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Wintery excuses and procrastination can just suck it (catching up, so it's long)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I meant to join YOOVIE's "Suck It" December challenge on time, but I was stuck in a classroom with several male co-workers looking over my shoulder all week and I ran out of time to post.

But I firmly believe that starting late is better than not starting at all. So here is my entry card, a brief day 2 recap, and days 3-5 all wrapped up in one post! emoticon


1. Pick any 5 things to measure that you will measure again on New Year's Day. Post those current measurements here. it can be everything from how many modified pushups you can currently do, to a 5K time, to a bra size, I don't give a crap. Personalize it.

A. Weight 193 (gained a little this week)
B. Waist Measurement: 36.25
C. Distance I run: 3.1 miles as of this morning! Coming off PT for tendinitis means I have to rebuild my conditioning.
D. Average pace: 14.33/mile at a run/walk
E. Pant size: 14

2. Declare yourself. Do so by choosing one or more of the following.

A. Make your declaration of independence from imminent failure, guilt and pressure. Write a paragraph, a statement or a blog about how you will do your best, and not hate yourself if you fail.
B. Post a current body shot if you have not already posted one, or at least an updated one you can use as a before picture. This isn't a long challenge, only 4.5 weeks- so you may not make alot of progress in a body shot- but the goal here is to not backtrack in December, right?
C. Post an awesome profile picture of yourself, if you don't have one.
D. Put up your ticker. This is IMMENSELY helpful. it shows where you are now, which can be tough to admit, but its courage that makes all the difference. You know that's the truth.
E. Redo your sparkpage with flair and determination. Freshen it up. We're done with the tired same old same old.

I changed my sparkpage to a winter theme. I actually love winter, so I like the change. But I'm also going to write a brief paragraph about how I intend to measure success and don't view failure as FAILURE. Ahem...

This fall was particularly challenging for me. After having a great September and finishing up running 6 miles and feeling confident that I was on track for my half-marathon training, I developed tendinitis in my ankle and was unable to run for two months. I also had some ongoing digestive issues which not only left me feeling weak and worried, they contributed to me allowing my eating habits to become royally screwed up for a while. After all, what was the point in eating healthy if none of the food was going to stick around long enough to add pounds? I continued to lose weight while eating fattening food and felt guilty about it, to boot. But I wasn't getting enough of the good stuff. I also allowed physical therapy to become a complete replacement for other exercise. I have no doubt that I was working up a sweat and getting fitter, but as a workout, it isn't balanced enough. I told myself that PT three times a week made me too tired and busy to go to the gym. Not true. I kind of dropped out of the What the Fall challenge because I was feeling down and way too busy to deal with anything. I ended up feeling like a failure. No more. You know what? I'm not a failure. When I recognized that I was eating poorly, I worked to correct it. When I felt repaired enough to run, I ran. And I started going to the gym after PT, even though I was dog-tired.

The point of a challenge isn't how you finish, it's whether you continue. I will never be a failure because I will always continue. That's something you can take to the bank. It doesn't matter if I get to a certain size or weight or if I run my next 5K faster than before. What matters is that I keep trying.

3. Make the decision that no matter how many times you fall in December, you wont wait 24-48 hours to make up for it. Make sure your next act, after falling, is standing up straight. Immediately. State one victory you have already had today.
YOOVIE posted this entry card on Wednesday. This is what I accomplished that day: impressed my co-workers with my ability to adapt, packed my lunch for the first time that week, went to PT, prepared a healthy home-cooked meal with planned leftovers, tracked every food I ate.

4. Tell me what you are absolutely going to do right today.

See above!

emoticon DAY TWO (Thursday)!
Today, research your current obstacle and read a sparkticle on it. You get three points and hell you might learn something that can help you defeat it.

For fun, post here what obstacle you are researching so that someone that might be stumped as to where to start, can totally jack your idea.

