Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A 5K and Acceptance

I was so inspired by The Biggest Loser last night that I decided I would complete my first 5K today.  And I did it with a time of 47 minutes!  OMG, that is so slow.  But I did it.  I used the opportunity to increase my speed here and there and did some 1 min speed intervals for the last 12 minutes where I walked for a minute and then sprinted for a minute.  I think of it as sprinting anyway.  Others might say it was still a slow run, but whatever!  It was fast for me!

The only problem I have with this run is that the distance was per my Nike+ iPod system.  I set the goal with Nike+, but then planned to watch the distance on the treadmill too.  Unfortunately, at about 25 minutes I accidentally knocked the emergency magnet out of place which brought me to an abrupt stop.  Ugh!  When I started again the treadmill data also started over and I have no idea where it left off.  So the lady in the Nike+ told me it was a 5K, but it bothers me that I don't have the distance per the treadmill too.  I'm just not sure the calibration is right for the Nike+.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it's off.  For timed workouts I don't really care that much, but when my goal this time was distance, I'd rather know for sure.  I'm probably overthinking it.

I am also coming to accept the fact that for now the treadmill is my friend.  Today was much less boring because I was using intervals and changing up the speed.  I even walkted a few times.  My last few C25K runs were just a straight run when I didn't play with the speed at all because my goal was to finish.  That gets rather boring.  But today was actually fun, even if it was hard.  I stayed inside because it was freezing today and the wind was much too strong.  It's supposed to get colder too.  I've decided it might be better to stick with what I know anyway since I am trying to add in the NMTZ workout which is kicking my butt.  I am so sore today!  Luckily running uses different leg muscles so that worked out okay, but simply sitting down or standing up hurts so bad!  I'm wondering how tomorrow is going to go.  But I'm ready. 

I'm moving forward and that is what counts.

The Biggest Loser Last Night

I will admit to being addicted to the show The Biggest Loser.  By addicted I mean that it's "must see TV" but usually by watching it on the DVR and while fast forwarding most of it.  Let's face it, that show could be 1 hour or 1.5 hours instead of 2 hours if they cut out all the clips they show more than once, reduced all the scale and elimination drama, and eliminated the recap segment at the 1 hour mark.  But as a show overall, I love it.  I admit that in seasons past I have settled in to watch it several times with a pint of Ben & Jerry's at hand, but it's always inspiring.  I love seeing the transformations and they have so many nifty graphics they can do on the computer now.  At the end of last season, on the live finale, they actually had hologram "before" images of each final contestant that looked like they were standing next to the real person on stage!  It was awesome!

What I love most about this show besides the amazing weight loss is that's it's never been about "the game".  When contestants come in trying to play the game (like Melissa this season) and make it all about strategy, I'm glad to see their asses get booted and the quicker the better.  It is about changing lives, not plotting and backstabbing.  They are at the point in this season where the changes are becoming so obvious for each of the contestants. They have all lost a lot of weight and the transformations are amazing!!

In the history of this show, and I have watched most of it through the years, I think last night's episode was by far the best EVER.  Briefly, if you didn't watch, the contestants all went to Dallas, TX and did radio spots to recruit people to participate in a 5K.  I thought it would be a huge event, but it was rather small and quaint, and mainly so heartwarming.  People of all fitness levels turned out and that is what I love to see.  It was fantastic.  There were so many hugs and tears and cheers.  It was inspiring to say the least, especially to watch what the contestants can accomplish now.  Daris finished so fast!  He and Koli, Sam and Sunny, all finished and then went back to cheer on the others to finish.  Even Michael and his annoyingness made a difference.  The tears were flowing here too, it was so special.

Then the weigh in and elimination segment pushed me right over the edge.  I couldn't even speak I was so emotional.  The bonds formed by the contestants always get to me, but seeing Sunshine say good-bye to here dad, O'Neal, and hearing what everyone had to say to him, how much they care about and respect him.  That's what makes this show.  It feels geniune and real.  Yes, there's the drama and the editing which always seems to make mountains out of molehills, but mainly it's about people losing weight and pushing themselves beyond anything they thought possible before.  That's what inspires me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Quote

Sometimes you have to push yourself. The only one who can get you through is you.

Dealing with the Recession

(This post is from a couple weeks ago.  I removed it to make some changes.)

My husband lost his job on September 16, 2009.  The whys or hows of it do not matter; what matters is that he is still not working.  I can say, without a doubt, this is the hardest thing we have faced in our nearly 14 years of marriage.  And of course I try to be grateful that this is all we're facing because I know it could be so much worse; life is unpreditable, life is not fair.

Fortunately for us, my husband's former employers paid him severence until October 31, so he did not have to claim unemployment benefits until November first.  Back on November first, even December, January or February first, six months of UI benefits sounded like quite a bit.  Now, just after we've passed April first, six months seems like a very short amount of time when there are no job prospects on the horizon.

In all this time, he has applied for more than 140 jobs.  He's applied for those beneath his skill level, equal to his skill level, and above his skill level.  He has had one interiew.  One interview, one call in all this time.

I don't claim to be an economics expert or even a novice.  I took a basic econ class during college and learned about supply and demand of widgets.  I can honestly say I didn't learn anything that helps me understand the current recession.  I've seen news reports, I see Obama all over the TV, I hear about how things are turning around, there's more jobs, higher stocks, etc.  Just Monday I received a news update on my phone about how the stock market ended the day above 11,000-higher than it has been in well over a year.  What does that even mean?  And how does this healthcare reform help anything?  I'm pretty sure I don't know at all.

