Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Year in Review & 2013: Goals!

Well, it's the dawn of a new year.  2012 was a stellar year for me and as such, it deserves a little reflection.  I think a list is in order.

Notable events in 2012:
  1. I changed shoes.  At the Marin 10k I did a video run analysis and the guy recommended I try out shoes with a low heel-to-toe ratio.  Most shoes are 8mm offset but my new Brooks Pureflow (which aren't so new anymore) are only 4mm.  They've served me well.  
  2. I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma.  I'm still learning to manage the wheezing, and fortunately for me it isn't a huge interference.  But I think using the inhaler before a run (when I remember) makes a big difference in my performance.
  3. I fell in love with running.  It wasn't until I started training for my first half-marathon, when I started doing long runs, that I started to enjoy the tranquility, the quiet satisfaction, the exhilaration that can come from a good run.  Yeah, I'm sure I finally got those endorphins, or "runner's high" that everyone talks about.  I spent years hating the run, so this is a pretty big deal.  And I also realized I can run at an average pace (whatever that means).  I figured I'd always be at the back-of-the-pack, but now I know the middle is totally attainable for me.
  4. I tried a bunch of new things.  Pilates, Crossfit, Dailey Method, Boot Camp - all new ways to exercise that I tried in 2012.  And 2013 is going to bring a pole dancing class!  Other things I want to try in 2013 are Stand-Up Paddleboard and maybe re-visit yoga.
  5. I celebrated 5 years of blogging.  That's probably more like 20 years in blog years.  And 5 years of blogging means 5 years of commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  Mixed in there were two pregnancy-related hiatuses but each time I made a comeback and I think blogging helped me do that.  I couldn't disappear into the blogosphere!
  6. I conquered Marshall Wall.    I never thought I'd have the ability to ride up a seriously big, long hill.  But I realized I could probably ride up a not-so-serious big hill and on that day, I decided to  go for the real deal.  A hill with a name.  Marshall Wall stood out in my mind as an impossible climb.  But climb it I did, slowly but surely.  Hills don't scare me (or my bike) anymore.  Well, except for the downhill part, but I hope to work on that in 2013.
  7. I started taking vitamins.  People have been telling me for years that they would help but I was stubborn.  Plus, I'm not good at taking a pill every day, though the payoff has really helped me to remember.  I'm not tired at the end of the day like I used to be. Now I'm taking a multi-vitamin, a B complex, a Glucosamine/Chondroitin pill, and recently added CoQ10.  
  8. I took a backpacking trip in Yosemite.  I've always wanted to backpack.  I did the customary train trip across Europe in my 20's but that's not the same as a backcountry outing.  I got to meet and spend the weekend with some super-fun women and experience a peaceful commune with nature.  It was a high point of the year for sure.
  9. My blog hit the big-time!  Ok, maybe not the big, big-time but big enough for me.  I was listed on's 10 Weight Loss Bloggers You Should Follow and I was interviewed by the Half Size Me show.  I added a Facebook page and I absolutely LOVE my FB peeps!  They inspire and encourage me on a daily basis.
  10. I ran a half-marathon!  Not only did I do my first half-marathon, the Kaiser half in San Francisco, but I went on to run another before the year was out, the Livermore Grape Stomp.  In fact, it was a great year for race events. I survived the Cinderella Century, a mud run, the Marin 10k, threw in a Tri for Fun, and had a memorable Marin Sprint triathlon too (I still can't believe how smart I was to switch to the sprint distance).  Oh, and I ran my first Turkey Trot, something I hope to do every year.
  11. I reached my goal weight.  After 5 years, 8 months and 25 days, on Friday, November 9th 2012, I finally hit that number, 145, to which I'd been aspiring.  Some of you have been following me since my humble beginnings.  Thank you, my fine readers, for all the support, ideas, encouragement and inspiration.  Every time I've needed a cheer, or feedback, or advice, or even a kick in the pants - you've been there.  I can't underestimate the power of this blog as part of my journey.  Weight Watchers recommends Anchoring, a process for creating cues and triggers to remind yourself of your weight goal and the inner resources you have to achieve it.  This blog is my anchor, and everyone that reads and comments are part of that.  Ack, this is making me emotional!   
Wow!  What a year.  When I started this post I didn't appreciate how much I accomplished this year.  If 2013 is even half as good, I'll be happy.  

Which brings me to goals for 2013.  Without further ado...
  1. Swim, bike, run...with a number on me.  I have a lot of races planned for 2013, first of which is the Kaiser half marathon coming up soon.  My goal for 2013 is to do all the races I can, to strive to do my best, but most important, to have fun while doing them!  And I also plan to try more new things in the coming year, like the Stand-Up Paddleboard and the pole dancing class I mentioned.
  2. Reach 25% body fat.  Although 145 was my goal weight I've always thought that would put me at 25% body fat. But according to my Tanita scale I hover between 27 and 28% body fat.  I want to gain more muscle and lose a bit of fat.  I want to get stronger and leaner.  Not because I want to lose weight, or get smaller, but because I want to see more of the muscle I've worked so hard to get.  Oh how I wish I could include getting a tummy tuck in this process but that's probably not in the cards for this coming year.
  3. Maintain, maintain, maintain.  From the very beginning I've said that "Maintenance is the only reason I'm back."  Well, 2013 is my year to maintain.  This past year I had my first birthday at goal weight.  Next year this time I plan to be wrapping up my first full calendar year maintaining that goal.  I don't yet know what challenges I might face in the coming year, who knows what the cards might hold, but change is inevitable and sometimes life throws us a curve ball (or we throw life a curve ball).  If either comes to pass, I plan to hit it out of the park...or at least not get knocked down by it.  
There you have it, my goals for 2013.  I'm thinking of doing 30 posts in 31 days to kick-off the new year. Not going to make a firm commitment to this because blogging sometimes gets pushed down the priority list in the face of other things but right now it sounds like a fun idea. I'd love to hear your resolutions or see links to your goals/resolutions if you have them.  A goal shared is more likely to be reached.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'm a Runner Too!

Sunday can only mean one thing during half-marathon training...the long run.  Today I had a 9 miler on the agenda.  I did a bit of, ahem, carb loading last night by way of a late night bowl of cereal.  I tried to go to bed early last night but that didn't happen.  I think I managed about 7 hours of sleep though, which is plenty enough.

I got up this morning and had my coffee and fed the kids.  Miguel had gone to his soccer game so I was on my own.  I wasn't all that hungry so I wasn't in a hurry to have my own cereal.  Next thing you know Miguel is home with an armload of pupusas.  Of course, that changed my breakfast plans.

A pupusa, cabbage and salsa.
Is a cheese pupusa good running fuel?  Guess we'll find out.  I was going to run with my buddy Catherine but she couldn't run until 3:30 and I was so antsy I could barely stand myself, bouncing around the house like a toddler.  At 12:30 I couldn't take it anymore so I took off.  I did a loop run from my house that had a pretty good sized hill in the first two miles.  But it was nice to get it out of the way early.

I took 6 shot blox with me with a plan to eat 2 every three miles.  But at mile 3 I didn't really feel I needed it.  So at mile 4 I had two.  My run was going along smooth, I was pushing myself but feeling up to the challenge.  I had two more shot blox, at mile 7 I think.  And I started cramping right about that time.  Fortunately I was passing near enough to my gym to stop in for some water.  The cramps took a while to go away but with plenty of belly breathing they finally dissipated after a half-mile or so.  I was passing a driveway and a car was exiting.  He waved me by and then hurriedly rolled down his window to tell me, "I'm a runner too!"  How cool is that?  I needed a little boost to morale and that gave it to me.  I'm a runner too.  For some reason I just really liked hearing that.

