Home repair

Jerry and I have lived in this house ever since we got married nearly 13 years ago. Neither of us had any clue about home maintenance, so we've just been dealing with issues as they come up. After about 10 years, we started having little things here and there that needed to be replaced, but luckily, we haven't had anything major happen.

Yesterday evening, I went into the utility room to feed the cats, and I noticed water on the floor. The only place it could have come from was the water heater. We've known for a while that the water heater would need replacement soon, but we kept putting it off (word of advice--don't put it off! ha). I called Jerry at work to tell him about the water heater, and he ended up coming home. My brother Brian came over as well (he does all sorts of DIY stuff, and Jerry didn't have any idea what to do about the leak). I noticed that the floor felt kind of soft in front of the water heater, so Brian and Jerry pulled back some of the linoleum to check it out.

The floor surrounding the water tank was totally rotted from water damage!

Week 37 Weigh-in

Let me just start off by saying that this past week was the worst week I've had since I started counting calories 37 weeks ago--yikes! (I don't mean the "worst" as in weight gain, but more of how difficult it was.)

I didn't binge; but like I wrote yesterday, I was just lacking all sorts of motivation this week. Eating, running, blogging, all of it. I only got in my step goal five times (and there wasn't a good reason to not get in the steps on the other two days); I only wrote a couple of blog posts, mainly because nothing was happening and I just didn't feel like writing; I didn't try any new recipes; and my eating was totally out of the norm (again, for no real reason). Sometimes, I'll have a bad run for no particular reason; so I think maybe this is similar, in that I just had a bad week in general.

I could even see that my weight was up a bit, but I just didn't care. I don't feel like the lack of motivation was a permanent thing (hopefully this week will be better), but it was definitely a rough week. And it showed up on the scale today (although not as bad as I imagined it would be):

I was 128.2, so I was up 1 pound from last week. Not a huge gain, but those pounds do add up over time! (Also, I'm not being hard on myself--I'm just stating the facts.) Today has been a great day, so hopefully my funk from last week is over. I've been thinking about what happened, and here are my thoughts:

New running goals

I've been getting emails asking if I'm okay because I haven't written, so I thought I'd better write a quick post. I'm fine! Life is just really boring right now, and I don't really have anything to write about. I feel redundant when I post about my running, even though that's what I enjoy writing about the most.

I really need to come up with another goal, and I've been thinking a lot about it. Without a goal, I feel kind of lost--like I'm running a race with no finish line. I'm still not interested in any distances longer than a 10K, so I was thinking of setting a 5K goal for the fall. My current PR is 24:51, but I think I am capable of running about 23:45 right now.


Jerry was off work today, and he said he was planning to run 5-6 miles, so I asked if he wanted to run with me. He said something like, "Oh, that's okay, I can just run by myself..." Haha, while I happen to love running with a partner, he prefers his headphones. He also runs at a faster pace than I do (doing his easy running too fast!) so we just agreed to run separately.

I wanted to do five miles, so I decided to do a five mile loop at the State Park. Jerry hates doing out-and-back routes, so I told him that if he wanted, he could run the six miles to the State Park, and we could time it to finish our runs at the same time, and I would drive him home. A win all around.

It was extremely humid this morning--not hot, but the air was really thick. I dressed too warm, which I later regretted. I fixed the problem with my heart rate monitor, though! As a last-ditch effort, I decided to try cleaning the electrodes with alcohol. We didn't have any rubbing alcohol, so I used vodka ;)

First trail run!

Ever since my younger brother, Nathan, started training for his ultramarathon over a year ago, he's been trying to talk me into giving trail running a try. It wasn't that I was against trail running (I've always thought it would be fun to try), but we just don't have any trails around here. Nathan would drive all the way up to Pinckney to run the trails, but I just couldn't imagine driving 75 minutes each way for a run.

I always told Nathan, "Some day, I'll go with you" but that day never came... until yesterday. I finally made plans to go run the trails in Pinckney. Nathan and Kendall both happened to be off work yesterday, so we made plans to go up there while my kids were in school. It was kind of interesting while I was getting ready to leave--I had no idea how to dress for trail running.

Week 36 Weigh-in

The moment of truth weigh-in after a week in Portland/Seattle ;)

I left for Portland on Friday the 8th, and came home last Wednesday. Since I was in Seattle on Wednesday morning, I didn’t get a chance to do my usual Wednesday Weigh-in. I have to admit, that was kind of a relief, considering I ate a LOT of very caloric food on my trip. 

Out of curiosity, however, I got on the scale Thursday morning, and was kind of shocked (but not really) to see 132. I left home weighing 124, so that’s an eight pound gain over six days! I didn’t panic, because I was still under my goal weight. That was the whole point of having a cushion under my goal—so I could indulge on vacation, or treat myself here and there without going over my goal. 

