Monday, March 31, 2008

155.6 - Sloth & Surprise

That was me this weekend--a sloth hanging around doing absolutely freaking nothin'.

Friday--no run because our client who said she'd come in to sign papers at 4:00 didn't make it until 4:30, and by then my window to workout was gone.

Saturday--no run because we sat around all day in our PJs and did a whole lot of nada. I got a lot of reading done in my new book (The Other Boleyn Girl), which is a fun read so far. I felt so out of it that I didn't even take a shower. It was the laziest day I've had in ages.

Sunday--no run because after church I had a couple of errands to run with Sophie and by the time I got home around 3 p.m., I was done for the day and back in my PJs

I didn't eat like mad, but I did have half a Q'doba burrito Sunday for lunch with chips and also had plenty of other carby foods the rest of the weekend to account for the weight gain.

So today I weighed in and shrugged my shoulders and thought, damn I guess my body isn't going to stay between 152-154 just because I say it will. Guess it's time to get back to work.

I've eaten my lunch already and I'm planning on running during the day as my lunch hour, because I will be darned if I miss a run again because of work stuff. [Edited to add: I made it to the gym; did 4 miles in 45 minutes. And I made an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow morning about my lungs, because I had the same breathing issues with this run that I did last week.]

The surprise is from DH, who bought me tickets to see my favorite band in concert this summer at Deer Creek in Indianapolis.

It's for my birthday, which isn't for another 2 weeks, and Mark meant for me not to even find out about it until July 25th, the day of the concert. He went out Saturday morning when tickets went on sale and bought them, but the silly boy put them on our debit card and I look at our checking account at least a few times a week. So this morning I see a charge from Ticketmaster and I ask him about it. He's a very bad liar, and I'm very persistent, so he finally just told me what it was for. Truthfully, I'm glad the surprise is spoiled because it's just what I needed today to cheer me up.

Friday, March 28, 2008

154.2 - Back Home Again & Is It Asthma?

We had a fun spring break. It went so quickly, I can't believe we're home already.

A few things to note:
  • Tomtom is the best travel invention EVER. DH bought a tomtom navigation thing last year but this is the first trip I've been on with it. If you do any out-of-town driving, this gadget is a must. We never got lost, never took wrong turns, had zero fights about the map or which exit to take (this thing is a marriage saver), found cool restaurants easily and on the fly, and traveled everywhere we wanted in a big city with ease.
  • DVD players for the car are the 2nd best travel invention ever. The kids were mindlessly happy for the majority of the trip.
  • Vacation exercise is tough. I ran once, on Monday. I had big plans, mind you, big plans. You should have seen all the workout clothes I packed. By the time we were done with the fun each day, and after I'd eaten dinner (which was always huge and included dessert, every night) and we'd swam in the hotel pool, I had nothing left for a workout.
  • DoubleTree's chocolate chip cookies are the devil. I love that hotel chain, but their cookies are evil, just evil.
  • A 6-and-a-half year old and a 2 year old can fight in the backseat like they are teenagers. What is it about the car that turns little people into little monsters?
  • Indianapolis is a great place for a family vacation. We went to the Children's Museum two days and the Zoo one day, and there was a lot more we could have done with the kids. We'll be going back this summer to see the Koalas at the zoo.
  • I ate way too much, just about at every meal. Thankfully we had an active trip and weren't laying around on the beach or I'd have gained a ton of weight.

Speaking of my weight, it looks like I didn't gain anything from last Friday's post to today, but I had gotten down to 151.8 on Easter Sunday before we left. So I actually gained 2.4 pounds, which frankly is not bad for the amount of food I consumed. It'll be back off in a week or so if I stick to a decent eating plan.

I'm hoping to get a run in this afternoon(maybe 4 miles, maybe 5? we'll see how I feel), on the treadmill unfortunately because this is the winter that will not end. It's only in the 40s today and there's a strong wind, so it's freaking cold out there. It's almost April, people. Where is the spring?

My training plan calls for 10 miles this weekend. With my lack of base mileage this week, I'm contemplating doing what next weekend calls for--a 7 miler--and doing my 10 miles next weekend. I'll probably wait to see how I feel tomorrow when I run and if it feels good, I'll do 10. If it doesn't, I'll stop at 7.

In other running news, I think I may have exercise induced asthma. Gotta talk to the doc first, but it hit me last Saturday as I was running 6 miles that I could not get enough air in my lungs. And this wasn't the first time I've experienced this feeling of needing a deep breath but not being able to dig deep enough. And the run was hard, but not in the usual way. I felt fatigued and tired early on and slogged my way through the miles, a lot like I did on my 9 miler the week before.

I talked to DH, who has asthma and uses 2 inhalers regularly, about how I felt while I was running, and then I went to WebMD (the great self-diagnosis tool that it is) and I've got 4 of the 5 symptoms (generally I don't cough, but everything else was going on with me). I'm going to make an appointment with the doctor before I declare that my lungs are broken, but I'm hopeful from reading the WebMD article that even elite athletes perform with asthma, so I can keep on running even if I have this. And I sort of hope I do, because if it's not asthma then I'm going to have to rethink the whole concept of distance running and my lung capacity.

Friday, March 21, 2008

154.2 - Spring (give me a) Break

This is my last post until we get back from Spring break next Friday.

There's something about the sunshine and warmer temps and the vernal equinox that has me all a-twitter. It's spring, and I am so extraordinarily ready for new life.

