October 31, 2012

Halloween (and Wed. Weigh In)

I had a great weigh-in today! After having stayed the same last week, I was hoping for a nice number this morning.
My weight was 138.5, which is down 2.5 pounds from last week. My body fat is 23.2%, which is down from 24% last week. Waist change is (as always) negligible. When I logged my weight into Weight Watchers Online this morning, I discovered that I had reached the 10% milestone that was set on the day I started WW a little over 7 weeks ago.
Now I am just 1.5 pounds away from being back in my "goal range" of 133-137. It's been a LONG time since I was in that range--I think April? Anyway, I'm very happy with the weigh in!

Speaking of Weight Watchers, I got some good news yesterday! I didn't know this before, but Jerry's work will pay for employees and/or their spouses to do Weight Watchers meetings. Now, I've never had a good experience with the Weight Watchers' meetings, but I'm willing to give them a try again. It's been many years since the last time I went to a meeting, so I'm going to give it a fair shot.

As further incentive to go, if I don't attend at least 8 of the 12 consecutive meetings, we will have to reimburse Jerry's work for half of the fee--so that alone will make me do it! I am just hoping that I don't feel like I'm being judged for being the "thin person" in the Weight Watchers meeting--nobody will know that I used to weigh 115 pounds more than I do now. The last time I went in there, just to buy a journal, the receptionist was really rude and made a remark that made me feel judged.

The meetings certainly aren't necessary, but by being a meetings member, I can get free access to the e-tools (logging my food online) and the iPhone app. The accountability of getting weighed in front of a real, live person over the holidays certainly can't hurt, either.

I think it's awesome that Jerry's work is doing their part to help get their employees and families to get healthy--they pay for a lot of the local races that I've done, and now WW. I hope that the employees use it, so that the company continues to do it.

Renee decided not to run the marathon in NYC. I feel absolutely awful for her, but she has already made other plans so that her marathon training wasn't for nothing. She's going to run the marathon in Indianapolis on Saturday, and her family is going with her (just as they were for NY). I know she's bummed about missing out on NY, but I really don't think the race will be the same with all the stuff going on there right now. She is able to defer her entry until next year, so she may end up doing that (although she'll have to pay for it again, AND do all the training again!).

Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year! For as long as I can remember, at least in the past decade or so, we've gone to my parents' house on Halloween night. We pass out candy to trick-or-treaters, but we also celebrate Mark's birthday. My dad always picks Mark up from the group home where he lives, and then we have dinner, birthday cake, and ice cream; we give Mark presents; and then we go outside for trick-or-treating. My dad makes a little fire in the driveway, so we can sit around it and stay warm while the trick-or-treaters come.

Jerry usually takes Noah and Eli trick-or-treating around my parents' neighborhood, but this year things are going to be different. Noah and Eli are old enough to realize that the neighborhood isn't great for trick-or-treating (there aren't many kids out, and the houses are far apart). So my boys requested to go to their other grandparents' neighborhood this year.

I really didn't want to miss Mark's birthday, and I just learned that my brother Brian is coming in, so I'd like to see him. Jerry is going to take the boys to his parents' house for trick-or-treating, while I stay at my parents' house to pass out candy and visit with everyone. My kids couldn't care less if I go with them, anyways!

October 30, 2012


Shortly after I finished typing my blog post last night, we lost power. I thought, being in Michigan, we wouldn't feel much effect from the hurricane, but the wind was really strong. The power was going off and on all day, but then at around 7, it didn't come back on.

Normally, once Jerry and I put the kids to bed at 8, we get cozy on the couch and watch "our" shows together. Without power, we were just kind of staring at each other, wondering what to do. It's funny how much we rely on electricity for entertainment! We don't get good cell service at our house, so we couldn't use the internet on our phones. We decided to actually have a real, uninterrupted, distraction-free conversation (with alcohol).

I poured a (large) glass of wine, and Jerry opened a beer. We lit some candles and just sat on our bed chatting. We laughed about the irony of missing the show Revolution because we had no power (if you're not familiar with the show, it's about the entire country losing all power for many years). Chandler, Paolo, and Phoebe were all up on the bed with us. It's rare to have three cats up there! One or two, almost always.

Then a couple of hours later, the power came back on, which was a relief. Usually when our power goes out due to a storm, it's out for at least 24 hours. The wind was still really strong, and I could hear freezing rain hitting the windows all night.

This morning, I immediately turned on the news to see the damage from the hurricane on the east coast. I've been so worried about my trip to NY, and not sure what to do about it. Once I saw that the subways were flooded, and they said it could take many days to get them running again, I started to think that maybe I should call Delta and see if they could refund my flight.
This was from my brother's (pilot) friend's Facebook page
On their website, they were offering refunds for flights up to Nov. 1st--my flight was on Nov. 2nd. So I called and waited on the phone for about 15 minutes until I could speak to someone. I asked about a refund, but they told me no, my flight was non-refundable.

I got a Facebook message from Jennifer, who is still stuck in Florida. She said that her flight was moved again, this time until Saturday. So even if I made it to NY (Newark, actually, is where I'd be flying into), Jennifer wouldn't be there. I decided to try Delta on Twitter--I sent a tweet to the Delta Assist, asking about a refund. They had me message my confirmation number, and then they issued a refund for my ticket! I was so surprised--I thought I'd never see that money again.

I'm sure I could have found a place to stay (a reader even kindly offered for me to stay with her), but with the public transportation being down right now, I was worried about getting around while in NY. I also would have had to get (quickly) from the race Sunday to the airport in Newark, and have my bags with me--a mess.

So anyway, I'm relieved I was able to get a refund on my flight. Now I'm only out the $55 for the 5K race registration (that race is on Saturday). I'm hugely disappointed about missing out on seeing Renee in the marathon, but it seems it just wasn't in the cards for me to go this weekend.