But here is what I do know: my husband is out of work.  I'm sure there are so many families facing this situation who are saying, "I had no idea it would go on this long."  Well, I really had no idea it would go on this long.  I mean in the back of my mind I thought about it and worried about how we would deal with it if he couldn't get a new job within six months.  But I NEVER thought it would actually happen.  But, here we are, facing the end of the unemployment benefits, hopefully qualifying for the federal extension, with no real job prospects to speak of.  Financially, I think we'll be okay and we will deal with whatever comes.  It is beyond our control.  I try and focus on the positive to help me through. We can pay our bills and are not late on anything; I have a great job with good health benefits; we are still getting UI benefits; and best of all my husband has been able to spend oodles and oodles of time with our son. We have not had to pay even one cent in childcare costs since last summer and that feels GREAT! Who better to raise our son than us?

But the emotional burden is a heavy one.  For both of us.

It difficult for my husband who has been working since he was in high school, to sit home day after day waiting for the phone to ring.  I know he feels the pressure of being the man of the house and thinking it's his job to provide for the family.  I keep telling him to enjoy this time since he'll NEVER have it again, this is his last vacation EVER, but the stress of the situation seems to overshadow all of that.  What he wants is a job.  I fear that when he gets one (and he WILL get one) that he'll look back on this time with regret and feel like he took it for granted.  But that's the hindsight thing and who knows how he'll really feel.  He's also a little lonely and bored.  None of his friends are off during the day so it's not as if he has anyone to hang out with.  Not a lot of SAHDs (Stay at Home Dads) in our circle, unfortunately. 

After a lot of contemplation last summer, we had decided that I would reduce my work schedule from 40 to 30 hours so that I could be home to take our son to and from school.  I worked that reduced schedule for a whole two weeks before my husband's job loss, two blissful weeks.  I am so grateful that I was able to promptly return to a full time schedule, grateful from a financial standpoint.  From all other standpoints, I'm just resentful.  I wanted to work less, I wanted to be home with our son taking care of the house.  It's not fair that just when I finally decide to cut back my hours, I can't.

I also feel as though I have lost some faith in humanity.  The whole situation surrounding the termination leaves me feeling hollow and sad for so many reasons, and I'm not sure I will ever feel like I can give up the security and stability offered by my own employer and rely on my husband's.  We had always had a goal for me to cut back and back and back until I was not working at all.  I don't see that happening now.  Ever.  At any moment the rug can be pulled out from under you.  For this reason, we both need to work, and work hard, and earn as much money as possible to keep our future as secure as possible.  No, it's not all about money, but money sure helps.

And, while it has made my life easy having my husband at home, taking care of the house, being there for my son, it's also been quite frustrating.  I am jealous as hell.  I want to be home taking care of things.  I want to have countless hours to do nothing, something, whatever I feel like.  I sit here thinking about all that I'd get accomplished, how much I'd work out, all the healthy meals I'd make from scratch, but who am I kidding?  I'd probably just really hone my napping skills.

I know he'll get a new job at some point.  I tell myself that all the time, and that what is meant to be will be.  Que sera sera.  And in the meantime, we'll hang in there, as millions of families are hanging in there across the nation.  What other choice do we have?  You either deal with it as best you can, or you go crazy with worry.  I choose to deal; pass the cards. 

"You cannot control the cards you are dealt, just how you play the hand." --Randy Pausch

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength." --Corrie Ten Boom

Who Knew Running Would be the Easy Part?

I spent some time reflecting last night.  How do I keep going forward without burning myself out?  I read more posts about the 30 Day Shred and even avid exercisers find it challenging.  Since I'm not close to being in shape, I assume this is why the workout seems near impossible for me.  Course, I'm whiny and I just don't like pain.  But still, it's a hard workout.  So as of right now I have decided to do the No More Trouble Zones DVD (hereinafter referred to as "NMTZ") on alternate days, hopefully to include Saturday.  So my schedule looks like this:

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Run 3 miles
Tuesday: NMTZ
Wednesday: Run 3 miles
Thursday: NMTZ
Friday: Run 3 miles
Saturday: NMTZ

It doesn't seem that hard, right? 

I woke up this morning at 5:17.  I set my "Lazy Workday" alarm last night which goes off at 7:15, but for some reason I woke up earlier and after debating with myself about whether or not to workout, I finally got up to do it at 5:29.  I put on my workout clothes, filled my water bottle and set up in front of the TV. 

The pain started about 4 minutes into the workout.  I hate jumping jacks!  And since having a child, well, ahem...jumping jacks suck!  Jillian wastes no time in getting the burn going.  I modified several of the moves because I'm just plain out of shape and WEAK.  I was using 2lb hand weights which I soon abandoned.  Moving my arms up, squatting on my legs, all without falling was challenge enough. 

I should take this time to mention that I am extremely uncoordinated.  It's not just the extra weight I'm carrying around that makes me off balance, it's simply a lack of coordination.  When they were handing out that gene, I was apparently missed.  I have never done well in any kind of aerobics or workout class because I cannot stay in sync.  The instructor is going right, left, right, and I'm going left, right, right, oh now a quick left to get back in sync, oops, now I tripped.  It's really quite sad.  So it's better that I have this DVD in the privacy of my own home so that I don't have to embarrass myself in public.  Although I an telling you all now when I should probably just keep it to myself, but in the interest of full disclosure, you deserve to know this about me.

Anyway, back to NMTZ, it's not an aerobics class where you're jumping and bouncing and flailing around.  You do have to move one foot and the opposing arm which can be confusing to me, but it's a lot of slow and controlled movements on a mat.  "Back to the basics," she said.  I actually really like the routine, but I hate the pain.  And there was lots of pain, even with what I was able to accomplish.   I guess it's not that working out is boring, it's that it hurts so bad.  And definitely not in a it hurts so bad it's good way, at least not until it gets somewhat easier or I see some results, whichever comes first. 

Today's workout  was further complicated by my child who got up and broke my focus with his questions and comments.  "You don't have anything in your hand."  "That one girl just keeps smiling, it's like she's stuck."  "Why aren't you moving?"  Guh!  Oh well, I will be ready to tackle it again Thursday.  I think I can, I think I can...

