May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Run Happy 8k--2011


While I was in Indy earlier this month running my first half-marathon, my friend Jessica suggested that we run an 8k race on Memorial Day. When I got home, I registered for it.

Since running the half, the furthest I've run has been 3 miles. Today's run was 4.97 miles (8 kilometers). I was nervous, because I didn't really feel "ready" for it. Which sounds dumb, because I JUST ran a half marathon 3 weeks ago, but I haven't done much as far as training since then.

Last night, I was really regretting signing up for this race, but I already paid for it and I already got my race shirt--which I wouldn't feel entitled to wear if I didn't actually run the race! They gave us sweatshirts, which I think is awesome! I won't be wearing it any time soon though--it was 80 degrees and super muggy today.

Like the night before ANY race, I slept like shit. I was tossing and turning and when I did get some sleep, I was dreaming about all the things that could go wrong during the race. I don't know why I get so nervous... it's just running!

I finally got out of bed at 5:30, although I didn't have to leave until at least 7:30. I had all of my race stuff ready to go...

Running gear, ready to go
I stepped waaaay out of my comfort zone and decided to wear a tank top. I have NEVER in my life worn a tank top--seriously! I was super self-conscious of my arms when I was fat, and I'm super self-conscious of my arms now that they are very saggy from the weight loss (more on this later...) 

Jerry and my kids decided to actually go along with me and cheer me on at this race! A couple of my friends were going as well, so I just told them I'd meet them there and I rode with my family. When we got there, Jessica (my friend) was pulling in right behind us. We were a little early, so we watched the kids do the "fun run" which was 1-mile. I really tried to get my kids to do it, but they didn't want to (too shy).

We took a pre-race photo:

Me, Jessica, Tammy, and (I think) Trena (I just met Trena at the race)
Notice my lovely farmer's tan?  That's pretty much permanent. I've been wearing t-shirts for so long that I have a permanent tan line from them. We waited around until it was time to start the race. Tammy and Trena did the 5k at 9:00 and Jessica and I did the 8k, which started at 9:10.

Jessica and I stood at the start line together, but didn't plan on running together.  My only real expectation of this race was that I would finish. Lately, my pace has been terrible and I didn't feel ready for this, so I just wanted to finish.

Finally, the horn sounded, and we were off. The beginning annoyed me because everyone seemed like they were going so SLOW and I wanted to get around them... but there were a lot of people in groups and pairs, and the course wasn't very wide.

It wasn't feeling "easy" by any means--my lungs definitely were working hard--but I wanted to get comfortable with some space around me. The first mile was nice because it was right along Lake Erie. I saw a bunch of boats in the water and the marina. After about a mile, I was SO HOT. I hate running in the heat, and it was 80 and really humid today.

Normally, I don't need water during a run unless I'm going more than 10 miles or so. Well, at about mile 1.5, there was a water station, and I definitely needed it. I choked on the water because I was breathing so hard. I realized I had been running at an 8:30/mi pace, which I haven't done in a long time.

I decided to try and keep my pace under 9:00/mi for the whole race.  I was SO HOT though, and I was seriously looking for any of the 5k signs so that I could take a short cut and finish the 5k instead of the 8k--but they were two totally separate routes, so that wasn't an option ;)

We ran through a nice neighborhood, and I don't remember much about miles 2 and 3. During mile 4, we had to go on a trail through the woods. Well, the trail was ALL MUD due to all the rain we've had this Spring. I had horrible flashbacks of The Warrior Dash I did last year.  I couldn't run in it because I was sliding all over the place, so I basically had to tip-toe/hop my way through 1/3 of a mile of mud--which completely screwed any chance I had of keeping pace. My pace had shot down to 9:22/mile after that, so I decided just to run "comfortably".

Well, it is NOT comfortable to run in 80-degree weather with the sun beating down on you! The last mile was like torture. I was pouring sweat and I just wanted it to be over. The last stretch was on a high school track. When I got on the track, I saw Jerry and my kids waving to me. I waved to them as I ran by, and I finished in 47:23. (Average of 9:33/mi).

Just yards from the finish line

Jerry took this photo as I ran by him
Afterward, I was soooo thirsty. I gulped down some water and ate a banana. The kids wanted to leave right away, so that's what we did. All-in-all, I'm glad I did the race. I read on someone's blog recently (I can't remember who--tell me if it sounds familiar!) that she "has never regretted a run". That's awesome! I've certainly never regretted a run (well, except maybe The Warrior Dash, lol).
Me with my kiddos--Noah and Eli

I always take a pic of my Garmin after a race... dunno why!
***Now, I mentioned way up above that I'm super self-conscious of my upper arm flab. You can't really see how bad it is in any of these pictures--and I always cover my arms with shirts or shrugs or whatever. It's no secret that I have saggy skin after losing 125 pounds--I've mentioned it numerous times.

But a lot of people write me and say that I don't look like I have any saggy skin, that I look thin and that I look like I never used to be fat. I've always been too embarrassed to post a picture of my saggy skin (because who wants to look at THAT?!) but to keep my blog honest, I think I may post a picture.

But I don't want to taint this race report with a picture like that--because I want this post to be HAPPY in honor of the Run Happy race I just did :)  But I may make a post about it tomorrow, and show you that my skin is NOT in good shape.  Maybe I'll get REALLY daring and show you my thighs, too!  lol***

Our sweatshirts. And me, sans make-up, with pajama bottoms on:




May 28, 2011

Cheesecake? Really?

I feel like the only person in the world who doesn't like Greek yogurt. I don't like ANY yogurt really--even the super sugary stuff. Wait, I take that back. I do love frozen yogurt!

But that doesn't count as "real" yogurt. So anyway, Greek yogurt... everyone talks about it like it's so special, but it's really just yogurt that is drained of liquid to make it thick. And the only reason the protein is higher is because it's concentrated.

