Friday, October 8, 2010

A little Friday love

C'mon. Say it with me:

Thank goodness it's Friday!

I have seriously been a day ahead all week, thinking it was Tuesday on Monday and Wednesday on Tuesday ... well, you know what I mean. It's almost over, though, and I couldn't be more excited.

So in honor of the impending glories of the weekend, let's show Friday some love.

Food: First up, the Quaker Life Soft-Baked Banana Walnut Bar. I was able to try one via a mailed free sample. In one word: Awesome. A few more: It's soft and chewy but has a great crunch from the nuts. I ate mine this morning after warming it in the microwave and smearing it with some peanut butter. I even used a fork! It was almost like eating banana bread. Almost. The nutrition stats aren't too bad either, and I recognized 99% of the ingredients.

Running: The reappearance of my United Run for the Zoo tech tee. I have been missing this baby for a good week, and I was sure that Mark was responsible. While he didn't steal the shirt (as I thought), it was on the floor of the closet underneath his duffel bag and three of his sweaters that didn't want to be on hangers. Totally his fault. Now if I could only find my 3 missing running socks. Running with just two pairs is sort of stinky.

Life: Boots. Boots, boots and more boots. I always wanted to wear boots - the knee-high kind that looked oh so good with leggings and a tunic or tights and a sweater dress. The only problem was that I could never zip them up. I even splurged on an "extended calf" pair from J Crew, and I still couldn't wear them. Well, as I'm sure you've figured out, I can now wear them. I've been rocking an above-the-knee pair from JCPenney. Love 'em. Just don't wear them to work on a day you plan to get a pedicure. Just sayin'.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three Things Thursday

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of light bread, toasted, with honey and a Diet Coke
Workout: Ran 5.17 miles in 43 minutes, 43 seconds; average pace, 8:28.

1. Mark broke my coffee pot. He did. Really. And I don't even think it was on purpose. Last night, he was cleaning up after dinner - wiping the counters, putting things in the dishwasher and trying to keep Denali from licking the trash can. In one fell swoop, the coffee pot went from the burner to the floor and shattered. I turned around and just stood there. I wasn't sure what had broken at first and once I did, I wasn't sure what to do. Yelling wasn't an option - Denali gets crazy. It seemed a little silly to cry. So I stood there. In silence. With one thought: No coffee in the morning.

2. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I set off for my run this morning. I had sipped a cup of herbal tea with my toast but decided that my lack of coffee was a good reason to pop open a can of Diet Coke. This practice used to be a bit more common place, I hate to admit, but it's been a while. I had no idea what it would do to me/my body/my "system." No worries, though. If anything it gave me a bit of spunk as my first couple miles were FAST. The rest were OK but I won't complain.

3. After all, this morning was gorgeous. It was 48 degrees and the sun was coming up, shining brightly by the time I finished. A low fog hung over parts of the trail as I ran - it was almost eerie in the silence of early morning but oh so beautiful. I am so glad that I started running because it's those moments that make it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In the stars

Pre-workout fuel: Half peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a butternut squash smoothie
Workout: 45 minutes "Biggest Loser Boot Camp" and 3.4-mile walk with Denali

Have you heard that song by Bruno Mars? "Just the Way You Are"?

Oh her eyes, her eyes/ Make the stars look like they're not shining/ Her hair, her hair/ Falls perfectly without her trying/ She's so beautiful/ And I tell her every day/ Yeah I know, I know/ When I compliment her/ She won't believe me/ And it's so, it's so/ Sad to think she don't see what I see

I think the universe was trying to tell me something after yesterday's post because I heard that song three times on three different radio stations on my less than 3-mile drive to work.

Of course, if the universe is talking, I want to know why I woke up thinking about Frostys. And not the kind I was worried about with the impending weather doom.

If Eva Longoria eats them, so should I!

While eating a Frosty for breakfast, depending on the circumstances, would not be beyond me, I am not so sure they are available at 6 a.m. So I had the next best thing. Well, the most appropriate next best thing: A butternut squash smoothie.

