Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WWU - 8 Miles

Getting to see a beautiful pink sunrise is a nice perk of a long run - we saw this as we neared mile 5 on Saturday morning.  Photo credit goes to CC - she stopped to take the picture while Loretta and I kept chugging up the hill.

I'll be honest - I was not looking forward to running 8 miles on Saturday.  Traditionally, 8 miles is when the hurting begins, both during and after the run.  But, I did the old "fake it til you make it" thing and pretended it was going to be great, and you know what?  It wasn't bad.  There were several long slog hills on this route, including my personal nemesis, Harvey Hill, which I've hated doing for years now.  However, CC had found a video that talked about how to do hills without getting tired, so we tried to concentrate on doing them this way.  Here's the link, but basically we focused on standing up straight, looking ahead (vs at the ground, which is easy to do when you're running up a hill), taking short, choppy steps, and keeping our feet under our bodies instead of taking longer strides.  We reached the top of Harvey Hill and amazingly, we all felt good!  And this was at mile 5, so it's not like we were on fresh legs at that point.

We had a nice downhill after that, and then a couple more hills, including one where we have usually lost Loretta...it's always toward the end of the run, and it's a bear.  I get to run it every Thursday with Cary, so I'm more used to it, but normally Loretta is cussing and lagging on that one.  Well, not this time!  She stayed right with us, and, not that we care, because cussing goes very naturally with long runs, Loretta didn't even swear!  Except for mile 2, that was our fastest mile of the day, as well! 

I was surprised to see my old trainer's van in the parking lot of the park when we finished our run - Brad had just led a group in a workout there.  It was nice to see him and it felt like I came full circle, as I started running when I was working out with his group, and even ran my first mile there...nearly six years ago to the day!

Andi, Cristy, Cary, Julia and Casey
I took this shot of my friends relaxing after their run.  But once I uploaded my pictures, I realized I caught Julia in the process of doing a "here, smell this, it's gross" thing...she'd bought a bottle of Lime Cucumber Gatorade, and it was awful.  I thought it smelled like dirt; others likened it to something you should be putting on your body, like lotion, instead of trying to drink it. 

We had breakfast tacos at the park, but of course we had to go to Blue Baker anyway.  Second breakfast sounds perfectly normal after running 8 miles, right?  Jeff and I were in a cinnamon mood:
We split a cinnamon roll and a cinnamon twist, YUM!
This girl ran her first 8 miler and celebrated with chocolate milk and a breakfast croissant!

Just to show you where my mind always goes, when we finished our 8 mile run on Saturday, CC said something about Eminem and I thought she was talking about the candy M&M's.  Oh, that movie 8 Mile.  Oh, Eminem the person, not the candy.  Oh.  And shoot, I just realized that M&M's would have been appropriate fuel for that run!  Maybe next time...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Complacent = Content?

Lately, it feels like I'm living a complacent life.  I'm not particularly trying to make any changes or improvements, and you know what?  I'm OK with that.  I know this isn't the norm for most healthy-living bloggers - usually you'll see them writing about how they're trying to lose weight, or actively working to maintain a weight loss, or trying to achieve a particular workout/exercise goal...and if you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I've worked toward all of those goals in the past, too.

I could be a little thinner, but why?  I'm able to eat what feels right and stay at this size without a lot of effort, so why restrict my food intake more than what I already do?  A few less pounds isn't going to make any difference in my happiness, nor my health.

I could push myself to run a half marathon in under a specific time, but really, who cares?  I run year-round, and that's enough for me. 

Recently, I was encouraged to apply for a patient services job at the hospital where I'm volunteering, and for a hot minute I went online and looked at the job description.  Then I remembered that I'm going to visit my parents in the fall, and we're planning on visiting our son over Christmas, and right now I don't have to ask for time off from a job to do that.  I also don't have to be somewhere on a regular basis more than once a week, and I'm especially good with that.

Some may say I lack ambition, and that's not entirely true - I taught myself how to knit socks recently, and anyone who's knitted socks knows what an ambitious undertaking that is.

