November 30, 2013

Renee's surprise party

Renee's surprise party turned out so great last night! I honestly didn't think she'd be surprised, because the location of the party was a place where you couldn't bring someone without that person getting suspicious. I figured her husband, Dave, would have to tell her just before the party (at least) to get her in there.

When I got there, I asked Rachael (a friend who did a lot of the planning) what the story was. She said that Renee thought she was going to a benefit concert given by a close family friend. And knowing Renee, this was a PERFECT way to get her in there! I got there a little before 6:30, and a bunch of our mutual friends were there. I had a small glass of wine and tried to avoid the snacks.

Dave, Renee, and their three boys arrived at 7:00. John, the man whose concert Renee thought she was attending, was playing some music and instructed us to sing Happy Birthday as Renee walked in.  As soon as she walked in the room, and we started singing, Renee started crying and she was SO shocked. I think we all had tears when we saw her reaction. It was great!

She doesn't look anywhere NEAR 40!
I chatted with Jessica and Tammy for a while. I hadn't planned to have any cake, but when I saw how good it looked, my intentions went out the window. I took a piece, which wasn't a huge piece, but it was the corner piece, which was loaded with frosting. It was probably a 4:1 ratio of frosting to cake! I know a lot of people don't like that, but the frosting is my favorite part of cake, so I was in heaven.

After I ate that, I started feeling really guilty. If I had planned on eating it, and worked it into my budget for the week, then I wouldn't feel guilty about it at all. But I spent a huge chunk of my weekly PointsPlus on it, which left me very little until Wednesday, when my PointsPlus reset for a new week.  I know I shouldn't feel guilty, because what's done is done, but it bothered me that I was so impulsive in eating it.

Anyway, I stayed until about 9:00. I was glad that Renee opened her gifts before I left, because I was excited about what I got her! She loves heels, and after a race sometimes, she'll even buy a pair of heels to celebrate. She also loves wine (our wine club was her idea), and we get together for wine and chit chat sometimes. So when I saw this wine bottle holder, I just had to buy it for her!

Isn't it cute? They had a few different colors, but this was the flashiest ;)

Yesterday, Jerry asked me to make him some Cookie Dough Hummus to take to work. The chocolate chips were already locked up in the Kitchen Safe, so I had to go buy another bag to make the hummus. I doubled the recipe, but still only used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. I should have dumped them out in the trash, but I put them away in the pantry without even thinking about it.

You can see where this is leading...

Today, I was feeling stressed out and binge-y, and the chocolate chips popped into my head. Grr! The Kitchen Safe has truly been a lifesaver for me, because my trouble foods are locked up for most of the day. But once I thought of those leftover chocolate chips, I couldn't stop thinking about them. And then when the kids started driving me crazy after dinner, I took "just a tablespoon". Which led to another. And then another. I finally ended up dumping the rest out, but not before I'd eaten most of the bag!

I'm going to try REALLY hard to get right back on track. Rather than depleting all of my weekly PointsPlus and starving for the next few days, I'm just going to write it off as if it didn't happen, and still maintain the same weekly PP I would have had if I hadn't binged on the chocolate chips. I need to just forget about the cake and the chocolate chips and go right back into my usual routine.

I had a fantastic run this morning! I only had three miles on the schedule at an easy pace, which I was actually looking forward to. It was a little windy, but not terrible. My easy pace is 9:15, so I tried to stay close to that pace.

Today was one of those runs where I really enjoyed it. It felt nice to be outside in the cold air and getting in some exercise!

November 29, 2013

Pace run

I was completely dreading my run this morning, which was kind of ridiculous--it was only three miles! But it was a half-marathon pace run, and since I started my new training schedule this week, that meant a pace of 8:15/mi. That's not grueling, but it's not exactly comfortable!

I was procrastinating all morning, and then my sister called. She laughed when I told her how much I was dreading it, and said, "Just think of it this way--you'll be done in 25 minutes!" That made me think of how if I'd just gone out to run when I first started thinking of it, I would've been done hours beforehand ;)

I finally got dressed to go run outside. The weather was great this morning--no wind at all, and 25 degrees, with sun. The sun is my enemy in the summer, but when it's cold during the winter, the sun feels pretty nice. I tried not to feel pressure to hit my goal pace (I have 18 weeks to train!), but when I set a particular goal, especially while running, I always put pressure on myself to hit it.

I started out way too fast, but caught myself just a quarter-mile in, and slowed it down. I really should make my goal pace 8:25, because then I will likely hit 8:15. By setting it at 8:15, I was hitting 8:05. To reach my half-marathon goal of 1:49:59, I would need a pace of 8:24, so I'd like to keep it between 8:15-8:20 during training, for a little wiggle room.

Anyway, my legs were feeling better today (yesterday, they were pretty sore from the intervals I did on Wednesday). I was breathing a little hard, but the pace wasn't torturous. I finished with a pace of 8:05 for the three miles, and felt good.

After today's run, I don't think I'll dread the half-marathon pace runs anymore. I was just nervous today because it was the first of many, and I wasn't sure how that pace was going to feel. Actually, today made me a little more confident that I might *actually* reach my goal in the spring! It's a very lofty goal, and I knew that when I set it. But I remember thinking that "Enter a 5K race and RUN it" was a lofty goal that was nearly impossible! ;)

I had plans of just sitting at home all day, because I didn't want to have to deal with crowds of shoppers; but I'd forgotten that I had to weigh in at Weight Watchers for November. Jerry had to weigh in, also, so we went together this afternoon. My weight was fine, so I'm good to go for another month. I know I keep saying this, but I'd like to pick a meeting and start going weekly again. It helps to know that I have to be accountable to someone each week.

