March 31, 2022

Return to Running Recap : Week 44

I don't have much to recap on this post because I didn't do much running last week! Jerry and I both agreed to take the second half of the week off and then start it all over this week.

We were working on Week 6 of our training plan, but we each had problems with it--mine being my left knee. It doesn't really feel like a "real" injury, but it bothers me the day after each run for some reason. It doesn't hurt while I'm running, but the following day it hurts. And it's not terrible pain, but more of a nagging pain. It almost feels like the top of my tibia is bruised (I know that's very specific, haha).

Anyway, I had been skipping one run per week due to my knee anyway, but when Jerry suggested taking a few days off and then repeating Week 6, I thought it was a good idea. I hoped that the extra few days would help my knee to quit bugging me.

And thankfully, it seems to have worked! I'm going to continue to run just three days a week instead of four, at least until after the race. I really don't want to risk having knee issues come race time. So, I'm going to skip the Thursday runs. (I wrote in the plan that if you have to skip a day, the Thursday run is the best one to skip.)

That means I only have one run to write about today, and unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess), it's not very eventful!

Tuesday - Tempo Run

Tuesday's run was a tempo run; since I'm repeating Week 6, this is the same run I did a week prior:

Run 5 minutes easy; Run 15 minutes at tempo pace; Run 5 minutes easy.

I liked that this was only 25 minutes total! ;)  I looked at what I did the previous Tuesday so that I could run at the same speed (or possibly a little faster) this time. I read my book while I ran, but the run felt hard--which was good, because a tempo run isn't supposed to feel easy. 

Summary: 5 minutes at 10:58/mile, 15 minutes at 9:02/mile, 5 minutes at 10:48/mile. Total of 2.59 miles in 25:08.

Since I got the new Garmin and spent some time messing around with it, I decided to try something a little different. I changed the heart rate zones to the default (percentage of heart rate reserve) rather than using the MAF heart rate formula. I'm not heart rate training right now, but I am curious to see where my heart rate falls under the default settings.

Percentage of heart rate reserve (HRR) is more accurate than using a percentage of maximum heart rate (MHR) because it takes your resting heart rate into account as well as your maximum. Lately, my resting heart rate has been about 70 bpm. 

I don't know my *actual* maximum heart rate, but using the well-known formula of 220 minus my age (40 years), I get 180. This method has been shown to be pretty inaccurate and gets less accurate as you get older.

There is another method called the Gulati formula that is just for women and it's apparently much more accurate. Your maximum heart rate is calculated like this: [206 - (0.88 x age)]. That would make my maximum heart rate 170.8 (we'll round up to 171 bpm). That seems a lot more likely than 180 for me--even when I run my very hardest, it's hard to get to the high 160s. 

So, I'm just going to go ahead and set my maximum heart rate at 171 bpm. So here is what my heart rate zones would look like when using the heart rate reserve method:

It took me forever to find a good chart for the descriptions of the zones using heart rate reserve, but here is a great one from RunBundle. You can put your own numbers in and it will calculate everything for you, but here is the description of the zones themselves:

This only lists four zones, so Zone 1 on the Garmin would basically be "Zone 0"--useless as far as this training goes. I marked the chart with red to reflect the zones on my Garmin. So I would basically run in Zone 2-3 for easy runs, Zone 4 for tempo, Zone 5 for intervals.

Like I said, I'm not training by heart rate right now (although my runs lately seem to fall into those zones) but after the race, it might be fun to try training with these zones for a change. I always like trying something new to keep things from getting boring!

I had no intention of turning this into such a long post about heart rate stuff (in fact, I think I said I *wasn't* going to write about heart rate stuff during this training period, haha!). Since I only had one run to cover on this post, I figured it was a good time to mention it, though.

Let's hope my knee holds up okay this week. Four miles tomorrow and then five on Sunday!

March 30, 2022

Wednesday Weigh-In : Week 44

I really don't want to write this post. Like, I've been coming up with a million excuses in my head not to write it. However, whether or not I write it doesn't change anything, so I might as well be vulnerable and honest. 

I'll spoil the ending right now--I had a terrible week as far as my weigh-in goes. After last week's gain, I was super motivated to have a good loss this week. My weight has been bouncing between 147 and 150 for what feels like forever (in reality, it's been about five weeks).

I don't know what happened this week, but I suspect that since I haven't seen much progress even when I try really hard, I just let loose and figured it wouldn't matter anyway. (This wasn't a conscious thought; I just imagine that's what was happening in my brain.)

First, my weigh-in for today:

Last week, I was at 149.8 (which was already a gain from the previous week). And today? I was at 154.6--a gain for 4.8 pounds! In a week.

I know there are lots of reasons that this could have happened, and I also know that I didn't gain nearly five pounds of FAT--a pound of fat is about 3,500 calories, so that would mean I'd have to have consumed an EXCESS of 16,800 calories, or 2,400 calories per day. I know that I didn't do that, so I know that this may just take a couple of days to drop the water weight.