Reminds me of the time I was running in 2000 when I was in the midst of (what turned out to be a very temporary) fitness effort.  I was running down the street and neared a group of people.  One man said to his group, "move over, a jogger's coming."  Did he mean me?  That stuck with me, I had no internal sense of being a jogger (a word I now avoid, we're all runners!).  We really need to reinforce any positive feedback we get.  Most of us have a tendency to focus on the negative but it's the positive that needs your attention.  And the positive that will get you where you want to go.  Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.  Henry Ford gets credit for that one. 

Despite all that mental mojo my body was getting tired and I had to do some self-talk to get me through the last few baby hills, "You can do this, you are strong enough, your mind might doubt it but your body is ready."  That last one really gave me some umph.  Finally I was looking at downhill/flat for the rest of the way home so I mustered all my strength to finish strong.  And I did!  My last mile was my fastest, 9:10.  And that included those baby hills!

Check out that overall pace, 9:31, I was thrilled!  I was working a little harder than I'd like, an average heart rate of 166 is a bit high. Anyway, I'm still hopeful I can pull off 9:30 for the half.  With plenty of carb loading, a taper, and hardly any hills - it seems totally possible.  I just hope the stars align.  Ok, here's the full story for anyone that's interested.

Yesterday at the mall GNC was giving out free stuff.  I got a bottle of Amplified Recovery Fuel. The whole thing has 290 calories.  That seemed like a lot so I had half after my run, I really like the sound of amplified recovery.  I must admit, I feel pretty good now several hours later.  After a shower I had another pupusa for lunch.  I also had a string cheese.  It's a heavy cheese day I guess.

I feel so much better than I did last week after my run.  Maybe it was the nicer weather, the recovery drink, or maybe last week was just a hump I needed to get over.  In any case, I'm a happy runner.  My toe didn't bother me at all, though I did get a small blister on the side.  I have to remember to wear seamless socks on long run days, makes a difference.

Tonight we have a houseful of folks leftover from their watching the football game. I haven't started drinking but that's a possibility given the loud rancheras and the beer and vodka that are now freely flowing.  The guys are grilling carne asada, chicken and all the fixings so I'm sure I'll have a filling dinner.  I've already had a couple oreos and some tortilla chips.  I wasn't really planning for a party tonight but it seems to be happening around me.  Oh well, it's kinda, almost New Year's Eve, right?  Part of the lore of the long run, at least for this woman, is that I can eat and drink more than usual with no negative impact on the waistline.  And while this may be true, there are limits to that truth.  Don't overdo it Michelle, you feel better when you eat and drink a reasonable amount.  Yeah, talking to myself again.   What can I say, it works!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Come One, Come All!

Can you feel the energy building?  I'm actually really excited about the new year for some bizarre reason.  Normally it goes by without much fanfare in my life but this year just feels different.  I'm looking forward to getting leaner and stronger in the new year.  Doesn't mean I want to lose weight necessarily, but I do want to gain more muscle and lose fat.  More on that in my resolution post.  Anyway, the fitness energy is building and I can feel it.

Unfortunately, there's usually a party-pooper in the crowd and lately I've heard grumbles about the resolutioners coming. You know, those people who vow to start fresh with the New Year and flood the gym in January.  But I'm here to say BRING IT ON! I want to see them, I want to cheer them on, I want them to STAY. Come one, come all - my gym is ready for you, and I, for one, will be there with a smile to greet you.  More importantly, I hope you stay.   

I can attest to how good life feels when you're in shape and moving your body.  So if you're starting the new year with a plan to have 2013 be your year to find that out - get moving!  And be sure your plan includes a way to deal with the inevitable dip in motivation so you don't fall off the wagon 3-6 months down the road like half the people will.  Don't be that 50%. 

So no workout today, Saturday is rest.  Things went a bit different than I planned.  We took Marek over to a friend's house to play and Miguel and I took Myra to the mall. I had a few things to exchange.  I ended up in The Gap and found a couple tops I liked.  So of course I had to take pictures to share.  First is a simple workout t-shirt.  All my workout tops are pretty big on me so it will be fun to have one that fits a bit better.  Sorry for the crappy pictures. 

Gap workout T-shirt with old workout tights.
The other thing I got was a tank top.  Yep!  And I swore to myself I'll wear it on the first really nice day for an outside run.  I doubt I'd ever wear it to the gym, a little too up close and personal for me, but an outside run I could do.  I didn't realize how much my sports bra would show at the top but I guess I'll survive.

Gap exercise tank.
New workout clothes are a fun little way to boost your gym mood.  Of course for years I was part of the over-sized clothes crowd.  I started wearing shorts this past year to the gym, which was so weird at first, I felt half naked.  Now I'm used to wearing them and actually feel really hot if I wear the loose pants that I used to wear. 

Shifting gears...I've not written about this yet but I've been reading running books lately.  It started when Meb Keflezighi's memoir, Run to Overcome, was on sale for .99 for the kindle.  It was interesting to read about his high-level training, his disappointments and injuries, and also his personal history.  He's an extremely positive person (even more than me I think!), which of course I like.  He's also very religious and mixes in a lot of bible verses and often refers to his motivation and trust in god, so if that would put you off you might want to skip it.

I finished that and recently purchased Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. I'm really enjoying this one too. Books have been a fun way to motivate myself.  In the beginning I read a lot about food, primarily about the evolution of our American diet, the food industry, marketing of foods, etc. Books like The Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation.  I watched a lot of food related documentaries too, Super Size Me, King Corn, and Food, Inc. I have a few on Netflix I'm needing to watch - Forks Over Knives comes to mind.  Oh, and this year I watched Weight of the Nation from HBO - if you get a chance I'd watch that for some heavy hitting, even  fear-based, motivation.  The relationship between obesity and dementia alone should scare you straight!

My whole triathlon endeavor started by my reading Slow Fat Triathlete, by Jayne Williams.  I never even imagined doing one before that.  Unfortunately Jayne has gained a fair amount of weight and is now moved into the Fat Advocate world.  I say unfortunately but she doesn't see it that way.  Anyway, I then read Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel, a really helpful book. 

Which reminds me of some of the more cognitive focused books I've read on this whole thing.  The one that I related to the most was The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person by Judith Beck.  By the time I'd read it I had already incorporated much of what she espouses on my own through trial and error.  But the book still resonated with me and gave me even more focus as to the way I want to think and behave. I should also pay homage to Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength by Bill Phillips. I did the 12 week program in 2005 and lost 30+ pounds of fat during those 12 weeks. And despite falling off the wagon, hard, after the 12 weeks were over I know I learned a lot during that time about diet and fitness that helped me when I got back on the wagon two years later.

I guess this has turned into a post about books and movies. Maybe I should do a permanent page on recommended books and movies (Update: I made a Books & Movies page!). I'm currently working on a "What I Eat" page because I get asked that a lot. So maybe after I finish that. 

Anyway, I have a long run on the agenda for tomorrow. Catherine and I will be running together in the afternoon. We haven't picked a route yet. I better go charge my garmin.  Hope you're having a great weekend!

