September 30, 2013

Motivational Monday #34

Happy Motivational Monday! I've had a GREAT back-on-track week, and I'm feeling very motivated to keep the streak going so that I feel my best during the Chicago Marathon. It looks like this was a great week for lots of you as well...

Amanda ran her first half-marathon! At the beginning of this year, she was 227 pounds, tired, and sluggish; she decided to make some changes, and joined Weight Watchers. She also started running. She's now 45 pounds lighter, and finished her first half-marathon in 2:35! She's very excited to do another :)

After losing 90 pounds, and keeping it off for the past 2 years, Carla went on a 30-mile bike trip around Grand Traverse Bay! Best of all, she was able to keep up with her brother and sister-in-law, who are avid bikers. She said it felt great to join them on their family vacation, rather than sit back and watch!

Dawny recently reached a year of maintenance after losing more than half of her body weight! In 2004, she topped out at over 415 pounds; last year she reached her goal weight of 155, and she's maintained her weight ever since. She had several ups and downs throughout her journey, but she never gave up. On her one year anniversary of being at goal, Dawny completed a half-marathon... a challenge she never dreamed would be possible!

Katie ran her first half-marathon in 2:26:38! She went into it very unprepared, and while she doesn't advocate not training, she didn't want to skip the race. She took a few walking breaks throughout the race, and was very excited when she caught up to the 2:30 pacer. She says being a Jazzercise instructor probably helped make up for the lack of training ;)

Katie ran 5 miles at a sub-10:00 pace... while 34 weeks pregnant!! She says it's been challenging, but she keeps going out for more.

Stephanie just completed her third 5K with a shiny new PR! She took 3 minutes off of her previous best time, finishing in 52:32. She said it rained the entire time, and she was soaked to the bone!

Ashley completed her first race ever--a half-marathon! She claims to be "as slow as molasses in January", but she is very proud to have finished. She plans to train for a marathon next! (Ashley's race recap on her blog)

Carol ran a 5K race with her 19-year old son! She was very happy to have run the entire thing, something she says she hasn't been able to do in over 20 years. She's thrilled with her finish time of 33:15, and average pace of 10:43/mi (her goal was to run sub-11:00 miles). She said the best part of the whole experience was getting to share something she loves doing with her son. 

This month, Carolyn participated in Alex's Lemonade Stand's Million Mile Run. Alex's Lemonade Stand is a non-profit that was started by a girl named Alex who was fighting cancer, and opened a lemonade stand to raise money. Before she died at age 8, she raised over $1 million in the name of pediatric cancer. The Million Mile Run challenge was to get 10,000 people to run 100 miles each throughout September, in the hopes of raising $1 million in honor of Alex. Carolyn lost her 11-year old nephew last year to a brain tumor, so she was eager to sign up. She'd never run 100 miles in a month before, so it was a challenge for her, but she did it!! She raised $920, and completed her challenge with a half-marathon yesterday, finishing with a PR of 2:23:52. And as a bonus, they were serving her favorite pizza at the finish line! (Carolyn's blog about the experience)

Hilary (bib 2806 in the photo) had been planning to send in a Motivational Monday share once she completed the Couch to 5K program in a few weeks, but she had a big accomplishment that was definitely worth sharing now. At the beginning of the summer, she signed up to WALK a 5K race. As she started eating better and exercising, she decided to start the Couch to 5K plan in late August. She was only midway through the program when she attended the race, and she hoped to make it through two miles of running before walking the rest . She said when mile two came around, she felt good enough to keep going--and she ended up finishing the entire race without a single walk break! Throughout the training, she's also lost 28 pounds, and now she's already planning a couple of more 5K's this fall. (Hilary's race report on her blog).

Yesterday, Jess ran her first race, a 5K MADD Dash (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), after raising $170 for the cause! She sadly lost her cousin in an alcohol-related car accident, and she was happy to raise money to help raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. She wasn't even able to run for a full minute when she started, but at yesterday's race, she ran the entire distance, including her fastest mile to date! She's also lost 14 pounds during her training.

