April 30, 2013

Tuesday catch-up

As soon as I got out of my sister's car after coming home from the race in Toledo, I discovered that I had forgotten my pillow at the hotel. I may be super cheap when it comes to my clothes, groceries, and household items, but I don't mess around with my bedding. I have a Tempur-Pedic mattress, 1000-thread count sheets, and nice, fluffy, goose down pillows. Bedding is a splurge for me. It certainly would have been cheaper to make the hour-long drive to go back and get my pillow, but I was sick of being in the car all day (from the relay and the drive home), so I just went to buy a new one.

After buying the brand new goose down pillow, I realized that I no longer had my pillowcase either--and that was $30 to replace! I opted not to get the pillowcase yet, so now we just have mismatched cases. What was originally a cheap $26/person stay at a hotel turned pretty expensive! But it is kind of nice to have a brand new pillow ;)

Yesterday afternoon, the mailman dropped off a big box for me--the bridesmaid dress that I had bought (used) online. I was a little nervous, because what if it didn't fit like the one in the store had? Or what if it had stains that the seller didn't mention?

I opened up the box, and was relieved to see that it looked brand new! It wasn't wrinkled, there weren't any stains, it was the correct style number and color... perfect. The seller even threw in a matching jacket for free, which was really cool of her! I had Jerry zip me into the dress (I can't do it myself for some reason) and was thrilled to see that it fit perfectly. Best of all? The previous owner had it hemmed to her height (5'4", same as me) so the hem was perfect, too!

 I'm not wearing shoes in the pic, but I'll be wearing flats, so it'll fall just above floor-length. I still don't love the fact that I have to wear a strapless dress (I can already see myself tugging it up constantly), but at least I didn't have to spend $170 on it! If I had gotten it at David's Bridal, it would have been $170 (or $150 if I got it on sale) PLUS the cost to hem it ($60)... and I wouldn't have gotten the cute little jacket. But for this one, I paid $66 total, which included shipping. What a great deal! Hopefully I'll be able to sell it after the wedding, too.

Last night at around 7:45, Jerry and I were just getting the kids ready for bed, when I saw a car go FLYING down our street. I was pissed, because the speed limit is 15 mph and there are always kids playing outside in the streets (we don't have sidewalks). I yelled, "REALLY?!" and Jerry said, "That was a police car..."

So we looked out the window and saw that the police car stopped right in front of our next door neighbor's house, jumped out the car, and plowed over some kid who looked about 18 years old. Then two more police cars showed up. He was lying in the grass, and they were patting him down, then they picked him up and arrested him.

A lot of the neighbors were outside, wondering what the heck was happening. The cars left shortly after, but then we saw a bunch of police searching for something in the woods across from our house. Jerry asked them if they were looking for something, and they said no, that everything was fine. He said, "Well, my kids play out here, is it still safe for them to play?" And they assured him it was taken care of.

After asking around with the neighbors, we discovered that there were two people in a car, fleeing from the police (according to the neighbor, they were drunk driving and they fled the scene of an accident). The police arrested the one in front of our neighbor's house, but they were still searching for the other person in the woods. This kind of stuff never happens around here--I don't think I've ever even seen someone get arrested before!

Naturally, my kids were super excited and wanted to go outside to watch all the commotion. The police were still looking an hour later. Jerry heard that they found him, though. I'm a little irritated that the police told us everything was "fine" and "taken care of", when they were still looking for someone.

I was tempted not to run today, because it would be my sixth day of running in a row. Normally, I only run five days a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays are rest days); but I knew I'd be eating a lot on Saturday, so I did a very easy three miler on the treadmill that morning.

Anyway, the weather was super nice today--60 degrees and sunny, and it actually looked like spring. I wanted to take advantage of it, so I did my scheduled run. But I am definitely looking forward to a rest day tomorrow! I felt really fatigued today shortly after I started running, so it's definitely time for a break. I did get to wear a tank top for the first time this year (other than when I was in Florida, of course)...
Just wearing the bright yellow and running in the sunshine made it feel very spring-like. I think I'll have a glass of wine out on the back deck tonight--one of my favorite things to do in nice weather!

With this gorgeous spring day, we decided to cook out on the grill. We had barbecued chicken and corn on the cob. Eli was eating his corn, then got VERY excited because his tooth was really loose! He's been SO excited to lose a tooth. He's the only one in his class who hadn't lost one, and he even asked the dentist to pull one out for him when he got his teeth cleaned ;)

Anyway, I told him we were going to pull that sucker out tonight, and I grabbed a paper towel to start wiggling it. Within 20 seconds, I heard a pop, and it fell right out! He was thrilled. Doesn't he look adorable?

Oh, and I almost forgot! The winner of the book, Stranger Here, by Jen Larsen, is:

Congrats to Megan Mack! Hope you enjoy!