Oh, I almost forgot. This is a big milestone day. A gross milestone, but a milestone nonetheless. Lost my first toenail due to running. After the Livermore Grape Stomp my toenail started changing colors. And today it finally gave way. Now I'm short one big toenail. Good thing is, it doesn't hurt. If there was any doubt that I'm a "real" runner, it's gone now!
Lost Toenail from Running (sorry if this grosses you out!).
p.s.  I updated the Where My Journey Began page if you're interested in checking it out.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The #9 Cloud

Recently my husband told me I'm like a whole new woman.  Those aren't the exact words he used, but you get the idea.  At first I didn't think much of it but it kept popping back into my head and the more I thought about it,  the more it hit me, I am like a whole new woman. And I'm not only talking appearance here, I feel different, I behave different, I think different.  In some fundamental ways, I'm still the same me as before, but in some other equally fundamental ways, I'm different.  Anyway, I'm not looking to do an in-depth analysis of all this yet but I can say that one thing that's changed about me is the drive I have to get out there and live.  Maybe it's from years of sitting on the sidelines, being on the bench and out of the game.  Or maybe it's just because there's nothing holding me back anymore - not only can I do a lot more than I ever did before, but I want to, and more importantly, I am.

And sometimes that's as simple as having a great day.  And today was one of those days.  I had almost too much fun on the bike but by the time I got around to doing my strength training I was totally fired up.  I had to stop myself from dancing between every set.  Sometimes I didn't stop myself.  The good thing was, the gym was almost empty so I didn't embarrass myself too badly.  I did chest/triceps/core.  I've stepped things up in the pushup department.  Instead of doing 12, 10 and 8 reps I upped it to 20, 15 and 12.  Big jump, right?  I just felt capable, and I was.  And I added weight to the Lying Barbell Tricep Extensions, up to 10 pounds from 5.  That was a real challenge but I muscled through (hee hee).

So can you tell I was in a good mood?  Nothing like a post-body-moving exercise high.  There's a catch, though.  Ain't there always?  I was starve-ING when I left the gym.  I'd hardly eaten since breakfast and now it was late afternoon.  I know - poor planning on my part.  I came home and had a string cheese and shared an avocado with Myra (that I mostly ate) and then had a taquito.  Healthy lunch, right?  But food was still on the brain and I was in the mood for something...bad.  Fried chicken should do the trick.  I'd been wanting it since Christmas Eve for some reason.  So we had KFC for dinner.  I had two crispy thighs and skipped all the sides.  I figured if I wanted chicken I should just eat chicken - no reason to add to the madness by eating all the other stuff.  Oh, and I managed to find two bite sized chocolates so I ate those too.

After dinner I felt a sort of bleh feeling that I will blame on the bleh food choices.  But no matter, I remember my fabulous mood from earlier today so I'll just reminisce about that to keep me happy.   So, what's on tap for this weekend, you ask?  Tomorrow I'm taking the kids to Laurie's house for a little socializing.  Not sure what else we'll do with our day but hopefully something fun.  And Sunday Miguel has a soccer game in the morning so that means I'll be doing my long run in the afternoon, hopefully with my buddy Catherine.  Those longs runs are SO much more enjoyable with company.  Who knew? 

Still working on some New Year goals.  They are definitely going to involve the races I have planned, maybe something related to my body fat percentage.  I might make a goal or two NOT related to health and fitness, imagine that!, but I have a little space in my mind to think about other things too now.  Really, these are all icing. The health of my kids and family, my own health, having all my basic needs met, love and being loved - I'm so lucky.  I know that, and I try not to forget that when I get caught up in all the other complexities of life.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Weight Watchers Scale by Conair: Review and Giveaway!!

Recently I mentioned to my Facebook peeps that Conair contacted me about doing a review and giveaway of their Weight Watchers Inspirational Glass Scale.  Of course I was excited to do so.  They sent me the scale for the purposes of my review but the opinions are all mine.  And they'll send you one too if you win the giveaway!!

I have to admit, when I was told about the scale I wondered how much difference a little sticker on a scale was going to make.  You all know about my sometimes contentious relationship with the scale.  I have quite openly accused it of lying and I've been known to banish it for periods of time.  The darned thing just can't be trusted and sometimes it's outright nasty.  So yeah, the scale and I have some history.  And I thought, hmph, put a happy sticker on it and all's well, eh?  We'll see about that.  In any case, the scale is an important tool on this journey, nothing like solid numbers staring you in the face.  I try to see those numbers as feedback, not failure, not judgment, and not even success, just feedback.  Because success is really about the behaviors I engage in, the thoughts I'm having, how I feel about my body and how functional that body is.  My personal success is about momentum, a full, active life and a positive, empowered attitude.  The number on the scale is only part of that story.  Ok, I'll get off my scale soapbox now.  In any case, the number matters, no matter what I say - so why not have a little fun with it?

I unwrapped the scale and I was surprised by how sleek and low profile it is.  I think it's maybe a 1/2 inch off the floor. And the glass top gives it a modern, clean look that I like.

The first thing I did was get out the stickers and choose the ones I wanted on my scale.  They give you two pages of stickers, and one of the stickers is blank so you can personalize it.  I thought my goal weight might be a tangible reminder of maintenance.  Or maybe I should just write, "You're hot!" and be done with it.  See?  There's something about this that is fun, and encouraging, and I'm surprised by how much these little stickers change the scale-mood (if there is such a thing).

determination - check!
So, here are the stickers I chose.  Determination was the first one I put on.  Then Every Day is a New Day.  They also had One Day at a Time, which is another classic one.  And Smile, because smiling is always good.  Finally, You Go Girl!, because it was just plain fun.  And I put on all the butterflies they sent.  Butterflies are such a perfect metaphor for this journey.  Breaking out of the cocoon of inactivity and extra weight so I can fly around and see the world, perfect, right?  When I was trying to think of a new blog name (before I decided to just cross out loser and replace it with maintainer) The Butterfly Diaries was in serious consideration.

Anyway, the stickers are those vinyl ones that are removable and reusable so you can change things up when you want.  I suppose if I were in a slump I could write "This Will Pass" for a reminder that slumps don't last forever.  

The weight seems accurate, my weight was only .2 pounds different on this one than my regular scale so I think that bodes well for the accuracy of them both.  And I like that the logo on the scale is just WW and their little swoosh logo and the color is very subtle.  So much so that you can barely see it in these pictures (it's on the bottom).  The scale looks smudged in my pictures but those are reflections, it doesn't seem to show smudges in real life, which is nice.

I love that it measures to 1/10th of a pound!
Ok, here are some stats on this thing: 12.4" X 12.4", has a 400lb capacity.  Runs on a long-life AAA lithium scale (included) and has a 10 year warranty.  They retail for $29.99 and are available nationwide and at  But who wants to buy one when you can win one here for free?!  Just leave a comment and I'll do a random drawing five days from today, on January 1st.  Perfect timing with the new year and resolutions. Btw, that 143.9 is my midday weight, it's lower in the morning.  Yeah, I know, I'm nuts.  But that brings up another issue, 128.1 pounds is the weight on the box and in the promo pics.  I wonder how they decided on that number? 

Anyway, speaking of resolutions, I think I'm going to make some goals of my own.  Not sure what they will look like but I'm feeling like it might be fun to get in on the fitness craze that overtakes the country this time of year. And I'm in talks with the management at my gym about maybe doing something there.  Stay tuned, you know I'll write about it all, probably endlessly.

