Sunday, December 28, 2008

30 Words: A Year In Review

I saw this idea on P.O.M.'s blog, and it looked like fun so here goes:

Couch To 5K. The Daily Plate. One Hour Runner. 47 Pounds Gone.
iPhone. Nike+. Polar F11. Garmin 405.
Surgery For Child. First Grade.
Two 5K Races. Work, Gym, Sleep, Repeat.

Hmmm, that kinds of sums it up!

The Last Weekend of 2008

How is it that the last weekend of 2008 is already coming to a close? Christmas is over, I am back to work tomorrow, and I will probably only squeak out one more run in 2008, but I am optimistic about 2009.

I managed to get in two runs this weekend, albeit a short one yesterday due to a couple of factors:

1) It was hotter than Hades on the track
2) I was feeling under the weather

But now that I have been on Cipro for 24 hours, I was feeling well enough to do a 30 minute run today. The gym was unnaturally empty, but of course I ended up on the track with a woman who was running WHILE TALKING ON HER CELL PHONE. She looked like she was drunk because she was literally weaving across all five lanes of the track while holding her phone to her ear with her right hand and hunching over to that side. I really wanted to say some smart ass thing to her, but decided to mind my own business and focus on my run. I just turned my music up louder so that I did not have to hear her panting and screaming into the phone as I ran near her (dumbass). Seriously, I am a big fan of the cellphone but there is a time and place for it.

Other than that, I am spending the day doing some housework (and boring my child to death, I fear). I would like to get in one more run before I see 2009, but in case that doesn't happen I am going to wish you all a very Happy New Year! Here's to great success for us all in 2009!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

An Heirloom Christmas

I was spoiled this year for Christmas when my mother brought me a present that has a long history behind it.

When I was a young child, my father bought my mother a bracelet. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I have been trying to get my mom to give it to me my whole life because I have only seen her wear it once. It has spent its life in her safety deposit box.

She refused to give it to me. It has been an ongoing joke for almost 20 years, but I have always had a kernel of serious intent in my joking because I REALLY WANT THAT BRACELET. Her position has been that my brother and I can fight for it when she dies because he has also told her that it is the only piece of jewelry of hers that HE would like. So I just put it behind me a few years ago and figured that he and I would duke it out at a (hopefully) much later date.

Fast forward to today. She handed me a box to open and said that I had to open it in front of everyone. Needless to say, I was shocked to find that it contained THE BRACELET. I actually cried a bit. From the time that I was a child, this piece was the holy grail of jewelry for me. And now it is mine. OMG.

I am not a person driven by possessions. I drive a beat up old mini-van, wear my clothes until they no longer fit or have holes in them, and only own one pair of shoes that fit at any given time (granted, I do wear an 11 narrow so it is neither easy nor cheap for me to get good shoes). But this bracelet and my strong desire for it was really more about a magical item from my childhood, something so beautiful that it took my breath away. And it did again today.

Now it is off to the jeweler for a new appraisal, then a call in to the insurance company for coverage, and then a trip to my own safety deposit box for its safekeeping. But I can get it out and wear it whenever I want now. :-)

Merry Christmas to Me!



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Two in a Row

I ran another three-miler today, making this a back-to-back workout week. I was not going allow myself to drop below two runs a week, so I braved the negative temperature and made it to the gym.

It was pretty uneventful, but now a 30 minute runs feels long and I am going to have to work my way back up to where I was before Thanksgiving. The good news is that I know I can do it since I did it before, and the better news is that I still lost 2.4 pounds this week even though I did not get three runs in AND I had my company holiday party on Friday night!

I wish all of you and your families a Merry Christmas!!! May Santa bring you everything you desire!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Holidays Are Gonna Get You!

I thought I had a good plan in place to get through the holidays without losing focus on my running. But the holidays are getting me anyway, plan or no plan! My last run was on Sunday, and by the time I came up for air today it was after 7:00 p.m. so I was going to scrap my plan to run today. Then I snapped out of it, changed quickly, and hustled over to the gym before it closed at 9:00 p.m, tonight.

I did an easy 30 minute run, and it felt good. But I forgot my iPod so no credit for it on the Nike+ site (damn it). And that also meant no music... OMG! I always run with my music! So I was feeling a little nervous, but it ended up being a good thing because I paid attention to my breathing a bit more.

I am loving the Garmin 405, and the fact that I can change the screen so that it only shows my heart rate and not my time or pace so that I do not get hung up on that. I look forward to using it outside so that I can see how accurate the foot pod is in calculating my pace/distance because it has me reading less than the Nike+ right now and I am not sure which one is more closer to reality. Not that it matters so much, because improvement is my primary goal now.

On a sad news front, I found out last night at our company holiday party that my work crush is engaged. Tears were shed when I got home (although I think that was the wine talking). Sigh.

I am planning to hit the gym tomorrow and aim for a 60 minute run. It has been a few weeks since I have done more than 30 minutes, so we'll see how it goes!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud?

I am watching a rerun of The Biggest Loser episode from last week, and the contestants are about to strap weights on to their body to represent the weight that they have lost and then run around an auto racing track. OMG. I could not even imagine what it would be like for me to strap over 70 pounds back onto my body and try to run. It is hard for me to lug around the extra weight that I still have! I have been feeling adjusted to the weight loss this weekend and very disenchanted with my body, but this was a bit of a wake up call to appreciate how far I have come even if my body is still not what I would like it to be (yet!).

This week I celebrated my last birthday of my 30s, and I had a blow out meal in the city on Thursday as part of the festivities. I was certain that my whole week was blown (not just from that crazy meal that ended with a huge slice of Godiva chocolate mousse cake, but also from all of the wine throughout the week and all of the Christmas cookies at work and at home), but decided to step on the scale this morning and weigh in as I usually do on Sunday morning... and I was down 2.8 pounds for the week! YIPPEE!!

I have found that I really am only squeezing in two runs a week, but I am okay with that now and am making sure that I do activities at home on the other nights after DD goes to bed whenever I can. I have three DVDs in rotation now that I am enjoying:

1) Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred
2) You On A Diet Workout
3) Fat Free Yoga

Now I just have to keep it up as they holidays get crazy! ;-)

I made it to the gym today for a run, and tried out my new Garmin 405 (thanks, Santa!). I bought a foot pod for indoor running, but forgot to turn off the GPS functionality in the watch before my run so the watch kept losing the satellite signal and my pace was pretty funky. But all in all, I like the watch and the interface and the fact that it has so many cool features! I have to learn all of them, but am now really looking forward to running outside to use the GPS function and track my route on Google Maps which seems really cool to me. And I got the HRM version, so I no longer have to wear the Polar. If I wasn't so wrapped up with the Nike+ site, I could drop that device, too, but for now I am wearing them both, LOL!

Today's run was a quick 3 1/4 miler, and then I did about 15 minutes of lower body weight work on the machines at the gym. I certainly felt the burn! I need to incorporate more strength training into my routine because I have just been focusing on the cardio, but I really do notice wonderful results when I work with the weights, too. And with the Hustle Up the Hancock coming up in a mere two months, I have to get some serious strength in my legs.

As a total aside from my running and health objectives and experiences, I have found myself contemplating the concept of dating again for the first time since my divorce 3 1/2 years ago. I have some serious body baggage to release before I take the leap, but I am thinking that spring may be the time that I open up that part of my life again. It's scary to think about it because a) I haven't even KISSED anyone for almost 4 years and b) I feel like I have no time in my life for one more thing being a single mother that works fulltime and commutes 2+ hours a day. But I am starting to feel sadness about the lack of male relationship in my life, so who knows what 2009 will bring? Maybe a half marathon and a boyfriend?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

60 Becomes 30 on 12/7

I was supposed to do a 60 minute run, but I just was not up to it today. My "three runs per week" plan has not happened the past two weeks, and I can sure feel the difference in my energy and endurance.

I want to say that next week I will be back on track and on plan, but I already know that I have plans on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday that will make it impossible for me to get to the gym for a run. So maybe I am going to have to take it easy on myself and be happy with two runs per week and a slower weight loss in December. It is certainly better than the 5 to 10 pound gain that I usually have each year around this time.

