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Coming up for air (an enormous report on the last four days)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

This weekend was both wonderful and incredibly bad and stressful. You can have both at once, you just need to know the right people. My best friend for the past 30 years was coming to my house for the weekend for a "mom-cation." She's a SAHM, homeschooling her three kids, and when she needs a break, she comes to my house to pretend she's a single lady for a while. My best friend and I are very different in terms of religion, politics, and where we are at in our lives, but when it comes to the most important things (humor, history, love and respect for each other) we are absolutely matched. She's the sister I picked. Anyway, I invited her to run in the 5K I was planning for Saturday when we were trying to figure out a weekend for a visit. She used to run quite a bit, but hasn't been able to for over a year. She started running again as soon as we made our plans.

September was kind of a ridiculously busy and stressful month for me and with one thing or another, I missed the cutoff to register for the 5K online. That also meant that I missed out on the t-shirt, which was a bummer. I've now been in three 5Ks that had shirts, but I only have one shirt. Oh, well, I was much more interested in the fact that this race had custom-designed medals for all finishers! I didn't want to register in the morning, so I tried to get to the late registration on Friday. They were doing that in the hospital's main lobby until 6:30 PM. I drove for nearly two hours from work. It's only about 40 miles, but every single road I got on had some kind of delay. I got to the lobby at 6:20, but no one was there. I was so angry and frustrated, that I cried. All the way out of the parking lot, all I could think was, "Why am I so upset over this? What the heck is wrong with me?"

I got home and discovered Jenny had already arrived at my condo parking lot. (Yes, we are Jenny and Jenna, a/k/a “JenJen1 and JenJen2,” “Neffer Lynn and Neffer Leigh,” or on more than one occasion, “Jennyandjenna.” It was 1971 and there was a federal law that you had to name your daughter Jennifer. Trufax.) We decided to go out for dinner. I wanted to go to the Indian vegetarian place I’ve been meaning to try, but they didn’t appear to be open at that time. So we went for Lebanese food instead. What can I say, I had a hankering for chickpea-based food. When we came out of the restaurant, toting a huge bag of leftovers and reeking of garlic, we discovered my car wouldn’t start! No matter what I did, the engine made a kind of “Vrvrvrvr” sound and didn’t fire. I called my parents for advice and, predictably, my mom wanted to drive down the next day and have my dad take a look. Fortunately, Dad overrode that madness. We *said* we’d take a cab home. We kind of fibbed. We took the leftovers and any valuables and started off on foot. Now, it should be noted that I live in the suburbs of Metro Detroit. Almost no one walks anywhere. For one thing, there aren’t sidewalks on every road. For another, they practically give cars away in gumball machines here. My niece’s 15 year old boyfriend doesn’t have a license, but he has a 2003 Mustang. So many autoworkers mean that used cars can be pretty cheap. Walking, cycling and public transportation are not exactly encouraged. But it was 2.7 miles to my house and It just so happens that road has sidewalks on both sides and for almost the full length of our walk. We are both reasonably fit, so we decided to give it a shot. I actually described us as “sturdy,” to which Jenny said, “What are we, Norwegian farm girls?” A brief pause, “Ya, you betcha!” Thus began the “if I keep laughing this much, I’m going to pee my pants” aspect of our walk. This is a common theme with us.

Oh, and it started raining about a mile from my house.

The next morning, we got ready for our 5K. The race was at 10:00 with late registration at 8:00, so we didn’t have to wake up too early. When we got there, Jenny went to pick up her packet and I went to register. I may not have gotten a shirt, but I did get one of the randomly placed Red Wings water bottles in my bag. Score!

Jenny not only got a shirt (the design is great, too), she also got Red October Run gloves. She already has gloves she likes to run in, so she gave the gloves to me. There was a lot of swag from different departments in the hospital, so we got some nice stuff, put it back in the car, and got ready for the run. It’s a nice flat, residential course and I really enjoyed that. And I loved running with Jenny. I skipped both music and my chimed intervals (though I did turn the Nike+ on Basic so I’d get credit for my miles), electing instead to pick out random landmarks based on how I felt. What I didn’t love is that I started having stomach cramps about a mile to the end. “My belly feels like it’s in a blender” I said, more than once. I predicted that it was going to be “cross finish line, grab water and medal, head straight for portapotty.” My prediction came true. And it was pretty gross.