As far as my own fitness craze - I made it to the gym today.  I did an outside run loop from my gym and it was even more beautiful and perfect than yesterday.  I ran 4.5 miles in 43:19 and then went inside the gym to do legs/shoulders/core work.  I added a new shoulder exercise, Arnolds, after asking a trainer at the gym what exercise he would do if he could only do two shoulder exercises.  He said lateral raises (which I'm already doing) and Arnolds.  Perfect because you know how much I love anything that involves dumbbells.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get some bike time in and then chest/triceps/core are on the agenda.  I'm super pleased to be getting in all my strength training sessions despite the sickness deal.  Determination, don't doubt it for a second.

p.s.  Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the scale giveaway. I'll do a random drawing five days from today, on January 1st.  Be sure to include a way for me to reach you if I can't reach you through your comment.  My first giveaway - yay!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Sore Throat and a Warm Heart

It's been an interesting week so far.  I started getting sick just as it was getting underway.  I worked on Monday and dragged myself through the day.  I was debating with myself about exercise but when my body starting aching all over, I knew I had to take a pass.  I got home, took some ibuprofen and tucked myself in bed pretty early.  Fortunately my mom was able to take over most of the final preparations for Santa's big arrival.  The ibuprofen took care of the body aches but my throat was still sore.

Christmas morning and I woke up feeling a bit better, which was helped by the excited squeals of the kids, "Santa came and left wots of presents!"  The kids had a blast opening them, Marek used the highest pitch voice yet to scream "Star Wars Legos!".  Myra is still young enough to enjoy the unwrapping more than the presents themselves.

After all the present fun we had a yummy breakfast.  My mom made a cheesy egg souffle with ham and toast.  My body started hurting again midday so I took more ibuprofen and accepted the sad reality that my 4 mile run was not going to happen.  It was also pouring rain, not that the rain would have stopped me. 

We spent the day playing with the kids and watching movies.  My mom and I made dinner - a rib roast, wild rice with mushrooms and pine nuts, and brussells sprouts (with butter!).  I opened a bottle of very good red wine, no one else drinks the stuff so I got to enjoy it all by myself.  I was in the mood to imbibe and figured I'd have no problem drinking the whole bottle.  I got a bit tipsy but before things got too crazy it was time to eat dinner.  By the time that was over I couldn't put anything else in my body.  So, turns out I can't polish off a bottle of wine by myself after all.  I shared this sad fact on Facebook and my friends were full of good advice, telling me that I need more practice, I need to train harder, and that pacing is important.  The word wineathlon was even offered up.  Ha!

Not too long after dinner I started feeling run down again.  I went to bed on the early side but for the life of me I couldn't sleep.  My throat hurt terribly, I couldn't seem to get comfortable and despite feeling tired as heck, I just couldn't sleep.  Around 11pm I gave in and took some Advil PM (I know, my poor liver!) and hoped like heck I'd feel good enough to go for a run in the morning.

I woke up this morning with my throat still being sore.  It hurt to swallow but my body felt ok.  And I felt pretty well rested.  I decided I could run.  But it was cold out and I thought it'd be better to go run on the treadmill at the gym and get some strength training in as well.  I got to the gym but the sun breaking through the clouds and the cool, still air beckoned me - so I ran outside after all.  I decided to do my old 3-mile route and run easy given that I'm probably still a bit sick.  Once I was underway I started thinking about how an "easy" run used to be something I didn't understand.  There was no such thing as an "easy" run in the early years.  Now I understand, and it feels so good to be able to go on an easy run. The air was cool and crisp, the ground wet from early morning rain, the decorated houses and the quiet - it all added up to make for a very peaceful and fulfilling run.  I was feeling so good that I wanted to keep going and contemplated adding on some mileage. "Michelle, don't be silly, you're sick," I told myself.  I took my own advice and kept it to 3 miles.  After the run I did back/biceps/core for strength training.  I dragged a bit with the weights, I felt stiff and the weights felt heavy.  It probably didn't help that all I'd had was a few sips of coffee before the exercise.  Not enough fuel for the fire. 

I was so grateful to be able to get some exercise in.  The rest of the day was spent eating and sitting around so it was a good balance.  Tomorrow was supposed to be a morning boot camp class with a friend (my mommy/running buddy Laurie) but it got canceled so I'm going to the gym instead.  Just as well, this way I'll be able to do my normal strength training routine.  And I plan to go again on Friday, which means I'll get my three strength training sessions this week.  My throat is still sore but my body is feeling much better.  I'm going to try to hit the sack early and hope I have an easier time falling asleep.

So the food has been all savory, salty, sweet, sugary, fatty, high-calorie goodness.  But I'm feeling pretty done with all the indulgence, at least as far as food is concerned, and ready to get back to my chicken breasts and roasted veggies.  I got on the scale this morning and I was just above 143.  Still within the normal range but a bit above where I've been hanging out lately in terms of weight.  No surprise there.  Of course I feel compelled to drop the extra pound or so even though I'm still below my goal weight.  Don't get me started on the insanity of it all. 

I hope you had an enjoyable holiday, whatever your faith or celebration.  And if, like me, you went a bit overboard on the calories - don't fret.  You're just really good at celebrating :)  You can get right back on track starting with your next meal.  Besides, we won't be wearing shorts or a bathing suit for months!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gusty Run

I started out writing this post and trying to listen to music at the same time, didn't work.  Winter brings me a renewed enjoyment of music and I'm currently all cozied up in the easy chair listening to Perry Como, Glenn Miller and the like - perfect for a rainy day.  My father gets the credit for introducing me to this music.  He was born in 1925 and always loved big band and swing.  I remember him telling me that "pop" music was just the same beat droning on and on and he just didn't get the appeal.  He also listened to a lot of classical and while I enjoy that too, I tend to be a softy and listen to "light" classical.   That's a picture of my dad, Merle, and brother, Greg taken decades ago.  I think we were in Canada at a house rental for a summer vacation.  That little smirk my dad has on his face is so classic him.  And I've always loved this picture because his son has a version of that same smirk on his face.

Aaaanyway, got off on a little tangent there.  Back to our regular programming.  Despite dragging my butt on Friday I managed to get myself into the gym.  And I had a great workout!  I don't think I've mentioned my plan to increase my treadmill speed by .1 every two weeks.  So I was doing 6.2 with 2 minutes of 7.2 intervals every three minutes.  Yesterday I increased it to 6.3 and 7.3 respectively.  So I ran 3 miles in 27:03 on a 1% incline - and felt great!  After the run I did chest/triceps/core and generally felt like the hard core athlete that I am.  Wink.

So exercise has been good but I tell you, I really feel strange about my eating.  My weight is staying the same so in that sense things are going well.  But my behaviors don't feel healthy and reasonable.  I went to a family holiday party yesterday (a day off from exercise, btw) and ate a lot of snack-type foods (chex mix, crackers/cheese, hummus, etc) and then ate a late lunch, followed by two desserts.  I was pretty full and thought I might be done eating for the day.  I went out that evening to shop for a new pair of cold weather running tights.  Mine from last year are getting loose.  More on that in a bit.  Anyway, back at home and the kids were in bed and I started to get hungry.  Three bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios (the kids' cereal, I know, I know) later and I just felt not good.  Granted this was spread out over a couple of hours but still, I don't need to be eating like that.  I should have just had dinner like a normal person.  And at the very least, I did not need the third bowl for crying out loud!  So this is the type of thing I need to figure out in maintenance.  Just because I can eat a certain way (ie, unhealthy) and get "away" with it in terms of my weight, doesn't mean that's how I want to behave.  It just doesn't vibe with how I want to live in terms of diet.  So I'm trying to be patient with myself, but lord knows I can't voice these issues to anyone around here because they're practically accusing me of being underweight (which I am far from being) as it is.  "I need to stop eating so much" will bring exasperated looks and trying to go into the psychological details of the unhealthy behaviors would bore them to tears, so that's what my blog is for, right?  Anyway, I want to improve, figure it out, and not have this become a slippery slope into old behaviors. 

