August 31, 2012

The carstache

Yeah, I knew I couldn't stay away. I ended up bringing my computer with me, because I couldn't stand the thought of not writing a blog.

I had to get up at 4:30 this morning to shower and get ready to head to the airport. The kids stayed the night with my parents, so Jerry was able to drive us. We picked up Renee at 5:30, and got to the airport at about 6:00. I didn't have much hope of getting on the first flight--last night, Brian told me it would be a very close call. I printed out our boarding passes and we went through security and to our gate.

At the gate, we had to watch the monitor to see if our names were on the "cleared" list, meaning we were able to make it on the flight. The entire plane boarded, and all of us stand-by passengers were waiting for our names. There were just three seats left, and Renee and I got two of them! So we made the first flight, at 7:25.

I was terrified to fly, per usual. I opted not to have the wine before the flight, because I didn't know if I would make this particular flight or not. I was super relieved to see that I was in the front of the plane (because of my fear of flying, I am very picky about where I sit--ideally, I would have a window seat just over the wing). My biggest fear was having to sit in the back, where it is most turbulent. But anyway, I was in row 5, which made me happy. I was in a middle seat, which I really didn't like, but beggars can't be choosers, right?

I swallowed two Xanax right away, and hoped it would kick in fast. I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest when we we took off, and then it was a little bumpy right away. The Xanax didn't even kick in until halfway through the 1 hr 45 minute flight. Thankfully, the flight was uneventful. My favorite part? Biscoff cookies!!

My brother Brian picked us up, and we went to his house for a little while before the race expo opened. The Xanax had made me super sleepy, unfortunately, so I ended up taking a 30 minute nap. Then we headed to the expo. Brian dropped us off there.

We saw a fireman right as we walked in...

We picked up our bibs and our jackets (instead of t-shirts, we got jackets--I wish I could say they are awesome, but they're pretty cheap nylon fabric. I don't know if I'll ever wear it. But again, beggars can't be choosers. I bought a couple of Gu's to have for the race tomorrow. The expo was really small, which surprised me. It's a women's race, so I thought they'd have lots of stuff to buy! ;)

We had a quick lunch at a little cafe--I got a chicken basil pesto panini, which was pretty good. Brian picked us up, and we drove him back to his house, then took his truck to the Mall of America. It was so funny, while we were driving, the car next to us kept looking over at us, and hitting the break, looking at us, then trying to get ahead of us--just acting very strangely. Then they were sticking their arms out the window with their cell phones, taking pictures of the front of Brian's truck! Why? Well...
It was so funny! I actually hadn't even noticed the moustache when he picked us up at the airport. (And in case you're wondering you can get one at

We didn't spend a whole lot of time at the mall. We walked around the first two floors. I went into Teavana, and we sampled some tea. HOLY COW, it was soooo good. I don't even remember what it was, but I bought a cup of it (it was $5, which I would never normally pay for a cup of tea, but it was that good). Renee tried a chai one, and she loved it as well. I'm going to have to look into buying some tea from their website.

We just spent some time browsing some of the funner stores. Renee got a chair massage at Brookstone:
On the way out, we got a frozen yogurt. I should have taken pictures: Renee got a small vanilla topped with fruit; I got a regular sized vanilla with cookie dough, Oreos, and Reese's Pieces. My only justification is that it was fro-yo instead of ice cream ;)

Brian made dinner for us, and it was delicious! It was penne with a chicken pesto cream sauce, and sauteed kale. The perfect pre-race dinner.

All-in-all, it was a great day. I can't WAIT for the race to be over tomorrow, so we can really relax and enjoy the time away from home!

August 30, 2012

Weekend plans

I chose not to run today. I made the decision yesterday, because I noticed that every time I sat down and then stood back up, I felt a twinge in my knee. Normally, I wouldn't think anything of it, but I'm terrified of injuring my knee again, so I'm extra-cautious. I'm going to listen to every little message from my body, no matter how small it is. Since I'm running the half-marathon on Saturday, an extra day of rest this week won't hurt at all, and may actually be helpful for the race. I'm praying that the twinge I was feeling yesterday turns out to be nothing at all.

I had to take Noah to the dentist for his third (and final) appointment to fill his cavities. You should have heard the drama in my house yesterday when the dentist called to confirm! They asked if I wanted him to have silver or tooth-colored fillings (the tooth-colored cost more)--I insisted on tooth-colored ones. Noah completely flipped out. He was SO angry with me because he wanted to have silver fillings! If it was a baby tooth, I probably would have just let it go, but it's not. So he'll just have to thank me later, when he understands ;)

On the way home from the dentist, I caved in to the doughnut craving I've had all week, and stopped for a peanut butter cream filled doughnut. I don't really feel guilty though--I don't eat them often, it was my lunch (better than having lunch AND a doughnut, right?), and I didn't use it as an excuse to binge. Now that craving is out of my system. It's just funny, because I used to HATE doughnuts until a little over a year ago. Now I'm craving them?!

I've been a nervous wreck all day (maybe that is why I caved in to the craving?) about my flight tomorrow. As everyone knows, I'm terrified of flying, so there's that... but I'm also super nervous about not getting on a flight, since we're flying stand-by. Jerry is going to drive Renee and I to the airport super early--we're leaving at 5:15 a.m. If all goes well, we'll be in St. Paul by 9:30.

I either need wine or Xanax to get me on the plane--I'm leaning toward wine, but I'm a little embarrassed to order wine in the airport at 6:30 in the morning ;) But the Xanax makes me super tired for about 5-6 hours, and I don't want to be tired when I get there. Renee and I are going to the expo to pick up our packets, and then we'll probably go to the Mall of America in the afternoon, since Renee has never been there--and I love the MoA! I'm not a shopping-person, and certainly not a mall-person, but the MoA is fun.