With regard to running 3 miles, three times a week.  A 5K is 3.1 miles and while I completed that program, I am currently running 30 minutes, and on the treadmill only.  And I am not running a 10 minute mile.  As I transition to running outside, I am still working my way up to a 5K, with a pace of 12 min/mile.  That is my current running goal.  And running, it turns out, is far easier than Jillian's workouts!  Who knew?!
The weather doesn't seem to care that I'm a treadmill runner trying to head outside.  It's supposed to get even colder the rest of the week and it's raining.  I'm afraid I'm not hardcore enough to relish running in the cold AND rain so I'm thinking I'll be back on the treadmill tomorrow.  I'll judge it when I see it, though.
Today is my official weigh in day.  Even though Sunday's weight was 196.6, today's official weigh in is 197.8.  Stink!  Oh well, it was probably the salt in the pizza I ate last night.  Did you know a slice (1/8th) of Papa Murphy's DeLite Cheese Pizza is only 4 points per slice?  I had two slices.  Yummy!  The Hawaiian, which I love almost as much, is only 5 points for the same size slice.  I had not looked at those points before.  I love it when a favorite food turns out to be relatively low in points.  The nutrition information published by Papa Murphy's actually has the calories for a slice that is 1/10th of the pizza.  I adapted the info for 8 slices because that's how ours is cut.  Actually we cut it into 16 pieces and then you get 4 slices of cheese for 8 points! 
I have been very good about tracking all my points, including any BLTs (Bites, Licks & Tastes).  Like when I made that salad last week,  I had to sample it when I was making it, but I accounted for it.  I have been using the WW Online Points Tracker and I really like it.  I have used the paper trackers in the past, but now  I either enter the points directly online or by using my iPhone program.  It's easy and convenient.  I have also been entering my running as activity which is fun to track for activity points.  I'm not sure how I'll enter the NMTZ workouts.
Well, that's what I'm up to.  I'd better get prepared for another fun filled day of work.  I just hope no one asks me why I'm limping.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Persistence, not Perfection

I went out for a run today, what I would consider my first real run outside (that other time doesn't count.)  Even though I didn't get to sleep until after midnight, I managed to drag my tired bones out of bed at 5:05 a.m. this morning to head outside. 

The first mistake was underestimating the temperature.  I wore my cropped running pants which left my ankles bare and freezing, but mostly it was my face that suffered.  Brrrr!!  My lips especially.  My lips would get dry, I would lick them, they'd turn to ice.  I tried putting my hand over my mouth and chin, but I couldn't run like that so I just suffered.  According to Yahoo, the overnight low was only 50, so it had to have been warmer than that at 5:00, but it was too cold for me.  Next time I shall wear my long running pants and maybe even a scarf.  The rest of me wasn't too awfully cold, but the skin on my lower legs is still cold even after a hot shower!

I had planned to run for 30 minutes, but in intervals of 5 minutes with a 1 minute walk break in between.  I ended up skipping the last interval because I was just too cold, plus I really felt miserable and my house was right there!  I just couldn't go right past it and decided enough was enough.  It's funny because when I pictured myself running outside I looked a lot more fit and graceful than I felt today.  I was even rethinking my whole running plan by the time I got home.  I feel better now after having a little time to reflect, and now that I've seen how the workout stacks up with the others (thanks DailyMile) even though my overall speed was slower than my treadmill speed.  I guess it wasn't too terrible for my first run outside.  I got back home, didn't I?

I had planned to do the 30 Day Shred DVD as soon as I got home.  I started it, but OMG, it kicked my butt in the first 5 minutes.  I hope it was just because I was too cold and a lot sore from my "run".  I plan to give it another go tonight.  I'm looking forward to it, actually.

So even though I did not run for 30 minutes straight like I can on the treadmill, I still got out there.  Even though my legs were burning (not just from the cold), I still plan to get back out there again on Wednesday and try again.  And I will try the DVD again and again until I can complete it.  I sometimes get too hung up on a plan, and if everything doesn't go exactly according to plan, then I feel like I've failed.  Part of what I am trying to accomplish during this phase of my life is to accept that I do not have to be perfect to succeed. Persistence is what will lead to success.  Plans can change.  But if I stick with it and adapt to the changes, I'll actually be more successful in the end, and more prepared to face future challenges.

That was not what I was thinking this morning, though, I admit.  This morning I was thinking about how running is too hard, I don't really want to do it, especially in the morning.  I prefer to sleep.  Maybe I could just do exercise DVDs to get fit and forget the whole running thing.  But that's the attitude of a quitter and I'm done being that peson. I am a person who perserveres.  Even though my calves are trying to kill me, I am running for my life.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Progress Report

January 12: I jumped back on the "diet" wagon weighing in at 232.2 pounds.

January 24: I started walking 2 days a week for 30 minutes each.

February 8: I started walking 3 days a week for 30 minutes each.

February 22: I started the Couch to 5K running program.

April 25: I completed the Couch to 5K running program, not quite at 5K yet, I'm at 2.75 miles (on the treadmill).

April 25: I weighed in at 196.6; 35.4 pounds gone for goodMy official weight loss now is 40.2 pounds.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you probably can't.

Running, I've decided, is as much mental as it is physical.  If you go into a run with worry and dread, chances are it's not going to be a good one.  If you go into it knowing you can do it, you'll have a much more positive outcome.  It has been so helpful for me to be part C25K community on Facebook.  While it's obvious that the plan works (why else would it be so popular) I love reading about other people's success with the program.  Most everyone is amazed at what they are capable of; going from running 1 minute intervals in the first week to running for 30 minutes straight in the final week (wk9).

I am also finding out that while they are all helping encourage me, they may also be hindering me a little bit.  I have been running on a treadmill for the entire 9 week program.  My one outdoor run was horrible.  Is this because I have been reading so much about the hard transition between the treadmill to outside?  So many people have struggled with it, I think I have convinced myself that it will be a struggle for me too.

