July 29, 2015

Active dates with friends

This morning, I woke up absolutely ravenous. It was one of those hungers that just made me want to eat an enormous, filling breakfast. I ended up making a bowl of oatmeal with a new combination of toppings: brown sugar, lots of blueberries, and some chopped almonds.

I don't know if it's just because I was so hungry, but it was one of the best bowls of oatmeal I'd ever had. And it was only 5 PointsPlus. I'm going to make this more often for sure.

Kendall, Nathan's girlfriend, asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride today. She's doing the Tour de Troit with me in September, so we want to get some rides in together before that. Jerry had to work today, so I had to take the kids with us. The most the kids have ridden is 10 miles, so I hoped to go about 12 miles today (at a leisurely pace), depending on how they felt during the ride.

Kendall picked us up in Nathan's truck, so that we could put all four bikes in the back and drive to the Metropark. I was a little shocked when I stepped outside and felt how hot and humid it was! The windows of my house were actually foggy and dripping from the moisture in the air. We loaded up on sunscreen, and packed a lot of water to carry. We parked at the far south end of the Metropark, and then decided to do an out and back from there.

We let the kids set the pace, so it was pretty slow moving, but it felt nice to go for a leisurely ride. We were able to chat while we rode, and we stopped a few times for the kids to take a drink or check out the scenery. I meant to take a ton of pictures, and I just forgot! The first stop in the park, I snapped one pic--and that ended up being the only photo I took the entire ride. And it wasn't even a good picture. (You can actually kind of see the haze in the air...)

We rode to the neighborhood where I grew up (where I lived from birth until I was 15 years old). My aunt was outside gardening, so we stopped and chatted with her for a few minutes, and then rode down my old street so I could show Kendall the house where Nathan and I grew up in. We used that as our turn around point, and then headed back to the Metropark where the car was.

My dad was working at the park, so we stopped at the building where he works to say hi to him, and then rode the rest of the way to the car. I had forgotten to start/stop my Garmin a couple of times with our stops, so I don't have totally accurate data from my Garmin, but we probably rode about 13 miles total. Noah would have loved to do more, but Eli just wasn't having it. The heat had gotten even worse during the ride, and by the time we finished, the heat index was 103 degrees. It felt so good to be done! I'd promised the kids we'd go to Subway for lunch after the ride, so we headed there afterward.

Riding a bike in the heat isn't nearly as tough as running in the heat. It's nice because you have the breeze blowing in your face when you ride (I'm not fast enough of a runner to get much of a breeze, haha). The actual ride wasn't too bad; it was the stops when we were just standing in the sun that was tough. Noah really loved it, so I'd like to go for a ride with just the two of us soon, too.

Something Kendall and I talked about today was how we found it interesting that we actually choose to do something active with friends when we hang out (like our bike ride today). Six years ago, I never would have chosen a bike ride in the heat when we could have just gone out to lunch in an air conditioned restaurant. I never could understand why people would choose to do something active--because it just sounded so unappealing to me. Now, it's become so second-nature that I don't even really think twice about it. Go for a walk? Sure. Travel for a race? Count me in. Bike ride in the summer heat? Definitely. I still enjoy coffee/tea dates, or movie dates, and things like that; but active dates are just as appealing to me!

I'll end with this question: What are some of your favorite active ways to spend time with friends or family? I'd love some more ideas!

July 28, 2015

First speed work in over eight months!

Yesterday was a cross training day, and I was thinking about taking the kids to the rec center to swim while I did a deep water run. I remembered that Noah had recently asked me to teach him to play tennis, so I figured I could do that instead and count it as my cross training for the day.

We grabbed some rackets and a ball, and then Noah, Eli, and I drove to a nearby park that has tennis courts. I hadn't played tennis since high school, so I had a hard time even remembering how to play! But we had a lot of fun just hitting the ball back and forth, and seeing how long we could keep it in play. It was a great workout--I was a little worried about my stress fracture, because of all the changes in direction, but I didn't have any trouble with it.

It was super humid, so we only stayed for about 40 minutes, but the kids loved it and said they wanted to come back again.

Yesterday evening, the kids and I walked (with Joey) to my parents' house. Joey loves to play in the lake, so we bring him over there sometimes to get his fix. I can't get over what a good dog he is! As soon as we get to their house, I let him off leash, and he's like a rocket straight for the lake. He doesn't have any interest in running away, and he just likes to be wherever we are. He played in the lake for a while, and then Eli was going to clean him off with the hose before we left.

It was SO cute. I thought Joey would run from the spray, but he did just he opposite. He chased after it and tried to eat the water coming out!

I was nervous about my run this morning, because I haven't done speed work in SO LONG. I think the last time I actually ran my best was at a Thanksgiving 10K last year. On the schedule today was 8 x 600's at roughly-5K pace. I don't have a clue what my current 5K pace is, but if I had to guess, I would think 9:00-9:30 ish. Mentally, this was odd for me--to run speed work (600's) at a 9:15 pace? I'm used to doing speed work in the low 7:00's or even high 6:00's when I was in good shape. But, I'm basically starting all over from scratch, so I decided to try it before I declared it "too easy".

I learned that it definitely wasn't too easy. Instead of doing 600 meters (0.37 miles), I chose to go by time instead--3:00 running, and then walking 1:30 to recover between intervals. I figured it would be roughly the same distance, but it would be easier to keep track of. I walked a couple of minutes to warm up, and then set the treadmill at 6.5 mph (a 9:13/mi pace) and ran for three minutes. It was much tougher than I expected! I think if I was to run my hardest right now, I might be able to pull off a sub-9:00 mile, and just barely finish without dying.

I continued the 3:00/1:30 intervals, at 6.5 mph and 3.0 mph respectively. After 8 intervals, I felt good. I felt like I had worked hard, but not too hard, which is what the goal was. The Hansons plan has a specific window for speed work, and it's slower than what typical plans call for. If nothing else, running at a faster pace helped me to see where my fitness level is right now.

Yesterday, Jerry, the kids, and I walked up to the store. When we paid, Jerry used his debit card, and it was declined. That was really odd, because I knew we had money in our account. The cashier ran it through twice, and both times it said declined. I felt a little panicked when we got home, and I looked up our account online. Nothing looked too unusual, other than a few authorization holds that were pending and I had no idea what they were (but again, not that unusual).

Today, Jerry called the bank to find out what was going on, and it turns out that while we were in New York, someone stole Jerry's debit card info, and yesterday, they had a little shopping spree in New York.  There was only ONE spot that we used the debit card while we were gone (we used cash everywhere else), so we know exactly where it was. It infuriates me that someone did that! I know it happens to people fairly often these days, but that's the first time we ever had an issue like that.

The bank flagged the card and froze our account when they saw some charges for hundreds of dollars in NY. We won't be responsible for those charges, but now we need new debit cards because we can't use ours. The cards take 14 days to get here, so we'll just have to start using cash only for a while--that's going to be hard to get used to, because I very rarely carry cash with me.