Saturday is the half-marathon. My plan is to stick with the 2:00-pacer for as long as possible. If I can't keep up, then I'll slow the pace way down and just run for fun. If I actually CAN keep up the whole way, and finish sub-2:00, I will be totally surprised and thrilled. Just trying not to get my hopes up, because it will be tough. Not sure what we're going to do Saturday after the race, but I think we may go to the beach. And then we're coming home on Sunday.

I haven't decided whether to bring my computer with me or not. I think I may just leave it at home, and take a blogging break for the weekend. But I'm sure I'm going to have a lot I want to write about, so I might want to bring it. Anyway, if you don't see a post from me for a few days, I will catch up when I get home. I will definitely try to update on Twitter, though.

I have a busy week when I get home. I'm coming home on Sunday, then Labor Day is on Monday. Tuesday is open house at my kids' school, and then Wednesday they actually start school. I cannot believe that it's time for school already! I have to admit, I am very ready for it, though. The kids are driving me (and each other) crazy with their constant fighting.

Well, I may or may not blog tomorrow, so have a good holiday weekend! I just realized that I have no pictures for this post, so I'll leave you with a picture of Phoebe ;)

August 29, 2012

Weekly goals summary

First, the winner of the PlantFusion protein powder giveaway is:
Congrats Xtina S! Please send me an e-mail at SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com within 24 hours with your name and address so I can pass it along to the nice people at PlantFusion.

Believe it or not, I actually made it through an entire week of counting calories! It's been a very long time since I've done that, but I know it was necessary to get back on track and lose these extra 10 pounds I've been hanging on to all summer. Unfortunately, I didn't lose a single pound this week, which is totally disheartening. When I saw the scale, I immediately wanted to go buy a doughnut... but then I asked myself, "Will a doughnut really make me feel better for not losing weight?" And I knew the answer was no.

My three weekly goals were:
Food--Log all of my calories on SparkPeople
Fitness--Do the Wii Active twice, along with my scheduled runs
Misc--Complete the sewing project for my sister

I did it--I completed all three goals! Having weekly goals instead of monthly or yearly really helped me to stay focused. And announcing them on the blog helped tremendously, because I would have been too embarrassed to admit if I quit on the first week ;)

My Wii Active calendar:
Workout on the 23rd and the 27th
And finally, the project I had to make for my sister...

She needed (two pairs of) chaps that were easy-on, easy-off, and one-size-fits-most. This is what I came up with--they can fit over any jeans and are adjustable with velcro, so they are easy to put on and take off. Note, these are obviously not "real" chaps--just for photo opps. I don't ask, I just do what I'm told ;)

I had a really hard time coming up with goals for this week, since I'm going to be in Minnesota for three days. But I will try my best to complete these goals:

Food--Not to go too crazy in MN. I will be eating out, I'm sure, and I WILL make healthy choices. I will NOT eat ice cream three times a day like I did in Illinois!
Fitness--To really try for my sub-2:00 half-marathon goal. It's totally okay if I don't make it, but I want to at least say I tried.
Misc.--To clean out my bedroom closet (last time, I got too wrapped up in all the stuff I found that I didn't actually clean anything).

I'm getting a little worried about getting to Minnesota on Friday. Renee and I are using buddy passes from my brother, which means we have to fly stand-by. The flights look "okay, but not great"--meaning there are some empty seats, but not a whole lot. The plan is to try and take a flight early Friday morning, and hopefully we'll get on. But if it's full, we'll have to look at other options--either a later flight or a layover (probably in Chicago).

I've flown with buddy passes plenty of times, and never had a problem getting on a flight, but I imagine that since it's a holiday weekend, the flights are fuller than usual. Brian said one way or another, we should be able to get there, but I hate that there is no "guarantee". I knew that when I registered for the race though, so I really can't complain. Just hoping that we don't have any trouble on Friday morning!

August 28, 2012


Someone asked me on yesterday's post how I am able to make myself get up early and run. You'll notice that I usually start my posts with, "I really didn't want to run today, but I did anyway, and it was great, I am so glad I did it..." I always have a hard time making myself run, but not running is no longer an option for me.

Somewhere along the way of my weight loss/running, I started to see running as a part of my life--just something I would do, and there was no option to NOT do it. I still wake up and dread running, but the worst part of it is actually right before I start. I try to think of excuses to put it off until tomorrow (and my excuses are never legitimate), and I remind myself it's only 60 minutes of my entire day (or however long it will be). Most importantly, I think about how I will feel if I DON'T run.

On the few occasions that I've skipped a run for a non-legitimate excuse, I felt like crap--mad at myself for making excuses, like I failed on the small commitment I made, and very anxious. Running is the best way to relieve my anxiety, and since I have a lot of anxiety, I can't afford to skip runs. When I go more than two days without running, I get very edgy and irritable.

So anyway, about exercising in the morning (versus later in the day)--I like to get it out of the way first thing, before I do anything else, because then I feel like I can relax. I like to run before breakfast, so that I can get it done and shower, then sit and relax with my breakfast and tea while I read e-mail and blog comments. If I tried to relax that way before running, I wouldn't truly be able to enjoy it, because I would be thinking about (read: dreading) the run.

Honestly, the hardest part is just starting. I put on my workout clothes as soon as I get out of bed, before I can talk myself out of it, and then just do it. I have never, ever regretted a run. Once I start running, I play little mind games with myself to keep going. And when it's over, my body feels fantastic for the rest of the day! Totally worth the pay off.

So today, I really didn't want to run, but I did anyway. I had intervals on the schedule: 20 minutes easy, then 6 repeats of (3 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy), and then 10 minutes easy (66 minutes total). I was feeling really tired today, and I wasn't sure how well I was going to do with the intervals.

