Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Why

Since I began training to be a Beachbody coach, I've learned a lot of things about myself and others. First, I'll get to the "others" piece. My family and friends will quickly tell you that I'm very supportive with whatever efforts they decide to pursue, even if I may disagree with them. For instance, years ago, I had a friend who was just starting out as a Mary Kay representative. Without asking me for help, I asked if she could provide a Mary Kay show for my bridal shower. My hope was to give her more exposure so she could expand her business, as well as earn money. I also have a friend who currently makes hair bows. I volunteered my time to help her create marketing materials to promote her business as well. I even purchased several bows for my daughter.

So, why is it then that when you announce to your family and friends that you're a Beachbody coach, no one responds?! Or they expect special treatment just because they know you. There have been folks within my personal network that have hurt my feelings because they're uninterested in the tools and support I can offer. But as Michael tells me, move on. My fellow coaches tell me to not get caught up with they have said or done. Expand your network.

Moving on now to what I've learned about myself. One of my first assignments in my Beachbody training was to figure out "The Why." Why do I want to become a Beachbody coach? I thought about it long and hard because I knew the primary reason was to make money. The next reason is that I know that the fitness programs work. You know what Turbofire did for me! I can't help but preach the gospel of Turbofire, Chalene Johnson, and Beachbody. They finally gave me a fitness program that I could do and actually see physical changes in my body.

The other reason why I'm becoming a coach is to share my story. In my early 20s through the time I was 33, I struggled with anorexia. Growing up in my hometown, I realized quickly that it was not culturally diverse. I  made up a small minority of Asian Americans in our town. This fact brought more attention to us, and I was often teased because of my appearance (i.e. black hair, olive skin, slanted eyes). I was an honors student throughout my pre-college days. My English was strong, and I think others (non-Asians) envied my academic successes. At least that's what I think. When it came time to deciding where I wanted to go to college, I knew I wanted to leave my hometown and move to a town that I knew would be culturally diverse. I decided on Loyola University in New Orleans.

Growing up in my hometown, I was only aware of my Asian characteristics. I was never concerned with my weight. My parents taught us to eat and be happy, but we didn't have a lot of food choices at home. My parents both worked two jobs each just to make ends meet. There were many times we had to eat whatever they prepared, whether we liked it or not. I remember often eating eggs with soy sauce on rice or hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. I remember getting so much joy out of eating a quarter of a Snickers bar that my mom would purchase from the vending machine at her workplace. They would sometimes treat us to a Whopper but with no fries. But even during these times and during my crazy high school years, I was never concerned with my weight.

As a freshmen in college, I was just so amazed at how many other Asians attended my school and also spoke English just as clearly as I did. And they were friendly and welcoming. As my stay at Loyola continued, I met more and more Asians. I joined groups with them, attended parties, shopped in Asian markets, etc. But later on, I realized that I didn't fit in when it came to my personal appearance. That is, I wasn't as thin as most of the other Asian girls were. I chose to wear a size 6 because I liked my clothes loose. Many of these girls were sizes 0 or 2. Some even shopped for clothes in the children's section. Say whaa-WHAT?!

In my junior year, I became an after-school tutor in one of the Vietnamese communities located on the Westbank of New Orleans. I made more friends and even joined a nonprofit organization to aid desolate communities in Vietnam. This was the time that I became more self-conscious. I was meeting more boys (or should I say men) and wanted to look nice. I thought that to be attractive to an Asian man, that you should be thin, almost waif-like. I even had a few of my Asian friends tell me that I would look better if I lost a little weight. So, I did. During the summer before my senior year, I rode my bike and circled around my old high school. I limited what I ate to just lunch and very light dinner with my parents. Then, when I became a senior, so many people complimented me on how I looked. They could tell that I lost some weight. I was so proud of myself.

In my last semester, I met my boyfriend, an Asian like myself. He was in medical school. He was funny, cute, smart, and so sweet. We would date for 3-1/2 years, even after I graduated and moved to Baton Rouge to go to graduate school at LSU. During those years, I struggled with my appearance more and more. His family was a very traditional Asian family and his mother didn't like my appearance. She hated the way I looked and made fun of my crooked smile. She still haunts me from time to time. I actually got braces to correct the spacing of my teeth in 2010. (If she could only see me now...)

My boyfriend agreed with his mother. He also thought I would look better if I lost weight. He had me workout often, even when I was battling the flu. He would scoff at me if I ate too much. During this time, I was practically a size 1. My friends noticed but didn't say anything. My parents noticed but only said, "You're too skinny." My siblings didn't say anything at all. Yes, I had an eating disorder but didn't know it. I restricted myself to eating one very small snack or meal a day. I barely drank water, had an occasional soda. For breakfast, I would eat a granola bar. For lunch, I may have eaten something large just so I could be full at dinnertime. I was living alone, in one of the graduate student apartments on campus. So, no one knew what I was doing to myself. I also forced myself to work out as much as I can, sometimes twice a day.