After we did our weigh-in, we were right by a bunch of stores; and since we had nothing better to do, we decided to go into a couple of stores to see if there were any good sales. I went into PetSmart to get another box of those cushions that the cats like (there are two in a box, and the four cats have been fighting over them), so now they each have one.

Kohl's, which is a couple of doors down from PetSmart, looked insanely crowded; I'm glad we didn't go in there! We stopped at Wal-Mart and got a couple of Christmas gifts for the kids. Surprisingly, Wal-Mart wasn't too crowded.

After dinner this evening, the kids were fighting and my nerves were just shot. I had a strong urge to binge. I've realized over the past few years that when the kids are fighting and driving me crazy, the urge to binge eat gets really strong. I recognize what's going on, but sometimes, it's hard to stop. Today, though, I managed to resist. Today is Day 18 of a binge-free streak, and I'd hate to ruin that now! It's a lot easier to resist on Day 18 than it is on Day 1 or 2, so I just kept reminding myself of that.

When this post goes live, I'll be at a birthday party for Renee. Her husband is throwing her a surprise party for her 40th! I'm just hoping that I can resist diving head-first into birthday cake ;)

November 28, 2013

First snowy run of the season

I was a little surprised when I looked out the window this morning and saw snow on the street! I had no idea it was going to snow. Judging by Facebook, I'm the only one who didn't do a Turkey Trot race today. There is a big Turkey Trot in Detroit, but last year was a ginormous mess, and people were really angry about it, so I had no desire to give it a try. And with the snow this morning, I'm glad I was at home.

I had four miles at easy run pace (9:14/mi) on the schedule this morning. Yesterday, I bought a couple of new warm tops at Wal-Mart to run in, so I was looking forward to wearing one today. The snow was still coming down when I woke up, so I figured I'd better head out for my run as soon as it was light outside, before the snow got too bad.

Normally, I'm not a big fan of snow, but it was SO nice to run in the light snow this morning! There was probably about a quarter-inch on the streets, and most of the streets were undisturbed when I went out at 7:30. It's easier to run on fresh snow than it is on packed snow. The snow wasn't deep enough for me to need IceSpikes, so I just wore my regular running shoes.

I was being careful with my footing, so I wasn't sure how my pace would turn out, but I ended up running faster than planned, so the snow didn't hold me back at all. My legs were definitely sore, though, from yesterday's intervals! Maybe I should have eased into the intervals for a couple of weeks ;)  I didn't come across a single soul for most of the run, and it was really peaceful, especially with the snow still falling.

I tried to get a picture of my new shirt, but it's really hard to see in this picture:

It looks red in the pic, but it's actually bright pink. It has a wide turtleneck, which is nice for blocking wind without feeling like I'm strangling. And the sleeves have thumbholes, which I'm a huge fan of!

We had plans to go to my parents' house for an early dinner, at 3:00. After I took a hot shower, I dressed in my favorite sweats and curled up on the couch with a book and some tea. It felt good to relax for a little while! Noah had spent the night at a friend's house last night, and Eli stayed at my parents' house, so the house was pretty quiet.

Before I went to my parents' house, I made my plan for dinner. I didn't want to get there, see all the food, and throw my good intentions out the window. I ended up spending 19 PointsPlus on dinner:

Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, a crescent roll, and my favorite--sweet potato casserole. After I ate all that, I wanted to eat seconds, but I was feeling pretty full, so I forced myself to stop. I had a couple of bites of Reese's Cup Pie for dessert, and counted that as 2 PointsPlus. The only thing that I ate that I hadn't counted on ahead of time was the crescent roll. It slipped my mind when I was planning out my food. But over all, I'm very happy with the fact that I stayed on track! And I didn't bring home any leftovers.

Other than my run tomorrow morning, I don't have anything planned. I am not a Black Friday shopper, and I usually avoid going anywhere the day after Thanksgiving! I'll probably read some more of my book.

I wrote this on Facebook, but I want to write it here as well...

I just want to say a big THANK YOU to each and every one of you that reads my blog--whether you are a quiet lurker or a regular commenter, I appreciate it so much! This blog has helped me through some really tough times, and has helped me celebrate my accomplishments, and for that, I am so thankful. I've had some really amazing opportunities because of this blog, and I know that is due to all of you who read it. So thank you!!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. And if you're braving the stores tomorrow, I hope you find some awesome deals ;)

November 27, 2013

Treadmill torture

Today I had intervals on the schedule--my favorite! (Just kidding, I hate them). I actually prefer doing intervals on the treadmill rather than the street or a track, because I can just set the pace and suffer through it without putting much thought into it. Since I got my new Garmin, however, I wasn't sure about doing intervals on the treadmill. The Garmin wasn't very accurate the last time I used it, and intervals aren't really the best time to test it out.

Rather than setting up the Garmin to do quarter-mile intervals automatically, I decided just to manually push the lap button every quarter mile (distance according to the treadmill). There really wasn't any point to wearing the Garmin other than for my heart rate and to test it out and see how well it worked on the treadmill.

My plan was to do 12 x 400 at about a 7:00/mi pace. (Basically, that means I would run a quarter mile at a 7:00/mi pace, then jog a quarter mile slowly, and repeat for a total of 12 times.) I started the treadmill, and started my Garmin, and started with a jog segment to warm up a little. Then, just before the treadmill read 0.25 miles, I hit the lap button on my Garmin and bumped the speed up to 8.6 mph (a 6:58/mi pace). I ran that until the treadmill read 0.5 miles, then I lowered the speed to 6.2 (a 9:40/mi pace).

