Friday, December 31, 2010

Counting Down the Hours

I will not be sad to see 2010 end and 2011 begin. I am one of those people who chose to regard a new year as a time to begin anew and make positive changes in my life. Not that there is magic in a new year, but that it allows me to focus my mind on a fresh start... and we all know that our minds really can determine our success or failure, or at the least how we view our lives.

The important thing, though, is not just to want to make positive changes in the new year but to actually do the work required to actualize those changes. To enter every day with the goal of making it the best that it can be. I have settled for less than I deserve this year, both from myself and from others, but this is not something that I want to continue to do. I am worth more. I will treat myself as a priority, and consciously move away from those who do not treat me properly. Conversely, I will focus on treating those who are important to me with love and respect and attentiveness.

2010 has ended on a negative note for me due to interpersonal issues, but there were many wonderful times during this past year, too. I am going to choose to hold those happy times close in my mind and heart, and let the negative ones go with the wind.

Some 2010 memorable moments for me were:
  • Training for and running my first half marathon in May
  • Luau Party with friends in IN in July/August
  • Renegade Craft Fair with friends in September
  • MI/IN trip with my mom and some friends in October
  • Vegas Trip in October
  • Trick or Treat Trot 10K weekend with friends in October
  • Disneyworld with my daughter and mother in December
Some of my other wonderful times in 2010 have been rendered painful now based on recent events, but I did experience some beautiful and romantic nights out this past year, too. Hopefully I will be able to think of them without regret sometime in the future because they certainly were important to me in 2010.

That being said, tomorrow I am embarking upon my 2011 plan to simplify my life. My daughter is with her father this weekend, and I plan to use this free time to begin the work of decluttering my house. I will also create a meal plan for this week and do our grocery shopping, wash our clothes, put away the Christmas decorations, and go to the gym for runs.

A Very Happy New Year to all of you!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Simple

Not the first word that comes to mind when describing my life. Not in the top 10... or even the top 100. But it is the root of my focus for 2011.

Simple.
Simplicity.
Simplify.

Instead of making resolutions last year, I chose a word to use as a theme of sorts for my year.

The word for 2010 was:

FOCUS


- The concentration of attention or energy on something
- Maximum clarity or distinctness of an image rendered by an optical system
- Concentrate: direct one's attention on something
- Cause to converge on or toward a central point

I will focus on achieving my weight loss and fitness goals while also focusing on the wonderful life that I have, paying more attention to the here and now with my family and friends. I will not wish away my time because I want to look different, but will instead focus on enjoying what I have and what I can do now. I will live my life with more awareness and appreciation.


I received this quote in my Inbox this week from The Happiness Project daily email:

"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

Henry David Thoreau

It made me think about all of the things that take my time away from living the life that I have the way that I would like to live it, and thus the word that I am choosing for 2011 is:

SIMPLIFY


- To make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier

I will focus on simplifying my life. I will eliminate the things that I no longer love or use so that I can spend less time taking care of items and more time enjoying experiences. I will create maintainable routines that work for me and focus of making my life less complex. I will focus on what is in the now instead of complicating my life with the regrets of the past or the worries of the future.

Lofty goals, but I am aiming high.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Dress

The photos are not particularly flattering, but here I am in my dress for the company holiday party last night.






Too little food + co-worker who admitted that the bartender was putting three shots in each of my drinks = a rough morning. :(

Friday, December 17, 2010

Post-Disney Weekly Weigh-In

Down 1.7 pounds, to 175.2! BMI 25.1. One more pound and I am "NORMAL" (hahahaha, right).

Less than 8 weeks until surgery.

Company holiday party tonight in a new dress. Hopefully I will have some photos to post this weekend so that everyone can see it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How Long Does It Take?

I have been running (and I use the term loosely because it includes my Couch to 5 K days) for about 2 1/2 years now. I can safely say that I did not enjoy a single run my first year. I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment, the idea of it once it was over, and maybe even the spent feeling when I was done, but I did not enjoy the run while it was in progress.

The second year brought some enjoyable runs because I felt confident enough to run outside when the weather permitted. I enjoyed the whole experience of my outdoor runs... the sun, the weather, the trees and scenery, the music, and feeling like I was part of something. I also trained for and completed a half marathon, and I felt proud. I even called myself a runner to others.

This weekend I ran about 3 1/2 miles both Saturday and Sunday. Regular old runs on the track at my gym, same old music that I have been listening to for weeks. But the thing is that I enjoyed THE RUN ITSELF. I pushed myself, I got lost in my movement, and I felt good WHILE running. It was a different experience for me. I looked forward to getting on the track, felt happy while I was running, and felt peaceful afterward. Did it take me 2 1/2 years to enjoy the run itself? Or do we just move through different levels of enjoyment the longer that we run?

I don't know the answer, but I do know that I hope it continues to feel like this!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

And I'm Back

Back to reality after an amazing vacation with my daughter. I also got to spend some quality time with my mom, but she came down with such a nasty cold that it was a miserable trip for her.

In terms of enjoyment and those goals, it was a win! I cannot say that I didn't think about the situation (especially since he texted me while I was there), but I refocused as quickly as possible on enjoying my time away. I'll deal with it now that I am back.

As for my food-related goals, yeah, not so much. I ate like a monster. Luckily I also walked around like a crazy woman, and actually spent a great deal of time racing short distances with my 8 year old to burn off extra energy.

Intentional exercise? Nope. After being in a park from 8:45 am until 7:30 pm and navigating Disney transportation for another hour, it just didn't happen. But I walked my little heart out each and every day!

Now that we are home, I am heading to the gym for a run now and am back on WW Points Plus hard core. I have a sexy new dress to wear at my company holiday party this Friday, and I plan on feeling pretty in it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Not Ready!!!

Vacation time is upon me. It is almost 10:00 pm. The cab will be here at 6:00 am. I have not packed yet. Thus, it is time to get off my ass and get some packing done before I head off to the happiest place in the world.

But, before I do, I want to put some things out there so that I remember what I WANT and what I DO NOT WANT to do on this vacation.

I WANT:

  • To enjoy some focused time with my daughter and my mother. Life is short.
  • To disentangle myself from all of this failed relationship crap and get back to the business of living a happy life.
  • To focus on healthier food choices and increased activity so that I maintain or lose weight while away.

I DO NOT WANT:

  • To waste my vacation dwelling on negative thoughts.
  • To be crabby when I have the opportunity to have fun.
  • To be distracted from what is right in front of me.
  • To use vacation as an excuse to eat like a crazy woman.

I weighed in at 176 this morning. A new low after my "official" Friday weigh-in of 176.9. I want to make sure that I come back next weekend equal to or lower than where I am now. Shallow, yes, but I am on a roll and I want to keep it going. Thus I have checked out the fitness room at the hotel, have prepared my running shoes and workout clothes, and have made a commitment to include some form of intentional exercise every day, no matter how little. I want to come back from this vacation feeling happy, feeling like it was time well spent and time that added to the joy in my life... not feeling like a setback occurred in that area.

Tomorrow will be 9 weeks until my surgery, and I want to make sure that I am in the best possible physical and mental place that I can be when that time comes. At this point I cannot afford to waste a week... so I won't. I will enjoy this week in a healthy manner, and come back a happier person in so many ways.

Friday, December 3, 2010

First Points Plus Weekly Weigh In

Okay, I have only been on it since Monday, but I am LOVING the new Points Plus Plan. Bravo, WW!!!!

And this week's weigh in had me down 4.8 pounds! So even though I was up 1.2 last week, I am still down 3.6 in general and in VFT (virgin fat territory). I have not seen this weight for 12 years!

I am now 0.4 BMI points from being "NORMAL". So I am going to focus on eating well during my vacation next week to the happiest place on earth. And, let me tell you, I could USE some happiness after the horrible emotional week that I have had. You know it is bad when you actually ask yourself if some of the weight loss this week could honestly be due to dehydration from crying so much.

