Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Make It Your Passion

Nothing makes me happier than when my friends come to me for advice on running and races. Today, I got this text from one my best friends (Kelly Geb):

"Soo I have decided today that I want to try a mini marathon. Since you are the master... :) Is there a mini one in Fort Wayne or where do I begin?"

Where I do begin? I remember asking that same question nearly a year ago.


I decided I needed to lose weight about this time last year. I had actually been waiting to lose weight fo years, but this time I was ready to take action. No diet pills. No gimmicks or crazy workout DVD's that I could barely keep up with...I would do exactly what you NEED to do in order to lose weight...eat a healthy diet and exercise.

After asking countless of healthy, fit friends and family members about how they maintain their weight, I kept hearing the same exercise: running.

So I tried it. My first time was an epic failure. I don't think I went 50 seconds without stopping. I felt like I was going to pass out because I couldn't breathe. I didn't know how I could go a minute longer. I think I finished my mile that day in about 14 minutes. But I was inspired. I wanted to do it; I wanted to keep going. In order to make sure I stayed on track, I told my friend I would do a mini marathon with her that Fall.

Mini marathon? 13.1 miles? How in the world will I ever do that if I can't even run for 50 seconds, let alone more than 2 hours in a race?! I didn't know the answer, but I was inspired to find out.

Where did I begin? I began by making it my passion.

I blogged about running.

I made a goal to run, bike and walk 2,011 miles for 2011. 

I asked my friends who ran for advice.

I started following runners on Twitter like @cubicledad (who inspired me to start fundraising for the American Heart Association)

I started reading running blogs like See Meggie Run (she is incredible - you absolutely must read her blog- you will be inspired for LIFE!).

I bought running magazines, like Runners World.

I went to movies about running, such as Hood to Coast, which is an incredible documentary that features 4 teams competing in the world's largest and longest relay race.

I bought better running shirts and pants.

Rocking my running clothes!

I got fitted for running shoes (SO IMPORTANT).

My hubby fitting me for my shoes, which are from the best shoe store ever (Esmond's Shoe Store).

I ran with the best personal trainer ever (and cutest).

Rain or shine; Bandit and I braved the run.

I signed up for any race I could get my hands on.

After my first mini marathon with my running partners, Sabrina and Brittany.

Nothing beats running with both family and friends; this one was for my mom's bday! :)

While this wasn't my best running performance, I was glad to participate in the largest mini marathon in the states.

 I signed up to join the American Heart Association's Start! Running Team and raised nearly $800 for heart and stroke disease research and education.

Simply put, I made running my passion. Right from the beginning...

So, I sent her links to races in her area and the training schedule that I use. And I text back:

"Seriously- make it your passion :) Buy good running shoes, get amazing running clothes, buy body glide because you will chaff in places you never knew you could chaff. Buy books or magazines or follow blogs about running and races! You will love it and I promise crossing that finish line is one of the best feelings in the world!"

Oh and good music and headbands can help with long runs too. But as Brad King will tell you, sometimes its just nice to listen to the sounds around you, smile at the people who pass you and have converstations with those runners along side you.

Much love,

Monday, June 27, 2011

A New Look For My Blog & Me

I gave my blog a makeover today to match the makeover I received this weekend.

I'm half way to my goal so I gave myself a new look! :) 15 more lbs to go for the year.
To be honest, Saturday was the first time I truly felt beautiful in nearly a year. I believe there is a big difference between looking and feeling beautiful. I'd rather feel beautiful than "look" beautiful any day of the week. Looks are subjective; up to the eye of beholder. But when you truly feel beautiful...you smile so big that it hurts...that is contagious.

That is what spreads love and joy in life.

That is beautiful.

Much love,

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Hope

Sister, Sister - two way twister.
Earlier today, I text my little sister Brittney and asked her if she wanted to go for a run / walk with me when I got into town. I don't like to run at night, especially in Indy. But I don't like to run in the dark alone ever. She agreed, but quickly said she would walk - running was not on her agenda.

