Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year 4-Miler race report

It's 8:16 PM and I just got home from my race. What a crappy day for a race, too! It's been SUPER foggy and raining all day. I suckered Renee and Alicia into doing the race with me, so they came to my house at 5:30 and I drove us to the race.

I was shocked at how many people were there! I thought this was going to be a small race of about 50 people or so, but there were probably more like 500 people. We got our sweatshirts, glow necklaces(!!) and timing tags for our shoes and then we went to get in line for the bathroom--there was a really long line, and only ONE stall. I decided I could hold it, so I went back to the car to drop off my shirt.

Jerry got out of work at 6:00, and the race was starting at 6:30, so he actually came to watch me (despite the fact that it was raining). I had him take a picture of us before the race, but it was so foggy that the fog showed up as white droplets on the picture:
Me, Alicia, and Renee
I tried to get a picture of the back of my shirt, but that didn't work out so well...
We got in the starting line and before I knew it, the race started and we were off. It got dark right at the start of the race, so we were running in the dark the whole time. It was kind of cool (but kind of not cool at the same time). It was still drizzling rain, and there were puddles that we couldn't see until we stepped in them.

The first mile went by pretty quickly, but I felt like I was running faster than I actually was. And then the second mile seemed to take FOREVER, probably because I knew that I wasn't even halfway done. I wasn't hoping for an unrealistic time, but in the back of my mind I was thinking I'd like to finish sub-36:00, which would be 8:59/mi or faster.

My feet were completely soaked by mile three. At about 2.5 miles in, there was an out-and-back part of the route...
I love the out-and-back routes, because you can see the people who are ahead of you when they are running toward you. I was looking for Renee and Alicia (both faster than me) but it was too dark and I couldn't see anything!

That last mile seemed really long because I was trying to pick up speed, but I just didn't have it in me. When I saw my time, I knew that my sub-26:00 5K goal for next weekend is no longer a possibility. My "unofficial" time stats:
I finished in 35:17, so I was happy with that. But with an 8:54 pace, I really have doubts about running an 8:20 pace for my 5k. But judging by my heart rate today, I think I pushed myself pretty hard.

And a post-race photo (not that it's much different from the pre-race photo!):
Well, I knocked one race off my list of six in the next 12 weeks ;)  Oh, and I got my sweatshirt (which, I admit, was the whole reason that I registered for this race!)
Now, I'm going to eat some graham crackers with peanut butter and chocolate chips before bed.



ETA: I got the official race results...
Chip time: 35:15  (8:49/mi pace)
Overall place:  149/394
Age group: 8/33

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I had to do it

I expected to be pretty sore today when I woke up after yesterday's 12-miler, but I felt pretty good. My hips are a little sore, and my problem-knee felt kind of strange, but not painful. My muscles felt a little stiff, but I like that feeling--it always happens after a good workout!

By the way, I've gotten quite a few e-mails lately asking me if it's normal to have sore hips when you first start running. As far as I know, yes, it's normal. I remember my first couple of weeks of running, my hips were VERY sore. But now I'm pretty used to it, and I only feel a little sore after a particularly long or tough run. Being sore is different from being in horrendous pain, however. If you think something is wrong, you might want to get it checked out by a doctor. But normal soreness goes away after a couple of weeks.

Anyway, this morning I took a shirt to a local sporting goods store to get lettering put on it. I found the Under Armour shirt on sale at Dunham's and it happened to be my size, so I bought it to have as a go-to shirt for races. I usually wear previous race shirts or something lame, so I wanted a personalized one. I wasn't thrilled with the one I made recently, so I decided to have it done professionally. And I love it!

I wish I had a good picture to show, but basically it's just an all black technical shirt with my website on the back (right above my butt):

They had about a million fonts to choose from, and I had such a hard time deciding. But I really like the one I chose. I'm going to wear this at my race tomorrow night.

And speaking of races, Jerry sent me a text today saying that his work offered to pay for employees and/or spouses to run the Corktown 5k (which I'm already registered for) and/or the Martian races (marathon, half-marathon, 10k, 5k)!!  How cool is that? They're trying to make incentives for everyone to get healthy and exercise. I hadn't registered for the Martian because it's expensive and I'm already doing a LOT of races... but when someone else is paying for it, I'm IN!