April 29, 2013

Motivational Monday #13

I hope everyone had a great week! I had a rough morning, and I definitely needed a boost of positive energy today. Once again, you all came through with your super inspiring posts, so thank you!

I can't think of anything really noteable this week that I'm proud of. I did get right back on track yesterday after eating way too much on Saturday, so I am definitely happy about that. There were a couple of times this week that I wanted to binge for emotional reasons, and thankfully, I was able to get past that without a binge.

Anyway, let's get right to the good stuff... :)

Amy just finished her first 5K after lost nearly 50 pounds! She is proud that she ran the whole way, never stopping or walking. She said she couldn't have done it without the support of her sister, who ran beside her.

Connie has reached the 50-lbs lost mark of her journey to "move the mountain", as she calls her quest to lose 265 pounds. She's noticed quite a few changes, and not just in how she looks. She wrote a blog post about what 50 pounds gone feels like. It's hard to stay motivated with such a big task in front of you, but she is proof that mountains can be moved!

Dean ran the Glass City 5K yesterday, shaving 25 seconds off of his previous time! If you read my race report yesterday, you know it was a very rainy race, so that was no easy task.

Jennifer ran her first 5K. She was hoping to finish under 40 minutes, and ended up finishing in 36:41! She had a great race with great weather to match. Her daughter (in photo) asked her if she could get some running shoes so that she could run a race with her mom next time!

Kara organized a run for Boston, and about 75 people showed up to give their support! They ran/walked/even biked a 5K. Kara ran hers, and even PR'ed!

Katelyn ran her first half-marathon in 2:19:14! She said it downpoured the entire race, but she achieved her goal of running the whole distance without a walk break. She wrote, "I seriously could not be more proud of myself." Great job!

Katie walked 5.5 km to Starbucks, and was so happy with herself that she treated herself to a 4 PP drink! (That's definitely my kind of motivation...)

Laura ran her third half-marathon, and set a new PR! She's taken nearly 30 minutes off of her first half in 2010. She said the running had a nice side effect--she's down 40 pounds since October!

Lisa ran a 10K and PR'ed, finishing in 55:07! (Look at that gorgeous weather--why couldn't Toledo have been that nice yesterday?) Way to go, Lisa!

Margaret finished her half-marathon feeling strong, and took over an hour off of her previous time! While training, she raised $2700 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She ran in honor of a college student named Alex Nieves, who battled leukemia, and in honor of her Gramma May, who lost her battle with leukemia in 1998. (Here is her race report)

Michelle ran her third half-marathon in 35 days, which qualified her for "Half Fanatics"--something she never thought possible! At her first 5K a couple of years ago, she saw someone wearing a "Half Fanatic" shirt, and thought it sounded crazy. But after training (and losing 60 pounds in the process) she completed it!

Sarah finished her first half-marathon in under three hours. She had decided to set a lofty goal of completing a half-marathon, and she declared it on Facebook. Then she trained for it and finished! Oh, and did I mention she used to weigh over 300 pounds? ;) She lost almost half of her starting weight!

Shannon is sporting a brand new bicep crease after completing her sixth week of the Insanity workouts! She's lost 10 pounds, can do multiple push-ups, hold planks, and complete an hour-long workout. She posted about it on her blog here.

When I was reading through all the great comments on Facebook this morning, one really stuck out to me and I immediately e-mailed her to see if she'd be interested in writing a guest post about her experience. Check this out, and tell me it's not inspiring(!):

Yep, I just tried to read that out loud to Jerry and I couldn't even do that without crying! I can't wait to read her post all about it.

Here is a peak at some of the posts on Facebook. You can read the whole thing here.

April 28, 2013

Glass City Marathon Relay race report

The marathon start time was 7:00 this morning, so I got out of bed at 5:10 to get ready. I was really unsure of what the weather was going to do, but ultimately decided to go with my Cold Gear running tights and a long sleeved black shirt. I had made sparkle skirts and headbands for the whole team, so I wore those as well.

I brought oatmeal with me to eat for breakfast this morning, and forgot to bring a spoon. Ty had a plastic knife with her, so I used that to eat my oatmeal (and it actually worked out pretty well). There was HUGE line of cars at the starting line, so we ended up dropping Ty (runner #1) off and then we went to the first exchange point to wait for her.

As soon as we dropped Ty off, it started raining. Awesome. The first exchange point was at a church, and they were super nice to allow us to use their bathrooms and wait inside if we wanted. When it was close to time for Ty to come through, we went to the exchange point, which was very crowded. There was no organization whatsoever for the relay teams, and it was hard to see the runners coming. Thankfully, we were all wearing the sparkle skirts, which made it much easier to spot our team members!

I was runner #2, so Ty passed me the belt we had to wear. The relay team members had to wear THREE bibs--one on back that says "RELAY", an individual bib on front, and then the person who was running had to wear a belt with another bib. Ridiculous.