A few minutes later, she said that there was a Relay for Life event at her high school. I can't believe I am saying this, but I've never been to a Relay for Life event. Ever. So I was really looking forward to this event - to celebrate survivors and honor those who have passed before us....

As I looked around the track, I saw familiar faces.

I caught up with friends from school and fought temptation of sweet snacks and salty treats.

But more importantly, I felt alive.  I felt inspired. I felt a sense of connectedness with every single person I walked by. A simple smile and I felt touched by their soul...

I saw survivors of all ages. It melted my heart. I quickly realized that cancer has no age.....

During one of our laps, we heard a story about a young woman who was battling leukemia. Her boyfriend was in law school, but he wasted no time putting his education on hold to support his girlfriend. He even donated bone marrow to her this past September.

I couldn't help but cry...she was so young. So looked so happy, yet she was struggling for her life. She wrapped her arms around him the entire time the announcer read her letter. They looked up at each other and you could not only see- but feel their love. She leaned up and gave him a kiss on the cheek. You could tell he was proud to be standing next to her; proud to support her; proud to help her live another day.

He received an award for being an outstanding caregiver. The crowd started clapping and I cheered loudly for this young couple. At that moment, my sister looked across the field and saw the candles spelled out a word. A word that fit so appropriately for this moment. For this event. For this couple.

It said:


Every cancer patient needs hope. Every mother - daughter- father - son - brother - sister - friend - cousin and even complete stranger...needs hope to get through. They need hope to fight the toughest battle of their life. They need hope to better days. They need hope for a brighter, healthier future.

And my hope is this; I hope that you understand there is always something you can do to make a difference.

You can donate time your time.

You can give a smile, hug or kiss; the cheapest and best gifts of all.

You can support the cause through monetary donations or fundraising efforts.

You can use your own social connections to spread the word.

You can give something. Anything. You might feel that you don't have enough time,  money or energy, but you do. You just have to dig a little deeper, try a little harder or sleep a little longer.

You can be the person who gives and spreads hope to those in need of it; and I hope you do.

Much love,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Joint Checking: Another Reason I Eat Healthy

There are only two people in this world who know how severe my addiction to Starbucks was last year. Me and First Merchants Bank.

I didn't have a joint checking account, so no one ever knew how many times I REALLY went to Starbucks.

Or how expensive my drinks really were.

Or how many times I actually loaded my gold card.

Let's just say I was a statistic- in the bad way.

But now, that I am happily married and share a joint checking account with a man who majored in Accounting and Finance. Let's just say its not easy to let those purchases slide by anymore.


Last night, I was super hungry. Dinner did not satisfy me at all and the only thing on my mind was a breakfast sandwich. A buttery biscuit loaded with oozing cheese,  crispy bacon and an egg. Fantastic. I wanted nothing more than that...carbs, fat and cholesterol.

I went to bed hungry.


When I went to the gas station this morning, I knew I could pay inside for my transaction. And I also knew anything else that I got would just appear in one lump sum on the statement. I was dreaming of the gas station food in there. I knew for a fact they had egg and cheese biscuits because I saw them the other morning.

I made up my mind to get a biscuit.

When I walked inside, I checked out the breakfast sandwiches. I tried to play it cool like guys do when they are checking out girls with one eye as they walk by.

I went to the coffee first and kept starring at the sandwiches. Dreaming about how good it would taste.

But by the time that I walked past them again, I kept going. I didn't want it. I didn't want to cheat. I didn't want to feel sick to my stomach. I didn't want to hide my receipt my husband that would outline gas AND a breakfast biscuit.

I walked away and said no- D.A.R.E commericals would have been proud of my swag.

I was smiling all the way to my car.

I'm really changing.

And I really like who I am becoming.

So -maybe you should add someone to your checking account to keep yourself "in check" -- until you can get the "say no swag".

