Friday, August 29, 2008

152.8 - TGIF

Um, yeah, so 4:45 a.m. didn't happen this morning. No big surprise. I did get 4 miles in yesterday afternoon on the treadmill.

It's muggier than all get out today, so I don't know what I'm going to do. Run in the humidity? Run indoors? Run tomorrow morning? I'm leaning toward running my 9 miler tomorrow morning (I'll run at least 3 this afternoon), but I won't get up until 6 a.m. and then even if I sleep in, I'll still have the rest of the day to get 'r done because it's SATURDAY!! =)

And then we get two more days off.

I love Monday holidays.

I started reading the Crack the Fat Loss Code book last night. Too soon to tell what I think of it. Other than the first week is going to suck. But it's 7 lousy days of suckage. I'll just have to apply my "you can do anything for one minute" rule to the carb deplete cycle--you can eat anything for 7 days...if it means you'll lose the fat in your stomach and hips.

On the night eating front, I had a little slip last night but I learned a huge lesson. Falling asleep in the family room is a big NO NO. I watched TV with DH and fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up at 2 am I went right into robot mode. Pulled out the pumpkin fluff I'd made a few days ago (1 can pumpkin + 1 thawed tub of Cool Whip Free + 1 pkg instant SF vanilla pudding mix + several dashes of nutmeg and/or pumpkin pie spice) and grabbed a spoon and just dug in. I stopped myself after about 5 or so bites, so it wasn't much. But still. It is obvious that I've got some kind of Pavlovianesque response going on. Family room + middle of the night = eat.

So the first battle I need to win is to fall asleep in my bed. Then it seems the food thing will fall in line, as it did the first two nights when I didn't eat. Funny how it's so hard to make myself fall asleep in my bed. (Actually, it's funny how I can't keep myself awake after a few minutes in front of the television.)

Hope everyone has a lovely 3 day weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

152.4 - Another change of plans

There's nothing like LIFE to get in the way of your best laid plans, is there.

Yesterday we ended up having a client come in right before 5 p.m., and since it was new business & paperwork was involved, I needed to be here. That's all good--we always need new business. But it screwed with my weight lifting class plans at 5:30.

I did not let it derail me, though. I still made it to the gym and ran 3 miles, then joined a pilates class for the last 40 minutes of class. I haven't done pilates at the gym in, oh, I just can't even remember the last time. Pilates is hard! I'd forgotten how tough it could be. I think I need to take that class more often, to shake things up around here.

Speaking of shaking things up, I am pretty sure I'm going to do a (yet another) new diet plan. I read about a book called Crack the Fat-Loss Code over on Jojo's blog, and decided I needed to try something (yet again) to get this weight loss gig jump-started. I haven't read through the book yet--other than the week one info, which is a carb deplete cycle--and I may or may not be starting it this weekend. We'll see.

I work best and get results when I (a) have a written, fairly simple diet plan and (b) have people that I'm accountable to. It's how I lost weight on LA Weight Loss. So, if I get through this book and it looks reasonable, doable, and not too complicated (the Precision Nutrition book I bought late last year was unbelievably complicated and had way too many vegetables at every freaking meal, and I just couldn't hack it), then I'll be yacking away about that soon.

Tonight--4 miles. Tomorrow--9 miles. It's still in the 90s here (dammit), so I'm kicking around the idea of getting up tomorrow morning at 4:45 a.m. so I can run my 9er outside instead of on the treadmill and track at the gym. It takes A LOT to get me up that early. And I'm not sure my slowly-building-loathing of indoor runs has reached the tipping point yet. I can likely stomach the monotony of the indoor run more than I can an early morning. How I wish I'd gotten the morning person gene.

Edited later to add: DOH! I totally forgot to update y'all on the night eating thing. Day 2, no junk at night. I didn't eat dinner until after the kids were in bed, but it was 1 egg, a big bunch of broccoli, and a 100 cal English muffin. Then a mug of hot chocolate w/ 1% milk & 50 cal hot chocolate mix. And that was it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

153.0 - Success

I am so happy to report that, indeed, I did not stuff my pie hole after the kids went to bed. And the scale played along. And I feel much better this morning as a result.

My definition of night eating is eating after the kids are asleep, which is anytime between 8 and 9 p.m. during the week (with the caveat that I ate dinner before they go down--if it's an insane night and I don't eat a real dinner until after they go to bed, that doesn't count as night eating).

The previously inconceivable feat was accomplished because of the following:

1) I made the commitment here to no night eating. Public commitment, for me, is a big reason I lost weight and have kept it off.

2) I repeated the mantra "I will not eat at night" over and over and over in my head, from the minute I posted yesterday until I fell asleep.

3) I prayed about it. Nothing like having The Big Guy in your corner.

4) I took a xanax before I put the kids to bed, so I'd be sure to stay asleep. Better living through chemicals is another motto I live by (ha).

5) I went straight to bed after the kids were asleep. I have a horrible habit of sitting in the family room after the kids are down, and will watch TV or read (and sometimes both at the same time). We have a family room/kitchen combo, so the food is RIGHT THERE. It's way too easy and tempting to eat at night when you are 10 feet from a food source. And usually I'll fall asleep in the family room, and then wake up in the middle of the night, and on my way to bed I'll mindlessly eat something. Very self defeating, I know.

