10k Report: A Moderate Success!

Good news! I finished the 10k and didn’t poop my pants! Bad news: I didn’t finish in 1:05 like I’d hoped.  I stopped once to readjust a blister-inducing sock and I stopped at all 4 water stations. Those stops coupled with decreased speed in the last two miles tacked almost 5 unwanted minutes onto my final time.  I finished at 1:09:43.  The half-marathon winner finished at 1:09:46.  Ha! I beat him. (Never mind that he ran more than double my mileage.)

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The weather forecast predicted an 80% chance of rain and warm temperatures. I was not looking forward to repeating the Chinatown 5k conditions.  Thankfully, it only sprinkled on our way in and was beautiful for the entire race.  With the weather mercifully overcast and breezy, I didn’t overheat.

According to Map My Run, I had a decent pace at first but steadily got slower as the miles wore on.  I kind of psyched myself out before this race.  I was afraid of dehydrating so I stopped at every water station. I was afraid of pooping in my pants so I woke up every hour the night before to try to go to the bathroom. I was afraid there would be hills (and there were) so I got some helpful tips from my trainer on how to handle them. In hindsight, I really felt good the entire time and could’ve pushed myself harder but let fear stop me.

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Once I crossed the finish line, I realized I wasn’t dying, I wasn’t hurt (other than sore knees and a couple blisters) and I actually did it! I ran a 10k!! Even though I didn’t meet my time goal, I still accomplished a HUGE goal! I NEVER would’ve dreamed I could run 6.2 miles.  I never would’ve dreamed I could run for more than an hour.  I’m still incredibly proud of myself!

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Pardon the ID card in the bra. It’s the safest pocket I had.

A carton of chocolate milk, a string cheese and a couple cups of water later, I was on the rail at the finish line to wait for Christian and Nick to finish the half marathon.  They both ran a half in Indianapolis in May and were talking the night before this race about how they didn’t train as hard for this half.  That didn’t seem to matter when they sailed across the finish line, shaving a couple minutes off each of their times.

These champs ran the half marathon and beat their previous times. Hills and all.

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After their race, we enjoyed our complimentary beers and rested a little while enjoying beautiful Miller Park. (Bonus: we get to go back because each registration came with a ticket to see a Brewers game!)

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Pardon the bare feet, I took my shoes off for a bit on account of the blisters.
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Too hard to smile, brah.

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Now, time to get back out there and continue training for the 15k in November.

tl;dr 10k:done. Pants: accident-free

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This May Be My Last Post

I run my first 10k tomorrow and I very well may perish.  If you think about it at 7:00 a.m CDT tomorrow, please send up a prayer, wish upon a star or throw some change into a mall fountain and ask that I don’t die. But more importantly, please pray, hope and wish that I don’t shoo-shoo in my britches.

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Cool busted blinds.

Catching and Eating Up

I kept waiting for something momentous to happen the last two weeks so I could post about it but, there were no tears and no crises. (Okay, let’s be real. There were tears but not many and there were no weight-loss related ones. You try to hold it together when a three-legged dog hobbles by. Or you see a seeing-eye dog struggle to help his person around construction work. Or there’s a missing dog poster on a bus stop. Or there’s just a dog being extra cute. Just try to keep the tears from welling up!) So, I never got around to writing anything. Forgive me for leaving you, dear readers, with absolutely nothing on the internet to capture your attention.

Sarina, friend Heath and Cap'n Benny
Sarina, friend Heath and Cap’n Benny

Christian and I had the pleasure of spending this past weekend with our friends Benny and Sarina (you may remember her from my first 5K), their friend Heath and Sarina’s grandmother in the grandmother’s Michigan lake home. We boated, rode jet skis, talked and ate. I absolutely love weekends like this to excuse my terrible eating habits. I treat special weekend activities as a sort of all-you-can-eat buffet. While I don’t wish to spend my vacation time counting calories and obsessing over how every bite will affect me, I would like to reign it in.

