Happy 1 Year!

…to my blog!

Yesterday, September 23rd, was the one year anniversary of the very first blog post on Cait Strides. I had the idea to start this blog as a way to keep me accountable for marathon training and [as a picky eater] trying new foods. It has turned into so much more than that and has truly been a pleasure to write nearly everyday. It’s been a pretty crazy year with so many up’s and down’s. Of course, it’s impossible for me to share every aspect of my life on this blog, but I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and share a few highlights from the past year:

(source)

The First Post – chronicling a bit about my life and how I became such a picky eater/my desire for change (Sept 2011)

Life of a runner – explaining my love-to-hate relationship with running (Sept 2011)

Hawaii Trip!! – when I went to visit a good friend who is living in Hawaii (Oct 2011)

Graduating from the kiddie menu – my first Chipotle experience (Oct 2011)

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – Run For Your Lives post race report (Oct 2011)

Experimenting in the kitchen – first time making pizza dough (Nov 2011)

On Life, and Death – serious contemplation on life and what it means to fully live (Nov 2011)

Ran Philadelphia – marathon #2 in the books! (Nov 2011)

Truly becoming a Maryland-er – making the most delicious crab pizza (Dec 2011)

Discovering my inner hipster – I’m even too cool for this post (Dec 2011)

New Years Eve in NYC – easily one of the craziest nights of my life and one I won’t forget any time soon (Dec 2011/Jan 2012)

Weight – announcing my struggles with weight and committing to lose weight (Jan 2012) – for the record, I’m 15 lbs lighter! WOO!

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies – sometimes life is hard (Feb 2012)

Things I love – a different kind of Valentine’s Day (Feb 2012)

Shamrockin’ the races – Post race Shamrock Half and PR report (March 2012)

Monument Ave 10k – another race recap (March 2012)

Kristina’s visit! – my BFF from Washington came to visit for a weekend in DC, we had a blast (April 2012)

It’s a BOY!! – my sister and bro-in-law find out they’re having a boy! (April 2012)

Livin’ the Sweet Life – hanging out at the Sweet Life Festival (April 2012)

Memorial Day Weekend – Instagramming my entire life away (May 2012)

USA vs. Brazil Soccer game/vacation #1 to Myrtle Beach – kicking off summer the right way (June 2012)

Lindsey’s Bachelorette Party – girls just want to have fun (June 2012)

Erin’s baby shower – spending the weekend with my family celebrating my sister (July 2012)

4th of July – a low key 4th of July celebration at my parent’s house (July 2012)

Myrtle Beach Vacation #2 – Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 my family is crazy and I love them (July 2012)

Debating chicken and teal pants – in the same post, impressive! (August 2012)

Mumford & Sons and Kyle is born! – best weekend of summer, easily (August 2012)

Rockin’ and Rollin’ in VA Beach – Rock ‘n Roll VA Beach sweeeeaty post-race recap (Sept 2012)

Remembering 9/11 – never forget (Sept 2012)

Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to read and support Cait Strides. I have appreciated each and every one of your messages, comments, and feedback! Writing this blog has truly been a pleasure; I hope you enjoy reading my ridiculous quips as much as I enjoy writing them.

I’m looking forward to blogging another crazy year of my life: more races, running, cooking, new foods, and general fun with my favorite people. Get ready.

Thank you!

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Weight Loss, Swag, & Chicken

Remember back at the beginning of the year when I publicly proclaimed my goal to lose weight? Remember how I updated you guys for like 2 weeks and then basically stopped? Well I may have stopped writing about it in excruciatingly painful detail, but that doesn’t mean I gave up all together. Sure, I’ve had my good weeks and bad weeks. I’ve definitely wavered and faltered on my healthy eating; but overall, I’ve been doing MUCH better. It’s a very subtle change, virtually unnoticeable if you see me everyday. But I’ve actually lost 15 lbs and I feel so great! The other day someone told me that I looked “fitter”…I’LL TAKE IT!

I made a promise to myself awhile back: No buying new clothes until you reach a certain goal weight. Gotta love positive reinforcement! That goal weight for me: 160. For the most part (I needed new underwear, okay!?), I kept that promise to myself. So, that’s why I was SOOOO excited when I stepped on the scale yesterday and it read:

Wooohoooo! Time for some new SWAG! I immediately stepped off the scale, hopped in my car, and drove to the mall. I got a little excited and went on a bit of a spree. But, mostly everything was a necessity.