6) I fell asleep in bed and stayed asleep in bed. No scavenging through the kitchen at night. No mindless consumption of carbs.

7) I ran 4 miles yesterday afternoon, so my body was nicely tired. I didn't get in my planned 5--too hot and I ran slowly and didn't allow enough time for 5 miles at 11+ min miles. But 4 miles in 44:30 is still a good workout for me.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn't bloated. I didn't have cotton mouth. I was hungry! And the scale dropped 1.4 pounds from yesterday. A loss is a nice way to start the day.

Have I conquered my night eating demons? No. I've dealt with this issue my entire life. But I've taken a step. Shown myself that I can do it. Realized I will not die if I don't satisfy a craving the moment it strikes me.

I plan on a 3 mile run before my weights class tonight at 5:30. And I'm committing to night #2 of no night eating.

If you haven't lately (and, seriously, why would you?!) go check out my running totals so far this year. To toot my own horn, I am kicking ass on the mileage front--346.11 so far this year. I committed to running 70 miles in August, to Erin at Lose the Buddha who has a team for the Nike Human Race challenge. And by golly, I am going to hit that 70 miles this month if it kills me. Which it might. I have to run 25 miles this week, but with a 9 miler on Friday that means only 16 miles the other 6 days. I'm gonna get there. Just watch me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

154.4 - On my way out the door....

...but I wanted to post and say thanks for all your comments of support, advice and commiseration. It's so great to be able to count on you guys for bloggy love.

I feel a bit better today. Food still is not so great, but I did run yesterday while Sophie was at swim class (only 2, but it was a hard 2). And I'm going out to run a 5 miler now. Outside--hopefully I won't melt in the heat.

My goal for tonight is NO NIGHT EATING. I'm going to keep repeating to myself "I will not eat at night. I will not eat at night. I will not eat at night." Maybe I'll even get out a pad and paper and write it 1,000 times, like an old-school punishment. I'll try anything at this point.

Sophie's 1st grade open house is tonight. Should be fun. I'll try to take pics and maybe will post here later this week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

155.0 - The funk that will not die

I don't know the why, but I know the what-- I am in a deep dark funk that just will not lift. It's not situational. Things aren't falling apart in my life. It's chemical, as in my brain and hormones aren't playing nice.

I've been here many, many times in my life. After all, I started taking antidepressants in my mid 20s, and if they'd existed in my teens I'd have probably been put on them then, too. The funk feeling is so strange, like I'm covered over, pushed down, moving through murky water on a planet with an extra shot of gravity.

It's not so bad that I can't function. I can feed the kids, do laundry, clean the kitchen, read a book, watch TV, let the dog outside. I can shower & get myself done up for church and work. I can converse with my children, husband, friends, clients.

There have been times in my life when I couldn't do all that--a bed and a book was the best I could manage. This isn't one of those times, and I'm assuming it's only because I'm taking an antidepressant right now.

But what I can't do is take care of myself in a way that enables me to lose weight and feel good about my food choices. And I can't make myself exercise on the weekends because it requires more effort than I can muster to change my clothes and put on my running shoes. (This doesn't apply to weekdays, generally, because during the week it's JUST ME. When it's JUST ME and no kids or husband, I've got it in me [usually] to just push through and do the right thing. And I always feel better afterwards.)

I know all the things I should be doing--working out, getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy foods and not the sugar & carbs my serotonin-poor brain is craving, and being gentle with myself. I know that even though I've gained 4 pounds in 2 weeks, that it will come off (again) eventually, when I can get back into the good food grove. I know that this is temporary, and my brain and hormones will do whatever they do sooner or later and get me back to "normal," and I will no longer feel like a vacant lot with weeds growing all over it.


Until then.

This bites.

Friday, August 22, 2008

154.4 - Change in Plans

Tonight at the gym the plan was to run 3 miles and take a weights class. As usual I got there later than I'd hoped, so at 4:10 I was on the treadmill and hoped to get in about 2 miles before the 4:30 class started.

But I felt so great--the first mile and a half were like butta at 10:20 min/mile--that I decided to make tonight my long run, which was 8 miles.

At 3.1 miles I realized I needed to put body glide on my feet or else I'd end up with a blister. So I took a quick break, used the bathroom, got my glide and a gu from my car, lubed my feet, and got back on the horse. I went ahead and took my gu too, even though I'd only been running for just over 32 minutes.

After another 1.2 miles (4.3 total), I'd had enough of the treadmill and was fighting the urge to walk. So I got off and ran the indoor track. A mile is 10 and 1/3 laps, so I had about 40 laps to go to get in a full 8. I have to admit I felt a little silly running around in circles for over 40 minutes, and I am oh so glad that I don't usually run with mirrors around (I learned to avert my eyes after the first few laps).

It takes just over a minute for me to run a lap, so I used my stopwatch to do the counting for me. Every minute that ticked over was the lap count, and I just ignored the seconds. I reset the stopwatch after every mile so I could keep up with the lap count easily. And I stopped after every mile or so to drink water and write down my mile times (I can't keep all that in my head at one time--not enough free brain cells to track even 4 miles of splits). I haven't figured the total time or average pace yet, but my stopwatch had me at 10:30s and 10:40s, which was awesome for an 8 mile run, for me.