A couple of hours after the freezing rain stopped this morning, I decided to do my three-mile run outside. I thought for sure I would wind up on the treadmill, but I bundled up for the run outside. It was still really windy.

A couple of times during the first mile, I felt a gust of wind at my back that propelled me forward, and I felt like I was flying! But the last mile felt pretty tough, because the wind was blowing right in my face ;)
After lunch, I sent Renee a text telling her the situation with the marathon, and she asked if I wanted to get together for coffee/tea. I met up with her and we talked about the situation. I feel really bad for her! This was her fourth year applying to get into the NYC marathon, and she has been really excited to go. Now, she said she's not even sure if she's going, for a host of reasons that are understandable.

The race is at least letting runners defer their entries until next year, but they will have to pay the HUGE registration fee again ($255). I hope that she's able to go and have a great time, but if not, she said she's going to find another marathon to do so that all of her training doesn't go to waste.

Jerry is off work Friday-Monday (he was going to be here with the kids while I was gone), so now I'm thinking I'd like to plan something fun to do to take my mind off of missing out on NY.

Oh, and speaking of Jerry, he was disappointed that I forgot to post this picture yesterday:
I was standing at the stove, cooking dinner, and I kept complaining that my toes were completely numb from being so cold. So Jerry sat there and massaged my feet while I was cooking. (I think he just wanted me to post this picture so that he can show everyone how good I have it!)

October 29, 2012

Speed work on the track

It was windy today! Jerry was off work, so I wanted to get my run done early to hang out with him. We got the kids ready for school and sent them off on the bus, and then I drove to the high school track to do speed work.

On my schedule: 6x400 at 7:51 (ish) pace. That means I would run six repeats of 400 meters (one lap around the inside of the track, or 1/4 mile) at a 7:51 ish pace. In between repeats, I can do whatever form of recovery I want, so I decided to do 200 meters of walking (half of the track).

I could feel the wind pushing on my car, which made me really want to skip my run, but I was kind of excited to do speed work. Once I got to the school, and stepped outside, I was freezing! The wind was really strong, and there was a mist in the air, making it even colder. I considered going home and doing the intervals on the treadmill, but since I was already there, decided to just get 'er done.

I started with a lap of easy running to warm-up. Then I picked up the speed for my first repeat. I had no clue what my pace was, since this was the first time I'd done speed work in a really long time, so I decided just to run really hard.

"Hard" is an understatement! Track workouts are supposed to be hard, and make you feel like you're going to puke afterward, so I knew I was on track (haha) for a good workout. When I was running into the wind, it was hard to even breathe--it was like the wind just whipped the air right out of my lungs.

I was very tempted to call it quits after just three repeats, because it was tough and not "fun" anymore ;)  But again, I was already there and halfway done, so I told myself, "Just one more, then you can quit." I kept going, and finally finished all six 400-meter repeats. I was kind of surprised to see that I was pretty close to my goal pace! Here are my splits for each interval (the first number is the min:sec to circle the track, second number is the pace)

Lap 1- 1:53 (7:34/mi pace)
Lap 2- 1:55 (7:40/mi pace)
Lap 3- 1:58 (7:53/mi pace)
Lap 4- 1:57 (7:52/mi pace)
Lap 5- 1:59 (7:56/mi pace)
Lap 6- 1:56 (7:44/mi pace)

I was so glad when it was over! Even though track intervals feel like torture, they are still kind of fun to me. It's not very often (like, never) that I see a 7 in front of my pace!

When I got home and showered, Jerry and I decided to watch a movie--and I chose The Day After Tomorrow, because I've been consumed with Hurricane Sandy. After the movie, we went to a few stores where I had things to return. At Hobby Lobby, I heard an employee say, "There's an alarm going off at Wal-Mart, and they evacuated the building." That was our next stop, so I was wondering what it was all about.

When we got there, tons of people were leaving the parking lot. I was confused, because there were still people going inside the store. So we parked and went in, and up to the service desk for our return. There, we learned that some guy got mad at the employee working there, so he ran and pulled the fire alarm on the wall, then ran out of the store. So that's why everyone was leaving.

We picked up a few groceries that we needed, and I noticed this:
Let me tell you, that stuff is SO good--but extremely caloric. I, however, cannot drink it anymore, because I associate it with a bad memory. After I had broken my jaw and was on a pure liquid diet (my jaws were wired shut), I had to get a lot of calories somehow. And when I saw this stuff at the store, I bought it. It was insanely good, and I pretty much lived off of it for a week or so. I can't even tell you how many cartons I went through!

Then I noticed that my tongue was feeling fuzzy and weird. Since I couldn't open my mouth, I had no idea what was going on. But it turns out that I had thrush from all the antibiotics I was taking! Thrush was not fun. And since I was drinking tons of this pumpkin spice eggnog at the time I got it, I associate the two, and this eggnog is forever ruined for me :(  Just as well, because it has a million calories per serving.

I have been craving rigatoni for some really strange reason (not any old pasta--it was specifically rigatoni), so I picked up the stuff to make it for dinner. My Ragnar team got into a discussion on Facebook about cottage cheese, and Mary and I both mentioned that we like cottage cheese with pasta sauce. So for dinner, I cooked rigatoni, and topped it with cottage cheese, spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese, and a ton of fresh basil (I adore fresh basil). It was heavenly!
After taking the pic, I stirred it all together, and it looked really gross after that. But if you've never tried cottage cheese on your pasta, definitely give it a try.

I've been watching the news all afternoon, keeping tabs on the hurricane. It's kind of unbelievable how bad it's supposed to get. I just hope they're wrong. Stay safe, everyone!

