Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Survivial Guide (it's a looooooong one)

I can't believe Christmas is in just one week, peoples! Where has the time gone? I hate to admit this, I really do, but I lean a little bit more than I'd like toward the bah humbug side of the fence. I think this is because I do not do holidays well...actually, to be more specific, I do not do stress well, and I find holidays extremely stressful. Overall, we actually have a pretty laid back holiday - we don't do a lot of partying or entertaining, just family and close friends. But what kills me is my perfectionist gene: I always want everything to be perfect for the kids, and I always feel like I come up short. It's always been bad, but it's been even worse since I've been a Single Mama, and all the responsibility falls on me.

So, the past week has been really difficult. I've felt myself starting to slip. I haven't been journaling what I eat. I haven't been eating great. I haven't been exercising as obsessively as I was there for awhile. I feel like I'm starting to circle the drain a little, and it's time to throw out the grappling hook and Get. A. Grip. I need to take a pause and get my strategies and coping mechanisms back in focus. I need to be more accountable, and y'all can feel free to help hold me accountable, too! I will get through this holiday...the question is, will I get through it lighter or heavier? At this point I'd be thrilled to maintain! Here's what I need to do:

Bite it, write it. I've gotten really bad about this. Part of it is just me "forgetting" - I am at that stage where the novelty of it has worn off and frankly it's kind of a PITA now - and part of it is me not wanting to record my mis-steps (if you don't record that third brownie, do the calories really count?). I've switched from my iPhone app to Spark People for journaling my food and exercise, so please feel free to check up on me and give me some hell if necessary! (Want me to return the favor? Email me your dets!) One of these days maybe I'll pretty up my page over there, but in the mean time I think I got it set up so others can see my nutrition & fitness trackers. 

Snack healthy. I have gotten really bad about this, too, as I mentioned in this post. It occurred to me the other day that...duh! I quit smoking! While I was very conscious about it and did not go off the deep end with my eating when I quit, it has affected me since I tend to be a boredom eater and now I can't relieve boredom by having a cigarette. But another, unexpected side effect struck me the other day: I used to go out at lunch time so I could smoke, and a lot of days I would go to the grocery store or WalMart (usually to buy more cigarettes), but while I was there I would pick up some healthy snacks. I was never short of good snacks at work. Well, now that I don't "have" to go out to smoke, I don't like to go out! I don't usually have things to bring from home because when I keep things at home, the three little munchsters eat them! Hence, I need to be more conscious about making at least a weekly snack run at work so the fridge there is filled with healthy snacks, and I need to create a diversion to use at home when I feel a snack attack coming on. Maybe I will buy myself a jump rope, and whenever I feel the need to snack, I will go out to the garage and jump for a few minutes - two birds, one stone. SCORE!

Fail to plan, plan to fail. I need to STOP doing this! I need to get back to planning weekly meals so I am not caught unprepared at lunch or dinner time. We've had pizza twice in a week because I have had my head up my butt (fa la la la la). That is not good - you know it's bad when the kids get tired of pizza! Part of this is a by-product of working out at the gym - I threw that big ball up in the air and it's affected my ability to juggle other things, but that is really no excuse. I have a ton of healthy crock pot recipes, and I've been saying for awhile I wanted to pre-cook a few things on the weekend so there is always something easy to grab for the nights dinner has to be quick. School is delayed 2 hours again tomorrow, so after my morning workout, I will sit down and make menus and grocery lists for the next few weeks. I think it would even help to log them in my food journal ahead of time so I can always see where I stand (and stand to, gain...if I cheat!).

Eat more. Huh? Sounds crazy, but this is another problem I've been facing. I've been trying to stay within my "recommended" calorie range despite the fact that some days I am burning close to or upwards of 1000 calories. It was a little easier on my iPhone app to see where I stood for the day because food and activity calories were all lumped together, but not so on Spark People. I realized one day last week that maybe part of the reason I was feeling so tired and blah was because I needed to compensate for all that exercise by eating a little more...can you see where I'm going with this? The "eating a little more" got a little out of hand. I think along with planning meals, I need to plan my exercise as well, and know ahead of time when I will need to eat more calories - and then do it in a healthy way. 

Indulge, not over-indulge. I could never have gotten this far in my journey if I had denied myself some of the foods I really love. I would drown in tears if I thought I could never enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie or prime rib again! The key is learning to indulge once in awhile - to build excitement and anticipation over a splurge, and then savor it and enjoy it. Ever notice how when you set no limits, you eat and eat without truly enjoying what you are eating, sometimes to the point of feeling sick? But when you plan an indulgence and look forward to it all week, then you eat slowly and deliberately, enjoying every single bite? I would much rather have one truly decadent slice of cheesecake once a month than a pile of crappy processed snacks every other day. Based on Tuesday's working-from-home animal-cracker-binge, I need to be more conscious of allowing myself the occasional calorie-worthy indulgence instead of filling my days over-indulging on crap snacks because I'm feeling deprived. (I mean really, animal crackers? They are barely a step above cardboard and paste!)

If necessary, take a break. I don't mean to stop altogether what I've been doing, because I feel like I've been really successful to this point, and I am thrilled with my progress. I have known for awhile that sooner or later I was going to hit a plateau, and I am right at the weight I might have expected it to happen (I am just a few pounds away from my original goal weight, before I decided to push myself). Logically speaking, I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a break from all the obsessing that goes along with trying to lose weight - it really becomes all encompassing, as it needs to be, since it is a lifestyle change and not a "diet." By definition, it affects all areas of your life, but it can get to be exhausting. I think a little break from trying so hard to lose, lose, lose, and concentrating on maintaining for a little while is probably good for both body and mind. Like I said, makes perfect logical sense...the problem is getting the brain to let go of the obsession for awhile and relax! I do think that since I know the next few weeks are going to be pretty stressful, it would take some of the stress off me to relax a little and let myself be ok with maintaining while I truly enjoy being with family and friends for the holidays. Of course, that doesn't mean I will stop doing all of the above!

Well, these are my strategies for surviving the next few weeks. What are you going to do to get through the holidays with sanity and goals intact?

Today I am grateful for:
  • Google
  • Jenni-o turkey hot dogs - I know they fit my definition of processed crap, but sometimes a hot dog just hits the spot
  • Heat Miser & Snow Miser
  • discount gas cards
  • the first day of winter next Tuesday - then the days start getting longer again!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow day!

I am originally from Maryland, which is by no means the Great White North, but we still had our fair share of snow and snow days. I remember waking up in the morning and turning on the tv or radio to listen for school closings, and there were plenty of days I looked out at a white blanketed yard as I got ready for school! Where I live in NC, however - different story. I live in an area that is a good mix of northern transplants and NC born and raised, so I'm going to go ahead and blame it on the natives who don't know how to deal with a little winter precipitation ;-) Last night's weather forecast predicted light snow/wintry mix this morning, and by 9:00 pm I had already receieved an email saying our county schools were delayed by 2 hours. I woke up this morning to another email informing us that schools were closed. This is what I saw outside my window...

Out the front door (courtesy of C)

Out the back door (courtesy of C)
I'm not going to complain about the snow day, even though it means that J's winter band concert (for which my mother made her a beautiful black velvet dress...) will be cancelled :-( Even though the fireplace guy couldn't fix my fireplace this morning because he has to order a part. Even though it means I have to go out in the slushy yuk with the dogs because they are big ol' babies. You know why? Because it's almost Christmas and I am looking at white stuff out my window! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Amanda over at RunToTheFinish tagged me for my very first meme, which seems like a perfect post for a "sort of snowy" day, so here goes!

1. Are you a girlie movie? Action movie? or Comedy kind of person? I used to be a movie fanatic. I don't see many in the theater, but I was addicted to pay per view and always had a hard time finding something at Blockbuster that I hadn't already seen. These days, I don't have too much time for tv and movies, but my favorite kinds are comedy (The Hangover anyone?) and action (love the Bourne series). I am not a fan of  horror, nor is anyone who watches a horror movie with me, or suspense - in fact, I almost always read the last page of any book first! Yeah, I know, right?