The less said about our time the better, though I will say, it was about a minute slower than the previous race. This was my first 5K without knee supports, though, and I have noticed my pace is slower since I stopped wearing them. And Jenny pointed out that it was cold and rainy throughout the whole run, so that may have been a factor. I’m not sure about that, myself. Any road, we finished and we got our medals , and that’s what I was really running for. I think my goal for any race is “to finish.” It may not be exciting, but I think it’s healthier for me. I need to be process-oriented instead of goal-oriented right now.

After the race, we went to check on my car. It still wouldn’t start, so I called AAA and they had someone tow it to a nearby repair shop. Within an hour, the shop called me and said that the timing chain was broken and, without taking the engine apart, there could be significant damage to the engine. I called my experts (i.e., my entire family) and they said it probably wasn’t likely and I should get the car towed to a dealership on Monday. There was some discussion of whether my car was still under warranty or not. A little Google-fu told me that timing chain breaks are not unheard of in my car’s engine and that they require horribly, horribly expensive repairs. So I was stressing out a bit. At that point, Jenny and I decided to get cleaned up and actually do some fun stuff. Jenny wanted to go to Trader Joe’s, so we did that. I bought Laughing Cow Light and all-natural gummi bears. Jenny bought a boatload of unusual snack foods (cassava chips, sweet potato chips, gummi tummies, which are gummy penguins with liquid tummies). I told the cashier that I was excusing the gummi bear purchase because marathoners eat them while running. She replied, “Yes, we do.” So we had a whole discussion about mid-race fueling. Afterward, Jenny and I went to Noodles and Company and I ordered exactly the meal I had intended to have on Thursday. Then we went back to my house, watched “Shaun of the Dead” and ate some of the new snacks.

On Sunday, we went to the farmer’s market for an apple tasting. Honeycrisp is still champ in my book, but I voted for Jonathan as my favorite because HC had it by a landslide already and the Jonathan’s were my second-favorite. The next booth was Zingerman’s, and I bought $12 worth of cheese. Tiny, wee, gourmet cheese handmade at Zingerman’s Creamery. I also bought some new potatoes, peppers and an acorn squash from the actual farmers at the market. When we left the farmer’s market, we went to Target to do a little kid-free shopping. I wanted to try on jeans because every pair of pants I have is much too large and I really have no idea what size I actually wear anymore. I brought in a pair of 16s and a pair of 14s, saying “If the 14s fit, I may need to buy them just on principle.” I tried on the 16s first. They were too loose. I tried on the 14s, and though they were more snug than I usually like, they fit! I took pictures of myself wearing them, and of the size tag. And after putting them back on the shelf (I didn’t want to regret the jeans if I was stuck with a huge auto repair bill), I immediately started in on how I didn’t necessarily trust the size. The jeans had 2% spandex, a tummy concealing panel, and relaxed hip and thigh. I said I needed to try on several other brands/styles before believing it. Nothing like a little self-sabotage to take the wind out of your sails.

I had a great visit with Jenny and was sorry to see her go home. We always say we’ll see each other more often, but it never seems to happen. I need to make more of an effort there.

On Monday, I had to take care of getting the car from the tire/repair place to the dealership. I didn’t manage to have breakfast or pack lunch before heading out for that, so after the dealership, I went to McDonalds. Argh! Then the late breakfast/late arrival at work made me put off having lunch until it was no longer reasonable to go out. I was originally supposed to pick up my niece after cross country practice, but it turned into picking her up after a meet. I was starving, so I went to Burger King. Yikes! NOOO! Afterward, my sister asked me to stay for dinner, which was cheeseburgers and fries. I originally said no, but they looked so good, so I had a burger and a small amount of fries. WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME?! However, I must add that despite the weekend of eating pretty much whatever I wanted and the day of fatty junk food (both drive-thru and fast food), I only gained about 1.5 pounds and it was totally temporary. According to my scale, I’m back to a half pound below where I was last week. YAY! The situation with the car is a mixed bag. The service guy from the dealership told me that the timing chain did slip and cause damage to the engine. I won’t have my car back until Friday or Monday. But then he also told me what I currently feel are the two sweetest words in the English language: “It’s covered.” Thank God for that 100K mile powertrain warranty! And this week, I am having fun driving an orange 2010 Dodge Caliber, which is like a sporty station wagon and means I can park in a better spot at work.

