Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday love: Springing forward

Workout: 2.8-mile walk with Denali

Today is a good day.

A very good day.

The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The air feels warm. It feels like spring.

It’s a good day.

Denali and I took a walk, and he barely pulled. Squirrel playtime and the return of the geese made him smile. “Water for Elephants” on audiobook/my iPod made me happy. We took a loop around the park if only to spend another 10 minutes in the sun.

It’s a good day.

I’m wearing a shirt from last summer that I wasn’t so fond of it because it was too big. Now, it’s actually quite fetching – even got a few compliments on it … from strangers.

It’s a good day.

But what makes it best of all, is Mark and I are one step closer to being homeowners. We saw a house last night, loved it, made an offer and it was accepted this morning.


It’s perfect for us. Remodeled using government grant money to prevent neighborhood blight, it has new windows, roof, furnace, central air and hot water heater.

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It has wood floors, charm and a fenced in yard for Denali. It’s exactly what we need.

There’s still a few more steps – loan paperwork, an inspection and closing. I’m not sure I will feel like it’s mine until then but getting here, to this point, is just what I needed today.

Now for some Friday love!

Food. Tuesday, before my doc appointment, I wanted to eat something that would be light yet filling as I always treat myself to a bagel after seeing the doctor. I opted for some cottage cheese and two slices of light wheat toast with jam. It was perfect and very filling. I almost didn’t need the bagel afterward.


Fitness. I was so wrong about that daylight saving time thing. It’s not lighter in the morning. At all. But it is lighter at night, and Mark and I were able to take a short walk with Denali on Wednesday night. It was a great supplement to the exercise of the day but more than that, it was nice to get out there and wind down from the day. To connect with my two men.

Life. The house. Duh! You didn’t expect me to put the 30-day countdown to my 30th birthday (April 17), did you?

Hope you all have a good weekend! And, if you didn’t enter, go over to this post and enter my giveaway. Some of the goodies are the POM Wonderful bag (with a coupon for POM Wonderful juice), Cliff bars and Barney Butter.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday: Preggo self-esteem edition

Workout: 3.7-mile run

You guys rock! It was such a great boost to my ego to read positive comments about my new hair cut. I feel like a new woman, a feeling worth its weight in gold-dusted cupcakes.

You see, being pregnant doesn't feel as cute as I thought it would be. In fact, most days I feel like a cow. It's not a nice thing to say but it's the truth. My body is changing in ways I didn't anticipate, I don't feel this pregnant glow people tout and the things that I used as indicators for my self worth are now null.

Before you tell me how cute and awesome I am, let me explain.

Self-esteem issue No. 1: As I lost weight, I took such joy in being able to buy clothes in the misses department and then buy styles that I once ruled out (hello, jeggings!) and then buy sizes I said I would never wear. It made me feel good about myself that my Old Navy skinny jeans were a size 2 and the tunic from Kohl's only looked good in an XS. Obviously, when I got pregnant, I knew that my belly would get bigger and my size 2 jeans wouldn't fit. What I didn't know was how hard it would be to find equally cute jeans to wear. I hate about 90 percent of the maternity clothes I see, and many of the styles I like to wear aren't made in maternity styles that I can afford. I feel blah in the simple styles I've reverted to wearing.

Solution: I am now wearing jewelry more than ever, trying to pump up the style factor of a simple knit shirt, and I found some dresses from my heavier days that are translating well to pregnancy. Cute shoes help, too. (Hint, hint, Mark. I could use some new flats.)

Self-esteem issue No. 2: As I ran deeper and deeper into racing, I made gains that I never thought possible. I ran a 10-minute mile ... and then a 9-minute mile ... and then I ran a sub-2:00 half-marathon. In October, the month I conceived, my average pace was between 8:30 and 9:01 and that 9:01 was a one-time deal. And I can tell you something about that day - I'm sure I didn't feel good about myself and made myself worker harder during the next run to make up for it. Fast forward to today, my average pace was in the 10:10-10:15 range. I'd be more accurate but there was some stop-start issues when I went to tie my shoes (read: user fail). On the treadmill yesterday, my pace was a flat 11:00 (I always did run faster outside). There's no way I could run a 9:01 over one mile much less 7.

Solution: I stop taking the Garmin and I stopped charting my pace in my running log. I don't worry about how fast I'm going or whether people perceive my pace as sloth-like. If I run, it's a victory. And, to be honest, I wish I would have seen every run pre-pregnancy like that.

Self-esteem issue No. 3: Your body changes with pregnancy ... duh. I expected my belly and my hips to get bigger. Maybe even my butt. What I didn't expect was for my face to fill out a bit or my legs to feel heavier, my Tempo shorts to feel different on the leg. I sometimes freak out that I'm not gaining the way I should or I should run more or I shouldn't have eaten that cupcake my Realtor brought me.