Over the past year, Sarah has lost 138 pounds! To celebrate the anniversary (as well as her 42nd birthday!) she went for a walk on her local bike/walking path. Her ultimate goal is to start running!

Ivayla ran her farthest distance yet--12 miles! In January, she couldn't even run one mile, and now she's running 12. She says that her new hydration pack and Gu helped get her though the run, and she felt great!

Elizabeth has done several races throughout her weight loss (she's lost over 150 pounds!), but she'd never done an obstacle race; so when she saw that a Warrior Dash was going to be near her home, she decided to go for it! She was very nervous she wouldn't be able to complete all the obstacles (a rope wall was particularly intimidating for her), but decided to do her best and attempt them all. Well, she completed each and every obstacle during the race, including the dreaded rope wall! She says that at 325-lbs, she never would have been able to do this; she's very proud for facing the challenge! (Elizabeth's race report on her blog).

Katelyn has been running to maintain her 50-pound weight loss, and she just PR'ed her second half-marathon! In April, she ran 2:19:17, and she set a goal to run 2:10 this time. Well, she crushed her goal, finishing in 2:03:41! Her parents, siblings, friends, and running buddies were there to cheer her on and push her to work really hard for this goal. Next up? Sub-2:00!

Michelle completed her first 20-mile training run! She's running her first marathon in November, and she had a 20-miler scheduled last weekend, but she wasn't able to accomplish it then. She was extra proud this weekend when she did it! (Michelle's blog)

Naleen and her husband, Karl, have lost a collective 120 pounds; and they just completed a six-mile bike and run relay race, with obstacles every mile! Naleen was very nervous about this race, because she admits she's not very good on the bike, and she's terrified of heights (an issue with most of the obstacles). But not only did the pair finish the race, they placed third in their division, earning a trophy in addition to their medals!

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

September 29, 2013

Feeling very "Panera" today

Today I "only" had 10 miles on the schedule :)  Of course the "only" is all relative. Last Sunday, I ran 16, so I really wasn't even thinking of today as a long run. It was my second-to-last double digit run until the marathon, however!

I had to wait until 8:30 to head out, when the kids went to church with my parents, and I wasn't sure if I should eat breakfast beforehand or not. I always regret it when I do, because it makes me feel crappy during my run, but I knew I wouldn't be home and showered until about 10:30, which is nearly lunchtime for me. I decided not to eat before I left, but I brought a Gu with me to have at the halfway point. I also made sure to bring water with me this time; I didn't want another run like Thursday's!

I chose the same lollipop route that I did for my 16-miler last week (only just the out-and-back part, to make it way shorter). I was really hoping that I'd feel as good today as I did last week. I didn't feel GREAT, like last Sunday, but I had a good run. I was aiming for my long run pace of 9:38/mi (or less, if I felt like it). At the five mile mark, when I turned around, I ate a Salted Caramel Gu. My stomach felt totally fine the whole run.

When I turned around, the wind was in my favor (I had a headwind on the way out), so I picked up the pace a little. And, just to prove to myself that I still had some fuel in the tank, I ran sub-9:00 for the last mile.

Today's run put my total mileage for September at 198. Tomorrow, I have 7 miles on the schedule, so that will put me at 205 for the whole month. I'm in disbelief that I've run that many miles! I ran 200 in August, which blew my mind. And now 205 for September. AND, the best part? I've remained injury-free! I'm convinced that this Hansons' method of training has helped me stay injury-free.

When I got home, I was texting Jerry for a little while before getting in the shower, and by the time I was done showering, it was 11:00. The kids had asked me yesterday if we could go to Panera for lunch today, and I said sure. Since I hadn't even had breakfast, I decided to take them to lunch, and I would get a bagel for breakfast. I got a blueberry bagel with reduced-fat cream cheese, for a total of 13 PointsPlus.

It was DELICIOUS. The perfect post-10-miler breakfast!

While I was there, I decided to get some soup to go for lunch later. I adore Panera's Broccoli Cheddar soup, so I got a bowl of that with a 2 oz. baguette to bring home. The soup is 8 PP, and the bread is 5 PP--both totally worth it!

