Friday, June 29, 2012

What A Week I'm Having!!! (Part One)

Quick!!! What movie is it from? (insert Final Jeopardy music here...) Ok, it's 'Splash,' but anyway... It was finally my turn (it felt like they got to everyone before me- NOT true!) to be interviewed for the From Fat to Finish Line documentary and did Angela from Media Meld Studios and Jen, from both MMS and our Ragnar team, have a whirlwind trip in store for me!!

On Monday, I took the Long Island Railroad into New York City and met up with Angela, Jen and stylist Amy Acton to head over to the iconic Macy's Herald Square. You know, 'Miracle on 34th Street?' It was a dream come true to shop in that store. I mean, I've visited at Christmas time, rode the ancient wooden escalator up to the 9th floor to see Santa with the kids, but I have NEVER shopped at Macy's. Browsing through the racks, picking out things that caught my eye, realizing the entire time that I didn't have to search for my size FIRST. If an item caught my attention, then I would find my size, because it WOULD be on the rack. Anything Amy picked for me pretty much fit. I think the first thing I tried on was a pair of cute green shorts in a size 6. Now, it wasn't a perfect fit, but they went on. That is a HUGE deal. FYI: My credit card and I are in BIG trouble!

Angela filmed us shopping the store, then me revealing each outfit and doing a very sad impersonation of a fashion model's twirl coming out of the dressing room. The funniest thing was when a random shopper came right up to Amy and asked her what the new discounted price would be on a sweater she was holding! Amy patiently tried to do the math and then directed her to the register where the clerk could just scan it for her. She could've just said "I DON'T WORK HERE!!!" but she didn't. She's a great gal and a true professional.

After Amy found the perfect look, the girls took me to DSW for a pair of shoes. I warned Amy I couldn't walk in heels, but I haven't actually attempted them since losing weight. It seems maybe being a bit (understatement) lighter and maybe a little more athletic helped? Maybe I'm exaggerating since I picked a cute tan strappy sandal with maybe a 2" heel? They did go perfect with the flowy, gauzy Bohemian top and the cuffed green shorts.

Before we knew it, it was time to head downtown to Circuit of Change, a beautiful yoga studio on 16th Street, for my "insane" workout with Gene Snisky who has been busy as an actor, WWF wrestler and personal trainer. I was a little intimidated by his size. He's 6'8", roughly 280 lbs. I'm NOT. He knew I had been doing Insanity, but I was off for a couple of weeks due to my bust schedule. Thankfully there were no free weights involved, and although he brought a jumrope, I didn't have to make an ass out of myself trying to use it on film. It would've only been worse if he made me hula hoop. He started me out with a warm-up of jumping jacks, push-ups and squats, 20 each, 2 circuits. I lived through it. Then he made me do all sorts of lunges and squats using a medicine ball. I didn't pop or break anything, so we can call it a successful workout.

He must've drank his Ovaltine!

That was the first time I've ever worked with a personal trainer and I have to say I liked it. Even though he's extremely large and therefore scary-looking, his training style is NOTHING like Jillian Michaels. He cheered me on and got me to finish most exercises strong without ever getting in my face. Gene must have known I would have broke down and cried (one of the reasons I would have never survived the military!) if he came at me like that.

After my workout the rest of the day was appointment-free. We checked into the hotel, The Jewel Facing Rockefeller Center. We ate a delicious lunch at The Terrace Club which overlooks St. Patrick's Cathedral and Radio City Music Hall. (Great shoe-string fries.) That night we walked through Times Square and enjoyed some people watching. We found a little place called Baked by Melissa with the most adorable bite-sized cupcakes, but we all resisted the temptation. Walking back to the hotel we stopped at Duane Reade and got some snacks for the night and found our teammate Katie's article in Fitness magazine!

Less than 50 calories per cupcake!

Jen and I pleased as punch to find Katie in Fitness Magazine!
Everyone was exhausted. Poor Angela had taken the red-eye in that morning, so I don't know HOW she was capable of doing anything by 9pm. We enjoyed our snacks, got to see some footage from the day, talked and shared stories and fell asleep doing one of our favorite things- watching reality tv! I'm still wondering how the episode of 'Monster-In-Laws' ended.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Falling Behind

It's been a long time since my last update! I still feel like a chicken with its head cut off! Thankfully school is over, so I don't have any more running around to do for that. I've taken a break from Insanity, only because I can't find the time to workout twice in a day with all the crap I've had going on. I'm still running and hitting the arc trainer or elliptical at the gym, though.

Last Friday was Relay For Life and it was just incredible. The weather was perfect which allowed for us to be outside at the high school track, camping overnight to ban together to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back for all of those who have ever heard the words "You have cancer." So far, our event has raised over $75,000!


My family and I were just thrilled to see our mom walking the survivor lap again this year. She is doing so well compared to how last year started out. She walked the survivor lap, then the caregiver's lap with my dad and then the next lap when all participants walk together. That's 3/4 of a mile! Not bad for almost 77! She's always been a trooper, no matter what her attitude might have been during treatment.

