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!