And, because I have a lot of PointsPlus saved up from this week (I've been trying to eat only when hungry, rather than eating "just because I have the PP to spend"), I got a chocolate chip cookie to have tonight. I've never had one of Panera's cookies, but it looks good and I can't wait to eat it during the Breaking Bad series finale!

The cookie is 13 PointsPlus, and hopefully it's worth it! On the way home from Panera, I was stopped at a traffic light, and there was a sign on the side of the road advertising a "Poker Run" and party.

Noah: "Mama, do you know what a poker run is?"
Me: "No, but I'm curious if it's an actual RUN or if it's something to do with Poker." 
Noah: "It's when a bunch of motorcyclists go from one bar to another, collecting a card from each bar; then at the last one, they have enough for a hand of poker, and they play."

I laughed so hard when he said that. I was completely shocked that he knew what it was! I'd never heard of such a thing. When I asked him where he heard that, he told me that my dad explained it to him once.

I cleaned the hell out of my house yesterday, and I found something while cleaning out a drawer in my bedroom (no, not THAT)... anyone recognize this?

That would be an iPAQ. A long, long time ago, before iPods, and smart phones, and all that, there were little PDA's (Personal Digital Assistants). I remember spending a small fortune on this one, because it was in COLOR (gasp!). When I took it out during a college class to schedule a reminder or something, everyone used to stare and ask me questions about what it was. No, I'm not joking. I ended up using it mostly to play games, though ;)

Anyone else watching the finale of Breaking Bad tonight? I can't wait to see how it ends! (Although, really, there isn't a great way for it to end...)

Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a picture you want to share of a health/fitness accomplishment you achieved this week, you can e-mail it (along with a short description) to SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, subject "Motivational Monday", and I may include it in tomorrow's MM post. Can't wait to see what you've all been up to this week!

September 28, 2013

Two weeks out

I ran on the the treadmill for the first time in a long time today. The last time I used the treadmill was when I was watching American Horror Story. After I finished that, I couldn't find anything that interested me on Netflix, so I was doing everything I could to avoid the treadmill. Today, I didn't have an option, though. Jerry wasn't home to stay with the boys, and there was no way that I was going to run circles around the block ;)

I decided to try watching House of Cards. I've heard nothing but good things about it, but I was avoiding it because I HATE politics, and it's a political drama. I figured I would give it a try, and I really hoped it would suck me in to make the treadmill more bearable.

I wore the new belt that I bought yesterday, to see if I could run without it bouncing. I wasn't sure how much stuff I'd be able to fit in there, but I think it'll work well for the marathon--I could fit two Gu's and 2 full packs of ShotBloks, along with my iPhone.

I had eight miles at an easy pace on the schedule, so I set the treadmill for 6.0 mph and tried to lose myself in House of Cards. The belt worked perfectly! First, I wore it with the pouch in front, and there was no bouncing whatsoever. It was very comfortable, and I honestly wouldn't have even known it was there. I decided to try moving the pouch part to the back, to see how that felt, and it wasn't as comfortable. It didn't bounce, but it felt a little weird with it resting on top of my butt. So I'll wear it facing front, and it's flat enough to fit underneath my shirt.

I wasn't as thrilled with House of Cards, unfortunately. The political stuff is very prominent in the show, so it definitely wasn't my taste; and I really didn't understand it. Usually, for shows like that, I end up asking Jerry a million questions about what is happening ;)  I watched the whole first episode, and then quickly (and totally randomly) picked something else to watch for a half an hour. I ended up with Gossip Girl, hahaha. I'd never heard of it, but it was entertaining enough for a little while.

Thankfully, my legs felt much better today, and I didn't feel as fatigued as I did the past couple of days. Physically, I actually felt really good today. Mentally, the treadmill was a big struggle, though. Anyway, I finished out eight miles.

My heart rate chart was back to normal today, without huge spikes and drops. It's interesting to me that my average heart rate was 135 today. It used to be so much higher when running at the pace! It shows that I'm getting more and more conditioned the more that I train. My resting heart rate has dropped quite a bit, too--it's now in the high 40's.

