Monday, January 31, 2011

The Scale (Dun Dun Duhhhhhhhh)

Caution: What you are about to read are my musings on THE SCALE...and if you've been with me for a while, you probably know that I am not a fan. I also need to preface this by saying that while I do not weigh myself very often, my scale does sit on my bathroom floor and beckons me on a daily basis.

I wonder if I could get through life without ever weighing myself again. I mean, as long as I'm eating right, say, 90% of the time (correct portion sizes and all that jazz), and working out, I'd know that I was doing everything within my power to be as healthy as I could be. So why weigh? It messes with my psyche more often than not. It's just a number. But it KILLS me. It makes or breaks my day. It is not the be-all and end-all barometer of my health at this point. Yes, back when I was 256 pounds, it was saying something. But now? It just frustrates me more than anything else, and all too often, makes me doubt myself.

If my clothes fit, good. If they are getting tight, cut back. If they get loose (hey now!), buy smaller clothes. Here's the thing. At the beginning of my diet, I realized that even if I lost 100 pounds, I would still be overweight. But you know what? I've lost over 100 pounds. And while the scale, BMI and that jerk doctor would say I'm overweight, I know I'm not. I'm pretty fit (could always be more fit), I like the way I look in clothes most of the time, and I'm living at a manageable weight.

I have friends who eat right most of the time and exercise a ton. And yet, for them, the scale barely moves. What else could they do? There is not a whole lot to cut back on, food-wise, or increase, exercise-wise, without negatively impacting the quality of their lives. And while the scale may say that they are overweight, their physical size is shrinking and they are, indeed, fitting into smaller clothes. Yet somehow, that dang number on the scale seems to negate the true progress that they are making.

Is it really important to know the exact number that you weigh? If you keep an accurate food journal, sticking to the number of daily calories that should ensure a weight loss, and exercise on a regular basis, do you HAVE to step on the scale at the end of a week? If you have done your part, do you rely on the scale to do its part? We all know how temperamental that dang thing can be.

So I don't know why the scale is really necessary - for any of us. What about you - could you live without ever stepping on the scale again?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Mishmash - Cookbook Winners!

Welcome to Friday, all things both mish and mash. First up: the winners of Now Eat This! cookbook by Rocco DiSpirito are (drumroll please):

Congratulations! Send me an email ( with your name and mailing address and I'll pass it on to my cookbook contact, who will send you your prize!


Lori, over at Finding Radiance, is hosting a Heart Healthy Weekend event, where you can sign up to run/walk/bike/elliptical your way through a virtual race - distance of your choice - and possibly win a prize! Of course the prizes will be randomly drawn, but that doesn't mean I'm not crossing my fingers for some of Lori's own roasted coffee beans. :) Click here to go register with Lori if you are interested - I love these virtual races as it's fun to know that bloggers around the world are all participating during the same time frame! I'm planning on running that weekend, but worst case scenario if I am still sidelined I will be crying my eyes out if I can't, I'll ride the recumbent bike for 15 miles in order to participate.


Speaking of Lori, I mentioned in my last post that she sent me some upper body workouts to do at the gym (and thank you ALL who reminded me of box jumps and burpees - I thought I had successfully wiped them from my memory, lol!). Well, I am happy to report that I did five stations worth of arm and shoulder exercises on Wednesday! It felt great - I had forgotten how much I like weight lifting. Now, when I woke up on Thursday morning and stretched my arms overhead, I was reminded that wow, those muscles have not gotten a workout in quite a while. But it's a good, familiar soreness and I'm glad to have it back, weird as that may sound!

Oh, and for those who have suggested swimming or aqua jogging while I can't run - well, that isn't an option because my gym doesn't have a pool. Plus? I can't really swim. I float, splash, play. Actual swim strokes? Yeah, no. Comes from too many years of getting to jump off sailboats into lakes while wearing life vests...what can I say - it was a fun childhood, but I'm not very efficient at getting from point A to point B in a pool.


Cinnamon! I got bold and tried some different types...

Almost every morning I have the same thing for breakfast - Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt, half a cup of Fiber One cereal, and either fresh fruit (strawberries and nectarines are my favorites) in season or dried cranberries the rest of the year. But no matter what fruit I mix in, I always sprinkle some cinnamon on top. I finally used up the who-knows-how-old jar of cinnamon in my spice drawer, so to celebrate I ordered a few different kinds. My verdict? The China cinnamon smells wonderful and has a really good flavor. The Penzeys blend of cinnamon is pretty good too. I've only smelled the Indonesian cinnamon, and to be honest, I wasn't impressed and haven't wanted to potentially ruin my breakfast by trying it. Is anybody out there a cinnamon expert? Is this more of a baking cinnamon, do you think? Any other cinnamon recommendations?


And now, a Fashion Friday like no other...except for going to the gym a couple of times (today will make the third visit this week), I've pretty much spent most of the time in sweats or my super comfy rubber ducky lounge pants (on clearance for $4 from TJ Maxx - score!), as I rested, elevated and iced my ankle via EXTREME MAKEOVER: ANKLE EDITION. I wasn't going to post this picture, but what the heck:

I believe the reason why this um, fashionable ensemble works so well is that the sun on the t-shirt compliments the yellow of the rubber duckies quite nicely. Also please note that the horizontal lines of the duckies have the added bonus of making my legs look both shorter AND stubbier - quite the fashion feat. ;)

What can I say - sometimes comfort wins over style!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update?

