Friday, January 18, 2013

Coming of age

Stroller ... check. Dino ... check. Monkey ... check. Juice, cereal bars and crackers ... check. Four outfits, diapers, wipes ... check.

Miles and I are heading to Cincinnati this weekend to visit my grandma, and I never cease to be amazed by just how much stuff I need to spend two nights away from home. And I even try to keep it minimal, relying on my family to stock up on things like milk and pack-n-plays. It almost makes me long for the days when all I needed was a car seat, sling and my boobs.

It's hard to believe that such a time even existed and yet it feels like just yesterday that I was pacing the walk to soothe him.

 photo photo1_zps4c590779.jpg

Now ... now, I'm chasing a spunky 18-month-old down the driveway and into his car seat so we can go to daycare.

Here's a little bit more about the big man.


He weighs in at 24 pounds and is 31 inches tall, putting him in the 25th percentile - where he's been nearly his entire life.

What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in vocabulary. He knows more than 100 words. And I mean knows. The most recent additions are hammer, boobies and chip. Obviously, those things go together. I am amazed by his ability to distinguish things such as bus, truck and car and boots and shoes. He also is beginning to string words together but not often.

He has become a bit pickier in terms of food, with some days better than others. Breakfast is usually his best meal, and he loves eggs, cereal bars and yogurt. Today, I managed to get him to eat a waffle. He does lunch well from what I understand but dinner is tough. I'm just happy when he sits down long enough for me to have three bites. His favorites are pasta, cheese and broccoli. Together.

There's also been quite a bit of potty humor in our house. Quite literally. Miles has been obsessed with flushing the toilet, and this week I managed to get him to use the potty (successfully) twice.

Other obsessions: the dynamic duo of dinosaur puppet and sock monkey, "Wheels on the Bus," yogurt, cookies (reward for the aforementioned activities), kicking balls, climbing, bath time, raisins, doing laundry and boots.

Non-obsessions or dislikes: Putting on a shirt, being changed, finger paints (serious aversion) and people whom he doesn't see on a regular basis.

With that last item far too true for my liking, here's hoping this weekend goes well. You know, like he lets people hold him or at least come within a 3-foot range. Or sleeps well. I'd settle for sleep.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Three Things Thursday: Own it

Walking into the aerobic room of the YMCA, I knew what to expect.

 photo 002-2_zps8a2a6b98.jpg

Lots of high knees, tuck jumps, mountain climbers, planks and squats. It would be the exact same workout that I did last Wednesday - a workout that had me feeling defeated and weak. But this time around, I was going to get after it.

 photo 003-2_zpscfc140d2.jpg

And get after it I did.

The key to beating the workout wasn't magically getting stronger and fitter in the past week, though that is a nice thought. Nor was it the pep talk I got last week. Rather, the key to owning those 45 minutes was focusing on a few small things. Things that I could control.

 photo 004-2_zps9ae73e15.jpg

1. One for the money. Stealing this from Dimity of Another Mother Runner, I decided to pick one exercise that I was going to nail 115 percent. Emily, the instructor, sets up the workouts to be performed four weeks in a row. Weeks one and two are to learn the routine, and weeks three and four are challenge weeks. I remembered the exercises that made me want to give up most, and I decided that I was going to beat the push up-mountain climber combination. I would do my best, of course, in the other exercises of the shoulder circuit but I wanted to do every push up, every mountain climber and twisting mountain climber in the three rounds. Even if I had to modify on my knees.

2. Take a good look. I am sure there are people who don't like the two walls of mirrors in the aerobics room but I, for one, appreciate them. During the high knees that were a part of our cardio-ab circuit, I started checking myself out. Not only could I see that I was lifting them higher than I thought but it motivated me to go even higher. I didn't want to look at myself half assing it, did I? Bonus: It took my thoughts away from what other people were doing and how well they were doing it and, subsequently, feeling bad that I wasn't doing what they were doing.