I'm now two weeks out from the marathon. This afternoon when I got the mail, I noticed that this came for me:

It's the participant guide for the Chicago Marathon. It's kind of scary! There are 38 pages in this book, all about the expo, and race, and directions, and start times, and all that. THIRTY-EIGHT pages. That's a lot to remember. I get really stressed out and anxious trying to find my way around unfamiliar cities, so the thought of getting to/from the expo, the hotel, the race, etc. is making me nervous now. I'm actually more nervous about that than I am the race itself!

Eli saw the guide, and was studying the pictures on the front. He asked me, "Mama, do you think you might win this race?" (Clearly, I look just like the Kenyans on the cover); I told him I would be happy to finish in the top 75%, hahaha. The kids really don't understand why I would run races if I don't plan on trying to win them.

September 27, 2013

Pizza Friday and movie night

Another rather sleepless night. At around midnight, Eli got out of bed and came into my room to tell me he was thirsty. I must have been sound asleep (normally, I wake up from any little noise), and when he started talking, it scared me half to death! I'm sure other parents out there can relate to this...? Nothing is more terrifying than waking up in the middle of the night with someone standing next to you, hahaha. Anyway, after that, I had weird dreams and just couldn't get much rest.

I only had five miles at an easy pace on the running schedule today, so I expected it to be a breeze. After I got the kids off to school, I headed out for a loop around the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, I had another bad run today. I was feeling very fatigued again, and my legs felt heavy. I'm not sure what's going on with me--it's not unusual to have a bad run, like yesterday's, but surely today's should have been better. The farther I ran, the more my pace dropped. It was a relief when I hit five miles!

When I uploaded the info from my Garmin, I saw the problem. Clearly, my heart is disfunctional:

Hahaha, I have no idea what went wrong with my heart rate monitor today, but I know I wasn't reaching 220+ beats per minute! The battery in it is fairly new, so I don't think that's the problem. I'll see what happens tomorrow. Just for comparison, this is what the chart USUALLY looks like for a five mile easy run:

All week long, the kids have been looking forward to tonight. I promised them Pizza Friday and a movie night. I picked them up from school, because I wanted to go get some sort of a fuel belt for the marathon (after yesterday's disaster with the SPI Belt, I wanted to try something else). I was going to go to Dunham's, but decided to check TJ Maxx first. And luckily, I found one! It was only $8, so I figured it was worth a try.

I like that it's very wide and flat, so I'm hoping that will keep it from bouncing. I'll give it a try tomorrow and see what happens.

For Pizza Friday, I was planning to go to the dine-in pizza place we usually go to, which is a good 35 minutes away. There are very limited options around here, and that one was the only dine-in pizza place (that I knew of). But Noah asked if we could pick up a pizza on the way home instead. There was a place nearby that I'd never been inside, but there are like five others around here, so I figured it was just like the rest of them.

When we walked inside, I was really surprised at how nice it was inside! I had NO idea that they had tables in there, and from the outside, the place looks much smaller than it is.

So we ended up staying there to eat, and it was great. Every time we get pizza, I plan on having two slices; and inevitably, I end up eating three, and then regretting that third slice. Today, I'm proud to say that I stuck with two! I certainly could have eaten more, but I knew that I'd regret going over my PointsPlus for the day.

We stopped for one more treat on the way home--popcorn from Target ;)  Since we were having a movie night at home, we picked up some popcorn from the little Target cafe. Sounds lame, but their popcorn is SO good! It's 8 PointsPlus, and I had already figured it into my meal plan for the week. Today was another day on track--that's three in a row! :)

We ended up watching Where the Red Fern Grows. Believe it or not, I'd never seen that movie before. It was the perfect movie to watch with my boys! It was hilarious how they couldn't believe that there was no electricity or TV or computers in the movie, though. They asked me if it was from 1,000 years ago--bahaha! 

September 26, 2013

Grandma's Game

Okay, so I've been trying to find a description of the solitaire game that I play online, since a lot of people are curious. It's hard to find any info when you don't know the name of it! My mom taught it to me when I was a kid (and her mom taught it to her...). My mom only won it one time, when she was pregnant with my older brother. I've been playing for probably 20 years, and I've NEVER won. But I still love to play!