This being Good Friday and Easter weekend, I'm also thinking about suffering, atonement, and rebirth. I will spare you any preachy deep thoughts, but I am conscious that suffering brings about new appreciation for the good stuff. And I will be so grateful for the blessings of good health and calmer times that I hope are on the horizon.

Of course, it could continue to be a rough year, and suffering may be on the menu for a while. Life happens, and I'm learning that I need to put some safety valves in place so I can function on an even keel when things get topsy turvy.

But for now, the kids are healthy, I'm healthy, DH is healthy, the weather is gorgeous, and we are going to have some family time in just a few days. We're leaving after Easter service for Indianapolis, where a comfortable hotel, the zoo and a top-notch children's museum await.

Today I am clearing up some last minute stuff at work and then I've got errands to run and some running to do. I don't have a plan for how far I'll run today, but whatever it is will be a satisfying relief from my recent inactivity.

I hope you and yours have a blessed Easter. He is risen!

P.S. Last night DH performed in our Maundy Thursday service. The church did a "Living Last Supper" cantata, where 12 men were the disciples with speaking parts, and 1 man played Jesus but didn't have a speaking role, with awesome choir and orchestra performances in between the acting. They were arranged around a table in the same poses as da Vinci's "The Last Supper." Mark was Simon Peter. I felt like dressing up, and I decided to take some pictures using the self-timer on my camera, since I haven't posted a progress pic in a while. I'm pretty pleased with the front side, but the back side still needs some work. But that's okay; it's much better than I looked last year at this time, and next year will be even better.

DH as Peter. He grew a beard just for the part.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

When it rains...

We are flooded right now. With all the snow and rain of the past weeks, and then with yesterday's non-stop downpour, our city and most of the surrounding counties in 3 states are all under states of emergency because of wide spread flooding. School was closed this morning and I couldn't even get my Saturn SUV out of our neighborhood because the streets were flooded in both directions from our house.

I didn't get to run yesterday because I worked late (a lot of that happening lately) then when I left work I drove past areas that were flooded, and I knew if they were flooded our neighborhood probably was too. So I picked up the kids, stopped by a convenience store to buy milk, and got home just before the flooding was so bad I couldn't drive through it. DH got home 3 hours after I did, and by then the water was 1/4 of a way up our drive way and past everyone's mailboxes, so he parked his car in an area of the 'hood where it doesn't flood and walked through soggy yards to the house.

I stayed home with the kids today. The water was down by around 11 a.m. and didn't rain most of the day. But it's raining again now and it's entirely possible it will flood again before DH gets home from work. It's supposed to rain until late tonight.

This is getting so old. First we're sick, then it's snow, then we're sick again, then it's more snow, now it's flooding rain. I'd really like to have more than one normal week in a row.

My food has gone to hell. With no run last night I felt tense and resentful, so of course I ate what I shouldn't have. Today's been more of the same. And I was all set to take the kids to the gym this afternoon but then the freaking rain starts up again and says it ain't gonna stop any time soon.

"This is only temporary" isn't so stinking temporary lately.

(No weight to record today because I didn't get on the scale first thing this morning. I didn't feel like being any more depressed than I already am.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

153.0 - Feeling Fat / Anniversary

I feel so fat today. My jeans feel tight, I've got a muffin top under my knit shirt, and I just feel off. I hate days like this.

It doesn't help that I'm mid-cycle and that's typically when I have awful hormone swings and am a total beotch. And it's raining like mad and isn't supposed to stop until tomorrow afternoon.

Ugh. I'll just have to repeat one of my favorite mantras: "This is only temporary."

On a brighter note, today is my 13 year wedding anniversary. (Click here to read how I got to wear my wedding dress twice; note that I had planned on being at goal by now when I wrote that post. Oh well.) DH and I are going to lunch at Biaggi's (yummy Italian place), and we exchanged cards this morning at work. He gave me (us) three movies--Enchanted, Atonement, and I Am Legend (this is the only one I've already seen). I can't wait to see the other two.

This afternoon I'm planning on running at the gym. How many miles depends on how early I get there. I'd like to do 5, but I have to allow myself at least an hour and that means I have to leave work before 4 p.m. I'm gonna try, because I really need a good run today.

Monday, March 17, 2008

154.0 - 7k race results

Saturday I ran my first 7k race (4.4 miles), and it was awesome. I finished (according to Garmin) in 44:48, which is an average of 10:10 min/mile and a fast pace for me on that distance. I only walked once to drink some water at mile 2. The weather was perfect--upper 40s, cloudy, very little wind and no rain, until the last .4 miles when it was breezy and sprinkly. But by then I was hot and enjoyed the cool air and light shower.

I met up with my friend Max again, and his wife Dusty joined us this time. Dusty and I ran together the first 2.5 miles, then she left me behind and finished 45 seconds ahead of me. Dusty had a baby 2 1/2 months ago and just started running again a few weeks ago, so the fact that she ran 4.4 miles without a walk break AND that she ran 10 min miles is too cool. To save my face (haha) I am justifying this newly post-partum woman beating me with (a) she is 8 years younger than I am and (b) she ran a half-marathon 5 years ago at 9 min miles. So she's younger and faster. And I'm totally fine with that. Really, I am. Not upset about it at all, uhuh.

My weight is up because I ate whatever the heck I wanted all weekend, starting on Friday night at dinner out when I had chocolate pie for dessert and a margarita after dinner. Saturday I had a slice and a half of Pizza Hut pizza (they are big slices). Then Sunday I had pancakes for breakfast and again in the afternoon (I have no excuses, just wanted pancakes), and I had cake at lunch and cake at a birthday party last night. I enjoyed it while in the middle of the sugar fest, but felt like crap every morning, all bloated and yucky. I'm glad it's back to normal food this week.

