May 31, 2013

Jerry made Lifetime!

I'm so glad I did my long run yesterday. Since Jerry was off work, we got to spend the day together and it was really nice to relax! We drove the kids to school, and from there we went to Wal-Mart for a few things while we waited for Weight Watchers to open.

While we were at Wal-Mart, I spotted these:

I haven't eaten Pop-Tarts in a really long time, but I used to love them (the S'mores ones, particularly). Quite honestly, I'm surprised that they've never come out with a peanut butter flavored one before! Next up will be peanut butter AND chocolate, just watch.

I couldn't help it--I bought a box. My kids eat Pop-Tarts sometimes, and I'm sure they'll like them. I'm going to have one, just to try it. I usually spend 5-6 PointsPlus on an afternoon snack, so I'll just eat one for a snack tomorrow.

After we left Wal-Mart, it was time for Jerry's big weigh-in at Weight Watchers. He reached goal six weeks ago, and if he was at/under goal today, he would make "Lifetime" status--meaning he wouldn't have to pay for a membership anymore, and he could have free e-tools (the online access to the program).

We already knew he would do it. This morning at home, he weighed in at 168, which is 11 pounds below his Weight Watchers goal. That's a grand total of 85 pounds lost!

I made him pose for a quick picture--I think I am even prouder than he is about it. Anyway, we went in, and he weighed in under goal, and earned his Lifetime membership. Now, he just has to do the same as me--weigh in once a month, no more than two pounds over goal weight, and he will continue to be a free member.

While we were there, he bought an ActiveLink. He's seen how much I like mine, and wants to try it out, also. So now he'll begin the one-week assessment period before he starts earning his Activity PointsPlus.

I asked how he wanted to celebrate, and we decided to go to La Pita for lunch. Remember how I forgot the hummus I'd paid for last time I went there, and the manager said she'd send me a gift card? Well, she sent me a $15 card! I was expecting a $9 card, because that's what I paid for the hummus. It was so nice of her, and we were excited to use it.

I got the chicken tawook sandwich today, and it was amazing! It was a pita with grilled chicken breast chunks, pickles, and garlic sauce--sounds like a strange combo, but it all went so well together. Jerry got the chicken schwarma sandwich, and we shared a small order of hummus. I think I actually like the chicken tawook sandwich better than the lunch plate I used to get.

We saved enough room for some self-serve frozen yogurt afterward, too. We don't have any self-serve fro-yo places near us, and since we were in Dearborn already, it was hard to resist when we were just down the road from one! I got a tiny bit of about five different flavors of fro-yo, and then put way too many toppings on it. I couldn't decide which toppings to choose, so I put all kinds of different ones. I ran out of room, or I'm sure I would have put more.

To give myself a little credit, those were actually the smaller sized cups, so it could have been worse ;)  Needless to say, we were both very full after that, and decided to call that our lunch AND dinner. Our lunch and frozen yogurt came out to 35 PointsPlus! But considering I didn't have a long run treat yesterday, it worked out well.

I asked Jerry if he'd write a guest post about his weight loss, but he said he has no idea what to write. Do any of you have questions for him? I think he'd do better with a Q&A than he would just writing a post. It's been a long journey for him, and I'd love for him to be able to show off his accomplishments a little!

I know I posted his comparison photo before, but I just love his transformation...

May 30, 2013

Summer running has begun

I woke up feeling MUCH better than yesterday. It must have just been some weird stomach bug, but thankfully it didn't last a long time. After I got the kids off to school this morning, I ate breakfast and while I was drinking my tea, I thought about doing my long run today instead of tomorrow. Jerry is off work tomorrow, and it's a big day (he'll reach "Lifetime" status at WW!), so I'd like to spend some time with him.

I changed into my running clothes and decided to drive to a spot to run along a road that I rarely like to run on (the sidewalks are uneven, there are traffic lights, etc.). I wanted to keep my pace pretty slow today, and figured running in a different spot may help.

Running at a slower pace is really hard (mentally) for me, but I would really like to work on slowing my pace for my long runs--mainly to enjoy them more. With marathon training starting soon, I don't want to dread my long runs! And now that my big sub-2:00 half-marathon goal is out of the way, I don't feel pressure to run fast. :)

According to the McMillan Calculator, I should keep my long run pace between 8:57 and 10:16/mi. I decided to shoot for around 9:30, and only look at my Garmin once per mile to reassess.

It was hot outside. Like, reallyfuckinghot, and I almost changed my mind altogether about running. I know that those of you from Texas or Florida, or other hot and humid states, probably think that 82 degrees is a nice temp, but for this girl (who likes 30-40 degrees for running), it was HOT. And really humid.

I brought my handheld water bottle with me, because I knew I'd need it in the heat. I headed out for an 8-mile lollipop route, and then I figured I'd just do an out-and-back route after that to get in 12 miles. I started running at a pace that felt comfortably slow; I was aiming for 9:30. When my Garmin beeped at mile 1, I saw 9:29--not bad! Usually I have a hard time with judging my pace by feel. I really started having second thoughts during mile two. If I had been running at home, I probably would have done four miles and called it quits, but because I drove and parked somewhere, I was invested. I kept going.

I finished mile two in 9:30. Mile three is when I felt myself slowing down. Then miles four and five were on a gravel path through a park, in full sun, and I would have happily accepted a ride home if someone had asked ;) At that point, I wasn't sure that I'd even be able to maintain under a 10:16 pace! It's amazing how much the heat and humidity affect my pace.

Just before mile five, I stopped at a water fountain in the park and refilled my water bottle. I was really fighting in my head whether I should just finish the run at mile eight, when I got back to the car, of if I could stick it out another four miles. I debated this the entire way back! I stopped again for another water refill at a fountain about a mile from my car.

At around mile 7.9, I was stopped by a train. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty happy to take a legit break ;)  That was when I decided to do a compromise--I'd run out an extra mile and back, and that way I'd get in 10 miles--not quite the 12 I'd planned on, but not just 8, either. The last two miles felt like they took forever. During mile 10, I couldn't get my heart rate back down into Zone 3; it was in Zone 4, and even though I felt like I was going really slow, the heat was really affecting me.

