Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update

With all of my enthusiasm about running, I haven't written much about swimming lately.  I'm still swimming, usually M/W/F - and as I'm not following the USAFit 10K program exactly (they have you run 4 times a week and I'm leery of doing too much too soon), swimming works out great for my cross training.  And a bonus that I've noticed since increasing my running is that my quads feel a lot stronger when I swim - love that both types of exercise seem to compliment each other!

OK, now that I've gotten the obligatory swimming update out of the way (hey, it's not that I don't like it, but come on...running is where my head's at these days), let me tell you about my latest triumphs with running.

Triumph #1:  I'm running!  OK, you already knew that, but seriously, every time that I get out there and actually run, I'm still a bit shocked that it's actually happening.

Triumph #2:  My ankle is hurting less and less as I run.  Considering that it was so painful when I first started, in January, I had serious doubts that it would ever ease up.  But I actually finished a run last week and thought "hey, that didn't hurt!" - of course, it started bothering me a little later in the day, but this is progress, and I'll take it!

Triumph #3:  I've been doing intervals of walking for 1:30/running for 2:00 - on Saturday's 3.5 miler with the running club, Jeff and I were chugging along, and he suggested that when we hit the mile 3 marker, we run all the way in.  No walking intervals.  And we did!  I ran for a half mile without stopping!!!  I felt like Rocky.  Now THAT was a running high!

Triumph #4:  Now that we are back to being able to exercise together, Jeff and I have re-instituted our weekend breakfast tradition...after we finish our run on Saturday morning, we head over to Blue Baker for a nice hot cup of coffee and a delicious multi-grain bagel sandwich made with spinach, feta and egg.  Not only do we feel good about "earning" that meal, but we also feel that we accomplished something so early in the morning!
Yum, yum, YUM!

Monday, February 27, 2012

I am Adventurous?

I was at the knitting store on Friday (the bulldozer lady had posted on the store's Facebook page that she would be gone for a couple of days, so I felt more comfortable going in), and was quizzing the woman working there about a "fashion" scarf that caught my eye the first time I was in the store (and every time since).  It looked a bit complicated, and I asked her when she thought I'd be ready to try making it.  Her reply surprised me...she said "you're an adventurous person, so go ahead and try it now" - me?  Adventurous???

Honestly, that is not a word that I'd use to describe myself.  I'm not the adventurous one, my best friend Barbara is.  And Jeff.  And my kids.  My Uncle Phil.  My Grandmother.  But not me.  I'm the one who stays home, plays it safe, has no desire to get very far out of my comfort'll never find me parachuting out of an airplane, applying to be on Survivor (although I love to watch that show), or eating strange and exotic foods. 

And yet, someone who I've only had  limited interaction with came to the conclusion that I am adventurous.  Am I?  I didn't think so...but four years ago, I never would have thought that I'd have such experiences as jumping fire, climbing a cargo net, running and swimming for exercise (exercise, ha!), or meeting strangers from the internet (Hi Kelly! Hi Debby! Hi Janell!).  I guess I've come out of my shell a bit since I lost weight - and I apparently, along with that weight, I've shed a little of my inhibitions.  I'm poking fun at myself a bit with the adventures in knitting, because really...except for a tiny callous on my index finger, it's not like it's dangerous.  However, I think it's a symbol of some of the many new things I've been willing to try, and I have to credit that to the overall, ongoing transformation that started when I began to leave the old, heavier me behind.  Who knew weight loss would affect my life in so many ways?  It's not just health, it's everything.

And now, here are my "adventurous" scarves:
This is my practice piece to get accustomed to this pattern - you double wrap the stitches on one row to get the elongated look.
And this is the real deal, knitted with a ribbon yarn, which is a bit slippery and tricky to hold onto, but I love how it's turning out!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Mishmash

You guys.  It was 86 degrees here yesterday!  What a nice little break from winter!  Of course, a cold front rolled in last night and dropped the temps down to the low 40s (hello crazy Texas weather), but it was wonderful while it lasted!  I went out running in the morning (with a friend!) and afterward, we stopped for coffee and to chat (since we *gasp* had *gasp* a *gasp* hard *gasp* time *gasp* talking *gasp* while *gasp* running *gasp*).
 We went to a real coffee place where they make pretty designs on the lattes (and use chocolate, which was a surprise!)

