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! ;-)