I got 5 new running shirts! I usually have the hardest time finding running gear that I like and fits me well. I have never found a tank top that fits correctly. As a “curvy runner” (as I like to refer to myself), I can’t wear the super tight fitting running tanks. Like seriously, you can’t have hips and wear one of those or it’ll ride up like crazy and you’ll spend most of the run pulling it back down. I was pretty pumped when I found a semi-fitted running tank yesterday that fit perfectly! I bought 3! Hah. I looooove Target’s running gear. The Champion brand really works well for me, plus it’s so much cheaper than Nike. Win, win.

These were kind of a spur of the moment buy. I know, I just bought new running shoes. But, remember how I was hesitant to buy Nike because they don’t always work well for my wide feet? And then, remember how I started to feel pain in my foot? Well, I think the two events are related. I went for the Brooks brand this time around. I’ve heard good things and they felt nice and lightweight on my big, fat feet. I’m going to take them for a light 6-miler tomorrow morning. I’m pretty excited to test them out! I also think it’s important for runners to have more than 1 pair of shoes, so I will probably alternate between using both.

I bought this dress from Old Navy because it was cute and I wanted to. Let’s be honest, you can never have enough summer dresses.

And then this happened. I have been wanting to buy brightly colored pants for awhile now, but I’ve been wondering whether or not I’m hipster enough to pull them off. Well, verdict is in: apparently I am. I went ahead and bought these teal ones from Old Navy and I’m sort of obsessed. I’ll probably need to buy 4 more pair, but I’ll have to limit wearing them only when I’m at scene concerts. Also, seriously Old Navy, WTF is up with your sizing on these? I am NOT a size 14.

My final purchase of the day. Obviously not for me, but for my sister! She and Robert have this whole monkey/animal set up in the soon-to-be baby’s room and I just couldn’t resist this. Look at the freaking monkeys on the feet! I’m going to explode from cuteness overload. Anyway, this was going to be a surprise, but I know she’ll see it here first. You’re welcome, sister. You and Baby Silly can thank me SOON. So soon! 😀

To end this post on a serious note, apparently today is Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. I will not be attending and I think it’s absolutely absurd. This is the 21st century, aren’t we supposed to be past ignorance, hatred, and bigotry? However, I can’t say I’m surprised about their stance based on the fact that they are a Christian organization.  My question is, what gives a fast food chain the right to be an authority on such hot issues? Stick to making spicy chicken. And waffle fries. Our country has come a long way, but we seriously have so far to go.

Has your opinion of Chick-Fil-A changed at all? Will you still eat there in the future?

Aunt Cait and the Body Challenge

Indeed, you read the title of this post correctly. Remember how in my last post I said I had exciting family news? Well, I have been silently wanting to implode and tell everyone ever since I found out, but it was not my news to share so I had to wait until the right time. That time is now.

I’M GOING TO BE AN AUNT!!

My sister, Erin, and her husband, Robert, are expecting their first child! Her due date is late August/early September sometime. My family is super, super excited! It’ll be the first child for the next generation in our immediate family. It will be my mom’s first grand-baby and she is just bursting at the seams with joy. This also means that the poor kid will have to endure me as an Aunt. I’ve already warned my sister that I plan to be a “cool Aunt” and aptly corrupt their future son or daughter. Just kidding……kind of.

Congratulations to Erin and Robert!!

Whoo, now that I’ve finally shared that news, onto my next bit of news. Today, I joined my company’s Weight-Loss Body Challenge. It’s been difficult to maintain motivation to diet and exercise. And my motivation has certainly been waining lately. That’s when I found out that Discovery was doing a weight-loss challenge with a cash prize at the end. Sign me up, por favor!!

The cash prize pot for the first place winner is up to: $640! Second place is even getting over $100. I don’t really have any disillusion that I’m going to win this competition, but it would be pretty cool if I could get close and shed a few more pounds in the process. It aligns with my current weight loss goals, and there’s nothing like a little cash-money to help renew my motivation. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!

I’ve already decided that if I win, I’m booking a vacation. To somewhere AWESOME!

I’m also thinking about signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon. It’s in October, it’s in my backyard, and I’m sort of itching for another long race to run. Thoughts?

Girls’ Weekend / Weigh-In #3

Whoo! What a weekend! I feel like I’ve spent every single weekend in February traveling (because I have!) to Virginia. This weekend was no exception as I traveled down to my old stomping grounds in Lynchburg. Since my parents moved to Maryland in November, it’s been hard to find a time to get down there to visit my best girl friends. But we made plans for this weekend months in advance and finally followed through!

(This is a picture from Sierra’s wedding last year since we didn’t get any group shots this time around. FAIL!)

