July 31, 2013

Orange is the New Black

I got the worst night's sleep last night. I hate those kind of nights, where I just toss and turn all night long! When I got up this morning, I got on the scale for Wednesday Weigh-in:

I was happy to see that I was down a pound from last week, so staying on track is paying off. I was 100% on track all week. Not that it was easy! But I managed.

I decided to switch over my PointsPlus target to maintenance now, even though I'm 2.5 pounds above goal. So instead of my daily target being 26, it will be 32 (plus my 49 weekly PP and my activity PP). I decided to do this because I felt pretty hungry a lot of the time, and with the higher mileage I've been running, I just feel like I need more food. So we'll see what happens with the higher target this week; if I gain, I might back off a little, but if I maintain or lose, then I'll be happy with that.

Today was a really tough day for me. I wanted to binge SO badly, and I think it had something to do with the fact that I got no sleep last night. I was dragging all day, and I really just wanted to eat and eat and eat. At around 1:30, I thought, "There is no way I'm going to make it through the rest of the day without a binge!"

I started trying to come up with something, anything, to take my mind off of it. Today was my rest day, and I had planned to get up super early tomorrow morning to fit in my five-miler before we leave for Cedar Point. Instead, I decided to run it today, for a couple of reasons: 1) So that I don't binge; and 2) So that I can sleep in a little tomorrow before we leave, and I'll be doing a lot of walking at the park. (Trust me, it was hard to make that decision!)

Since the boys were home with me, I ran on the treadmill instead of outside. Yesterday, I had started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. I'd heard really great things about it, and my friend Julie worked on the show (I'm not sure exactly what she did, but she's been writing about it on Facebook, and this was a very big deal for her). I only watched half of the first episode yesterday, but I really liked it, so today I turned it on again while I ran.

I was scheduled to do the five miles at "race pace", so I just decided to try and get my heart rate into Zone 3 (tempo zone) for at least 25 minutes or so. I set the incline at 2% this time, to see if that would help get my heart rate up the same as when I run outside. I definitely felt the higher grade! But it seemed to be the best match to simulate running outside, so I'll probably try and do all my treadmill runs at 2% incline now.

The miles went by kind of slowly today, and I was glad to be done.

I actually ran a little further than five miles, because I was interested in the show. I love when that happens! Once I stopped the treadmill, I forgot to stop my Garmin, so that sixth split is obviously wrong, even though I adjusted the total time.

I felt so great when I was done, and my urge to binge was totally gone. Now, I can sleep in a little tomorrow (by "sleep in", I mean until 6:30 or 7, haha). We're going to head to Cedar Point at around 8:00, and spend the whole day there (until the kids are tired/cranky) and then head to the hotel. We're spending one night at the hotel, and then we'll head home on Friday. Jerry's really excited to do something so fun on his days off this week, and the boys are talking more about the hotel than they are Cedar Point. I'm just looking forward to getting out and doing something different!

We're going to pack a cooler with lunch for tomorrow, so we don't wind up eating all kinds of junk at the park. I don't remember what kinds of food they have, but I imagine it to be all kinds of fair-type foods--lots of deep-fried stuff. If something is really tempting, we could always share a treat while we're there. I'm saving the activity PP I earned from today's run for tomorrow.

I'm not sure yet if I'll be writing a post tomorrow night. If not, I'll catch up (hopefully with lots of fun pictures from Cedar Point) on Friday.

July 30, 2013


Well, I survived another six-day workout week! I'm kind of surprised at how much I like this Hansons' method of training. It's a lot of miles, but it doesn't really feel like it for some reason. Probably because my longest run was only 10 miles. After the marathon, I'll probably go back to five days a week, but for now, it's fun to change things up.

Yesterday, I did a six-mile easy run outside. Today I had intervals on the schedule: 6 x 800's at 10K pace with 400's recovery (basically, that means after a one-mile warm-up, I would run 1/2 mile at 8:00/mi pace, then jog 1/4 mile to recover, and repeat for a total of 6 times). I like to do intervals on the treadmill, because it's easier to control the pace and keep it consistent. Today, I set the incline at 1.5% instead of my usual 1%, hoping that my heart rate and calorie burn would be closer to what it is outside.

After my warm-up mile and my first interval, I felt really tired. I honestly didn't think I could manage to do five more intervals, so I told myself I could run one more interval, then a mile recovery, and be done. I ran the second interval, and planned to just run easy for a mile, but after my quarter-mile recovery, I decided to do "just one more" interval.

And so it went. After each interval, I truly felt like I was done, but then after the recovery, I thought I could manage one more. So I ended up doing all six, and was so happy with myself afterward!

The extra 0.5% incline definitely made a difference in my heart rate. It felt more like running outside that way. Next time, I may even bump the incline up to 2%.