3. Know your limits. This "thing" came by mistake. We were told to grab medium and heavy weights. Last week, I think I had a set of 10-pounders and 12-pounders, moving down to eights for the mediums. For whatever reason, this week, I grabbed a set of 5s and a set of 10s. The lighter weight allowed me to perform all of the exercises as well as some of the advanced options, such as adding the jack to the squat-overhead press combo.

Now don't get me wrong - the workout was tough, and I was a hot mess when I left. But I felt strong and proud. I felt like I owned it.

How do you take on tough workouts?

Don't forget to ask me questions. I'll be answering them in a post next week.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Judge not

It is nearly impossible to travel outside the comforts of your home without being confronted by the rampant obesity problem in the United States. From the grocery carts full of high-calorie processed food to tighter squeezes around the conference table to parents watching their children play on the park bench, the widening waistline is hard to miss.

And it's even harder to not judge.

A not-world-famous blogger recently caught flack via GOMI for posting a photo and order of two gentlemen she saw at Starbucks. The men were obese, and she was frustrated by the poor choices they were making. After reading the criticism on the forum, I'm sad to say that I went to the post (since removed) and left a critical comment, feeling very high and mighty. It was the first of an onslaught of harsh words for the woman who was probably ignorant (initially) to the power of her words and actions.

While I don't regret the comment I made as I believe it was not overly vicious and fairly well meaning coming, I'm not so sure I had the right to make it. Admittedly, when I see a mother pushing a grocery cart with 12-packs of Mountain Dew that I roll my eyes. I feel sick to my stomach when I see people do more than indulge in a restaurant. My gaze stops when I see someone morbidly obese.

I am not proud of those statements, and I truly do my best to suspend judgment. I make a concerted effort to catch myself in the act, so to speak, and force myself to step back. I ask myself if that's how I would have wanted to be treated when I was obese. Would I have wanted to be treated that way, with such disgust?

The answer, obviously, is no. It can be a hard line to walk, though. The one between not wanting to accept - even condone - poor decisions and letting people live their lives, especially when the judgment comes from a well-meaning place. I try to keep a few things in mind when I'm facing a not-so-nice side of myself.

People do not always know what's good and bad
. It might seem inherent that fruits and vegetables are better than chocolate bars and chips but the healthy food world can get murky beyond the basics. I would often order pasta dishes and salads thinking they were better than burgers and fries. Ruby Tuesday was a favorite haunt of mine when I was at my heaviest, and I'd often eat a Cajun pasta dish with the salad bar. The item is no longer available but the Parmesan Shrimp Pasta has 1,065 calories and 54 grams of fat. By comparison, a Classic Cheeseburger has 907 calories and 59 grams of fat. Obviously, the pasta was not a better choice.

Don't assume you know their motives. Whether it's a grocery cart full of crap or a fat-laden, calorie-rich meal, a person might not be the intended consumer for the products. Right or wrong, I buy Mark frozen pizzas and cookies at the grocery and I'll purchase non-diet soda for parties. If I got to Starbucks, I might be ordering a drink for myself and a friend. Just because I get those things doesn't mean I'll be binging later.

Road untraveled
. When we see someone who is obese, it's easy to think you know her story. She sits at home and eats ice cream out of the carton. She orders a large size No. 1 from McDonald's on the way home from work. She says she would only run if being chased by a saber tooth tiger that emerged from the space-time continuum. And it could be true. It could also be true, though, that she's already started to make changes. She's lost 20 pounds and hit a milestone at Weight Watchers. She walked three miles for the first time ever. Sideways glances and unkind thoughts will not motivate her or encourage changes. They will set her back.

Being at a healthy weight does not give you special privileges. After a particularly hard run or long race, you might find me in line at Menchie's, throwing brownie bites and cookie dough onto my frozen yogurt. My favorite post-half marathon meal is french fries from McDonald's. And I definitely rode the "I just ran 20 miles" train longer than I should have. Those foods are just as bad for me as they are for someone who is obese, and I can't judge others for eating them if I do.