I saw a billboard advertising $1 soft drinks/sweet tea at McDonald's, and suddenly I wanted a Diet Coke in the worst way (strange, because I am not usually a pop drinker). I thought about that Diet Coke the entire last mile, and planned to get one on the way home.

Finally hit 10 miles, and was SO happy to be done! I was completely drenched in sweat. I was really proud of myself for sticking it out, despite the heat.

My average pace was 9:57/mi. Average heart rate was 151 (goal was141-156 bpm).

On the way home, I drove through McD's and got a large Diet Coke. I drank the whole thing on the way home, and it really hit the spot. I spent a lot of PointsPlus the last couple of days because of my stomach issue, so I probably won't be getting a long run treat today.

I think part of the reason I love hate love running is because I feel SO good when I fulfill some sort of challenge. Today's run in the heat was a big challenge for me, but I felt amazing when I did it!

May 29, 2013

100 Activity PointsPlus

I woke up a sweaty mess this morning, feeling extremely fatigued, and nauseous. Flu? I hope not. I was feeling "off" all day yesterday, too. It was my stomach, mostly; I felt like I was really hungry, and if I ate, I would feel better (so I was eating all day), but nothing sounded good. I ended up using a lot of PointsPlus yesterday, which made my weight go up a little this morning (compared to yesterday).

I did REALLY well all week with my diet and the activity, and my weight was back down to 133.5 yesterday morning. Today, I was 135.

In good news, I reached my goal of earning 100 Activity PointsPlus this week!

It was VERY difficult, and I don't think I'll try that again for a long time (if ever). I reset my goal to earning 8 PointsPlus per day, which is much more realistic for me. Some days, I'll earn more, some day (like today) I'll earn less.

My other goal was to get in my Good Health Guidelines this week, and I did really well with that, too. I filled them all for every day except yesterday. That was also hard to do. I have a hard time getting in the healthy oils and the dairy servings. My goal for this week is just to stay on track with my eating, and not go over my PointsPlus for the week.

Unfortunately my stomach was feeling crappy all day today, too. Eli went through this not too long ago, where he was constantly hungry but nothing sounded good and he complained about his stomach hurting; so I probably have the same bug. I laid on the couch all day today--mentally, I wanted to go for a walk, but physically, I felt sick every time I stood up. I really hope I'm feeling better tomorrow.

I posted this on Instagram a couple of days ago, but I didn't get a chance to post it here yet. A funny story to go with this picture:

I'm deathly afraid of spiders. I hate them! I was pan-frying some pork chops when I saw this spider crawling across the microwave. The microwave is just above the stove, so it was right in front of me (and directly over the pan). I was trying to think of how to kill it--if I missed, it could fall into the pan, and I couldn't spray it with poison, because our food was right there. I snapped this picture to show Jerry when he got home from work.

Right after I took the picture, I grabbed a paper towel to try and kill it. Before I could even move, I saw it moving downward. I watched helplessly as the stupid thing dropped right into the pan of pork chops. It crawled for a second in the pan before dying a pretty miserable death. I plucked it out of the pan, but there was no way I was going to eat the pork chops after that. Jerry ended up eating them, except for the one that the spider touched.

I had another big scare that evening. Jerry and I were talking in the living room, and I handed him my phone, which was plugged into my computer. When he pulled it toward him, the cord knocked over my water bottle, right onto my laptop. And by "my" laptop, I mean the one that Microsoft is letting me borrow for a year.

I jumped up and ran to the kitchen for a towel, and dried it off. The screen shut off and I couldn't turn the computer back on. I kind of flipped out after that. I was REALLY upset that we were going to have to pay to replace this very expensive computer. I just cried on my bed while Jerry tried to figure out what to do. About an hour later, we ended up putting it in a bag of uncooked rice, which seemed to be the most popular home remedy. I'd lost hope; I was sure it was ruined.

Yesterday morning, while it was still in the bag, I pressed the power button just to see what happened--and it worked! I ended up having to reinstall a few things, but other than that, everything is back to normal. I dodged a very expensive bullet. And now I'm making sure to put the lid on my water bottle whenever I'm not drinking from it.

On Monday, I went grocery shopping for the first time since April 30th. I know I said we were going to challenge ourselves for the entire month of May, but quite honestly, I didn't think we'd make it past a week or two; and we lasted four weeks! So I went on a big grocery shopping trip Monday, but tried not to buy more than we'll use within the next week or two, so it wouldn't defeat the whole purpose of doing the challenge.

It was a fun challenge, and I think we'll do it again sometime. We had to get pretty creative with meals toward the end, but we liked the things we made, and have new meals in rotation now. We used up a lot of stuff that probably would have gone bad while just sitting in our pantry. I'd consider the challenge a success!

May 28, 2013

2013 Memorial Day 8K race report

The night before last, I was cleaning up my Inbox, and found an e-mail about a Memorial Day 5K/8K race about 30 minutes from my house. I'd done the race a couple of years ago, and it was miserably hot. I had such a bad memory of that race, that I didn't even consider it last year. But Jerry and I were trying to come up with something to do with the boys on Memorial Day, and since there was a 1 mile Fun Run, I thought maybe we could take them to do their first 1 mile race.

I mentioned it to the boys. Eli loved the idea, and begged to do the 5K; Noah didn't want to do it at all, because he was really worried about being in last place. I told Eli that he'd have to train for a 5K, but I'd let him do the 1 mile if he wanted. He was really upset about it, so I just figured we'd forget the whole idea.

I didn't want to bring it up again, so when the boys woke up yesterday morning at around 6:45, I asked what they wanted to do today. Eli mentioned the race again, and I didn't want to tell him no, so we decided to go (I told him he had to do the 1 mile, not the 5K). We all threw on our running clothes and ran out the door.