That first interval made me realize that I am not in the same shape I was in February! It was HARD. I used to do my 400's at 9.3 mph (about a 6:30 mile pace, I think). That wasn't going to happen today, and I decided to reduce my fast intervals to a 7:19/mi pace (8.2 mph) after that. I kept repeating the intervals, hitting the lap button every quarter mile.

About four intervals in, I thought there was NO way I was going to be able to do 12! Since this workout was from the Hansons' Marathon Method, it really wasn't necessary to do that many for half-marathon training. For marathon training, they recommend three miles worth of fast speed work (which is where the 12 comes from--12 quarter-miles is 3 miles total). Maybe I was just looking for an excuse to quit early, but I decided to go back to doing 2 miles worth of speed (8 hard quarter-mile intervals). That's what I used to do last winter, and it worked out well.

After my sixth interval, I got nauseous, and truly thought I was going to puke. I ended up slowing the recovery jog to a 10:00/mi pace instead of 9:40. I was dying to walk, but I wanted to stay as consistent as possible for the sake of testing out my Garmin (which I could already see was failing miserably!).

My stomach was getting really queasy, and I couldn't wait to be done. After the eighth interval, I stopped the treadmill and went over to the kitchen sink. I hung over the sink for a couple of minutes, thinking I was going to puke, but the nausea passed. After a couple of minutes, I realized I'd forgotten to stop my Garmin (dammit!) after the last interval. Thankfully, I noticed it after 2 minutes rather than 20.

Looking at my stats, it's very clear that my Garmin is super inaccurate on the treadmill without the foot pod. I made a little comparison chart to show the difference:

The first two columns are the paces shown, on the treadmill and on the Garmin. The third column shows my average heart rate. For reference, on an easy run, my heart rate is usually about 150. Today's intervals had my heart rate get up as high as 98% of my maximum! Ain't no way that was done with a 9:00-something mile, like the Garmin showed.

My heart rate chart was just what I expected it to look like:

But the pace chart was all screwed up:

I'm going to give the Garmin another shot when I'm NOT doing intervals, but it looks like I'm going to have to continue to use the foot pod for accuracy. The foot pod is extremely accurate, as tested on a 400-meter track.

Tough run today!

After I nearly puked from my interval run, I went in the bathroom to take a shower, and Paolo ran in there, hopped in the tub, and started meowing for me to turn on the water. He's gotten SO spoiled with the running water, and now he doesn't like to drink out of his bowl. So after I took a shower, I decided to go buy him an early Christmas present--a water fountain for pets.

I picked up the boys from school, because they had a half-day, and we went to PetSmart. The ones that I really liked (ceramic or silver) were over $100! So I chose a large plastic one. They had small ones that were cheaper, but with four cats, I think it's safe to say we needed a large one.

As soon as we got home, I set up the fountain, and Paolo was in love. He wouldn't leave! It was like he was worried I was going to turn it off as soon as he walked away.

He is one very happy cat right now. While I was at PetSmart, I saw these bedding pads that I thought would be good to put on the new couch so the cats are more attracted to those than the leather. They're called "Mysterious Purr Padds"--I'm not sure what the mystery is, but they looked like something the cats would like, and I was right.

This picture is completely shocking, because Estelle HATES Paolo with a passion. She's always looking for reasons to swat at him and start fights. If she's lying on my bed (which is a queen sized bed) and Paolo jumps up there, even on the other side, she'll go hit him and then run into the living room. She just can't stand to be near him.

There were two pads in the box, and Paolo claimed this one, while Chandler claimed the other. Chandler is so big that there wasn't room for Estelle, so Estelle actually chose to sleep next to Paolo.

I almost forgot! Today was my Wednesday Weigh-in...

I painted my nail bed! Now it looks like I have a toe nail.
I was 136.5, which means I'm down 1.5 pounds from last week. I'm very happy with that! I've always weighed myself daily (or nearly every day), and this week, my weight was climbing all week long. I was 100% on track all week, but my weight went from 138 to 138.5, 139, 139.5, 140... and then 137 the next day, and 136.5 today. It was frustrating, because I knew I was doing everything right. But I've been doing this so long that I know when to get concerned about "real" gain vs. water gain, and this was definitely water gain. I'm just glad it came off before my "official" weigh in today.

I had a good week, so I'm hoping to continue on!

November 26, 2013

Catching Fire

Yesterday was my long run. It felt kind of weird to do it on a Monday, but I think I'm going to like the change from Fridays to Mondays. Yesterday's long run was only six miles, so it didn't really feel like a long run regardless.

I decided to do an out-and-back route, at my long run pace of 8:53/mile. It was really cold and pretty windy, and I wish I'd taken the wind into consideration when I decided what route to do. My typical out-and-back goes down a road that is mostly open fields, which means there is nothing to block the wind.

It felt SO HARD. I thought, "It's too windy for this pace! I should just forget trying to hit my target pace, and run very easy. Running six miles like this is going to be grueling." But yesterday was the first day of my winter training, and I didn't want to start out like that! So rather than thinking of the fact that I had to run six miles at an 8:53 pace, I thought of the fact that I only had to run three miles at that effort level. The wind was killer on the way out, and I was really struggling to maintain pace. But I reminded myself that once I turned around, it would be a cake walk home.

And sure enough, at the three-mile mark, I turned around, and my effort level went way down. The same pace felt ten times easier than it had on the way out. I don't ever remember it being as windy as it's been here lately! Anyway, my first training run was a success.

Last night, I went to the movies with my dad. My mom was having some ladies from her church come over, so my dad wanted to get out of the house while they were there. He'd read The Hunger Games book series, so he asked me if I wanted to see Catching Fire with him. I loved those books, so I was excited to see the movie!

