Endometriosis Awareness Month

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month!

Endometriosis is a common health problem in women. It gets its name from the word, endometrium (en-doh-MEE-tree-um), the tissue that lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis occurs when this tissue grows outside of the uterus on other organs or structures in the body. – Women’s Health.gov

Surgery, including hysterectomy, is usually the best choice for women with severe endometriosis.  One of my favorite hysterrunners, an ultrarunner and my professional mentor, suffered from severe endometriosis.

endometriosis ribbon

If you will be in the Washington, DC area on March 13th, consider joining the EndoMarch on the National Mall in support of women with the disease worldwide.

I Survived Spin Class!

Let me share a secret with you – I hate spinning! I know that there are some of you completely aghast right now.  But truly, I have not been able to get in to this spin craze.  I keep trying it because I’ve heard nothing but good things about its benefits, especially for cross training as a runner.

Last year around this time, 5 months after my surgery, I tried a spin class taught by a coworker.  It didn’t suck as much as my previous attempts. The instructor helped me to understand gear shifting and positions which made it easier to follow along.  However my incision wasn’t too happy with being folded over the handlebars of the spin bike.  I had to stop halfway through the class because the throbbing was way too much for me.  I haven’t been back to a spin class since.

That is, until tonight.  A friend of mine from undergrad teaches spin class at a large gym not too far from me.  He reached out to a bunch of us to try the class.  He even shared his music playlist on Facebook so that we would have a sense of how he rolled (or spun).  I decided to take him up on his offer tonight.

For the first time ever, I got through spin class.  It was definitely challenging but I was able to push through and hang in there.  I don’t know if it is because I am in much better shape than the previous times I tried.  Or if it’s because I understand how it works. Or if it’s because the music was really banging.  But whatever it was, I made it through the class. Not only that but I followed it up with a 30 minute core workout class! I’m sure that I will be feeling the burn tomorrow but for right now I feel awesome!

vagina spin class humor

Have you ever tried a spin class? What exercise is your least favorite? How did you sweat today?

MNB Challenge Week 3–BELIEVE

This week was the final week in the Lorna Jane Active & Fit Approach Move Nourish Believe Challenge. It was quite timely that this week’s focus was BELIEVE and it was the week I celebrate my birthday! I tend to do some introspective looks at myself and some soul searching around this time of year so the challenges were helpful to me in doing so.

Monday, 2/17 – Spoil Yourself!

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As I like so many others had been trapped in the house for 4 days thanks to the polar vortex, I went to work on President’s Day rather than work from home again.  At lunchtime, I spoiled myself with a pedicure treat for my runner’s feet. After work, there was still a bit of sunshine so I took the opportunity to get in an afternoon run by myself with my music on loud.

Tuesday, 2/18 – 5 Mindful Minutes

Finding my zen usually includes daily prayer and meditation. Each morning, I try to stay in the moment as I pray to God for everyone in my life and for everyone whose life touches mine in any way. I try to keep everyone in prayer.

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Wednesday, 2/19 – Be Happy!

My happy place is not really a place but a space in my heart and mind of stillness.  However, in order to be happy, I have to be comfortable.  SOCKS are important to my comfort. I wore my Marine Wife socks because they are comfortable and make me happy. I also wore them because it was the opening day for registration for the Marine Corps 17.75K and I got in! Woohoo!

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Wednesday was my Birthday Eve! To celebrate, I met some friends at a club so we could see Black Alley perform live.  They are an awesome push the limits band whose sound is a fusion of funk, jazz, soul, and rock known as “Soul Garage.” Besides their own songs, they did an awesome cover of Pharrell’s song, Happy. How appropriate!

Thursday, 2/20 – Thankful Thursday – It’s my BIRTHDAY!

I am so thankful to be alive. Focusing on reasons why I was thankful all day was important to me.  One of the things I did was play the song Happy every hour in honor of my #24hoursofHappyBirthday! LOL! The video is literally 24 hours long. The version most people see splices together scenes from the extended version. I got a great run and workout in with my husband while my son was at school.  Then, I ran some errands and scored some cool boots with a gift card before heading out to a nice dinner with the family.

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Friday, 2/21 – Share the love!

Shout out to my #1 supporters/motivators – my husband and my son! If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the strength some days to get out there and get my fitness on. There are days when I’m in a funk and my husband kicks me out of the house to make me go work out. My son is my biggest cheerleader. They both run with me at times.

