Saturday, August 7, 2010

Shop till you drop

Cool, overcast and slightly breezy. It was the perfect running weather this morning, and I couldn't help but feel a pang of disappointment that today was my rest day.

What's a girl to do when she can't run? Shop, of course.

After a near tantrum this week over my lack of properly fitting clothes, Mark and I agreed on a budget and headed out to replace my size 1os with size 4s and my mediums with smalls.

Our first stop was Target, where I quickly found a zebra-printed skirt and a teal drape front cardigan. Both were on sale for $14.99 (score!), and I felt like it was good karma for the rest of the day.

The next stop was Kohl's. I was hoping to hit the motherload as I had a savings pass good for up to 20 percent off. And 20 percent off what I pick means that I can pick more!

One problem: I didn't find much I liked.

I was hoping to find wear-to-work pieces but most of the business casual styles were not for me. I'm not really sure who they were for because I thought they were fairly unattractive. I did find a green tee to pair with my zebra-printed skirt and I spent the good part of 20 minutes carrying it around with me, hoping to find something else to hold. I was ready to give up when I found a floral-printed tunic and black denim leggings by Elle. It just looked like the "me" I wanted to be. The "me" I could be.

I headed into the dressing room carrying a size 4 pant and size small tunic but when I walked out to show Mark, I wasn't that "me" I wanted to be. I was size 24 Kim, the one who was embarrassed about the way she looked and so sure that people were staring at her. I was worried that everyone was looking at the way my thighs looked in the pants. And when I asked Mark to see if he could find an XS in the tunic because the shoulders in the small seemed too big, I was sure people were wondering who I thought I was. "How could she think she needed an extra small?"

The feeling nagged at me as I put on the extra small top, sure that it only fit because of the way the shirt was cut. The pants fit because of vanity sizing. And as I stared at myself in the mirror, trying to decide on the outfit, I was sure that I looked like the girl I used to be.

I was her, in that moment, too. Size 24 Kim. That's the funny thing about weight loss - you can lose weight, tone muscles, change sizes. The rest of the "weight" that comes with being obese - and morbidly so at that - doesn't come off so easily. It's hard to shed that self, the insecurity and the doubt, and finally be able to look in the mirror, in a pair of jeggings and a tunic, and think you look good. It's even harder to walk out in the outfit and know you look good.

I wasn't able to do that today. I might not be able to do that tomorrow. What I can do is work toward that day, in the hopes that I discover for myself the me I know I can be.

Got the chops?

(Friday) Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams and Amaretto Cream roast coffee (half-cup!)
(Friday) Workout: Ran 4.25 miles in 39 minutes, 2 seconds; average pace, 9:11.

Try to tell me this doesn't look good ... I dare you.

It's dinner courtesy of the CSA: pork chops with roasted potatoes and steamed green beans. Well, the pork chops didn't come from the farm - they came from Meijer - but the other two items are organic, fresh goodness.

To roast the potatoes, I quartered 'em up and sprayed 'em with some olive oil spray and sprinkled on a Mediterranean seasoning blend. I put them on a cookie sheet, covered it in foil and put it in the oven at 425. A half-hour later, the foil came off and the potatoes baked for another 15 minutes.

The process took a little longer than Mark anticipated, and he was "observing" the process to see when he needed to set the table. Really, he was just hungry.

I will say that he did his best to wait patiently. Denali, well, did not. He was a bit "vocal" last night.

The pork chops were cooked stove-top on a grill pan. I seasoned the meat simply with garlic powder, salt and pepper. The chop was cooked for about 8 minutes on each side and I steamed the green beans while the meat was cooking.

It was a simple meal but sometimes those are the ones that taste the best ... especially if you have good ingredients.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Average joe

What do these photos have in common ...

... if you said a cute redhead, you win. Ding, ding, ding! Ahh, just kidding. It's that lovely cup of coffee that seems permanently attached to my right hand.

Hot, delicious coffee - it's my vice. I have at least one cup in the morning at home, sometimes two. On a good morning (or a bad one, depending on how you look at it), I stop at a local coffee shop for a large brew to go and sip on it throughout the day. If I don't pick up coffee, I usually scam some off the Metro department at work. It's just one cup ... or two ... when I do that.

But it adds up, and I'm starting to think that I should be concerned with the amount of caffeine in my 4-cup-a-day habit. (Disclosure notice: This amount does not include the daily diet soda that I have at lunch.)

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Though moderate caffeine intake isn't likely to cause harm, too much can noticeably affect your health. Heavy daily caffeine use - more than 500 to 600 mg a day, about four to seven cups of coffee - can cause: insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, nausea or other gastrointestinal problems, fast or irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, headaches and anxiety."