When I tell people I don't like yogurt, they almost always ask, "But have you tried GREEK yogurt?!"  Yes. Yes, I have. Many different times, many different brands. And I don't like it.

Strawberries and yogurt with graham cracker crumbs. Nope!

I really WANT to like yogurt--because it's healthy, and, well, because everyone else is eating it. About once a month, I get in a mood where I am completely determined to eat yogurt and enjoy it. I despise the taste of artificial sweeteners, so that eliminates a lot of the low-fat yogurts. 

The calorie content of the high fat yogurts are just too much for me. So that means I usually end up buying plain non-fat yogurt and sweetening it myself. Dannon plain yogurt has the least amount of ingredients of any brand I've seen, so that pleases me.

But anyway, you're probably saying, "But I thought this entry was going to be about CHEESECAKE! WTF Katie?!"

So today I bought some Greek yogurt in the hopes that my tastes have changed in the past three weeks or so. Looked up some ideas online for making it taste good. One message board caught my attention by saying that they made it taste like cheesecake.

She mixed some cheesecake pudding mix into the yogurt, which made it super thick and "taste like cheesecake".  Sounded good to me! I mixed it together and took a little lick. Gross. Maybe I didn't stir enough. Nope, still gross. Added some chocolate chips. Nope, just not doing it for me. As a last resort, I added a packet of True Lemon to make a lemon-cheesecake flavor... and still, just wasn't into it.

I don't think I'll EVER hop on the yogurt bandwagon. There are very few foods that I really don't like, and yogurt just happens to be one of them. The rest (in no particular order):

Sodapop (any and all)
Couscous (which is strange, because couscous is just tiny pasta--but I think it has a funky taste)
American cheese
Salad (once in a blue moon I go through a craving-salad phase, but it's usually a short phase)
Sushi

That's all I can think of--and that took me a LONG time to come up with that short list! What are some of YOUR most disliked foods?


May 26, 2011

A Summer Challenge

I need to set some goals. When I was consistently losing weight each week for over a year, I was working toward specific goals--improve my 5k time, have a no-sugar-added day each week, fit into size ___ jeans, etc.

I set a goal to run the Indy half-marathon 100+ lbs lighter than when I walked it in 2009... and I did it!!!

I think that's one of the things that really kept me motivated. When I met all my goals, I guess I just lost my focus. And now that I ran my first half marathon, I don't really have any goals left. So, I've decided to remedy that by challenging myself this summer to specific goals.

I'm going to be running an 8k race this Monday, but after that, I have no races lined up. And I think I'd like to keep it that way until the fall at least. Running in the dead heat of summer sucks. I'm not going to quit running, however.

I was checking out some of the dreadmill workouts and I did one yesterday and one today--and they totally kicked my ass! It included walking at the beginning and end of the workout, but the incline was high, and that made it HARD. So I think during the summer, I'll do a lot of dreadmill workouts and occasionally, on a nice day, run outside. My kids will be home with me all summer, so it's not like I can run outside whenever I feel like it.

Also, after much deliberation with myself, I have decided to revise my goal weight.  I had set a goal of 126 because it was HALF of my starting weight of 253... but I looked and felt really good in the low 130's, and I am going to make my goal 133 (for an even 120 pounds lost).

All of my size 4 jeans were very comfy at that weight, and I was happy with how I looked. I think I will always strive to get to 126 just for one day to say that I lost exactly half of myself, but I am desperate to reach my goal weight and say that I'm honestly in maintenance mode.

And speaking of all this half my size revision, I would like to rename my blog. I feel like a phony calling it "Half My Size", because I never actually reached that point--I was 2 pounds away! Any suggestions for a new title?

I was thinking "Running for Cookies" because that pretty much sums up my entire weight loss experience :)  Someone already has the "runningforcookies.blogspot.com" domain, but I can keep my domain as is "theycallmeslimkatie.blogspot.com". I've used Slim Katie as my user name for a looong time for anything weight loss related. I just want a different title for my blog. Now that I wrote it out, I really like Running for Cookies.  *edit* Okay, I renamed it Runs for Cookies. The domain is available, but it'd be a pain in the ass to change that, so for now, it'll remain the same.

ANYWAYS, the whole point of this post was to make some summer goals. So here goes:
  • Log 270 miles over the 92-day period (June 1-Aug 31). That's roughly 3 miles per day. I can do this by walking, running, biking, whatever the hell I please. Dreadmill or outdoors or gym. 
  • Stay sugar-free every Tuesday. I don't know why I chose Tuesday. It just seems like a nice day to have NO SUGAR ADDED to anything--including honey, maple syrup, etc.
  • Weigh-in and POST MY WEIGH-IN every single Wednesday, like I used to. No matter what.
  • Set a weekly goal every Wednesday when I post my weigh-in. Just something to challenge my willpower or my mind--like eating vegan for a week, trying a new recipe every night for a week, eliminate white flour for a week, etc.
Obviously, I'd like to track my food and all that jazz, but realistically? There are going to be days that I don't do it. So I'm not setting super specific food goals. I just need to practice some self-discipline until it becomes habit again.  Today, by the way, is Day 4 of calorie counting. I haven't gone over my calories at all--and definitely no binges.

Since losing weight is as much mental as it is physical, setting goals helps keep you motivated! What are some of YOUR goals?


May 25, 2011

I bought PB2... Now what?! (Ideas for using the powdered peanut butter)

On my last entry, Anne (not sure who you are, but thanks for reading!) left me a note suggesting that I write about my uses for PB2. I have no idea why I didn't think to do this before, because it is definitely a frequently asked question!



Ever since I discovered PB2 (I believe in 2007), I've been hooked on it. I talk about it all the time and use it frequently. (Let me also say that I am in no way affiliated with Bell Plantation, nor did they even send me any for free to review or pay me in any way. I just ordered some after reading about it on a message board, loved it, and now I always rave about it.)