So my plans changed, but for the better. Now I've got my long run for the weekend out of the way. And I feel like I accomplished something.

And I'm still on track to meet my mileage goal of 70 miles this month.

Oh! And yesterday I ran 4 miles and did a total of 17 pushups (on my toes--7, then 5, then 5. I haven't started the official push up challenge yet--I printed it today--just wanted to see how many I could do. I rested a minute between each set, and it about killed me to eek out those last 5. I was slightly sore in all the right upper body places today, so it did some good).

Now, if I can just get my night-time eating under control... that's another story.

Hope to catch up with you all this weekend.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

154.2 - Too much to do, and a quote from T9

I'm so swamped--we have a client dinner tonight and yesterday's day off with Luke didn't help with my regular work load--but wanted to check in anyway. (The boy is fine, BTW. Sore throat that lasted all of about 5 hours. Thank goodness he's a healthy kid.)

I've got so much rattling around in my head about body acceptance right now. I just cannot get happy with how I look--too much fat in my belly, too much fat in my behind & thighs--regardless of what size clothing I've got on my back.

And that unhappiness seems so stupid. A colossal waste of time and mental energy.

So. When I have time, perhaps I'll get some free therapy out here where I can figure it all out with you guys.

In the mean time, keep up the good fight, friends. I'll leave you with an inspirational quote from my Title 9 catalog that arrived today. You can ignore the T9 commercial. I just liked the failure stuff.

"Fail faster to succeed sooner. It's a mantra of ours here at T9. Failing is when theory turns to practice, failing is where the learning comes in, failing is what leads to success. But no matter how often we say it, it's still hard to live it. So this fall, try a little failing with us here at T9. The opportunities are endless." --Missy Park, Founder

Monday, August 18, 2008

154.2 - Monday Recap (because I can't think of a better title)

The weekend was one of those "a body at rest stays at rest" type of weekends. I pretty much did a lot of nothing, which was good and not so good.

Good, because we weren't planned-to-the-max and I got to spend some quality time with kids (unfortunately not so much with DH-- he is busy busy busy). Sophie and I even did a pilates DVD and part of a yoga DVD together, at her request!

Not so good, because I ate like mad (hence the nice uptick in my weight today). I didn't feel any shame (ala Friday's post), but I felt lots of other yucky things--bloated, lethargic, pimply (does anyone else's skin get yucky after junk food blow outs?), and fat. And I didn't run or workout a lick. Even skipped my long training run (7 miles), which is b.a.d. But, oh well. Moving on.

Today wasn't much better on the yucky feelings front. It seems the older I get the longer my mid-cycle hormone dips/depressions/blahs get. This bout lasted a solid 4 days. After work today, I made myself get changed into my running clothes. The last thing I wanted to do was run, but the thing I needed most was a good workout after doing nothing all weekend. Alas, it was not to be. I'd forgotten to pack my socks and so there was no running.

I had plenty of time to drive home and get my socks and then go running, but I just didn't have it in me. So instead I went to Target and got my household shopping done. It's so nice to shop without kids asking over and over "Mommy, can I have ______." (Oh yeah, and I almost forgot to mention that I was so in need of a fix that I did something I haven't in a long time. I got a Dairy Queen chocolate dipped ice cream cone. It hurt so good.)

That errand out of the way, I then headed over to pick up Luke & Sophie at 5 p.m., when Luke's day care called and said he had a 101* fever. Oh joy. This was just getting better and better. I picked him up and then got Sophie, got home and called the doctor for an after hours appointment.

At 6:30 we saw Luke's pediatrician, who said he'd seen 5 other sore throats today. Thankfully, Luke's strep test came back negative, but he still has to be out of day care until he's fever free for 24 hours, which means I'm home from work tomorrow (sounds great, but we're slammed and I really can't afford a day off right now).

I was just overwhelmed at this point, even though Luke was being a real champ and the tylenol had made him over into his usual happy go lucky self, and I drove over to Sonic for yet another hit. This time it was root beer and fried cheese sticks. I know, I know. I have a death wish today, apparently.

As it turned out, DH wasn't feeling well either so when I got home he was asleep and I got the kids ready for bed by myself. Finally at 9 p.m. they were both asleep and suddenly out of nowhere I got yet another urge to satisfy a craving.

But this time, it was to go running. And some how--by the grace of God--it was an absolutely amazing run. The evening air had cooled off, the moon was full and rising, and my neighborhood streets were virtually empty. After mile 1 I took of my shirt and ran in my sport bras. I felt strong. Invincible. Like a runner. It rocked.

4.01 miles in 41:32. Avg pace = 10:22
The splits follow, which I am oh so proud of, as only a back of the packer can be:
mile 1 - 10:51
mile 2 - 10:27
mile 3 - 9:49
mile 4 - 10:24

The .01 was 8:33. I finished strong. With runs like this, I'm working my way up to being a middle of the pack runner. Woohoo!

After an afternoon of disappointments and questionable choices, I'm thankful that the evening ended with a tired, strong body, a relaxing bath, a family that is sleeping soundly, and a chance to share it all with you.