2. What is your favorite thing to do to “treat” yourself? This is a toughie because for a long time my treat was food. I do still treat myself with food once in awhile, but these days it's more likely to be a square of dark chocolate than a slice of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory (in fact, I still have the gift card my girls gave me for my birthday). I would say my favorite treat these days is to let go of everything for awhile and curl up with a good book without feeling guilty.

3. How much sleep do you need to feel your best? Around 7 hours. Whenever I try and get more, I feel too sluggish. Less, and I can get through one day on adrenaline but then I crash big time.

4. What vegetable could you eat every day?
That's easy - corn on the cob!

5. Dream place to run? Wow. That's a hard one, because lately I've been imagining all kinds of places I would love to run. If I could pick just one place, though, I think I would love to run through the Scottish countryside, especially if I had a Scottish guide talking to me in that lovely accent! Why Scotland? I am part Scottish and part Polish, and embrace both sides of my heritage - Scotland seems like it would be a better place to run, though! 

6. Last good book you read? Write it Down, Make it Happen. I love it. I've read it at least a dozen times. I highly recommend it.

7. What was the best year of your life?
This year, without question. And next year is going to be even better!

Well that was fun, so now it's my turn to ask the questions!
1. If you could go back and talk to your 16 year old self, what advice would you give?
2. When you see yourself having reached your goal, what do you see?
3. What is your favorite book?
4. What is your best organizing tip?
5. What is your favorite thing about where you live?
6. What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
7. What would your theme song be?

Today I am grateful for:
  • our snow day, of course!
  • that my fireplace will be fixed on Saturday, so I can curl up in front of the fire with a good book come Christmas break
  • exerciseTV
  • my kick ass washer and dryer that allow me to get all my laundry done in one day (even though I still have to do all the folding)
  • Pandora radio and Christmas songs

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Inspired Run

Picture courtesy of
I took the big red dog out bright and early this morning for a run, and what a great run it was! I love my new running partner (except for the one time he tripped me, but hey, he is the spastic 90 pound puppy, after all). I love running in the cold (who would have known). I love seeing other runners out there - no ambling half-serious walkers this morning! I love being one of the serious runners out there! I am trying to take it slow as I build back up after my break, but I actually felt stronger - maybe since I'm out there enjoying myself instead of pushing toward a deadline or distance goal. I've also reached a point in my running where I am no longer thinking about the mechanics of it; I can put my body on automatic and use the time to think. It's an amazing feeling. 

Today as I ran, I was thinking about the progress I've made since the first day I stepped onto the trail with "Nan" (for those of you who don't know, that's what I called the voice on my iPhone C25k app). When I started running, I had a goal - to run a 5k - and  I kept that goal fixed in my mind at all times. But when I was running, I kept my focus on the ground right in front of me, because I was literally thinking about one step at a time. Over time, I shifted my focus to a point just ahead - a tree or other marker I was aiming for. I got through my runs reaching those small goals. Then I reached a point where I could focus in the distance, because I knew I was going to get there. And now, I can look around and take in the sights or fix my gaze ahead while I turn my thoughts inward. I reached my "big" goal by concentrating on smaller goals while always keeping the end in sight.

It occurred to me that a weight loss journey is much the same, or rather, it should be. We start out with a big goal - sometimes a huge goal, like losing 100 pounds. We should always keep that goal fixed in our mind, but trying to keep our focus on it can be overwhelming. We need to chunk it into smaller goals - say, to lose 10 pounds at a time - and keep our focus shortened, on one day or even one meal at a time, while we learn skills and strategies and habits for success. Then we can build momentum based on those successes, and turn our attention a little further down the trail, and finally, to the long goal. 

We also, above all, need to learn to forgive ourselves when we slip, and to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move on. Sometimes when we slip, which we mistakenly call "failing," we get so frustrated that we just quit. Can you imagine if we had had that attitude when learning to walk, or read, or ride a bike? Slips are not failures, they are lessons, and we should look at them as such. Just because we gulp down half a pizza doesn't mean we've failed our entire diet, it means we have to look at what happened and learn from it! Maybe we learn that we can't eat pizza alone, or we have to buy it by the slice, or maybe, that we can't have it at all for awhile, but that's ok, because we've taken a slip and turned it into something positive.

Building an exercise program is just the same. We have to start small and build on successes, even if it's 10 minutes a day. I know that I suffer from "OCD" - Obsessive Competitive Disorder - and this is hard for me! When I want to achieve something, I want it now! Yesterday, even! If I can't be the best or do the best right out of the gate, I feel like a failure. I had to let go of that attitude when learning to run, and for the most part I did - I still think I pushed myself too hard and ended up with an injury I wouldn't have if I had stepped back and admitted that I needed to go a little slower. But now I set tiny goals for myself and celebrate when I acheive them. For example, I do pushups every morning. When I started I could do 7. I decided to add just one a day, and before I knew it, I was doing 20, 25, 30, and more! Each time I go to the gym, I use the Stairmonster and add just one more minute to my time...I'm up to 35 minutes. And if one day I am not up to what I planned for the day? Guess, what...I forgive myself! Tomorrow is another day, and tomorrow I'll meet my goal.

Zig Zigler, a famous motivational speaker, uses the analogy of a pilot flying a plane when talking about reaching goals. He explains that a plane is off course the majority of time between point A and point B - the pilot is constantly making tiny corrections to make sure they reach their destination. Life is like that, too...the road to any goal is never straight or easy. We have to be on guard, make corrections, have faith, keep plugging, and remember, sometimes the best won battles are those that are hardest won!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Camera Shy

You may have noticed that I haven't posted any pictures of myself, other than a few from race day. I have spent a very good part of the last many years avoiding being in front of the camera, using the convenient excuse that I am always the one behind the camera. Even at my best, I am not a photogenic person. My sister, on the other hand, never takes a bad picture - once, when she had mono in high school, she looked bad in a picture. To my knowledge, that had never happened before nor has it since. End result - I am more than a little camera shy. This makes me sad because I wish I had more pictures with my kids and not just of my kids.

I also have not been very good about taking self-portraits during my journey. It is always in the back of my head to ask one of the girls to snap a few, but I need a new battery charger for the camera, I'm too busy, they're too busy, blah blah blah and so on and so forth excuse-y speak. The truth is, I've been afraid to see pictures of me because in my head I always look better than I do when faced with a can't lie photo, and I've been reluctant to see proof that I'm not where I want to be or think I am. And that's ok, some people use photos for motivation - the pictures below sure motivated me to get off my ass - but I find they trip me up more than motivate me. Still, I do wish I had taken them so I could look back at some point and see the changes. I will make an effort to do that going forward, because I still have a ways to go. And I will make an effort to be easier on myself when I do look at the pictures, and try and quiet that ugly talk voice in my head.

So, without further are my before pictures. These aren't even of me at my heaviest - I will have to see if I successfully avoided the camera altogether during that period, or if I can dig up a picture somewhere. My family probably has some - I never even wanted to see them much less have a copy! These pictures were taken in June, and I think I probably weighed around 217. I had started dieting in January with a starting weight of 235 but then stalled out around Easter. My friend took these pictures on a camping trip we took and posted them on Facebook and tagged me - I promptly untagged myself, of course! I remember I had just gone to Target and bought some shorts and t-shirts, and was so happy that the shorts, a size 18, were a little too big. I had no idea I looked this bad, and now when I look at them, I want to cry. Not just because I am clearly FAT, but because I am clearly UNHEALTHY. It makes me sad that this is what my kids saw every day for many, many years - this is the example I was setting for them. But, I will not dwell on that because I am working hard on setting the right one now - I just wanted to post these as evidence of how far I've come!

