Wednesday, January 26, 2011
That title brought to you by Xander Harris's subconscious. (It's from a dream sequence on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer.")
Yesterday, I set my status to say that I'm planning ahead. I'm thinking about a lot of things lately. For instance, I'm plotting my future races, thinking about home improvement, that sort of thing. I'm also thinking about my weight and what I'm doing about that. I've gained three pounds lately and I'm not happy about it. I know exactly how it happened, too. I've gotten lazy about eating properly. There are too many sweets in my house and not enough vegetables. That giant "limited edition" box of Godiva chocolates I scored for more than half price after Christmas may have been a great deal, but it's only acceptable if I eat one piece at a time. There are also a few truffles left from the box of homemade candy my brother sent me which also need to be eaten once per day.
Sidebar: my brother is like the male Martha Stewart- he'll remodel your bathroom, install a home network, make you some killer fried chicken and whip up some homemade peach jam (just because the tree in the yard had lots of peaches). He also rides a motorcycle and is a sergeant in the National Guard. My sister is a home-remodeling, ski-patrolling, salsa-making, tax-lawyering work-at-home Mom. We're well-rounded people!
Anyway, back to my food issues. The chocolates can stay because I know I can parcel them out in a way that fits into my daily guidelines. What has to go is the pair of cupcakes remaining from my bake sale purchases. My church had a bake sale last weekend. I baked two pans of brownies and two pans of lemon bars. I bought a brownie (One of my own! ) and three cupcakes. But I probably had the equivalent of a lemon bar when "cleaning off" the pastry scraper I use to cut them. And I ate a broken brownie. So I've eaten five desserts since Saturday. The fifth was a mini tiramisu last night when I had dinner with my girlfriends. The cupcakes were good, but I'm a cake snob. I bake everything from scratch, and I can taste the difference between a mix cake and a scratch cake. These were definitely mix cakes. Good and fudgey, but worth veering so far from my healthy eating. NO! Much as I hate wasting food, they are going in the trash when I get home.
Now, I'm a big believer in moving forward. You can't change what you did yesterday. You're not Superman and you can't fly so fast around the world that you reverse the rotation of the Earth and turn back time. The only thing you can change is what you do in the future. Now, I'm under no illusions about my ability to stay off the sweets and salty snacks. And I know I get sloppy about logging everything I eat and making the right choices all the time. But I can make a good effort. And I'm pretty sure I can stick to a "no sweets except for the daily piece of chocolate" between January 30 and February 24. And I can be more careful about portion sizes and making sure I get my veggies and drink my water. If that time period seems odd, it's actually pretty simple. My plans for this Saturday include a baby shower at an Italian restaurant, followed by cocktails and dinner with my friend at a fancy-schmancy Detroit bistro. (My weekend plans also include a 10 mile run, so it's all relative.) And the end date of the period is the day before my vacation. My vacation is going to feature creme brulee, profiteroles and bread pudding, so any "no sweets" effort will be on hold for a week.
So that's what I'm thinking about food lately. Here's what I'm thinking about other stuff. I'm getting my future running plans nailed down a bit. My first post-half marathon race will be the Corktown 5K on Mar. 13 (which is the day after my 40th birthday toga party- I told my friends that we will be "running away from the hangover"). After that will be the Martian Invasion races in Dearborn on April 1 with my best friend and her kids. I don't know what distance we'll be running, but I know Jenny is going to have to explain to the kids that Aunt Jenna is really, really slow. I plan to do some other 5 and 10K runs this spring and summer, and I'm thinking about getting my friends sucked into my crazy vortex of running to do the five person relay of the Detroit Free Press Marathon this fall. Three of the legs are 6-6.6 miles and the other two are 3 and 4.4 miles, so there's a nice range of distances. The first two legs include a border crossing into and out of Windsor, so it's a marathon with a certain international traveler thing going for it. I'm already plotting next year's adventures. In January, I intend to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon (a friend has plans to run the 5K that weekend), and in September, I'll do the Disneyland Half Marathon, thus earning myself the Coast-to-Coast Challenge medal! I need to get a wearable Partners statue.
I'm also doing a lot of thinking about home improvement. I'm saving that for another blog post, though. Here's a hint, though: I'm renaming the first weekend in February "Super Build Weekend."
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
First of all, thank you so much for the kind words on my aunt's passing. She was quite a lady.
Second, I forgot to finish my thoughts on running with my Yak Trax on during my eight mile run. I ended up running one two mile lap with them on, then stashing them in the car. Though there was soft snow covering the road in the subdivision part of the road, the rest of my run was mostly bare pavement. They seemed to work great on the snow, but they felt horrible on the bare road. I decided that while I could run on snow with my running shoes, I couldn't deal with bare roads and Yak Trax. Now I keep them in my car in case I run into ice or heavier snow.
Third, my physical therapy is going very well. My PT is convinced that my left leg is more flexible than hers. Or that I can extend it further. Something like that. My right leg is having an overly mobile knee cap right now, but it's not too bad. In any case, we don't really do any more manual PT work (massage or stuff like that) and I'm largely self-directed in my PT exercises. My PT was making noises about discharging me, but is also sympathetic to my request to continue PT until after the Princess Half. I'm kind of treating PT like a security blanket. It's almost as if I'm convinced that if I don't continue, something bad will happen. Well, one of the admins at their office remembered that they have a "step down" program where you pay a flat monthly fee and can come in to use the equipment on your own. Even though I already belong to a gym, there is some equipment that's kind of specialized, so I'm very keen on this idea. Wednesday is my last scheduled appointment, and I suspect it's going to be my last formal, meet-with-a-PT appointment. Starting next week, I'll move to step down. So no more appointments, but I'll still be using my beloved calf board and doing the interminable heel slides. And as my PT noted, I can always ask her questions if I have any.
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!"
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