I ran the first 20 minutes at 6.0 mph, and then the first interval started. I took it up to 8.0, and after a minute or so, 7.5, and then 7.0. I was feeling really rough, but I didn't want to quit early (I knew I could at least finish the run, even if I chose not to do the intervals). I started thinking about the half-marathon on Saturday, and decided to see what a 9:05 pace felt like for a while.

I've had a goal to run a sub-2:00 half-marathon for a long time, and to do that would require a 9:09/mi pace. I chose 9:05 today just for a buffer. I told myself that if I could hold a 9:05 pace for the rest of the run today (while fatigued, as I was feeling), then maybe I could go for a sub-2:00 on Saturday. I pushed the speed to 6.6 mph (leaving the incline on 1%, which I always leave it on to imitate running outside the best I can), and tried to forget about it.

I was watching The Biggest Loser (just started Season 2), but today was just really hard to take my mind off the fact that I was running. I struggled mentally, and I felt tired, but I knew I could hold pace. When 66 minutes came around, my heart rate was 157 ish, which isn't bad at all for having just run 7 miles. I think if I'm feeling good on Saturday, a sub-2:00 may be in the cards for me after all.

I totally forgot to write down an appointment for today--our home alarm company was scheduled to come and fix a problem. At 2:30, I got a call saying they would be here in 40 minutes. Naturally, my house was nowhere near clean, so I rushed around like crazy trying to get it done. The litter box is in the same room as our alarm box, so I made sure to clean the litter box out. When I was done, I brought the bag outside and lifted the lid of the trash can, dropped the bag of cat poop inside, and saw two glowing eyes looking at me.

I screamed (yes, screamed), dropped the lid, ran into the house, and shut the door. I knew it was a raccoon, but I am terrified of them. The trash can is super deep, and there was only one bag of trash in there, so I knew it had crawled in and gotten stuck (just like last time). I wanted to get a picture this time, so I grabbed the camera, and lifted the lid just the tiniest bit--expecting it to jump out and grab onto my face, like they do in the movies--but it just sat there and looked at me, like, "Help me!"
Or maybe he was saying sarcastically, "Cat shit? Really?"  I dropped the lid back down and worked up the courage to tip the garbage over, so he could run back into the woods. I tipped it until it fell to the ground, and then watched as he ran out, looked around like he was totally confused, then took off for the woods.

Now, I titled this post "Critters" (plural) because he wasn't the only one we came across today. My dad called me and said that his friend trapped a huge snapping turtle and gave it to him. My dad said he was going to make turtle soup, and he was wondering if the kids wanted to come over and see the turtle.

I kind of freaked out, because the turtle was still alive--I was sad for the turtle, but my dad is a hunter and fisherman, and this was totally normal for him. I told him the kids could come see it, but I didn't want them to watch him kill it. He said, "Why not? The kids are going to have to learn to do it someday, when they're grown and want to make turtle soup."

I said, "Dad? I'm 30 years old, and I can assure you, I've never had to kill a turtle before... or had the desire to make turtle soup." So he said fine, he would kill it tomorrow. I took the kids over there, but I didn't even go look at the turtle, because I felt so bad for it. My dad tried to make me feel better by telling me that it was eating all the baby ducks around where it lived.

A couple of hours later, Eli called and begged me to let him watch Pay (that's what he calls my dad) "clean the turtle", because it's "just like cleaning fish, and I'm going to have to learn how to do it someday". Basically the same words my dad used! I thought about it, and asked Eli, "Is Pay going to kill the turtle before he cleans it?" and Eli was trying to think of what the "right" answer would be--whatever answer would make me say yes. He said, "No, he's not going to kill it, he's just going to cut the shell off and make the meat into turtle soup!"

I couldn't help but laugh at that. I asked to talk to my dad, and he said of course he was going to kill it first--that it would snap his fingers off if it was alive. So I agreed, as long as he killed it quickly and humanely. My dad reminded me of a time when I was little, and he was cleaning a deer carcass in the garage--I sat there and watched, all while eating a piece of pizza.

August 27, 2012

PlantFusion Review & Giveaway

I thought for sure I would be sore when I woke up this morning, but my legs felt great! So I decided to do my second Wii Active workout of the week. I chose one that was focused on the legs, all strengthening exercise. Basically all of the exercises I love to hate: squats, lunges, jumping squats, jumping lunges, inline skating, kick-ups, etc. But I figured those would be most beneficial to keeping my legs injury-free for the rest of marathon training.

Speaking of marathon training, I am now less than eight weeks away from the race. This time around, training is much better--I don't have to deal with the knee pain, and it's made such a big difference in my spirit. And I'm super excited about running in the fall. Michigan is gorgeous in the fall, and I'm sure the weather will be great for the race in mid-October.

It was pouring rain today, so I took the kids to the pool at the rec center. I didn't really feel like swimming, but I did tread water for a while when the kids were jumping off the diving board. Treading water gets tiring after a while! It reminded me of an episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive", where this guy is stranded in the ocean without a boat or raft or anything, and he survives for a crazy amount of time--like 36 hours or something. That's a very long time to stay afloat!

On to the review and giveaway...

Recently, a company called PlantFusion contacted me to see if I'd like to sample their protein powder. Since it wasn't whey based (I break out badly when I drink whey shakes), I was excited to try it out. It was hard to find a good-tasting alternative to the whey powder, but I eventually found one I really liked (it's an egg protein powder).

