July 30, 2014

Ice cream battle

Thank you all so much for your kind words of support about Paolo. Even though I know we made the right decision, it still just feels like a heavy weight on my shoulders. This year has been a challenge for me, that's for sure! With Sarah dying from melanoma, seeing Mark deteriorate and finally pass away, my emotional eating taking a toll on my weight, and now Paolo--it's been a lot to handle. But I have some really great things going on this summer and fall that can hopefully turn things around, starting with Punta Cana in a few weeks!

I thought the other three cats might act differently without Paolo around, but they don't seem to notice. Eli told me today that he bets that Paolo is in Heaven and annoying God with his constant meowing and begging to turn on the water faucet ;) It's funny what goes through kids' minds!

I took a rest day today, not only because I felt like I needed it, but also because my knee is still giving me issues after that 12-mile run on Friday. It seemed okay when I ran/walked with Noah on Saturday, and hadn't been a bother during Monday or Tuesday's runs. Then, I did strength training yesterday, and ever since then, I can really feel it. It's definitely something I could run through if I wanted, but after my past experience with knee injury, I'm not taking any chances. I'm going to rest it completely until it's 100% better. My next race isn't until October, so there isn't any rush at all.

Based on the location of the pain, I'm pretty sure it's my IT band; so today, I used the foam roller and rested most of the day. I really wanted to go for a long walk this morning, but I could feel the twinge in my knee just walking around the house, so I figured it would be best not to. Better safe than sorry!

Eli asked me if we could go miniature golfing, so I said sure. I think he's getting bored without Noah around! We went and played a round of mini golf, and it was nice spending time with him.

When we got in the car to go home, he asked if we could go out for ice cream. This started a big battle in my head--of course I wanted ice cream! I love ice cream. But I am trying really hard to stay on track, and I couldn't afford to fit a flurry into my calories today, especially since I can't run right now. As I was driving home, this battle in my head was going back and forth, back and forth. (Of course, I could have just told Eli no to the ice cream, but now that he's able to eat after his surgery, I didn't see anything wrong with him having an ice cream). It went something like this:

"Just get one. This is your special time with Eli, and that's what he wants to do."
"But you gave up ice cream for all of July."
"Just eat it, and pretend you didn't."
"You've been doing really well staying on track lately, don't blow it."
"You can always start over tomorrow."
"You have to fit into a bridesmaids' dress in less than a month. You can't afford to gain."
"You can just be extra strict tomorrow to make up for it."

...and on and on. Crazy, right? All that over a stupid flurry.

I pulled into the parking lot of the ice cream place, and just sat there, debating. I know this sounds ridiculous, but this situation was SO tempting for me. It would be like asking a recovering alcoholic to go buy his favorite drink for a friend, pay for it, and carry it over and hand it to him--without getting one himself.

I called Jerry, and I thought, "If he doesn't answer, I'm just going to order one". He answered just before his voicemail picked up. I told him the situation, and he tried to be helpful, but in my mind, I think I already knew what the answer was. Ultimately, I decided to get Eli his flurry, and I didn't get anything for myself.

It's interesting, because when I was losing weight, I did things like this all the time, and it wasn't nearly this difficult. I was used to going to parties and turning down food; taking the kids out for ice cream, and not getting anything myself; sorting Halloween candy with the kids, and not eating so much as an M&M (unless I'd planned it out first and counted the calories for it). I was so stubborn, and so determined. For the past year or so, however, I've somehow developed this "you only live once" attitude, and I've been choosing the instant gratification (food) over my long term goals (staying at a healthy weight).

I kind of feel like today was a big step in the right direction. I faced my biggest temptation, and I overcame it. After Eli had finished his ice cream, I was really glad that I hadn't gotten any. If I had, I'm sure it wouldn't have stopped with the ice cream--it would have put me over my calories for the day, so I would likely have said, "Oh, well, might as well have this, too..." and then, "I'll just start over tomorrow". I swear, those five words, "I'll just start over tomorrow", should be banished from existence! ;)

Noah comes home on Friday, and he has no idea that we are planning a surprise birthday party for him. We had celebrated his birthday a couple of weeks ago with my family, but we told him we'd have to plan his "friends party" in August, because of the timing and Jerry's work schedule. So on Friday, Jerry will go pick him up from the church, and I'll stay here with his friends. And then they'll surprise him when he comes home after being at camp for a week.

Noah is going to be SO excited, I'm sure of it. So tomorrow, we have to get everything ready for the big surprise on Friday. I can't wait!

July 29, 2014

The One Where Paolo Crossed The Rainbow Bridge

I didn't want to post about it on Motivational Monday, but yesterday was a very sad day for us. We had to say good-bye to Paolo.

If you've been reading my blog from the beginning, then you remember when we first found Paolo living in our shed. He was SO skinny, but a truly beautiful Himalayan cat.

I didn't want four cats, however, so instead of bringing him inside, I started trying to find a home for him. One of the moms I knew from the kids' preschool said she would take him, and that ended up being a disaster. She lied about a lot of things, and ended up dumping Paolo back at my house.

