Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Great couple of days....

The week has been awesome.  My organization closed the offices last Wednesday and will not reopen until Monday, January 3.  This has allowed me to have a much needed break.  Here's a summary of the last few days:

Jason and I were both suffering from a bit of cabin fever after being snowed in on Sunday.  We took it easy and relaxed Monday morning, then got ready to head out for some errands, etc.  The most awesome things about Monday: 
  • I got a "new" iPad!  Jason had the Wifi version, but gave me his when he bought the 3G version (Yes, I know that I am a lucky girl!). 
  • Very relaxing late lunch at Maggianos.  We had zucchini fritte as an appetizer and I had the best chicken francese.  Delish!

Jason had to work on Tuesday.  Since I got up when he did, I decided to go into my office for a while.  I packed my lunch and headed in to work on some Board meeting minutes and other miscellaneous outstanding items.  I left the office at 1 p.m. and spent the rest of the day doing "me" things.

The wonderful things about Tuesday:
  • Got a few things done at work that had been hanging over my head - feeling so much better about enjoying the rest of my time off!
  • Went to Fleet Feet and got myself an after Christmas treat with my Christmas money.  I got myself a pair of Saucony Kinvaras!  I am looking forward to testing them out this weekend while we are in Beaufort visiting my parents.

  • Worked out at the gym for nearly 2 hours - 45 minutes on the treadmill, weights/kettle bells and 20 minutes on the stairmill (I am bound and determined to get to 30 minutes on that thing!)
  • Got to visit Jasemin and get a haircut

Today has probably been the best day!  Here's what's most exciting about today:
  • Went to Weight Watchers this morning since we are heading out of town tomorrow.  I lost 3.6 pounds since last Wednesday.  While this is exciting, it is even more exciting that the lost happened over Christmas!  I had the foods I wanted over the holiday, but made sure that I didn't go crazy.  YAY!
  • Had a great personal training appointment with Rick.  We did my measurements for the month and he told me that I am his one true success story of the year.  He said that I wasn't just working out, but really working on transforming my entire health outlook.
  • Met with my counselor/therapist.  She said that I am "healed".  While we both agree that talking with her should continue, she praised the progress that I have made in working through my issues with communication and anxiety. 
  • Had lunch at my husband's office with my husband and his coworker, Erin.  I love our weekly lunches together!
  • Ran some errands at Southpointe.  Got some new eye shadow from Bare Minerals and some Philosophy lotion.
  • Going to dinner with my hubs at Milton's!

See!  It has been a wonderful week and it can only get better.  Jason and I are heading to Beaufort to visit with my family tomorrow.  I am looking forward to the adventures in Carteret County!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - week of December 25

Well, Christmas has come and gone.  We are heading out of town to visit my parents on Thursday morning, so the food this week is going to be easy or involve going out.


Week of December 25:
Saturday:  Christmas dinner at the in-laws.  We had filet mignon, crab stuffed twice baked potatoes, and asparagus.
Monday:  Leftover Maggiano's (we went there for lunch and brought part of it home for dinner.)
Tuesday:  Leftover Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole
Wednesday:  Out to dinner at Milton's
Thursday (in Beaufort w/ parents):  No Name Cheeseburgers; Salad (?; need to talk with parents)
Friday (in Beaufort w/ parents):  Pilcher family Christmas celebration (snack/appetizer supper)

Christmas - Helping others

Each year, my husband and I adopt a child from a local Angel Tree.  In the past, we have adopted a child from the Durham Council For Children With Special Needs from the tree at Nordstrom.  This year, the process at Nordstrom was different.  When we arrived at the mall on Black Friday, we were a little disappointed but decided that we were going to adopt a child from an organization.  I called the DCCSN, but didn't receive a call back from a staff member. 

The next weekend, we went to Crabtree Valley Mall and saw the Angel Tree sponsored by the Salvation Army.  We adopted a 5-year old little girl (Vianey) and her 2-year old brother (Ricardo).  We were able to purchase a lot of clothing at JC Penney.  We generally try to buy 6 or 7 pieces of clothing that can make several outfits.  We also purchased some toys and coloring books/crayons from Kohl's and Target.  My parents helped us out with our angels this year and we all felt really great about the items we purchased for the children.  We dropped off our gifts on December 11 at the Angel Tree in the mall.  We were glad that we were able to help the children, but it drifted to the back of our mind amid all the hustle and bustle of the season. 

Well, last week, the reality of those that are less fortunate hit my like a ton of bricks.  The Salvation Army was using an old car dealership on Wake Forest Road as their distribution center and toy shop for this Christmas.  I pass by this car dealership every day and never seem to notice it.  Last Monday, I looked over and saw tons of people in line.  It made me sad, but warmed my heart at the same time.  The children of the adults in the line will be receiving Christmas gifts because of people that chose to adopt from the Angel Tree. 

While we were a little disappointed early on that we would not be able to adopt from the Durham Council for Children with Special Needs, I am glad that we found the Salvation Army's Angel Tree.  I hope that Vianey and Ricardo enjoyed their clothing and toys from the Reynolds and Brown families!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow on the day after Christmas

This is what I saw when I looked out of the back door this morning...  While I don't normally like snow, I have to say that this is pretty.  I even ventured out to the front of our condo complex and took some more pictures. 

As pretty as it is, I hope it melts soon.  I was hoping to run or go to the gym today, but this is thwarting my plans.  I know that some people run in the snow, but this girl isn't one of them!

A memory from my last Christmas-time snow:

It was several days before Christmas 1989.  I was 9-years old, living in Beaufort, NC with my parents.  A few days before Christmas, the local weather people forecasted a little bit of snow.  Needless to say, they were wrong - it snowed a lot.  While my memories may be a little off, I remember a very large snow drift that seemed to cover my Mom's car completely.