This is week two, deux, dos, due, twee, zwei, dalawang, of no running for me. I'm a little bored, (as evidenced by my discovery of Google Translate) and I'm getting impatient with my EXTREME MAKEOVER: ANKLE EDITION. And it's only Wednesday!!! Argh. The only thing I've done for a workout is to pedal my life away on the recumbent bike at the gym. One time I didn't even read the book I brought - I just listened to my "long, long run" playlist and pretended that I was out running. I'm going back to the gym today with the intention of pedaling for an hour, and then I'm going to approach the weight machines and do a little upper body workout. Lori was kind enough to send me some of her upper body workouts, as I can't remember anything I used to do when I worked out with Brad and Linda. Hey - that's why I liked going there...I didn't have to do any thinking! So I'm putting it out there - I will go to the scary weight machines and I won't let them intimidate me (much).

I've been trying to ice my ankle a lot, and the most comfortable place to do that is on the bed. As soon as I get settled, Paco and Henry (our scaredy cat who normally lives under the bed during the day), hop on top of me. It's quite the scene with everyone competing for my attention while simultaneously growling and meowing at each other.
Paco is actually laying on my leg, pressing the ice pack into my ankle (I get bonus points for that, right?), while Henry is purring and drooling...I have to keep him away from my netbook lest he gets the keyboard wet!Different day, same situation...I was sitting up this time, with my computer on the white pillow.
Extreme closeup - Henners.
Extreme closeup - Paco.

Well. That was exciting, wasn't it? I actually have one running event to tell you about - last Saturday was the final benchmark run for my running club. The full group ran 21 miles and the half group ran 12. All in preparation for Austin. Since I couldn't run, I helped out with the aid stations. While it was good to see a long run from the other side, and I'm glad I was able to help, I still wish I was one of the runners. Are you tired of my whining yet? ;)

Slightly ghetto aid station - and yes, I was bundled up like Nanook of the North!

Here we are at mile 7 - behind the Kroger. This was the turnaround point for the halfs, and I wanted so badly to yell out "turn around - you are going the wrong way!" but everyone did, in fact, turn around when they were supposed to. Just as well - it probably was only funny to me anyway. Side note: I mentioned to Jeff that we looked like the people who sell puppies at various parking lots around town every weekend. Then Coach Joni and her husband Rand showed up with their bulldog. I swear, just a few minutes later Animal Control pulled up and questioned Rand! Too funny - we really DID look like we were selling puppies!

After all of the runners had come through, we moved on to another part of the route - because of the jig jags, this aid station covered miles 10, 12 and 15 for the marathon group. We were there for quite a while. It was at a dead end in a newer neighborhood - they were carving out a road just beyond where we were, but there was still a lot of brush. All of sudden, we saw a little deer come out of the brush, cross the dirt where the road will be, and go into the brush on the other side. Then came another, and was just a trail of baby deer and their mamas - so neat to see! Hard to believe that many deer are living so close to suburbia, but I guess suburbia is expanding into their land.

I so wanted to be out there running with them. Even at mile 15, when the fulls had just run up and down a hill and were all looking beat down, I wanted to be running. (of course, I would have been done before then, because I would have only run 12 miles) Most of the half group had finished and left by the time we were done with that aid station, but we went back to the park and waited for the fulls to come in. I have to hand it to them - that was a long time to be running, and it was tough, but everyone finished strong and I know they will do great for the big race in Austin. I just hope I get to be there, too.

***Just a note on the stickers - the 20 have all been asked for, and are going out in today's mail. Hope everyone who gets one likes it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Crazy Sticker; Extreme Makeover: Ankle Edition

I was recently contacted by Megan from Build a Sign, who generously offered to let me design anything from their website - they make custom street signs, banners, license plates, yard signs, bumper stickers and all kinds of fun things. I chose to create a sticker using one of my favorite running slogans. Their design template was pretty easy to use, and this is coming from a non-designer, non-creative person. I had a lot of fun playing with the colors, shapes and fonts, and this is what I came up with:
Says so much, don't you think?!?

It's a 4x4 inch sticker, suitable for anywhere from your car to the cover of your training log. And for the first 20 people who email me their mailing address, I'll send you one for free! I know that not everyone who reads this blog is a runner, and not every runner wants to do a half marathon, but if this is your goal, or if you've already run a half and want another way to show the world (or at least your neighbors), then let me know - my email is Good luck, and if you don't end up being one of the lucky 20, I'm working on a way to sell these for a nominal fee on my sidebar soon.


And now, it's time for ::cue Ty Pennington and his bullhorn:: EXTREME MAKEOVER: ANKLE EDITION!!!

My ankle is not a whole lot improved. (and apparently I've lost my ability to write a coherent sentence as well) It still hurts, the bone is still very prominent, and I am a little concerned - well, a lot concerned - I really thought it would be showing more signs of improvement after over a week of no running. So I am launching the EXTREME MAKEOVER: ANKLE EDITION part of my recovery. Except for going to the gym to ride the recumbent bike, I plan on spending most of my time lazing around recovering by lying on my bed with my ankle propped up on pillows and an ice pack covering it off and on throughout the day. To help me stay off my feet, I've enlisted the aid of the following:
My netbook, so I can blog from bed, library books (Jonathan Tropper is hilarious and poignant at the same time), a few running books to inspire me (via Half Priced Books sale - I loves me a good book bargain!), phone, iTouch for tunes and remotes for the TV/Roku. Not pictured is Paco, but you know he will be there.

