Monday, May 17, 2010
I forgot to mention in yesterday's epic weekend blog post that I also had a fabulous brunch on Saturday that made me the envy of all I described it to. In fact, it was so good on Saturday, I made pretty much the same dish on Sunday, too! It was a toasted high fiber English muffin, topped with the last of the herbed chevre, a cup of baby spinach, a spritz of lemon juice, a couple of strips of bacon (chopped into pieces), and finally two gloriously runny poached eggs. The egg yolks mixed with the lemon juice to produce the flavor of Hollandaise without the butter. Sunday's dish was the same, except I used Jarlsberg Light because I had no more chevre.
People, believe me when I tell you this was everything brunch should be. Is there any dish more brunchy than eggs benedict? This had everything I love about eggs benedict, but the whole mess was about 370 calories and packed with protein and fiber. It was 20 grams of fat, but only 4 grams of saturated fat. It wasn't the healthiest breakfast ever, but it wasn't really unhealthy either. What it was was delicious and filling and it made me feel luxuriously indulgent- just like brunch should!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday was the end of a week that started out not-so-great and ended up pretty bad. I had an upset stomach on Thursday and stayed home from work. It was pouring rain throughout the night and morning, and I woke the second time to the sound of dripping water. I couldn't find any water, but I soon found damaged drywall under the skylight over my stairs. It turns out the skylight was leaking inside the walls! I called the condo management and they sent someone out to look at it. Luckily, the skylights are the association's responsibility. Later in the evening, I spotted 4-5 carpenter ants, so that's a whole new issue. Then, driving to work on Friday, some moron decided that her car needed to be in the exact spot my car was already in. This, while driving 75 MPH up an expressway! I was literally forced off the road, and only quick reflexes and a lack of panic got me through it. However, I did spend the first part of the day reacting to my near miss. Tears, shaking, anger: a great way to end the work week!
However, everything got brighter in the afternoon. First of all, I had baked 64 lemon bars for my Relay for Life team's bake sale, and my coworkers found out I had lemon bars for sale and I sold eleven bars before even dropping them off for the sale! Then I went to the gym to do a C25K run. I did my new practice of a long warm-up walk, stretch, and then do the podcast session, which also includes a warm-up. It was sunny and warm on Friday, so the indoor track was almost deserted, which was nice. I'm on week 4 and have been struggling with the five minute runs. It just seems so unattainably long and I get so out of breath. I ran the three minute segment, paused the 90 second recovery so I could take a drink, ran about half of the five minute segment, took a 20 second walking breather and then finished the five minutes running. My rationale was "I know I can run for 4 minutes and 40 seconds, so why not take the remaining 20 seconds in the middle when I need to catch my breath?" Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Perfectly reasonable and sensible and not likely to risk success in any way.
One of the things I love about working out at my town's community center is that you see all kinds of people there and you often see people on a recurring basis. For instance, I can almost always count on seeing an 83 year old man named Earl lifting weights and putting the youngsters to shame. Or the young woman who walks on the treadmill in an abaya and hijab. But the person I see most often during my track runs is a young man who comes with his mother to practice playing basketball once the karate classes and drop-in half court basketball games are over. This young man is in a wheelchair. The track is suspended over the gym, and most nights I'm running, I see him speeding all over the court practicing lay-ups while his mother rebounds for him. I've always admired them both, but on Friday night, after my second three minute run, a new thought occurred to me.
I may be 60 pounds overweight, and I may have a bad back and bad knees and I may be be fighting decades of bad habits because no one ever taught me how to run correctly. But comparatively speaking, I got off pretty easily. My scoliosis was managed without surgery, so I'm not running with a metal rod fused to my spine. Throughout my weight gain, I have skied, walked, played softball and worked out with relatively few problems. And yet, here I am, letting myself get away with not trying harder, while there he is, spending hours taking shots at a regulation height hoop from a wheelchair. He misses more than he makes the shots, but he doesn't stop; he doesn't slow down; he doesn't even pause.