After I took a picture of the coffee, I turned the camera on myself, trying to get a shot of my new shirt.  My friend, who is an artist, took the picture for me - see how nicely she got the trees in the background?  I guarantee you, had the roles been reversed, the trees would have been "growing" out of her head, lol! 
This was taken at least 15 minutes after we finished running, but I still have that nice red face going on...quite lovely, no?

So my new shirt.  One thing I noticed last weekend?  Austin has stores.  CUTE stores.  So funny, I like living in a smallish area and not having to deal with traffic (holy moly, the traffic in Austin!!!), but I do miss having awesome stores nearby.  Anyway, after the expo, we were driving to find the parking area for the race (figured it would be good to see it in the daylight first) and passed by this nice area - I was all "oooh, Title Nine!  oooh, Anthropologie!  oooh, Whole Foods!" - you get the picture.  Small town girl in the big city, lol.  So after we found the parking garage, Jeff asked me if I wanted to head back to those stores.  How fast do you think I said yes???  He grabbed a comfy chair while I went to town in Title Nine.  It was great to see things in person instead of a catalog or the internet.  I ended up buying a merino wool running shirt that was expensive but I loved it and felt super cute in it, which fits my criteria for clothing...I'm trying to only buy things that I adore, instead of settling for something because it's a bargain.


Speaking of running outfits, here's outfit #3 for my 10 week challenge:
Again with multiple layers.  Long-sleeved YMX shirt (snagged for $25 when they had a 3-day "try me" sale!), purple jacket, Brooks nightlife vest since it was going to be dark, cloudy and possibly rainy, Lucy tights, shorts...I am getting tired of having to wear so many layers, but it looks like tomorrow will be another cold morning, so count on seeing more of the same next week.
My helper...always nearby, always ready.
Too early on Saturday morning!  You can definitely see me with that vest on, which is the point.


My Sit and Knit diet is going well.  I'm developing a bit of a callus on my index finger, which is good as the pointy ends of the needles kinda hurt!  I had most of a cute red cherry washcloth knitted, but apparently got caught up in a TV show and messed up the pattern, so I had to unravel it.  Sigh.  I really have to pay attention when I'm knitting more than a scarf!  Speaking of scarves, Henry has been verrrry attracted to the pink one I'm currently knitting:
He loves to bat at the yarn as I knit...I finally made him his own ball of yarn, which, naturally, he wasn't interested in.  Cats!!!

Finished project - my first baby washcloth!!!
I had to unravel this thing FOUR times, but it's finally done.  I sort of blocked it...ok, I got it wet, wrung it out, and shaped it, but didn't pin it.  As I'm pretty attached to this one, I won't be giving it away, so I'll throw it in the washer and dryer soon and see how it looks with real usage.  I'm pretty hooked on making these - love how the design "pops"!

Finally, here's a couple of cute egg chicks I made, as part of a challenge from Oh! Nuts.  They offered to send me a bag of Jordan almonds, my color choice, and see what I came up with for either a recipe or a craft.  Well, I can't imagine what you could actually "cook" with Jordan almonds, but I thought they would be cute in an Easter basket, so I went with that:
I picked lavender almonds, and found this little purple basket to hold them.  Then I knitted the two egg chicks using this free pattern.  I surprised myself by being able to make these!  The only issue I ran into is that I made the first one to cover a Cadbury creme egg.  Except that I didn't have one on hand (I know, can you believe I don't keep a steady supply in the house?), so I made it to fit a real egg.  Only later did I discover that Cadbury eggs are now smaller than they used to be!  By then I'd bought one three, so made the yellow chick to fit it, and used Jeff's stroke of genius idea to cover a real egg with the foil from the creme egg for the picture.  I think the whole project came out pretty cute, and I love how the Jordan almonds look like mini eggs in the basket!  Full disclosure here:  they taste pretty crunchy and sweet, too.