Either way, I am inspired to continue losing and get as close to goal as possible by my surgery date, so I am going to run tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday because it is unlikely that I will run until I get home next weekend.

And on that note, I am off to change for the gym!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brief Updates

1) November Mileage Total: 44.3 miles!!! Best month since April. Oh yeah.

2) Surgery officially scheduled for 2/8. 10 weeks from today. On the march to goal.

3) Relationship over, as of yesterday. Very painful. So many tears. Waiting for life to go on.

4) Less than 10 days until I turn 41. How did THAT happen????

Monday, November 29, 2010

Both Sad & Happy

I just checked my mileage stats for the month of November: 41.1 miles. WOW!!! Happy.

The sad part is that it is EXACTLY equal to the sum total of my mileage in June, July, August, September, and October: 41.1 miles. YIKES!!! Sad.

But back to Happy: I still have one more day left in November and I am planning to run tomorrow, so it looks like my mileage for this single month will BEAT my combined mileage for the previous five months. And that's a BIG HAPPY. :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Photos

I must confess that I wear jeans to work EVERY day. That is one of the biggest reasons why I love working in Engineering! I never dress up unless I have to, like dinner out with vendors or the company holiday party. Even when I go out with friends, it is always jeans and a casual shirt.

But last weekend I indulged in a bit of retail therapy and bought three skirts. I wore one to work on Monday because we had vendors in town for an all-day meeting and were then going out for dinner at a nice restaurant. Seriously, I could not believe the response. So many compliments.

So I decided to wear my new outfit on Thanksgiving, and one of the other guests captured me in photos. This is the first short skirt (short for me) that I have worn in about 15 years! Not too bad... might do it more often since I had my butt grabbed four times during the course of the evening!




Post-Thanksgiving Weigh-In

+1.2 pounds

And it is not at all unexpected. I overate (and over-drank) last weekend while out with a friend, went out for a huge dinner with vendors from Taiwan on Monday night, ate my share of baked goods from the man in our department who really knows how to cook... and then there was Thanksgiving Day. I will say no more about that food fest. Yikes! So a 1.2 pound gain is not only expected, but certainly managable.

Since the Turkey Trot 5K on Thursday morning, I have run at least the equivalent of a 5K each day of this long weekend. I have also been tracking my points closely, so I am back on track. I am looking forward to seeing the changes that Weight Watchers in rolling out tomorrow, and like the sound of zero point fruits and (many) veggies! I am ready to shake it up a bit.

Still dealing with my emotional issues, but at least I have a better attitude about ending the situation. It is the right thing to do, even though it hurts like crazy right now. And I am leaving for vacation with my daughter in a handful of days so I want my mind to be fully present there and not wondering about next steps with a man.

After Disney, it is time for me to focus on getting as close to goal as possible before surgery. It was initially scheduled for 2/11, but the surgeon is unavailable that day so I will have it between 1/30 and 2/10. I just want it to be OVER so that I can heal and move on with my life.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Trot 5K - 2010

This morning I ran my third Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot 5K. It was the race that almost wasn't.

I decided to bail on it last night when I read the weather forecast. Too cold, maybe rain and maybe snow. And I had just finished a crappy week and was deep into a bottle of wine. I promised myself that I would go to the gym and run an equivalent distance, but not outside at the race proper.

When I went over to my mom's this morning before the gym... it wasn't too bad outside. And I realized that I had no excuse to skip the race. So I pinned on my bib and went. I am so glad that I did that.

I actually ran a PR. 34:28, which was just about 1 1/2 minutes faster than last year, and 45 seconds faster than my previous PR. And frankly I could have trimmed at least 30 seconds off my time had the walkers actually went to the BACK of the pack like they were instructed to do. I actually spent quite some time weaving through people and children and dogs and strollers, and had to resort to running on the sidewalks several times.

Regardless, I pushed myself and it was a great run. My first mile was 10:15. At mile 2, I was averaging 10:45 per mile. I slowed down a bit and finished with a mile time average just over 11:00 per mile. Cool!

And I was proud of myself for just doing it. And just doing it for ME, for no one else.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thought for the Day

Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?
- Caroline Myss

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sneak Peek

Even though my weigh-in day is not until Friday, I jumped on for a sneak peek today and saw a number in the 170s! Let's hope it sticks! The lowest that I have been in the last 12 years is 178.8, so the 170s is a weight decade that I look forward to moving (downward) through and out of... and into the 160s. It is one of those sticking point weight places for me, so I want to loosen the shackles and get past the 170s and to my goal!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happiness and Authenticity

CLICK HERE to watch the video that wins the prize for the best 20 minutes that I spent this weekend (besides playing games with my daughter, of course!).

She's funny... and her message rings true for me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weekly Weigh In Results

Down 0.9 pounds. That makes two weeks in a row, which is good news. I also fit in three runs this week (although calling the one-miler on my treadmill a real run is kind of a stretch). All in all a good week.

Ran 4.4 miles this morning. A sanity run to quiet the voices in my head. Planning another one tomorrow. I am trying to work back up to 5 mile runs as that is a good sweet spot for each of my three weekly runs.

Still struggling emotionally, on many levels, but I need to just exit the situation I have been in and move on. I'll chalk it up to a near miss. As #14 on a cute email that I received said "If you are in a relationship that has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it." Enough said.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And Then One Day You Realize

that losing weight does not fix everything that you think is wrong with your life. Sure, it makes so many things much, much better, but it does not alleviate self-doubt or loneliness. It does not fix all of the problems with your body, but sometimes points out new ones that no amount of weight loss or exercise can erase. And it certainly does not guarantee love or companionship or successful relationships.

I am aware of my hang-ups and insecurities, as much as anyone can be since I am sure I cannot see them all. Now the question is whether or not I am willing to try to overcome them, or if I am going to retreat and hide and eliminate the risk of being hurt or rejected. They were there, although maybe in a slightly different form, when I was heavy and they are here now with over 100 pounds gone. And now they are screaming at me because they did not disappear when the weight left like I hoped they would, like I prayed they would. Not that I *really* thought that they would all go away... but I guess I just had no idea how much I would let them hold me back.

Now I know how much I am letting them hold me back. I am watching myself enjoy things less because I am so disappointed with my body and so afraid to disappoint if seen for what I really am. I am running away, and I don't know how to fix that.

I still have a lot of work to do, and it really doesn't involve a number on the scale or a clothing size anymore. I don't even know where to start.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekly Weigh In

A near miracle, I tell you! Between the Vegas food and beverage extravaganza (Border Grill, Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, 'Wich Craft, Mesa Grill, Bouchon, and all of the drinking), Frontera Grill (complete with more margaritas than I care to count), and a phenomenal weekend with my friends that included Chicago-style pizza, Sweet Tomatoes, and a huge breakfast out, I am still down 1.4 pounds in the last two weeks!

I'll take it! I even went for a short run tonight to keep the mojo going. Life is good!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Find Your Way Back

Whew, have I been off track with my exercise lately. My running has slacked off since July, and I have not really seen my trainer for about a month. Besides the (very) occasional run and a ton of walking in Vegas, I have been pretty lazy about getting any intentional exercise.

But something has clicked again. Now that I am about three months out from surgery, I am motivated to lose the rest of the weight that I want to shed. Truth be told I am only about 5 pounds up from my lowest weight in the past 12 years, so that is good, but I would still like to lose about 23 pounds to get back to my post-college weight.

Thus, I have been counting points again since coming back from Vegas and, other than some planned indulgent meals last weekend, things have been pretty tame on the eating front.

I ran a 10K with my friend Donna last weekend and, even though I have not run more than 5 miles since my half marathon in May, it was excellent. I even went to the gym tonight and ran a couple of quick miles, averaging 10.5 minute miles which is awesome for me! I am feeling inspired again.

