Friday, November 23, 2012

Marin Turkey Trot 10k and Thanksgiving Feast

What a week!  Thanksgiving is such a fun holiday.  Cuts the week short, involves cooking and eating good food, and it's a holiday that encourages rest and relaxation. Can't go wrong.  But before I get to that I just have to cover the week leading up.

Monday I went to the gym and rode on the upright bike for 25 minutes.  It was hard but I pushed on through as usual.  After that I did legs/shoulders/core for strength training.  This is Week 3 in my 4 week cycle so next week will be a rest/recovery week.  I'm actually looking forward to that.  Tuesday I ran 3 miles on the treadmill in 27:49 and did intervals from 6.1 to 7.1mph.  I looked it up and it's time to move up to 6.2/7.2, a move I am more than ready for as you will see.  I did chest/triceps/core after the run and had an amazing workout.  I don't know why, but I just felt great!

Wednesday was my day home with the kids.  My mom came over in the afternoon so I got to sneak out to Goodwill to look for more pants.  I'm wearing mostly size 6s and 4s now.  Doesn't that just make you sick?!  No, I know, you're just happy for me.  Feeling and looking good is a big reinforcement to keep this lifestyle going.  I remind myself all the time that I had to work to get here and will need to work to keep it.  But it's worth it, so worth it!  And besides, the "work" is mostly fun anyway.

Wednesday night Miguel and I ended up going out last night.  A new restaurant/live music venue here in town had their soft opening.  A few of my girlfriends were there too.  I had a couple beers and even danced a bit.  It was really crowded.  But I kept things pretty tame knowing I had to run the next day.  I was in bed by midnight but stayed up another hour reading.  And I felt like I tossed and turned all night.  Probably the beer, alcohol really does mess with my sleep. 

So that brings us to Thursday (yesterday) - the big day.  I got up around 6am and started getting my stuff ready for the run.  I hadn't prepped at all.  I had breakfast and some coffee and hit the road.  The run was barely a 5 minute drive from my house, which was nice.  I got there way earlier than I needed to but didn't have to stand in any lines.  Got my bib and timing chip and then sat in my car reading the news on my phone waiting for the time to pass.  It was a little chilly but I could see it was going to be a gorgeous day for a run.  Clear, blue skies, no wind...perfect.

I headed back to the crowd and looked for a couple friends.  My friend Danielle was doing her first event after having baby #2 and I wanted to wish her well.  Unfortunately I couldn't find her but I talked to her lately and she had a good run.  Great job Danielle!  She's doing the Rock-n-Roll 1/2 marathon in April with me.

I was also hoping to see Erica, a work colleague that was doing her first run.  She's a serious swimmer who I'm trying to convince to do a triathlon.  This run was step 1 in my plot to reel her in to the tri world.  She was excited and looked adorable (which is always important, right?).

Go Erica!
 I'm looking forward to doing a triathlon with her some day.

I also looked for Nina, a mom friend of mine who is embarking on what I know will be an amazing journey of transformation.  I recently shared my blog with her and I hope to help inspire her to keep on plugging along.  I couldn't find her until after the race but I was SO happy to hear she didn't drop out when her regular exercise buddies couldn't make it (most people would use that as an excuse to bail).  Instead she networked and found a friend to go with her.  Good job Nina!!  And she finished the 5k feeling good.  Nina is on-board with doing a Tri for Fun too, go Nina!!!!  Here she is post-run.

Love her race number! Save that bib Nina, you'll get more but your first is always special.
So my run was great.  I saw Neil from TriMore Fitness and got some awesome feedback on looking fit.  I trained with TriMore a bit when I was prepping for the Marin sprint tri last year so he's seen me trim down this past year.  Thanks Neil, it always feels good to have people notice.  I went over to the start area and  ran into another mom, Shannon, and her 6 year-old son, Conor, doing the run.  She said he loves to run, how exciting!  I hope Marek and Myra get the running bug too.

It was almost time to start and I tried to get my Garmin going but it couldn't find the satellites.  Ugh.  We started out and it eventually found one but I lost about an 1/8 of a mile from the start.  And I didn't think to bring any energy gels.  I think I was so focused on this being a "fun, relaxed" run that I didn't think to bring fuel.  Something super cool though was Neil filmed the start of the race!  If you don't blink you'll see me waving at him (in a blue shirt) around 0:14.