October 28, 2012

First post-marathon run

Change of plans last night--no ice cream cone for me :(

When I was getting ready to take the boys trunk-or-treating, I bundled up because last year was freezing; then when I stepped outside, I thought, "Wow, it's not cold!" and I took off all my layers, wearing just a hoodie and jeans instead. That was a big mistake.

We picked up my dad, and then went to the church. As soon as I got out of the car, I felt how windy and cold it was, and immediately wished I'd brought all my layers with me. The longer we stayed, the less appealing ice cream was sounding. Eli's doughnut looked really good, and I thought about getting one instead, but at that point, I really just wanted to go home and sit under my electric blanket.
He had powdered sugar all over himself after that (this photo was after he wiped some off). Seeing him with the powdered sugar on his face reminded me of a picture I took a long time ago, after the boys got into a container of baby powder while I was in the shower...
My entire living room was covered in powder in the 10 minutes it took me to shower. When I came out, Noah (who was three at the time), was using a towel to "clean it up" (read: spread it around even more). They were both covered in powder, and it was so funny that I couldn't even be mad. I took pictures and video :)

Anyway, I was too cold to even think about ice cream, so I decided to just save the PointsPlus for another day.

This morning, I did my first post-marathon run. Normally, I don't run on Sundays, but if my kids aren't home, then sometimes I do shift things around. They stayed the night at my parents' house last night, so this morning, I got out of bed and dressed for the cold. It was in the mid-30's, so I wore a long-sleeved shirt and I even decided to wear gloves.

A company called Zensah sent me a pair of running gloves to review. They said that the fingertips have special fabric that allows you to use wear them while using a touch-screen device (iPod, iPhone, etc). I had no idea such a thing existed! I always wear the super cheap $1 knit gloves, and then I have to take them off every time I want to touch my iPod on a run.

I was skeptical that the gloves would actually work, so I tried them out immediately when I got them in the mail--and they worked! I thought maybe I'd have to try over and over again to touch the same button, or that there would be a delayed reaction (now that I type that, I realize that sounds kind of stupid...) but the tips on the gloves worked as if I wasn't wearing gloves at all.

Magical fingertips (and thumb tip) for touch-screen
The gloves were comfy to run in (I hate having sweaty hands, but they didn't feel sweaty in these), and I like how they look. My only complaint is the sizing. I measured my hand as instructed, and ordered a medium, but they are bigger than I would like. I like gloves to fit, well, like a glove--but these are loose, which you can see in the first picture above. So if you are interested in buying some, I would order a size smaller than it measures.

While I was running, I noticed that the thumb of the gloves is made of suede, which I thought was really strange. I spent a good mile and a half trying to figure out what the purpose of that was, but never did. Then as I was typing all this, I went to the description page, and it reads: "Micro suede thumb to wipe nose"... BAHAHA, I never would have guessed that's what the suede was for! Definitely going to try that out next time ;)  (Disclosure: Zensah gave me a pair of the gloves for free to review, but opinions are, as always, my own).

So anyway, this is the new schedule I am following (loosely) until the Ragnar Relay:
If you are actually interested, you can click to enlarge
I say "loosely" following, because I rarely run five days a week. So I may be skipping runs here and there, or switching them around. But right now, I'm really interested in running more often, but less mileage--shorter runs, but more of them. We'll see how long that lasts ;)  Also, the pace is just a guideline; I'm not going to be strict with that, either. I made this schedule based on Hal Higdon's Intermediate half-marathon training schedule, adding the paces based on a running calculator app on my phone.

So today was 3.5 miles at a 10:24/mi pace. Almost as soon as I started running, I was coughing. I thought my cold was getting better all week, because my head and congestion feel better; but while I was running, I was constantly coughing. Awesome. But I managed to finish, and my legs felt great.
It was pretty windy, and it's supposed to be really windy all week, because of the hurricane on the east coast.

I'm a little concerned about my trip to NYC next weekend getting canceled. Jennifer is stuck in Florida (she went on a Disney cruise with her family, and was supposed to go home today, but the flights were canceled); since I'm supposed to stay with her, I'm not sure what will happen if she's not home (or feeling up to a house guest!). I'm also wondering if my flight will be canceled anyway, depending on how badly NY gets hit with the storm.

I know those are just minor concerns compared to people who are having to deal with the storm (and its aftermath), so I hope it's not as bad as it's predicted to be!

October 27, 2012

Halloween treats

The Halloween festivities have begun. And so far, I've managed not to eat a single piece of candy.

Last night, I took the kids to Renee's church for a Halloween party--pizza, games, crafts, and trick-or-treating throughout the church. The kids had a blast, but by the time we left, I was really looking forward to a glass of wine when we got home! It was pretty chaotic, and my boys always get rowdy in those situations when they are with their friends.

I ate dinner before I left the house, so that I wouldn't be tempted by pizza or other stuff that was there. They had doughnuts, cupcakes and other treats, but I just avoided the food table altogether. The kids brought home lots of candy, but I didn't even dig through it like I usually do--asking them to give me what they don't want! ;)

This morning, I was drinking tea in my pajamas, reading e-mail and Facebook stuff. I saw a post from Jessica about a theater that had a free showing of Ice Age 4 this morning at 10:00. It was 9:00 when I read it, and I made the split-second decision to take the kids to the show. We all threw on some clothes and got to the theater at about 9:35, just after they opened.

I was thinking that since it was a free show on a first-come first-served basis, that it would be wise to get there early. I was wrong. We went into the theater, and we were the only ones in there, among hundreds of seats!
The kids asked if they could run around in there, and I said sure, until someone else comes in. They had a blast running up and down all the stairs and across each aisle--no idea what is so fun about that! Eventually, someone else did come in, so they had to sit down. But I think that wore them out enough to sit through the movie.