It's swim night for Sophie and normally I try to get in 3 miles on Monday nights, but my quads are still a little sore and the kids are worn out from the late birthday party last night (we didn't get them to bed until almost 9 p.m., and if I don't run then I will get home earlier and can get the kids to bed sooner), so I'm skipping my run and counting today as a rest day.

Last week's miles were 19.74, which I am very happy about. As long as everyone stays healthy, I'll try to get in 4 good runs this week. My long run is only a 6-er, and next week is my 10 mile run. I gotta keep everything injury free and healthy so I can keep up the miles. May 3rd is going to be here before I know it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

151.2 - Nine and a Whine

Let me first start with the good news. I got in my 9 mile run yesterday.

I ran 9 miles.

I'll just savor that for a moment.

And I should also say that I didn't get a blister, chafe anywhere, or experience any aches, pains, or injuries. Or get hit by a big truck. I'm also just a little sore in the quads today, but it's a good sore. These are things I am thankful for.

Now the bad news. There's quite a bit (nothing catastrophic, mind you, just typical crap), and yes I'd like a little cheese with my whine.

First, I noticed somewhere after I'd been running for 47ish minutes that Garmin was still at 2.34 miles and only 35 minutes on the timer. I had been watching my speed and not paying any attention to the miles or minutes. So somehow I either bumped the start/stop button or Garmin didn't restart automatically after I stopped for traffic at 2.34 miles (I have it set so it stops when I stop, which is quite helpful with city running and for taking water/rest breaks). Either way, I lost a mile of data. I figured since I'd lost 12 minutes that it was about a mile, and sure enough when I mapped my run online last night it was right around .95ish miles difference, so I'm calling it a mile to make things simple.

Second, it was a crap run. I don't know why, I just wasn't feeling it the entire run. I took quite a few walk breaks and my average pace was 11:34, slower than I'd planned but truly, I didn't care about speed, other than being fast enough that I could finish by 5 p.m. to pick up the kiddos. I think maybe around mile 8 for about half a mile I was finally feeling a runner's high and my body was moving effortlessly and running between 10s and 10:30s, even with a stiff wind against me. But then I hit a traffic light and had to stop and the groove was gone. BTW, I ran about 4.5 miles in traffic areas; the other 4.5 I ran in the park where there's a ~1 mile loop.

Third, after I was done I felt really queasy. I thought maybe I'd just run too hard or was hungry or thirsty. I picked up the kids, then went for some drive thru. Chicken salad on a wheat wrap with a Real Coke to settle my stomach (okay, the chicken salad probably wasn't the best choice, but it was close and I really like that sandwich). It didn't help. I don't know if I've picked up a stomach bug or what, but my stomach was crampy all night, like I needed to throw up or go to the bathroom, but neither one was happening. I popped Pepto and drank water all night but never really felt better. This morning my stomach still felt off, but still no outward signs (if you know what I mean) that I've got a stomach bug.

Fourth, both the kids have some kind of virus again. Thankfully it's only making them mildly miserable and, so far, no significant fever. Luke's had yellow snot running out of his nose for two days straight--it's so gross and annoying, the poor baby. And tonight he was warm when we got home and sure enough his temp was 99ish; and now he has a cough, too. Sophie felt bad at school all day, and even though she told the teachers a couple times she didn't feel well, I guess she didn't push it and wasn't sick enough to go to the nurse. She just felt crummy with a cough and runny nose. She had a low grade temp tonight, too. Thank God for ibuprofen. I am keeping my fingers, toes, legs, and eyes crossed that this is as bad as it gets for them. I am so done with the sick crud. Done done done.

I guess that's enough complaining for now. Sorry to be such a downer.

On a happier note, DH and I are going to dinner with friends at a piano bar tonight. Mom is keeping the kids overnight (see, nobody can get sick, we have plans). Then Saturday morning I've signed up for Evansville's 7k St Paddy's Day run. It's supposed to rain (again, more crap to complain about) and I was planning to bail but Sheila (who lives nearby in Kentucky and runs this race every year and says it's the best race ever) is twisting my arm and making me go. =) I'm such a pushover. Please, none of you try to make me do something illegal, 'cause I'd probably do it for all y'all.

And finally in other random news, we are not going to Florida for Spring break. Talked to too many folks who say the Panhandle is too unpredictable this early in the season, and we aren't (read: I'm not) willing to drive 16 hours to South FL where it's warmer. So, we're going to Indianapolis for 4 nights instead. We'll stay at a comfy hotel and go to the Children's Museum and Zoo, and swim in the hotel's pool. And it's only a 4 hour drive. Oh, and I've cancelled Sophie's EEG on Good Friday because it's just too much to deal with before spring break. We're leaving on Easter Sunday after church. Next week: I'll bitch about packing.

Okay, now leave my crappy attitude here with me and you guys go have a super duper lovely weekend.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

150.6 - Planned 9 Miler, Q and A

Yesterday was so beautiful that after work we took the kids to the park to feed the ducks. Everyone else in town had the same idea, apparently, because the ducks turned up their bills at the kids' offerings of stale bread. Luckily we also brought saltines, and the ducks ate up the crackers. Picky little critters.

I didn't get a run in yesterday, again because of a work emergency in the late afternoon that carried over through 5 p.m. (stinking clients, ha). I was pretty tired last night after the kids went down, so I just watched American Idol and went to sleep.