I am also feeling happy in my personal life. It has been so nice to go out and have some fun in a bit of a romantic way. Even though I don't know if it is right to call it dating, I certainly have enjoyed my evenings out with him. And hopefully we will be scheduling another one soon. He has made me realize that I do not want to continue to be alone, that being with a man again can indeed be so much fun despite all of my hang-ups and insecurities, and that there are some truly good men out there. No matter what happens and when, if it is over as soon as it started, I will not regret this experience. It has opened an emotional door for me and for that I am thankful.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's Been Awhile

How is it already the end of October?!?

Thanks so much for the email and posts checking in on me. I have been quiet. Many things have been happening in my life, but seeing as I am leaving for Vegas is 2 1/2 hours I need to keep things brief!

1) My running has tanked lately, as has much of the rest of my exercise plan. I hurt my ankle a few weeks back by falling down the stairs, and it is just not healing like it should. Time to see a doctor when I return. Also time to kick my exercise plan back into high gear and get back to basics.

2) I will be having surgery again in February. Massive hernia repair. Seeing as it will be my fifth abdominal surgery, it is more complicated than most. It also involves sewing my stomach muscles back together... not just mesh. Thus, I have asked to incorporate a tummy tuck into it since they are already opening me up. I want to be as close to goal as possible by the time I go in for that, so the countdown is on!

3) Intimacy. I have had some lately. First time in 5 years. It has opened many a floodgate, and I am floundering in all of these mixed feelings right now. This is the biggest reason that I have been quiet lately. Need to figure a lot of things out.

So, on that note, I am off to Vegas! Looking for a *little* trouble during this girls' weekend out... but just a little. ;-)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Night to Win Some Rocco

A reminder that it is the last night to enter to win an autographed copy of "Now Eat This" from Rocco Dispirito (who is yummy himself, IMHO) at Mel Gets Fit.

Head over there quickly!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Checking In

Thank you to a dear fellow blogger for checking in on me to see how the LiveFit Revolution plan was treating me!

I am currently completing Week 3 Day 2 of the plan. The first two weeks were wildly successful, almost so much that I hesitated to post!

Let me preface this by saying that this summer was NOT my best time for weight loss. In fact, it was the summer of self-abuse with food and alcohol. I was feeling more comfortable in my own skin than I had felt in so many years, and I let myself go hog wild for the latter part of the summer. I found myself up twenty pounds (collective GASP!) on the day that I officially weighed in to start the LiveFit Revolution plan. I know that some of it was bloat from an incredibly crazy weekend of eating and drinking, and also water weight because my TOM started the next day, but still. :-(

At the end of Week 1, I was down 13.8 pounds. Yes, thirteen point eight pounds. I followed the plan to a tee with my calories right at 1200 per day and all of the kettlebell workouts as presented. By Sunday of that week, the pants that I was wearing the previous Monday looked seriously baggy and dumpy.

At the end of Week 2, I was down another 6.1 pounds, for a total of 19.9 pounds gone in the first two weeks. Talk about fluff release! My clothes fit me so much better, and I just feel lighter and happier.

But far more tired. I am waking up at 5:00 am on the weekdays to get in my kettlebell workouts, and I seem to need much more sleep than usual. I know that 1200 is pretty low for a woman who is almost 6 feet tall, but this is just for the first 6 weeks in the "detox" Phase 1 portion of the plan.

I am also noticing changes in my body. My arms are getting tighter, and I have some nice biceps to squeeze now. :-) My thighs have shrunk, and my belly flaps are shrinking. These are all very good things!

I am not battling hunger too much, but unlike the others on the program am battling constipation (which, frankly is NEVER an issue for me since I do not have a large intestine). Hmmm. I am drinking upwards of 12 cups of water a day and also eating plenty of fiber, so what gives?!? I am going to start playing around with things a bit because this is an uncomfortable situation for me! All of the others on the plan are pooping all of the time because of the apple cider vinegar drinks, but not me!

So, tomorrow is my day of rest during the week for the kettlebell workout since I have training tomorrow night. Thursday I am back to the workouts, and they are getting progressively harder but I really like them. I will weigh in again on Monday morning, and will let you know how it goes!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Starting Monday

I'm gearing up for a fresh start on Monday. I need something to give me that spark again and finally get me to my goal.

Kettlebells in hand, shopping list ready to purchase on Sunday, and focus growing as the moments pass.... It's time for a revolution.

http://livefitrevolution.com/

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Eating Clean

My eating style has taken many forms during my life. I was a super picky child, smelling everything before I would decide if I would taste it, and unable to keep weight on my ever growing body. In 5th Grade I was a whopping 5'8" and 98 pounds.

All of that changed when I went to Junior High and met girlfriends who like to eat junk food and lots of it. I also stopped growing and maxed out at 5'10", and my hormones started to kick in with full-force bringing on the big boobs. Pizza, shakes, french fries, candy, Hostess snacks... and up went my weight.

High School brought more of the same eating as Junior High, but I also started adding a lot of extra calories via alcohol consumption. We certainly did drink. I remember being between 175 and 180 pounds for most of High School.

When I went to college, the eating continued with even more foodie friends and other things that contributed to almost constant munchies. The pounds started piling on. When I was 19, I decided to become a vegetarian... but certainly not a healthy one. I would call that the Junk Food Vegetarian period, with lots of cheese and bread and sugar.

A couple of years into my college time, I decided to become vegan. I was hard-core vegan for 2+ years, and would not even eat honey or have a roll when out at a restaurant for fear of an egg wash on top. My weight dropped to 155 pounds because I was also working out at the field house with some friends. I felt amazingly healthy during that time, but it came to an abrupt end when I graduated from college. I spent the three months directly after my graduation in Greece visiting with my family who lives there. Lots of good food and wine. Bye-Bye, Veganism!

When I came back, I found a job and worked crazy-long hours, eating almost all of my meals in the office. I also started going on pub crawls and to parties with new-found work friends, so my weight kept creeping back up.

When I was 27, I decided to get a grip on it. I started to jog, which I had never really done before. I also counted calories obsessively and went to the gym in my office building every day after work. I got back down to 165 and then I met my ex-husband. That was the last day that I worked out for 6 years.

I replaced my gym time with dinner out with him, started smoking (again... it was a bad habit that I left behind years before), enjoyed a lot more drinking and socializing, and ballooned up past 200 pounds. We married, I got sick with Ulcerative Colitis and started on massive doses of steroids, my daughter came into our life, and soon I was amazingly sick, on 90mg of Prednisone per day, and sitting in the hospital waiting to have my large intestine removed after a weigh-in that showed me a number with a "3" at the beginning.

The next year and a half brought me a 90 pound weight loss, a divorce, and a second surgery to create my j-pouch. After that, life felt good again! I celebrated by eating the foods that I was unable to tolerate when I was so sick, and my weight crept back up again. Also, for the first time in 15 years, I began to eat meat again (poultry and fish) on my surgeon's orders to counteract my severe protein deficiency during this time of healing and rebuilding. It was actually a very difficult transition for me because I *like* vegetarian foods better than meat-based ones!

Two years ago I decided to get serious about this for life by incorporating exercise and portion control into my life. I both counted calories online and followed the Weight Watchers plan during this time, switching plans as I got bored with one or hit a plateau. I am down about 80 pounds from that time, have been running for 2 years, and am now venturing back into some of my healthy eating habits, but with a twist. I have my trainer to thank for lighting the fire under my butt in the form of his food plan, which re-introduced me to the beauty of whole and clean foods. By clean I mean minimally processed food without chemicals and preservatives.