I seem to remember that Mama and I wanted to make some snow cream.  I had heard about Mama making snow cream as a child when she living in Maine.  But, a more accurate memory would probably be that I wanted some snow cream and my parents were happy to participate.  We didn't have any milk, but we knew that the Tee-Pee (little neighborhood convenience store) was open.  My wonderful Daddy got bundled up and said he would walk to the store to get some milk.  I am still amazed that he was willing to do this for his little girl...  As Daddy was getting ready to leave, I said "Daddy, go down the railroad tracks.  It won't take as long because you won't have to go up to Lennoxville Road."  He listened... 

I remember thinking that Daddy was gone a long time.  Mama and I hunkered down and watched a movie while he was gone.  It seemed like he was gone over an hour, for a walk that would have taken him no longer than 20 minutes there and back on a regular day.  My suggestion to walk down the railroad tracks was not a good one.  It nearly killed my Daddy.  When he got home he looked exhausted (an understatement).  Then his side of the story followed.

When Daddy left the house, he did go down the railroad tracks.  Unfortunately, no one had walked down the tracks and it was covered more than the road would have been.  When he finally reached the Tee-Pee, he said that he laid down on the floor of the store, just so he could catch his breath.  Once he got his breath, he got the milk and headed home.  Needless to say, he didn't take the railroad tracks back - he definitely walked down Lennoxville Road back to our house.  When he got home, he basically said he would never listen to me again.  Now, that I think back on it - who in their right mind would listen to a 9-year old little girl?  Oh the sacrifices a Daddy will make for their little girl and wife.  Boy, how I still remember the taste of that snow cream - so good. 

I would love some now, but we have no milk.  I think I will just stay in the warm of our condo instead of trying to venture to the Harris Teeter. 

(Entrance to our condo building)

(The pool area at our condo)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I've been thinking a lot over the past few weeks about instant gratification.  I have realized that I am, unfortunately, of the generation that feels that almost everything should be instant.  I shouldn't have to wait, it should be right before my eyes when I want/need it.  I didn't realize this was my thought process until I started having to work really hard to develop a healthy lifestyle.  In the past, I have always gotten the things I wanted/needed without a long wait.   

This is not so with weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  It is hard work.  No one is going to congratulate you for eating a piece of fruit instead of a handful of Oreos.  It is my responsibility to provide myself with the level of gratification I need for doing the things I should have been doing all along. 

I am going to try very hard to remember these quotes when I think that I deserve something right now or I get tired of waiting:
The gratification comes in the doing, not in the results. - James Dean

A lot of people get impatient with the pace of change. - James Levine

Enjoy the journey. - Jason (aka, my hubs)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My thoughts on Weight Watchers

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I had recommitted to following Weight Watchers.  I have been on and off the Weight Watchers plan since 2005 (and probably once or twice while I was a teenager).  This time the commitment is for the long haul. 

I am not sure how many people follow Weight Watchers, but I had great results several years ago and it will be helpful for me for years to come.  When I last used Weight Watchers, the plan was called the Momentum plan.  The new plan, introduced on November 29, is called Points Plus.  I love the new plan, but it look a little getting used to the first week.  While there wasn't a huge change from the counting of point values, etc. it was just a little different. 

Why did they change things?  It is my understanding that they changed the Weight Watchers plan after years of research.  The Points Plus plan centers around the calculation of fats, protein, carbs and fiber.  This is different from the former calorie, fat, and fiber calculations.  Why?  They have done extensive research and now the plan accounts for how the body breaks down calories based on the other nutritional content of the food. 

What do I notice as other big changes from the Momentum plan:
  • The minimum number of Points Plus for a person is 29.  You also get 49 weekly points that allow for flexibility:  special occasions, treats, and mistakes in calculations. 
  • The new plan seems to reward individuals for making more healthy, whole food choices.  Gone are the days of 100 calorie packs instead of fruit or veggies.  I was always amazed by how quickly WW friends would choose a 100 calorie pack of cookies over a banana (both 2 points on Momentum) when the banana was clearly a better long-term choice.
  • Almost all fruit and veggies have ZERO Points Plus - ZERO!  While I love this feature and I know that the plan accounts for several servings of fruit and veggies a day, I still make sure to track it in the online tracker, just in case. 
I think the new plan is great.  I am looking forward to going to my meeting to see my change for the week.  I  have lost 4.6 pounds since November 29 and look forward to continuing to lose more! 

I got tagged...

Jeff tagged Lee, Lee tagged Sarah, and she tagged me.  I have never been tagged, so this should be fun.  Here's some interesting little facts about me.   
1)  What are you most fond of accomplishing in 2010?
  • Committing to transforming my life (physical health, mental health - everything) and moving forward with it
  • Learning to run and going outside of my comfort zone to meet new friends through running
  • Reaching out for help with my anxiety issues and making positive steps toward peace
2)  What are your running goals for 2011?
  • Cooper River Bridge Run - April 2 in Charleston
  • Beaufort Road Race - July 16 (?)
  • Half Marathon! - I want to do Run for the Warriors in Jacksonville on May 14.  My only concern is that we get back from being on a cruise and at Disney World on Thursday, May 12. 
  • Sub-40 5K 
  • Learn to love running even more! 
3) What is your favorite race?
How do you pick a favorite race?  I have no clue.  So, here's what I liked about the 4 races I have completed:
  • Women's Distance Festival - It was my first race ever.  Even though I struggled to complete the training leading up to the race, I finished it.  I love looking back at the picture someone took of me near the finish line - loved the determined look on my face.  I will likely run this race every year, as it will always be special to me. 
  • Free to Breathe 5K - I participated in this race with several coworkers.  We ran in memory of a dear coworker, Kay Nunnery, that lost her battle with lung cancer in March 2010.  Throughout her battle, Kay was an inspiration to all of us.  I am sure that Kay would be proud to know that we all participated so that research dollars could be raised.
  • Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K - This was my first 8K.  I was so excited to be out running on Thanksgiving Day.  I would have never thought of participating in any sporting event, much less running, on a holiday a year ago.
  • Reindeer Romp 5K - This was a fun little race on a different type of running trail.  Sarah and I did our little thing and had a great time fighting the crowds.  The race helped support Girls on the Run and we got a super cute shirt (I am wearing it today!). 
4) What is your favorite holiday guilty pleasure? (Again, how do you pick just one??!!??)
  • Chocolate chess pie from the Angus Barn
  • Granny Brown's chocolate cake (It's really yellow cake with chocolate icing.  It has been my favorite since I was a little girl.)
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas day cocktails with the in-laws (We run the gamut on cocktails:  Cosmopolitans, Vodka Gimlets, Gin and Tonic, Bloody Marys, Mimosas...  Oh so much fun!)
  • Sausage balls, party mix (Chex mix like stuff), and cucumber sandwiches made by my Mama for our after-Christmas celebration with my Mama's side of the family 
5) What was your most embarrassing running moment?
I am proud to say that I can't really think of something super embarrassing.  I am sure that will change soon enough though.  One thing I can think of was when I got hurt in late August.  I pulled/strained a muscle in my "girly bits".  I ended up going to my chiropractor first and had to explain it to him.  It was beyond embarrassing for me to try to explain to a guy that I had pulled something in between my legs and could barely lift my right leg to put on pants.  I guess that we all have our own little ideas of what embarrassing really is.