So, anyway, it's kind of a mess right now, but hopefully the bank will get it all sorted out soon. I found it pretty funny that a couple of the charges on the card were $60 for Burger King and $50 for Wendy's--who spends that much money on fast food in one day?! I also had to laugh at the irony... I was in NY to learn about financial security, and while I was there, my bank account info was hacked ;)

July 27, 2015

Motivational Monday #115

Happy Motivational Monday! It's been a few weeks since the last MM post, so I apologize for that. The MM submissions have been getting more and more sporadic, so I may end up doing just one Motivational Monday post per month, instead of each week. I want to make sure you know that Motivational Monday is not just about HUGE accomplishments, like losing 100 pounds or running a marathon. It's meant to be a place where you can shamelessly brag about an accomplishment you've made, no matter how big or small it may seem.

I have not had a very good week on Weight Watchers, unfortunately. My pre-paid WW meetings ended on July 20th, and I actually haven't weighed in for two weeks! I should probably go back and pre-pay for another 12 weeks, just to keep myself from backsliding. I had made good progress, even though it didn't show up on the scale so much--my clothes were fitting much better, and was able to wear some things that I hadn't been able to in a while. I felt really good, so I don't want to lose that.

I just feel like I need to come up with a short-term reward for staying on track. That's how I've always been able to do it in the past: I think of a reward that I really want, but I don't allow myself to have it until I've been on track for two weeks, or a month, or something like that. I'll have to give it some thought today and hopefully come up with something!

Anyways, today is Motivational Monday, and there is nothing motivating about my being off track ;) Here are some motivating readers' stories to start your week!

Kristina lost a lot of weight several years ago, but like me, she struggles with binge eating. She's been struggling with the same eight pounds, going up and down, and had a "screw it" mentality. Earlier this month, she went to a women's conference, and attended a workshop about healthy eating and living. It was a wake-up call for her, and she made a few changes that have been really helpful to her: 1) Drinking a green smoothie for breakfast; 2) No added/refined sugar; 3) No artificial sweetener; 4) No diet soda; and 5) No processed/boxed foods. She lost over five pounds the first week! Last week, she also went for a kayaking adventure with her mom--for 6 miles! She's feeling really good about the changes she's made.

(At the end of her email, Kristina added, "Thanks always for being an inspiration to keep pushing. I hope that someday, I can do the same for others." I found this so interesting, because it was SHE that inspired ME when I started to lose the weight! We started reading each other's blogs in probably about 2005-ish, and I loved seeing her progress photos as she dropped her weight. I was envious , and hoped I'd be able to do the same thing one day! So, Kristina, trust me when I say that you've already inspired people more than you know.)

In January 2011, at 215 pounds, Katie was extremely unhappy with her appearance and fitness level. She began tracking her calories on My Fitness Pal, and being smarter with her portions while continuing to enjoy her favorite foods. Late that year, she started the Couch to 5K program, and was very winded after running just a quarter-mile--she didn't think she'd ever improve! She ran her first 5K in Spring 2012, then continued to lose weight and run more 5K's and even a 10K. In April of this year, she decided she was ready to train for a half-marathon. She and her boyfriend, Tarik, signed up for the Shipyard Old Port Half-Marathon in Portland, Maine. As they trained together, they even set a goal to finish the race under two hours. It was extremely hot on race day, and much tougher than she'd imagined it would be, but she ended up finishing in 1:58:50! She celebrated with a much-deserved ice cream cookie sandwich and a cold beer ;)

Last Monday, Virginia was very proud of herself--she ran for a full 30 minutes straight! She usually does a run/walk method, and had worked her way up to a ratio of 8:00-run and 2:00 walk. That day, she decided to try to run the entire first mile, and she did! Then, instead of going back to the run/walk method, she wanted to go for the whole 30 minutes of running, just to see if she could. It wasn't easy in the New Orleans humidity, but she pushed through, and completed the full run! Virginia is now down 15.5 pounds with a combination of Weight Watchers and running--something else to be very proud of.

Mara has dropped a total of 60 pounds, and she started run/walking in August 2014. She tries to do at least one race per month, but recently signed up for 7 races over 37 days! The first of those was June 27, when she ran her first 10K. She had a goal of 1:06:00, but the hilly course and stiff legs made that difficult, and she finished in 1:07:00. She was happy that she had managed to run 1.3 miles without a walk break! The following weekend, on July 4th, she ran a half-marathon relay--hers was the first leg, at 6.75 miles. She set a realistic goal of 1:12:00, and ended up finishing in 1:08:28! Even more exciting for her, she ran the first 4.15 miles without a single walk break, which more than doubled her previous best run distance.

A huge congratulations to all of you that had a great week! I love reading these stories, because they certainly motivate ME :)

July 26, 2015

My lucky day! (Grandma's Game)

This morning, I was much more compliant about getting my run done first thing when I woke up. I had plans for lunchtime, so I wanted to make sure to get my long run in this morning. I had eight miles on the schedule, which is the same as yesterday. The Hansons Marathon Method has two back to back longish runs on weekends instead of having one long run per week, which I found much more preparatory for marathon training.

I was a little concerned about how my legs would do, since my training has been minimal lately (per the Galloway training plan). I chose the treadmill again, considering the humidity outside was awful. Today, I bumped the speed up just a touch--for the 3:00-run portions, I did 5.8 mph; and then for the 0:30-walk portions, I did 4.0 mph. My run was pretty much identical to yesterday.

After my run, I took a quick shower and then ate breakfast. While I was on the treadmill, my run ended in the middle of a One Tree Hill episode, and I really wanted to finish it. I turned that on, and while I finished watching that, I decided to play a hand of my favorite solitaire game.

I've mentioned the game in my blog several times, because it really helps me to keep from binge eating sometimes. I like to play it with real cards (not digitally). I've been playing the game for over two decades, and I'd NEVER WON. Not once!

Well, apparently, today was my lucky day. I ACTUALLY WON. My heart was pounding toward the end, because I was doing so well, and I couldn't believe it when I actually won. My mom is the one who taught me the game, and she only won it one time (about 40 years ago). It's a really difficult game to win!

I was dying to tell someone, but nobody really cares(!) so I decided to make a video that I've been planning to do for a long time but just never got around to it. I made a video that explains how to play the game. It's a hard game to describe, and I never even knew what it was called until I wrote about it on my blog a couple of years ago (the closest game I can find to what my mom taught me is called Grandma's Game, or 13 Stacks).

Anyway, if you're into playing solitaire, here is a video that explains how to play. I wish it was a little closer up, but I hope that it's pretty explanatory.

At 1:00, we had plans to meet up with Rik and his wife Cynthia for lunch. If you don't remember, Rik is my co-captain from my From Fat to Finish Line Ragnar team. They live in Wisconsin, but were passing through the area today to look at a car they were interested in buying. We made plans to meet at Public House, a local restaurant, for lunch. It was fun to get to chat with them!

