Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Don't Wanna Run!

I did not feel like running this morning. In fact, I almost didn't. I was up way too late last night playing with my trial version of Photoshop CS5 and then woke up after not enough sleep. I could feel a cold coming on. I had a list as long as my arm of other things to do. 

"Just do it later" said the voice in my head, so I went back to bed and set my clock to wake me in an hour an a half so I could get ready to take the kids to the roller skating rink (a promise I made them last week - frankly, having my head squeezed in a vice was sounding better than 4 hours of loud music, disco ball bedlam).

After flipping through a magazine for 10 minutes, I realized that I really
HAD to get my butt out of bed and go running. I was NOT going to go later. I got no exercise on Sunday - Christmas. Didn't do anything on Monday - cleaning. Ditto yesterday - I went to work and it was cold and raining and I talked myself out of running and into eating a bag of Twizzlers and two gingerbread men (there may or may not have been some additional random limbs consumed).

HAD to go.

I knew if I got up and got dressed, there was a fair chance that the momentum would carry me out the door, so I got dressed and left the house.

I drove to the ATT feeling awfully snuffly, but since I am a mouth-breather when running, I figured I would be fine. Or at least, ok.

I think I could have crawled the first half mile faster than I ran it, but I kept going.

After the first mile, I walked 2 minutes. The second mile was misery - I don't know what it is about this low grade span of the trail that kicks my ass every time I run it, but I kept going.

Finally, I turned around and headed back, again walking the first 2 minutes of the third mile. I was hoping I would start feeling better after the turn-around, but not so much. I kept fighting the voice in my head that was telling me, "just make it to the half mile marker, and then walk." 

I shut that bitch up and kept running.

I walked the first 2 minutes of the fourth mile, and then started running. I think a tortoise passed me at some point. At the half mile marker, I tried to increase my speed just a bit. Then just a bit more. I felt like my legs could do it, but I was sucking air, so I just allowed myself to pant  (I am always very conscious of my breathing when I am running - I feel like people can hear me coming a mile away) and kept going.

Then, I was done.

Excuses - you can kiss my ass!

My splits:

Mile 1: 11:42

Mile 2: 12:46
Mile 3: 12:57
Mile 4: 12:42

Total: 50:07.1

Now I am laying in bed nursing a serious cold and trying to ignore the contents of my closet piled all around my room because late last night Project Closet Organization morphed into Project Scratch My Head and Wonder Where All This Shit Came From and Where the Hell is it Going to Go Now, but I got my run in, so everything is A-OK! 

Run done + Roku + Nyquil = Life is Good

Home for the Holidays Virtual 10k Recap

I really don't seem to be able to get anything done in a timely manner these days (or those days, either, actually). Even though it's a little late, though, I wanted to post a quick recap because I really rocked this!

I let myself "sleep in" until around 8:30 and then headed out to the Tobacco Trail around 9:30. Since I have been working on increasing my running time, my plan was to run the first two miles and then see how I felt after that. I
felt like my first mile was drag-ass-y (as always), second felt ok, and it got better after that.

I was not surprised to see a lot of runners out there getting their Christmas Eve run on! Even
saw heard a few in their jingle bells!

Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 11:53

Mile 2: 12:22
Mile 3: 12:11
Mile 4: 12:38
Mile 5: 11:50
Mile 6: 12:24
.21: 2:04 (average pace 10:06)

Apparently I was not dragging ass as much as I thought in Mile 1. Really, there is a slight uphill grade for nearly the entire second mile, and I was getting tired, so I did not worry about speed and just concentrated on keeping it going. 

Miles 3 through 6 - I
walked the first 2 minutes of each mile! And I still had good times (good for me!). I am shocked and thrilled. I know that if I had not been running a "race" I would not have pushed myself to do this, but now that I have, I know I have no excuse not to keep it up!

I even had a pretty good kick at the end.

I am super proud of myself for doing this and doing it well. Since I have never raced this distance, it is a PR for me, too!

Time to beat: 1:15:22

As always, running is the best way to start the day, although I was seriously wiped for much of the rest of the day! After I was done, I had a few last minute errands to run (one gift-related and one food-related), and then  I got down to cooking and cleaning...Christmas Eve was a quiet and casual with just some friends over for dinner. After cleaning, I had to lay down for a quick nap to recover before starting on dinner. Then after dinner, I had to catch some more zzzz's (with alarm set!) before getting up to help Santa. 

Santa, by the way, thoroughly enjoyed the cookies and egg nog left out for him, and will be spending the next few weeks working out with me to hold back the jelly belly!

I hope you all had a wonderful I have caught my daughter's cold and am settling in for a long winter's nap, but soon it will be time for some ringing in of the new year, complete with Twenty Twelve Intentions!

Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays 10k - see you next year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Numbers Game

Losing weight is a numbers game. Unfortunately, I have only been paying attention to one number...the one on the scale. So, I have made a decision. I am not going to replace my cantankerous bathroom scale. I am going to start paying attention to other numbers, and for awhile, those numbers are going to be referred to as points.

Yes, I have decided to go back to Weight Watchers - I still have about two months' worth of Weight Watchers coupons courtesy of Oprah and my sister. I found a Friday morning meeting not far from where I work, so this Friday I will be going for my first meeting and weigh-in. I am hoping to have the willpower to not look at my weight - all I want to know after each weigh-in is net change (hopefully loss!). Once my free membership expires, depending on my progress, I will decide what to do from there.