I refused to have a fourth cat, so I kept trying to find him a home. But one night, it was raining, and the poor cat was huddled in the cat carrier that I set outside for him. My heart broke for him, so I let him in. And he really hasn't been outside ever since! I never did find him a home, so he became our fourth cat, and we named him Paolo (going with the Friends theme in naming our pets).

Paolo was a quirky cat--very snobby, but to the point where it was humorous. When we'd set food in front of him, he'd sniff it and then turn his nose in the air like, "You really expect me to eat that? Where's my tuna tartare?"

He was very lovable, though, and adored to be petted and fussed over. When I'd get out his brush, he was right at my feet, waiting for me to groom him, while the other cats ran and hid. Whenever anyone would pet him, he'd spread his toes wide and then curl them back in, like he was trying to grab onto you and not let go.

He had an obsession with water, and he would only drink water that was pouring from the faucet. When he was thirsty, he'd run to the bathtub and start meowing until we'd turn it on for him (yes, he trained us). Eventually, I bought him a cat drinking fountain, so he'd always have running water to drink. Even then, he still liked the actual faucet.

Paolo never really learned his name. The other three cats come when we call their names, but Paolo would come when we'd call ANY of the cats' names. All you had to do was make a ticking noise with your tongue or call one of the cats' names, and Paolo would be there, thinking you wanted to shower him with attention.

We knew Paolo was old, but we weren't sure just HOW old. Over the past year, I started to think that maybe he was even older than than the 10-12 years we'd originally guessed, because he started to act differently. He started showing all the signs of feline dementia, and for the past few months, the symptoms were getting much worse. We took him to the vet to rule out disease or something curable, and learned that sure enough, he was "normal"--just getting old.

A couple of nights ago, Paolo was really agitated, and was meowing really loudly and pacing around the house. If a cat can "look" confused, he most certainly did. He was finding spots to hide, he wasn't eating, he was sleeping almost constantly, he didn't enjoy being groomed or even petted much anymore, and he'd gotten even skinnier than he already was (you could see all of his bones). His fur looked terrible, and his eyes were glazed over.

Jerry and I started to think that it was time to make a decision about euthanizing him. I felt horrible about it, but Paolo really seemed miserable. I looked up symptoms of a dying cat, and Paolo pretty much had the entire checklist. I couldn't bear the thought of taking him to the vet, so Jerry did it. The vet checked out Paolo, and said he agreed that Paolo's time had come. I don't want to write about the rest, but Jerry stayed with Paolo the whole time, and said it was peaceful.

We only had Paolo for three years, but I had gotten attached to him. Jerry and I liked to poke fun at his little quirks, and we always joked, "Oh, we're still looking for a home for him!" when someone would ask, but we knew that he had become our cat. The house seems different without him now.

Even though I didn't want four cats in the beginning, it turned out to be a blessing that things didn't work out with the home I'd found for him. Having him here turned out to be better for him AND us, and we will definitely miss him!

July 28, 2014

Motivational Monday #71

Happy Motivational Monday! I can't believe it's almost August already. This summer is just flying by! I did really well with tracking my food this week. There were a few days that I didn't track, because of Eli's surgery, but I wasn't pigging out, either. I'm really happy with how the week went as far as my food.

I think what I am actually most proud of this week, though, is recognizing that the MAF heart rate training just wasn't the right fit for me, and choosing not to continue with it. I ran three miles this morning at a 9:03/mi pace, which gave me an average heart rate of 167 (my MAF range was 138-148). It felt really good to push myself, and feel out of breath when I was done. My knee feels totally fine, so I'm glad that it doesn't seem to be injured from the 12-mile MAF run on Friday night. Anyway, the whole point of all this is that I am happy with my decision to stop the MAF training, and I think it was best for me.

What have you all done this week to make you feel proud?

Alicia is VERY excited to have reached a huge milestone this week--she reached her Weight Watchers goal weight!! She struggled with her weight her entire life, and even joined WW at age 15. She rejoined several times through the years, but never saw it through to reach her goal weight. She rejoined last July for the final time, and has lost 60 pounds since. She also started to run, and her first 5K was my Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K in January. Sadly, Alicia recently lost a dear friend, Joy, to ALS. And now she runs for Joy, because Joy spent three years in a wheelchair, and couldn't do all of the amazing things that Alicia's body was capable of doing. When all she wanted to do was eat to numb the pain, she ran for Joy instead :)

This weekend, Sam ran her first half-marathon! She has lost 80 pounds, and says that this race was the hardest and most rewarding thing she's ever done. The best part of the race was seeing her mom's face as she crossed the finish line. Her mom told her how proud she was, and said that she was feeling inspired to sign up for a 5K so she could earn a cool medal, too ;)

Pam (center) just completed her first triathlon! She and her friends embarked on a race that consisted of a 200-yard swim, 12-mile bike ride, and 2-mile run. Pam has run 2 marathons, 11 half-marathons, and dozens of shorter races, but she said the swim was the most challenging for her. She's proud she didn't drown! ;) (Pam's race report)

Hilary (my "Sole Mate" from my Ragnar SoCal team) just completed her first triathlon! She did a 900-yard swim, 15-mile bike ride, and a 5K run (which included 468 feet of elevation gain!). It turned out to be tougher than anticipated, because she had some hydration issues. She was least looking-forward to the bike, but it turned out to be her strongest sport during the race. She is very proud of herself for finishing, and is already planning another triathlon this year! (Hilary's blog)

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

July 27, 2014

Update on MAF training

This morning, I woke up to a text message from Jerry with a picture of a nest that he discovered at work:

I just love when baby birds sit there with their mouths wide open. He said the nest is in a spot where it won't get disturbed, so I hope that nothing happens to them. So cute!!