Jerry and Rik made plans for Jerry to go to Wisconsin to visit soon. I often feel guilty that I get to travel sometimes for blogging, so I encourage Jerry to go on some solo trips to have fun, too. I know he'll have a lot of fun hanging out with Rik!

Tomorrow is Motivational Monday! It's been a few weeks, but I will definitely have a post tomorrow. If you have a submission, please get it to me by tomorrow morning. Here's how. :)

July 25, 2015

Halo Top ice cream

The potluck yesterday was so nice! Noah and Eli's baseball coach invited the team to his house for a potluck and baseball game (he actually has a baseball diamond in his back yard!). The kids were all allowed to bring a friend, so that there would be enough kids to play a game. We stopped and picked up a friend of Noah's on the way.

The coach and his wife have a gorgeous yard, and they cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill for everyone. I made my favorite coleslaw recipe to bring. After dinner, the kids played ball, and had a blast.

I really enjoyed the kids' season this year. Their coach was fantastic, and I was hoping he was going to move up to the 11-12 year old boys' teams next year, but he's going to stick with 9-10 year olds. Eli will still be 10, so he can play in that league; but Noah has to move up. Anyway, I was really happy with their coach this season, because he obviously loves coaching, and he's really great at it.

So, yesterday I wrote about how excited I was to start bumping up my training a little. And then this morning, I couldn't drag myself out of bed for ANYTHING, haha.

I had 8 miles on the schedule today, which really isn't all that bad. Last week, I ran 12, so 8 should have been simple enough. I just had the worst time getting motivated to start. I woke up at around 6:45, and then convinced myself that I could wait until 7:30 to get started. Then I woke back up at around 7:30, and said I'd wait until 8:00. And so on. I finally got out of bed at 9:00! I never sleep that late.

The problem with getting such a late start is that the sun is up and it gets really hot and humid. When I stepped outside, I realized there was no way that I was going to run out there. Running in the air conditioning on the treadmill while watching One Tree Hill sounded much more appealing! ;) I was no longer in a rush to get started, so I made some breakfast and did some online banking, and finally got on the treadmill at around 11:00.

I set my Garmin for intervals of 3:00-running and 0:30-walking. I haven't used the treadmill in ages, and I wasn't sure how well the run/walk method would do on the 'mill. I hoped it wouldn't take 15 seconds to increase or decrease the speed. I decided to do my running portions at 5.7 mph and the walking portions at 4.0 mph. I guessed that would make my overall pace roughly 11:00/mile.

I had a really great run today--it felt very easy, almost to the point of thinking that I should bump up the speed. But I have to run 8 miles again tomorrow, so I didn't want to go faster than I was "supposed" to. I stuck with the 5.7/4.0 mph (1% incline) consistently throughout the whole run, and I felt great when I was done. Thankfully, the treadmill was really quick at changing between run and walk speeds (literally about 2-3 seconds max). My average pace ended up being 10:49/mile.

My heart rate was much lower than it is when I run outside, and the run as a whole felt easier than I'm used to. I think I'll have to increase the pace or incline to better mimic how it feels when I'm outside.

One thing I've noticed since I started doing the run/walk method is that I recover much more quickly! Usually, on my long run days, my legs feel a little achy or mildly sore for the rest of the day, but since I started the run/walk method, I don't even really feel like I've run that day. I'm sure that will be helpful during Hansons training. Tomorrow will be the big test, because I have another 8-miler on the schedule!

Remember when I wrote about buying the Arctic Zero ice cream? I had been wanting to try it for years, and I finally bought some. I wasn't super impressed--it was okay, but had a very funky aftertaste that would last for HOURS after eating the ice cream. Anyway, some readers suggested Halo Top Creamery ice cream, which is low in calories as well. We don't have it at any of the grocery stores near me, so I didn't think much of it. But Halo Top apparently saw that post, and they asked if they could send me some samples. If there is one thing I'll never turn down, it's free ice cream! ;)

It was like Christmas morning when I got a box in the mail with SEVEN flavors...

Birthday Cake, Lemon Cake, Chocolate Mocha Chip, Strawberry, Mint Chip, Vanilla Bean, and Chocolate. First, I tried the Birthday Cake flavor. I love cake batter ice cream, so I hoped it would be similar. It has 70 calories per half cup, or 280 for the whole pint. I was expecting it to taste similar to the Arctic Zero--just okay, but not like "real" ice cream.

I was SUPER impressed with the Halo Top! It was honestly an ice cream that I would happily eat whether or not I was worried about calories. I let Jerry and the kids all try it, too, and they all agreed with me. The nutrition facts were appealing, as far as a treat goes:

Since then, I've also tried the Chocolate Mocha and the Chocolate flavors, and they've all been really good. I'm going to see if I can't get my local Kroger to carry this stuff--because I'm hooked on it now!

July 24, 2015

A new training plan

I got an email back from my physical therapist, and he okay'ed my plan to gradually switch over to the Hansons Marathon Method. I didn't feel like two short runs and one long run per week was really preparing me for the marathon, so I hope that by gradually adding running days, my legs will get back in shape to run long.

I left the four S.O.S. workouts on the schedule (Hansons call the key workouts "Something Of Substance", or S.O.S.). After five weeks, I'll add in a fifth run. And a few weeks after that, I'll add in a sixth. For now, on Mondays and Fridays, I am going to do cross-training (biking or deep water running, most likely) until I swap it out with a run. Wednesdays are rest days.

Modified Hansons beginner plan

I still plan to do run/walk intervals, because adding in the extra mileage means extra stress on my legs. I am sure that my fracture is healed now, and I'm still doing the PT exercises to hopefully prevent another recurrence, but I'm doing the run/walk as extra insurance against an injury. Now, I've been doing 2:30 run and 0:30 walk segments, but I may start to slowly increase that as well, depending on how the extra mileage works out.

The runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays are done at a particular pace, depending on your goal for the marathon. I don't have a time goal for the marathon, but I think as of right now, it's looking like I could manage sub-5:00. A long way off from a PR, but I'll be very happy just to finish this thing in decent shape ;)  A 4:59:59 finish would be a pace of 11:26/mile, so with run/walk segments, that sounds pretty realistic for me.

My training paces up to now fit in with the 4:45 finish time. That means my easy runs should be a pace of 12:05-ish, long runs (on Sundays) should be 11:41, marathon pace run (on Thursdays) should be 10:52, speed work (on Tuesdays) should be 9:34-9:58. Hitting a 9:34 pace while doing run/walk intervals is actually pretty challenging for me (I have to run at a sub-9:00 pace to make up for the walking). I'm just using those paces as guidelines, though--I'm not going to focus too much on the pace for this training.

I finally got a new battery in my heart rate monitor! I had to buy a Philips size 0 screwdriver to open the HR monitor battery compartment (I can't remember who it was, but someone left me a comment with a link to the correct screwdriver--thank you so much!!). I wish I had my HR data from the past several weeks, so that I could compare and see if my fitness is improving. I have data from my first two run/walks, and comparing them with today, my HR is down over 10 beats per minute at a similar pace. That's a good thing! It means I'm able to do the same pace without working quite as hard. I'm curious to watch it as I continue training.