Obviously what I have been doing has not been working. Obviously for whatever reason it's going to take more...more effort, more attention, more accountability, more get the scale moving again. It is depressing because I feel like I've been doing all the same things I did last year to be so successful, yet I am still basically a fat, flabby runner. I love running and I have big goals for 2012 and beyond, and I know that to be successful in those goals, I need to get my ass in gear and shape up and slim down.

Speaking of numbers...a few weeks ago, I promised to take my measurements, though they are still conspicuously absent from my stats page. I actually did take them, with the help of E, who recorded them on a giant Post-it that is now hanging on the back of my bedroom door. They are kind of depressing. Um, actually, they are really depressing, but they are my starting point and I am using that as day in the not too distant future, they will be the "before" numbers, and I will have better numbers to compare to them.

I think I did pretty well over the holiday weekend - I enjoyed myself without over-enjoying! I ran my Home for the Holidays Virtual 10k on Saturday (recap to come!). I definitely plan to stick to my exercise schedule this week (a Jackie Warner butt-kicking is on the schedule for today) - in fact, since I have the week off work, I am really looking forward to a lot of daytime runs and hikes in new and fun places.

In the meantime, I will leave you with my before pictures and measurements. Say goodbye...I will not be a flat, flabby runner for long!

Apparently my belly spent the entire race trying to flop over my
fuel belt - this picture was the least offensive

Hello, spare tire! Hello, cellulite!

Rear view - I have no words. Oh, wait. Yes, I do. Wide and load.
Measurements (I used this guide):

Bust: 44"
Chest: 41"
Waist: 41"
Hips: 47"
Midway: 46"
Thighs: 27"
Knees: 20"
Calves: 18"
Upper Arm: 13"
Lower Arm: 11.5"

I'll take them again on February 1. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My First Virtual Race!

With spring training starting on January 3 and my goal since the half of increasing my "run time" and decreasing my "walk time," I can't afford to take a holiday from my running! Not to mention, I don't want to! I had planned to go for a nice flat long run on the ATT on Saturday morning, but I found the perfect motivation in the form of the First Annual Home for the Holidays Virtual 10k!

I sure won't be winning any prizes for my time, and I don't have any super cute Christmas-y outfits to wear (and I am totally shopped out, but next year I will be prepared!), but I will be out there nevertheless, with some extra motivation to have a really great run. 

Plus, I will feel a lot better indulging in my traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner of  kapusta and pierogies. Yum!

What are your plans for the weekend? Are you going to squeeze in your run or other exercise? What's on the menu for your holiday meals?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gone Rogue (Again)

Back in January, I bought myself a new scale because mine had gone rogue. More specifically, I "took myself to Walgreens and bought a simple, $10 scale." I am thinking it is maybe time to invest in a higher quality scale, because this one seems to have gone haywire, as well.

I woke up this morning and decided to jump on the scale for a "mid-week" weigh-in - mostly because I was expecting to be depressed by the result and therefore more motivated to lay off the tasteless canned cookies at work that I munched on all day yesterday just 'cause. Imagine my surprise when the scale read...


Um, WHAT? That's a 14 pound loss over the course of 5 days? A few weeks ago, there was a drastic change from Saturday to Sunday, but I didn't think too much of it. I run long on Saturdays, so I figured it was probably water weight or something. Twice in a few weeks, though, is maybe more than a coincidence.

I admit, I allowed myself a little bit of denial there for a few minutes and let myself "revel" in my success! But alas, by the time I was done with my shower, I had come back to the land of reality. I decided to try on a pair of pants I haven't been able to wear for awhile (a pair that was literally falling off me a year ago, sigh) - if they fit then I would know that at least part of the loss was legit. Yeah...they did not fit.

So, I reluctantly got back on the scale. Somehow, during my shower, I gained back 6 pounds! I stepped off and back on. Another 2 pound gain! Off...on...3 pound gain. Once more...2 pound loss. After doing this dance another moment or two, it seemed to "stabilize" at 201.4, but it is clearly not reliable, so I guess I will be stopping tonight to pick up another new scale. Maybe I will spend more than $10 this time!

I have considered getting one of these but I'm a little afraid that I would end up driving myself crazy doing the math in my head. Anyone have one? What do you think of it? Do you get past doing the calculation and just rely on the total amount lost? I will have to think about this - I am so very tired of seeing that ugly number on the scale!

So if I decide to get one, I guess the next question is...what color? I'm thinking pink, of course!

On a more positive note, last night was a social run at Fleet Feet followed by the mentor meeting for the spring Get Lucky 8k training group. I am so excited to be mentoring this group and having the chance to help and inspire others! Only a few people showed up for the run, and they were all way faster than me, so it turned out to be more of a solo run, BUT I ended up running the entire three miles except for a 2 minute walk after 25 minutes (my C25K Week 6 Run 2). Whoo hoo!!!

I know I have said it before, and if not, I think it on a daily basis...I am just so grateful that I discovered running. It has changed my life. I am definitely a happier, better person for it, and I hope to be able to enjoy it for many, many years to come!