I have no clue who to tag.  So, here's the challenge - I'd like to see everyone that reads my blog answer these questions :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My most hated and most loved piece of fitness equipment

See this beauty?  Have you ever been on one?  (Source)

In my mind, anyone can get on the treadmill or elliptical and go for 30-45 minutes.  Almost anyone can do a spin class, especially if they are prepared to deal with the after affects. 

This thing (also known as a step mill - or a torture device if you are me) was a different story.  When I saw it the first time, I was beyond intimidated.  I saw these hard-body gym rat times sweat it out on here for 30+ minutes every day.  I don't necessarily want to join them in the gym rat role, but I was going to join the ranks of people that could survive the step mill.  I was bound and determined to conquer this machine.

Every time I went to the gym, I would get on the treadmill or elliptical for 30-40 minutes.  After I was done that that part of my workout, I would get on the step mill.  In the beginning, I could only do 2 or 3 minutes before feeling like I was going to absolutely die!  This is no exaggeration.  I would add 1 or 2 minutes to my time every week.  Slowly the torture device was turning into one of my favorite piece of equipment.  It seemed like there were very few people that used it and this meant a little peace and quiet with the dance music on my iPod.  When my running program started, I was up to about 7 minutes.  I didn't go to the gym as much once I started my running program, so out went the workouts on the stepmill, at least for a while.    

So, last Tuesday, I decided to get back on it and see just how far I could go.  I was only able to go 10 minutes, but I was elated.  On Sunday, I was able to go 12 minutes.  Last night, I was able to stay on it 15 minutes.  I was energized by my accomplishment over the week.  I am going to conquer the step mill and will love every minute of it.  Amazingly enough, I have to say that this is now one of my favorite pieces of cardio equipment.

What's your favorite piece of cardio equipment?    

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Wow...  Christmas is almost here.  It is time to begin the all-out food fest.  I am going to do my best with enjoying all the tempting goodies, while not overdoing it. 

Here's what we're having:

Week of December 17:
Saturday:  We had dinner at my in-laws house.  We had a small side salad, chicken and spinach crepes, asparagus casserole, and a baked rice pilaf.  YUM!
Sunday:  Chicken Piccata with Roasted Baby Red Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans
Monday:  Baked Ziti with Spinach and a Salad
Tuesday:  Taco Salad
Wednesday:  Leftover Baked Ziti with Spinach and a Salad
Thursday:  Angus Barn!  In 2005, my husband (then fiance) and I decided that we wanted to have a little Christmas tradition.  We decided to have dinner on the eve of Christmas Eve at the Angus Barn.  It is always a nice experience and a tradition we hope to continue for many years to come.
Friday:  Christmas Eve Dinner with the In-laws

Don't forget to stop by Organizing Junkie for other Menu Plan Monday ideas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A 10K already?

Wow... That's all I can really say about that.  Sarah and I did a 10K yesterday.  In case you don't know it, a 10K is 6.2 miles.  I am still amazed on a daily basis about how far we have come since July 24.  If it wasn't actually happening to me and I didn't feel it in my muscles, I would say it was dang close to being unbelievable/impossible. 

Sarah and I met at Oak Park around 9 a.m. yesterday.  On Friday evening, we decided we would do 5 miles and maybe a little more if we were feeling froggy.  Around the time that we started smelling the McDonald's on Blue Ridge Road (you can smell the distinct scent of Chicken McNuggets at 9:15 a.m. - yuck!), we saw Jean (one of our NCRC mentors) on the trail.  We didn't even make it under the Glenwood Avenue bridge before we decided that we were going to forge forward and do 6 miles.  We completed our first ever 10K in 81 minutes (13:10 pace per mile).  We were once again consistent in our inconsistency - with miles 4 (13:31 minutes) and 5 (13:54 minutes) being our slowest. 

I wasn't terribly cold when we were running, but it took a while to get warmed up once I got home.  I think I took the longest, most hot shower I have ever taken.  While Jason and I were out running errands, we went to Village Deli to get a bite to eat.  The yummy, warm chili warmed me up the last little bit.  During our run yesterday, Sarah and I both realized that going more than 5 miles was going to require a little bit of hydration at some point.  Jason and I ended up going to Fleet Feet yesterday to look around.  Thanks for my wonderful hubs, I got a Nathan 4-bottle hydration belt and a Mizuno Breath Thermo hat.  They definitely won't be the most stylist things ever, but they will surely work well.

I feel great about all the things I have accomplished thus far.  Between running, meeting with my personal trainer once per week, talking with a counselor, and recommitting to Weight Watchers, I finally feel like I am on track to continue my transformation toward a more healthy me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dreams, Determination, Dedication...