Wait, that's a big deal - you should wait until your married (that's what your parents said).

Much love,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Says Husbands Don't Plan?

I love my husband for his vacation planning skills.

The Carb Queen Gives Up Her Crown

I walked into the gas station and my stomach instantly started growling.

My eyes were glued to the spinning hotdogs. I watched them take each lap and the smell reminded me of a ball park.

I pictured myself raising my hand and the gas station clerk suddenly turned into a ball park man, yelling at me, “HOTDOGS! FRESH HOTDOGS – TWO FOR TWO DOLLARS!”

In my daydream still, he raised his arm in the air and tossed two hotdogs my way. I was about to yell back in my daydream that I wanted chili, cheese and onions too. Maybe a mustard packet.

“Ashley, do you want to get anything,” Toni said – interrupting my day dream.

“Yeah I want to get a lot of things,” I said. “I am starving. I basically ate a bed of lettuce with grilled chicken every day. I want those hotdogs and that lunchable and even that popcorn, which Lord knows how long it’s been sitting there. But I want it all.”

The carbqueen was having a breakdown. A big one. In the middle of a gas station on a Friday afternoon.

“Maybe I’ll just have some nuts or something,” I said with a pathetic tone.

“Well you aren’t supposed to have nuts for the first 17 days,” Toni said.

“WHAT?! No nuts? I’ve definitely been eating those!” I said back.

“Well, didn’t you read the book?” Toni asked.

“Ummmm no- I thought it was simple enough – lean protein, no carbs, no jucies, no sugar. Doesn’t that pretty much wipe out everything on the face of earth except for grilled chicken?” I said being overly dramatic.

“Oh Ash- you really need to read the book,” Toni said. “You aren’t supposed to eat nuts or beans during the 17 days. You also can’t eat fruit after 2 p.m. No juice…I mean there is just so much stuff.”

“GET REAL- I haven’t been doing this right the whole time?” I said back- still dreaming of the hotdogs.

We got back to Decatur and helped Amanda decorate the hall for her wedding.

The whole time I was day dreaming about food.

The center pieces were turning into slices of pizza.

The flowers were turning into cake balls.

The cheesey potatoes cooking in the oven made me want to rip open the door and start digging my hands inside the cheesey goodness. I wanted nothing more than a spoon- just to sample them. Or a small bowl. Or the whole pan. You see where this is going. I was a mess.

After decorating the hall, we drove around for 20 minutes thinking of places to eat. Literally, we just kept driving up and down 13th street.

We could eat Mexican food, but how could I refuse those chips?

We could eat McDonalds, but how could I refuse the cheeseburgers and ranch dressing?

We could eat at pizza hut, but how can I stop myself from breaking into the kitchen and eating every slice of pizza readily available?

Eventually, we picked up Justin and went to Two Brothers for a salad. A grilled chicken salad. How familiar.

But what happened the next day was amazing. No cheesey potatoes at the wedding. No bun for the BBQ pork. I felt like a different person – with willpower.

But I did drink some beer. And by some beer, I mean I celebrate pretty hard. And I drank champagne or wine – whatever was left on the wedding parties table.

On Sunday, I finally had bread when I had a grilled chicken sandwich (the famous Henny Penny) from Arnolds. BUT I said NO to the breaded cauliflower that Toni ordered. And I didn’t order a bacon cheeseburger like my inner fat kid desired so badly.

And I only had ONE FRY from Justin.


Do you understand what I am saying? I am saying I am aware of what is going into my body. I am saying that I am making changes to make healthier decision and still have fun and still eat what I enjoy on occasion. I am proud.

On Monday, I went to Mo’s Irish Pub with my former Scotty’s Brewhouse co-workers. Let me tell you how AMAZING their garlic cheese fries are …and I could go on for days about how much I LOVE this grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with applewood smoked bacon, avocado and tomatoes. Seriously – it makes me want to cry tears of happiness when I picture myself eating it.