Outer Banks Half Marathon Race Recap (Part 2)


Picking up where I left off...lights out at 10:00pm the night before the race...

Surprisingly, I did not have a hard time falling asleep. Unfortunately, I had some bad dreams and tossed and turned most of the night (I think it was the beer). I had set my alarm for 4:45, figuring if the singing didn't wake me up, my alarm would, but alas, there was no singing. What ended up waking me up an annoying 15 minutes before my alarm went off (don't you hate that!) was the shower in the bathroom next to my room. Oh, well, at least I didn't oversleep!

Thank goodness I had figured out what I was going to wear and had it all ready, otherwise I might have been tempted to make last minute changes. I wore my new black "yoga" pants from Target (which were really way too warm, but the alternative was shorts and, NO!), a tech shirt from Target in turquoise (my new favorite color), compression sleeves, and my new DIG DEEP Bondi band under my black Brooks hat. I wore a windbreaker that I planned to ditch before the race and my new pink gloves, of course!

Breakfast was a quick PB&J on a whole wheat bagel and a cup of coffee, and after double and triple checking that I had everything, we were off! Since we stayed north of the start, in Corolla, we had a drive ahead of us, so we were out the door around 5:30. We were behind some super slow SUV for what seemed like forever and were all getting a little stressed, but we made it in plenty of time and scored a great parking place at a bank just a block from the start.

By the time we got there, it was not nearly as chilly as I had thought it would be. Maybe it was just my adrenaline, though, because I'm pretty sure if I walked out of the house dressed like that I would be shivering! Since I hadn't thought to bring a bag to check, I stowed my coat in a friend's bag, then hit the line for the porta-johns. While in line I saw these adorable pirates...

Aren't they the cutest?

I love their socks! I really want to dress up for a race!

Ready to run! "Pinky," Pam, "Perky," Sloane, Lou

View from Corral F (the back of the pack)

With only a few minutes before start, I finally met up with my running partner Megan and then the cannons started booming and soon we were off!

Mile 1: Megan likes to go out like a bat out of hell, so I concentrated on going SLOW! We were doing 3/2 intervals and worked on keeping our walking speed brisk. As usual, my first mile felt crappy - my legs felt like lead. The front of my ankle was bothering me, so I stopped for a minute to stretch. 

Mile 2: Same as the first. 

Mile 3: Starting to feel warmed up. My foot/ankle were feeling much better. Last part of the third mile we detoured off the main road and ran along the sound for awhile - it was great to have a change of view!

Mile 4: Fourth mile takes us back onto the main road. I am glad I decided to wear my Nathan fuel belt - there were water stations every mile, but I was very glad to have my own to sip on. I put Nuun in two of the bottles. 

Mile 5: At the end of the fifth mile, we turn toward the water again and run through a neighborhood. Lots of spectators and cheering, which was great! Somewhere around this point I think I ate my first Gu (Espresso Love, baby). Megan pointed out the causeway we would be running across at Mile 9...can you see it waaaay across the sound?

Mile 6: Hitting my stride now, feeling really good. Running through another neighborhood which was a great change of scenery - that main road gets pretty boring! At one point, I looked at my watch and we were doing like a 9:30 mile! Since I didn't want to crawl across the finish line, we slowed way back down! Our half-way time was 1:25, right on pace for our goal finish.

Mile 7: Feeling very warm now in my long black pants and again very grateful that I'm carrying water. Stopped at the next water station for some Gatorade - never been a fan of green, but it never tasted so good before!

Mile 8: Back on the highway and heading toward the causeway and dreaded bridge. We saw Allison on her bike - what a pick-me-up that was! That, and the Gu I ate to give me some energy before THE HILL.

Thumbs up - doing good!

Mile 9: Turning onto the causeway...THE HILL is in sight! They were rocking some great tunes at the water station. Grabbed some more Green Gatorade - seriously, how is it that this stuff is so good?! We decided we were going to walk up the hill instead of exhausting ourselves trying to stick with our intervals. Looking back, I do wish I had run SOME of it, but we kept a really good pace.

Funny, it doesn't look quite as imposing in this picture
as it did coming up to it after 9 miles!
View from the top!

Mile 10: Over the hill and running down at a good pace, feeling strong.

Mile 11: Legs are feeling heavier now. Look - more green juice! Went to eat another Gu and realized that somewhere along the way I had dropped my last one! Probably when I fumbled taking my phone out to take pictures. I was forced to grab a Hammer Gel (Apple Cinnamon) at one of the water stations...EW! It was so sweet I could barely choke it down, and definitely did not give me the boost my Espresso LOVE would have.

Mile 12: Coming into Manteo...just one more mile!!!

Mile 13: Running down Main Street in Manteo - Megan is pointing out the damage from the recent flooding. The streets are lined with cheering people, which is a good thing, because I am running out of steam. At some point, the marathon leader passes us looking great. Wow!!!!

.1: This was absolutely THE. LONGEST. TENTHOFAMILE. EVER!!! With maybe half mile to go we had decided to run it in and my ass was really dragging. At one point someone told us "only three more flags" but we passed a lot more than that! Finally the finish line is in sight! I don't think I had much of a kick, but my time was 2:50:31 - spot on my goal time (our second half was exactly as fast as our first, even with the hill)!