At that time, I didn't know why my skin was scaling, why I had 8 cavities at one time, why I was getting sick all of the time.

I changed the way I ate once I broke up with my boyfriend a few years later. When I moved on to my next two relationships, I ate more regularly, exercised less, but still I...skipped meals. I was a size 2 then.

It wasn't until I met my husband in 2007 when I finally learned about healthy eating and regularly working out. He's a former bodybuilder and exercises 4-5 days/week. He taught me how to eat well and drink water to stay hydrated. Still, I skipped meals when I could. What finally changed for me was when I became pregnant with my first child just a few months after I got married. My first trimester was miserable. I was nauseated most of the time and I could barely eat. I remember crying to my OB because I thought I was killing my baby by not eating. And I wasn't eating...because I had no appetite, not because I was trying to maintain my figure. Both of my pregnancies were similar in that I ate like I did when I wasn't pregnant. I didn't have cravings or overate. I filled my body with lots of fruits and vegetables. I didn't have a taste for any soda.

So, there's my why. I'm not sad anymore. I'm the happiest I've ever been. I'm a happy size 4. I know now that because of Turbofire, I can eat healthy and exercise regularly to lose and maintain my weight. No longer do I starve myself.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal and Runner Swag Swap

In October, I participated in two swaps--one related to food and the other related to running. I thought this might be a good way to meet other bloggers with interests in food and running. My two loves...

For those of you who don't know, Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean hosts a monthly Foodie Pen Pal program for bloggers and blog readers, across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., to swap their favorite foodie things. There's still time to enter for November.

So, I received a package from the lovely Sarah Force, who doesn't have a blog but somehow knew just what I liked. Pumpkin butter...YES, PLEASE! I ate a little bit of it already and am now hoarding it. We don't have a Trader Joe's here, and it seems like a store I would spend our savings on. There's also no Whole Foods here either. The closest Whole Foods is in Baton Rouge, which is 2.5 hours south of here.

Of course, I could make my own pumpkin butter BUT WHY?! Sarah was kind enough to send me seaweed snacks, cocoa almond spread, Halloween gummies, fruit flakes, and whole wheat couscous. My children love to eat couscous and that is what I prepared that night for dinner. I sauteed chicken sausage with sliced red and yellow bell peppers and added atop the couscous. And I sprinkled on some parmesan cheese for good measure. I also sauteed some spinach for a "green" side.

This month, I also participated in Katie Key's (Katie Runs This) October Runner Swag Swap. Katie is a Louisiana gal but now lives in Greenville, SC. She's so upbeat and a lover of all things running. She's also a busy mom on the go. She hosted this month's Runner Swag Swap to connect runners with other runners and exchange running goodies.

I received my swag from Elizabeth Kalifeh at Running for Bling. She sent me some new Nuun flavors to try like banana, along with some Halloween candy and a Sweaty Band with an ultracool design! I've always wanted a Sweaty Band but just didn't think to buy one. I used it on my 3-mile run today while on my treadmill, and it didn't budge. I have very thick hair so it's difficult to find bands that will stay put on my head. One thing that annoys me when I'm doing any workout is hair wispies. You know, those strands of hair that move with just a breath and you can't pin them back with a bobby pin. Ugh...I'll put this baby to the test on Saturday when I run 10 miles OUTSIDE. (Yep, my husband gave me permission to run on the road...10+ loops around our .75 mile neighborhood.) Thank you, Elizabeth!

All in all, I enjoyed participating in these two blogger-related events in October. I may do them again when we have a heavier cash flow. In the meantime though, I will continue enjoying my bites of pumpkin butter and killing those miles on the treadmill with my new Sweaty Band. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I've Got a Crush on You

So, I've mentioned my love for Turbofire several times on my blog. Now, let's talk about my celebrity this moment. And yes, I am happily married. I'm free to look, not touch. ;)

When I was a teen, I loved New Kids on the Block and so did my best friend Sharon. We both bought tons of magazines and plastered posters, pictures, and news clippings of them all over our bedroom walls. Imagine this as our wallpaper.


I had the biggest crush on Jordan Knight. Those eyes, that smile...and those DIMPLES. So cute. "I'll be loving you for-EEEH-VUH."

Well, times have changed. And just FYI...I believe Jordan is still single, but I'm no longer interested. ;) Today, I'm more interested in my superhero men Batman and Captain America. Tall, dark, and handsome...coming to rescue me. How can you not develop a crush for guys like that?

And with most of our Sundays devoted to football, my husband introduced me to Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers. Love those eyes and big smile.