I just finished reading The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged, and am now making even more changes in my food intake based on it. I had read her first book several years ago and liked the concept, but never felt the pull to move away from my low point/low calorie convenience foods. I am also following the Dr. Oz principle that you pick a few meals and eat them over and over again for most of your meals. Right now I have three breakfasts from which I choose each day (although mostly it is the avocado toast). I choose between four snacks that I really love, and keep to a pretty standard lunch that I bring to work. I mix it up at dinner, but only every few days as I cook enough at one time to feed me for a few meals.

After reading her book, I am going to experiment with adding flax seed, chia seed, and bee pollen to my diet. I just tried a breakfast that she outlined in her book which includes rolled oats, fresh blueberries, and a tablespoon of each of the things I mentioned above (flax, chia, bee pollen), along with some scrambled egg whites on the side for protein.

This is my next area of experimentation, to see how eating clean affects my fat loss goals. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's A Beautiful Day!

By my 7:00 p.m. training appointment with Alex, it was just the right temperature to do an outside workout. Which means training with the TRX system! I tell you, I really like it. It is hard, and I feel like a loser sometimes, but I get a serious workout! I am still wobbly in the arms and jelly-like in my legs, and I can feel every muscle in my shoulders. And it is a good, spent feeling.

I need to get in a run. My last one was almost a week ago. I am going to try to get all of my work done around the house tonight so that I can go out for a 5:45 a.m. run in the morning before work. Slow and hopefully at least three miles, but steady and serious cardio.

I have been following the eating plan for 11 days now, and I am down about 10 pounds. I haven't even wanted to deviate. As a matter of fact, I am looking at a very off plan day tomorrow because 1) we are taking a co-worker out for lunch to celebrate her return to the office after a leave of absence and 2) I am having a super-duper sleep over with my friend's two girls, my own girl-child, and my friend Joann and her son where we will be eating pizza and drinking Dark & Stormys (well, the adults will be... just some milk or juice for the kids). And I am honestly not really looking forward to two meals off plan.

I am going to minimize lunch, and try to order as close to plan as possible based on where we go. Hopefully we will do Mexican because then I will have some veggies and beans with guacamole and salsa. And for dinner Joann is bringing salad, so I am going to focus on that and minimize the pizza (Holy Red Light Food, Batman!). Maximum of 2 drinks, too.

I really feel so much better eating on this plan. I have lost my sugar craving, don't miss the artificial sweeteners at all, and am satisfied with less food. I dont' feel so panicked and desperate when I get hungry. I don't feel the need to stuff myself with huge quantities of food. If that means starying away from sugar and artificial sweeteners and processed food, I'll do it. It is so nice not to have it always be my focus. I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch, vary my snack between 3 or 4 choices, and base my dinners around veggies of some sort and a small bit of protein. I even go to bed a bit hungry sometimes and don't absolutely hate it. It's a good place to be with my eating, a middle ground that I have rarely experienced. Very freeing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Personal Training Session - TAKE 2

I had my second session with Alex tonight, and much to my great relief we did not have it outside again. I just cannot fathom a workout in this 90 degree and insanely high humidity weather. I am a fair weather exerciser, and once it tops 79 I am all about the inside!

We did a lot of jumping and springing work, a bit of yoga, work on my hips and glutes, VERY modified push-ups, work on my wrists and hands and forearms... basically, we did very different things than the last session. I really enjoy how he mixes it up for me because I would get bored with the same old same old pretty quickly.

I don't think that I will be as sore as I was from the first session, but I can already feel the workout in many areas. Now that I have two sessions under my belt, I am looking forward to them more and feeling less fear! But I do want to get some more time with the TRX soon. That was something!

I am still doing well with the food plan, and have basically reverted to my vegetarian ways. I had chicken once last week, and that was my only meat. Besides milk or half and half in my coffee and the occasional yogurt, I have also been vegan. I feel like I am back in college when I was totally vegan for 2 1/2 years! Once the frozen chicken is gone, I am going back to a vegetarian life here at home. As a guest in other homes I will make concessions if need be, but I have been wanting to go back to my vegetarian ways for a long time now. Just don't tell my surgeon because he thinks my protein levels are too low with that kind of diet now that I am "large intestine"-less. We will see what my next blood test shows, and then I will go from there.

So all in all a good week. My running seriously lacked, mostly because I have traded two of my standard running nights for the personal training, and also because I was seriously too sore to run all weekend after my oh-so-short run on Friday morning. But my goal is to get in at least two decent runs a week in addition to the training.

Onward to Session 3 on Thursday, and hopefully even more new moves!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 1 Results

I started following my trainer's meal program a week ago, and I have experienced some very interesting changes.

First and foremost, I am down 8.6 pounds. Yep, not a typo. I must have been retaining some SERIOUS water!

The second best change that I have noticed is that I am satisfied with less food. And I am not as ravenous as usual when mealtime rolls around. Sometimes I do not feel full after I finish a meal or a snack, but I wait for awhile and the next thing I know it is time for my next meal! That is downright miraculous as I always refer to myself as "The Bottomless Pit".

Third, I just plain feel better. I have more energy, I feel lighter, and I feel like I am nourishing my body in a healthy manner. Although I think I need more protein, so I am going to discuss that with my trainer this week.

Fourth, both my grocery bill and stress over meal planning have dramatically decreased. I only buy what I need for the week now, and I plan my weekly meals ahead of time so it is never a challenge to figure out what to bring for lunch or what to make for dinner.

And finally, I have found the most scrumptious breakfast that I have had in oh-so-many years. Avocado Toast. I lightly toast 2 slices of Ezekiel 4:9 Bread, spread a teaspoon of honey mustard and 1/4 avocado on each slice, drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil across the both of them, layer them with fresh basil leaves and a thinly-sliced roma tomato, and top them with some freshly ground sea salt. Food of the gods, in my opinion. And I eat this every morning!

I am also drinking much more water now that I have cut out the artificial sweeteners. This also makes me happy, and my skin is feeling pretty happy, too!

I have my second training session tomorrow night (right as the last twinges of pain are leaving my body from the first one!), and I'll be back to report on it as soon as I can!

Friday, June 18, 2010

He Hurt Me!

That's been my response to the question "How did your first personal training session go yesterday?" Although it is a bit untrue, as he did not actually hurt me but instead made me hurt myself! I am sore sore sore and getting more sore by the minute. Advil, take it away!

As I pulled my van into the fitness studio, Alex was waiting for me in the parking lot. No sooner did I lock the van doors than he had me in the first move. He had a TRX system attached to the outside of the building, and we spent most of the first 40 minutes working with that. And let me tell you, it was HARD! I felt like a wimp, and was panting like a dog half of the time. The rest of the first 40 minutes was spent doing a workout using metal rails in the parking lot... jumps, push-ups, wall sits, knee lifts, lunges... oh my.

With shaky arms and legs, we went inside for the last 10 minutes and did some legwork. We never touched a weight (other than my own body weight), but I got a serious strength workout. I am hooked.

I will say that it was harder than I thought it would be. He timed my breaks and only allowed them between every two exercises. I even felt like crying at one point (sissy!) and had moments of the "I can't do this" feeling, which I promptly swallowed and kept hidden. But it gave me a real wake-up call to see how out of shape I am on the strength side. I can run for 3 hours straight, but I can not even do a single real push-up. How sad.

I will be meeting with Alex on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I really think that this is the push that I need to take my goals to the next level. I am also following the food plan that he recommended, and I love it. I even turned down bakery cake at work and popcorn at the movies tonight, and I really did not feel bad about it. You will find a typical day's menu below to see the kind of food that is on the plan, and it is whole and healthy food and not the protein-laden fare that I expected (thank goodness!).

In addition to radically changing my diet this week, I also cut out almost all artificial sweeteners... and once the Light & Fit yogurt is gone, I plan to cut it out altogether. I changed from Splenda to stevia in my coffee, and it has been just fine. I did have a crazy-tired detox day on Wednesday, and had to talk the child into going to bed with mommy at 8:00 p.m. I slept until 5:45 a.m., felt rested, and have been feeling better ever since.