At each meal and snack time, I attack whatever is before me like I’m in one of those TV gameshow booths where they blow $100 bills around and you have to gather up as many as possible before they shut the blowers off. I shovel greedily, as if I’m storing up food for the winter months to come. I want to eat it all. I leave the table feeling tight, swollen and utterly miserable. But at least I won in the imaginary Who Can Inhale the Most CheezIts Contest!

It occurred to me after one such meal this weekend (spicy feta dip with Wheat Thins as a snack, garlic butter shrimp and bread and chips, guacamole and salsa as an appetizer, a glass of wine, more bread with butter and a taco salad full of Doritos) that I’ve never left a party, a weekend trip or a restaurant thinking, “Gee, I sure wish I’d put away more food.” I’ve never lain (laid?) awake at night thinking, “If only I’d eaten more!!” And I’m willing to wager that my final thoughts as I drift off into eternal sleep (looking effortlessly beautiful with my Sleeping Beauty hair arranged just so on my death-bed pillow) will not be, “My life was full and rich and lovely but, I should’ve eaten more family sized bags of Ruffles with giant tubs of French Onion dip!”

Boat babes.

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So why do I do it? Why this compulsion to eat past the point of comfort? I don’t know. I was hoping you’d tell me.  But it gives me something to think about when I reach for another scoop of casserole or another cookie.  If only I can hear my own thoughts over the sound of the crunching.

Personal triumph update: this dress is a MP meaning Medium, Petite.  Aka almost a small.  Never mind that it’s probably ridiculous vanity sizing.

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tl;dr hope there’s pie in heaven

Biggest Loser 5k

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I ran the Biggest Loser Run/Walk 5K yesterday and finished in my best time, to date! I felt amazing until about mile 2.5. Then I got super hot and really could’ve used a second water station.  But I pushed through and finished with an average pace of 10:24 and a total time of 31:04.  Best of all? I came in 17th in my age group! (If I hadn’t just turned 30, I would’ve been 20th or higher in the younger group.)

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Cute custom shirt by talented big sister Joy “Too Cute Designs” Jones. Visit her shop here.

While it was kind of annoying to have to dodge walkers, (for the love of pancakes, please stay to the right!) this race was encouraging because there were people of all shapes and sizes out there, walking, running, doing their best.  Some even had canes! I never really watched Biggest Loser.  In fact, I think I’ve only seen one episode and I rolled my eyes the entire time at the drama of it all. But I do commend them for inspiring so many people to make positive, healthy changes in their lives.

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The Bears are trying to recruit me. I’m trying Soldier Field on for size.

There was certainly a time, not too long ago, when I would’ve balked at the idea of walking a 5k, much less running one, because I didn’t think I was in shape enough to exercise.  Kind of a hilarious thought now. How did I expect to get in shape without exercise? So it was a nice reminder that when my goals seem really far away, the only way to achieve them is to start walking or running towards them.

The most beautiful photo ever taken of me.
The most beautiful photo ever taken of me.

This race was also great because of how much loot they gave away.  I didn’t even take half of the stuff they gave out and walked away with my bag stuffed full of goodies.

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In less inspiring news, I started seeing the scale creep back up this week.  I was frustrated and discouraged but it was kind of an inevitability given the fact that I’ve had like 5 birthday meals, enjoyed more than occasional cocktails and milk-based coffee drinks and have given myself too much leeway lately. I also haven’t tracked my calories in weeks, thinking that I’ve got this under control and there’s no way I could gain weight.  Wrong.  Will you help me stay accountable? I want to post my menu here each week (with calorie counts) and be held to it.  Also, if you see me socially or in the office, will you ask me how it’s going? Don’t feel shy! I need the encouragement.

And lastly, I’m including this picture because that little girl looks so mad about waking up early to run a race.  Especially with a gigantic bow on her head. Special thanks to race photographer and handsome boyfriend Christian for most of these pictures.