I was really tempted to run the half-marathon, but I have an 12-miler that week as well, so I decided to run the 10k. I did the Martian 10k in 2011, and it was a great course! And this year, they are giving out medals for the 10k finishers--woo hoo!

But check out my running schedule from here on out until the Cleveland marathon...yikes!!
I had to shuffle some things around to fit everything in, but I think it'll be okay. The only thing I'm concerned about is the fact that I'm racing a half-marathon just two weeks before the marathon--and it's the same week as my 20-miler!! But the half-marathon I'm doing is INDY, and you all know that my heart lies with the Indy 500 Festival Mini-Marathon ;)


After the marathon, however, I don't have another race until October when I run the relay for the Detroit Free Press Marathon, and that's only 4 miles. I like taking the summer off of racing or even long distances, because it's SO hot and miserable.

Other than the 5k (where I'm hoping to PR as part of my 30-in-30 list), the races are just for fun. I don't plan on running super hard to try to PR or anything. The last thing I want to do is wind up injured and not able to run the full marathon that I'm training for!

Monday, February 27, 2012

I run for gelato!

I don't know why I always dread my long runs, because I end up having fun! I really wasn't looking forward to today's 12-miler, because the last 12-mile long run I did was AWFUL. I couldn't get that out of my mind all weekend as Monday was approaching.

I made sure to drink minimal wine on Saturday night, and yesterday I ate pretty lightly all day--nothing that would upset my stomach. It was hard to do that, because I went to Jennah's Pampered Chef party and they made CAKE. And she had cookies. And a tub of frosting for the cake. I had a little of each, but restrained myself from loading up a cookie with frosting for the road.

I woke up at 3:45 this morning to drink a quart of water, then went back to sleep. Woke up at 5:30 to eat breakfast and allow it enough time to settle. Jessica met me at my house at 8:00, and we drove to the Metropark. I parked in the center of two parks that are connected with a paved trail, so that I could pass the car mid-way through the run and get a drink. I brought some Gatorade and dates and a gel packet (which I didn't end up using).

We had a good laugh because Jessica had to pee before we started, but the bathrooms were closed. So she went in the woods. And as soon as she was done, we saw (right in front of our faces) a porta-potty. We just completely missed it for some reason!

The first few miles went by pretty quickly. We passed by the car after about 4 1/2 miles, so I drank a little Gatorade (yuck). Then we kept running to the other park. I liked the second park better, and we saw a few people there. We were running at a nice, easy pace, and at mile 7 I ate a date. Jessica bought a hydration belt with a 20-oz water bottle on it, and she let me try running with it to see if I wanted to buy one. It was actually really nice and I didn't even remember it was there after a couple of minutes. I'm going to buy one too.

We got a little bit lost, so I turned on the navigation tool on my Garmin, and it told us how to get back to the start (a nice feature! I've never used that before). After 10 miles, my knee and my feet were starting to hurt. And I was thirsty. After 11 miles, I was completely ready to be done, but I plodded on. I was feeling pretty achy at that point.

We finally finished the 12-miles, and it was such a relief to stretch after that!
I was so relieved to be done. We decided to head up to Whole Foods for lunch, and we got lost doing that as well. Ann Arbor is so confusing! We probably spent about 30 minutes driving around trying to find it, and we finally did. It was worth the hassle to find... I had a big slice of pizza for lunch, followed by carrot cake gelato for dessert. That gelato was HEAVENLY...
Oh, and we didn't bother to change into fresh clothes. I smell about as good as I look in this picture, trust me ;)  And since the gelato wasn't enough to refuel the 1300 calories I burned, I got a dessert to eat tonight, too. A chocolate peanut butter brownie. I had this once with Jerry, and it was orgasmic. Totally worth running 13 miles!
We're going to go to Whole Foods again after our 13-miler next week, too. I almost wish I never ventured into Whole Foods, because their desserts are to die for! It's so hard to pick just one thing. But at least I'm looking forward to my long run ;)



Lisa at Workout Mommy posted an interview with me on her blog today if you'd like to check it out. There are a lot of others that have been featured on her blog, and I loved reading some of their stories as well.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #2

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q: I have recently cut out soda (missing my Diet Coke sooo much).  I know you have mentioned giving up coffee but I'm not sure I can do that one!  I'm trying to find an alternative for things to drink other than water that #1 don't add calories and #2 tastes good.  What do you drink throughout the day besides water or iced tea?