I have 3.5 miles on the running schedule tomorrow, and a field trip with the running club to Luke's Locker in the Woodlands on Sunday.  Fun times!  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - Lonely Girl Edition

I know I'm a baby, and it's also the antithesis of most runners, but I don't like to run alone.  And yes, I realize that running is pretty much a solitary sport, except for races.  Which is why I like my running club - I love to have a group to do my long runs with.  I struggle, mentally, with getting out the door to do my runs during the week, but once I get started, I usually get in the groove and am fine with it.  Last Thursday, I bribed myself to go run with the promise of a new skein of yarn...and once I was done, I hopped in the car, drove to Michael's, and $1.25 (plus tax) later, had my prize:
Hey, it's better than bribing myself with food, right?

I'm calling it another win for the Sit and Knit diet!

And speaking of running alone, none of my walk/run ladies showed up for running club on Saturday.  Sighhhhhhhhhhh.  OK, it had stormed all night and only just stopped with the thunder and lightening about an hour before we were scheduled to meet, but actually cleared up for our run, and although it was windy, it wasn't raining.  So I ran alone, again.  I know, you feel sorry for me, right?  Jeff would have run with me, but Coach Dale benched both Jeff and Coach Jessica since they were running Austin the next day.  Three miles, and while I could see everyone ahead of me, I spent the majority of the run with just my iPod, and the added irony of hearing the line from The Muppets soundtrack "'s a happy song when there's someone by your side..." as I ran, all alone.  Problems, people...I got 'em.  Luckily for me, sweet Coach Julia came back for me and we ran the last half mile in together.  

Yesterday I ran with my running buddy - we are stepping it up!  Our intervals are now 1:30 walk/2:00 run, times 12 - we did 3 miles in 42 minutes!  And tomorrow, I'm hoping to run with another friend, but if she can't make it, I'll head out there on my own...and who knows what color yarn I will end up with?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Austin Half Marathon Recap!

Over a year ago, I thought I'd be writing this recap after I had run the Austin Half Marathon.  Unfortunately, I injured my ankle and couldn't run the race last year, and due to the ridiculously long time it took to heal, I also couldn't run the race this year.  So Jeff did, instead.  And after hearing how incredibly hilly the course was, especially the last two hills (or mountains, as Jeff called them) between miles 11 and 12, I'm relieved that I didn't have to face such a challenging race.  What can I say - running 13.1 miles is hard enough...why throw hills into the mix?!?

On to the recap.  We zipped over to Austin Saturday morning - stopped on our way in Bastrop at the Roadhouse to split a burger.  YUM.  This place has been voted "best burgers" over and over, and I can see why.  This was my first time to drive through Bastrop since the devastating wildfire that burned much of the area last September - it was shocking and sad to see all of the destruction, from the forest of trees that were burned, to the homes...we could see areas where there was just the brick chimney standing, no house remaining.  Between seeing all of that and the trees that were broken in half from a small tornado that hit an area close to Bastrop, it was a sobering reminder of how intense natural disasters are.  Sorry, I know that was a bit of a downer to read, but it just shocked me to see how bad things were.

OK, now on to the recap for real:
Packet pickup at the expo - I thought it was pretty funny that in a town that is over one hundred miles from where we live, we ran into not only Coach Jessica (and her fiance) from the running club, but also three ladies who we met the weekend before after a Saturday run - we all were at a local deli cafe for breakfast and, as runners, do, happened to start talking about upcoming races.  Random to see them in Austin, though.
 Loot we picked up at the expo, plus I saw a race shirt that made both of us laugh, so I bought it.
Jeff made sure to carbo load with gnocchi and meat sauce, and lots of cheesy garlic bread...
...while I had my favorite, pesto with pasta, and grilled chicken.  And only half a slice of bread...I don't know WHAT was wrong with me!
Jeff's sweet technical race shirt - this was pretty nice!

After not sleeping very well (what IS it about knowing that you are going to have to wake up incredibly early that makes it so you keep waking up all night to be sure you don't miss the TWO alarms you've set?!?), we were up at 4:00 am to get dressed and drive over to the race area.  After getting stuck in traffic for a race once, we decided that we'd rather be early and just sit in the car, rather than stress over being late.  We got to sit in the car for about 25 minutes before heading out to do bag check.
Getting ready to go stand in the starting corral - tightening shoelaces...
 Turning on Garmin...
Indulging wife by posing for picture near the pace group you are going to start with...
This is his "not nervous at all" smile, while runners around him stretch and do assorted limbering exercises.
The start!