But my biggest crush of this man. My husband of 5 years.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Breaking Out of a Running Funk

After I had my second child, I was more than eager to get back into running. My postpartum recovery this time around was slow and painful and so were the first few months back into running. Oooh, aah, OUCH! The pressure on my lower woman parts was making my return to running very challenging. On top of that, I was learning how to run with such a fuller chest. But in about three months, I was able to run between 15-20 miles/week at an average pace of 11:00 min/mile. Not bad, right?! I started losing weight until I hit a runner's rut 6 months later. The last few pounds and inches were going nowhere.

What is a runner's funk? It's my way of saying "no motivation to run." First, I would just snooze the alarm when it beeped at 4:30 AM. I figured I'd just call my sister to watch my girls at lunchtime so I could get in a run. Or I would run when my husband returned home from work. Then weeks later, I didn't bother setting the alarm. I just didn't run. I didn't work out, period. I would just sleep in until my girls awoke. Sure, I felt guilty but I just didn't have the motivation to run. Just the thought of doing it made me tired. I was frustrated because I wasn't losing any more weight.

In hindsight, I should have read my own list of ways to break out of a running funk. But you see, I'm not a forward thinker, nor am I that bright. I know many lists on this topic are out there for us to read but this is what works for me.

1.) Run intervals on a treadmill like a mad woman. I guess this is two tips in one. First, varying your runs on a treadmill, which is where I typically run (hence the blog name), is key. This tip came from my former bodybuilding competitor husband. This helped me shave seconds off of my running pace and it decreased my run time on the treadmill. (C'mon, I was running out of magazines to read and movies to watch on the DVD player.)
Also, running while angry at someone or something can hurry your run along. I remember getting upset with my husband quite often, so having that time alone on the treadmill was a way to vent my frustration.
 2.) Find a new workout. Yes, running was becoming a bore. I remember dreading my runs on the treadmill, and running outside was not an option for me here. I mentioned this in my Lost and Found post. But I later discovered Turbofire and found my new workout soulmate. It changed the way I think about working out (that it can be fun), changed my body (I went from a size 8 to a size 2 in 3 months), and improved my eating habits (cut the soda, sweets, and french fries). Althought Turbofire is my new love, in a close second behind running, I also tried Zumba and kickboxing for a few months.

3.) Sign up for a virtual race or challenge. In the blog world, there are a number of virtual races you can compete in and share your successes. You can also win prizes. (None won yet.) There's the Cupcake Classic and Joggermom Marathon, to name a few.

For me, running is not just the ONLY way I can maintain my weight and gain fitness. There are other just as challenging workouts. Step out of your comfort zone. Trust me...shaking my booty to "Tootsie Roll" was hard to do at first but I learned to let loose. I learned that I could also love kickboxing because my instructor challenged us with walking lunges and jump squats.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Crazy Trail Run

I have two races scheduled for this year. One is a half marathon on November 17 and the other was a 10K at Kincaid Lake this past Saturday. I prefer racing longer distances because I get to run long and slow. My husband says it's because I'm a race snob and think 5Ks are just too easy for me. PUH-LEEZE! I'm not speedy and I'm not competitive. Have ya seen my past race times?

Anyway, I ran my first 10K of the year on Saturday, October 6 with an unofficial finish time of 1:10. No PR there. Not only would this race be my first of the year but it was also my first trail run, the Eddie's BBQ Race for Da Ribs 10K Trail Run. Funds from the race benefited the Rapides Junior Runners, a local nonprofit organization that encourages the sport of running to children ages 3-14. I knew this trail race would mean a slower run since I'd be trying to divert roots, pass on narrow paths, walk/run steep hills, and run on varied running surfaces (i.e. sand, mud, gravel). But I was still hopeful that I'd run this distance faster than my previous 10Ks.

Little did I realize, though, that I'd be ending the race...hobbling! When I went to sign in and pick up my "goodie bag," I knew something was off when they realized I was a female and not a male. I know my name is foreign but good God (Forgive me Michael. This is for emphasis.), the online form that I used to pre-register asked if I was Female or Male. Duh...I selected Female. Me girl...NOT boy. This was gonna be fun...

Then...there was no race bag as was promised on the imATHLETE registration page. I just got handed the race shirt.

Once the race was ready to begin, the race director had a few messages to share including teasing folks who might come in around 1:30 as their race time. I thought that was uncalled for and not encouraging at all. Nothing wrong with that race time!

Off I went. I was clocking a 9:30 pace but soon noticed that the trail path was very narrow and only wide enough for one person to run on at a time. So if you wanted to pass someone, you literally had to run on their heels to get their attention if you were trying to pass. This really only happened to me at about mile 5 when a fellow runner would NOT let me pass. Ludacris knows what I'm talking about! "Move! Get out da way!" (Minus all of the expletives, of course. I didn't think to call her any foul names.)