I play it with real cards, not a digital version, because as far as I know, a digital version doesn't exist. When I did some digging around on Google today, I found this description of it, which is spot on! But it doesn't really help if you don't already know how to play it. Someone else was looking for it also, and posted the description, but nobody else knew what it was called. The closest game I can find is called Grandma's Game (also called Thirteen Packs).

Today's run was absolutely horrible. Everything seemed to go wrong, and it was like I was just destined to have a bad run today.

I had to get up super early (5:00) to drive someone to the airport, and when I got home, it was still dark outside, so I didn't head out right away. Instead, I watched the two-hour season premiere of Law & Order SVU and ate breakfast. I reeeally didn't want to run today, especially not 10 miles at a 8:58/mi pace!

When I thought of heading out, I just couldn't stand the idea of running my usual routes, so I procrastinated spent over an hour looking at maps to figure out a new place to run. I finally mapped out a 10-miler that goes between a couple of the Metroparks about 30 minutes away. I got dressed to run, and since I was "only" doing 10 miles, I didn't bring Gu or water or anything with me. I never need it on a 10-miler (famous last words).

I got about halfway there when I realized that I took our car that doesn't have a Metropark sticker on it. I didn't want to have to pay the $6 to get into the park when I have a perfectly good sticker at home, so I just decided to go somewhere else--the route that Jessica and I ran quite a bit when we were marathon training.

It didn't occur to me to think about how NOT shaded that route is, or about how I was starting my run at 10:30, when the sun was out in full force. I just really wanted to get it done. As soon as I started running, my legs felt clumsy and fatigued. You're never supposed to judge a run by the first mile, so I just prayed that it would get better. It didn't.

I had to carry my phone with me in case the school called about the kids, so I wore my SPI Belt. Ugh, I hate that thing! I cannot use it without it bouncing around like crazy. I was fiddling with that almost my entire run, and I was just so frustrated with it. I've tried it in front, in back, on each hip, facing out, facing in... it bounces no matter what.

I hit pace the first mile (actually, too fast), but after that, I just couldn't seem to get my pace to go faster than 9:15 ish, and then 9:30. It was creeping towards 10:00 as I continued on. I gave up trying to hit pace, and just focused on getting in the mileage. The sun was beating down on me, and I felt really hot and tired.

I ran five miles out, and then turned around. I started to feel REALLY thirsty, and I worried that I wouldn't be able to make it back to my car. I was kicking myself for not bringing water just in case. I saw a water bottle on the side of the road with some water in left in it, and I was seriously thinking about picking it up and drinking it. That's how desperate I was feeling.

I didn't have money with me, which was another mistake. I should have brought a couple of bucks to buy a water or something just in case! But I remembered that at mile eight, I'd be running past a recreation center, and I knew they had a water fountain. So I just hoped I'd make it until then. My mouth was really dry, and all I could focus on was getting to that water fountain.

Finally, I reached it, and drank way too much water there. We all know what happens when I drink too much water at once while running--stomach cramps. Awesome. But I was so thirsty that I didn't care. Almost immediately, the stomach cramps kicked in, and I had a sharp abdominal cramp where the stupid SPI Belt was resting bouncing around.

With a little over a mile to go, I had to cross an overpass, which is the only thing we have that resembles a hill around here. And it's a big one! When I got to the top, I stopped to give myself a goddamn break for a photo op.

Thanks to my small detour for the water fountain, I was a still a tenth of a mile from the car when my Garmin beeped that I'd done 10 miles; I was going to walk it, but wanted to be there so badly I just finished it out.

I'm actually surprised that my pace didn't end up in the 10:00's. I was trying to push it a little, since my goal was supposed to be 8:58 today. But wow, it was a tough run. Tomorrow, I just have a five-mile easy run on the schedule, and I'm looking forward to that! Five miles easy might as well be a rest day after all the miles I've been putting in during this Hansons' training. ;)

I had another great day on track as far as my food goes. I stuck to my food plan, including going out for a vanilla cone at McDonald's. The cones at McDonald's are my favorite way to spend 5 PointsPlus!

