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The Winter (?) Blahs

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's been very difficult over the last couple of weeks to get in my running and gym workouts. I thought if I wrote it down, I might be able to work it out of my system. There are probably a number of things contributing to my general malaise:

1. Mental exhaustion. Nov. & Dec. are my busiest months at work. That period is officially over, so if that's the cause, I should be feeling better any day.
2. Both of my parents passed away in December (a no. of years apart). Even though it's been many years, I especially miss them during the holidays.
3. The sun has gone in hiding. Maybe I have a touch of SAD.
4. Too much food. Every time I turn around, there's a plate of cookies, a holiday party or get together. Even if I eat just a bit at each one, it's more than I usually have, so the pounds are creeping on.
5. It's cold!!

When I do get to the gym or go out for a run, I enjoy it. It's the getting out of the door that's been so difficult. In any case, I know that this will pass, but it sure isn't fun fighting my way through it.

Today we spent an hour walking through the tree farm looking for the perfect tree. Not sure what we picked--some kind of fir--but it's pretty. We usually pick a Fraser Fir, but we needed a skinny tree 'cause we're going to put it in a corner of the dining room & there's not much space. We'll decorate it tonight or tomorrow morning. That will definitely lift my spirits.


What's Next?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wow. This year is close to coming to an end. Back in February it seemed like such a long time away. It's been a great year and I'm grateful for all of my blessings--a wonderful husband, great friends, a good & challenging job, nice co-workers, a loving family, good health, and many, many more.

Now it's time to take stock of my accomplishments in 2008 and think ahead to the goals I want to set for 2009. I also need to update my "bucket" list of long term goals with no specific dates--travel, new hobbies, new skills, books to read, etc.

The new lists are going to take a lot of thought. My last goal for 2008 -- set my goals for 2009 and update the Bucket List.


The Perfect Run

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Perfect Run

Did you ever have a run where it felt effortless? Your breathing was rhythmic and easy, your legs felt strong and the strides were long, your arms and neck were loose? A run where you got faster as the miles ticked away? Well, I just had one of those runs. It was the run dreams are made of.

Usually running is a chore. When people ask why I run, I tell them it’s because I feel great—when it's all over. But today was different; today gave me hope that I can be a "real" runner. I don't know why it was so perfect, but I loved it, and I yearn for another one—soon.

There was nothing special about the day. I got up around 6:30, had breakfast with my husband, and got ready to head into the office to wrap up a special project that was due on Monday. I've been stressing all weekend about this project—a luncheon for some VIPs, and I was eager to finish up my small part.

About 2 p.m. I finished the final detail and logged on to MapMyRun to plan my route—my half marathon training program called for a long run this weekend. About 3:30 p.m. I headed out, and right from the start, I knew this run was going to be different. Despite not warming up adequately, my stride felt easy—I was immediately in the zone. Maybe it was the appreciation that it was sunny and in the low 40s with just a light breeze. Quite a change from the previous few days of several inches of snow with high, gusting winds. It was a spectacular late fall/early winter day—it was "crisp." There was almost no traffic on campus, so I had the roads just about to myself.

Just a few minutes into the run, I crested the first hill. I wasn't out of breath and didn't feel the need to alter my pace. The flat sections flew by; I was almost vibrating from the excitement of this easy run. Were these my legs working so flawlessly? It was as if I was removed from them. Where was the burn? The heaviness? It was . . . surreal.

At about mile 5 or so, I realized I still had a tremendous amount of energy, so I lengthened my stride. I felt fresh, like I could go on and on. I kept up this increased speed and long stride to the very end. Even over the last hill my stride was long and strong. Every step had a spring to it. I debated about continuing the run—just how far could I go today before I hit the wall? 8 miles? 9 miles?? Would I hit the wall? But common sense ruled, and I started my cool down. I didn't want to risk an injury and ruin my perfect run. Who knows when the next one will come along.

As I was running, I wished that every run would be just like this. But I've changed my mind. I appreciate today and realize what a special gift it is because I've had the rough days when every step is a struggle. The memory of this run will keep me motivated when it's cold, blustery, rainy or snowy, or I just don't feel I have the energy or will power to get out there. I'll pull this day out of my memory and go for it. You just never know. . .

Next Saturday I race in a 5 mile Turkey Trot. Could I possibly get a perfect run on two consecutive weekends? Let's hope.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARYRN1956 11/23/2008 7:34PM

    Let's hope you have another perfect run for the Turkey Trot. It has been a while since I have had that "perfect run" but I no longer dread going for a run. I enjoy the time I am run/walking and appreciate the scenery and use the time to work out any problems with my life. Here's to the great runs in life!


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A Fun Weekend

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Last weekend was great! Saturday I sat in the cold and rain at Beaver Stadium with my husband and some of his college friends to watch Penn State earn a hard-fought win over Indiana. I admit it—I’m a fair-weather football fan. When the team has a good season, I try to catch most of the games on TV—actually sit through the entire game. When it’s a not-so-good season, I barely acknowledge that it’s football season.

Saturday morning started of with pre-game sweets—apple cake, cookies, coffee cake, etc. Having just had breakfast, it was easy to limit myself to a small piece of apple cake before heading off to the game.

Post-game was a different story. Two glasses of wine took my mind off being chilled and slightly damp. It also took my mind off the array of cheese, crackers and chips that were displayed on the coffee table, all just a convenient arm’s length away. I don’t know how much I ate, but it was enough that by the time we arrived at the restaurant for dinner, I wasn’t hungry. Nevertheless, I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and fries. I only ate a few fries and most of the sandwich.

By Sunday morning, I had a serious case of the munchies. I had my regular healthy breakfast, but nibbled all morning on dried fruit, dry cereal, Tostitos, several Milk Duds, etc. Despite being full, I ate lunch – soup and half a sandwich. More munching in the afternoon, followed by dinner and a couple of mini-candy bars left over from Halloween.

Monday was gruesome—a three pound gain over just 2 days. Normally, this would upset me so much that I’d regret the entire weekend and berate myself or I would say the H*** with trying to lose weight. But not anymore. Now I can keep this temporary set back in perspective—in a POSITIVE perspective.

1. I’m not on a diet. Diet’s are temporary and are bound for failure. I’m on a mission to eat better to provide my body with high-quality fuel so that I can enjoy being active, reduce cholesterol, and keep myself strong and healthy.

2. It’s not all or nothing. It’s okay to enjoy an occasional “goodie.” Life would be a complete drag if cake or pie or chocolate never crossed my lips. Maintaining good nutrition is easier if nothing is out of bounds.

3. I’m not Super Woman. Super Woman is fiction; I’m real. I don’t have super-human will power to totally exclude foods that bring me pleasure. It’s easier to control portion size. Besides, chocolate raises serotonin levels which elevates mood, and who doesn’t need that on occasion.

4. My choice of foods doesn’t define my worth or value as a person. I am not “bad” because I over-ate. And conversely, I am not “good” because I exercised or didn’t eat dessert.

5. Focus on the positive. Overall, I eat and exercise sensibly. And I’ll continue on this path because I feel better, which provides more positive feedback.

6. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Yes, I’ve gained several pounds, but the battle isn't lost. Monday I returned to my usual eating habits, and I headed to the gym for a workout.

I hope you had a great weekend.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILDCARD1 11/19/2008 3:01PM

    Great blog! Glad you decided to put the weekend in the past and continue on your journey! Keep up the great work!

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Joy Johnson is Amazing!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Joy Johnson, 81, came in first in her age group in the NYC Marathon. She broke her record from last year's race. Way to go Joy!!




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