However, I *did* eat a lot of excess calories, so some of that weight may very well be fat. I shouldn't have bought a big container of roasted cashews because I have a very hard time just eating one portion (or even two portions--they're so tiny!). I also went overboard with peanut butter. Nuts are healthy when eaten in normal quantities, but the calories can add up super fast and it doesn't even feel like you ate that much.

I also decided to change up my lunch this week. I actually did that with the hope that it would help the scale start dropping again. Instead of my usual cold oats, I've been having a sandwich: Dave's Killer Bread (it's the one with the yellow label with lots of seeds--so good!!) with vegan mayo, avocado, tomatoes, and pickles. The calories are about the same as my oatmeal, but the volume is bigger and it has less fiber. I'm not saying this is a factor in gaining weight; it's just something to note.

Another problem was that I ate "convenience" foods for dinner several times this week. It's been a busy week and cooking a meal has been a challenge (everybody has different schedules). I ate vegan "chicken" nuggets, a veggie burger, or just several snack-type foods to make up a meal. These obviously have more sodium, which could result in water weight gain. It's also a lot less fiber.

So, I could keep listing little things that could have caused my weight to go up so much, but like I said--it's not going to change anything.

However, I am really feeling the pressure now because I have to weigh in for my six-month DietBet in two days! At this point, I highly doubt I can drop five pounds by the time I weigh in, but my plan is to drink a TON of water, drastically reduce my sodium, increase my fiber, and eat the healthy foods I was eating before. I am also going to write up a dinner plan this week so that I'm not relying on convenience foods.

If I manage to reach my weigh-in goal, awesome! If not, then I'll just have to work harder to reach it next month. What bothers me the most is that I had already reached April's goal over a month ago! And in one single week, I went nearly five pounds over my goal.

In the past when gaining a significant amount of weight, I tended to quit my Wednesday Weigh-Ins because, well, it's embarrassing! But I really don't want to do that this time, even if I continue to gain weight. It happens, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who can manage to gain five pounds in a week. (It's certainly not the first time--or even the tenth!--that this has happened to me.

Okay, this post was hard to write. And I really, really hope that I don't have to write the same thing next week! (I appreciate how supportive SO many of you are--and I write this before I even publish this post, because I've always felt the support when I have a rough road. So I thank you--truly. xo)

March 29, 2022

Transformation Tuesday #65

Happy Transformation Tuesday! I had taken several "before" photos last week and posted a couple on Friday Night Photos. The rest are still in the "before" phase, hahaha. I did do a quick before and after of vacuuming this rug, though! Joey sheds like a beast a couple of times a year and this was from one afternoon of him lying/rolling around on there. It doesn't matter how frequently I vacuum, his hair is like a magnet to that rug.

My mom and sister each had a transformation to post this week, and I have one from a reader as well! Here is Jeanie's (my sister's):

I have always had very light blond eyebrows that were very hard to notice unless they were tinted or I used a colored eyebrow pencil to darken them. Tinting eyebrows is pretty expensive (about $20 each session) and during COVID I found out I could tint them on my own using Just For Men beard dye.  It worked out great for self-tinting and saved a ton of money (about $10 for about 12 applications).  

I then heard about Microblading, a more permanent eyebrow solution. It is kind of like a "tattoo" of an eyebrow but it is done by a special make up artist.  I did quite a bit of research and found an artist in my area (Chicago Microblading by Brows Beauty Couture) who had excellent reviews. I made an appointment and had the first session completed. A follow-up session is needed 4-6 weeks after the initial session to complete the process.

Although a little uncomfortable for the actual procedure and tender around my eyebrows for a few days after words, and it can be pricey ($500-$750 total) but I believe you get what you pay for (there are some horror stories online of Microblading gone wrong... choose your artist carefully if you do this).  She helped me picked the shape and color and I felt very comfortable that she knew what she was doing. I am very happy with the results! I wish I would've done this along time ago!

-Jeanie, Illinois

Next up is my mom's back room. My parents' house is a very spacious ranch-style. The back room/family room is huge and open; the previous owner had restored old cars and he used that huge room as a garage (in addition to the two other garages he had!). My parents remodeled it when they moved in and had carpet laid down. That was 20+ years ago (I was a high school sophomore when we moved in there).

Because the room is so big, there isn't a lot of natural lighting from windows and it can look kind of dark. (It's kind of like a basement in that way.) It's a great room for entertaining, though! Anyway, my parents just got new carpet in there and it made a HUGE difference in the whole feel of the room. They My mom chose a plush carpet with a nice padding underneath, so it feels amazing. And the color lightened up the room a lot!

The "before" photo is a few years old and not great for seeing the carpet (I actually had to lighten the picture a bit), but it's the best pic my mom could find of it.

I go to antique shops as a hobby and I had been looking for a decorative lamp for my buffet. I came across this rooster lamp and it was so unique, I had to have it. But it was a bit too roostery. My decor is more French country than country, so I painted it to look like a garden statue and made a lamp shade. Fun project and I just love it!

