Recommitting….to myself

I’ve been thinking about it for a while. It’s time to recommit.

It was exactly this time three years ago that I decided to make a major change in my life.

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I am a firm believer in the ebb and flow of life. How we feel about ourselves can’t be perfect 100% of the time just because it can’t be. I’m human and I do not obsess over every pound and every calorie, but I do need to pay attention to how I feel. How did I feel in those photos on the left? Weak, ugly, out of control, and generally horrible about myself. I hated looking at myself in pictures or in the mirror. How do I feel when I’m healthy? I feel strong, in control, confident and happy with how I look and how I feel.

It’s time for me to step it up.

Am I eating foods that are fuel for my body? Or am I eating (and drinking) junk with no nutritional value?

Am I going through the motions of my marathon training… just getting my miles in? Or am I really, really giving it as much as I possibly can?  Can I be training harder?

Shouldn’t I be treating my body like a temple, because I know that in the coming months I am going to be pushing it to the limit?

Sometimes I think about all the things I could do if I had enough time and energy (physically, professionally, for other people etc). I get lost in it sometimes because there are so many things I want to accomplish. But it comes down to the basics: I need to put myself first right now. Feed my body with the fuel it needs; train hard because I’m lucky that I am physically able to run, and I have a chance to finish what I started in Boston in April.

Sometimes I just think about what I was lucky enough to survive last April, and conclude, what can’t I do?

I know I can do better. Here’s to giving it 110%.

Happy New Year.

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Thankful: Hockey Player Edition

We all have a lot to be thankful for, but I think anyone in the hockey business – whether you play in it, work in it, or both – can take some time and reflect on all they have to be thankful for. Here are some things that ring true in my life, I’m sure you can relate!

1. A husband who understands my need to feed my passion for the sport.

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Working in hockey means working LONG and crazy hours, and I often work split shifts (office during the day, rink at night) in addition to junior games on the weekend. That means I’m in and out of the house a lot and sometimes it feels like our quality time together can suffer because of the amount of time I spend at the rink. Luckily my husband understands and supports me following my passion. Even as a hockey player –  going to the rink once a week to play YOUR game is important, and if you have a spouse and/or family who understands your need to get out there and escape from normal life into hockey – that is definitely something to be thankful for. 

2. An amazing group of group of friends.

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Nobody understands you quite like the people you play hockey with. The friendships I’ve made are pretty amazing.  I’m so thankful that I can go to the rink on Tuesdays and see all my favorite girls!

3. My job. I’m thankful to have one to begin with, but thankful to get paid to do what I love. Sometimes it just amazes me.

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My juniors – my main guys! I spend my weekends making sure everyone is updated on what is going on in the world of Northern States Junior Hockey League, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

4. My health.

I’m coming up on a personal milestone of three years since I decided to get healthy. Through hockey, running, and not eating garbage, I’ve lost 70ish pounds and kept it off (minus some fluctuation, which is normal, unfortunately…haha). It’s not always easy, that’s for sure, but sometimes you just come to the realization that you have to make health a priority. 

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 Sometimes you need to remember where you were to appreciate how far you’ve come. 

Obviously lots more things to be thankful for – but those are just a few of the things on my mind today. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

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Four months later….

I remember thinking on my run this morning that the marathon was on a day just like today. It’s been an unseasonably chilly August, but I’m not complaining. It was just like today – one of those days with a brisk morning, comfortable for running but otherwise might require a light jacket.

When “Thift Shop” by Macklemore came on my iPod as I was running by the Merrimack River, in my head I was suddenly back at Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton. I remember that song playing on the loudspeakers and thousands of runners laid out on their blankets and trash bags, reading, stretching out or standing in line for the porta potty. I remember looking around, feeling overwhelmed at the volume of people there. Where do I check my bag? Where do I find the church where Dana Farber runners gather? Should I get in line for the porta potty again?