Also, I knew I didn’t actually gain eight pounds of fat. I imagined probably 3-4 pounds of it was “real” gain, and the rest was water weight that would be easy to take off once I got back into my normal routine. So, I honestly didn’t worry too much about it!

Spring sprints

Speed work today! I wasn't too enthusiastic about it, because I'm not really training for anything right now. I had been planning to take the whole summer off of doing any sort of speed work, and just focus on endurance training (at a low heart rate); but I was listening to a podcast during my long run and the guest (I think it was Matt Fitzgerald, actually) made a really good point...

He said that if you're not used to doing speed work, it's best to just focus on building a base of endurance training during the off season. If you've been doing speed work, however, and then you stop for a while, you'll be more likely to get injured when you resume speed work because your muscles will have to adapt to that again.

That makes a lot of sense! Speed work increases risk of injury, especially when you first start doing it; so by doing a small amount of it even during the off season, you are reducing your risk of injury when you start training hard again.

Summer plans

No run today. I'm not following a particular schedule right now, but my legs felt tired this morning, so I thought a rest day would be good. Jerry was off work today, so we planned to get some stuff done around the house while the kids were at school.

Jerry went for a run this morning, though--he's actually been running quite a bit! He tends to go through phases of running often, and then he just stops for months and months. I told him a couple of months ago that he should start focusing on just three days a week, 1-3 miles at a time, rather than immediately start running five days a week, 3-6 miles each. I think he just needed to establish a habit. And so far, it's working out well for him.

I was surprised that he even ran a couple of times while I was gone last week! Right now, he's building a base (about 10 miles per week). Then, in mid-June, he'll start training for a half-marathon. It will be his second half marathon (his first was last May, when he ran Indy with Rik).

Dip netting season

Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Michigan! I've been taking it easy on the running this week (I took four days off after the race, and then I did a couple of easy three-milers. Today, I wanted to take full advantage of the great weather, and do a longish run.

I was thinking it was going to feel colder than it actually did, so I totally overdressed--running tights and two long-sleeved tops. I've noticed that when I do my easy runs, I'm colder than usual because I keep my heart rate low (sometimes, I don't even sweat--which seems totally crazy to me!). So, I've had a hard time dressing for the weather. Of course, it doesn't help that Michigan's weather has been all over the board this year.

Anyways, I headed out, and while my legs felt good, I think my body must still be tired from the race last weekend. I had a hard time keeping my heart rate low, and I had to run in the high 10:00's and low 11:00's to stay under 146 bpm.

A recap of my 10K training

This is going to be a super boring post to most of you, but I really wanted to write this for myself. Because I set such a difficult goal last year, I trained hard, and I completed that goal, I wanted to put all of my training info in one spot for future reference.

If you missed it, back in August I set a goal to get back to my goal weight and PR my 10K (a time of 49:22 or better). I dropped the weight and reached goal (133 pounds) just before Thanksgiving, and started 10K specific training at the end of November. Last Sunday, I ran my goal race and finished in 49:03! (Early in 2015, my weight was up to 160 and my 10K pace was around 11:00/mile.) I was thrilled with the PR, and I'm still kind of in shock that I actually pulled it off.

Portland/Seattle trip recap

I'm home! I had SUCH an amazing time in Portland and Seattle, but I was missing Jerry and the kids (and the pets) quite a bit, so it feels nice to be back. This was my third time visiting the Pacific Northwest over the last year, and it has become my favorite spot for a fun trip! Taking the train to Seattle was awesome.

My friend Laurel picked me up from the train station. Laurel started reading my blog several years ago, and I met her in person when I went to Portland for the first time. She and Thomas were best friends/roommates in college, and she is the one who introduced Thomas to my blog. She now lives in Seattle, but she goes down to Portland very frequently. So that's how I met her and Thomas.

Laurel took me to this gorgeous waterfall right after she picked me up

I won't recap my entire trip, because that would probably take up several posts, but here are a few highlights...

Blooms to Brews 10K race report

Well, the big race day was on Sunday. I can't even begin to describe how nervous I was for this race! It was "only" a 10K, but I had trained my ass for for this race all winter, and I felt so much pressure (from myself, mostly) to hit my goal. I had been talking it up for MONTHS on my blog, and I'm sure my friends and family were sick of hearing me talk about this 10K. But to me, this goal was more significant than any other race goal I'd ever set...

Back story: It all started last year, when I was about 160 pounds (27 pounds over my goal weight) and injured with a stress fracture. Even before the injury, my pace had slowed significantly since my previous 10K PR in 2013. That 10K in 2013 was my proudest moment in running--I never DREAMED I would run it under 50 minutes! However, in 2014-2015, I put on 27 extra pounds, and my pace slowed more and more.

The importance of the easy run

I'm in Portland right now, and I'm not sure how much I'll get to write while I'm gone (I hope to be able to write Sunday's race report while I'm on the train to Seattle on Monday). I prepared this post ahead of time, however. Hope you enjoy it!