I decided that instead of cutting the final five minute run to three minutes that I would just run as long as I could. And as long as I could had to be genuine, not just "I'm tired, I'm thirsty, and I want to stop." I made a point of not checking the time at the start so I wouldn't be tempted to stop early. I ran very slowly. I breathed as deeply and slowly as I could. I tried to keep my mouth from drying out by working up saliva. I ran and ran and Robert Ullrey told me there was a minute left to go. I can do a minute, I thought. That minute was so long. And then it was over. I did it! I ran for five minutes without stopping! I spent the next lap breathlessly saying "I did it!" over and over again to the empty track. And when I was done cooling down and stretching, I told that young man how he had inspired me. I think I worried him a little because when I ducked into the ladies room afterward, I saw that my eyes were red and tearful. It was such a triumphant end to a rotten week.
But not quite the end, really, because yesterday was the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Canton and not only had I baked those 64 lemon bars, I had taken the 11:30 PM walking shift. I got there at 9:00 PM for the Luminaria Ceremony. I don't know if anyone's ever been to one, but they are profoundly affecting. This one featured a woman talking about the loss of her sister at the age of 26, a presentation by my church's youth group, a song, and a slideshow of lost loved ones titled "Who do you relay for?" Pictures of young children lost to malignant brain tumors, coaches lost to melanoma, and grandparents lost to lung cancer were accompanied by their family and friends telling us who they were, how long they battled cancer, and that this was who they relayed for. The ceremony ended with a silent walk around the trail while a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace" played over the loudspeakers. Our Relay for Life trail circles a .44 mile path around a pond- the very same path where I took my first outdoor run a couple of weeks ago- and that path was circled with luminarias honoring survivors and lost loved ones. It's a humbling thing to see.
I did three laps of the path during my half hour shift, accumulating popcorn, light up necklaces and t-shirts as I walked. At the end, I found that the early morning shifts had some holes, so I volunteered to come back at 6:30 this morning to fill in. I slept from 1:00 to 6:00, brushed my teeth and hair, put on my glasses, threw on some warm clothes ate a banana, and reported to my team's tent. I walked two laps, slowed down somewhat by my newly acquired coffee and muffin (thank you, Team Tim Horton's!), returned to the tent and asked if anyone was scheduled for the 7:00 slot because I could go another half an hour. This time, I did three laps. At one point, my iPod shuffled to Lily Allen's cover of "Mister Blue Sky" and as I walked around the pond in the early morning chill, with the sun rising right in front of me and the clear and cloudless sky above, I realized that it truly is "a beautiful new day" in every possible way.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I don't usually post two blog posts in one day, but one of this week's action steps is really worrying me. It says "get regular sleep this week, 8 hours per night and get up without snooze." I know all the benefits of a good night's sleep. I know all the drawbacks of a lack of sleep. I also know that it's not really possible for me to get eight hours of sleep. And I mean, at all. Impossible. Or, I suppose it might be possible if I stopped going to the gym and maybe started eating fast food again.
I wake up at about 5:30 AM on weekdays. I have to be out the door by 7:00 AM because my office is 38 miles away from my house. I work from 8-5 (but often later), then at least three days per week, I drive straight to the gym. It usually takes about an hour and a half to get back home because the Michigan Department of Transportation has my already-long commute surrounded by construction. If I'm lucky, I can get out of the gym by about 9:00 PM. Then I often have to go to Target or Kroger for groceries or other necessary items. Then I go home and have dinner. I know I'm supposed to eat at the table, but since it's often already 10:00 by that time, I eat while I watch TV because it's the only way I'll get to watch TV. I do make sure I eat healthy, portion-controlled food, so that's something. If I'm really lucky, I can start getting ready for bed by 11:30, but it's often after midnight before I actually go to sleep. Oh, and since my golf league has started, I have to come in early on Wednesdays and Thursdays and leave an hour later on Wednesdays, because I leave early to get to the golf course before 5:30.
Where is this extra time for sleep supposed to come from? The way I see it, the most I could squeeze out of my day is an extra hour by ensuring I leave the office by 5:00 every day except Wednesday. And I could maybe get an hour by ensuring I did every bit of my errands on weekends only. Oh, and did I mention that I still have to manage to cook dinner, pack lunch, setup coffee and feed my cat (to say nothing of laundry and housework)? So the way I figure it, if everything runs like clockwork, the most I could get Monday-Friday is seven hours per night. And how often does this world run like clockwork?