But instead- I ordered boiled tilapia – with a double order of steamed veggies – and a side salad (no croutons or cheese).

So my co-worker was correct the other day. Diets never work (especially when you don’t do them right from the beginning). But lifestyle changes will work- with time. Yes, I will eat pizza again in this lifetime. I’m sure I’ll have another egg roll before I die. I can guarantee you that I’ll eat sushi for the rest of my life. And I will probably tell my husband to check out some girls’ skanky dress and then sneak a bite of his cheesey potatoes when he isn’t looking at his plate. I’ll tell him she sat down fast or something. If he looks again, I’ll take another bite and then ask if he broke his neck.

But I do know this:

I feel better when I run.

I feel better when I try on my clothes.

I feel better when I think about my weight loss goals and objectives.

And more importantly – I feel happy and proud when I make healthy decisions about food.

I lost 3 lbs last week, which might seem low to you; however, I have been struggling to lose these 3 lbs since February.

My good friend Megan reminded me to be proud of myself – no matter what the scale says – and I am thankful that she said that – because I agree.

But by golly, I’ll be one happy camper when I see a number less than 220 on that scale. Who knows – that might even be next week?

Much love,

Friday, June 10, 2011

504 Miles & An Important Purchase

Last night, I hit 504.5 miles for the year. Obviously, I am behind in my 2011 mile goal. I should average 5.5 miles a day or 170.5 miles per month.

As of June 1, I should be at 852.5 miles. But with my training schedule, injuries and life getting in the way – it was hard to keep up. I need to catch up by348 miles. I think I can do it. For the next three months, I am going to try to run and bike more…averaging 9 miles per day. Now, I know that number sounds high– and really it is. But in 30 minutes on the bike, I can complete at least 5-6 miles. I can do this. I will do this.

Last night, I did think about giving up on my 2,011 mile goal. I won’t lie. I felt like I would never catch up, learning that I was so many miles behind. But then my friend Sarah Frey told her husband Dusty to post this video on my wall. It inspired me to keep going – stop making excuses and keep going.

But in order to keep going, I made an important purchase. A purchase that I felt was necessary after one of my co-workers and friends lost his brother-in-law this past weekend. Zach was running in the Chicago half marathon last Saturday – he was extremely healthy and according to the articles I read, running 13.1 miles was a breeze for him. The heat that day Saturday was unbearable. I believe they eventually stopped the race because it was so hot.

Unfortunately, Zach passed away while running in the race. It was his passion, he loved it. He died doing what he loved, but that doesn’t remove the sadness from the situation. His death really opened up my eyes about the importance of listening to your body and stopping when weather conditions are not favorable. I am not sure what Zach’s cause of death was, and while I never had the opportunity to meet him – I am inspired to continue raising money for the American Heart Association until I hit $1,000.

His death also made me realize the value in purchasing a Road ID, which is a wrist band that I can wear that lists my name, information and 3 emergency contacts. I also included my mantra, “Brave the Run!” I understand the wrist band won’t save my life, but it will help any rescuers talk to me by name and contact my family immediately.

If you are interested in purchasing a Road ID, I’d encourage you to do so. You can receive $1 off your purchase by entering in this code at check out: ThanksAshley5785965 – Also, a portion of all purchases go a charity of your choice (you can select from 10 charities). What are you waiting on? Get your Road ID today….

Please be safe and listen to your body- only YOU know when you have pushed yourself too far and need to slow down.

Much love,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 4: Diets Never Work

I was walking out of my office for lunch when a co-worker asked if I would like to join them at lunch. They were going to the Indian buffet next door.

I would have ruined my diet for an entire week if I went there. They serve this amazing bread with oil olive and herbs. Next up comes the rice and heavy sauces...not to mention these deep fried balls of goodness I love from there..no clue what they really are...but I had no problem dumping them on my plate.