I want to get better. I want to run Austin. I really missed not being able to run on Saturday. So I'm going to do whatever it takes to get back into my running shoes. Poor Ricky Bobby is feeling neglected. My new Runner's World training journal looks pathetically empty. And I want to run, dangit!


Also? Don't forget to enter my giveaway for Rocco DiSpirito's new cookbook here.

FTC disclaimer: Build a Sign gave me stickers. Lots and lots of stickers. Which was quite nice of them. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Mishmash - Medal Winner, Cookbook Giveaway and More!

Crazy busy mishmash today. Let's get right to it. First, thank you for all of the comments and emails regarding my ankle. I really appreciate the outpouring of support, empathy and understanding as I tread this new territory. I tend to go through life with blinders on, not really acknowledging or worrying about things like the possibility of getting injured while running. So it definitely threw me when it happened. But. I'm doing what I should to get it healed as quickly as possible (is tomorrow too soon?;) ). I went to the gym on Wednesday and Thursday and am muddling my way through the recumbent bike - not real sure what level I should be at and how hard to pedal (and it's weird to be able to read a magazine while I exercise), but the good thing is that it doesn't hurt my ankle, so there is progress with that. Plus, I did 6 miles in 30 minutes the first day and 10 miles in 45 minutes the second day - if I could only run that fast, lol!


OK, I know you are all wondering WHO was the lucky winner of the Allied Medal Displays medal hanger...the winner is (drumroll, please):

Congratulations! Send me an email ( with your contact info and I will pass it along to Joel so you can get your beautiful hanger!


And now, another giveaway!I have two autographed copies of Rocco DiSpirito's new cookbook, Now Eat This!, to give away! Have you ever wondered how some of these celebrity chefs can cook such delicious food and still stay fit and healthy? Well I have - and what I discovered a few months ago is that Rocco is a triathlete. He also is a contributing chef to Runner's World magazine, where I've seen some healthified versions of traditional runner's fuel, like Fettuccini Alfredo - I know, did you ever thing you'd see the words "healthy" and "Alfredo" in the same sentence? I actually made his recipe last March and holy yum, it was good! Along with weight loss tips, Rocco also offers his thoughts on training for triathlons. I will be very interested to see them, that's for sure!

Here’s how you can win your own signed copy of Now Eat This! signed by Chef Rocco DiSpirito himself: Leave a comment telling me how you are doing with your New Year's Resolutions...still on track, or do you need to change trains? Entries will be accepted until Thursday evening, January 27th. Two winners will be chosen (U.S. residents only, sorry) and I'll announce them next Friday, interwebs-willing. And if you don’t win the cookbook, rest easy because Rocco shares healthy tips and recipes from both his Twitter account (@RoccoDiSpirito) and his Facebook page (]. It’s like having a celebrity chef cheering you on towards your healthier 2011 self! Good luck to everyone who enters!


In keeping with the food theme, I wanted to tell you that I didn't actually eat all of the candy pictured in Wednesday's post. The Raisinettes had a funny chemical taste, so they went in the trash after my first bite. Which is weird because my co-worker and I used to eat them all the time a few years ago. Tastes change? Who knows. I will say that drowning my sorrows in candy was fun for a while. But I'm glad I don't do that very often anymore.


Picture stolen with permission from here ;)

I recently discovered Roz at Weighting for50's blog - her motto is "Fitness and fun for the end of my 40's" - love that! Anyway, the other day she posted a picture of a gorgeous fruit plate - and strangely, what caught my eye the most were the oranges. I'm not a huge orange fan, simply because they are difficult to peel and I hate the pith that is usually left behind. Well, she had sliced the peel (and pith) off, and I tried it - and let's just say that I've been getting my vitamin C this week!

I know they say that raisins are nature's candy, but to me, these oranges beat raisins hands down!


Tonight I will be eating dinner with my running club at Carinos - everyone is carbing up for the last long run of our training - 12 miles for the halfs and 21 miles for the fulls. Sigh. I will be carbing up so I can help with the aid stations - this run will be set up to simulate a race-day experience. I really, really wish I could do the run. Instead, I will be having a temper tantrum on the inside cheering on my fellow running club peeps while offering them water, Gatorade and GU (and if there's Chocolate Outrage, I may find a reason to suck one down, lol). This leads in to Fashion Friday - what I'll be wearing to dinner:
This awesome shirt - it reads "I need more cowbell!" and has a picture of a runner girl on it. I won it in a giveaway that Tricia had last month and I love it! Family Fan Club sponsored the promotion - they have lots of fun shirts for athletes and their supporters (and if you think I just giggled at that sentence, you would be correct)!
Paco is leaning into me - I think a tree branch rustled and scared him.

I'll also be wearing my new Frye Billy Shooties - not boots, but shoes that look like boots, which is wonderful for people with abundant calves (like me!). I won these in a giveaway that Tina had recently - they came from have wanted a pair of Frye boots ever since I saw them in Seventeen magazine back when I was, well, probably younger than 17, truth be told. But they are normally way out of my budget - and let's face it, if I'm going to spend a lot of money on shoes, they are likely to be running shoes. So I'm really grateful that I won Tina's contest, because I LOVE these shoes! They are rustic, stylish and comfortable - and I feel like a fashionista when I wear them! Although tonight I will be a limping fashionista. Ah well.

Have a good weekend, stay warm, and don't hurt yourself.