I fumbled getting the belt on for a minute, but took off running. The first tenth of a mile or so was downhill, and I was scared I was going to slip and fall in the rain. I was running with some fast marathoners, which was a strange experience. Ty's pace was something like 9:00/mi, and I was running at about an 8:30/mi pace, so I was passing marathoners who were aiming for about a 3:45 finish time. If I was running the full distance, there is no way I would be passing them!

I won't name any names (ahem, Detroit Runner), but whoever told me that Glass City was pancake flat was totally lying. At least my section was really hilly! They weren't huge hills, but they were very noticeable.

For the first two miles, I was running an 8:30 pace, and I was just ahead of some guys that were talking really loudly (they were running the marathon). They were really annoying, talking about how they were irritated that the spectators weren't cheering when they went by (let me just say, I am SO grateful for all the spectators that showed up, despite the pouring rain!!). I couldn't stand listening to them any longer, so I decided to disregard my plan of running at a pretty easy pace, and try to get ahead to where I couldn't hear them anymore.

Shortly after that, I passed this big guy who was running the relay. As soon as I passed him, he made this grunting noise and obviously picked up speed to pass me. I was kind of humored by that, so I picked up my own speed and passed him again. And so it went for the next three miles.

He was getting kind of mad every time I passed him, which I thought was funny, and he became my rabbit for this race. I really wanted to beat him. With about a mile and a half to go, I gained quite a bit on him, and thought I'd lost him. Then with just one mile left, he came up and blew past me. I picked up my pace again, and was running about a 7:45/mi pace, but he must have been running about a 7:15/mi pace, and I couldn't catch him. Dammit!

When I got close to the exchange, I could see my teammates really easily because of the skirts, and I handed the belt to Debbie. I was pretty impressed with my time!

Debbie was super nervous about this race, even though we kept telling her that it was just for fun. She's done 5K's before, but this was the longest distance she'd have run (4.75 miles). The rest of us drove to the next exchange point, and waited for Debbie, which actually didn't take long. She was way ahead of the time she expected. She was SO adorable when she finished--she started crying and hugging Jeanie. This was probably my favorite moment of the race.

Debbie had handed the belt off to Jen, so we all piled back in the car and drove to the next exchange to wait. Jen finished faster than she expected, too. And finally, Jen handed the belt off to Jeanie for the fifth and final leg.

Jeanie had written the race director to ask if we were allowed to cross the finish line as a team, and they said sure. So while Jeanie was running, Jen, Debbie, Ty, and I all went to the 26 mile marker to wait for her. The rain finally slowed to a drizzle just before Jeanie got there. When I saw her coming, I ran ahead to get a picture of her running, and then I hopped in to run alongside her and then the other girls joined in as well.

We moved over to the side of the road so that the few people behind us could pass us, and then we had a huge clearing of nobody behind us, so we ran together across the football field through the finish line, holding hands. It was awesome that it worked out so well! If someone had been behind us, we wouldn't have done that, but it was great timing.

We finished in 4:25:14, a 10:08/mi pace--not bad at all! We were predicting 5 hours, so we were surprised to finish much sooner, but all of us ran faster than we thought we would. After we got our medals, we took a team picture:

Jen, Jeanie (my sister), me, Debbie, and Ty
The race was SO fun! The only downer was the rain (it poured rain through the ENTIRE race), but we still had a blast. It was almost like a mini Ragnar Relay.

I think that a relay like this is the perfect way for a new runner to experience a race, too. Since your time is collective as a team, rather than individual runners, there is no pressure at all to aim for a certain pace. It's all about fun! And you have a personal cheerleading team waiting for you at the end of your leg ;)

I'm really glad that I got my sub-2 half-marathon a couple of weeks ago at the Martian race, because this course would have been really difficult to get that time. Most of my leg was through the woods on a tiny trail, and I couldn't pass people, which was frustrating. But other than that, I enjoyed the course (everyone else said they did, too), and I would definitely do it again next year! Hopefully with better weather, of course.

April 27, 2013

Nutella Skillet Cookie

So relieved to report that my throat was feeling better when I got up today! I think this cold is finally passing. Normally, I wouldn't have run today, but since I knew I'd probably be splurging this weekend on food, I decided to do a short and easy three-mile run to burn a few extra calories.

I watched Season 4 Episode 7 of Sons of Anarchy and ran nice and easy, then walked for about 15 minutes until it was over. I was SHOCKED by the ending of that episode, and really wished I had more time so that I could keep watching (and walking).

My little cousin Kaitlin was getting married this morning at 10:00, and the ceremony was 45 minutes away, so I had a busy morning getting ready for the wedding AND my overnight trip tonight AND getting my kids ready for a day with Aunt Jeanie (my sister watched them while I was at the wedding). Jerry worked all night, so he had to sleep during the day, and didn't go to the wedding.