Trying to put up a tent for the very first time. I think that's my "what now" look!

Next on my list, taking my measurements. Yeah, yeah, I know I should have been doing this all along, too. I'll post 'em when I got 'em!

Today I am grateful for:
  • my wonderful family - I would not be where I am without them
  • my garage - not having to scrape ice and defrost every morning is a wonderful thing!
  • discovering that I can run in the cold without crazy bad inner ear pain
  • the changes eating healthy has brought about - I never would have believed I would lose my taste for soda and crave vegetables
  • it's Friday!!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hi, my name is Liz, and I'm a snackaholic

I don't know what it is, but lately I have really gone down a slippery slope with my snacking. For awhile there, I was really good, snacking on fruits and veggies. I had given up the processed 100 calorie snack packs. My snacks averaged around 100-150 calories. But lately, my snacking has been a little out of control. Not so much that I'm going way over my daily "budget," but enough that it's clear I need to rein it in and make some changes. There are days that I take in over half my calories in snack foods!

A few things I have had to step away from, as I have realized that either they aren't really doing me any favors, or I really have zero self control when I have them around.

I used to eat Nutella, but that is pretty much nothing more than chocolate frosting, so I switched to Justin's Hazelnut Butter as a healthier alternative. The problem is, I still tend to go way overboard on it when I have it around - a little spoonful here, a little spoonful there - at 190 calories for 2T, that adds up pretty quick! I have not given it up entirely, but I now only buy the little one serving packets as a special treat - I was super excited to find my local grocery store carries them, so I don't have to go all the way to the health food store! This stuff is seriously yummy, and if you haven't tried it yet, I recommend you run right out and get some, but if you, like me, suffer from a lack of self control, definitely try the individual packets.

For awhile I was eating a Clif Bar every day, usually before running or the gym. I've tried most of the flavors, and I think my favorites are White Chocolate Macadamia and Chocolate Brownie. Oh, and the Cool Mint Chocolate and Peanut Toffee Buzz are yummy, too, and I can't forget the Pumkin or the Gingerbread. You get the idea! Unfortunately, they are not low in calories, packing in 240-260 per bar, and it did not take long before "pre-exercise fuel" became just an excuse to devour one. Truthfully, I was not and still am rarely exercising long enough or strenuously enough to justify these calories, so I've said goodbye to Clif for now. I do occasionally indulge in a Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna bar, at only 180 calories, but I've given up the daily habit.

I have always been a nighttime nosher. I do so well during the day - I know the structure of my workday helps, but I stay on track with scheduled snacks and my meals are really pretty light yet filling. However, once I get home, I just fall apart. I am working on trying to curb this bad habit, and I definitely need to stock my fridge with some good veggies again - I have no problem crunching on carrots instead of graham crackers, I just haven't had them in my fridge for awhile. I'm putting them on my list now!

Are you a snackaholic? Nighttime nosher? How do you deal with it? I'd sure love some suggestions!

Today I am grateful for:
  • and online Christmas shopping
  • E's totally adorable toothless smile that makes me grin every time I see it
  • perseverance - I got it going on!
  • my wonderful and supportive friends
  • my new chiropractor, who is fixing my back and hip so I can keep persevering!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

And I ran!

Am I dating myself by saying that I now have that song by A Flock of Seagulls playing in my head? Weren't the 80's grand!

So yes, I ran! I took C & E and the big red dog to the trail and we did Week 1, Day 1 of C25k, and it felt GREAT! Part way through my phone died, so we spent the rest of the time counting out loud, but the kids were troopers - C really seemed to enjoy it and wants to do my January 5k with me. Not sure if E will stick with it, but I hope so because her school does a "marathon" every spring. The kids have to run or walk 25 miles at home over the course of a few months, and then everyone does the final 1.2 miles at the school. The past two years E and I have come in dead last, but not this year!!! 

Anyway, it was just awesome to be back out there and even better to have my kids and my dog beside me, and best of all, NO PAIN. It totally makes "starting over" O.K!

Saturday Weigh-in

I have not been very good about posting my weigh-ins lately because I have not been very good about weighing in. After my race, I gained about a pound an a half, which is not a huge deal, really. My trainer said that some people lose and some people hang on to weight after a race, and I was lucky enough to hang on. Although I did not overindulge over Thanksgiving, I also didn't get a lot of exercise in over the holiday, and I didn't want to depress myself with bad numbers, so I stayed away from the scale that weekend. I have started to think that my scale is smarter than me and I need a new one (now that I've given my "back-up" to a friend!) - it is one that is supposed to measure body fat, though I don't use that feature (*), but I think it holds some kind of memory because the first time I get on it, it always reads the exact same as the last time I got on it, and then I step off and step back on and it changes. Really, I just need a nice, simple Scale for Dummies. 

Actually, I think I am going to start using the stats from the gym, if I can get into the habit of going every Sunday morning. Then I can see my weight and my body fat percentage - although it reads about 5 pounds more than my home scale (evil thing), I will be able to see weekly how I'm getting stronger, not just lighter! The initial change will be hard because it will be frustrating to see numbers I thought I already fought through!

Anyway, that was a fabulous ramble about scales, yes? Now to get to the's weight, on my too-complicated-for-my-brain home scale, is...


I will enjoy being in the 170's for today, until I go to the gym tomorrow and get put back in the mid-180's. I am, however, still going to post my 70 pounds lost badge today, because I've still achieved that goal according to my scale! I really needed this positive weigh-in to re-motivate me, I've been feeling kind of slumpy in my eating lately (but that's another post - I have a date with Jillian right now!).

(*) When I first got the scale I did actually take the time to set it up to read my body fat percentage, but I was so fatty that it would not even register! You can understand why I banished those instructions from my brain!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Time flies when Christmas is around the corner!

The past few weeks have felt very crazed and disorganized. First, I am still hurting - my hip is still bothering me, and I haven't run since my race on November 20, which is really depressing me. As if that's not bad enough, the other day I leaned over the kitchen table and felt a shooting pain in my back. When I started this journey, I expected some roadblocks and difficulties, but getting myself addicted to exercise and then sidelined with injuries wasn't among them! And then of course, to add to the stress, Christmas is fast approaching and it can be a very challenging holiday in some respects when facing it as a single Mama!

However, I do not want to dwell on the negatives, because these days, even my "worst" is 1000 times better than my "best" felt before I began my Fat to Fit journey. I have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, and as we come up on a new year, I am full of exciting goals and challenges I can't wait to meet!

One of my goals for 2011 was inspired by awesome blogger Ann over at Twelve in Twelve. I hope she does not get upset with me for borrowing her idea (in scrapbooking we call it "scraplifting" and it's a compliment, really!), but I was so impressed and motivated by her commitment to run twelve 5k races in 2010 that I decided to adopt that goal for myself for 2011, with one little twist. Well, two twists, actually. First, I am only going to do charity runs. Second, I have an open invitation to all my friends and family to do a 5k with me, whether we walk, run, or a combination of the two, and my hope is to have everyone I know and love do at least one with me at some point during the year!

Though I have not been running, I have found plenty of other things to do. I have been pretty consistently working out 5-6 days a week, usually at the gym. I still have a few sessions with my trainer, after which I will have to start saving my pennies to afford more sessions with him - he is fabulous and I am going to cry when I have to give him up! I absolutely love our workouts, and working with him pretty much confirms what I learned while running with "Nan"...I really, really like having somone tell me what to do and when! I tend to be very unstructured and disorganized, even though I crave both, so having it dictated to me is fabulous!

I have been having fun trying lots of new things: I tried a spin class the day before Thanksgiving and am trying to figure out a good time to fit a weekly class into my schedule; I have worked out on the elliptical, "recumbant" stationary bike (I'm sure there's a more correct name for it), and the stairmonster - which I LOVE; I've been doing some kickboxing moves with my trainer and Tuesday I start a Strike class, which is going to be so fun! This weekend I need to get myself some gloves, because those community gloves are ewwwww gross!