That day, I was dealing with a lot of pain in my hip flexors. It appears that my stamina and will-power may not have fallen off too much in the past two weeks, but my body's shock absorbers were a little stunned by the return to activity. With a little help from my PT on Wed. night, and a little research on Thursday, I have some good new stretches to try and info on what's happening with my hips. Turns out that the chair I was sitting in all week was probably as big a culprit as the running. Also, that night I used my foam roller for the first time!

emoticon DAY THREE through FIVE emoticon

emoticon For today, post your favorite holiday recipe- but post a healthier version of it. OR post a recipe for something healthy that you want to include in your eating this month, that you have always wanted to try.

So, some article I was reading recently addressed the best and worst foods to eat on a typical holiday party buffet. They identified the beloved hot spinach and artichoke dip as one of the worst things you could possibly eat. It makes sense. When you look at the recipes, they're full of cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. One recipe I found on was 306 calories and almost 27 grams of fat per serving! And that's just for the dip. It doesn't include chips or bread or crackers to deliver the dip to your mouth. So as has become my habit lately, I checked out Cooking Light for a "recipe re-do." This recipe has half the calories, less than 20% of the fat, and includes tortilla chips. Suck on *that*, holiday buffet! I know one thing I'm bringing to the family Christmas party!

From Sept. 2007 Cooking Light:

Yield: 5 1/2 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup dip and about 6 chips)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 (13.5-ounce) package baked tortilla chips (about 16 cups)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (through spinach) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips.

Nutritional Information
Calories:148 (30% from fat)
Fat:5g (sat 2.9g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.5g)

emoticon Also, if you have never used the nutrition tracker on SP- use it today to track ONE meal- just bite the bullet and try. It's not scary, it's fun.
I use it whenever I can. It keeps me honest! And I think it's the reason for half of my weight loss.

emoticon Come up with a plan for the weekend. Go ahead and do it, and put it in font for all to see. Promise yourself you can do a plan just for the weekend. Its just 2 and a half days, and you are a grown adult, you can totally handle 2.5 days.

Friday- Pick up registration packet for 5K, eat healthy leftovers and set out running outfit.
Saturday- 9:00 AM, Jingle Bell 5K! I had my slowest race to date, but my longest run since October 2. I think that's just fine! I felt great! Tonight I'm eating more healthy leftovers, then cleaning my room for tomorrow's plan.
Sunday- my sister is coming over to help me fix my bed in preparation of my parents staying with me in two weeks. The bed slats fall through the frame, which isn't conducive to good sleep and makes my back hurt. She owes me, big-time, so she's planning to do everything herself, but I'm sure hauling lumber upstairs is in my future! While she's working on that, I'm going to finish putting up my Christmas lights and start cleaning the rest of the house. It's also time to start planning holiday menus and pre-preparing whatever I can.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POOHLA711 12/6/2010 8:56AM

    I'm so proud of you for making the turn around after your injury. You are a rock star!

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FUNFROG79 12/5/2010 7:19AM

    Love it! Good luck on your race!

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FOXXYROXXYD 12/4/2010 6:52PM

    Glad to see you back in the game my friend! Thanks for the recipe - gotta try it! Love your new background!

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Busy runner's blog! (jingle jingle)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I had to continue the blog post I started on Tuesday so I could post it today. I have been ridiculously busy this week, so I just ran out of time to finish it!

This part was written on Tuesday:
At PT last night, I told Jennifer about my run on Sunday and she was neither surprised nor annoyed at me. I told her all about how I warmed up properly, let how I was feeling determine the intervals and how I cut off the run while I still felt good. She responded by showing me some stretches to add to my repertoire (a little more dynamic quad/calf/hamstring stretch which also works my IT band) and telling me that we'd be finishing up my ankle next week and moving on to the knee. We've been working on my knee the whole time, so I suspect there won't be a whole lot different- though we will be focusing on a different leg!