We got to Grosse Ile and drove around for a bit, because I couldn't really remember how to get to the high school, but my memory came back pretty quickly. I had been planning to do a 5 mile run sometime during the day, and since we were at the race, I decided to just sign up for the 8K (4.97 miles). The weather wasn't bad (55 degrees), so I hoped it would be a better experience than last time.

The kids' race started at 9:00, and they said they wanted to do it without Jerry or me. Noah was super nervous, but Eli was excited. I kept stressing to them that they need to run at their own pace--not to start too fast, even if it seems like all the other kids are passing them.

I saw Renee, who was there with her family (husband and three boys). They made the last minute decision to go to the race as well. Her boys were lined up for the 1 mile, and I should have told Eli to make sure he didn't try to keep up with Ben (Renee's youngest; he's Eli's age). Renee's family is SUPER fast.

After the countdown, the kids were off. I was so nervous I could hardly stand it! The kids went 3/4 of the way around the track, then cut across a small patch of grass to a sidewalk and took it out a ways, then turned around to come back. Noah and Eli seemed to be doing pretty good, but I could tell they were really pushing themselves. I think they started out too fast ;)

I expected to see them both walking on the way back, but they were still running along, at what seemed to be a good pace. Noah was just slightly ahead of Eli the whole way. Renee's oldest boys zoomed by and one first and second place, and her youngest was probably eighth. When Noah and Eli were almost to the finish line, I ran out onto the track to be there when they crossed. Noah crossed first, with a time of 9:05!

Followed closely by Eli:

I gave them both a huge hug and kept saying how proud I was of them for finishing, even though it was hard. Noah said he felt like he was going to throw up. ;)  The kids were given ribbons and they could choose a piece of candy from a bowl (very cool prize for a kid!). Both of the boys were SO proud of themselves, and they said they were really glad that they did it.

After that, it was time to head over to the starting line for the 8K. I chatted with Renee for a minute before lining up, and she asked what pace I was going to run. I told her about 8:45, since it was just for fun. She gave me this look that said, "You can do better than that!" I hadn't been planning to "race" it, but made the last minute decision that I would do my best. We lined up and got ready to start.

(If I'd been prepared, I would have come up with a cute red/white/blue outfit). The horn sounded, and off we went. I started out too fast--about 7:15 pace for the first half-mile, and it was rough. I naturally slowed down, because there was no way I could keep up that pace, and then I just hoped to keep my pace under 8:15. It was hard! I have no idea how I managed a 7:57 pace for my recent 10K.

There is a small section that goes through the woods on a trail. This was a little frustrating because it was narrow and we had to run single-file. I wanted to pass the man in front of me, because it felt like we were going kind of slow, but after we got out of the woods, I saw that we'd been running 8:15, so it wasn't bad.

They had quite a few water stops for an 8K--probably 4?--but I didn't stop for any of them. When I got to this one stretch of road in the final mile, I remembered how much I hated that part a couple of years ago, because the sun was beating down on me. This time, I did fine with it, and managed a sub-8:00 pace for the last mile.

The last hundred yards or so is on a track. I started looking for Jerry and the boys, and saw them just before the finish line. I finished in 40:31, which wasn't bad for a last-minute race (although my pace wasn't as good as my 10K a couple of months ago).

I checked out the food, but didn't take anything (bagels from Panera, lots of baked goods--cookies, brownies, etc.--bananas, watermelon, and yogurt). Then we headed back to the car. I saw Renee in the parking lot, and she'd finished in 37:37! We said our good-byes, and she told me that she'd pick up my medal for me if I'd won anything (hahaha! I laughed at that).

On the way home, I got a text from Renee that read: "1st in your age group!!!!" I scanned the QR code on my bib, to check the results, and sure enough--first place in my age group.

I was stunned. Granted, it was a fairly small race, but it was still exciting. Renee picked up my award (she'd won third in her age group, her husband took first, and I already mentioned her boys were first and second in the kids' race... I told you they were a fast family). They dropped off my medal for me on the way home, and we got a quick picture.

It ended up raining the whole rest of the day yesterday, so I was happy that we'd gone to the race. The kids had fun, and that was my main goal; getting an age group award was pretty cool, too!

By the way, congratulations to the winner of the yubuds--Sherry Rini! (Over 1,000 people entered!)

Enjoy them

May 27, 2013

Motivational Monday #17

I hope everyone has had a nice (and healthy) long weekend! Jerry was off work today, and the kids didn't have school, so the four of us were trying to come up with something to do. At about 7:00 this morning, we decided to go run a race! The race started at 9:00, and was about 30 minutes away, so we threw on some clothes and headed out the door. I'll save all those details for tomorrow, when I'll write an actual race report; for now, let's focus on Motivational Monday!

Allison ran a 5K race with her kids, Esther and William, a race where she did her first 5K a year ago. She's lost 117 pounds, and is in the best shape she's ever been. She says there is nothing like running with your kids!

Jenny and her husband made a new year's resolution--she wanted to run a half-marathon, and he wanted to run a full-marathon. They both started training, and her husband talked her into doing the full instead of the half! Unfortunately, he was injured and had to stop training, but Jenny kept going, and just ran her first marathon! (Two weeks later, she finally ran her first half-marathon, hahaha)

After being an on-again-off-again runner for years, Kelsey decided to sign up for a half-marathon and stick to her training schedule. After following the training (losing over 35 pounds in the process), she just ran her first half-marathon! Here is her race report.

Debra ran a 5K that was actually her first 5K last year. This year was quite different, however! Last year, she ran/walked the course in 45:11 and was 216 pounds. This time, she ran it in 36:03 and 173 pounds!

Gigi just celebrated her two-year running anniversary. After her first race, a 5K, she was totally hooked--and has run well over 100 races in the past two years! She just recently ran the Flying Pig Half-Marathon. You can see lots of her race reports on her blog, Running on Candy.