Solution: My legs are bigger ... duh. I'm not running 25-, 30-mile weeks anymore. I'm not doing tempo runs or mile repeats. What did I expect? I also look at old photos and realize that though my face is rounder, it's not as round as it used to be and my butt is certainly not as big. I also look at my food diary and realize that I'm not eating Wendy's twice a day or a pint of Ben & Jerry's. I'm doing my best and that's all I can do.

Do you ever struggle with self esteem? How do you talk yourself away from negative thoughts?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hair apparent

Workout: 4.0-mile run

For three months, I have lived with a lackluster – maybe even abominable – hair cut. I have tucked and pinned and straightened in a vain attempt to make the poor blending and uneven layers invisible.

But today … today that all changed with a much awaited hair appointment with my preferred (read: expensive) stylist … at 8 a.m.

When I made the appointment, I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, I’ll have to get up at the crack of dawn to workout.” I was thinking, “Oh, you can get your hair cut before work and look cute for a whole day before messing it up.”

I sort of wish I was thinking the former.

I rolled over at 5:45, grunted and began the debate as to whether I should go back to sleep or get up and head to the gym. It lasted about 10 minutes, at which point I realized that, even if I stayed home, there was no more sleep to be had and I’d feel better (mentally, at least) if I worked out. So I made myself a PB&J, grabbed my change of clothes and lunch, and headed out the door.

P1000602Even though I’m using the gym Groupon for the stationary bikes and the elliptical, I knew I wanted to run today. A) I haven’t run since Sunday; B) I think it’s supposed to rain on Friday; and C) we have some weekend plans that might limit traditional exercise.

I pounded out a very pleasant 4 miles, keeping the pace comfortable. I usually adjust the speed every quarter-mile or so to ease boredom but opted to do a gentle increase every half-mile. I was sweaty but felt really good the whole time and had I not thrown in a bit of speed from 3.0 to 3.55, I might have been able to do a 10K today. However, I had that whole “look good” thing on the horizon (aka time crunch) … and Mark reads the blog. He’s wouldn’t be so cool with an increase in mileage.

After I showered, I headed off to my appointment and tried to stay awake as Megan lopped my locks. I gave her a couple ideas but for the most part, gave her free reign. I ended up with a sleek bob or something like that.


I really like it … despite my face in the photo. I think I was confused by that thing they call a sun being all bright and stuff.

On a side note, I had to laugh because Megan asked me if I wanted bangs or wanted to keep them long so I could them behind my ears. I told her that I could pin the front back when I was running. Yeah … she wasn’t talking about running. She was more concerned about hair being in my face when I bend over to change baby boy. I guess I should have thought of that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Make a run for it

I can run. I can run. I can run!

This morning was my dreaded 4-week check-up with the OB, the day I was sure he would steal my sneakers and send me to the pool.

So I wore ballet flats. And kept my mouth shut.

The appointment was at 9:15 a.m. and I sat anxiously in the waiting room, flipping through a Restoration Hardware catalog and dreaming of a backyard with beautiful furniture. When my name was called, I was ushered back for the usual - pee in a cup, stand on a scale, hold out arm for a blood pressure reading. All of which, by the way, were good. Well, the blood pressure, protein and sugar levels were in check. They made no mention of too much weight gain (for my mental well being, I am no longer monitoring that).

Then he came in. The decider of my fate ... or my slightly socially awkward doctor who also has red hair. Was I feeling the baby move? Yes. How did I feel? Good. Let's find the heart beat. OK. He's hiding so let me try here. OK. There he is. Good.

"Any other questions?" he asked.

Nope. None.

And with that, I was sent on my way with a paper giving me instructions for the glucose test I get to do at my next visit and a smile (unrelated to the glucose test). I made it without an inquiry or mention of my activity levels and made no request to limit exercise. Awesome!

Of course, I could be faulted for not asking but I figured he knew I was a runner and if he was concerned, he would have said something. Right? Right.

Now excuse me as I plot tomorrow's pre-haircut treadmill.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The good, the bad and the UGH-ly

Workout: 30 minutes stationary bike, 15 minutes elliptical and 1.25-mile walk with Denali.

I hate house hunting, I hate house hunting, I hate house hunting.

There - I said it.

Despite being in a buyer's market, we are now in competition for the house on which we made an offer and have until 6 p.m. to sweeten the deal or walk away. I have a sinking feeling, too, that Mark and I are not on the same page as to what we should do.

I hate house hunting, I hate house hunting, I hate house hunting.

The whole process is tough and only made tougher with a looming deadline, aka baby boy's birth, and the preggo hormones. I seriously cried in the middle of the newsroom ... twice ... today about the situation.

But anyways, I noticed something good this morning. Despite feeling like a complete blob, I still have a decent amount of energy during my workouts. The only times I wanted to hop off the bike and make a run for it were a result of boredom and an uncomfortable seat - not because I couldn't do it anymore. I probably could have increased the resistance and been fine. But I didn't. I was a good girl.

