Monday, January 24, 2011
So, the weekend before this past one was so busy it took me over a week to recover! Going waaaaaay back to January 15, I was knitting like crazy, but still way behind where I had intended to be on the baby sweater I was making for my cousin's shower on Sunday (the 17th). All week long, I had been following this routine most nights: PT and then the gym, or running errands; get home and have dinner; knit until I start to fall asleep; go to bed. And yes, you read that right. Sometimes I was nodding off while I was knitting. I didn't think it was possible, but evidently muscle memory works even while you're falling asleep. Unfortunately, I still have no evidence that you can knit well while falling asleep. At least twice, I had to rip out or un-knit (tink?) a significant amount of work because I missed some key word in the pattern. Anyway, when I went to bed on Friday, I had only gotten as far as the back, both front pieces, and a sleeve done. I still had to knit another sleeve, sew the pieces together and then knit the buttonhole and button bands, then work in all of the yarn ends.
On Saturday, I waited to run until about 1:00 PM. I was waiting for the weather to get a bit warmer and the roads to get more clear. We had gotten fresh snow on Friday and I didn't want to run on it. I had my Yak Tracks, but I still had misgivings. I had put them on the previous weekend, but there was no snow on most of my route, so I had taken them off immediately. This time, I drove my running route first and saw that there was quite a bit of snow on most of the roads, or at least, on the shoulders. It was about 25 deg F, and I wore the most ridiculous outfit: running tights, my running skirt, a sleeveless shirt, arm warmers, and a hooded half zip top that's fleece on the inside and smooth on the outside. I also wore my gloves and my thin hat. I have a real problem with overheating when I run, and oddly enough the medium weight top with the sleeveless shirt and arm warmers were pretty much perfect. As usual, my head was totally sweaty at the end of my run. Thorlo socks that time because my feet had gotten tired on the previous long run.
To fast-forward to this past weekend's running attire when it was 15 degrees F: wicking thermal underwear tights, mesh warm-up pants, silk long underwear top, and a thin fleece, topped with a fleece hood/gaiter thingy, SmartWool socks and my gloves. My hands, head and neck were so hot and sweaty that I had to take off my sunglasses because they steamed up. I *really* didn't like the hood. Fleece is too warm for my head. The hat I usually wear? The one that makes my head all sweaty? It's a beanie made of some thin Nylon-like material. This week I'm planning to get a Buff.
Anyway, back to the 16th. The eight miles went pretty smoothly. I paused briefly at the 4 mile mark to update my Facebook page with "4 down, 4 to go." I devoured my Honey Stingers five at a time at four miles and six miles. To be honest, though, I didn't really notice it. I'm going to try Gu again during this weekend's ten miler. I sipped my water throughout my run and sucked on my cough drops. Yes, I run while sucking on cough drops the entire time. I started it when I was running congested at the beginning of the month and honestly, it makes me feel a lot better. I don't get as dry or as tired. It's weird. And the fact that cough drops are basically mentholated hard candy probably accounts for the lack of effect from the Honey Stingers.
Oddly enough, I think I was less tired after my eight miler than I was after the six miler the week before. I credit the Thorlo socks. I love my SmartWool socks for how toasty warm and dry they keep my feet, but for padding nothing beats Thorlo! Some of my good feeling was probably also the happy, exhilarated feeling I had when I finished. It was my longest run ever and the first time I had crossed that invisible halfway to half marathon point. It's a glorious feeling!
So, anyway, I got home, had an early dinner, took a shower and immediately started knitting. Some time that night, my mom called to tell me my aunt had passed away that night. She was going to be 90 this year and has been increasingly frail for the past several years. She caught pneumonia before Christmas and never really got better. It wasn't unexpected, and yet it was. She's gone through so much physically over the past few years and recovered from it every time, so I was beginning to think she was made of really finely wrought steel. I'm going to miss her so much, even though we weren't particularly close. Aunt Ellen was always the one who sent out her Christmas cards first (and none of that sending one to you if you sent one to her- once she had your address, you were on her list!) and the one who remembered everyone's birthday. I always made a point of catching up with her when I saw her.