In about a month from now, Jen will be competing in swimsuit on stage for the title of Miss Virginia. She is preparing her body the healthy way, without crash dieting or doing anything she wouldn't want her young students to do. She has a history of disordered eating, and this time around she wanted to get in shape the right way, and set a good example. Through mindful eating, she's gone from 165 to 135, and has become a runner. She decided to run a race every weekend until the Miss Virginia pageant, and has quite a few under her belt already! (You can read more about it on her blog, Life Gets 2 Thumbs Up.

Jennifer and her sister, Crystal, ran their first 5K! Jennifer had decided that she wanted to run a half-marathon in the fall (after walking one this past spring), so she started training and is well on her way. Here is her race report.

Magdalena ("Mimi") ran her first 5K on Saturday; and her son ran his first kids' run (300 meters)! She has lost 10 pounds since she started training for the 5K.

Rachel originally started running in 2009 in order to lose a little weight without giving up her favorite foods. After doing some 10K and half-marathon races, she finally took the big plunge and registered for a full marathon. She trained, all on her own, for 18 weeks and hoped just to finish. She blew away her expectations and finished in 4:17:31!

Lots more stuff going on, so make sure you check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post, too! Here is a snippet:

May 26, 2013

yurbuds review and giveaway!

Last night, Jerry and I went to our friends' house for a get-together. It was a lot of fun to see everyone (my friends from high school). We didn't stay too late, because Jerry had to work this morning. It was around 10:00 when we got home, and as I was walking up to the house, I noticed something that made me stop in my tracks.

The screen was pushed from the window and lying in the yard. The house was totally dark, and Jerry and I (stupidly) left the windows open when we left. I was a little worried for a minute that someone had broken in, but when I looked in the house, I could see our computers, so I knew that wasn't the case.

I rounded up the cats, and Chandler was missing. I knew exactly what happened--Chandler pushed the screen out of the window and went on a little excursion outside while we were gone. I told Jerry, "I bet you anything he's sitting at the back door right now, waiting for us to let him in."

We went to the back door, and sure enough, he was sitting there. I'm really surprised that Phoebe and Estelle didn't wander out (or they did, and had the agility to jump back in...). Paolo has no interest in going outside, so he was lying on the couch. I wish I could have been here to see what all the cats did when Chandler broke out.

This morning, I really wanted to do anything other than run. I've put in a lot of miles over the past week. The problem is, it's really hard to earn 14 Activity PointsPlus on the days I don't run. But I really couldn't stand the thought of a run today, so I ended up going for a long walk.

Thankfully, there weren't any wandering dogs today, and everything was great. I walked slowly, and listened to the Jillian Michaels podcast. Yurbuds recently contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing their earbuds. I've heard really great things about them (I had actually bought a pair for Jerry last year), so I said of course I'll try them out.

I think I'm pretty lucky in that I've never really had big issues with the standard earbuds that came with my iPod. I don't have problems with those falling out like a lot of people do. My only real complaint about those ones is that they are really uncomfortable after a while, especially in the winter when I have a headband covering my ears. They kind of hurt. So I was hoping to find the yurbuds to be more comfortable.

They sent me a cute little package of goodies:

The yurbud earphones, of course, but also a towel, a mini Luna bar, and a Sweaty Band. Fun! The model they sent was the Inspire Talk for Women, which means the buds are made for smaller ears.

When I first read about yurbuds, I was a little intimidated, because they say that you twist them to lock them into place, and they are "guaranteed to never fall out". When I read about the twisting thing, I figured it would involve some fiddling around with them, and ain't nobody got time for that.

Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the yurbuds really are that simple. I didn't have to keep maneuvering it, trying to cram it in my ear; you just set them in gently, give a quarter turn, and that's it.

I wore them on a couple of runs (even though I've stopped using my iPod while running--I wanted to see if they stayed in) and on my long walk today. They didn't fall out at all, and I didn't have to readjust them. They are certainly more comfortable than the regular earbuds I'm used to.

This model also has a little microphone on the cord, so you can use them for phone calls. This was my favorite feature; it was kind of strange to talk to Jerry on the phone while my phone was in my pocket (yes, welcome to the 21st century, Katie!).

So overall, I really like these, and they will definitely replace my regular old earbuds from now on. My only complaint about them is that I think the wind noise is a little more noticeable; it was REALLY windy a couple of days ago when I wore them. I don't know if the wind noise was because of the earbuds themselves or just because it was so windy. But the wind noise wasn't bad enough to make me not use them.

Oh, but speaking of the wind, I did notice one thing that I really liked. The cord on the Yurbuds is slightly stiffer than the earbuds that came with my iPod, which I noticed made the cord move a lot less in the wind. I hate how the wind blows the cord from my iPod all over, and sometimes my arm will rip the earbud out because of that. With the Yurbuds, the cord didn't bother me, even in the strong wind, so I was happy about that.

One of you can win a pair of green yurbuds Inspire for Women, because they generously agreed to let me give away the same package I got! (Note--the model of earbuds is slightly different in that it doesn't have the microphone). Just fill out the form below, and I'll use to choose a winner on Tuesday, May 28th at 9:00 a.m. EST. Good luck! Contest has now ended.

(Disclosure: yurbuds sent me a pair of earphones for free to review, but I was not required to give a favorable opinion. All opinions are honest, as always.

May 25, 2013

New wardrobe

So, I couldn't help myself this morning. I kept thinking about the garage sale yesterday--how many clothes I bought, but also how many more I didn't buy. I bought mostly bottoms yesterday (jeans, capris), so I wanted to go back and maybe get some tops.

The kids really wanted to go to a garage sale, so at around 9:00, we headed out. When we got there, I was glad to see that she still had a lot of her clothes there. I went though all of the tops, and ended up buying another $40 worth of stuff.

When I got home and tried it all on (everything fit, and and I love it all!), I piled everything together for a picture of what I got for $98:

31 tops
6 pairs of jeans
8 pairs of capris/cropped pants
1 pair of black dress pants
2 dresses

I seriously have an entire new wardrobe! I went through my closet and took out a bunch of stuff to donate, and then put all my new stuff in. It's so fun to have all these "new" clothes.