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Maryland Road Runners’ Club Challenge – 2/23

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All of this believing culminated with me running my birthday with a 10-mile race today! Last year, I ran the Maryland Road Runners’ Club Challenge as my first 10 miles ever.  It was a tough race which left me with my first blister. This year I was ready for a comeback. I’m faster than I was then and have learned a lot about my abilities as a hysterrunner.  I finished much faster than my times at both this race and the Cherry Blossom last year in 2:18:35. I was aiming for 2:10:00 but my left knee has started to bother me lately so I walked more of the last mile than I planned.  Something that I am definitely going to have to invest in to make it through full training is a knee brace. I believe that I am ready for a full marathon this year.

Did you race this weekend? Did you take advantage of the break in the weather to get some outdoor exercise in? How did you BELIEVE in yourself this week?

#MNBChallenge Week 2–Nourish

nourish your body

This week’s focus was nourishing your body. The challenges from Lorna Jane Active encouraged us to focus on what we put in our body. It was good to focus on my clean eating. Being that I was trapped in the house most of the week due to the winter snowstorm that blanketed the East coast, it was good to focus on what I ate so as not to fall into bad habits and overeat. Here’s my recap:

Monday – Meatless Monday ~ No pics but I had a wonderful dinner of stuffed shells and roasted Brussels sprouts that was to live for! Yummy!

Tuesday – Take Your Lunch to Work Day ~ I do this almost daily. My jar salad was awesome that day with tuna added for protein. I like to use nuts in my jar salads for both crunch and amped up protein factor.

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I made the salad in the salad dressing jar so I could use the last dregs of the dressing.  If you haven’t tried OPA yet, you should.  Their Greek yogurt dressings are so yummy and definitely nourishing.

Wednesday – Write it Down ~ I use My Fitness Pal to keep track of what I eat.  My focus lately is less on calories and more on making sure I balance my carbs, proteins, and healthy fats.  As such, I was excited to share my progress on Wednesday. I came in within my goals.

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Thursday – Smoothie Day! I love my smoothies and have one almost every day.

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My beet smoothie has fresh beets, carrots, banana, and coconut milk! It is so sweet and full of good vitamins and minerals.

Friday – Go Raw Friday! Valentine’s Day! ~ After attending my friend’s wedding ceremony, I came home to a wonderful dinner with my hubby and son. He made baked Swai fish topped with kiwi and his own version of vegetarian lo mein. I was in charge of dessert and decided that I would do fresh fruit and homemade fondue.

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How did you nourish your body this week? Do you have a go-to lunch or smoothie recipe? Are you ready to BELIEVE in Week 3?

How I MOVE!

This month, I am participating in the Move Nourish Believe Blogger challenge sponsored by Lorna Jane with #SweatPink ambassadors.  The first week focused on different ways to MOVE!  This new challenge was a good way for me to transition from #SexyShred back into my normal healthy eating and exercise routine while up with my fitness and weight loss goals.  Each week day from February 3-21 there is a different challenge to do and then post your progress on Instagram and Twitter.  The first week challenged us to MOVE in different ways.  Here’s my recap.

Day 1 – 2/3: Sweat It Out

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My new favorite way to sweat is doing my ab work as I rebuild my core.  Here’s a pic in the middle of my crunch time with the exercise ball at the gym.

Day 2 – 2/4: Change it up!

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I kept my body guessing that night.  First off, the last #SexyShred circuit followed by an easy neighborhood run with the Twilight Tuesday crew. Then, I came home to do some boxing burpees courtesy of Shauna Harrison and ended with a post-run yoga series suggested by the #MNBChallenge crew.

Day 3 – 2/5: Let’s get planking!

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This was by far my most proud moment of the week.  I have hated planks for a while.  30 seconds at a time is usually my limit.  The challenge was to do 5 minutes of planks throughout the day.  I got 2 minutes done in 30 second intervals.  Then, I got on the exercise ball to attempt a few more planks.  Soon after I began, I got a call which I answered.  I talked and planked.  When I hung up, I had surpassed my goal! Longest planks ever! AWESOME!

Day 4 – 2/6: Buddy up!

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Workout with a fitness buddy! Woohoo! Dawn & I both did a circuit on Tuesday and did speed work together on the track on Thursday. (Side note, I am so tired of frozen finger runs! Spring, please come soon!)