- Valerie, Oklahoma

Valerie, I'm so impressed with the lamp shade that you made! It matches the flowers next to it so well. And I think the choice to paint the rooster gray to look like a garden statue was clever--it looks great! -Katie

Thanks so much for sharing the transformations! If anyone has a transformation to share, please do--I am always looking for more. Just send a before photo and an after photo to me at: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com and don't forget to include your name and a description of the transformation! I'd love to see what you come up with :)

March 28, 2022

A New Garmin Forerunner! (Warning: Nerdy Stuff)

I started to write this post before I wrote my running recap for the week, so some parts may be a little redundant; I don't want to rewrite it though because I was nearly done with this post! As I said, I got a new Garmin Forerunner so I wanted to write a little about that. Or maybe a lot. You know me. (This is not a sponsored post, by the way; I paid for the Garmin with my own money and I'm just writing this for nerdy fun!)

Just for fun, here is a collage of my previous Garmin Forerunners.

Garmin Forerunner 205, 305, 910xt, and 620

The top left is my very first one that I got in (I think) 2007 to train to walk the Indy Half-Marathon. It didn't have a heart rate option, so I eventually used the red one (top right) that my brother gave me. And I thought it would be fun to send the 205 around the country to any readers who would want to try it out for two weeks and then mail it to the next person. I think about 20 people ended up using it! 

When the red one died, the generous people at Garmin actually sent me that black one (the 910xt) as a gift!! (Probably because I give them so much free advertising, haha. They also sent me one to give away on the blog, which was fun.) In 2013, the 620 was released (the bottom right). It had all sorts of really cool features that the previous Garmins did not, so I bought that one (Jerry used the 910xt and then I gave it to my brother when he started running).

Moving on...

I'd been really frustrated with my Garmin Forerunner 620 for about the last year. It's the model from 2013(!) so it's definitely up there in age. It works, but trying to upload my runs or creating and sending runs to my watch was really sketchy. I also had to download updates by plugging it into the computer, which is a pain in these days of bluetooth technology. The watch will work, but it takes FOREVER and in the amount of time I spend working on it, I could have finished my run.

Since I've been running regularly since May of last year, I finally decided that I was going to get a new Garmin. The problem is, I didn't want a "smart watch" or an all-day fitness tracker. I have no interest in an Apple watch or anything like that. I just wanted a watch that I could wear only for my runs--tracking my pace, distance, interval training, etc.

Unfortunately, these watches are practically non-existent now. Most newer watches have so many bells and whistles that aren't necessary for old-fashioned me. The one thing I *really* didn't want was to have phone notifications sent to the watch. It drives me completely crazy when I'm having a conversation with someone and they are constantly looking at watch notifications. It's as bad as looking at their phone.

After reading a ton about different fitness watches, I realized I was just going to have to get one that works like a smart watch--it was inevitable unless I got the absolute basic model and there was a bit more I wanted than that.

Also, I wanted a touchscreen. My 620 is a touchscreen and I couldn't imagine going back to using the side buttons for navigation on the watch. However, that's another feature that is hard to come by on the Forerunners now! I was really surprised. (You can still find older models with touchscreen.) So, I figured I'd try a non-touchscreen watch and see how I liked it.

After reading about a million reviews, I finally decided to get the Forerunner 245 (without music). The 245 has two options: one stores all of your music, which I don't want; the other is $50 cheaper and it doesn't store music. (They are $250 for the non-music and $300 for the music one). (I'll link to them at the end of the post)

I wasn't a fan of the wrist heart rate monitor (chest straps are more accurate) but the wrist monitor is another feature that is pretty standard now. I wasn't sure how accurate the wrist heart rate monitor would be, but I noticed that the 245 allows you to turn off the wrist monitor and add a chest strap if you'd prefer.

Anyway, I received the Forerunner 245 last Friday night (the 18th). I skipped Friday's run because I was hoping to use the new watch and I was waiting for the delivery all day. It didn't get here until 8:30 PM, so I decided to do my run on Saturday instead so that I could use the new watch.

When I first started messing around with it on Friday night to get it set up for my runs, I really had a hard time getting used to the fact that it's not a touch screen. After reading through specs of other watches, I saw that it's actually really common not to have touchscreen. It took a little getting used to, but I got the hang of it (the 620 was actually my only touchscreen watch; my previous Garmins were not).

I was excited to try it out! I wanted to test it outside and on the treadmill. I was very curious to see how it would measure my distance on the treadmill. While on the treadmill, the 620 always reads that I'm going quite a bit slower than I actually am--and that's even with a foot pod (a little clip you wear on your shoe that gives you the info you'd normally get outside with GPS).

I know I've written this ten million times, but here is a quick explanation of the problem I have on the treadmill with my Garmin...