Random TV stuff: Any other Jon & Kate Plus 8 fans out there? Lori, I know you watch it. The past few episodes I've been surprised at how unhappy the two of them seem. You'd think they'd (well, Kate) would make an effort to be nice to each other in the interview chair. And Jon seems like he's just given up. I hope we aren't witnessing the unraveling of this family. I much prefer the happy family stuff. A little strife is OK--I don't expect perfection in any family, especially one that large with a mom who's completely OCD. But geez, I won't continue to watch the unhappiness much longer.

And, I must express my excitement at another TV event with two words: FOOT BALL!

Friday, August 15, 2008

153.0 - Hold the Shame

Before I get to today's post, thought I'd update you on the weight/food/exercise front:

*weight--is up because yesterday was a "hormones bottomed out & I feel like death" day. Pizza+ ice cream+Chex mix+cinnamon pita chips=weight gain. At least I can still fit in my size 6 J.Jill slacks I got last week (woohoo!). Squats & running are really starting to lift my behind, which is a nice change from the shape it's been the majority of my life.

*food--other than the above implosion, it's been semi-okay. I've been a complete slacker in tracking my food in WW online, which explains why my weight isn't going down. But I am maintaning under 152 for the most part, which I'm happy with right now. Still got my eyes on 145 by October 12th, though.

*exercise--ran 3.5 miles outside on Wednesday. Average 11:01 min/miles. First mile was fast @ 10:06, but the rest was s-l-o-w because I got way too hot (it was only 85, but a bit humid and sunny and that makes for hot running weather for this little sissy girl) and did the walk/run combo thing. Nothing on Thursday; just couldn't face dragging the kids to the gym. Today, I will run 3 miles and do a weights class after. Mom's got the kiddos this afternoon at my house, so it will just be dragging myself to the gym.

Now, for today's riveting commentary (ha).

Cindy wrote a great post about non-scale victories on her vacation to California. It's some really good stuff, and Cindy has such a grounded (and hard won) approach to life, I love reading her posts.

Something she said triggered a major AHA! moment for me: "Enjoying food. I was never embarrassed about what or how much I ate. I never had that feeling I used to have about eating in front of people - like I should eat less, and avoid the "fattening" stuff."

Eating in front of people used to be a huge area of shame for me. Whether in my job, or with my extended family, or in front of my husband, when I weighed over 200 pounds, every time I ate in front of people I felt like I shouldn't be.

I shouldn't eat anything but lettuce leafs and lemon water in public, that way people will assume I'm doing something about my fat ass. Mostly, though, I ate what I wanted in public and then just felt ashamed afterwards. And then I'd go eat more in private, which is where the bulk of my calories went into my body anyway.

Now that I'm at a normal weight (the BMI table claims that I'm still 4 pounds from "Normal," but screw that--I'm close enough and I'm not calling myself overweight any longer), I don't have that ashamed feeling any more when I eat around others.

And until I read Cindy's post, I didn't even realize it. I hadn't even named that feeling--I'd just lived my overweight life and my normal weight life in ignorance to the whole public eating/private feelings issue.

But after thinking through it and looking back at memorable food situations, I felt a ton of shame--frequently--when I ate around others. No matter what was on my plate, whether eating virtuously (I'll have the salad, hold the dressing) or sinfully (bring me more bread!).

I couldn't escape the fact that my body reflected my food intake, yet the food intake I was really ashamed of wasn't what I was eating at a restaurant table. But what I was eating in the bathroom (gross, I know, but it's the only room in the house where I can lock the door and have some privacy).

Now that I've been at this weight for almost a year, I've still got food issues. Just last night, I ate the last of the ice cream balls I bought "for the kids" in the bathroom--I needed an escape from my nagging children, and even though my daughter banged on the door twice, at least it was locked and I got my ice cream fix, alone, where I needed to be.

But I air my discretion publicly--here--and somehow that removes the shame. And when I eat out with clients, family, or friends, I usually order something healthy, because that's how I roll now, but sometimes I don't and that's okay too. And when there's dessert, I usually eat it and enjoy myself.

I no longer worry that people are judging me. Maybe they still are, who knows. The point is, I don't care anymore, because I'm no longer judging myself. I've left the shame in the dust. I'll eat a salad for lunch. I'll run off that ice cream today. I'll lift weights this afternoon and build calorie-burning muscle.

And if I want a decadent meal while dining out, bring it on. But hold the shame, please. It's no longer on the menu.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

151.6 - Random Wednesday

I have nothing cohesive or coherent to write about today, so it's just gonna be a ramble.

*Monday I did no exercise--it was the first day of school for Sophie, and I wanted to pick her up at a decent hour and find out how First grade was. She had a good day, for the most part. They did lots of review so it's all pretty easy so far.

*Tuesday I got in a one-hour weights class and then ran 3 miles. I questioned my sanity during the first quarter mile of the run, but by the end of the first mile it wasn't bad. I kicked it up a few notches in the last half mile and finished by running the last .15 miles at 8:31. Sometimes it's nice to run fast just so you can get the darn run done.