I have also been reading online for information about the 30 Day Shred workout by Jillian Michaels.  Everyone is sore, people can barely move the next day.  I am now asking myself how I can do this workout and continue running if I'll be so sore afterwards.

I think these are mental games and I'm giving too much thought to the hype.  I'm sure it will be hard to transition from the treadmill to the outdoors and I'm sure Jillian will give me a run for my money.  BUT if I think I can do it, I can.  If I worry to much about it and think that it will be too hard, then I'll probably have a really hard go of it.

I have been contemplating my plan for exercise once this program is complete.  I have been going back and forth about adding in a workout DVD and continuing my runs on the treadmill.  And if I do that, how much do I run?  How may days should I do the DVD?

After a lot of consideration I've decided to continue running 3 days a week.  This has been a really nice schedule and something I feel I can stick with.  But starting this Monday, I will head outside.  I will also start the 30 Day Shred and I will commit to doing it for 30 days.  That's what it's for, right?  I questioned whether or not I could actually do it for 30 days straight, but again, if I think I CAN then I can.  So I'm going to.

I have one more treadmill run for C25K: week 9, day 3.  Since I got behind last week, I am "scheduled" to complete this run on Monday.  But since I want to start running outside on Monday, I will complete the run either later tonight, or tomorrow.  Monday is a new beginning.  Some might say that it would be no big deal to skip the last run, but I need to complete the entire program before moving on to the next.

Regardless of my next plan, I could not be more pleased with my progress so far.  I am amazed at how far I have come in 9 short weeks.  It was so hard to run those one minute intervals the first week, and yesterday I had an awesome 30 minute run!  I am becoming a runner!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Causes, Causes, Everywhere Causes

Yesterday's post was about making a difference with action, or at least trying to.  Today's post is more about making a difference with money.  It seems like everytime you turn around there's a new society, a new program, a new coalition that needs my help and wants my money.  I am sometimes overwhelmed with options.  Who do I help?  Who do I save?  

I made the decision several years ago to make one of my main "causes" the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I read a book when I was in grade school written by the mother of a boy who died from leukemia (Eric by Doris Lund).  Ever since reading that book, I feel like I have an appreciation or passion to help cure the disease.  Additionally, one of my coworkers, a delightful lady who sometimes felt like a mom to me, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma a couple years ago.  Since the LLS also funds research for that type of blood cancer, my resolve to support this cause has been strengthened.

I also feel passionate about helping animals by supporting my locals animal rescue groups and shelters. My son and I participate in an annual walk to raise money for the Humane Society, and I also donate money and time to help this cause.  It saddens me so much when I hear about healthy animals being put to sleep for lack of funds to keep them alive. Last August, we adopted two kittens from "the pound"and in that same month over 300 cats and kittens were euthanized. It's so incredibly sad.

<-----Look left.  My newest "cause" is the senseless killing of Dolphins in Taiji, Japan.  I heard about the movie The Cove when it was first released and I was horrified.  I had no idea such a brutal killing practice existed.  After watching the film's creators on Oprah yesterday, I feel compelled to add this "cause" to my list.  To show my support, I made a donation this morning, purchased a sticker which I will proudly display on my car, and have added the badges to this website.  <------ Look left.  I have not actually seen the film and I honestly don't think I could watch it.  I have always loved dolphins (I even have dolphin tattoos!) and  the film clips shown on Oprah brought tears to my eyes.  So I think I'll avoid the movie, but I will try and spread the word.  <------Look left.

So while I don't have all the money in the world, it does make me feel good to be able to spend a small amount to help out these causes that I care about.  Of course there are many other good causes and charities out there, but I can't possibly give to them all.  Picking those close to my heart and supporting them is my small contribution to trying to make the world a better place.

What do you feel passionate about?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Food for Thought

As I said in an earlier post, I wish I was a Vegetarian.  I really do.  I actually was a vegetarian for about 5 years starting when I was 19.  My friend and I decided to become vegetarians on a whim, but what started as kind of a flighty decision turned into being one of the best I ever made.  Back then I was pretty fit and healthy already, but I quickly dropped 10 pounds and was in the best shape of my life.  I remember looking at myself (naked) in the mirror one day thinking how I actually had good thighs!

Through the years of avoiding meat, I also started reading a lot about meat processing and slaughter practices in general.  And can you say, yuck?  Not just yuck, but oh, those poor things!  It always irritates me when people who eat meat tell me they can't bear to watch or read information about what happens to these animals.  I think if you cannot handle knowing where your food comes from and at what cost, you don't deserve to eat it.  What a great example of keeping your head in the sand.  But that's my opinion.

So anyway, I loved being a vegetarian.  I loved how I felt, I loved saying it, I loved knowing that I wasn't contributing to the suffering and death of so many defenseless animals.  What I didn't love was having to eventually cooking two meals since my husband would turn out to be a meat eater.  I didn't love worrying about what would be served at someone else's home if we were invited for a meal.  I never liked making a big deal about my eating habits because I always thought no one should have to make concessions for me.  If they asked, I was proud to tell them.  If they didn't, I just dealt with it.  But eventually I guess I got lazy and it seemed easier just to eat meat again, so I gradually added it back to my diet starting with seafood, then poultry, then red meat and pork.  And besides, I never quit wearing leather.  People always liked pointing to my leather shoes or purses if I brought up the inhumane treatment of animals who are raised for food.  I was often accused of being a hypocrite.

I watched Oprah on the day she had Michael Pollan as a guest who talked about the documentary "Food Inc." I tend to gravitate towards information on healthy eating, meat processing, etc. so I was immediately interested in viewing the entire film. I have been trying to round up a copy of it for the past couple of weeks when 'lo and behold, PBS decided to air it for me last night!

Food Inc. is not only about the meat we eat, it's about all food and where it comes from.  The message is about buying from your local farmers and supporting your local industries.  Buy organic products.  It's about possibly spending more on your food but spending less on your health.  Spend more on the front end to save more on the back end.  All of this makes perfect sense to me.