FTC disclaimer: I will be receiving a copy of Rocco DiSpirito's cookbook in return for promoting this giveaway. The opinions expressed are mine, obviously, considering I made and posted about one of his recipes nearly a year ago.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - Trail of Tears Edition

I was all set to come here and tell you about my 10 mile run on Saturday, complete with a huge dead snake in the parking lot, running in the rain, chocolate GU - all things crazy and fun, right? Well. What I haven't mentioned in my previous posts is that my right ankle has been bothering me a bit - it made itself known during a 9 mile run, really came alive during mile 7 of last week's 10 mile run, and hello, there it was again on that 3 mile treadmill run. So I have been resting, icing, and Motrining it. I didn't say anything because I just wanted it to be a non-issue, you know?

But from the first step on Saturday morning, it hurt. I mean hurt-hurt, not muscle soreness. I figured it would hurt a little, and had planned on powering through the run - I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and hey - after the run, I was going to put on my sweats, climb back into my warm bed (that I left at the too early hour of 5:00 am) and hunker down for a day of Netflix. I could deal with a little pain for a couple of hours in exchange for all of that, right?

Wrong. Y'all, this hurt so freaking bad. I stopped running at .82 of a mile - I had to, because I couldn't put any weight on that foot. I started limping my way back to the parking lot. Coach Erica caught up with me and walked with me as I cried both tears of pain and frustration. This is not supposed to happen! I have TRAINED. I have not added too many miles too fast. I have been doing what I was supposed to in order to get to Austin on February 20th. Plus I have the Armadillo Dash half marathon two weeks after that! And the Dallas Rock and Roll half the end of March. I have plans! An injury does not fit into my plans!

After I got home and was elevating, icing and Motrining it, I texted and emailed with my running guru, who advised getting it checked out by a doctor. Well, the practice that the doctor who I'll never see again has Saturday hours, so I made an appointment. Luckily, the doc working that day is a triathlete. He understands runners and injuries and wanting to get back to running and racing! Yay! I felt much better. However, he wasn't super optimistic about Austin and sent me for xrays. I limped there - unfortunately Jeff was out of town, so I was on my own. It would have been nice to have him driving and dropping me off at the entrance of all of these places, but oh well.

Then I limped into Target, to get my prescription filled:
I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs...but I DO do candy.

Oh wait...I got this, too:
Basically cheap, strong Aleve.

Here is a comparison shot - and by the way, when did I end up with Madonna's feet?

(I'm just assuming that her feet are as vein-y as her arms) Left - normal. Right - see that bump of an ankle bone? That is the problem.

I spent the rest of the weekend lying around, watching Netflix instant streaming movies on our Roku (I feel like I just typed a foreign language) - that Christmas gift from our kids has really been nice! Ate a bunch of candy and felt like crap - apparently, you can't go home again.

Monday, the doctor called. Wanted to get me set up with an orthopedist, to get me "back to running as quickly as possible" - I have to say, I was just so amazed to be taken seriously by a doctor. But that is a post for another day. Long story short (yeah, yeah, too late I know), I saw a sports medicine orthopedist yesterday - a runner. He listened to me. Did some more xrays. Found some bone chips around my ankle. Which would explain the inflammation and pain. What is weird is that he said the bone chips were not recent, and since I never broke or sprained my ankle that I can remember, I can only conclude that my body is disintegrating, chip by chip. I may have aggravated this by all the kicking I keep doing to my ankles when I run...I've whacked myself hard enough to draw blood, and have taken to running with band aids on my ankles so when I kick, at least I'm not wrecking my socks. He gave me an air cast to protect the ankle while it heals:

I put on my fancy socks for the picture!

And I'm supposed to ice it every time I workout, from now until forever. Good thing UPS just dropped this off last night:

MizFit recommended Artic Ease. I'm thinking it will be less awkward than trying to hold an ice bag to the side of my ankle.

So. Today I will go to the gym (good thing I joined it last week, eh?) and workout on the recumbent bike. Once the swelling in my ankle goes down and it stops hurting, I can use the elliptical, and then I can try running again. I'm holding out hope that I will still be able to run the Austin half marathon, which is 31 days from now.

And now, the rant:
I am so mad. For the first time in my life, I could go for a run and not be dying after a mile. My legs worked great. I could actually DO this, and got a lot of satisfaction out of completing a long run. And now what? I'm going to lose all of the conditioning I've put in. I ran during the hot Texas summer. I've been seriously training - following a plan - since the end of August. While I am thankful that I reached my first goal, which was the Seawall Half Marathon, I am pissed that my second, and our running club's group goal, the Austin Marathon/Half Marathon, may not happen for me. And don't even get me started about what this means to my weight. I've been maintaining my loss with the running. Take away that, and you know what can happen? Ugh. This is not in the plan.
Rant over.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Allied Medal Displays Review and Giveaway!

Have you every ordered something and, upon opening the box, were blown away by what you saw? Have you ever been rendered speechless? Nearly shocked to tears by how perfect, absolutely PERFECT, something turned out?

Well, that was the scene in my kitchen last week when my medal hanger from Allied Medal Displays arrived. Some of you may remember how I accidentally burned the ribbon on my Seawall half marathon medal - oh, I was so crushed when I did that! I knew that I needed a medal hanger and started looking around on the web - while there are a couple of manufacturers out there, the one that stood out head and shoulders above the rest was Allied Medal Displays - I fell in love with their hangers. Not only do they have a wide variety with themes of running and other sports, they also offer custom hangers, and that is what I asked for. You know how you sometimes don't know exactly what you want until you see it? Well, take a look at this:

Joel Exe, the Marketing and Sales Director of Allied Medal Displays, was so intuitive in making my medal hanger - I didn't even think to tie in the hibiscus flower from my blog's header into the medal display but now I can't imagine it any other way. I absolutely love it!
With what is hopefully only the first of several half marathon medals hanging on the display!