A few people asked how I find good deals like this--the key is to go EARLY to the sales. If it starts at 8:00, get there at 7:45. If the sale starts Friday, but you can't go until Saturday, chances are it will be pretty picked over. You can look for garage sales advertised in the newspaper, because sometimes they list whether they have clothing and/or what sizes.

Also, I'm not going to lie, it's gotten easier to find good stuff now that I've lost weight. When I was a size 24, it was really rare to find nice clothes in that size. There are times I go to sales and don't find a single thing; but when I do, like at this sale, it's totally worth it!

I wasn't sure if I was going to run today. Normally, Saturday is a rest day, but since I'm going for 100 Activity PointsPlus this week, it would be really hard to get in 14 ish PP today without a run. My kids went over to my parents' house when we got home from the garage sales, so I ate lunch and then decided I'd go run five miles or so at an easy pace.

It ended up being a bad run. I went out a little less than three miles, then turned around to head home. at about mile four, I passed an unleashed German Shepherd. I'd seen it a couple of times before--once, it scared the crap out of me, barking like crazy and walking toward me, but the last time I saw it, it just stood there watching me, motionless.

There was a mail truck right across the street, so I ran on the other side of it, shielding myself from the dog in case it came at me, but the dog just stood there like a statue. A few houses down, there was an unleashed bulldog, but the owners were out and the dog was sleeping, so I wasn't too nervous. I just kept thinking, "A few more houses to go, and then I'm in the clear!" because there is a huge stretch of about a mile without any houses (and therefore, less chance of an unleashed dog).

At the very last house before the empty stretch, I saw an unleashed Husky. I froze and watched, trying to figure out what to do. There wasn't anyone outside, and I had never seen that dog there before, so I didn't think it belonged there. The dog spotted me, and watched me for a minute, then started walking toward me. I turned around and started walking the other way, trying not to panic.

I kept looking over my shoulder, and the dog started running at me, so I started running away from it (the opposite direction that I had been headed to get home). I know, dogs can't chase you if you don't run, but I was terrified and just wanted to get away from it. I decided to just run to a house and knock on a door, ask to use their phone, and call my parents for a ride home.

I ran up the driveway of the first house, the dog closing in on me, and there was a woman in her garden. I'm sure I looked ridiculous, but I was gasping as I told her a dog was chasing me. She looked at the dog and said she knew who it belonged to. The dog ran up the driveway, and she stooped to pet it. I was trying to hard not to cry, because she probably thought I was mentally unstable or something from how scared I was! She said that I could go ahead and keep running, and she'd take care of the dog.

After that, my run was ruined. I couldn't get my heart rate to slow down, and I had exhausted myself from all the adrenaline. I ended up finishing out six miles.

Tonight, Jerry and I were invited to a get-together at our friends' house. They actually live really close to us, so I think we'll walk over there. They're going to grill out, and asked us to bring a dish to pass. I'm thinking a fruit salad (or fruit kabobs), for a couple of reasons: 1) It's 0 PointsPlus, so I can fill up on it; 2) Produce is "allowed" in our no-grocery-shopping-in-May challenge. We're still going strong with it, but I am SO excited to go grocery shopping again!

Oh, and that reminds me... yesterday, when I ate a bite of my chocolate peanut butter ice cream, I realized that I had forgotten that I challenged myself to give up peanut butter for six weeks! But I still enjoyed the ice cream, and as long as peanut butter doesn't become a problem again, I'm okay with ending the challenge early. ;)

I've been doing really well this week with my eating and my activity. I've earned 57 PP at the moment (probably 61 by the time this post goes live tonight). So I'm definitely on track for 100! I've kept my eating really consistent, too, so I hope that by my weigh in on Wednesday, I'll be back down to 133 ish.

May 24, 2013


Today felt like Saturday. I was confused all day! But I got up and got the kids ready for school this morning, and Jerry was off work. My mom called this morning and asked if I wanted to go to a few garage sales with her, so Jerry put the kids on the bus while I went with my mom.

I totally hit the jackpot at one of the sales. From the street, I could see a super cute black and yellow dress, and it looked like it could be my size. When I checked it out, it was indeed my size, and the $80 price tag was still on it! The woman was selling it for $5, so I snatched it up.

I walked into the garage, and there were a TON of clothes on the left, all folded in organized piles (organization will get you everywhere when having a garage sale). Almost everything was American Eagle, which is my favorite brand of jeans (or clothes in general, I guess). Their jeans fit me really well (a lot of jeans are tight in the calves, because my calves are huge, but AE jeans fit me all over). I bought about 6 pairs of jeans, 5 pairs of capris, 4 pairs of shorts, that dress above, a sundress, about 8 tops, and a pair of jeans for Jerry--for a grand total of $58.

Normally, $58 would seem like a lot for a garage sale, but I knew the jeans would fit, and I got SO much cute stuff! I was really excited to get home and try it all on. The first thing I tried on was the yellow and black dress. I zipped it up, admired it in the mirror for a minute, and then when I went to unzip it, it only unzipped halfway. It was completely stuck. I could zip up, but not down, and I couldn't slide the dress off unless I unzipped it.

I fought with it for a few minutes, and was starting to feel panicked and claustrophobic, so I grabbed the dress and pull the two sections apart, breaking the zipper. I know I can put a new zipper in it, so it will be worth it later, but I was bummed that the zipper was messed up. All the other clothes fit perfectly, and I was thrilled.

Jerry tried on the pair of jeans I got him (also AE brand) and they fit him really well (he's getting so skinny! They were a size 31 waist... I remember when he was a 40 waist). I told him that they had a ton more, so he should go check it out, and he did. He came home with a whole bunch of stuff. Apparently, that woman and her husband are the same size as us, and they really like AE also. Good for us!