I remember following some fellow runners to the church and checking my phone one last time. It was a text from my sister telling me she’d see me at Wellesley Public Library but she’d have to leave in the afternoon because she had a meeting at work. I didn’t think she’d see me running because I was in one of the very last waves in the race. I told her not to worry about it if I didn’t see her, and tried not to get my hopes up. I turned off my phone and put it in my bag, and then checked it. I wouldn’t see it again until I picked up my bag and medal three days later in a much different city of Boston.

As I kept running, I was trying to remember the happy moments from that day. When I saw my sister’s face at Wellesley Library I was so thrilled. My parents were on vacation in Florida and I knew I was going to have friends at the finish line, but seeing friends and family on the course is so special. You just see a familiar face and know that at least for that moment, everything is okay. It is something I will never forget. I will always feel touched that she stuck around to watch me run by her, despite it taking me what probably felt like forever for me to get to mile 13.

I remembered running through the Wellesley scream tunnel. I can’t put it into words except that it made me feel like a rockstar. It was so uplifting…the whole entire mile of girls just screaming your name at the top of their lungs. It pushed me through and after I remember thinking that I would run Boston over and over again just for that mile.

Unfortunately that’s really where the happy memories end for that day. I am reminded of the chaos after I got to mile 20. The tears in the days to follow.

I remember finally getting to my phone that I’d checked after my trip into Boston and listening to a frantic voicemail from my fiancee. He thought I was in an earlier wave that day, so he thought I would have been finishing around the time the bombs went off. I listened to the first few seconds and deleted it. He was talking on my voicemail thinking his future wife could be dead.

Then I remembered the Rolling Stone cover. I remembered the bomber’s recent arraignment. My stomach churned. I remembered the nightmare I had just two days prior to seeing that magazine cover…the Boston Marathon bomber, trying to kill me.

I am reminded that the bomber is being held about a mile from where my fiancee works at Ft. Devens.

My thoughts shift to the victims. I became thankful that I wasn’t killed, or hurt, and that I could still run. So thankful that I can run. I love it so much. I am reminded that my problems could be worse.

I thought about next year. Registration for those who didn’t finish is August 19. What will the 2014 Boston Marathon hold for me? My mind wanders visualizing what it will be like. I find myself running with a smile on my face.

I thought about the word I had written on my arm that day, meant to be my mantra to get me through the marathon: “believe.”

Next April I don’t have to write my new mantra on my arm. It’s already there.

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Cooking Wins…and Losses

So this past week was my first week “back on track” as you might call it, just trying to shed about 15lbs that I gained from my happy weight over the past few months….maintaining your happy weight is a lot harder than it looks. And I do have a big white dress to wear!

This week was full of victories for me, but we’ll see what the scale says tomorrow. I’m trying to make it a goal to do something active 5 days out of the week. I got that done this week between running, weight lifting, playing hockey and dancing. Yay!

As for what’s been happening in my kitchen…well…part of being healthier for me means cooking a LOT more. However, anyone who knows me knows that cooking is not exactly my strong point in life. I am working on it :( But I cooked a lot this week, and I’m trying to look at each meal as a “cooking win” or a “cooking loss.”  I cooked meals 4 out of 5 week nights this week…Let’s look at the verdict.

1. Citrus Grilled Shrimp

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This is my own recipe. I know, so creative. I used half a pound of shrimp and various citrusy fruits on skewers to make this gem. The best part was the marinade I put together for the shrimp: a tablespoon of olive oil, oregano, lime zest, lime juice, a little bit of Tastefully Simple “garlic garlic” and a little bit of Tastefully Simple seasoned salt. It was soooo good! Complimented the grilled fruits really well. I made some spinach on the side also.

Verdict? Win! Loved this one.

2. Stuffed tomatoes.

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I made these with a combination of a recipe I got off AllRecipes and instead of regular sausage I did grilled turkey sausage links to make it a little healthier. Was it edible? yes. Was it good? Yes. Was it well executed? Obviously not. I couldn’t figure out how to keep the tomatoes from collapsing. Thanks to some help from some friends after I posted the pic on facebook, I now know…muffin pans or a well of aluminum foil to hold it up. Dammit….how did I not know that? :( Oh well.

Verdict? I’m calling this one a tie. I still ate it, but wish I had kept tomato #2 in tact.