After my run, I quickly showered so that I could take the boys out today. I really felt like I needed to get out of the house, so I decided to take the boys someplace we've never been: Imagination Station in Toledo, a hands-on museum. When I looked up the website, I saw that they have a Grossology exhibit going on for the summer, and thought that would be PERFECT for my boys.

Getting there was a nightmare. I get really anxious driving in unfamiliar places, and the GPS was off. I finally found the place, but they didn't have parking there. I was driving back and forth on the road, trying to figure out what to do. I was starting to feel really panicky, and I called Jerry, who calmed me down. I finally found a parking garage a couple of blocks away and parked there.

The kids had a blast inside, which totally made up for the bad drive getting there. I was intrigued with all of the anatomy stuff in the Grossology exhibit. There was one display that I was not at all fond of, and I think I will have nightmares tonight about it...

Each of those holes contained a plastic bottle that you would squeeze so that a little puff of air would come up and out through the green nubs on top. You were supposed to take a whiff of the air, and guess what part of the body you were smelling. THESE were the choices:

I thought, "Okay, they can't be that bad. How do you even bottle a smell like that?" So I took a whiff of one, and seriously almost puked on the spot. SO GROSS. It ended up being "Foot"; after that, I couldn't bring myself to try the other three. That smell was stuck in my nostrils for a long time afterward!

Some other fun stuff at Imagination Station:
Eli sitting inside of a stomach

Noah coming out of the colon ;)

A life-size version of Operation

A "skin" wall, complete with warts, pimples, and other gross things

The boys were so well-behaved and so much fun to hang out with today. It made me look forward to taking them to Cedar Point on Thursday!

I totally forgot about Taste Test Tuesday this week!

July 29, 2013

Motivational Monday #26

Happy Motivational Monday! This has been a really rough week for me mentally, but I managed to stay on track and not eat away my anxiety. I've been feeling a little better the past day or two, and I'm very glad I've managed to get through the week without a binge.

I hope you've all had a great week! Lots of motivating stories today... :)

On Saturday night, one of Caitlin's friends posted on Facebook that she was going to be running a 5K race the following morning, and asked if anyone would like to join in. Caitlin spontaneously decided that she was going to do it--and it was her first 5K! She set a goal of sub-40:00, and she beat her goal, finishing in 39:59.

Jennifer (second from right) ran a first 10K with some college friends, and PR'd with a finish time of 1:09:11!

A couple of months ago, Julie wrote me to say that she'd been doing well with staying binge-free, but then her husband was diagnosed with cancer; she she relapsed into binge eating. She gained back the 26 pounds she'd lost while she was binge-free, and she really wanted to take care of her health despite the scary cancer diagnosis her husband received.

In her recent e-mail, Julie reported that her husband is not doing well, and has been given just weeks to live, which is very scary for her family (she and her husband have a daughter). While no one would blame her for using food to cope during this time, she is happy to say that she's been taking care of herself and has taken control of her binge eating. She read a book called Brain Over Binge, which she found very helpful. Since then, she's lost the 26 pounds that she had gained back. She says that exercise is the only way she's staying sane during her husband's illness, and she enjoys walking, spinning, elliptical, weights, and yoga.

In training for a half-marathon, Kali ran her first 10K race! She was thrilled with her finish time of 1:16:05, especially considering she was challenged with a monster hill on the course and some ankle pain. (Here is her full race report on her blog).

Kelly started to get serious with her weight and health in mid-February, and has since lost 37 pounds! She has become much more active than she used to be. She loves Zumba and using the treadmill at the gym; and on the weekends, she and her husband take the dogs for long walks or play frisbee golf with friends.  Even though she still has 90 pounds to lose, she said she feels SO much better since she started her journey. (Here is Kelly's blog).

Pamela stepped way out of her comfort zone and joined a 5K training group at her local Fleet Feet. She had tried to do the Couch to 5K program on her own a few times, but the discipline she needed wasn't there. She says she used to try to blend in, or run in areas where she knew she wouldn't come across other people, because she was embarrassed of her body. She's terrified of running in public, but is proud of herself for taking this step!

She also just completed a 5K that is helping to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy. She wasn't sure if she'd be able to finish, considering she didn't complete the training, but she did her best, and completed the race in 48:35. After her 10-week program with Fleet Feet, she'll be doing another 5K, and hopes to leave that finish time in the dust!

Kim has been slowly but surely working her way through the Couch to 5K program. She thought she hadn't been making any progress in her weight, but when she got on the scale a couple of days ago, she saw that she'd lost nine pounds! After taking her measurements, she was also down a whopping six inches! She's very happy with her progress, and hopes to continue with the weight loss.

Kelly had some AWESOME NSV's (non-scale victories) this week! In her words:

"I am so very proud of myself for this past week. Every single day I had a big NSV which really shows me that I am committed to making small changes towards a healthier life style. I've lost 115 pounds with WW then got pregnant with my baby girl and am working on getting the baby weight off (down 30 so far!).