Kaitlin's wedding was beautiful, and she looked amazing. I'm usually not one to get emotional at weddings, and I didn't shed a single tear at my own wedding; but today, I must have cried about 50 times! My first cousin, Kim (Kaitlin's mom), died of cancer several years ago, leaving behind Kaitlin, her two sisters, and their father. It was really heartbreaking, because Kim was so young and SUCH a special person.

Anyway, I think everybody was thinking of Kim quite a bit today (I know I was). Kaitlin even used some lace from her mom's wedding dress to wrap her bouquet in.
Usually I'm the short one in pictures!
After the ceremony, we went to Ann Arbor for the lunch reception at noon. I sat at a table with my cousins (Kim's brothers and sister) and their spouses. I was a little uncomfortable going by myself, but I had a lot of fun--my cousins are hilarious, and I laughed quite a bit. I wasn't planning to have any drinks, but everyone else was, and wine sounded so yummy. I had a glass of pinot grigio.

After lunch (and a piece of cake), I didn't stay much longer, because I had to get home to go with my sister to Toledo. Ty headed down there early to get our packets, and the rest of us headed down when Debbie got out of work at 5:30.

Our dinner reservations were at 7:00 at Biaggi's. Let me start by saying I had really good intentions when I went there, but all of those intentions kind of took a back seat when I was in the moment. I wish I could say I don't regret it, but I know this will come back to haunt me when I get on the scale! I had bread before dinner, then margherita pizza for dinner, and then dessert afterward. Oh, and let's not forget, more wine. I feel like I need to run the entire marathon tomorrow to burn off all the calories I ate today!

I ended up getting the Nutella Skillet Cookie for dessert. It was very yummy, but I don't think I'd order it again. It tasted exactly like a very underbaked chocolate chip cookie (I couldn't taste any Nutella flavor, despite the name). It was scalding hot though, so I burned my mouth. I'm glad I got it, so I could taste it and not obsess over it, and I'm even gladder that it wasn't SO amazing that I just had to come back for more ;)

We just got to the hotel, and I took half a Xanax to hopefully sleep a little bit tonight. The race starts bright and early at 7:00 tomorrow morning. I'm excited!

April 26, 2013

Stranger Here book review and giveaway

I wish I could say I slept really good last night, considering I found the source of the beeping, but this sore throat has been awful at night. It doesn't bother me during the day, but my throat gets really dry at night. If I'm going to get sick, I wish I would just get sick already, instead of having these tiny symptoms.

Anyway, considering I had a horrible run yesterday, I was kind of dreading today's run. I already had decided that I was going to do it on the treadmill, just in case I had a bad time again, I could stop early. And I had made up my mind to do just 8 miles, instead of 12.

I turned on Sons of Anarchy and watched two episodes while I was running (Season 4, Episodes 5-6). I felt much better than I did while running yesterday, no doubt because there was no wind, but I still couldn't wait to be done.

It's kind of funny, when I plan to do 12 miles, it really doesn't feel that long; but when I do "just" 8, it feels like forever! I think I have the idea in my head that it's going to go by super fast because I'm used to doing 12.

After eight miles, I kept running because there was still a good 15 minutes left of the episode. I ran until I reached mile nine, and then I walked until the episode was over. I was glad I went the extra mile!
I wanted to save my extra PointsPlus for this weekend, so my long run treat was lower in calories than I am used to. I ended up having an old favorite from when I was losing weight--a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich. I softened it for a few seconds in the microwave, and then topped it with Cool Whip Free and melted peanut butter. It was SO good, and only 6 PointsPlus!

Considering I usually spend an average of 20 PP on my long run treat, this was a good deal. But then in the evening, after the boys' first baseball practice of the season, I got talked into going out for ice cream. So I had a Reese's Cup Flurry, for 14 PP. Hahaha, so I wound up spending 20 PP anyway.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again--I'm not a big reader. A book has to really keep my attention long enough for me to finish, and because of that, I start a lot of books and just never finish them. So when I get requests to review books, I usually decline. But I've actually read a few books recently for review, so I'll be sharing those in the coming weeks.

The first I was asked if I'd like to read and review is called "Stranger Here" by Jen Larsen. The book is a memoir about a woman who had weight loss surgery (WLS) and her thoughts and feelings both before and after the surgery as she lost weight. Reading weight loss surgery stories isn't of interest to me, so I almost said no.

The description that changed my mind about reading the book was, "Larsen realized that getting skinny was not the magical cure she thought it would be--and that suddenly she wasn't sure who she was anymore." I could definitely relate to that, even though I lost weight through diet and exercise rather than weight loss surgery, so I agreed to read and review the book. I was curious how our experiences compared.