The film says the consumers have all the power, but as one consumer, I feel pretty powerless.  We have a farmer's market here in town from May to October and we also live pretty close to a farming community which has commercialized itself into a family fun center, basically.   I am happy to support these things.  But I also love the convenience of going to the grocery store and buying all the fruit and vegetables I want no matter what season it is.  It's not a necessity, but it's a convenience that I like.  Although apparently by buying fruits or veggies out of local season I am supporting the destruction of the world.  So what do I do?

I have decided that my first step will be to consume less factory meat and dairy, and look for more free range and organic options.  And consume less meat overall since I'm a vegetarian at heart. 

I will still have my leather accessories, though.  Am I living a double standard? 

My next order of business will be to read the book, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.  This book was also featured on Oprah's show that day.  I'm not about eating a bunch of soy products in the shape of meat, or making "cheese dip" that has no cheese in it, but I think her ideas are worth reading.  I'm not interested enough to actually buy the book, though, so I need to reserve my copy at the library.  I'll post back with my opinion.

Regardless of your opinions about eating meat, or not eating meat, I recommend watching "Food Inc."  If for no other reason than it is good food for thought.  It can never hurt to be more aware of where your food (not just meat) comes from.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Again With the Weight Gain!

Rant:  I'm so stinking sick of losing then gaining.  I want a steady loss.  Last week I weighed in at 199.6.  Today 201.2.  Seriously?  If I could look back and say "oh, it was those chips," or "that cheesecake got me," I think I would feel better.  But instead I look back and say, "GD, I did everything I was supposed to, stayed within my points range, exercised, and I should have a loss!"  Surely I am justified in feeling mad about this today.

And in other irritating news, my leg is hurting today.  What?  I thought we were done with that.

I completed W8 of the Couch to 5k program yesterday and realized that my speed is too fast for my current body condition.  My lungs gave out before my legs again.  They say you should run at a pace where you can still comfortably carry on a conversation.  Um, if that conversation consists of me going "huff, puff, cough, huff, puff, huh, yes, pain, huff, puff" then I suppose I can.  But something tells me I am supposed to be able to actually talk.  This means I must decrease my already slooooooow speed even more.  Why that upsets me is because even though I ran 28 minutes, I am still over three quarters of a mile short of completing the 5k distance in 30 minutes.  This is not the end of the world, but slowing down puts me even further out.

Clearly I need to add muscle to my otherwise flabby person.  I know it will help my resting metabolic rate as well as increase my running prowess, and my overall endurance levels.  But exercise is so boring, especially strength training.  It's so easy for me to quit before I even start, I don't know why.  I have my Jillian CD just waiting for me to remove the shrink wrap, but I haven't done it.  At this stage I do not have the funds to join a gym and work out with a personal trainer so I have the option of finding info online or watching a video.  I think I'll do the video.  But when?

My final rant today involves cooking for my picky eater child.  Our rule has always been that he can eat what I make or he can go without.  But we still make him sit at the table for dinner.  One of my favorite things to do is plan the weekly menu and shopping list.  I also love cooking.  What I don't love is putting a bunch of time and effort into something that turns my son into a whining brat, creates a whole lot of dishes and clean up, and then lasts for less than 15 minutes while my husband I try and enjoy what I've made while my son complains.

This leads me to rethink the whole menu plan.  As I said on Sunday, I like to try at least one recipe each week.  But why?  While cooking might be my hobby, cooking leads to eating, eating leads to weight gain.  Perhaps, even though I enjoy it, I should limit my cooking to the essentials.  Food preparation can be about sustaining life, not seeing how creative I can be or how decadent the meals are.  Eat to live, not live to eat.   If I make "regular" meals, recylcing the same recipes, perhaps maybe I won't feel compelled to eat too much.   There is a really cute soup restaurant here in town that was sold recently.  The original owner commented in an interview that she had lost over 200 lbs on WW (I can attest to this because I used to go to meetings with her), and she said it was just time for her to turn over the reigns because for her, running a restaurant was like an alcoholic running a bar. I wonder if focusing so much time and effort on meal prep and planning sabotages my weight loss efforts, and maintenance efforts.  I like to eat what I cook, of course.  And also, if I've had a long day and don't feel like spending the time on a complicated meal, we eat out instead. Hmmm, not good for the waistline or the pocketbook sometimes.

I don't know, these are just thoughts running through my head the past few days.  Last night I made meatless marinara and served it over whole wheat linguini.  Tasty but boring.  But also passed the critique of my 8 year old and made dinner a much more enjoyable process.  Plenty of leftovers which I won't have to force feed him and peace around us.  Luckily for me I made some more Caprese Salad so I can have that tonight instead!  And I'll continue thinking about all this.

A friend of mine says she basically serves the same things each week and if they want something different, they go out to dinner.  My gosh that sounds easier.  And maybe the time I save can be spent on some of my other hobbies like scrapbooking or reading.  Or maybe we can even do more family activities in the evening because I won't be stuck in the kitchen.  Course if they're my son's ideas maybe I'll whine and complain the whole time and see how he likes it.

Okay, I won't do that, but some times it only seems fair.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Running Shoe Diaries

Several months ago when I decided to start the C25K program, I also decided to get the Nike+iPod system.  I'm one of those people who needs to have all the cool gear up front for whatever I embark upon.  I'm nothing else if not well prepared.  Anyway, instead of going to an actual brick and mortar store, I went to  I found some shoes that I thought were cute and ordered them.

When the shoes arrived, I was dismayed to find out that instead of purple accents, the color was more of an obnoxious pink.  I kept them anyway because they were comfortable enough.  But now I am dismayed to find out these shoes seem to be the devil incarnate.