Some of my NSV's include:

- Having protein filled snacks before bed instead of junk food with my left over points.
- I made a dessert for company but didn't really care for it so I tossed the rest in the garbage (would have kept eating it even tho I didn't like it).
- I sent back an order of mashed potatoes that I didn't care for and ordered fries instead and only ate half. (I had slammed my hand in the car door earlier in the day spent a few hours in Emerg and could have said "I've had a rough day an deserve it" but I didn't!
- opted for a dinner at home instead of pizza since I didn't have the points for pizza.

All while doing major kitchen renos AND working through my hand injury.

I was down 2.2 pounds this week but am honestly more proud of my success making better choices."

Don't forget to check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post as well, for more stories!

July 28, 2013

Feeling that runner's high!

Eight hours later, and I am still floating on my runner's high from this morning. I had a fantastic long run today! I can't even describe how badly I was in need of a good run after feeling so crappy last week. And honestly, I wasn't expecting today to be any better, but I was hopeful.

I ended up eating breakfast when I woke up, because I knew I wouldn't be able to head outside to run until my dad picked up the kids to go to church; so I ate breakfast, and had my tea while I waited to go out. It was 8:45 when I left the house, and as soon as I stepped outside, I was in awe of how cool it was outside. It was 59 degrees--I couldn't ask for better July temps for a long run!

Again, I decided to stay close to home in case of cramps or other issues I've been having lately. I did a five-mile out-and-back first, and then a five-mile loop around the neighborhoods. The first couple of miles were a little tough. My heart rate was in Zone 1 (long runs are supposed to be in Zone 2), but I felt like I was struggling. I was breathing kind of hard, and couldn't understand why it felt so difficult when I wasn't even pushing myself very hard.

When I hit mile two, it was like a switch flipped on in my body, and I started feeling really good. When I made the turn-around on the out-and-back route, I had a tail wind, and my pace picked up a bit. I assumed it was from the wind being in my favor, but even when I changed directions again, it was like I just kept feeling better and better.

I was afraid for a while to go too fast, because I didn't want to burn out. But my heart rate was right in the middle of Zone 2, so I was nowhere near pushing too hard. The last five miles flew by--my feet were feeling like they were just springing off the ground, and a sub-9:00/mi pace was pretty effortless. It's been a long time since I maintained that pace for a long run. (Actually, I just looked, and the last double digit run that I averaged a sub-9:00 pace was in early May!)

I felt like I could have just kept running forever. With the exception of the first 2 miles, I felt really strong and amazing through the whole 10 miler. I had mapped out my route before I left the house, and it was exactly 10 miles; but I must have screwed something up, because when I reached mile 10, I was still a quarter mile from home. The extra quarter mile didn't hurt, though ;)

When I got back to my house, I just sat on the porch with my water bottle and enjoyed how gorgeous the day was! (Definitely feeling the runner's high).

I was feeling SO good after that. After last week's runs, with the stomach issues and muscle cramps, and just feeling crappy in general, I was really starting to doubt myself and doubt the new training I'm doing. But today really showed me that bad days (and bad weeks) don't mean that all of my runs are going to be like that. I know I've said this a thousand times this summer, but the heat really does make a huge difference in my pace and effort level. Having such a cool morning today was just what I needed to boost my running confidence a little.

I had been planning to get a cookie with my Activity PointsPlus today, but after my run, I was in the mood for ice cream. So I bought some cookie dough ice cream (15 PP) and ate that this afternoon. My favorite part of my long runs, for sure ;)

Just a reminder, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a picture of a health/fitness accomplishment you'd like to share, you can e-mail it to me at SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com with a short description, and I may include it on tomorrow's post :)

July 27, 2013

Change of plans

Well, we didn't end up going to Cedar Point today. Jerry and I were both thinking that today was the 28th, and the tickets his employer gave us are good from July 28-Aug. 3. We made our plans to go on Saturday, the 28th--and then last night, we realized that the 28th was Sunday!

It probably worked out for the best, though, because it was storming on and off today. We decided to go on Thursday instead. My mom has a bunch of hotel points saved up, so she is going to let us use them to stay the night down there on Thursday night. I think the kids are more excited about staying at a hotel than they are about Cedar Point ;)

I had six miles on the schedule today, and after the issues with my stomach during the past few runs, I wasn't feeling very optimistic. I decided to head out right when I woke up, before I ate breakfast, so that maybe my stomach would feel better. I always used to prefer running on an empty stomach, but when I was marathon training last year, I made a habit of eating first. My body has always felt best when I run before breakfast, though.