After my shopping spree, I finally did my long run at 11:00 a.m. I never go for a run that late! But it was pretty cold outside today. I even needed to wear long sleeves and pants while running. I'm not training for anything important right now (marathon training doesn't "really" start for another couple of months, so I just decided to run a short-long run of eight miles today.

It was pretty windy, which I've come to get super annoyed with lately, but I was glad it wasn't hot outside. A couple of miles in, I actually discovered that I am capable of screaming one of those high-pitched screams from the movies. I didn't even SEE the snake until it was right at my feet, slithering around. I'm pretty sure I jumped a mile in the air and my scream was heard from here to California.

Normally, I'm not afraid of snakes; I'm much more scared of spiders! But the fact that I totally wasn't expecting to see it right at my feet scared me half to death. The rest of the run was totally uneventful.

Since it wasn't a really long run run, I didn't get anything very special for a long run treat today. Being Pizza Friday, though, we actually dined out for pizza. I invited my parents to come with us, and the six of us went to a local place. Jerry and I ordered a small fajita pizza, and it was FANTASTIC.
It had chicken, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and banana peppers on it. I ate two pieces, and was very tempted to have a third, but I always regret it when I eat three. I brought it home instead, and will probably have it for lunch tomorrow.

I did want to get some sort of dessert for my long run today, so I got a teeny tiny little ice cream cup. I haven't had this flavor since August 2009--I used to eat a few pints of it a week! I'm still too scared to buy a whole pint, but today, I got this 3.6 oz. cup.

It was very small for 8 PP, but the ice cream is just as good as I remember it being. Definitely worth it! But too dangerous to buy more than a tiny cup ;)

May 23, 2013

Skinny playlist

I finished the day yesterday with 15 Activity PointsPlus--not bad! It was pretty hard to get that many, but (obviously) not impossible. Now I just have to do it for six more days ;)

My mom reads my blog, so I usually avoid writing about very personal things (i.e. sex). So, Mom, if you're reading this, that was your cue to scroll down a bit. Okay, so last night, Jerry and I were--ahem--"talking" in bed, and all of a sudden, there were these bright flashy lights. I said, "What the heck is that?!" and then I realized it was my ActiveLink, which I forgot to take off (I wear it clipped to my underwear band).

When it gets in a certain position, the lights start flashing to show your activity progress for the day. So it was just letting me know that I'd reached almost 125% of my goal for the day. Just before bed, I had only earned 14 PP; but after the "talk" Jerry and I had, I'd earned another, bringing me to 15 for the day ;)

This morning, I did pretty much the exact same workout as yesterday. First, I ran five miles on the treadmill (keeping my heart rate in Zone 3). This time, I set it up as a virtual race, so the incline would go up and down randomly. The last couple of miles, I increased my pace to get my heart rate up a little higher. I realized that when I set the treadmill at 7.0 mph, my heart rate only gets up to about 145. I was a little nervous to set it higher, but at around 7.3-7.5 mph is where my heart rate got to the top of Zone 3.

I was watching Flashpoint, and that episode ended about five minutes before I reached five miles, so I started a new episode. Then, when I reached five miles, I just switched over to a walking program on the treadmill to keep earning the Activity PP.

This afternoon, I was getting edgy and wanting to eat out of boredom, so I started cleaning. I cranked up some music and cleaned the hell out of the house. A Blink 182 song came on and it reminded me of a playlist I used to have when I was losing weight. I have no idea what happened to it, but I titled it "Skinny" and it was a whole bunch of songs that just made me want to be thin and happy. Weird, right? When I was losing weight, and feeling like I wanted to binge, I would sometimes turn on the playlist and crank up the volume, and it would help take away the urge to binge.

I had forgotten just how helpful that was, so this afternoon, I created a new "skinny" playlist; mostly all the same songs as before. I have a lot of Blink 182 on there, because it reminds me of the hot summer nights of 1999, when Jerry and I first started dating (no idea why that is). I'm not going to write out the list, because, well, some of the songs are kind of embarrassing ;) The songs aren't inspirational or motivational in any way; rather, I chose them based on how I feel when I listen to them.

Oh! I keep forgetting to write an update on Chandler's weight loss. He's down to 23 pounds now, which means he's lost 2 pounds in 2 months. That's pretty good for a cat! Jerry and I have noticed a HUGE difference in his energy level. He's very playful now. When we get out "the bird" toy, and fly it around, he actually leaps in the air for it. Before, I couldn't even get him to open his eyes, let alone play.

When Purina ONE gave me a month's worth of cat food, I assumed I'd just use it and then switch back to a cheaper food; but when we ran out, I asked Jerry what he thinks, and he said we should keep buying the Purina ONE Healthy Metabolism stuff. Even though it's more expensive, it lasts longer, because I've been feeding them on a schedule (which is a total pain in the ass, by the way, but the only way I can get Chandler not to eat more than he should). Also, the cats are doing so great on it that I'd hate to make any changes.

I feed the cats at 6:30 in the morning, and again at 4:30 pm. I mix a little wet food with some dry food, and they each get their own plate. Chandler wolfs his down, and then watches for the other cats to be done. If I don't watch him carefully, he'll finish off their food in mere seconds, so I have to watch them eat. I do leave dry food out all day in the puzzle feeders--Phoebe, Estelle, and Paolo eat from them, but Chandler refuses to work for his food, hahaha.

At first, Paolo wouldn't use it either. He would see me get a scoop of food and pour it in the top, then look at me like I was pure evil when he realized he couldn't eat it out of the top where I poured the food in. He figured it out, though ;)

May 22, 2013


Like I said yesterday, I expected a bad weigh-in today. I went over my PointsPlus by 165 for the week, so I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. I thought that the worst it could be was 137, because last week I was 134. In reality, it was actually higher than that...

At 137.5, that's a 3.5 pound gain for the week. I'm not liking this upward trend! I definitely feel ready to get back on track though. I really would like to start and end the summer at (or below) my goal weight of 133. Summer officially begins on June 21st, so I'm going to stick to my plan to get back to it.