The no-eating-at-night thing has been a success for 5 nights in a row (yes, I'm tracking it on my Weight & Exercise spreadsheet). So 16 more nights and it should be a new habit. I've had almost a full week of solidly decent food days--higher protein, veggies, good fats, lower carb intake--with no off-the-wagon binges, and the water weight I was carrying around is gone and my clothes are fitting better. It is bizarre that as little as a 4 pound weight gain can make my pants feel tight, and now that the extra pounds are gone they feel looser.

I am psyching myself up for a long run today. I talked with DH about leaving work at 3 p.m. to get in a 9 mile run, and he said it should be okay. I bought some Body Glide yesterday for my feet and under my arms and bra (anywhere else I need to put this stuff? I guess I'll find out the hard way, but I'd love any input you all can share).

I think it's going to be in the upper 60s this afternoon, so I will get to run in short sleeves and shorts (my legs are white white white, so I hope I don't blind any drivers with the glare). It should be a good time for a run. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it doesn't rain and nothing comes up to keep me from it. Should take me around 2 hours, because I'm figuring 11 minute miles and I'll be running around the city and will have to pause at traffic lights a few times.

Answers to some questions from yesterday's post:

Jess: What's wrong with commando? Um, nothin', I just didn't even think about that being an option. Does it take out the underwear/friction issue with long distances? There's so much I still need to learn about running. =) (I realize this question was facetious, but I thought I had to clarify why I clarified my undie wearing yesterday; I'm such a geek.)

Marcy: Are the Champion shirts any good? Yes. I buy as much as I can at Target (I think you do to, yes?), because it's cheap. The long sleeved tech shirts I got last winter are really nice and keep me warm. I don't sweat a ton, so they do a good job of wicking away what I do manage to leak out of my pores. The sleeveless shirts I got last summer were great; worn out now with stains and a couple of snags, so I'm anxiously awaiting Target's summer shipment of running clothes.

RunnerGirl: What did you think about the fuel belt? Mine is a one-bottle belt, and I had a hard time at first with it. I ended up tucking my shirt under it and had to fool with the tightness/looseness for a while until I got it right. It didn't bounce around once I got it tight enough. I put the bottle in the middle of my backside while I ran. I'm sure I looked completely dorky, though, which didn't matter on my night run but this afternoon on my 9 miler, I'm just going to pretend I'm invisible and not give a flying fig what I look like.

Sheila: Are you ready for Saturday? (referring to Evansville's 7k St Paddy's Day run) Um, no. If it rains, I may bail. I went to the running store yesterday to check out hooded waterproof jackets, and they were $160! No way am I paying that, and I don't know if I'm willing to run in the cold rain without the proper gear. We'll see. Are you running it regardless of the weather? I'm sure you will. You've been doing this running gig longer than I have. =)

Pokey: You got me thinking on the thong undies.....are they comfortable to run in? Warning: TMI.... I wear cheapy lace thongs that are probably a size too big for me, so I barely notice they are on. The only time they've ever bothered me is during a group exercise class (pilates or yoga, mostly) when I've been bending or stretching and they get pulled out of place. So, yep, they're okay. But with shorts weather coming back I may start running like Jess and Wendy and go commando with just my compression shorts (I also wear a pair of cotton shorts over these, because they cover up my saddle bags nicely).

I guess that's it for today. Any of you still in the snow, take heart. Spring is this close.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

151.8 - "All you need to run is a good pair of shoes"

Whoever said the above quote obviously is not a woman who runs alone in 45 degree weather.

Last night* for my run, it took me just about as long to suit up as it did to run 3.34 miles (avg. pace 10:39). The amount of gear it took to get my behind out the door is astounding. Let's start from the bottom and work our way up, shall we?

1. Brooks running shoes
2. Cushioned Adidas pink & white running socks
3. Thong undies (these were on already but I didn't want y'all to think I run commando)
4. Champion running pants
5. Water bottle belt (first time to run with this thing; I'm thinking I will need it for my long outdoor training runs so I tested it out tonight)
6. Water bottle & water
7. Enell bra
8. Verizon cell phone
9. Champion sports bra (over the Enell, to keep my phone in place. I tuck my phone inside my 2 layers of bras to keep it from getting all sweaty. I ruined a cell phone last summer because I ran with it directly under my bra against my skin. Thankfully the cell phone guy said only one of the two dots in the phone was red (whatever that meant) so I got a new phone for free. Bought a phone skin and now I wear it between two bras. Boy, that was lengthy. Sorry 'bout that)
10. iPod shuffle (clipped to my top layer bra); Dave Matthews Band & Pearl Jam on the playlist tonight
11. Champion long sleeved tech shirt
12. Champion long sleeved fleece shirt (this came off after mile 1)
13. Safety reflector vest
14. Head band/ear warmer thingy (does this have an official name?)
15. Safety red-blinky-light clipped to the back of my headband thingy (Vicky, aren't you proud of me for getting all Safety Girl on my night run?)
16. Garmin on my left wrist
17. Runner ID on my right wrist

I mean, damn. Think of all the man/woman hours of thought and creativity and sweat and work that went into developing and making and marketing and shipping and selling all this stuff. I am humbled simply thinking of it all. And thankful, because clearly a girl needs a hellofa lot more than shoes to get in a good run.