I am so appreciative of Joel Exe and Allied Medal Displays for giving me something so perfect to not only display my medal(s), but also to remind me of the journey that I've taken over the past 2 1/2 years to change my life. I get a thrill every time I catch sight of the medal hanger, which is often since I have it hanging in my office. :)

And now for the fun stuff: Allied Medal Displays has generously offered to give one of my readers their very own medal hanger! You can choose from any of their standard displays - to enter, go here to check them out and leave me a comment with which one you would like. They also have a Facebook page where you can see lots of neat displays - including some really cool custom hangers. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Entries close this Thursday evening; I'll have draw the winner and make the announcement on Friday's Mishmash, interwebs-willing.

FTC disclosure: Allied Medal Displays generously provided me with a medal hanger for review. The opinions (and glee) expressed are all my own.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Mishmash

Well hello, and welcome to another edition of the Friday Mishmash - a weekly round up of all things either trivial, Paco, or otherwise too silly to write an individual post about.


First up - Kip update: He's doing so much better. He is walking around now, although as he takes a few steps, he flicks his tail like "ow ow ow this hurts" - but then keeps on going. He's limping along - I told Jeff that if cats could have a cane, he would be using one! I'm really amazed by the self-healing that his pelvis has done. He's also bored, as evidenced by the thumping I heard Wednesday night. Hmmm, Paco was in his crate, Henry was outside, Jeff was asleep...which left Kip as the culprit. I got up to investigate, and found that he had opened up and climbed in one of the bathroom cabinets - he was hanging out under the sink, with a "why are you bothering me" look when I opened up the door. Crazy cat.


In running news, I joined a gym. Anytime Fitness, to be specific. Why? Couple of reasons. One, it's dang cold outside, and I'm supposed to be running three times during the week for my half marathon training, along with my long run on Saturdays. I've been having a hard enough time getting out there to run all by myself (cue lonely music montage); add the frigid weather, and it just wasn't happening as often as it should have.

The other reason is that I'm lonely. One of the things that I loved about my group workouts with my trainers was having other people to interact (ok, and suffer) with. This is one of the reasons why I like racing so much - I really love the camaraderie. I get that, to an extent, with my running club on Saturdays (I say to an extent because it's a pretty small club and no one runs at my pace so I'm usually running alone - but hey, we start together and all meet up at the end so that's nice). But during the week it's been mostly me, and I am bored with myself. My running buddy Jenny was busy over the holidays and then has been sick (feel better, Jenny!) - and I was only getting to run with her one day out of the three, anyway.

So, now I'm running on a pretty swanky treadmill, complete with its own TV. I even remembered to bring my headphones so I could hear it! Still figuring out how everything works - last time I ran on a treadmill was many months ago, and Linda or Brad would usually put me on it and start all the settings. I will say that while it was nice to lose myself in some mindless TV (E! News, anyone?), I missed being able to holler call politely for Linda or Brad to come turn the fan on. Oh well, such are the sacrifices, right?

Three miles - done!


Some days Paco drives me crazy. I don't remember if I posted this haiku before (and no, I didn't write it), but this sums up his barking to a T:

I sound the alarm!
Mailman - come to kill us all!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!
View from my office. Once minute he is peacefully sleeping - the next, he's up and ready for action, barking like a fiend!

And then, he comes and jumps on my lap. Poses for a picture and all is well again:
Look at that peaceful face - he can do no wrong...hah!


Kelly was nice enough to give me this Stylish Blogger Award - thank, Kel!

I'm supposed to tell you seven things about me. I can't remember what I have and haven't said already, so if any of this sounds familiar, I memory, as usual, is full of holes!
  1. I cracked my head open as a very small child and had to get stitches - I've always been curious to see if I shaved my head, would the scar still be there?
  2. I was playing crash cars with the neighborhood kids when I was 3 years old - pretended to fall out of my big wheel-type of car and actually knocked out my front tooth. I had a hole in my smile for years.
  3. I broke my arm in fifth grade playing on the monkey bars at school. I was especially mad because I was a school crossing guard and couldn't hold my sign out. After a few weeks, I did, despite the cast. Could be why that arm doesn't rotate all the way like my other arm does. Totally worth it.
  4. When I was about 12 years old I was on my way to a babysitting job down the street. Stopped at the neighbors house to watch him pound something - probably a broken toy - into smithereens with a metal pole. Ended up getting smashed in the hand with the pole - hurt like hell and was bleeding and gross. Went to the babysitting job and asked the dad for a bandaid. Remember his shock at seeing my hand - think he wanted me to go home and show my parents, but I don't think I did. That scar has finally faded.
  5. While goofing around at the hospital where I was a candystriper, I slid into a heavy metal door in my stocking feet - sliced my big toe open and got to go to the ER as a patient. Totally worth it - those ER docs were cute!
  6. When I was driving with Jeff to southern California to meet his family for the first time, an unfortunate bump in the road caused a speaker in his van (I know, can you believe my parents let me go off with a guy who had a VAN???) to crash onto my head, causing a great deal of bleeding. I was so mad - I had gotten up early for the eight-hour drive, did my hair and make up really cute, and showed up on their doorstep all bedraggled and blood-stained! Nice first impression.
  7. I had a Little Golden Book called "Nurse Nancy" that came with bandages and I wanted to be a nurse from an early age. That lasted until I got to high school and realized that nursing took math skills - something I still do not possess.
I'm supposed to pass this award on to other bloggers. Remember when they chose teams in P.E.? I was always one of the last ones to be picked. And to this day I hate choosing some people and not everyone, so everyone, please, feel free to accept this award if you would like it.