After my start and stop of the C25K program last fall, the shoes sat in the closet for months.  I didn't want to wear down the battery on the sensor during everyday wear and tear.  But this past January when I started walking on the trreadmill and then eventually starting the C25K program, I had to dust off the shoes for use.  All this time my legs have been hurting and aching, shin splints galore, and then of course the pain in my right leg for the past couple of weeks.  I just chalked up the pain to being out of shape and running.  Too much weight = too much impact = pain.

Thursday, I talked with a coworker about my leg pain.  She is an experienced runner so I hoped she might be able to tell me if she thought it was a stress fracture or pulled muscle.  "Neither," she said, "shin splints."  Well, I know I have had shin splints, but I thought you had them on both legs at the same time while running, and only on the front of the shin.  She assured me that you can have one at a time because one foot can pronate or supinate more than the other.  She wholeheartedly told me it had to be my shoes.  Look at the bottom of them, she said, see if there is a wear pattern.  I didn't think they had been used enough to show any wear, especially since I had only used them on the treadmill, but she said to look at other shoes I wear also.

I kept her comments in mind but clearly didn't pay any attention before going out for my night run.  After limping home, though, I did put on my other Adidas running shoes and attempted a quick jog on the treadmill.  I could barely walk downstairs at that point; however, so activity on the treadmill was not happening.  BUT I did notice the shoes felt more comfy on my feet.  I also examined the Nikes and my other regular shoes, and found that I am a "supinator".  So clearly I have stride issues that could be affected by the wrong shoes.  Unfortunately, Google let me know that the Nike shoes I have were designed for neutral pronation or supination. 

Yesterday was my day off of work.  With the husband out running errands and my child at school, I convinced myself to get off my butt and exercise.  I'm proud to say that even though I had a terrible experience Thursday night, I still couldn't wait to run again.  Surprisingly, the pain in my shins and right calf did not linger too much (even though the bruise to my ego was still tender), so I put on my Adidas shoes and headed to the basement. 

And I found euphoria again! 

I completed W8D2 of the C25K program without stopping at all!  I did decrease my running speed after 15 minutes, and then again at 25, but I ran all 28 minutes without stopping to walk!!!  Afterwards, I could walk up the stairs instead of hobble as I have been doing the past couple of weeks after a run.  It had to be the shoes!

My Costco special, $40 Adidas shoes, that were bought on a whim several months ago, are clearly better for my legs than the $100 Nikes.  Doesn't it just figure?!  And they aren't even cute!  Although they do have a little purple on them.

Now I'm on a mission to find the little pouch for the Nike+ sensor so I can attach it to the laces of the Adidas.  I must have my gear about me, you know.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Night Run = Fail

Last night I went to dinner with a friend and when I got home I decided to attempt a run because my leg was feeling so much better.  Instead of heading downstairs to the dreadmill, I wanted to go outside into the fresh air.  It was such a warm day yesterday and the night felt cool but not cold.  Armed with my fresh Nike running pants purchased right before dinner, my iPod, my iPhone, and my new Amphipod, I kissed my husband and headed outside.  I was excited  and although it was 9:25 p.m., I thought the house lights and street lamps would be enough light in the dark.

Well, I can say unequivocally that it was a disaster. 

First, I accidentally turned off my C25K program on my phone so when I thought I should be done with the 5 minute warm up walk, I didn't have anything to tell me so.  Luckily I did have my Nike+ system, but when I pushed the button for the time, it rudely said I had only been walking for 3 minutes!  Ugh.  It went downhill from there.

When I started running, I was in pain, both shins killing me.  My right calf was tight, my breathing was all wrong, and the t-shirt I was wearing (no jacket because I needed the white shirt to stand out in the dark) was not nearly warm enough for the night air that now felt freezing cold!!  Awhile into the run, I decided I didn't like being out in the dark with my headphones, so I took those off and hung them around my neck while turning up the iPod really loud.  I pressed the button for the time and was informed that I'd been out there all of twelve minutes.  Seriously?  It felt more like 20 at least!

A bit later I knew it I couldn't run anymore and had to walk; then I tried wogging (walking/jogging) and that hurt so bad my legs were revolting.  Then my ears started ACHING from the cold air, my arms were freezing, and it was too dark to see the rocks and dips in the pavement!  I was miserable and I just wanted to go home.

As I limped into my garage and pressed the iPod button for the time, I was told that I had been out there for a whole 19 minutes 47 seconds.  That thing is a bitch!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who Else Remembers This?

"We must, we must, we must increase our busts."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brick Walls are There for a Reason

A few months ago, I never ever would have thought I would be upset about not being able to exercise.  A few months ago I would have been relieved to finally have an excuse to sit on my butt and do nothing, other than just the ol' "I'm a lazy a$$" reason. 

Fast forward a couple of months, subtract 33 lbs, add 7 weeks of running, and you'll now find me flat out depressed about my injury and being unable to run.  And when I say depressed, I don't mean in the clinical sense.  I'm just feeling really down about it.  Not only will I miss out on the calorie burn, I will miss out on the feeling of great accomplishment which always follows a run.

But I have a plan.

My husband thinks I need to see a doctor, but since I absolutely hate doctors, I'm going to put that off.  I am going to stay off my leg as much as possible this week which means I'll have to find some low impact exercise, probably the Jillian Michaels DVD I didn't use last week.  If my leg doesn't feel a bunch better by next week, then I might consent to see a doctor.  If it feels better, but still painful, I will continue to rest another week.  If it is pain free (oh please let it be pain free), then I will get back to running. 

On running days I think about running a lot during the day and look forward to getting it done.  I imagine myself kicking butt on the treadmill, logging my time with Nike+.  I feel a void today knowing that I'm not going home to run.  I'm trying to get excited about a different kind of workout, but I HATE working out.  I only love to run.  Someone suggested I ride my bike instead.  Hmmm, me riding a bike is comical and my bike is more of a cruiser than something for fitness.   I think I'll stick with Jillian for now.  But I wish I had a gym membership because I could really use an elliptical machine right about now.  Oh well, life is full of uncertainties and we need to adapt.  I'm sure this will not be my last challenge so I will face it head on and learn from it.  I cannot give up.