But once January gets here I need to kick it in gear in order to get in shape for the Hustle Up The Hancock event that I am doing in February... 94 floors of stairs is certainly going to be a challenge for me!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Meme

I saw this on Melissa's blog and thought I would give it a whirl! If you want to play along, just copy the questions onto your blog, post the answers, and leave a comment here so I know to go read yours.
  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I prefer gift bags for ease of use since my time is limited, but the presents that I put under my tree are always wrapped.
  2. Real tree or Artificial? I grew up with real trees, but use an artificial one now. If I had a honey to do it for me, I would love a real one again.
  3. When do you put up the tree? Whenever I can after Thanksgiving is passed. This year, I will do it this coming weekend.
  4. When do you take the tree down? Early January.
  5. Do you like eggnog? I love it, but avoid it as much as possible because of the calories!
  6. Favorite gift received as a child? A doll that made pudding by stirring it. Chocolate pudding. Mmmmmm.
  7. Hardest person to buy for? My brother. I wish I could find him the perfect gift for once.
  8. Easiest person to buy for? My daughter.
  9. Do you have a nativity scene? I had one that my mother made, but now I have no room for it so I returned it to her. :-(
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. With a photo of the child.
  11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? The annual thoughtless gift from my aunt and uncle. It made me feel like I was invisible, how little they knew me.
  12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's A Wonderful Life. I always cry.
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? In January when they have the after Christmas sales.
  14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, but I have donated some to charity.
  15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Sugar cookies with royal icing.
  16. Lights on the tree? I have three options on my tree because I can switch it from colored to white to colored + white! Love that tree!
  17. Favorite Christmas song? Angels We Have Heard On High
  18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I spend it with my daughter and my mother, wherever we are.
  19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? You betcha!
  20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Nothing because the tree top won't support it! But if it would, I would trade off years with a star one year and an angel the next.
  21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? From the family on Christmas Eve, and from Santa on Christmas Morning.
  22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? How much money I spend!
  23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I don't have a theme, but love the ones that we made when I was a child (I still have them and use them every year).
  24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I'm not picky, so whatever is served is good for me!
  25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Peace and happiness and health. I now, it sounds trite, but that's what would do it for me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

30 Loooong Minutes

Last week I only did one of my three planned runs, and that was the 5K Turkey Trot race on Thanksgiving Day. Yikes. So I had to get myself back to the gym last night, but things kept coming up that made me think of postponing the run.

First, I realized that my daughter had her class picture re-take the next day at school... and noticed that her bangs were covering almost half of her eyes. And, of course, the hairdresser did not have anything available before our scheduled time at the gym. But I scheduled something for 7:45 p.m. instead, and figured that it was okay if she went to bed a little later than usual just that one night for the sake of beauty.

Then I came home and found that AF had decided to start her monthly visit. Ugh. But as I tossed around the idea of staying home with a heating pad, a voice from deep inside of me literally growled "You go to the gym, Nicole!".

So off we went, through the cold and windy Chicago night, to the gym. The track was packed! I guess all of the die-hard outdoor runners had finally decided to move it inside. Or maybe it was the non-regulars who found their way back to the gym after a Thanksgiving weight gain. And they were all passing me like crazy as I completed my 30 minute run because I was soooooo slow last night. Seriously, I could feel the difference from being off track last week.

One entertaining thing was watching a serious runner couple fly around the track. They looked like throwbacks from the 70s... tight short shorts in interesting colors, tight sleeveless shirts, and the male half of the couple was actually wearing a cloth headband that was tied around his head with ends trailing behind him! He reminded me of Bruce Jenner in his heyday with the get-up, LOL! They were probably doing sub-7 minute miles, and was I ever awestruck and totally jealous as I watched them circle the track over and over again!

As always, I was glad that I pushed myself to the gym and got back on my running schedule. I was even happier about it today because I received three compliments at work about my shrinking figure. Sometimes that makes it worth all the hard work!

Oh, and I heard from a little birdie that Santa is bringing me a Garmin 405 for Christmas! I must have been a VERY good girl this year! ;-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Trot 5K

As it is Thanksgiving, I have been reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for this year. My daughter is healthy and happy, my family is healthy, I have a wonderful job that allows me to take care of our household as a single parent, and I have a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood filled with wonderful kitties!

I am also thankful that I am in a place health-wise where I was even able to complete a 5K race this morning. I am thankful for the 40 pounds I have lost since mid-June (well, not thankful for the pounds themselves but instead for the fact that they are GONE!). That being said, here's the recap of my race this morning.

First of all, it was not a timed race so I used my own watch. But frankly, it did not matter because there was no way for me to get a good time today. There was a very large crowd, with many walkers, children, strollers, and dogs. And they did not start back from the starting line. Nor did they make it possible for runners to pass without going out of their way on sidewalks and the like. As soon as I realized that my time was going to be a non-issue because I could barely navigate my way through the walkers for the first 1/4 mile, I just did it for the fun of it.

The race course was through neighborhood streets, and there were many people on their porches and on the street watching us (not much cheering, though... but quite a bit of drinking!). I know that my second mile was about 12 1/2 minutes, so that was a PR in a race for me.

One thing that really pissed me off was the number of smokers near the starting line, along the race course, and at the end of the race. I swear I wanted to blow chunks on one guy who was puffing away right next to the finish as I sucked in a huge lung-full of his filthy smoke. Gross. Where is the common sense, people?!?

The other thing that was difficult was all of the dogs on long leashes. I was seriously almost tripped by two of them, and then when you add the YOUNG children weaving around the road while their parents did a half-assed job of watching them... well, it was a bit frustrating.

But it was a good way to get me up and out and active before a big dinner tonight, so I'll take it. And even with all of the distractions and roadblocks, my time was 38 seconds less that the last 5K that I ran a month ago, so there was improvement.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am thankful that you took the time to read about my journey!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

4th Photo Tag!


1. Pick the 4th folder on your computer
2. Pick the 4th Picture
3. Explain the picture
4. Tag 4 others -
I tag anyone who would like to do it.

This was a shot from a session with my daughter as I tried to get a photo for our 2004 holiday card. The lights are LED lights that do not get hot, so I let her play with them for awhile and she had a blast! I never got the perfect shot using the lights and had to do another session without them to get our card photo for that year, but I still love these shots!



Thursday, November 20, 2008

It Was a Hot and Smelly Night

I skipped my run on Tuesday because I was home with a fever, so I had not run since Sunday before hitting the track tonight.

I stopped at my favorite tea shop before heading home to change. A nice pot of Winterblend black tea gave me some caffeine (read: energy) and helped me brave the cold Chicago weather. Once I came home, I popped in a lollipop to add some sugar to my caffeine buzz, changed my clothes, and headed out again.

The parking lot at the gym was full. Not like it usually is, where I have a problem finding a good spot... but actually so full that I had to drive around for 5 minutes to find ANY spot. Once I got in I asked the boy at the desk what was up with the crowd, and he told me that there was a Chamber of Commerce event being held at the gym tonight. Ugh.

There were people milling around everywhere, and as soon I entered the locker room I noticed a strange smell. Once I made my way to the track, I noticed that the smell was stronger. And it was hot. Ick.

As I rounded the first bend in the track, I saw the gathering. It was in the main floor of the gym (the track circles the entire gym on the second level, like a loft around it), and there were so many (loud) people. The smell was from the catered food that was out on tables from local businesses, and all of those people seemed to be watching those of us who are members work out as they mingled around. That was not a fun thing for this chubby runner.

But I had to do it, so I did it. It was a decent 45 minute run, and I felt strong and even picked up the pace at the end by working on increasing my stride length. And all of the mouth-breathing helped me to ignore the nasty smell of Sterno and food from the convention.

Smelly, hot, but nonetheless over... and I am glad that I did it because I actually missed it. Usually missing a run or a scheduled workout would throw me into a tailspin and make me feel like a loser, so I was happy that I was able to just get back on track (literally) and keep going. I know that I have to get rid of that "all or nothing" mentality because life is going to throw me for a loop sometimes, and I do not want to yo-yo anymore with either my weight or my exercise. It's time for me to figure out how to take changes in my plans in stride... something which is not easy for this project manager!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ugh



First, I must say that I am pissed at my Nike+. It totally tanked my run right in the middle. I am sorry, but there is no way that I was running over a TWO HOUR PER MILE pace in the middle of my very consistent hour long run. Seriously. It failed to record over a mile of my run, and that just pisses me off.

As for the run itself, it was a hard run in many ways. I was properly fueled, properly hydrated, not any more sleep-deprived than usual... and yet I almost passed out during the run for real.

It started out fine for about the first 15 minutes, and then I hit a wall. My heart rate shot up and was in the mid 170s already, which usually does not happen until later in my runs. I was thinking that I might have to call it a day at 30 minutes. By the time I was 25 minutes into the workout, my heart rate was in the 180s and I was struggling. I couldn't concentrate on anything to distract me from the clock, and time was just crawling.

Being as stubborn as I am, I kept plowing through and told myself that if I could get to 45 minutes of the run, then I could call it a day. I also was berating myself with the fact that it not bode well for my goal of doing the Soldier Field 10 Miler race with Delane if I couldn't even make myself get through a five mile run.

Suffice it to say, I made it to 45 minutes and then played mind games with myself to "just go five more minutes". But once I hit the 50 minute mark, I started to have chest pain (nothing crazy, but tightness) and I got all light headed and depleted of energy and though I might actually pass out on the track. Very weird. It passed after a couple of minutes, so I kept going and did end up hitting the magical 60 minute run mark before starting my cool down walk.

I felt bad after the run. Tired, drained, like I needed a serious nap. So I got some coffee instead and went on my merry way. ;-)

I don't know what happened to cause this horrible run, but I am going to chalk it up to some bad planetary alignment and move on to next week. At least I can say that I finished my second one hour run!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Running on Empty

NOTE TO SELF: Must have energy to have a good run.

