Friday, November 30, 2012


I'm on a streak.

Runners' World issued a streak challenge: to run a mile or more every day, Thanksgiving through New Year's. I was doing great, and then today happened.

Yeah. I have plans after work. And then I have plans after my plans. So that means when I get home - at around 10, I'm guessing - I have to suit up and go for a run. A short one, sure, but still ... I'm gonna run.

I should have gotten up early and knocked it out first thing, but I totally spaced it. It's not a big deal ... I just think it's funny that I'm willing to go for a run at 10 p.m., especially knowing that the very next morning I'll be running a 5K.

But a streak's a streak. I'm not gonna screw it up this early in the game! Today is day nine. This is gonna be a helluva month!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving - recap, weigh in, pie run

I wish all weekends were four days long.

Thanksgiving at Camp Clovertree was pretty awesome. It was four days full of food, friends and (thankfully) activity. I am convinced it was the activity that allows me to report today's weigh-in:


Seriously; I got off the scale twice and did it again, just to be sure. Now, next week may be a different story. Sometimes my weightloss doesn't work like a simple equation, so I may be stuck at a standstill now for a week or two. Or I may (sigh) put on a pound. I will, however, continue to track my input/output, so I know where the issues lie.

Here's how the week went.

Monday I ate 2,001 calories, and worked off 850 with a short run and an hour of dance. My calories left at the end of the day were 169.

Tuesday I ate 1719, burned 696 and left 297 on the metaphoric table.

Wednesday I ate 1280, burned zero and left 40 unconsumed. This day was a particular victory for me, because the day before Thanksgiving is a traditional feast for me and an old friend. I knew I wasn't going to have time to work out, so I limited my calories during the day, and it worked out okay!

Thursday All I can say is, shut up, it was Thanksgiving. I ate 2,614 calories and burned 580 doing the Run 3.14 Pie. I overdid it by 714 calories.

Friday Clearly not yet ready to give up over-indulging, I ate 1,646, burned 193 and overate 133 calories.

Saturday was Thanksgiving at Camp Clovertree, complete with turkey and all the trimmings. I limited myself a bit, and also got a good workout in. By the end of the day, I had eaten 2,019, burned 661 and over-indulged by a tiny 38 calories. I'll take it!

Sunday was not a good day. I was up most of the night with a horrible stomachache (which I still have) and very little appetite. But I am proud that I got a four-mile run in! All told, I ate 1,680, burned 644 and left 284.

So for the week, I was over by only 95 calories over all. I consider this a win! Although I'm not sure how it resulted in a four-pound loss. We'll just have to see what next week brings.

On to the fun activity of the week: the second annual LaGrange 3.14 Run for Pie! You run Pi, get it? 3.14 miles, and at the end, you get a pie. So cool!
The gang - Kristen, Shelly, Me, Lisa, Linda, Julie and Barb - with our pies!
On this run, the "usual suspects" were joined by our friends Barb and Julie, and their friend Lisa - the more the merrier, right? Running with Barb is running with greatness; the woman is an Ironman! The neat thing about our friends is that no one questions another's abilities; we're all just there to have a good time, enjoy the process and support each other. No one seems to mind that it takes me a long time to finish! I was slower this year than last year, and sometimes I think I will always be chasing that 13-minute mile, but I did my best, and that feels good. 

I finished 1,754 out of 2,028 overall, or 90 of 110 in my age group. My finish time as 41:20, or a 13:20 minute mile. (Last year I ran it in 41:04, with a 13:05 minute mile.) I just keep reminding myself that there are lots of markers for good health; finish time is just one of them! Improvement overall, in the big picture, is what matters. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recapping a week and weighing in

Last week was a good week. I felt pretty much in balance, although there was one sorta splurgy day. I learned something rather important yesterday: I eat too much. Getting back to logging all my food for a full week showed me that even on days I think I'm being really cautious, I'm blowing it. That's pretty much why it's been hard to lose. Yes, menopause is making it harder, but it's up to me to determine how much of a role it will play. So to give myself a frame of reference going forward, I'm going to recap the details of last week.

Travel day; I returned from Minneapolis and did not log calories. Or work out. Or weigh in. So sort of a lost day.

Weighed in at 214.2; considered that a miracle.
Ate a total of 1,519 calories; burned 388 by running for half an hour. Also did weight training. My "calories remaining" at the end of the day were 189.

Ate a total of 1,690 calories; burned 500 by using the elliptical for 50 minutes. Calories remaining were 130.