It seems I'm right on the border of too much, and I think Mark might vouch for me when I say that I can on occasion be irritable. The other stuff? I'm not sure I've seen much of that. Regardless, I need to ... I want to ... change.

And so today, I went to the coffee shop, ordered a large coffee to go and had them make it "light" - half regular, half decaf. Just 10 ounces of caffeine in that cup, and I love the taste still the same.

Next step: Buying regular and decaf grounds to make my own "light" brew.

What vices do you want to work on?

Three Things Thursday: Stream of consciousness edition

Pre-workout fuel: Whole-wheat toast with Amish cherry jam and Amaretto Cream roast coffee
Workout: Ran 5.07 miles in 45 minutes, 53 seconds; average pace, 9:02.

1. I bake my husband two cakes for his birthday because one just isn't enough. I was the annoying girl in high school who wrote a 17-page paper when the teacher only assigned 15 pages. I guess you could say I'm an over achiever. Maybe that's why I run splits of 8:54, 8:48 and 8:51 when I was supposed to run 9:09s.

2. I'm not really sure why I'm supposed to run 9:09s. OK, it's because the Runner's World sub-2:00 half-marathon plan says I should. What I don't know is why I'm following a half marathon plan when I'm not registered to run another half in the next few months. There is a small part of me that wants to run the Fort-4-Fitness half-marathon on Sept. 24. It requires no travel - a plus - and I would have about six weeks to train/maintain half-marathon fitness. I'm just not so sure that, mentally, I want to commit to another month or so of solo long runs. But the idea of a sub-2:00 is so alluring ...

3. I saw a girl with her husband/fiance/boyfriend/man friend on the trail wearing a Flying Pig shirt. And guess what? I was wearing my Flying Pig shirt, too! I felt a total kinship with her and if I hadn't just finished my third HMP mile, I would have totally ambushed her and asked her to be my friend ... or not. However, I might have been a little more verbal and a little less "let me point at my shirt, then your shirt, then my shirt again."

And a little bonus ...

I love "House," and I especially love watching reruns of "House" on USA as I blog. House is currently playing air guitar on a cane with flames painted up the sides. Awesome. Seriously awesome.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Up dog

Pre-workout fuel: Half-slice of whole-wheat toast and Amaretto Cream roast coffee
Workout: 3o-minute yoga workout ("Joy of Yoga" with Sara Ivanhoe); 2-ish mile walk with Denali; and 20-minute upper body workout while watching last night's episode of "Teen Mom."

I need a new yoga workout. It's not that I don't like the ones I have. I do. It's just that sometimes the instructor, Sara Ivanhoe, sounds like she gets paid for being flexible - if you know what I mean. "This should feel gooood," she says. It distracts me. It makes me laugh and then I get all messed up with the "yoga is about breath" thing.

It's true, too, that have the P90X one at my house but it's 90 minutes long, and I feel like a slacker when I quit at 35 minutes. I don't like to feel like a slacker. So after winning Rustbelt Runner's CSN giveaway, I am looking to stop complaining and actually get something.

I'm currently thinking about "Yoga Conditioning for Athletes."

I'm not sure that I'm an athlete, per se, but I could use some hip stretching and whatever else he said he'll do.

I'm also on the lookout for a new yoga partner ...

But I'm not so sure I'll find that on CSN. (By the way, he was in "down dog" just moments before this was snapped.)

You say potato, I say uh-oh

I had dreams of an abundance of fresh, juicy tomatoes, zucchini and lettuces when I signed up for a CSA back in March. We opted for the half-year plan, which meant we would get deliveries from the end of July through September. Forty dollars was going to buy me eight weeks worth of organic, off-the-farm summer meals.

I was so excited to open our first bag of goodies last night. It was almost like Christmas.

The first thing I pulled out of the bag was a good pound or two of fresh green beans. Score! These were a definite treat when I was growing up, and I remember many a summer Saturday afternoon with my mom spent breaking off the ends of the beans and getting them ready to cook. Back then, we ate green beans with plenty of butter and salt. This bag from the CSA will be steamed with some garlic and lemon juice flavored, salted while hot and eaten as a snack - hot or cold.

I also found two bags of baby potatoes among the CSA goods. TWO bags. Don't get me wrong, I like potatoes but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with two bags of potatoes.

This dress is really unflattering. Note to self: Don't wear it again ...
or at least stand like this while wearing it.

Given that there are just two of us in the household, Mark and I could just take a bag and do what we'd like with 'em. I could also make copious amounts of mashed potatoes and pretend that I just had my wisdom teeth pulled. I could also make a mean breakfast of hash browns and hash brown casserole and potato pancakes. I could make potato salad and invite the entire neighborhood over for a barbecue.

Any of those work for you?