A quote from Randy Pausch comes to mind: "The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"

One positive thing to note, however, is that the back of my leg (calf) really feels a lot better today.  That leads me to think that the injury really is to my shin and my calf muscle was only sore from trying to overcompensate for my shin while running.  But that also makes me think it is really a stress fracture.  If I was a smaller healthy person, this would seem like no thang, just an athlete's injury!  But since I'm still big and fat, it feels like I'm a big fat failure.  I MUST be too fat to run, right?  Grrr, this is not a good day. I am still crossing my fingers for a miraculous healing by the time I get home tonight, but I better not start counting any chickens.


I am supposed to complete W8D2 (of C25K) tonight. I am FREAKING out. I either have a pulled muscle, a stress fracture, or some other malady plaguing my lower right leg. I do not want to be sidelined!! I'm afraid of losing my momentum. I don't know what to do, but right now feeling sorry for myself seems to be what I'm all about. :(

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Leaving Twoterville, Entering Onederland

I have DONE it!  I have left the 200s!  I weighed in this morning at 199.6!  I am taking a vow right now to NEVER live in Twoterville again!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

March Reading List

Not much reading in March, I'm not really sure why.  Just other things going on, I guess.  And one book I finished on 4/3 was read mostly in March, the but the credit goes to the month of completion.  Oh well, I read three books, here they are:

13. Moonlight Road (Virgin River #10) by Robyn Carr
14. The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen
15. The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

I have decided to put the numbers next to the books which correlate to the book number for the year.  So as of 3/31/10, I have completed 15 books in 2010.  My goal is 30 for the year.

I need to figure out how to get the little "currently reading" gadget on this page.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I decided to change my starting weight for my little Fitness Pal gadget to match my official WW starting weight so that all my numbers are matching.  Now that my work contest is complete, it doesn't matter if I have the extra 4.6 lbs in there.  Plus, I officially did lose those 4.6 lbs even if it was in the fall of 2008.  Pounds are pounds, right?

Today's Playlist

You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift
Already Gone by Kelly Clarkson
Falling Down by Selena Gomez
Single Ladies by Beyonce
If I Were a Boy by Beyonce
Addicted by Kelly Clarkson
Because of You by Kelly Clarkson
Sober by Pink
The Climb by Miley Cyrus
Please Don't Leave Me by Pink
Maybe by Igrid Michaelson
Fallen by Sarah McLachlan
Building a Mystery by Sarah McLachlan
I Believe in Love by Dixie Chicks
Everybody Knows by Dixie Chicks
Foolish Games by Jewel
I Shall Believe by Sheryl Crow
Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
Torn by Natalie Imbruglia
Because of You by Kelly Clarkson (uh oh, duplicate!)
Disturbia by Rihanna

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

I am, without a doubt, more excited than I have been in awhile.  Why?  I have followers on this blog!!  That has to be the coolest thing in the entire world.  Woohoo!!  I haven't told anyone I know about this blog, not because it's a secret, but because I'm not sure how I feel about putting my personal details out for all of them to know.  I can tell perfect strangers how much I weigh, but no one I know.  That seems silly.  I do plan to tell people about the blog, I guess I just feel like it's kinda like patting yourself on the back or something.  Look at me, look at me.  I'm not very good at doing that, I guess.  That'll be the subject of a much longer post someday.

I don't know how to handle comments on the blog.  I want to thank the people for commenting, but do I do that by commenting myself, or do I do that by emailing them, or do I visit the blogs and make my own comments?  The latter is what I have been doing, but I have no idea if that's the proper thing to do or not.  So I thought I would take a moment here to say THANK YOU to anyone who reads and comments, reads and doesn't comment, and/or becomes an actual follower.  I hope you're not bored to death with my ramblings.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading.  Even if it was only once.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


One drawback of this blog seems to be the spam I am now inundated with.  Hmmm, I'm not sure what to do about that.

Switchin' it up

I have looked back at my weight loss over the past three weeks and I have averaged less than a one pound weight loss each week.  That's not enough.  And when I say not enough, I mean that sucks so bad!

I have officially been back on program for 12 weeks and have lost 27.8 lbs.  I am not going to sit here and say that I'm not proud of that.  I'm extremely proud of that.  I feel great about it, in fact.  But I don't want to lose momentum.  I still have 57 lbs to lose and I honestly don't feel that I can spend the next 57+ weeks trying to lose it.  I know this is not a diet, I know I have to watch what I eat for the rest of my life.  But I want to get on with the rest of my life.  Losing weight feels like limbo.  I've been here before, I've lost weight before.  What I haven't done before is reach my goal weight.  I am ready to get there.  I'm ready for the rest of my life.

In the meantime, however, I have 57 more pounds to lose and I need to figure out how to do that.  Of course I want to do it in a healthy maintainable way, but I want it to be quicker than it has been over the past few weeks.  So this week I am switchin' it up!

First, I am going to exercise more.  I bought a Jillian Michaels DVD last week and it's still wrapped snuggly in its plastic.  Well, that plastic is coming off and I'm putting that thing to use.  I am continuing with my C25K, of course (completed W7D2 tonight), and will do Jillian's DVD at least once.  If it's a good one, I might do it more than once, or add in a couple more days of walking on the treadmill or outside.  More cardio = more calorie burn.

Next, I am going to eat more this week.  I have pretty much saved all activity points earned each week and usually have a good 15 or so weekly points left.  This week I am going to use all weekly points.  I started that last night by going to the Olive Garden and enjoying THREE breadsticks, my entire entree of capellini pomodoro AND salad.  I did have vinegar and a tiny amount of oil for dressing instead of the OG dressing, but I ate a lot of what was given to me.  And I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Last, but not least, I'm going to keep a positive outlook.  I am doing very well, I know I am.  I am doing everything "right".  Even if it doesn't always show on the scale, I know I am succeeding one ounce at a time.  And that's what matters in the end!