Working out this plan has helped get me excited to train for this marathon. I was feeling nervous about it, because I just didn't feel like the three days per week was preparing me well. Now, I just feel like I can do it, and I just have to be really careful and smart about my training. As tempting as it is to jump right in with both feet, I am going to be cautious.

Well, I have to get ready for a party tonight. The kids' baseball coach is having an end-of-the-season party for the team, and it's a potluck. We're also going to be playing baseball with the kids, so it should be a fun time! I wish it wasn't so humid today, but the party is in the evening, so hopefully it won't be too bad.

July 23, 2015

A day at Cedar Point

Yesterday morning, I got a Groupon email that was advertising Cedar Point tickets for $40 each. That's a really good deal, and we had planned to go to Cedar Point some time this summer anyway, so I bought four tickets. I started thinking about when to go, when I realized that yesterday was the perfect opportunity. Jerry was off work, it was midweek (weekends are super busy at Cedar Point), and the weather was great.

About an hour after buying the tickets, we were loaded up in the car and off to Sandusky, Ohio. If you're not familiar with Cedar Point, it's a huge amusement park known for their roller coasters. It's about 90 minutes from my house, so it's great for a day trip. The last time we went was in 2013, and it rained harder than I'd ever seen (they ended up shutting down all of the rides because of the weather). (The Santa Hustle Half that I did with my brother in December was actually at Cedar Point as well, but the park was closed for winter).

When we got to Sandusky, it was lunch time, so we stopped at McDonald's to eat before going into the park (the food in the park is uber expensive). I got a Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad (my go-to). After lunch, we headed into the park.

My kids are scared of most of the rides, but I asked them to please go on ONE roller coaster with us. My very favorite roller coaster is the Raptor, and I hadn't been on it for years. It's a smooth coaster, which I hoped would be nice for the kids. The older coasters are very rough rides, and painful to ride in my old age ;) The kids agreed to ride it, so I said we should do it first, so that they wouldn't have to worry about it all day.

We got in line, which was stated to be about an hour and a half long (not unusual for the coasters to have lines 1-2 hours long, which is crazy). We slowly made our way toward the front of the line.

About an hour and half later, I noticed that I hadn't seen the coaster go by, and the line stopped moving. A guy came out to tell everyone that the coaster had stopped, and they were working on the issue--he said it could be 10 minutes or an hour, he had no idea. We were only about 25 people from the front of the line! We decided to wait about 15 minutes and hope that it was fixed.

Twenty minutes later, it still wasn't resolved, so we sadly got out of line to go somewhere else. I was SUPER bummed, not just because we wasted two hours of our time, but because it would be hard to convince the kids to ride something else. We walked to another roller coaster next to the Raptor, called the Blue Streak. It's very old (over 50 years), and is known for being a small, not-very-thrilling ride. I'd never actually been on it, but assumed it would be fine.

It was awful! It doesn't do anything crazy (just several hills), but I kept getting lifted off the seat and then slamming back down with each hill, and my back was KILLING me after that. The kids both cried, and said they would never go on another roller coaster again. After that ride, I couldn't even blame them.

We walked over to some of the other rides--the Scrambler, the Matterhorn, and non-coaster rides--and we had a lot of fun doing those.

I noticed a sign that said to text a particular number to let them know how your day at Cedar Point was going, so I decided to write about the Raptor. They were super nice, and said that they would allow us to go straight to the front of the line of any ride we wanted (just once); so, we chose the Raptor because we had waited so long to ride it.

When we got there, kids both said they didn't want to go on it after their experience on the Blue Streak, unfortunately. We were told to walk up the exit ramp all the way to the coaster, and they'd put us on the ride right away. They even let the kids stay right there next to them while Jerry and I rode the Raptor. It was as fun as I remember it being, and I wished that the kids had gotten to experience it! Hopefully next time.

We let the kids choose all the rest of the rides, and we rode one more roller coaster called the Iron Dragon. Noah loved it, Eli did not. It made me kind of thankful that I hadn't put him on the Raptor after all, because if he didn't like the Iron Dragon, he would have been terrified on the Raptor! The day flew by, and before we knew it, it was nearly 8:00 pm. I felt like I could actually fall asleep while we were on the Sky Ride, because it was so quiet and relaxing!

We were all starving for dinner, and we'd ridden all the rides the kids wanted to, so we headed home. We stopped at Subway for dinner (I had a veggie sub with avocado, which was delicious), and then got home at around 10:00. It had been such a long, exhausting day, but so much fun! I had been really tempted by the funnel cakes, frozen custard, french fries, etc. at the park, but I stayed on track and didn't eat anything at the park. We got in over 20,000 steps, which was nice!

I slept like a rock last night, and only woke up at a decent hour this morning because I had to drive my brother to the airport. It's interesting how I can run 12 miles or so, and not feel anything the next day; but walking around an amusement park all day was totally exhausting. The kids had a blast, though, and had gotten braver about the rides since the last time we were there. Maybe when we go again next year, they'll ride the Raptor with me :)

July 21, 2015

Marathon training and an evening at the beach

I feel like I've been away from home for weeks, in the sense that I just feel out of my routine. It's so odd! But now that I'm home from NY and I don't have anything major planned for a while (until October, when I have the Detroit Marathon), I am glad to be back to the norm.

Taking a break from the blog was nice, but not so great for my eating. Most days, I did really well; but I overate a few times (going over my PointsPlus). And yesterday, I had a mini-binge. Technically, it probably wasn't a binge, because I didn't lose ALL control; but in my eyes, it was. So, I have to restart my binge-free streak from zero. I do so much better when I am in a solid routine, and last week was completely out of the norm for me.

I decided to talk to my physical therapist about changing up my marathon training. Right now, I'm combining Jeff Galloway's plan with Hal Higdon's plan, and it's just not working out. Galloway's plan is two 30-minute runs per week plus one long run. The problem with that is when you have a bad long run (like I did a couple of weeks ago), it's a HUGE chunk of your mileage that gets messed up.

The plan that worked best for me was Hansons Marathon Method, but it's a ton of mileage, so not the ideal plan for getting back to running after an injury. Even though the long run only goes up to 16 miles, I felt more prepared than ever for the Chicago Marathon. That's the plan I'd hoped to use for Detroit.

Anyway, what I'd like to do (and have to talk with my PT about) is to start transitioning to Hansons. I would start by adding a fourth day of running, and then use cross training (deep water running or biking) for the other two run days. After a few weeks, if I do okay with that, I can swap in a fifth run day for one of the cross training days. And a few more weeks after that, I'd make the switch over to the sixth run day and follow the schedule as planned. I would continue to do the run/walk intervals through the program.

I sent my PT an email about it today, so I'll decide once I hear back from him. Yesterday, I ran four miles instead of three, and it went really well. If I'm going to increase my mileage, I decided I'd better take my easy runs REALLY easy, so I took the pace nice and slow. I felt really good when I was done. I'm actually looking forward to increasing my mileage if my PT says it's okay!