I order it from Bell Plantation directly, but I've heard of some people finding it in stores. I've never seen it in a store before though.

Yes, I really do order this much at once!
However, when it finally arrives on your doorstep, it can be intimidating. What the hell do you do with it?! Here are some of my favorite uses.

Feel free to leave a comment with your own uses for PB2, because I'm always looking for more ideas.)

   Mash a banana and stir in 2 Tbsp. of PB2 for a pudding-like snack.

   Combine 2 Tbsp. of PB2 with 2 tsp. honey and enough water to make a paste-like consistency, and then spread it on crackers, graham crackers, fruit, English muffin, etc. Or add oats and roll into "dough" balls.

PB2 and honey spread on a 2-Minute Oat Bar

   Combine 2 Tbsp. of PB2 + 1 Tbsp. Lite Hershey's Syrup + enough water to make the consistency you like. Use it as an ice cream topping. I like to top a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich with this concoction and microwave for about 10 seconds for a really gooey chocolate-peanut-buttery dessert.

   For a decadent oatmeal, cook your oats the way you normally would, then add 2 Tbsp. PB2 + 1 Tbsp. of brownie mix (just the powder... I like the No Pudge! Brownie mix). You could use 1 Tbsp. of chocolate chips instead of the brownie mix.

   Stir together 1 chocolate pudding cup + 2 Tbsp. of PB2 for a chocolate-pb pudding. To make it more voluminous and mousse-like, add 1/4 cup of fat free Cool Whip.

   Cook a serving of oats and add a mashed banana and 2 Tbsp. of PB2.

Oatmeal with PB2, flaxseed, and walnuts   
 
   Combine 2 Tbsp. of No Pudge! Brownie mix + 1 Tbsp. PB2 + 1 Tbsp. applesauce + enough water to make a brownie batter consistency. Microwave for about 20-30 seconds, enough to make a gooey brownie.

   Combine 2 Tbsp. PB2 + 1/3 cup Cool Whip until smooth. Slice a chocolate Vitatop muffin in half and spread the PB2 mixture on one half. Then top with the other half for an "ice cream" sandwich. Or just pile the fluffy stuff on top and skip the sandwiching.

   Peel a banana and put it in the freezer. When it's completely frozen, put it in a small food processor with 1 Tbsp. PB2 and process until it's completely smooth--it'll be like banana/pb soft serve ice cream.

   Make a single serve no-bake cookie! Combine the following in a small bowl:
1 Tbsp. PB2
1 Tbsp. No Pudge! Brownie mix
scant 1 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. quick-cooking oats
Form into a cookie shape and put on wax paper. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. (Or just eat the goopy mess right away!)
Single-serve no-bake cookie
   Add PB2 to smoothies and protein shakes. I like a chocolate protein shake with a frozen banana and PB2.

   Add it to any baked goods--brownies, cookies, etc. You might have to add some liquid to balance it out. I'm a terrible baker, so I can't help with that! ;)

   Add just a touch of PB2 to hot chocolate (maybe 1 tsp). Don't add too much because the texture gets weird.

   Reconstitute the PB2 with jam, and use it as a spread for bread, crackers, pretzels, etc.



Some tips to consider when using PB2:

   Don't be afraid to experiment!! Use your imagination.

   Think of all the liquids you have in your kitchen, and try reconstituting the PB2 with any of those.

   If you're not crazy about the texture of PB2, try mixing it with regular peanut butter for a while until you get used to it.

   Keep in mind that the PB2 has salt in it, so you might want to take it easy on the salt of other ingredients.


May 24, 2011

Cookie Dough Hummus

Today is my second day back to counting calories. I made a deal with my husband... I said that if I "cheat" at all in the next 4 days (Mon-Thur), then he could withdraw $500 from our savings account to spend however he wants. Now, being a very thrifty person, I could NEVER let that happen! ;)  It has actually stopped me from bingeing today.

I made this awesome recipe on Sunday, and again today. I'm SHOCKED at how good it is!!  It's hummus that really does taste (and look) like cookie dough. I ate it with pretzels, which was awesome, and then for dessert today I had it with a chocolate Vitatop. Heavenly!



I made it as follows:

1 can of chick peas, drained AND peeled (takes a little time, but worth it!)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
6 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Blend all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor until very smooth. Then fold in the chocolate chips.  (Makes 8 servings. Per serving:  139 calories, 5 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 20 grams carbs, 4 grams protein)

I skipped my run today. I hurt my back REALLY badly yesterday. My little brother came over to get a dining set from me, and I helped him carry the table to his truck. As soon as I set it down, I felt this horrible shooting pain through my back. It was so bad that I gasped and cried, and then basically couldn't move at all.

I almost went to the ER when I remembered that I had some muscle relaxers, so I decided to try one of those. It helped enough to make me stop crying out in pain every time I moved, but I figured I'd better take it easy.

I checked with my doctor (Google) and I'm sure it was a back spasm. Doesn't sound like much, but it hurt like a motherfucker! So I didn't run today, and I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

I don't feel like typing out my whole food journal today, but I had 1365 calories.


May 22, 2011

Whiskey Sour

I had such a fun time at the wedding last night!  Our friends Eric and Maris got married. My parents took our kids in the morning, and kept them overnight. Jerry and I got ready for the wedding and then went to the ceremony at 1:00.

It was a Catholic ceremony, which is loooong, but it was nice. Then we had a couple hours to kill before going to the reception, so we, along with a large group of our friends, went to a local bar to have some drinks and greasy food.

These were all friends of mine from high school, and they are SO MUCH FUN. I always laugh so hard it hurts when I'm with them. I had two margaritas and a beer, half an order of onion rings and a couple of potato skins. Not great eating, but it could definitely be worse.