This week I had also planned on staying away from the scale, but I cancelled that plan tonight when I decided to step on it for a looksee.  Tonight's weight, before dinner and before my workout, was the same as yesterday morning, 204.4.  I take that as a good sign for the week.  Perhaps that is why I had an awesome run tonight!  I was a little anxious going into it because my legs, especially my right calf/shin is still tender from last week.  It was feeling a lot better, but then it was aggravated again on Monday and has been hurting a bit.  Since it felt better today than yesterday, I decided to go forward with the run knowing I could back off if it became too painful.  Well, to my surprise it was okay!!  At first I kind of felt like I was limping along, and coupled with my left thigh that's been bugging me off and on, I had quite the combo going on.  I kept wondering if I was trotting or running.  But about a minute into it I raised the incline to 1.0 and it felt so much better!!  The impact is reduced on the incline settings.  I kept the speed at 4.5 until about 20 minutes and then lowered it to 4.4 during the last 5.  I think lowering it made me feel better mentally so it's all good.  I finished and it was great! 

I have been talking more and more with people about running.  At first I didn't want to say much because although everyone knew I was losing weight because of the contest, I was too self conscious to really discuss it.  I guess I feel like when you talk about your weight and/or exercising, people really start to scrutinize how you look.  I don't want scrutiny.  But now that my confidence level has risen, I am okay with talking about it more, and that feels good.  I like saying that I am running.  I can't wait to say that I am a runner.  I don't know when I'll feel like I can say that, but I know I will say it someday.  And that is exciting!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Now Have One of These!!

A Keurig!!

Great coffee, anytime, one cup at a time!  I am most excited to try the tea and cocoa options (if I can find sugar free, that is).  It's an indulgence, but I deserve it!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Dream of Dessert

I dream of enjoying dessert.  Someday, I will go to dinner at someone's house, and NOT politely decline their decadent offerings after the meal; I will indulge.  And I will enjoy it.  And I will not feel guilty.

I cannot remember the last time I have ever eaten anything ultra-delicious without feeling guilt and regret about it.  It's pathetic.  I want to enjoy food of all kinds, especially dessert.  I have always had such an unhealthy relationship with food and I dream of when we (food and me) can coexist and live together in harmony, especially the dessert portion of food.

And I hope the desserts include a lot of cheesecake, cuz cheesecake is my favorite!!

Friday, April 2, 2010


I have a dream of wearing a dress someday.  A pretty black, or black and white dress, even something with pink, but there's just something elegant about black and white. 

I have been so out of touch with real shopping the past couple of years that I wouldn't even know where to go and look for a dress except maybe Nordstrom or Macy's.  Well, on The Biggest Loser, Stephanie went to White House Black/Market and modeled some fabulous dresses.  I perused their website tonight and found several dresses that I would just love to own/wear someday.  I don't have many opportunities to wear a beautiful dress, none actually, but perhaps my husband and I will take a cruise together someday.  In the meantime, I'll just window shop, or monitor shop as the case may be.

I'm not sure I could ever feel elegant and sexy with bare shoulders, but this dress is fabulous!

A True Story

There once was a fat girl who couldn't run for even a minute.  Six weeks later she ran for 25 minutes without stopping. 

To be continued...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Couch to Ouch

Yesterday I completed W6D2 and today I am calling this program the Couch to Ouch.  OMG, my right shin/calf is killing me.  I even pulled out an ice pack last night.  I am so glad today is a day of rest!

I have been thinking about this program and wondering if I should just start running outside now that the intervals are over.  I liked using my iPhone app on the treadmill, but I won't need to hear the voice cues to jog 25+ minutes, .  It's spring now and the mornings are crisp and cool, but that never stopped me when I was younger.  It might be hard to acclimate myself at first, but I really prefer running outside.

But I've turned into a wimp also, a worry wart of sorts.  I am more concerned these days with stalkers and killers than I ever was in my youth.  I live in a much better area now, but I'm also a mother and can't help thinking about all the warnings against being out alone.  But I do have a dog and she could definitely use the exercise so perhaps I should just do it.  I can put on a hat, keep my head down and hopefully no one will recognize me.

I weighed in this morning at 205 lbs.  Ugh!  I so wish I was out of the 200s.  I thought once I started this program the weight would come off quicker, but it's just not.  I accept that (not happily, though).  I do think my legs are thinner and I know that I am stronger, but the weight is still there.  I used to run at 145 lbs and I thought that was hard.  But I used to do it.  Sometimes the memories of running are what keeps me going.  I think I have an advantage over those who have never run before because they don't know what it's like.  But at least I have the memories to focus on and know it is possible to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I am focused and determined to get there again.

I have now signed up for an 8k in July.  Last night I had myself convinced to sign up for Bloomsday which is next month.  If for no other reason than it will give me a good starting point.  Next year, I plan to be in far better shape than I am right now and wouldn't it feel great to run Bloomsday and improve my time?!  So that is what I might do.  I just wish it was only a 5k.  Seems crazy to schedule a 12k race as my first one.  But hey, that's what is available.  I also have a 2-4 mile event in June and possibly a 5k in August.  I was thinking it would be cool to have one event per month starting in May.  A plan, a goal, a reason to stick with it and stay active.

Active.  That's what I want to be.  An active and fit mom.  I don't have to be "skinny", I just have to be active and fit.  Of course, hopefully skinny, or at least "thin", will accompany that.  My son can definitely use the role model of an active fit parent.  Unfortunately, I think he has my chubby genes.  I signed him up for a 1k in July and he will hopefully do the 2-4k with me in June.  Hopefully by the end of summer, we'll have left some of our bulk behind.

For today, though, I'm 205 lbs with an aching leg.  And I'm gonna whine about it if I feel like it.