The movie ended up being really good. I couldn't remember much about the book, so it actually felt suspenseful to me. I think I actually liked Catching Fire better than The Hunger Games. Now I'm really excited to see Mockingjay when it comes out!

Today was a tough day as far as food goes, because I only had 27 PointsPlus to work with. I used up the rest of my weekly PointsPlus on Sunday (except for one). Yesterday, I earned 8 Activity PP, so I had 34 to work with (26+8), which isn't bad. But today was my rest day, so I didn't earn any Activity PP, and I only had 1 remaining weekly PP. It's hard to only have 27!

Tomorrow is my weigh-in day, so my week starts fresh. I'm going to go back to dividing up my weekly PP so that I use 7 per day, giving me 33 to start with, adding in my Activity PP each day. I find it much easier to stay on track when I divide it up evenly at the beginning of the week like that.

We're going to my parents' house for dinner on Thursday, but Thanksgiving dinner has never really been a problem for me. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all that is okay, but the only food that I really look forward to is sweet potato casserole. It's loaded with butter and sugar, so a small portion of it is pretty caloric. But I'll plan out my meal before I go, so I'll be prepared. Anyone have big plans this holiday weekend? My kids have a half-day of school tomorrow, and then they don't go back until Tuesday! When I was a kid, we never got that much time off for Thanksgiving.

November 25, 2013

Motivational Monday #42

Happy Motivational Monday! I'm currently on Day 14 of a binge-free streak, and it's getting easier now. I've been 100% on track all week, so I'm proud of myself for that :)

My winter training started today. I'm a little bummed, because it has truly felt like winter here in Michigan for a couple of weeks now. It's super cold!! I feel like we skipped over fall completely, and fall is my favorite season. Anyway, I'm looking forward to my winter training, and hopefully hitting some new PR's in the spring!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Let's see some of your accomplishments...

Amanda and her husband started their "health journey" in January of this year. They have lost a collective 100 pounds! The couple goes to St. Louis every fall, and Amanda was pretty shocked when she saw the difference in her pictures from last year and this year. She's lost 70 pounds!

Brandy and a few of her friends just ran the Route 66 Half-Marathon in Tulsa, in freezing 23-degree temps! It was Brandy's second half-marathon and her friends' first. They all did great! (I'm cold just looking at that photo).

Carolyn just celebrated her one-year "fitness-versary"; she's lost over 60 pounds with Weight Watchers, and has become a runner! She ran her first half-marathon, the Chicago Half, in September. (Carolyn's blog)

After taking several weeks off of running due to a stress fracture, Nicole had a great run this weekend! She took her boyfriend and her sisters to The Color Run in Melbourne, and even got her non-running younger sister to run intervals with her. They had a blast at the race, and got very messy. Next up is her first half-marathon in two weeks! (Nicole's race report)

Jenna just reached a huge milestone in her weight loss--she's down 50 pounds! In January, after her daughter was born, she filled her house with healthy foods and started doing Zumba to get in shape. She's excited that she now has the energy to be an active mom to her two kids. (Jenna's blog)

Mindy just ran her first marathon relay. Her team was very unique in that each member has lost over 100 pounds!

After a two year hiatus from running due to foot surgery, Stacie just ran her first post-op half-marathon! She's lost about 45 pounds over the past year, and she finished her race in 2:18:54--a 10-minute PR! (Stacie's race report)

After losing 120 pounds and becoming a runner, Shannon just completed her THIRD half-marathon this weekend in 1:58, beating her goal of 2:00! She ran the Magic City Half, which is a race that benefits Ruben Studdard's charity for music education. Shannon is passionate about music, and was excited to be able to meet Ruben at the race (he was running the 5K). (Shannon's blog)

Don't forget to check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post, and share your own accomplishments for the week!

November 24, 2013

Winter training schedule

It was ridiculously cold this morning. Eli had a party to go to at noon, so I wanted to get my run done in the morning. The temp was 14 degrees, with a "feels like" temp of 5. FIVE. I dressed for the cold and headed out at around 8:30. When I opened the door, Phoebe snuck out the door and took off.

I planned to just run 3 miles at a 9:15-ish pace. It felt pretty good today! I do love running in the cold,  and when I'm dressed for it, it makes for a nice run. I briefly thought about going farther than four miles, but decided against it, because I knew Phoebe was going to be waiting to get back into the house. And sure enough, when I turned onto my street, she saw me and went running to the door.

She seemed so annoyed that instead of letting her inside right away, I was trying to get her picture ;)

After I took a hot shower, I decided to rewrite my training plan for this winter. Hahaha, I spent hours working on a very elaborate plan a few weeks ago, but because I enjoyed the Hansons Marathon Method of training for the Chicago Marathon, I decided I wanted to try out their half-marathon plan. So I used that as a base, and I made a few changes.

I'm going to do my long runs on Mondays. I like doing them on a weekday, and I thought it would be fun to change it up from Friday. I'm going to make Tuesdays my rest day, because I weigh in on Wednesdays, and I like to start my week with some Activity PointsPlus. I made the pace runs on Thursdays top out at 12 miles instead of 7. The speed work that I chose is from the advanced marathon training schedule. Anyway, this is what my training looks like for the next several months:

I've chosen my goal half-marathon race as the Rock CF Half in Grosse Ile on March 30. I really disliked that race when I did it last year, but I figured it would be better to do my goal race before the Ragnar SoCal rather than after it (since I plan to rehydrate after SoCal with plenty of margaritas!). However, I also scheduled a "back-up" race for the weekend after Ragnar: the Martian Half-Marathon in Dearborn on April 12. I really love the Martian, and that's where my current PR of 1:52:07 was run! So if I don't hit my goal at the Rock CF race, I'll try again at Martian.