Don't get me wrong. I would love to get eight hours a night. In fact, when people ask "what would you do if you won the lottery?" I say "never wake up before 8:00 again." I'm sitting here with tired, baggy eyes, dreading the drive home and the trip to the gym because all I want to do is go home and sleep. I got five hours last night and six hours the night before. I am the portrait of "burning the candle at both ends." I know it's a problem. But I don't know how working adults are supposed to solve that particular problem. And I don't think I've woken up with my alarm without hitting the snooze button in ten years.
So I guess I have to compromise. Eight hours is a pipe dream. Seven hours seems almost unreachable. Six hours seems like a worthy goal to shoot for. So I will try to sleep for six hours on weekdays and eight on weekends (such a luxury!). And anyone who tries to tell me to shoot for more can kiss my sleep-deprived butt.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I'm having a harder time recovering from my weekend at Mom and Dad's house than I thought I would. Between the horribly uncomfortable bed and the orgy of bake sale goodies, I'm achy, tired and draggy. The rainy, cold weather isn't really helping. I think the chief problem is the bed, though. When I stay at my parents' house, the bed I sleep in is one of those old, saggy leftover mattresses. I feel fine while I'm still in it, but as soon as I stand up, I feel like a pretzel of pain. I keep having these twinges in my lower back. And something was happening yesterday that made my muscles and joints hurt. I don't think I'm sick. I just hurt all over. It could very well be the weather. It could also be a case of lagging motivation and excuse-making.
Whatever is causing it, it's making the whole week pretty blah. And since I used that feeling as an excuse to skip going to the gym yesterday, it's thrown a monkey wrench into my schedule. I usually run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I have golf on Thursdays and I use my weekends to catch up on housework, errands and having fun. This week was already kind of weird because I'm doing Relay for Life late Saturday night. I signed up for the 11:30 PM shift. Anyway, I've determined that I can run and do my core-upper body ST tonight, finally do another lower body ST on Wednesday, golf Thursday (yay!), run on Friday and do the nearly-midnight walk on Saturday. Then I'll get back on track next week.
I'm very pleased that my lackadaisical attitude doesn't seem to be influencing what I eat. Aside from my "one piece of dark chocolate every night" mandate (Lindt with chili this week- yum!), I've had my veggies, whole grains and fruit. My protein and fat choices are not necessarily the best, but I have to be honest: I'm loving the convenience of a two egg omelet for dinner. I'm thinking about hitting the grocery store for some chevre and spinach instead of sticking with my Mexican blend shredded cheese, though. It would be all fancy and a little fewer calories. Plus- gooey!
Monday, May 10, 2010
I don't suppose it's a coincidence that the line immediately preceding that one ends "fat pig." Hmmm.
I spent the weekend up at my parents' house for Mother's Day and as is so often the case, I didn't stick to a single good habit while I was away from home. Probably about 90% of that bad behavior was solely my responsibility and if I was being honest with myself, I would note that the remaining 10% could have been avoided by making it clear to my dad that the pancake and egg Sunday breakfast he served me was enough for two people. Although I don't know what the man was thinking serving so much food when both my mother and I are supposed to be on diets. I mean, he's the one who initiated my mom's diet and he tracks all of her calories so you'd think he'd cut the amount in half. The worst thing I did, though, was entirely on my own. It involved a bake sale I ran into on Saturday. I'm not going to say what I bought or ate, but it was not good. And the terrible part of it was that I did it secretly. Not like "hiding in my closet guiltily eating a cupcake" secretly, but alone in my car, which is really just a matter of semantics.
So what am I going to do about this? Well, this blog post is the first thing. I needed to write it down and admit it to other people. I had to admit what I did and that I knew it wasn't good. If you put it out there, even to strangers, it's not quite as secret. If I was really brave, I'd tell my mother. I'm not that brave. Plus, she's so happy for me for losing weight and I just can't bring myself to let her down that way. What else to do? Second, I'm not going to beat myself up for it or work extra hard this week to try to make up for the transgression. It happened. I can't change that. It's far more important that I stay motivated and consistent going forward than try to correct a past mistake. I can't allow myself to stay negative about this because that's how a momentary error can become a long-term problem. I'm allowed to make mistakes. I'm not allowed to make mistakes my default position. So what I'm going to do is what I've been doing for the past four months: eat good food that meets my nutritional needs and exercise consistently. And the next time I see a fundraising bake sale, I'll just put my doggoned money directly into the doggoned donation jar! Let someone else fall on that cupcake grenade- I'm going to be a super-sexy runner chick instead!
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