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tl;dr

go big girl, go big girl, go big girl, go

Thirty, Thinning and Thriving

I turned 30 on Sunday and ate all weekend like I had the metabolism of a 15-year-old. I started my weekend of delicious gorging with chilaquiles and an oatmeal shake from Tiztal with Gwen on Saturday (I could eat this every morning for breakfast), moved on to a cheeseburger, fried egg-topped fries and a grapefruit-prosecco cocktail from Au Cheval with Christian on Sunday (I could hear my arteries blissfully clogging) and finished off with Chili Chicken Biryani from Tandoor on Monday (the owner made the grave mistake of telling me they deliver. I’m ruined.)  Was it worth it? Ho yeah. I highly recommend all of those things if you’re in Chicago and in the mood for a great meal.

Christian very sweetly surprised me with this beaut.  I cried like he’d just given me a pit bull or an engagement ring.

I am incredibly spoiled by @xtianastro.

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I was itching to take it for a spin all day Sunday and was so glad I’d had the foresight to take Monday off of work.

Have you ever taken a day off just for the hell of it? I highly recommend it.  I don’t mean calling in because you’re sick or taking a day off because you’ve got an endoscopy scheduled.  I mean just taking a day to do whatever you want.  No hard plans, just pure, unadulterated freedom ahead of you.

I started the day with a nice run.  The furthest I’ve ever run solo is 3.1 miles in a 5K. Since I’m 10 K training, I wanted to add another half mile to that distance.  It was so nice and cool out, I probably could’ve gone a solid 4 or even more! The plan is to run again on Wednesday, Friday and in a 5K on Sunday. Come at me, 10K!

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After my run, I dropped off the pile of Salvation Army donations that spent the better part of the last two months staring at me from a dining room chair.  If you want a killer bicep workout, haul two trash bags full of oversized clothes and faded/worn-out towels several blocks.  (Woohoo to oversized clothes!!)

I walked another 1.5 miles to Tandoor, ate a blissful solo lunch and planned our meals for the week.  I’m quite pleased with myself for not overeating.  It would’ve been so easy to down the entire plate of chicken biryani and the entire basket of naan with nobody there to see me but, I managed to walk out of the restaurant feeling satisfied and not stuffed.  Bonus: I had enough food leftover for supper and lunch the next day!

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After lunch, I made my grocery list and shopped in the serene mid-day silence.  I am really looking forward to being a stay-at-home wife/retiree one day.  I didn’t have to dodge a middle of the aisle cart even once! I think even grocery shopping hater Christian could appreciate the nirvana that is an empty, fully-stocked, fully-staffed, weekday grocery store. Because I had so much time to plan and think about what I had on hand, my shopping list was short and my bill was braggably low. I returned home and got to work testing out my new birthday toy.

I decided the inaugural use of my KitchenAid should be for something sinfully delicious that I could easily give away.  Otherwise, I’d just eat until I was sick. I chose Brown Eyed Baker’s Bourbon Butter Cake.  It’s amazing how easy it was to bake a cake with this mixer.  If you don’t have one, I highly recommend you a) get engaged and receive one as a wedding present or b) date Christian who will be generous enough to buy one for you.  I recommend you go with option A if you don’t want an all-expenses-paid trip to Fist City. But I digress.

This cake smells unbelievable.  I had a little trouble with the glaze (in that I forgot it was on the stove and it turned to Werther’s Original-strength candy – whoops!) but otherwise, I’m quite pleased with my results.  After tasting a tiny sample, I was a good girl and froze the rest to be eaten during emotional fits of hysteria shared with loved ones.

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I finished my perfect day with my Monday training session with Leah. My weight loss has been in the plateau stage for a while (completely unrelated to the all-you-can-eat-a-thon weekend described above) so Leah worked up a revitalized food and exercise plan for me and took my measurements.  Seeing those inches come down was just the boost I needed!  Since I started working with her, I’ve lost over 12 inches!!  It’s so easy to lose sight of how far I’ve come when I see myself every day so having those hard numbers in front of me was great encouragement.