My parents are camping for a few days, so they invited us to the campground yesterday with the kids. We brought Joey, and spent a couple of hours on the beach. Joey's favorite game is chasing after rocks in the water. It was cute to see the kids get in and play with him.

Eli started digging in the sand, and Joey thought that was a super fun game! It was hilarious to watch him dig, because he could dig ten times faster than we could. Then he would stick his face in the hole he just made, and come out with sand all over his nose. Eli was laughing non-stop.

It was a gorgeous day for the beach, too! It was warm, but not very sunny, so it wasn't miserably hot. There was a nice breeze, and not very many people on the beach, so we had a huge chunk of it to ourselves.

When we got home, Jerry and I watched One Tree Hill until almost midnight, haha. I got him sucked into that show, now, too! ;)

July 20, 2015

A weekend in New York

Today is normally Motivational Monday, but I will resume MM next week. I only had one submission, and I forgot to post a reminder, so it'll just make more sense to wait until next Monday.

I got home from NYC yesterday, and I have to say, I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated! I've been to NYC several times: at 16, I went with a friend, but don't remember much; I went in 2011 for The Dr. Oz Show; I went in 2014 for the Purina Better With Pets Summit; and then this weekend, I went to speak on a panel for Prudential. In 2011 and 2014, I was traveling alone, and had NO knowledge of the city. I'm terrible at directions and public transportation, so I found myself frustrated and unable to really make the most of the trips.

I was really excited that I had enough SkyMiles for Jerry to go with me on this trip, because Jerry loves to explore (and learns directions quickly). An old friend of ours, Mike, moved to NYC last year, so I got in touch with him to ask if he wanted to get together while we were there. That ended up working out really well, and made the trip so much fun!

On Friday morning, Jerry and I had to get up super early to leave for the airport. Our flight was at 7:25, so we left the house at 5:30. I took Xanax for the plane, which I hate taking because it makes me so tired, but it helped make the flight go by pretty quickly. (Usually, I have wine before flying, but I wanted to save my calories for NY!).

When we arrived at La Guardia, we took a shuttle that I'd reserved to get to our hotel. We stayed at the Hudson, which was literally a block from Central Park. The last two times I went to the city, I wanted to check out the park, but wasn't able to get there; this time, I wasn't going to take any chances ;) I booked the Hudson through a deal on Priceline (the kind where you pay for a hotel in a particular location, and then they tell you the name of the hotel--kind of a gamble). I was really happy with it, though--it was small, which was expected, but very clean and well-kept. A great location, too! (Prudential gave me a travel stipend for my hotel and flight, but everything was more expensive than I imagined, so I was glad to get a deal where I could).

We dropped off our bags at the hotel, and then right away, we went to meet Mike at the 9/11 Memorial (another place I'd wanted to visit the past couple of trips). The Memorial was AMAZING. We didn't have time to do the museum, which I've heard can take all day, but just seeing the reflecting pools was really touching. I should have taken more pictures, but honestly, pictures couldn't possibly do it justice.

We were starving for lunch by that time, so we met up with Mike's wife, Renee (who was working, but off for lunch) and went to a restaurant/bar called Irish American Pub to get some food. I got a chicken sandwich that had roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella, which was so good! It was really big, so I only ate half of it.

Mike said we could see a great view of the city from the Staten Island ferry, which sounded fun, so we walked around a bit and then headed to the ferry. It was a gorgeous day, and perfect for a ride on the water!

We took the ferry round trip, and then went to Mike's apartment in East Village. I really enjoyed that area of the city more than the touristy parts I've seen. It had a more comfortable feel to it, if that makes sense. Anyway, it was fun to see where Mike lives. We walked to a park to watch the dogs at the fenced-in dog area, which was entertaining. Made me miss Joey! For dinner, we walked to a bar in Mike's neighborhood that had free pizza on Fridays. I tried a watermelon beer there, which was awesome! Jerry and I made our way back to our hotel on the subway without getting lost, so it was a success ;)

On Saturday morning, I got ready to go to the Prudential panel at the BlogHer conferences. The conferences were at the Hilton, which was about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. Jerry and I walked downstairs, and were shocked to see that it was pouring rain outside, and thunder storming. I had plenty of time to get to the hotel, so we just waited under a pavilion while it stormed.

When the rain stopped, we grabbed breakfast from a street vendor and walked to the Hilton. We sat in the lobby for a while, and Jerry went over the panel questions with me so I felt more prepared. I was probably overthinking things, but I had never been on a panel before, so I was nervous. Then Jerry left to meet Mike for a Yankees game.

I popped into the expo to go meet a reader named Pam, who said she'd be working at the WordPress booth. She was super nice! And almost had me convinced to switch to WordPess ;)

After chatting for about 20 minutes, I went downstairs to the Prudential lunch/conference. I was too nervous to eat lunch, so I just talked with the other panelists until we got started. I'll write about the panel in a later post, but once it got started, I felt much more comfortable--and it went well! I was very inspired by what the other panelists had to say.

When the panel was over, I decided to go back to the hotel to change clothes (it was CRAZY HOT outside--in the 90's and just as humid as Michigan). I threw on some comfy clothes and then headed to Central Park. I grabbed some lunch from a vendor on the way (chicken and rice) and when I got to the park, I sat down on a rock to eat (and people watch). Being a Saturday, it was super busy in the park. I was glad that I had decided not to go for a run there, because there were so many people that it would have been frustrating to navigate. It was a great time for people-watching, though!

Jerry sent me a text saying that the game was over, so he and Mike would come meet me. I was really craving a yummy dessert, so we got a couple of Red Velvet Whoopie Pies to take back to Mike's place. Mike, Renee, Jerry, and I sat outside in the courtyard of Mike and Renee's apartment and chatted for a few hours before it was time for Jerry and I to head back to the hotel. We had a really difficult time making our way back, because there was some sort of change on one of the subway lines, so we spent a good hour walking up and down stairs at the station, asking directions, and trying to get cell service. We did finally get back to the hotel, though.

Our shuttle picked us up from the hotel at 6:30 yesterday morning to take us to the airport, so we had to get up early. We were both really excited to see the kids, though, because we hadn't seen them in a whole week! We had a great time in New York, but it felt good to get home. We celebrated Noah's birthday last night, and took him to get his new bike (he said opening the card at camp was very exciting).

Now, it's back to the norm! Taking a week (almost) off of blogging was recharging. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

July 16, 2015

Staycation/blog break

I've been having a fantastic week away from the computer, but I wanted to write some stuff down before I forget it all ;) I use my blog as a journal, and I hate to leave a big gaping hole in it. My kids have been at camp all week, so Jerry and I have spent some good, quality time together. I've also had time to unwind and just veg, which is exactly what I needed. I won't go into all the details of the week, but here are some notables:

The kids left for camp. Jerry and I walked to the bar to play Keno and have a couple of drinks. We each played $25 on Keno, and ended up winning $170! I always play four numbers, and once in a while, I'll hit all four (which is a $72 win). That night, though, I hit all four TWICE. It was exciting, because our whole evening was paid for--we shared a burger and had drinks, plus the Keno--and we still had money leftover.