I cannot believe how sore I still am from the 12-miler I did on Friday night! Out of all the things I expected from the MAF training, being sore was such a surprise to me. At first, I thought it was just normal soreness (mainly my hips and calves), but I was feeling a twinge in my knee that probably isn't just "normal" soreness. Nothing excruciating, but it was enough to where I noticed it. I tend to pay a lot of attention to the "little twinges" ever since I was injured in 2012.

I was thinking about playing it out for a couple more days, but today was a rest day, and I still felt the little twinge in my knee. So, I'm going to go with my gut feeling, which is telling me that the MAF heart rate training just isn't for me. The running feels unnatural when I have to go so much slower than I'm used to. I'd like to really give the MAF training a fair shot, but I don't want to risk injuring my knee; and the training I've been doing for the past year and half hasn't given me any problems at all, so I'll just stick with what's worked for me so far.

While doing MAF training, you're not supposed to do strength training (because it's anaerobic), and I've been wanting to do the Wii Active 2 that I bought recently. It's not hardcore strength training, but I really enjoyed the Wii Active 30-Day Challenge, so I want to try the new challenge on the Active 2. I'll start doing that tomorrow, as well as running however it feels "natural" to me. I still really like running without a schedule, and I've been disciplined enough to well with it, so I'll continue with that.

Eli's doing much better today. Yesterday, he was feeling pretty good, and even went fishing with my dad for a little while, but his throat was still hurting. I noticed that he looked like he had lost weight, and when I weighed him, he had lost 3.5 pounds since surgery--that's a lot for a kid his size! So I told him I'd take him to Kroger and he could pick out anything at all that he wanted to eat, but he said he didn't want anything. I offered to get him ice cream from McDonald's, or let him drink soda (we never buy soda). He turned down every offer I made. I was getting worried, because normally, Eli would sell his soul for some candy or ice cream, but he had no interest in it.

I gave him some of his pain medication this afternoon, and then he felt much better. He actually ate a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, which was the most he's eaten since surgery. He was talking more today, too. It's been so quiet around here without his chattering. ;)

Noah left for church camp this afternoon, and he'll be gone for five whole days. He was really excited, and of course I'm nervous for him, but I know he'll have fun. Last year, he went for two days, and loved it. I just hope Eli feels well enough to do some fun one-on-one things with me while Noah is gone.

I've still been doing well with tracking my food. I didn't track Tuesday through Thursday, because I just had so much on my mind with Eli, and it was hard to focus on anything else; but, I tracked Friday, Saturday, and today. I've been making an old favorite for lunch, something my mom taught me to make a long time ago: A broccoli/cauliflower salad in a pita pocket.

I've had everything prepped and ready to assemble in the fridge so that I have no excuse not to eat something healthy for lunch. I chopped up broccoli and cauliflower really small and combined it in a bag, and chopped a red onion. Then, I just mix together: 1/2-1 cup of the broccoli/cauliflower mixture, 1 Tbsp. red onions, 1 oz. of reduced fat cheddar cheese, 1/2 oz. raisins, and 30 g. Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Ranch dressing. Then stuff it all into a pita pocket.

I used 1 cup of the broccoli/cauliflower mix in this one, and it ended up HUGE. It sounds like an unusual combination of ingredients, but they all work really well together, and it's a filling lunch (I usually have it with fruit).

I've found that the key to get me back to tracking is to have everything planned and ready to go. I baked breakfast bars and keep those in the fridge, I prepped the broccoli/cauliflower salad for lunch, and then I've been using my crock pot a lot for dinner. It's nice not to have to think about what I'm going to make or eat, because I've already planned it out. Once I get back to it for several weeks, I won't have to plan everything, but for now, it's working well.

We leave for Punta Cana in just 29 days! I can't believe how fast it's coming up. We're getting really excited :)

July 26, 2014

The Color Vibe Detroit 5K race report

I registered for this race at 10:00 last night. We were supposed to have thunderstorms today, so I was waiting to see what the weather was going to do. Noah was super enthusiastic about it, and I thought it would be a good way to spend time with just Noah before he goes to church camp for a week (he leaves tomorrow). The race was taking place at the Metropark that I run at frequently (nowhere near Detroit, even though it was called The Color Vibe Detroit).

Last night, at 9:30, I realized that I was totally unprepared for this race. I didn't have a white shirt, and neither did Noah, so Jerry ran to a 24-hour store to get some white t-shirts. I got up at 6:00, and since the race was so close (15 minutes away), we didn't have to leave until about 7:30 for the 9:00 starting time. I had to get there a little early so that I could pass Eli off to my dad. My dad works at the park, so he offered to take his lunch break and let Eli fish while Noah and I did the race.