I, surprisingly, really liked the book! The thing that was so interesting to me was that this wasn't a super-happy feel-good memoir about a weight loss success story. Larsen wrote so honestly about the fact that she just wanted a "simple" way to be skinny. She admitted that she hadn't exhausted all of her options before considering WLS, but she knew the "right answers" to give the doctors so that they would agree to the surgery.

She also admitted to not having thought through the consequences of her choice to have surgery, and after the surgery, she was struck by the enormity of it. Her entire life had to change. I had no idea just how restrictive the diet is after WLS--Larsen had to agree to give up alcohol, sugar, and fats (pretty much my entire diet, hahaha) and consume almost nothing but protein (mostly in the form of shakes)--forever.

The part that I could relate to so much was her thought process as she lost weight. Her mind still saw herself as "the fat girl", and it was hard to see herself as anything else. There was one part toward the end of the book, where she wrote about a man (literally) picking her up, and she felt totally panicked because she was "too heavy" to pick up--even though she was thin.

This same scenario happened to me a couple of times since losing the weight, most recently when I was in Key West a few months ago. We were all at a bar, standing outside chatting and taking goofy pictures, and this guy scooped me up for a picture. It was like an alarm went off in my head, and I got SO panicked that I was going to hurt him, or he would drop me in front of everyone, because I was "too heavy" to be picked up. Some of those thoughts are probably going to be ingrained in my head forever.

Even at my heaviest, weight loss surgery was never something I even wanted to consider; I knew I was capable of losing weight "the old fashioned way", so I was determined to do so. Stranger Here is a great read for someone who is considering WLS, because Larsen writes about the good, the bad, the ugly of the process; but it's also a great read for someone like me, who lost weight without surgery, because I found that we had a LOT in common, despite the fact that we chose different methods of weight loss.

The whole book makes a big point that weight loss, no matter how it is achieved, doesn't solve any of your problems (except maybe health issues). It doesn't fix an unhealthy relationship, it doesn't fix issues with food and overeating or binge eating, it doesn't even mean that you will be happy. Larsen seemed to have a hard time separating her personality from her weight, and I think that's something that most overweight people (and even thin people) can relate to.

The surgery is just a small part of this book; most of the writing is about Larsen's thought process while she was obese, and then considering the surgery, and finally, as she lost weight. I think that's why I enjoyed the book so much.

If you're interested in reading it, you're in luck--one randomly selected Runs for Cookies reader will win a copy! To submit your name into a random drawing, just fill out the form below. I will accept entries until 4/29/13 at 8:00 AM. Contest has ended.

April 25, 2013

The not-so-silent alarm

Okay, so I'm always complaining about how I wake up multiple times each night, and I wish I could sleep better. And remember how I said I always wake up at the exact same time of morning before my long runs? I thought it was interesting when Thomas mentioned that he did the same thing for a while, when he discovered that his computer would do some sort of update which would turn on a fan or something, causing him to wake up at the exact same time of day.

Well, a couple of nights ago, I could have sworn that each time I woke up, I heard a beep. It was super quiet, and I thought maybe I imagined it. Yesterday afternoon, Jerry and I tore apart our bedroom, looking for whatever could possibly have made the noise. And buried in one of our nightstand drawers was this:
A stopwatch. I have no idea why we have it or where it came from. Jerry said, "Let's wait until the top of the hour and see if it beeps." So we sat there talking, and then he counted down... 5-4-3-2-1...

Beeeeeep! It was very faint, high-pitched, and short, but it was there. That stupid beep had been going off every hour on the hour for God-only-knows how long. I am a super light sleeper, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was the reason I'd been waking up so much through the night. I somehow managed to disable the alarm, and now hopefully, we won't hear it again!

Last night, I was toying with the idea of doing my long run today, instead of the usual Friday. This morning, I was still in the mood to do it, so I got the kids off to school and then ate breakfast. I got dressed for the weather, in running tights and a tech shirt with my Women Rock MN light jacket from the half-marathon I did in August. I even remembered to put my pepper spray in the pocket in case I came across unleashed dogs.

I started running, and almost immediately, I felt miserable. It was SUPER windy, blowing right in my face. When I glanced at my pace, I saw I was at about a 9:00/mi, but I felt like I was putting in much more effort than that. About a mile in, I was just thinking about how miserable this 12-mile run was going to be, when I thought, "I don't HAVE to do a long run today! I'll just run four, and run long tomorrow."

The second mile was the hardest. The wind was so strong, and the sun was out, making me kind of hot in the jacket. I was dying to turn around early, but I stuck it out to the two-mile mark. I kept thinking that as soon as I turned around, I would have a tailwind, and feel a million times better. Not so.