At home, I've been doing pushups - trying to add one each day - and just started Jillian's 30 Day Shred. I am on Day 4, although I did miss yesterday because of my back. Tomorrow I am taking the kids and the spastic 90 pound puppy (yes, he's grown, and still not done!) on a walk/run to try and ease myself back into running. Instead of feeling frustrated that I have to "start over," I am looking at it as a good opportunity to start getting the kids involved and training the big red dog to run with me, which will make me feel much safer in the future when I'm running alone. In January I am starting an 8k training program and am really, really looking forward to running in a group and meeting others with the same obsession! 

Finally, I am "blog-lifting" one more idea from another amazing blogger, Amanda at Run to the Finish (she is the one hosting the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, which is going to keep me from losing ground over the holidays!). She includes a Gratitude Journal at the end of each post, and I have been trying rather unsuccessfully to keep up with a daily journal of my own so I thought I would try adding it to my blog. I may not get it done every day, but at least it will be on my mind every time I post! With that...

Today I am grateful for:
  • small town Christmas parades with sleigh rides
  • the library and their willingness to let me check out way too many books at one time!
  • the connections I've made since starting my Fat to Fit journey
  • brussels sprouts - I just recently learned how to roast them, better late than never - YUM!
  • healthy TaTas

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My first race!

Before the race
I did it! I ran my first 5k on Saturday, and no surprise, I totally loved it. It was the most fun I've had in a long time, and I had to force myself to quit thinking how much I wished I'd done it sooner. The point is, I'm doing it NOW. I'll start from the beginning...

Friday night I had friends over for lasagna dinner, and enjoyed good company, good food, and good encouragement. I also made roasted squash and brussels sprouts, in the hopes that I would get my one friend who is working on eating healthier to try a sprout, but all she did was lick one and throw it away. I already got her to eat spaghetti squash, so I will keep working on her! I was not feeling too nervous and managed to get to bed at a pretty decent hour.

Set my alarm clock for my regular time, 5am, knowing I would hit the snooze button a few times, which I did, and ended up getting up at 6:00. I enjoyed some quiet time before the kids got up (who am I kidding...before I had to pry them out of bed), took a shower, ate some yummy Bob's Red Mill 5-grain mix with bananas and walnuts, got dressed, and woke the girls up. We managed to get out the door on time (rarely happens!), and as soon as we were headed toward the park, the nerves kicked in!

At the park, we met two of my friends, who had made a poster for me and brought one for my kids to make! Too cool!!! My mom met us there, as well - my Dad had a stomach bug, but he was with me in spirit. I had the best cheering section ever. There was about an hour until the race, so I checked in, used the bathroom, kept drinking my water, got a massage, used the bathroom, warmed up, got stretched, used the bathroom...I was rather obsessive about that! There were all kinds of people there, and I did not feel intimidated or overwhelmed at all. I saw one of E's classmates (2nd grade) at the starting line with his Mom - there were LOTS of kids there, in fact.

At the start, my main goal was not to start too fast and my main concern was getting around slower people and not being a hangup for anyone else. No problemo. I hit the first mile right on pace (my slow pace, that is - 12 minute miles). Got through the "hilly" part (which is so much less intimidating now than the first time I ran it weeks ago!). Made it to mile two. Feeling steady and strong. The last bit was up a hill, a loop around a parking lot, and then to the finish line. As I got to the top of the hill, there were my mom, C & E, waving a poster and cheering!!! Just the encouragement I needed - I motored on around the parking lot and stepped it up to cross the finish line.

Official time...37:03

Originally my goal was to finish in under 35 minutes. However, the past few weeks I have been having a lot of problems with my right hip. About a month ago I had mentioned it to the orthopedist when I went in to have my shin pain evaluated, but he suggested stretching and monitoring it. Last weekend I went for a 45 minute run (doing the Bridge to 10k program), and the last 5-7 minutes were awful, my hip hurt so bad. That was Sunday, and I did not run again until the 5k. I experienced mild discomfort until that last bit, thank goodness, but once I got home and stopped moving, I could barely move had I wanted to. Sunday I felt good enough to work out at the gym - 30 minutes on the elliptical, 30 on the stairmaster and 30 cycling, but I think I need to stay away from high impact until I get back to the doctor. I am really bummed about this!!!

Probably one of the most exciting things about the 5k was the support I got from my friends and family. Everyone who came to watch me said they wanted to do one with me, so it makes me feel amazing that I inspired them! I see a training program for kids in my future...

The whole experience was unbelievable, and I can't wait to do it fact, in another post I will let you in on my plans for that!

After the race with C, E, & the turkey, wearing my hard-earned shirt.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Word Play

Just having a little fun. If you have never played around on this website, it is very cool and addictive! You can print out whatever you create and use it for anything you want - I think this needs to be printed out and put somewhere I can see it every day!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I know this means "non-scale victory" in the world of gettin' fit, but for today I have declared it temporarily to mean Non-Smoking Victory. I weighed in on Saturday and was down just under 3 pounds. I stepped off and on the scale three times to be sure, then I jumped up and down and squealed. I DID IT!!!!! I quit smoking and LOST WEIGHT. I am so proud of myself. Now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is it for sure...this is definitely my time to become a Fit Mama!!!

Six days to race day. I am nervous and excited and nervous some more. Mostly I can't wait! I work out with my trainer tonight and Wednesday, and I plan to tell him tonight that under no circumstances can my legs be as sore for my race as they have been since Thursday! I am already planning my races for 2011 - this is so much fun I really wish I had started years ago.

More later - I am in that mode I get into sometimes where I have a tornado of ideas and thoughts and things to say in my head, but I have a hard time getting my fingers to cooperate making them make sense coming many things going on in my life right now it's pretty overwhelming!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Week 1 as a FORMER smoker

I quit smoking one week ago today, and I am so thrilled and grateful to be able to say that it's been a breeze! I have not had any cravings at all. I have not gone overboard on eating (though I did have to leave my favorite Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter at work because it was seriously calling my name every evening!). I am so glad that I waited until I had developed good eating and exercise habits before tackling quitting, because now I have something else to concentrate on and motivate me. I am very curious to see what the scale says on Saturday, but trying not to obsess about it too much!

One thing that has really been a help is my new gym membership and my awesome new trainer. Tuesday evening was my first session with him, and we did an upper body workout. My pecs hurt so much on Wednesday morning I could not hold the phone. He should have recorded himself telling me to "hold my core in" to save himself repeating it 500 times - I tried to tell him my core has not seen any action in over 14 years, so it might take awhile to rouse those muscles from their hibernation. And planks? Holy Batmobile, Robin, my whole body was shaking! But it felt SO good. Best part of my week.

Then, THEN, internets, I got my butt out of bed and to the gym at 5AM on Wednesday morning and ran for 45 minutes on the treadmill AND I did not fall off! I am so proud of myself  - I may have mentioned once or twice that I did not used to be a morning person. I even managed to call J from the gym and get her out of bed and to the bus stop, no small accomplishment in itself! I will definitely do that more often - I love getting my workout out of the way in the morning.

Tonight was lower body workout with my trainer. Can you say jelly legs? I will definitely be walking funny tomorrow, but I will love every second of it. This journey has become so much more than just losing weight or getting in shape. My entire life is changing. I am reconnecting with dreams and goals and ambitions long buried. I want to try new things - I want to try everything! I want to breath in life! It has not been without struggle - in placing my new lifestyle at the top of my list of priorities, other things have suffered, and I am still struggling to reorder everything so that I am not dropping so many balls. I know it will take time, but it is still a source of some frustration. Having to wear a belt with my size 14 previous "skinny" jeans makes it a little better, though!