I hope it doesn't sound callous, but as soon as I got off the phone, I went back to my knitting. I had to get the sweater done. I last checked the clock at 10:00 PM, then studiously ignored it until every single loose end was woven in. When I finally went to bed, I looked at the clock, thought, "That can't be right!" Then I looked at the sky and realized it was getting light. It was just after 6:00 AM! I still needed to sew some buttons onto the sweater and wrap it up in time for the shower (which was over an hour's drive away), so I set the alarm for 9:30. There's just nothing like sewing buttons on a baby sweater in the parking lot of JoAnn Fabric on 3 hours of sleep! The shower went well and was fun, but I had the sudden recall of my aunt's passing that just hit me at the end of the party.
You'd think I'd go straight to bed after that, right? Nope. I didn't make it to bed until 11:30. I don't know why. I know I discovered a website with awesome furniture-making plans and I got sucked into becoming all empowered and browsing plans. My furniture "to-do" list is now quite large. But I'm now convinced that I can build some pretty great bookcases, benches, shelves and an ottoman. I do believe I have gone insane.
On Monday, I went back up to the Flint-area for my aunt's viewing and the Rosary. Her youngest son's birthday was that Wednesday, so they planned the viewing for Monday and the Mass for Tuesday, despite a certain lack of availability of priests. The rest of the week went pretty quickly. It was both super-short and dreadfully long and draggy. I have another baby shower coming up this weekend, so I gave myself almost two weeks to make a (much simpler) sweater. No more marathon knitting nights! Or at least, that's the plan. On Saturday, I baked all morning for our church's bake sale. Two pans of lemon bars and two pans of brownies. Dropped them off at the church. Had dinner, watched TV and knitted that night. Ran a cold but uneventful four miles on Sunday. Got almost no sleep last night.
Is it next weekend yet?
Friday, January 14, 2011
Besides the one year anniversary of joining Spark People, this week also marks one year since I started running. I should have posted this yesterday, but I got confused by the fact that my first running blog post was posted the following day. Where's the ::rolleyes:: emoticon when I need it? LOL! Anyway, here is that first blog post:
It's been an interesting year since then, to say the least. I started, stalled, re-started and ultimately abandoned Couch to 5K. (But not before running for five minutes without stopping, as described in this post, which is one of my favorite posts of the past 12 months: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3235422 ) I ran in four 5K races, the first of which I blogged about in a post called "My Funny 5K Fiasco." www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3566536 . I ran 5 miles for the first time. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3615326 And then, not long after that, I had my first running injury. Sidelined for a frustrating two months with tendinitis in my left ankle ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3754390 ) and then cartilage issues in my knees, about two weeks in to my physical therapy ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3785973 ). I finally started running again at the end of November. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Tomorrow will be my first attempt at an 8 mile run. I'm a little nervous about it, because that will be my longest run ever and for some reason, it seems like 8 miles is over my mental cutoff between "Can I make it through 13.1 miles?" and "Sure! Piece of (really challenging and slow) cake!" My knees are acting cranky today, but that sort of thing comes and goes, and I'm hoping it will be better by tomorrow. I run slowly and most likely will never be a fast runner. I think by a lot of people's standards, I'm not really a "*runner* runner." I think running has joined billiards and bowling as one of those things I really enjoy, but I'm not particularly good at. And unlike billiards and bowling, I doubt running has an "optimum beer level" that can improve my performance! But six weeks from today, I will be at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, walking into the Fit for a Princess Race Expo, and picking up the bib for my very first half marathon. I'm excited and nervous just thinking about it now, so I expect I will be pretty freaked out by then. But I also know that once I start running on Sunday morning, regardless of how I feel physically, mentally, I am going to feel FREAKIN' AWESOME!
Running is a pleasure. Running is a nightmare. Running is a joy. Running is a pain in my butt (and my hips and my knees and my ankles and my feet). Running is what I look forward to. Running is what I put off. Running is what I think about all the time. Running is what I use to forget about everything else for a short time. Running has been my gift, my curse, and my salvation. It has also been the source of a lot of pain and anxiety, particularly in the past few months. No matter what else I think about running, I'm glad I do it.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Today is the one year anniversary of the day I joined Spark People. I can't even tell you how amazing this year has been. At times I feel like a totally different person than I was a year ago. Back then, I weighed 230 pounds, wore a size 18 or 20, and had this dream of getting to a healthy weight and running a half marathon by my 40th birthday. I ate a lot of fast food. I hadn't run since 9th grade gym class. I had no idea how I was going to reach my goal. I had no idea if I *could* reach my goal. A pretty substantial part of me believed it was impossible. I thought, "It's too much! I'm too old! I fail every time I try!"