On top of everything else, my right knee is back to feeling weak, unstable and painful. But now my left ankle has decided that it wants to be hurt, too. It feels like bursitis in the knee and a mild strain in the ankle. Fun! I’m kind of wondering if it’s making the switch from cute summer heels to sensible fall lace-ups. But that could just be that I want to buy new shoes. I also stopped taking glucosamine and chondroitin a week or two ago. I know reports say that g&c doesn’t work, but this makes me wonder.

In any case, the fun and “fun” are over, and it’s time to get back to normal, back to good habits, and back to work!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITERARY_CHICK 10/6/2010 6:31PM

    Wow that was some update. Where to start. Way to go on the 5K run. Yea! that you don't have to foot an expensive car bill. I LOVE TRADER JOES! Glad you enjoyed your visit with the other Jen.

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POOHLA711 10/6/2010 3:03PM

    OH EM GEEE! Those jeans looked SO cute on you!!! Please go back and buy them now that you know you don't have to pay for the car!

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KARVY09 10/6/2010 2:05PM

    Whew... tired just reading. Sounds like quite an adventure you Jens had! Congrats on the Size 14! And hope your knee feels better soon!

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FUNFROG79 10/6/2010 1:41PM


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IFDEEVARUNS2 10/6/2010 1:41PM

    You do know how to have fun!

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JENELOPE 10/6/2010 1:22PM

    I could definitely use some boredom in my life for the near future!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 10/6/2010 1:06PM

    What a weekend! You live such an interesting life (that's a Chinese curse, you know.)

Comment edited on: 10/6/2010 1:07:03 PM

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All better

Thursday, September 30, 2010

She-Hulk calmed down and was rewarded for good behavior with a Lindor peanut butter truffle. Chocolatey-peanut buttery satisfaction and it only made me exceed my goals by 10 calories! And God bless the manufacturers of generic Aleve for taking the pain monster away!

Tonight I'm taking myself to Noodles and Company for dinner before my first Pilates class. I'm planning to have a small Bangkok curry with shrimp, a trio-sized tomato basil bisque, and half of a ciabatta roll. It's all carefully planned out to fit in my goals for the day. It's also a calculated blend of the exotic and the familiar- much like Pilates itself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENELOPE 10/1/2010 9:50AM

    It's a mat class. I've been very concerned about weakness in my back and abdomen and thought I'd try this. And now I'm worried about my seemingly inflexible feet! emoticon

I ran out of time to get to Noodles and Company, which was a bummer. Dinner was not as planned, but worked in a pinch.

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DRPOOH63 9/30/2010 10:27PM

    Are you doing mat or reformer? Great planning.

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FOXXYROXXYD 9/30/2010 9:38PM

    Right on! Glad you are feeling better!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/30/2010 4:55PM

    Sounds yummy. I love curry. Enjoy pilates!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/30/2010 4:33PM

    Sounds like a good plan. So glad you are feeling more like yourself (and so glad I'm no longer enslaved to that monster.) emoticon

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Girly days (venting by blog- it's like an exorcism but less messy)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

There are good girly days and bad girly days. I am having the latter. Good girly days involve making plans with your friends, dressing in a cute outfit, going shopping, getting drinks, maybe a mani-pedi. It's a day to revel in all that is feminine and, well, girly. Bad girly days are those days when your body forcibly reminds you of everything you hate about being female. They involve bloating, cramps, inconvenience, and rollercoaster mood swings. Days when all you want to do is put on some sweats and open a bag of chips or peanut butter cups and stay at home, alone, watching the TV equivalent of junk food. Anyone who enters the sacred bubble of "lemme alone" gets growled at.

Right now, I am at the "RAHR! HULK SMASH!!" stage of things. I'm at work, I hurt and I almost wish someone would bother me so that I'd have an outlet for my inexplicable rage. But that's not healthy, nor is it in character. So I think I will head to the convenience store and pick up a pack of Reese's to cope. I once figured out that the easiest way to speed a Midol through your system was to chase it with a Peanut Butter Cup McFlurry. It's true. It totally worked like a charm. However, that doesn't exactly fit in with the Sparker Jen mentality I have working for me. I did not get to my lowest weight in 15 years by drowning my sorrows in soft serve mixed with candy. I also didn't get here with the help of Taco Bell, which is my other monster craving. OMG, grease! We had such a great and tragic love story! I used to say I owed my hips to cheese. Well, I owe my badass to running and healthy food, doggone it, and I like my badass a whole lot more than I like my hips.