I have to admit, I loved Ice Age 4! It's very rare for me to laugh out loud at the movies, but I was laughing throughout the whole thing. Now I want Jerry to see it, because I know he'd love it, too.

I was tempted to take the kids out to lunch while we were out, but we're really broke right now (we finally bought our tickets to Florida, and we had to pay for two nights of the hotel up front), so we went home after the show. I've been having the same thing almost every single day for lunch, and I'm hooked on it--an English muffin with cheese, egg whites, bacon, and caramelized onions, with a side of grapes (of course).
 Normally, I use whole eggs instead of egg whites, but since this has so many other flavors going on, I decided to cut back the PointsPlus and use the whites. The whole breakfast is only 4 PointsPlus.

This afternoon, one of the neighbors asked me to watch her son for a couple of hours, and then my mom's neighbor said her son would love to play, so I invited him over as well. Four boys, all between 6 & 8 years old for the afternoon... fun! :)  No, they were actually really well-behaved.

Tonight, I'm taking them "trunk-or-treating" at my parents' church. That's where a lot of the church members (usually in costume) back their cars up to a decorated pavilion, open up their trunks and pass out candy. It's basically just trick-or-treating without all the walking. In the past, it's been hard for me to resist the food there! They have apple cider, and cider doughnuts, popcorn, and tons of candy. I'm going to avoid everything there, and then maybe stop at McDonald's for a vanilla cone on the way home.

If I really wanted, I could plan on having a doughnut and popcorn and all that, and just count the PointsPlus for it, but I have a feeling that would lead to me getting out of control and gorging on candy. I would rather avoid it altogether, and then have the ice cream.

The winner of the Sweaty Band giveaway is:
Congrats Mel! Please send me an e-mail at SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com with your mailing address, and I will send it out to you. Let me know how it works for you, because I'm curious :)

October 26, 2012

Racing plans

I have had the laziest week of my life! I promised myself a week of relaxation after the marathon, both to recover physically and for my mental health ;)

I still feel a runner's high from the marathon--and I'm so glad! I didn't feel this way after Cleveland at all, and that is why I ended up registering for another marathon almost immediately. I was seeking a runner's high from the first one, and when I didn't get it, I was disappointed enough to try again. Now that I got it, I am happy to take a week of worry-free relaxation.

But yesterday, I got really restless, and I was contemplating going for a run. I really felt like I needed this week off, however, so I went for a walk instead. I only walked for a mile, and it was more of a stroll--not with the purpose of burning calories, but just to stop feeling so lazy.

On Monday, I'll be starting a training schedule to stay in shape for the Ragnar Relay. I'm going to train as if I were running a 10-mile race (the longest leg I have to run in Florida is 8.8 miles). I also trying to decide between two half-marathons for spring--either the Martian half-marathon or the Glass City half-marathon. I'm guessing that the Martian will be sponsored by Jerry's work (meaning I won't have to pay for the registration) so I will probably do that one, but I've already run that 10K twice; it would be a nice change of scenery to run the Glass City half.

After Ragnar, I'll have a couple of weeks before I start training for the half-marathon. I may do a couple of short races in the summer (5K or 10K), and then I plan to run the Detroit Free Press International Half-Marathon in October.

I may end up picking one more fall race--one that is out of town which I'll get to travel for--but I haven't gotten that far yet. I'm just looking forward to training for shorter races, concentrating on one race at a time, and not overbooking myself!

Last night, Kroger was doing a little Halloween party for kids, so I took the boys there after school. It was such a great little set-up, and it was completely free! All of the employees were dressed in costume, and they had different stations set up around the store--the kids could do a craft and bob for a (plastic) apple (filled with candy) in the produce section, decorate a doughnut at the bakery, get popcorn at the seafood department, etc.
I wanted to take a huge scoop of buttercream frosting
for the road, but I restrained myself!

I had no say in my boys' costumes. Halloween is the one time of year that I wish I had a girl--girls' costumes are so cute! Eli chose a ninja, and Noah chose a "mirrored ghoul", but he didn't want to wear his mask or gloves.

The kids collected a ton of candy and prizes, and one of the stations was more for me than them. Fingerprinting! It sucks that we have to even think about this stuff as a parents, but it's something I've been meaning to do anyway, so I had no excuses yesterday. I got a disk of each Noah and Eli that includes their description, picture, and fingerprints.
I guess I thought fingerprinting was done the old-fashioned way, with ink and paper, but it was all digital. He just had to touch a little finger pad, and his prints showed up on the screen. The prints and info is only stored to a disk, so I have the only copy of it (there is no archive or database, for privacy reasons).

Anyway, the kids had a blast, and the whole way home, they kept saying, "Thank you for taking us there, Mama!" I love it when they show some gratitude! Tonight, we are going to Renee's church for pizza, games, and trick-or-treating.

The weather is looking really crappy for Halloween, so I hope it's not too bad! I'm also a little concerned about my trip to New York--I leave a week from today, and NY looks like it's right in the path of the hurricane. I think the worst of that weather is supposed to happen on Wednesday, so hopefully the weather will clear up for the NYC marathon! I'm SO looking forward to being a spectator :)

October 25, 2012

Sweaty Bands Review & Giveaway

I have seen these cute headbands called Sweaty Bands at race expos, and I always looking longingly at them, but I've never bought one. My head is big, and I've never found a headband that would stay put more than a few seconds. So while the headbands were adorable, I just knew they'd never work on my head.

The company recently contacted me to see if I'd like to give them a try. I wrote them back, saying that I would be happy to try them, but I've never been able to keep a headband on my head; and since I'm always honest with my readers, I wasn't going to say I loved them if I didn't.

They wrote back and said that they looked forward to the challenge ;)  That gave me hope that maybe these headbands were different, and they would stay on... the company was very confident that I would like them.