I know these potatoes will last a bit but I need to use 'em. Get my money's worth. So I'm thinking of making a Tortilla Espanola - a Spanish omelet with potatoes and onions layered throughout. I'll have to figure out how to cut the oil (some recipes call for at least a 1/4 cup).

Or ... you can share your favorite thing to do with potatoes. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Right as rain

Pre-workout fuel: Half a slice whole-wheat toast with Amish cherry jam and cup of Amaretto Cream roast coffee
Workout: Ran 3.04 miles in 28 minutes, 27 seconds; average pace, 9:21.

This morning's run was brought to you by the Under Armour hat -- one I bought half-price at Sports Authority this weekend -- one husband and an exuberant puppy.

This run was not brought to you by an overwhelming desire to head out in the rain with still-sore quads to trudge through three miles. I just wanted to wear my my new hat and listen to Mark, who said we should go.

Now that I got all "Sesame Street" on you, I'll tell you that there was nothing remarkable about this run. Even though I said it was seven levels of craptastic about mile 2. I think it was the rain-soaked Tempo shorts talking at that point, though, because it was a decent first run after a half-marathon. My legs only felt bad for the first 200 meters. I didn't feel too winded, and I only complained once to Mark that he was going too fast. My new hat managed to keep the rain out of my eyes and the pink logo didn't bleed.

And ... AND, I got to see a man wearing a suit and tie riding the slowest moped EVER down Lake Avenue. I probably could have used him as a pacer he was going so slow. But I didn't feel like trying to wave him down - he might have swerved into a puddle and ruined his red shirt and that would have been sad.

On a side note: A perk to the rain is that I can go to work with wet hair (because I'm lazy) and blame it on the weather.

Rock 'n' Roll Chicago: Bulletproof

Another Rock 'n' Roll post, I know. It's gotta be seriously annoying but I have more to say and I might as well say it.
  • I loved running a Rock 'n' Roll race. Why? First of all, the expo. I liked that the bibs and shirts were at the beginning of the hall and there was little to no wait to pick up items. (At the Flying Pig, we had to wind ourselves through a schload of vendors just to get our shirts, poster and bag). I loved that there were a ton of Honey Pots at the race start/finish.
  • What I didn't love was the lack of toilet paper in those honey pots. It makes a girl resort to things she won't dare to tell her husband much less mention on this blog.
  • While I'm complaining, I also thought the swag and expo were on the light side. I got a ton of stuff at the Pig and there were tons of vendors. Not so much in Chicago.
  • However, I loved the wave start and the commentators keeping everyone entertained while we waited to cross the mat.
  • I loved that I got to stand next to a celebrity.
  • I loved that I totally beat her, time-wise. Same goes for Jake the Bachelor, Kelly Bensimon (or whatever her name is) and Al Roker.
  • If Al Roker had beat me, I might have cried.
  • I wonder if Al Roker took a Gu. I did. Two actually. Both Blackberry or whatever Gu calls it. I also grabbed a Blueberry Roctane when they were passing them out but I left it in the honey bucket at Mile 11.
  • I wonder if anyone took it home.
  • McDonald's french fries are the best post-race food. Ever.
  • I ate entirely too much junk on this trip. Ice cream ... TWICE ... on Saturday. Coconut M&M's, more ice cream, half a Big Mac on Sunday. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. I will say that the Coconut M&M's and our second ice cream stop were worth it. If you are ever in Wheaton, go to Tate's and try the Graham Cracker and Banana varieties. Just sayin'.
  • I am fairly certain I am going to have another black toe nail - second toe on the left foot. Crazy hurt after the race and even yesterday. Discounted pedicure in my future? I hope.
  • I just got up to find where I put my coffee. It was on the bathroom counter ... most logical place.
And that's all she wrote. Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rock 'n' Roll Chicago: Part 2

A 4 a.m. wake-up call is early - no matter how early you go to bed - and I was not excited when the alarm went off. I even commented to Mark that I must be crazy to pay a $100 entry fee so that I can get up at 4 a.m. and run for 2+ hours. Especially when I can run for free any time want.

But I was already dressed at this point, so I sucked it up and began to psych myself up for the 13.1 miles ahead of me.

Pre-race: Mark and I were able to park just a few blocks from the starting line and conveniently right across the street from a Dunkin Donuts. Coffee for me! Too bad it was crap coffee and I only ended up drinking no more than a quarter of it.

Thankfully, I was sufficiently awake by this time and was able to limit my irritability by the massive crowd swarming Grant Park. Seriously, there were like 25,000 people PLUS the spectators. I do have to say that it seemed organized, there were a bajillion Honey Pots (though the one I used was out of TP) and the corrals were clearly marked. Mark left me at No. 17, and I waited to get started. I

The first wave of runners set off about 30 seconds ahead of the 6:30 start time, and the following waves followed in about 90-second intervals. I thought it would feel like forever but you seemed to be moving often enough to not get bored.