I had a snack at 2:30 p.m. (baked tofu, for those of you who are very curious!). Then the day got away from me... work, commute home, child pick-up and feeding, parent-teacher conference, and then... finally... the gym. I didn't even start my run until 7:45 p.m. And I hadn't had even a bite to eat for over five hours. That did not bode well for a 45 minute run.

I felt okay in the beginning, but then the fizzle started. I was watching the clock like a hawk, and my heart rate was high even though I felt like I was just shuffling around the track. Yet even though the minutes dragged, I kept going and finished the scheduled run.

And then I came home and quickly shoveled in some chow!!! OMG!!!

Now it is time to go upstairs and upload my Nike+ information. I must say that I am interested to see what it shows because, at the end of my run, Paula Radcliffe came on and told me that I set a new personal best for the mile... WTF??? Yet my mileage was a bit lower than I expected overall, so we shall see what it shows and if it tanked somewhere during my run.

After that bit of Nike+ weirdness, I was having visions of wearing both a Nike+ and a Garmin (complete with footpod and HRM) at the same time to have a check and balance. And then I decided that I really *am* a freak... a freak who wants to run with $500+ of gear strapped to my body to make sure I know exactly how long I am running and how far I am running and thus how fast I am running and at what heart rate I am at and of course how many calories I am burning. Add to that the Fitbit (which I have pre-ordered) and hey, throw in a BodyBugg (the thing they wear on The Biggest Loser), and I could probably pump it up to $1000 worth of electronics strapped onto me during my runs! The Bionic Woman!

Yeah... once I hit the Lotto, that is! ;-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week 20

I started C25K 20 weeks ago. Almost 5 months ago. And each week I have run 3 times. So I have had around 60 running-centric workouts since I laced up the shoes last summer. And during those almost 60 runs, I have gone from 1 minute running intervals to 60 minutes of straight running.

Wow.

Tonight I am taking a few minutes to pat myself on the back. :-) But it is also with the realization that I am entering the rough season, and that I have to keep my motivation and my running "appointments" with myself in order to keep up the running that has resulted from all of that hard work.

As the hours of daylight dwindle and the weather gets colder, I am finding it harder to get myself out the door and to the gym. And that is not going to get any better until Spring is fully sprung sometime next year. But it is important to me to continue running, so I am going to make sure that I eliminate the excuses by keeping my gym bag packed and ready in my car so that I do not get into my warm home and then find it hard to head back out for my workout. I need to pull out all of the Jedi Mind Tricks that I have to make sure that I do not fall off the track, so to speak.

Now it is time for Top Chef, so I am going to relax and enjoy while *they* do all the hard work tonight!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

And After... I AM A ONE HOUR RUNNER!!!!

Woo-hoo... I did it! I finished the One Hour Runner program today!!! :-)

I was procrastinating and dragging my feet in terms of getting to the gym today for the run. I was supposed to go with my mom at 11:00 a.m., but then she backed out and I found a million things to do... and the next thing I knew it was almost 3:00 p.m. and I still had not even dressed in my running clothes.

So I got dressed, headed over, and with surprisingly little trepidation hit the track for my last run of the program. I put my iPod on shuffle and started on my way.

The first 25 minutes of the run were like a dream. I felt strong, my breathing was right on, and I felt like I could run all day. I began daydreaming about running a marathon and being on the Oprah show to thank everyone who helped me get my life back after being so sick with an auto-immune disease and everything else that hit me in the last 10 years. I was making a list of names and reliving some of the most horrible parts and comparing them with the happiness that I have now, and the time just flew by!

The track got crowded about midway through my run, and of course it filled with rude non-lane designation followers... but I did not let it bother me as much today because a) I knew that I was going to outlast them all on the track and b) I was on a happy mission to complete a milestone.

I started to tire about 45 minutes into the run, but it was just a feeling and I knew that I was going to be able to complete the run from an energy standpoint. I was so excited! 10 more minutes, 7 more minutes, 5 more minutes, one more lap.. and DING DING DING I WAS A ONE HOUR RUNNER!!! With a shout and a fist pump in the air, I started my cool down walk with a huge smile on my face and a swing in my step!

Now I am home and ordering some pizza for dinner. After burning 924 calories during my workout per my HRM, I think I have room today for a couple of slices. :-)

Thanks for sharing this part of the journey with me. Believe it or not, you have all been my biggest supporters. I am excited to see what 2009 holds for my running!

Before

I am mentally preparing myself for the last run of One Hour Runner. I am going to the gym in about an hour, and am planning to just enjoy the experience and go for the hour at whatever pace I can.

I did a 40 minute run last Thursday without a day of rest between the first run of the week, and my right knee was giving me some grief about that. I am hoping that it feels good for today's long run, or at least that I can run out the pain pretty quickly.

After today, I am going to go steady through the rest of the year with three runs per week consisting of a 30 minute run on Tuesday, a 45 minute run on Thursday, and a long 60 minute run on the weekend. I know that the holidays are going to be busy, and I do not want to set myself up to miss my goals during this time. I also am hoping to increase my speed a bit because "slow as molasses" really is a good description for me right now. Part of this will hopefully come as a result of dropping some more weight because I am still lugging around almost 60 pounds of extra weight, so I am going to focus on losing some of that over the next two months, too. I know that it is hard to do during the holidays so I am not going to set huge goals, but even a loss of 10 pounds over the next couple of months would be great and should be doable.

Well, I am off to get ready for the gym now... I'll be back with the "After" post later today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Late Run

Yesterday's run was postponed to tonight because I needed some sleep last night. Yesterday I was woken up at 4:45 a.m. by a phone call from an employee telling me that his father had unexpectedly passed away during the middle of the night. Needless to say, I was unable to feel back asleep after the news, so I started my day extra early.

Then, after dropping off the child for all day care because her school was closed for the day, I received a call from my ex-husband as I drove to the train station telling me that his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer the day before, and that her husband had a positive PET Scan indicating that the cancer he had battled last year had returned. A double-whammy for him and his family.

All of this news before I even caught the train to work. I felt wiped out from the emotions.

Then we had a stressful day at work, and I battle crowds to get out of Chicago as people were gathering for the Obama rally in Grant Park. Once I arrived home and picked up my daughter, the gym was out and a Lunesta was in. No guilt whatsoever about pushing out the run.

This morning found me better rested and able to face the day without feeling so raw and upset for those who received the bad news about their parents. I was on plan with my eating today, and looking forward to my 30 minute run tonight.

As I hit the track, I started in on a serious daydream about the most handsome man in the world who just happens to work at the same company as I do... and the 30 minutes flew by! I physically felt on top of the world when 30 minutes came and was wishing that it was the night for a longer run! Who would've thought I would want to run longer than I "had" to???? But I stopped because it looks like I am going to need to do W10D2 tomorrow without a day of rest in-between and thus I did not want to overdo it tonight.

Great run, mediocre time, but VERY enjoyable. ;-)

Tomorrow I have a 40 minute run planned, and then I will cap off the week with a 60 minute run on Sunday. And thus I will complete the One Hour Runner Program this week... woo-hoo! That's AMAZING!!! Be prepared to hear my victory scream all the way at your house when I finish THAT run!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

2 for 1!!!

I didn't write about my last run on Thursday, so this post is like getting 2 for 1!

Thursday night I was suffering from the a case of the guilties because my cat had just come home from paw surgery on Wednesday and he was very needy. In a pitiful blue cone to keep him from ripping out his stitches and everything. So I was tossing around a complete run miss for the week because there was no way I could do it Friday due to Halloween, and I only had time for one run over the weekend with birthday parties and the like.

I came home and noticed that someone had been here... my mother had stopped by and spent some time with the kitty after work... so I felt like I could scoot to the gym for an hour with less guilt. Good run, hurried home, just another day with nothing out of the ordinary.

Today was W9D3 of One Hour Runner, complete with a 55 minute run. Honestly, I am feeling like crap and had some serious doubts on the way to the gym as to whether 55 minutes was in the cards today or not. But I just pushed the doubts aside and started out, making sure to get in a full 5 minutes of walking before I started the run because I felt stiff all over.

The track was crowded today with people goofing around: some guy teasing a girl by taking pictures of her in her gym shorts while she mindlessly ran across the lanes to avoid the camera, some guys racing each other around the track but weaving across all five lanes as they battled each other, two women who refused to respect the lane designations as they sauntered along batting their eyelashes at the guys down in the weight room. And then there was me, plodding along the track for over an hour like some crazed energizer bunny with the batteries dying. I just kept going and stuck to my lane (yes, very stubbornly) and by the time my workout was over the track was clear and I had outlasted them all!

I did the 55 minutes as planned and then went out for Mexican. :-) Nothing like a big old bean burrito after a long run... yes, AFTER a long run LOL!

Next week is the last week of the One Hour Runner program, so here's the plan:

Tuesday - 30 minute run
Thursday - 40 minute run
Saturday - 60 minute run (OMG!!!!)

I keep telling myself that if I was able to do 55 minutes today, I will be able to do 60 minutes next week. And I'm gonna stick with that!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Damn Nike+... Grrrr....