First, we got our bibs. Something I thought was really great about this race is that kids are free with a registered adult. The cost is quite a bit for a 5K (especially an untimed one), but it was nice that I didn't have to pay for two registrations. The kids' registration doesn't come with a t-shirt or sunglasses, but I just planned to give Noah the ones from my registration. I forgot to bring sunglasses to keep the color powder out of my eyes, so I ended up buying a pair while we were there. I bought Noah a bandana, too. He looked so cute when he was ready!

My dad came and picked up Eli, and Noah and I headed over to the starting line area. There was a stage with a DJ, who was getting everyone pepped up--and I have to say, this DJ did a phenomenal job at that! While we waited for the race to start, he was playing music and throwing t-shirts and "color packs" into the crowd. (When I registered for the race, I had no clue what a color pack was... it's just a small bag with the color powder in it.) We only had one color pack, which came with my registration. If I'd have known ahead of time, I would have bought a couple more, because Noah really liked throwing it.

I wasn't sure what to expect with the powder throws. The DJ counted down from three, and then I felt something pelt me in the face and I couldn't breathe. I pulled off my sunglasses, and tried to clear my eyes. I went to the garbage to throw away Noah's empty pack, and realized I had dropped my sunglasses that I'd bought five minutes prior. I looked to where I'd been standing, and saw a woman pick up a pair of sunglasses, turn to the guy behind her, and ask if they were his. He shrugged and took them. I went over there and said they were mine, so he gave them back to me. (When I got home, I realized they weren't actually mine! They were green and black, not the orange and black ones that I bought. Oops!)

Noah really liked the color throws, and I was trying hard to catch one of the color packs they were giving away so that he could throw it again. The guy in front of us was pretty tall, and he caught at least three of them. The guy next to him saw that Noah and I were trying to get one, and he gave Noah a packet--which was so nice of him!

I really didn't like the powder part, but the DJ was a lot of fun, and it was really cool to see Noah step out of his comfort zone and dance a little.

Because my dad was watching Eli, I was in a time crunch. I wanted to make sure we started with the first wave at 9:00. But then they kept delaying the start, because there were still people registering. That's one of my pet peeves at races--don't delay the start to accommodate the people who weren't there on time! They finally started the race at 9:30, and the whole time, I was worried about hurrying to the finish line to get Eli from my dad.

Noah didn't have a very good race today. I didn't know this, but he didn't drink anything this morning before the race. For a race in July, starting at 9:30, and full sun, that's pretty rough! To top it off, most of the race was through grass and some dirt. Running on grass is hard, and very tiring. I could tell Noah was regretting the race, so I just kept trying to get him to focus on the next landmark. (I didn't want my Garmin to get ruined from the powder, so I didn't wear it; instead of using the cues from the Garmin, we focused on landmarks to gauge when to run and when to walk. Let's run to that cone up there; let's walk to that curve in the path; etc.)

There were four color stations set up through the run. Basically, the color stations were just volunteers throwing powder at you as you ran past, and each station had a different color. There was one water station, about halfway through, which was a relief to Noah. He took two cups and drank them both, and then I let him drink the one I took. He felt a little better after that, but he was still having a hard time.

Finally, we could hear the DJ, so I knew we were close.

We ran through the finish, and immediately got Noah some water. I felt bad for him, because he was so excited about this race, but he didn't enjoy the actual race part at all. He said, "After this race, I feel like I won't be able to do another 5K." I tried to explain to him that everybody has races, or even training runs, like that. Sometimes, an "easy three miler" feels like I'm going to keel over and die; and I've had runs where I float right through 12 miles at a fast pace. It depends on a whole bunch of factors, and today just wasn't his day. He definitely learned a lesson about properly hydrating before a race!

I'm really proud of him for finishing, because I asked him a few times in the first mile if he wanted to turn around and forget the race, but he wanted to keep going. I wish Jerry hadn't had to work today, because he probably would have loved this race!

July 25, 2014

The pool garden

Day three after Eli's surgery, and he was doing much better today! He only complained about the pain once, and he was able to eat and drink quite a bit more than the past couple of days. He still had a very low-key day, lying on the couch watching movies and playing video games, but he's starting to get restless (which is good, because it means he's feeling good enough to want to move around). The doctor said he shouldn't be active for about two weeks post-op.

This morning, I was able to harvest a tiny tomato from my garden! I can't remember if I wrote about it or not, but my friend Hilary planted a garden in one of those blue plastic pools, and I thought it was a great idea for my first garden. I've always wanted a garden, but it was so intimidating that I never attempted it. When I saw Hilary's, I thought it looked simple enough.

I planted tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, jalapeƱo peppers, basil, and rhubarb. First, Jerry drilled little holes all over the bottom to allow the water to drain.

Then, he planted everything for me, because the dirt smelled horrible (manure?) and I just couldn't do it.

The plants grew really quickly! I wasn't sure what to expect, because I'd never planted anything before, but I was really surprised at how huge the tomato plant got. I am not a big tomato fan, so I only planted the one--which is good, because it's huge. Now, the pool pretty much looks like a jungle.  There are a couple of green peppers that aren't very big, and we got a few strawberries. There were lots of tomatoes, but they would get almost ripe, but then the bottom would turn brown and gross. I had no idea what was wrong with them. But today, I plucked a tiny, perfectly ripe tomato from the plant, and was excited to eat it (even though I don't really like raw tomatoes).