Flesh and blood. Judgment can often turn an overweight person into an object, devoid of feelings and rights. But underneath it all, they are human. They have blood pumping through their veins. Feelings. Insecurities. And, last time I checked, all people were deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - not judgment and scorn.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Herd mentality: Buffalo Chickpea Quinoa

People like to say two wrongs don't make a right. But, if you multiply two negative numbers, you get a positive and if you totally slack on two dishes, you get one beast of a lunch.

In the best sense of the word. Obviously.

On Saturday, we were set to go to a birthday party for my friend's twins, who turned 2 last week, and I told H that I would bring buffalo chicken dip. I picked up all of the supplies during my weekly Aldi trip and then headed to Walmart to grab a birthday gift and chickpeas for the Mediterranean Quinoa with Caramelized Onions I had on this week's menu.

I exited the store at 2:30 and realized something: I had an hour. An hour to drive home, put away groceries, change Miles' clothes for the third time that day, feed him a snack and make the dip. Yeah. I do not live on Planet Mom of the Year and found myself texting H at 2:32. She had a choice: I could be on time or she could have dip. She chose me.


Talk about a sign of relief. We went to the party on time, maximizing the Miles' time on the Good Ship Lollipop and ate cake - leaving me with all the supplies for the dip and nowhere to serve it.

But alas. There was a second misguided recipe in this equation. The Mediterranean Quinoa I planned to make sounded delicious, and I was excited to get the dish going this morning while Miles slept. What didn't excite me was the cooking time - more than an hour. Again, I do not live on Planet Mom of the Year and I knew I couldn't finish the recipe before Miles woke up nor could I juggle a baby, a pan and my non-caffeinated self.

And thus Buffalo Chickpea Quinoa was born. At 6 a.m. On a Tuesday. Without coffee. A January miracle if I ever heard of one.


I'll admit that I was initially skeptical of my creation, especially as I haven't cooked with quinoa often, I sometimes don't like chickpeas and I was basically just throwing stuff from my fridge/pantry into a pan. Definitely an equation for disaster. Thankfully, it added up to be a creamy, flavorful and satisfying dish - especially when served with the proper accouterments of celery and carrot sticks.


Of course, it might have been nicer with a beer and a group of friends rather than water and a coffee-stained desk but a girl can only get so much. Or so I've heard.

Buffalo Chickpea Quinoa

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 tablespoons wing sauce
4 wedges Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and celery, stirring occasionally; cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and the mixture is fragrant. Pour in broth and bring to boil. Add quinoa; cover, lower heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until broth is mostly absorbed. Remove lid. Stir in wing sauce and Laughing Cow wedges, until creamy and combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with crumbled blue cheese and celery sticks. Makes 4 generous 1-cup servings.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spring Training: Week 2

Spring Training posts document my training for the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon on March 30 and my "A" race, the Wisconsin Marathon half, on May 4.

The week, in training:

Monday: 4.5 miles, hill sprints (6 x 45 seconds at 7.0, 7% incline)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 4.25 miles, tempo + RAW class
Thursday: 8 miles
Friday: RAW
Saturday: Bodypump + 4-mile run
Sunday: 1.5-mile walk + 25 minutes (of 40) TurboFire stretch

◊ ◊ ◊

I've written about five different versions of this blog, trying to expand on one aspect of last week's training. But my brain is tired and so is my body, especially after 5.5 miles of hills on the treadmill this morning.

Tired Kim = Bad, uninspired writer.

Trust me. I nearly wrote an ode to Dairy Queen ice cream cake and medium long runs, which, as you can see, are decidedly missing from this week's log.

So help a girl out. Get up with Miles tomorrow morning and go to work for me and I'll ... ha. Just kidding. Ask me some questions - about my training for the upcoming races, BODYPUMP, cross training, whatever.

I look forward to answering them (and being more clever next week).

Seven (not so) deadly truths


Sometimes you have to be OK with the fact that your toddler's dinner is raisins, frozen-yogurt and a cereal bar. After two failed attempts to redeem a Living Social deal for a Mexican restaurant, Mark and I were finally able to sit down for some chips, salsa and burritos. Well ... sort of. Miles had no interest in the chips except to say "chip" and pick them up, crumbling them in his hand and tossing them on the floor. (Yes, we were those people.) I made him a plate of foods I know he likes - guacamole, chicken, beans - but nothing held his interest. While it would have behooved us to go straight home, I had a $5 reward at Menchie's and I was going to be damned if Miles' bad behavior was going to ruin my dessert.

