Saturday, January 12, 2013

One Amazing Day!

That's what Weight Watchers called their celebration today.  Our leader said it was also in recognition of the WW celebrating 50 years in business.  I spent my morning playing with the kids, including Gracie (while Catherine hit the streets for her 10 mile run).  They kept me entertained.  I had my Kashi GoLean and coffee for breakfast.

39g of Kashi GoLean w/ cinnamon and ~5oz 1% milk, coffee w/ 4Tbsp TJs FF vanilla creamer
I weigh my cereal (and coffee creamer).  Some may think that's tedious but it couldn't be easier.  I put my bowl on, zero out the scale and pour my cereal.  WAY easier than getting out a measuring cup and obviously more accurate than eyeballing it.  When it comes to Kashi GoLean cinnamon makes all the difference.  Without it, you feel like you're eating cardboard.  Thanks go to my friend Kelly who gave me the tip way back in 2008.  I usually like to eat a different cereal on the weekends, something fancy like granola, but I didn't have any (though I bought some today at Costco so tomorrow I'll have that).

After spending the morning playing Little People and wrestling with the kids I was ready for my snack at 10am.

6oz Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt, sliced apples.
Vitamins and water rounded out my morning snack.

I had a nice exercise chat with my buddy Kristy, she's getting back in the groove of fitness and it was fun to go over her plan.  She's a psychologist, not to mention one of my oldest and dearest friends, so of course we had to also go over some of the mental "changes" I've been dealing with as a result of becoming "hot" (her words, thanks Kristy).  We have to find time to talk again soon, it's been way too long!  

Then I had to hustle out the door to the WW event.  I walked in and a woman said, "I know you from your blog!".  Mira is her name and we chatted for a bit. She's on her own athletic mission, and doing great.  And she has four small children (including triplets even!), and lives in the same town as I do so we have a lot in common.  Mira, we have to get together ASAP and do something, if not a run.  Maybe I can sample your boot camp sometime.

Mira and I - look how cute she is!
Before too long it was time to share our stories.  Here's a picture while we were waiting to start.

Thanks for the picture Mira by way of Carmen!
I was so touched that my leader asked me to speak as one of the successful members.  The event was fun, there were 5 or 6 of us who shared our successes and I was so moved (and motivated) by what I heard.  And the cool thing was they had members who were not at their goal weight yet but who Claudette still sees as a success, I love that.  This is not about the destination, it's the journey.  So much living going on out there, so many people taking charge and finding themselves.  I just so enjoyed it.  And they had a lot of healthy snacks, which was good because I was starving.

When it was over I walked next door to Trader Joe's to get my official lunch.  It was 1:30pm and despite all the snacks at WW I was still starving.  Here's what I picked up.

The Tuna Salad wrap was 300 calories and 15 grams of fat, per serving.  Two servings in the package.  I initially planned to eat only the one serving but when I was still hungry and realized that 600 calories - 30 grams of fat notwithstanding - really isn't that much for a meal (and that I have to choose to run 10 miles tomorrow) I went ahead and ate the whole thing.  Then of course, the heavenly dark chocolate caramel with black sea salt bar.  That stuff is legendary amongst some Marin tri peeps.  I ate 2 pieces and saved the rest to share with Catherine (which we did). 

Back at home and the rest of the day hummed along.  Miguel has friends over to watch the 49ers game and we grilled chicken, carne asada, etc for dinner.  I made myself 3-4 soft tacos with corn tortillas for dinner.  That included guacamole, cheese and a lot of chips.  I figured I should eat a bit more given my run tomorrow.  I picked up a Heath bar while out running errands and I ate that for desert, figuring I can use the energy for tomorrow.

Speaking of my run.  I plan to run on the Sausalito-Mill Valley path, the same path I ran this time last year for my 10 mile run.  The weather forecast couldn't be better, cold but no rain.  I'll take it.  I know how to keep plenty warm.  I know I say this all the time but tonight I am going to bed early.  I am tired now and it's only 7:30pm.  I plan to get up at 7am and hope to hit the road by 8:15am.  Miguel has a soccer game in the afternoon so I'll need to get home.  Though my mom is here so I'll have a little wiggle room.  Alright, that's all I got.  If I'm not too full I might have a dinner roll later to top myself off.  I'll need all I can get for tomorrow.  And I'm going to go pack all my run stuff so I don't have to do that in the morning, every little bit helps.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Key Carrying Lifetime Weight Watchers Member

Some days are just good, and today was one of them. 