It was a great morning for a run--completely overcast, on the verge of raining, and just 68 degrees. Instead of doing an out-and-back run, I decided to just run around the neighborhoods around my house. I was afraid of going too far from home, in case my stomach gave me trouble again.

Running on Saturday mornings is actually really nice! I didn't come across a single soul outside this morning; it was almost eery, the way it was so overcast and the streets were empty. It made for nice running, though.

At first, I was planning to keep my heart rate in Zone 1, for an easy run, but I was getting irritated from looking at my Garmin to see that my heart rate was constantly in Zone 2. After a couple of miles, I just decided to screw what the heart rate monitor said, and just run however my legs felt like running. It was definitely more enjoyable after that.

Thankfully, my stomach didn't act up today! I think my anxiety level was lower, because Jerry was off work. I wasn't feeling the "This is the greatest run ever!" attitude, but I felt much better than I have the past few runs. If tomorrow's weather is anything like today's, I'm actually looking forward to my 10-miler in the morning.

When I finished the run, I sat on the porch with a huge bottle of ice water and Jerry sat with his coffee. It was so nice outside that I didn't even want to go in the house. Eli brought his blanket out there and sat with us :)

I was definitely ready to eat breakfast after that, but Jerry and I realized we had to weigh in at Weight Watchers today. It was 9:00 already, and Weight Watchers was only open until 10. I quickly showered and got dressed, then we all went to WW. My weight was exactly the same as last month. I'm still under my WW goal, so I'm good to go for another month.

When I got home, I finally got to eat breakfast (an English muffin with Nutella--yum!). Since we'd been planning on being at Cedar Point today, we didn't have any plans all day. I organized some boxes in my bedroom closet, and Jerry mowed the grass. We just had a really relaxing afternoon, which was nice, but boring.

For dinner, I made sloppy joes, but instead of using buns, I made a quick dough out of Bisquick, and made the sloppy joes into "pockets". (For the crust, I just mixed 2 cups of Bisquick + 1/2 cup boiling water, which made enough dough for four pockets). They turned out really good!

After dinner, I was dying for something sweet. I had been planning to save my activity PointsPlus for a treat tomorrow after my 10-miler, but I just wanted something today. So we ended up getting ice cream at McDonald's, and I got a dipped cone. They are SO good, and well-worth the 7 PP!

I didn't even save enough PointsPlus for a glass of wine tonight, and I always have wine! But I was ravenous today, probably because I ran right when I woke up. I've noticed that when I run first thing in the morning, I feel like I can eat everything in sight all day; but when I run late-morning or early afternoon, my appetite is pretty in-control all day. Interesting!

July 26, 2013

The mystery smell

For the past couple of days, I was making myself crazy trying to figure out what the heck is making my kitchen stink. Usually, if I smell something, it's the garbage, so that's an easy fix. But a couple of days ago, I smelled something funky, and I cleaned out the fridge, to make sure it wasn't bad food or something. It wasn't the garbage.

Yesterday, I thought I pinpointed it to the garbage disposal. A few times yesterday, I ran the disposal for a couple of minutes with hot soapy water. No change. Today, the smell was even worse, so I googled "stinky garbage disposal" and a bunch of home remedies came up. I used baking soda and vinegar, I used coarse salt, and a bunch of ice cubes, and I was sure that I took care of it.

After that mess, I went for my easy four-mile run. Goal heart rate was Zone 1, which meant I could go nice and easy, and not worry about pace. I was kind of looking forward to running, because I was desperate to have a good run after the past couple of crappy ones I've had. I did laps around the block again, rather than the treadmill. The temp was a little hotter than yesterday, but not horrible.

I wish I could say that the run was fantastic, but my stomach is still not feeling good. I'm almost positive it's a result of my anxiety. Since Jerry started his new job, we've been way off of our routine, and it's throwing me off a bit. Right now he's in training, and he's been working long hours. Once he starts his regular schedule (next week), things should get better, because we'll form a new routine. But for now, I've just been feeling anxious all the time, which is giving me an upset stomach--especially when I run. (Jerry really likes his new job, and the people he works with, which is a relief to me!)

I struggled through four miles. The last mile, it was nearly impossible to keep my heart rate in Zone 1, so I decided just to go with it and throw in some strides. Strides are shorts bursts of speed, roughly 100 meters or so, at around 5K-pace. I just picked a sign or a tree or something, ran hard to it, then returned to easy run pace. Doing that helped keep my mind off of my stomach.

After I finished my run, I walked in the house... and smelled something funky! I seriously thought I was losing my mind. I started opening and closing cupboards in the kitchen, sniffing the whole time, trying to find the source. It still seemed to be coming from the sink area. I opened the cupboard under the sink, and the smell was a little worse. I pulled everything out, and there was nothing that could be causing the odor.

I pulled the drawers out to check under and behind them, but it was too dark to see anything, so I got a flashlight and shined that through the space where the drawer would go, and behind the sink.