I just wish I didn't feel like TOM was interfering with my life so much. I'm pretty sure 80% of feeling awful earlier this week was PMS-related. I've had a rumbly tummy since early Monday morning and that's why I missed work that day (hence why I am at work today instead of watching "House" reruns in my jammies). I haven't felt truly well since then. Last night, I did my half hour run as planned. Man, was it a bad run. I don't get it. I ran 6 miles on Saturday with no problems at all. And I mean, AT ALL. I felt good and strong all the way through. Last night, 2.37 miles was a painful struggle. I frequently cut my running intervals short. I nursed a side stitch from about 8 minutes into the run. I never found my groove and it shows in my pace. And this morning, my knees are sore, sore, sore.

I'm thinking a well-timed Aleve could knock out a few of today's problems without much of a fuss. And I really am planning on some *medicinal* chocolate (ahem). I know that in a perfect world, I should have spent the last week preparing for this with leafy greens, no caffeine, calcium and magnesium. But I didn't and now She-Hulk wants chocolate.

She-Hulk also wants to be calmed down in time for her first Pilates class tonight. I have a feeling the instructor wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAELENEC 9/30/2010 8:37PM

    Those nasty ol' hormones just make us all crazy sometimes, don't they?

Enjoy whatever self soothing you need to do; you'll get right back on board right away. It'll be okay.

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GREEKGIRL71 9/30/2010 6:52PM

    GAWD...makes me hate being a woman!! I'm a PMSy mess too, but today all I wanted to do was cry! - and now I want to kill my kids because they are driving me CRAZY!!!!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 9/30/2010 2:23PM

    My she-hulk is demanding chocolate too. I hope you feel better. It's tough! Ugh!

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POOHLA711 9/30/2010 1:19PM

    Oh, Miss Jenna... you are reading my mind today. Taco Bell and Reese's cups, two of my favorite things.
Have your chocolate and enjoy every freakin' bite. And get a burrito if you want. One of my favorite quotes from my WW leader is "Lose it the way you can live it." There are times in life that call for candy and tacos, and as long as you don't go overboard, you can have those things.
As for the run, I have a run about every two weeks that just suuuuuuuuuucks. Like, from the minute I start, I just can't wait for it to be over. Can't explain why. It just happens. And then the next time I run will be awesome.
I'll bet your next one will be too. It's probably just TOM. I am proud that you didn't use it as an excuse. You pushed through and regardless of how well it went, YOU DID IT! I'm telling you, you're going to see a monster loss on the scale next week!
Sorry to write a book on your blog! LOL Hang in there, lady. Things will get better.

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FOXXYROXXYD 9/30/2010 12:40PM

    Enjoy your medicinal chocolate and feel better. And DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT beat yourself up over any of it... the chocolate or the run last night - hey, you were out there and you did run - you could have stayed curled up on the couch with Hugh Laurie (my fave show too) but you RAN!

I'm sorry you are feeling poopy. Be kind to yourself, take 1 reese's, (save the second one for later tonight and blog about it in the morning!
emoticon it really is good for what ails you... in moderation of course!

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SIMPLY-EVA 9/30/2010 12:14PM

  Even at my age (42) I still deal with all the irritation and hostility that TOM brings out. I don't think about it when its not here and then its all I can think about when it is. Take time to pamper yourself. During TOM I allow myself medicinal chocolate or a cookie or a small bag of pork rinds if thats what I want but I do it in moderation, unlike the past when I used TOM as an excuse to eat like crazy for 5 days. You can do it!

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PENELOPE0831 9/30/2010 11:40AM

    I really enjoyed this blog- TOM sucks, but at least you know she-hulk will be gone in 5-7 days!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/30/2010 11:27AM

    Some days are like that when you run - some good ones, some bad ones. Inexplicable!!!! Hang in there.

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THEPATHIMON 9/30/2010 11:27AM

    ok, i LOVED this blog...

It's so honest and (well, not) funny!

You'll get thru it...... just keep on working out.. and dont kill anyone!!

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LITERARY_CHICK 9/30/2010 11:19AM

    You described TTOM perfectly. While I completely sympathize I appreciate the laugh as well. I agree that sometimes you just need some medicinal chocolate just don't add the ice cream.