We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.
Jesse Owens, American track and field athlete and Olympic gold medal winner

I am a lover of quotes.  As a teenager, I collected quotes from all over the place and write them in journals.  Now that I think about it, I wonder what I ever did with all those journals... Anyway, quotes make me smile.  They help me see things in a new light.

I received the quote above via email from Runner's World.  As soon as I received it, it made me happy.  I do have dreams.  I have goals that I want to see through to the end.  I also have the determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort to reach them.  The past 6 or 7 months have shown me just how committed I am to making a change and I am loving every minute of it.

Make the most of your dreams!! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Suck it up, buttercup"

I am not really sure where I heard the expression "Suck it up, buttercup", but I use it for motivation every time I start to try to get out of something.  In my life, I have always given up when things got hard or I was bored with something.  Not now kids...
  • When I didn't really want to run in the cold today?  Suck it up, buttercup.
  • When I didn't feel like packing my lunch for tomorrow?  Suck it up, buttercup.
  • When I would love to have a regular Coke, instead of water?  Suck it up, buttercup.
  • When I don't want to empty the dishwasher...
  • When I don't want to pay bills...
  • Many more examples could be listed here...
Why do I say this to myself?  Because, life is hard and isn't always puppies and rainbows.  If I wanted easy, I could eat what I wanted, never work out, etc.  But, after those destructive behaviors, I would be more overweight than I am now and I would eat less healthy than I do now.  It is best for me to just tell myself to "Suck it up, buttercup" - you'll be happier and better off in the end.

This afternoon was definitely a perfect example of a "Suck it up, buttercup" day.  It was extremely cold and windy.  Sarah and I met at the Ale House at 4 p.m.  Our objective was to just run.  We set out on our run and decided to turn around after a mile and a half.  We were able to complete a 5K in 32 degree/25 degree windchill temps.  We finished our 5K in 41:01/12:59 pace (our best pace yet!!).  After we finished our run, we both said that the biggest issue with running in the cold is the mental block.  We busted through that obstacle and will continue through more. 

Menu Plan Monday

I am a compulsive planner when it comes to our meals.  Jason knows to expect an email on Wednesday or Thursday of each week for a preview of the menu for the next week.  We go back and forth several times over email refining the menu and it is finalized by Friday afternoon.  I have learned that when I plan meals, I don't tend to stay from my goal of sticking with Weight Watchers. 

I have been a reader of I'm an Organizing Junkie off an on for a while.  What's not to love about a blog all about planning!  So, I decided to join Menu Plan Monday.  Most of the recipes that I use come from blogs.  Hopefully, I'll find some more by looking at other Menu Plan Monday posts on Organizing Junkie!

Week of December 11: (we do our menu Saturday through Friday) 
Saturday:  Lunch out at Brio (I had a Christmas party that night.  Jason had take out.)
Sunday:  Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore with Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli
Monday:  Shepherd's Pie, Lightened Up
Tuesday:  Grilled Pork with Roasted Broccoli and Parmesan Orzo (maybe)
Wednesday: Leftover Shepherd's Pie
Thursday:  Tilapia Puttanesca (from Weight Watchers member site) with Rigatoni and Marinara
Friday:  Dinner out with friends

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reindeer Romp 5K

Sarah and I participated in the Reindeer Romp 5K yesterday.  The race benefited Girls on the Run of the Triangle.  This race also was the culmination of the 12-week program the girls participated in.  The goal of the program is to build the girls up through running and building self-esteem/self-confidence. 

Last night, while I was driving to our annual Meredith College girls Christmas party, I realized how much the race really meant.  I thought about how I felt at the beginning of the 10-week beginner women's running program offered through the NC Roadrunners Club.  The more I thought about it, I realized that what those young girls were experiencing at their young ages, I had felt as a 29/30 year old.  The girls were encouraged by their mentors and fellow program participants, just like I was.  Thank goodness for awesome, encouraging people.  Just think about the benefits to those young girls!  Plus, they were just too darn cute for words!

I was certain that I was going to freeze to death during the run.  It only took about a quarter mile to shed my gloves.  By the half mile point, I was shedding my jacket.  Then, by the end of the race, I was cursing myself in my head for not wearing short sleeves!  I guess those experienced runners that told me to dress for 20 degrees warmer were right.  By surviving the cold yesterday, it made me realize that getting outside and running in the winter isn't so bad - the bulk of the battle is mental.  Sarah and I learned one additional lesson yesterday - do not waste energy running the entire time when you can do intervals and do just as well! 

In honor of the run little Reindeer Romp yesterday, I am wearing my race t-shirt today.  It is so fun to be able to don the shirts that I receive at races because every shirt reminds me of my accomplishments and the continuation of the journey. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fear of failure and other reflections

I am afraid of being a failure.  I don't think I have ever really shared that with anyone and most people wouldn't guess it right off.  But, failure scares the ever-living shit out of me.  I am a decent wife.  I am a relatively good daughter.  I feel like I am an asset to my organization most days.  I try to be the best friend possible. 

My weight loss journey has shown me that there is nothing wrong with failing every once in a while.   I tend to think of any week where I didn't lose 2+ pounds, didn't workout/run 5 times, or didn't measure/track my food diligently as a week where I failed.  But, I have realized that these small failures are ok.  They are the things that make the journey worth continuing.  When I don't do the best one week, it is all the more motivation to get back on track - on track to a life full of healthful goals and actions.  In the past, I never shared with people that I was on Weight Watchers/trying to lose weight.  I guess this was due in part to thinking that the fewer the people that knew what I was doing, the fewer people knew when I failed.  This time it is different.  Just like with my running, I am telling everyone  It is good to talk about the healthy food choices I am making; it is nice to get compliments on how I look.  Any and all encouragement is welcome!  I realize that I need that accountability in order to move forward on the journey.  