And I found the source of the smell!

It was a dead mouse. Remember, back in February 2012, when we found evidence of a mouse under the sink cupboard? I had set some mouse traps, but we never trapped one, and had no other evidence that a mouse was there. I just left the traps sitting under there, just in case.

Well, apparently the little bugger came back or told his friends, because the trap had a dead mouse in it today. It probably died a few days ago, based on the smell. As gross as it was, I was glad that I wasn't going crazy, and very happy to get rid of it!

Before Jerry left his job, his employer gave us four tickets to Cedar Point (a huge amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio). I haven't been there since 2003, before I got pregnant with Noah. We're going to take the kids there for the day tomorrow. Jerry's been wanting to go for the last few years, but I'm actually scared to. I used to like the roller coasters, but after fainting in 2010, and breaking my jaw (not at all related to roller coasters, haha), I am worried that the motion of the rides will cause me to faint again.

I know the chances are slim that it would happen, considering I haven't fainted at all since that one day, but I've been afraid to do anything that might make my dizzy. I think going with the kids will be good for me, because they can't go on any of the really big rides. Noah is very scared of roller coasters, so I'll probably be sitting out with him while Jerry takes Eli on them. I may try them (starting small) if I can get Noah to try it!

Anyway, I have no idea what time we'll be home tomorrow, so I may not write a post tomorrow night. But I can't imagine the boys staying there very late, so who knows?

July 25, 2013


It was another gorgeous day today--a high of 75. Unfortunately, I didn't take advantage of it as much as I could have, because I was SO into the book I was reading. I opened up all the windows to get a nice breeze through the house, and then I sat and read my book until I finished it. I was reading Lisa Gardner's "The Neighbor", and I think that was my favorite of hers so far. It was one of those "just one more chapter!" books.

At around 11, I forced myself to put it down and go for my run. I had five miles on the schedule, at marathon pace. Since I don't have a marathon goal pace, I decided to try and keep my heart rate in Zone 3 (like I would for a tempo run). Eli was out fishing with my dad, and Noah was home with me, so I was thinking I'd just do the treadmill. Noah said he'd be fine with me running outside, but I would be too nervous leaving him alone (he's only nine).

Instead, I decided to run laps around the block--my house is visible from all parts of the block, and if Noah needed me, I'd be in yelling distance. Our block is only 0.4 miles around, so it certainly wouldn't be a scenic run, but the weather was so nice, that I wanted to take advantage of it.

I headed out, and took my time getting my heart rate up to Zone 3. Five miles is a long way to run in that zone, so I didn't want to burn out too early. Every time I lapped by the house, I yelled "Marco!" and from inside the house, Noah would yell, "Polo!" ;)  That way I knew that all was okay.

At one point, I actually saw some guy (probably about my age) out running, which was very surprising; I never come across another runner in my neighborhood! Even more interesting, he was wearing a Kona Run shirt, which is the 10-mile race I did last month. I just said "hi" as we passed each other in opposite directions. Then I saw him again a couple of miles later. I asked him if he was training for a race, but he said no, he was "training just to train". It would have been a little embarrassing if I'd seen him a third time, because he certainly would know that I was running circles around my block!

At mile three, things went south very quickly. I got a really sharp muscle cramp in my abdomen, which caused me to slump over and my breaths to be really shallow. Normally, I can run through muscle cramps, but this was awful. My pace slowed way down, and at mile 3.5, I just couldn't take it anymore. I stopped running, and just walked home (it wasn't very far, thanks to the laps!). When I got home, I sat down and drank some ice water.

I sat for about 10 minutes, until the cramp went away, and then decided to head out and finish the run. I only had a mile and a half left at that point, so it went by pretty quickly.

My heart rate was in the right zone for at least three of the miles, so I'd consider it a success. But I really need to have a GOOD run tomorrow.

When Eli got home, he wanted to play catch with a baseball outside, and Noah didn't want to, so I told him I would. I haven't played catch in a very long time! He had a mitt in his baseball bag that fit me, so I went out to play. When Noah learned I was playing, he changed his mind and decided he wanted to play, too ;)

It ended up being really fun, and a good chance to chat with the boys while they're not bickering. Maybe I'll ask for a baseball mitt for Christmas. I'm sure the boys would love to pick one out for me! I love that I'm able to do active stuff with the kids. Four years ago, you would never find me playing ball (or any sort of sport) outside.

I think the weather had me thinking about fall today, because I was really in the mood for soup for dinner. I hadn't made Loaded Baked Potato soup in a very long time (probably a couple of years), so I made that. It was SO good! I'm going to put this back in the rotation.

I'm really excited to watch Dexter tonight. It's been on the DVR since Sunday, when it aired, but with Jerry's work schedule, we haven't been able to watch it yet!