I made an English muffin, and topped it with the sliced tomato, and then a scrambled egg with cheese. It was so good! I'm looking forward to some more tomatoes.

When I went out there to water the plants, I noticed a huge caterpillar-looking thing on one of the pepper plants. I had been wondering what was wrong with those plants--it looked like the leaves and stems had all been chopped off, but apparently, this bug was eating them.

I showed the kids, and took a few pictures of it, and then decided to pull it off and get it out of the garden. That sucker was clinging to my plant for dear life, and it was hard to pull him off! I didn't want to touch it, so I used a paper towel to get him, and then I moved him to the tree in the backyard. Hopefully, he won't find his way back to the garden, because I might not be so nice next time. I posted a picture of it on Instagram, and learned it's a tomato hornworm, and they do a lot of damage to gardens.

Jerry's work schedule right now makes it really difficult for me to get in my runs, unless I run on the treadmill or go in the evenings. Today, I planned to do a long run (12 miles), so I really didn't want to do that on the treadmill. I had to wait until 6:30 to head outside. With the low-heart rate training I'm doing, I was afraid it was going to be completely dark by the time I got home.

The goal was to keep my heart rate between 138-148, so I decided to aim for the low end of the range in the beginning, even though it meant going slower. That way, when my heart rate naturally rose later in the run, my pace would be a little more consistent. It started to rain just 2.5 miles in, and normally, I like running in the rain. But I still had nearly 10 miles to go, and wet shoes = blisters. Thankfully, it was just a drizzle, which felt really good.

I find myself doing a "Jerry" face for selfies way too often lately
I am really surprised at how sore and achey I get from running at this slower pace. My legs were aching from hip to toe by mile eight, and I almost called Jerry for a ride. I imagine I'm just using different muscles when I run slowly, but I didn't realize what a big impact it would have. By the time I got home, I felt like I'd just run a marathon.

I was pretty frustrated the last few miles, because I was running so slowly, but my heart rate was still hanging out at 147-148. Every time it hit 148, my Garmin would beep, so I'd have to slow down even more, and I was getting irritated with it. But the one thing I really like about this MAF training is that I enjoy the actual running part more. I don't get out of breath, I can look around and see what's going on around me, or search for change on the ground (today I found 6 whole cents).

My pace got slower and slower as the run went on, and since I was going 12 miles, I'd underestimated how long it would take me. I got home just before 9:00 (which is why this post is late going up). It was just getting dark outside. Another mile, and I would have been running in the dark!

I did 12 miles with an average heart rate of 144 and pace of 11:45. And now I'm ridiculously sore. Last week, Noah asked me if I'd do a Color Vibe 5K with him tomorrow, and I tried to get my brother, Nathan, to do it instead; but he's busy, so I told Noah I would. I hate getting messy, and mud runs, color runs, foam runs, etc., don't appeal to me at all. But I'm happy that Noah's excited about running, and that he asked to do a race, so I'm going to suck it up and run while people throw powder at me. ;)

July 24, 2014

A run to the store

Another day of waiting on Eli. He was a little less demanding today, which was nice ;) He did well through the night, but woke up at 4:00 this morning in a lot of pain. Then when I tried to give him his pain meds, he couldn't swallow. It wasn't just that it hurt, but he physically couldn't get it down (it's liquid, not a pill). We waited about an hour, and tried again, and then he was able to take it. He still hasn't been able to eat much as far as solid food goes. Today, he had a couple of Ensure shakes, but that's it.

I've been pretty much losing my mind with boredom. I can only watch so much Curious George and Cutthroat Kitchen with him! Today, I did some organization projects around the house, which actually felt good to get done. Noah was at my parents' house all day, so it was just me and Eli today. I hope that he heals fast!

On Monday, I posted about that boy Ben who entered the contest to get on the cover of Runner's World. Normally, I hate popularity contests (where people ask for votes in order to win something), and when I heard Runner's World was doing one, I decided not to get caught up in it. But being stuck on the couch with Eli for the past few days, I've been reading through some of the other entries, and one really pulled at my heartstrings today. I guess you could say I got caught up in it ;)

This is Andrew Peterson. He has intellectual disability, which of course made me think of Mark. He said that when he was a child, the other kids at school couldn't understand his speech, and a lot of kids would make fun of him (Mark was very difficult to understand as well). Andrew couldn't understand the rules of the recess games at school, so he started walking laps on the playground, and eventually running. Turned out he was pretty fast!


I won't write his whole story here, because you can read more on his Runner's World entry page, but he competes in the Special Olympics now.

He gave a speech a couple of years ago, and I watched it on YouTube this afternoon. It's a little long, but well worth listening to.

I kept thinking of Mark the entire time I listened to it, and it made me sad. Andrew thanked his speech therapist for helping him to be understood, and it made me wonder what would have happened if Mark had had the opportunity to work with a speech therapist at a young age (or even as an adult). I especially loved when Andrew said, "Special Olympics means more than winning. It gives we, the athletes, good chance to improve our fitness; compete with others who have equal abilities; feel good about ourselves; being an extended family; and show everyone that each person with an intellectual disability is not a nobody, but a somebody who can contribute to society."