I went to my Weight Watchers meeting and got my Lifetime Membership. 
Lifetime Membership is a valuable privilege you receive after completing your weight loss journey as a Weight Watchers Meetings member. Lifetime membership is only for Meetings members.  You receive a Lifetime Membership recognition award when you achieve a weight goal that is within the Weight Watchers Healthy Weight Ranges.
I guess I have completed my weight loss journey, and my weight maintenance journey is underway.  Claudette, my Weight Watchers leader, had me stand up and say a few words.  I shared some of my "before" pictures and felt like I was winning an award.  And people came up to me after the meeting and said I was helping to inspire them.  It was so cool!  Of course I have pictures.

Claudette and I
My people.  They get it, I get it, we all get it.  There's power in that.
My new keyring bling.
What a nice day today.  It was chilly here in the bay area but I was plenty warm myself.  I had a bigger than usual lunch, not really "big" in volume but maybe in calories.  Fries and butter might have been gone in my mouth.  I wasn't worried, I knew I could balance with the rest of my eating for the day.

My day was too full for exercise.  I got home from work and made whole wheat pasta with a ground turkey marinara sauce.

Dinner: 1 cup of whole wheat pasta with a scoop of sauce, broccoli and a salad
I only had tomatoes for my salad, which is kind of boring, so I threw some cold lentil salad I had in the fridge, which included a bit of carrots.  At least it added some interest.  That and my Newman's Own Lite Balsamic and I was happy.

While I was making dinner I started itching to exercise.  Miguel cleared me to go after the kids went to bed.  I ended up going a bit earlier.  I got on the treadmill with a plan to run three miles but my legs were screaming.  After yesterday's exercise mania they were not happy to be at it again.  I told myself just to give it a rest, that I have to run 10 miles on Sunday.  So I ran 1 mile and got off to do some weights.  It was chest/triceps/core.  My abs are also sore from yesterday so I dropped one set of ab exercises.  The whole thing was a little more difficult than usual but I was happy to have done it. 

Unfortunately, I came home and was watching a documentary and started munching on crackers.  In the end I ate the whole tray of them, which is about 4 servings.  Nothing to freak out over but it was more than I needed.  Still working on moderation over here.

Last thing, I hopped on the scale this morning for my Friday ritual and what did I see?  139.2 pounds.  I'm not sure what to say about that.  I'm still losing, obviously, despite feeling like I eat a bit more than I did before I hit goal.  I'm not willing to start purposefully eating more when I don't want to so I'll just continue to watch and see what happens with my weight.  I don't want to lose any more weight, though I'd like to gain some muscle and lose some body fat.  Unfortunately that's not happening, I'm dropping weight but my body fat continues to stay around 27-28%.  I'm not complaining, mind you, I haven't lost all perspective on this. 

Ok, I'm super tired, off to bed.  Hopefully I'll clock close to 8 hours, and boy do I need it.

p.s.  Yes, I'm eating enough.  No, I'm not trying to lose more weight.  Sorry, been getting a lot of flack lately and it's starting to get to me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Triple Duty Exercise

Whew!  What a day.  I was pleasantly busy all day at work, which is always nice.  As I'm posting more of my food these days, here's my morning snack.

Mid-morning snack (and vitamins)
I normally don't like to eat string cheese with a banana, to me they just don't go together for some reason, but it's what I had.  I decided to take a Vitamin C to see if it upset my stomach (it did).  Lunch was a hearty affair.  Yes, I eat at my desk.  I know, I know.

Salad, orzo, chicken/salmon, potato, veggie soup
My stomach wasn't really hurting yet from the Vitamin C, which was good.  I didn't have an afternoon snack, I just didn't get hungry. 

I went to the gym after work and was due to ride the bike.  But a spin class was starting and Glenn was leading it.  Glenn used to work at the gym full time but now he only teaches spin classes.  In the early months of my come-back we used to chat mostly about the mental side of the whole diet/fitness thing. He's a cyclist so we'd talk about that too and some of our conversations really inspired me to want to get back on my bike.  Anyway, Glenn is very encouraging and just plain fun so when I saw he was leading the class I decided to join in.  This was only the second time I've taken a spin class but I knew I could handle whatever came my way. 