Enough of that, let's talk about today's run.  The training plan called for an 8 mile run.  The weather outside was frightful - rainy and cold but the worst was the wind.  My weather app showed 20+ mph winds and a friend posted a picture of a downed tree in his front yard.  Eek!  I wasn't sure running in that weather was the best plan but my running partner Catherine couldn't do any other time.  So run we must.

Last night I purchased two pair of cold weather running tights.  One by UnderArmour and the other were Nike.  Both had a microscopic fleece lining inside.  In the end I chose the UnderArmour Women's Coldgear Fitted Leggings (for under 55 degrees - which is called spring in some parts of this country).  They just fit me better.  I was concerned they were too thin to keep me warm but the Nike's were no thicker so I gave it a try.

So I wore those with a long sleeved tech running shirt and my Sugoi Versa jacket. Oh, and I had a headband to cover my ears and a visor hat to keep the rain out of my eyes.  Catherine and I hit the road and I decided pretty quick that I just had to run at a comfortable pace.  It was too cold, windy and rainy to try anything else.  The wind turned out to be not so bad, which was a welcome surprise.

We did a large loop from near my house and had a good time enjoying the winter weather and chatting.  Our loop included some time on a trail, which was super wet, a little muddy, and added to the childlike enjoyment of it all.  We were nearing our last mile and I knew we'd been running pretty slow (just based on how I was feeling) so I suggested we pick up the pace for the last mile.  Off we go!

Here are the splits from the run (full Garmin stats here).  We ran the last mile in 8:23!  It helped that we were running on a slight decline. Our overall pace average was 10:20.  I guess that's what happens when you're busy dodging puddles.  We had a little cool-down walk (and suddenly I was freezing!) and then back at home I couldn't get out of my wet clothes and into a hot shower fast enough.  Oh darn!  I'd wanted to get a picture of us in our wet weather running clothes but forgot until we were already out of our jackets and shoes.  Oh well, here we are post-run.  We were trying to re-enact our awesome running!

Brrr...Catherine and I cannot be stopped by a little rain and wind!
After the run we both took a hot shower, which is the polar opposite of an ice bath!  But it felt so good to warm up.  All cozied up in fleece and then we spent some time stretching and using the foam roller.  For some reason my body felt really tight and sore, like this was my first long run.  Maybe it was that last mile at 8:23!

The rest of the week will be tricky.  I work tomorrow but will have to hit the gym early because they close early.  Tuesday the gym is closed.  Gasp!  Tuesday it should be easy enough to get out for a four mile run at some point.  Wednesday through Friday I'm home with the kids and Miguel is working.  I'm hoping to take a boot camp class with Laurie on Thursday morning.  And I have to figure out how to get to the gym on Friday.  Next week calls for a 9 mile run.  As much as I enjoyed the rain today, I sure hope we get nicer weather next weekend so I can take another crack at that 9:30 pace.

Before I close, I just want to share a sweet moment with you.  A picture of Miguel and Marek from our family session a couple months back.

Somebody loves his daddy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Keeping on Keeping On

My last "update" blog post was on Monday.  Today is Thursday and it feels like a whole world has transpired since then.  I have to admit, I am packing more into my life these days than I thought possible.  And I'm living, feeling more in touch with myself and the world, more everything, than I ever have been.  But I'll get off all the psychobabble introspection and stick to the facts, ma'am. 

The gym and the eating are going fair to middling this week.  I had my long run on Sunday.  Monday was a gym day - the bike followed by back/biceps/core.  The highlight was 2 sets of pullups, 3 reps, then 2 reps.  It's going to be a long road to 3 sets of 8 but I have nothing but time and, body willing, I'll get there.

Tuesday got all wonky and I didn't run.  And then Tuesday evening all hell broke loose in terms of my eating.  I'd had a stressful day and that, combined with no exercise = no bueno.  I ate TWO candy bars in addition to dinner rolls and whatever else I could find to munch on.  I was a bit frustrated with myself but have also grown enough with this journey to try to sit with acceptance, and avoid judgment.  I called my mom to see if she could come over on Wednesday so I could run and she could!  Whew!

So Wednesday I planned out a road/trail run out at the college.  The trail portion is my summer bread and butter loop.  I needed a bit more mileage to hit 4 miles so I parked on the road a half-mile or so from the trail.  Given the trail and the hill I knew trying to hit a 9:30 pace was not realistic so I just tried to do what I could and hope for the best.  It was a gorgeous day for a run, perfect chilly weather, I swear I ran with a smile on my face.  Anyway, here are the garmin stats:

I managed a 9:57 pace and ended up running 4.38  miles instead of just 4.  With the hill and whatnot, I'll take that pace!  And all the food demons were banished with having moved my body.  I'm really moving into a comfortable place with all this.  I think.  Have to be careful not to get too comfortable, that's when things can sneak up on you.  Have to stay frosty, as they say.

Yesterday, Thursday, was another gym day.  I did my 25 minutes on the upright bike followed by legs/shoulders/core.  I got to the gym a little before lunch, which is usually not good energy-wise, so I had an AccelGel beforehand to give me a little pep. The gym was practically empty and I sort of zoned out mentally and just enjoyed pushing my body through my routine.

After work I drove into the city for a work holiday party.  I got a late start and the traffic was horrible so I missed the first part of the party (which saved me from eating too much Chinese food!) but I made it for the gift exchange and scored a new set of salad tongs, something I actually needed.  My salad tongs were "wrapped" in a santa hat, hence the picture.

Today (Friday) is another gym day, heading out after work to do an easy 3 miles on the treadmill and gearing up mentally for Sunday's long run.  Oh!  And something fun I haven't mentioned.  Living Social had these pole dancing "fitness" classes a while back and, lucky me, I got three of them.  Not sure when I'll be taking the classes since they are a bit of a drive (at a studio over in Berkeley) but I'm looking forward to challenging myself in a new way.  Rest assured I will NOT be doing the move in this picture with only three classes but whatever I do, I'll have to share pictures.  That is if they are not too entirely unflattering or NSFW.  This is a family blog after all.  Ok, not really but you know what I mean.

That's all I got!  Gearing up for the big day.  Trying to stay in the moment and not let the hustle and bustle distract me from the warmth and joy of the season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Holiday Rule - And 5 Ways I Use It To Avoid Winter Weight Gain

I stumbled upon this post from last year and decided it's worth a re-post this year.  A little late but hopefully still helpful.


It's getting cold outside and that can only mean one thing...comfort food!  The number of unexpected encounters with food has been inching up lately and that's got me to thinking about my eating/food plan for the holidays.  My current plan is this: When it comes to the holidays, eat whatever you want.  What?!  "What kind of plan is that", you ask.  Easy.  There are only a handful of holidays.  Because, by "holiday", I mean the actual, post-office-is-closed, family comes over, holiday.  That would be Halloween (optional, depending on how strongly you feel about celebrating), Thanksgiving, Christmas (or insert other winter holiday here), maybe New Years Eve (unless you're like me and it stopped mattering years ago) and..well, that's sort of it.

Sure, there are other holidays throughout the year, but it's the winter holidays that really get us.  I think it's this mixture of cold weather, family, parties (as in, alcohol), and good food that can undermine our best intentions.  The power of the winter holidays to tempt us is why I came up with my food plan, "The Holiday Rule."  Yes, I actually call it that.  And I already told you all you need to know to follow my plan.  When it comes to the holidays, eat whatever you want.  On that one day.  So, how does the holiday rule help me get through the holidays without gaining weight?  Here's how I use it to keep my momentum up.