No Fashion Friday, but here's a sneak peak of what will be featured next week:
Frye off the UPS truck! I am in love with them already. Bonus shot of Paco, as usual, in the background.

OK, be sure to come back on Monday, when I will have a review and giveaway for a very cool product! Have a great weekend, and stay warm!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update

Those 10 miles I ran on Saturday sure seemed a lot longer than simply one more mile added to the previous week. Maybe it's just that I've been scaling up my long runs again as we build toward the Austin marathon/half marathon on February 20th. But boy howdy, I was BEAT after this run - I haven't felt this worn out since way before the Seawall half marathon! Good to know that there's only one more 10 mile run...and then a 12 mile run...and THEN we taper - well, if you call 7, then 9, then 6 tapering, lol!

So the run. I tried to run at a slower pace this time. That isn't easy! I was all over the place and kept checking Ricky Bobby - oops, too fast, better slow down. Then I would be going way too slow - oops, better speed up. I was aiming for a 12 minute mile, and overall, I came pretty close (exception being mile 9 at 13:38 - I always seem to have a craptacular mile) - my miles ranged from 12:01 to 12:27. I didn't end up pacing with the two women I though I would (one didn't show and the other started out with her husband), but Coach Cheryl and I ran together for about 2.5 miles, which helped. Then she had a restroom break (woohoo for the Exxon on our route!) while I ran on. Best part about the run? The chocolate GU. Seriously! I was not even nervous about the distance beforehand - I was just focused on the fact that I had two GUs along for the run and I was going to get to eat them at some point! Sad, I know...apparently food is still quite the lure for me. I guess I should get a "Will Run For Chocolate" t-shirt!

Couple of pictures for you - the first is my iPod shuffle/Airdrives set up (picture taken a couple of weeks ago before our latest bit of cold weather - note the short sleeved shirt):

I wrap the wire of the Airdrive earphones around and around the strap of my cap to get rid of the excess, and clip the shuffle to my hat. Love how lightweight and easy this is.

Next is a bit of different lacing on my running shoes - Coach Dale showed me how to do this after I mentioned that I always had to stop and retie my shoes about 2.5 miles into any run. He called this a "runner's knot" and it really did make the lacing not only feel more secure, but I didn't have to mess with my laces until about mile 7 of my 10 mile run (OK, that may have been more of an excuse to stop for a minute than anything else):

Tied - note the extra loop in the last two holes.
Untied for a different view.

I found an explanation of how to tie this online - click here - they call it the "loop-lacing lock" but it's the same thing. Give it a try if you are having shoelace issues - but just be careful and don't tie it too tight - you'll hurt the top of your foot.

Oh! I saw the Hood to Coast movie last night - it's a documentary about the 197 mile relay race from Mt. Hood to the Oregon coast. It looks like a blast, and my non-runner husband is ready to form a team and do it! Might take a bit of logistics to work everything out, but I'm up for it. Plus you need to have a team name and fun costumes and decorate your van, which goes along with my motto "if you can't be fast, be stylish" - am I right or what?

Shameful Song of the Week (or, what keeps me running)
California Gurls by Katie Perry (featuring Snoop Dogg) - hey, it's got a good beat and I can run to it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Times Change But Apparently I Haven't

After having my boys home for three weeks, once again, I wonder...could I have done this - lost all of this weight - when they were living here all the time? Two years ago I wrote a similarly-themed post - and it seems some things haven't changed.

Saturday afternoon I made a grocery list and sent Jeff and the boys off, with the instructions to get something for dinner...what, I didn't really care, as I was pretty beat from my 10 mile run. Normally on a day like this, Jeff and I would have whatever was in the house for dinner, but since they boys are here they seem to expect meals. Weird, right?

Anyway, they came home with said items from my list, plus dinner. Chopped brisket that you just heat up, white flour sandwich rolls, a can of baked sweet beans, and a can of corn. I'm embarrassed to admit that we used to eat like this. Again, how did I get fat?

While I was secretly gratified that they didn't like the dinner as much as they might have five or ten years ago, at the same time I was ashamed that this was the norm for our meals for so long. This is what they grew up eating - a lot of carby, sugary, pre-packaged meals that didn't have much nutritional value. Well, that and a hell of a lot of fast food. This is what I taught them.

The interesting thing about my kids is that although they weren't raised with having balanced dinners every evening, they pretty much like all vegetables, and they know how to put together a healthy meal. However, when they come home for the semester break, or "decompression time" as I like to put it, their desire to eat right goes on vacation. Which makes it hard for me. Not only is my house in a state of upheaval, what with the nerdery set up in my family room (aka computer central), the mounds of laundry, and the constant stack of dishes rotating from the nerdery to the sink to the dishwasher to the cupboards, but my eating has been all over the place. I'm not laying any blame on my kids, and you all know how much I enjoy having them home (I've gotten more ab workouts from deep belly laughs than from a thousand crunches), but I sure have gotten a lesson in how hard eating right is when the entire family is around.