A: Unfortunately, I don't have much to respond with to this question! I drink a LOT of water which means I am rarely thirsty. I drink hot tea (tons of different flavors) with a few drops of Stevia extract and about a teaspoon of heavy cream (the cream adds minimal calories, but it makes a world of difference in the taste of the tea). Something that I like to make in the summer is a big batch of Arnold Palmer--I make iced tea and then mix it with Crystal Light Lemonade (a 50/50 mix).  Less than five calories and it's a great summer drink! 

I know a lot of people suggest seltzer water with a splash of fruit juice or lemon--I'm not a big fan of seltzer water, but if you're giving up soda, this would probably help you stop craving the carbonation ;)



Q: I recently came across your blog while I was on Pinterest! Imagine that, right?? :-) While I was reading your "about me" on your blog I read that you started a wine club. I thought..... hmmmm ........ how fun!! So I am just wondering how it all works. I would love to start a wine club. What a great reason to get together once a month with the girls. So do you just take turns having it every month? How do you chose the wines and the food? How many different kinds of wine do you have? 

A: My wine club is something that I look forward to every month--so much fun! It all came about when my friend Renee and I were talking about how we'd like to learn more about wine, and she said she thought it would be fun to make some sort of "club" to get together, drink wine, and learn about it. I thought it was a great idea! 
Our very first Winers meeting, June 2009 (I'm in purple, obviously before I lost the weight)
It's evolved quite a bit since we started it in June of 2009, but here is the basic rundown: each month, someone volunteers to be the hostess. The hostess is in charge of choosing a theme (French wines? Wines made in Michigan? Cheap vs. pricey? Boxed wines? The themes are endless). Then she can choose the wines she'd like to have (usually we have 6-8 bottles per meeting, depending on the number of people there). And she can choose the food to go with it, sticking with the theme.

At the meeting (the house of who is hostessing), the hostess pours a small amount (about one ounce) of wine into each person's glass, and we taste it and talk about it. We have a "dump bowl" so we can pour it out if we don't like it. Once we've tasted all of the wines, everyone usually picks their favorite and pours a small glass of it to sip and chit chat for the rest of the meeting.

I remembered how to fold a note into a pinwheel-thingy ;)
Yesterday's meeting, for example, was hosted by Stephanie. She chose a "school" theme, which I thought was fun. She gave us school folders, with notebook paper (for passing notes, haha), a quiz about wine, our wine list for the meeting, and a packet of papers with lots of wine info (our "notes"). 

For food, she chose different cheeses and crackers (because that's what we ate for snack in school!), some fruit, veggies, and chips. And we tasted (and scored!) seven different wines:

Renee showing off her 90%-correct wine quiz (she beats us all)

The wines we tasted

Our group photo (we do this at EVERY meeting)
So anyways, there are about 40ish people in our club, but not everyone goes to every meeting--usually we have between 6 and 10 people show up for a meeting, but we've had as many as 25 before. We have a Facebook group so we can RSVP. 

If you're interested in starting your own group, you can invite a few friends, and then let them invite friends, and so on. Eventually, you'll grow to have a pretty big club. But I find that I enjoy the smaller meetings (like yesterday's) more than the big ones. It's nice to interact with everyone and have a group conversation rather than one-on-one, which usually happens in a large group of people.

Sometimes when I talk about the club, people have this image of all of us partying like we're in college. It's nothing like that! Everybody is actually very responsible and sticks with about two glasses of wine total. And we usually carpool, so if someone wants to have a third glass, she won't be driving :)

By the way, if you haven't already seen it, I wrote a post about the very basics of wine for people who know nothing about wine. So you don't have to know wine to start a wine club!


And now, a question for all of you...

Q: What is your go-to lunch? I have tons of favorite breakfasts and dinners, but lunch is a tough one for me, so I'm always looking for new ideas. Just curious what you all eat for lunch!

A: My go-to lunch is probably a tuna sandwich. I always have tuna in the pantry, so I add some mayo and relish and throw it on some bread. And I have a sliced apple or pear or bunch of grapes with it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Breathless

Today was a much-needed rest day, and I definitely rested. I woke up at 3:30 AM--and no, that's not a typo. I just couldn't sleep. I caught up on my e-mail and laundry. And then I was cleaning up the photo folders on my computer when I started looking through my folder of "before" pictures.