*I didn't get to run at 4 p.m. as per my plan because of a work emergency. Got the emergency taken care of, picked up kids, ran a couple of errands related to said work emergency, got home, fed kids (McDonald's; someone nominate me for Mom of the Year, 'kay?), cleaned kitchen, got the boy a bath, got the girl ready for bed, read book to daughter while DH read to son, kissed kids goodnight, and I decided I was way too tightly wound to just STOP for the night. I ran that run for the simple fact of unwinding my mind and body. It wasn't fast, it wasn't pretty, but man it felt good during and after. The night was beautiful. Orion in the heavens next to a crescent moon. Clean, fresh cool air. A safe neighborhood. And a healthy body to move me. It doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

152.0 - A good food & exercise day

Yesterday was just about perfect, food and exercise wise. And the scale played along this morning. Woohoo!

On the food front, I focused on protein and made sure every meal had a significant protein source. I only had 2 veggies, which is 1 fewer than I had planned but oh well. I had a banana as a mid-morning snack. I had my primary starch for breakfast (a whole wheat English muffin on my Starbucks reduced fat breakfast sandwich--first time I've had this and OMG it's so yummy for only 350 calories and 20 grams of protein), a small serving of chocolate in the afternoon (Green & Black's milk chocolate, 6 squares = 110 calories), and an LA Lite bar after dinner. That's 3 starches for the day.

After I got the kids in bed, I had a low fat/sugar free yogurt and a small handful of pecans. This is the 2nd night I've had yogurt with nuts on the side, and I think it is really helping curb my night time cravings. Dairy is hard for me to fit in unless I get a latte (which I'm trying to only do once a week because dang, $4 a pop does add up), but yogurt after dinner is an easy food choice. The nuts are a healthy fat which keep me feeling full. I was done eating by 9 p.m., and since I didn't go to bed until midnight (finished watching season 3 of The Wire on DVD last night--that show is too good) that was 3 hours of no eating before bed.

And I also got a quick workout in while Sophie was at swim class. I ran 2 miles during her class--1 @ 11:00 and 1 @ 10:16. After I got her cleaned up and dropped off at Kids Club with Luke, I ran one more mile. This one was the toughie. I ran a half mile at a 10:10 pace, then I started kicking up the speed every .05 miles or so. I ended up at an 8:30 pace for the last tenth, and my 3rd mile came in at 9:50. It was only 3 miles, but they were quality miles. I finished with 5 minutes of ab work and 10 yoga-style (with my hands close and elbows tucked in) pushups.

Today I am hoping for another good food day with a delicious salad from a local restaurant for lunch. The weather is supposed to be fabulous this afternoon (sunshine! 50s!) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed everything falls into place for me to run 4 miles outside.

With all the off days I've had the past few months, days like these are precious.

Monday, March 10, 2008

153.0 - Somethin's better than nuthin'

So my big weekend plans for running went completely bust. Here's the excuses:

Friday I had to work late and we got the big snow fall they were calling for, and I had to get home right after work so my mom could drive home before it got too bad (she lives 30 minutes away). I was still planning on going to the gym after the kids went to bed, until my mom called when she got home and said she saw 5 or 6 cars off the road before she even got on the interstate. Better safe than sorry, so I stayed home.

Saturday's 9 miler was derailed because we went sledding. I guess we got about 6 inches of snow, which is a lot for us. DH got up with the kids first thing and took them shopping for snow stuff--when you get substantial snow every couple of years, you don't keep snow boots & pants on hand for little kids. They grow out of them too fast. I got to sleep in until they family got back with provisions for a snow day. DH also went to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought a huge inflatable sled. It took him 30 minutes to figure out how to inflate it, but it was totally worth it. We drove out to the Country Club (we are not members, but they have the best hills and no one was checking membership cards) around 11 a.m. where there were dozens of other families with the same idea. All four of us fit on the sled at the same time. It was a total blast.

After we got done playing in the snow, I told DH I could never have done what we did without losing weight. I fit comfortably on the back of the sled with 3 people in front of me. I walked up a huge hill half a dozen times without getting fatigued or even short of breath. I even carried my 35 pound toddler up the hill without getting out of breath. Plus, I could get up and down off the sled gracefully and without looking like a beached whale. And I could wear 3 layers of pants without feeling like I looked like a Sumo wrestler.

Talk about a non-scale victory. Saturday's adventure was just that.

But I was worn out by the time we got home, got our winter layers off, got the boy to nap, and did several loads of laundry. I just was not in the mood to leave the family unit for 2 hours to run.

Then Sunday, after the freaking time change, I was so tired I skipped church and stayed home with Luke. Plus, he's had a bad cough still from the croup and even though he's not contagious any longer, I didn't want him hacking on the other kids in the church nursery, so that was another justification for staying home. Sunday afternoon was gorgeous. The sun melted almost all the snow and the temps were in the upper 40s/low 50s. DH took the kids for a walk around 4:30 and I went out and ran the neighborhood.

It's about a one mile loop around, and I ran that first mile like my life depended on it. I guess I was feeling the failure of not running my planned runs, so I hit it hard. I was thrilled to see Garmin reading between 8:30's and 9's, and I ended up with my fastest mile ever--9:18. I met up with DH and the kids just after I finished mile one, and I was breathing so hard DH asked if I was okay. Hahahaha. I just ran the fastest mile of my life, and yes I'm okay, I just had my heart rate through the roof and I'm breathing a little hard, umkay?

I talked with the kiddos, pet the dog, and ran another mile, this one at a more normal pace but still decent for me, in 10:41. I got in a final .34 miles, but they were mostly walked with Sophie as she was finished walking with DH and wanted to be with me. DH was not in the mood to deal with both the kids by himself (Sophie had a melt down because she couldn't ride her bike with flat tires and we don't yet have a bicycle tire pump), so I cut the rest of my run short.