1.  I get to enjoy the holidays, feel like I am indulging just like everyone else, without guilt.  Because I plan to eat whatever I want on that day, I don't feel regretful about it.  Not even a little bit. In fact I sort of rejoice.  My day has come, I can relax, indulge, not worry or judge, or do any of the other food related craziness I might ordinarily do in the midst of all that food.

2.  I got this tip from a friend - I remind myself that my body does not know it's "the holidays".  If I eat a warm sticky bun for a snack it will still be 425 calories, and we all know the effect that will have on the body. The fact that it's December and cold outside doesn't change that.  

3.  I sometimes compare what I'm tempted by to the food I will eat on the holiday.  Now this is a tricky one that must be used sparingly because, well, I don't want to spend too much time daydreaming about food.  In any case, what I do is look at the tempting food and ask myself if it's as good as the food I'll have on, for example, Christmas.  Usually not.  It might be good, but it can't compare to my mom's cheesy egg souffle she always makes for breakfast.  Or Gulliver's corn.  Nope, this isn't special, it's just store bought cookies.  Move along Michelle. 

4.  Aside from the actual holidays there are other times when I might indulge a little (though not a full no-restrictions holiday day).  Some examples are the work holiday party, a friend's holiday party, my kid's holiday party...are you seeing a pattern here?  A party.  So at other times, like when I run into a pile of chocolate dipped biscotti at the office, I ask myself, "Is this a party?"  No, it's not a party.  I am not indulging just because it's Tuesday and there are biscotti.  "This isn't a celebration, there's no reason to indulge", blah, blah, blah, you get the idea.

5.  When I am tempted by food on days other than the holiday, let's say a pumpkin pie turns up at my kids playgroup, I can remind myself that my time to indulge will come, it's just not today.  This reassures me that I'm not deprived, that I'm not going to miss out on pumpkin pie for the rest of all time, but that it's just not happening today.

I use this approach on Weight Watchers too.  I would just count the day as having used up all my daily points and leave it at that.  And you know what?  I kept losing weight.  The holiday plan works for me!  Everyone has a different approach to how to deal with the increase in temptation around the holidays, I think the point is to have a plan and prepare ourselves. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ignoring a National Tragedy

This post is going to be entirely off topic as far as my normal blog topic.  But it's been bubbling up inside me all weekend and I have to get it out.

My husband was watching the 49ers football game while I was making dinner on Sunday evening.  I could hear the TV but wasn't really listening.  They interrupted the broadcast to air President Obama's speech in Newtown on the Sandy Hook school shooting.  I first heard of the shooting on Facebook.  I was scanning my news feed on my phone Friday morning and saw these posts from some other moms.
"Could not pick up my daughter fast enough today...heart is so heavy."

"walking through today with a heavy heart... I want to go home and be with my kids.... I cannot even wrap my brain around this tragic event."

"Hugging my kids extra tight today. So terribly sad about today's events."
I knew something bad had happened, but what?  I jumped over to CNN and saw the headline.  No, not kids.  No, please no.  20 kids?!  Elementary school kids?!  No.  Quick, turn it off.  And I did.  I got off my phone and decided in that moment that I could not handle this one.  This one in particular, being a mom to two small children - it just hits too close to home. 

But why do I feel so guilty?  I think part of me feels it's disrespectful to ignore the loss of life.  To tune out of the pain and grief.  I tell myself that watching the news and crying over the innocent lives  lost won't help anyone anywhere.  But I still feel bad.  How can I ignore this?  How can I just tune out to something so horrid? 

I wonder how this is tied to 9/11.  When I think about it, that's the last national tragedy I tuned in to.  I watched the news, glued, hanging on every detail.  What happened?  How?  Why?  And I cried.  I cried and cried and cried.  So many lost lives, so many dreams destroyed.  Horrible images of fire and destruction are seared in my brain.  Even today reading about 9/11, seeing those iconic images of the planes bursting into the twin towers, even still I can tear up in an instant.  It was so long ago now, but the tragedy is set deep in not just the national conscious, but in my own.  I wonder if these mass killings trigger a bit of that pain.

By Saturday I was feeling the weight of the story.  As much as I avoided the news, the images and the headlines were everywhere.  I made my own Facebook post.
"I can't watch the news. Haven't so far and won't. I am all full up on the underbelly of humanity. I'm starting to think the 24/7 media coverage that ensues after one of these nightmares is part of the problem. I might have my head in the sand but so be it."
It was a defensive post in response to the strange sort of guilt I was feeling by ignoring the whole thing.  My head was in the sand, deep in the sand.  I didn't want to see one little face, hear about a small child who loved to run and listen to dance music.  I didn't want to see a line of school children walking out of a war zone.  I can't handle the dramatic music while the news rips my heart out with a slideshow of innocent kids in happier moments.  And the parents, going to bed without their babies, it's just all too much.

Then there's the murderer.  More than anything, I didn't want to see him.  I don't want to know his name, read about his childhood and the probable causes of his loss of humanity.  I don't care about his motivations, his parents or where he grew up.  Why are we making these people famous?  During a live sports broadcast if someone runs naked onto the playing field the camera cuts away so as not to give them what they want.  Attention, national attention.  Fame.  For some people, by any means necessary.  But I don't want to participate.  I can cut away.

I can turn away from the media's autopsy, from the cable version of grief and sorrow.  Instead I will hold my kids a bit tighter, take that extra moment to let them put on socks "all by myself", bake cookies and dance in the living room.  Do all those things that make a childhood so special.  My head may still be in the sand but my heart is filled with gratitude at being able to fall asleep knowing my kids are safe and sound, tucked in bed, hopefully with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

Still, the drum beat of the 24-hour news cycle goes on, amped up with dramatic music and pre-commercial teasers, "stay tuned for a shocking interview with the school-bus driver."  We stare, hands over our mouths and tears in our eyes, shocked.  They strive to keep you on the edge of your seat, needing to get the next kernel of information.  We all want to understand.  But knowing which way the murderer ran around the school grounds, what he was wearing, who he talked to that morning - none of it brings the kind of understanding that will help.  It's as if watching the news and getting information has become part of our national grieving process.

And I think I want to grieve too, I need to.  Twenty children died.  Six adults.  As much as I want to tune out and cut away, the loss of lives can't be ignored.  Which brings me back to President Obama's speech on Sunday night.  I'm in my warm kitchen, making chili and cornbread, listening to my children play in front of the Christmas tree and his words drift in from the TV room...  
"...I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight.
And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone."
And I cry.  At first I try not to, and then I don't.  I will share in this sadness, I will not let you grieve alone.  I won't be watching the news or reading the articles, but I will be caring.  My tears won't bring back your children, won't guarantee the safety of my own children, but they will show that we are not alone.  That as parents, as Americans, as humans - we are not alone.  Not in our celebrations, nor in our sorrow. 

Pondering a Goal Pace

The big month of December keeps rolling on forward.  The parties, the food, the alcohol...and the exercise.  I both exercise restraint and exercise my body.  Both are going well.  Not perfect, but good enough to maintain.  Tuesday I did my 4 mile training run partially on the road and partially on a trail that leads to a small waterfall.  I ran the 4 miles in 37:59 for an average pace of  9.29 minute miles.  I am still evaluating my goal pace for Kaiser but I'm considering shooting for an average of 9:30 minute miles, for an overall finish of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 27 seconds.  I'm waiting a bit longer before I commit to that goal because I want to see how my pace holds up over longer distances.  The run felt great and I was hyped about my pace when I finished.  My bottom line goal is set, under 10:00 minute miles for a finish time of 2 hours, 11 minutes.  Either way I plan to shave at least 30 minutes off last year's time of 2:45.  Here are the Garmin stats on my run.