July 24, 2013

42 years

After last week's disaster of a weigh-in, I was 100% on track all week. I logged my food every day, and finished the week without having my PointsPlus be in the negative. I was very happy to see that my weight is going back down...

I think what has been the most helpful in staying on track this week was that I divided up my 49 weekly PP at the beginning of the week, so instead of aiming for 26 PP per day, I just added 7 per day, and aimed for 33. Before, I would end up using all 49 PP in the first half of the week, and then I would struggle to stay on track for the last few days. By dividing them up evenly, I stay satisfied all week long. Then I use my activity PP as a "bonus" for something I really want (like the cookie I had on Sunday).

I also finished a whole week of the Hansons' method of marathon training. I've never trained for six days a week before, so I was worried about how well I would adjust. The extra day didn't bother me at all, but I was definitely ready for a rest day today!

I think the nausea and stomach issues I've had the past few days have been from anxiety. For some reason, my anxiety has been really bad lately, and this morning, I felt on the verge of a full-blown panic attack. I haven't had a panic attack in a long time. Usually, when I have anxiety for no reason, it goes away pretty quickly. Hopefully, I'll be feeling back to normal in a couple of days.

It was absolutely gorgeous outside today--in the high 60's/low 70's and sunny. I turned off the air conditioner, and opened up all the windows in the house. It felt so good, and that helped with my mood a bit. It's supposed to be another nice day tomorrow.

Today was my parents' 42nd wedding anniversary...

July 24, 1971

I thought it was funny, because my mom said that rather than just she and my dad doing something together, they wanted to take us out to dinner! Nathan, my younger brother, had to work at 5, so we ended up going to an early dinner at Red Lobster before he went to work.

I looked up the menu before we left, so I could plan out what to order. Seafood is usually a safe bet, unless it's fried. On their seasonal menu, they had Mango Rum Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa. The lunch portion was only 7 PointsPlus, and it sounded really good, so that's what I decided to order. I got a double side of broccoli instead of mashed potatoes or fries.

It also came with a salad. The tilapia was really good, but I didn't care for the pineapple salsa at all. I adore pineapple, so I thought I would love it, but it didn't go with the fish very well. Regardless, it was a yummy dinner, and only 8 PP for the fish, broccoli, and salad.

My older brother, Brian, and his girlfriend Becky, came in from Minnesota yesterday for just a couple of hours. They were going to stay for Noah and Eli's baseball game last night, and when we got to the field, it was pouring rain. The umpire called the game off when we got there, so they didn't get to play. Then as soon as we got home, the sun was out and the rain was totally gone. Bummer. Tonight is their last game, and thankfully, it's gorgeous outside!

July 23, 2013

Loose skin issues

This whole post is full of TMI (too much information), so I am sorry in advance for that... ;)

Yesterday morning, I had one of the worst runs ever. I wore my new shorts (which isn't the reason for the bad run), and was excited to try them out on an easy four-miler outside. It was hot and humid, but not ridiculously so.

When I first started running, I almost immediately turned around to change out of the shorts. I hated how uncomfortable the jiggling of my loose skin was. Chafing wasn't an issue at all, thanks to the Aquaphor I put on my thighs, but loose skin moves a lot. The best way I can describe it would be like running without a sports bra. Normally, I wear compression-fit capris, which hold everything really tight, so jiggling isn't an issue.

Since someone always comments that I don't look like I have loose skin on my thighs, I'm going to post a graphic picture for the first time, showing that I'm not making it up. Loose skin is a sensitive subject for me. I worked extremely hard to lose the weight I did, but this is the result of the weight loss, and evidence that I used to be morbidly obese. Here is a picture of when I was lying in bed last night. It's not a flattering angle, but it shows just how loose the skin really is (that's my inner thigh):

As much of an inconvenience that the loose skin is, I would choose my loose skin over my obese legs any day. When I was obese, my legs rubbed together constantly, so I was chafed all the time. It was hard to walk because they felt so heavy. I had to stuff them into my clothes, which was extremely uncomfortable. The loose skin isn't pretty, but it's much more comfortable and easier to deal with than the issues I had when I was obese.

Anyway, I wanted to give the shorts a fair chance, so I decided to just run the whole four miles before deciding whether I liked them.

When I got on the main road, I was very self-conscious of the jiggling. Logically, I knew people probably weren't staring at my thighs; but the fat girl inside my head was remembering when people used to yell out their car windows at me--"Fat cow!" "Moo!" "Look at fattie run!" and stuff like that. After about a mile or so into yesterday's run, I stopped caring about what I looked like, and just tried to focus on keeping good form.

Something I wasn't expecting about wearing shorts was that it would throw off my running form. The movement of the loose skin made me swing my legs outward a little on each step, and I could feel it in my knees (a twisting motion). Not a good thing.