She also told me that she and some friends were going to be running the Jingle Bell 5K in Northville this weekend. It benefits the Arthritis Foundation, which is certainly something me and my crunchy knees can get behind! The way I figure it, I planned to get back to running my old half hour twice during the week and distance on weekends, with an eye on moving up to 3 miles this weekend. Pay 25 bucks, add a tenth of a mile and throw some bells on my shoes, and it sounds like something that fits in with my plans pretty well! I'll tell PT Jennifer about it tomorrow night and if she raises an eyebrow about it, I'll just tell her she's a bad influence. I don't think she will, though. She knows that I'm very well aware of my limits and I have no intention of jeapordizing my recovery.

When I got home last night, a package was waiting for me from Skirt Sports. I took advantage of their Black Friday sale last week and got myself the Lotta Breeze capri skirt in Midori and the Gym Girl Ultra skirt in Pink Crush Spinnin'. I tried on the Lotta Breeze first. Holy cow! I felt like it was 1985 again and I had simply misplaced my fingerless lace gloves and jelly bracelets. That skirt is very green and very bright! It's also very short. Not uncomfortably short, just unexpectedly short. I was definitely feeling a lotta breeze around my bum! I tried on the Ultra Gym Girl next and immediately said, "That's what I'm talkin' about!" It is super cute! I love the pattern, my legs love the cut, and my bum loves that extra inch and a half of length. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to get tights either under or over those shorties to deal with the Michigan winter.

Actually, I have some ideas about that. I was looking in a few different stores for winter running gear (tights, tops, etc.) and ran across some "active" long underwear at Target that sounds promising. It's supposed to be wicking and warm. We shall see! It's certainly less expensive than the thermal tights and tops I've seen in athletic wear departments and sports stores.

This part was written today:
It's supposed to be about 35 degrees on Saturday with 7 mph winds and 60% humidity at noon (race time). I'm planning on lots of lightweight layers and my new fleece beanie hat. I'm also planning to wear the Red October Run gloves that my friend gave me from my last 5K. I told my PT that I was registered for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk, so she might get to see me in action on Saturday. She seemed pretty excited for me. I mentioned I was looking at Santa hats at the store, but hadn't decided whether I was going to go jingly-cheery-festive, or low profile. She encouraged me to go with the festive holiday mood of the run. Since I'm planning on my fleece beanie (it's white with pink, green and red stripes, so it kind of looks like hard Christmas candy), I'm just going to get some small jingle bells. I'll sew some onto the top of my hat and string some into stretchy bracelets and anklets. Easy-peasy figgy pudding-squeezy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    That is awesome. I am also running in a Jingle Bell run this Saturday at 8:00. It is only suppose to be about 45 degrees here all day so I am guessing about 30 or so at start time. It will be cold but I think it will be a fun run. I am excited. Good luck to you.

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FUNFROG79 12/2/2010 3:32PM

    Gosh, I miss running so bad! You are so lucky! The skirt sounds so cute! emoticon

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FOXXYROXXYD 12/2/2010 2:09PM

    OMG - we're twins! The Jingle Bell 5K I am doing Saturday is for the Arthritis Foundation too! Picked up my race packet and jingle bells last night! I can't stand anything on my head unless it is super cold and it's should be in the high 40's here by race time but.... I did buy some cool knee high Christmas socks to wear with my capri running pants much to the probably embarrassment of my daughter. Hey, I bought her and her sister-in-law a pair too - but I bet they don't wear them. Whatever! It's a fun run right?

OK - gotta see pics of the skirts! I plan to take a picture of me in all my glory on Saturday so you do the same!!!

Race on my friend and stay warm! So excited for you to be running again! You are indeed AWESOME!

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JENN26POINT2 12/2/2010 1:28PM

    I'm so excited to start running again. I have PT tonight to work on some tendonitis I've had that has sidelined me (literally physically impossible to run for the last week and a half, not just a "oh, that hurts a bit, I'm gonna quit" kind of discomfort). Today it feels 98% better, so I'm excited about moving back in.

Your skirts sound super cute! I'm just not brave enough to wear one yet, tights or not... Enjoy your 5k this weekend! It's supposed to snow like crazy here.