Did my weekly 30 minute run last night. It was a pretty standard run, nothing crazy. But my Nike+ took a dive midway through the run and totally underreported my mileage and tanked my pace. That's the way it goes sometime, I guess, but it still sucks because I have no other way to track my distance. I am thinking about getting one of those Garmin 405 gadgets (such a gadget girl, I know), but I need to save up for it or see if there really *is* a Santa Claus!

I am doing Week 9 of OHR this week since I took last week off from the program due to my race. The Week 9 runs for me are:

Tuesday: 30 Minutes (DONE!!)
Thursday: 38 Minutes
Sunday: 55 Minutes (YIKES!!!)

Other than that, I finally shook those crazy 7 pounds that attached themselves to me for no good reason, and I am down a bit lower than my most recent low as of this morning. My daily calorie goal on The Daily Plate fell from 1806 to 1799 in the past day with my small loss this morning, which gives me a bit of a psychological boost since I started at over 1900+ calories per day last July when I started tracking them.

I enjoyed watching The Biggest Loser after my run last night. I still do not have a personal favorite, but certainly hope to see Vicky, Brady, and Heba leave before the show is over. I cannot stand the crap that went on between them and Phil last night... zero tolerance for bullshit like that here. I'm sure it is easy for me to judge as a spectator, but hope I would stay out of those situations were I actually in the situation. Probably not, though, since I always seem to find trouble wherever I look!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trick or Treat Trot 5K

I ran the Trick or Treat Trot 5K today on the beautiful Chicago lake front, and it was a fun race! 2500+ people running and walking with many in cute costumes.

The day started out, well, late. I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. because I had to leave the house by 7:25 a.m. When the alarm rang, I leisurely got out of bed and decided to check my email. When I glanced at my laptop clock, it said 7:03 a.m. No... it was only 6:03 a.m., and my alarm clock verified that. Just to check, I turned on the news and saw 7:04 a.m. WHAT???!!!!??? I now had 20 minutes to get dressed, fed, potty-ed, and out the door. Which is not enough time for this no-colon wonder.

I did figure out what happened, though: My alarm clock has a daylight savings time adjustment feature. Daylight savings time typically begins at midnight on the last Saturday of October... but not this year. This year it is starting a couple of weeks later, but my clock did not know that so it kindly adjusted my time for me at midnight last night!!! AHHHHH!!!!

So I did not have time to properly potty or fuel, and I was off to pick up my mother and head into the city for the race. We got to my brother's house in the city to meet up with him and his family (his wife ran the race with me), and then we headed off to Lincoln Park for the race. And then we hit the traffic caused by 2500 runners and walkers and all of the fans trying to converge in Montrose Harbor for the event.

We ended up being dropped off in order to get our race packets and chips. The lines were very long, and we just made it to the start before the race began. And we were off!

Less than five minutes into the race, I needed to go to the bathroom. Badly. I started praying that I could just safely finish the race and make it to a port-a-potty at the end. Then I started having cramping from the need. Ugh. I did make it to the end of the race without having to find a toilet, but it took an effect on my pace as I ran hunched over and slower than usual.

Another thing that I did not account for was the wind. It was a VERY windy day by the lake in the Windy City, and being an indoor track runner I was not used to this! I also did not bring a visor or sun glasses (I forgot to pack them because of my morning rush), and thus it was very bright in my eyes and hard to look far ahead.

But it was a beautiful place to have a run, and I plugged along and did my best given the circumstances. My time was not what I had hoped, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and was very proud when my name was called as I crossed the finish line! My sister-in-law even kept her pace as slow as mine so that we finished together, which was very nice of her since she is in better shape than I.

I learned some important lessons:

1) Get the gear ready the night before
2) Set two alarms ;-)
3) Try something more binding for breakfast
4) Bring a tissue
5) Sunglasses and/or visor must come along
6) Try not to start out too fast even though the rest of the crowd is doing so because you will tire out too soon
7) Have fun and try not to focus on the time too much

The best part was at the finish line where my friends and family were waiting. Delane biked 45 minutes each way to come and cheer me on (thank you!!!) as she rested from micro-tears in her ankles from her half marathon a couple of weeks ago. And my divorced mom and dad were both there to cheer us on... together in the same place for the first time since my latest 7-hour abdominal surgery in December of 2005. Much better circumstance this time IMHO!!! I felt really blessed, and it made the disappointment in my time basically fly out the window.

Then we went out for breakfast at Ina's in the West Loop, and I had some out of this world vegetable hash... YUM!

All in all it was a great day, and I am going to choose to focus on the positive instead of dwell on the disappointing. Live and learn... and keep running!

P.S. My next 5K is scheduled for Thanksgiving morning (the EP Turkey Trot), and I am already looking forward to it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Three More Days And Counting!

Just three more days to the Trick or Treat Trot 5K on Sunday, and I am both excited and nervous! But no matter how I do, I'll get a t-shirt so it's worth the price of admission. ;-)

I finished my last run before the race, and it was a good one. I had the track to myself (yippee!) and felt strong. Not as fast a pace as my last couple of runs, but I'll take it.

On the scale front, I was down about 5 of those horrid 7 pounds as of this morning and I had a good, on-plan day so hopefully the scale will be kind to be again in the morning.

Other than that, it was the same old same old for me today. No good stories, nothing exciting except a random hallway encounter with one of the most handsome men in the world who just happens to work at my company. There's nothing like that serious hunk of hot man to make me wanna stay on plan and make my run a good one! Ah, a fat chick can dream, can't she?!?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gearing Up for Sunday's Race

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have taken a week-long break from the One Hour Runner program in order to keep a low mileage week before my Trick or Treat Trot 5K on Sunday. It's pretty amazing to me that a 30 minute run seems like a short run now, LOL!

Tonight I worked hard during my run. I could feel that my pace was better, and I ran at a higher heart rate without too much fatigue again. I also really pushed myself for the last lap, so things are improving on the running front.

I veered a bit on the eating side last weekend, though, starting with a drunken Friday night out with my co-workers. Two 20-ounce mugs of beer, a SoCo Lime shot, and a tequila shot were the sum of my dinner on Friday (ugh). Then Saturday I had a bit of a feast day at a Halloween party followed by cabinet raids upon returning home. Sunday brought breakfast at a local restaurant and then a pizza dinner, but all in all I kept my calories overage moderate and only exceeded them by about 1000 for the entire weekend. But somehow the scale had me up by over SEVEN POUNDS this morning from my weight on Saturday morning, and there is NO WAY that I ate enough to deserve even 1/3 of that gain.

That number freaked me out enough to step on the scale for a second time today after coming home from work, and I was down by 4.3 pounds at that point, so I know that this is not a real gain... but WTF??? It's not TOM, I have not been pouring on the salt, and I have been doing some big (for me) runs that should have offered a bit of a counterbalance to the weekend eating deviation.

Anyway, I have really tightened things up after this morning's scale fiasco because I want to feel my best for Sunday's run, and I want to keep moving downward on the weight front. It's amazing how much a thing like the scale threw my mood for a loop today, even when my head KNEW that I could not have gained that much so quickly with my intake in the same time frame. The only thing that kept me from really flipping out was that I have been on track with my running plan. I guess this is why it is best for me to have two plans going at any given time, one for weight loss and one for something fitness-related, because if I am on track with at least one of them then I do not feel like a total loser and throw in the towel with a setback by diving snout-first into a binge.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've Got That "New Sensor Smell"

And it smells fishy!

Well, I ended up going and buying a brand new Nike+ kit because it would have cost me just a couple of dollars less to get a replacement sensor (once shipping was included), and I would have had to wait for it to be shipped to me. Great way to get people to spend more money, Apple and Nike. Quite the racket. Yet, I am the dumb ass who did it.

I did my 50 minute run with the new sensor, and I was amazed at the end of my 56 minute workout when I heard "Miles Complete: 5.1"! Woo-hoo! But wait a minute... or more like 2 minutes because that was about how much faster my pace was with this new sensor than with the old one! Which was right, this one or the failing one? Did I really run that far? I did not count how many laps I did in my almost hour long workout, so I had no clue!

Yes, I did feel like I was running faster and stronger today, but that just seems a bit much. Especially when I came home and uploaded the workout and saw that it was showing some of my pace points at an 8 minutes per mile pace... NOT A CHANCE! So now I have to recalibrate this damn thing again and figure out how fast I am actually running. Although the 5K I am running a week from today should give me that answer, too. :-)

So, I finished Week 8 of the One Hour Runner program with a 50 minute run (yea me!). Next week would be Week 9 for me, but since I am running my first 5K in, oh, ten years, I am just going to back off for a week and do 30 minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday and then the 5K on Sunday. Then I'll hop back into Week 9 of the program the week after that. So that means that in three weeks time, I should have completed my first 60 minute run!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sensor: Low Battery!

It's Thursday again, time for my second run of the week! I was still sore from the combo 30 Day Shred/W8D1 of OHR, but not sore enough to be able to convince myself that I could miss the run without guilt.

So off to the gym it was for a 36 minute run. The track got kind of crowded as I neared my ten minute mark, which always makes me grumpy. But then I noticed that it totally cleared by the time I hit my 25 minute mark, and I was the only one remaining... YEA!! This slow, fat girl outlasted all of those fit and speedy runners! As I always say, at least I have endurance!