After dinner, Noah said to me, "Mama, there's a big black dog in our yard." So I went and looked out the window. I burst out laughing, because, well, THIS:

Yep, just a dog standing on a fire hydrant, nothing unusual. Bahaha, the neighbors had a car in their driveway that said "SIT MEANS SIT Dog Training", so I'm assuming that was the trainer's dog, showing off ;)

September 25, 2013


Today was Wednesday Weigh-in, and this is the first one I've done in about three weeks. It went pretty much exactly how I expected: not good. (I forgot to get a pic of the scale, so this will have to do...)

"A bit"? Hahaha, quite honestly, I was surprised it wasn't more. I only tracked my food for a couple of days over the past week, and there were another couple of days that were a free-for-all. I know that if I get back to tracking this week, I'll be back down next week. Then I just have to keep going to get back to goal (133)! The last time I was 133 for a weigh-in was July 3rd--yikes.

I stuck with my meal plan today, and I am just going to take it one day (and one meal) at a time. Having the meal plan typed out was actually really helpful today. As soon as I started to think about eating when I wasn't even hungry, I just thought, "Nope! It's not on the plan."

I tried to stay busy all day, so I wouldn't think about food--did some laundry, read my book. I even went around the house with the shop vac and vacuumed along the floorboards--that's desperation, hahaha. I put dinner in the Crock Pot, which makes it much less stressful at dinnertime. I hate when I don't have a plan for dinner, and I have to try and figure it out last-minute. I played a few games of solitaire, and lost (I swear, if I ever win that game, I am going straight to the store to get some lotto tickets).

For some reason, I was pretty nervous about pacing Jessica for her run today, and I didn't sleep much because of it. Weird, right? It's not like I was pacing her for a race! It was just a training run. Anyway, I got the kids ready for school, and when they got on the bus, I headed to meet Jessica.

We decided to run at the Metropark. I haven't run there in a while, so I was looking forward to a change of scenery. We did a lot of our Cleveland Marathon training runs there, so I had a bit of deja vu while I was driving there.

The plan was to run six miles at a 9:05 pace (the pace needed for a sub-2:00 half-marathon, which is her goal). Last week, she said she was only able to do one mile at that pace, but I knew she was capable of doing more than that, which is why I volunteered to pace her today. I'm not sure why having a pacer works so well, but whenever someone has paced me, I realize I'm capable of more than I thought I was!

I told her not to wear her Gamin, because I didn't want her to worry about the pace at all. As soon as we started running, we were right along the lake, and it was really windy. I hoped it wouldn't be that windy the whole time, and thankfully, it wasn't. We fell into pace pretty quickly, and we were fairly quiet for most of the run. We saw a bunch of deer at different spots on the trail.

Once we were about a half mile away from a high school right outside the park, we saw two teenage boys sitting on a bench playing handheld video games and smoking cigarettes. I'm sure they were skipping school! ;)  Jessica said, "Shouldn't you kids be in school?!" and they kind of stuttered and mumbled something about having graduated.

Jessica started struggling a little in the last couple of miles, and I was debating whether to slow down for her or just keep running at pace. I decided just to keep the pace and hope she'd be able to keep up! At around mile four, I suggested a 10-second walk break, to simulate a water station during a race. Ten seconds go by really fast in that situation, so I don't know if Jessica liked that or not! I was trying to think of ways to distract her, but I'm not very good at that. I was a little worried she was going to have to stop during the last mile, but I kept reminding her we were almost done.

When we had about a tenth of a mile to go, I told her if she pushed really hard, she could hit a sub-9:00 mile for that last split. So we picked up the pace a bit, and she did it! I think Jessica wanted to kill me for this workout when we were done, but once her breathing returned to normal, she was happy ;)

In my head, I was aiming for 9:00-9:05, so I was VERY happy with my ability to keep the pace in the zone and have such even splits. I don't think I'd ever want to be a pacer in a race, but it's fun to do during training runs!