245 pounds
It's kind of strange how my mind works when I see those pictures. I see them and think that I still look like that; but I know that my body doesn't feel the same way. As I looked through the pictures, the one word that kept popping into my head was "breathless". I can remember very vividly how hard it was to breathe when I was 253 pounds.

I felt out-of-breath all the time. And I remember specific circumstances where I would try to hide the breathlessness. When the phone would ring, I would say "Hello?" and then I would turn the phone upside down so the mouthpiece was up near my forehead--because I didn't want my heavy breathing to be evident on the phone.

220 pounds
When I would go to the doctor's office, it was on the second floor. And I didn't want to fit the stereotype of a lazy, fat person by taking the elevator for just one floor (I'm not calling fat people lazy! I'm just talking about the stereotype), so I would take the stairs. Then at the top of the stairwell, I would stand for about 30 seconds to catch my breath before opening the door.

When I would tie my shoes, I had to literally hold my breath--because when I bent over, I couldn't inhale at all. 

When having a conversation with someone, I would make sure I didn't talk in long sentences, because I would get out of breath and I was embarrassed about it. Every little thing I did made me breathless.

The only way I can really describe the constant breathlessness is like wearing a SUPER tight pair of jeans that have no give to them whatsoever. That tight, constricted feeling of discomfort is what I felt all the time.

I've showed the "before" pictures to Jerry, and he always just says, "I don't remember you looking like that! It's weird, I just see you how you are now and it seems like that's how you've always been."

We're total opposites in that way. I see myself now the same as when I was 253 pounds--but when I actually was 253 pounds, I thought I looked much smaller than I actually did. My mind is just really screwed up!
253 pounds

I realized that I don't have very many "before" photos on my blog, so that's why I'm posting a few for you to see. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it's only been 2 1/2 years since I started losing weight.  
253 pounds
I can remember what I was thinking in every single one of those pictures. And unfortunately, it wasn't about how much fun I was having or how happy I was. I was nervous about getting my picture taken, and I was trying to look as thin as a 253-pound woman can look.


253 pounds
Looking back at this pictures, I just hope that I never go back there. Not a day goes by that I don't worry about gaining back all this weight. Every time I overeat or eat for emotional reasons, I wonder if that is the starting point of gaining back the weight. Every time I want to skip a scheduled run, I remind myself that skipping that run would make it easier to skip another, and another... until I'm not longer a runner.

Anyways, I didn't intend for this to be a serious and somber post! I just wanted to share some pictures and talk about what it was like (for me) to be morbidly obese, although the breathlessness just barely brushes the surface of the subject.

Now, the only time I feel breathless is when I run really hard. I can run slowly and carry a conversation without feeling like I'm gasping for breath. I can run up a flight or two of stairs and not feel winded at all. I can bend over and tie my shoes while breathing--who would've thunk it?! ;)

And in this picture below, post-weight loss, I would love to say that I wasn't thinking about anything other than what a nice day it was, how happy I was in the moment... but I was honestly just trying to look as thin as a 135-pound person can look ;)  I don't think I'll ever relax for a photo!
135 pounds
It makes me wonder if "naturally" thin women think the same way for photos? If you've always been thin, do you do any tricks to try to look thinner for photos, like sucking in? Or do you just relax and enjoy? 

Well, my wine club meeting is tonight... I better go get ready!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A morning at the rec center

Today was the kids' last day of Winter Break from school, so we decided to take them to the rec center this morning to go swimming. I told Jerry he could watch them in the pool while I did a run on the indoor track, and then I'd watch them in the pool while he did whatever he wanted to do.

I brought my bathing suit because the kids really wanted me to swim with them. I hate swimming. I don't like being wet, I don't like how disgusting my hair feels from the chlorine, I don't like having to wash a ton of towels and stuff when we get home... but I agreed to swim with them.

First, I did my easy three-mile on the indoor track. It was kind of boring for the first mile, because nobody else was on the track. But then some guy came in and started lapping me. He was probably running a 6:30 mile, but he quit after about a mile.