How cool is that!  The run started with some rolling hills on a path, boy were those tough.  But the crowd pulled me forward.  I checked my Garmin after about 3/4 of a mile and saw around an 8:34 pace.  Whoa tiger!  But I decided to just run by feel, since that's been serving me well lately.  Once we were off the paved path and onto the roads there weren't any more hills to speak of.  Definitely periods of mild incline and mild downhill but no real climbs.  I was feeling darned good for most of the run, but I was definitely working hard, pushing myself to go.  Around mile 4.5 I had to start in with the self talk, I was having moments when I felt like I might need to walk.  "No walking, just run. Run. Run. Run."  The route was an out-and-back and when I got back to those rolling hills they just about did me in.  I started chanting to myself, "I will. not. stop."  And I didn't, I made it up and over that last hill with not a whole lot left in the tank.

I crossed the finish line and saw the clock, whoa!  My official chip time was 56:28.6 for an average of 9:07 minute miles, or 6.5mph. What?! Woot!!  The clock time is a tad bit more because I didn't cross the start line right at the horn.  So who did  I see just past the finish line?  Miguel and Marek!!!  They came out to cheer me on.  How fun!!  Miguel snapped a few pictures of me approaching and crossing the finish line.

Digging deep for the last push.
Boy was I happy to stop running!  But I felt so happy with my time.  9:07 pace, I never would have guessed I would run that fast.  I bet if I'd paced myself better and had some energy gel I could have broken the 9-minute-mile pace.  Next year I'm going to crush it!  (If it doesn't rain).  9:07 people, 6.58mph for over 6 miles with hills.  With. hills.  How cool is that?!  So I finished 13/27 for my age group (AG).  I've been wanting to break the middle of the pack position and did, if only by one and only for my AG.  Overall I was 167 out of  271 so I didn't break the top 50% there.

After getting my high-fives from Marek and Miguel, and getting my swag bag and turkey trot coffee mug, I went home and helped my mom with Thanksgiving dinner.  We had the whole deal - turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, brussels sprouts, etc, etc, etc.  I ate to my heart's content.  We ate around 1pm and not too long after I felt the strong urge to take a nap.  I mostly tossed and turned because I'm not a good napper but I know I slept some too.  Instead of dinner I opted for pumpkin pie with generous servings of whipped cream.  I ended up eating three slices. Yes, three.  And I enjoyed every bite.

After the kids went to bed Miguel and I stayed up watching The Proposal.  Fun, easy movie for post-food coma.  I went to bed feeling good about the day.  We all had fun and we all have much to be grateful for.  Oh, let me share a conversation I had with Marek about Thanksgiving.

Marek:  I want Star Wars Legos for Thanksgiving.
Me:  Thanksgiving is not a holiday where we get presents, it's a holiday where we celebrate the things we are happy about.  What are you happy about?
Marek:  I'm happy about the Star Wars Legos I'm going to get.

Ha!  Ok, fine.  Gratitude is probably a learned sense, right?  Anyway, I'm happy that I have the health, love and happiness of my family.  Not much more important in the world than that.  

I'm also grateful for Weight Watchers.  I went to my meeting this morning and hopped on the scale knowing the full Thanksgiving feast won't show up in the numbers for a day or two more.  I maintained my weight and checked off another week of maintenance toward achieving Lifetime status.  And in the meeting I shared that now that the official holiday is over I want to be done with the high-calorie foods as well.  I really enjoyed my meal yesterday and I want to leave it at that.  I might make a turkey vegetable soup but other than that, I'm staying away from the stuffing, gravy, pie and everything else.  You know why?  Because I deserve to treat my body well, I deserve to feel good, I deserve to have the life I want.  And when it comes to food and fitness, I'm the only one that can give it to me. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Food, Liberated

My shoulder has been really bothering me lately.  And I think I mentioned that I woke up with a sore throat on Thursday morning.  It was worse on Friday morning so between that and the shoulder I decided I needed to skip the gym.  That's always such a tough call for me and I went back and forth in my head all day.  But by the end of the workday I knew it would be smart to let my body rest.

Saturday is a regular day off from the gym.  I had Marek's buddies over for a playdate in the morning.  It's always nice to hang with my mommy friends.  I purchased a loaf of Greenlees Cinnamon Bread to share.  Toast the bread in the toaster oven and put a bit of butter on it and you're in heaven.  I had a slice (or was it two?) but there was easily 1/2 a loaf left when the playdate was wrapping up.  I knew I couldn't be left alone with that much heaven so I asked my mom friends to take it home.  I split it up and sent it packing, saving a couple slices for the kids' breakfast the next morning.

Miguel worked on Saturday (he works one Saturday a month) and the day seemed like it was never going to end.  I finally bundled the kids up and took them out in the rain for a walk.  It was already dark but I thought it might a fun adventure while they wait for daddy to come home.  Ugh, they were running in different directions and dipping their flashlights in puddles.  No more rainy walks this winter, at least not without another adult.  There were a few cute moments, like when Marek suddenly stopped and asked, "Mommy, why are we walking in the rain and dark?"  Because mommy was going stir crazy in the house honey.