If you've never taken spin the main thing to know is it's all self-directed.  You control the resistance and no one else in the room can tell how much resistance, as in, how "hard" you have set the bike.  And while there our plenty of times when you are peddling out of the saddle, a lot of people sit down when it gets too tiring.  I say all that to encourage you to try it out.  The music and energy make the time fly by.  Tonight's class was small, I think there were maybe seven of us, and we were all having a blast.  I pushed myself pretty hard and had the sweat to prove it.  We snapped a few pictures for fun.

Glenn snaps a self-portrait

Why am I still standing?
And by the way, Glenn is in his early 50's, can you believe that?  Thank goodness for people like him who encourage us.  I wasn't a total newbie when I started back to the gym but I was doing my own starting over and Glenn was always so supportive and always had something positive to say, the world needs more gym-staffers were like that.  After the class we were talking about my transformation over the past 1.5 years and another gym regular said, "Yeah, you were cute when you started here but you are stunningly gorgeous now."  Woah, that was a nice thing to say.  And it wasn't smarmy at all, he said it so matter-of-fact.  To tell you the truth I debated and debated whether to include that in this blog post.  It feels so self-aggrandizing and even a tad embarrassing.  But in the end I included it because I try hard to write honestly about everything related to this journey, I don't leave out the ugly parts, so why leave out this.  Though I can't finish this paragraph without adding that while I sometimes wish I did, I do not look in the mirror and see stunningly gorgeous.  Maybe I should work on that.

Anyway, I opened my workout log after the spin class and got the sad news that it's a legs/shoulder/core day.  Ugh, not a fun idea after blasting your legs for an hour on the bike.  I did most of my normal strength training routine but dropped a few leg sets here and there to give my legs a rest.  Especially because I was going directly from the gym to a Mom's Night Out event at...

The Dailey Method, "a unique combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning, muscle strengthening, yoga, and orthopedic exercises."  Yes, more exercise.  I got there just when the class was starting.  It being a mom event we had food and champagne so I shoved a couple crackers in my mouth and started the class.  Needless to say, it was a challenge.  Fortunately it was only a 30 minute class (normal DM classes are an hour) so the suffering didn't last too long.

I took a DM class in August of 2011 and here's what I said about it at the time:
I liked it but there are a few reasons why I'm not ready for it. First, I like to feel capable and competent when I exercise, not be repeatedly "quitting" before the reps are over. It should motivate me to get stronger but instead it makes me feel like I'm weak - not something I'm going for in my exercise routine. Second, my big fat stomach the fat in my mid-section gets in the way. I couldn't do some of the positions very well because of it. Finally, for my current goals I think I need to be doing a mix of cardio and strength training and this is all strength training (and balance/stretching). It probably sounds like I'm down on the Dailey Method (or bar method, or pilates, etc) but I'm not. I think this will be great down the road when I am stronger and lose more body fat. Hopefully this time next year I can buy some classes and really get a lot out of it. When I can do the movements and not poop out or feel my midsection getting in the way I think this class will be awesome. Then I think I will be inspired, not feel weak. Does that make sense?
Well, here I am 1.5 years later and yes, I can do the movements and not poop out (mostly) and I don't have a problem with my mid-section getting in the way anymore.  I guess that means I'm ready!  Which is perfect because I have a month pass I need to use soon.  Trust me though, I won't be going to the gym beforehand, way too hard!  Still not sure how I'll fit the classes in but we'll see.

Anyway, after the class I dove into the snack table, which turned out to be my dinner along with a few glasses of water (I skipped the champagne).

Snacks for dinner.
Cheese, crackers, spreads, nuts, vegetables - not an altogether bad meal.  By the time I got home I was wiped out.  But I'm a dedicated blogger and I'm really trying to keep to this 30 posts in January goal so here I am.  I might need to get better at summarizing though if I'm going to make it.  Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Laid Back Day

I'm still feeling all puffed up inside after my run last night.  I have to remind myself that every run won't be that fast.  In fact I need to make myself do an "easy" run tomorrow in preparation for Sunday's 10 miler.  Catherine has to run on Saturday so I'll be going solo.  I plan to drive somewhere scenic, maybe Sausalito, to make the miles go by easier.  There's a 30% chance of rain in the forecast for Sunday, which means a 70% chance of no rain, not bad odds.