Jerry was off work, and we went for a run in the morning. I was scheduled for three miles, so he did the run/walk with me, and it was really nice. We chatted the whole time, and it went by quickly. Then we went to the thrift store for some clothes, where I bought a couple of dresses and summer tops. Then we drove down to Toledo for lunch and to go to Sam's Club. A pretty low-key day, but it still went by really quickly.

Jerry had a short day at work, so when he got off at 3:30, I met him at a park with our bikes. I wanted to try and do a long bike ride, going through not one, but THREE Metroparks. From the park that we started at, through all three Metroparks, and back, it was 26.5 miles. The farthest I'd ever ridden was 20 miles, and the farthest Jerry had ridden was just 7. We were up for the challenge, though, even though rain was in the forecast. 

It was extremely humid, and the ride actually had a lot of small hills (tough on a bike!), but it made for a good workout. We had a headwind on the way out, so I was really excited to get to the halfway point so we could turn around. Shortly before we turned around, I took a picture of the sky, because it looked really pretty (although it looked like it was going to open up and downpour any second).

I didn't edit or filter this pic--that's just how it looked!
A little scary when you're miles away from the car.
We took a quick halfway-point photo, and then headed back toward the car. A couple of minutes later, it started sprinkling. And just a couple of minutes after that, it started pouring rain. Running in the rain is fun, but riding in the rain? Not so much. I was getting pretty muddy from rain splashing up my back from the tires on my bike. We were able to go a little faster on the way home, thanks to the tailwind, but it was still tough going. We both felt FANTASTIC when we got done, though! I was dying to take a shower, but I felt really accomplished with the ride. We did 26.45 miles!

We were both starving after that, so we asked Nathan and Kendall if they wanted to meet up for dinner. Jerry and I each took a quick shower, and then headed to Anson's, our favorite pizza joint, to meet Nathan and Kendall. I had a piece of chicken-bacon-ranch pizza and a piece of reuben pizza, and both were delicious! We sat and chatted until almost 10 pm, and then finally headed home.

I ran three miles in the morning, and then spent literally all day relaxing and watching One Tree Hill. I tried a new recipe for dinner, Sesame Chicken by BudgetBytes.com, and it turned out really good. It was 12 PointsPlus.

After dinner, Jerry and I went to watch the kids' last baseball game--yes, even though our kids weren't there playing! Noah and Eli asked us to go, so they could know what happened, so we watched a couple of innings. Then we went to McDonald's to get a cone for dessert. My favorite way to spend 5 PointsPlus :)

I had planned on running 12 miles in Central Park this weekend for my long run, but Thomas suggested that I do it at home Thursday, and then if I really wanted to run in Central Park, do a shorter run. After my disastrous long run last Friday, I didn't want to risk that happening again, so it made more sense to get the run done at home. Also, the weather was in the high 50's when I woke up, which is much nicer than the 80's in midday when I'm in NY. 

Due to last week's fiasco, I was falling behind on my long runs. I really needed a good long run this week, so I made it a goal to do 12 miles (run/walk). I wore my Camelbak, so that I would be SURE to have enough water. I brought a Gu and a pack of Shotbloks. And I just prayed that I could make it through all 12 miles!

I set my run/walk intervals for 2:30 run/0:30 walk, and I planned an out-and-back route near my house. I figured if anything went wrong, it would be easier to call for a ride when I was close to home! ;) The run was pretty uneventful, thankfully. I didn't have any real issues. I kept my pace nice and easy when running, because I knew the last four miles would be a challenge. The last time I ran 12 miles was in December during the Santa Hustle Half-Marathon with Nathan. That was the race where I stress fractured my leg. 

Thankfully, today, I didn't have ANY issues with the leg--not so much as a twinge! I was very conscious of my running form, so I could try and do what my physical therapist said to correct it. As suspected, the last few miles were killer, and felt like forever. After hitting mile 10, though, I was VERY determined to get in all 12. My legs were tired, but I knew I could do it. I felt like I was running through water that last mile, but my pace stayed about the same.

I was ecstatic when I got back home and collapsed on the porch hit mile 12! 

My pace was 11:07, including the walk breaks, which isn't bad at all. 

Tomorrow, we leave for New York. We have plans to meet up with a mutual friend, Mike (actually, it's because of Mike that I met Jerry!) tomorrow evening. Saturday, I have the panel with Prudential, which I'm pretty nervous about. Jerry is going to a Yankees game while I do that. And we come home Sunday morning, so it's a pretty short trip. I probably won't be writing again until Sunday or Monday. Hope everyone has been having a great week!

July 12, 2015

Camp, hair cut, and a short break

Well, the kids are gone away to camp. It sounds strange, but I started missing them before they even left! Sometimes, they drive me crazy with the tattling and arguing with each other, but when they aren't here, all I can think about is how sweet they are and that I miss them.

Noah's 11th birthday is tomorrow, and I won't even be able to talk to him! The camp doesn't allow phone calls (so that the kids can enjoy camp without being bogged down by phone calls, which makes sense). This morning, I made a card for Noah and tucked it into his suitcase, so hopefully he'll see it when he gets there. I wrote on the envelope that he must wait until Monday to open it.

I included a little coupon inside that says "This coupon is good for one new bicycle of your choosing", so when he gets home, we'll take him to pick out a bike. Eli just bought a new bike using his own money, but Noah didn't want to spend his money on one, even though his bike is getting pretty rickety. I think he'll be excited to open the card and get a bike.

I can't believe I forgot to mention this a couple of days ago, but I cut my hair. I was getting really irritated with it, because it was feeling scratchy through my t-shirt on my back, so I did what any sane person would do--I grabbed a pair of scissors and went to down. I cut off about eight inches, which was really drastic for me; but apparently it wasn't too drastic, because Jerry didn't even notice, haha. Usually, I wear my hair up or braided, so it probably wasn't as noticeable. Here is a photo from March, where it was down and shows how long it had gotten; the pic on the right was from when I cut it a couple of days ago.

Anyway, I'm going to try and stay pretty busy this week. It's supposed to thunderstorm Tuesday, so Kendall (Nathan's girlfriend) and I made plans for an Orange is the New Black marathon at my house. She also just signed up for the Tour de Troit in September, so I'm glad I'll have someone to ride that with! We're going to try and do a long bike ride together this week sometime. Jerry and I are planning to have a date night tonight--I'm not sure yet what we're going to do.

When I was running through the park Friday with the kids, we could hear dogs barking to the right of the park; as I ran by, I noticed that there was an animal shelter there. So, I was thinking about stopping in to see if they need anyone to walk the dogs once in a while. I love that park, so it would be really convenient to pick up a dog and walk through the park. I think I'll stop in there this week.