Anyway, there are lots of inspiring people who deserve to be on the cover of RW--I'm so glad I'm not one of the judges! But I hope that the editors will dig deeper into some of their stories, and maybe feature them in an issue one day.

When Jerry got home, I was debating whether to go for a run or go grocery shopping. We were in desperate need of groceries, but I felt like I should run a few miles at least... so I ended up running to the grocery store (literally). Kroger is a little over three miles away, so I told Jerry to meet me there at 8:00 with my purse and my water bottle, and I headed out.

It was hotter than yesterday, but still a pretty nice run. I kept my heart rate in the MAF zone (138-148). I did 3.23 miles at an 11:08 pace with an average heart rate of 145. Very similar to yesterday's run.

I did my grocery shopping, and just as I was almost done, Jerry and the kids showed up with my purse. That worked out pretty well, getting in both my run and the grocery shopping :)

July 23, 2014

Twilight run

It was a rough night with Eli last night. He was in a lot of pain, and we woke him up every three hours to give him pain meds. I hated to wake him, but it would have been so much worse to have him wake up on his own, miserable with pain. I didn't really sleep at all, because I was worried about Eli. I kept checking to make sure he was breathing (haven't done that since Noah was a newborn!).

He slept in until about 8:30, but he was in so much pain when he woke up. I hated seeing him like that! I felt so guilty and horrible for having gone through with the surgery. He couldn't even talk, and he cried when trying to swallow his meds. I propped him up in my bed to watch a movie, and sometime during the movie, he walked into the kitchen and grabbed a note card and a pencil:

As his mother, I could decipher what he wrote: "Can you get peanut butter M&M's?" Hahaha! Even though I doubted he'd be able to eat them, I told him of course I would. I just went to the corner store and bought some, along with a slushy. He ate an M&M by letting it melt on his tongue, but it was right after that when I noticed he really perked up.

He ate the M&M's, about a cup of ice cream, and half his slushy. Not exactly a nutritious breakfast, but I was happy that he ate something. For lunch, he ate some Ramen noodles, and then about an hour later, he said he felt sick. Sure enough, he threw up everything he'd eaten. After he threw up, he said he wanted shrimp from Red Lobster (so random!).

I told him that we couldn't go to Red Lobster, because he was sick--and he couldn't throw up at the restaurant. He got really mad at me, and basically gave me the silent treatment all afternoon. I actually felt good about that, because he was back to his normal self ;) My mom brought him shrimp scampi and popcorn shrimp from Red Lobster for dinner, and he ate the scampi without problems.

Even though today was supposed to be a relaxing day, I was exhausted by the time Jerry got home. I was waiting on Eli hand and foot, and that was anything-but relaxing. I didn't have a chance to shower, so I felt greasy and I felt lazy for not running. Anyway, at around 7:30, I decided that I wanted to go for an evening run. I never run in the evenings; the last time I did was during Ragnar SoCal, and I can't remember the time before that.

The weather felt really nice outside, and with the sun going down, it just looked like a great time to run. I did an out-and-back route that stays out of the neighborhoods, so I could have some quiet time to myself.

A couple of miles in, I saw a baby bird on the side of the road, and as I passed by, it opened its beak really wide and looked at me. I kept going, but I felt bad for not stopping and shooing it away from the road. I decided to look for it after I turned around.

On the way back, the poor bird was in the very center of the road. Cars drive really fast down that road, so I stopped to move the bird. I tried to nudge him with my toe, but again, he opened his beak wide and looked up at me. I put my hand down next to him, thinking that would probably scare him, but he just jumped right into my hand and sat there. I carried him to someone's yard and set him down in their landscaping, hoping that he'd stay put and not get run over in the street.

Next summer, he'll be all grown up and dive-bomb me as I run by ;)

About a mile from home, there was a guy running with his dog not very far ahead of me. Since I was running slow as molasses, I figured he'd be long gone; but he must have been running the same pace as me, because we stayed the same distance apart for a long time. He turned and saw me a couple of times, but I figured I'd lose him when I turned onto my road.

He ended up turning onto my street, and unless I wanted to run farther than five miles, I had no choice but to follow him. I was only about 300 feet or so behind him, and I was gaining on him a little. He saw that I was still behind him, and started doing some goofy dance moves. I said, "I swear I'm not following you!"

We ran down the rest of my street together, and he said he was doing his long run (9.5 miles). He said I'm the first person he's ever seen out running around here, and I told him that I usually run in the mornings. His dog was all over the place, and nearly clotheslined me a couple of times, which is why my pace got all wacky at the end of my run.

I kept my heart rate in my MAF zone (138-148). My splits were very slow, but not as slow as yesterday, when it was super hot and humid.

Yesterday, I did five miles at 11:27 pace and 145 average heart rate. Today's was five miles at 11:09 pace and 144 average heart rate. It's hard to compare runs when the weather is so different, though. I'm just hoping that the general trend over four weeks is in the right direction. We'll see. Anyway, I loved running just before the sun went down, and I may do that more often. It was nice!

I'm hoping that tomorrow goes a little better for Eli, but so far, I'm glad that he's improving so quickly.