My goal for the Rock CF Half is sub-1:50, which is an 8:24/mi pace (for a 1:49:59 finish). I'm aiming for an 8:15 pace for my pace runs on Fridays, however, just for a little cushion. I don't want the 8:24 pace to feel ridiculously hard on race day. I always tend to train a little faster than I actually run at the race, for some reason.

Writing all that out makes me a little nervous! I hope I'm not setting myself up to fail at this goal, but it definitely gives me something to work hard for. If I do it, I'll know that it was because I worked my ass off! If I don't, then, I'll just keep trying, I guess ;)

This afternoon, I took Eli to his friend's Bon Voyage party at an indoor water park. I told Noah that I would take him and just pay for him to get in, while Eli did the party, and Jerry ended up coming along, also. We'd only been there once before, and it was in November 2009; I was about 235 pounds at the time. I had lost almost 20 pounds at that point, but I was still really embarrassed to be in a bathing suit. I didn't go down the slides or play with the kids or anything while I was there.

Today, I wasn't planning to swim. I brought my suit, but I really hate swimming, so I didn't want to. But the kids were having fun going down the slides, and Jerry went down the slides with them; I just felt the same way I did at 235 pounds. I didn't want to be the mom that sits there and doesn't do anything (because I was that mom before I lost the weight!), so I changed into my bathing suit and asked the kids to show me their favorite slides. I went down the slides a few times with them.

I was very self-conscious of my thighs, because they are the tell-tale sign that I've lost a lot of weight. But I tried not to think much about it, and just tried to have fun playing with the kids. I'm glad I ended up doing it, because the kids were really excited that I went down the slides with them!

Just a reminder, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a picture of a health/fitness accomplishment you'd like to share this week, you can e-mail it to slimkatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com with the subject "Motivational Monday". Include a short description, and I may post it on the blog tomorrow!

November 23, 2013

Feeling fat after weight loss

Last night's lazy evening turned into a lazy morning as well. I finished my book this morning, and was definitely procrastinating going out for a run--it was SO windy! The wind was at 16 mph, and the gusts were 30 mph. We could hear it whistling  really loudly from inside the house, and I was thinking how difficult it was going to be to run in that. I could have done the treadmill, but I was just going to run 3-4 miles, and I thought it might be a nice adventure to go out in that wind.

The "RealFeel" temp was just 16 degrees, so I dressed pretty warm (long-sleeved shirt and a fleece over it, ear warmer headband, and gloves). I wanted to do a faster paced run, so I was aiming for sub-9:00 miles; but I wasn't sure what would happen, because of the wind.

It ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be. I decided to stay in the neighborhoods, so that the houses would at least block the wind somewhat. Because I was doing a big loop, I didn't have the usual headwind and tailwind like I do with an out-and-back; it was coming from all different directions, based on which way I was headed.

It was kind of funny, because I was running along just fine and then a gust would hit, and it was all I could do to stay upright. It felt like I was running in place. But my pace was pretty good, despite the wind, so it wasn't all bad. I knew I would do either three or four miles, depending on how I felt, and since I was feeling pretty good, I did four. The last mile was definitely the toughest, because that's when I had a headwind and the houses were spaced farther from the road; the gusts were terrible that last half-mile! Interestingly, that was also my fastest mile. I was happy with the 8:30 average pace, especially in this wind.

I got an e-mail yesterday that really hit home with me, and I wanted to bring it up here. A reader wrote that she's lost 91 pounds this year (with a goal of 100 total), and her mind is having a very hard time catching up with her body. She's gone from a size 24 to a size 12, but she still "feels fat"; she feels undeserving of compliments, and gets embarrassed when someone mentions her weight loss. She thought she'd be overjoyed with her weight loss, but she's still waiting for that to kick in. She was wondering if I felt like this after losing the weight.

I honestly could have written the e-mail myself! I know exactly what she's going through. I compare it to calling myself a "runner". When I started running, I felt like an impostor; I wasn't a "real" runner! It took me nearly a YEAR before I would use the word "runner" when referring to myself. I was doing all the same things that "real runners" did, but I just felt embarrassed to use that word.

It was the same with my weight loss. When I first lost the weight, I didn't really know when it was okay to refer to myself as "thin" or "normal"; and I certainly would never use the word "skinny"! When I would shop in the misses department, instead of the plus size department, I felt like everyone was looking at me and thinking, "Why is she shopping here? Doesn't she realize she can't fit into these clothes?"

The scale showed that I was a normal weight, my jeans were a "normal" size, my body measurements were great; but I still couldn't really believe that it was ME. It's hard to describe, but even though all the numbers showed I was "normal", I felt like I still looked the same as before. I felt undeserving of compliments, and I felt like people were just complimenting me because they knew I was working hard at losing weight. I didn't actually believe them.

It's taken a VERY long time, but it's gotten a lot better over the past few years. I can accept compliments and I believe that they are genuine; I see a thin person when I look at photos of me (although I still don't see it in the mirror, unfortunately); I stopped feeling like people were staring when shopping in the misses or juniors department; and I'm pretty confident that unless people know my story, they can't tell that I used to be morbidly obese.

Getting to this point took a lot of time. Just like with calling myself a runner--it wasn't until I lived as a runner for nearly a year that I felt comfortable with that word. I had to live as a normal-weight person for a long time before I started to think of myself a normal-weight person, or even to just stop thinking of myself as obese. (I still have a hard time using the word "thin").