Day 5 – 2/7: Fave Friday!

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again! The Fab 4 is instrumental for my fitness progress.  We hold each other accountable.  They are but one of my five fitness favorites.  You can read more about my Running Ingredients here.

I ended the week still moving by participating in the Baltimore Road Runner’s Club Valentine’s 10K Race.  It wasn’t my best race but it was definitely fun!

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The second week is all about how you can NOURISH your body.  I’m looking forward to some yummy challenges.

How did you MOVE last week? What is your favorite way to sweat?

My Running Ingredients

Sarah & Dimity over at Another Mother Runner asked a great question this week.  What are the five key ingredients of your running? The elements that “define your running journey.” I responded on their site but I wanted to share my ingredients with you here as well.

1. The Fab 4 ~ Dawn, Khusana & Joy with me. They make long runs go fast!

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2. Saucony running shoes – I’m on my 3rd pair for the year. I keep testing other brands but always come back to my Sauconys.
3. Cool running socks – Toe socks, socks with cool sayings, wool winter running socks, compression socks for long runs. You name a type of sock, I probably have them!

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4. Compression tights or a girdle under regular tights and shorts – I’ve been rebuilding my core strength since my hysterectomy. But on long runs, I still need the added support.
5. My family – without them to encourage me, there are times when I might have given up on my aim to hit 13 in 2013 this year.

What are your 5 ingredients for running? Tell me below in the comments. Or better yet, enter the drawing on Another Mother Runner and place a link for your entry here with your list!

Being a Hysterrunner is What’s Beautiful

Last night as I have for most Tuesday nights of the past year, I ran with Twilight Tuesday’s Baltimore Black Girls Run group.  After the run, I led our brief ab workout which we started doing in May.  When I was cleared to go back to doing core work in March, I could barely do 10 crunches.  They were brutal.  When I planked with my husband in Brooklyn the week before the Cherry Blossom, my abs were sore for days.  Now I can do several types of crunches in sets of 1 minute several times a week.  I also can get through Bikram yoga and other core work in ways I wasn’t able to before.  I may not have a flat stomach or be an elite runner, but I truly can say that I have grown as a hysterrunner.  I have embraced the mantra of NO UTERUS, NO PROBLEM and it’s been beautiful learning about myself in this way.

Last night, I was reminded that there are other hysterrunners out there and others who one day may be hysterrunners or hysteryogis or anything.  You never know when someone may need to hear your story or in this case, my story.

One of the newbies to our group joined us last night.  She has been training for the BWC using the Couch to 5K and attending their sessions.  She made it through 2.5 miles with us in 35 minutes.  It was the furthest she had gone.  She then stayed for the ab work.  When we were done, she mentioned that she was so glad that she had come out because she had begun to get discouraged with her progress.  I shared my story with her which prompted her to tell hers.  She has had some health scares, including a hysterectomy in 2011.  She then proceeded to say that some days she feels as if her body belongs to an 80 year old woman.  Dawn & I talked with her at length about how with exercise and proper nutrition she can begin to feel better.  She was so happy to have found a group of supportive women that she almost cried.  I was glad that she was able to feel supported and hope she returns.

You see when I realized that my hysterectomy was inevitable, I searched for information about fitness and exercise post-hysterectomy.  I barely found anything.  I decided to start this blog because I knew there were others like me who needed to hear that it was possible to become fit and come back to your best self even if you weren’t the fittest chick before surgery.  It is my hope that my little blog can reach someone and support them in the way that meeting the newbie last night and sharing my story in person did.  I am still on this journey and I invite you to continue to join me.  I know that I am what’s beautiful.  I thank Under Armour for reminding women of that with their challenges.  But I also know that there are so many other women who are not a part of the Under Armour women community who need to be reminded that they are what’s beautiful.  For my hysterrunners out there, remember…

No uterus, no problem!

No uterus, no problem!

A Hysterrunner in San Francisco

The week after Memorial Day, I travelled to San Francisco for the Society for Prevention Research conference.  For those of you who may be new to my blog, in my non-running life I am a prevention scientist.  This is my fourth time attending this particular conference.  There is always a group fun run/walk on the Thursday hosted by the organizers which I’ve participated in each year.  But this year was different.  Last year, the conference was in Washington, DC.  I mostly walked the 3 mile loop from the hotel to the Mall and back.  This year, I am in much better shape as a hysterrunner.  So I did so much more than participate in the run/walk.