The best laid plans are just that: Plans. I had this great idea that Mark could attend a cycling class at the YMCA while I taught BODYPUMP, as Mark would be able to put Miles in the Y child care. However, Miles woke up at 6, went down for a nap at 7 and slept till 9. Right when the class started.


Sometimes you can't deny what God gives you, even if your body says otherwise. Saturday was a beautiful day - sunny and in the 50s - and the fact that it was mid-January made the day that much more of a gift. As Mark missed his cycling class, I thought we could squeeze in a run. Sure, my legs were toast from RAW and teaching BP but I couldn't let a day like that slip by. We ran 4 miles around the park and though they didn't feel so great, I was happy to see a 9:07 pace, perfect negative splits and two miles that began with an 8.

A haircut can make you feel like a new woman. In keeping with a New Year's promise to take care of myself, I tried a new to me, more affordable salon. The stylist was great - experienced, patient and an exercise enthusiast who is planning on getting her personal training certificate. We had a great chat about mountain climbers, and I have clean ends and refreshed layers.


You can go to the movies with your husband and not see the same movie. I'e been wanting to see "Silver Linings Playbook" since I read the book in early November but it didn't come to Fort Wayne until Christmas. And then there was other stuff to see, namely "Les Mis." When my in-laws requested to baby-sit (no joke), I pitched seeing a movie. One thing: Mark wanted to see "Zero Dark Thirty." As luck would have it, the movies start times were within 15 minutes and we were both happy to arrive together but see our own thing.


I always take big purses to the movies for one reason: Sneaking in my own snacks. For "Silver Linings Playbook," I took a mix of cashews, raisins, dried figs and chocolate-covered peanuts.


White bread tastes really, really good. I made a lemon basil chicken salad, and my stomach was set on a melt. The only problem was that I didn't have wheat bread thawed and didn't feel like spending 240 calories on the slices I had in the freezer. And so I had some of the white bread I keep on hand for Mark. Let me tell you, it was good. So good.

What's your truth?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

pv.Body: A follow-up

It finally arrived.


The long-awaited package from pv.Body. It was a sassy pink envelope full of so much angst and frustration.


And an unattractive workout ensemble. It's mostly the top I don't like but the pants don't thrill me either. The top is an Alaskan blue printed Nux number and the bottoms are cropped pants from American Apparel. I tried to find what the retail value was but neither style was available online. Of course, none of that matters. It is going back to pv.Body, and it would have even if it was the cutest outfit on the planet. Even if it had been lululemon.


I detailed my frustrations with the new subscription service in a previous post - ranting about a faulty coupon code and poor customer service. After having things nearly resolved, I'm not sure I feel much better about the situation. I still feel like they are a company that, for lack of a better phrase, doesn't have its shit together.

My case:

The day I posted my blog, I shared the link on pv.Body's website. Within 24 hours, they "liked" it but never followed up. I made a sassy comment that I found it amusing they liked such bad publicity and received no further response.

The day after I posted the blog, I made a follow-up phone call. Miracle of all miracles, someone answered the phone and I told him I wanted a refund. There was nothing he could do to help, I said, because I didn't want to do business with a company that wouldn't respond to complaints. He gave me instructions on how to return the outfit - go to my account, click a few buttons to print a shipping label and indicate that I wanted to return the outfit for a refund.

The day after I talked to a rep, two days after the blog and three days after a phone call, I received a message from a pv.Body rep who was returning my voicemail.

Nearly a week after my emails were sent, I received two generic emails saying that they got backlogged during the holidays. If my coupon was bad and I needed a credit, I should email x person. If I wanted to do something else, there were different instructions.

But I don't want to do anything else. I want to return it and I want a refund. The label has been printed and the envelope dropped in a FedEx box. Now time will tell whether I get what I'm hoping for.