Well, two of the things that have sort of fallen into place for me are earlier to bed and getting back to one of my favorite hobbies - reading. Snuggling under the covers with a good book also helps me avoid food temptation at night, and getting a good night's sleep is a big bonus! I've rediscovered the library and have stacks of books I'm reading on all sorts of things, so I think I will get the kiddos ready for bed and head there myself.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sun Salutation!

So my gym (I love the sound of that) offers a "family yoga class" on Sundays at 5:00. I thought it would be a fun way to get the girls involved in exercising, as well as a good introduction to yoga (my mom is on her way to becoming an instructor, but I have never even tried it!). Well, J was out of town this weekend and C decided it was way too uncool to be seen in public doing anything with her mom, but E was game to go with me. Unfortunately, she was so unfocused and distracted that after about 10-15 minutes, she could no longer follow along, and after 30 minutes, we had to leave the class to avoid further disrupting everyone. However, I totally loved it and have added that class to my weekly calendar. Very excited about the next class, when I can concentrate on me and not my chatterbox 7 year old!

Now one thing E does love to do is ride her bike. I had been stressing about my Sunday morning run because C had a slumber party Saturday night and I had to get J to school at 6:30 am to leave for an out of state band competition, so I didn't know how I was going to manage to get my run in with no big sister available to babysit. I had a lightbulb moment while working out on Saturday, though - since I was going to have to wake E up to come with me to drop off J anyway, why not let her ride her bike while I ran? She got a little whiney toward the end (I ran at the lake where my 5k is in less than 2 weeks and my only goal was to make it around the lake), but she was a champ and it is definitely something I can add to my "bag of tricks" to ensure I get my workout in! 

Two good things about the run: first, E held true to form and was a real chatterbox the whole time, forcing me to answer her. Since I always run alone, I have never been able to take the "talk test" while running, so this was a good indication that I was in the right zone; second, since it was quite chilly, I was a little worried since in the past I have been bothered with inner ear pain while trying to exercise in the cold (even light walking). However, I wore one of those earband headbands and was thrilled to find I had no problems with any ear pain, so it looks like I may have no excuse not to hit the trails this winter (brrrrr....). The only thing that hampered the run a bit was that my pants kept threatening to fall off! Could it be time to try a size large instead of extra large? I may need to take some of my quit smoking funds to invest in a new pair before my race, because racing bare-assed would be bad! 

Finally, I weighed in Sunday morning instead of Saturday (truth be told, I had a rather weak moment or several on Friday night and gobbled up a, several...ok, ok, many pieces of Halloween candy and just couldn't face the scale the next day!). I was up a tiny bit - .6 pounds at 183 - but am ok with that considering I had just quit smoking a few days earlier and have really been quite good about resisting the urge to nosh my way through the cravings. Actually, my cravings have not been all that bad at all, it's just the times I would normally go outside and smoke I'm left without anything to do and am trying hard not to turn to food. Or, if I must have a snack, I am trying to make it healthy (plain popcorn, carrots - LOTS of carrots!!!, etc). I will have to accept and forgive myself if I hit a bit of a plateau for awhile, as I know quitting causes lots of changes in your metabolism and your body in general. If I can get through it without GAINING, I will consider it a victory!

Well, now I have the munchies so I am off to make myself some popcorn! Tomorrow night I work out with my new trainer, so I will let you know how that goes - I am so excited!!!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's all good...

Sorry I have been AWOL for a few weeks - it's been a rough month. Lots going on. The girls and I have been fighting fall colds - nothing as serious as last year's swine flu, but we all just have these sort of low-grade, lingering bugs. I would like to think that my exercise and healthier eating have lessened the impact of the fall funk - usually I end up in bed for a week with something nasty, but this year I was still functional.
The last week was emotionally tough because I thought that I might have a stress fracture. What I passed off as shin splints for probably too long started to freak me out the longer the pain lasted and the closer I got to my race, so I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedist. Good news is - no fracture! I went 5 days without running before the appointment, and boy, was that tough! Talk about withdrawal. The bad news is, when I finally got to run on Wednesday, I ended up with some very achy hips, so I definitely need to start doing some stretching or yoga. This old body is NOT going to let me down when I have such lofty goals!
Speaking of withdraw...I quit smoking yesterday. Yes, I have been a pack a day smoker for a lot of years, and quitting has always been on my mind, but certainly more so since I've been exercising. I felt like such a hypocrite, lighting up after a run! But, the last time I quit (February 7, 2007), I ended up gaining over 50 pounds, and I was terrified of a repeat. I wanted to get some good habits in place before attempting to quit again. So, I've been just over 24 hours without a cigarette, and doing ok - the biggest problem is that my body apparently does not know how to function without any stimulants and I can barely keep my eyes open!

In order to make sure that I don't backslide on my weight loss after The Big Quit, I decided to join a gym! I figured that a gym membership was a good redirection of funds previously spent killing myself slowly! I also signed up to work with a trainer for a month to get me into a program and stay motivated through the most difficult time after quitting (and holidays coming up, what was I thinking!). I have a lot of guilt associated with "treating" myself to these things, both the money and time I'm devoting to my new healthier lifestyle and goals - I feel like it's taking away from time and attention and things that my girls deserve. I know logically that you have to put your own mask on before helping others, but guilt is always my first reaction and sometimes it doesn't help that they, too, are struggling with the changes I'm making. I know it's all for the best in the long run, the example I am setting and the lessons they will (hopefully) learn from my journey.

Now, I'm a little upset about one thing...they have this great little contraption at the gym that records your blood pressure, weight, body fat percentage, blah blah blah. Very nifty, reads higher than my scale at home. Very depressing. Last Saturday I weighed in at 182.4 at home, but last night I registered 187 at the gym. Now granted, I usually weigh first thing in the morning and nakey (of course), and I was at the gym in the evening, fully clothed, with shoes on. I'm not really sure what numbers to use - I guess the most important thing is that there is consistent movement no matter what. 

So, overall, things are going well and I am looking forward to November being a better month than October was. Definitely looking forward to (hopefully) getting my butt kicked at the gym, some positive movement toward goals (I will post my "gym" stats soon) and my race in just over 2 weeks!!!!

Today, I am a runner, a gym member, and former smoker, so yeah - it's all good!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Freedom, Frustration and Fuel

First things first. Saturday morning weigh in...

185.8 (loss of 3.4 pounds) - whoo hoo! That made me feel better about last week's tiny loss. I have an ever growing pile of clothes to take to Goodwill, and then I am going to have to turn around and do some shopping there, as well, because my closet is bare and I don't want to spend big bucks on things I will (hopefully) not fit into in another few weeks. If only I enjoyed shopping more...

Rediscovering Freedom

When I was 12 years old, I got my first 10-speed bike. To me, it represented total freedom. I now had a way to get around without relying on my mom to chauffer me. I rode that thing everywhere, even after I could drive but had no access to a car. It took me to friends' houses, the store, the stable where I worked and rode. Before I got my horse I would ride it for hours, lifting my face into the wind and imagining that I was racing on horseback. After I got my horse, I would ride it for exercise to strengthen my legs. There probably wasn't a day in about 4 years that I did not ride that bike. And sadly, there haven't been but a handful of days since then that I have been on a bike.

One of my friends loaned me his mountain bike last weekend, and after my Tuesday ordeal, instead of taking my feelings out on the fridge, I loaded up the bike and took it to the trail. I didn't have as much time as I'd hoped or planned, but I did get a quick 3 mile ride in, and the feeling of the wind in my face transported me right back to those long ago years. It was exhilirating and relaxing and fun and stress-relieving, and a new bike is now at the top of my wish list. Reconnecting with that sense of freedom was the best part of my day.


October is my favorite month of the year. I love the weather, the changing of the leaves, the way the light changes. Sadly, October does not love me. Something blooms in October that revs my allergies up into high gear, and that usually ends up with a chest cold. Last year October was Swine Flu Month in my house, and between the flu and the bronchitis that followed, I missed the best part of the month. I recovered just in time to stuff myself with Halloween candy.