"No - that's okay!" I said. "Thanks for the invite, but I am on a diet."

"Diet?" another co-worker said. "That's lame! What diet are on?"

"Basically - lets just say I've been eating a lot of grilled chicken..." I joked trying not to explain all of the details.

"Diets never work," another co-worker said back to me.

I was walking out and I turned around and said, "I know, right? Especially if you go back to your old ways when you are done."

I should have thanked him for being my blog topic inspiration at that moment. I walked down the stairs - writing my blog in my head. I drove home - still writing my blog in my head. That's the disease of a writer - you are constantly creating stories in your own head.

So I'd like to say I agree to some extent. There are some diets out there that completely suck, especially the diets that say you shouldn't eat vegetables or fruits. Get real...and please don't get me started on slim fast. It's just quick solution for weight loss and the moment you stop drinking the shakes, you gain all your weight back.

I also can't stand the diets that say you can eat bacon, mayo, ranch, cheese, etc- but no carbs. So clog your arteries ... you will die from a heart attack instead of from diabetes.

There has to be a healthy medium. A well-balanced diet. A diet that allows you to make a life style change, which is exactly what I am doing. The biggest benefit from this diet is that I am training myself to make healthier decisions.

Each day - I am learning to say no to the Indian buffet.

I am learning to enjoy grilled chicken instead of a juicy cheeseburger with bacon and mayo (omg, that still sounds amazing though...but nothing tastes as good as skinny feels -- thanks for that quote Corey)

I am learning to enjoy the way my body feels - after eating a healthy meal.

I am learning to say no to sugary margaritas that always upset my stomach in the past.

I am learning that food is nothing more than fuel for my body and I shouldn't ever use cheap fuel! (Thanks Sonia for the awesome analogy!!)

At the end of the day- establishing those habits is critical for someone like me. Because best of all: I am learning to control my food intake ...instead of letting my food intake control me.

Day 4 Eating:
  • scrambled egg beaters with mushrooms, peppers and onions
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup of coffee
  • 1 cup of green tea
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat yogurt with berries and 6 pecans
  • 8 carrots with hummus
  • Grilled chicken, tofu, zucchini, squash and mushrooms in a soy & oyster sauce
  • 12 mixed nuts
  • tomatoes stuffed with corn, bacon and goat cheese
  • grilled fish and 2 scallops
  • 3 mile run / walk
  • 100 abs
  • 50 squats
So maybe diets don't work. But lifestyle changes sure do work. I'm going to keep my head up and I really can't wait to see myself in 13 more days. And more 20 more days after that! =)

Much love,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 3: Do You Eat to Live or Live to Eat?

I remember when I was in high school, the gym I went to had a sign. I studied it often and kept my eyes on it through my entire workout.

You see - it's never been about working out- I love working out. I love sweating. I love my heart beating. I love my muscles stretching to new limits. Rather, my eating has always been my biggest battle.

The sign asked a simple question. And I have yet to discover the answer...

"Do you eat to live or do you live to eat?"

Throughtout my journey, I hope to uncover this answer.

Today, my eating went well. But I am starting to get really sick of grilled chicken.

I would do anything to eat a Jimmy Johns sandwich...and I saw a weiner dog walking with its owner and I instantly wanted a hotdog loaded with toppings.

But I didn't fall into a craving cave.

I stayed strong.

Day 3 Eating:
  • scrambled egg beaters with peppers, onions and mushrooms
  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • 1 small orange
  • 12 mixed nuts
  • 12 carrots with hummus
  • grilled chicken salad with tomatoes, goat cheese, peppers, onions, mushrooms and a splash of soy ranch
  • 1/2 cup plain, non-fat greek yogurt with fresh berries
  • 1 large chicken breaast
  • grilled aspargus
  • grilled tomoatoes with goat cheese
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat greek yogurt with fresh berries and 10 chopped pecan
I didn't exercise today. I felt weak and tired and sore - so I took a day off. But that's okay - I'm doing just fine.