At 4:30, we headed over to the reception. Jerry told me that he'd be designated driver, so I got started right away on a whiskey sour. That was my drink of choice all evening. I'm normally a wine drinker, but at weddings I like to have whiskey sour. 

Dinner was really good--a chicken/pasta alfredo-like dish. Not too heavy though. I didn't eat much of it, because I had eaten so much at the bar. They had DELICIOUS cupcakes for dessert in lieu of a wedding cake. I had a carrot cake one and half a chocolate and half a red velvet (so 2 total, which is a lot, but you know I love my dessert!)

We were laughing that we were deliberately seated at the "special" table way in the back so that nobody would hear us. My friends get very goofy and loud, but they're so much fun!

After dinner, everyone started dancing, which I DON'T do. I never ever ever dance (I'm super shy) but lately I've been wanting to get over that fear and just do it. So after about 12 whiskey sours, I finally went out on the dance floor and danced along with everyone else. And I had a BLAST. We stayed and danced until the DJ was done at midnight. My feet were KILLING me after that, and we went home.



Joe, Eric (groom), Mike, Adam (in back), Jake, and Jerry (my husband)

Amber, me, and Julie

I'm feeling a little hungover today. I had a long run scheduled, and at 8:00 this morning, I went to the state park to run the 6 miles. After about a mile, I honestly didn't think I could even make it back to the car, let alone run all 6 miles. So I did 3 miles total and called it quits. My head was hurting, my stomach felt gross, and I felt dehydrated. Whoever the fuck decided to call Sundays the day for long runs obviously wasn't a weekend drinker! ;)  I like doing long runs on Thursdays.

I have to take the kids to a birthday party today... ugh.

May 20, 2011

Oh, the horror

I bought a size 6 dress today. When I was losing weight, I was THRILLED when I could first fit into a 6. I felt on top of the world! And today, I felt completely defeated when I bought a 6.

I have a perfectly good size 4 dress that I had been planning on wearing to a wedding tomorrow, and low and behold, it no longer fits. I cannot zip it. Just a few months ago, it was TOO BIG to wear, and now it hangs in my closet (still brand new!) waiting to be worn.

My first pair of size 6 jeans... see how happy I was?!
When I was trying on dresses, I felt like such a big, fat, failure. I'm not at all complaining that a size 6 is fat--because it's certainly a great size to be!--but I was fooling myself into thinking that I was still a 4, and the pounds I've gained haven't really shown up or something.

And buying the 6 was like admitting my defeat. I just hope this isn't the start of me gaining back EVERY.POUND.I'VE.LOST.  I keep thinking that I'll never let that happen, but it IS HAPPENING. It's happening right now!

I really hope that today was my wake-up call. I know that the extra pounds are now very visible on my body, and I need to do something now. It's much easier to lose 10 or 20 pounds than it is to lose 125 pounds--which I know from experience.

I'm happy with the dress I bought, and I certainly hope that it looks good on me--err, that I look good in it, rather?  I'll make sure to take pictures. I have to wear a black shrug with it, to cover my upper arms. My arms are super saggy from the weight loss, and I don't think I'll ever be able to bare them in a cute strapless dress or even a tank top. I have so many body issues that did not go away with the weight loss--my saggy skin, blemishes, lumps and bumps.

Yeah, I'm feeling pretty "woken up" right now. Let's hope it lasts.


May 19, 2011

Spring Training

In case you're wondering, I haven't forgotten my Blogger password to log in or anything--although that WOULD be a good excuse for not writing, huh? No, I've just not been doing so hot at counting calories, and I don't have much to write about. I *did* start Hal Higdon's Spring Training this week though.

Here is the schedule:


I'm kind of excited about it, because it involves a little bit of everything (hills, speedwork, Fartlek, races, long runs, etc). My biggest problem with training schedules is that I skip the strength training. I REALLY need to start doing it!  Anyway, so even though I've not been eating very well, I have still been running.

As for the stray cat... I took him to the vet a couple of days ago. Jerry and I were laughing so hard we almost peed our pants because we had to take Chandler (my 21-lb cat) to update his vaccines, along with the skin-and-bones stray cat for a look-over. I had explained on the phone about the stray.

So Jerry and I went in with the cats, him carrying Chandler and me carrying the stray. The woman asked which one was the stray, and Jerry and I laughed so hard we couldn't breathe. Um, Chandler is so fat that he looks like a beach ball with toothpick-legs sticking out. And the stray is so skinny you can see all his bones. Which would YOU think was the stray?!

I mean, honestly, does Chandler look like he's missed a single meal EVER?

Anyway, $150 later, I learned that he is, in fact, a neutered male, MUCH older than 4 years, with terrible teeth; he's negative for feline leukemia and FIV. And he needs a $250 tooth extraction. Ugh! We don't have the money to do that.

I know if I take this cat to the shelter, he'll be put down because nobody is going to adopt a cat that needs surgery right off the bat. And I've tried finding him a home, but with no luck. My kids have pretty much convinced me to keep him, and we've even named him Paolo. (We name our pets after Friends characters... see my About Me page for details on that!) Remember Rachel's boyfriend Paolo from the first season? That's where we got his name.

I just finished reading Ali Vincent's book "Believe It, Be It" and it was really lame. If you don't know her, she won The Biggest Loser a few seasons ago. I was hoping her book would offer some behind the scenes info from the show or at least more of an in-depth look into her life, but it was basically a re-cap of what you saw on TV that season.

Well obviously, I'm running out of things to write about. I'll TRY tomorrow, I REALLY will, to count my calories.


May 15, 2011

Liar

I was still stressed out over the cat today (see previous post for that story).  I was trying to decide if we should keep it, and was going over the costs. I decided to check to see if she had a scar to indicate that she had been spayed. My other female cats both have small scars, so I knew what to look for. The cat was very open to letting me poke and prod her, and then I made a shocking discovery...