So about that start.  I left Jeff in the corral and walked, and walked, and walked to the starting line.  There was no way I could get close enough to see anything, but luckily I saw some people standing on the steps of a little church, so I joined them, and although Jeff didn't see me (because he had no idea I'd be up there), I was able to spot him in the crowd.  For fun, I decided to video the start with my camera.  I turned it on just as the announcer counted down to the start - they played some music, the runners started moving...and I got choked up!  It was a pretty amazing sight to see so many pumped up runners starting their race - I don't care how many times you run a half or full marathon, it's a huge hurdle and pretty incredible that so many people are willing to tackle it.  Anyway, I uploaded the video to YouTube - it's about 10 minutes long and I don't expect anyone to actually watch the entire thing, but if you want to see the beginning of the race, click here.  BTW, Jeff shows up at the 9 minute mark, if you want to fast forward to see him.

The race.  I got a workout in spectating this race!  Apparently if you went to the bridge, you could see the runners at miles 2 and 8, so after I watched Jeff cross the start line, I made my way there.  But along the way, I saw the runners passing by around the first mile, so I waited there for a bit to see if Jeff would pass.  I never saw him - so I headed toward the bridge.  It was a bit of a walk - I think I was on 11th St., and I had to get to 2nd St.  Along the way I ran into Coach Jessica's fiance, Bryce, so we headed there together.  He suggested moving a little way down from the huge crowds at the bridge - more like mile 8.25.  Turns out that was a great call, as we saw everyone, and they (with one exception) all saw us!  So who didn't notice my cheers?  Blogger Kim, who flew in from Oregon to run the race!  She had posted a picture of her race outfit so I knew what to look for, but still, I was shocked when I realized that I was actually seeing her!

Shortly after I saw Kim (who, in our emails, stated that she was going to beat Jeff - and she did!), Jeff came along.  He didn't see me at first, and I had to yell out his name several times, but finally he heard, and came over for a quick kiss and was on his way.  Then I heard a runner calling out my name - it was Coach Joni's husband, Rand!  Soon after, I saw Kim and Carrie from our running club, and then Coach Jessica, and also?  The ladies from the deli cafe recognized me and were hooting and hollering - it was great fun to cheer for all of my running buddies!  You will notice that there are no pictures, as everyone was actually running and not stopping for pictures (what is up with THAT?), and I was not quick enough with the camera to get a shot as they ran by. 

So with mile 8 done, I headed over to the finish line.  Another tough place to get close enough to see (for this vertically-challenged person), but I lucked out and found a spot.  I got to see the first marathon finisher come screaming in - once again, as with the Dallas marathon, I am amazed at how much juice these elite runners look like they still have in the tank at the end of their race.  Then, I saw Kim, and she saw me!  My funniest blogger meet up - we saw each other and waved, but never actually got to speak.  We had plans to meet up after the race, but it was crazy crowded and everyone was ready to get the heck out of Dodge at that point.  Next time.  Anyway, Jeff came around the bend - woohoo!
 Nice photo with the state capitol in the background!
He smiled just after I took this picture...the greatest sports photographer, I am definitely NOT.
Finished!  2:15, which is pretty incredible considering how brutal the last two hills were.
Medal boy gives Austin thumbs up!
 I think he's pretty proud of himself!

Finally, check out these two shots - same place, just one in the very early morning and one a few hours later.  It's like night and day!  (and yes, I DO crack myself up!)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Mishmash - Mini Review Edition

Sit and Knit diet update:  It's amazing how much you can get done when you aren't having to unravel everything!  This week I've finished some little projects from my beginner's knitting book:
 A little coin purse and a sunglasses case!  I'm using the sunglasses case to hold my smaller knitting supplies...seemed appropriate, no?
This was to practice knitting, purling and reducing.  Tapering.  Crap, I can't remember.  Something to make it go to the point at the top.  Yes, the stitches are wobbly, and the weird thing they had you do for the button hole was lopsided, but I'm pretty proud of it.  Not sure what I'll use it for - right now, I have my iPod and earbuds in it.
This was to practice the rib stitch, which was great fun to watch develop.  Also, I love the bright colors of this yarn!  It's called Summer Splash and is a cotton.