Anyway, PlantFusion sent me four single-serve packets, one in each of their flavors: vanilla bean, chocolate, chocolate raspberry, and unflavored. The powders are unique in that they contain:
  • No dairy
  • No soy
  • No eggs
  • No wheat
  • No peanuts
  • No tree nuts
  • No fish
  • No shellfish
  • No animal
  • and are Hypo-gluten free

First, I tried the vanilla bean. I made it the way I usually do my shakes--in a blender, with milk, some pudding mix, ice, xathan gum and guar gum (to make a creamy texture). I used Oreo pudding mix, to try and make a "cookies 'n cream" type shake.
1 serving vanilla protein powder, 1 cup milk,
2 Tbsp. Oreo pudding mix, 1/4 tsp. each
xanthan and guar gum, 10 ice cubes.
I have to say, I was impressed with the flavor! The protein powder is vegan, and I didn't have any luck with the other vegan protein powders I tried before, but this one was good. The next day, I tried the chocolate in one of my favorite go-to shake recipes: the Chocolate Cherry Almond shake. I wasn't quite as impressed with the chocolate. The flavor was really good (it reminded me of chocolate cake batter), but it left a strange texture in my mouth.

I had no idea what to do with the chocolate raspberry flavor, so I decided that to be fair, I should mix it according to the directions on the package--add it to 10-12 oz. of water and shake. I've never had a protein shake made that way before, because the thought of it just grossed me out. But I know a lot of people drink their shakes that way, so I gave it a try.

I wasn't crazy about the flavor. The texture was actually really nice, and the powder mixed into the water without any clumps at all, but the raspberry flavor was overpowering--it reminded me of raspberry Jello. Which some people may really like--it just wasn't my thing.

I haven't used the unflavored packet yet, because I'm not sure what to do with it. I'll have to search some recipes, but I'll probably try it in oatmeal or something.

Overall, I would have to say that the PlantFusion powders are definitely the best of all the vegan protein powders I've tried. The vanilla bean was my favorite flavor. Usually what I do with my egg protein powder is buy just vanilla, and then when I want a chocolate shake, I add 1 Tbsp. of cocoa powder to it. No need to buy both flavors.

PlantFusion has generously offered a bottle of protein powder to a Runs for Cookies reader!
To enter the drawing:
1) "Like" the PlantFusion page on Facebook (their requirement, not mine), and
2) Leave ONE comment on this post

I will accept entries until Wednesday, August 29th at 7:00 a.m. EST. Winner will be selected by random draw. Good luck!

PlantFusion website
PlantFusion on Twitter
PlantFusion on Facebook

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post; PlantFusion gave me four free samples to review, and all opinions are my own, honest opinions.

August 26, 2012

1573 calories

18 miles on the schedule today.

Last night for dinner, I knew I wanted to eat a lot of calories (mainly carbs) and salt. I decided to make homemade whole wheat pizza crust and top it with my favorite pizza toppings--sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and feta cheese. And a No Pudge Brownie for dessert. It was heavenly!
I was trying not to think about the run, because when I get worried about it, I don't sleep well. I set the alarm for 6:00 a.m., hoping to be out the door at 6:45 and start running just after 7:00.

This morning, I had oatmeal and a banana before heading out; and I took along Gatorade and two Gu's (one chocolate, and one peanut butter). My plan was to do pretty much what I did for my 16-miler (a T-shaped run), only adding an extra mile on the first out-and-back part. So I would run 4.5 miles from my car, turn around, run to mile 13, and then turn around and run back to the car. If I did it that way, I would have a water fountain to refill my bottle at mile 12.

As soon as I stepped out the door, I nearly choked on the humid air (okay, I'm totally exaggerating, but it was VERY humid this morning compared to lately!). Just as I was pulling out of my driveway, I realized I forgot my extra water bottle--I don't always bring it, but it's nice to have a bottle to drink on my way home after my run, so I stopped and went back in for it.
The sun was just coming up when I started
After I parked, I started running, and the first couple of miles went by really fast. I was really hot though, and sweating sooner than normal. Usually, I don't even take a sip of Gatorade until about 8 miles into the run. After just 5 miles today, I noticed that I had gone through half of my Gatorade... which was a bad thing! There aren't any water stops (water fountains, public bathrooms, etc) until mile 12, inside the Metropark.

I started to worry about not having enough water, and that I would dehydrate like I did on the last 18-mile run I did. I was debating whether to try and ration what was left of my water and try to make it last, or to go a mile out of the way back to the car and refill with my other water bottle (the one I had run back in the house for!) before heading to the Metropark. I decided to play it safe and go back to the car. I ate my first Gu at mile 8, a mile before the car.

I really didn't want to have to go to the car and then head out for another out and back, but that's what I had to do. So I followed the same route back to my car, refilled my bottle with water, and then started the next 9-mile out-and-back. It was right after that when I really started to feel horrible. I was so tired, and I was only halfway done.

I kept thinking, I could just go home and finish it out on the treadmill, in the air conditioning... but regardless, I would have to run 18 miles today (outside or inside), so I just stuck it out. There were a ton of people riding bikes on the path today. It was a nice day for riding (not so much for running). I just kept focusing on making it to the water fountain at mile 13 (it would have been 12 if I hadn't had to go back to the car).

When I got there, I refilled my bottle, and also went in to the bathroom (better than peeing in the woods, like I had to last week!) I splashed water on my face and arms, to cool off a little, and then kept running. I turned around at mile 13.5, and then it was a straight shot to the car from there.

I was tempted to call Jerry to come pick me up, but I knew I was just being a baby about the humidity, and that I could finish it out. A couple of times I was completely exhausted, and I noticed that my heart rate was pretty high (high 160's, which is almost 90% of my max!). When it got up high like that, I took a short walk break to bring it down to 155. I told myself I could do one short walk break each mile of the last 4 miles--and that really helped me, mentally and physically.

I finally reached the car, and somehow screwed up the mileage when I recalculated things in the beginning, and I had to circle the parking lot once. That was kind of like torture, but I wanted my Garmin to hit the 18 mark, so I did it.

I'm really happy with my pace. For my 14-miler and my 16-miler, I kept a 10:20/mi pace. Considering I really struggled on this run, a 10:28 pace is really good!
My splits were really inconsistent, but all things considered, I don't give a shit how inconsistent they are!