The wind was only slightly better, but the sun was much worse after turning. It was all I could do not to just stop and walk. When I finally got to my street, I kept going past it, and then when I hit the four-mile mark, I stopped my Garmin and walked around my neighborhood for about 2/3 of a mile. I was having a hard time catching my breath, and once I finally got home, I figured it was probably from being sick.

My nose wasn't stuffed up or anything, but I just haven't been feeling well at all for a couple of days, ad it's hard to take a deep breath (but the cold is just in my head, not my chest). So I'm thinking for my long run tomorrow, I'll just run 8 miles instead of 12, and I'll do them on the treadmill so it's easier on me. Today's run was awful!

Normally on a four-mile run, I burn just over 300 calories; today, I burned 386. That means my body was definitely working harder, even though I was going slower.

For lunch, I eat the same thing almost every day--eggs with cheese and crumbled bacon, along with grapes and an English muffin with jam. Today, I decided to try a (genius) idea from Ty to make a different spread for my English muffin--mix PB2 with Torani sugar-free syrup! As the queen of PB2 while I was losing weight, you would think this would have occurred to me before. There are so many different syrup flavors, this could open up a whole new list of spreads for me.

The sugar-free syrups are 0 calories, but they use Splenda; so if you're a clean eater, this is not for you. I am (obviously) not a clean eater. Normally, I'm not a huge Splenda fan because of the taste, but I do like the Torani syrups in my protein shakes. Anyway, I mixed the PB2 with sugar-free caramel syrup, and the caramel + peanut combo tasted just like the inside of a Snickers bar--SO good! (I just used one serving of PB2 and enough syrup to reconstitute it, maybe a Tbsp.)

I am SO glad that Running on Candy suggested that I look for my bridesmaids dress used on E-bay. I didn't find the exact dress on E-bay (well, I did, but it was a size 2!), but I kept searching online until I found a few of them in my size and color needed. I messaged the owners to ask questions about alterations, stains, etc. The cheapest was an apple-colored size 6, exactly what I needed, and only $66. I thought it had to be too good to be true, so I asked for more pictures and if it had been altered. The woman who owns the dress was extremely helpful and quick to respond, which I was grateful for. She said that she had it hemmed, because she is 5'4", but that was the only alteration.

I was ecstatic! I am also 5'4", and was expecting to pay a small fortune for the dress (it's $170 new) plus the alteration fee to hem the length of it. So after some back-and-forth questions and answers, I bought the dress for $66, which includes shipping. I'm so relieved. Jerry and I have been talking lately about how we really need to cut spending, and I was feeling super guilty for having to buy this dress. She's shipping it tomorrow, and I'm just hoping that it fits the same way the one in the store did. And hoping that the hem is the right length; the bride says we are going to be wearing flats, which is a little unusual. But even if I have to pay for alterations, I'm still saving quite a bit!

April 24, 2013

The slippery slope

This stupid semi-cold I have is making me crazy! I got almost no sleep last night, because my throat was sore, my head was aching, and my nose was either stuffy or runny. It's the same thing I had going on just before the Detroit Marathon; it never really turned into a full-blown cold, but just these irritating symptoms.

Since today was a rest day, and I was wide awake at 5:00 this morning, I just stayed in bed and watched a movie until it was time to get the kids ready for school. I was a little nervous about my Wednesday Weigh-in this morning, because of how horribly I ate over the four days I wasn't running.

The damage:

I was actually down a pound from last week! I was very happy to see that, after feeling like I'd gained 100 pounds from all the snacking I did.

Sunday was awful--I ate nearly 100 PP that day! The worst part about eating like that is that it's SO hard to get back on track the next day. I start to think, "Well, one more day can't be much worse, so I'll just get back on track tomorrow..." and then tomorrow comes and I say the same thing. That is a VERY slippery slope, and that is how I gained back 15-20 pounds last year.

My conversation with Pete Thomas in September made me really focus on making a plan for this year, when I tend to gain weight (all spring and summer long). This time, I promised myself that I wouldn't use the "just one more day" excuse if I binged or just had a bad eating day.

So on Monday, I was thinking, "My weight is already probably going to be up this week, so what can it hurt to just have one more day of constant snacking?" It was SO hard not to give in to that mentality, but I kept reminding myself that I promised I wouldn't use that excuse anymore. If I had a bad day, I wouldn't let it turn into two days, or a week, or more. I've learned that even after having a bad day or two, if I get right back on track as soon as possible, it really minimizes the damage.

This week is the perfect example of that! I was bouncing between 133-134, but after eating 94 PP on Sunday, my weight was 135.5 on Monday morning. If I had used the "just one more day" mentality, those extra few pounds would likely still be hanging on. But I got on track immediately, and it dropped back down just as quickly as I put it on.