I had a run planned for this morning, a five miler, but frankly my poor body could only handle 2 so I cut it WAY short. I felt like the walking wounded both from the workout (and sore muscles from) the night before and from the early morning workout time (5:45 a.m. instead of my typical 6:30 p.m.). Can you say BOINK???

I am really excited about working with Alex. I am in for 24 more sessions, which should take me right up to the weekend of my next half marathon on September 12th. Which brings me to my big concern, that I will not have enough time to properly train for the half. If it comes down to it and I have to make a choice, my choice is working with Alex. I am not giving up the ghost, but as a single mom who works full-time and commutes 2+ hours a day on top of that, I just do not see how I am going to be able to fit two training sessions and three runs in each week. But I am going to try.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Breakfast

Calories Protein Fat Carbohydrates
Bread - Ezekial 4:9 (1 slice), 2 serving 160 8 0 30
Average Roma Tomato, 1 serving 16 1 0 4
Avocados, California (Haas), 0.5 fruit without skin and seeds 144 2 13 7
Olive Oil, 1 1tsp 40 0 5 0
Basil, 4 leaves 1 0 0 0
Honey Mustard, 2 tsp 20 0 0 2
Milk, nonfat, 0.5 cup 43 4 0 6
Meal Totals 424 15 18 50

Lunch

Calories Protein Fat Carbohydrates
Bird Eye Steamfresh Broccoli Florets, 4 cup 120 4 0 16
Orange Pepper (bell pepper - 3-3/4" long, 3" dia), 186 gram(s) 50 2 0 12
Taboule Salad, 10 tbsp 150 5 5 15
Apples, fresh, 1 medium (2-3/4" dia) (approx 3 per lb) 81 0 0 21
Almond Butter, 1 tbsp 101 2 9 3
Meal Totals 503 14 15 67

Dinner

Calories Protein Fat Carbohydrates
Asparagus, fresh, 20 spear, small (5" long or less) 55 5 0 11
Olive Oil, 1 1tsp 40 0 5 0
mushroom, portabella cap - 1 cap-3 oz serv, 1 serving 20 3 0 4
Onions, raw, 0.5 small 13 0 0 3
Peppers, sweet, red, fresh, 0.5 medium (approx 2-3/4" long, 2-1/2" dia) 16 1 0 4
Grapes, 2 cup, seedless 120 2 2 57
Dates, 1 date 23 0 0 6
Tyson Grilled Chicken Breast Strips, 4 oz 133 25 2 4
Meal Totals 421 37 9 89

Snack

Calories Protein Fat Carbohydrates
Medjool dates, 2 date, pitted 133 1 0 36
Almonds, 24 almond 166 6 15 6
Dannon Light & Fit Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt, 6 oz., 1 serving 80 5 0 15
Strawberries, fresh, 1 cup, halves 46 1 1 11
Meal Totals 425 13 15 67
Daily Totals 1,772 79 57 273

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Making A Healthy Choice After a Stressful Morning

Last night I went out and had some fun with Delane and her friends in the city. We saw Sex & The City 2 and then went out to Martini Ranch for a few drinks. Having a fun evening always makes me wake up in a good mood the next morning (as long as a hangover is not involved!), so today started off on a good note.

Good things continued to happen as I heard from our board president that my roof repair had been authorized and would begin soon. No more leaking in my daughter's room... YIPPEE! And no more money out of my pocket to fix it.

Then it was off to the doctor for a follow up appointment. I needed to have my Vitamin D level rechecked after a 12 week course of high dose prescription supplementation. This is where the day took a turn for the worse. First of all, I *hate* being weighed at the doctor's office in the middle of the day, fully clothed, after a huge lunch and several cups of coffee. Yuck, but whatever.

Then the doctor was running very late, about two patients behind. So I waited. Until a knock came on the door to the exam room where I was waiting. It was the woman from the front desk at the office, asking me if I owned a silver minivan (which I do). Because someone had hit it in the parking lot.

Shit.

So I went out there to see the damage and trade information with the woman (another patient of my doctor). She asked that we not call the cops or handle it through insurance, and told me that it was her fault and that she would pay for the repair herself. My poor crushed bumper... but at least the van was still operable. I agreed to handle it that way because I had several witness from the office to whom she had admitted fault, so I felt protected if things went wrong.

I waited for an hour for the doctor, had my appointment, and then headed home. All I wanted was something sweet. Lots of something sweet. A bathtub full of it, maybe. So I started to scour my cabinets to find something , but instead introduced a supreme intervention on myself.

I decided to call a personal trainer whose name I got from my hair stylist instead of binging on sweets. And after a 30 minute conversation with him, I have my consultation with him on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. And I am so damn excited!!!!

I never get vacations because I have no time off from work because my every vacation day is used to care for my child when she is sick or school is off and I cannot find alternate care. So I have decided that I am going to spend my "summer vacation" money on a trainer this summer. An investment in me!

His hours are very flexible, and he will let me bring my daughter to the studio to play quietly in the corner if need be. And did I mention that I am so excited?!?

I'll report more after our first meeting on Thursday. I am looking forward to being whipped into shape!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Month, Fresh Start

I don't know why, but I am one of those people who put a lot of emphasis on beginnings... new days, new weeks, new months, new years. And for some reason June feels like all of them rolled into one! Maybe it is lingering happiness over school ending and summer beginning coupled with long days and warmer weather. The opening of our pool. More light. No more snow for awhile (well, this IS Chicago so you never know, but...).

I went to bed last night knowing that June was going to be good. Even though I felt crummy today, I knew that I was having a fresh start after a slack-off month in May post-half marathon. And that's what today has been. Fresh, yummy, and happy.

Here's what I ate today:

Breakfast
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup of Fiber One cereal
6 ounces of vanilla yogurt

Morning Snack
Huge cup of coffee with a splash of skim milk and some Splenda

Lunch
Grilled chicken breast (that had been marinated in a yummy salsa)
Mediterranean orzo pasta salad (more on that later... yum)
Fresh pineapple

Afternoon Snack

Light string cheese

Dinner
Boca burgers on a sandwich thin with Vivi's Original Carnival Mustard and fat free cheese slices
More of the orzo pasta salad

A healthy and delicious day of eating, along with 4 cups of fresh water and 4 cups of green tea. And then a 45 minute swim in our pool after work to top it all off. What a day!

The Mediterranean orzo pasta salad was left-over from a BBQ at a friend's house yesterday. I made up my own recipe and I just love it! I cooked some orzo, added cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, capers, baby spinach, fresh basil, reduced fat feta, fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, Greek seasonings, and ground sea salt & pepper. Amazing! And even better the next day. This may become a signature dish.

I also tried the Vivi's mustard for the first time and I LOVE IT!!!! It really jazzed up my Boca burgers, and I can't wait to try it on other foods. Now if I can just figure out where to buy it locally because mail order shipping costs on glass jars are crazy!

So, here's to a wonderful June with lots of fresh food, good swimming, and getting back on track with my running. Family & good friends and outdoor fun NOT optional!

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Been One Week

So last Friday I weighed in with horror. Up enough to scare the pants off of me. And here I am a week later with GOOD news!

1) My official weigh-in this morning had me down 5.9 pounds. Looks like the gain was mostly fluff!

2) I was on plan the whole week, and tracked everything.

3) I got in three runs since last Friday (and one weight training workout).

4) I feel like my head is back in the game, and I am looking forward to another successful week.

I am crazy busy this weekend with plans every night and multiple ones during each of the days, so I need to make good choices and keep the momentum going!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scared Straight

The whole "get a good week under my belt before weighing" thing did not go as planned. It actually took a visit to the scale to scare me back on track.

I took the plunge on Friday morning. It was ugly. I was scared back on plan. I have worked too hard to lose the weight to see it come back on without a fight.