1) The timer on the treadmill is too fast. When 10 minutes pass in "real life" time, the treadmill reads something like 10:08. So, I couldn't rely on the timer and I used my Garmin for timing my runs (the Garmin is perfectly accurate as far as the timer).

2) The Garmin just doesn't accurately reflect my speed. When increasing or decreasing speed, the Garmin 620 doesn't really register that change on the treadmill.

3) The distance on the Garmin 620 is very inaccurate on the treadmill. After bitching for years about the inaccuracy of using my Garmin on the treadmill, I finally did a great calibration test that I discovered via DC Rainmaker. I used a measuring wheel, which is very accurate--they are used to measure race courses--to figure out if the distance on the treadmill was correct. You can read how I did it on this post

But basically, the treadmill's distance is inaccurate as well. After doing the accuracy test with the measuring wheel, I learned that when you run a mile on the treadmill (when the treadmill reads 1.000) the ACTUAL distance run is 1.059. Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but for a 3-miler on the treadmill, I'm actually running 3.177 miles. Not only does that affect my distance, but my pace as well.

However, it was too annoying to recalculate everything after every run, so here is how I logged my runs: I used the distance from the treadmill reading (knowing it was less than I'd actually run) and I used the timer from the Garmin (knowing it was accurate). That way, I wouldn't be cheating myself.

Okay, so I was kind of excited to try out the Forerunner 245 on the treadmill to see if there was an improvement in the accuracy since 2013 (hahaha!). I still used the foot pod because it gives other running dynamics like your stride length and things like that. I'm actually not sure how the Forerunner 245 does without the food pod--I'm going to have to test that as well!

I usually don't even look at the Garmin while I'm on the treadmill (other than my heart rate) because I know that the distance and pace are way off. When trying out the 245, though, I glanced at it every so often to see what the speed reading was. I moved the speed up and down a little on the treadmill to see if the Garmin would reflect the change--and it did!

At the end of the run, my Garmin read 2.54 miles in 25:00 minutes. The treadmill read 2.40 miles in 25:17 minutes. (For clarification, I ran an actual *real time* of 25:00 minutes--I started my Garmin and the treadmill at the same time--so the treadmill timer was 17 seconds fast).

So, going by the accuracy test that I'd done with the measuring wheel, I multiplied the treadmill's distance of 2.40 by 1.059 to get the *actual* distance I'd run--I wanted to see how it compared to the Garmin. And you know what?

The actual distance was 2.54 miles, which is EXACTLY what the Garmin read! All of this nerdy stuff is basically to say that my new Garmin 245 had perfect accuracy on the treadmill. I was elated! I know it doesn't make any real difference in the grand scheme of things, but this was way too exciting for me.

This is the summary after the run, which is the same as the 620. (The only reason my pace was so fast is because it was my tempo run!)

Obviously, this was one single run so I can't say it will be forever accurate. But I've never had this happen before on any of my calibration attempts. I'll keep trying it out. I'd like to try the indoor and even outdoor track as well.

The reason this is even relevant to me is that all along through my training, I've been running significantly faster than I logged. Normally, when running on the treadmill at 5.0 mph, for example, a 3-mile run would be 36:00 minutes--12:00 minutes per mile. When considering the accuracy of the measuring wheel, while the treadmill said I was running at 5.0 mph I was *actually* running an 11:20/mile pace (or about 5.3 mph).

It's no wonder that it felt harder! This makes sense why my pace is faster when I'm outside. I might be running at the same effort but my pace is faster because I'm used to the treadmill telling me that I'm going slower than I am. When I run outside at a pace that "feels like" the treadmill, it's usually faster; and now I know why. 

Okay, I realize this is a SUPER nerdy post. I know a lot of other people have issues on the treadmill as well, so I wanted to make sure to mention all that.

For the less-nerdy stuff, I wanted to do a quick rundown of what I've noticed/liked/disliked about the Forerunner 245:

*You have the option to turn off all phone notifications, so I don't have any of that coming through. Definitely a positive.

*The wrist-based heart monitor is surprisingly accurate. I don't like that I have to wear the watch above my wrist bone (and of course it has to be on bare skin; in the winter, I would usually put my watch over my outer layer so I could see it).

*Using the buttons instead of the touchscreen felt very awkward at first, but it doesn't bother me at all now. The set-up process is very different from the 620, and I admit, it took me several hours to get it all figured out and set up. However, I learned a lot about all of the features from doing that. There isn't really a reason to mess with the screen now.

*I like that there is an option for "Treadmill" when choosing a workout. On the 620, my options were Run, Bike, and Race. Each of those just simply means that you can change what info you see on the watch face. When running, for instance, I want to see different info than I would for biking (for example: for running, I like to see minutes per mile; for biking, I like miles per hour). So you can set up profiles for those. With this Forerunner 245, there are a few extra profiles to use, and one of them is Treadmill. Again, I like to see different fields on the watch face for treadmill running than I do for outdoor running.