They have SO MANY styles and colors to choose from, but I didn't choose what they sent. The ones they chose for me, however, were really cute! There were two different widths.

This is the "narrow" width
This is the "wide" width
The bands have a backing that feels kind of fuzzy, like velvet, which is what makes them stay in place (and absorb sweat). After putting it on, I moved my head from side to side and up and down, and it was still good. But that doesn't attest to much, so I decided to see how long I could keep it in place while cleaning my house--the ultimate challenge.

I cleaned all day long (this was just before Rik came to town) and I kept reaching up to feel it and see if it was slipping, but I was very impressed at how well it stayed in place. It eventually did slip back too far, and I had to readjust--but to be fair, I have a huge head and it stayed on much longer than any other headband I've tried.

Here is the underside, so you can see the fabric

The part that goes behind your head is a thin elastic band
They are a little pricey, in my opinion--$15 for a narrow, $18 for a wide band... but they seem to be very good quality. It doesn't feel like it's cheaply made at all. It would be a cute gift for a runner (or anyone who exercises). They have SO many to choose from--I don't know how I would be able to pick just one. They also allow you to make custom designs, which of course made me think I have to do a Runs for Cookies one. ;)

Sweaty Bands generously sent me a third band to give away to a Runs for Cookies reader! Here is what it looks like:

That one is a wide band. So if you think you'd like to give it a try, you can enter a random drawing by leaving a comment on this post--do you have problems getting headbands to stay on your head, or are you one of the lucky people who can wear all kind of cute headbands?

I will draw a winner on Saturday, 10/27 at 8:00 a.m. EST. and announce the winner on Saturday's blog post. Winner will have 48 hours to e-mail me, or a new winner will be chosen. (This is open to anyone in the WORLD, because I'll be doing the shipping).

(In full disclosure, I was given two Sweaty Bands for free to review and one to give away, but all opinions are my own, as usual).

October 24, 2012

Yard issues (and Wed. weigh in)

I was a little disappointed when I got on the scale this morning and saw that my weight was exactly the same as last week. I had said that I was only hoping to maintain or have a *little* gain today, because of the weekend; but I followed my PointsPlus plan the entire week, so I thought maybe I would lose a little.

I'm not horribly disappointed, however, because it was a very tough weekend and I managed not to gain anything!
All stats are pretty much the same. My body fat was 24.2% last week, so it went down by just 0.2%. Hopefully I'll see a change in my weight next week! I'm so close to be back in the 130's, and just four pounds away from being back in my goal range.

When I was getting the boys ready for school this morning, I asked them what they wanted for breakfast, and Eli said without hesitation, "Can I have green eggs and ham? But can I have it without the ham?" I thought this was hilarious, because he has never asked for green eggs and ham before--it just came out of nowhere.

So I scrambled an egg with a couple of drops of green food coloring, and it looked gross, but Eli was very happy with it:
I made an old favorite for my breakfast this morning--oatmeal with PB2 and cocoa powder. It's been a long time since I had that! I actually haven't been eating oatmeal very often lately. I just haven't been in the mood for it.

When I went outside this morning, I was furious when I saw our yard:

This is the yard on the side of our house that Jerry and I just bought in August. Some jackass drove through it and across the alley, through another yard, and out on another street. They completely tore up the yard. It happened during the night, so I have no clue who did it. I'm so pissed about it.

Tonight starts the World Series, and the Tigers actually made it this year--I'm totally not a sports person, but I told Jerry I'd watch the game with him tonight. He's very excited about it, of course ;) Even though I dislike completely hate sports, I love the feeling of camaraderie when something big like this happens. There was a lot of talk about it in Detroit on Saturday and Sunday.

Anyway, that's about as much as I will ever talk about sports!

October 23, 2012

Challenge update

I was pretty amazed this morning when I woke up and my body was feeling pretty good. Still sore, yes, but better than yesterday. I'm actually really amazed at how easy this recovery has been, especially compared to my Cleveland marathon.

After Cleveland, my toenails were so sore I couldn't even sleep on my stomach because they would touch the bed and it hurt. I got a blister under my big toe and my second toe, and they turned black--but I never lost them, as a lot of runners do. I had a few blisters on my feet. I was chaffing in places I didn't even know I could chafe. My stomach was messed up for a couple of days--I spent a LOT of time in the bathroom. I also remember being so sore that I had to use my arms to lower myself into a sitting position (like holding onto the side of the toilet seat and slowly lowering myself with my arm strength) because my legs hurt so badly.

I've had none of these problems this time around! My toenails aren't the slightest bit sore, I don't have a single blister, I didn't chafe anywhere, and while I'm sore, I can still lower myself into a squat without using my arms. I also didn't have any stomach issues whatsoever, which I can probably thank Rik for. During the race, there was a moment where I thought, "Oh no, my stomach is NOT happy" and Rik said I was probably drinking too much. He suggested that at the next station, I swish the water around in my mouth and then spit it out instead of swallowing it.

I tried that, and after a mile or so, my stomach was good again. After eating a GU, I felt my stomach churn again, and decided to try out the ShotBloks I'd brought. Those were much easier on my stomach, and I started to eat one about every mile after. I didn't have any issues after that. So my recovery has actually been really great! I bet I'll feel totally back to normal in a day or two.
I just saw this picture that Jessica took of me and Rik
just before crossing the finish line

I am now 44 days binge-free. I think the last time I went this long was during the year that I was losing weight. The six-week challenges I chose for myself (no peanut butter, and trying out Weight Watchers) have helped me tremendously to get back on track.

The six weeks were done on Saturday night, but I am continuing with Weight Watchers because I actually like it right now. When I first started, I was fully expecting to have the same thoughts on it as I did before, but I was determined to give it a fair chance, and it has helped. I'm almost back to my goal weight range, I don't feel deprived, and I am back in control.