As soon as I cross the finish line, I grab whatever they hand me to drink and guzzle it, eat the very hard and pretty tasteless granola bar (don't know what kind), hang my medal around my neck and start thinking about how much I can improve my time in my next race!!!!


Fleet Feet Finishers! See me in the back with my beer and medal?
Sloane, Lou and I celebrating with the pirate. Doesn't he look like he's about to behead me?

Wow - I think it took me longer to write the recap than to run the race! This was an amazing experience from start to finish, and I absolutely cannot wait to do it again. And again. And again!

Today I am grateful for:
  • 101.5 FM - all Christmas music, all the time!
  • peppermint bark
  • Fleet Feet training groups
  • running friends
  • a totally non-tech Christmas (sorry, kids!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Weigh-in


Again, I am going to choose to look on the bright side. First of all, this is probably well-deserved. The Tower of Temptation arrived at the office on Tuesday and I over-indulged maybe just a little. Two words...Almond Roca. I got back on track yesterday, but I guess the damage was done and really, it could have been worse. Secondly, I have been doing my strength training so maybe some of that .8 of a pound is my newly bulging muscles, right? RIGHT?! Finally, given that it is the holiday season and in years past I have gained 10 times that amount, I am going to call this week a solid WIN.

Now, today we have our office party (catered by a BBQ restaurant) and tonight I have a Christmas party, so I will definitely have to be constantly thinking "moderation!" And tomorrow...a long, long run!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Outer Banks Half Marathon Race Recap (Part 1)

I figured a month was long enough to take to write a recap of my first half marathon. Actually, I'm thinking the way things are going these days, I might be doing good to only have taken a month to get to it!

From what I've gathered, running your first half marathon or marathon either cures you of wanting to do another one or feeds the obsession. I can safely say I fall squarely in the second camp. I can't wait to do another!

I dropped the kids off with my parents on Friday night, so I had time to make sure everything was packed and ready to go and get to bed early. I left a little later than I planned, but it was a gorgeous day and a beautiful drive. I'm sure I looked like a total tourist as I pulled over multiple times to get pictures of the cotton fields!

"Southern Snow"

Unfortunately when I turned on my camera (my awesome, lightweight, tiny little Nikon that I bought specifically for this race!) I realized the battery was dead and I did not bring the charger, so I was stuck taking pictures with my iPhone...iPhone 3 that is, no flash, crappy pictures. I decided not to let it ruin my weekend!

The drive was not as long as I had anticipated - about three hours. When I got into Nags Head, I stopped at the expo to pick up my race packet and do some shopping. I picked up a Runner Girl keychain and Christmas ornament, some gloves, a Bondi Band (black with "Dig Deep" in white), some Gu, and a bunch of race flyers! I was very disappointed in the race shirt, though - I got a women's large, but the shirts ran so small that it's so small it would probably fit E! It's in my drawer in the hopes that it might fit after I reach goal weight.

Once I was done wandering around the expo wishing I had more money to spend, I headed up to our rental house in Corolla. It was beautiful! I had a room to myself (no one had to listen to me snore!), and after I unpacked, I crashed for a few hours. A nap in a beach house is somehow so much more restful than a nap in my messy house!

After I woke up it was time for a walk down at the beach. I love the beach - it's been years since I have been. It was nearly deserted as I walked along, collecting shells and enjoying the sunset. 

All I could think about was running along the edge of the waves!

When I got back from my walk, I was just in time to enjoy some snacks and help get dinner ready. One of the ladies made this amazing chicken and rice dish - I could have had thirds, and fourths! I actually enjoyed two beers during the dinner festivities, which is unusual for me. I am not much of a drinker, but you wouldn't know that from looking at the pictures taken of me over this weekend break from "single mama-hood!"

Done with the beer and drinking water like a good runner!
From left, "Perky," Sloane, Pam, me, "Pinky" and Allison

After dinner, Allison and Pinky handed out gifts! Allison gave us each a handmade charm, hand-stamped 13.1 and then enameled. Beautiful! Pinky gave us all pink gloves and headbands so we would be toasty warm the next morning.

Back: Pinky, Me, Allison, Sloan
Front: Perky, Lou, Pam

After our photo shoot, we all walked down to the beach and raised a little hell, then headed back to the house to finalize our wardrobe choices and lay everything out for the next morning...Allison promised to wake us all up at 4:00 am singing (I don't remember what song). I set my alarm just in case, read for awhile, and turned the lights out at 10:00, hoping to get a good night's sleep in my bunk bed. be continued...

Still reading? Here's what I'm grateful for today!

Today I am grateful for:
  • fresh Christmas trees from Booger Mountain
  • egg nog
  • cold winter's nights and my warm fluffy comforter
  • Christmas lights around the neighborhood
  • Christmas parades

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jackie Warner Will Kick Your Ass!

A few days ago I wrote about adding some cross-training back into my schedule by working out with Jackie Warner via her Power Circuit Training DVD. Wednesday night I did the upper body circuit followed by the ab circuit, and, to quote myself, "that workout did not leave me on the floor writhing in agony." In fact, I went into work on Thursday and told my friend "it wasn't too bad - in fact, I'm not feeling it at all."

You see where I'm going with that, right?

Yes, when I got home Thursday night and was changing into my running clothes, I lifted my arms and "felt it." Then I "felt it" all day Friday at work, so much so that every time I moved, I grunted a sad, pathetic, whiny little grunt, leaving the door open for a little bit of teasing.