It was when I got to mile two and turned around that my run got really bad.

I was extremely nauseous for some reason. I was running at an easy pace, so it wasn't like I was exerting myself too much. All of mile three, I was just trying to focus on breathing normally, and trying not to panic at the nausea that was getting worse. After I reached mile three, the nausea was so bad that I wanted to stop and just vomit on the side of the road. But stopping would mean I wouldn't be at home, and I desperately wanted to get home.

I was trying not to think of throwing up, because it kept causing me to feel more panicky. Instead, I focused on breathing and I finally--FINALLY--made it home. I sat down for a couple of minutes, and the nausea went away, but my stomach was feeling really icky after that. (I had a wave of nausea after breakfast this morning, too. Not sure what's going on. No, I'm not pregnant!)

I'm glad I tried the shorts, because I'd always been curious about them; however, I'm going to stick with my compression-fit capris, because they are much more comfortable.

Today I had speed work on the schedule. I was hoping to go to the track, but it was thunder storming outside, so I ran on the treadmill instead. I did one of the Hansons' speed workouts: 4 x 3/4 mi with 400 jogs. Basically, that was a 1 mile warm-up, then 3/4 mile at 7:30-ish pace, 1/4 mile jog (repeat for a total of 4 times). On paper, it didn't seem that hard; but when I did it, it was a tough workout! I kept thinking I'd never last more than two intervals. Somehow, I managed to get through the entire thing, though.

I felt like I was drowning in sweat when I was done. I just sat in front of the fan for a couple of minutes trying to cool off. But it felt great! I love that feeling of pushing my body to the max (well, when it's over, I love it).

Even after taking a cold shower, my face was still flushed. A good workout!

Taste Test Tuesday was a big win this week! I bought this new flavor of cream cheese:

As I've mentioned before, I love anything jalapeno, so I was excited to see this at the store. However, I don't eat cream cheese much, so I wasn't sure what to do with it at first. I ended up making a sandwich with an English muffin, a vegetarian chicken patty, and a tablespoon of this cream cheese, and it was insanely good!

It's the perfect amount of spicy, too; not so spicy that you can't taste anything else, but not a "barely there" kind of heat, either. I used just one tablespoon for the sandwich (for 1 PP) and that little bit went a long way. I'm going to experiment with it a little more, too--maybe on eggs, or as a spread for other kinds of sandwiches. Maybe even on some sort of pizza? Jerry gave this two thumbs up as well; we both loved it!

By the way, I forgot to post this earlier... A few people asked about the bracelet Brandi gave me. Her friend has an Etsy shop, and she custom made it with my own quote: "determination always trumps motivation". I love it!

July 22, 2013

Motivational Monday #25

I'm having a great week being back on track! I've managed to stay on plan, even with dinner at La Pita on Wednesday, a wedding shower on Saturday afternoon, and a wedding reception on Saturday night. I even saved up my activity PointsPlus so that I could have a big cookie yesterday, and still stay on plan. I feel so much better mentally and physically when I stay on track, so this has been a great week for me so far.

I hope everyone else is feeling motivated going into this week! It was great to read through these stories...

Early this spring, Allison was feeling very down and depressed about her weight, and decided to start making some healthy changes. She started by walking around her neighborhood, and eating a healthier diet. As she got more confident, and started to see the weight come off, she got more and more active. Her Zumba teacher encouraged her to start running, which was a goal of Allison's. She said for her first run, she ran about 50 feet before she had to stop--it was much harder than she expected! But she kept training, with an ultimate dream of one day running a sub-30:00 5K. Her first 5K race was completed in 36:00. Two weeks later, she ran one in 31:46. This weekend, she ran another, and hit her goal, finishing in 29:06! She says she was happier in that moment than she's ever been in her life, and she cried as she crossed the finish line. She's now down 45 pounds, too!

Amanda completed her first mini triathlon this weekend! She lost a whopping 50 pounds a couple of years ago, and was struggling with maintenance. She decided to find other ways of staying motivated, and training for races was a big help to her. She set a goal of one hour to complete the 200 meter swim, 4 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run; she ended up crushing her goal and finished in 42:14! She's already planning to do the full triathlon next year.

Brenda and her husband have motivated each other this week to get active. They started with a 2 1/2 mile walk one day, and the next day decided to try for 3 1/2. They ended up walking 5 miles! They are leaving for vacation, and these walks helped motivated them to use the gym where they are going to be staying. Brenda says that having his company helps motivate her, so it's a win-win.

Jennifer started running just seven months ago, and she ran her first half-marathon yesterday! She completed the distance on her treadmill, which takes some serious self-motivation. She's excited to train for 26.2 next!

Justine has always wanted to get into running and races, and she just ran her first race! She and her best friend had a blast while doing a color run, and is excited to do another.