I think the main reason it was helpful in the beginning was that I paid money for the online program, and I didn't want to waste the money by quitting. I paid for three months, so I was determined to get my money's worth out of the three-month program. That stopped me from bingeing more times than I can count. The "free fruit" is the thing I actually like best about WW--because sometimes I just feel snacky, and when that happens, I can eat fruit and be very happy with it (grapes are still my latest love affair).

Giving up peanut butter for six weeks was also extremely helpful in staying binge-free. Everything that I usually binge on contains peanut butter in some form or another, and if I couldn't binge on peanut butter, then the binge just didn't seem worth it.

Now that I have stayed binge free for over six weeks, I am more determined than ever to keep the streak going. I know (from experience) that one binge always leads to another, and the longer I go without, the easier it will get.

Another challenge I had almost forgotten about was one I made back in the spring--when our local ice cream shop opened for the season, I said that I would not get ice cream there, even once, during the entire season. If I wanted ice cream, I would have to drive much farther for it. And I actually followed through with that challenge as well!

And finally, a challenge that I made, but didn't write about. I decided that I wasn't going to eat any Halloween candy for the entire season except for on Halloween Day, when I can use all 49 of my weekly PointsPlus on candy if I choose to. This way, I wouldn't obsess over candy when I saw it on the shelves at the store. So I haven't touched any Halloween candy yet--but I plan to eat some on Halloween for sure.

I really like doing these little short-term challenges, because it makes me feel like I'm in control of myself. When I quit doing my 30 in 30 list, I had said that I was going to start doing weekly goals, but I really liked the six-week challenges. Long enough to be pretty tough to do, but short enough that it doesn't feel like forever. So now I'm going to try and come up with another six-week challenge for myself!

October 22, 2012

Post-marathon glory

I have been basking in post-marathon relief ever since I crossed the finish line yesterday. It feels SO GOOD to be done, and to have finished with a good experience!

When I got home yesterday, I saw that my boys had made signs for us while we were gone:
This one is Eli's. Those are flowers, and a cookie, and a picture of me running
and him holding a sign that says "Go Mama Go"

This one is Noah's. Flowers, a cookie, and even my blog address ;)
Aren't they adorable?

I immediately took a shower to wash all the salty sweat off my skin, and I felt a thousand times better. I put on some cozy pants and my new sweatshirt that I bought at the Expo, and sat to write my race report. While I was typing, I had one of the treats that Rik brought with him from Wisconsin--a peanut butter cup from a sweets shop near his house.

Saturday was the last day of my six-week challenge of not eating peanut butter, so yesterday was fair game. It was fantastic! I savored every bite of it. I think I forgot to mention that I also had one with breakfast before the race yesterday. I've definitely missed peanut butter, but I don't plan on going crazy with it now that the challenge is over.

After I typed up my blog post, Rik, Cynthia, and Angela came over to celebrate with me. As they were coming in, I heard someone say "Congrats!" and I looked up with shock--it was my brother Brian and his girlfriend Becky! I was so happy to see them--Brian wasn't able to come in for my race, but I think it was even better that he could come celebrate afterward. Apparently everyone knew he was coming but me--I was definitely surprised, and very excited.

My little brother Nathan came over as well, and then my mom, so we had a full house. We ordered a ton of pizza and breadsticks, and had plenty of beer to go around. We also had some of the snacks Rik and Cynthia brought--cheese and sausage (yum!) and the cookie cake from Angela that I was dying to dive into.

I ate two pieces of pizza, two breadsticks, a piece each of cheese and sausage, and a big slice of cookie cake. My mom brought over apple pie and ice cream, but I was pretty full and didn't have any of that. A couple of hours later, I had a second piece of the cookie cake, and I didn't feel the least bit guilty about it. I also had 4 beers (they were the Labatt 52 calorie beers, so they probably don't even count as "real" beer, haha) and a glass of wine.

Renee and Jessica came over, and they brought me some yummy (yet healthy) treats--I was actually relieved to see something healthy after the tempting stuff I'd had. Renee brought some homemade soup, cookies, and wine; and Jessica brought a fruit tray--tons of grapes and strawberries. (Yes, I'm still hooked on grapes). Then Stephanie came over, and brought me a bottle of wine as a "thank you" for giving her my spot on Jessica's relay team! (I have some pretty awesome friends).Their team did really well, finishing in 4:20 ish. It was fun to visit with them for a little while and hear about the experience from their views.

I actually wrote everything down and tallied up the PointsPlus I ate through the whole day, and it was 99. I get 26 daily PP, so I used those and all of my weekly PP and most of my activity PP. (I had earned 29 PP during the marathon, based on the calories burned). I didn't feel like I went overboard--I wasn't completely stuffed or anything--but those PP added up quickly! The cookie cake was the heftiest amount of PP, which is no surprise.

But every single bite was totally worth it. And I didn't even get off track. I wrote everything down, and today I am right back to "normal" eating. Angela, Rik, and Cynthia all left this morning, so I am back into my routine.

My legs have felt pretty good today, surprisingly. I'm definitely sore, but nothing unbearable. My knee feels uninjured (yay!!) and I can sit and stand okay :) It felt so strange this morning that I didn't have to run--this is the first Monday in 18 weeks that I haven't had a run on the schedule.

As far as running plans in the future, I'm probably going to take a full week off, and then start training again a week from today. I have a 5K race in NYC on November 3rd, but I am just running that for fun, so there is no pressure (it will be too crowded to try and PR anyway). Then the next race after that will be the Ragnar Relay Florida Keys on January 4-5.

I'm not going to do any formal training for it, but mostly just run how it's comfortable to me--what I used to enjoy doing before marathon training. I'll probably do 3-4 runs per week: one long run, one speedwork run, and one or two short, easy runs. I think as long as I get in a long run of about 10 miles every so often, I should be fine for Ragnar.