Did I learn anything from that?

No, apparently not. Friday night, I came home and decided to do the lower body circuit followed by abs. Despite the fact that I had a long run planned for Saturday morning...I figured I was ok because it would take 24 hours to really "feel" that workout. The lower body workout consisted of things like sissy squats, dead lifts, and UFCs, these dreadful exercises which I think just might be worse than burpees!

When I woke up Saturday, I was a little sore, but not terribly sore, so I headed off for my run. First on the agenda was C25K Week 5 Run 3 - 20 minutes. I remember the terror that 20 minute run struck in my heart the first time I saw it looming on the calendar, wondering if I would be ready. This time there was no terror, but I was still nervous about it. I was planning to meet running friend Heather at Lake Johnson at 8:00, so I just headed over a little early to do my run.

Now, the thing about Lake Johnson, which I seem to have forgotten in the months since I ran there, is that it is hilly. Maybe on a good day I might call them "rolling hills," but yesterday, feeling a "little sore" from my Jackie Warner ass kicking, they felt a bit bigger. 

I ran my 20 minutes, turning around after 15 for the chance to run downhill for awhile, then walked/ran back to the parking lot where I met Heather and another running group friend, Peg (she has a Ridgeback, so you know she has good taste!) and I ran two three mile loops around the lake with them then sent them on their way to run another 9 miles. 

I came home, sat in an ice bath for 20 minutes, took an even longer hot shower, shuttled kids around, and took the Big Red Dog to the dog park. By the time I got home, I was really, really, REALLY feeling that ass kicking. In my ass. In my quads. In my hamstrings. 

I felt it all afternoon. I felt it all night (even after taking Goody's PM to help me fall asleep and stop feeling it). I felt it this morning. I felt it on the six-mile shuffle walk I took the dogs on today. I felt it walking up the hill to the car at Walmart. I feel it every time I try and sit on the toilet. I feel it right now, sitting here whining about it. On the up side, it was really fun making my kids help me by picking things up off the floor - things that just kept "dropping" (hey, I remember the never-ending games of "dropsy" they played with me!).

All that said, though, it was a good kind of hurt. I haven't had that much trouble sitting down since I was working out with my trainer at the gym last year. I will definitely keep working out with Jackie, but next week I will be sure NOT to do the lower body circuit the night before my long run!

Looking down from Mount Everest the hill at the end of the Tobacco Trail
that I had to make it up to get back to my car...and coffee

What's your favorite ass-kicking dvd workout?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Frustration...I Mean Weigh-in

Yeah. Not as good as I had hoped/expected, tho I guess it depends on how you look at it. I guess today I will choose to look at the bright side...

Last Saturday weight: 210 - WHAT?!
Last Sunday weight: 205.2 - yeah, something fishy is going on
Today's weight: 204.8

I think I would have been much happier if I had not weighed on Sunday! But I will take it. If I have to lose the next 50 pounds four freaking ounces at a time, so be it!

I am promising myself (again) that I will take my measurements tonight! Right after I get my new running shoes - wheeeee!!! 

I am turning things around...if I can quit smoking right before the holidays, I can certainly stay on track through the holidays - or at least, keep from going hog wild at the Christmas buffet!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cross - Check!

During my half marathon training, I religiously ran 4 days a week (up until the very end). Since then I have dropped the fourth day but continue to run three days a week, as well as hike one day a week. What I haven't done in a really, really, REALLY long time is any sort of cross training. It's been nagging at me for awhile, especially since my jiggly parts seem to be hanging on so frustratingly fiercely. I no longer belong to the gym, I haven't coughed up the money for a bike yet, and I have not felt very motivated to do anything else...

Until tonight! Since my house is currently in a state of chaos and mess (I live with three mini tornadoes) and no one but me seems to like PB&J and there wasn't much else in the fridge, I took the kids to Panera. I was very good and got the Asian Chicken Salad (half), but then I ended up eating the leftover bits of E's cinnamon crunch bagel (topped with honey walnut cream cheese, of course) because HELLO! Is there anything better?

I was feeling pretty guilty when we got home, but surprisingly, not dead ass tired like I usually am. On running days, I have to come home, change immediately, and get out the door - if I sit down, I do not get back up. So, I decided to take advantage of the energy burst and throw in a video that I bought months (and months) ago that I have yet to try...

Awhile back I got her book and was very excited to try her plan, but I discovered that "cheat meals" do not work for me...they lead to cheat days, then cheat weekends, and then before you know it I'm halfway through a full on cheat week. But while I was reading the book, I decided to order one of her workout videos from Amazon, and this one has several 15 minute targeted workouts, as well as a 40 minute full body workout. That is one thing I liked about 30 Day Shred - a lot of workout packed into short amount of time, so I could do it in the morning back when I had (sort of) mastered the art of dragging my ass out of bed before punching the snooze button eleventy thousand times!

Tonight I decided to start with the 15 minute upper body workout - since tomorrow is a running day, I didn't want to kill my legs. I did the workout with 5 pound weights, and it was not too bad. There are three sets of exercises for different parts of the upper body - each set is comprised of three different exercises, and then a "power burn" which incorporates all three. I definitely felt the burn, but I may have to bump up the weights after awhile.