This is on my Run setting--I can see my route. You can also use the map in real time to see where you're going, but I haven't done this yet.

*You have the option to turn off activity tracking (I only wear the watch when I run, so I don't need it trying to track my steps, heart rate, sleep cycles and even menstrual cycles--yes, you can track that--and all that stuff).

*It's extremely fast when syncing to my phone. I barely blink and it's synchronized. I can create a workout on my phone and instantly send it to my watch. With the 620 model, it was about a 50/50 shot of having it sync to my watch. And if it did, it took at least a dozen tries--turning the watch on and off over and over. I've had no problems at all with the 245.

*You can see on the watch face the heart rate zone graph that I normally like to look at on my phone app.

I also really like that I can see my heart rate per split on a single screen (I couldn't do this with the 620):

*The race predictor on the watch is much more realistic than before. It used to give me predictions like 24:00 for a 5K or 3:50 for a marathon, etc. There is NO WAY IN HELL I could run those times without training like a beast for at least a year or two. This predictor was definitely more realistic.

This Forerunner 245 has all of the cool features that the 620 has, but there are a TON of new features as well. If you're super interested, I'd check out DC Rainmaker's review (he reviewed the Forerunner 245 + music model). But overall, I am really happy with the new Forerunner and I think it was the perfect choice for me :)

Here is a (Amazon affiliate) link for the Forerunner 245. (An affiliate link just means that if you buy it through that link, I may get a small commission, but it costs you nothing extra.)

March 27, 2022

Vegan Recipe Review: Vegan "Meat" Loaf...?!

I feel like "Vegan Recipe Review" sounds better than Vegan Recipe Taste Test, so I'll switch that out from now on.

I wanted to do something a little more adventurous this week. I'm still not interested in trying the "weird" vegan foods (I hope it's obvious that I don't mean for that to be offensive!) like tempeh and tofu, seitan and  and stuff like that. (Maybe someday, but I'm keeping it simple right now.)

I chose this recipe because meatloaf is a very traditional dish--ground meat with some chopped veggies, herbs, and spices. Most of the vegan versions I've seen are made with lentils, and I've actually made a lentil loaf once before. I don't remember much about it, but I know that it wasn't a big hit with the family.

When I saw on Pinterest a vegan "meat" loaf made out of chickpeas, I thought it would be fun to try. And I happened to have all of the ingredients at home already! You can find the recipe at Running on Real Food.

There are a LOT of ingredients so it looks intimidating, but they are all simple things that you may already have at home: onions, celery, carrots, garlic, some common spices/herbs, oats, flaxseed, soy sauce, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup. (The last three are for the glaze.) There is an option to make it with nuts or with extra oats; I chose extra oats to save a bit on calories.

I can say the one thing that turned me off to this at first was that it was going to take up a lot of dishes--I always hate using so many dishes! Jerry and I have a deal that if I cook, he washes dishes; still, I feel bad using so many. But, I was excited to make this so I just let Jerry deal with it ;)  (He honestly doesn't mind and he's always telling me that, but it's just habit for me to use the fewest dishes possible.)

Anyway, first there was a lot of veggie chopping. Thankfully, I had celery leftover (like I said last week, I am not a celery person). I chopped up the onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic and threw them in a pan to cook until soft while I prepped everything else. 

The mixture was a little dry and I didn't want to burn it, so I turned the heat down to low. When the veggies are soft, you add the spices. Adding these REALLY dried out the mixture and I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be like that, but I went with it.

While those were cooking, I got started with the food processor. You're supposed to put the oats and flaxseed in there and then blend until it's a fine powder. Well, I didn't read it carefully enough and I added the chickpeas in with the oats and flaxseed. Before I started mixing it, I realized my mistake and pulled the chickpeas out the best I could.

Once the oats and flaxseed turn into a flour, you add the chickpeas and pulse until they are chopped very fine but not totally pulverized. This took a while and a lot of scraping down the bowl, but it finally looked how I imagined it was supposed to. The problem was, the mixture was SO DRY. I kept feeling like I was missing something but I looked over the recipe again and again and I followed it perfectly.

When that was ready, I dumped the mixture into the veggie mixture and combined it all. It was very crumbly and dry, but I hoped that when I pressed it into the pan it would stick together better. Like last week, I had to line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Thanks for the tips on that, by the way! This time, I cut the strip smaller so that it only hung over the longer two sides (this is how the recipe specified).

I thought there was no way the entire mixture would fit in the loaf pan, but it did when I packed it down. I packed it pretty firmly.

Then I mixed the glaze: ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup. I usually just use ketchup for meatloaf, so I was a little nervous about adding the balsamic vinegar, but I always like to follow the actual recipe if I'm going to review it.

I poured that over the loaf and baked at 350 F for 60 minutes per the recipe. It smelled really good when it was cooking!

When it came time to take it out of the pan, I got nervous. I was expecting the whole thing to stick in there and then fall apart when tried removing it. You're supposed to let it cool for a while and the longer it cools, the better it holds together.

