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!

Monday, August 17, 2015

In This For the Long Haul

You know, I had an inkling when I started my diet back in 2008 that I needed to make permanent changes, and commit to eating differently, forever.  But forever is a long time.  Let's face it, it's easy to proclaim that after losing weight, you feel so fantastic that you'll never eat another French fry in your life.  You don't need them.  Nope.  French fries are out of your life for good.  But guess what?  French fries are pretty damn tasty.  And so, eventually, they creep back into your way of eating.  And that's OK, provided they aren't consumed on a daily basis.  There's room for practically everything, in moderation.

Moderation.  Sounds reasonable, except that if you are or have been overweight, you well know how challenging moderation can be.  So it becomes tricky, this practicing of moderation, especially with foods that you previously didn't have the best track record with.  Honestly, sometimes it's easier to just not eat some foods, rather than try to moderate them, because how much is too much?  I mean, I know I can count calories, but once a basket of French fries is placed in front of me and I take a single fry, moderation takes a back seat to the salty deliciousness that is on my plate.  So in lieu of attempting to limit the amount of fries I eat, instead I limit the amount of times I can order fries.  Currently I'm at once a week, which is working well for me.  And, believe it or not, often I'll leave some fries on my plate when I'm done eating.  I know, it shocks me, too, because when I first see those fries, I'm convinced that I'm going to EAT ALL THE FRIES.  But somewhere between satiety and satisfaction, I can actually managed to empower the moderation part of my brain, and that's no small miracle, considering where I've come from.

French fries are just an example of a food challenge to me.  Dieting and/or maintaining your weight is hard.  I still believe it's got to be a lifestyle change, and not just a temporary way of eating to lose weight, in order to make this stick for the rest of my life.  I have some basic personal rules that I go by all the time, like no alcohol, and nothing breaded and deep-fried (my lack of gallbladder makes sure I stick to that one), and then I periodically set some other rules, depending on my current goals, or if something is becoming too easy to eat too much of.  I can eat French fries once a week right now.  But I'm in this for the long haul, and if they start appearing on my plate more often, well then, they will be put in time-out until I can regain control. 

What about you?  If you are currently dieting, do you look at it as a temporary situation?  Have you thought beyond the day when you reach your goal weight?  And if you are maintaining a weight loss, do you have some personal rules and boundaries set to help you stay the course?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, August 14, 2015

FMM - BREAKING NEWS!!

This is what counts as breaking news in my town:
Blue Bell ice cream is being shipped!  OMG OMG OMG!!!  And with that, you can tell I'm not a native Texan.  It's just ice cream, people. 

Listen, I know it's been a big deal since Blue Bell had to close all of their plants because of contamination, and their ice cream tastes good, sure - but the way people have gone on and on about how they've missed Blue Bell, and how nothing is as good has been a little ridiculous.  And our local TV news station, with THIS as breaking news?  Save me.

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I usually don't bother with making up a salad bar like this, but I had a friend over for dinner recently, and you know how women friends will appreciate things that husbands won't?  Well, this was the result:
 All the fixin's for a personalized big salad.  Dang, I wish I would do this more often!

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This was driving Paco INSANE the other day:
The very NERVE of this squirrel, on our patio!  Oh, Paco was peeved!!!

Luckily, he's easily distracted:
 Mom?  MOM.  I need dez.
 Seriously, Mom.  I bery hungry.
Yeah, yeah, I'm a pushover...but how can I refuse that cute face?!

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I finished another sock!  I'm really pleased with how this came out - it fits my foot great and was super easy to knit:
By the way, it's really challenging to get a good angle while taking a picture of your foot - but check out that cuff.  I knit 1x1 rib, through the back loop, and it looks really sharp!
I'm partway through this sock's mate already.
Oh, and this is what you call living dangerously for a knitter - see the yarn attached?  That's all I had left after I bound off.  Any closer and I would have had to undo that bind off and the entire row before it.  But hey, I used up all of the yarn, which was my intention!

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This was Tuesday - actual temperature was 105, but it felt even worse.

Another long run tomorrow, and another hot weekend ahead.  Needless to say, after the run we'll be hanging out indoors, only venturing outside to do this:
Hand watering our pot plants (yes I am a 12-year-old) - sprinklers aren't cutting it in this heat.

  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WWU - Four Weeks Done!

As of now, I've completed four weeks of our half marathon training, with five long runs done (we started with a long run).  This year, my attitude toward the weekly schedule has been one of "follow it exactly, but no pressure regarding pace" - and it's gone really well.

Here's what I did last week:

Monday - run 40 minutes (at 2:1 intervals)
Tuesday - run/walk hills 35 minutes
Thursday - run 45 minutes (at 2:1 intervals)
Saturday - run 6 miles (at 1:30/1 intervals)

Mileage for that week added up to about 13 (not a lot of miles with the hills, but ooh, it's a workout!).  After our 5 mile long run, my legs didn't exactly protest during their Monday run, but let's just say that I noticed them.  That hadn't happened up to that point, which is good - it makes me feel pleased that with my running fitness base, I made it to that point before anything started feeling tired.

I'm taking it very easy on the hills, and I'm OK with that...I do not want to start up any hamstring trouble again.  My left Achilles does ache for a couple of days after I've done the Tuesday hill workout, and that's with minimal hill running, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep that up - quite honestly, I'd be really irked if I ended up with an injury from running hills.

I have to say that I'm really enjoying doing my long run at 1:30/1 intervals - yes, it's stupid hot and humid, but I'm able to complete the run and still feel like I've got some gas left in the tank, so to speak, which is a nice change for me.  Now Loretta, on the other hand, is working her tail off during these long runs - but she's making it through each one, which is really impressive considering how brutal this year's schedule is.

Here's a couple of pictures I took after that 6 miler on Saturday:
My interpretation, left to right:  Cary looks too good...did she even run? (j/k, I saw her out there);  Brian needs a pillow; Karen is wiping the tears from her eyes (not really, I'm sure it was sweat), and headless Andi has already gathered her stuff up and is ready to leave - she's DONE.
Meanwhile, I caught CC and Loretta doing their synchronized stretching routine...

My only frustration with that run actually happened before the run - as I was getting ready that morning, I couldn't get the cap to screw on my Nathan handheld water bottle.  I tried and tried, and water just kept pouring out.  I finally saw that a piece of the thread on the inside of the cap had broken off, which is why it wouldn't go on.  This was extra irksome because it's the second time one of their caps has either broken or malfunctioned for me.  Jeff dug out his old handheld water bottle for me, so I used that.  You might be wondering why I wasn't using my Orange Mud Hydraquiver backpack that I liked so much last year?  Well, I do still like it, but knowing that it was going to be so hot, I'd bought a new running shirt that has a big cutout in the back (so daring for me!) specifically to stay cooler during the run...so covering it up with the backpack would have defeated that purpose.  I still plan on using it once it's not so dang hot, but in the meantime I thought my other handheld would work.  Guess not, and I have a big BOOO for Nathan!

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That was last week; so far this week, I've run 35 minutes on Monday, and did some gentle hillwork yesterday.  I'll do a 30 minute run on Thursday, and a freaking 7 mile run on Saturday...ugh.  That is too soon, in my opinion, to be doing such a long run, and while I'm not married to this schedule, if Loretta wants to go for 7 miles, I'll gladly do it with her.  But if she wants to cut back, I won't complain!