Big challenge day! I ate 2,670 calories and burned 453 by running first thing in the morning. I knew this day would be a challenge, though because I went out to dinner. I stuck to good choices at Olive Garden but still went well over. I chose a bowl of minestrone, one breadstick, three pieces of bruschetta, lasagna primavera with grilled chicken, and their tiny "dolcini" dessert with strawberries and white chocolate. Still, dinner was 1,020. However, I felt good that a) it wasn't twice that; b) I didn't feel deprived; and c) I had gotten up early to get my run in and offset a few of those calories. Calorie overage was 897.

After Thursday's debacle, I was a little more careful. My total calories eaten were 1,553, and I burned zero. This time I was going to TGI Friday's for dinner with my family, and I was not going to have time to work out. I ate a very modest lunch of quinoa salad and Greek yogurt, and I thoroughly enjoyed my grilled salmon with broccoli for dinner. I still went over for the day by 233 calories, but this was a completely successful day.

Always a good workout day, that Saturday. I ran - burning 635 calories - and lifted weights. I ate modestly, even though I was at an all-day scrapbooking event with great snacks. Calories remaining at the end of the day were 21.

Double cardio! I ate 2,229 calories but off set it by swimming and doing Salsa/Funk class. My calories remaining at the end of the day were 237.

So after you do the math, my net calorie overage for the week was 553. I would like to do better on this in the coming weeks, but I am SO pleased that I ended up with a pound loss. I worked hard for it, and I am grateful the work showed up on the scale.

This week will carry its share of challenges, with Thanksgiving and four days off of work (which sometimes makes for a break in the workout routine) ... but I am confident!

Today's weigh-in: 213.2. Down a pound and feeling good about that!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Running through airports, mac-n-cheese, and weighing in

My office was closed for the observance of Veterans Day on Monday, so I took the opportunity to find myself a cheap flight and wing my way to Minneapolis for the long weekend. Much to my chagrin, Tucson Mike and family relocated to MN a few months back, so my sunny getaways will now be something else entirely ... but in exchange, I get fast, cheap flights and more opportunities to see them. Totally worth it. (I think.)

So it's Friday evening, and I'm waiting in the terminal for my flight when it occurs to me that they're announcing a different flight number. Because I am at the wrong gate. In fact, I was accidentally waiting for a flight that was going to Minneapolis by way of Newark; my gate was in the next terminal. Next thing you know, I'm running through the airport like a scene from a movie. In my work clothes (complete with heels) schlepping my duffel bag, sprinting through Midway (praise Jesus I was not at O'Hare), skidding to a halt, taking off (and carrying) my shoes, running the rest of the way in stocking feet and making it to the very end of the boarding line.

I ended up sitting in the middle seat. I'm sure I smelled sweaty. But as I sat there, I thought to myself, "Thank goodness I am a runner!" Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I would have missed the flight. Plus, I get a great story out of the whole mess.

I arrived in Minneapolis and Mike, Rae and Kaylee were there to pick me up. It was a little late to eat dinner, so we just swung through the Wendy's drive-through and I got their apple harvest salad. It was very good! It was also the last healthy food choice I would make all weekend.

The rest of my time up north was filled with homemade banana bread (I love you, Rae), Chinese food at the mall, bake potato pizza (I am not kidding in the slightest) accompanied by the best beer I have ever had, and build-your-own macaroni and cheese. Seriously? I was served this steaming vessel of shell pasta with cheese and breadcrumbs, to which I added chicken, roasted garlic, caramelized onion and ... wait for it ...

white truffle oil.

Pasta nirvana.

It was not a weekend for tracking my calories, to say the least. But it did give me a bit of resolve. I weighed myself this morning, and came in at 214.2. I expect it will go up a bit next week, because sometimes I think my weight is a week behind my efforts, so I'm poised for that. In the meantime, I have assured myself that I can get through the holidays and still lose. I will track my calories and see how it goes; I was back on the bandwagon today, and I'm feeling good about that.

Also, Runners World issued a streak challenge to run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving through New Year's. You in? I'm gonna go for it!

Friday, November 9, 2012


I took this week "off" as a runner. It was just too much to ask of myself, especially after my dismal run last sunday. Not to worry, I'll lace up my shoes again on Monday, but I felt like I really needed to give myself a break from the running, and even from thinking about running.