I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon.  I checked in to the hotel and grabbed my yoga gear.  I had arranged to take a Muscle and Flow yoga class with my friend and Under Armour Women sponsored trainer Dr Shauna Harrison.

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The view from my hotel room!

I had been wanting to take this class with Shauna for a while.  When I realized that I would be in the Bay Area, I knew this would be my chance.  The train ride to get to Redwood City was uneventful.  The class was AWESOME!!!  It is not your average yoga class.  It is a fusion of different styles of yoga coupled with hip hop and R & B music.  If you are ever in the Bay Area, make it a point to get to this class. My only complaint was that about halfway through the class, jet lag hit me like a ton of bricks.  It got really hard to focus as my body started to shut down.  I had to spend a little time in half lotus pose resting to catch myself.  Other than that, I loved this class.  Shauna is going to be in the Baltimore area again at the end of this month.  I am going to try to get to the Hip Hop Cycle class that she’s teaching while she is here.  I was so tired when we left that I forgot to take a picture of us together.

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Above is the view from the train & a pic that Shauna tweeted about the #sweatpink laces I brought her.

Wednesday was spent completely involved in the conference.  I presented that day so there were no additional exercise breaks.  Thursday, however, more than made up for it.  I was able to get in TWO RUNS for the first time ever.  The first run was 3.39 miles from the hotel to Fisherman’s Wharf and back as a part of the fun run/walk.  I was able to explore the Embarcadero and even saw sea lions.

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The second run was possible thanks to a twitter connection.  Mizuno was hosting a Sunset Run in conjunction with Fleet Feet San Francisco.  There was a tweet about the Sunset Run which led to a series of tweets and DMs between me, Fleet Feet, and Seth and Jeff of Mizuno Running.  The Sunset Run was at Chrissy Field along the Bay near the Golden Gate Bridge.  The weather was perfect.  Every one there remarked that it is usually chilly and foggy when they host them.  I was glad that the weather held up.  The run was from 3-5 miles to the base of the bridge and back.  I was able to get 4.5 miles in total.  But, the best part about it is that I was able to try some cool new Mizuno Wave Inspire running shoes.  They felt great to run in.  They gave me the support that I need as a moderate pronator but they were so much lighter than my Sauconys.  I felt like  I was cheating on Team Saucony but that Mezamashii feeling was great.

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I wish I didn’t have to give back the shoes.  I really want to know how they would feel on a long run.  I did get a really cool glass and washcloth to bring back East with me.

If anyone had told me last year that I would not only be completing the fun run while away at a conference but also that I’d be fitting in time to do yoga and running twice in one day, I would have said they were crazy.  Now look at me!

How do you fit in exercise when you travel?  What is your favorite way to sightsee?  Tell me about it in the comments.

What A Difference A Year Makes…

Today is National Running Day 2013!

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Last year, after my high blood pressure scare, I was cleared to run on May 30th.  My first run with Black Girls Run was the next day – June 1, 2012.  It was a celebration run as BGR: Baltimore was celebrating its one-year anniversary with a fun run hosted by Charm City Run.  It also coincided with National Running Day.  I was just excited to be running again.  I did my first 3 miles using the Galloway method that day.  Two weeks later I ran my first 5K at the Baltimore Women’s Classic.

Today, I ran just under 3 miles in less than 40 minutes which after the year I’ve had is incredible.  I may have been sidelined by health issues but I have come back.  Throughout my recovery, running has been key.  Whether I run 1/4 mile or 13.1, I am a runner.  Running has helped me to stay sane despite my health challenges and to become healthier in the process.  I am several pounds lighter and my HBP is under control.

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The pic on the left is from 6/1/2012; on the right is from 6/5/2013.

To celebrate National Running Day, besides my run, I registered for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia.  Last year, I would have never thought anything longer than a 5K was possible for myself.  This year, I have already run 6 races out of my #13in2013 goal, including 2 10-milers and 2 half marathons.

RnR half natl running day

I am truly proud of how far I have come.  I am looking forward to continuing to become that fit chick!  I love being a hysterrunner!

Did you go for a run for National Running Day?  How has your running progressed in the last year?  Share your responses in the comments.

Wordless Wednesday–Bikram Yoga Day

Bikram Yoga Prep

Do you do Bikram Yoga?  How do you prepare for an intense workout?  What do you use to top off your electrolytes?

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!