I am starting to carefully plan and think about races for next year. I don't want to do a lot of races--I just want to pick ones that are really important to me, and focus on those without doing a bunch of others "just because". I don't even care about getting faster anymore--if I was focused on speed yesterday, to try and hit a 4:20 or 4:30 time, I would have missed some awesome moments that made the race enjoyable to me: looking around and enjoying the sunrise while I was on the Ambassador Bridge; running and chatting with my cousin Kaitlin, and Jessica; stopping for a minute to stretch my calves to make the race more comfortable; high-fiving kids and spectators along the course; and having lots of conversation with Rik.

I am definitely more concerned with having a fun, enjoyable race than I am with focusing on a certain finish time now. So that will come into play when I choose my races for next year as well.

Looking back on yesterday's race, everything went perfectly, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Yes, it was still very tough, but I don't think it's possible for a marathon to be "easy". I enjoyed it the best that I could in the circumstances :) And I got to eat two pieces of cookie cake!

October 21, 2012

Detroit Free Press Marathon report

26.2 miles. That is SUCH a long distance when you really think about it. Even driving that far takes a while!

I had two goals for this marathon: 1) To enjoy it more than I did the Cleveland Marathon, and 2) To finish under five hours.

I will spoil the ending, and tell you that I accomplished both of those goals today! I was pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it more than Cleveland, since everything seemed to go wrong in Cleveland (the race was "red flagged" because of the heat, my knee was absolutely killing me through the whole race, I had stomach issues around mile 22, etc.)

I felt like a sub-5:00 finish was pretty much in the bag, because that's about an 11:20/mi pace, and I've been training at a 10:30/mi pace. But I didn't want to set my goals too high, because then I'd risk being majorly disappointed, and God knows I never want to do this again.

I got up at 2:58 this morning (my alarm was set for 3:00). I didn't want to have to rush out the door, so I took my time getting ready. Jerry was running his first 5K in Detroit today, so he got up and ready as well. Then we went and picked up Rik, his wife Cynthia, and Angela from my parents' house, and we headed up to Detroit. We got there and parked by 5:15. I had to pee SO BADLY before the race, and we had to walk what felt like miles to get to the starting line, and I didn't see any porta potties the entire way. I was seriously in pain from it. But finally, I spotted some porta potties and there wasn't a line. Whew.

We made it to our corral, and smushed our way into the section near the 4:40 finish time pacer.
Why yes, I was freezing. How can you tell? (Oh wait, good thing my bib was high enough to cover my nips!) Also, is it just me, or does my head look like it was photoshopped onto my body?

I wasn't sure if I could actually stay with that pacer the whole time, but I felt a whole lot better starting there than I did with the 4:30 pacer, so that was the plan. But I didn't care who paced me, I just wanted to finish with a "4" in front of my time.

Once the race started, it took a while for our corral to get to the starting line. We inched our way forward, and then finally, we were off. It was hard to move, because there were still a lot of people, but eventually it thinned out a little. We actually were ahead of the 4:40 pacer for a while. The first big landmark was the Ambassador Bridge, which goes to Canada. That was a looong way uphill, and I actually ran the whole way, without bitching!

The scenery was GORGEOUS once we got to the top. The sun had just peeked up over the skyline of Detroit, and I thought it looked amazing over the river. The border patrol people were actually really cool! They were looking at all the runners, making sure we had our bibs visible, but a lot of them were giving high fives and cheering.

I was very impressed with the Canadian cheer stations--the Canadians definitely know how to show some enthusiasm! I think running through Canada was probably my favorite part of the race (of course, I was still feeling good at that point). Just after the relay station (there was a relay marathon as well--5 runners per team), I saw Jessica ahead of me (she was on a relay team). I wanted to catch up with her, but I knew it would exhaust me, so I didn't make a huge effort. She looked like she was going pretty fast, too.

Then we had to go into the tunnel for the "underwater mile". At mile 7, you run downhill into a looong tunnel under the river, and then uphill at the other end to come out.

The tunnel was scary. It kept getting hotter and more humid as we got deeper in there, and all the runners were shouting and cheering, which echoed and was really loud. I was so glad when I could see the light at the end of the tunnel (literally), and then to feel the cool air as we came out was so nice.

Just after that point, there were tons of people cheering, and we knew to look for Jerry, Cynthia, and Angela there. We saw them (well, heard them first, because Jerry is LOUD), waved and smiled, and kept going.

At mile nine, I heard someone say "Katie!" and I turned around to see my little cousin, Kaitlin. I knew she was running the half-marathon today, but I was shocked to see her in that kind of a crowd. I gave her a hug, and she ran along with us for the next four miles or so until the half and full marathoners split. Talking with her passed the time quickly, and before I knew it, we were halfway done!

We were still ahead of the 4:40 pacer, so we were making good time, but after about mile 15, I started to really feel my legs slow down. My calves tightened up a lot, and my legs were just feeling tired. I told Rik, "Man, an ice cold beer would be SO good right now!" And poof! At mile 16 or so, someone was handing out little Dixie cups of beer. It totally hit the spot :)

At mile 17, the 4:40 pacer caught up to us. We ran with him shortly, but he passed us, and I was okay with that. We were still going great on time, and I was sure we'd still hit a sub-5:00 finish.

It was shortly after that, however, that I really started feeling awful. I was just so tired, and I wanted to be DONE already. We saw Jerry, Cynthia, and Angela at mile 19, just before we went onto an island called Belle Isle. I was really upset, and was trying my best not to cry. Angela was filming us, so I really didn't want to cry on camera! I sucked it up and kept going.