I was super excited to see my calorie burn of 1,573. That's a LOT of calories burned! But I just wish that I was able to burn more, like a "normal" person. The average person would burn more like 1,800 calories on this run. And an overweight person would burn even more than that. My metabolism just sucks! But I've learned to live with it--I just like to bitch about it sometimes ;)

I'm so glad this run is over, and next week "all" I have to do is a half-marathon! I haven't decided if I'm going to run hard or not. If the atmosphere is super fun, I may just treat it like a training run. But if there isn't much going on, and I feel good, I may run hard. We'll see on the morning of, I'm sure. I'm super excited to go! Not for the race, but mainly to hang out with Renee and my brother's ex-wife, Danielle (oh, and I guess it would be cool to see my brother, too ;) ).

I'm already getting uber-nervous to fly again, though. Last time I was on a plane was coming home from The Dr. Oz Show! I'm getting better about it though. A few years ago, I wouldn't get on a plane for a million dollars, and now I'm doing it voluntarily!

August 25, 2012

This is why I married him

I wish I had cleaned out our closet before Jerry's and my anniversary, because all this stuff I found would have made the perfect anniversary post! But it was too good not to post, so I'm going to anyway ;)

Today, I literally spent the ENTIRE day cleaning the house. The kids went to a birthday party for a few hours, and since it was next door to my mom's house, she let them stay there all afternoon. I used that time to deep clean all of the bedrooms. It was all entirely boring, until I got to Jerry's and my bedroom closet.

I found SO MANY memories!! And even though Jerry was at work, I totally fell head over heels in love with him again. He is honestly the sweetest guy I've ever known. When Jerry acts goofy, a lot of people jokingly say to me, "He's yours?!" or "You married that?!" (For example, when we were at his softball tournament and he hiked his pants up into "nut huggers").

I always laugh and jokingly say something like, "I know, I must have been drunk when I said yes!" But Jerry is SUCH a great guy. There is a side to him that those people don't see, which is what I'm about to show you.

Jerry likes to draw pictures for me--not beautiful, artistic-type drawings, but more cartoon-like drawings. And when we were dating, it became a tradition that he would draw pictures on the paper place mats at restaurants we went to together. He still does this occasionally, but we don't eat out often, so most of the drawings are from 1999-2002 ish. Here are a few of my favorites:

I think that's supposed to be a pedestal that I'm on ;)

"I would swim through the seas for you. Seeing as how I can't swim,
I would take a submarine."

"Lucifer welcomes you to Camp Shane" BAHAHA,
Camp Shane was the weight loss camp that I was a
counselor at in 2002--it was awful.

The last one is hard to read...

"You look good in dark blue...
You look hot even with the flu.
But you look best with me on you.
I like it when you're so clean,
And not so mean,
I like it when you're free,
Even when you pee.
I love you as a she,
I would love you as a he."

A poet, Jerry is not... but this made me laugh! Here are a couple of other things I found:
We bought each other the same exact card for Sweetest Day
one year.

Some movie ticket stubs from 2002ish?

ALL of the letters we wrote to each other when Jerry was in basic training.
I'm going to have to read through mine and see how ridiculous I sounded then!
 (I don't know if I mentioned this before, but shortly after we started dating, Jerry left for basic training--he had joined the Army. But he broke his foot during a PT test, and they discharged him. He was gone for five months).

That's supposed to be the "You are my sunshine" song

Another of Jerry's lovely poems
And finally, something from our wedding. At the reception hall, instead of having a guest book (because those are boring), we had a stack of cards and pens for people to write advice to us for our new marriage. We had a big glass bowl that everyone put them in, and that night, after the wedding, we read them out loud to each other.

Going through those today was so fun!
A few favorites:
From my favorite uncle

This one is from my favorite aunt--she used to baby-sit my brothers, sister, and me when we were kids. She was there when we woke up and she got us off to school. She would make us ANYTHING we wanted for breakfast. I always chose a poached egg on toast. Here is what she wrote to Jerry: "Here's how to make a poached egg for Katie--Boil and egg in water until the white part is set. Make toast while egg is cooking. Butter toast, put egg on toast. Sprinkle with salt. Cut into squares. (Katie will eat the center piece first!) Love and happiness to you both."

This one I'm sure is from my little brother. "If you guys ever think about having kids, go stay the night with Tommy & Shannon."  Tommy is my cousin, and Shannon is his wife. They have two boys, a couple of years apart in age. Their house was always chaotic when the kids were little, which is what my brother was referring to. I think this is funny because now Jerry and I have two boys, 18 months apart, and OUR house is the chaotic one! I'm sure people would give this same advice to others, only replacing the names with "Jerry and Katie". ;)

Something that I don't have anymore, and I wish more than anything I'd saved, are my old hand-written journals. I kept a diary ever since I was able to write, and I had so many of them. But I would get paranoid that someone would read it, so I would burn them after a year or so. I would love to see what I was thinking then.

Anyway, I'm so glad that I saved all the pictures, letters, and notes from Jerry. It totally made my day to come across that stuff today!

August 24, 2012

Afternoon in the hammock

It totally didn't feel like Friday today. Since Jerry had to work today, I had to reschedule my long run again. I'll do it on Sunday (18 miles!). Today I just did Wednesday's run (tempo intervals): 15 minutes easy, 5 repeats of (5 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy), then 10 minutes easy.

I was really excited to watch The Biggest Loser while I was running, because I finally made it to the marathon episode. I love watching the Biggest Loser marathons! This whole season has been really good (I'm watching season 9). I watched it when it first aired in January 2010, but since my life has changed so much since then, I see the whole show from a different perspective now.

I set the treadmill at 6.0 mph for the low, and 7.0 for the high. I didn't vary it at all from that, and it made my pace chart look nice and neat ;)
On the show, Daris killed the marathon with a 4:02 time!! That didn't mean much to me when I watched this episode the first time around, but now I am in awe. Even his 5K time in the middle of the season was like 21 minutes!