At first, the large jump in weight is just water weight, or the weight of the food itself, which is easy to take off within a day or two--I knew that at most, with the amount of calories I exceeded, it was only physiologically possible for me to have gained about half a pound of fat. But if I kept eating way over my allotted calories/PP, then the fat-gain would really add up, and it takes a lot longer to take off. Basically, the sooner I take care of a gain, the easier it is to take off; the longer my weight remains at a particular weight, the harder it is to lose it.

When I started this post, I didn't intend to go into such depth about this! But I'm really hoping that this may help someone realize that it's never too late to get back on track. The sooner, the better, and using the "one more day" excuse just makes it that much harder to take off the gain later.

I'm feeling very motivated going into this week, and I'm hoping that I'll be back at my happy weight of 131 next week. I have a couple of obstacles this week, both on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, I'm going to a wedding with a lunch reception. I don't know what the food situation will be there, but I'm just going to do my best and estimate the PointsPlus the best I can. Having a lunch reception, rather than dinner, makes it easier on me, because I won't be tempted to order lots of drinks!

Then on Saturday night, I'm going out to dinner with my relay team at an Italian restaurant called Biaggi's. I looked up the menu online, to plan what to order, and, against my better judgement, I peeked at the dessert menu. Um, this stood out, to say the least:

REALLY?! I thought of my options: use it as my long-run treat of the week? Eat it and say "screw the PP!"? Order that for my dinner instead of a real meal? I really just want a taste of it. I had a conversation with Ty about it on Twitter. She said she's going to order it for sure, and I could have a couple of bites of it, so that's what I'll do. I'm stating my plan here, so that I will follow through. Those things are rarely as good as the menu makes them sound, so I'm sure I'd be disappointed if I ordered a whole one and felt obligated to eat it. I'm sure some of you tried it, and it's terrible, right? ;)

Thanks to everyone for voting on the cat photo contest! The vote wasn't even close--Kiwi won by a landslide (I think he had the whole kitten-thing going for him ;)

Congratulations, Kiwi! I hope you enjoy all the cat goodies as much as my cats have.

Oh, and speaking of my cats, I weighed Chandler for Wednesday Weigh-in today also, and he's still at 24 pounds. So he's losing slowly, which is good; I was afraid that I was starving him, because he always wants more after he eats his allotted portion of food. I'm hoping he'll lose 1-2 pounds per month.

April 23, 2013

A fall half-marathon

I woke up this morning at 4:45 with a very sore, dry throat and a very stuffed up nose. I'd been feeling the sore throat, along with a headache, for a couple of days, but just kept hoping it would pass by and not turn into a cold. My throat was so dry this morning that there was no way I was going to fall back asleep, so I just got out of bed at 5:00.

I had been planning to run my four miles outside after the kids left for school, but since I was already up so early, I just decided to do it on the treadmill. Thankfully, I still have Sons of Anarchy to keep me entertained! I think I'm midway through season four right now.

I just did a mile warm-up and then three miles, each one slightly faster than the previous (only because I wanted to get done sooner!). Again, no trouble with me knee, so I think it's safe to say that I either overreacted last Wednesday, or I caught it very early and it's fine now :)

I had a really great food/exercise day yesterday; I stuck to my plan exactly, and I felt so good about that when I woke up. I managed to stick to my plan all day today, too. After lunch, when I usually have a hard time staying out of the pantry, I went for a walk in the woods. Well, what used to be the woods, rather. The changes from the construction that has been going on are huge!

Here are some comparison pictures, from roughly the same position and angle (the green ones look prettier, but all that green is from the phragmites, a really invasive reed). I'm so excited to see how it looks once everything gets cleared out and flooded. The top photos in each set are from July 2011, the bottom ones were from yesterday.

I'm not sure what they constructed this little dock for.

As far as I understand, everything to the right and left of this path will be flooded

I walked the path with Jerry last week, and dreamed of when the construction is done. I think it would be AWESOME if they put a path that would go all the way around the "lake" (in quotes because there is no lake yet, but the plan is to flood it). It would probably be about two miles around, and would make an awesome running path. But I highly doubt that will happen. I'm just dreaming for now.

I'm super excited for my race this weekend. I'm doing the Glass City Marathon as part of a relay team with my friend Ty (whom I met from my blog), my sister, Jeanie, and her friends Jen and Deb. The race is on Sunday morning, so we're going to get together for dinner in Perrysburg on Saturday night, and then have a slumber party at a hotel. That way there is no chaos of driving to the race in the morning.

Ty is runner #1, and then I'm runner #2, so she'll make the hand-off to me. My leg is 6.1 miles, which is actually the longest leg of the relay. I don't have a time goal or anything, since we're doing this just for fun, which makes it even better ;)

In December, when I met up with my friend Stacie for coffee, she mentioned that she was trying to put together a half-marathon in our hometown to benefit the Special Olympics (she's a special education teacher, and also in charge of the Special Olympics).