As far as today, it's a rest day and my day home with the kids.  We had a laid back day around the house, playing and cooking.  I cooked up a batch of black beans in the slow cooker, I've been craving them lately.  But we're having turkey burgers and sweet potato fries for dinner again because I want to use up the buns from last time.  This time I made the burgers from scratch so they should be extra good.  Of course I'll cook up a veggie too. 

But the big meal for me was lunch.  I grilled a filet of salmon with blackening spices on the Foreman along with some sliced zucchini.  I cut them up and made a salad along with several tomatoes and 1/2 an avocado.  I put two tablespoons of Paul Newman Lite Balsamic on and tossed it up...Yummy.

Blackened Salmon Salad
The salad was HUGE.  I was finishing it up and feeling full, wondering if I should stop instead of polishing it off just because it was there.  But I told myself it was mostly vegetables and that the large glass of water was adding to my feeling full but I should probably finish the salad.  I like the intuitive eating concepts, which would have encouraged me to stop. I could've always saved the rest in case I got hungry later.  Anyway, blah blah blah, I ate the whole salad. 

That's all I got today.  I hope you've made choices you can feel good about today.  And if not, make the next good decision and you'll be back on track.  It really is that easy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Breaking Nine

Last night's dinner was a bit strange, I made the kids' dinner and while I did that I snacked - a 1/2 of avocado, crackers.  Finally the dinner I made for myself and Miguel - Red Beans and Rice - was ready so I had a cup of that.  Then more snacking - cheese, crackers, dinner roll, more cheese, more crackers.  I was finally able to intervene when I went for the second dinner roll and said, "Stop, your stomach is full, you don't need more food you need to go to bed."  And so I did.  I was very pleased with myself not eating that second dinner roll.  Those Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are so addictive!  I found myself wondering about the sum total of my dinner and considered entering it into a calorie counter but I was too lazy.  I had probably 2oz (maybe 3?) of cheese, maybe 15 crackers (Kashi), a cup of beans/rice, 1/2 avocado, 1 dinner roll...sounds about right but I could be missing something.

Anyway, I had a big day ahead of me today and wanted to get to bed early.  "Early" turned out to be 11pm.  I am so bad at going to bed.  My day included lunch plans and an afternoon meeting. Knowing I had a full day I'd packed healthy snacks but instead ate part of a chocolate croissant and most of a lemon tart pastry (don't ask).  And lunch was pretty indulgent too, a mushroom/onion/avocado/cheese omelet, hash browns, toast...but it was so good and I needed a meal like that.  Anyway, my booked-solid day meant I couldn't run in time to pick up the kids.  So I arranged in advance for Miguel to pick them up.  Now that we have a later pick-up at their preschool he's able to do this pretty easily.  Oh, I forgot, at the meeting they had chocolate cake for December birthdays (of which mine was one), so I couldn't very well turn that down.  It was vegan and very rich, I loved it.  I wonder if there was any avocado in it?  I've heard of avocado being in vegan chocolate deserts.  Aaaanyway... 

After work I decided to go home and run from there.  Miguel has pool tonight so I knew he'd be readying to leave as soon as I got back.  It was chilly out (by California standards, 52°) and moving toward dusk.  I put on some cropped running pants and a white cold-weather running top.  There's a loop from my house that's about 2.5 miles with no stoplights to speak of (or hills).  I didn't take any gels figuring I can handle 5 miles on my own after such a big food day.  I wore my headphones but I always keep the volume low so I can hear cars.

I started out running what felt like around a 9-minute pace.  I thought about slowing myself down some but decided that since I was only running 5 miles I could just see how things played out.  And I decided not to look at my Garmin, something that seems to work pretty well on these shorter runs.  As I ran I felt like I was keeping up the same pace, though I know from experience it can be hard to tell how fast I'm running based on feel.  At about mile 3 I felt myself lagging a bit and thought, "some shot bloks would be nice right now."  But then Eminem's Till I Collapse came on, like a gift from the heavens, and gave me the boost that I needed.
Cause sometimes you just feel tired.
You feel weak and when you feel weak you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
and just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.
Could there be any better lyrics to push you on a run?  By the time the song was over I was back in my groove.  Around mile 4 I turned off the music.  I can concentrate on the running better when I can hear myself breathe.  The real fight started when I got to 4.6 miles.  I felt myself fading so I dug in on the self talk, "It's almost over, you can rest soon, you might be on the edge of a great pace, don't give up now, go."  I remembered running with Jane on Sunday.  I remembered her telling me that she started running about the same age I am now and that she's just gotten faster and stronger (she's a smidge over 50 now).  That was so encouraging for me to hear.  Sometimes I get down about the fact that I wasted so many years sitting on the couch.  And I wonder how many years I'll be able to keep this swim/bike/run/weights thing going.  Jane made me feel like I've got years ahead of me, decades even.  Anyway, I used all that self talk and the thought of getting stronger over time to push myself.