Kelly just completed her first half-Ironman triathlon this weekend! She said she feels fantastic, and is very excited to do it again. You can read her full race recap on her blog. 

After losing 50 pounds, with a little more than 100 to go, Wynter ran a Tough Mudder this weekend! She struggled with training, and for a long time, worried that she may not even be able to complete the race. She says she had a fantastic team that helped and encouraged her enough for her to finish the entire 10-mile race, and 12 of the 18 obstacles! She's already planning to do the Tough Mudder MN in 2014 (with a goal of being down another 75 pounds). She said, "If I can do it, anyone can!"

Don't forget to check out all the motivating stories on the Motivational Monday Facebook post, too!

Anyone have a goal for next week? Feel free to share in the comments! I've found that when I make my goals public on my blog, I tend to work a little harder to complete them ;)

July 21, 2013

Photo booth

Yesterday ended up being just as busy as I thought it would be, but thanks to my dad, it was pretty stress-free. When I woke up, I ran eight miles on the treadmill. I'd planned to do it outside, but when I got out there, it was SO humid, and the air felt really thick. I just wimped out and ran it on the 'mill, while watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

I showered and got ready to go to Jerry's sister's wedding shower. Her fiance, Chris, asked Jerry to go to hang out with him, so we were able to go to the shower together. My dad volunteered to watch the boys AND take Eli to the birthday parties he was invited to. Eli had two parties back-to-back, and my dad took him to both, which was awesome.

I didn't eat anything at the wedding shower, because it started at 1:00, and I would have been starving by then. I like to eat lunch at around 11:00, so I just ate before I left. When we left the shower at 4:00, though, I was really hungry for dinner. Jerry and I had a wedding to go to at 6:00, so I went home and ate a sandwich and some soup quickly before getting ready for the wedding.

The wedding was a lot of fun! I was stunned by the cupcake display:

They had a ton of different flavors, but I'd been saving my PointsPlus all week for a cookie from Mrs. Fields today, so I chose not to eat any cupcakes. I was glad I'd eaten dinner before we left, because they didn't end up serving the food until close to 8:00, which is nearly my bedtime, hahaha. I did have a couple of glasses of wine, though, and I chatted with my friend Amber for most of the evening. She had more than a few glasses of wine, which led to us getting silly in the photo booth:

Jerry and I went in the photo booth too, and I think it was the first time in our entire relationship using a photo booth. Photo booths should be mandatory at weddings--it was so fun! Then the bride and groom got a copy of all the photos placed into a memory book. I wish we'd done that at our wedding--very fun keepsake!

At around 10:00, I was ready to go home (I don't dance, unfortunately, and all of my friends love to dance). Jerry drove me home, and then he went back to the wedding; luckily, we were only a couple of miles from the reception.

This morning, I had my long run to do, which today, was just eight miles. I was expecting it to feel like an easy, peasy eight miles, because it's not that long of a distance while marathon training. However, since I switched to the Hansons' Marathon Method, I'd run eight miles yesterday, followed by running eight today. So my legs weren't exactly "fresh".

Holy cow, it was so much harder than I thought it would be! I decided to run outside, because the humidity was a little lower today. As soon as I started running, my legs felt very heavy. Normally, that would have bothered me, but I know that the whole point of this type of training is to run on tired legs. It was great to know that it was working!

It was a pretty decent run. I kept my heart rate in Zone 2, which is where I want it for my long runs. That translated to splits in the mid-to-high-9:00's. A blackbird dive-bombed my head again, which was mildly terrifying, so instead of an out-and-back route, I ended up looping around to avoid the bird on the way back. Then, about a quarter-mile from my house, I got stung by some sort of bug on my ankle! The pain was really bad for a minute, and I actually had to stop to make sure the bug wasn't stuck in my sock or something. I could see the spot where I was stung, but the bug was long gone.

I was happy to be finished...

It was interesting to look at my stats from yesterday's eight miler and compare them to today's. On the treadmill, I ran a 9:24/mi pace, my heart rate was an average of 141, and I burned 634 calories. Running outside, I ran a 9:36/mi pace, my heart rate was an average of 155, and I burned 805 calories. That's a big difference!

Jerry and I took the boys out today to have some fun with them. They'd been wanting to go ride go-carts for a long time, so we took them to do that. Eli drove his really slowly, and I didn't want to make him feel bad by passing him, so it wasn't a very thrilling ride ;)  After that, they did the batting cages, and then had an ice cream. I stopped and got my cookie on the way home. I'd saved up 31 PointsPlus for it so far this week (it's 23 PP). I'm going to enjoy it for dessert tonight :)

Just a reminder, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you accomplished a fitness/health goal that you are proud of this week, you can send a picture and short description to my e-mail at SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, with the subject Motivational Monday, and I may include it on tomorrow's post.

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