Since that workout did not leave me on the floor writhing in agony, I decided to try another 15 minute circuit and chose abs. My abs have not been called into action in, um, nearly a year I'm guessing? There is a lot of jiggle going on there! This one definitely had me panting and whining, which provided some serious entertainment for teen #2. E, on the other hand, decided she was going to alternate between working out with me and being my "trainer." I seriously think Santa is going to bring that one a yoga mat and some 1 lb weights!

Overall I got in a good, sweaty 30 minute workout (including two warm-ups & cool-downs). I could definitely see squeezing in a circuit or two in the morning before work without having to get up too TOO much earlier, so I'm going to work on that for next week. It felt really good to get in a workout other than I just have to stick with it!

And can I just say...does Jackie have some sick abs or what? After three kids and years of yo-yo dieting, I don't expect to ever have any kind of "pack" going on, but it sure is inspirational! I get bored with the "same 'ol same 'ol" so if you are the same way and looking for a workout video to break up the monotony, I highly recommend this one! 

Now it's time to hit the hay so I can get up and do it again tomorrow morning! Wish me luck...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Am Thankful

I try and remember to include a gratitude list at the end of each blog post. I try and remember to jot down things I am grateful for each day, in my journal or on a sticky note. I try to consciously find things each day, large or small, to be grateful for. But truly, I am grateful for everything! Are there things I would change if I could? Of course. Do I have moments each day when frustration or anger takes over and I feel decidedly UNgrateful? Sure! But, whenever I say these words to myself, I feel warm and safe and happy and at peace, so I try to remind myself of it every day (it's especially effective during rush hour traffic!). 

What I am grateful for today (in no particular order):

  • Getting up early this morning to run an 8k to earn my Thanksgiving dinner
  • Meeting up with friends at the race, including my OBX running partner, who I ran with this morning
  • Beautiful North Carolina days
  • Blue skies
  • Macy's parade
  • My beautiful, wonderful, smart, healthy, amazing kids, who are this way not only because of me, but in spite of me as well
  • My parents and all their help and support, without which I would not be where I am today
  • The home I provide for my kids - it is not the biggest or the nicest, it is not always clean or organized, but it is home and it is where my heart is
  • My brother-in-law's wonderful parents, who include my girls and me in their big family Thanksgiving (tho I may need to run another 5 miles tomorrow morning!)
  • The four legged members of our family who add so much joy and love to our lives
  • My Expedit bookcase (I'm starting at it right now and I just love it so much!)
  • The kick-ass water pressure in my shower, and my BIG water heater!
  • Discovering a love of running and fitness - better late than never!
  • The many beautiful people I have been blessed with meeting this year and all that they have added to my life
  • My big back yard (anyone want to come help me rake and plant some bulbs?)
  • My Garmin - who knew you could love a watch so much?
  • Pergo floors
  • Steam cleaner for said floors
  • Kevin at PetSmart who keeps my dogs' nails so purty
  • Whole Foods turkey and cheddar quiche
  • The amazing online community of inspiring bloggers that help keep me from giving up
  • Kindle!!!!
  • My health
  • My sense of humor - lets face it, without that I might be living large in a padded cell!

Well, I could go on and on, but it's time to finish making the green jello salad and ambrosia, jump in the shower, and head to Mom and Dad's for a laid-back, relaxing Thanksgiving. All the best to you and yours. Enjoy your day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Perfect Weekend

So, I am a half marathoner! I am still working on my race recap - you'd think I'd have had time to finish by now since I have all this "free" time since I'm not training 4 days a week at the moment, but alas, like a hole in the sand, that time has been filled and overfilled by life! For now, let me just say that OMG, it was awesome and I can't wait for the next one!

At the beginning of October I went from working two days a week from home back to working full time in the office, which has had it's ups and downs. One of the benefits is that my home time is now 100% my time, and I made the decision to enjoy it to the fullest, and I have been doing just that. 

I love fall. It is my favorite season. I love the weather, the slant of the light, the changing of the leaves. Although I didn't make it to the mountains this year (it's already on the calendar for next year!), there are some awesome places right around here to hike, and I have been taking full advantage. Even though I've been logging some long runs on Sundays, and Saturdays were supposed to be "rest" days, I knew that if I didn't go hiking on Saturdays, I would not have a chance to get out and enjoy the season. I don't think it really affected my long runs, but it did wonders for my mood!

Friday I took the Big Red Dog for doggy daycare evaluation, so I decided to take our little "jackahuahua," Moo a.k.a. Mighty Midget, for a hike at the Tobacco Trail. I pretty much had the trail to myself, so I decided to let her off the leash to see how she would do. Little girl just glued herself to my ankle and powered along with me for 5 miles.

Mighty Midget - she keeps on keeping on!

Saturday was the Apex Turkey Trot - my first repeat race! I was so excited about this race, because all the girls and my mom were doing it with me! C and I were going to run together, and my mom was going to walk with J and E. Last year's Trot was my first race ever, and it was such a big deal! I had my friends over the night before for a pasta dinner. They all came to watch me run. This year it was so different! It was just another 3 mile run - the excitement was that we were doing it as a family.

Oh look, a teenager who doesn't want her picture taken!