I think complacency gets a bad rap.  Maybe it's because I don't have anything to prove - I don't have job or career ambitions, and I'm not trying to impress anyone.  I have one day that's a bit on the hectic side, but even that calms down by mid-afternoon.  I have time to run and write and knit and meet up with friends and even go outside and water the plants.

Do we (the royal) really have to be crazybusy and exhausted to make like meaningful?  Is it OK to coast along?  I'm on the side of coasting - but then, I'm complacent...and I'm content.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Mishmash

Our movie theater had a screening of a Grease sing-a-long recently, so Cary, Andi and I had to go.  I thought I knew all the words by heart, but seeing them on screen?  Apparently I've misheard some of them all these years!  Any case, it was great fun and if you are a Grease fan, grab your friends and get thee to a sing-a-long!
I have my own private Grease sing-a-long in the car quite often...

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We went out for sno-cones for the first time this year.  This stand makes the best sno-cones, but it's a little redneckish - it's located on the edge of a gas station parking lot, where you have a nice view of the highway:
Jeff insisted on dragging the chairs over by the Duchess.  It was a nice evening - very low humidity, and even though it was still 91 degrees, it didn't feel too bad in the shade.  Hey, anytime we're not running in the heat, it's fairly tolerable!

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In knitting news, you'd think I have all the needle sizes necessary to make just about any project, but no.  I was lacking in the tiny sizes, or what I referred to as "toothpicks" in the past.  And since I'm obviously hooked on socks, I decided to go ahead and purchase all of the needle sizes I was missing.  Matching the yarn size to the needle size to how loosely (or in my case, how tightly) you knit makes a huge difference in the finished project.  Anyway, I bought most of what I needed at my not-so-local yarn shop (it's a 25 minute drive each way, so I don't go there often), but even they didn't have all the sizes I wanted, so I ordered some from Amazon.  Here's what arrived yesterday:
A 19x14x3 box, filled with lots of air bags...and one tiny pair of needles.  Sigh.  What makes this even more silly is that I checked the box for no rush shipping, which meant that this wasn't scheduled to arrive until 9/1 (but it arrived on 8/27).  Amazon, I don't get you!

Onto the fun stuff regarding knitting - the projects!  Here's my fifth pair of socks:
Yarn is Schoppel-Woole Ambiente Magic, colorway is 1284.  I'm making up a basic sock pattern to fit my foot - I knitted these toe-up, using a Turkish cast-on, with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel.
They match my shoes!
My ever-growing stack of hand-knitted socks.

Here's another pair that I've started:
Yarn is Knit Picks Felici, colorway is Gummy Bear.  I can't wait to get to the pattern - it starts once I've knitted the heel and is crazy fun!

Remember back when I used to knit all the hats, all the time?  Well, a hat occasion arose, and this was the result:
A baby bear hat!!!  So cute!  Yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage, colorway is Teddy Bear (OF COURSE), pattern is a basic baby hat, with ears added.  The baby's nickname is Bear, so I had to make this for him.  He was born earlier this month, and I knitted a 0 - 6 months size, so hopefully it will fit him through the winter.

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We have 8 miles on tap tomorrow, with breakfast tacos at the park afterward.  I wonder if we'll be able to stand not going to Blue Baker anyway?  Hey, second breakfast of coffee and a cinnamon twist sounds pretty good, right?!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WWU - Shirt Twins!

Me and Diane - shirt twins!

I swear, we didn't call each other beforehand, but I love that Diane and I both wore the same shirt for Saturday's long run (it's by Underarmour and has a cool cutout on the back).  I have to say, we aren't looking too bad here, considering this was taken after the run - six miles for me and nine for Diane.  What you can't see is that I was more soaking wet than usual, thanks to an encounter with a stealth sprinkler that hosed me down ala Chris Farley in Tommy Boy near the end of my run.  Diane is having a banner year - last December she had a wake up call at the doctor's office, by way of a near-diabetes diagnosis.  She's lost 85 pounds (cut out refined sugar and most carbs) and is doing great...plus she's running like a champ!  I'm really impressed with her determination to live a healthy life.