And that was it, a grand total of 2.34 miles all weekend. I'm pretty stinking disappointed by the lack of mileage, but I guess a short run is better than nothing at all.

On the weight front, I've seen that 3 after the 5 for about 3 weeks now, and I'm not happy about it. I've done well the past two nights with no night-time carb fests, and it's my goal to eliminate night time eating for good. I think it's a big reason for the uptick in my weight (it's a small uptick, I realize, but it's still an uptick nonetheless). So for the next 21 days, I'm going to do everything in my power to not eat at night. It takes 21 days to form a habit (as Jess has aptly named her blog) and I can do anything for 3 weeks, right? That's the plan for now. We'll see how it goes.

I've also read a new diet book this weekend, called The Last 15. Even though the subtitle claims it's "a weight loss breakthrough," there's nothing breakthrough about it--eat more protein, fewer carbs, more veggies, and you'll lose weight. Big shockers there. But the author put a lot of information about macronutrients and hormones and it's helped reinforce to me that I need to watch my carbs and increase proteins. I've gotten lazy the past few months and not been eating as healthfully as I was when I was losing weight, and that's not a happy place to be. The book has also reinforced that I am still overweight according to the BMI charts (I won't even enter the "Normal" range until I weigh 149), and that these 15-18 pounds that I want to lose could be the tipping point of me regaining my lost weight, if I don't lose them.

It's almost spring, and I'm slowly getting some mojo back to gear up for another weight loss movement. I'm not putting a time table on it, and I'm not committing to a specific plan. Yet. Still gonna noodle on it and figure out the plan of attack.

In the mean time, I'm just praying for healthy kids and decent weather so I can stick to a running schedule.

Friday, March 07, 2008

152.8 - Snow Day / Jack Sprat post

We are in the sight lines of a major winter storm, that is supposed to dump 5-6" on us by tomorrow morning. They called off school today because of the prediction, not because of any snow build up this morning. As usual, the original prediction that we'd have all the snow by this afternoon is wrong and the kids should have gone to school. We've gotten 1/2" so far and the roads are totally clear. But, all they have to go on is what the weather men are saying, so I don't blame the school corp. ANYWAY, Sophie's home from school. And Luke is home too because he has croup.

I had to pick him up from day care yesterday at 1:30 p.m. because his sitter called and said he had 102* fever. I took him to the doctor and he diagnosed him with croup. He slept well last night (thank goodness for Motrin and cough syrup and vaporizers) and was happy and fine this morning, so we're on the downhill for his illness, I think.

I was a wreck this morning. I think it's PMS since I'm getting ready to start and it feels hormonal. Just couldn't cope with the kids and I got back in bed after DH left for work and let the kids fend for themselves. Thankfully they were good and played dress up and with the dog. I rested/slept a little until 10:30. My mom came down around noon (she works half days on Friday's and always comes down to keep my kids), so I got to come into the office and do some much needed work and regain a little of my sanity.

Since I had a sick boy yesterday, I didn't get to run. Which really honked me off because I NEEDED TO RUN yesterday. Today, come hell or high water, I'm getting to the gym and running at least 4 miles. Tomorrow I have to get in my 9 miler to stay on track for my half marathon training. That will be my longest run to date, if I can get it in. I'm going to do my damndest to make it happen, even if it means taking the kids and putting them in Kids Club for 2 hours.

Mommy needs to run so she doesn't go nuts.

I registered for a St. Paddy's Day run next Saturday, 3/15. It's a 7K, which is a longer race than I've run before but only 4.2 miles. It's a flat course and I would LOVE to run it in 42 minutes. That's gonna push me really hard, but that's what races are for, right? I only hope the weather cooperates and we don't get rain. If it rains, I'm scrapping any kind of time goal and just gonna make it a goal to show up and finish.

I read this post yesterday on Jack Sprat's blog. It's simply brilliant, and yesterday when I was freaking out about missing my run and having yet another sick kid and yet another winter storm on the way, and having major PMS issues on top of all that, I kept thinking about how much ice cream it would take to make me feel better. And when the answer was gallons, I passed up buying anything bad for me at the grocery store as I was shopping for weekend provisions after Luke's doctors appointment. I'll be using Jonathon's strategy a lot from now on. He has a lot of great things to say about maintenance and weight loss. You should check him out if you're not a regular reader of his blog.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend. Don't forget to change your clocks--Spring Forward. (I hate springing forward. I have jet lag for at least a week. I wish they'd just leave our clocks alone already.)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

153.4 - Enell Bra Review

Erin from "Lose the Buddha" asked for some bra suggestions this week, and I realized I hadn't yet reviewed my new sports bra. So, without further adieu, here goes....

If my boobs ever go crazy and need to be locked up in a mental institution, we'll first fetch the Enell and lock them down. Because this thing is a serious straight jacket for The Girls.

Before you order an Enell, you have to get out the measuring tape. Their sizing system is unusual, and even though they have corresponding normal sizes listed beside theirs, it's a good idea to measure. That said, I measured and I still ordered wrong. I'm used to buying a size UP when I'm close to or right on the border of a size. I measured my ribs at 31" and my bust at 37", so I ordered a size 1 (I'm a 34D, BTW).