3. Margherita pizza.

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I don’t even want to talk about this. I don’t know why I thought I could make a pizza. I clearly can’t. I’ve never really cried over food before, but a lot of tears were shed about and after I made this pizza (probably hormonal, but it was the pizza, too! It wronged me. I don’t have a rolling pin, so crucify me.). I pretty much ate the tomatoes and cheese off it and even then, I couldn’t really stomach it because I definitely OD’d on garlic. Anyway. Let’s just forget this happened.

Verdict? Crash. And. Burn.

4. Basil chicken skillet

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This recipe is so easy and a different version of an old favorite. Basically just cooked some chicken tenderloins in a skillet and removed, then cooked the tomatoes and basil in the same skilled. Added spinach and cooked that through, then put it all together with the chicken and some low fat mozzarella cheese on top. Oh! And those fun nuts and seeds at the top are from a snack back from my Nature Box which finally arrived this week :) It worked really well in this recipe because it’s basically various nuts and seeds, seasoned with italian seasonings. It really added a crunch, which I loved. It will be great for salads too.

Verdict? Win! I really needed this after the previous night’s ordeal…

Overall I’d say this week was a cooking “win” despite The Doughy Disaster That Shall Not Be Named. Hopefully next week has lots of yummy deliciousness in store!

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Refrigerator Makeover

Lately I have been feeling…um…less than motivated.  But I really need to get my butt in gear! My eating habits need to turn around ASAP and I desperately needed a refrigerator makeover.

I cleaned out my fridge this morning and tossed so much stuff it’s unbelievable. I replaced all those boring and horrible things with happy, colorful things!

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I should have taken a before picture but trust me it would have been embarrassing. Instead we’ll just go with the after!

Here are some things that are key in my refrigerator makeover:

1. Lots of veggies – I am trying to snack on veggies more, so I got raw green beans and snow peas for that. I also got spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and summer squash for roasting. I got two big spaghetti squashes because I love making “pasta” with them! I also got mixed greens for salad purposes.

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Yup…just call me Popeye :)

2. Fruits – I’m trying to choose my fruits a little better. Blueberries were on sale so I picked up two pints. I also got some farm fresh strawberries, which taste so much better than any other strawberries around! Those never last long around my house. Also got some bananas and watermelon.

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3. Lean proteins – I picked up ground turkey and thin sliced chicken breast.

4. Water! I know I always say this, but I need to get better about drinking more water. I am officially kicking the artificial sweeteners after my Diet IBC is gone (don’t worry guys only two more left in the case haha) and sticking to water and flavored seltzer. I’m going to be cutting wayyyy back on the alcohol too. I know, tragic.

5. Egg whites – key for breakfasts, but I’m also hoping to make some stuffed tomatoes as well, so needed them for that.

I also picked up:

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Listen people, I’m good but I’m not that good. I don’t have time to make pico like this! Luckily this is just the basics with veggies and cilantro, nothing added. Should make for good breakfast egg white omelets!

Obviously there are the regular staples as well, like non-fat greek yogurt, tuna fish for lunch, etc. I also picked up a few boxes of whole wheat pasta, for which I plan to make a healthy, LOW SODIUM marinara sauce to go with it.

One thing NOT in my kitchen right now — apples. Why? Because peanut butter is a major trigger food for me, and I need to cut back. I was eating apples with peanut butter for a snack but the apples became more of a vehicle to get peanut butter to my mouth than anything else. It’s time to stop the madness. So, no apples, no temptation to OD on peanut butter.

What does your refrigerator makeover look like?

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Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston

Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston. Those six words have become music to a Boston Marathoner’s ears. With those last two turns of the course, it means you are home free. The finish line is near and 26.2 miles of hard work comes to an end. That last quarter mile to the finish line is supposed to be pure euphoria.

I didn’t get to experience that euphoria on April 15, 2013. As I’m sure you’ve known by now, I made it to about mile 20 of the race before it was closed due to the bombings.