I was really interested in the weigh-in after the marathon, when Daris ended up gaining 2 pounds in the month that he was at home. He said something like, "I was focused on training for a marathon, not on losing weight. It's really hard to lose weight while training for a marathon." And then Jillian started telling him that was "bullshit", and he should have lost weight while training.

This was so familiar to me! I gained weight while training for my marathon, and I agree that I should have lost weight--IF I didn't increase my calories at all. But it was really hard not to eat more than usual when I was running so much. And it's very easy to justify eating junk when you've just run 16 or 18 miles! So I guess I agree with Daris and I agree with Jillian. (Food for thought... literally)

After my run, I showered and had breakfast, then took the kids grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. Noah has gotten too smart--now he reads the packaging of junk food he wants to buy, and finds the marketing ploy that is used so parents feel good about buying it for their kids. Like these frozen dinners:
Noah wanted those, and he said to me, "Mama, can we get these? It's a good source of protein..." Eli even caught on to what Noah was doing, and when he saw the fruit snacks, he said, "Mama, can we get these fruit snacks? They're made with real fruit!" I showed him the ingredients list and explained to him why fruit snacks aren't the same as fruit. I don't know why I bother, after the recent lesson in sugar. (By the way, I am NOT totally self-righteous about food for my kids--they certainly eat their share of junk--I'm just trying to teach them about why processed food isn't healthy).

This afternoon, it was really nice outside, so I decided to read Divergent out on the hammock. My parents bought a hammock at a garage sale recently for $10, and they said that ever since they bought it, neither of them has used it. So I told my dad that I want it. Yesterday morning, before going to work, my dad dropped it off at my house.

It was 5:30 in the morning, so we were still sleeping, but as he was unloading it, somehow he hit himself in the head with a pole, and started bleeding like a stuck pig. He said he knocked on our door, but I must have been in a deep sleep, because I didn't hear him. But later, when I went outside, there was blood all over our porch, our sidewalk, the hammock, and there was a small towel on the ground that was completely saturated with blood.

My dad is too stubborn to go get stitches, so he just went to work anyway, and washed all the blood out of his hair. I've heard that a cut on the head will bleed profusely, and now I totally believe it.

Anyway, I cleaned off the hammock and decided to test it out today. It was so nice!

Today was Day 3 of calorie counting, and I logged my food on SparkPeople, just like I said I would. It's been a long time since I've logged three days in a row! I've been keeping pretty busy, so I think that's helping.

August 23, 2012

Annual physical

I had a very busy day today! When I woke up, I was debating whether or not to do the Wii Active, and I decided I probably should (I had no legitimate excuses not to). Since I wasn't doing the 30-Day Challenge anymore, I could just pick whatever workout I wanted. I chose the 30-minute Advanced Full-Body workout.

It was a good variety, it included a few exercises I hate (meaning they work), and I feel like it's good strengthening for my legs, to avoid knee injury. Anyway, I finished that.

I took a shower, got dressed, ate my oatmeal, and read some e-mail, and then I had to take Noah to his third dentist appointment in less than three weeks. The first appointment was a cleaning, where we found out he had 5 cavities (!!!) and then he had two cavities filled last week. Today, they filled two more. Next week, they'll fill the last one.

We came home and had lunch, and then my mom stopped over to pick up the kids (since I had my doctor's appointment today). Today is her 60th birthday, so I gave her a gift that I've been working on. She's been trying really hard lately to follow Weight Watchers and get down to her goal weight, so I made her a recipe book--it's filled with 60 of my favorite recipes I used while losing weight (60 for her 60th). The best part is, I calculated ALL of the nutrition info for EVERY recipe. (Basically, I'm trying to stress how much work I put into it!) I also calculated the Points and the Points Plus for each recipe. I totally forgot to get a picture of it before I gave it to her.

She took the kids to her house, and then I went to my appointment. I got into a room to see the doctor right away, but I was there for over an hour! First, a medical student came in (the medical assistant asked if it was okay that a med student check me out, and I said sure). He was super nice (and young and good-looking).

He started chatting with me about my weight loss (he'd looked over my chart). I thought maybe he was just making small talk until the doctor came in, but we chatted for a long time and did the typical exam stuff--listen to heart and lungs, check out eyes, ears, throat, check reflexes, etc. I told him all about the Ragnar Relay--I somehow manage to work that into conversation pretty much everywhere, because I am so excited for it! ;)

Finally, the doctor came in and went over some more stuff with me. Then she gave me the lab results from last week. I was nervous about my lipid profile, because I haven't been eating that great lately, and if my cholesterol was high, then my insurance would have an uber-high premium. (Over the past couple of years, our insurance has set standards that we must meet as far as our health, otherwise it's much more expensive).

My weight was just two pounds higher than last year at the same time, so I was happy about that (not happy with my actual number, of course... am I ever?) When I saw the cholesterol, my heart sank. It was 202--over 200 is high. But the doctor said my cholesterol is fantastic, and she was very happy with it--the reason it is a little high is because my HDL is 100!! (HDL is the "good cholesterol"; the average woman's is 50-60, the higher the better).

I was very happy with that number, but still worried about the insurance seeing just the "202". I texted Jerry to ask what the cutoff was, and he said 240, so I'm in the clear. All of my other numbers were fine, too.

I asked my mom what she wanted to do for her birthday, and suggested doing something other than eating out, since we're both trying to lose weight. She said she'd like to go for a bike ride with my dad, me, and the kids (Jerry was invited too, but he was working).

So we loaded up all of our bikes and drove to the Metropark. We went to a park that I'd only been to a few times (with Jessica, while we were marathon training in the spring). The boys are terrible to ride bikes with, because they are constantly stopping to check things out next to the river or in the woods. Fun for exploring, but not so great if you're wanting to ride bikes!