I felt like I ran a bit faster, though, so I look forward to seeing the run pattern and mile speeds when I upload my Nike+ later on. I also found that I was more comfortable running at a higher heart rate tonight (maybe it was all of the caffeine in the pot of black tea that I drank at my favorite tea shop before my run???). And I found myself picking up the pace for the last 2 1/2 minutes instead of slowing down to a snail's pace as I usually do. So there are three good things, and that makes me happy that I went and did it despite my sore legs.

After my run, though, I noticed that my iPod said "Sensor: Low Battery". I had a moment of panic when I saw that because I have my longest run so far (49 minutes) scheduled for Saturday and I WANT CREDIT IN MY NIKE+ CHALLENGES, DAMMIT!!!! So now I need to find someplace local to go get one early on Saturday morning. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a runner. ;-)

As an aside, it was kind of weird for me to go to the gym tonight because of an altercation that happened in childcare with my daughter on Tuesday night. Let me preface this story by saying that I am a single mother who commutes on public transportation (over two hours a day) to and from a full-time job, so I have to run at night and need someone to watch my child while I do so. Thus, childcare was the primary consideration when I chose a gym. Luckily this gym also has a great 5-lap-per-mile indoor track, so it worked out well in both ways. Before I signed up for an annual membership, I asked if it would be okay if my daughter had a snack there because I pick her up from after-school care and usually go right to the gym so that we can be home by 7:30 p.m. to have dinner, do homework, and get her to bed by 8:00 p.m. That means that she has not eaten since lunch, and she is very hungry. They told me that it would be fine for her to have a snack as long as there are no other children there, which is certainly understandable.

So, she has brought popcorn with her for a snack almost every time that she has gone there for what is now almost a year (my gym anniversary is in the first week of November), and it has never been a problem. But on Tuesday night when I finished my run, I walked into the childcare room only to find my child crying so hard that she was hyperventilating and choking like she was going to vomit. As I tried to calm her, I spoke with the teenage girl that was watching her to try to figure out what had happened to create this situation. As it turns out, the gym manager had come in to the childcare room and noticed my daughter snacking on her popcorn, and she freaked out. She started yelling at the teenager assigned to the room, and then stormed out and printed a big sign about not allowing food in the childcare room and stormed back in and taped it on the desk in the childcare room. And she did all of this very loudly in front of my very sensitive 6 year old child, who then thought she did something wrong and was in trouble.

Suffice it to say that I was NOT happy with the way this 40-something woman (and I mention her age only because she is certainly old enough to know better, unlike many of the teenagers that work there at night) handled the situation. As a matter of fact, I was starting to go all Mama Bear, and was feeling a confrontation on the horizon. So I asked my mom, who often goes to the gym with us, to take the child out to the van while I paid the childcare fee (and looked for the bitch who made my baby cry).

But then I thought better of finding that idiot because I was starting to fill with f-bombs and fury. I figured that if I went off on her with the ferocity that was brewing in me that I would just look like a hysterical mother and not get my real point across. So I quietly paid, grabbed the business card of the Executive Director of the gym, and exited to soothe my child.

The next day I called the Executive Director and left him a brief voicemail about the incident, asking him to please call me to discuss. He did, and he allowed me to voice my GREAT displeasure for about 15 minutes as he assured me that I was totally right (of course I was) and that the stupid manager dealt with it in the wrong way (duh). He promised me that he would address the issue with her personally, and discuss the proper way to handle tricky situations the involve children with the rest of the staff, too.

So, when I arrived tonight, and especially as I left since I was moving much more slowly and became a good target for discussion with the passing staff, I could tell that they felt a little weird about it. I, on the other hand, do not feel that weird about it because the bitch was wrong and I got her in trouble and she should NEVER have done that in front of my child. So there.

Ah, now I feel so much better after that tirade... it was kind of like a big, cleansing breath! I hope that things go well on our next visit (Saturday) because my daughter is a bit nervous about going back. I really hope that it does, because I need to stay at this gym as it is the only one in the area that I could find that 1) had childcare, 2) had a good running set-up, and 3) I could afford.

P.S. Al and Carly, I felt so honored to see you following my blog because I think of you two as running rock stars and I love reading about your experiences. :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sore

I am sore. All over.

I did the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD last night on my DOR. I was a little sore today, but it was the good kind where you know you did something that worked some neglected muscles, but nothing crazy enough to sideline you.

Then I did my 30 minute run tonight.

I was a bit sore when I started. I worked through it while running, but started to feel some seizing up in my legs during my cool-down walk. Then I came home, fed the child and got her in bed, made some dinner and sat down to watch The Biggest Loser on my DVR.

I started having trouble getting off the couch during potty breaks. And once it was over, I could barely haul my sorry ass up to stagger to the computer.

I am going to take a pain-killer before heading to bed, and then I am going to pray that I am more limber and pain-free tomorrow when I wake up.

And I actually plan on doing the DVD again tomorrow. I truly am a glutton for punishment.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Should Always Be a DOR!

I usually do my long runs on Saturday, but since I had my "day of beauty" yesterday and then had dinner with my family, I had to do my run today.

I went in with a good attitude, and decided to do it at a moderate pace so that I could enjoy the run... but 45 minutes just sounded REALLY long. After my 5 minute warm-up walk, that meant that I had to run until my HRM said 50 minutes!

And I was off! My time was pretty slow, as I expected, but I did enjoy the run. I found that I was generally low energy, which could be attributed to the fact that I did not have lunch or that I was tired after running errands all morning. Either way, I finished all 45 minutes and was so proud! That's big for me because only once in my life have I ever run for more than 45 minutes, and that was back in 1998 during an 8K race... back in the pre-baby days when I still had a large intestine even!

Week 7 of 10 of OHR is done, and I am now entering the final three weeks. I am progressing and it feels good! And I love my new haircut, and smaller clothes are fitting me now, and I just generally feel better. All those things, those are the reasons why I started to run again, so I am going to take a few minutes to savor them before rushing off to do the laundry (ho-hum). :-)

The plan for next week is:

W8D1 - 30 minute run (Tuesday)
W8D2 - 36 minute run (Thursday)
W8D3 - 49 minute run (Saturday)

Also, a huge congratulations to Delane who finished a half -marathon yesterday... you are an inspiration, and I'm in with you next year for the race if you want some company!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

First Time Without a DOR

Since I wimped out on my Tuesday run and ended up doing it on Wednesday, I missed my DOR (day of rest) between runs and ran again this evening. I have been religious about my DORs because I do not want to be sidelined with an injury if I can avoid it, but this was the only way for me to get all three runs in this week.

I did just fine and was not as tired as I feared I might be. 34 minutes for my W7D2 run, with my next run scheduled for Sunday. That run will be 45 minutes, which seems pretty amazing to me!

I actually have been fighting a migraine ever since Monday, and it was coming on really strong before I went running. The good news is that I feel a bit better after the run and was able to eat a good dinner relatively pain-free. Hopefully this darn thing will finally go away because five days with a migraine has been pretty miserable.

Tomorrow night I have a manicure and pedicure scheduled, and then Saturday I have my "day of beauty", completed with a new haircut. Wish me luck, and may I be a more glamorous woman when I do my 45 minute run on Sunday!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wimp No More!

After skipping my run last night (ahm... I meant postponing my run, of course), the guilt kept getting worse and worse all night. Then I watched The Biggest Loser and felt like even more of an ass for my decision.

So I packed my workout clothes last night so that we wouldn't have to come home to change this evening before hitting the gym, in order to eliminate that decision point of "to go or not to go now that I am comfy in my house after 10+ hours commuting and working". And then I received even more motivation when my child said "Mom, can we make sure we go to the health club tonight?" as we were getting ready for school/work this morning.

Fast forward 11 hours and I hit the track for a 30 minute run. And now W7D1 of One Hour Runner is done! The bad news for me is that I do not get a day of rest between W7D1 and W7D2 (which is scheduled for tomorrow night) because I have plans for Friday night and Saturday, so my only two remaining days to run this week are Thursday and Sunday. Such is life, and it is of my own doing. Time to suck it up!

I am going to close with a shout-out to Delane, who is running a half-marathon this weekend... GOOD LUCK AND YOU CAN DO IT!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Admit It.

I wimped out.

It is cold and raining, I still have cramps, and I "postponed" my W7D1 run until tomorrow night.

That is all.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And I Even Did a Minute More than Planned!

Yesterday was my W6D3 run, which was supposed to be 41 minutes long... but somehow I misread my HRM watch and ended up doing 42 minutes... score!!!

I ran at about 1:15 p.m., and I do not think that is a great time for a run for me. I was a bit more tired than usual. But my pace ended up being decent, so no worries. The biggest challenge that I had was trying not to blow up at the STUPID WOMAN IN THE RED SHIRT who was sauntering (and I do mean sauntering) in the Jogging lane of the busy track while talking on her cell phone. I almost ran into her just to make a point, but realized that getting into a confrontation was not a great idea with my PMS raging as it was. I had visions of the cops being called after I flipped out at her... and decided to skip that possible path for the day.