Right when I was finishing my run, I walked over to my water bottle and saw this guy that I went to high school with. I started going to that school in tenth grade, and he was my first crush at that school. I even asked him out to the Sadie Hawkins dance (the only time I've EVER asked someone out!) and he said no. Hahaha, he didn't give me the time of day!

I wish I could say that I looked really awesome today and he was checking me out and all that, but no--I had just run 3 miles, my hair was in a bun and I had no make-up on. My shirt was a little sweaty, and it happened to be my horribly embarrassing "Half My Size" shirt. I don't know if he recognized me, but I avoided looking at him while I stretched and then I went downstairs.

I went into the women's locker room and undressed to put on my bathing suit. It's way too big (a size 12 suit) and I knew I looked ridiculous. But I hate wearing bathing suits, so I avoid shopping for them. I hoped that I'd be less self-conscious of my body now that I've had the skin removal surgery, but I was actually MORE self-conscious. I was very aware of my saggy thighs and upper arms. The bathing suit was really baggy, so I kept pulling at it make sure it was in place. I was the very definition of 'awkward'.

I was relieved to actually get in the water so I could hide myself.

I swam with the kids for about a half hour, the whole time dreaming about getting in the sauna to warm up when I was done. I brought shampoo with me to get the chlorine out of my hair, so I washed my hair and then happily skipped over to the sauna. I was so looking forward to feeling that hot, steamy air hit me in the face when I opened the door.

When I opened the door, it was just as cold as the air outside. It wasn't turned on :(  So I just hurried and changed into my clothes and we left. Next time I'll need to remember to turn on the sauna before I get in the pool, so it's nice and hot.



I sneaked a peek at the scale this morning, and my weight is going back down since I quit the challenge--hallelujah! In the three days since I quit, I've dropped 5.5 pounds. I started the challenge at 136, got up to 144.5 in the three weeks that I was doing the challenge, and then today I was 139. I think quitting the challenge early was definitely the right decision!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

A super speedy interval run

I just finished doing intervals on the outdoor track at the high school, and I'm psyched at my pace! I was feeling kind of down about last week's intervals when I did them indoor--my pace was under 8 minutes per mile. But then I realized that I calibrated my foot pod wrong, so I wasn't as fast as I thought. But today, I redeemed myself!

I did quarter mile intervals again, and here is my pace for my "fast" splits:
7:43
7:38
7:46
7:47
7:56
7:44
 ALL of my intervals were at a sub-8:00 pace! I've never done that before. In the fall, when I was training for that 10k, I was doing speed work. My usual pace for my intervals then was about 8:15.
Now, I know this isn't very impressive to some of you super speed demons out there, but for ME, it's pretty awesome, and I'm still feeling 'high' from my run. I'm starting to think that maybe I actually WILL get a PR at my 5k race next month. But tomorrow I'm going to do a super easy (read: slow) run, probably on the dreadmill (we're supposed to get dumped on with snow tonight).


Renee sent me a text this morning asking if I wanted to take the boys to McDonald's for lunch. She has three boys, and they are off of school also. I took Noah and Eli, and Alicia joined us with her two girls as well. Renee and Alicia are going to run the Leap Year 4-Miler race with me on Wednesday.

At McDonald's, I ordered Happy Meals for the boys, but I just kept staring at the menu and trying to find something that didn't sound GROSS to me--and I ended up not ordering anything. I haven't eaten McDonald's food since August 2009, and I have honestly developed a disgust for it. And not in one of those self-righteous ways, either. You all know that I admit when I think junk food is good! I'm not at all disgusted by Mrs. Fields cookies topped with a fuckload of buttercream frosting--but McDonald's just grosses me out!

The kids played in the Playland area for a while, and then we headed home. I made a salad with "Franch" (French+ranch dressings)--oh, how I missed that dressing when I was doing the challenge! I really do like the balsamic vinaigrette I was making, but not as much as Franch.


On my way home from the high school track, I decided to stop at Kroger and get a treat as a reward for my awesome splits today ;)  I bought something I haven't had in a while...
I LOVE Cherry Garcia! This isn't a whole pint (I could never eat just one serving from a pint!) It's just a little baby cup for 220 calories. Worth every calorie, too! I'm going to eat that and catch up on my shows tonight. My DVR is nearly full.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Too many races

Dog sitting last night was fun! However, I think my cats have put me on their shit list for it ;)

The cats spent the whole evening sulking in my bedroom. Paolo is usually totally fearless, so if any of the cats would be cool with a dog, it would be Paolo. He unsuspectingly walked into the kitchen to eat, and then Bailey (the dog) spotted him. Bailey ran up to him and started barking and getting down on her forepaws like she wanted to play.