It was a little depressing that I am almost 25 pounds heavier than I was when I ran the race last year, but I am working on it and trying to concentrate on how FAST I will be when I drop the weight again! As part of getting back on track, I'm doing Amanda's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge (for reals this time), so I earned 3 points for this run! Yay!

This is a great little local race and one I will definitely be doing every year - hopefully with the whole family (maybe next year I will get my Dad to come along!). Oh, official times don't seem to have been posted yet, but C checked after the race and said our time was 36:48 (we crossed the finish line together, of course!). I will do a race recap separately (this post is already getting pretty long!). 

Today E had a playdate so J and I decided we were going to go hike Umstead. I love that she loves hiking with me...shoot, I'm thrilled that she wants to do anything with me! Today C decided to come along, too. It was such a beautiful day! Unfortunately, I kind of overdressed, so I looked super hot with my long pants folded up to my knees. No matter, it was a perfect hike! 6 miles later, and 3 humans and 2 dogs were wore the hell out - a perfect way to end a perfect weekend!

A beautiful trail...

along a beautiful creek...

with a beautiful dog...

and two beautiful young ladies (C pictured here) and a beautiful place to stop for a snack...
 ...makes for ONE HAPPY MAMA!

Today I am grateful for:
  • doggy daycare
  • Umstead Park and the other awesome parks and trails in and around Raleigh
  • teenagers who want to spend time with their Mama
  • the best trail dogs ever
  • weekends

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Last year, on November 4, I quit smoking. It just occurred to me today to look up the date and lo and behold, it's been a year! I had quit a few years ago, in February 2007, but by July 2008 I was smoking again, after having gained around 50 pounds. The two experiences were very, you ask? 

How did I quit?

Both times I quit cold turkey. The first time, my doctor made me pick a date and mark it on the calendar. That was extremely helpful. He wrote me a prescription for Chantix, but I couldn't afford it, and after doing some research I was glad I hadn't taken it - it can have serious side effects for someone suffering from depression. On quit day, I remember I had one cigarette left and I smoked it on my way to work, and for a long time I regretted that I hadn't sat down and really "enjoyed" it. I wasn't willing to buy another pack, though, so that's how it went. 

This time, I probably made sure to "enjoy" it, but I honestly don't remember my last smoke!

How did I get through the first few days and weeks?

The first time I quit, I was acutely aware of exactly how many days it had been since I had quit. It was shockingly easier than I thought, although that may have been because I ate my way through all my triggers. I thought I would go easy on myself and allow myself to eat a little more than usual, but in reality I pretty much pulled my chair up to the buffet and never got up. I was proud of myself, though - I considered myself an ex-smoker, a successful quitter.

This time, it was totally different. I never remember my quit date - it just occurred to me this morning that I was probably close to a year of not smoking. I didn't count hours or days. I was exercising at that point, so I did not fall back into negative eating patterns (that happened later, after I quit exercising!). I must have felt ready and confident, since I chose to quit right before the holidays! My reward to myself for quitting was joining the gym and I actually quit the day of my first session with my trainer. It really felt much more like I just walked away from smoking rather than "quit." There was no struggle. In my mind now, I consider myself a non-smoker, not an ex-smoker. 

What was the hardest part?

Well the most frustrating thing for sure is the way my metabolism seems to come to a grinding halt. My doctor told me that it can take up to a year for your metabolism to readjust after quitting, and I feel that for sure! The weight gain the first time is largely what drove me to start smoking again, I was just SO TIRED of being fat. At that time, I was very stressed out, going through a lot, and smoking seemed easier than, oh I don't know, exercising and trying to lead a healthier life!

I definitely feel that my metabolism was similarly affected this time, and as you know, I am experiencing major frustrations, but it never crosses my mind to start smoking again. And my kids are so proud of me, I would have a hard time disappointing them again! Or myself, for that matter.


No, not this time. The smell of someone smoking nauseates me. I can't believe that I ever convinced myself I could cover the smell! I am so sensitive to it now, I can smell someone in the next car over smoking!

Will it last?

I believe it's gonna stick this time. Despite having a hard time losing weight, there is too much that I want to do and a healthy lifestyle is too important to me now. I did not have that to fall back on last time. The key to my success this time is definitely continuing to be active and set new goals for myself. 

Happy anniversary to me, Liz, the non-smoker!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Taper Madness

Photo credit
There is none of that going on here. I'm not sure why. I definitely feel affected by the shortening days and now the time change, but for the last two weeks of our taper before this Sunday's half marathon, I have not been able to drag myself out to run other than the two weekly group runs and I have not missed it. I actually feel like I'm losing motivation, and unfortunately, I'm still eating like I'm running 20 miles a, maybe even more? 

Admittedly, I have not been consistent with taking my medication, and I feel it...I can feel the "darkness" tugging at the edges, the anxiety and insomnia, the jumpiness, and the desire to just sink into the couch and watch another 10 episodes of "Parenthood" (which is what I did nearly all day yesterday). I am grateful that I recognize this and can catch myself before slipping too far down the slippery slope. 