I can't take credit for the idea but I have adapted the recipe to fit my tastes and ideas of what a smoothie should be.

Butternut Squash Smoothie
Adapted from edible perspective

3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze
1/2 cup pureed butternut squash
1/3 frozen banana
HEALTHY dash cinnamon
A couple shakes of nutmeg and ginger
A couple drops of vanilla
A sprinkle of sweetener
3 ice cubes

Put everything in the blender and whirl until it's good and frothy.

If you're not so sure about this, let me tell you one thing. It's good. Still not convinced? Here's a second thing: It really kind of tastes like pumpkin pie, and you can't go wrong with pumpkin pie.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Photo lab

I am not sure why I get excited about event photos from races. Very rarely do the pictures actually turn out good.

If I try to smile when I spot a photographer, the photo looks forced. Like, "OMG. I'm running and trying to smile. Maybe I should just pick one."

Then there's the photos where you are actually running the race and could give a crap that the photographer is 3 feet away because the finish line is within sight. After 13 miles and 1 hour, 53 minutes and some change, no photo is worth dragging out the process.

And then there's the photo that captures it all. The feelings of fatigue and complete misery. The photo where you are reminded that once ago, you didn't weigh what you did. You were 120 pounds heavier. And no matter how much you try, you can't forget that.

I debated posting this picture. A photo where my face expresses sheer agony as I try to wave to a friend in the stands. A photo where you can see very dimple and every fold of extra skin - on my arms, stomach and legs. Oh, the skin on my legs. It almost looks grotesque - especially when you factor in that the bandage covering my knee was flailing in the wind by this point.

So why did I decide to post the photo? Especially when it makes me cringe?

I think it's important to remember that weight loss doesn't solve everything. When you are going through the process, you are so focused on the goal. The finish line. You think that once you cross that mat, that things will be different. You can forget what it was like to be at the start.

It's just not that easy, though. Your body hangs onto its former self. The stretch marks don't go away. The saddlebags are still there albeit smaller. Skin doesn't shrink back. The bikini you once dreamed about is just that - a dream. You can do all you can to hide it, from wearing mid-rise jeans and capri running pants to buying padded bras to make your now minuscule girls "stick out" farther than the skin on your belly.

But when you get out of the shower and stand in the mirror, it's there. Reminding you that you'll never get rid of the fat girl. It's hard for me sometimes, and Mark has had to stop me from pulling and stretching and trying to figure out what the me hiding behind the fat girl would like. It's no good for me, he says. The skin - it doesn't take away from the work I've done.

Sort of like the bad photos. No matter how bad I look, I still crossed the finish line.

Cold front

Pre-workout fuel: Peanut butter bread and coffee
Workout: Ran 5.7 miles in 50 minutes, 9 seconds; average pace, 8:47.

I have two words for you: Frost and advisory.

Last night, as if the world was ending, there was a whatever thing on the TV warning that there was a frost advisory. It might get cold. In the Midwest. Heaven help us!

Given the impending doom predicted by the meteorologists, I wasn't quite sure what to wear for my run this morning. I was COLD on Sunday when there hadn't been a frost advisory, so I opted for a long-sleeve shirt with thumb holes, my favorite fleece vest, capris and my fleece headband.

Don't be alarmed. It is possible to look that good in the morning.

Ignore the snarl. Denali was nothing less than vocal this morning. Apparently, his need to go to the bathroom was greater than mine. Or he really wanted to run. Or, he was still mad at me for thinking it would be funny to make him wear an old fleece as if it were a Snuggie.

After all, every male Siberian husky needs a pink Snuggie. Especially when you cave and turn on the heat during the first week of October.

All my preparations, though, were for naught. It was brisk but not cold and definitely not colder than Sunday. And I certainly didn't see any frost. I ended up taking off my headband after a couple miles and stuffing it in the pocket of my vest. The pockets zip, which is totally awesome for storing gloves and headbands and whatever sundries you might need on a run without fear of leaving something behind. You certainly don't want be the one responsible for the lone glove on the trail that perplexes other runners.