So, is it a coincidence that I was finally able to lose the weight once I was no longer responsible for feeding my kids? Did the fact that I only had to deny myself the fast food, and not deny them (and listen to them complain...oh, and have to cook real meals), help? What about not having a bunch of snacky-type junk food in the house? Because I tell you what - on Saturday, when they found a tub of foil-wrapped chocolate coins at the grocery store on clearance for a dollar and (naturally) brought them home, I ate some. Several. Many. I don't buy things like that (M&M December being the exception), because I don't want to have to struggle against temptation in my own home. Thankfully the amount of miles I've been running is pretty much off-setting any caloric damage I'm doing, but I'm not comfortable with how I've been eating. And I wonder...when will the changes I've made over the last two and a half years become permanent enough to get me through changes in my routine?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Mishmash

We have been tending to our poor cat, Kip - he broke his pelvis over a week ago. No idea how - both the vet and I don't think he was hit by a car (no other scrapes or injuries)...possibly a garage door came down on him? Any case, the remedy for a broken cat pelvis is rest and confinement. So he's been living in a large pet carrier in my office. He has gone from this on the first day:
We took the top off the crate so he could have some sun for a few hours

To this, a week later:
Sam was petting him - Kip halfway sat up and acted interested in his surroundings for a change

But mostly it's been a lot of this:
Lots of laying around with that one leg extended. Poor kitty!

A few more days in the crate and the vet says he'll be ready for "house arrest" for a couple of weeks. I've been amazed at how well he's adapted to his confinement - with very few meows of complaint...think I could take a lesson from him!


I woke up hungry on Tuesday. That is significant because when I was actively dieting, waking up hungry meant that I was losing weight. I've been eating much more sanely since last Friday, and I feel better for it. That said, why, no matter if I eat breakfast at 7:00 am or 9:00 am, do I still get hungry for lunch at the same time every day?


Also, I'm not doing Weight Watchers, but I am subscribing to their new "fruit is free" thing - coming off all of the sugar I've been eating hasn't been easy (this is why you shouldn't get started, Shelley), so I'm eating fruit. Lots of it - apples, clementines, bananas, cantaloupe - it helps. I'd almost say more fruit than usual, but I have to clarify that - I eat a ton of fresh fruit in the spring and summertime, less in the winter. But this year appears to be different. Hey, it's real food (as opposed to M&Ms), so I'm not going to stress over it.


Comment Catch Up (a randomly occurring *new* feature):

YES, Barry Manilow! You guys cracked me up with the dissing on him (example: Kelly and her Glen Miller comment, lol). The song I run to is Bandstand Boogie. Watch it here (also interesting because Bette Midler is one of the background singers). And try to not move - you can't! I will admit to sometimes doing a kick and quite possibly jazz hands on occasion...admit it, you want to run with me, dontcha? ;)

Also, responding to Laurie: blue, blue, black, lime green, purple, black, pink, black. :)


You want Billy Blanks? You think you can handle Billy Blanks? Go to Helen's blog and enter her giveaway now...just don't come crying to me if you when and Billy kicks your booty nine ways to Sunday.

*Did anybody catch that last sentence? Apparently I cannot write both a blog post and an email at the same time...I was proofing this entry and laughed so hard at the nonsense I wrote that I decided to leave it in!


So now my Friday Mishmash secret is out - I start this entry early in the week and add to it as things occur to me. OOH, it's like a VH1 Behind the Scenes documentary here!


Monday was the last day of my seasonal job at James Avery. The other employees there, both the regulars and the seasonals, were fun to work with which I think is saying A LOT considering we were working during the holiday buying frenzy season - the potential for stress was there every day, but really, thanks to the overall calmness of all employees, it turned out to be a very positive experience.

Most of the people I worked with are college students - hey, it comes with the territory in this college town. Several are even younger than my youngest son! Again, they've all been fun and very accepting of this *ahem* slightly older person in their midst. I have to say that it has been interesting to hear their conversations (when we weren't busy with customers, of course) - one guy who always has a big smile on his face was recounting a Saturday Night Live episode he just saw, with my future second husband Will Ferrell in a Jeopardy skit...of course, my co-worker was cracking up recounting the skit and I was laughing, remembering it as well. When I got home, I realized that while he had just seen it for the first time, these skits started airing in 1996 - gah!


Alright, have a great weekend - I have 10 miles on tap for tomorrow, and after that? Panqueques at IHOP! Um, what was I just saying about eating right? Oh, that doesn't count after a 10 mile run. ;)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - With an Apology to GU

My running club had a 9 miler on tap for the half group on Sunday. We met at the later (for us) hour of 7:00 am - it was nice to sleep in a bit! It was still freaking cold, though - 28 degrees. One thing that I struggle with while dressing for these runs is to not overdress. I know that I will warm up really fast once I start running - it's just the time spent before we start running that gets me. Plus, I always start second-guessing my clothing choices as soon as I see anyone wearing more layers than me. But, I got it right on Sunday - never had to strip off any layers, nor did I feel cold once I started running. The gear? From the bottom up (links provided to help you visualize what I wore since for once I didn't think to take a picture):
  • Thorlo Experia merino wool socks - running shoes are well-ventilated and these socks have made the difference between my toes being frozen and being comfortable.
  • Newtons
  • CW-X compression capris - I wanted to try these because my hamstrings and quads have been pretty sore after the long runs. They felt great, but I second-guessed myself when ordering them - I bought the size large when I should have bought a medium - the compression factor plus horror stories of putting them on scared me. They kept me warm enough, though, even though part of my calves were bare. I kept them on for several hours after the run to see if the compression really helped with recovery - I have to say that I think it did.
  • Underarmour UA Tech t-shirt
  • Asics Thermopolis hoody
  • Lucy vest (this was my mom's vest - couldn't find it on any website so it must be pretty old)
  • Helen's gloves :)
  • Mizuno Breath Thermo Cap - with ear flaps. This is new and although Jeff took one look at me and said "I see you've traded fashion for function" it did the trick. My head never felt hot but it kept me warm, and the ear flaps (that you can easily fold up if you need to) were wonderful - not tight, but for the first time in weeks, my ears didn't freeze.
I put all of this out there to show what is working for me - your results may vary. I just know that it's a little confusing with all of the options out there. Runner's World also had a really neat clothing calculator that tells you what to wear in what conditions - check it out here. Because I don't have a running store in my town, I do most of my shopping online. I like because they have free two-day shipping to and from (helpful when things don't fit), and their prices seem to be pretty good. That said, I would pay a few bucks extra to support a local running store if I had that option. And just for the FTC's* benefit, I got nothing for mentioning running warehouse - I just happen to like that company.