Truth is, I wasn't entirely sure I would get back next week. The Hot Chocolate was so incredibly hard for me. I felt like it was just time to stop pretending to be a runner. I mean, everyone else I know who thinks they are slow runs between a 10- and 12-minute mile. Me, I'm at +14 on my best days. It's sad, this not-making-progress thing. I'm bitter and I'm disappointed in myself.

And then ... I get a random text from a friend. This is a friend I've only gone running with one time. Still, this is what she said:
"You are inspirational! It [running] is addctive. Sometimes all I do is daydream about where and when I will run next. And while running, it is so exciting yet spiritual at the same time. I really want to thank you for every post about every run you do or sign up for. It truly warms my heart and motivates me. You rock!"
I know, right? She said all that about me!

You'll pardon me if I pinch myself. It's important to remember that it isn't about how fast you are. It really isn't about running, per se. It's about who we are becoming along the route.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hot Chocolate? Hot Mess!

Despite all my excitement for the upcoming Hot Chocolate 15K, the damn race actually turned out to be an abysmal nine-point-three miles of torture for yours truly. And for some effing reason, I'm pretty sure I'll be back for more in the coming years.

To start with, there were lots of complaints about the Expo and packet pickup. Yes, it was in a parking lot at Soldier Field. Yes, it was cold, and yes we had to wait in line outside to get in. But it wasn't horrible, and I got a cute t-shirt, so ... whatever. It was a fun way to spend a Friday evening with my runner girls, for sure.

The race was on Sunday, and I woke up feeling positive. I mean ... how could I not improve over the previous year? I ran an almost 14-minute mile in 2011; surely I've gotten faster than that, right?

Yeah, not so much.

My first split was at 44:09; so I ran a 5K slower than usual. Great. I suppose the fact that this was the part of the race I had to stop to pee during is part of that. No big deal; I left the portalet feeling like I could still achieve my goal.

Oh, my goal? Did I never let you in on that? Yeah ... I was under the ridiculous notion that I could finish in under two hours. Barring that bit of miraculousness, I wanted to do it in less time than I did in 2011. Barring that, I wanted to finish upright.

That final goal was the only one I accomplished.

After the first split, I kept feeling positive. But when we passed mile four, I lost my mojo. My legs started to hurt. My brain started to hurt. I got hot, then cold, then hot, then cold, then bored, then annoyed ... and on and on. The course this year went along the lakefront, but not the pretty part; it just basically went south. (Contrast that with last year, when we ran through the city and had people cheering us on the entire way. There is no comparison; this year's race sucked my will to live.)

My second split was at 1:31:26, so I ran a 10K in that time. I'm going to take a moment here and console myself for the fact that my last 10K took a little longer. The Monster Dash 10K took me 1:30:52, so I shaved what ... half a minute of my 6.2 mile pace? Okay. I'll take it.

And here is when things really got tough for me. I wasn't sure at all if I would be able to finish. Again, it was boring as hell. There was nothing to look at, no one to cheer ... it was hell. Plus, it was kind of disheartening to see all the people who had finished long before me walking the opposite way along the course. That sucked. 

And I felt like I sucked, too.

In the end, I finished in 2:17:49, with a per-mile pace of 14:48. Not my proudest moment. I crossed the finish line vowing never to run again.

Here's the thing: when you've been working at something for two years, you want progress. You want to improve, not backslide. For chrissakes, you want to stop being so bad at that thing you're doing that it seems like you're not doing it. I run so slowly that absolutely none of the programs you use to track calories burned, etc. consider it running. A 15-minute mile is not considered running. It's not even a particularly fast walk. The truth is, I suck at this, and as of last Sunday, I don't much enjoy it, either.

So I've decided that it's okay to give up. I'm committed to a few runs through February of next year, and after that I will reassess. I'm going to do my best, but I'm not going to keep doing this thing if it continues to make me feel like a failure.

Seriously, this race sucked so much, I only took two pictures.
Me, pre-race. I didn't hate my life yet.
It was fun to run into Heidi at the starting line. And yes, I wore a kilt.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Will run for chocolate

This weekend, I return once again to the scene of the crime: the Hot Chocolate race.

It will be my third consecutive year running for chocolate. In 2010, I did the 5k (it was my first) and last year I did the 15k. This year will be a do-over: I'll be going for 15 once again.

I'm a little nervous. I've set some goals (which I'm just gonna own internally for now) and I have followed the training plan as closely as a girl can without going completely bananacakes. So now, all that's left to do is carbo-load (ha!), get some rest, and line up at the start!

Race report coming soon; run time is 7 am. Sunday. See you at the finish!