After my run I had to take my daughter to a 3rd birthday party for a neighbor, and when the pizza and cake came out I sure was happy that I had burned almost 700 calories during my 3.83 mile run! Woo-hoo, what a treat!

Today I am a bottomless pit, though, with my cold abating and TOM stopping by for a visit this morning. I hope that I'll even eke out a small loss for the week, but sometimes it is just like that I guess.

My running plan for the week is as follows:
Tuesday - 30 minutes
Thursday - 34 minutes
Sunday - 45 minutes.

That will round out Week 7 of 10 of the One Hour Runner program. I am doing my usual Saturday run on Sunday because on Saturday I am going to a local spa for a day of beauty that was gifted to me by a friend. How cool! It actually starts Friday night with a manicure and pedicure, and then I have hair coloring, a facial, and a cut and style on Saturday. Hopefully I will look like a younger, more beautiful woman! A girl can wish.

I still am having a bit of a problem believing that I will be able to run for 60 minutes in four short weeks, but I am just going to follow the program and hope it takes me to the goal line! Wish me luck!

And a special shout-out to FriedMSW, my first official blog follower... thank you! :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Running Sick

I am sick with a cold (please insert an "awww, poor girl" here). My throat hurts, my nose is stuffy, and my voice is temporarily borrowed from some sexy vixen. I am living on Airborne, Emergen-C,and Dayquil (that sounds like some sick twist on Truckin' lyrics!!). Oh, and sugar-free cough drops (which still have 5 calories per drop, by the way).

And I feel sorry for myself. :-(

So I stopped at my favorite tea shop after work for a pot of Mint Lula, and was going to postpone my run until tomorrow or Saturday. But the owners of the shop are some of my biggest IRL running supporters, so after a great conversation about Fred and his son climbing Yosemite and Half Dome, and talk of the Hustle Up the Hancock, they were not so supportive of my idea of workout postponement. Fred said that I should go to the gym to keep my routine and just walk if that was all my body could do... and I knew that he was right.

So I came home, threw on my workout clothes, and headed to the gym. I went to the track and told myself just to do what I could and not get hung up on the W6D2 OHR 33 minute run on schedule for tonight. And off I went!

Of course, being as competitive as I am with myself, I did the run as planned and my time was not half bad! I didn't notice the sore throat as much as I had feared, either.

So now I am relaxing with another dose of Vitamin C, some squirts of Zicam up my nose, and a bunch of water. One last swig and I am going to hit the sack to replenish my energy and make sure that I do not get any worse!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: 3 Mile Run Saved by 6 Year Old!

It seems that all of my posts start off the same way recently: Didn't feel like running, almost skipped my run, close call, etc. Today was no exception. After I picked up my child from her after school care, I said "So, would you rather go to the gym tonight or tomorrow?" And, as you may have guessed by now, her answer was "I would prefer to go tonight". So while my mind may allow me to let my body down by missing a run, it appears that it will not allow me to let my child down. She likes going to childcare at the gym.

It's not that I don't want to run. It is that I am dead tired by the time I can run. I wake up at 5:30 a.m. just to get DD and I ready to get to school and to the train respectively. Then I am off to work for the day and back on the train, only to head to my van and pick up the child from after school care. By the time I even get close to my house it is already 5:45 p.m. and neither of us have had any dinner. On running nights, I have to stop at home, get the child a snack, get my clothes and gear on, and then go to the gym. By the time I hit the track it is 6:30 p.m., and then we do not get home until about 7:20 p.m. Finally dinner, homework, bedtime for child, chores, and then I finally throw myself into bed around 10:30 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. I am just so tired all of the time from this crazy schedule day after day.

But it could be worse because at least I am healthy enough to keep it up. I remember all too clearly a period of four and a half years where I was too sick to leave my house for anything that was not absolutely required to take care of my child and pay my bills. I'll take this crazy schedule with arms wide open any day!

Now for my typical running recap: Good run, and very enjoyable. It took me awhile to gather my speed and my warm-up walk was soooooo slow, but then it looks like I had one of my best times at the mile mark, and another very good one at the two mile mark. So my running pace improved even though I thought I was having a leisurely run because my heart rate was not as high as usual and my perceived exertion was not too high.

Thank you, beautiful child, for kicking your mommy's behind to the gym tonight... I needed it!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Think I Can't, I Think I Can

Today was my W5D3 run on OHR, and I ran for 38 minutes. Total workout with warm-up and cool-down was 48 minutes, and per my HRM I burned 699 calories during my workout.

It was a hard one for me. My heart rate was quite a bit higher than usual, and was even in the 180s for about 1/3 of the run. My pace turned out to be a good one, though, so that may be part of the reason for the increased heart rate.

I also ran into some Jedi mind trick stuff, though, and not necessarily in positive way at first. Just 10 minutes into the 38 minute run, I started having these "can't do it today" thoughts. I was looking at the time on my watch far too much, and it seemed to be crawling by so slowly.

Now 38 minutes isn't that much more than the 30 minutes that I have been running for almost six weeks now, but for some reason it seemed like hours longer today. My perceived exertion was much greater than usual today, but I found that the third mile in my run was actually at a faster pace than my second mile... so I did get a "second wind" in there.

When I finished the run, I felt great! It was one of those runner's high days post run, and I was proud that I ignored my mental banter and just did what I set out to do. It was a good run. :-)

Friday, September 26, 2008

What Have I Done???

I received an email at work about the formation of our annual company team for the Hustle Up the Hancock event in Chicago. It consists of a 94-floor stair climb in a landmark Chicago building, and is sponsored by the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

And I joined the team! OMGoodness! 94 floors of stairs! Craziness!

I now have about 5 months to prepare for the event, and I hope to lose a lot of my weight before that so that I have less to hustle up the stairs. Actually, I think it is a good thing for me to sign up for because I think it will be a different type of physical challenge for me, and I will get to know some of my fellow co-workers a bit better in the process. It will also keep me more focused on my running and weight loss through the holiday season because it will come upon me very shortly after them.

So Hancock, here I come! I am gonna conquer those stairs!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If My Nike+ Doesn't Log My Run...

does it still count?!?

AHHHHHH... I forgot the receiver device that plugs into my iPod for my Nike+, and I didn't get credit! I am so upset about this because I was going to break the 100 mile mark with this run, and now I have to wait until Saturday.

You can laugh, but when I discovered this just as I started walking the track, I almost turned around and went home and rescheduled my run for tomorrow night! How crazy is that?! Then I realized that the real credit I need for each run is the credit from my body, and I took it as an opportunity to enjoy myself. Which I did. :-)

It's funny how things can get so mixed up. I love me some metrics and numbers and graphs and charts that show my progress. I am an excellent program follower because I like to check off my progress against a plan. But it seems as if I almost missed the mark on why I am really doing these runs. In all honesty, my disappointment only lasted for a minute or so and then I adjusted my attitude, laughed at my near miss at skipping my run, and just did it. Thanks, Nike!

After my run, I had to go to my daughter's new school and sign her up for Daisies. I had wanted to go home and change first, but my trip to and from the gym took a little longer than expected and I realized I would be late if I did so. So I went to her school with all of the other mothers in their sweat-free, non-workout clothing while I was in my gym clothes and doused in sweat. I figure that those who judged me would be the jealous ones because those who worked out would understand. Time is limited when you are a single parent with a full-time job, and that is that.

So now I am watching the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy, trying to figure out what to have for dinner, and feeling happy that I didn't skip my run for a silly gadget. You are right, Delane... this is one run that I will not regret because I DID IT.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Down in the Depths

One thing that drives me CRAZY is when people do not respect the lane designations on a crowded track. There is a reason that there are Walk, Jog, and Run lanes, and I swear that I am going to get a cattle prod and police the track soon if these jocks (read: jerks) don't start following the rules and stop interfering with my run enjoyment. Get the eff out of my personal space!

Can you tell that I had a crappy day??? Can you say BITCH?

Okay, so my run went pretty well. This was W5D1 (oh my gosh, I am almost half way done with the One Hour Runner program!!!), and so it was my typical 30 minute run. Thursday's run will be 32 minutes, and then on Saturday I will run for 38 minutes. It's definitely a doable schedule this week.

My eating has been erratic this week. We have vendors visiting from overseas at work, and thus I have been eating some high calorie food that I have typically been avoiding for a couple of months. I am also feeling wildly bloated, and do not want to go anywhere NEAR the scale for fear of tumbling into a massively depressed state when I see the reading on it.

And, on that note, I am now going to watch The Biggest Loser on my DVR and get some motivation for the rest of the week! Onward and downward!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Intention

My car is acting up. It overheated on August 11th as I was bringing my daughter home from the hospital after surgery. My brother came to my rescue with engine coolant, and it has been pretty much fine since then. Until it overheated again earlier this week, and only went back to normal when I turned the air conditioning off. No problem. But then on Friday night as I was taking my child home from school, it overheated for no reason (air off, had only been running for about 5 minutes, not unusually hot outside, and I was driving at low speeds). I stopped at the store immediately and bought some coolant, filled up the tank, and thought the problem would go away. No luck... I was overheating again by the time I pulled into my garage 10 minutes later.