Friday I was firmly on plan with resolve. I even managed to fit in a 3 1/2 mile run work. I weighed in this morning and am down 3.5 pounds already, so hopefully a good chunk of my gain was water weight.

I have been on plan all day today, too, and am looking forward to another on plan day tomorrow, with a run squeezed in between two play dates. It actually feels good to have my resolve back and to be eating healthfully again. It allows me to walk through my days with so much less guilt, feeling lighter and more positive in general.

Another area that needs some work is my running. Since the half marathon 2 weeks ago, I have only done 2 runs. I know that I was pretty burnt out from 15 weeks of training pre-race, but I still need to get out there and move my body to shake this recent gain and then lose the last 20-25 pounds to get to my goal weight. Once The Biggest Loser is over on Tuesday nights, I am going to attend the kickboxing class at my gym on those evenings. Then I will run on Thursdays and one day each weekend. I also plan to incorporate some strength training into my weeks, at home with my own weights.

So I am feeling back in business because I have my screwed back on straight. And that makes me happy. :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not So Much

The whole tracking EVERYTHING for a week goal? Yeah, not so much. It went pretty well until Saturday night and then... FAIL.

Then I had some more horrible days until finally pulling it together yesterday. Not perfect, but better. Today I just focused on eating healthy foods. Tomorrow, I am going to watch my portions more and get in a 5 mile run.

For whatever reason, I just cannot seem to wrap my brain around being OP. I have never been a "baby steps" person myself, even though I always give others that advice. I always have to jump in with both feet (and both arms, and my head, my butt). I make a 180 and see dramatic changes. But I am having trouble with this now. It is freaking me out.

So I am trying some new things here. I started a paper (GASP!) journal today. Not for recording my food per se, but for recording my thoughts, writing down motivational quotes, capturing books I was to read, and other things like that. I also chose not to beat myself up for my food choices today. The portions may have been larger than WW would prescribe, but the food was healthy and it was FAR FAR from my binging ways.

I am still unsure if I am going to weigh in on Friday, or let another week pass. I am leaning toward stepping on the scale right now even though my period just hit with a ferocity usually reserved for times when my cats get the midnight crazies.

I am going to get this right. This is my life I'm talking about. It is not a day or a week or a month or even a few years of perfection, but is really about managing this battle once and for all. You'd think I would have learned this by 40 already, right? But obviously not, so I am re-educating myself and preparing to fight the good fight again.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Anelise's Run 5K Race Report

Well, I ended up with a PR... go figure! And I ran it about 2 1/2 minutes faster than last year, so that is good news.

It was cold this morning. I should have brought gloves. The race was a two-loop flat course, and I started out too fast. Mile 1 was 11:10, Mile 2 was 11:25, and Mile 3.1 was 12:37. Not too bad for my first post-half marathon run.

The bad news is that the pain in my right hip and arch showed up again around the 2.5 mile mark. But it didn't slow me down too much, and it stopped once I stopped running.

We went to Starbucks afterward, and now I am heading up to my room for a hot bubble bath before heading over to my nephew's 3rd birthday party. And tonight I am going "man shopping" with a single girlfriend (her words, LOL)... but I am just window shopping and WILL NOT be making any purchases!

To all of the mothers out there, an early Happy Mother's Day! To those who can still tell their mothers how much they love them, congrats and spread the love tomorrow, and to those who cannot... (((HUGS))).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, a 5K Tomorrow

It's only a day away! Okay, enough with my crazy Annie rip-off, but I *am* running a 5K tomorrow! It is called Anelise's Run 5K, and this will be my second year running it. The proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I went to pick up our race packets tonight, and this will be my first post-half marathon run. I plan on doing it at a leisurely pace and enjoying it, so I do not expect to set a PR.

Day 1 of logging my food is done, and it was successful. This evening has been tough, though, because most of my horrific eating has taken place at night. But I am chewing gum and planning to have a (non-caloric) beverage to take my mind off of it.

On to Day 2 and a 5K for some activity. Let's hope the rain stays away!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time To Face The Music

Well, my first half marathon is history. Now it is time to face the music and undo the damage that I allowed to happen in the last month.

I admit it. I let my nerves get the best of me. I slipped back into old (bad) habits. Okay, I actually dove back into them, and now my pants are uncomfortably tight and my tummy feels huge. I allowed the half to become my excuse to ignore my lifestyle changes on the eating front, and it is time to get back on the path that I want to walk.

My WW week starts on Friday, so as of tomorrow I am tracking again. That's my goal for the week, to track everything for a whole week. I have a birthday party on Saturday and a Mother's Day brunch on Sunday, so I do not expect perfection but I do demand accountability from myself this week. I have gained weight... maybe 5 pounds, maybe 10 pounds, I do not know because I am afraid to step on the scale right now. And I am not going to do so until Friday, May 14th, when I can feel a bit more stable about dealing with the number that I see on it after having a good week under my belt. Yes, I am playing games with myself, but it is what I feel I can handle right now. So be it.

I know that this will just be a small detour on my journey if I get a grip and make a U-Turn right now. That is what I want. I will make it so.

Onward and downward!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Door County Half Marathon Race Report

The race is over, and I am officially a half-marathoner! Thank you all so much for your support during my training!

My nerves started to get the best of me on Friday. I was freaked out all morning, and procrastinated on my packing until about 7:00 a.m. Then I threw together a bag for myself and a bag for the child, who had a weekend visit with her paternal grandparents who happen to live in Door County. I had to pack running outfits for both cold and warmish weather because the weather report had been fluctuating all week and I was still not sure if it would rain for the race.

I worked a half day from home on Friday, gassed up the van, picked up the child from school, stopped by my friend's house and hustled her family into the van, and we were off at about 12:45 p.m.! I drove on the way up, and it was a smooth ride. All three children behaved, and we arrived around 5:30 p.m.

We stayed with my friend's sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and mother-in-law, and they could not have been more hospitable. The had a huge pasta dinner for us complete with baked mac and cheese (YUM), two types of pasta with red sauce, salad, garlic bread, and fresh fruit pie for dessert. I ate far too much, damn nerves.

I went to bed around 9:30 p.m. and drifted for awhile before falling asleep. I had the obligatory race nightmare, in which the race time kept getting pushed back because of bad weather. In my dream, the race was finally supposed to start at 9:00 p.m., but right when we were going to leave I had to go to the bathroom and thus made us very late. We did not get there until 9:30 p.m., and then I realized that I could not run the race because there would be no way I could run until almost 1:00 a.m. I was so sad and was crying, and found myself wandering the streets in a very bad neighborhood alone in the dark, a sniveling mess.

I woke up at 6:45 a.m. and had a single cup of strong coffee. Around 7:30 a.m. I had two packets of instant oatmeal. We left at 8:00 a.m. to head to the race, which had a start time of 10:00 a.m... a bit later than other races that I have run. We arrived, parked, and then visited the port-a-potties about a million times before we headed to the starting line with cases of nervous tummies. I felt like I had to go more but it just would not come out, so I wandered to the starting line with a fear that I would have to hit the loo very soon after starting.







We were about 3/4 of the way back in the pack at the starting line, and then at 10:00 a.m. the gun went off... and off we went!!! It took about three minutes for us to cross the starting line. I started out at a healthy pace, but tried not to go too fast because I knew that I was going to be facing some SERIOUS hills for which I had not trained.

I also realized that I had accidentally hit SHUFFLE on my iPod when I started my Nike+ instead of selecting the personalized half marathon playlist that I created just for the event. I futzed around with my iPod Touch trying to change it, but finally gave up and decided to let the shuffle gods decide what I would hear during the hours that were ahead of me.

Mile 1 was lakeside, the sun was shining, and there was a slight breeze. The temperature was probably in the mid 60's. Perfect weather! As always, Mile 1 was a joy.