Fifteen minutes after taking it out of the oven, I used a knife to loosen the sides and attempted to remove it. It worked perfectly! It came out in one piece and it looked really good.

As far as the taste? I was very surprised shocked at how much I liked it! I figured it would be a "eh, it's okay" type recipe, but I really liked it and it's something I'd definitely eat again. Eli's girlfriend was over, so I brought them each a bite when it was done and asked them for their thoughts. Right away, they both said they really liked it. (I always tell my family to be brutally honest--it's not my recipe, and it won't offend me if they don't like it!). The fact that Eli liked it blew my mind. Jerry really liked it, too, and said he'd definitely eat it again. (Noah was at work.)

So, overall, this recipe was a success! I love meatloaf and ketchup, so I did add more ketchup while I was eating it, but that's normal for me. I made some of my crispy potato halves to go with it.

Again, you can find this recipe on Running on Real Food.

March 26, 2022

Altering Clothes

Normally, I would post a recipe today (or a vegan recipe "taste test") but I didn't make a new recipe during the week and today I was very busy. So I'll post that tomorrow and today, I'm just going to make this a short post.

I had a pile of clothes (mainly jeans) that have piled up in my closet waiting to be altered somehow--hemmed or patched or taken in, or just repaired in some way. So, I pulled them all out and tried them on, then pinned things that needed altering. I sat down and got to work ripping seams, pinning hems, etc.

I had a couple of pairs of jeans that were a little too short for my liking, and instead of adding a contrasting fabric to the bottom or just donating them, I ripped out the hem and then ironed them totally flat with a raw edge. I have a pair of jeans like that that I absolutely LOVE and I think it makes the bottom look really unique. Here is a pair that I did today...

On the left is the regular hem and then on the right is where I ripped the stitches from the hem and then unfolded and ironed it flat. The edges will fray a bit in the washer, and I really like how they turned out. Let me see if I can find a pic of my other ones that are like that...

Those were from Salvation Army, so I'm not sure if they were meant to be like that or if someone just did what I did with the hem, but I really love them.

I really don't like straight-leg jeans (my calves are enormous and they look terrible on me) so there are a couple of pairs that I'd like to flare out the legs at the bottom somehow with contrasting fabric. They may not turn out, but they are from the thrift store, so if they don't work it's not big deal.

Anyway, now I have all the clothes pinned and ready for the sewing machine, so I'll work on that tomorrow (after I make a new recipe!). 

Here is today's random fact of the day weekend:

The only thing I really know about ostriches is what I saw on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, haha. He had to try to "catch" an ostrich and it was terrifying to watch! He had to try to slide a hood over the ostrich's head which apparently makes them docile. Even Mike was very skeptical about trying to do it! It's crazy how fast they can run.

March 25, 2022

Friday Night Photos

Happy Friday! Today has been a crazy day and I'm just now starting this post at 6:30 PM. My Friday Night Photos posts take a long time to do, so hopefully I get this done in time. Nothing exciting today, unfortunately. But they aren't all cat photos and selfies this time ;)

This is the birthday present I got for Luke. Hahaha! He just turned five years old--can you believe it?! Every time he comes over here, he likes to use a nutcracker to eat a couple of walnuts. Several times, he's said that he would like to get his own nutcracker and walnuts someday, so I thought this would be a good gift. The nutcracker I have is a million years old and a total hazard that could result in breaking your fingers, so I bought this one instead--it looked fun for a boy his age!

These could be Transformation Tuesday posts, but I didn't have much to post today, so I'll just include them here. This first one below is all of the peanut shells that accumulated on the ground next to our deck from the squirrels. I always thought they'd just disintegrate over time, but I guess not! The picture doesn't show the extent, but the pile was at least a couple of inches deep of peanut shells. I raked them up and put them in the fire pit (the bottom photo). I'm assuming they'll burn? We'll see!

This is a horrifying picture of one of our skylights before the roofers replaced it. I have no idea why it looks so dark--it didn't look like that from inside the house! But I love the new ones--they sit flat instead of bubbling out. In the first photo, you can see the storm damage that happened not too long ago. A tree branch caused a huge dent in the gutter and partially into the roof. The board had to be replaced. (There were a couple of other spots with damage from the storm as well.)

Just the roofers, doing their work. They did a great job and worked so hard! I bought them pizza and Gatorade and they were super grateful. They said most homeowners just ignore them. We're still waiting on the gutters because they took a while to order. They are seamless and I couldn't be more excited about that! The seams on our old ones leaked in the worst spots.

I do have some cat pictures, of course...

Here is a sweet photo of Phoebe sleeping on the couch. I love how she tucked her face down to cover her eyes. She's 14 years old--I can't believe it.

And here is Estelle. I accidentally bumped her bed off of the couch and before I could even pick it up, she climbed on top of it (it's upside down) and laid down. Cats are so funny! Anytime something looks different or is moved to a different place, they are all over it.