I absolutely love hanging out with these girls. As much as I hated high school (and I hated it with every fiber of my being), I feel amazingly blessed to have gotten the chance to meet Katie, Sierra, and Megan there. It’s funny because we all were very similar in high school and now we are all so dramatically different. Megan and Sierra are both married and homeowners, Katie is living in Lynchburg tentatively while she job hunts in the Virginia Beach area, and I am living my “crazy” (at least they think it’s crazy) life in DC. We only get to see each other every few months, but when we do, we pick up right where we left off. We just laugh and laugh and laugh for hours on end! They really are three amazing women.

Anyway, enough of the mushy stuff. My weekend started out like every DC resident’s does on a typical Friday night: sitting in traffic.

Once I finally got to Lynchburg (5 hours later!), Megan and I spent the night eating puppy chow/trash/the best snack ever/whatever you want to call it while catching up and reminiscing about stupid stuff we did in high school. For example:

Sorry girls, I had to.

My host was awesome and let me sleep in the guest bedroom with the memory foam bed. I think I need to get one of those!

The next morning Megan and I tried Zumba.

Megan decided that I didn’t really need to watch the instructional video and just threw me right into the trenches. It’s been decided that I am just about the most uncoordinated person on the face of the planet. I think I missed half the work out because I was too busy asking “what the heck are they doing?”. I kind of regret not taking any videos of the hilariousness…but on the plus side, I totally did break a sweat!

After Zuuuumba, we met up with Katie and Sierra and headed across town for some bagels. Om nom nom!

Mine is bacon, egg, and cheese on an Asiago Cheese Bagel. Can’t really go wrong with so much cheese. It was delicious!

Then, we headed over to Sierra’s abode to play board games.

The best part about playing games like this with a group of friends who you have known forever is that you have so many inside jokes to reference. The best laugh came at the expense of “katiebdaysong”, which is a musical ditty that Megan, Sierra, and I penned for Katie’s 20th birthday. We rediscovered this gem over the weekend and realized that it wasn’t quite the lyrical or music genius that we thought it had been 5 years ago. When the card “Things that warrant an apology” came up and Katie wrote “The katiebdaysong”, I just about lost it!

Sierra’s dog Chloe stopped by to say hi multiple times. Isn’t she cute?

After games we made a fajita dinner (which isn’t pictured because I was too busy scarfing it down) and then headed outside for a bonfire and S’MORES!!


We always have so much fun when we’re together. My abs sure did get a great workout from all the laughing we did on Saturday! I was in a pretty crummy mood last week, but I feel so much better after spending the weekend away from the city. Sometimes you just need a weekend with your oldest friends to remind you of what’s actually important in life.

Despite the busy weekend, I did have time to do my weigh-in yesterday when I got home. I’m happy to report that my hard work is finally paying off! Thank you all for your words of encouragement after the last, frustrating, weigh-in. I didn’t give up and I’ve lost another 2.4 lbs! I’ve been trying to lose 1-1.5 lbs per week, so this hits my goal right on the mark. I’m pretty happy!

Starting weight: 175.0
Current weight: 
166.8
Loss this week: -2.4
Total loss: -8.2

Today is Presidents’ Day and I am super thankful that Discovery gives us the day off. I’m spending the day catching up on sleep, running, shopping for groceries, and finishing (hopefully) the final book of the Hunger Games series. Happy Presidents’ Day!

When Things Don’t Work Out [Weigh-In #2]

I’m an overly optimistic person. I believe in this crazy notion that everything will be alright and that things will always work themselves out in the end.

For the most part in my life, they have. I’ve moved across the country…twice, but became more well-rounded. I’ve failed tests, but learned from my mistakes. I’ve gotten rejected from jobs I’ve wanted, but kept pushing on. I’ve had my heart broken, but came out stronger on the other end.

For example, back in 2009, despite the fruitful advice from my family and friends, I decided to venture a 4 hour drive home during projected blizzard conditions (one of my finer moments in life). I got stranded in my car, in a blizzard, on a mountain, in the middle of nowhere, without food or water. Luckily, I had a full tank of gas so I could leave my car on to keep warm. Regardless, I was in a desperate situation considering I couldn’t drive anywhere and most of the cars along the side of the road were abandoned with snow rapidly accumulating. I wasn’t sure how long the snow would last, or how long I was going to be trapped in that car. I could have easily flipped out (like my mom was doing) and been in a mad panic. Instead, I was completely calm, I might even use the word relaxed. I spent the night googling blizzard survival tips (ie. how build a snow cave and if it was safe to eat my own arm off) on my newly acquired iPhone and waited for help to come.