I went to my first meeting on Monday, November 29.  As much as I hate to put it down on paper, I weighed in at whopping 197.6 pounds (on my 5'4" frame) at the meeting.  Tonight, I attended my new weekly meeting and my weight was 193.8 pounds.  In case your math skills aren't that great, that is 3.8 pounds lost since last Monday.  While I am very excited about the weight loss, it is hard to celebrate too much.  I am worried that if I get too excited, I will become to comfortable with the new plan and not work out as much, etc.  So, here's the reveling in the success of the week and continuing on the journey...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ridiculously cold

The temps in North Carolina are usually chilly in November.  This year, we've had several weeks where the temps were in the 60s/70s.  That made running in the evening nice.  It meant that I could wear capri pants with a long sleeve shirt and be fine.  Well, that was until this weekend.  On Saturday, it snowedI hate snow.  If I didn't love North Carolina so much, I would move somewhere warmer.  Of course, Florida is dealing with the same cold weather that we are right now.

Running in this ridiculously cold weather is no good.  I can handle 50 degrees, but not the current 30-ish degrees plus wind.  That's just ain't gonna happen.  Looks like I'll be hanging out on the "dreadmill" some for the next few days.  Oh boy! - I can't wait to look like a hamster on a wheel!

Here's to the temps warming up in NC very soon so I can run outside again!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Consistent in our Inconsistency

Sarah and I ran tonight.  We met up at the Ale House to run one of our preferred greenway trails.  We didn't go into the evening with a specific mileage ahead and agreed early on that we would just see where things went.  We ended up going 4 miles.   

While we were running, we got on the topic of our pace.  Tonight, as an example, I felt was an up/down pace night.  Mile 1 was 12:35, mile 2 was 13:12, mile 3 was 13:50, and mile 4 was 13:10.  I always wonder if this is the best way to run (different paces for each mile).  Sarah said something very positive about our pace inconsistency - At least we are consistent in our inconsistency
For some reason her statement really struck me and made me curious.  I checked our previous runs in my Garmin Connect and discovered that we really aren't that inconsistent.  We are always slow on the mile after the 1/2 way point of our runs.  Most of the time this tends to be around mile 3 on our 4 and 5 mile runs. 

In other really positive news on our running...  We have shaved almost a minute and a half off our average pace since October 23.  Our October 23 5-miler was at an average pace of 14:36.  The 4-miler tonight was at an average pace of 13:01.  Not too shabby for some girls that could barely run 1:1 intervals for 20 minutes at the end of July!

Awesome quote

There is nothing wrong with change if it is in the right direction. - Winston Churchill

I went to another Weight Watchers (WW) meeting last night.  I enjoyed the meeting I attended on Monday evening with my college roommate, but Knightdale is just too far to go every week.  If she continues to go to those meetings, I might try to do an early dinner date with her followed by the meeting every once in a while.

Anyway, the meeting last night was at the WW center in Raleigh.  There was a pretty diverse group at the meeting.  It was good to hear about the new Points Plus plan again from a different leader.  After going to the meeting last night, I realized that attending meetings has always been the key to my success.  I looked back at my online charts and noticed that when I have done WW in the past, with meeting attendance, I did much better.  So, off to meetings I will go.  My goal is to go to 3 meetings each month, but strive for 4 meetings.

At the end of the meeting, the leader put up the quote above.  I truly believe that this is true.  Change is a good thing.  The right direction for the change is up to the person, but it is an awesome thing! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back on the WW train

My first blog post was about my decision to transform myself.   I still do not know exactly what triggered the declaration in May 2010, but here are some of the reasons: 
  • I was back over 200 pounds again.  The thought of carrying 200+ pounds on my 5'4" frame disgusts me.
  • I was several months before turning 30 and knew that I couldn't keep on flitting through life.  I wanted to be sure I had time to enjoy the rest of my "youth".
  • I was just unhappy with myself.  I couldn't name a specific item, but I was just not in a good place.
But the thing that really got my butt in gear was having deeper thoughts about my future.  It was more than "I am chubby/fat and want to look pretty in this or that..."  For some reason, knowing that I was turning 30 in a few months made me realize that the lifestyle transformation needed to happen sooner rather than later, or it would never happen.  Did I really think that I could wait until I was 40, 50, or 60+ to make changes to my life?  Yes, at one point I did believe that.  However, as I thought about it more, I thought "Why wait?  If you wait, you are wasting time that you could be enjoying doing other things and accomplishing other goals."  I knew it was time to take the bull by the horns and do something.

So, as a continuation of this journey to transform myself, I recommitted to the Weight Watchers program.  I have been talking about going, but I ended up going to a meeting with my college roommate last night (hi Charity!  love ya!).  I have been on and off the Weight Watchers program since 2005.  This time, I didn't just join WW, I made the commitment to stay on WW and evolve personally while I am on the program.  This means that I will: 
  • Continue to run and try to find other fulfilling exercise activities
  • Try to reduce/eliminate foods that I am "addicted to"
  • Track the foods I eat honestly
  • Change how I think about food and life
  • Believe in me!
  • Work hard to accept that no one is perfect and success only comes with passion and persistence
So...  Time to get moving on reclaiming my future!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ridgewood Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving Day, I did something I have never done before.  I participated in and completed the Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K.  Heck, now that I think about it, I wouldn't have even considered exercising on previous Thanksgivings, much less participate in an event. 

The Ridgewood Turkey Trot is a race up Ridge Road, through some relatively hilly neighborhoods, and back to Ridgewood shopping center.  When I completed my 1st 5K, I set my eyes on completing an 8K by the end of 2010.  The Turkey Trot ended up being the race that I chose. 

