles about women who ran half and full marathons. I thought that because I ran on the treadmill or because I never thought that I would run 13.1 miles, I wasn’t a runner.

Now, looking back at my running history, I can see that my passion for running has always been there and that I have always been a runner. I have always been committed to my running and I have loved the way it makes me feel. Whether I am running 2 miles or 10, at a 10 minute/mile pace or an 8 minute/mile pace, whether it is on the treadmill or outside, or whether I run without stopping or take a walk, I am a runner.

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Running is such an amazing thing because if you run, at all, you are a runner. If you walk during your run, you are still a runner. If you dread going for your run before you head out, you are still a runner. If you take a break from running because of an injury or just because, you are still a runner. If you only run on the treadmill, you are still a runner!

I have always been a runner, even during all of those years that I told myself I wasn’t. And you are too!

xoxo,

Shan

Stairs and More

Yesterday I went running through Discovery Park with a gal from my cohort and her dog. It was so fun! We went on a different loop that I don’t usually go on with LOTS of stairs! Bring on the heavy breathing and pounding heart. It was such a good workout! We went a little slower than I usually go but I love running with people so much. Running is just so good for you and running with other people brings you closer and creates lasting friendships! When I run I love talking, I can’t help it. It makes the run go by so fast and while talking you learn so much about yourself and the people you are with!

I am also starting a cohort running group (all of the people in my education class)! And so many people are interested! I cannot wait to see everybody love exercise and running/jogging/walking.

Flashback to last weekend! Cody and I went hiking at Rattlesnake Ridge and it was pretty sweet!

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We had a little chipmunk friend join us! He was so cute!

The view was so beautiful and it was awesome sitting on the cliff! Cody didn’t quite agree…:)

Also, random fact; My freshmen year at WWU I ate spinach salads almost everyday and when that year was over, I was also so over spinach. Even the thought of it made me gag. But then a few days ago I saw it in the salad bar and it just felt right again. So bring on the spinach! And kale! This is my new favorite salad! Lemon dressing, kale (or spinach), craisins, and feta!

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Oh man is it good.

And this has been my favorite breakfast!

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With a little bit of this on the side!

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Not to brag or anything, but I am quite proud of my latte art…;)

Also, I chopped off a little bit of my hair!

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And before I let you go, this the workout that I did last night after my run! It was pretty killer!

I did the elliptical type machine that doesn’t have arms…I don’t know the name of it but I’m sure you know what I am talking about!

Anyway, let’s call that machine the no arm elliptical.

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No arm elliptical 10 minutes

10 burpees

20 wide leg frog jumps

20 in and out jump squats

5 assisted pull ups

8 pushups

I did this 3 times which equaled out to just about 45 minutes. It was a sweat drenching workout! The things that I did between the elliptical sets changed a little bit every time and it was awesome. I love incorporating HIIT into my workouts.

Have a great Monday night/Tuesday everybody!

xoxo,

Shan ❤

Costco and Fruit Salad

Hello!

It’s been a few days since I’ve written! Let’s rewind back to Friday; I went and saw Cinderella with my main squeeze and it was so cute! Even he liked it, and he’s not one for fairy tale movies. There was a little girl crying in the theatre during the movie saying, “It’s just so sad!!” Seriously, too cute.

On Saturday Cody’s family came down to see us and we spent the day walking around UW and the Asian market in the international district. His mom bought us this yummy octopus that we had for lunch on Sunday! Yum yum yum!

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I always make us an egg white and veggie scramble on the weekends accompanied by some fruit. We get up at different times during the week so I like eating breakfast together when we can!

11160347_945242542174289_358770972_n I love veggie scrambles!

And then we went to one of my favourite places in the whole entire world; CostCo!!!

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He thought I was taking a picture of him, but really I was just trying to capture that delicious looking watermelon in the background… 😉

And as soon as we got home I got right to work making this masterpiece. Fruit is one of the greatest things on earth.

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Moving onto my workouts! I took Saturday off because family was here, but the last few days were full of sweaty workouts!

On Sunday I ran 6 miles. It was a good time.

Yesterday I did a full body weight workout at the gym:

Leg Extensions 3×12 with 10 jump squats between sets

Barbell bicep curls 3×10

Close grip lat pulls 3×10

Wide grip lat pulls 3×10

Triceps pull downs 3×10

Bench 1×12, 3×10, & 1×5

Lateral shoulder raises 3×10

I then drove to Green Lake and ran 3 miles in the POURING DOWN RAIN. I loved running in the rain. I didn’t listen to any music. I just ran, listening to the rain, my footsteps, and my breathing. It was glorious.

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And today I did the elliptical for 30 minutes, ran 2 miles on the treadmill, and did some HIIT circuits which included a kettle bell, a box jump, my own body weight, and some mountain climbers.

I’ve been having a fruit and veggie smoothie/juice everyday at lunch and I feel so good. It’s amazing what a little extra beets, spinach, and fruit can do for you!!

Last but not least…the Microsoft Health team gave me a Microsoft band!! It is so awesome. It has a gps which I tested out yesterday during my run and it was spot on! It shows you your splits, average pace, where you were slowest/fastest on your route, and your calorie burn. It is so awesome. Yesterday my average pace was 8 minutes and 41 seconds!

It also tracks your calorie burn, steps, and heart rate throughout the entire day. I find myself looking at the band and the app on my phone all the time. The last part of the bracelet that I love is the sleep tracker. I tested it out last night and I did not sleep well…

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I woke up 9 times…and only had 17 minutes of restful sleep. WHAT THE HECK!? No wonder I’m tired every morning!

Alright, now that I’ve babbled your ear off I’ll let you go! Props to you if you made it this far!

Have a great day!

xoxo,

Shan! ❤

Running with Kiera and random stuff

It was so hard to get up this morning. I am so very thankful that it is Friday!!! This is what I have to see and smell everyday at work…

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The muffins that the baker makes (not pictured) are the best muffins in the world. I have a strong relationship with baked goods. We can just say that the extra carbs are good fuel for my runs 😉

But then for lunch I had a juice along with some meat and veggie stir fry that I made last night! The juices that I make are pretty darn delicious!

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Beets, lemon, orange, and ginger! So tasty! I don’t really like beets that much…But I still love this juice. In the background of the picture I am watching Law & Order: SVU. Who watches this? It is one of my favourite shows and always will be ❤

Today after work I went to the gym and did a quick workout which included the elliptical, the box jump, and a kettle bell. I tried out burpee box jumps today and they were kind of hard… 😉

But then afterwards my main squeeze and I took one of my customer’s dogs for a run in the rain! She is THE BEST running dog ever! She stays right by your side the whole time, plus she is extremely cute.

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And then she shook right as Cody was snapping the picture! I got extra wet thanks to our running partner! I just love running with dogs!11149058_943200919045118_218927422_n

The boy and I are off to go watch Cinderella now! Has anybody seen it? I just love fairytales and I love love love when they remake the movies with real people!

I hope that you have all had a good week full of running!

xoxo, Shan ❤