Paolo just stared Bailey down and neither one of them moved a muscle for about two full minutes. Then, at the exact same time, they both started to run--but they were on the linoleum, and they both have furry feet, so they weren't actually moving anywhere, despite moving their legs as fast as possible in a run. It was hilarious to watch! Then we had to intervene and put Paolo back in the bedroom.

The cats usually sleep with me on the bed, but none of them did last night--I think they're really mad at me. Bailey slept on the couch with Jerry:



I went to the rec center to do my run today. I had planned on running 3 miles of intervals, but my friend Jennah said that she wanted to start running, so I asked if she wanted to come with me. I decided to go early and run three miles alone and then run two with Jennah (if she could run two--she's not a runner).

My Garmin foot pod was newly calibrated (I took it to the outdoor track last week to calibrate) and it's true--the indoor track is measured around the center, rather than the inner lane. Oh well, at least now I know. So my five mile run meant over 60 laps around the track--SIXTY. Hahaha, it went by fast though.

Jennah completely amazed me at how well she did. For not having run (like EVER), she did the full two miles with me, only stopping twice for a drink. I would haven't have made it around the track even once as a beginner!


When I got home, I had a snack I'd been craving for weeks--Ezekiel bread, toasted, with peanut butter. Today I used the cinnamon-raisin Ezekiel bread, and the Peanut Butter & Co. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter. It definitely hit the spot!


I got an e-mail about running events that are coming up soon, and one of the races on there was a 4-miler on Leap Day. I impulsively decided to go for it--for no real reason other than the fact that the race shirt is a sweatshirt ;)  I got a sweatshirt for a Memorial Day race last year, and I love it. The Leap Year 4-Miler is an evening run, starting at 6:30, and it's in a Metropark, so it should be a nice run.

I've committed to way too many races this year. I had planned on not doing more than one or two, to save money, but everything just sounds like fun! I have a 4-miler, a 5k, two half-marathon, and a full-marathon all before JUNE. Oh well, at least it keeps me running!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dog-sitting

My little brother Nathan got a dog yesterday, and we're dog-sitting her right now! She's a black lab mix, about a year and a half old, and her name is Bailey. Nathan got her from a friend's sister, who is pregnant and wanted to find a new home for her dog before the baby came.

But Nathan had to work a 12-hour shift tonight, so I said we would watch her. Jerry's off work, and the kids are off school, so we get to be dog owners for the evening. It's actually been pretty fun. I took her for a walk at the state park, and she LOVED it.

She's a super friendly dog, and very well-behaved. The kids are having a lot of fun with her.


I quit my challenge last night :) After writing yesterday's post, I had planned on continuing the challenge through to the end, but I still kept obsessing over peanut butter, so I decided to just end it now. I shared some Valentine's chocolates with Jerry last night, and they were delicious! I thought maybe they'd be too sweet, or make me feel sick, but I felt totally fine eating them.

Today, I've eaten really well--back to "normal". A couple of the comments on my last entry made me wonder what people think my "normal" diet is like... it's NOT bad! Maybe I gave that impression? Most of my diet consists of "real" food that I cook myself, but I do eat things like Ezekiel bread, mayonnaise, ketchup, graham crackers, chocolate chips, and canned tomatoes. Those things aren't terrible for you--just not "real" food. I do love my daily treat too, which almost always has sugar (not honey or pure maple syrup, but sugar).

Here is today's food log, for an example:

Breakfast--breakfast cookie, tea with stevia and cream
Lunch--tuna with full-fat mayo on a homemade whole wheat tortilla
Dinner--homemade fajitas
Snacks--gingersnap cookies, popcorn with oil and salt, a few mini Reese's cups

It was much easier to refrain from bingeing when I wasn't so restricted. I was craving tuna with mayo really badly for a couple of weeks now!