The cat is a MALE. A NEUTERED male.



Umm, are you serious?! Melissa (the woman who took the cat in for a short time) told me that she had brought the cat to the vet. The only thing she said about it was that the vet said it was a girl and she got her first set of vaccines (but no testing for FIV or feline leukemia, which I thought was strange, but didn't think much about it), and that the cat was "about 4 years old".

So once I discovered that the cat was a male, I was pissed--because Melissa flat-out LIED to me about going to the vet. Because honestly, what kind of vet couldn't tell whether the cat was male or female? My husband and I both agreed male (neutered), and just to be safe, I did some research online to look at photos and compare.

I have two spayed females and one neutered male, so I know a thing or two about their genitalia. I decided to check out the cat's teeth to determine age. Melissa had said 4. I opened the cat's mouth and he has no teeth on the bottom, and only a few on top. He looks like he has pretty bad dental disease, and the teeth that ARE there look chipped, yellow, and covered in tartar. Which means this cat is NOT 4 years old. From what I read online, I'd guess the cat is between 10 and 15 years old.

Who the fuck LIES about something so stupid?! Before I confront her, I'm going to take the cat to MY vet tomorrow (hopefully, if I can get in on short notice) just to confirm my findings. I wish I never had to speak to Melissa again, but she's going to be coaching my boys' t-ball team this summer, so I'll be seeing her often. My guess is that she discovered the cat's bad teeth and decided she didn't want to deal with vet bills, so she threw the cat outside, and he made his way back to my house (I live just about 1/2 mile from Melissa).

So anyways, I discovered that this cat has to be on a special diet as well--he cannot eat dry food (he tries, but it falls out of his mouth and he gives up). Which is why, I'm sure, that he's SO SKINNY. I have to mix some canned food with water to make it pretty liquidy for him to be able to eat it. This makes things hard on me, because my other 3 cats go NUTS for canned food--and I only give it to them as a treat once in a great while. I don't know how I'm going to handle this!

I had a severe craving for chocolate this evening. I so badly wanted to go get a Reese Cup Flurry from the ice cream place, but decided to make something here with what I had to work with. I cannot keep chocolate in the house, because I binge--not even chocolate chips. 

The only form of chocolate I have is cocoa powder. So I made a "fudge" (single serve!) and it was SO GOOD--and only 41 calories per piece (I made two pieces, because I was feeling extra chocolately). It's super dark and rich (if you don't like dark chocolate, don't bother with this) and it satisfies a chocolate craving really well.

Simply combine:
3 Tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. honey
dash of vanilla extract or almond extract (I bet coconut extract would be awesome!)
Enough water to bring it together (probably about 1/2 to 1 tsp)

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Add the water a very tiny amount at a time--you have to stir this for a long time to get all the cocoa moistened. You want a very very thick paste. Separate into two pieces and roll into balls. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes until cold, then take out and EAT. I'll be making these often, and I may experiment with some coconut and peanut butter to make different varieties :)

My food log for today:

Breakfast-
oats with almond milk, 1/2 banana, chia seeds (216)
coffee x2 with coconut milk creamer (25)

Lunch-
toast with almond butter (131)
cottage cheese with canned pears (162)

Dinner-
cabbage casserole with millet (279)

Snacks-
fruit bar (65)
peanut butter cake-thing (146)
popcorn (225)
fudgesicle (35)
2 pieces fudge (82)

Exercise-
none (tomorrow starts my new training!)

TOTAL:  1366 calories


May 14, 2011

Stray cat

I spent pretty much the whole day today trying to find a home for a stray cat. We found a beautiful Himalayan cat hiding out in our shed about a month ago. I assumed she belonged to someone because she looked well-fed, but when I picked her up, I was shocked at how skinny she was. She felt like a skeleton covered in long fur. I didn't bring her in my house, but I wrote a post on Facebook about her and asked if anyone wanted a cat.

See how beautiful she is?!

A mom from Eli's preschool (Melissa) said that she was looking for a cat, and decided to take her. I was so glad, because the cat was really sweet.

That was a month ago. Two nights ago, some kids knocked on my door holding the cat. They said "This is your cat, right? We found her down the road, and a dog was right by her, so we brought her here."  I said, "No, it's not my cat, but I know who she belongs to. Thanks for looking out for her." 

I put the cat in a cat carrier and called Melissa. She insisted that she didn't want the cat back, that the cat would rather be outside. I was kind of taken aback, like, "Okaaay, so what do I do?"  I was nervous about letting this cat loose in my house simply because I have 3 cats as it is, and I don't want them to get sick if the stray had some sort of disease. I felt awful, but I put the cat back outside, hoping it would run away and be gone in the morning.

Friday, I picked Eli up from school and the cat was waiting on our porch when we got home. We sat outside with her for a while, and I fed her. I was contemplating taking her to the animal shelter, but they closed at 4, and don't open again until Monday.

I let the cat in, against my better judgment, until bed time and then I put her back outside for the night. I put a blanket in the cat crate and put that outside for some shelter, and left food and water for her.  This morning, I opened the door and she darted out of the crate and into the house.

She's the SWEETEST cat. She's a total attention whore, and loves to be cuddled and petted. I think Melissa was making up the thing about the cat not wanting to stay in the house, because I cannot get the poor cat to go back outside now.

She doesn't look sick at all--her coat is beautiful, her eyes and ears look good, etc. But she's SO skinny. Anyway, today I was researching the cost of getting her spayed and her vaccines, and all that. I really wish we could keep her, but I feel like the 3 cats we have are too much sometimes--let alone having a fourth! 

I made another post on Facebook, and I'm hoping someone will want her. If not, I don't think I have the heart to take her to the shelter, so it looks like we'll be the owners of 4 cats.