I've had these chocolate mint squares in the house.  I made them to give to neighbors but I haven't given them out and I've been eating them almost every night.  Anyway, Wednesday was a day off from exercise and normally I'd be home with the kids but I had to work.  Thursday was another run.  I had a super busy day booked so I got up at the 0'dark hundred to go to the gym before work.  It's always so hard for me to exercise first thing in the morning but I knew that was my only option.  I did my 3 miles on the treadmill and then legs/shoulders/core and incorporated that dumbbell hamstring curl I posted about last time.  It felt too easy though, not sure I'm going to keep doing it.  Might have to break down and use the machine where I can add more weight.

Friday morning I hopped on the scale, 141.6 pounds.  Not bad considering I started my period the next day.  That's 5 weeks of maintenance!!  I hit the gym after work, started with 20 minutes on the upright bike (I was pressed for time so I had to shave off 5 minutes) and then did chest/triceps/core.  I had to drop two sets of triceps cables because of lack of time but I got everything else done.  I was in and out in 46 minutes and burned 340 calories during that time.  That evening we went to the kids' preschool holiday party sing-along potluck.  I ate lots of yummy stuff, including some cookies and other treats.  I started to eat this one cookie and didn't really like it so I tried to be stealth in throwing it in the garbage.  It was a really big cookie so I felt a bit bad but life is too short for so-so cookies, right?

Miguel had to work on Saturday and I took the kids to playgroup in the morning.  More snacks.  I had a cookie, some of a yummy muffin and a couple mimosas.  I have the best mom friends!  I blame my food choices, at least in part, on knowing I was doing a long run the next day.  Carb loading is always a good reason to indulge!  My mom came over in the afternoon and watched the kids while I went out shopping.  I was out for a long time but got almost everything done, which felt good.  I ate light the rest of the day trying to balance out the morning treats.

Miguel and I went out in the evening with a plan to go shopping and see a movie.  After a couple hours walking around the mall he mentioned he'd been invited to a party and I could tell he wanted to go.  So off we went.  By the time we got there it was 10:30 and I'd had a light dinner at 6:15.  I had one beer and immediately felt it.  I went on to have two more and in the end I had a great time dancing and being social.  Fortunately they had food so I was able to have a second dinner.  And desert.  They had maybe 5 different types of cakes and of course I had to have a bit of each one.  Chocolate, dulce de leche, shortage of sweet choices!  We left after the police came for the second time asking for the music to be turned down.  It's been forever since I've been at a party that the police had to quiet down.  I think we got home around 2am.  On the drive home one of Miguel's friends teased me that there's no way I was going to run the next morning.  "Mark my words," I said.

I asked Miguel to kindly let me sleep in in the morning and he obliged.  I woke up at 5am, 7am, and a bit before 8 when I heard the kids get up.  No sign of a hangover, thank goodness, just tired.  He got up with them and I wondered if I would be able to fall back to sleep.  Next thing I know it's 10:30am and the house is quiet.  He'd taken the kids to the soccer field to watch a game.  Ahhh, nice.  Before they got home I had my coffee and breakfast and arranged my plans to run with my friend Catherine.  She and her daughter came over at noon and we were on the road by 12:30.  Not a morning run as planned but a run none the less.

I really wasn't sure how it would go, considering the late night and possible dehydration - though I'd only had three beers, I danced a lot and didn't drink a ton of water.  Add to that I am on my period, my legs were a bit sore and stiff and well, I just wasn't feeling very optimistic.  But in the end the run was great!  Chatting with Catherine made the time go by fast.  It's such a luxury to run with someone else.  I was totally happy to average 9:32 with a hill thrown in but of course thought, "If only I'd run two seconds faster per mile!"

Anyway, after the run I wrapped up some donation gifts and took my son out to drop them off.  Then we hit up another friend's house to drop off some clothes that don't fit me anymore.  I also gave out the chocolate mints, those really need to be gone.  And finally the grocery store.  Back home and I find out we're having some friends over for dinner.  I made chili and cornbread (and broccoli - must have a veggie) and generally enjoyed a warm house on a cold winter evening.  There's one bag of chocolate mint squares left and I ate four of them after dinner.  And my stomach hurt most of the afternoon and evening.  Long runs do weird things to my system.  Now that I think about it, I was probably dehydrated.  I'll try to focus on drinking lots of water today to get my body back to a happy place of being well hydrated.  And I hope I can pull off a week of semi-clean eating.  I feel like I've been indulging a lot.  But tonight I'm hitting up Chevy's with some moms for margaritas.  Oops!  I'll just have to avoid the chips and go for a "skinny" margarita.  Balance, balance, balance.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The 80's Want Their Chips Back

This week is going pretty good so far.  Two days down, five to go.  Yesterday I hit the gym after work and rode 25 minutes on the upright bike, level 8.  It was a challenge, my legs were burning at times.  I thought I had legs/shoulders/core afterward but when I finished I opened my workout log to see it was back/biceps/core - Yay!  My legs were happy to be mostly done with their part.

I was a bit pressed for time but it felt like happy hour at the gym.  It wasn't too crowded but there were a lot of regulars there that I've gotten to know some and everyone seemed chatty.  Or maybe it was me.  Anyway, I spent a few minutes trying to talk a new-ish runner into the Kaiser half-marathon.  I don't think he was going for it but maybe in the future.  Later he was chatting with this super-fit woman I'm always trying not to stare at.  So I introduced myself to her and told her how much I admire how fit she is, "You made my day" she tells me...nice!  She's a mom of two and her muscles are all, "Bam!".  Lisa, don't want to forget her name.  And then another guy (a more hard core lifter type guy) commented on my workout log, "those are good for the beginning."  I explained how this has been a post-baby comeback but that I was strength training before too, not so much a newbie anymore as I am neurotic.  That and I can't remember all my exercises having three different body routines and two core routines. 

Then he asked if I switch things up regularly.  Busted.  No, not nearly enough.  I do the same exercises week after week, month after month, until I'm sick of them.  Then I meet with a trainer, or find something online, to mix things up.  Since we were talking I asked him if he had any idea why my quads are not getting stronger.  I've been lifting 35 pounds on the leg extension machine since I re-started back in July 2011.  After some trouble-shooting he concluded I need to strengthen my hamstrings more. 

He showed me an exercise which is basically like using a  leg curl machine but with a dumbbell.  You lie face down on a bench and then lift up a dumbbell between your feet and curl your legs up.  Straighten your legs and that's one rep.  I liked it, especially because I feel really cool while I'm doing it, which always helps the mojo.  So I'm going to add this to my leg routine.  At first I thought I should drop the Swiss ball hamstring roll I do but I don't want to lose the gains I've made so I think I'll drop that down to 2 sets and then add 2 sets of these.  That's an overall increase of 1 set so maybe I'll drop something else - like the Plie squats or the side lunges - because my leg/shoulder day is already too packed.

So I wrapped up my exercise with some good stretching before rushing home.  Ate a quick dinner and then back out the door for grocery shopping. Somewhere along the way I started craving ice cream and potato chips.  I decided to get one of those single serving ice creams (thank you to whoever decided to start selling those!) and picked a Skinny Cow chocolate fudge.  But that didn't address the chip craving.  At the checkout I ended up grabbing some Funyuns - yep, the onion flavored chips that I associate with the 80's for some reason.  It's been years since I've had them and was feeling curious.  I started eating them on the way home and thought, "yep, should have left these in the 80's" and made a plan to dump the rest when I got home.  But after eating my ice cream (which had a "diet food" flavor and was disappointing) I went back to the chips and ate them all.  Ugh.  Should have dumped them, I actually didn't enjoy them all that much.  Nothing worse than wasting calories on mediocre food.  What I should have done was get a full calorie ice cream and skipped the chips altogether.  Next time. 