What encourages you when you’re in a slump? How do you light a fire under dat ass?

tl;dr

ate a ton, aspire to a life of leisure, got encouraged

A Quickie

I tried out a recipe tonight that my younger sister, Susie, made up for black bean burgers.  They tasted great! But remember how I said I wanted to be better about photographing food? Turns out black bean burgers are not the place to start. Also, if I’m going to use my phone instead of a real camera, I should learn to go landscape instead of portrait.  Enjoy this very unappetizing photo of a very tasty meal:

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It looks like this disgusting barley or wheat hot cereal Daddy made for breakfast years ago.  I don’t know what it was but I still shudder at the thought of it.

Here’s her recipe, verbatim, if you want to give it a whirl.  I served mine with a whole wheat bun, salsa verde, a slice of tomato and some lettuce.

Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

2 cans seasoned black beans, strained

1/2 red onion

1 egg

1 garlic clove

Bread crumbs (enough until it is the right texture)

4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (found in a can)

2 tbsp cottage cheese

1 tsp Cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Blend in a food processor until smooth. Doesn’t need to be thick enough to make into patties, will be like a thick muffin batter. Plop onto a lightly oiled medium/hot skillet. I patted mine into a patty shape. Cook until brown on one side, then flip and cook a couple more minutes. I served it with a light mayo or sour cream (tried both at different times) mixed with Texas Pete, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt & pepper mix on a bun with a thin slice of cheddar and lettuce leaves.

It was gooooood! I know you’ll prob want to take out some of the stuff like salt and bread and cheddar but it is delicious like this so hopefully if you make those changes it’ll still be good!

Unrelated: Christian frequently teases me for my shorts collection.  And by collection I mean the one pair of shorts I own and wear all.the.time. You may recall that they were my one piece of “skinny” clothing and I was thrilled to fit into them again.

The last time these shorts fit, I'd done a 12-week all liquid diet and was a senior in college. It might be time to get myself a new pair.
The last time these shorts fit, I’d done a 12-week all liquid diet and was a senior in college. It might be time to get myself a new pair.

So, to stop the teasing, (and because it’s almost my birthday and I’ll use any excuse to get myself a present) I stopped in Loft today to try to find a new pair or two.  The shorts I currently own are size 14P so I took a few 14s and a 12 into the fitting room. I was ELATED to find that they all sagged in the butt and had room in the waist! I’m used to the butt sagging, I’m cursed with a hereditary disease called Noassatall, but the room in the waist is a refreshing change! I went back out onto the floor and brought an armload of size 10 shorts back to try on. Size 10! That’s practically single digits!

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Not sure why I decided standing like Peter Pan, crowing his heart out, was a good pose.

After a few slack-jawed dressing room selfies and two second opinions (thanks, Susie and Christian!) I walked out of the store with two pairs of SIZE 10 shorts (on clearance, no less!) If I could’ve leapt into the air, fist pumped, 80s movie freeze-frame style, I absolutely would have.  What a victory!

tl;dr 

that photo’s not poop, got me some new (smaller) britches

In the Beginning

One year ago today, I was tipping the scales a few pounds shy of 220.  I was uncomfortable, self-conscious and fed up with feeling that way.  Christian, my boyfriend, while devastatingly handsome, wasn’t at a healthy weight either.  We’d both struggled with our weights for quite some time and five months of dating hadn’t done us any favors.  We’d eat out or order take out most nights of the week and the foods I did manage to cook were usually loaded with calories.  After a tearful conversation (that Christian just can’t stop the waterworks), we decided to do something about it. Together. And do something about it we did.

Before & After

I posted this photo on Instagram earlier today and received overwhelming and very kind feedback.  A few friends sent me messages asking what we did to lose weight. It seems simple to me now: we eat fewer calories, more fresh fruits and veggies, leaner meats and exercise regularly. But as I look back on where we started, I realized it wasn’t simple.  I needed guidance and it took a lot of trial and error and even more tears and whining to get comfortable with this healthy lifestyle. So, I thought I could start a blog about it. I’m by no means an expert and I certainly haven’t figured this all out. I still have a good 35-40 lbs to lose so maybe putting all these tools, recipes and ideas down on virtual paper will help me reach my goal as well.

 tl;dr

was bigger, now smaller, started a blog