When it arrived, I put it on (I'll get to how that works in a minute) and it felt fine. But then I jumped around to test out the "bounce stops here" promise, and The Girls were still a-bouncin'. No good. I'm not paying 54 bucks for bounce. So I went back to the website, got my measuring tape back out, and realized I should probably get a size 0 if I want maximum bounce stoppage. (The bra instructions do say that for low impact exercise, a bigger size would be okay, but a smaller size might be needed for high impact workouts. Wish I'd figured that out to begin with, but I digress.)

So I packaged my poor little unused sports bra into a USPS flat rate shipping envelope and sent it back with a return label, requesting a smaller size. The good folks at The Lingerie Store sent a new size 0 speedily; I had the exchanged bra in less than a week, which was actually faster than my original order which took about 10 days, but they ship for free so it's totally worth the slow shipping.

This bra is so advanced, it comes with instructions on how to put it on. There are eyehooks in the front (ten of them on a size 0, I just pulled it out of my gym bag and counted), and you put it on like a vest or a jacket. Then you fasten the bottom hook, lean over and stuff The Girls in, pushing them up and back. Then you fasten the rest of the hooks until you're all trussed up.

The first time I put on this bra (the smaller one), I was astounded at how flat I was. So astounded, in fact, that I measured my chest with my regular bra and then with my Enell bra. I am 2 1/2 inches flatter with the Enell bra. I have no idea how that works. It's a feat of modern engineering.

It's tight, I won't lie to you. At first when I tried on the smaller size, I thought I'd made a mistake and wished they had a size 1/2. But then I read on the instructions that the bra might feel tight to you at first. I'm pretty used to it now and it only bothers me when I first put it on, just a little bit.

I've worn this bra a lot since it arrived, and it's 95% bounce proof. I still bounce a smidgen, but it's nothing like how I was with my old two-layered bra trick. My biggest complaint is that there are two big upside-down-smiley-face seams that go across the front of the bra that show through my running shirts. I'm sure they are a reason the bra works, but they annoy the heck out of me.

Also, this thing is ugly as shit. I'd never ever run without a shirt on or at least would wear another normal-looking sports bra over it (not that I'm running without a shirt anyway, but who knows maybe someday I'll magically get abs of steal and be able to run shirtless). It comes up really high across the chest and under the arms, so I can't wear a wife-beater running shirt with it unless, again, I wear a different sports bra over it.

The ugliness aside, I'd recommend this baby. I'm much more relaxed about running races now that I'm not all bouncy in the front (I'm still waiting for the Enell Butt Bra). It was great to run the 5K last Saturday and not be paranoid that my friend would notice my bounce more than my pace.

A caveat--they only make sizes for Big Girls. Erin points out in this post that Enell doesn't make a size for her (a 34B).

So go forth, Girlfriends, and make the world a more beautiful place. The bounce stops here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

152.4 - A great 4 miles

Yesterday I ran one of my best runs ever. The two biggest reasons why I'm proud of this run:

I ran 3 miles without a walk break. I don't think I've ever done that before. I run 3 miles all the time (that sounds so smug, doesn't it? ;), but usually I take a walk break to rest or drink water somewhere along the way. Yesterday I kept going for a solid 33 minutes. Sweet.

I ran 4 miles in under 44 minutes. And I had to work hard for it. The first 3 miles I alternated my speed between 10:56 and 11:04 min/mile. When I got tired, I backed down my speed to 11:04, which, even though it's a minor difference, seems to help. At 3 miles I took a water break and walked .05 miles. So my time was somewhere over 33 minutes when I started mile 4.

Since I ran the first 3 miles steady as she goes, I decided mile 4 would be a tempo mile. I started out with 2 minutes at 9:30 min/mile. Then ran 3 minutes at 12:00 min/mile. It hit me while I was recovering that if I ran 10s, I could probably finish 4 miles in 44 minutes. But as I ran and did the calculations in my head, I realized that 10 min. miles weren't going to get me that 44 minute finish. So I kicked it up to 9:30 and ran it out for the last .3ish miles. I don't remember exactly what my mileage was when I started the fast run, I just know it was longer than 2 minutes.

It was tough. My breathing was heavy and my heart was pounding. But that last tenth was golden. I steadied my breathing consciously and stopped the Monica Selas-like wheezing (I can get really loud on the treadmill when I'm pushing myself... thank goodness most people wear earphones and don't listen to me). I definitely had the inner dialogue going on--"You are strong, you are fast, you can do this. Beat this bitch down." Yes, sometimes I curse in my head at the treadmill, and it works like magic.

I hit stop as soon as 4.0 showed in red lights. And my time was 43:59.

P.S. Thank you all for indulging me with my running stories. I feel like a kid who's discovered the best super slide and highest swingset around. This sounds so corny, but running has changed my life. Not just because of the weight loss that it helped make happen, but because I feel so powerful and motivated and strong and free when I run. Those are feelings I've never felt consistently--ever--in my entire life. The coolest part is that I am a baby when it comes to this sport, a complete newbie. And that, God willing I stay healthy and injury free, I have a good 6 or 7 years ahead of me to improve before I reach my peak ("they" say it takes 7 years to become the best runner you can be).

So thank you, all you great blogging friends out there, for your encouragement and pats on the back and patience with my gushingingly sappy posts about running. I hope there are many more to come.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

153.2 - 60 days and counting

I received an email today from the "Indianapolis 500 Festival" folks. It starts:

We are only 60 days away from the start of the nation’s largest half marathon. Are you ready?

I can't believe it is that close. My training has been spotty at best the past 8 weeks, but last week was a really good one mile-wise (18.35 for the week), and the next 60 days will be to. Although I'm not starting this week off so great.