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~*~ WTF??? Template for 9/28-10/3 ~*~

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
~*~ WTF??? Template for 9/28-10/3 ~*~
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

emoticon List everything you did for exercise since 9/20. You can list this as minutes, exercises, miles, DVDs- or everything, but list it all out right here:

- Two full body strength training sessions
- Two 4x10 elliptical workouts (between muscle groups during ST)
- Ran about 10.5 miles, 6 of them on Saturday morning
- Seven push-ups (just to see if I could do them)
- Golfed 18 holes with my family (I wore shorts, most of the women in my family wore hats and gloves. It was COLD and I am CRAZY!)

emoticonBecause you were able to do all of that last week, what can you do between now and Sunday?
- Not beat myself up over missing Monday's workout due to illness and Tuesday's due to a family engagement.
- Run on Wednesday
- Start Pilates on Thursday
- Run my third 5K on Saturday- but my first without knee supports!
- See a number that starts with a 1 on my scale (yeah, baby!)

emoticonWhat is your rainy day (backup) plan?
My gym is less than two miles away and has an indoor track. I laugh at rainy days!

emoticon How much time will you devote to exercise between now and Sunday?
3.5 hours, not as much as I'd like

emoticonChoose a power food for the week. Something you can use as a go-to healthy snack, or a meal that gives you lots of fuel.
I am all about Honeycrisp apples

emoticonRepeat the ritual that you created for yourself last week. It's only consistent 'me time' if you do it every week consistently. Tell us what you are going to do for yourself this week.
Hang the picture in the bathroom. Last week, I snaked my tub drain.

These are the 3 excuses I cannot use this week!
1. Period
2. Sleepy
3. Glasses

emoticonMotivate me this week by reminding me that:
My success inspires other people to try. Thanks to Facebook, my weight loss story has an audience!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FOXXYROXXYD 9/29/2010 2:41PM

    Haha - you made me laugh, bowing down before my fitness hours/miles. Keep in mind that I have this fitness partner that REQUIRES that I must walk him. Once he gets me the door the walking is pretty easy. The running is getting easier but I bow down to your 10.5 miles of running! Especially the 6 miles -- I would just like to be able to get back to 3 miles straight! Hopefully that will get better - the doctor thinks I have fitness induced asthma and I just got an inhaler yesterday to use before running... we'll see how that goes.
Kudos to you my friend you are doing AWESOME (in every sense of the word!)
You are going to rock that 5K this weekend!

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I'm not so sure I like this week so far

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I hate to be a Negative Nellie, but so far, I'm not all that fond of this week. After feeling lousy all morning yesterday, I stayed in my PJs, did laundry and watched TV all day. That means I skipped my Monday run. Boo! Bad Jenna! Today, I have a late afternoon meeting and dinner at my sister's to celebrate my niece's 14th birthday, so I suspect there will be no workout today, either.

I am determined to run tomorrow night, no matter what. Well, I mean, I wouldn't try to run if I had pneumonia or broken bones or something, but you get the idea. No excuses! On Thursday, I have my first Pilates class, so that takes care of that day. Friday is a bit of a quandary. One of my friends is having a bachelorette party that night, but my best friend is coming into town to stay with me for the weekend. I have no doubt that the bachelorette wouldn't mind one more person, but I'm not sure my conservative, born-again, homeschooling best friend and my liberal, agnostic, yoga-loving local friends would be a good match. I suppose all I can do is ask!

On Saturday I have yet another 5K. I swear I'm getting addicted to those things. This will probably be my last for a while. Honestly, the fact that all finishers get medals is the real draw for this one. My best friend will be running with me, though she claims she won't be able to keep up. She hasn't run in quite a while and went through some drama with an injury her doctors initially thought was cancer and then discovered it was an as-yet-undiscovered stress fracture. Thank goodness they discovered the truth before amputation! (That's actually a word they were throwing around at the time.) My friend needs considerably less health/personal drama in her life, which is why she is coming to stay with me. My house is the house of "Mom-cation." So I'm thinking chilly race, hot donuts and cider, checking out the Harvest Fest in town, and then an evening of girly drinks and Wii.

That should end this questionable week on an up note!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FOXXYROXXYD 9/29/2010 2:43PM

    You had me at hot donuts and cider! emoticon

Have a great weekend!

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DRPOOH63 9/28/2010 10:36PM

    Well the week only has one way to go....... Or maybe...... Good luck on your 5k!

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FUNFROG79 9/28/2010 10:27AM

    Have a great race! emoticon

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KARVY09 9/28/2010 10:18AM

    OMG, they thought a stress fracture was cancer???? They mentioned AMPUTATION!???! How scary and a good reminder to always, always get a second opinion.

Have a good 5K this weekend and a good run tomorrow!

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