Lately, I've been thinking about taking a short break from the blog, and this week seems to be a good time to do it. Everything is fine--I'm still on track with Weight Watchers, running three times a week, etc., but I just feel like I need a mental break from blogging. On Friday, Jerry and I are going to NYC for a couple of days, but I'll be home Sunday. So, I'll probably resume blogging on Sunday or Monday. (If the urge strikes me to blog this week, then I will; but if I don't, it's just because I'm taking a short break).

My plan for the extra time is to whip my house into shape (easier when the kids aren't here) and get some stuff together for a garage sale; but if I get sucked any further into One Tree Hill, who knows if that will happen! Jerry and I canceled cable a few weeks ago, and I started watching One Tree Hill on Netflix. Several readers had suggested it to me before, but when I read the description (basketball) I wasn't interested. I wish I had known there is actually very little basketball on the show, and mostly just teen drama! ;)

Well, if I don't write, I hope everyone has a great week!

July 10, 2015

A long run (err, duathlon?) with the kids

Well, after all the good runs I've been having lately, I guess I was due for a bad one. And unfortunately, today's was that run.

I had 10 miles planned, but Jerry was working, so I couldn't just leave the kids to go run. I didn't want to do 10 on the treadmill, so instead, I decided to take the kids to the Metropark and let them ride their bikes alongside me while I ran. I've been really tired lately, and actually slept in until 8:00 this morning! After having breakfast, and getting everyone ready to leave, we'd gotten a late start. I even stopped at a pharmacy to buy a tiny screwdriver (like for eyeglasses) to change out the battery in my Garmin heart rate monitor; but even with that, I couldn't get the screws out to change the battery. I'm super bummed that I can't use any of the functions that use the heart rate strap just because I don't have a screwdriver small enough.

Anyway, we finally parked and headed out at 11:15-ish. The kids packed water and snacks in their backpacks, and they loved riding on the bike path.

It was really hot and humid today, which I fully expected, but I guess I had forgotten just how tough those conditions are to run in--especially midday, when the sun is in full force (the sun always drains me). The first couple of miles, I felt great! (I was doing 2:30 run and 0:30 walk segments.)

My pace was slowing pretty dramatically, but again, I expected the heat to take a toll. Noah was so kind to carry a water bottle in his bag for me, so I was drinking water every mile or so. I told them we'd stop and take a break at the five-mile mark before turning around and heading back to the car.

Once we stopped, I had a very hard time getting going again. I felt really drained of energy, and I wished I'd brought some fuel with me. Normally, I don't need fuel for a 10-miler, but I also don't run in the middle of the day--and today, I definitely needed something. (The kids had Pringles, which wouldn't have made very good fuel...) Every time I tried to run, I had a really hard time moving. It was like my legs just stopped working. At around mile 5.5, I decided to call my mom for a ride. I could have toughed out for a mile or two, but not 4.5!

My mom wasn't able to come get us, so I tried my dad. No answer. Jerry was working. I called my friend Andrea, but there was no answer. Meanwhile, I was trying to jog a little and walk a little to keep going--I turned off the run/walk alert on my Garmin, because I was ignoring it anyway. I was doing much more walking than running at that point. I felt bad for the kids, because even though they felt fine, it was going to take us at least another hour to get back to the car if I couldn't run.

When I couldn't get a hold of anyone, I started feeling panicked. We were over four miles away from the car, and I knew I couldn't run anymore. I was having a hard time catching my breath (mainly from panic at that point), so we stopped in the shade while I cried calmed down and tried to think of a plan. I was thinking that I wished I could just stumble upon a bike on the side of the path, so we could ride back; and then I remembered that Eli's bike has pegs.

I got on Eli's bike (which was ridiculous, because my knees were practically at my chest) and Noah stood on the pegs, holding onto my shoulders. Eli rode Noah's bike, and we (slowly but surely) made our way back to the car. I had to stop often to stretch my legs out, because they were so cramped on that bike--but I just couldn't fathom the thought of running any more.

We rode the last few miles back to the car, and I was exhausted. The kids were doing fine, but today just wasn't my day. It was definitely an adventure (and lesson learned) though!

The boys look so grown-up. Noah will be 11 on Monday!
I took the kids out to McDonald's for lunch (because by that time, it was nearly 1:30!), where I was tempted to eat everything on the menu, but I got a grilled chicken southwest salad, for 10 PointsPlus.

Today's run put a big dent in my self-confidence as far as my return to running, but I know that it wasn't my stress fracture bothering me. If it had been 20 degrees cooler and/or no sun, I'm sure the outcome would have been different. If I attempt to run in the afternoon again, I'll definitely make sure I'm better prepared for the heat. The boys had fun riding their bikes, though, and the adventure was... interesting... so I'm happy about that! Hopefully next week's long run will be better (I may be running it in Central Park!).

July 08, 2015

Ranch Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I was craving boneless chicken wings like crazy recently, but I've been avoiding them--they always make me retain a ton of water weight, and I just generally feel like crap when I eat them. I decided to try making a buffalo chicken dish for dinner that would have the same flavor that I was craving, but not so much of a caloric nightmare. I ended up making a super easy crockpot chicken that was so good!

I just cooked two pounds of chicken breasts in the crockpot (cover with water, cook on high for 3-4 hours until the chicken is tender). I threw the chicken (discarding the water that it was cooked in) into my mixing bowl for my Kitchen Aid mixer, and mixed it on low for about 30 seconds until the chicken was shredded (saw that tip on Pinterest, and it is AMAZING--such a huge time saver, and my hands don't get so tired from shredding chicken!). Then I added 1/2 cup water, 3 Tbsp. ranch dressing mix, and 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce.

I wrapped some in tortillas for the kids, but I made lettuce wraps for Jerry and me, and they were phenomenal. Definitely crushed that craving for wings!

For two of them, with a touch of Bolthouse Farms Ranch dressing, there were just 5 PointsPlus. (Probably good with blue cheese, too, but I prefer ranch with my buffalo chicken.) I had leftovers for lunch today.

This morning, I had a three-mile run on the schedule. The weather was glorious for running, too--it was 58 degrees and only about 45% humidity. I changed the run/walk segments to 2:30/0:30 (increasing the running by 30 seconds), because I've been feeling good lately.

It ended up being a fantastic run! The first mile or so, I felt a little stiff, but I wasn't trying to push the pace or anything, so I just ran however it felt most comfortable. I can tell my endurance is improving since I started running again, because the 2:30 running portion seemed to fly by--and I definitely felt like I could keep going. It was an uneventful run (no bird issues, haha), and it boosted my confidence a little. My splits were 10:39, 10:49, and 10:13.

After my run, I took a quick shower and then headed to Weight Watchers. The last couple of weeks, I went to a different center on Tuesday mornings (still with Glenda, my leader); but I wasn't able to go yesterday, because the kids had baseball practice, so I went to my Wednesday meeting. This week, I was only down 0.4, but I expected that--my weight went up 1.5 pounds a couple of days ago, for some reason, and I'm still waiting for it to fall back down. But either way, I'm happy to see another loss on the scale.