*It's next to impossible to get my two kids asleep by 8 p.m. I have been trying the past three nights, and unless I start getting them ready for bed at 6:30, it's just not happening. Heck, some nights we don't even get home until 6:30. Oy, this getting back to school time of year is tough.

*My niece-in-law Kate has booked a hotel room for next year's Indy half marathon, and I'm signing up today. So I've got a half marathon on the calendar for 2009. It's pretty cool that I get to be seeded this time and won't have to start in corral U like I did this year.

*I just ate a chocolate croissant from Panera Bread. It was delicious and reminded me of the week I spent in Paris when I was in college. But what the heck was I thinking? You can't get to your goal weight by eating pastries in the middle of the day in the middle of the week.

*Luke is potty training with earnest, at last. He asked to go to the potty last night and this morning, and yesterday he went potty twice at day care. Woohoo! The end of diapers is in sight.

*I get my haircut tomorrow. It's been over 3 months since I've had my haircut. I never go that long without seeing my stylist. I love having my hair fussed over, so this is going to be a treat. I'd really like to get it cut short again, but I think I need it to be longer so I can pull it back when I run. How crazy is that--I'm planning my hair around my running.

I think this is one of the most boring posts I've ever written. But, you know, boring is often the best you can ask for. At least there's no drama right now (knock wood).

Monday, August 11, 2008

153.2 - Failure is not an option

Thanks for the great comments on yesterday's post, gang. I appreciate the compliments, commiseration, understanding, heart-felt revelations, and advice so much. Love love love this community.

So, anyway, after Saturday's workfest, yesterday I was cooked. I was supposed to run 3 miles, but it didn't happen. I had both kids by myself, went to lunch at a Chinese buffet 30 minutes away for my mom's husband's mom's birthday (step-grandmother-in law??)--which also 'splains the bloat this morning--visited my sister & her family & my dad in the late afternoon, and did a load of laundry while the toddler took a nap.

And here's the rub--I felt like a total failure for missing a scheduled run.

This, my friends, is whacked.

I worked out five days last week. FIVE FREAKING DAYS and I felt guilty yesterday for missing a lousy 3 mile run. All day I kept thinking, "I've got to get to the gym! When am I going to get in my run? How am I going to live with myself if I can't check off my Sunday box that says "Easy Run" on my training plan? I don't have time for my family...I need to go running!"

I thought all this stuff, but was realistic enough to realize that my family needed to come first yesterday. Yet I still felt bad for a good portion of the day about not getting to the gym.

Then I shook myself out of it (pretty much) last night with a mental slap in the head. It's the same as when I had lost almost 55 pounds and couldn't lose anymore earlier this year, and I felt like a failure every weigh in . It was just stupid, and I had to stop the madness so I declared 155 as my stopping point.

And I'm not going to let failure slip back into my thinking when I clearly am kicking ass on the exercise front (food? not so much lately). So what if I'm not perfect. So what if I missed a 3 mile run. I ran 12 miles last week and lifted weights for 2 hours. Calling myself a failure is simply not an option.

Random Mad Men Chat: Anyone out there a Mad Men fan? I was equally repulsed and turned on by last night's episode. Holy cow, did I just say that? Seriously, it was an intense show and I am sure I'm not alone in my feelings about the character Don Draper (simultaneously drooling while shocked and scandalized). I may have to go waste some brain cells and read the fan blogs on this one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

151.0 - Cleaning the garage is like weight loss

(151.0 was Saturday's weight--I didn't weigh in this morning because I just forgot and had a bunch of coffee first thing at 6 a.m. Don't drink and weigh, is my credo, ha.)

Saturday was intense. DH had planned a last minute trip to San Diego to visit his cousin Brett who he hasn't seen in two years. He left by 12:30 p.m., and since the kids had spent the night with my mom, I was on my own.

Did I go to the pool & lounge around? Did I play all day on my favorite blogs? Well, I played for a little bit.

But there was no rest for the wicked here. I did something productive. I decided to clean out the garage. I haven't cleaned the garage since I was pregnant with Luke (very pregnant, like 8 months along--that whole nesting thing really kicks in during the 3rd trimester), which was almost 3 years ago. So it was a pit. We could park both cars in, but it was tough to walk into the house carrying groceries or children, because there was so little room between car & crap.

I gave myself 2 hours because I really could have spent 12 in there if I wanted to completely clean it up. And I got a ton done in 2 hours. Half of the garage is now respectable looking. It took a 3rd hour, but I took a full SUV load to Goodwill (back, back seat, and passenger seat crammed full), and another full load to the trash (we had cardboard boxes from at least two years ago still out there--really, it was ridiculous).

While I was cleaning, I kept thinking of two things.

I was in zero pain and felt really strong, while lifting, bending, and hauling. I kept my abs in tight to protect my back anytime I put something on the shelf above my head or bent over to pick up something heavy. This morning I'm not achy at all. In the past when I've cleaned like that, my low back would be killing me just a few hours later.