Much love,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wearing Shorts & Completing Mini Marathons

I remember when I first started my 2,011 mile journey. When people asked me about what motivates me, I said that I wanted to wear shorts again. For the past few summers, I've worn jeans during the hot months because I was so insecure about my legs. Can you imagine being at the Indy 500 last year...record heat...in jeans? Yeah, that was me. So - this summer, I wanted to wear shorts. And cute summer dresses. And skirts.

I also said that running and training for races keeps me motivated.

I just wanted to update you that I have completed both of these goals this summer.

I have more miles to complete, but that means I'll have more races to run & shorts to buy.

Much love,

Day 2: You'll Never Look at Ranch the Same Again...

I lost one pound!! I would be okay with losing a pound a day for 17 days....#wishfulthinking

Day 2 wasn't as exciting...I didn't battle a chip or man handle a Skinny Soy Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. But I did do something I haven't done in months...

I woke up BEFORE 7 a.m. AND I actually ate eggs for breakfast. I usually wake up super late for work, rush around to get ready and that's when grabbing the bagel becomes convenient. In fact, I drank almost two cups of coffee (small ones) with my hubby while watching the news (basically the Weiner scandal) and eating egg beaters mixed with peppers, onions and mushrooms. Amazing.

The next amazing part of my day was realizing that I have will power. For my afternoon snack, I counted out nine almonds. Just nine. And I only ate nine. This was a lot more effective than digging my hand into the mixed nut container for an hour....

Later on, I had an orange- which is serioulsy turning into one of my favorite snacks ever. The fresh citrus smell alone really perks up my afternoon.

When I got home, I did some house work - dishes, laundry, etc. and finished up a wedding design for my clients, which is truly one of my favorites designs EVER - can't wait to share them with you soon!

I even got a chance to talk to one of my best friends for 40 minutes about life and her new job (which she just got today - congrats Kaila!!). It was awesome and at that moment, I realized how much I love coming home after work with no plans. Relaxing. Doing nothing. I haven't had this kind of "free" time in years- I'm loving every minute....I was loving it so much, I even feel asleep day dreaming. 

Day 2 Eating:
-scrambled egg beaters with mushrooms, onions and yellow peppers
-2 cups of coffee
-1/2 a piece of grilled salmon and 1/2 a piece of grilled chicken
-1 cup broccoli 
-9 almonds
-one small orange
-1 large iced green tea from Starbucks (the best on EARTH)
-7 carrots with hummus
-mixed combination of tofu cubes, broccoli, 1/4 chicken breast with a dab of goat cheese (don't ask - I was super hungry today for some reason and needed an extra boast before my run with Bandit)
-1/2 pork chop

Day 2 Excerise:
-1.5 mile run / walk with Bandit
-100 abs
-100 squats

During this whole process, I am taking my dad's advice: be happy during the journey (or you won't be happy at the destination). Healthy mind, happy heart....

Side note: Thank you to EVERYONE who has sent me encouraging emails, text messages, Facebook comments or advice. Keep it coming! :) And thanks to Bobbi Shane - I will never look at condiments the same....Can Ashley Sieb live without ranch dressing? The world might find out over these next 16 days.

Much love,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 1: A Battle with a Tortilla Chip

Over the weekend, I decided to go on the 17 Day Diet. I read a lot of reviews about the diet- saw tweets about it and my best friend just started the diet. The diet is based on a timeline in which your body can achieve weight loss in a HEALTHY way and stabilize itself. The thing that sucks me into the "diet" is that it's basically common sense. Don't eat bad food and exercise 20 minutes a day. The diet really supports a life style change. I also decided I would blog about my entire experience and log my food - maybe I'll inspire you to join me! :)

Here are the basics:
  • Lean protein. 
  • Any vegetable you want & certain fruits. 
  • Add in 2 servings of dairy (such as greek yogurt) and you're good. 
  • For 17 days- you must eat those things and NOT eat carbs (aka the only thing I live off) and no sugars (which will be hard considering how one day last week I ate 5 cake balls). 