Mile 1 - 12:17

Miles 2 and 3 were also lakeside, and they had some gorgeous panoramic views of Lake Michigan. I almost felt like I was running by the ocean at times. Slight lake breeze, thinning of the crowd (since I am a slow one), and the introduction of some hills that made me realize that I most definitely SHOULD have trained for hills.

Mile 2 - 12:13
Mile 3 - 12:38

I was feeling happy to stay in the 12 minute mile zone with all of the hills, and was hoping to keep my mile times there as long as possible. I skipped all of the water stations in those first few miles to see how long I could hold out, and to keep the bathroom breaks at bay.

Mile 4 was tougher. We headed into the woods, and the hills were more intense. I was actually pretty surprised at how fatigued I felt and thought "Wow, this feels more like six miles than four!" But right after the Mile 4 water station (which I also skipped), a hawk flew directly over my head at a very low altitude and gave me a little punch of exhilaration and a bit of a good omen for the race.

Mile 4 - 12:55




The race was pretty much uphill from Mile 4 to Mile 7, but the biggest of the hills came around Mile 4.5. We ascended 200 feet in elevation in less than a half mile. I had been thinking that I would walk that big hill, but when I got to it I hit the STUBBORN button and refused to walk it! I jogged at a slow pace with tiny steps, but I jogged the whole thing. I did think that it might possibly never end, but luckily it flattened out again... for awhile.

Mile 5 - 13:43 (which I thought was pretty darn good considering the big hill!)

Mile 6 was uneventful, except for the fact that I learned that I have more issues going downhill than I do going uphill! I must admit that I was afraid of the momentum that came with running downhill and really tensed up and dug in to keep myself from going too fast. And this was bad news for my hips and for the bottoms of my feet. Very bad news.

Mile 6 - 13:09

I stopped for water for the first time at the water station after Mile 6. I also ate some Vanilla Gu. I cannot walk and drink at the same time, so a water break for me is called a COMPLETE STOP. Other than that, Mile 6 was pretty uneventful.

Mile 7 - 13:31

I started to have some serious pain in my right hip during Mile 7. I paid attention to it to see when it hurt the most, and it seemed to really pain me when I moved from side to side on the road or when I was going downhill. The uphill portions gave me more of a cardio workout and made my thighs scream a bit, but the downhills were becoming more of an issue for me and I was now dreading them and going even slower than before.

Mile 8 - 14:36... but this is not a true time because I somehow missed the Mile 8 marker and hit Lap on my Garmin late.

Mile 9 was painful. I was really starting to worry. My right knee and right arch joined the pain club along with the right hip, and I was running with a pronounced limp. Did I mention that I was worried? I tried to make myself go a bit faster to a) prove to myself that I could and b) try to keep any hope of a sub-three hour time alive. I know that I was telling everyone that my goal was just to finish, but what I really wanted was to run it in under 3 hours, and it seemed like this goal was slipping away.

Mile 9 - 12:10 (and the last of my 12 minute miles in this race)

I stopped for water for the second time at the water station after Mile 9.

At Mile 10, I saw part of my cheering section waiting for me. My friend's husband, their two beautiful girls, and his sister where waiting and clapping and cheering for me. What a boost! His sister, Liz, was on her bicycle and had been riding from place to place on the race route trying to catch us and give us a personal cheering section, and when I hit the 10 mile point she pulled out onto the race route with her bike and told me that she was going to ride next to me for the rest of the race! THAT WAS AMAZING. I really needed it because I was starting to hit a wall, and I was in some real pain, and I had never run more than 10 miles before in my life, and and and.

And it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Mile 10 - 13:13

Liz and I talked (well, mostly she talked and I gritted my teeth and kept plowing forward), and all of a sudden we had passed the Mile 12 mark!

Mile 11 - 13:31
Mile 12 - 14:49

I got water for the last time after Mile 12, and came to a complete stop for a few seconds more than usual to regroup and refocus on running through the pain, which included a killer charlyhorse in my left calf. Luckily for me, the short stop kicked that single pain to the curb!

I had really lost my steam, and I was grunting and groaning with each hill. But about a half mile before the finish, I could hear the crowd cheering. Liz kept me going, kidding with me about going into a full out sprint at the end to beat the guy in the blue shirt who had been running in front of me for the better part of the race. I told her that I just did not have it in me, that I had left it all on the course, but I worked to keep going as best I could. And the cheering increased in volume, keeping my spirit alive!

The Finish Line came into view. I literally gave a little cry-out when I saw it! I was almost there! Liz backed away to allow me to cross by myself and have my own moment when I finished, and I gave it all I had left! They said my name and my town over the loudspeaker, and I crossed the line with a big smile and my arms in the air!

And I beat the man in blue!

Mile 13.1 - 15:03

TOTAL TIME - 2:53:52

GOAL ACHIEVED!!!!!!!!

And I ran the whole way!

My friends were there cheering me on (because they finished in just over 2 hours... I was the slowpoke), there were massive hugs all around, multiple glasses of water, a banana, some photos, and we walked away with our Finisher's Medals!

OH MY GOSH... I RAN A HALF MARATHON!!!!! IN UNDER 3 HOURS!!!!!




We stretched a bit and hobbled to the potties, then found a place to change into some warm and dry clothes. And as luck would have it, the skies clouded over and it got quite cool and windy AFTER we were finished... YIPPEE!!!!

We ate an indulgent lunch at a local restaurant (I had a veggie walnut burger and fries, and snagged some sweet potato fries from my friend, too). Then we hit a few shops and headed back via the scenic route. Dinner that night was amazing, as was the wine and the company, and I was sooooo happy. I cannot remember being that happy in a really long time. Endorphins, relief, wine, good company, all of the above, whatever it was, it was great.

We drove back this afternoon. Bets and Donna called, Jolene texted me, I had an email waiting from Kris, I got a huge number of comments and Likes on my Facebook post about the race, and I am feeling very loved and supported and very fulfilled with my first half marathon.

Despite the fact that I am walking like a freak right now, it will NOT be my last. :-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Last Run Before The Half

I ran my last run before Saturday's half marathon, and it was a great run. I started out around 6:00 p.m. tonight with sunlight and 60 degree weather, and I ended after 4.05 miles with a big smile on my face. It was a great run finish my race training.

I am nervous about Saturday's race. It is looking like showers during the race, and I am such a fair weather runner! Regardless, I will be running. Come rain or shine, I am there. But my nerves have been manifesting as poor food choices, so my carb loading has begun in earnest... and NO ONE needs that many carbs, not even ultra-marathoners!!!

But I will refocus on my eating and on losing the remainder of my weight once the race is over. For now I am just to enjoy the big day as much as I can!

Tomorrow I work a full day, and then Friday I am working from home in the a.m. and leaving at noon to start the 5+ hour drive to the race. And Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. the race will begin!

I'll be back here on Monday to post a full report. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Half Marathon Home Stretch

Today was the longest of my long training runs: 10 miles. I had some weird stomach thing going on all week, so I missed a 5 mile run and did not run at all from last Saturday (9 miles) to this past Saturday.

My schedule was thrown off on Saturday due to a phone call, so I ran near the country club in our little city. I did not know the area well, but needed to both squeeze the run in and be at my daughter's drama school to pick her up in just an hours time, so I started the run from her school and headed out to explore. My stomach cooperated until Mile 3 or so, and then I was in so much pain that I had to cut the run short at 4 miles. Very disappointing, and it made me nervous for the 10 miler that was on plan for today.

I started out at about 11:30 a.m. today, and ran the first 5 with no problem. Quick potty and water break at Mile 5, and then I went on for the last half of the run. I felt pretty good until about Mile 8.5, and then the last 1 1/2 was a real struggle. I thought the last 1/4 mile was going to break me, but then I saw my daughter heading towards me on her new 2 wheel bike (she dumped the training wheels last weekend!), and it gave me the oomph to finish it off at 10.03 miles.