I also kept thinking how cleaning the garage is a lot like weight loss. The mess in the garage has been driving me nuts for years. And I look at it every day, and it bothers me every day. I finally decided yesterday to do something about it. No more excuses, no more "I'd rather be doing X." I had the time & energy, and I tackled it. Weight loss was exactly the same for me. My overweight body bothered me for over a decade. Finally, I had the time & energy to focus on cleaning up my body. And, like the garage, I still have more to do--it's not finished yet. And, like the garage, keeping it clean will take continued effort. I have to be careful not to let random stuff just pile up out there. And I have to be careful not to let the pounds pile on, which they can so easily do if I'm not vigilant and paying attention.

It's funny (not haha funny; ironic funny). So many years of frustration were knocked out by 3 hours worth of focused effort. So many years of being overweight, of missing out on many of life's activities and of unhappiness and guilt, were knocked out in 9 months of paying attention to my food intake and learning to love exercise.

You know those 9 months weren't perfect. I backslid. I faced obstacles. But I was fortunate that the time was right and my mind was right. I was persistent. I didn't let the "I can't"s stand in my way.

And maintenance for the past 8 months has sure been interesting. I've learned that eating like a "normal person in America" will cause me to gain weight. I have defined a new normal for myself. And I've learned that running truly is my greatest motivation now. It's not the size of my clothes or the number on the scale (although those are certainly important to me). I want to run faster. I want to run longer. To do both, I need to drop more pounds. Imagine running while carrying a 20 pound weight, then taking it off. You'd be lighter and faster. That's what getting to 135 pounds will be like for me.

Whether or not I can get to 135 remains to be seen. My next goal is 145 by the time the Evansville Half Marathon gets here on October 12th. And then by my 40th birthday in April 2010, I want to run a full marathon (where? somewhere gorgeous & where they have great swag--suggestions?) and I want to be in the best shape of my life.

Maybe I can even get my garage completely cleaned out by then, too.

P.S. I also got in my long run--6 miles. They were s.l.o.w. Running a long distance after cleaning the garage is not a good idea. Lesson learned.

Friday, August 08, 2008

151.2 - Weekend Plans and a New Recipe

So far I'm on plan to do all my runs & weight training this week. Today I'll run 3 miles and take a weight training class, then tomorrow morning I'm running 6 miles, my long run for the week. The weather has finally broken--high today is supposed to be 82*--so hopefully some running will be outside.

My mom is taking the kids tonight and will have them all day tomorrow (my 4 year old niece Jillian is staying with her, too, and the three of them play really well together). Mark is going out of town tomorrow through Monday late. I'll have some me time, then lots of all kids time.

Sophie's first day of First grade is Monday. My baby is alls grows up.

If you have tomatoes and zucchini from summer gardens in plenty (and even if you don't), you should try Roni's summer veggie recipe. It's to die for. Mark called it "gourmet" when I served it to him. I've made it twice, and the 2nd time I had leftovers, which I ate last night. I will say the dish is best fresh out of the oven (after it sits about 10 minutes). The grape nuts weren't crunchy after sitting in the fridge and being microwaved; still had a great flavor, though, and was a light and healthy meal for dinner. Also, I did add about an ounce of mozzarella cheese on each layer, which isn't officially in the recipe but Roni mentions at the end. It is so delicious. I hope I get more veggies from friends with gardens soon so I can make it again.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

151.2 - Measuring Up

One of the things I appreciated about LA Weight Loss when I started with them in February of 2007 was that they took my measurements every month or so. I've never listed those stats on my blog, for no other reason than I just hadn't pulled the numbers all together in one place.

Recently I added a page to my trusty Excel exercise & weight tracking file that lists all the measurements I could find in my various notebooks and journals (LAWL has the "official" records, but of course I can't get them now that they've closed without notice, the bastards). I even found a notebook where I had measured myself in 2006.

Chest (upper chest, under my arms)
6/5/2007: 38.75" (weight 176.6)
8/3/2007: 38.5" (weight 167)
June 2008: 35" (weight 152ish)
8/7/2008: 35" (weight 151ish)

Waist (1" above belly button)
5/25/2006: 42" (weight was around 210-215, but I'm not sure exactly)
6/26/2006: 41"
10/12/2006: 38" (I think I was around 200)
6/5/2007: 36"
8/3/2007: 34.5"
June 2008: 31.5"
8/7/2008: 31.5"

Hips (hands at my waist on my hip bones, fingers pointing down, measure at the ends of my fingertips--thankfully this is above my saddlebags because they are much wider than my "hips")
5/25/2006: 49"
6/25/2006: 47"
10/12/2006: 44.5"
6/5/2007: 43"
8/3/2007: 41.5"
June 2008: 39"
8/7/2008: 38.5"

I never set measurement goals. I have no idea how wide my hips "should" be. I do know that my waist is finally under the dangerous circumference for heart disease. And I remember being measured for a cheerleading skirt in 7th grade--I was only a cheerleader in 7th & 8th grade at my tiny little middle school; I wasn't thin or coordinated enough to try out in high school. Plus, I was a total book nerd and the cheerleaders wouldn't have had me even if I'd tried, haha--and one of the moms commenting that I had a 27" waist and that seemed big for a girl my age. Funny what sticks in a pre-teen's head. So, a 27" waist would be teeny tiny, wouldn't it? (that's not my goal, BTW)

If I ordered clothes from a catalog based off my measurements, I'd have to order three different sizes because my shape is all over the place. But basically I'm a medium, size 8.