At the meeting, we talked about taking time for ourselves, to do something positive for one (or all) of three categories: 1) Body, 2) Mind, or 3) Spirit. Glenda asked if we do something for ourselves each day, and what category it falls into. My "unwind" time each day is usually spent by playing solitaire or some other game in the evenings. I love to read a good book, but I haven't been reading much lately, so usually I will play a game.

This afternoon, I went to pick up my bike from the bike shop (I dropped it off last week for a tune-up). Jerry came with me, because he's been wanting to get a bike for a while, so we looked at bikes for him. He ended up getting the same bike that I have, only the male version of it. He was (obviously) very excited ;)

The kids were very excited, also, because they've been wanting us to go for bike rides together as a family, but Jerry didn't have a bike. So this afternoon, we headed out for a bike ride around the neighborhoods with the kids.

Now, we have to head out to the boys' last baseball game. Their team has two more games next week, but since Noah and Eli will be at camp, they'll have to miss them. I wish their season was longer--it's so fun to watch them play! After the game tonight, Sarah and her husband are coming over, as well as Nathan and Kendall. Should be a fun evening :)

July 07, 2015

Sunday Funday

I had a really great day with Jerry and the kids on Sunday. Noah had been asking if we could go on a picnic, but with all the rain we've gotten this spring/summer, it hasn't worked out. Sunday ended up being absolutely gorgeous outside, and perfect for a picnic.

We packed some turkey sandwiches and fruit, and then headed to Elizabeth Park. Jerry and I used to go there all the time when we were dating, but it had been YEARS since we were there. I forgot just how pretty it is! And, of course, I forgot to take pictures of the view (we sat on the riverfront side).

After we ate our lunch, the boys played catch with a baseball. I took off my shoes, and just laid on the blanket under a tree--it was so comfortable, I could have slept there all day.

We stopped at a playground before leaving the park, because they had a huge piece of equipment that none of us had ever seen before. It looked kind of like a spiderweb of ropes going up a pole. The kids wanted to try it, and after watching them play for a little bit, Jerry and I decided to climb to the top as well.

It was really fun to climb, but definitely a challenge--and considering it went up so high, I was surprised that they even have that on a playground for kids to play on! Doing stuff like that always makes me grateful that I lost the weight when I did. Six years ago, I never could have climbed that (nor would I have even attempted to). The kids thought it was funny that Jerry and I climbed it (and I didn't know it at the time, but Noah used my phone to take a video of me climbing to the top, haha).

When we left the park, we headed to a place called 3 & Up. It's a board game lounge that we've been wanting to check out for a while--they have over a thousand board games, and you pay by the hour to play as much as you'd like. You can even bring your own food and drinks, or have food delivered there! They also have an "electronic free" policy (no cell phones), in order to get people to connect with each other in real life, which I think is a really great idea. Because of that, I didn't take any photos; but we had a lot of fun, and the time flew by!

We played a few old school games that I thought the kids would enjoy. I saw some others that I was dying to play, but I'll have to go back with my childhood girlfriends to get the full experience--Dream Phone, Mall Madness, Girl Talk, etc ;) The guy working there suggested a game called Tsuro for us, and Jerry and I both really ended up liking it, so we'll probably buy it online. One of the things I like about the board game lounge is that you can try out games to see if they are worth buying. I wish it were closer to our house (it's about a 45 minute drive), but it is definitely worth the drive to spend quality time with family or friends.

We finished the day off with movie night at home. I've been wanting to watch The Birds lately, because of getting attacked while running, but my kids are way too scared to see it ;) We ended up choosing a movie about running (I can't remember the name of it now! But it wasn't very good). The whole day ended up being a lot of fun, and I'm glad we got to spend a quality day with the kids before they go to camp next week. This is the first year they're both going to be gone at the same time for nearly a week--it's going to feel so strange not having them home! It will be the longest I've gone without seeing them, but they're super excited for camp.

July 06, 2015

Motivational Monday #114

Happy Motivational Monday! I hope everyone had a great Independence Day weekend. I had a really fun day with Jerry and the kids yesterday, which I'll write about tomorrow. I had another good week on Weight Watchers (today marks 47 days binge-free!). It was kind of difficult a couple of times this week--I was getting thoughts of, "I can just do one MEAL without counting points..." or "It's a holiday, I don't have to count for a holiday...". I know those statements aren't true, though. I've used that sort of reasoning several times in the past, and it always leads to getting way out of control.

I know that one meal isn't going to make me gain back 100 pounds, but it most likely will make me lose control and eat poorly over several days or weeks (or even months). Anyway, as tempting as it was to throw my Points to the wind, I stayed on plan. The scale rewarded me by being UP a pound today, but my official weigh in isn't until Wednesday, so hopefully it'll be back down by then.

Today, I had three miles on the schedule, and the kids were asking to go swimming at the rec center, so I decided to run on the indoor track while they swam. I did 2:00-run and 0:30-walk intervals for the first two miles (each mile split was EXACTLY the same, at 10:21.2), and then for the third mile, I just ran the entire thing. I was really thrilled to see that I completed that last mile in 9:36. Last week, I did it almost a minute slower, at 10:35. (Granted, I can't really compare indoor track vs. outdoor running, but I am still happy with it.) It's fun to see my running improving after my stress fracture!

Here are a few stories for Motivational Monday. Enjoy!

Liz used to hate running, but in March, she decided to start doing it for any weight loss benefits she may receive. Not surprisingly, she became completely addicted to it. She had her first race last Sunday, and PR'ed her 5K time, finishing in 39:05! (Liz blogs at Running for the Weekend)

Staci had to stop running for most of this year due to illness, but she is proud to say that she is back to training! She is going to be running the Race for a Soldier Half Marathon in Gig Harbor, Washington this September. She is especially excited about this race, because the proceeds go toward supporting soldiers who are returning from service. She is fundraising for the race, and here is the link to her donation page. (Staci blogs at Panorama Runner)

Margaret tends to set "safe" goals, which she realized is holding her back a little in her running lately. She participated in the Elmhurst "4 on the 4th" race this weekend, and at the starting line, she chose to line up between the 9:00 and 10:00 pace runners--although she had a secret goal to finish at or just under 34:00 (which is an 8:30/mile pace). She pushed herself hard, and ended up finishing in 33:38 (an 8:25/mile pace)! Her kids also did very well, and had a little bit of competition at the very last stretch--her daughter (11) was ahead of her son (9), when he passed her with just yards left in the race. Then her daughter pushed past her son, to finish just two seconds ahead of him! Margaret is now training for a Labor Day Half. She blogs at Running Through 4th Grade.

Renee ran a Fourth of July 5K this weekend, and PR'ed by over two minutes! It has been her goal for over three years now to run a sub-30:00 5K, and she was finally able to do it. She finished in 29:29! She gave it everything she had, and was left with nothing in the tank when she crossed the finish line, but she has a shiny new PR to be proud of. Renee blogs at With Brave Wings She Runs.

Congratulations on some great accomplishments! You can read more stories on the Motivational Monday Facebook post.

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