This is an actual picture from the beginning of that night. Check out those snowflakes!

After 18 hours of being stranded, my dad and brother finally made it to me in an 4-wheel drive SUV borrowed from a family friend. It was one of the best moments of my life when I heard the horn honking and I saw the lights flashing as they rounded the corner to where I was. I don’t think my dad has ever hugged me so hard in my life.

I suppose the moral of that story is that I never gave up faith that things would work out in the end. Which is how I approach most situations in my life. I’ve always been able to maintain my cool even when the situation seems impossible. I am a strong person and extremely strong willed (is stubborn the word I should use here?). When I believe in something with every fiber of my being, I will do everything I can to make it work.

But sometimes it’s just not enough.

I surprised myself today when my bi-monthly weigh-in sent me into a tizzy. 169.2. A total loss of 0.0 pounds. After last week’s monumental (almost) 6 lb loss, this really disappointed me. I ran every single day last week, ate pretty regularly this weekend…I didn’t even over-indulge during the Super Bowl yesterday. As you can imagine, I was really, really, really discouraged.

Starting weight: 175.0
Current weight: 
169.2
Loss this week: 0
Total loss: -5.8

It’s like you can do all the right things and sometimes it still just don’t work out.

So, I suppose that’s where I’m am [mentally] right at this moment. I’m frustrated. I knew this journey wouldn’t be easy and I knew I would have weigh-ins like this one. I just didn’t expect it to be so early and after 2 weeks of solid exercise and dieting. In true Cait-like form, I will push on. This is something I believe in, something I know I can do. I will make this work. I will do better.

I will be stronger because of it.

</over-arching life metaphor>

Have you ever felt like you were in a hopeless situation? How did you overcome it?

Challenge: Weigh-In #1

I’ve been working really hard for the past two weeks. I just want to throw that out there before I tell you all my results.

I’ve been running during my lunch breaks, after work, and pretty much whenever I feel that I can fit in a solid 4 miles. Somehow, I’ve managed to squeeze in a workout 4-5 days per week which is 4-5 more days per week than I was exercising during December.

I’ve been replacing food like this,

with food like this.

And it was all going really well…that is, until this weekend.

I had a bit of a relapse this weekend when my old college roommate came to visit. I took her to my favorite burger place in DC, Good Stuff Eatery (if you have never been there, seriously go. It’s SOOOO good). I pigged out on a burger, fries, anddddd a milkshake. Then we watched movies and pigged out more. I didn’t count my calories, nor did I give two hoots about portion control. I thought I would be able to fit in one or two runs during the weekend, but Mother Nature had other plans when she decided to ice all over the place! I won’t run on ice, I don’t think it’s worth the risk of breaking a leg.

Last night was my mom’s birthday, so my family went to the Melting Pot. I have a slight addiction to fondue because, let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love cheese and chocolate? I probably ate more than my fair share and left the restaurant feeling uncomfortably full. This, in addition to the burger from the day before, the cookies, sour patch kids, and beer from that night, and the breakfast sandwich I had earlier in the day, sent me over the edge.

I thought I owed this pig-out weekend to myself considering I’ve been doing so well lately. Which I suppose is why I felt like complete and utter crap when I woke up this morning. My body isn’t used to all that terrible food that I was putting in it. It made me think…is this how I felt all the time prior to two weeks ago? No wonder I was gaining so much weight and feeling so terrible!

Did I feel the effects of the food I ate this weekend? Yes. Did I regret eating those foods? No. I do regret it now? Still no. I don’t think that health=deprivation. If I want a burger every now and then, I’m going to eat a burger. Sometimes I think it might take a pig-out weekend like this to remind myself that I don’t want to feel this way. As long as I don’t fall back into these habits long-term, I will bounce back.

All of that being said. I took my weight this morning. First time in 2 weeks. I was apprehensive considering the weekend I had was less than stellar in terms of eating. So, I was shocked when I saw the results:

Starting weight: 175.0
Current weight:
169.2
Loss this week: -5.8
Total loss: -5.8

SAY WHAT?! I lost almost 6 pounds in the past 2 weeks? Almost makes me wonder what the number on the scale would have read had I eaten well this weekend. I am beyond thrilled!

I know that the first 10 pounds come off pretty easily with an increase in exercise and a slight change in diet. It’s the last 10 that will take more dedication, but I feel like this is a solid start. I feel lighter too and like my jeans finally fit a little better. Plus, yesterday was the first day I had stomach ache in just about 2 weeks. I feel so much better already, but I know that I have a long way to go. That number I saw this morning has motivated me even more. I am on my way, and I am not giving up!