So - I refer to this as the common sense diet - that will get me on track and help me FINALLY achieve my weight loss goals.

Starting weight: 226

Goal weight (for 17 days): 216

For crying out loud, I just want to get out of the 220's  this month. Hitting 216 will be a total weight loss of 16 pounds for the year. I'd really love to lose 30 lbs this year. I think my ultimate goal would be to weigh 185- but again, I am NOT stressing over these numbers. I want to be healthy and not revert to my old, unhealthy habits.

Today was good. It was hard- but good. Instead of having a bagel (one of my favorite breakfast meals of all time) loaded with peanut butter or cream cheese, I opted for an Americano from Starbucks (no cream or sugar - just black and strong) and a bowl of berries (strawberries, yellow berries, blackberries and raspberries).

By 10:30 a.m. I was ready to break out of my office and run across the street for a bagel. A piece of bread. A pretzel.Anything that wasn't grown from Mother Nature.

But instead I waited an hour and went across the street for a chicken salad from Moe's Mexican Grill. My order was a  taco salad, no shell, no cheese, no sour cream, no dressing, add chicken, mushrooms, cumcumbers, salsa, corn salsa and olives. When I got home I added a tiny splash of soy ranch dressing for flavor.

The thing about Moe's is --- they give you free tortilla chips and salsa. Talk about temptation. I was SO hungry and I told myself that "one little chip won't hurt and no one has to know you ate one chip."

I reached into the bag and grabbed a chip.

Just one.

I looked at it...like it was an alien from another planet.

Like it was going to bite me if I moved any closer.

And then I reminded myself - number one - who can eat JUST ONE chip? Number two - I didn't want to have to blog about my first day and lie to everyone ...saying I did great, but knowing I cheated.

So- I put the chip back in the bag. I thought about licking a the tortilla chip - just for flavor.  Then I thought about how ridciuolous I sounded.  I told myself that there are people out there trying to give up more in the world than a stinking chip...someone out there is recovering from a drug addiction, alcholism, or even an eating disorder- so I better just get over this self-pity of not eating a chip and call it a day.

I came home and slammed the bag of chips into the trash. I even pushed it down further with my foot- My theory was if I were to dig through the trash and eat the chips, not only would I have to dig really far into the garbage- but the chips would be completely crushed up. Oh and I guess digging in the trash for food is kind of gross too....

Day 1 Eating:
- 1 bowl of berries
- 1 large Americano from Starbucks- straight up (to grow hair on your chest)
-One chicken salad with veggies + splash of soy ranch with 15 small tofu cubes added
-16 mixed nuts
-4 spoon fulls of cottage cheese
-1 piece of cedar plank salmon
-2 servings of vegetables (broccoli and carrots)
-No pop, no juice - just water and coffee for this girl.

 -1 mile run and from to the gym (at my best paces ever)
-5.5 miles on the bike (23 minutes)
-the entire time during The Bachelorette I will be doing 25 abs / 10 arms / 10 pushups during each commerical break.

Honestly - the exercise portion of my day has been the most exciting. Without a heavy bagel or sugary coffee weighing me down (literally), I was able to run at the best pace of my life. Literally, I am sitting here writing this blog - 10 minutes later and sweat is still dripping down my face and spin.

I was able to run at a 9:30 mile pace for 1/4 of a mile. And the half mile run to the gym I was at a 11:40 pace. If you remember, my best pace at the half marathon was a 12:22 / mile pace.

I attribute my faster pace to my new running style. Before, I did what I formerly call "the grandma shuffle" -- where I barely lifted my feet off the ground and my heels barely hit the ground. It looked like I was running on the balls of my feet. After getting hurt during my race, I took a few weeks off and focused on improving my running style. And here I am: new and improved.