Happy 8:58 post-run picture.
I reached the 5 mile mark and thankfully got to stop.  I was very pleased with myself and gave myself a couple, "good job, Michelle" verbal pats on the back.  Heck, there was no one else there to do it so I might as well.  And then I looked at my Garmin...5 miles in 44 minutes, 48 seconds for an average pace of 8:58 minute miles.  I broke the 9-minute mile mark!  Woot!  I was immediately so glad I pushed myself during that last .4 miles.  It was worth it.

And look at my splits, my fastest mile was the last one.  My slowest was mile 3, where I'd felt myself fading.  The average pace translates into roughly 6.7mph.  I'm thrilled to maintain that over 5 miles.  

Run splits. Full Garmin stats here.
So I was walking the few blocks toward home but I started getting cold.  It was well after dark and the cool air was no longer my running air conditioner.  I started a slow jog just to get home faster.  

I walk in the door and the kids tackled me, "Mom, how was your run?"  My son is Mr. Grown-Up these days.  They were about to sit down for dinner so I was able to stretch and have a quick shower.  Miguel made a plate for me before he left but I didn't feel hungry yet.  And before I ever got hungry my stomach started hurting.  Grrrrr.  So irritating.  I skipped the Vitamin C today so I don't think that's it.  Maybe it was all the food indulgences today?  Maybe it was the hard running?  In the end I ate maybe a 1/2 of avocado, a few bites of black beans and then figured a dinner roll was probably best for my achy tummy.  Not much of a dinner but breakfast is just a wake-up away.  

So I've done a bit of reading about post-run GI issues, which are quite common. Some people have problems with every long run. Though today's run wasn't long so I don't know if any of this applies.  Anyway, some people take an Imodium AD before a long run (or just after) and that keeps these issues at bay.  Something to consider.

Oh man, I'm exhausted.  Done.  Wiped out.  Tired.  I'm off to sleep and hopefully have some sweet dreams. 

p.s.  The online chatter about Jillian screaming at contestants on The Biggest Loser has been interesting. Sounds like her behavior turned a lot of people off.  I recorded it and hopefully I'll get time to watch more than the 5 minutes I saw last night.  Though BL is so dramatic and more reality than reality that I don't know if I can get into it. We'll see. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Vitamin C and Stomach Upset?

So I was going about my day today when my stomach started hurting again.  It was actually still hurting some when I went to bed last night but I was surprised it was hurting again today.  Then it hit me...I took my vitamins earlier today and I recently started taking Vitamin C.  In fact this past Saturday was the first day I took it.   So maybe this was the cause of my intestinal cramping after the run yesterday.  I looked up the RDA for Vitamin C and it’s 75mg.  1,000mg is quite a bit more than 75mg. I’m going to stop taking it for now and see how my tummy does.  If this solves it I’ll be happy. 

Meanwhile I was able to get to the gym today.  I am still coughing with a bit of a
stuffy nose so I had the intention to take it easy.  Instead of my normal 25 minutes, level 8 on the bike I planned to do 20 minutes, level 5.  I figured my body is still recovering from whatever I have, plus I did that long run yesterday.  But sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.  I got on the bike and as I entered the time I just felt compelled to do my normal routine.  So I did.  And it was fine.  I was definitely pushing myself at some points but it didn't feel terribly difficult.  For the record, I know this was probably foolish and I should have done the lesser but what can I say, being obsessive has its downside.

After the bike I did back/biceps/core.  The big news is that I was able to do 4 pull-ups on my first set!  Woot!!!  And I did 3 on the second set!  Progress.  This is up from doing two sets of 3 and 2 respectively.  As you may recall I'm working toward a goal of doing 3 sets of 8.  Yeah, it's going to be a long road but I know I'll get there eventually, just like I did with the pushups.