I'd like to see my waist and hips get smaller with weight training, and I think that might be what's happening with that half inch loss from June to August in my hips (either that or I pulled the tape measure tighter this time than last, ha).

Somewhere I read that for every pound lost, you lose 1" cumulatively all over your body. You can't measure the fat lost in fingers and feet, yet I know they have shrunk considerably, so I like that 1 pound = 1" thing.

My highest weight after the birth of my son in 2005 was 234 pounds, and I felt every bit as heavy as an NFL fullback .

At 151 pounds today, that's an 83 pound/inch loss, which is about the equivalent length of the average NBA player.

I'll continue to take measurements even if the scale doesn't change much more, because I'm hoping that my muscle will build while my body shrinks from weight training (I had a great class last night). One more set of numbers to obsess over isn't a bad thing, right? :)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

151.4 - No Pain, No Gain

In the latest issue of Runner's World, there's an article by a runner who ran up Pike's Peak. She talks about how she was hitting the wall, about to collapse, when a spectator shouted to her "Way to go! You're in 8th place!" That encouraging cheer helped the author of the article (who obviously is an elite athlete) find what she needed within herself to ignore the pain and keep pushing. She finished the race in 6th place. Her goal was to finish in the top 10.

The rest of the article discusses her research into why the body can respond like that. The gist of it is--your brain can push your body when your body doesn't wanna anymore, but your brain can also slow your body down even when your desire is to keep on going. I've not read the science behind the "no pain, no gain" idea before, and I'm really thankful RW included the article in their recent issue (it's an awesome issue, for any of you who are training for anything right now; and for any of you thinking about starting a running program, there's a whole new "newbie" section). Because I'm smack dab in the middle of pushing beyond my limits right now.

The past two days have been pretty intense for me, running wise. Monday I ran 3.5 miles, and focused on negative splits (for you non-runners, that means running each mile faster than the previous mile). I warmed up at 12:00 for about five minutes, then sped up to 10:54, finishing my first mile in 11:30. The second mile, I set the treadmill for 10:42. I took a .2 mile walk break, then hit mile 3 at 10:31. After mile three was done, I took a .1 mile walk break and finished with a half mile at 9:30. The last part was tough. But, like the article says, if your brain knows there's an end in sight--whether the finish line or a mile marker on the treadmill--it's willing to push your body as hard as you ask it to go.

Then yesterday, I did my first quarter mile repeats. I have no idea if I did it "right." My plan says to run "6 x 400 @ 5-K pace." 400 meters is one lap around a track, or about .25 miles. I have no idea what my 5-K pace is, since it's been so long since I've run a 5-K race. So, I started out running my first leg (on the treadmill) at 10:14, which is what I think I could run a 5-K at. It was way too easy! I walked for .1 miles, then increased my speed for the 2nd leg to 9:54. This was tougher, but I still wasn't dying like I thought I should be. I walked another .1 miles, then for the 3rd leg, ran at 9:31. Now we were talking. My heart was pumping hard, but the .25 miles went by really quickly and it just didn't feel like I was working hard enough. So, I turned it up to 8:50 for the 4th leg. Oh yeah, work it baby, work it. Another .1 mile walk break, then for the last two legs, I ran at 8:31. Seriously, I thought my lungs were going to explode that last half mile (which I broke up with a .1 mile walk break, just like the other legs). It. Was. Awesome.

I kept thinking about the RW article while I was pushing so hard. That my brain has to experience the pain of being uncomfortable if I want to make progress. Another article is titled something like "Why We Suffer." And, as twisted as it is, runners apparently enjoy this pain we put ourselves through. Now, I don't know that I'd call myself a masochist, but I did enjoy the feeling after I was done. I felt like I'd accomplished something big, by pushing myself beyond my limits.

That's why running is addictive, I guess. The rewards of the effort are unlike anything else I've ever experienced. And I simply want more.

Monday, August 04, 2008

152.0 - My first long run of training--DONE!

The blogger blip from Friday was a bug in the code, apparently, which blogger fixed late Saturday morning. I'm just glad it's back.

I didn't get to run Saturday afternoon. Instead I ran out of time with all the stuff we had to do that day, and by the time kids were in bed and I could go out, it was after 9 p.m.

Did I let that stop me from getting in my long run for the week? Heck no! I got up Sunday morning at 5:40 a.m. and was out the door by 5:55 a.m. The weather was as cool as you can expect for Southern Indiana in August, and I had a great 5 mile run.

I got in negative splits for the first 3 miles (mile 1: 11:14, mile 2: 10:55, mile 3: 10:33), then I started getting tired at mile 4 (10:57) and mile 5 (10:50). My average pace was 10:54, which isn't bad for an early morning run with only 6 hours sleep.

To put this pace in perspective, my Indy Half Marathon average pace was 11:04. I really really want to run the Evansville Half (which I officially registered for yesterday--it's October 12th) in 2 hours 15 minutes (about 10 minutes faster than I ran 13.1 miles in May*), which means my pace for October has to be 10:18/mile. I don't know if I can do it, but I'm going to try.

Which means speed work and sticking to my training schedule the best I can. I got in 4 of 5 runs last week, for a total of 15 miles (I'd only run 6 miles the week before).