Here's a little important fact about me: I always had good self-esteem as a kid. I was actually a skinny kid, then a curvy but still slender teen. I didn't start gaining weight until I got out of college and began living on my own. Before that, I was an independent, confident (but somewhat shy) girl who honestly believed that I could do anything I wanted to if I tried. My parents are fantastic, and they made sure I knew that they thought I was smart, beautiful and capable of great things. A lot of my self-esteem comes from that and I will never stop thanking God for blessing me with my Mom and Dad. But when I started gaining weight, I stopped being able to do things like ski and walk for miles without pain. I started believing that I had beautiful features, but was unattractive. I started wondering if I'd ever be able to be healthy again, or if my older years would be defined by joint pain and sickness. Being fat took the strong, confident girl I was away from me. I let her slip away from me for almost 15 years.
Over the past year, I've started much better eating habits and I started making exercise a habit, with running my number one priority. As of this morning, I weigh 187.5 pounds. I've lost over 40 pounds. I've lost inches all over (four each from my waist and hips). I'm now wearing a fairly roomy size 14. I still have about 30 pounds to lose, so I've had to readjust my idea of when I'd reach my goals (I no longer have an end date in mind, I'll get there when I get there.) However, I've also had to readjust my perception of my perfect size. I always wanted to be a size 12. I now know that at goal weight, size 12 will be too large for me. I've run in four 5K races so far, and after some injury and illness roadblocks I'm looking forward to my half-marathon next month.
The most important thing I've lost is that feeling that I might not be able to achieve my goals. A few months ago, I posted the status update "I don't have a can-do attitude. I have a will-do attitude!" Every time I post something that might sound a little vain or egotistical (such as "I'm freakin' awesome!" or "I'm having a cute girl day!"), it's my sheer joy at regaining that old feeling that I can do anything and that I am beautiful just bubbling over. I've decided that my 45 pounds lost reward to myself is going to be a new swimsuit to wear while I lounge by the pool after my half-marathon. It's going to have a cute skirted bottom and a bikini top and that will be the first time I've intentionally showed off that much skin since I was in college. I'm going to wear big, glamorous sunglasses and drink fruity cocktails, and if anyone looks askance at my saggy belly, fat thighs or back fat, I may just speak up and say "I'm confident enough to wear this because I've *earned* it!"
Monday, January 10, 2011
This weekend was pretty doggoned awesome by my standards. On Friday, I stopped off at REI and did a little damage to my wallet buying winter running stuff. I bought arm warmers, new insoles for my new-ish shoes, more SmartWool socks (plus a pair of Thorlos), and a pair of YakTracks. Based on the weather forecast for the weekend, I planned to run on Sunday, when it was supposed to be mostly sunny, rather than Saturday, with expected snow showers. On Saturday, I spent most of the day in my pajamas! I spent the morning working on my WDW/Half-Marathon vacation plans and working on that on the phone with my mother. Afterward, I finally showered and did a little more shopping (Homegooods, Old Navy, Target and Kohls). Then I proceeded to knit until almost 2:00 AM! Crazed crafter alert!
On Sunday, I woke up late, but earlier than I expected. I went to church, did some grocery shopping, and decided to defer making dinner until after my run. Sunday was a "bluebird day." I love the way bright sun glints off fresh snow. It was about 30 degrees, very little wind, sunny, and the roads in the neighborhood where I run were about 90% clear. I was able to run on or close to the shoulder for most of my run. There were a couple of notable exceptions, though. I think someone must have been parked on the road when they plowed out the subdivision. After encountering traffic when dealing with that patch on my first two laps, I decided to run on the sidewalk on the third lap. I really hate running on the sidewalk.
Yesterday was also my first run with my new Gym Boss. Oh, my goodness, that thing is awesome! So easy to use and there's no question about my intervals. I had decided to go kind of conservative with my intervals, so it was also my first time running with a :30/:30 interval. I thought it would feel short. There's no question that it did feel short sometimes, especially in the beginning. But when I'd been running for a while, there were times that I heard that chime at *exactly* the right time. Also exactly the right time? The end of my run. I was starting to really get tired toward the end. My knees and ankle felt fine... mostly, but my feet were getting very sore. I get an achy spot right under the ball of my left foot. And then I started to tighten up because of the pain in my foot. My back started to get tired. BUT!! I did the run/walk consistently for the whole six miles. The only time I felt the need to stretch my 30 second walk break into a minute was when I was trying out Gu, also for the first time. The chime went off mid-Gu consumption. And then I took a drink of water and proceeded to having a coughing fit. So I walked an extra 30 seconds. The nice thing about :30/:30 intervals is that they're flexible like that. If I tried that with a 1:00/1:00 interval, I'd be walking for two minutes, which is too much. If I did :40/:20, I know me- I would get them mixed up. I think I am going to do my weekday runs at :40/:20, though. I think it would be good for my conditioning.