Getting back to that six miler run, hooooboy, it was a run, alright.  Hot and humid weather (94%, ugh), no breeze, and air so thick it felt like you could cut out a cube and sit it on a shelf.  CC, Loretta and I started out 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the group because they had to be somewhere at 8:00 am.  It was so much darker at 5:30, and while not exactly scary, because there were three of us, it was a little on the creepy side.

I went into that run on tired legs.  I guess because we've been running so many long runs already (5, 6, 7 milers), I was thinking "it's only six miles" and ended up running Thursday with Jeff, and then Friday with Cary.  So I came into that run on Saturday with 5 recent miles on my legs, and I definitely felt less energetic than on previous Saturdays.  Apparently I really do need that rest day on Friday...lesson learned.  Any case, we had a pretty good run, started a new topic of conversation that made the last mile go by in a flash, and it ended up being nice to finish so early and get to watch everyone come in.

Our post-run trip to Blue Baker was excellent, as usual, with Brian spotting a wonky-frosted cupcake as they brought out a huge tray.  He called out "hey, you can't sell that one" to the baker, who said he'd cut it up for us.  I don't know who I was happier with, Brian for spying the errant cupcake, or the baker for giving it to us: 
Our hero!
Chocolate cupcake with strawberry icing - they take fresh strawberries and mash them into buttercream icing...and yes, it tastes as good as it sounds!
A little later the baker came by with a fudge brownie for us.  It was slightly chilled and just.so.good.  

Blue Baker is spoiling us, big time - and we all appreciate it immensely!

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This is a tough week for running.  We had 45 minutes on tap for Monday, and from the first step, my entire left side was aching.  Jeff and I made it through 2 miles and then called it a day...at some point, a run isn't going to get any better, plus I didn't want to hurt myself.  I'm sure the heat/humidity isn't helping, either - it was 79 degrees with 93% humidity when we ran on Monday morning.  Jeff and I ended up deciding to take an extra rest day and skipped the hill workout yesterday.  I think we were just plain tired - we are on week 7 of a pretty rough schedule, and it was time for a little break.  Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have my energy back for a 40 minute run with Cary...and then, we have 8 miles on Saturday, yikes!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Weird Reassurances

You'd think, after all this time, I'd be able to see myself in a true light.  But I guess, what with so many years of a weight-loss/weight-gain history behind me, it's only natural that I occasionally still question whether or not I've gained my weight back.  After all, I used to do that so well...I was quite proficient at regaining weight in what felt like a matter of minutes.  Cut to this summer, when I discovered the wonders of lightweight, breezy tunic tops, which are pretty amazing at helping to keep me cool.  However, they aren't exactly figure flattering:
OK.  I was going to post a collage of me in all of my cute summer tunics (I just counted and I have five of them, I swear), but apparently this one is my go-to when I'm out and doing something photo-worthy.  What can I say, it was 106 degrees when this picture was taken and I was pretty comfortable, all things considered.

Anyway, you get the point.  Of course, my running tops are not super loose, but that's a whole other fat feeling for me...put together my spandex running capris cutting into my stomach, which is already my biggest blobby area, along with a technical fabric top that touches/shows my stomach, and it's not a good mental thing for me.  Usually I try to size up on the tops to minimize that issue, but mostly I try to focus on the run and not how I look.

Back to the point of this post (I have one, I promise).  After a summer of enjoying the breezy tunics, I pulled out an older top from my closet on Saturday.  Why?  Because we were going to enjoy a steak and corn-on-the-cob dinner, and I didn't want to get butter on any of my nice tunic tops.  What can I say, I planned for an indulgent, messy, dinner. 
Our personal chef preparing the steaks for the grill.  My "third child" Kevin came over to cook a birthday dinner to celebrate our youngest, who turned 26 years old on Saturday.

I put on the old top and glanced in the mirror, and was shocked, to be honest.  I wasn't fat!  It still fit.  I know, it sounds slightly crazy, but trust me...there really is something akin to PSTD when it comes to having been overweight for decades, and then somehow managing to not only lose weight, but continue to keep most of it off:
More than five years later, I'm still hanging in there as a normal-sized person.