We rode (and stopped) for about 45 minutes, and then my dad watched the kids so my mom and I could go at a speed faster than crawling down a different path. It was so nice, and I kept thinking how great it would be to run there, but I think I'd be too scared to run there alone. It's very secluded, so I'll have to save that for if I ever have a running partner.

It was really good to celebrate a birthday without food for once!

And speaking of food, I tracked my calories again today... still on the low end at 1468, but I was on the go all day. I didn't even get to eat dinner until 7:45. Can't wait to settle down with my book (Divergent) and relax!

August 22, 2012

My love-hate relationship with running

I woke up feeling much better today than I did yesterday. It had to have been Jerry's Chicken Casserole Surprise ;)

I wanted to get my run out of the way first-thing. My running schedule got a little screwed up since I did my long run on Sunday instead of Friday. I'm going to have to do this week's long run on Sunday as well (unless I want to run 18 miles on the treadmill... HA!). So today, I did the run I was supposed to do Monday. And on Friday, I will do the run I was supposed to do today.

Today's was intervals--ugh. I have a love/hate relationship with intervals (actually with running in general, but especially with intervals). I love that intervals go by quickly, because you change pace so frequently. But I hate that they are so TOUGH. Today on the schedule: 20 minutes easy running, then six repeats of (3 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy), then 10 minutes easy. A grand total of 66 minutes.

The first 20 minutes went by pretty quickly today--I set the treadmill at 6.0 and just watched The Biggest Loser until my Garmin beeped that it was time to start the intervals. My plan was to try doing 8.0 for each 3-minute hard segment. I pressed the '8', and the speed shot up. Toward the middle of that sprint, I was thinking, "Well, maybe 8.0 is just too fast today".

I finished out that first sprint at 8.0, but decided to cut back to 7.5 for the rest. I didn't think I'd make it through 5 more intervals at that speed. Even the 7.5 was feeling tough toward the last minute of each sprint, but I fought through it and kept reminding myself how good I was going to feel when I was done. I love getting uber-sweaty, where there isn't a dry spot on my clothes; and I love having my muscles feel tired and a little achy for the rest of the day. But I hate feeling like I'm going to die during the run ;)

For the last sprint, I decided that I was going to try 8.0 again. I told myself, "If I can do 2 minutes of 8.0, then I am allowed to cut the interval short and go back to 6.0." See the mind games I play with myself? I ran at 8.0, and as soon as I hit 2 minutes of that, instead of pressing the 6, I kept running. I told myself, "You can do ANYTHING for just 60 seconds..." "...30 seconds..." "...10 effing seconds left!!" I was totally spent.

Unfortunately, I still had to run 13 minutes easy, so I set it at 6.0 and caught my breath. Those last 10 minutes were the longest part of my run, honestly. But to my delight, I was drenched in sweat.

Today's workout was a true testament of my love-hate relationship with running. To summarize:
I LOVE--dripping sweat, torching calories, using my muscles, feeling a little sore and spent, being able to eat yummy treats with the calories burned, sleeping better, relieving stress, doing something I never thought I could.
I HATE--running.

See? I was born to run. ;)

Speaking of running, all hope is running out the door (see how I did that?) about the documentary's Kickstarter page. I was so confident before the page launched that the film company would raise the funds needed for the film. We're about $43,000 short right now, and only have 24 days to go ;)  If you've pledged money, THANK YOU SO MUCH. I hope to will do you proud in Key West!

Angela (one of the producers of the film) made a few changes to the preview of the film, and I think it's awesome!! Check it out:

Every time I watch this and hear Rik's voice breaks a little, I can't help but get teary-eyed. Even if I had nothing to do with this film at all, it's a documentary that I would love to watch! So I hope lots of other people (about $43,000 worth of people) feel the same ;)

I asked the producers why it costs so much to make a film, and I was really shocked at the costs of everything. They said that $50,000 is actually a pretty cheap budget. By comparison, the Hood to Coast documentary cost between $500,000 and $1 million (source)!! I'm so glad I'm not a producer. When Jennifer and Angela came here to interview me, I realized just how much work goes into everything, and I think I would lose my mind.

True to my word, I logged my food into SparkPeople today. I kept really busy all day, so my calories were actually pretty low (1300). I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow for my annual physical, and I'm bummed because I think my weight is up about 5-10 pounds from last year at this time. I don't remember exactly what it was when I went, but I was hoping it would at least be the same this year.

Getting back to counting calories is HARD. I haven't counted consistently since I broke my jaw in 2010. But clearly, this summer I haven't been doing so well, and being 10 pounds up from my maintenance range does not make me happy. So my main focus right now is getting back to counting on a consistent basis. It would be awesome to be back at my goal before the marathon; and if not then, for sure when I go to Florida for Ragnar!

Do I sound like a broken record yet?

August 21, 2012

Jerry's Chicken Casserole Surprise

I am so ready to snap out of this funk I've been in lately.

I know it's common for people to have seasonal depression in the winter months, but it usually happens to me in the summer. I've written before about the fact that I've had depression for the majority of my life, but for some reason it gets worse during the summer.

I keep reminding myself that fall is right around the corner, and that is my very favorite time of year, so I'm hoping that I'll start feeling better. Today was just a really rough day, for no reason at all. The kids were acting how they usually do (fighting constantly with each other, tattling, and asking for snacks all day); I didn't have a lot on my "to do" list today (all I really had to do was laundry); and I even have a book to read, that I've been looking forward to (Divergent).

But for some reason, I was just feeling really down. When it came time to make dinner, I immediately thought of Jerry's Chicken Casserole Surprise.

When I was pregnant with Noah--not far along, just a couple of months--I went to the bathroom and noticed that I was spotting a little. My mom had a miscarriage with her first pregnancy, and I was so upset that the same was happening to me. The doctor's office was closed, and there wasn't anything they would have been able to do anyway, since I was just a couple of months along.