I got up around 6 a.m., walked some in the halls of our condo building, and got ready to go.  I met 2 of the NCRC gals to share a ride to Meredith College.  When we got to Ridgewood, I realized that I was quite slower than most of the folks from the NCRC group.  Luckily, I found Jean!  Jean was one of the first members of the NCRC women's beginner running program and she still volunteers to mentor us newbie runners.  Jean, her friend Norma, and I ran at a 3:30/1:00 intervals.  I finished in 1:11:11, according to the text I got after the race from Precision Race. 

I am proud of myself.  I have now marked "Run a 8K" off my fitness bucket list.  Now off to the next race!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blessed beyond measure

Today, I am thankful for:
  • My ultra supportive husband - Jason may get tired of hearing my little tyrannical rants or hearing this 'n that about running, but he rarely says he's tired of it.  He just sits there, lets me do my thing and we move on.  I am so thankful for the love that we share.
  • My family - My family and I may not always see eye-to-eye, but that doesn't mean we don't love and respect one another. 
  • My friends - What can one say about good friends?  Hmmm...  Other than the fact that I have the most awesome, supportive, funny, crazy, awesome friends a girl could ask for...
  • My health - I may be a little chubby, but I am healthy.  I am thankful that I have made some fairly significant lifestyle changes since the middle of this year and for my continued success with those lifestyle changes.
  • My home
  • My job
Although I could probably yammer on about all the things for which I am thankful, I will not.  Simply put, I am blessed beyond measure.  Here's to remembering the blessings every single day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love the Christmas season.  I love everything about it - family, friends, food, and celebrating the joys in our lives.  While I pretty much love everything about my life on a daily basis, the holidays make me even more appreciative of all I have. 

I am fortunate to also have a mother-in-law with a knack for and love of Christmas decor.  While I am sure that our condo would be lovely with whatever Christmas decorations I put out, she just has a special ability to make everything "just so".  We spent the last two evenings putting up our main Christmas tree (living room) and Jason's UNC/sports tree (office).  We also spent some time putting our mantle decor and miscellaneous decorations up. 

Who's ready for Christmas?  We are!

Jason with the UNC/sports tree

Closer look at UNC/sports tree

Jason with living room tree, showing mantle

Another view

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Boo to injuries

This week has been an off week for running and I have to say that it has totally sucked.  My normal routine  usually looks like this:  running with Sarah on Monday, personal training on Tuesday, cross training/weights on Wednesday, running with Sarah on Thursday, rest day on Friday, running with Sarah on Saturday, and cross training on Sunday.  The normal routine was a total bust this week and it has gotten me into a funk. 

Why getting out of the normal, you might ask?  Well, back in late August, I did something to my adductor/IT band in my right leg (helpful image below).  I took about 3 weeks off, but was feeling OK enough to finish my 1st 5K with my beginner's running program at the end of September.  Last Saturday, Sarah and I ran at Oak Park and things were going well.  However, after our run, something in my leg/"girly bits" just didn't feel right.  I stretched more when I got home, took and anti-inflammatory and hoped for the best.  Needless to say, this week has been tough.  When those muscle are strained, it makes everything more difficult - getting in the car, crossing your legs, lifting your leg to put on pants, etc.  So, needless to say, it has been interesting.  I am going to take it easy again for the beginning of this week, in hopes that I can actually run my Turkey Trot on Thursday.

I have signed up to do the Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K on Thanksgiving Day.  In October, I attended Diva Night at Fleet Feet.  They had all kinds of door prizes that you could put your ticket(s) in the running to receive.  I put mine in the free Turkey Trot registration and I won.  I never, ever win anything and I took this as a sign that I should bust out of my comfort zone and do it.  I am looking forward to the race on Thanksgiving, but hoping that my little leg issue doesn't cause me any issues.

In other news, we are putting up our Christmas decorations today!  YAY!  Jason and I love the Christmas season.  I think that Christmas decor has the potential to make almost any person happy.  I'll post pics when we are all done. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful for the past few days

The beginning of the past week was a little tough, but going through tough situations makes me even more thankful for all I have.  Today I am thankful for many things:
  • A husband that is beyond supportive of anything and everything I want to do
  • An awesome group of friends that are always there
  • Celebrating the life of special people that have passed away, but realizing that they will always be in hearts and memories
  • LIFE - being able to live, breathe, participate in, and celebrate each day

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sometimes it just doesn't happen

And yesterday was one of those days.  I left work and went to the gym.  I met very quickly with my chiropractor to work on some IT band and lower back issues.  When we were done, I went upstairs to begin my workout for the evening.  I guarantee that I was on the elliptical less than 5 minutes.  I just wasn't feeling it.  I decided to try the stair mill; that didn't work either.  After trying to make myself do two different pieces of equipment and failing, I decided that it was OK to skip a day at the gym.  I usually work out five or six times a week (running - 3 days a week; cross training and weights - 2 or 3 times a week) and realized that missing one day wasn't going to kill me.

The more I thought about it on the way home, the more I realized that expecting that I will love working out every single time I go is unrealistic.  I have to tell myself that it is OK to have days when you don't want to workout, but don't let that become the norm.  Maybe I need to try some classes to add some spice to my gym days.

Do you force yourself to workout even when you aren't feeling it

Monday, November 8, 2010

New experience

Yesterday, I served as a course monitor for the City of Oaks Marathon and Half Marathon.  My assignment had me stationed at Snow Avenue/Hillsborough Street from ~6:30 a.m. to around 7:45 a.m.  The City of Oaks race started at 7 a.m.  While I was expecting to see many different types of people, I didn't realize there would be such diversity in the race:
  • Several guys (and a few girls) running about a 5 minute/mile pace
  • No less than 4 pregnant women.  When I say pregnant, I mean belly-button out and running
  • "Skinny" and "fat" people (I hate those labels, but how else can you describe it?)
  • Old and young
  • Straight runners, run/walkers, and walkers
Being able to see so many different people on the same course, all trying to accomplish the same simple goal of just finishing was an inspiration for me.  After my course monitor assignment was over, I joined some of the NCRC gals over at Applebee's, near Meredith College.  We decided to meet up there to cheer on one of our NCRC friends that was running.  Beth is one of those folks that I can definitely call an inspiration too.  Beth and I have similar histories with our weight loss and she is definitely a person from whom I gain hope and positive thoughts.