Belle Isle was really pretty, but I couldn't fully appreciate it, because I was just feeling crappy. It was all I could do to run until the next water station so that I could walk for 10-15 seconds while I drank. My calves were still feeling SO tight that it was hard to run, so I suggested stopping to stretch. It felt wonderful! We stopped for maybe a minute and a half, and after stretching, I felt a lot better. Well enough to keep moving on.

When we came back off the Isle, we were at mile 23. I knew then that I would finish, but 3.2 more miles felt like FOREVER to me. My legs were so sore and stiff. We stopped and stretched once or twice more, and that enabled me to keep going. I was glad that I had banked enough time in the first 17 miles or so to be able to go more slowly at the end and still finish under 5 hours.

Someone else was handing out tiny little shots of beer at mile 24ish, and that was a total tease. I knew I wanted a cold beer at the finish! We chugged along, and when the finish line was in sight, I was SO relieved. The last quarter mile felt like forever, but I saw Jessica's relay team cheering from the side, and then we saw Jerry, Cynthia, and Angela. I love seeing familiar faces when I feel like crap!

I crossed the finish line with a time of 4:51:51, and was very happy with that! I'm happy enough with it that I don't ever feel like trying to beat that time, so I am DONE with marathons :)

It was hard to walk after that, but Rik and I got our finisher's photo, and then met up with Jerry, Cynthia, and Angela. Cynthia very conveniently happens to be a yoga instructor and personal trainer, so she stretched me out on the grass. It felt SO good!!

I was actually able to stand up after that! My legs were freezing, so I wanted to put on the pants that I had brought with me, but I couldn't bend very well (at least not without spilling my beer...) so Jerry had to help. It was pretty funny :)

I have to say, I am super proud of Jerry as well--he did great on his 5K! He finished in 28:51.
We had to laugh at the medals, though. We each got the same medal, but mine was much larger and heavier than his:

I'm exhausted now, so I'll write about the post-marathon stuff tomorrow. But here is my technical stuff (splits, official time):

October 20, 2012

Marathon eve

Well, it's the eve of my second marathon, and I'm just as terrified as I was on the eve of my first. I don't know why it's so scary--everything has been going smoothly, and I'm pretty much guaranteed to have a better race than I did in Cleveland.

This morning, Rik and I went for a short two-mile run to just see how our legs were feeling in preparation for tomorrow. We ran around my parents' neighborhood a couple of times at a 10:03/mi pace, and my legs felt great. My whole body felt good, actually, with the exception of my congested sinuses.

Then we went to Eastern Market in Detroit to browse around before going to the Expo. Eastern Market is a huge farmer's market. I love to look around at unusual and interesting foods! The only thing I ended up buying there was some tea--Michigan Cherry & Almond black tea.

After that, we went to lunch at the first place we could find before going in to the Expo. It was a little sports bar. We actually met up with Matt Johnson, who does a podcast called Runner Academy, and his girlfriend. He recently interviewed Rik and Ada on his podcast, so it was fun to be able to meet up with him for lunch.

I had a very hard time deciding what to order. There wasn't a single healthy option on the menu! I was honestly considering skipping lunch altogether, because nothing was sounding good, but then I asked what kind of soup they had, and it was a stuffed pepper soup. Beef and tomato-y broth with bits of green pepper and rice. That sounded really good, and it couldn't have been too unhealthy, so that's what I got. The soup was fantastic, so it ended up being a good choice.

After lunch, we headed over to the Expo. The Expo was ridiculous--total chaos. They had it set up so that it was like a maze with only one possible path that you had to go back and fourth through in order to get to the back where the packet pick-up is. I always like to pick up my packet first, and then browse, because if I buy something, I can at least stick it in my bag.

It took us about 10 minutes just to wind through the crowd to the packet pick-up. On the way, however, I bumped into Shannon, a reader that I met while running a race in the spring. She is running her first half-marathon tomorrow, and I chatted with her for a minute.

I finally picked up my packet. Remember how I had a little too much wine on the day that I decided to register for this race? Well, apparently, I said my name was "Runs for Cookies", because that is what was printed on my bib!
A little embarrassing, but also kind of funny :)

On the way back through the maze, I heard someone say, "Is that the cookie girl?" or something like that. When I looked, she said she reads my blog sometimes, so I said hi, but didn't get her name or anything. (So if you're reading this, please don't be shy!)

I like the shirts we got...
And the back...

When I did the 5K in Detroit a couple of years ago, the shirts were TINY. I had a medium, and had to squeeze into it. I was worried that would be the case this year, but thankfully, they were sized well. We browsed around the Expo for a little while, and then Rik and I got a couple of pictures. This was in front of a map of the course.
Normally, I don't buy shirts at Expos, but I found a hoodie that I really liked, so I ended up buying it. If you look closely, you can see the Detroit skyline, including the bridge with runners on it.

After the Expo, we went back to my parents' house to have a pasta dinner. I still hadn't cut into the cookie cake, and the kids were asking me to, so I finally cut it into wedges and gave the kids each a piece, along with the neighbor kids. I didn't eat any today, but I'm going to eat a big piece of it tomorrow after the marathon. I'll choose the piece with the most frosting, of course ;)

I have to say, I'm really happy with the way I've handled my food choices so far this weekend. I was worried I was going to go end up going way overboard, especially with the sweets yesterday, and all the baked goods at the farmer's market today. But I've counted everything I've eaten, so I've been doing well.

Tomorrow I'm going to be eating a lot, but that's because I'll be burning a lot during the marathon. After the marathon, we're going to get pizza, so I'll have pizza and wine and cookie cake tomorrow night. Almost makes all that running worth it! ;)

I'm determined to be in bed by 8:30, and it's now 8:13 as I type this, so I am going to try and get some sleep. I have to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to leave at 4:30!

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