What a weird, random thing to reassure me that I'm doing OK with this maintenance thing...and is it strange that apparently, I still need an occasional visual confirmation that I haven't regained all my weight?  I wonder if these feelings will ever go away?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Mishmash - Hey

Hey Eddie Bauer?  NO.  We are not anywhere near fall, so stop trying to make it happen:
Ha.  Haha.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

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Hey older gentleman in front of me at Discount Tire?  I like your suspender latch:
That is one heavy-duty set up there, pardner.  Belt AND suspenders?  Ain't takin' noooo chances, are ya?

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Hey Duchess, thanks for warning me about the low tire pressure:
Also, thanks for having run-flat tires, so when you sounded the alarm as I was driving in the boonies at 5:00 am the other day, I didn't have to worry about pulling over right away.  Still not sure what happened, but a little air at Discount Tire and all is well.

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Hey Paco, I wish you could relax a bit more:
 I just bery bery tired, mom.  Stop waking me up wif your dum camera.

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 Hey Henry, stop staring at me:
Seriously.  You were just inside, you meowed to go outside, and this is what you choose to do?  Go watch a squirrel or something!

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Hey, that was serendipitous, choosing a Georgia O'Keeffe print that goes with your guest bathroom colors:
Bought the shower curtain and rug in May, print in July.  Apparently I'm on a yellow and orange kick without realizing it.

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Hey, you:  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WWU - Seven Miles, Done!

It is really gratifying to run with someone when they experience a new distance.  I realized, as we were almost finished with our 7 mile run on Saturday, that I haven't experienced that dreaded feeling of "I can't do this" that I used to during our long runs. Obviously focusing on someone else has helped shut off that part of my brain and I'm very happy about that, believe me...this was a long time coming.  But getting back to focusing on someone else, Loretta ran 7 miles for her first time ever!!!  She did great - of course it was still hot at 77 degrees, but the humidity was a bit lower, only around 69%, which makes a difference, believe me.  Step by step, mile by mile, she chipped away at the route until we were finished.  It takes a lot of courage to run that far, especially coming back from such a major injury like she had.  I'm really proud of Loretta, and I know CC is, too.
CC, Loretta and me, looking pretty decent for just having run 7 miles!

Afterward, we went to Blue Baker, where we had the BEST DAY EVER.  We recently made a location switch, and the morning crew at the Blue Baker where we've been going are so friendly and fun.  We've been sitting by the window where we can watch the bakers work; last week, we watched them scoop giant balls of cookie dough onto baking pans, and we were all drooling - there's something about raw cookie dough that is just so good! We were joking with the bakers that they needed to put up a sign showing what they were working on, and then next thing we knew, this was in the window:
Pizza Dough - aha!  Love how responsive they were to us! 

We chatted with the bakers for a minute, and watched as a huge rectangle of toffee blondie brownies were cut.  Holy moly, did they ever look good!  Then we saw the manager gather up the scraps, and for a moment it looked like he might be heading our way with them.  We were all "be cool, be cool, act natural" - we tried to downplay our excitement in case he didn't end up coming to our table, but sure enough, he appeared with a wrapper full of treats for us:
 
There was at least twice this much - we all grabbed a piece before I thought to take a picture.  These were amazing.  Toffee blondies, with a crumb topping?  Yes please!

The manager hung around chatting with us, and Cary mentioned how we were drooling over the cookie dough last week.  He said that it was in the mixer, and next thing we knew, this happened:
Ah yes!  A giant scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough!!  We enjoyed it immensely!

Before the extra treats appeared, I'd had a couple of bites of my cinnamon twist, but after enjoying the bonus goodies, I passed along the rest of the twist to Jeff.  I'm sure I still ate more in calories than I usually do, but hey - this felt like a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scenario, and who could turn that down??

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Back to the running.  We had 40 minutes on tap for Monday - Loretta came over and ran with Jeff and I.  The higher humidity was back so we were all sweating like fiends, but even so, we ran at a pretty good pace.  And yesterday, we hit the hills - CC, Loretta and I are still doing a couple of walking hill repeats, but we managed to also do four running repeats, so I'm good with that effort.  We did have an armadillo encounter in the beginning that stopped us in our tracks - by the way, did you know that clapping your hands and shouting at an armadillo will not make it move?  Eventually it decided to go back into the wild - sheesh!