Duck has been driving me CRAZY lately because he constantly needs some form of entertainment. And when I can't stop what I'm doing to play fetch with him or talk to him, he just keeps doing everything he can to get my attention--pushing things on the floor, climbing up my leg, putting his paw on my face, etc. So this is another new toy (this one was only $9 on Amazon and had a billion good reviews, so I figured it was worth a try). The cats played with it for all of about five minutes and now it's just clutter. If any of you have suggestions for cat toys that keep cats entertained for a long time, please let me know!

THIS little tent thing, however, has gotten more play from the cats than any other thing they own. Remember how I bought this at a thrift store for a couple of bucks, even though I doubted they'd get much entertainment out of it? Well, ALL of the cats love this thing! It never stays upright and when they are playing, it rolls around the floor like a die (dice) but they think it's a blast.

Remember when I bought that oak table and chairs from Facebook Marketplace for $25 and I milled it down to really nice boards? Well, when I was done, I was left with just the base for the table and I wasn't sure what to do with it. I thought about it and thought about it and I couldn't come up with anything. As a last resort before throwing it into the fire pit, I cut the whole thing in half lengthwise and then laid down a faux fur coat to line it.

I brought it inside to see if the cats would use it as a bed, and to my surprise, they actually did! All of them have used it at some point. I don't know if I'll keep it, but at least the cats like it for now. (I had cut the coat into pieces--it was too big on me--so that I could use it for a cat bed or something. I didn't attach it to the wood though.)

This morning, I discovered that I can wear my favorite belt again! I probably could have worn it a while ago because I was able to skip the first couple of notches, but I'd actually forgotten about it. I haven't worn a belt in probably four years! Haha. These jeans are too big--I bought them at the thrift store recently and the fitting rooms were closed--but I really like them. With the belt, they are comfy enough to at least wear around the house.

This was just my first run with my new Garmin :)  (And a reminder that I needed to tweeze my unibrow.)

My training plan! I love seeing the progress on paper and being able to highlight the runs I've done. The ones I put an X through are the ones I had to miss because of my knee acting up. This training is going by so quickly.

These are veggies I used to make ratatouille and they just looked so pretty I had to take a picture.

I'll end with the random fact of the day. I was going to look this up and see if I could find something more to write about it, but it's late and I'm ready to be done with this post! So, I guess you should just remember to avoid contact with vampire bats, especially if you're on blood thinners. ;)

Have a great weekend! xo

March 24, 2022

Return to Running Recap: Week 43

This has been such a fun week for running! (Yes, you read that correctly.) I got a new Garmin Forerunner (running watch) and I was so excited to try it out--not only outside, but on the treadmill. I could write an entire post about the watch, so I'm going to save that talk for Sunday or Monday, and I'll just stick to my running recaps today.

I had another three-day running week (instead of four). I wanted to do my Friday run (3.5 miles) after I got my new Garmin (which was supposed to arrive Friday from Amazon). Well, I waited and waited and it didn't show up until 8:30 Friday night. So, I decided to run it on Saturday instead. Then my knee was hurting again on Sunday, so I took an extra day off this week, which I'll get to.

Saturday (Long Run - 4.5 miles)

Saturday was not supposed to be a long run. I was supposed to run 3.5 miles on Friday, rest on Saturday, then run 4.5 miles--my long run--on Sunday. Since I skipped Friday, I headed out relatively early on Saturday to run 3.5 miles. I've really liked getting my runs done in the mornings again. And it was drizzly and overcast without being insanely cold or windy, so it was nice!

Since 3.5 miles is a distance I rarely run, I didn't have a route in mind. I just started running and added a little here and there to a three-mile route. Well, I discovered that I'd overshot--big time. I reached 3.5 miles while I was still half a mile from home. I figured I could either run an extra 0.5 miles for the day or I could add an extra 0.5 to that and turn it into my long run of 4.5 miles.

I was feeling good, so that's what I did. I turned here and there on the streets and then made it home right at the 4.5-mile mark. It was a really good run! And my heart rate (from my wrist, not with my chest strap) seemed to be very accurate.

On the left is the overall summary and on the right are my one-mile splits (the fifth one was the last half mile). I was very surprised to see a 10:54/mile pace for 4.5 miles! I actually felt really good, too--good enough to choose to run an extra half-mile to make it my long run for the week.

Tuesday (15-minute Tempo)

I was VERY curious to see how the Garmin would work on the treadmill. As you know, I love to complain about the inaccuracy of the Garmin when I run on the 'mill. I'll explain more about that on my post about the Garmin itself, though.

Tuesday's speed work was a tempo run: Run 5 minutes easy, run 15 minutes at tempo pace, and then run 5 minutes easy. While I was just sitting and drinking tea in the morning, I looked at the clock and realized that since it was only a 25-minute workout, I had enough time to get it done before I had to drive Eli to school. So I actually got this one started at 6:12 AM!