Anyways, I promised a food journal today (and that I was going to count calories):

Breakfast-
oats with almond milk, 1/2 banana, chia seeds  (216)
2 cups of coffee with coconut creamer  (25)   <---I love the So Delicious coconut creamer! It's only 10 calories per Tbsp, and it is creamy... it doesn't turn your coffee that ugly gray color that skim milk does.

Lunch-
baked potato with cottage cheese  (235)

Dinner-
meatball stroganoff with whole wheat pasta  (441)
broiled asparagus  (46)

Snacks-
apple  (63)
almonds  (164)
string cheese  (60)
sugar free fudgsicle  (35)

Exercise-
none today

TOTAL:  1284 calories

I WILL post another food log tomorrow... hold me to it!!


May 13, 2011

The Aftermath



I was finally going to write a blog yesterday, and then blogger was down... so I couldn't. But anyways, tomorrow morning it will have been one whole week since I ran my first half-marathon. I wasn't very sore--Sunday I felt fine, Monday my hips were a little sore, but after that I felt good. On Tuesday, I ran two miles to make sure my legs still worked, and they did :)

I've been feeling really shitty though as far as my sore throat and congestion. I kept feeling worse and worse all week long and today I woke up with a horrible ear ache.

I went to urgent care and I have a sinus infection and an ear infection. They gave me an injection of antibiotic, and script for antibiotic and decongestant. Hopefully I'll be back to normal by Monday.

Monday I'm starting a new running schedule. It's called "Spring Training", and you're supposed to start in March, but I'm not training for a particular race, so it'll be fine. I'll be running 6 days a week, which is way more than I'm used to, but they are shorter runs--3 miles here, a speed workout there, one long run of 6-8 miles per week... It actually looks pretty interesting.

My weight has been climbing and I sooo need to get it together NOW. I mentioned how I gained 8 pounds while on vacation the last week of April. Well, when I went to Indy, I ate and drank like crap--and when I got home, I got on the scale to see the damage... 159.5. ONE FIFTY FUCKING NINE POINT FIVE!

A lot of that was water retention, because today I was 150.5. But still... that's like 10 pounds gained in less than 3 weeks?  Not to mention I'm "overweight" again. I could definitely see the weight gain in my Indy photos.  I'm going back to counting calories tomorrow. I'm afraid to even wash my jeans for fear of them not fitting!

My friend Sarah is getting married in October, and I'm her matron of honor. I desperately want to get my weight back down before trying on bridesmaid dresses. Isn't it amazing how long it takes to lose weight and then how fast it comes back on?

I got the professional pictures from the race last weekend...



Crossing the finish line!  Chip time: 2:10:40

The rain came down on me for the last mile or so... see how wet I am?
Okay, starting tomorrow I'm going to post my food journal EVERY day--so please bug me about it if I don't! Because that means I'm not counting calories, and I know I need to count if I want to get this weight back off.

Oh! And in my first post, I promised an entry explaining how I got started running (a frequently asked question). I created a running page if you are interested. I posted my old race reports too.


May 8, 2011

500 Festival Mini-Marathon 2011

I just got home from my fourth annual trip to Indianapolis for the half-marathon. I've walked it the past three years, and this year was my first year RUNNING it. It was fantastic!!  Hopefully I can remember all the details (there was a lot of drinking, haha).

Friday-

Eli had a Mother's Day tea party at school, so I wanted to make sure I could go to that before we left for Indy. I went to the tea party and Eli was adorable. He was so excited and proud of the things he'd made for me.

My mom picked him up at 11:30, and I left with Jerry (my husband), Renee, and Jessica (my friends) for Indy. The drive was about 4 1/2 hours, and we stopped a couple of times along the way for snacks. At one gas station, they were selling Cadbury Creme Eggs for 6 cents each!! I was tempted to buy all of them, but I only bought two.

Top: Cathy, me, Renee, Jessica. Bottom: Jerry, Brian, Jen
We arrived at the hotel and my brother Brian, my sister Jeanie, and her two friends Cathy and Jen were already there. Everyone had a drink in our hotel room while we waited to head to dinner. We had reservations at Buca di Beppo to load up on pasta for the race. Reservations were at 5, and we were seated right away. We had cheese bread, lasagna, fettuccine alfredo, ravioli, stuffed shells, manicotti... OH, it was SO good. Then we headed over to the Expo to pick up our packets.

Dinner at Buca di Beppo

I was kind of bummed to see that I had requested a medium shirt, when I really need a small, but I registered for this race almost a year ago, and I was a medium at the time. We walked around the Expo, and I bought a sticker for my car that says "13.1 miles 'cause I'm only half crazy". I noticed someone walking around in a Biggest Loser t-shirt and I recognized it to be Allen from season 8! I said hello, and asked if he was doing the race, etc. I told him about my weight loss and asked if I could get a picture with him. He was SUPER friendly.



After the Expo, we went back to the hotel. I was kind of wired and wanted to play some games or something, but everyone else just wanted to lie around and go to bed early. I sat in my sister's room and talked to her and her friends for a little while, then went to bed at around 11.



Saturday-

The alarm went off at 5:00 AM.  I went down and ate breakfast (oatmeal with raisins, canteloupe, muffin). Then I got dressed and tried to calm my nerves. I get nervous every year, even though I already know what to expect.

We took some pictures, then everyone headed down to the start area, which was directly in front of our hotel. I was in the Q corral (by myself--no one else from our group was starting there, and I planned to run alone). Jerry wasn't running, so he had all our stuff in a bag and he was going to go wait at the finish line.

My "gear" for the race. Jerry bought me the visor for Mother's Day :)

Jessica, me, and Renee pre-race

The back of my shirt

Everyone ready to run!

My sister, my brother, and me (pre-race)

I made small talk with a couple of people, turned on my Garmin, and waited for the start. Once the race started (at 7:33), it took me about 20 minutes to get to the actual starting line. This is the largest half-marathon in the country, with 35,000 racers--and being in Q, I was pretty far back there. It's organized by estimated finish time, and when I registered, I had estimated my finish to be 2:30.