I think that it's completely normal to have those thoughts. A lot of the people I know who have lost a large amount of weight felt the same way when reaching goal. They said it took a long time before they stopped feeling fat. I always liked to look at before and current pictures of myself just to prove to myself that I really did look different, and that I had lost the weight! It's nice to see how far I've come, and remind myself that I never want to go back. I'm really proud of everything that I've accomplished!

November 22, 2013

Free Friday

Thanks so much for all of the book ideas yesterday! My library queue is now long enough to last me at least a year or two ;)

All the rain we've gotten makes it feel like April. This morning, I woke up to more rain. After getting the kids off to school, I was trying to stall before heading out for my long run. I was hoping that the rain would die down a bit to give me some time to run without getting soaked. I like to run in the rain if it's a short run, but when it's longer than four miles or so, my feet get wet and that's not fun.

Finally, at around 10:30, I decided to just go, even though it was still raining. I always forget about the jacket that I got from the Women Rock MN half-marathon, but it's a good jacket for the rain. Very light-weight and water resistant. So I threw that on over my shirt. It took me about five minutes to get ready, and by the time I stepped outside, the rain had become just a drizzle. Much better than big fat rain drops! I planned to do an eight-mile out-and-back route, keeping my pace between 9:15-9:30 ish.

Thankfully, the wind wasn't bad today. While I was running, I thought a lot about my friend, Sarah. She's battling advanced melanoma, and recently, she got some bad news. They discovered the cancer had spread to her brain, and she was on chemo for that. She'd had three tumors on her brain, and now she just found out, after stopping the chemo, she has over a hundred. Because of this, she no longer qualifies for the clinical trial she'd been hoping for. Now, they are going to try radiation over her whole body, to try to shrink the tumors and alleviate the pain. I really hope it works for her.

I just feel so sad for her. We were really close in high school (and went tanning together all the time, before we knew how bad it was!). She has two kids who are just a little older than Noah and Eli. Anyway, while I was running today, every time I found myself thinking about how much I'd rather be doing something else, I thought of Sarah. I'm sure she'd give just about anything to be able to walk normally (the original melanoma was on her calf, and the surgeries have made walking difficult), let alone run.

I turned around at mile four and headed back. I think I felt better on the way home than on the way out; my energy picked up a little. By mile six, though, my feet were definitely wet. Once I hit mile seven, I picked up the pace a little to have a sub-9:00 mile. I always like to finish feeling strong!

My splits were ridiculously even, without even trying. After chugging some water, I took a quick shower and headed to the store. I'd forgotten that I had some "Free Friday" coupons downloaded to my Kroger card that were going to expire soon, so I wanted to use them before they expired. Kroger has a coupon every Friday that you can download for a free item. It has to be downloaded that day, but it doesn't usually expire for a month or so.

I had three of them saved up on my card, so I got those things today: a Dole smoothie, a Larabar ALT, and a box of Stacy's toasts... all for free!

I tasted one of the Stacy's Banana Nut crisps, and it was really good! It tasted just like banana bread, only crunchy. They have a lot of calories for a tiny serving, though, so I don't know if I'll be eating those. Jerry definitely will, because he liked them a lot, too. I haven't tried the smoothie or the ALT bar yet.

While I was at Kroger, I saw the perfect long-run treat for today. I have been craving one of these babies for a long time, and I looked for them last week, but couldn't find them:

I love Rice Krispies treats, but I like this brand the best. It's huge (two servings), and the whole thing is 7 PointsPlus. I earned 12 PP on my run today, so I bought it and ate it for an afternoon snack. It was so good!

As lame as it sounds, I'm spending this Friday night with a book and a mug of hot tea. I was in my pajamas at 5:30--and I'm not exaggerating ;)

November 21, 2013

A new couch

Ahh, I write this while sitting on a very cozy new couch. Well, new-to-us couch. We've gone through a few couches over the years that Jerry and I have been married, and, a couple of years ago, we ended up back with our original couch that we bought when we got married in 2003. We loved it, but recently realized that it was old, worn, and the cushions were looking shabby... we decided we needed a new one.

But after our history with couches, I really didn't want to get a new one. We had bad luck with them! I really like sectionals, and our couch was a three-piece sectional. When Jerry got his new job in July, we started looking online at different furniture websites for something we both liked. My ideal couch was a large sectional, preferably brown leather. They were pretty expensive, though, starting at around $3,000. So, we just put it off and kind of forgot about it.

A couple of days ago, my mom told me she went into a furniture store that had a used leather sectional for $499. She said it looked like it was in good condition, so I decided to go check it out. At $499, I didn't even get my hopes up that it would be what I was looking for; but yesterday, Jerry and I had nothing else to do in the afternoon, so we went to the store to see it.

The store was family-owned and run, VERY unique, and had some awesome stuff in there! They had some new furniture, but most were vintage and antique items. It was a huge store, so we browsed around for a bit, and then we saw the couch my mom was talking about. It was perfect! It was exactly what we were looking for: a dark brown leather three-piece sectional. There was a small tear on one side, but other than that, it was in very good condition. We sat in it, and that sealed the deal. It was so comfy!

So we paid for it yesterday, and then today, my dad and Jerry went there with a truck to pick it up. We (surprisingly) had no problems getting it into the house, and I was so excited when we got it set up!

My favorite spot is the chaise, which is where I'm sitting right now :)  I always love a good deal, and I feel like this was a very good deal! It was funny--the kids acted like it was Christmas morning when they saw it. They were SO excited!