So, I felt trapped this morning. Afraid to drive my car because of the issue, but unable to afford the repair (which is a leak in my water pump, diagnosed two weeks ago at the car dealership). And when I felt trapped, I felt depressed. And the house is messy and that depressed me even more. Add to that no healthy food in the house because I need to do my grocery shopping this weekend, and a bad situation was brewing.

I started eating junk. Craving DD's frosted strawberry pop tarts. I was sitting around thinking about food, and not anything calorie-friendly. I was supposed to go to the gym to do W4D3 of OHR, but I was crabby and feeling trapped and having gastro-intestinal issues from all of the junk that I ate today. I saw a binge staring me in the face as I visited my cabinets and fridge over and over again just looking for trouble.

So I decided to get my workout clothes on, get in the car, and roll the dice with overheating. I figured that I could pull over and let it cool off midway there if need be because the gym is only about 2 miles away. And off we went.

The car made it there without overheating, so one good thing happened for the day! Then I hit the track, and did I ever feel ungainly. My right knee was hurting something fierce, and my left calf was very sore with each stride (why????). I could not get into a good rhythm, and felt like my pace must have been as slow as molasses by all of the people lapping me. Add to that the fact that this was my first 35 minute run after 4+ weeks of 30 minute runs, and things were not looking good for the run.

About 15 minutes into my 35 minute run, I was really doubting that I could finish all 35 minutes. I was even questioning 30 minutes, and was feeling bad thinking that this would be my first run since starting 12 weeks ago that I did not finish as planned. Then I remembered something that I have been hearing in the Inside Out Weight Loss podcasts that I have been listening to on the way home from work each day: Set Your Intention. So I set my intention for the rest of the run, that I would enjoy the rest of the run any way that it turned out.

And then I finished the full 35 minutes! Not every minute was enjoyable, but I came away with a sense of accomplishment and a pleasant memory of the run. And the biggest surprise of them all was that my pace was the best it has been in a couple of weeks! I deem this run a success. :-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taking It to the Next Level

I believe that my running will continue to improve as I continue to lose weight. And I am certain that it will be easier on my body to run at a lighter weight. That being said, I have lost about 20 pounds in the last three months which I attribute both to beginning a running program and tracking my calories on The Daily Plate. But I have been tossing around the idea of trying to speed up the loss a bit by trying a slow carb diet like the one discussed here.

Now I do not believe that I will really lose at the rate discussed in the title, but I think that it will speed up my losses because I find that I am eating so very many sweetened foods on a regular basis. Lower calorie, yes, but not necessarily healthy.

When I first started tossing around the idea last month, I told myself that I would begin the program after my first 5K on 9/27 (which has subsequently been canceled). Now I am trying to figure out if I can really do it with my lifestyle and eating patterns (and reliance on convenience foods LOL).

If I decide to give it a shot, I will treat it as an experiment and document my experience and progress here. I'm going to try to make a plan this weekend, and I'll make a decision by Monday. No more sitting on the fence!

As for my run, it was fine. W4D2 of OHR, so my next run takes me to 35 minutes after all of these 30 minute runs. I am looking forward to the progression again. One interesting note is that, sometime during my next three runs, I will surpass 100 miles logged with my Nike+ since I started using it on 7/7. That is pretty amazing to me, going from NOTHING to that milestone. I just love seeing the numbers pile up!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pleasant Run

It really was a pleasant run! I finished the W4D1 run of OHR this evening, and I enjoyed it. I ran a little slower than usual, and my mind wandered the whole time about a handsome man at my office... and I basically had a 30 minute daydream. I had a smile on my face for most of the run (of course, it was an open-mouthed smile since I was breathing through it at the time). Can't beat that!

While I run I always tell myself to run my own run and not pay attention to the folks on the track who are lapping me, but that is so hard for me to do. Today there was another woman who came on the track when I was about 25 minutes into my 30 minute run, and she lapped me pretty quickly. Now, she looked quite a bit younger and lighter than I, but was by no means in monster fit shape, so when she lapped me again for the second time in five minutes I started to feel a bit pissy.

Then it was time for my cool-down walk, and as I rounded the corner I saw that she was no longer running but was now walking. I tried not to feel a bit relieved because I thought to myself "Sure, I could run that fast for five minutes, but could she run even at my slow rate for thirty?" I know that I should focus on myself and my progress, but sometimes it is nice to know that there are even fit people who might not be able to run for 30 minutes straight.

At least I have gained endurance, even if speed continues to evade me!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On To Week Four, and Not a Minute Too Soon!

I just finished the last Week 3 run of OHR, and I am ready for Week 4! I am actually looking forward to the challenge of increasing my time since I just finished 4 weeks of 30 minute (30 minute, 30 minute, always 30 minute) runs. I even ran 31 minutes today just to mix it up a bit!

That's ironic, actually, because just a couple of months ago (less, actually) I found it hard to believe that I would even be able to run for 30 minutes. It seemed like a dream. And now I am feeling stagnant at it and hoping to move closer to my 60 minute goal. It just goes to show that goals are good things and they can help us reach further than we think is possible. Had you told me three months ago that I would be seven weeks away from running for an hour straight, I would have laughed at you. Yet now that is my reality, and I am even thinking about training for a half marathon next fall! And then... who knows where I will go (or, should I say, how far I will go)?

I'm all signed up for the Trick or Treat Trot 5K on 10/26, but I am a little nervous about it because I have not run in a race for 10 years! Is it okay to wear my iPod? Will I be the slowest one there? Will I finish? All of the fears coming back, but hopefully it will be great and I will be inspired to run more. The good news is that my friend, Delane, and my sister-in-law, Aimee, will also be running it, so I do not have to face this first one alone. :-)

That's all for now. It was a good run, and I am proud that I braved the rain to make it to the gym despite two detours along the way due to road closures for water on the road. I just need to keep my focus, even during the times when I am not all there. And a shout out to Carl, who helped me remember that today. :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

What is Happening with Me?

Today I completed W3D2 of OHR. I don't feel like I have been running for over 10 weeks anymore. It's almost like I lost my focus and enthusiasm, and I am now finding it difficult to get myself out for a run.

I have been resting two days between my runs lately because my schedule has been crazy with my daughter starting school. Maybe I need to run every other day as much as possible in order to keep it alive in my mind. I just don't know... I am grasping at straws, really.

All I can do is keep myself on plan and hope this funk passes quickly because I really liked being excited about running. It gave me something positive to focus on, and I felt like I was achieving something and improving myself with every run.

The run itself wasn't bad... it was a mellow run and I did enjoy it. But my knees hurt and my muscles ached, and for no real reason.

All I can do is keep running and move past this, just like I move past the aches and pains that I feel at the beginning of my runs. Keep running running, keep running running, keep running running... just like the Black Eyed Peas sing to me about 15 minutes into each of my runs. ;-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bloody Run

No... I'm not getting all British on you... it literally was a bloody run. I noticed the pain about 20 minutes into the run and had a pretty good idea that one of my toenails was cutting into the toe next to it. And it just kept getting worse, but I ran through it. When I got home and took my shoe off, there was the evidence bleeding all the way through my thick running sock. Ouch.



I did W3D1 of OHR tonight. Tonight's run was not a great one. Not even a good one. It was just one of the runs that you finish and put behind you, chalking it up to a bad day. Frankly, I felt like I had never even started running for the past two days, like it was a totally foreign concept, and I was kind of afraid to go do my run tonight because it seemed surreal to think that I was going to run for 30 minutes. I don't know what was up with that, but it is like I totally disassociated myself from running in the span of two days since my last run.

But I hit the track and did my best... and now I really am going to put it behind me and look forward to better days. This wasn't one of them. Enough said.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Let's Get It Started

This was the workout that almost wasn't! I really had to twist my own arm to get to the gym for my run after sitting in the car dealership for 2 1/2 hours this morning and developing the beginnings of a migraine. But I went and got it done. Neither my best nor my worst run, but at least I finished it.

Next week is Week 3 of OHR, and the last week of all 30 minute runs. I certainly am seeing aerobic improvements in the early parts of my run, and my overall heart rate is down about 10 BPM from where it was at the end of the C25K program.

Here's to more inspiring runs for a more inspired runner in the future. And now I am going to enjoy my ice cream (okay, I admit it... I bribed myself with food in order to get off my lazy ass and run today... so what?!?). ;-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Goes to Show You Never Can Tell

I did not want to run today. TOM showed up 4 days early this morning (what is up with THAT?!?), and I felt like Hades. I was trying to think of some way to give myself an out that wouldn't make me feel like a loser. I was trying to figure out a way to do my run tomorrow (no way... it's Parents' Night at DD's school) or Friday after work (again, no go because it is DD's back to school dinner picnic). So I came home, threw on my workout clothes, and hit the track.

Lo and behold, I had one of my best runs yet! Granted, my pace was a little slower than my past few workouts, but my heart rate was also about 10 BPM slower than usual and I felt so much more comfortable with the run. I felt like I could have gone for far more than 30 minutes! And I actually felt more energetic afterwards than when I started running. Who would have thought???