On Saturday I headed out to finish what I started. At first I thought it would just be my cousin and I running it at the start line. I was so surprised to see two other women – Theresa and Patricia – who I didn’t even know, but who wanted to run with me. It humbled me and touched me that they cared enough to show up and just run with someone they didn’t even know.

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It was a long 6.2 (okay, 6.8 according to my Garmin) miles for me. The last of the Newton hills are unkind, especially Heartbreak Hill. But they stuck through it with me and even though we stopped more than a few times to question whether or not we were still on course (between the four of us we were pretty directionally challenged, haha…) we were, and we made it.

Through Kenmore Square and back bay, we finally saw Hereford Street in our view. Making it was a quiet victory on that day, knowing that on April 15 it would have been a much different story. Patricia and I paused to take a picture there (where is it?!) and then we started the final sacred steps of the marathon. Right on Hereford, left on Boylston.

As soon as we hit Boylston, Marissa and Patricia backed off a little.

“You realize you have to cross the finish line first,” Patricia told me.

“Yup. It’s your marathon. You have to finish,” Marissa said.

I gathered the last bit of energy I had left (I haven’t been running nearly as much as I did while I was training!) and sprinted toward the finish line. I crossed it, everyone clapping and yelling, and hugged the first person I saw, who happened to be my dad.

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I cried (promised you I would) and then I got around to hugging everyone else :) 

I wanna say a big thanks to everyone who showed up for me – my friends, my family, the random River Hawks fans who got the note I’d be finishing on Saturday, the random girl getting a frappuchino who decided to stop and watch me finish. It was amazing to have everyone out there. I want to say a very special amazing thank you to my friend Joanne Stanway, who was so passionate about helping me finish what I had started. And a huge thanks for Scott Donnelly at UMass Lowell for helping me spread the word about my redemption run. Without your support who knows if I would have ever finished!

Thanks to Boston Police Department, who upon seeing that I’d just finished my marathon, stopped traffic for me on Boylson Street so we could get a picture there:

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It’s been a long month of processing information about the events of April 15. From devastation to anger and back again, I’ve cried so much but I’ve received so much support. I’m really at a loss for words. But what I know is when I run the Boston Marathon again, and when I turn right on Hereford and left on Boylston on Patriots Day, it is going to be truly euphoric.

So maybe I didn’t finish a marathon on April 15, 2013. You know what? I live to run another day. And that’s all I can ask for.

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Post-Marathon Blues

I read an article the other day about what I think I’m experiencing: the post-marathon blues.

I would imagine I’d feel this way had my marathon not been bombed, but even if I’d finished, I think I would still be feeling this to some degree.

Where is my motivation? I have none. My body is technically rested, I guess. But I’m running slower and struggling through distances I used to think were a piece of cake a little over a month ago. A week before Boston I went out for an easy 3 miles, came back half an hour later and thought, “that’s it? shortest. run. ever.” It’s like I didn’t feel like I was even getting a work out in if I hadn’t been running for 45 minutes or an hour. It was so odd.

And now I’m struggling to find my groove, my legs feel heavy and I’m dragging through those same miles. I don’t know if it’s what I’m fueling my body with (could be better) or if it’s just as much a mental block as it is physical. Am I depressed because I took time off and now my level of fitness is not what it was a month ago? Or is it because my race – my 20 miler, which I never got to finish thanks to some unfortunate circumstances – is over?

The one day I had been training for, day-in and day-out for FOUR months, is over. What do I do?

For starters, I’m finishing my Boston Marathon run on Saturday. Rain or shine (looking like it’ll be rain) I’m going to finish the 6.2 I need to finish so I can move on with my life. Maybe that will break down the mental wall.

I signed up for another half marathon in July; it’s in about 9 weeks. I need to sit down and write a training plan. I know it’ll be something fun and something to work toward but right now I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

I’m like the runner version of this guy:

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One of the articles I read about beating the post-marathon blues suggested trying to re-connect with my “old life” before marathon training. I can’t really remember back that far but I think it may have involved playing hockey. ;)

Anyway – looking forward to a run on Saturday, even though it’s going to be a wet one. It’ll just make those dry clothes and pizza at the finish line that much better.

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