I didn't mean for this post to turn into Fashion Friday! So the was cold and I ran fast. Fast being a relative for me, I should say. Really too fast for a nine miler - I have got to get better at doing my long runs at a slower pace. Next week, I'm going to try pacing a couple of women in my running club who probably run around a 12 minute mile - we'll see if that helps. My splits were:

13:21 - oops, can you tell I did a lot of walking for this mile?
12:42 - and this one?

Average pace ended up being 11:39, but according to my running guru, my practice long runs should be slower so I will be able to run faster in the half marathons. Still learning, I am.

I also did a tempo run on Tuesday night with four of my hardcore half ladies - Erica, Cheryl, Tiffani, Julia and I all braved the rain to run in the dark on the local middle school track. With the added challenge of hurdles set up along the first straightaway. Fun times! It actually wasn't horrible, and it did give me an idea of what I need to prepare for, should my next race be rainy. And actually, the worst part was all the raindrops covering my glasses - even wearing a cap didn't help with that. Next rainy run, I'll have to bring some Kleenex in a baggie (to stay dry) so I can periodically wipe my glasses down.

And now, my apology to GU. GU is an energy gel that many runners use during long runs. I have steadfastly avoided even trying the stuff - just the thought of eating a sickeningly sweet gel while running grossed me out. Certain textures give me the heebie-jeebies (like cottage cheese ::shudder::) and I was sure that this was equally disgusting. So I dismissed it without ever trying it, or any of the other energy gels on the market. But Santa left some in my stocking, and seeing as how I'd had a hard time chewing my Shot Bloks during the Seawall half, I knew I needed to give these a try. So right around mile 3.5 on Saturday, I bravely tried a Chocolate Outrage flavor.


It was like eating a melted candy bar! What a delicious discovery! GU is good - who knew?!?

Now if I can just convince myself that "running to the grocery store" does not require sucking down a GU, I'll be in great shape. ;)

*Apparently you are supposed to disclose what you receive for free for reviews to the FTC, not the FCC. As I have been doing for the past year. Oops. Best intentions and all. ;)

Monday, January 3, 2011

What Keeps Me Going - Running

This is the first in the occasional (read: not regular because who knows when I'll get the next one written) series of "What Keeps Me Going" posts...

What keeps me going with running is the pride I feel in completing a run. For this formerly 256 pound, decidedly non-athletic person to be able to say "I ran 5 (or 10 or 13.1) miles" is just astounding, still, to me. It hasn't gotten old, even after a year of running.

Wanting to make a statement to myself, I ran on January 1, 2010 with my son, Max. I asked him to go running with me because I was embarrassed to get out there all alone - I was sure that my neighbors would be watching me from behind their mini blinds, laughing at the slow woman attempting to run. I huffed and puffed for 20 minutes and at the end, I was quietly pleased and shocked that I actually did it.
January 1, 2010 - about to run with my crazy son Max.

I ran on December 31, 2010 - as regular readers of this blog know, I ran all year, and it was important for me to symbolically close out the year, where I actually followed through with something that was really challenging to me, by going for another run with Max.
December 31, 2010 - some people never change. ;)

Not going to mention that one of us had to quit after the first mile while the other chugged along for another mile...ooh, amazing what difference a year (and hundreds of miles of running) makes!

What also keeps me going with running is the changes I've seen in my body; changes that continue to surprise me, like when my boots zipped easily over my calves recently.

When I began running - when I started doing something that I never did even during the heyday of jogging in the 1970s (and I grew up in California, where jogging was as common as Boston ferns, hot tubs and macrame), I thought "this is IT - for sure, NOW my body will be different." There were times in the beginning that I envisioned myself having a runner's body - long, lean, flat-chested (only those who've endured big boobs their entire adulthood will understand this one)...oh, I was an amazing looking athlete - in my mind. I forgot a couple of things: I'm short. The descriptives "long and lean" will NEVER be applied to me. My thighs, while smaller, are still hefty - just a lesser amount of heft. I finally realized that running would not magically transform me into someone that I'll never be, and I'm OK with that.

Today, a year later, my body is different. It's healthy. My calf muscles are really pretty. My thighs are strong. But I discovered something more important than that...I found out that I can get out there and run for 5 or 10 or 13.1 miles. I can run when it's really cold and also when it's really hot. I can start a race and complete it. A year ago I could barely run more than a mile...and that was done very slowly. I have made huge improvements in my running, and I almost never improve in anything - usually if it "needs improving" I quit. So I'm especially proud of everything that running signifies to me. And the fact that I am proud of myself - well, that keeps me going.