Overall, I am proud. I had a battle with a tortilla chip and I won. I haven't ate this healthy in a really long time. I'm really excited to see what the next 16 days have in store for me. Don't worry - I'll post before and after pictures too....maybe I'll even end up on the infomerical! Holler!!! ;)

Bring it on Day 2.

Much love,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Just Like My Sister

"To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other's hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time." ~Clara Ortega

I locked myself in my sister's room. It was her graduation party and I had a surprise brewing.... Since I completely enjoy being the center of attention - I told her I would dress up in one of her old viking outfits. I'd tell people by name was "Olga" and I was here for the entertainment.

But to my surprise (not) - her outfit didn't fit me. This makes sense consider how she weights about 90 lbs less than me.

I tried every possible way to fit into that thing, but it simply wasn't going to happen. Feet in first. Over the head. Sideways even...nothing worked - so I gave up.

That's when I looked over and noticed the scrapbook she made for her senior English class. I saw it after her graduation ceremony, but didn't get a chance to look through all of the pictures and read it.

The theme was about friendships --- friendships of a lifetime. She wrote about great friendships, distant friendships, lost friendships and finally - family friendships. I felt so inspired....she is such a beautiful artist.

I loved reading her stories. My heart broke a few times when she mentioned lost and faded friendships, but I reminded myself that is part of life...and those heartbreaks only makes you stronger...and allow you to love harder in the future....

I finally got to the last page where she wrote about her future plans 10 years from now.

"To be honest, I don't know where I'll be in 10 years....I will go to Ball State and probably be like my older sister and change my major every year."

I loved it. I couldn't help but smile.... and feel proud at the same time. As a big sister, I often question if I was the best example for her growing up...I know that I wasn't around a lot -- most of my time outside of school was spent with my friends or working. Then- I moved away to college and got even busier with work, school and adventures with my friends. As I sit here and type this blog, I truly question how time has flown by so quickly --- wasn't she just five-years-old yesterday?

I hope with all my heart that she looks up to me as sister....I hope that she knows how much I love her...and I hope she believes me when I say that I wish I would have spent more time watching her grow up....more time cheering her on during her basketball game...more dinners together...more movie nights at home...more late nights together telling stories and asking questions about life....but since I can't change the past, I shall focus on living in the moment - right now - to make more memories to share in the future.

 I do know she at least looked up to me enough to copy my crazy tube sock fashion statements...

I can't decide which is worse, my hair or tube socks?
Proud to wear her tube socks like her big sister! :)

And I hope she realizes how much I value her as my sister and friend - as she stood beside me on my wedding day.

But really -the fact that Cierra said that she would probably be "like me" is an honor. Because she is such a strong and amazing young woman. She has been through a lot in her life and she is barely 18 years old...I admire her strength and courage.  I'm so proud of her and I know she'll do amazing things at Ball State --- even if she does change her major 42 times like her older sister.

A few more pictures I love that illustrate the family jokes, joys and moments that allow us to live outside the touch of time....

Holding baby Cierra :)
 Cierra proudly posing in her favorite room of the house (as she was the little Iron Chef in the family)
Always helping mom :)

Showing off our big muscles ;)

one of my favorite Saturday afternoon ever with my family :)
Cierra and Grandpa Larry <3

I love Cierra's face and Sarah's hair! :)
Seeing a girl this little eat that big of a doughnut HAS to make you smile! :)
I love that Devin is the one pulling Cierra....she learned early on to make the boys work for her ;)
Cierra is holding her picture in the paper...when she was recognized for her artwork.
She cut her own bangs...the day before family pictures. I'm obsessed. Seriously.
This is one of her amazing drawings / paintings from high school.

With mom today, I love them both beyond words. 

My baby sister and me today....who isn't that much of a baby anymore.

Much love,
Ashley aka One Proud Big Sister!