And another good thing: People watching at the gym. I saw someone on an elliptical - or something like it - working a sudoku puzzle. Another guy had his treadmill on such a high incline and at such a great speed that he had to hold on. I sort of think you shouldn't have it at a level unless you can move hands free. Then there was the old guy with a white undershirt tucked into snug Kmart khaki shorts, white tube socks (pulled up, of course) and white sneakers. I loved it and sort of wanted to hug him. But I didn't. I was a good girl.

After the gym, I headed to Walmart to pick up a make-do slow cooker. I haven't been able to replace the lid on my current one (if you remember, Denali broke it) and needed a vessel for my MIL's famous marinara. I didn't have much time to peruse but I ended up with a $9.88 2-quart one. I was really tempted to buy a better one. But I didn't. I was a good girl.

I'm always a good girl.

So what did you do good today? Make it a good answer. My favorite response will win a POM Wonderful tote bag, with coupon and filled with healthy edible goodies. A winner will be chosen Friday night after my envy-inducing standing date with the husband: cheap eats and the grocery.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Comeback trail

I thought I was being turbo nice. My father-in-law is forearm deep in golf heaven with his buddies so I invited my mother-in-law over for dinner. We had pot roast, roasted veggies and biscuits. I even made potatoes for Mark and MIL and watched them drink wine – that’s how nice I was.

We were having a nice meal when my MIL began chatting about an auction at work to raise money for a scholarship fund. One of the items up for bid was registration for the Fort-4-Fitness race – whichever distance the winner so chose.


Mark and I ran the half-marathon last year, both of us scoring major PRs. He came in with a 1:34:xx and I smashed my sub-2:00 goal with a 1:54:12.

I know the half-marathon isn’t a possibility this year – I’ll be two months post-partum come race day and that is barely enough time for a regular person to train. I have, however, been eyeing the 10K race and the 4-mile distance. The 4-miler allows strollers so baby boy could participate in his first race. I have even made plans to make him his own race bib.

Even though I have been thinking about it, I haven’t bit the bullet. And now I don’t have to. My MIL won the registration at the auction and is gifting it to ME. Yes, me. She’s even offered to push baby boy during the race as she’s walking and he won’t be old enough for the jogger. I’m a bit sad that I might leave baby boy behind – I’ve been a bit sentimental about running my first race with him – but at least he’ll still have his first race under his diaper band.

I couldn’t be be more grateful or excited as to have my comeback race set. Now excuse me as I ponder whether I want to up the ante and do the 10K.

In the long run

Workout: ~3.3-mile run

I was starving this morning. “Acidy, stomach eating itself” starving. I rolled over to Mark and told him that I had to eat but I didn’t have to run.

“You told me not to let you punk out,” he said.

Dangit. Why doesn’t he remind me that it’s been eight months since I had a Big Mac (last time after RnR Chicago) or that I haven’t bought a new pair of non-running shoes since … well, I cant remember? He stinks.

So we ate, got some work done while our tummies rested and got dressed before we lost our motivation.

It was 32 degrees so I decided to brave it with just tights, a compression top and a short-sleeve race tech shirt (United Run for the Zoo 10K) -- no gloves or headband. Mark, on the other hand, wore a T-shirt, two jackets, a hat, gloves and his beloved Adidas pants.

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Denali went naked. He’s such a stud like that.

We had no real plan for the run – no idea where we were headed or if it would be 2.5 miles or 3. We started my required block-walk warmup when we saw the crazy German shepherd from down the street (which has attacked Denali), and we quickly decided to turn around, head down a different street and run a giant 2.5-mile triangle.

The first half-mile was pretty meh. I was a bit slow and I kept having to fuss with my tights, which were falling off my butt. I stopped to adjust the tie as to not moon the entire neighborhood but still keep circulation to my midsection. I seriously can’t wait to wear shorts with an elast-o-band.

After that stop, it seemed to be smooth sailing. I felt pretty good, and we weren’t forced to stop at traffic intersections nor inclined to stop to allow me to catch my breath. Mark and I chatted about needs/wants for a potential house (we made an offer on a different house) and mentally rearranged furniture to see how it work in a new space.

Soon enough, we were heading up the hill to the half-mile to home marker. I was feeling good but tired and ready for a break. Thankfully, Denali obliged by popping a squat. Mark had the foresight to bring a bag. Well, to grab a bag from home and make me carry it during the run. I returned the favor and made him carry the poo.

Anyway, I took an extra breath and got ready to go again when we were passed by a tall, lanky runner in shorts and an Indy Mini shirt. Across the street, going in the opposite direction, was another runner who was decked out in tights, cold weather gear, fuel belt and water bottles. He was out and planning to be out for a while. I couldn’t help but wonder what the two guys were training for. Long runs in the winter? Come on! And then I realized it’s mid-March and spring marathons and half-marathons are just around the corner. The long runs are getting farther and more and more people will be heading out to the trails. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit jealous.

So I did what I could do. I ditched Mark and Denali at home and ran around the block to make sure I got in at least 3 miles. If Mark wouldn’t have been sure to yell at me, I might have made it 4 miles. Didn’t you know -- it’s the new long run!