I didn't eat a paczki today, despite it being Fat Tuesday ;)  I have never been a huge doughnut fan, and I've actually never eaten a paczki. I'd rather have a cookie!


Well, I have to cut this short, because I have lots of stuff to get done tonight! Did you eat a paczki today?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Real Foods Challenge: Day 20

Today I had a "short" long run on the schedule of 7 miles. The schedule has the long runs increase in distance for two weeks, then decrease for a week, then increase for two weeks, etc. So the last two weeks were 9 miles and 10 miles, and today was just 7.

Since my kids are in Winter Break, I met Jessica pretty early (7:30) for our run. Jerry was with the kids and waited for me to get home so he could go to sleep (he works a swing shift, and he's on midnights right now).

The run was actually really nice. It was cold outside (18 degrees) but after a mile or two I felt good. I have a love/hate relationship with long runs--I hate them because they're long (duh) but I love them because I can take it at a slow, easy pace and not worry about my speed at all.

Our splits:
Mile 1: 10:36
Mile 2: 10:58
Mile 3: 11:21
Mile 4: 11:32
Mile 5: 11:14
Mile 6: 10:56
Mile 7: 10:49

When we were done, Jessica noticed that I had a "hair-cicle" from my sweat...

Yep, it was a cold one this morning! ;)


I altered my Breakfast Cookie recipe to make some "real food" muffin tops. They turned out really well. I made a batch to put in the freezer and pull out one at a time for breakfast. I had one after my run this morning, and it kept me full until lunch time.
I was very close to calling it quits on this challenge today. Not because I was tempted to eat something like the chocolates sitting on my dresser, but because my weight keeps climbing. I know that it's because of the peanut butter! (It's not muscle, I promise--my clothes are tighter and my body fat % is up, too). I've gone through three jars of peanut butter in 19 days. I refuse to open another one (natural pb is expensive!), so I'm going to try my best to see if I can get my weight back down without counting calories and still continuing with the challenge.

If there is one thing that I take away from this challenge, it's that I was completely right about the advice I always give: Don't make any changes that you're not willing to live with forever. This challenge is too restrictive, and it's not something that I'd be willing to do forever. It's so restrictive that it's making me binge on peanut butter and honey. If it's not peanut butter, then I'm sure it would be something else.

The whole time I was losing weight, I ate ANYTHING I WANTED as long as I counted the calories for it. This kept me satisfied, and I didn't feel too restricted. I think this was a key component to my weight loss. I was mentally satisfied as well as physically, and it worked.

I don't regret doing this challenge, because it really did confirm my belief that everything is okay in moderation. And there are a few things that will be permanent changes (or at least I will try to integrate them)--like eating more vegetables, using "real" ingredients whenever possible, baking with honey instead of sugar (on a lot of items). Oh, and let's not forget homemade tortillas! I won't be buying tortillas anymore.

While eating "real food" is certainly the ideal way of doing things, I can't wait to go back to "normal" and incorporate some of my favorite non-real foods back into my diet. This will make me feel more satisfied and hopefully get my weight back down.

My next challenge is going to be MUCH less challenging and something that I'd be willing to live with forever ;)  All of this thinking has also made me decide not to give up nuts for Lent after all. Instead, I'm going to make it a mission to go 40+ days staying binge-free.



After lunch, the kids and I had some fun re-creating something that I saw on Pinterest. Here is the original picture that I saw:
Photo source
Does that not have Estelle's name written all over it?! So when I was about to recycle a box today, I remembered this picture and decided to re-create it with my cats. It did NOT go as planned, but we still shared a few belly laughs while doing the cat photo shoot. Here are a few of the pics (and I think it's obvious how artistic I am, lol):
Estelle refused to put her face through the hole

Chandler was too fat to fit comfortably in the box, lol

Phoebe can fit through ANYTHING.
Paolo wins for the best mouse photo ;)



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers

I rarely have much to write about on Sundays, so if that is the case, I'll answer a reader question or two :)  If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A".  They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q. As a person who has lost 100+ pounds, do you take people seriously who always complain about how they have to lose 5-10 pounds?  Or do you applaud everyone's efforts?

A. I think this is a great question! My answer has definitely changed through my weight loss experience. When I was 253 pounds, I hated hearing "some skinny chick" talk about how she needed to lose 5 pounds because her size 6 jeans were feeling a little snug. However, once I started losing the weight, I found myself thinking (many times), "If I had just lost the weight when I 'only' had 5-10 pounds to lose, I would be done losing weight by now!"