I once read--probably on someone's blog--"If you want to run faster, run faster." Like most things worthwhile, it's simple, but not easy. So I'll be doing track repeats (although they might be on the treadmill) on Tuesday. My first repeats ever. I'll let you know how they go.

Sunday was also my 16th weight lifting class in 60 days, so I've got a free t-shirt on the way. Woohoo! I am totally addicted to free weights now. I was doing lunges like a pro yesterday. Used to hate them, now I love them. That t-shirt has seriously gotten me to the gym more times than I'd like to admit (like, yesterday, I'd have totally bagged it if it wasn't the last day I could get my 16th session in ), so I don't know how I'm going to ensure I make it to twice a week classes. Discipline, you say? Me? Oy. I need frivolous chotchkes instead.

Last night I had the munchies big time while watching Mad Men (you guys are watching this on AMC, yes? It is so very good), and I'm guessing I'm holding onto at least 2 pounds of water weight. If only I can get my "if only's" under control, I'll be heading back into the 140s in no time.

OH! And guess what? My LA Weight Loss center closed--without warning--Thursday. I noticed a news truck over by the center on Sunday afternoon when I was doing a Target run after my class, and I drove by to see what was up. Turns out, the franchisee closed the place because they weren't making money, according to the online news article I found. And they were taking people's money all the way up until they closed. I feel so bad for the people who were deep in the program and now are left with no support. I haven't been to weigh in for over a month, and they still owe me about 20 boxes of LAWL snack bars, but other than that it's no big loss for me. I've got the owner's phone number but the news article said the guy's not answering the phone. We'll all probably get shafted and won't get refunds, is my guess. Bastards. At least I got my weight off before they closed.

*Random race info for you detail people: my official half marathon time in Indy was 2:29:29. But according to Garmin, I actually ran a total of 13.37 miles. I looked at Garmin at 13.1 miles and it was around 2:25:ish. It cracks me up that I dodged and weaved around so many people that I ran over a quarter of a mile longer than I should have. Next year when I run Indy, I get to be "officially seeded" since I finished in less than 2:30:00, and will start the race with the runners instead of the walkers (which is where I was this time, way the heck back in coral U).

Saturday, August 02, 2008

This should have been Friday's post

Last night after we got home from our Friday Night Group gathering and after the kids were in bed, I sat down to write a post about my day and to keep myself from eating the leftover birthday cake (most of it got eaten at our friends' house, but not all, and she's on a diet and didn't want the rest left in her house either).

But Blogger flaked out and I couldn't get on. I said "WTF?" and visited some other sites and had the same problem with some, not with others. I felt completely deserted. I needed my therapy, and my therapist was MIA!

You original AFG's will remember when Frances' Amazon blog got locked up and we weren't able to communicate for a few days. It was like we lost a life line. That blog blip is what caused all of us to create our own blogs. We never wanted to be out of touch with each other again.

Last night the stress of the day and the frustration over not being able to post and the lateness of the evening (it was midnight), OF COURSE drove me to the chocolate cake. I didn't have the whole thing, but I had at least a piece (I didn't even cut a slice, just ate it with a fork right out of the container). Emotional eating at it's best, er, worst.

The good news about Friday, which I couldn't wait to share with everyone and, again, it was frustrating as all get out that I had to wait, was that I finally feel like running is coming along again. If I had gotten to post yesterday the title was going to be "A journey of 13.1 miles begins with..." and I would have said "a single step? a race entry confirmation? body-glide covered feet?" And I would have answered "For me, it is a 3 mile run without walk breaks."

Yesterday was the first time since the Indy half marathon that I ran 3 miles without a walk break. And I finally, at last, feel like I'm fo really reals in training for a half marathon. All summer my running has been run/walk/run/walk. Which is fine, truly, I don't mind it. But I can't do my half like that--it takes too much effort to get started running again once you stop. So I knew I had to train my body to run/run/run/run instead. I'd worked myself up to 2 miles earlier this week without a walk break.

And then yesterday, I had to run 3 miles according to my training schedule and I knew I could run the full three (inside on the TM--way too hot for outside running right now). I started out slow--10:56 min/mile--because of the Runner's World article I read a while back that said if you train by running fast to start and running slow at the end, that's how you'll race. So I'm working on turning that around, and it worked great yesterday. The 2nd mile I kicked it up to 10:42 min/mile, and by the start of the 3rd mile I was ready for a walk break or some water but instead increased my speed to 10:31 min/mile. And the last .75 miles I increased my speed .1 mph for every tenth of a mile I ran. My final .1 miles was at 9:30 and it felt amazing.

It's runs like that that keep me coming back for more.

So, anyway, this morning I was supposed to do my weights class but I got to sleep so late--and had stayed up late the night before too (1 a.m. both nights)--that I was too exhausted. I got up at 9 a.m. (the kids slept late too) and then made a Panera Bread run for a scone and coffee and a grocery store run for the rest of the family. No weigh in for me today!

But I am running 5 miles this afternoon. I'll allow a walk/water break at 3 miles, then will run the rest (fingers crossed). I'm so thankful I'm healthy and strong and can do this running thing.

And so glad blogger's back. I was pretty freaked out without it.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.