I was really worried and upset, and just didn't want to do anything. Jerry had no idea what to do either, and to make me feel better, he decided to make dinner. Jerry is FAR from being a chef--he is the type that can somehow manage to burn water. He didn't even ask me any questions; he just picked a recipe from one of the three cookbooks we had at the time, and tried to follow it.

It was a casserole of chicken, egg noodles, and a creamy, cheesy sauce. He dished each of us up a bowl of it, and told me it was "Jerry's Chicken Casserole Surprise". I asked him what the surprise part was, and he responded, "I don't know, I thought that all casseroles are called 'something-something-surprise.'"

At the time, I couldn't really eat it. I was just too worried about the baby, and I picked at the casserole. I can remember it so well, sitting at the table with Jerry after having cried for a couple of hours, and feeling the love from him. He had no idea how to help me, but he tried by making a casserole.

Thankfully, nothing was wrong with my pregnancy, and Noah was born the following July, very healthy. I've only made the casserole a couple of times since Jerry made it that day, and it's always when I'm feeling very down. It is the ultimate "comfort food" for me. Today was one of those days, and I made the casserole for dinner.

And since Jerry is so sure that you want his "top secret" recipe, he told me I could share it on my blog ;)

Jerry's Chicken Casserole Surprise

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
12 oz. egg noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. shredded cheese (whatever you have on hand--in his original dish, he used jack cheese)
About 20 Ritz crackers, crushed

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and (raw) chicken. Cook until the pasta is done, and drain. In a 9x13 casserole dish, combine the soups, sour cream, and cheese. Add the cooked pasta and chicken to the casserole dish. Top with the crushed Ritz crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

I know it isn't a very healthy recipe, but it's healthy for my mind--and it really does taste good!

So remember when I wrote about doing some short term goals, rather than my 30-in-30 list? I planned on doing that on the 19th (my 3-year weight loss anniversary), but I totally forgot to list some goals. I've been thinking about how I want to approach it, and I've come up with a solution that I hope will help keep me focused on just a couple of tasks, rather than a huge list.

I'm going to do three weekly goals--one food related goal, one fitness related goal, and one miscellaneous goal.

Since I have a habit of starting things on Wednesdays, tomorrow will start Day 1 of the first week. Here are my goals for Week 1:

Food--Log my food into SparkPeople every single day, whether I eat well or not.
Fitness--Do the Wii Active twice, in addition to my scheduled runs.
Misc--Finish the sewing project my sister asked me to do.

Being the nerd that I am, I even made a little checklist on my dry-erase board so that I can see my goals on a daily basis. I love being able to check things off a list!

I think making weekly goals like this will be much easier to keep track of! I did something like this throughout my weight loss, and once I hit maintenance, I stopped doing it. My plan is to post new goals every Tuesday, and on Wednesday, write about how I did on the previous week's goals. (Notice I said that's my plan--who knows how long it will last!)

10 more days until I go to Minnesota for the Women Rock Minnesota Half-Marathon!! I'm very excited to get away for a couple of days, and even more excited that Renee is coming with me.

August 20, 2012

Impulsive painting

Not sure where it came from, but I woke up with quite a bit of energy this morning. I felt like cleaning or organizing or something... that never happens!

I opened the cupboard under our sink where our cleaning supplies are, and I saw four cans of red spray paint that have been there for a couple of years. I bought them when I painted our shutters, and those were left over cans. When I saw those, I very impulsively decided that I was going to paint something with them.

My first victim (yes, first--meaning there were more) was the coffee table. Our coffee table was an ugly grayish brown color, very boring. I told Jerry I was going to paint it, and he really didn't like the idea. But he carried it outside for me, and even snapped a couple of pictures while I was painting...
You can see on the bottom left of the table what the color used to be; I think the red looks much better, don't you?!

Once I saw how good the table looked, and I still had two cans of paint left. I told Jerry to take the front door off the hinges, because I was going to paint it red. His eyes bugged out of his head, and he tried to talk me out of it.

I told him that we already look like hillbillies with all the crap in our yard (let's just say you can totally tell that we have kids), and having a spray painted door would just fit right in ;) 

As soon as I started spraying the door, I knew it was a mistake. The paint wasn't sticking to it like it did on the table, and it looked pink instead of red. Jerry was making fun of me, but I finished out the two cans of spray and the door looked horrible. I told him to get some paint from Lowe's, and he came home with a can of paint and a brush.

He painted the door with that, and it looks AWESOME. It's the same color red as the table (it was white before). It looked so good (and we still had paint left) so we painted the side door as well. Definitely my best idea ever ;)

Jerry was cutting the grass this afternoon, and he actually ran over a turtle! It was so small that he didn't see it until after he ran it over. Thankfully, it wasn't hurt at all. It was SO adorable that I wanted to keep it (but of course we didn't).
I believe this is a snapping turtle

Estelle was VERY curious about this little creature!

After dinner, Jerry and I decided to take the kids to the rec center so we could all go swimming. I've mentioned before how I hate swimming, but I've been trying to be more active on a daily basis, so I brought my suit and got in as well. I even jumped off the diving board--I'm sure I looked as graceful as a swan, too. Bahahaha!

I went to the shallowest part of the pool (3.5 feet deep) and started running in circles. Running in the water is hard! My legs got a really good workout. I don't know what possessed me to try and swim laps, but I was bored enough to give it a try.

I was shocked at how tough of a workout it was! My heart was racing faster than it does when I RUN, and I was totally out of breath. I kept going, pausing for a few seconds after each lap to catch my breath. I ended up swimming 20 lengths of the pool! I think that is 500 meters, which is much farther than I thought I could go.

And before someone mentions it, NO, there are no triathlons in my future. ;)