Once the race started, I started running at a pretty slow pace. There were so many people that I had to dodge people constantly for the first mile or so. Right after the starting line, there was a girl in front of me that I was going to pass, because I saw her trying to TEXT AND RUN at the same fucking time. She wasn't watching where she was going, and then she fell--RIGHT in front of me, which almost caused me to go flying to the pavement as well. I was so mad that I wanted to kick her, but I dodged her and kept going. At the first mile marker is the zoo, and I saw an elephant watching us run by :)

I kept focusing on maintaining a steady pace, and I didn't want to worry too much about how slow I was going. I wanted to stay comfortable, so I just found a happy pace and went with it. At mile 6, we went onto the Indy 500 race track. The track looks so small on TV, but it is actually 2 1/2 miles around. It's the most boring part of the race, in my opinion. I saw a man wearing a Martian Marathon t-shirt and I told him I did the Martian 10k in March. He is from Windsor, and went to Indy for the race like I did.

There were tons of pit stops along the race (probably about every mile) but I hadn't stopped for water or Gatorade at all. At around mile 8, I had some water--I didn't realize it would be so hard to run and drink at the same time, and I wound up getting water all over my shirt right before I saw the photographers. So I'm interested to see how I look in the pics!

After mile 9, the rest of the miles went by kind of fast. I had water at mile 10, and then Gatorade at mile 11. Most people eat some sort of fuel, but I always feel fine without food or water up until about 10 miles, and after that, I just need a little water and I'm good to go. My legs started hurting about halfway through mile 12, but I still felt pretty strong.

When I finally hit mile 13, I saw the finish line and there were TONS of people cheering us on. I heard Renee yell my name, so I smiled and waved at her. I didn't see Jerry at all, and I actually slowed down a little to try and see him, but no luck. I think I was half smiling, half crying when I crossed the finish line. I felt emotional for a minute and was about to go into the ugly cry, and then I was over it. My finish time was 2:10:40. I got pic taken with my medal, then went to find Renee (who finished in 1:46) and Jerry.

My finishers medal

Finish time
I'm not thrilled with my time, but it's decent. A 9:59/mile pace. I'm definitely going to have to do some speedwork. My splits were as follows:

Mile 1- 10:31
Mile 2- 10:10
Mile 3- 10:06
Mile 4- 9:56
Mile 5- 9:54
Mile 6- 10:00
Mile 7- 9:47
Mile 8- 9:47
Mile 9- 9:59
Mile 10- 9:47
Mile 11- 9:37
Mile 12- 9:41
Mile 13- 9:23
Mile 0.1- 8:55

For the most part, I had negative splits, so I'm happy with that. My best mile was actually the 13th mile, which surprised me.

Renee found me and she said she had no clue where Jerry was. We went back to the finish line to watch everyone else finish. I saw Brian and Jen cross, which surprised me, because I thought for sure they would have finished before me. Their time was 2:19. We watched for Jessica, but didn't see her. We saw Jeanie and Cathy cross. Then someone found Jerry, who admitted he completely missed my crossing the finish line!

We went back to the hotel and met up with Jessica. I took a shower and had lunch at the food court in the mall next door. Then I drank almost a whole bottle of Kendall-Jackson Merlot (my favorite wine!) and relaxed.

After that, we went down to the hotel bar and had some drinks and snacks. Renee and Jessica ended up going out to a club to dance, which I wasn't interested in doing, so I stayed with everyone else.

We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner--that's where you end up if you don't make reservations on time--and then finally went back to the hotel. I went to bed at around 10:30.

We walked to BWW and it poured rain on us

I couldn't sleep at all, and at 3:30 AM, Jessica and Renee finally came back to the hotel. They were being pretty loud, so I went in the other room to sleep. I could tell I was getting sick because my throat felt like I was swallowing razor blades.

Sunday-

I woke up at 8 this morning and packed up our stuff. My throat hurt so badly. Surprisingly, I wasn't sore from the run at all. My hips felt a little stiff, but that's it. We left the hotel at 10:30, and I got home at about 3 pm. I looked up my results online. My kids asked if I won, and I explained that I came in 11,890th place... hahaha.

Overall, it was a great weekend. I'm so excited to be a part of the cool kids club now that I've RUN a half-marathon! I'm super psyched for next year--I'm going to run it sub-2:00! ;)

I'll post the official race pictures when I get them.  Here are the pics!!

At the halfway point. The famous bricks on the Indy 500 track.

Finished! Chip time: 2:10:40

It poured rain the last mile or so. See how wet I am?

May 4, 2011

Nostalgia and pressure

I haven't talked about this with anyone because it sounds kind of crazy. Certain triggers are bringing on nostalgic feelings from when I had my surgery in November. Most people (I'm assuming!) would have bad memories of fainting, severely breaking their jaw, spending 6 days in the hospital, enduring 2 surgeries, and having their jaws wired shut for 6 weeks...right?  MOST people would hate that memory!

However, something about those 8ish weeks made me feel really happy. Sure, it was cool to have lots of attention from my family, and to have people show genuine care about me. But that's not really what the nostalgia is for. It's very hard to explain. I'm starting to think that it's because I actually cared about something OTHER THAN my weight and my size and food. With my broken jaw, I had no choice but to occupy my mind with something else! I couldn't binge when I wanted to--it wasn't an option (well, unless I wanted to binge on Ensure!)