Speaking of perplexing ... this run. Yeah, it was perplexing. Pace didn't match perceived effort ... at all. I felt like I was flying and, well, the Garmin said otherwise. Boo Garmin! And while we're at it, boo cramps! I was plagued by the lovely reminder of womanhood for a good 1.5 miles. Completely awesome.

Almost as awesome as coming home to realize that I apparently lactate when I run despite the fact that I am not - nor have I ever been - pregnant. Take note, ladies. I think it will be the next big thing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Belated September recap and October goals

Pre-workout fuel: Cinnabon Cream of Wheat
Workout: 45 minutes "Biggest Loser Bootcamp" and 2.2-ish mile walk with Denali

September, by the numbers:

1 - Half-marathon complete

2 - Number of scraped knees

4 - Number of free water bottles scored at F4F health expo/F4F

6.7 - Average distance per run

8:32 - Pace of fastest run

9:10 - Pace of slowest run

16 - Total number of runs

107.25 - Total miles ran

And now a look at October ...

Goal No. 1: Complete Tall Mom's 83 Miles in October challenge. It will average out to about 21 miles a week, which is close to where I wanted to keep my base. I'll continue to run four times a week - Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday - and do a long-ish run of ~7 miles on Sunday.

Goal No. 2: Follow the "Biggest Loser Bootcamp" program three times a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I will follow Level 2 for the first two weeks and up it to Level 3 for the last two weeks. I have taken my measurements and have a "starting" weight so I'm curious to see how things change over the course of the month.

Goal No. 3: Not eat myself into oblivion when I go on a mini-vacation to Louisville. On the opposite end, I will use the hotel gym at least once while I'm there.

What's missing from this list? The River City Rat Race 10K. The run just happens to be the same day as my friend's baby shower (she's expecting twins!). It wouldn't be a problem normally but the race starts at 2 p.m. and the shower at 3 p.m. Factor in that I need to make and deliver the cake, and I have a scheduling issue. Instead, I plan to run a 10K on Thanksgiving day in Cincinnati.

What are your goals for October?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fear and loathing

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter
Workout: Ran 6.4 miles in 55 minutes, 17 seconds; average pace, 8:38.

I've been avoiding it, the section of trail where I had my nasty fall. I knew it was crazy to do so. After all, whatever scared Denali that day was more than likely not stationed behind the fence to ward off curious huskies. But I could remember the pain and fear of that day, and I was in no hurry to be confronted with it.

Too bad Mark had other plans.

When we were discussing our route for our first "long" run post-F4F, he suggested the IPFW path. I suggested something else and made the mistake of mentioning my fear.

"It's time for you to face that," he said. "Conquer it."

I begrudgingly agreed with one condition: Mark would have to hold the leash during the run or at least near that section.

It was a CRISP 42 degrees when we set out, and I've been to known to say that this kind of weather is my favorite for running. This morning, though, it felt downright cold. I found myself a bit jealous that Mark had thought to bring his gloves. I pulled my sleeve down over my right hand to keep that one warm and flexed my left to keep up blood flow. (I couldn't pull down the sleeve because of the Garmin.)

After a slowish start, Mark and I found ourselves winding through campus. Acorns crunched beneath our feet. The air that once felt cold was now invigorating. Oranges and reds burst from the branches of the trees. I tried to lose myself in the beauty of the morning, reminding myself that there won't be that many days like this.

I had Denali at this point, and I had given myself permission to hand off the leash as we neared the spot. But after running 1.5 miles, it felt like a cop-out. I had the loop of the leash on my right wrist, with it crossing my body and Denali running on my left. I grabbed the leather with my left hand to keep more control and strode past the fence. I did keep Denali closer to me than I normally would so he couldn't near the spot but that was the only "precaution" I let myself take.

I confronted my fear and got past it ... literally.

The rest of the run was a bit uneventful. Well, except for the sixth mile where I seemingly fell apart. Mark had taken a short cut back to the house so he could finish his run and take the car for an early-bird car wash. I took his absence as a chance to slow down and apparently my body really wanted to go SLOW. I'm used to running negative splits and finishing strong but sometimes your body has other plans. And that's OK.