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BECOMESTRONGER 12/2/2010 12:25PM

    Very jealous. (I can't help it, I MISS running!) I'd love to be there this weekend too. Have fun and stay warm. emoticon

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First run in eight weeks

Monday, November 29, 2010

I've been feeling progressively better lately. My ankle still has the occasional twinge of pain when I've overused it, but my knee actually feels pretty close to normal. Well, normal for me, anyway. Which means really noisy and occasionally unstable, with a few moments of pain to remind me that my normal isn't like other people's normal. Anyway, I was feeling well enough yesterday that I went out for a run, my first since Oct. 2. It was a gorgeous afternoon, but really cold. I think it was 35-40 degrees yesterday. I went to my favorite spot to run, which is a perfect two mile block through a pretty neighborhood that doesn't get a lot of traffic. In fact, it gets less now than before. Two more businesses in that area closed or moved. It's a gorgeous mixed-use planned community, and boy, was it poorly located. In any case, it's wide lanes with well-tended pavement, clear sightlines and low traffic. It's great for running even if it's not great for business.

I couldn't find my Nike+ transponder thingy (the part that goes on my shoe) but decided if adding miles to my tally was that important, I needed to re-think my priorities. I started off with a ten minute walk, which is just about a half mile. A little bit of stretching and I was ready to run. It felt so much better than I expected, but my breathing stamina is totally shot. Part of that is undoubtedly that I'm getting over a cold and I'm still pretty congested, but a lot of it is being out of practice. It's not just a lack of running. I've been so busy with PT that I haven't done a lot of strenuous cardio for almost two months. I certainly work up a sweat and burn calories with PT, but I only do ten minutes of cardio during PT and that is on one of the easiest machines I've ever used. (It's the NuStep, which is kind of like a seated stair climber.) Instead of music, I listened to "This American Life" on NPR. It was their annual post-Thanksgiving "all poultry stories" episode. Very amusing and involving. I didn't use any regular run-walk-run intervals this time. I just ran for as long as I thought I could and walked until I felt like running again. I don't like to do that, because I do better with regular intervals, but it seemed like a good idea for this first run.

As I rounded the last corner and started the final stretch of two mile loop, I thought about what I wanted to do next. On the one hand, I felt pretty good, but I was starting to get fatigued in both my ankle and my knee as well as just feeling tired. I decided that, for my first run in months, two miles was plenty. I'd rather have a good two mile run than four miles of "that two miles felt good, this half mile is kind of painful, oops- I guess I'll hobble the remaining mile and a half back to my car, man, that hurts!" It was clearly the right choice to make. I feel great this morning, and I'm planning on another run on Tuesday. I have to decide whether I'm ready to brave a treadmill or if I'm going to stick with the indoor track. On the one hand, the track is easier to adjust my pace and running intervals, on the other hand, it's slightly banked and I don't think that would do me any favors. And honestly, part of me is balking at the idea of indoor running at all. I want to run outside as long as I can. But when you don't get home until after dark and hate to run on sidewalks, it doesn't really work that well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CIVIAV 12/3/2010 10:28AM

    Smart cookie! I need a dose of this sensibility!

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LITERARY_CHICK 12/1/2010 10:55AM

    WOOOT! I am so glad you were able to get back to running. I know you really have missed your daily run!

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FUNFROG79 11/29/2010 6:26PM

    Whoo hoo! emoticon

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    Great job on the two miles. I think you absolutely did the right thing. I am right there with you too. I am just starting to run again and trying to do it without over doing it. It is hard but we can do it. Keep up the great work.

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POOHLA711 11/29/2010 3:14PM

    So glad to hear you're back in the saddle!

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FOXXYROXXYD 11/29/2010 2:47PM

    I'm so happy for you - I know how much it means to you to get back to running! Way to go on listening to your body-keep up the great work!

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LAURIE5658 11/29/2010 2:46PM

    I hope, I hope, I hope that all of this means that you are BACK!!! THAT would be so awesome!