Left to right: my younger brother, Nathan; me; my sister, Jeanie; older brother, Brian; husband, Jerry.
(And obviously my two kids lying across us). This was the day I came home from the hospital.
Now, even with all the pain and recovery I went through, I get warm, happy feelings when I think about certain things--such as Spicy Carrot Bisque (my daily lunch during recovery), Oxycodone (my pain med), my black pajamas (my mom bought them for me when I was in the hospital), pumpkin smoothies (my sister made it for me for my Thanksgiving dinner), the corner of my sectional couch (where I spent 90% of my first week home), Lipton black tea (part of my meals in the hospital), a red blanket with sleeves (Jerry got it for me for Christmas), Dr. M (my surgeon who seemed to truly care about me), a little blue dress (my friend Sarah gave it to me at my lowest weight in December; it's a size 4 and it was actually too big to wear at the time).

My Thanksgiving dinner (pumpkin smoothie)

My hospital meals were all the same. Broth, juice, tea, popsicle, jello
(I couldn't eat the jello--too solid)

The black pajamas that my mom bought me

Thinking about all those things almost make me wish I could go back and do it all again (ridiculous, I know). It was almost like my whole life stopped and I didn't have to worry about taking care of the house, the kids, driving Eli to school, cooking dinner, paying bills, etc.

I didn't intend for this to be a "deep" post, but now that I'm writing about it, it makes me wonder if maybe I feel nostalgic because people were taking care of ME instead of the other way around. I always feel SO MUCH PRESSURE and STRESS about numerous things in my life--and honestly the main stressor is my weight loss.

Ever since so many people found me on Sparkpeople, I get e-mails and messages daily from people saying what an inspiration I am, and how I motivate them, etc. I feel like such a fraud! I'm completely honest in my blog here, but some (probably most) don't read my blog. They just see my before and after pictures and think that I figured it all out and now I'm living my dream.

When I broke my jaw and my life was pretty much put on hold, it was such a relief from all the pressure! Now, every time I put on a single pound, I feel like I'm letting down all the people who say I am an inspiration. I even told my husband that some days, I wish I hadn't lost the weight. When I was fat, nobody expected anything of me. Now, the odds are completely against me keeping all this weight off, and that is at the front of my mind every single day.

Well, I didn't want this to be a "poor me" kind of post at all--and I certainly didn't want to whine! I hope it didn't come across that way.


May 1, 2011

Worst run EVER

Yesterday I did my last long run before my half-marathon next weekend. I was scheduled to do 12 miles. I mapped out the route before I went--drove to a park and left the car for an out and back run. My husband and kids went with me, and they played at the park while I did my run.

It was, by far, the WORST run I've ever had.

Maybe because I was on vacation and eating and drinking like shit all week? I don't know. My legs felt like lead, and right off the bat I was running a very slow pace of about 10:00/mi. I wanted to keep my heart rate between 158-160, but to get that rate, I had to run a slower and slower pace.

I only drank 16 oz of water before I left, because I hate feeling like I have to pee on a run. Normally, I hydrate really well the day before I run, but since I was riding home from Tennessee, I didn't drink much water Friday.

By mile 4 or 5, I was DYING for water. I was seriously looking at the side of the road for a bottle with some water in it. I had brought 4 dates with me to eat for fuel, but I've never eaten on a run before, so I wasn't sure how it would do in my stomach.


I reached mile 6 and turned around, and just when I got to mile 7, I was passing a bar/saloon. I was so thirsty that I didn't care how ridiculous I looked going in there to ask for water. I had no money with me, and when I stepped in the five men sitting at the bar stopped and stared. It was dead silent.

I said to the (female) bartender, "I'm so sorry to bother you, but could I trouble you for a small cup of water?" She looked pitifully at me and said, "How about a cold bottle of water?"  I told her I didn't have any money, and she told me not to worry about it. One of the men said that he was tired and thirsty just LOOKING at me. I gulped down the entire bottle and thanked her. I told her I'd be back with some money, and she assured me it wasn't necessary.

After that, my stomach started cramping REALLY badly. Have you ever heard of "runner's trots"? I've had it once or twice, but not in a long time. It's awful. My stomach hurt so badly. I kept shuffling along, wanting the stupid run to be over with. I was really tempted to stop and call my husband to come pick me up, but since this was my last long run before the race next weekend, I needed to prove to myself that I could do it.

I got to the park where the car was parked, and I had to circle the park one time in order to reach 12 miles. At the other end of the park, I just wanted to quit. I was 11 miles in, and didn't give a shit if I reached 12 or not.

I saw my husband start to drive toward me from the other end of the park, and I almost cried with relief. Then I realized he was just turning the car around and backing into the parking space to be ready to leave. At 11.6 miles, I realized I could keep going on the trail to reach the car and finish the 12 miles, or I could cut across the grass. I cut across the grass and reached the car at 11.7.

I was doubled over from the cramps in my stomach. We stopped at a gas station for some Gatorade (I thought maybe replenishing my electrolytes would help with the cramping).

Then we stopped at the saloon so I could give them a couple of dollars.  They insisted that they didn't want the money, and then told me to help myself to a bunch of bread and Entenmann's baked goods sitting on a table. There were probably about 30 loaves of bread, 5-6 cakes, and about 8 boxes of donuts (none of them were expired--they said a friend who works for a bread company had excess).

They insisted, and not wanting to be rude, I took a loaf of bread and a box of donuts for my kids. Totally unexpected, but pretty cool!

I got home and spent the whole afternoon in the bathroom. I don't know if it was dehydration or the dates I ate or what... but good GRIEF, it was miserable.  I'm worried about the half-marathon on Saturday. I don't know if I should bring any fuel with me or not. I will make sure to hydrate really well though.

Yesterday, as we were going on the door, my husband dropped my Sigg water bottle and put a huge dent in the side of it. I was kind of bummed, until I realized that I could design my own Sigg bottle on Cafe Press!  I browsed through all the running designs, and then decided to create my own. It was SUPER expensive, though. I paid $20 for my last Sigg bottle (at Target) and designing my own cost me $35 after shipping. Yikes! But I think it's cute.


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