I should not be surprised, then, that my October luck caught up with me just in time for my last two runs of C25k!!!! Yes, I am sick. Sick and frustrated. I have felt it coming on for probably a week, and my Wednesday night run was a real struggle. By Thursday afternoon, I had a cough and cotton head and ringing ears and spent the rest of the day in bed. I dragged myself to work Friday, but had to leave early, and all day I debated, should I do my Friday run or not? I decided to try it, figuring I would alternate running and walking and only do what I could. I managed to finish and actually felt better afterwards.

Then, I woke up this morning. Sniffling. And sneezing. Which has continued the better part of the day. I've been through two boxes of tissues and my nose is raw. I am feeling bitter. I had wanted to go hiking today - the weather is perfect for it. Tomorrow is the last run. I don't want to miss it. I'm not ruling it out - I am going to wait and see how I feel. I don't know if exercise will help me get better by keeping my body moving and working, or belabor my cold by running me down. I guess today I am just thankful that if it was going to interrupt my training, better it be in the last week than in the middle, when it might have totally derailed me and taken weeks to get back on track. Ugh.


The last week or two I have noticed the most amazing thing. A total shift in my thinking that I could not have seen coming. When I started running, yes, I had a goal in mind of running a 5k, because I knew I needed that date on the calendar to keep me going. But mainly, I was a dieter, running to lose weight. I was counting my calories but had not modified my diet so much as scaled back the proportions. 

However, as I discovered how much I enjoy running, and started thinking beyond that first 5k, I realized that I had started looking at food differently, as well. Now, I analyze everything I eat in terms of how it will help me run. I see food as fuel. I have become a runner, eating to improve my performance. What an amazing shift in perception! For the first time in my life, I consider myself an athlete. 

I am off to take it easy tonight - grab some hot soup for dinner, relax with a good movie, and early to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to get my run in and "graduate" C25k!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Recap

Boy, the weekend just flew by, as they always do! They are never long enough. This was a good weekend, though, since I was "off" - J had no game or competition so the only chauffering I had to do was to E's soccer game on Saturday morning. It was still a busy, hectic weekend with lots of running around and not so much house cleaning, but we packed in a lot of fun.

Friday Funk

I had my annual check up first thing Friday morning, so I got up and weighed myself to compare to the scale at the doctor's office. My scale said 190, up a bit from last weekend. I tried not to be too upset - I knew that I was going to have some off weeks, and I did lose nearly 6 pounds the week before. The doctor's scale said 191, but I was fully dressed so that didn't worry me too much. I had gone in the week before to have my blood drawn, so she had all my results and said everything was great except my Vitamin D level, so now I am taking a Vitamin D supplement (lemon gummies, better than swallowing yet another pill). She was impressed with my progress, and it's the first time in years I've gone to the doctor and not gotten the stern "you really need to lose weight" lecture. In fact, I didn't even get a physical last year because I just couldn't hear that again.

I also got my flu and tetanus shots, and it was only afterward that I wondered how it was going to affect my run that evening. Most of the day I was just plain wiped out, so much so that after work I had to lay down and take a short nap. I hate to do that because usually it means I am worthless afterward - any get up and go that I might have had left usually gets up and goes after a nap. But I got up, laced up my shoes, and headed to the trail. I was not expecting to have a good run (Week 8, Day 2!).

I definitely struggled, but I made it (I may have brought out the granny shuffle a few times), and when it was over I discovered I hadn't done any worse than I had on Wednesday - just under 2.2 miles in 28 minutes. It just continues to amaze me what our minds and bodies are capable of. When I got home, I grabbed something to eat - don't even remember what - and crashed on the couch by 8 pm. My body obviously needed rest...I didn't argue!

Saturday Hike - Living a Dream

After E's soccer game, I loaded up her, J, and the spastic 80 pound puppy (C decided she would rather go to the mall), and we drove about 40 miles to a state park. We hiked for 3 hours - it was warmer than I had expected, but it was awesome. The spastic 80 pound puppy (picture to come) is an 8 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback. I got my first Ridgeback almost 18 years ago, when I was young and single and kid-free, and he was my best friend and sidekick. I lost him to cancer 6 years ago this month. It wasn't until last year that I felt ready to let another one into my life and my heart, and this past March I got a new little man from the same breeder. For six long years, I have dreamed of hiking with my kids and a big red dog, so on Saturday I truly got to live my dream. Life is good!

Oh yeah, and I also weighed in on Saturday (didn't like Friday's results and thought I should be consistent with Saturday weigh-ins!). 189.2 - loss for the week of .4 pounds. I am ok with that, or trying to be. Rethinking the daily calorie adjustment a little, but I will wait it out another week and see what happens.

Saturday night we went to a friend's to watch a movie, and I passed up an entire array of amazing desserts (tiramisu, mascarpone, eclairs) in favor of 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt for 100 calories. Actually, I did take one small bite of tiramisu and licked the spoon for about 5 minutes afterward, but I was very good. Yay me! Temptation is my bitch!

Sunday Run and a Big Red Horse

Sunday morning I went for my run. I was feeling a whole lot better than Friday, for sure! I always love my Sunday morning runs because I have a lot more time, and it's nice and cool these days (soon it will be downright cold). I had a great run - went to the trail again because my hips have been bothering me so I didn't want to run on the asphalt again quite yet (anyone have any advice for aching hips??). I ran 2.25 miles in my 28 minutes, then walked back for a total of just under an hour. Next week is my last week of C25k!!! I can't believe I've been running for 8 weeks already.

After my run, we went to church and then I took the kids to see the movie "Secretariat". I had horses in high school and am still pretty horse crazy (would so love to start riding again and, in fact, that was one of my original motivations for losing weight). It was a GREAT movie, an amazing story, and I found myself appreciating the athleticism of the horses even more now that I'm running - I can't imagine all out sprinting for even a few yards! Unfortunately I indulged in a little too much movie candy. If only E had gotten something nasty like Sour Patch Kids instead of Good 'n Plenty, which turns out she hates and I, of course, love. I'm not going to beat myself up about it, today is another day and I am back on track.

Tomorrow is going to be a very stressful day. I'm hoping for good things but not overly optimistic. Right now I am concentrating on not getting off track with my eating. I know God does not give us more than we can handle, but right now He does seem to have given more than I can handle well. So please wish me luck, and keep your fingers crossed that things will work out for the best.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The brain, it is fried

I can't wait for the weekend. The past few weekends have just been crazy busy, between J playing in the football games on Friday nights and competitions on Saturday, and the endless taxi-ing everyone around, but this weekend she has NEITHER. Which means it is also a weekend off for me, which I sorely need, because my brain is seriously fried. To wit:

On Saturday afternoon while taking the 80 pound spastic puppy on a nice, long walk with E and a friend, I got a call saying I had missed an important appointment - one that I had not only remembered earlier that morning, but had been looking forward to all week. One unexpected little kink in my plans that morning had thrown my whole day off. (Luckily I was able to reschedule for later in the day.)

On Saturday night when I went to pick J up from her competition, I ran out of gas. (Thank God for my friend H, who not only answered her phone at 11:45 at night, but got out of bed to go buy a gas can and gas and came to rescue me in her jammies.)

Yesterday I drove home from work squinting blindly into the sun, cursing myself for leaving my sunglasses on my desk. This morning when I got to work, I found them - they were in my bag the whole time.

Last night when I went to pick J up from practice, I ran out of gas. (Thank God for my friends J & L who came to my rescue this time- I was too embarrassed to call H again!)

This morning I put my contacts in the wrong eyes and walked around wondering what was wrong with me for 30 minutes before figuring out that I have apparently forgotten how to tell my left from my right.

I've lost and started over my to do list three times.