I varied my speed a little and I can't remember the exact speeds I used. But the numbers here look faster than you would expect because the new Garmin is super accurate on the treadmill. I've been running faster than I thought this whole time! (Again, I'll explain this in another post.)

The splits for this one aren't one mile each; they are just the warm-up, the tempo, and the cool down. I ran the tempo portion at a 9:19/mile pace!

Thursday (Easy run - 3 miles)

Today, I wasn't very much in the mood to run, but my knee was feeling fine and I had no reason not to do it. I like the drizzly overcast weather for running, so I took advantage of it this morning. I chose to do one of my old favorite three-mile routes. I used to do this route a lot when I was training super hard for my 10K--I ran many super fast intervals on that route! Haha.

I consciously tried to focus on going slower/easier. Since I have to run four miles tomorrow, I was worried about my knee again. I kept my watch underneath my shirt sleeve the whole time so that I wouldn't see my pace. I just ran by feel; I knew I was probably going too fast, though, so I kept slowing down; then I'd realize I was going too fast again and it was just a cycle of that.

Anyway, it was a good run! It felt really long, but I liked running the familiar old route. (Although, someone who was looking at their phone while driving drifted onto the shoulder and nearly hit me! Stay off the phone when driving, pretty please.)

I'm happy with how the week went! It was super fun playing with the new Garmin (they've come a long way in the last nine years, hahaha). Here is a (Amazon affiliate) link to the Garmin Forerunner 245 that I bought; but if you're interested in one, I'd wait until I write more about it this weekend to see if it's what you're looking for. Or you can read DC Rainmaker's review--it's SUPER in-depth and that's how I make most of my decisions about stuff like this. His review is for the 245 + music; mine is the same watch only without the music option.

Weekly Summary: I ran 10.18 miles in 1:47:34 (10:34/mile average pace); average heart rate of 153 bpm.

Here is today's random fact of the day:

This one wasn't really of interest to me, but maybe it will be to someone else! ;) 

March 23, 2022

Wednesday Weigh-In : Week 43

The jeans in this picture are a pair that I bought when Jerry and I went thrift shopping. I knew they'd be too big, but I wanted them SO badly that I bought them anyways in the hope that I might be able to take them in at the waist. I've done that before, but it's a lot of work and it's really difficult to do (to make it look professional) but what have I got to lose? In the pic, they look like they fit okay (they're right out of the dryer), but I'm wearing a belt to hold them tighter. The legs aren't bad; it's just the waist that really needs altering. I'll see what I can do!

Well, last week I wrote about how I just feel stuck at this weight and I wanted to try mixing things up this week to see if I could get the scale moving again. I decided to eat a little less six days a week and then have a high calorie day once a week.

That ended up being a big fat fail on my part, hahaha. 

This wasn't a conscious thought, but I think my mind may have been frustrated with the scale not moving when I feel like I'm doing most everything right, so this week I may have had the "why bother?" attitude. I didn't go totally crazy with the food, though. I still ate vegan and I got in all my nutrition...

... but I probably got in enough nutrition for two people several days this week, haha.

I ate too many Larabars as snacks, too much peanut butter, and just big helpings of meals. I also didn't get as much fiber as I am used to; I ate the recommended amount, but I was used to eating nearly twice that. When I got on the scale this morning, I totally regretted my food choices.

Last week, I was at 147.8, so I'm up 2 pounds from last Wednesday. I've been bouncing between 147 and 150 for what... like four weeks now? I'm just a few pounds away from a "normal" BMI (I'm considered "overweight" until I reach 144 pounds).

I have an official DietBet weigh-in on April 1, so I'd like to do really well and make some progress for that. My weight is under what it needs to be, but I can do a lot of damage in nine days if I am not careful. And even if I make my April goal, I don't want it to be higher than what I weighed on March 1.

I'm not going to do anything drastic. I'm just going to do what has been working so well until a few weeks ago. I really believe this week's gain was caused by my eating choices; I certainly ate too many calories. I'm still not going to give myself a "limit", but I'll try to stick to around 1500 a day and then have one high-calorie day if I choose to. I'm also going to increase my fiber again (and drink more water--they go hand-in-hand).

Anyway, people always seem to think I'm beating myself up when I write about weight gain, but I'm not doing that at all! I'm just stating the facts. A year ago, I would have killed to be this weight, so I'm happy! I'm also just hoping that I can continue to lose weight and get down to my goal range (130-135 ish).

Okay, so today's random fact seemed to be addressed directly at ME. The irony!

It's no secret that I have generalized anxiety disorder, so I'm always anxious about, well, everything. However, my very biggest fear (other than something terrible happening to my family) is that I will get Alzheimer's one day. I'm absolutely terrified of it. And I worry about it frequently! Whenever I'm forgetful or I can't think of certain words, I immediately think that it's starting. Early-onset Alzheimer's. Not sure how this random fact can help me, but the irony was not lost ;) 

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