I'll be out there next year!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Results: The 5K that wasn't

Well, the results are in...  The 5K that wasn't a 5K was officially a 4.34K.  So, if a 5K is 3.1 miles, how far is a 4.34K, you might ask?  Thanks to the help of a friend, 4.34K is 2.69675 miles.  Our estimate that the race was between 2.6 and 2.8 miles was right on the money.  I finished my 4.34K (for some reason, I just love typing that because it is so strange to me) in 36:45, at a pace of 13:38.  Not too shabby.  My first race was at 14:53 pace, so I have knocked off about 1:20 of my pace since end of September.  Go me!

Kay's Cancer Kickers and the 5K that wasn't

Today was the Free to Breathe 5K, benefiting the North Carolina Lung Cancer Partnership.  When I found out about this race, I decided I had to do it.  I had a wonderful coworker pass away from lung cancer in March 2010.  I was on a team with her husband, son, friends, and coworkers.  Our team, Kay's Cancer Kickers, was able to raise over $3000 for lung cancer research.  

  Kay's Cancer Kickers
Front, left to right:  Andrew (Kay's son), Dottie, Jason, and me
Back, left to right:  Mark, Kevin (Kay's husband), Bob, Karen, Audrey, and John

So, you might be wondering why the post title is "The 5K that wasn't".  Well, that is because that is exactly what the race was - a 5K that wasn't a 5K.  A friend and I were running the route, trying to make the best of being absolutely frozen and dealing with the "spitting" rain.  We get to Oval Drive and I tell her that something isn't right and we're supposed to go to the right and loop around.  Unfortunately, no one is doing this and there was a police officer sending everyone to the left, toward Centennial Parkway.  In the back of my mind, I kept telling myself that something wasn't right.  I previewed the race course on Wednesday and knew that they wouldn't have changed it in the span of 3 days.

The suspicion that something wasn't right with the route was evident again when we got to the mile 2 marker and it had only taken us about 10 minutes to run a mile.  While I would love to say that I ran a mile in 10 minutes, it isn't possible at this stage in my running career.   We just kept on trucking along, chatting, and enjoying the race.  When we got close to the finish, I could see the clock and knew there was no way that I could finish a 5K/3.1 miles in ~36 minutes.  But, I was going to revel in the fact that I did it - I had completed my second race.

A few minutes after we finished, another friend came over and said that the course was routed incorrectly at Oval Drive.  It made me feel better to know that I wasn't going completely nuts.  I mean, seriously, I had just previewed the route on Wednesday.  I knew they hadn't changed it.  Given that, I think the 5K was about 2.6 to 2.8 miles (Two of us were wearing our Garmins and had conflicting information).  I am hoping to receive an email from NC Lung Cancer Partnership with the exact distance in the next few days.

So that folks is the story of the 5K that wasn't.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fleet Feet Racing Team

I have been thinking about joining the Fleet Feet Racing Team since I discovered it on their website last month.  I went to Fleet Feet for the first time the week after I started the NCRC Women's Beginner Running Program.  I felt comfortable when I walked into the store and didn't feel like I was being profiled as a runner (or in my case a non-runner). 

So, I finally decided to email Amanda, the store manager, yesterday to get a little more information (and reassurance) from her.  I am definitely no Pheidippides, but I do love to run (slowly).  Amanda calmed my nerves about being the only "penguin" on the training team.  She I went to the store last night, purchased 2 new base layers, a pair of Smart Wool socks and my team singlet.  I will be wearing it tomorrow for the Free to Breathe 5K.  I am looking forward to being a part of the Fleet Feet Racing Team and encouraging other people to join in on running.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A little bit of the willies

I ran my first 5K on September 25.  I have my second 5K race this Saturday (Free to Breathe - NC Lung Cancer Partnership).  If I said that I wasn't the least bit nervous, I would be lying through my teeth.  For some reason, it is only Tuesday night and I have the biggest case of the willies.  There is absolutely no reason for me to be nervous.  I survived the first race and I can do this one too.  I wonder if part of the nervousness is that the hubs is going to be sitting there waiting for me for a the entire ~45 minutes it will take me to run it.  Of course, his sitting there waiting could provide the motivation for me to go faster.  I can't stand for someone to have to wait on me!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Books: "The Courage to Start" and "Running for Mortals"

I read The Courage to Start in late July/early August.  The Courage to Start was his first book.  The book is filled with practical advice for any person that is considering starting to run.  John Bingham adds humor through the entire book with reliving funny (and not so funny) moments in his beginning running career.  The key quote that I will always remember from this book is:  The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.  Every time I get discouraged with what is going on with my running, I repeat that to myself.  I am sure that I am one of thousands of runners that now uses that as my mantra.

I just finished reading Running for Mortals by John "The Penguin" Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield.  This book didn't disappoint.  Like The Courage to Start, it is filled with tons of practical useful information.  It is also filled with interesting anecdotes that will make nearly anyone laugh.  I would add this one to my list of must reads for new runners.

Some quotes from Running for Mortals that are important to me:
Every run has the potential to transform us from who we are to the person we're becoming.  Every step on every run could be the one that begins our metamorphosis from who we've been to what we've always wanted to be.

You will only succeed if you are setting realistic expectations for yourself based on the uniqueness of who you've been, who you are, and who you want to be.  You cannot and should not try to be what someone else is or was or wants you to be.  You can't.

Postponing the joy of the journey until you reach your destination is the worst possible plan.  Waiting to celebrate until you've gotten to where you want to go means missing all the wonderful places you pass along the way.