So, I am really REALLY looking forward to this weekend. I am going to run right after work on Friday, then have a nice, laid back dinner, and maybe catch up on some of my DVR'd tv shows (note to self: get more plain popcorn). Saturday morning I am going to sleep in! E has a soccer game at 10:00 a.m. and then I am packing up the girls and the 80 pound spastic puppy and a picnic and hitting the road to go hiking at a state park about an hour away. Sunday morning I'll run nice and early (may need to get some long pants, though, fall is officially here and mornings are crisp!), then church, and then I plan to mow my lawn. I should have done it last weekend but did not have time. There will be some major calorie burnin' going on!

Speaking of which...last night was my first week eight run: 28 minutes without stopping. I ran 2.2 miles in those 28 minutes, so I have some work to do if I want to finish my 5k in 35 minutes or less. I am feeling confident, or was, until I woke up this morning with aching shins AND an aching hip. I was hoping that old problem would not rear it's ugly head. Tell me, runners, is my body going to adjust? I found a new place to run and have gone the past few times - it is a great trail with some good hills, but it is asphalt and my poor joints are used to a softer surface. Am I going to keep aching? Am I going to have to take a break (nooooo)? Or will I eventually get used to it (the surface, not the aching!).

Tomorrow morning will be weigh-in day this week. I have my annual physical so I guess I will be getting an "official" weight. I will weigh myself on my scale before I go, just to see if there is a difference - gosh, I sure hope my scale is not wrong, I like what it's been telling me lately!

Well, I have to go start another to do list...maybe this one will stick around long enough to get a few things crossed off and maybe, if I'm lucky, I will remember what was on the lost ones! Coming soon, I will share some of my new favorite foods and a few new challenges I have set for myself. Stay tuned...same bat fat time, same bat fat channel!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weigh-in & Wimpy Goals

Woke up bright and early and jumped on the scale. Promptly fell over.

Weight: 189.6

That is a loss of 5.8 pounds for the week. My first thought was "what the...???" While it would be great to reach my goal 5 pounds at a time, it is clearly not healthy. I'm sure this is a loss of muscle. I sure as hell can't afford that!

After last week's weigh-in, my trusty LoseIt! app told me that to lose 2 pounds a week, I needed to eat 1300 calories a day. I have done that. I have NOT starved myself. I am definitely making better choices in what I eat, and I have not been hungry (other than what I think is legitimate "it's time to eat" hunger, and then I do), but there have been times when I get to the end of the day and am still short. That kind of boggled my mind because a month ago 1300 calories a day looked awfully bleak.

I have decided to bump my calories back up to 1500 per day. I also checked out my weekly totals and I am pretty consistently carb heavy and low on protein, so this week I will make an effort to get extra protein every day. Hello, cottage cheese, my old friend...let's get reacquainted!

Wimpy Goals

I am a goal oriented person. I need a target to shoot for. I know this about myself, but for some reason I never translated that to exercise. Sure, in the past I would set a goal to work out so many times a week, but nothing specific. And guess what? I never succeeded. Using the C25K program and having a race on the calendar has totally made the difference for me.

However, I was talking to a woman at work yesterday about it, and I jokingly told her I only have two goals for the race: (1) run the whole thing without walking and (2) don't finish last. Then I stopped to think about that and realized those are some pretty pathetic goals. Now I know it's my first race, so I'm not going to be all unrealistic crazy minded, but I really think I need something a little more specific than that...and a little more challenging.

In my life, I have pushed myself - not always, not in everything I do - but I am pretty tenacious. I have pushed myself (and been pushed) emotionally and mentally and pretty much always come out the other side stronger and better for it. I have never really pushed myself physically. Now that I have been running for 7 weeks, I am looking ahead to what I can tackle next, trying not to put limits on myself, eager to see what my body is capable of. I just need to break the habit of setting wimpy goals - if I don't give myself something to push for, I will not push.

So, since I have plenty of time to train for this 5k (t-minus 49 days), I have time to train to do more than just "not finish last." My new non-wimpy goal is to finish in 35 minutes or less. There's your target, Mama, start shooting!


One last was brought to my attention that I had some comment settings messed up and some people were having trouble leaving comments. It's all fixed now, so I'd love it if you'd leave me some love (or encouragement, or advice, or suggestions, or criticism - I can take it, bring it!). Have a great Saturday, it is Mow the Lawn day over this way!

C25K Week 7, Run 2: mission complete

I honestly did not know if I would make it through tonight's run. I did not get enough sleep last night. I was dragging my butt all day and had to start psyching myself up for my run before I even left work. Started out very slow, but determined to reach that 2-mile marker!

When I got to the 1.5-mile marker, I was not sure I was going to make it, so I started to pick up the pace a little bit. With a minute and a half to run, I couldn't see it yet, so I picked it up a little more. I am sure it is an optical illusion, but the second stretch of the trail seems like it slopes the smallest bit uphill the whole way, and I was huffing and puffing by this point. (Of course, on the walk back, it looks perfectly flat!) With 54 seconds left, I saw it, kept chugging, and passed it with 16 seconds to spare. Whoo hoo!!! Tonight the view of the post looked like this...

Much better view! I hoofed it back to the trail head in 33 minutes, and to satisfy my obsessive nature (round numbers good), walked in circles long enough to see this on my new best friend:

I picked this heart rate monitor up at WalMart today - I have my eye on a nicer one, but I don't think I deserve that one yet (also, can't afford it because those pesky kids keep making me spend my money to do things like feed and clothe them, the nerve!), and I happened to find this one on clearance. You have to press your finger on it to record your heart rate, so it's not as accurate as the ones with a strap, but I tried to do it regularly. Even so, I find it hard to believe I burned 1005 calories in an hour, but I still liked seeing that number!

Tomorrow is weigh in day. Not sure how I feel about this week. I think I feel good. I am also excited because after lots and lots of rain, my grass grew enough to mow, so I will be burning up lots more calories tomorrow! Also planning to take the spastic 80 pound puppy for a long walk. Maybe I will find a new place to go tomorrow - I like to change it up and there is another nice trail (asphalt) I'd like to check out for running. One of these nice fall weekends I have to get my butt over to one of the great state parks in the area and check out some hiking trails, too.

Well, I am off to bed, later than I intended, but I ran out of gas on the way home from picking J up from her football game (great planning on my part, huh), and she has to be back at school bright and early for a competition. A Single Mama's job is never done...I'll have to remember to hang up my cape so I don't have to iron it tomorrow!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Therapy

I am not having a good day, internet, not at all. This morning, on my way home from dropping J off at school in the pouring rain, I was rear ended in my 7-month old car. This is just weeks after I had to have said car taken to the dealership for a new transmission. My poor car, I think maybe it is cursed!

Then I got a phone call that was no good news at all, about something I have no control over, which is very hard for me to deal with. I am a wee bit of a control freak. There is nothing I can do about this but fork over boo coo dollahs and hope for the best.

So, I decided that I needed and was deserving of some chocolate therapy. Don't worry, I did not reach for the Three Muskateers or the Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chocolate chip muffins (OMG, are they to die for or what???). No, no, no, I did chocolate therapy the healthy way...

Oooh, yeah...Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter (purchased just this morning at Whole Foods - don't remember where I heard about it, but so much better than my old guilty pleasure, Nutella) on half a toasted whole grain sandwich thin. Now that's therapy I can live with! Yum, yum, yum. I think I am going to have to leave that jar at work, though, so it does not disappear at home (I am not naming any names, but they start with J, C, & E, and maybe one chocolate addicted Fat Mama, too).
When I get home, I am taking the spastic 80 pound puppy for a long walk and then calling this day DONE! Tomorrow will be better, right?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

D is for Dedication

I just spent the last hour and a half installing a new router (F is for Frustration) just so I could tell the internet that I ran 2 miles today in the rain. Not drizzly sprinkling rain, but "East Coast tropical downpours" rain. I could not take Nan with me because iPhone + Rain = Bad Idea, so I don't know how long I ran, just that I went to the 1-mile post, turned around, and sloshed all the way back. A nice older gentleman training for his 7th marathon ran the first half mile with me, but he kept talking to me, and after 5 minutes of huffing and puffing out answers he kindly ran on. I think I ran that half mile faster than I would have otherwise, though.