My friend Joann, a 2-time breast cancer survivor, and my mom walking the survivor lap!!
Mom, Dad and our brother John

Charlie entered the Ms. Relay pageant again this year. Unfortunately, he was not crowned the winner. Maybe the third time will be the charm?

Charlie's on the left- "Deidre O'Rourke- Irish step-dancing prodigy"
So, most of us stayed overnight and didn't sleep a wink, including my kids! The RFL committee makes it so much fun, between the contests (there was a scavenger hunt this year), entertainment (Legworks, my daughter's dance studio, had several of their competition numbers perform) and themed laps (like slumber and birthday party, pirates and princesses and tie-dye to name a few), you don't want to miss anything! At 5:30am, bagels and juice was served and then it was the closing ceremony. Another successful Relay behind us, which made us look forward to next year's!

Birthday lap!
Some of the luminarias we made in honor of our mom.
Sun's up! Final lap- we are the All-Nighters!
It took most of the weekend to recuperate after lugging all of our gear back and forth to the car and walking mile after mile while staying up all night! I'm so happy we do it, though! This week was more testing for the kids and on Thursday morning we had Chelsea's 8th grade award ceremony. She got 'Outstanding Academic Achievement in Science!' So much for THAT stereotype! I still can't believe I am now the mother of TWO kids in high school! I definitely don't feel old, I just may look it! But that won't be for too long...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Half-way Through

Geesh! It's the 14th already! Almost done with all the June madness, thank the Lord above! I told you my life kinda unravels the last month of school. So, since Thursday, Chelsea had her dance and she said "To quote Grandma, it was fantastic!" My mom apparently says that a lot after the kids' concerts or recitals... She said it was the most fun she's ever had. Glad to hear it!

She looked so pretty in her $15 dress from Kohl's!

Oh, then on Saturday it was the Moriches Community Center 5k! Just a little local race with only 169 finishers, of which I came in at 62nd, 8th out of 32 women in my age category with a time of 26:35!!!!! I took 1:17 off my time from the 5k the week before!!! That was a MAJOR VICTORY! Don't know how I can top that!



Saturday night we had everyone over for Chelsea's birthday. I did cupcakes again. I made the pineapple flowers that I found on Pinterest! They came out great, but they take A LOT longer to dry in the oven than the 30 minutes on each side that the directions stated! (Wonder if I'll run out of propane now!) Sunday was spent at the high school from 10 am until 10 pm sitting through 3 shows for Chelsea's recital. The performances are amazing, (ok, not ALL of them are Broadway quality), but it's still an incredibly HORRIFIC long day! So glad to be done with the dance year!

Not bad, right?

My kids are finally done with "regulation" school. My son had a Global History Regents (NY state test needed for graduation) yesterday. He has 2 more Regents next week. Chelsea has 2 Regents and 2 finals left until she's done. Hopefully everybody passes everything. They do very well in school, but I just want them to pass these tests so they can move on to the next class and don't have to repeat anything. So much pressure!!

The icing on the cake is that tomorrow night is Relay For Life! We've been working since February, getting the team together, fundraising... I have to shop for decorations for our campsite- the theme is birthdays, which makes things SO easy! Charlie is a contestant again in Ms. Relay. His character is "Deidre O'Rourke, an Irish step-dancing prodigy with dreams of making it to Broadway one day." We are SO incredibly grateful and happy to see our mom walk the survivor lap again this year. What a difference a year makes! You won't hear from me for a little while. I will be the walking dead on Saturday since Relay set-up starts at 4pm, with the official start being the Survivor lap at 7pm, walking straight through until 6am Saturday. "Cancer never sleeps, so why would we?"

I RELAY FOR MY MOM!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

National Running Day!

More like "National Running Month," literally. The month of June is always a shitstorm of activities for this household. Having 2 teenagers involved in extra-curricular activities added to the things I'm into makes for an absurdly busy few weeks. This week is probably the worst.

Monday night was the only free night to get my daughter's hair cut before the big 8th grade dance tomorrow night. Finally got that done after promising her "this weekend" about 4 times. Tuesday I needed 2 of me. Chelsea had dress rehearsal for her dance recital in a town about 30 minutes away at the same time as Charlie's only public jazz band performance of the year. Seeing as I'll be able to view Chelsea's dances AT the actual recital, I luckily have a gf who's daughter is also friend's with Chelsea AND in both dance classes. They took her to the rehearsal for me. PHEW! Jazz band was awesome!