You were born to move.  You were born to walk and run and chase.  You were born to be an athlete.  No matter how far out of shape you think you are, there is still a road back.  It may be long.  It may be fraught with setbacks and frustration, but it's there.  All you need to do is take that first step.  Take that one step toward a new you.  Then take the next and the next.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Something for me

I recently ran across an ad for Inspired Endurance jewelry when skimming Runner's World.  Their jewelry is nice, simple, and provides a great message.

If you want to get me a nice gift, feel free to get me one of these :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Holy humidity Batman

I thought that October was supposed to be a month of relatively cool temps and low humidity?  Not so today.  Today was probably one of the most humid days I have ever experienced in October.  On top of that, it had rained off and on all day.  Humidity plus rain equals yucky, sticky mess.

I got to the Ale House on Creekside Drive a few minutes early.  Since the rain had stopped about 3:45 p.m., I thought it would be a good idea for me to check the trail.  I walked about 1/4 mile on the trail and found a couple small puddles.  Needless to say, the rest of the trail was filled with them too.  Sarah and I decided early on that we were just going to run 3 miles, walk bridges, and be careful.  The worst thing would be to rush and slip/get hurt.  The run turned out well.  We finished a 5K in 44:03, at an average pace of 14:15.  Not bad at all for girls that were runnin' in the hot, sticky, rain.

Of course, we were very careful on our run, but I wasn't so careful when I got home.  Imagine this....  I walk into our condo building, take my shoes off in the hall because they are soaked, and stretch for a few minutes.  I decide to go into the house and get ready for my GNO (girls night out) with the Meredith gals.  I start across our hardwood floors in my sock feet (socks are soaking wet) and almost eat it on our hardwood floors.  I guess this is one of those moments where I should thank Rick (my trainer) for all those exercises that encourage good balance. 

I have a feeling that I will sleep like a baby again tonight.  I took the day off work today and did a pretty good workout at the gym this morning.  I rode 8.5 miles on the bike and worked out with my trainer for 30 minutes.  Then, I went for my run with Sarah.  So, definitely looking forward to the great night of sleep ahead of me.

The 1st finish

I was catching up on some blog reading last night and one of Ben's posts resonated with me today.  The first line of the post is Sometimes running and training sucks.  Boy, is he right!  I haven't had one of those days recently, but it is so very true.  When I don't want to go for a run, don't want to go to the gym to meet with my trainer, or want to eat a whole pack of Oreos just for the hell of it, I think of one thing...

This is a picture of my very first 5K (Women's Distance Festival; September 25, 2010).  This was the culmination of a 10-week running program, of which I was able to only run about 4-5 weeks.  I was plagued with a fairly tough groin muscle/tendon strain and had to walk the last several weeks of the program.  Even though that was a struggle, I was bound and determined to run in this particular 5K - no matter how slow, no matter how much it hurt, and no matter how silly I looked.  The look in my eyes (yes, it is small) is all it takes for me.  I see the determination and sheer will to accomplish things and that's what leads me to do the things that I don't want to do at the time, so that I can do the things I want to do in the future.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another accomplishment!

Jason and I have been out of town since Saturday attending my work's Annual Conference in Winston-Salem.  We got back last night, but I just wasn't quite in the mood to write this post, but it needs to be written.

Saturday was a wonderful day for a run.  Sarah and I planned to meet at Crabtree at 7:15 a.m., as I needed to be on the road to Winston-Salem by 10 a.m.  We discussed doing between 4 and 5 miles.  The original half marathon training calendar showed Saturday as a 5 mile day; the modified (stretched out) calendar showed Saturday as a 4 mile day.  So, we set off on our somewhat eager goal to complete 5 miles.  We settled on running a 3:30 run/1 walk interval.  I have discovered over the past few weeks that somewhere between 3 and 4 minute runs are my "sweet spot"; Saturday I discovered that 3:30 is the perfect spot for me.  Anyway, I think we were both a bit anxious to go 5 miles.  But, we were gonna do it!  We were off - we didn't care how long it took us, but we were gonna do 5 miles

The beginning was a little cold.  I was glad that I didn't wear anymore clothes than I did, but I sure needed my jacket to start things off.  After 3 or 4 intervals, the jacket was promptly tied around the waist.  I checked my Garmin and we finished the first mile in 13:55.  While that's a pretty good clip, it kinda slowed us down on the second mile (15:00).  The first two miles were definitely learning moments for relatively new runners.  The last three miles were completed at the perfect pace (14:40 average pace). 

While we were out on the run, somewhere on the trail headed to Shelley Lake, we ran into two volunteers from our running program. I know that one of them was Megan, but I don't remember the name of the other.  It was great to see them!  The best part was that they weren't that much faster than us.  Penguins unite! :-)

After we finished we both felt so great!  It was just amazing, electrifying, exciting, thrilling, and so many other synonyms.  We finished 5 miles!  I mean, seriously, on July 22 I think we both had difficulty even doing 1 run/1walk intervals.  The deal for both of us isn't time, it is distance.  Sarah and I both kept telling each other how awesome it felt.  Again, back to the penguins - we did the run in good 'ole John Bingham/penguin fashion, but we finished 5 miles.    
After our run, I felt so good.  I did learn one lesson though - do not run any relatively "long" distance for your body and then get in the car to drive about 2 hours.  It was not good.  I wasn't necessarily sore or hurting, but my legs just felt a little "wonky".  Other than the little bit of funny feeling in my legs, I was so energized for the day.  Of course, the minute my head hit the pillow on Saturday night, I was out.  Considering that I am not normally one to sleep well in hotels, I think it was the great morning run that helped me sleep like a little baby.

Now that I have run 5 miles, I feel like I can do anything.  I think each new mile makes me hungry for the next.  I am on my way to complete my goal of a half marathon in 2011/2012.  Each new mile is an adventure and I am ready to go!

Two quotes that are relevant for me right now:
"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." - John Bingham

"It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we'd like to be. That's not to say that you need to be satisfied forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you've accomplished, rather than thinking of what's left to be done." - John Bingham (No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running, page 159)