Which reminds me, I met a woman at the gym today, Robin.  We were hurrying back into our clothes after our workouts and talking about how hard it is to get a good workout in such a short amount of time.  She admired some of the stuff I do in that it works multiple things at once.  So of course I gave her my email address (and blog) and encouraged her to email me.  I love sharing the fitness love.  If you're reading this Robin, Hi!.  If you think it's odd I'm writing about you just be glad I didn't ask to snap a picture with you for this post :)  Us bloggers are crazed picture takers.

Which then brings me to my food intake today.  I have pictures.  Breakfast was my standard coffee, TJs FF vanilla creamer, and a bowl of Special K Protein Plus with 1% milk.  I was feeling very hungry at snack time (around 10am) so I had this:

Fage 0% Greek Yogurt, plain, with a sliced banana stirred in
That, along with a mug of water and my vitamins and I was set until lunch.  I sat down for lunch at 12:30pm and this is what I ate:

Salad, roasted veggies, 1/2 slice of veg lasagna, roasted chicken breast, a few bites of noodles, bowl of veggie soup.
Lunch was very satisfying.  I was accused by someone at work today of not eating enough in general.  I showed her my tray and she says, "Eh, that's all vegetables."  Not!  (but I will admit, I added the half-slice of lasagna because of her ribbing earlier in the morning).  Oh, and I had two Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate & Caramel squares that a kind soul gifted me.  I only mean that half sarcastically.  Foods like this are no longer the guaranteed booby trap that they used to be.  I was actually given the bag about a couple weeks ago and haven't finished it off.  Admittedly, that's partially because they've been in my office and my worst chocolate cravings happen at night.  If I had them in the house I am sure they would be a distant memory by now.  Plus, at my office, I keep them in a drawer so they are not in my face all the time, another thing that would cause me to gobble them up in no time.  All that said, they were gooooood.

As far as the the rest of my food day goes, not sure what I'm going to make for dinner.  Since the holidays I've been thrown off my menu-making routine and I can feel the difference.  I just dread the What's for Dinner question.  I actually signed up for a year of weekly menus but I'm not finding it all that helpful.  I have to tweak it based on our tastes and what the kids can/will eat so I still end up having to sit down and write out a menu and shopping list.  It does give me a nice jumping off point but so far I seem to use only 2-3 of their recommended meals.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

8+ Miles in Point Reyes

Last night just dragged on and on (by my own doing) and I don't think I fell asleep until after midnight.  The alarm didn't go off but fortunately I woke up at 7:15 on my own.  And I'd missed a call about a ride with the organizer of the run, Vincent.  I called him back and he was leaving early, 7:45!  Good thing all my gear was ready to go.  I hustled through making my coffee and eating breakfast and met him for the drive out to Point Reyes.  On a quiet Sunday morning it only took us around 25 minutes to get there.

Still in my cozy clothes.
And guess what?  It wasn't raining!  The sky looked promising too, with blue sky breaking through the clouds.  But brrrr, it was chilly.  We stood around waiting for the others to arrive while I picked Vincent's brain on all the events he's done.  He did Santa Cruz last year, that's the one I am shooting to be my first olympic distance tri.  He made it sound perfect, which is encouraging. 

Point Reyes in the morning.
The group trickled in and I changed into my Sugoi Versa jacket.  I debated on taking music but in the end decided I didn't need it, I'd let my breathing and footstrike be my music.  I ate an AccelGel 20 or so minutes before we took off and brought 6 Clif Shot Bloks along for the run (though I only used 4).  By a little after 9am we hit the road.  That's the beginning of the trail on the ride side of that picture.  Isn't it just a gorgeous landscape?  I am so fortunate to live in an area that has this kind of option for running.  And again, no rain!

The route is such that it's a mild uphill climb for the first 1.5 miles or so until you get to Divide Meadow.  I ran with one of the women for a bit and we chatted, which was a nice distraction from the uphill, but then she dropped back to take off her vest so I was running by myself for quite a while.  My chest cold was making the run a bit challenging but in general I felt good.  Eventually she and Jane passed me but I kept pace with them, keeping them in my sights the rest of the way to the ocean.