I stopped off at the library to pick up a knitting book. The gauge on my project was completely off and I decided to undo everything I'd done to that point and start fresh with a more yarn-appropriate pattern. It sucks when you figure out that a baby sweater is sized more for a two year old than a newborn when you are just about halfway done with the body. I had to rewind about 120 yards of yarn. Gauge is of critical importance! After I got home, I prepared a slowcooker meal to cook today. I had planned beef and kluski noodles, but forgot that you don't put potatoes in it. So I had a pot of beef, veggies, broth and potatoes which was too thin for stew. In the end, I decided to put the noodles in, anyway, because they'll soak up the excess broth. It will be pretty carb-errific, but I'll just adjust the serving sizes accordingly. I may have enough for lunches *and* dinners this week. It's probably a good thing that I'm single and have a lot of patience with food that's a little lacking in variety! While that was cooking (I do a kind of pre-cook the night before an all-day cook so I can test the flavor), I cast on for the new baby sweater. Despite the lack of time, I made pretty decent inroads on the back of the sweater. I might have the back finished tonight. At this pace, I should have the sweater finished on Saturday. Which is really good, because the baby shower is on Sunday! And after that, do I get to stop knitting? Noooo! I have another baby shower next Saturday and I'm knitting yet another tiny, wee cardigan. This one in soft pink, rather than the pale blue of my current project. I have to say, baby clothes are my absolute favorite knitting projects. Not only are they completely adorable, but you can knock out a pair of booties in an hour or so. I have no babies, myself, but probably 2/3 of my knitting books are baby things! I think I mostly bought them for the pictures, though. I swear baby knitting books can cause ovulation!
And finally, though it's not something that happened this weekend, I got news this morning that's pretty much the cherry on the top of my great weekend. When the other members of my traveling party bailed on the WDW trip, I decided to cancel the two studio reservations* and try to get Friday and Saturday night in the two bedroom villa I had reserved for Sunday through Friday. On Friday afternoon, I had the incredibly frustrating experience of seeing that the reservation was available to the general public, but not available as a Disney Vacation Club reservation. Friday night was available, but not Saturday. So I had them put me on a waitlist for the nights. I had high hopes and knew that if it was going to come through, I would most likely find out within a couple of weeks. Anyone canceling a vacation would have to do it at least 4 weeks in advance to avoid their points going into a holding account. This morning I got an email from DVC notifying me that I have a reservation for Friday and Saturday nights! Yay! No sleeping on the sofa of an Embassy Suites 1 bedroom suite! No having my parents deal with picking me up at the airport! No worrying about how I'm going to get to the race expo! And above all- no packing bags, loading the car, checking out, and switching resorts on race day! Yipppeeeeee! One of the things my Mom and I decided on Saturday is that we're registering my parents for the ChEar Squad gold package. I'm paying for one and they'll pay for the other. (Never underestimate the value of hot coffee and private port-a-johns when it's 9:00 AM and you've already been up for six hours!) I might leg it over to Jambo and take the shuttle to the start even though my parents are going to the starting line. Why take chances on getting hung up in traffic?
Anyway, it was a great weekend all around!
* I had originally made the reservations for the trip with the expectation that my traveling party would be: me; my parents; my brother and his partner; my sister, her partner, and their two kids; and my cousin, her husband and her daughter. I had reserved a two bedroom villa for me, my parents, and my sister's family, and a studio each for my brother and my cousin. The reservations were for Sunday-Friday. It took my remaining points from last year, and all of my points from this year and next. My party is now down to me and my parents. We're staying in a villa that sleeps 9 and has as many bathrooms as there will be people sleeping in it. I love my family a lot. I'm just going to keep reminding myself of that! At least with the weekend ressie, I won't have to worry about losing any points this year. I have 68 points left that I just need to bank by the end of March or use by the end of July. I'm thinking fall trip! Perhaps the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon?
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