It was about 6:55 or so when I finally got to the starting line and saw Guiliana Rancic of E! News walking toward me. She and her pal stood right next to me and commented that Jake the Bachelor was supposed to me in Corral 17, too. I commented that I wanted to pass him and G. said she did, too. Ga! I just talked to another celebrity. Alas, she was quickly called away to be, you know, a celebrity, and I was called to the chip mat.

The race: I started off too fast. I knew I started off too fast. But there was something inside of me that just wanted to go!

I don't remember much from those first few miles, which took us north and west of Grant Park. There was the running over grates on a bridge. There were a couple of guys just ahead of me who wanted to run a sub-2:00. I thought about hanging with them but I weaved ... they weaved ... and I was alone. Oh, and there was a guy holding a sign that mentioned the words "long," "fast" and "hard." Quite funny. I laughed. And then I passed him.

Mark was waiting for me at mile 6, and I actually saw him. He waved. I waved. He waved. I asked him where his camera was. He fumbled. I told him he sucked at life. We laughed. And then I passed him.

The next part of the course took us along the side of a highway, down to Soldier Field and through a tunnel at Soldier Field. I hated these parts of the course the most. There were fewer spectators, fewer things to look at, some rough pavement in the dark tunnel and the route was narrower, making it more difficult to get around people.

Mentally, I struggled as well. I thought there was supposed to be a Gu stop at mile 7 and it wasn't there. I kept waiting for the Gu and began to worry about fueling, bonking and finishing strong. Around mile 8, I opted to drink some Cytomax as I wasn't sure I was going to get a Gu to take at mile 10 (I took my first, one I brought, at mile 5). Big mistake. Big, big mistake. My stomach began to cramp, and I thought about wretched scenarios.

Enter my decision to stop for the Honey Pot at mile 11. It ended up being an unnecessary stop but my legs were thankful for the minute break. Even if it hurt my time. Then again, at this point, I didn't really care about my time. I walked through water stops. I took a 20-second walk break. I let myself run more slowly. Intermittently, I told myself to suck it up and reminded myself that I am not a quitter. Never, ever quit. I would get up and go, trying to gain back some time. I took in the views of Lake Michigan, appreciated the breeze off the water. Got mad at spectators.

Yeah, you read that right. Spectators were encouraging runners, trying to tell us we were in the home stretch. Half a mile is not a home stretch, people. Don't tell me I'm almost there when you have your cup of coffee and lawn chair. Don't tell me the finish is right down the hill when I have to go down the hill and up another hill to get to the straight away. It's irritating. It makes me run faster and burn out and want to walk to the finish.

But I didn't. I gave myself 5 seconds and made myself haul ass across that line. I even remembered to raise my arms and smile. At least, I hope what I did was smiling.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rock 'n' Roll Chicago: Part 1

Mark and I arrived in the 'burbs of Chicago on Friday night so that we could wake up bright and early and get ourselves to the expo.

I think we took the 7:54 a.m. train into the city. Thank goodness we passed a Caribou Coffee on the way to the station!

The expo: We had to hoof it from Ogilvie to Michigan Avenue to catch the bus down to the McCormick Center, where the expo was taking place. McCormick is huge, and we had to hoof it ... again ... to the end of the place. We walked in and was immediately greeted by lots of logo merchandise that I want to buy but can bring myself to do it. It's against my beliefs that an expo is for two things - picking up your bib and getting free stuff.

Oh, and meeting Kara Goucher!!!


Let me tell you ... she is, like, the nicest person in the world. She was doing a Q&A at the expo, and she was just hanging out before she went on stage. Very nice about getting a photo, and I completely spewed that she is an inspiration to me and how I love her pregnant self. She was still very nice.

After the expo, we caught the bus and headed to Michigan Avenue. I looked at a lot of stuff, got frustrated with all of the slow-moving crowds and walked entirely too much. Mark tried to map it out, and he guessed it was 5 miles ... or more.

I was terrified that I had killed me legs with all of our walking so I busted out the Recovery Socks I picked up at the expo and wore them on the train. It was a super sexy look.

When we got back to the 'burbs, we changed clothes and headed out to Macaroni Grill to carb load. I picked whole-wheat penne with tomato-basil sauce, spinach, mushrooms and roasted garlic. YUM!

We stopped for ice cream and headed back "home" to go to bed ... at 8 p.m. Don't judge ... I had a 4 a.m. wake-up call.

Tomorrow: Race day stories!

Rock this city

Pre-workout fuel: 1/2 banana with Nutella, 1/8 cup crap coffee from Dunkin Donuts and a Powerbar.
Workout fuel: 2 Blackberry Gu gels
Workout: Ran 13.1 miles in ...


Yeah. That's how I rock Chicago.