As if she didn't have enough on her plate already, with the teaching and the Olympics stuff, she is now the race director for our hometown's first half-marathon this fall! This is super exciting news--I'm so glad that it's on November 10, about a month after the Chicago Marathon, so I will have enough time to recover and  run it. Here is the Facebook page, if you're a local and are interested. They are working on a website, but it's not ready yet. There is also going to be a 5K and a "Friendship Relay", which I'm assuming is the half-marathon, split up into legs.

Finally, I just have to share this poster that Eli did at school for Earth Day. It's hilarious:

Apparently, my 7-year old wants to learn how to stop smoking?! Hahaha, I know that he meant he wants to somehow learn a way to get everyone to stop smoking, but I thought it was funny ;)

April 22, 2013

Motivational Monday #12

It actually felt pretty good to whine a little on my blog yesterday ;)  This morning, I woke up at 5:30, and rather than get irritated that I woke up much earlier than needed, I got out of bed and dressed to run! I hardly ever look forward to running, but after four days off, and feeling very anxious and stressed, I couldn't wait to put a few miles on my running shoes today.

I decided to do the treadmill, just in case my knee bothered me, I could stop right away. I warmed up for a mile, then ran three more, and felt GREAT. My knee didn't even twinge the entire time, so the time off was totally worth it. I'm going to continue the foam rolling, which I probably should have been doing all along anyways ;)

I wrote out a food plan for the next 9 days (a week from Wednesday, my weigh in day) to stay on track with my eating and hopefully get my weight back down to 131 (from 133). I'm going to work really hard on stopping the snacking when I'm not hungry, because I know that's why my weight is up a couple of pounds. (I know that 2 pounds doesn't seem like it would make a difference, but at this weight, I definitely notice it).

Anyway, I'm feeling 100% back on track today, and I'm ready to have a great week! You all have continued to inspire me, once again...

Andrea set a 3.5 minute PR on Saturday when she ran her second 5K race! It was a very cold 30 degrees, but she was proud to have run more than she walked, earning her PR.

Andrea completed her third 5K! She said she is "slower than molasses", and actually debated whether or not to do the race because she was worried about being the last one on the course. She had lots of encouragement to do it, regardless of her speed, and she finished. Her time is improving, and she plans to do more races.

Colleen and her husband set out on a two-mile hike, and somewhere along the way, made a wrong turn--adding another two very challenging miles! She said at times, she wanted to quit, but she persevered, and felt great afterward.

Richard ran 12 hilly miles, preparing for a half-marathon in two weeks! (He says Cheryl, on the left, has lost 70 pounds and it will be her first half-marathon!)

Shelley was pricing some old clothes for a garage sale, and came across a pair of ATV riding pants she wore a year ago. She had a nice visual of just how far she's come on her journey!

Tamara set out on a run and decided not to look at her timing device--just run and see how far she could go. Her previous longest distance was 1.5 miles, and she ended up running 2.8 miles! She is running a 5K this summer, and this run built up her confidence. This is a before run/after run picture:

Taycey (in pink) ran the entire distance of her first 5K, and registered for her first half-marathon in October! Almost as an afterthought in the e-mail, she mentioned that 2 years ago, she weighed 320 pounds, and is now 185!! 

Court reached the three-month milestone of doing Weight Watchers online and 3-4 days of Zumba each week; she's down 40 pounds!

Tracy completed a personal goal she had set to run a marathon in a week in honor of Boston. This photo was after a 6.7 mile run (the first 5K was a virtual 5K for Boston). She's lost an amazing 130 pounds since that first photo!

Alisha reached her initial GOAL WEIGHT! She's down 80 pounds. She plans to lose a little more, but this is the original goal she set for herself. She also ran her first double digit run this week!

Kellie (right) completed her first 10K race! She plans to do some more 10K's and possibly a half-marathon in the future.

Pam ran a personal best 10K, beating her previous PR by 4 minutes! She finished in 1:00:59.

Jennifer reached 60 pounds lost! She said she was very nervous about sharing her before picture, because she just can't believe that it's her. She says she "never wants to see her again".

Stephanie ran her first 5K, and the race didn't go as smoothly as planned--she was running late, she forgot safety pins for her bib, and worst of all, she fell at the beginning of the race. A stranger helped her up, and she kept going--finishing in 29:28! In the chaos, she neglected to take a race photo, but she was happy to share her comparison photos--she went from 214 to 147 lbs!

Meg completed the "toughest half-marathon in the northwest", the Race to Robie Creek in Boise, Idaho. The elevation profile is enough to make anyone shudder--8.75 miles uphill and then 4.25 miles downhill. She chose that race specifically because it is considered to be very challenging. She crushed her goal time of 4 hours, coming it at 3:10:50!

I am just loving seeing all of your progress--great job this week! Here is a snippet of the comments on Facebook:

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