So next week is the half marathon! And yes, I am excited. I'm going to be running alongside new friend Megan from running group. We are a good match for pace and I am confident we will finish below our goal time of 3 hours. I bought a new outfit on Saturday so I would not have to run in my hole-in-the-knee, too-short-by-alot pants from last year. It was not a pleasant experience being in the dressing room with my limited XL options, but my focus right now is on getting through this race and enjoying the weekend at the beach with new friends. When I get home I am going to hit the ground running (literally, I hope!) with Amanda's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge! I am working on working on my schedule.

Is it strange that I am not nervous about the half? I can't believe how the time has flown, though, and I feel like once the race is over, my life is going to shift into ludicrous speed and before I know it, Christmas will be here and I am so not ready! Although, I do have to admit I am looking forward to the time off work, for sure. Turns out trying to stay upbeat about crappy situations can really wear a girl out!

Well, since I was basically a slug all weekend (after my 8 mile run on Saturday morning), I did not get my grocery shopping done, so I am going to go reacquaint myself with Lowes online grocery shopping!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

48 Hours

That's about how much time I figure I need in a day to get everything done that I want to get done. I have no idea how I am going to fit marathon training into my schedule (much less the other, more ambitious things I am contemplating training for...) when it feels like I barely have time to breath as it is. 

Am I just being over ambitious thinking I should be able to do all this stuff ("all this" being work full time, single parent full time, take care of a house and yard, 3 dogs, 80 loads of laundry a week, feed my kids something other than fast food or sandwiches once in awhile, and fit in running)?

How do you all manage?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Um, That Challenge Thing...

Clearly, it was very ambitious of me to think I could blog daily for 30 days. Between you and me, I don't even have time for a daily shower! (Remember...single mom, 3 kids, please don't judge!) But that's ok, I do not consider it a fail, because (a) it did make me more aware of what I was eating, and I am now back to tracking everything on my super slow and antiquated iPhone 3G in my fantastic Lose It! app (soon I will be tracking it on my fabulous new iPhone 4s) and (b) I'm pretty sure it was incredibly boring for my reader (hi, Peggy!) to read what I was stuffing my face with every. single. day.

Lest you worry that I don't have anything to challenge me, I will be attempting Amanda's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2011. You may notice that there is a brand new page up top so titled. This was actually a draft, originally called Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2010, that has sat on blogger for a year waiting to be published and updated. Yeah, that never happened. HBBC 2010 - epic fail. That is not the plan for this year. Wanna be challenge buddies? Head on over, check it out, sign up, and leave me a comment, and we can motivate the crap out of each other! 

Now, before I wrap this up and go eat lunch (I feel like I could graze all day today, what's up with that?), I have a question...I was so excited to start training for my half, thinking that I would start dropping weight again like I did when I first started running. But that hasn't happened - in fact, after losing maybe 5-6 pounds, I have been religiously losing and gaining the same 2 effing pounds for the last month or more. WTF? Explanations? Suggestions? Help, please!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

13.1 - Done & Done!

Today was "race simulation" day with my half training group, and the longest run we will do before my race on November 13. Originally, I hadn't planned on running the entire 13.1 miles - I had wanted the first time I ran that distance to be on race day. When I got there, though, I decided I would do the whole thing and see what my time was. Since we are doing intervals, I am hoping to finish the race in under 3 hours. 

The "official" group run was the hilly route we've taken the past few weekends, but the OBX Half is very flat, so a small group of us decided to skip the hills today and run on the nice, flat, shady Tobacco Trail. It was a perfect day for running. The morning was fall crisp, no humidity. The sun streamed through the trees in patches, dappling the ground and giving the fallen leaves a shimmer of gold. 

The plan was to run a 5 mile out and back in one direction and then a 1.5 mile out and back in the other direction. I ran with a new friend, Megan, and we ran well together. We chatted about this and that, getting to know each other. It still amazes me that I can run and talk at the same time! 

Given my crappy run on Friday, I wasn't sure how this run was going to go. My calves have been feeling tight lately. I wasn't nervous about the run itself, just that my legs would hurt too much to finish. The first two miles seemed to take a long time, but after that I felt warmed up and ready to go. We passed the honey stand - a little table with local honey and a jar for money, which of course I never have out on a run on the trail. I'm going to have to find my way back there in the car to get some honey!

On Wednesday night's run I decided to try Gu for the first time - Espresso Love. It was tasty, worked great and no tummy issues, so today I carried three different flavors: Espresso Love, Peppermint, and Chocolate Mint. At 45 minutes, I randomly picked Espresso Love out of my pack - yum! The effect seems immediate - is it? Or is it mental? Either way, I was feeling good! 

The last few miles of the out and back were familiar territory - the part of the trail I usually run. We caught up with a few other ladies from our group taking a break at the water cooler and ran with them for awhile, but they are faster and left us behind before too long. I took another Gu at 1:30 (Chocolate Mint) and again, it helped pick me up. By about mile 9 or 9.5, though, I felt like I was flagging. I took my last Gu (Peppermint - no caffeine - could have used the caffeine!). At mile 10, back at the parking lot, we stopped for a few minutes to stretch and so Megan could put her dead phone in her car. 

The last 3.1 was tough. We were definitely struggling a little and running slower, but I managed a little kick for the last .1!!! Then I was done! I did it! I freaking ran 13.1 miles. I'm kinda feeling like I rock right now!

Today I am grateful for:
  • fall weather
  • compression socks
  • carb loading
  • my beautiful, healthy, amazing children
  • sunflowers