July 22, 2014

Eli's surgery

Poor Eli. Today was his surgery, and it was a very long day! Yesterday, we were told to go to children's hospital at 10:45 this morning, which was nice because we didn't have to rush out the door or anything today. I got up and went for a run at 6:30. I ran five miles at my MAF heart rate, and I was so frustrated with how slowly I have to run to keep my heart rate down.

Several times, I felt like if I slowed down at all, I'd be walking. My pace was slower than last week, but it was also nearly 100% humidity and very hot today (unlike last week's cool spell). I was tempted to just say screw it, and pick up the pace, but I really want to give this MAF training a fair shot. Anyway, I ran five miles in 57:27 (an 11:27/mi pace), with an average heart rate of 145.

When I got home, I put together a bag for the hospital, and we got ready to head out. We took Noah to my parents' house, and then Jerry and I took Eli to the hospital. We went up to the fourth floor, and we had to wait in a waiting room for what seemed like forever. Eli was hungry, and he wasn't allowed to eat anything. There were signs all over the waiting room that said, "I'm fasting. Please enjoy your food and drinks on the second floor" or something like that. The receptionist even told us that they don't allow food or drinks in the waiting area out of respect for the kids who are fasting for surgery.

There were two women who came in and were sitting right next to us, and then they pulled out drinks and chocolate-covered something or other, and were eating it right in front of Eli (and the other kids). I was so irritated that they were so inconsiderate, especially when it was made very clear there was no eating or drinking in there. We had been waiting for what felt like forever--we had arrived at 10:00, and we were finally called to pre-op at 12:00 or so.

My mom had bought him new pajamas for his surgery, so he wore those and brought a little stuffed animal from Noah--an enderman (?) from Minecraft. He wasn't really worried about the surgery at all. His biggest concern was whether they were going to give him a shot to put him to sleep or use a mask to put him to sleep.

The anesthesiologist came in to talk to us, and explained exactly what they were going to do. Eli was relieved that they were going to use a mask to put him to sleep, and then they would do the IV while he was sleeping. She asked if Eli had any loose teeth, and he pointed out several. I told her if they could pull any of them while he was sleeping, that'd be awesome ;)  She said they didn't really feel ready to come out, but sometimes the instrument they use for intubating is really hard on the two front teeth, so if they're loose enough, they may just get pulled.

We got Eli dressed in his gown, and he looked so sweet. The anesthesiologist had given him a mask to play with while we waited.

At around 1:00, they finally came to take him to the OR. Jerry and I walked down the hall with him, and then we had to say goodbye. It was WAY harder for me than it was for Eli, I know, but I managed not to cry or get too emotional when giving him a kiss goodbye.

Jerry and I went downstairs to grab some lunch, and after about 40 minutes, our pager started flashing, meaning the doctor was ready to talk to us. The doctor said everything went really well, and they ended up having to pull his two front teeth--yay! (Those teeth were looking bad--they needed to come out). You can already see his adult teeth there. He told us what to expect during recovery, and said we could go see Eli in about an hour, after he was awake and stable.

It was such a long hour! We waited in the waiting room, and when the pager went off again, we got to go see Eli. Apparently, after they woke him up, he gave them a huge cough and blood just went everywhere. Someone was still cleaning it up off the floor when we got there. Eli looked really spacey, and couldn't really talk. I felt so bad for him! I just wanted to hold him and make the pain go away, but obviously there was nothing I could do.

The nurses said he was in a lot of pain when he first came out, but they gave him pain meds, and by the time we got there, they were starting to kick in.

He was able to eat a slushie, but he was still really drowsy and not very alert. The nurse said he should probably stay until he's a little more awake, so we stayed for about an hour and and a half. He perked up a bit when Jerry let him play a game on his phone. We got him dressed in his pajamas again, and the nurse took out his IV. Finally, at around 4:15, we left the hospital.

He did pretty well during the car ride home, thanks to the pain meds we gave him right before we left, but now that we're home, it's not going so well. He wants to eat really badly, but whenever he tries, he ends up crying because his throat hurts. I've tried broth, ice cream, popsicles, water, and soda, and all of it hurts going down. He even said, "I don't like my life" and when I asked what he meant, he said that he doesn't like his life because he had to have surgery. I just wish I could make him feel better! I've been watching the clock to be able to give him his next dose of pain medicine.

Tomorrow, we're going to have a very low-key day of watching movies. I didn't have surgery, but I am definitely looking forward to a relaxing day with the kids! Hopefully Eli feels better tomorrow.

July 21, 2014

Motivational Monday #70

Happy Motivational Monday! Hopefully everyone has had a great week. I am really happy that I got back to tracking my food, and I ate really well all week long. Last week, I said I was going to go back to Weight Watchers this Wednesday, but I forgot about Eli's surgery. The next few days are going to be completely out of routine, because Eli is getting his tonsils and adenoids removed tomorrow.

I have no idea how long it will take him to get back to normal, but I'm hoping he doesn't have a rough time with recovery. He's really excited about the surgery, because the doctor told him he could eat anything he wants to after surgery--ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if that's what he wants. So I may have a tough time staying on track this week ;)

You may have seen on social media that Runner's World is having a contest to be on the cover of their magazine. I know several people that are asking for votes, so I'm staying completely out of the voting game, but someone sent me a link today to the bio for a boy named Ben, and I thought it was perfect to share for Motivational Monday! What is more inspiring than this photo?!