I have been a tired slug ever since. But it was a great day nonetheless.

I actually had a really slow run. It was very windy, and I spent half of the run charging into the wind which both slowed me down and tired me out. I also saw a bunch of signs for a lost cat in the area, so I visually scoured the bushes and plants and yards and brush for about half of the run hoping to find him and bring him safely back to his family. It seriously slowed me down, but it is what it is and I still finished the run.

I have two 5 milers this week and then an 8 miler next weekend, and then I taper to a 4 miler and a 2 miler two days before the race. I am getting nervous, but my goal is really just to finish the race. I would love to finish it under 3 hours, so that is my bonus goal.

Onward to my last 5 runs before the race!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Alcohol Abstinence April

No, it's not an April Fools Day joke. I really did agree to abstain from alcohol for the month of April. My friend proposed it to me as part of our preparation for the half marathon (which, in fact, is exactly one month from today).

Although this is going to put a serious dent in my social life, I think it will be a good thing. And I bet that I will lose a lot of weight this month because it is on drinking nights that I tend to overeat and binge eat. Any way you look at it, it will be an eye-opening experience!

Last month I ran over 66 miles. It was my highest monthly mileage ever. :-) I finished my 8 mile long runs last Sunday, and have a 9 mile run on schedule for this weekend. The longest run I have before that half marathon is 10 miles, so I am closing in on it.

I am starting to get really excited and nervous now. With less than a month to go, it seems very real. And there are some serious hills on the course, so I have to start training for those. There is a 200 foot incline at Mile 5, so I am going to do some treadmill runs that simulate that incline and placement if possible.

I have also started to think about life beyond the half, and what my exercise plan will look like then. Now that my short runs are 5 milers, I want to keep it that way and run between 10 and 15 miles a week. I also want to start taking the Tuesday night Cardio Kickboxing class that I took last week on a regular basis. But my big goal after the half is to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions in order to get some regular strength training into my routine. I really think that is what is going to take me to the next level in my body-related goals.

On that note, tomorrow is the last weigh-in for our Weight Off challenge at work. I did not do as well as I had hope, but should bring an eight pound loss to the team (as I will be wearing my very lightest of all clothes, too!). At least it kept me focused on getting back on track as soon as possible after bad food choices, so it was not a disappointment. I am not hopeful that my team will win the cash prize because one of the men (who each averaged 300 pounds at the first weigh-in) has really not lost any weight, and the remaining three of us cannot carry the team. And I must say that there have been some AMAZING weight losses by some of my co-workers on other teams, so it was a tough crowd in the competition.

Onward to the last 4 weeks of my training, and injuries STAY AWAY!!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Half Marathon Training and "The Blues"

It's been a few weeks since I posted and I apologize for that, but I have been slogging through my own Blue Period... and it has been a haul. Some of it is due to my annual February down time, I am sure, which hits me at that point every year during the dark and cold Chicago winters. But some of it started way back in the fall, and it all converged and took me down for awhile.

I really appreciate all of my friends for sticking by me, encouraging me, calling me, sending check-in emails during this rough time (Bets, Donna, Delane, Jolene... thank you). I was just so tired and it seemed like all I did was work, run, take care of child, crash for some (little) sleep, repeat. But the additional daylight is making me feel more like myself, along with the B12 shots and the prescription Vitamin D, so I am feeling more "normal".

The good news is that my training is on track. I completed my first 8 mile run on Thursday, and it was hard but fulfilling. It also left me with a very bad blister between the second and third toes on my left foot. I also thought I was losing a toenail on my left foot (second toe), but came to realize just this afternoon that I actually have a blister UNDER my toenail! I popped it today and now it is feeling less painful... but it has been there for at least a week and a half!

Since the blisters seem to be coming on strong with my longer runs, I ordered some socks to try to avoid them as much as possible. Hopefully that will do the trick. I am even trying a pair of these toed running socks!

I was planning to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8K race in the city today, but the weather kept me away for the second year in a row. The race weather seemed fine, but we were going to be taking public transportation to and from, and at that time it was snowing and blowing and downright nasty so my friend and I took it to the gym and ran our 5 miles indoors. We had a good time, though, and really that was my whole goal in doing the race anyway.

February brought me my first ever 60+ mile month, and this past week found me running over 25 miles alone. I will surpass 60 miles this month... WOW! I have two 5 mile runs and one 8 mile run on schedule for this week, and I am also adding in a day of cross training with a Cardio Kickboxing class on Tuesday night. Hopefully this will be a good thing and not just another demand on my time.

Here's to more daylight and some warmth in my life, and come April 1st I am a mere month away from my 13.1 run!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Half Marathon Training - Weeks 5 & 6

I am over a third of the way through my training program... WOW!!! Time flies.

The completion of Weeks 5 and 6 converged, and thus my recap is in just one post. I finished Week 5 on Wednesday with a total mileage of 13.4, and then finished Week 6 today with a total mileage of 14.4 I ran 4 of the last 5 days in order to catch up on my training plan, and am I ever feeling it!

Today I had a 6 mile run, and that is the longest run that I have ever done in my life. Go me! :-) I really struggled with my mind today, and had to just shut down negative quitter thoughts in order to get in the full training run. Yes, my body was just plain tired after running 3 of the previous 4 days, and my hip was doing a bit of complaining, but really my own mind was my biggest adversary. So I just let my feet keep going, and finally made it to the 6 mile mark. I wanted to be all "Rocky" and have some kind of celebration for hitting a new personal mileage record... but I was too tired! On my cool-down lap, I felt like the creaky tin man looking for an oil can!

So, I start Week 7 on Tuesday after a day of rest tomorrow (much needed and well deserved, IMHO). Planned mileage is 15.2. I am feeling confident. :-)

On the weight loss front, my Weight Off team at work had our 6 week midpoint weigh-in, and we were down 44 pounds between the four of us. I know that 6 of that was mine, so I am happy with my performance thus far. We are certainly not in the lead right now, but it is a good place to be at the halfway point and we still have a shot at the prize if we can all kick it into high gear!

I think that the Vitamin D is having a positive effect on my mood, so it is good that my doctor discovered the deficiency. I have not noticed much from the B12 shots in terms of increased energy, but then again I have only had two of them so far. My next one on Tuesday, and I still have hope!

Onward to another great week!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Half Marathon Training - Week 4

Week 4 is done! I finished "late" again, on Thursday night, but I am working to get in all of my planned workouts before my half. Good thing I left myself some extra time because the best laid plans of mice and men, well, you know the rest. ;-)

Thank you for all of the comments. I take them all to heart, like Corletta guiding my focus back to the training and away from the weight loss, and the suggestion from Jen to look into a foam roller for my aching muscles (it just arrived from www.target.com, and I was unaware that such a thing existed until you mentioned it! Thanks!). Every "great job" (Al and Tricia) adds to my motivation, so that you for caring!

My weekly mileage was 13.4 miles including my warm-ups and cool downs, and it was a record week for me in terms of weekly mileage! My shoes seems properly broken in and now I am feeling fewer aches and pains both during and after runs. Good news!

On another health-related front, I found out that both my Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D levels were quite low after blood tests from my new doctor were done. Thus, I am now receiving weekly B12 shots for four weeks, and I had my first one last Wednesday. I am also taking a prescription dose of Vitamin D, 50,000 iu in one weekly pill for twelve weeks, which also started last Wednesday. I have not noticed a different yet, but I remain hopeful that I'll start to feel more energetic soon. Hopefully Spring will make an appearance soon, and the sun will return to this cold and dark place, and my mood will lift, too, as I have been in a blue period these past couple of weeks.

I am off to go grocery shopping now, and plan to make myself some beautiful veggies for Valentine's Day! I hope that you all have a wonderful day tomorrow and are treated to something special, whether by yourself (like me) or by a special someone in your life!