By the way, I blame this whole fiasco on my super low weight of yesterday morning.  I hopped on the scale and for some unexplained reason I was 140.8 pounds.  Huh?  Eat too much, skimp on exercise and lose weight?  Whatever.  Just goes to show that the scale doesn't know the whole story.  But I think that low number made me feel entitled to indulge.  Which is not generally the way I like to operate.  Besides, I "indulged" on crappy food I didn't enjoy, double whammy. 

Today will be better.  No chips, no ice cream, just a good clean eating day with a little running thrown in for good measure.  I think the training plan calls for a 4-miler.  Yes sir, I'm on it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Indulgence

This whole Holidays thing is hard on the healthy eating!  This past week has been lackluster in both the eating and the exercise department, but not in the fun department!  At least something is going right.  The week started off well enough with my run last Sunday.  But then life got hectic and I didn't exercise on Monday or Tuesday!  Can you imagine?!  Monday was because I left work late and then spent the evening Christmas tree hunting.  I figured my cold wasn't really going away so maybe it was for the best.  Tuesday conspired against me as well but I rolled with it.  I rarely miss workouts and maybe my body will be happy to have some rest. 

Wednesday evening I had a mother's club party at my house, a holiday cookie exchange.  I spent the day getting ready for the party and then the evening enjoying my mom friends.  On Monday evening I'd made some mint chocolate squares for the exchange and I couldn't stop eating them so I was glad to be giving them out.  At the party I had a glass of champagne and maybe two glasses of wine.  And I munched on the party food, which wasn't too unhealthy but wasn't exactly low calorie either.  Fortunately all the cookies were claimed so I wasn't left with a pile of cookies to resist. 

The big news in relation to me is, I wore a sleeveless dress!  I was going to put a cardigan on over it but my friend Michelle said, "It looks good like it is but I understand your issue with your arms."  Something about her saying that made me figure, what the heck, I'm going to drop this "issue" with my arms and wear it without the sweater.  I wish I had a picture of myself in the dress, it's so fun!  Next time I wear it I'll try to remember to snap a picture.

Ok, I just decided to take a few minutes to put the dress back on and take a picture.  You do have to have more than a grain of narcissism to be a blogger!  You can't tell from the picture but the dress is a black/white houndstooth pattern.  The dress was a clearance find, down to $25 from $118.  Even better!

Took my bare arms out in public (sort of, the party was at my own house)
Thursday was back in the gym but it was rushed.  I only had time to run 2 miles on the treadmill.  I ran at 6.2 for five minutes, then upped it to 7.2 for one mile, then back to 6.2 for the last few minutes.  Then I did chest/triceps/core.  Just as I was leaving Miguel texted me that he could pick up the kids.  So I went back to the treadmill for a quick half-mile at 7.2mph and then took a few minutes to stretch.  Good stuff!

Friday was a day off with Miguel.  The kids were in daycare and we enjoyed a day of hanging out.  We eventually made it to a diner for lunch and I ate a pretty big meal of an omelet, hash browns, toast, and pancake with butter and syrup.  Sometimes you just eat. After our lunch I stopped in to a WW center to weigh in.  My official/personal morning weight was 142.2 pounds but I was worried that with that huge lunch and wearing jeans my WW weight might be pushing 147.  Nope, 145.2.  And I got the materials on the new WW360 program (though I've barely glanced at them).  Good enough for another week of maintenance.  And I found out I don't have to weigh-in for 6 weeks to get to lifetime, you only have to weigh-in 2-3 times (the woman wasn't sure which) during that 6 week window.  Nice!  That means the one week I missed won't mean a 7 week wait to get lifetime (and free meetings!)

Anyway, I was still full come dinnertime and planned to skip it altogether but then I ended up taking the kids with a friend out to the mall for a free ice skating show.  The kids had to eat so we went to Panera and I ended up having dinner despite barely being hungry.  I had a half turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich (260 calories) and a cup of chicken noodle soup (80 calories).  And some of the kids' cookie.  Not too bad.  I loved that all the menu options had the calories posted.  Makes it so much easier to make a decent decision.  Wish ALL menus in the world had this. 

Yesterday was a day off from exercise.  I was hoping to make it to an 8am WW meeting to hear the deal on the new WW360 program.  But it didn't happen, so good thing I got the materials.  As I understand it the Points/tracking are not changing but they are emphasizing routines, places, habits, etc that are related to a healthy lifestyle.  I love it!  There's more to maintaining a healthy weight than what you put in your mouth. 

Anyway, Saturday morning was my mother's club Holiday Party.  I went early to help setup.  My food intake was super snacky at the party and all day, it was one of those days where I felt like I couldn't stop eating!  Crackers, cheese, cookies, crackers, cookies, etc, etc, etc.  You get the idea.  I'm going to need to eat clean this week to keep my weight in check.  I feel like I've been off track for over a week with the food intake. 

Last night I went out dancing with my girlfriend Michelle.  We hit up the local pub that was having a 90's dance party/toy drive.  It was so much fun to put on our jeans and make-up and hit the town.  Once we'd had a couple shots of tequila the dancing was non-stop until we left at midnight.  All in all I'd had two shots of tequila and one light margarita.  Oh and we also had a small order of jalapeno poppers to keep our stomachs happy.  

Today I officially started my training for the Kaiser Half Marathon on 2/3/13, which is 8 weeks away.  I did a 6 mile run from my house, actually a bit over 6 because I made a route where I ended at my car I left at the pub last night.  6.29 miles in one hour, 9:36 pace.  I felt good during the run and used some of the time for positive mental reinforcements, "I want this, this is what feels good, I want this healthy body and I'm willing to work for it."  I can't tell you enough how much difference I think it makes to force the positive thoughts.  Hopefully this will help with the eating this coming week.  I have no social plans so nothing to tempt me. 

So the Kaiser plan is much like the Livermore plan.  The only thing is I might (and that's a BIG might) do a midnight 5k on New Years Eve.  Just sounds like a good way to start the year.  Only I'm not sure I can stay up until midnight!  Anyway, here's the plan:

1 (12/10 – 12/16)
Bike + strength
4 m run
3 m run + strength
Bike + strength
7 m run
2 (12/17 – 12/21)
Bike + strength
4 m run
3 m run + strength
Bike + strength
8 m run
3 (12/22 – 12/30)
Bike + strength
4.5 m run
3 m run + strength
Bike + strength
9 m run
4 (12/31 – 1/6)
Bike + strength
4.5 m run
3 m run + strength
Bike + strength
8 m run
5 (1/7 – 1/13)
Bike + strength
5 m run
3 m run + strength
Bike + strength
10 m run
6 (1/14 – 1/20)
Bike + strength
5 m run
3 m run + strength
Bike + strength
11 m run
7 (1/21 – 1/27)
Bike + strength
5 m run
3 m run + strength
Bike + strength
10 m run
8 (1/28 – 2/3)
Bike + strength
4 m run
2 m run
Bike + strength
Half Marathon

When I was training for Livermore those Tuesday runs stayed at 4 miles for almost the whole time.  We'll see if I actually up it to 5 miles this time.  I'm starting to formulate my pace goals for the half.  More on that next time.  Hope you are getting out there and working toward the body, and life, you want!