It was pretty crappy outside today. It rained on and off all day. True to my word, I ran a very easy-paced three miles today. Mentally, it's kind of hard to run at a pace that is much slower than I'm used to, so I set my Garmin to show nothing but my heart rate zone.

My goal was to keep my pace in Zone 2 for the entire run. It was actually nice to run with a goal of slowing down rather than trying to speed up! It was kind of difficult to keep my heart rate in Zone 2, though; every time I saw it creeping up to 2.9, I would slow down again.

It started raining almost as soon as I left the house, and it rained the whole time I was running. I don't mind the rain when it's warm outside, but cold + rain isn't very fun. When I was running along the lake, the wind was blowing hard off the lake, making the rain come in sideways at me. I was tempted to pick up the speed just to get it over with, but I kept my heart rate in Zone 2. The only time my heart rate went into Zone 3 was when I ran past a group of guys working construction ;)

When I got home, I checked out my pace, and it wasn't as slow as I thought. A 10:17 average pace; I could've sworn I was going a couple of minutes per mile slower than that.

I'm hoping that by doing both slow and fast paces with my Garmin outside, it may "learn" more about me for when I run on the treadmill. I'll do a few more outdoor runs and then give the treadmill a try again. I'm also going to go to the indoor track at the rec center to see what my Garmin reads--might be interesting. Tomorrow is my long run (8 miles), and it's supposed to be rainy again. Bummer.

I'm on the last book of the FBI Profiler series by Lisa Gardner, and I need some suggestions for books that are similar. Lisa Gardner has a few books that aren't part of a series, so I'll read those next, but after that, I have no clue. I like easy-to-read fiction novels, preferably mysteries. The books I've read by Lisa Gardner are exactly what I like to read! Are any of you Lisa Gardner fans that can point me in the direction of an author who writes similar books? I've been reading quite a bit ever since we got rid of cable.

November 20, 2013


After being back on track with my eating for eight days, I actually wasn't dreading doing my Wednesday Weigh-in today.

I weighed in a 138, which is down 2.5 pounds from last week. Not a huge leap, but I'm definitely happy to have lost some of this Halloween weight! I'm up three pounds since before Halloween, which makes sense, considering how much candy I ate.  (By the way, that's not a mole or melanoma on my toe; it's just a bad ladybug tattoo that I got when I was 18. I've gotten a couple of e-mails about it recently, so I just wanted to explain again!)

Anyway, getting and staying on track this week was in large part due to my Kitchen Safe. When I went to the grocery store, and thought about buying a "problem food", I decided I would only buy what could fit in the Kitchen Safe, which isn't much. I keep the same routine with the safe each day: the safe opens each morning, I take out one serving of my snacks or whatever I plan to use that day (usually, I'll have nut butter with breakfast and then almonds and half a Clif Bar for snacks). Then I lock the rest up until the next morning!

I mentioned on Instagram that I was going to buy another Kitchen Safe because mine is packed to the brim, and the kind people who developed the safe offered to send me one for free, because I'm probably their biggest fan ;)  It arrived yesterday, and I immediately got a couple more things to include: Twizzlers Bites (I *love* Twizzlers, but I can easily go through a pound of them) and the Jif Whipped Chocolate Peanut Butter.

I measured out a serving of the Twizzlers Bites (one serving is SO tiny!) and put them into a baggie to have for a snack later in the day, and I had some of the Jif peanut butter on an English muffin this morning. It's been working out so well--I can have my problem foods in moderation. So, happily, there have been no binges all week long!

This morning, I knew I was going to run, I just wasn't sure how far or what pace. I just decided to figure it out as I was running. I headed out in the late morning, and when I got to the end of my street, I saw that I was running at about an 8:45 pace fairly easily, so I decided to aim for 6 miles at a sub-9:00 pace. The first few miles felt great! The sun was out, which felt good, considering the temp was in the low 30's, and it didn't feel windy at all.

As soon as I got to the three-mile mark to turn around, I realized why it didn't feel windy; it was a tail wind the whole way out. When I turned around, it hit me hard! My route isn't hilly in the slightest sense of the word, but right at the turn-around, there was an incline (you might be able to see it on this elevation graph, if you squint really hard...)

Even though it didn't really qualify as a "hill", it felt twice as hard because it was a slight incline and I was heading right into the 25 mph wind gusts. I wished that I'd only decided to do three miles, but I wasn't about to quit on my goal of sub-9's because of the wind.

On the way back, I switched the screen on my Garmin to look at my heart rate, and I was surprised (but not really) to see how high my heart rate was--90% of the maximum. Running against the wind was tough! But I somehow managed to keep up the pace for all six miles. Mile four was definitely the hardest, because I was in such a shock when I turned around into the wind.

I was happy to see that I burned 95 calories per mile today, too ;)

Tomorrow, I am only going to do three miles at a very easy pace. The wind made today's run much harder than I'd planned! My Garmin suggested a 72 hour recovery period after today's run (which is based on heart rate, I believe). I really like these kinds of runs, though (after they're over, of course!) because I feel good about it all day long. I was in such a happy mood all day, and I'm sure it was because of the run!

November 19, 2013

The Garmin 620 on the treadmill

Yesterday morning, when I woke up, the power was still out. The wind was blowing like crazy (which is what knocked the power out on Sunday evening), and I was expecting trees to start blowing onto our house. The last thing I wanted to do was go run in that wind, so I decided to run on the treadmill.

Yep, I guess I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, because I thought, "Oh, I can't run on the treadmill, because I won't be able to watch TV or anything to keep my mind occupied!"--because the power was out. Then I had the idea to listen to my iPod, and just stare at the wall while running. I was only planning to run three miles, so it couldn't be too bad.