So, W2D2 of OHR is done, and I plan to do W2D3 on Saturday. The lesson for today is: Do, Even When You Do Not Feel Like Doing. I'm glad I didn't miss this run because it gave me hope that I can keep going and that I will become a one hour runner in the future.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The DOR Exists for a Reason!

Yesterday I did some speed work on my DOR, and today I paid the price. My knee was SCREAMING as soon as I started today's run, and it is still kind of achy even after a couple of hours.

Lesson learned... Respect the Day of Rest. My next run isn't until Thursday, so I am going to do only low impact things until then as my in-between workouts.

On a sad note, my first 5K (the PR Charity Classic scheduled for 9/27) was canceled this afternoon. It appears that the race route is part of a road construction area, and the city will not commit to having it done in time for the race. Oddly enough, I was really looking forward to it and didn't realize how much until I got the bad news email today.

So, my first race will be the Trick or Treat Trot 5K on 10/26. I should be nearing the end of the One Hour Runner program by that time, so hopefully my performance will be even better than it would be at the end of this month.

As I mentioned, W2D2 of OHR is scheduled for Thursday... but now that I think about it I will not be able to do it that night because of Parents' Night at my daughter's school. Shoot. So I am going to have to run on Wednesday and lose one of those rest days. But I am glad that I realized this now so that I did not totally blow my training for this week!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Speed

Today was a DOR (day of rest) for me, but I decided to go to the gym and do a little speed work. Of course, I use the term "speed" very loosely, LOL, since my pace is very conservative!

I only did about a mile, but was it tough! I chose a few posts around the track and ran all out between them... less than a quarter of a lap each time, but it was enough to get me sucking wind and panting for dear life. I did this four times, and then my knee started yelling at me so I left the track and used the elliptical machine for 20 minutes to finish off my workout.

I do my runs on an indoor track (a little less than 5 laps per mile, so it is nice sized). I have thought about getting a treadmill for home, but that 20 minutes on the elliptical made me rethink that because I was bored. I tried music... bored... then I tried a podcast... bored... tried watching TV... bored... you get the picture. Granted, running around a track is also very repetitive, but I have different things to look at and feel like I am going somewhere instead of staying in the same place all the time.

Last time I ran on a regular basis, back in 1998, I usually ran on a treadmill and loved it. When I started running this time I decided to run on an indoor track because 1) I was training for a race and knew that I had to get used to hitting the pavement so to speak and 2) I knew that I would not do well in this hot Chicago summer weather running outside. I am glad that I made the decision because I feel like the transition to running on the road will be easier than it was when I used to run on a treadmill. And once the fall weather hits, I plan to start running outside on the weekends.

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I am looking forward to enjoying it in a whole new way this year as I run through the turning trees and watch the seasons change.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

OHR Week 1 Done

I finished W1D3 of One Hour Runner this morning... the first week of the program went quickly! I am still waiting for the time when a 30 minute run isn't going to feel so tough, though, because by the time I am 20 minutes into the run I am motivating myself with the "just 9 1/2 more minutes... only 8 more minutes... less than 7 minutes" countdown. I still have two more weeks of 30 minute runs, so hopefully the breakthrough will come soon.

That, of course, is the plan for next week: W2D1 30 minute run on Monday, W2D2 30 minute run on Thursday, W2D3 30 minute run on Saturday, and some type of alternate activity on Sunday. After I finish this program, I am going to try to add another day of running to my week so that I have four runs per week. I don't think I am ready for this yet because my right knee is still very crunchy, which I hope will improve as I continue to lose weight.

I also want to start running outside when the weather cools down to low 70s or high 60s. I am still pretty shy about letting people see me run with all of this bulk, but it is time to get over that because at least I AM out there doing it. I am going to see if the high school lets the public use the outdoor track on days that school is closed or after hours and try to start there.

My weight loss has been pretty non-existent lately. I had been up three pounds last week, and I know that I was staying within my calories and exercising as planned so it doesn't make any sense. The scale finally moved down 2 of those 3 pounds this morning, but I can feel TOM on the way (due next weekend) and that is never a scale victory time for me. I am just going to keep plugging away and believe that the scale has to start moving downward soon. But at least my clothes are fitting better, and my energy level is up, so there are some victories there.

And on a final note... FOUR MORE WEEKS TO MY FIRST RACE IN 10 YEARS!!! PR Charity Classic 5K on 9/27 at 8:00 a.m. Woo-hoo!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Late in the Evening

Today was my W1D2 run of the OHR program. I had a late run tonight because I didn't hit the track until about 7:15 p.m. I thought I would feel like a slug since I had not eaten since my snack at 3:30 p.m, but I ended up having quite a bit of energy! My time was not quite as good as on Tuesday afternoon, but I tried some new techniques from ChiRunning so it felt like less effort.

And while we are talking pace, I must point out that I appear to have misrepresented my pace in my last post (sorry, Delane!). When I said that I finally broke three miles, it was not just for the 30 minutes of running time but instead also included the 10 minutes of warm-up/cool-down walking that I do surrounding my run! So yes, I am very slow, but I am getting faster!

I finally ate dinner at 8:45 p.m., and now I am ready to hit the sack. My whole lower body is achy from the new running techniques (lean, focusing on kicking my legs back, swinging my arms without crossing in front) and from the Biggest Loser CardioMax workout that I did last night on my day of rest. Thanks for kicking my butt, Bob!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Groundhog Day

Today was my first run on the One Hour Runner program... and it felt just like my last one of C25K because it was (tada) 30 minutes! It's like I'm living the same week over again!

Actually, it was a much better run than any of my previous 30 minutes runs. I broke the 3 mile mark, and had a blended time that was about 2 minutes per mile better than my Nike+ "average" pace.

I am reading a book called ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer in hopes of improving my form and also my general running experience. The good news is that I am enjoying the running... or at least the idea of running and the feeling I have once I am done with a run. I find myself reading about it, talking about it, and (obviously) writing about it and that keeps me going. I look forward to feeling what running feels like when I drop this weight because right now I feel like I am towing a bus along for the ride sometimes.

So, my next run is planned for Thursday evening. It was nice to be able to do a run today in the very early afternoon since I had a day off from work, but now I am back to real life where I have to do my weekday runs at night after a full day of work and commuting. Maybe that's why my pace was better today... hmmm.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Couch to 5K Program --- COMPLETED!!!!

I just completed my last run of the Couch to 5K program... YIPPEE!!!!!! I am very proud that I committed to it and stuck to my commitment. Having not run for 10 years, and being about 50 pounds heavier than I was when I last started running, it has been a challenge for me.

But I did it and now I am on to the One Hour Runner program, and I can't wait to celebrate when I finish THAT one, too! Here's the plan:

Weeks 1 - 3: Run 30 minutes 3 days a week.
Weekly total: 90 minutes

Week 4: Run 30 minutes, 29 minutes, 35 minutes.
Weekly total: 94 minutes

Week 5: Run 30 minutes, 32 minutes, 38 minutes.
Weekly total: 100 minutes

Week 6: Run 30 minutes, 33 minutes, 41 minutes.
Weekly total: 104 minutes

Week 7: Run 30 minutes, 34 minutes, 45 minutes.
Weekly total: 109 minutes

Week 8: Run 30 minutes, 36 minutes , 49 minutes.
Weekly total: 115 minutes

Week 9: Run 30 minutes, 38 minutes, 54 minutes.
Weekly total: 122 minutes

Week 10: Run 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 60 minutes.
Weekly total: 130 minutes


I am going to need those first few weeks of 30 minute runs because my body still needs more time to adjust to them. Even at my slow pace, my heart rate bumps into the 180s by the end of my run, and that is pretty high. Hopefully I will gain better endurance and some speed during the first three weeks, and this should take me pretty close to my first 5K race on 9/27. I would love to finish that in 36 minutes or less, but will be happy with a finish under 40 minutes since it is my first race in over ten years.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Testing...Testing... 1... 2... 3

I'm starting this blog to document the changes in my life that I am making to improve my health and my body... and hopefully my life in general in the process. I intend to use this space as another tool for me to see progress even when other metrics seem stuck.

I am currently in Week 9 of a Couch to 5K program, and after I finish the last two 30 minute runs I plan to start the One Hour Runner program to keep improving my running duration. I am not focusing on distance right now as I need to continue to increase my endurance to a point where my heart rate during runs doesn't keep flying above 180 BPM.

My first race (since 1998!) is a 5K on September 27th, so hopefully I will be able to complete it in a decent time. At least I am confident that, barring any unforeseen injuries, I will complete it.

If you look over to the right, you can see the Nike+ challenge I am in for the summer. It started on 7/6/08, one day after I completed my first session of Couch to 5K, and so far I am doing pretty well! The woman in the lead is currently training for a half marathon in October, so I am not in competition with her on any real level because I am just eight weeks into my first time running in ten years!

I am also tracking my weight and BMI changes at the bottom of the page. I have a long way to go, but slow and steady wins the race.

I look forward to documenting the "weigh" down and hopefully the improvements in other parts of my life as well.