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Less whining, more "I'm fine"-ing

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So, in the past few days, I've gone from "Oh, my God! The pain! Will I ever walk again!" to "Hmm. My knee feels okay. What's up with that?" I'm not 100% back to normal by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel much better. In fact, I kind of feel like I did this past summer, when I was running with supports on both my knees. I could do with a bit less crackling in my knees, but it's the kind of thing that I'm already used to. I suspect it's the TENS unit. I got it for my ankle a few weeks ago, and it came with a splitter, so I put one electrode on my ankle and one on my knee. I'm also wearing my heavier knee support on that knee. It occasionally feels unstable, but I'm actually feeling pretty good. Bending it still hurts like the dickens, but I can see a time when that will go away, too.

For right now, I'm just trying to take it easy. Not too easy, though. My PT isn't letting me off the hook with my exercises!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POOHLA711 11/18/2010 8:14AM

    Keep up the good work and positive attitude!

Have I mentioned how glad I am that you're back? emoticon

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LAURIE5658 11/17/2010 5:28PM

    Physical therapists are like that! There is no rest for the weary with them! let me tell ya though, my PT is a miracle worker and I do as she says. You'll get back to normal and hopefully sooner than later.


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FUNFROG79 11/17/2010 3:21PM

    Urgh! I hated my TENS unit after my knee surgery, hated it! Hang in there, you'll feel better soon! emoticon

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Not so fast...

Monday, November 15, 2010

After posting my last blog post, I headed out to therapy and told Jennifer (my PT) everything the orthopedic surgeon said and she had a slightly different take on it. As she put it, running with my knee issues is not a great idea, but at the same time "you don't want to kill someone's dream." And I had to confess that what the doctor said didn't just take the wind out of my sails, it completely flattened me.

While the doctor may know his stuff, the one thing he doesn't really know is me. He doesn't know that running the Princess Half isn't just a whim. He doesn't know that I've been working toward this for close to a year. And he hasn't spent the last four weeks watching me work through an injury. Not only does Jennifer know all that, she also knows that I was already running with undiagnosed chondromalacia.

The whole time I have been in PT, Jennifer has been completely noncommittal every time I brought up the half. She didn't want to give me false hope if I wasn't going to be able to do it. For her to tell me not to rule it out, that tells me that it's not a completely crazy idea. She's not necessarily telling me, "Oh yeah, you can totally do it!" It's more like she's saying, "Give your knees a couple of weeks to heal, then we'll start PT and see what happens." Which seems like a pretty sensible route to take.

So here's the way I look at it. Best case scenario, I recover from all of my injuries, run-walk the half, and cross the finish line under the deadline. Worst case scenario, I wear my $140 t-shirt to cheer on my Spark Princesses and more than likely, cry a bit. But I won't just be crying for my missed opportunity, I'll be crying with pride for my girls. (And I may secretly be plotting either the Wine and Dine half or bullying my friends into a relay team for the Detroit Free Press Marathon.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITERARY_CHICK 11/17/2010 11:15AM

    I know this is devestating for you because you love your runs so much but I am confident you'll find something you love doing just as well or figure out a way to keep running.

Keep the positive attitude about your Princess run. Hope is what keeps us going.

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FUNFROG79 11/16/2010 10:34AM

    I agree with LIVE2RUN4LIFE! emoticon

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POOHLA711 11/16/2010 9:33AM

    Should have read this blog before I commented on the last one :-)
I love your "spark"!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 11/15/2010 11:34PM

    If it's at all an option, I would consult a doctor who either treats runners or (better yet) is a runner for a second opinion. Perhaps your PT could give you a referral. I can't tell you the number of people who have tried to warn me off running because of my age. None of them were my physician, but some were physicians.

Comment edited on: 11/15/2010 11:35:30 PM

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FOXXYROXXYD 11/15/2010 8:53PM

    emoticon I like the way you think... of course the mother in me says, "Proceed with caution."

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LAURIE5658 11/15/2010 8:52PM

    Now this paints a completely different scenario and it does keep your dream alive. Do what you and your PT thinks is right. I may be wrong in saying this, but sometimes doctors have a tendancy to keep their blinders on. I should know. I used to be a physician's doctors office nurse.

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