[No, it still hadn't occurred to me that the treadmill itself uses electricity...]

I got completely ready to run on the treadmill, turned on a podcast to listen to, and looked forward to the "adventure" of running on the 'mill without watching TV. When I turned on the treadmill, nothing happened. It was only THEN that I thought, "Duh! I can't use the treadmill, because we have no electricity!" And here I thought I was getting creative by using my iPod instead of a TV show, hahaha.

The power came back on at around 3:00 in the afternoon, so I ran on the treadmill then. I was excited to see how my new Garmin would do as far as accuracy. There is no foot pod; the distance is measured with the accelerometer in the heart rate monitor. I decided to do three miles at three different speeds, just to see what would happen.

For the first mile, I set the treadmill at 6.5 mph, which is a 9:14/mi pace. The Garmin showed that I ran that mile in 9:30; that was a pretty big difference, but I figured that it took at least 5-10 seconds for the treadmill to get to that speed.

For the second mile, I bumped the speed up to 7.0, which is an 8:34/mi pace. I definitely felt like I was running at that pace; my heart rate went up, my breathing was harder, and I was sweating like expected. But the Garmin showed that I finished in 9:20. That's a HUGE discrepancy! I know I was running much faster than 9:20, just based on my heart rate alone.

For the third mile, I lowered the speed to 6.0, which is a 10:00/mi pace. My heart rate lowered a lot, I felt like it was very easy, and just how I expected a 10:00/mi pace to feel. According to the Garmin, I completed that mile in 9:44.

Incline shows 0, but it was at 1% while running

The treadmill showed that I ran 3.11 miles in 28:48, which is a 9:16/mi pace. The Garmin showed 3.00 miles in 28:34, which is a 9:31/mi pace. I started my Garmin about 10 seconds after the treadmill, so obviously the timer on the treadmill is slightly off (which I knew already).

I'm disappointed that the Garmin was so off with the pace! I know the treadmill isn't perfect, but the Garmin definitely should have shown a bigger distinction between each mile. My pace graph usually goes parallel with my heart rate; the faster I run, the higher my heart rate is. But that wasn't the case on the treadmill. My heart rate reflected the faster pace, but the Garmin barely registered it.

All of the other stats (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, stride length) were right on with what they have been outside. So, I'm not really sure what to make of this yet. It was only a three mile run, and the first time I'd used the new Garmin on the treadmill, so I'm going to experiment some more with it. Maybe I'll wear both Garmins on a run (the 910 with the foot pod, and the 620) just to compare.

If it continues to be inaccurate, I'll just have to pair my foot pod with the 620; but that would be a bummer, because I was excited to ditch the foot pod!

I took a rest day today. I'd like to switch my rest days to Tuesdays, because my weigh-in/the start of my new Weight Watchers week is on Wednesday. When I have a rest day on Wednesday, I don't have any activity PointsPlus to start off my week, which is tough. So if I make Tuesday a rest day, I can plan to use up the rest of my weekly PointsPlus before my weigh-in the next day.

Speaking of which, I've stayed on track all week long, so I'm actually looking forward to weighing in tomorrow :)

November 18, 2013

Motivational Monday #41

Happy Motivational Monday! I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to post this today, because we lost power last night and it wasn't expected to be back on until midnight tonight. Thankfully, it was restored at around 3:00 in the afternoon, so I was able to put this together.

I've had a really great week as far as my eating goes, so I'm proud of myself for getting on track. I'm also proud that I managed to avoid those cookies my mom brought over for Jerry to take to work! Putting them in his car helped me to forget about them.

I hope everyone else has had a great week!

Brittney just completed her first indoor triathlon! She didn't have a time goal, and was just hoping to finish; but she ended up placing second place in her age group! She's been fighting the scale all year, and isn't where she'd like to be, but she is very proud that she's continued training and working hard. (Brittney's blog)

Cheri ran her first 10K this weekend! She says she wasn't very prepared for it, due to an injured wrist (in a cast) and later, strep throat. She decided to go for it at her race anyway, and ran 6.2 miles in the rain, with a cast on her wrist! She even ran faster than her goal pace, and was thrilled with her finish time of 1:32:25.

Desiree just reached her one-year fitness anniversary! She's lost 56 pounds over the last year, and is very proud of her progress. She posted a recap (in photos) of the past year on her blog.

Elizabeth ran her second half-marathon, and finished with a PR of 2:22:32! Elizabeth has lost over 150 pounds since she started her journey, and her friend, Diane, has lost 30. Diane just finished her first 8K! You can read Elizabeth's race report on her blog, and Diane's race report on her blog

Ivayla, in the Santa hat, just PR'ed her 5K time by two minutes, finishing in 31:31! She said the best part of the race was afterward, when a man came up to her and said, "The whole time, I was trying to catch up to you, but couldn't. You were too fast!" (Ivayla's blog)

Jamie just reached the big 20-pounds-lost milestone! She started Weight Watchers in September, and she registered for a 5K in January. She's excited to crush her 5K on January 1st!

Julie just completed her final race of the year, The Color Run. In January of this year, she couldn't even run for five full minutes. Since then, she's run five 5K's, one 10K, and two half-marathons! For this Color Run, she ran with a friend who was just starting out as a runner. Julie's first race was also The Color Run, and she struggled in the way that most beginners do; now she's happy and proud to call herself a runner!

Linda ran her first marathon on Saturday, the Richmond Marathon! She started running three years ago, vowing to run one 5K and be done with it. She fell in love with running, lost 50 pounds, and just completed her first marathon in 5:42:53!

Make sure you check out the Motivational Monday Facebook post for more stories!

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