Sophie was sick yesterday--nothing terrible, but she felt bad enough with a headache, low grade fever and tummy ache that the school called me to come pick her up. So that meant no gym for me yesterday afternoon. Today she's with me at the office again, but her fever has remained low and I think she'll be fine to go to the gym's day care after work. I'm hoping to run a solid 4 or 5 miles, just depends on how I'm feeling this afternoon.

Food has been spotty. I'm definitely in the "I need more serotonin" mode, and therefore eating way too many carbs. We had two gorgeous days over the weekend and I started to feel better with the sunshine and of course with the race on Saturday. But it's back to being dreary, rainy, and cold, and I'm PMSing. Basically it's a perfect storm for carb cravings.

In other random TV news... I watched the season finale of The Terminator last night. Have you guys been watching this? I was okay with the way it ended. (I thought the music for the FBI raid was completely out of place for the rest of the series, but that's a minor criticism, I suppose.) I hope it got decent ratings and they bring it back for a 2nd season. DH thinks Sarah Connor is too relaxed and smiles too much. He's probably right, but I still like her. Tonight is the premier of the 2nd season of Dirt. It's my guilty pleasure, and I can't wait to see what kinky, sleazy stuff they come up with this year. Oh, and American Idol starts again tonight with the top 16 this week. Boy, for someone who doesn't watch much TV, I've sure got a lot of shows on my list. And I'm also watching The Wire (season 3) on DVD.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

153.0 - 8 Miles & Race Results

Friday was my first ever 8 mile run. And even though the temps were warmer outside, the winds were high and I wasn't up for a beating, so I ran on the treadmill. As per my usual long-run M.O., I had Dave Matthew's Concert in Central Park CDs in my ears. Dave's quickly become my favorite running partner.

It was harder than I thought. The first 2 miles were okay, then I had to go to the bathroom real bad, but I kept going until mile 3 because I figured if I got off the treadmill, I would at least be able to finish the next 5 miles in an hour (which is how long the treadmill goes until it shuts off the run). So I took a potty break (thank goodness I ran inside) at 35 minutes , and then got back on prepared for an hour of running.

I kept my running pace at 10:54 until about mile 4, then backed down to 11:19. At mile 5 I felt worn out--my socks must be worn out too because the right one started rubbing my foot. I took several walk breaks between miles 5 and 7.5 and then that mystical, magical runner's high kicked in and the last half mile was golden. I didn't notice the pain in my foot any longer from my sock rubbing it. I didn't feel like I needed any more walk breaks. I even felt like I could keep running past 8 miles. But I stopped, because DH and I had dinner plans and I had to get home (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

When I took my socks & shoes off at home, I saw what I feared had happened: a small blister had formed on the bottom of my right foot. I was pretty ticked off at first, then I thought "Hey, it's my first running blister. I ran so far I got a blister. I ROCK!" Well, I wasn't quite that excited about it, but I do think it's kinda cool. Next I'll be excited that my big toe is turning black. Ha.

Anyway, the blister wasn't anything a specialty blister bandaid under a big sports bandaid couldn't take care of. And I felt just fine this morning for my 2nd 5K race.

My friend Max picked me up at 8 a.m. and we drove out to the West Side of town to register. My bib number was 94. It was a very small field, maybe 120 people, and the race was a fund raiser for a high school track team. The weather was perfection--sunny, very little wind, low/mid 40s. Around 9 a.m. we were all just kind of standing around in the parking lot waiting for the race to start when the gun finally went off; they didn't have a set starting line and I have no idea why. So I pushed "start" on Garmin quickly and off we went.

Before I go any further, let me say that Evansville is a flat town, for the most part. I run on the East side and it is flat as a pancake in all but a couple places. I always run on the pancake parts. The West side, however, is known for some pretty big hills--Reitz Hill and The Hilltop Tavern on Harmony Way are a couple of city landmarks. On the drive out to the high school, it dawned on me (I'm slow this way) that we were going to a race for a West side high school, which means we were more than likely going to run some hills. Crap, I thought. I don't do hills.

Well I did today. The race started with us running up a short but very steep hill out of the school parking lot. By the time I reached the top I thought I was gonna die, but Max kept me going. The rest of mile 1 flattened out and we held a fast pace, mostly 9:30s. Garmin said we finished mile 1 at 9:45, which is the fastest mile I've ever run (yes!). Mile 2 had a couple of down hill spots, which was sweet. But I was pretty stinking tired after that first mile and Garmin said mile 2 was 10:14, still a pretty decent pace for me.

Mile 3 kicked my ever lovin' ass. I ran Evansville's Heartbreak Hill. Scratch that--I didn't run her, I had to walk that bitch. I started it as a run but I was so worn out I just couldn't keep up even a 12 minute pace. So I walked, then ran about 10 seconds, then just gave up and walked the rest of the way. Max had stayed with me for the first two miles but when we hit The Hill he left me in the dust. I finally made it to the top and had about .4 miles left to go. I caught my breath and ran as fast as I could the last leg which was at a gentle down hill grade. Then the last .1 miles was a steep down hill back into the parking lot. I was smoking it at an 8:30ish pace that last tenth.

I finished in 31:34. A PR for me. Max finished in 30ish, he said. It was his first race, which was pretty cool that I got to run it with him.

Today I've not felt very sore but I am extra tired. My blister area didn't bother me at all. I'm pretty pleased with how my body is hanging in there despite me pounding out 11 miles in 2 days. And yesterday after running 8 miles all I could think of was how grateful I am that I. Can. Run.