September 24, 2013

Nipping the boredom eating

I decided to take today as my rest day instead of tomorrow, and it's thrown me off all day! My friend Jessica has been flirting with a sub-2:00 half-marathon all year, and she's really hoping to reach it at the Detroit Free Press Half-Marathon next month. But she's had a hard time hitting her paces in her training lately, so I told her that I would pace her during her six-miler tomorrow. Since tomorrow is normally my rest day, I just decided to rest today instead. Tomorrow, we'll run 6 miles at a 9:05 pace. (At least, that's the plan.... I hope I don't screw it up!)

I felt so guilty for not running today, which was stupid--I'm just swapping days, not skipping my run altogether! I spent most of the day just trying to keep my hands and mind busy so that I wouldn't binge :/  I don't know what the heck has been wrong with me this week, but I've had the hardest time staying on track. There isn't any reason for it, and I have no excuses. It just is what it is.

I took an hour or so today to write out a meal plan for the entire week, starting tomorrow. I wrote out all of my meals and snacks, with PointsPlus values, and printed it out. I'm hoping that having the structure of a meal plan will help me to stop the eating out of boredom or for emotional reasons. I've gone through periods like this before, and in the past, it's lasted for weeks or months... I'm just hoping I can nip this NOW, before it gets out of control. Usually, I do really well in the fall!

I had a thought the other day as I was running: I never slack off on or skip my runs. Running is just a part of my daily life, something I do whether I want to or not. And even during runs, when it feels really tough and I just want to quit, I somehow dig really deep and find the determination to continue. So why don't I use that same determination on my diet? I did when I was losing the weight in 2009-2010. I wouldn't have let anything stop me! But now, I am just having a really hard time getting back to that mindset. So it's definitely something to work on. 

I started playing my favorite solitaire game again as a way to keep my hands busy without eating. It worked today. I really don't have any reason to be "bored", because I have lots of housework and blogwork and stuff like that I can do all day. But when the house is quiet, the kids are at school, and Jerry's at work, I tend to gravitate toward the kitchen. So this afternoon, I probably played 10 games of solitaire. I've still NEVER won that game, and I've been playing it since I was a child. I wish I knew the name of it. Maybe I'll make a YouTube video of it one day to see if anyone else knows what it is! ;)

My books finally came in at the library, so I have something to read, now, too. I've been hooked on Lisa Gardner all summer. I read all of the D.D. Warren series, and now I'm on the second book of the Quincy and Rainie series. My local library system seems to be going digital for older books like these ones (you can download digital copies, but they don't have the hard copies anymore), so I had to request them from another library system, which took a couple of weeks. I am just not into digital books; I can't imagine reading from a screen instead of holding a paperback. I like to hold the actual book! But I imagine that some day, I won't have a choice.

For Taste Test Tuesday, I bought this fat-free hummus:

It's Oasis Zero Fat Roasted Red Pepper Hommus. I was a little skeptical about how it would taste, because of it being fat free--usually the tahini is a main ingredient in hummus, and wasn't sure how it would taste without that. The ingredients were very simple, though, which I liked: chickpeas, water, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, fresh garlic, sea salt.

I love red peppers, so I bought a red pepper to slice and dip into the hummus. This hummus is definitely a calorie-bargain... there are only 24 calories in a 2 Tbsp. serving! When I entered it into the Weight Watchers calculator, I saw that I could have 2 servings for 1 PointsPlus.

I wish I could say that I loved this hummus. It was good--not great--but I definitely like hummus with fat in it, because it feels creamier. The texture of this was like baby food. It was very smooth, but you could tell there wasn't any fat in it, because it didn't have that creaminess you get from something with fat. But, for mindless munching without a lot of calories, this would definitely do the trick!

I'm trying to finalize plans for Chicago, and I'm going to be in the city on Saturday and Sunday night (October 12 and 13). A couple of people had asked me a while ago about a meet-up of some sort. Is this something that would interest any of you? It's hard to plan, since Chicago isn't my city, but I'd love to try. Feel free to send me an e-mail if you'll be around then, and want to meet up!

September 23, 2013

Motivational Monday #33

Happy Motivational Monday! I am having a hell of a time getting and staying on track over the past few weeks (well, all summer, really!). I'm happy that I've managed to keep my summer weight gain to just five pounds, but now I really want to take that off. Our local ice cream shop will be closing for the season soon, and let me say, I will be relieved when it does! ;)

Anyway, I can sure use a dose of motivation today...