Then, yesterday again I was supposed to be in 2 places at once. It was the last big meeting for Relay For Life where we pick up our team's t-shirts and pick out our campsite for the night. I couldn't miss that since I always want the site that's closest to the parking lot for easier loading and unloading of all the paraphernalia necessary for relaying overnight, like a tent, camp chairs, coolers full of food and drinks, clothes, raffle baskets... You get the picture. Not only was there a meeting, but it was Chelsea's Honor Society Induction. Now, she was actually inducted (That word makes me think of the scene in 'Fun With Dick and Jane.' "I'm being indicted!") last year, so this year, as an upperclassman, she was doing a few introductions and readings about H.S. So, I had to send her ahead with her father and run from the meeting all the way to her school 7 miles away. I unfortunately missed all of her stints at the podium, but I was there to receive a rose with her dad in appreciation of the work we put into our kids' education as parents. I also got to witness the candle and swearing in ceremony. So proud of my kids!

Chelsea, last year

But yesterday was also National Running Day as well! Thankfully I wasn't babysitting at all so I decided that even though I run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I would run a mile in honor of the big day. Since I was ONLY running a mile, I decided to go balls to the wall and see just how fast I can be. It was tough, but I pushed.


That's a mile in 8:06! Holy crap!

I'm supposed to be in cardio recovery week for Insanity. It's the week in between Month 1 and Month 2. I just haven't had the time for a second workout since I have the kids across the street after school until 5 pm-ish. I haven't decided whether to get to that week's workouts when I can and still go full steam ahead with Month 2 next week or possibly do Month 1 over again. I'm REALLY terrified of Month 2! I know what M1 brought and I'm willing to put myself through that again. Not so sure about being able to handle M2!!

Today is an easy day. Put 2 on the bus, p/u one from pre-k, pick up 3 from the bus, make dinner and get Charlie to the high school so he can perform at Scholarship Night. Tomorrow will be a repeat of today with all of the babysitting, then Chelsea has her big dance and Charlie has karate. Saturday morning is my local 5k!! Gotta beat 27:52!! Then I'm having family over for Chelsea's birthday. Sunday is a dance recital marathon. Three shows at 11am, 3pm and 7pm. That means we have to be out the door at 9:30am and probably won't step foot back in the house until 10pm. Can not WAIT for that to be D-O-N-E! Only 4 more days of classes and then the dreaded testing begins. THEN RELAY ON THE 15TH!!!! We've been working towards that for 4 months. We're so very happy to see our mom walk the survivor lap another year! Thank God!

What's going on in your neighborhood?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

You've Come A Long Way...

Coming up on three years since the day I decided to take charge of my health and body once and for all. A lot of good things have happened because I finally took the bull by the horns. Running has been one of the key factors in the equation of eating less and moving more to result in my weight-loss and it had brought a new joy to my life. Running has made me an athlete, a competitor. I have goals for my runs. I want to run faster. I want to run further. There's always room for improvement.

My first 5k was on June 5th, 2010. It was hot as hell, and I was still a good 40 pounds overweight. I had started running but I could not run the entire 3.1 miles. I finished with what I thought was a great time of 42:42.

That's me, on a scorcher of a day, wearing denim shorts! What was I thinking??? Oh, yeah, and the 80-something year-old man did come in before me!! Bastard!

After that 5k, I went on to train with the Couch to 5k program and ran my first entire 5k, the Smithpoint Bridge 5k, on 9/11/10 with a much-improved time of 34:40. I definitely caught the bug after that. I wanted more. I expected more from myself.



Last year I ran the LIMA 5k on 6/4/11 with a time of 31:55. Better, but not my best. I wanted to run under a 10:00 mile, for God sakes! We then did the Damon Runyon 5k at Yankee Stadium on 8/7/11, but with the heat of an August day, the narrow course through the stadium, along with all those stairs (about 300 of them), we were happy to finish, let alone come in at 37:33! So, on to the Smithpoint Bridge run again. On 9/10/11, I finished in 30:36, under a 10:00 mile! Ok, so I tackled the 5k. I tried my luck at a 10k the following week on 9/17/11 (my 16th wedding anniversary!). Since it was my first ever, I didn't know what to shoot for. I also had to contend with a HUGE hill, also known as the Ponquogue Bridge. Done. 1:04:09. About a 10.5 minute mile. Not bad.

Ponquogue Bridge- grrrrr!

So, that ended my racing season for 2011. Who AM I that I talk like this now??? I'm a runner! Yesterday was my first race of the year! I was so excited to get back out there! Why did I wait so long to race again! Almost NINE months since my last race! That's stupid. ANYWAY, my first goal was to come in under 30:00. My "pleased as punch" time would be under 29:00, but my "happier than a pig in shit" time would be under 28:00. Well, Jupiter must've been aligned with Mars with Mercury rising in the east because I DID IT!!!!!! 27:51:9!!! I came in 626 out of 1655 participants, 36 out of 122 women in my age group of 40-44!!!! I beat 70% of the women my age!!!!! Ecstatic beyond belief!


Me and my Charlie after the race.

So what did I do to celebrate? I signed up for another 5k on Saturday! It's a small race in the next town. Hopefully that means less competition and maybe I could even place in my age division!