I am shooting for 100 Activity PointsPlus this week, which is going to be very tough! That's over 14 PP per day. But I'm really hoping that it keeps me active and busy, so I don't think so much about eating. I'm also doing my best to get in all the Good Health Guidelines for Weight Watchers this week. Today, I checked them all off, even my healthy oils. (I actually love to drizzle oil over popcorn for a snack, sprinkled with lots of salt).

Today is normally a rest day, but I took Monday and Tuesday off after the half-marathon on Sunday, so I decided to run today. It was raining this morning, with a good chance of thunderstorms, so I ran on the treadmill. This is the first time I've run on it since finishing Sons of Anarchy, and I've been dreading it because I wasn't sure what new show to watch.

I'd added quite a few shows to my Netflix queue, so I chose one that looked interesting--"Flashpoint". The description on Netflix says: "Sgt. Gregory Parker and his Strategic Response Unit tackle high-risk cases too tough for normal cops, including bomb scares and hostage situations." I like crime/drama shows, so I gave it a try this morning.

It was really good! It's exactly what I was looking for--dramatic with lots of action and suspense to keep me interested when I really want to do anything other than run on the treadmill. There are four seasons, so it should keep me busy for a while.

I ran five miles today (heart rate in Zone 3), and then walked 2.2 miles (which got me through two episodes of the show). When I was done, I saw that I had already earned 8 PointsPlus. (I stopped my Garmin after the run, because I don't log the walking).

Once I plugged in my ActiveLink to the computer, a new message popped up, congratulating me for finishing the 12-week challenge.

I earned 785 Activity PointsPlus during the 12-week challenge. That's an average of 65 per week, or 9 per day. That's actually much more than I thought it would be. Now I've changed it to a goal of 12 per day (the highest it would let me), just for this week. Next week, I'll probably drop it back down to 9 or 10 per day.

I used an Amazon gift card to buy the Nike + Kinect Training game today. I've heard good things about it, and I really liked doing the Wii Active 30-Day Challenge last year. I'm going to try and do something similar this summer, and figured I'd check out the Nike + game.

Today was a great day--let's hope I can repeat it tomorrow!

May 21, 2013

Travel day

I slept like a rock last night, and I think it was probably because yesterday was such a long travel day. My sister's house is about a six-hour drive away, but because I flew into Chicago and then took the bus to her house, it took nearly as long to get there.

Yesterday morning, Jeanie and Shawn took me to the bus station at 10:40, where I took the 11:00 bus to O'Hare. The bus took forever, and I was getting worried that I would miss my plane. My flight was at 2:00, and I finally got into the airport at 12:50. I had to pee really badly, but the security line was really long, and I wasn't sure if I'd have time to spare, so I suffered through the line.

Finally, I was through security and I headed to my gate. I had a couple of minutes to spare, so I was able to stop in the bathroom. Then, on impulse, I bought a bag of Twizzlers for the plane. Stupid! Those things are 1 PointsPlus each, and I can eat it in about 3 bites. Coupled with my nerves about flying, that 20-PointsPlus bag didn't stand a chance.

I was really nervous about the fact that I was stuck in a middle seat. I've always sat by the window, because I'm such a nervous flier, and it makes me more comfortable to be able to see the ground. I'd been checking the seating chart ever since I got my ticket to try and get a window seat, but the only seats available were middle seats.

It was a really bumpy take-off, and I felt really claustrophobic and panicky for about 10 minutes, because I couldn't see very well out the window, and I felt cramped between two other people. Thankfully, the flight from Chicago to Detroit is only 42 minutes (from take-off to touch-down). Pretty much as soon as we reached altitude, we were descending.

Because we lost an hour coming home (time zone change), it was 4:20 when we finally arrived at the gate. If I had driven home, I would have been about 20 minutes from home. Instead, Jerry was going to pick me up after he got off work at 6:00, so I had a couple of hours to kill at the airport.

I spent a lot of time walking around, but after walking past all these food places, I wanted to eat. I wasn't hungry at all, but I ended up eating at Burger King--my first time eating there since August 2009! It wasn't even good, so I have no desire to ever eat it again.

I worked on my blog post until Jerry picked me up, and then we went to the boys' baseball practice (my parents had taken them). I finally got home at 7:30 last night, and I was exhausted! I had a couple of glasses of wine and watched TV with Jerry for a little while before bed.

The weekend was SO fun, and I'm really, really glad that I went. It was awesome to be able to run with Jeanie, and then celebrate with Shawn, Jeanie, and Jen afterward. I don't regret the food choices I made while I was at Jeanie's, but I do wish I had given it more thought beforehand, and maybe planned it out ahead of time. The margarita I had with lunch? It was 43 PP!! To put that in perspective, I only earned 26 PP on during the half-marathon. (Although I have to say, it honestly was worth 43 PP... it was REALLY good!)

When I ordered it, I had no idea it would be that big. 

The scale was WAY up this morning, and (once again) I'm really not looking forward to my "official" weigh-in tomorrow, but I know that the gain is legit. I went over my PointsPlus by about 165 this week. No, that's not a typo.

I had a terrible week as far as food choices, but like I said, I don't regret it (well, I do regret the Twizzlers and the Burger King, but not the stuff I ate at Jeanie's). Mentally, I'm just going to wipe the slate clean and start completely fresh tomorrow. I'll still be in "weight loss" mode on Weight Watchers, because I'm sure my weight is going to be over goal (unless a miracle happens overnight).

I don't want this to sound like a negative post--I'm really happy that I went, I loved the Mexican food and drinks, and the Butter Pecan Blondie for dinner on Sunday. My weight is going to be up, but I can't complain about that, because I knew that when I ordered the food. I just have to reel it in now!

I think rather than focusing so much on getting my food back on track, I'm going to try and make this a 100 Activity PointsPlus week. The most I've ever earned in a week is 75, but I think that if I really focus on it, I could get 100. The point of that is not so I can eat more, but so that I keep myself really busy. If I'm constantly trying to earn PointsPlus, I won't be thinking about eating all day.