I've been running for six years now, and I've done races from a 5K to a marathon several times over. I am an RRCA-certified running coach. I have read countless books on different training methods. I've studied websites, and have tested out training methods on myself. I feel pretty comfortable saying that I'm "experienced", and I feel very confident when I talk about running.

However, there is one key part of training (in nearly every method out there) that I was ALWAYS doing wrong. It wasn't because I didn't know how I was supposed to do it, it was just that it felt counterintuitive, and I felt silly when I did it correctly.

Week 34 Weigh-in

After last week's three pound gain, I was really hoping for a good weigh-in this week. I'm leaving for Portland on Friday, and I want my weight to be low for a couple of reasons: 1) I'm going to be indulging in some good food while I'm there, and I fully expect to gain a few pounds on the trip; and 2) I'm running my race on Sunday, and every pound matters when it comes to running my fastest.

Last week's gain was a matter of indulging too much on a few occasions (out with friends, eating out with the family, etc.). I didn't regret any of it, and things like that are going to happen in life. The most important thing is how I handle the week AFTER a gain. In the past, I would have gotten discouraged, and possibly continued to indulge too much, leading to another gain.

This time, I just decided to consciously cut back on calories a tiny bit (not by much, because I didn't want to go from overindulging to feeling like I was starving). I still had my high-calorie day; and I still had my treat each evening.

Speed work comparison

This week is going by so slowly! I'm super excited to head to Portland on Friday, but I'm also super nervous about the race on Sunday. I'm taking it easy this week as far as running goes, but I wanted to do one more speed workout (nothing too intense) before I leave. I thought it would be pretty cool to do the same workout as my first speed work when I started the low heart rate training.

That first speed workout was 12/24/15:
1 mile warm-up
6 x 2:00 fast (recovery until HR is less than 136 bpm)
4 x 1:00 fast (recovery until HR is less than 136 bpm)

I remember doing that workout, and it felt so tough! Running 2:00 fast (for me) is roughly 1/4 mile, so I can compare these intervals with previous 400-meter workouts I've done. Anyway, today, I figured I would run the exact same route and do the exact same workout as 12/24, so that I would have a direct comparison.

RECIPE: Banana Oat Bran Muffins recipe

I was craving a bran muffin something crazy yesterday, and I didn't have any bran cereal (which is called for in a lot of recipes I looked up). I looked at the Oat Bran box, and found a recipe there. I happened to have all the ingredients, so I made these (with a couple of modifications). They turned out amazing!

They taste like banana bread, but with a really nice bran muffin texture. And the coconut oil gives them a subtly unique flavor. They didn't even need a spread! At only 135 calories each, you could certainly spread them with peanut butter, coconut oil, or even eat two of them.

Runs for Cookies is 5 years old!

Five years ago, after reaching weight maintenance, I decided to start a fresh, new blog. I had been blogging since 2000, but the site that I was using was really difficult to add photos to posts, so I went to Blogger.com and started from scratch. I had no idea how much it would change my life!

I originally titled my blog "Maintaining Half My Size", but that didn't fit quite right. I wasn't exactly half my original starting weight, and while that was my goal at the time, the title was kind of boring to me. I decided that I wanted to change it to "Cookies and Wine"--but the .com wasn't available. Eventually, I decided "Runs for Cookies" would be perfect, because it explains in just three words what much of my blog is about: I am a runner; I love cookies (or any dessert); and I run in order to maintain my weight loss and still eat the foods I enjoy. I thought it had a nice ring to it!

My first post was called FAQ #1: How did you lose the weight? because I knew that would be the first thing people would want to know.   (There are a few posts dated prior to April 3, 2011; those were copied from my previous blog.)

The icing on the cake

First, I just want to share some good news! Remember my post about Atticus? Well, he's getting a bike! Unfortunately, he didn't win the bike in the voting; but thanks to the donations and the sharing of his story, they were able to raise enough money for Atticus to buy his special needs bike. They have to custom order it just for him, so his mom said that when she has pictures, she'll share them. I'm so excited for him!

It's hard to believe this is the last week before my goal race. My goal 10K is a week from tomorrow! After my awesome five-miler on Wednesday, I'm feeling pretty confident. I keep reminding myself that anything could happen, though, so I don't want to get overly confident. When I first started training, I felt like I had so much time to prepare. And now it's nearly here!

I was listening to Matt Fitzgerald on a podcast during my run this morning, and he was talking about "choking" during a race (figuratively, not literally). That is my biggest problem with racing! I tend to do really well during training, but then I choke at the race itself. Fitzgerald said that women especially will put so much pressure on themselves to hit a certain goal, and that pressure doesn't usually serve well for racing. I've been talking up this race for MONTHS, and I definitely feel a ton of pressure to hit my goal at the race (not from others, but from myself). My best races have all been where I didn't have a goal time, or where I just kind of let the race happen.