He lost his leg to cancer when he was just six years old. I would love to see this kid on the cover of my favorite magazine! Unfortunately, the rules say you must be 18 or older (and I'm making a wild guess that he's under 18). Anyway, I just loved that picture--not just that he's a kid, or an amputee, or a cancer survivor... but that he's also out there running in the pouring rain!

Maegan just celebrated her six-month anniversary since starting Weight Watchers, and she's down 40 pounds! She started at 212 pounds, and is currently at 172, so she's more than halfway to her goal weight of 135. Maegan has even started to run a little--it's a slow-going journey for her, but she's not giving up and is making more and more progress. (Maegan's blog)

Jessica is proud that she is still going to boot camp 3 times per week at 37 weeks pregnant! She had made it a goal to keep working out, and had to modify some exercises to keep it safe for baby, but she feels great about keeping it going throughout her pregnancy.

Glory is very proud to announce that she just ran her first 5K! She did the race with her husband, and enjoyed it so much that she's already looking for another.

Finally, I just have to share my own submission for Motivational Monday. Not me, but my kids and my mom! Noah, Eli, and my mom all completed their first 5K on Saturday--and they did awesome. My mom said the kids motivated her to keep going, and the kids are already excited about doing another race. It was a big success for all three of them!

Don't forget to check out more stories on the Motivational Monday Facebook post! Also, if you have a photo you'd like to share for Motivational Monday, you can email it to me (along with a brief description) at: Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com with the subject Motivational Monday, and I may include it on a MM post. Anything that you're proud of is worth celebrating!

July 20, 2014

TUTORIAL: How to Add Fabric Lettering to Clothing

A lot of people have been asking me how I make the shirts with lettering, so I thought I'd put together a tutorial. It's really very amateur, and if you have any sewing skills whatsoever, I'm sure you could do a much better job! But to keep things super cheap and simple, this is how I add lettering to a shirt. Here are a couple of examples of shirts I've made this way:

adding lettering to clothing

running sucks shirt

It really doesn't take very long to do, even though it's tedious, and it's a super cheap way to letter a shirt!


*A shirt or other article of clothing (that can be ironed... I've used sweatshirts, t-shirts, and tech shirts without problems). For this tutorial, I used a track jacket that I found at a thrift store. It had embroidery on the left chest part, so I ripped out the embroidery and wanted to cover it with my name.

*A contrasting fabric for the lettering (I've used denim on sweatshirts, or just cotton on the other shirts). For this project, I just chose white cotton.

*Letter stencils (whatever size/font you'd like; found with the painting supplies at a craft store, usually):

*Double-stick fusible webbing:

*An iron

*A fabric pencil (or, if you're a simpleton like me, just a ballpoint pen)

*Scissors for fabric

*Sewing machine and thread (optional, to reinforce lettering with top-stitching)


First, iron the fabric that you plan to use for the lettering to make sure it's nice and smooth. Then, you'll use the letter stencil to trace out your letters onto your fabric with the fabric pencil (or pen, in my case). I like to flip the stencil over, and trace onto the WRONG side of the fabric, so that the ink isn't visible once it's done.

Once you have all of the letters traced, you'll use the double-stick webbing. The webbing has three pieces--wax paper, a layer of glue web, and then another piece of wax paper:

Two pieces of wax paper sandwiching a sheet of glue webbing

Peel off ONE of the layers of wax paper and discard it. Then press the glue side of the webbing down onto the letters you've traced onto the fabric.

The glue side goes down on the back of the letters. On the top is the wax paper.

Press down on the wax paper with your hand (not the iron yet) and smooth it out. Then, you'll cut out each letter, making sure to cut through the fabric, glue, and wax paper all at the same time. If you use pen, it's easy to see through the wax paper.

Now, the letters should be a layer of fabric, a layer of the glue web, and a layer of wax paper. Next, you'll peel the wax paper off, and place the letters (sticky glue side down) on your shirt exactly as you'd like them to be permanently. Until you iron them, they are moveable, so you can adjust them. Just make sure the glue stays with the fabric.

After placing the letters where you want them, carefully cover them with a scrap of fabric (or press cloth). You don't want to press the iron directly onto the letters or your shirt, so the fabric is just a thin barrier to protect them. I put the iron on the synthetic setting, but just use your discretion. Iron very well, making sure to press all the edges and corners of each letter.

When you're done ironing, the letters *should* be stuck on there pretty good!

At this point, you could probably just leave it as-is, but I always like to reinforce it by stitching the edges. I'm not sure how the lettering would hold up in the washer if you just rely on the glue. (For Eli's race shirt, I didn't do the top-stitching, but the letters stayed on fine during the race. I'll update after I've washed it). When using denim letters, like I did on the sweatshirt, I especially like to reinforce with stitching, because the letters fray a little on the edges--and I like that look!

For the jacket, I just chose to use a white thread. Use the sewing machine to sew as closely as possible around each letter. (Don't try to sew the letters without doing the webbing part above, though--they will be really difficult to sew.)

Once you sew around the edges of the letters, just trim the thread and viola! It's done.

So this is my simple but effective way to add letters to shirts! Hopefully it's helpful :)

Featured Posts

Blog Archive