Oh, I've never been so happy to see a meadow in my life since I knew I would be getting some relief by way of a mild decline out to the Pacific. At mile 3 I ate two shot bloks and took the balero/sleeves off my jacket to turn it into a vest, the first time I used this cool feature. We arrived at the ocean and oh boy, you don't get a payoff view like that on every run!  Of course the guys were waiting for us, and then the other runners arrived behind us.  We posed for some group shots.  Thanks Kelli for sending me these!

Vincent on my right, Kelli on my left.

Jane on my right, Diane on my left.
We took in the amazing view and looked for whales.  Some chatting revealed that several of us are doing the Kaiser half-marathon, including Dan (grey/yellow jacket), Vincent and possibly Jane.  So fun to be hanging with fellow runners!

Before too long we were headed back for our return leg.  This is an out-and-back run so I knew exactly what to expect, some mild uphill for 2.75 miles or so to the meadow, then downhill to the parking lot.  We fell in running and I had Jane ahead of me.  I had two more Shot Bloks somewhere before the meadow.  Again I was able to keep Jane in my sights and by the time we reached the meadow I was close enough that we were able to run together.  She picked up the pace and I pushed myself to keep up with her.  And she was so encouraging, even telling me that I'm a natural runner.  Me?  Oh the journey it's been to become a runner - certainly haven't felt like a natural, feels more like I had to fight for it.  That was so cool to hear.  So we have a bit less than a mile to go and she encourages me to push, finish strong.  I'm struggling hard to stay with her, pulling out all my positive mantras to keep my legs moving.  I fell behind for a bit but then shouted at myself (in my head of course) and was able to catch up.  We stopped just before the parking lot so I could do a cool-down walk, which quickly turned into a cool-down jog.  Whew!  What a run!

Look at that last half-mile at an 8:23 pace!  And I was so happy with the overall pace of 9:58, which wouldn't have happened without Jane pushing me at the end.  She said she loves to run with faster runners because it pushes her to get faster.  I can see why, what a challenge.  Anyway, here's the elevation profile.

Point Reyes - Bear Valley to Arch Rock and back elevation profile.
Here are the full Garmin stats if you are interested.  Oh, and some post-run pictures, of course!

Thanks for organizing Vincent!

A bit of mud picked up on the trail (those are my Brooks PureGrit trail runners).

Post-run antics (or: I'm so happy to be done!!)
The Bovine Bakery yummies.
After a good amount of stretching and race chatter we headed into town to Bovine Bakery for snacks.  I had a chai tea (with a bit of soy milk and half-and-half) and a power energy bar they were selling.  Power and energy sell me every time.

We hung out at the bakery for a while, talking more swim/bike/run talk.  Kelli gave me the scoop on RST (race specific training) classes with TriMore Fitness, something I've been wanting to check out.  You take your own bike and they hook it up to a simulator and you ride actual courses, but it's adjusted to your fitness level.  So they have a Wednesday morning class that I might be able to do sometime if I can figure out childcare.  And they have weeknight/weekend classes too so I should be able to make something work to try it out.  Kelli made it sound really fun.  And yes, that would be, of course, my new definition of fun.  Wink.

Then it was back to the car for the drive home.  Vincent and I talked races, Garmins, and all the like on the ride back.  But oh man, my stomach started hurting something awful!  That's not unusual after a long run but unfortunately the normal fix, a trip to the bathroom, wasn't an option.  I suffered until I got home but even more unfortunately, the bathroom didn't fix things.  I took a shower and just kept suffering.  I felt nauseous with not-good intestinal cramping (then again when is intestinal cramping ever good?).  Ouch!  Finally I remembered Pepto Bismol so I gave that a shot. 

I laid down for a while and eventually things started to settle.  Not sure what caused all the upset but I wish I knew so I could avoid it in the future!  Of course Miguel was so supportive, taking care of the kids while I showered, and then reclined while my stomach settled - not to mention all morning while I was out traipsing in the woods.  People ask me all the time how I do it - work, kids, exercise, etc - and I need to start including him in the answer.  Having support is huge.  If he weren't so behind me in my efforts, I'm not sure this could all be as it is. 

So there you have it.  Great weather, beautiful surrounds, fun run and cool tri/runner peeps makes for a darned good Sunday.  Now I'm off to hang with my family and the houseful of people Miguel has over watching football.  Oh, and there's a pupusa out there with my name on it.  Happy Sunday to you!!