Alice had been working hard for over a year to reach a goal of a sub-25 5K--and yesterday, she did it! She finished it in 24:45. She's crossing her fingers that she'll get accepted into the London Marathon, and will find out next month; if she does, then she's got a 4:30:00 goal in mind!

Amanda ran her first 5K this weekend! It was very tough, but she pushed herself through the hills and finished. She's very excited to do more races now, and has her sights set on the Rock & Roll Half-Marathon in Cleveland next year!

Amy is in her fourth week of half-marathon training, and she just ran her longest distance to date--6 miles! She is slowly but surely making changes that she can live with forever, and has developed a love for running. Her favorite post-run treat? Mini Blue Bell ice cream cups!

Andy just completed her very first race! She ran the Sydney Blackmores Bridge Run, which is a 9K that goes over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. She loved the race, and is very excited to do it with her sister next year. Her husband brought their kiddos along to cheer her on at the finish line. Andy's next goal is a half-marathon!

Jennifer and a few friends ran the Women Rock 10K race in Chicago along Lake Michigan. As if that wasn't enough for one weekend, Jennifer then ran 16 miles the next day--a new distance PR! 

Rachel had thought about getting into running, but the idea of doing a 5K seemed very scary and impossible to her. However, on Saturday, she discovered last minute that the Colorado Alzheimer's Association was having their annual Walk to End Alzheimer's. The cause hit close to home for her, because her family has been heavily affected by the disease, and she finally decided that she was going to do it. She and her mom registered as "Charlie's Angels", in honor of her Grandma Charlie, who is battling Alzheimer's. The two of them were nervous for the race, but as soon as they crossed the starting line, they were motivated to finish. They crossed the finish line in 40 minutes, and were very proud to have honored Grandma Charlie that way. Rachel realized that there is no reason to be afraid of a race, and is looking forward to running another 5K in October!

Sara started losing weight 14 months ago, and to date, has lost nearly 90 pounds! She ran her first 5K race in May, and enjoyed it so much, she immediately signed up for a 10K. Due to bad shin splints, her training suffered, and she wasn't able to run the distance without taking walk breaks, which made her worry about meeting the cut-off time at the race (1:20:00). The race was Saturday, and despite her worry, she did it! She ran the entire way, and finished in 1:12:55.

As a stay-at-home mom of SIX children (only three of which are school-age), Anita always thought she just didn't have the time to exercise. She finally decided she was done making excuses, and she looked up races in her area. She discovered a women's 5K on her 35th birthday. She started training, and despite some setbacks along the way, she finished the race this weekend! Her fastest 5K time in training was 57 minutes, so she was stunned when she crossed the finish line in 46 minutes!

Bethany ran her first half-marathon in a crazy-fast 1:50:56! Her goal was to finish under two hours, so she crushed her goal time. After losing 50 pounds, she reached her goal weight a year ago, and has kept it off ever since!

After training for nearly a year, Jessica just completed her first half-marathon! She was training hard, and even ran the half-marathon distance on her treadmill around Christmastime; and then her father became very sick, so her training took a back seat to her visits to see him. She did what she could manage as far as her training. Just two weeks before the race, her father died. Even though it seemed she had every reason not to go to the race, she chose to run it anyway--and she finished (in the pouring rain) in 2:42!

Jessica ran her first 10K (her farthest distance yet) in 1:08! She started running about a year ago, when she joined Weight Watchers; she's since lost 110 pounds and has reached her goal weight! She never dreamed she'd be a runner, but she loves the way she feels after a good run. (Jessica's blog)

Jill just returned home from a week at The Biggest Loser Resort in Chicago! She lost 100 pounds on her own, was stuck for a few months, and then was lucky enough to win this trip. She said the workouts were insanely hard, for 4-5 hours per day, but she learned that her body is capable of doing things she never imagined she could do! That's her training on her back in the top left; and in the top right she is between Hannah and Olivia, winners of TBL Season 11. (Jill's blog)

Don't forget to check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post for more stories (and to share your own)!

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