I'm also going to make a conscious effort to get in all of my Good Health Guidelines (5+ fruits/veggies, 2 tsp. healthy oils, 2 servings dairy...). I'm terrible with getting those in, especially the healthy oils and the dairy. I think by focusing on that, and the activity, I should be back on track without feeling too stressed about it.

We're still going strong on our no-grocery-shopping-in-May challenge... 10 more days! :)

May 20, 2013

Motivational Monday #16

Funny story from this morning at my sister's house...

Shawn's friend came over to pick up Shawn to go to breakfast. While Jeanie went to get Shawn, I chatted with him for a minute. Making small talk, he said, "Oh, I met your other sister a few years ago." I must have looked confused (I don't have another sister, just Jeanie), because he started to explain, "She came out here to go camping; she brought her kids, and you all went camping for a couple of nights..."

Then it hit me. He was talking about ME, when I was still 253 pounds, and he just didn't recognize me now that I've lost the weight! Hahaha, I think I embarrassed him when I told him it was me, but that totally made my day :)

I'm working on this while I'm waiting for Jerry to pick me up from the airport, so I'm going to get right to the good stuff! I hope you all had a great week, and even if it wasn't so great, maybe you will find some motivation from today's stories...

Amber just ran her second 5K race, and she says she was the last runner to finish, followed only by a couple of walkers. She said a lot of people were trying to console her by saying, "Hey, at least you finished!" but Amber says she just smiled and said she is very PROUD of her time. She says, "Three months ago, I would have been dead last, and four months ago, I would have been on my sofa!" She followed her training schedule and felt great through the race.

When I read Colleen's e-mail, I really couldn't summarize it without cutting out a bunch of important stuff. So I'm just going to copy and paste what she wrote about this picture. It's a GREAT story, and the picture is awesome!

"I've been dying to send you this email. Today, I ran my first 1/2 marathon and killed my goal of sub 2 hours. Some background- when I lived in Chicago, I ran a lot. I ran the 2006 full marathon and various other Chicagoland area stapes (Shamrock Shuffle, etc.). When I moved to Denver, the elevation change was tough on my running. I've always struggled with getting my breath under control and I never felt like I could check out and just run because I was always gasping for air. Cut to living on the front range for five years and slowly building my endurance back up. 

When I started to get back into running last September, I found your blog and started to mimic your interval training and some of your work outs. It was really encouraging to see myself get faster and stronger. I ran the Running of the Green (7k) in March and attempted to maintain a 8:30 pace. Turns out, I ran it with an average 8:17. I was still afraid to take the plunge and sign up for a longer race until my work challenged us to do so. My boss, Vince DiCroce, is an avid marathoner/triathlete. He was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer 8 years ago, and made the choice to not only survive, but be better than before. He ran over 30 marathons and PR'd most of them. He also competed in Iron Mans. He's a super hero. Recently, the tumor came back and was more aggressive. We decided to Run with Vince to push ourselves to go beyond what we think we're capable. ( and  He signed up for the half, but ended up running the full today because his last chemo treatment wasn't that aggressive (!!!). He finished in 3:57.40. I know. Superman.

"Anyway, I knew I could run 10 miles. I knew it wouldn't be that big of a challenge, so I sucked it up, and before I could change my mind, swiped my credit card for the 1/2 with a goal of sub 2 hours. I continued to do speed interval work and added in long runs all while reading your blog. Today, I crossed the finish line in 1:51:30. I've attached some pictures of my elated ass because I just couldn't believe that someone like me could be "fast." Thanks for writing and continuing to motivate your readers. I know some days it is hard to open up and be honest, but I appreciate it so much, and I know others do to. Congrats on your race today and for helping out your sis! I'm sure she has her own MM post to write. You go girl(s)! "

Felicia has a shiny new 5K PR of 30:31, which also earned her third place in her age group! Over the past year and a half, she's lost a whopping 82 pounds, and has run at least one race each month since October.

Jen and her 15-year old son just completed their first 5K! She has been training 3-4 days per week, and has a goal of running the whole distance soon. She finished about two minutes faster than her "practice" times! She's also down 20 pounds since January--she decided that slow and steady was the way to go, and she's seeing great results :)

Jennifer just finished her first 10K. She's a few weeks into half-marathon training now, AND has lost 42 pounds!

Julie's daughter (shown in the pic) just ran 6.5 miles in her school's jogathon... and she's not even nine years old! The kids have to be in third grade to participate, and she was very excited that she was old enough to do it this year. The jogathon lasts 90 minutes, and she insisted on running the whole time! (I love that proud smile on her face!)

Katie surprised herself when she ran a 5K in 26:01! She's used to running 9:30-10:00/mi pace, but she gave it all she had and got a shiny new PR. She's also lost 35 pounds since January, and she credits that partly to teaching Jazzercise. Here is a comparison pic from November and from last weekend.

After completing the Couch to 5K program, Kylie just ran her first 5K! Her boyfriend raced with her, and her parents cheered her on, despite the rain. Her goal was to run the whole distance, and she did even better than she expected, finishing in 33:48!

Laura (in gray) ran a 5K with her sister, Allison, and finished with a 3-minute PR. She's lost 52.6 pounds since October, when she started running!

Lesleigh just ran her second 5K, taking a full 10 minutes off of her first from August! She's come a long way on her journey, losing 55 pounds and lots of inches. She said her husband was folding laundry, and said, "How did one of the boys' skinny jeans get mixed up in our wash?" She looked at them and realized they were HER jeans he was talking about. ;)

Sara just ran her first 5K race in 33:12... she says that last summer, she couldn't even ride a stationary bike for 15 minutes, and now she's getting ready to start 10K training! She's come a long way in less than a year.

Jen ran her third 5K, and finished with a 2-minute PR! Her kids, Ryan and Liam, each ran the 1K after being inspired by their mama to run. Ryan got her face painted at the after party :)

Don't forget to check out this week's Motivational Monday Facebook post, also! Here is a snippet:

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