She would run and walk to drink from her water bottle. I didn't mind stopping to walk one or two times but it got annoying when she would run a tenth of a mile, run a little and stop, run a little and stop, run a little AND STOP. You know what I mean...AND she would not let me pass. So, I just said to myself that I needed to show some good sportsmanship and let it be. Do I get some extra points to heaven?!

Before that incident, I had to stop abruptly right before mile 3 because some other runners were warning all of us that bees were attacking runners up ahead. Uh...say what?! The start and stop lady asked me what we should do. And in true Trang fashion, I said, "Let's just run through it." (Like I'm some superhuman, right?!) I only said that because I just couldn't believe that bees were on the attack. Sue me. Turns out though, it was true. we ran around the path we were supposed to and I found my running groove and started to sail off.

AND THEN...I fell!!! Hard! BOOM! CRASH! KAPOW! Not once but TWICE. Of course, after I realized that I had fallen, I looked around to see if anyone had seen me fall. At the time, I was more embarrassed than hurt. I scraped my left knee and upper thigh pretty badly. I'll spare you a picture. (Wait, I just realized I'm not a true blogger yet because I didn't carry a camera with me. ;)) Then, at mile 5, I fell on my right side after seeing the start and stop lady trip before me. I must have fallen where she tripped. Ugh.

When I think about this 10K, I cringe a little bit. It was probably the best and worst $30 I have spent in a long time. And believe me, I've purchased a lot of crappy stuff in my 30+ years of life. (I still think about the baby wrap I bought and never used. It's brand new if anyone wants it. :)) I was drawn to the race because of the distance and the goodies the race director stated he'd provide to all those that registered. I doubt I will run this race again, although the funds would benefit the Rapides Junior Runners.

I learned two important lessons from this race. Keep a first aid kit handy in your vehicle at all times (which I did) and don't sign up for a race just because it's cheap. Boo-yah!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Making a Change

In one of my more recent posts, I mentioned my new fitness love for Beachbody's Turbofire.

After I complete my last half marathon of this year, I will begin Advanced Turbofire and ChaLEAN Extreme, both of which are also Beachbody programs.

I've never considered myself an athlete, nor have I ever thought of myself as a health and fitness advocate. But since I've been a stay-at-home mom, I've had PLENTY of time to think about what I want to do when it's time to re-enter the workforce.

There were many days (and still) when I would feel sorry for myself because I left my previous job as a project manager and its very substantial income. I often longed for the days past when we had such financial freedom and a fat savings account. Now that we are living under one income and have two kids (one still in diapers), we don't live as comfortably as we used to. Sometimes, my husband has had to prolong a haircut or I had to forgo a race because we needed to save the money to put towards a bill (like my student loan payment which I will pay till I perish this earth). Blech!

I discovered blogs back in December 2010 as a way to get advice on easing back into running, post-partum. Little did I realize at the time, as my blogroll grew, that there were potential career opportunities for me to consider. I didn't have to find a 9-5 job to live comfortably. For instance, although blogging doesn't seem to be a lucrative career, it does involve one of my first interests and that is writing. When I was younger and had the time, I loved to read and write. I remember visiting the library often and writing stories in a spare notebook. I also tried keeping a diary but that didn't last because my brothers were on the hunt for it daily. Grr...

Other career opportunities I learned of through Twitter included being a health and fitness coach. This is where Beachbody comes in. When I purchased Turbofire earlier this year, I remember reading about their coaching program and the benefits of earning an income. But I thought it might be another ploy to get me to sell something. I already went through that with a certain reputable cosmetics company (who shall remain nameless) and just ended up with $100 worth of product sitting in a box that I would later give to my friends for FREE.

But through Twitter, I found Kalee Sorey of Sorey Fitness. Kalee is also a Turbofire lover and in a just a few Twitter exchanges, I asked if she could be my Beachbody coach. I soon learned that she and her mom, Kimberly Fleming Sorey, are the masterminds behind Sorey Fitness. They are Beachbody coaches and Kalee is my coach. Kalee put out a call for a coaching internship just a few weeks ago and I signed up. So far, I'm learning a lot and I'm feeling more and more confident each day that I can do this. I.CAN.DO.THIS!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Reminds Me of Fall

For months, my husband Michael anxiously awaits the start of football, while I quietly wish it away. This time of year signals FALL to me. That is, when my husband is glued to the television, laptop, or our iPod all Sunday long and occasionally Monday and Thursday nights. If he wants to watch a college game, then that also means he will be watching games that day as well. Ugh, I can't wait to have my husband back in February...after the Super Bowl. :)