And that's totally true. I applaud the "skinny chicks" who are looking to lose the 5-10 extra pounds NOW. Are we supposed to expect them to wait until they have 50 pounds to lose? 100? I think taking the initiative now is something to be proud of.

I've also become well-aware of just how hard it is to lose those last 5-10 pounds. I struggled (and STILL struggle) with them, and it's been about 18 months! I think this is because those last pounds matter the least--right now, I can fit into my jeans comfortably, and I don't think anyone would really even notice if I dropped the last few pounds. It's so easy to tell myself that those last few pounds don't really matter at all.

But honestly, they DO matter (for me, and anyone else who is looking to lose the last few pounds). It just STARTS with five pounds. Soon, it will be 10. And after a vacation, it'll be 15. Throw on a birthday and a holiday, and suddenly it's 20 pounds that I need to lose.

So anyway, to answer the original question, I definitely have respect for people looking to lose "just" 5-10 pounds, and I applaud everybody's efforts.


Q. Can you update us on your skin removal surgery? And show us new pictures?
A. Well, I'm not going to post pictures--I was extremely embarrassed when I saw pictures of my stomach on Pinterest. Pinterest should be saved for pretty things! ;)  But I'm healing very well. I haven't written anything about it because I'm healing just fine and there really isn't much to tell!

I wear my compression garment only when I run. Dr. Tepper didn't tell me that I had to wear it, but I feel a little more "secure" when I do. It keeps my stomach from jiggling around (and yes, it still jiggles in places--the skin has to adhere back to the muscle wall).

My scar is still very noticeable (and I think it always will be). It can be covered with something as simple as a g-string, but it's noticeable when I'm naked. The skin on my abdomen is still numb, but I'm starting to get some feeling back. It's a little tingly when I touch it.

I'm still happy that I did the surgery and would do it again in a heartbeat :)


And now a question for all of you... 
What was your favorite breakfast as a child?
Mine was a poached egg on toast. My aunt (who babysat us in the mornings and after school) would make us anything we wanted, and I always requested a poached egg on toast. She would cut it into 9 squares, and my favorite piece was the center square. I always think of her when I eat a poached egg!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Real Foods Challenge: Day 18

This morning, after I took the boys to swim class, we went to Hobby Lobby so that I could get some fabric. I wanted to make something cute to wear at the Corktown 5k. Jessica bought some festive socks for us to wear. I decided to make a skirt to wear (over my running tights). I also wanted to get the some iron-on letters to make a shirt (not for the 5k, but for the Rock CF Rivers Half-Marathon).

I saw the perfect fabric for my skirt--green sequins! It reminded me of some running skirts I've seen on other blogs. And I picked out some white lettering for my shirt. I let the boys pick out some craft stuff to do this week, because they are off of school for an entire week for winter break.

I worked all afternoon on the skirts (yes, plural--I got enough fabric to make one for Jessica, too) and my shirt. I'm not thrilled with the shirt, but I love the skirt!
Front of the shirt
Back of the shirt, right above my butt
And my adorable sequin skirt
I love the skirt so much that I think I'm going to make more in different colors for my other races :)

I had to hurry up and come up with something to cook for dinner, and what I threw together ended up tasting sooo good. When I'm stuck for dinner sometimes, I have a go-to dinner method that never fails:

Heat some oil in a skillet, and add about 6 cloves of garlic, sliced paper thin.
Cook on medium-low for a few minutes until garlic is transparent or light golden, being careful not to burn it.
Add a vegetable (in this case, shredded Brussels sprouts).
Add a protein (optional--today was chicken).
Add a (cooked) grain (whole wheat spaghetti).
Add a cheese (feta).
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir it all up and serve.

Another favorite is spinach, quinoa, and feta; and yet another is asparagus, pasta, and parmesan. The garlic and oil is what makes this so good!
Brown rice, peas, Parmesan

Asparagus, whole wheat penne, Parmesan
Penne, broccoli, Parmesan

Whole wheat rotini, peas, Parmesan
Quinoa, spinach, and feta
See why it's my go-to? There are tons of different combinations, and they are ALL good!