Back at home I quickly searched out a friend for a glass of wine after the kids went to bed.  I texted to ask if she felt like ice cream.  Fortunately for me, she didn't.  It was great to sit with her and chat in peace with a nice glass of wine (Thanks Deb!).  Back at home and I munched on some crackers and cream cheese (that was leftover from a recipe) for the second time in two days.  I threw the rest of the cream cheese away and went to bed.  But not before I justified the crackers as carb loading for my run the next day.

Perfect running weather, 55 degrees, clear skies and no wind.
That brings us to today, Sunday.  Miguel had a soccer game (he just joined a winter league) so I spent some time with the kids before meeting him at the soccer field for a hand-off.  It was a beautiful day for a run.  I decided to just run from there to the gym, workout, and run back.  I had an AccelGel and headed out.  I was able to do a loop route, making the run to the gym 4 miles.  And my pace?  9:28 minute miles, or an average of 6.3mph.  Yes!  I tried not to look at my Garmin during the run, I'm finding I do much better when I run by feel.  I think because when I see my pace I start worrying I'm going to crash and burn so I make myself slow down even if I don't feel like I need it.  Anyway, here are the stats from the 4 miles if you're into that sort of thing.

I did back/biceps/core at the gym.  Things went pretty well as I was hyped up from the run.  But my shoulder did give me some winces of pain.  I think I need to schedule another visit to the doctor.  I might even ask for an MRI.  I've been dealing with this for decades and it's getting worse.  Physical therapy helped for a while but now I'm in pain again and I really want to know what's causing this.  I headed  back out to run back to the car, telling myself just to take it easy since I'd been exercising for over an hour already.  Of course, when I saw my pace was over 10:00 minute miles I picked it up some.  I ran the two miles back to the car in 19 minutes, 22 seconds for an average pace of 9:41 minute miles.  Garmin stats here.  All in all I was exercising for about 1 hour, 45 minutes.  Nice work.

I stretched for a while and then got in the car to ride home.  Boy was I hungry!  I had leftover chili and then met up with a girlfriend to do a little shopping.  I tried on a bunch of clothes but ended up leaving with the shirt in this picture and a pair of short, brown boots.  I have to wear a black tank under the shirt though because the mesh is totally see-through.  The back is solid material so it's not totally crazy.  The boots are cute, now I need some skinny jeans to wear them with.  I don't look good in skinny jeans but I think they just might tucked into these boots.

I came home and got started on dinner.  Roasted chicken thighs, home fries and brussels sprouts.  This is the kind of meal that I would have thought of as "bad" in the past.  But with my meal planning I've been embracing eating a variety of foods, including chicken thighs (with skin, gasp!).  To give you a sense of things here's what I made this past week:

Monday:  Italian chicken with peppers and onions, quinoa.
Tuesday:  Pasta with frozen meatballs, broccoli
Wednesday:  Teriyaki chicken, brussels sprouts
Thursday: Miguel cooks "tipico"
Friday:  Slow cooker chili, salad
Saturday: Beef Stew

Chicken thigh, potatoes and brussels sprouts
Have I mentioned how much easier life is with a little meal planning?  And more so because I'm feeling so liberated when it comes to what I can eat.  It really is all about portion control.  I know that's not breaking news, but for me, I'm really starting to get that concept.  And it's very exciting.  I can eat all sorts of things I enjoy - just not too much of it.  Now there's a concept.  I was thinking about this today and the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" slogan came into my head.  Food sort of works the same way, it's what we do with that food that is killing us.  Now I support some gun regulations and I also support some food regulations.  I think we need to give kids a fighting chance when it comes to things like Pepsi machines at school or not selling gallon sized sodas at fast food restaurants. But this isn't a political blog and maybe I'm contradicting myself so I should just stop.  My point is, I'm sort of re-discovering food lately, and it's liberating.  I am going to carefully watch my weight of course, to see if all this liberation impacts my waistline, but so far, so good.

The only caveat is protein.  I know I need a lot of it to stay satisfied and I'm not going to eat huge bowls of beef stew to get more protein so I need to figure this part out.  Maybe a post-dinner protein shake?  Though I do prefer whole foods over powder.  Maybe I'll make some homemade chicken breast patties and keep them in the freezer for post-dinner hunger when I haven't had enough protein.  I have a lot to learn but I'm looking forward to figuring it out.

One last this in the mail yesterday.  Isn't that cool?  I have my WW goal star on my keys and I'm pretty excited about getting lifetime status.  For a lifetime, that's how long I plan to keep this up.