So, yeah, me! Now I am going to bed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Numbers game

Have you ever noticed how many numbers we use to define ourselves? Age. GPA. Salary. Number of bedrooms our house has. Credit score. Credit limit. And, of course, The Big One (or, hopefully, the small one!)...weight. I really try to look at weight as "just a number." I want to be more than a number. I want to believe how I look and feel about myself, how my clothes fit, how healthy I am is more important . But...BUT...the number on that damn scale still means a lot! It's a clear measure of our success (or failure), even though it can't really give us the whole picture, like how much is water weight, or "that time of month" weight, or that it looks like we gained but really it's only because we lost fat and gained muscle. It really should be only one measure of our success, but so many of us live and die by the scale! I only weigh myself once a week, because I know if I tried to do it any more frequently I would obsess over it endlessly, and really, I have enough I am obsessing about at the moment!

That said, this "magic number" is something that has carried weight (no pun intended) all my life. If you throw a date at me, I can tell you pretty accurately what I weighed during that period of my life. In fact, my weight is tied up in pretty much all of my memories - oh, I was skinny then, those were good times, or I was heavy then, I don't like to think about those days. Sometimes I wonder how my kids will remember me, or tell their kids about me, because I am in hardly any pictures - I refuse to let myself be photographed. I use the excuse "I'm always the one behind the camera."

I have been thinking a lot about my goals lately. I knew I needed to "nail it down" so to speak, but it suddenly seems like a Very. Big. Thing. To put an Actual Number out there, a target that I might miss, a goal I might not reach. I know, though, that without a goal, I tend to be pretty aimless. I know for sure I would not have run three days a week for the past 6 weeks without a plan and a goal . I'm not sure why it was so hard for me to do this - well duh, of course I do. I was afraid to set myself up for failure. Do I play it safe and aim for something I know I can reach and be satisfied, or do I take the risk and really push myself to be the best I can be?

So here's how my thought process went...In high school/early college, my low weight was around 140, and I considered that a good weight for my frame. I went up and down for a few years, then settled somewhere around 160 in my early 20's. When I got pregnant the first time, I was around 175, and for some reason, that is the number that has stuck in my head ever since as a "goal weight." In my mind, after having three kids and passing the Big 4-0, that just seemed like the best I could do. Every time I went to WW (numerous times - I've really lost count at this point), they would give me a much lower "lifetime" goal weight, but I would argue and say no, no, I am middle age, I have three kids, I have big bones, etc etc blah blah blah so on and so forth. I didn't really care what the "professionals" had to say, I had determined what I felt I could accomplish, so they must accept it.

Up until about a week ago, that was the goal I had set for myself. 175. It did not feel entirely satisfying, but it felt achievable. Then I started feeling like I was being kind of wimpy about it - I mean, did I want to do this or did I want to half-way do this? How hard was I willing to work? So, I lowered it to 165. I mean, that's close to what I weighed 20 years ago, so surely I could feel good about weighing what I did in my 20's, before pregnancy killed my abs and every gram of fat I ate took up residence around my belly or on my ass. But then I started reading some amazing blogs, women of all ages, Mamas and Not Mamas, who had lost 100 pounds or more, and I started to think...Could I? Would I? Dare I?

I didn't want to be someone who had to lose 100 pounds - OMG if anyone had said that to me a year ago I would have eaten myself into a coma stressing about it, but now, today, I think...I think it's doable. So, my new, official goal is to lose 100 pounds from my highest recorded weight of 250. 100 POUNDS!!! That's twice what my 7 year old weighs. Just slightly more than my 12 year old weighs. But you know what? I'm already halfway there, so I am going to keep on trucking, doing what I need to do, one day at a time.Ah, it feels so much better to have a goal!

Overdue letter...

Dear Abs,

I know you think I have forgotten about you. You have been deep in hiding for many years, hibernating under pounds of jiggly fat, but consider this fair warning: I know where you live, and I am coming for you. Resistance is futile.


P.S. - You can tell your friends tris and glutes that I have them in my sights, as well. There will soon be nowhere to hide!

What a week

We are going through an IRS audit at work, and between getting ready for that and running the kiddos around for extracurriculars and social events, I was dragging my tired butt to bed way early (for me) this past week, forcing me to ignore my brand new blog for far too long! Blogging is my new therapy and I've been way stressed not being able to dump all my random and long-winded thoughts out of my brain for the last five days!

I actually managed to write something down (old school, man, paper and pen!) while I waited for E's soccer game to start on Saturday and during half-time, so to save my audit-addled brain from having to think too hard at the moment, I'm going to share that for now!


Saturday morning was weigh-in. I definitely felt more confident than last weekend, but was not prepared for the result...195.4 lbs! That's a loss of 3.8 lbs - where did that come from? I stayed on program all week, but between my work schedule and running three kids all over God's creation, I haven't done too much more than my running. However, I am not complaining - I'll take it! Only .4 more pounds and I can go collect my "55 Pounds Gone" badge over at Scale Junkie. Whoo hoo! So far, I have been really happy with my progress, but I'm starting to worry that it's going to start getting more difficult soon. I'm trying not to think like that, I'll cross that bridge if/when I get to it and just keep doing what I'm doing as long as it's working.

A Humbling Run

Before I passed out on the couch on Wednesday night, I was planning to post about my great run (it really sucks not having my laptop, thank you very much, spastic 80 pound puppy). This is the trail where I have been running:

Notice how nice and shady and flat it is? It is one of the many Rails to Trails in the country - if you have one in your area, you should check it out. They are converted train tracks, which both takes something no longer in use and recycles it and makes for a great place to run/walk/bike because railroad grades are generally very low, so the trails are quite flat.

Anyway, on Wednesday, after picking up J (late) and dropping off E (late), I did not have enough time to drive to the trail and get my run done before it got dark and time to get back for E. So, I decided to run in my neighborhood, which feels more like this:

Ok, it's not really that bad, but it is very hilly, and the first (and only) time I ran in the 'hood during week 2, I think I actually died at least twice. But it was either brave the hills or no run at all, so off I went, and this time I OWNED those hills! I had a great run - felt strong the whole time, good pace, no pain, breathing good. It was the first time I really felt like a runner and not like a Fat Mama people stare at and think, "Boy, she's got a long way to go!" In truth, I started feeling pretty cocky.

Fast forward to Friday night. Once again, I intended to run at the trail, but once again, carpool duty put me behind schedule (do you detect a theme yet?). As it so happened, I ended up right across the street from the park where my 5k is going to be (t-minus 54 days!), so I decided to go run the race route. Well...that cured my cocky. I got my butt kicked! I was able to finish the run, but I was hurting at the end. I think the combo of the hills and running on asphalt when I am used to my nice soft crushed gravel trail aggravated my shins. On the bright side, once I iced them when I got home I started feeling better immediately. I definitely have to start running there at least once a week to get my body used to it, but I don't have to look forward to it!

Sunday morning I did go to the trail, because I love being there in the morning. My new thing is to run as long as Nan tells me to without turning around, and then walk back - doubles my exercise and my "me time." Sunday I was to run 25 minutes, so I started the run at the trail head where the "0-mile" marker is. When my 25 minutes were up...

I could SEE the 2-mile marker - you can't really see it in the picture because I suck at iPhone pics, but it's that little shadow in front of the yellow arrow! I was that close. Next time, people, that post is my bitch! I had a great walk back and STILL made it home before any of the kiddos woke up. I do love Sunday mornings!

Well, lunchtime is over - back to audit hell. Later I will post my goals (I promise!).