I finally completed my first washcloth!  Fourth time was the charm!!!  No picture yet, as I need to block it, but I'm thrilled with it.  It's a sailboat - now to see if either of the two pregnant people in my life are having a boy...
I also bought my first set of patterns from - these little fruit washcloths are so charming that I just had to buy the design!  I have yarn for the cherries and the banana, so I'll start with them.


I was losing a Words With Friends game against Jeff the other day, when, at the last minute, I was able to play "quiz" on a triple letter (for the "z") AND a triple word score - woohoo!  My best word score yet!
Victory was mine!


Running club outfit challenge # 2:
Purple was the name of the game...along with layers.  I wore a black long-sleeved technical shirt, a short-sleeved technical shirt over that, and my jacket, plus a pair of Lucy Hatha Yoga leggings* under a pair of black shorts.  Gloves, merino wool running socks, and my Elmer Fudd hat completed the look.

There are only a couple of quick candid shots as it was freezing - just prior to this picture, I was also wearing my green jacket and had a blanket wrapped around me from the waist down!
  (And I swear, I wasn't flipping the bird to the photographer (Jeff) - it just looks that way.  Promise.)
Better view of the Elmer Fudd hat - it has an ear/neck wrap that you can flip up or down, depending on how cold it is.  Not a flattering hat, but even I can give up fashion to stay warm!

Note:  It's recommended that you dress for 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature, because as you run, you warm up quickly.  However, since I'm walking half the time, I knew I wouldn't warm up that much - hence the massive amounts of layering.


*Mini review #1 - Lucy sent me these leggings (and I'm working with them to do a giveaway in the next few months, yay!) for review.  Now, I was feeling especially fat (hey, we all have those days, right?) when I gave them my size, and I easily could have gone down a size, but with leggings, they're never super loose, so they work fine.  These are so comfortable!  Very, very soft - the only thing I have to compare them to are my old Nike capris, which are more compression-like, and I only wear them to exercise in; however, the Lucy leggings?  I could live in them.  That said, I would never wear them without a pair of shorts over them, or under a casual dress...the fabric is a little unforgiving in that it definitely shows every lump and bump on my lower half.  But that's also a 48-year-old body...your mileage may vary. ;)


**Mini review #2 - About a month ago I was sent the book The New Rules of Lifting for Abs, and while I'm not into lifting, I am interested in strengthening my core, and this book has a bunch of exercises that are very easy to do at home.  Well, not that they're EASY to do; rather, you don't have to be at a gym or own a lot of equipment to do them.  Jeff and I have been doing the basic planks on a not-so-regular basis...we have a couple of good days of remembering to do them (at night, while we're watching TV), and then we'll forget.  I love how I feel after I've done a few rounds of planks - it's amazing how such a deceptively simple exercise can be so intense!  The workouts are shown with pictures so you can see exactly what you're supposed to be doing - always a plus with me.  All of this is great, but what I like best about this book is the author's attitude toward diet and nutrition.  Simply put, to lose weight, he recommends some basic steps that anyone who wants to lose weight should be following:  limit fast food, eliminate almost all calorie-containing beverages, eat breakfast, up your fiber intake - all using normal food, with no crazy meal plans.  What a concept!  Love it.


Busy weekend ahead - we have running club early tomorrow morning, and then we're headed to Austin, where Jeff will run the Austin half marathon on Sunday!  I hear there's a killer hill at mile 12 - kinda glad I'll be spectating this race, actually.  And I'm sure hoping the weather report is true - rain on Saturday, but sunny and not freezing on Sunday race day.  I'll be back on Monday with a race recap - have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - All About the Running!

Last week was a good one - by forcing myself to workout before I sat down to knit each day, I swam or ran every day (except for Sunday - rest day).  This week?  A little tougher, but I'm managing.  The hardest part is that my ankle hurts and that makes me hesitate before running.  Once I get started, though, it doesn't hurt any worse, so I'm able to keep doing it. 

Running is hard but fun.  Last week, I felt great doing 3 minute walk/1:30 minute run intervals, so by Thursday, I decided to step it up and do quarter-mile run/2 minute walk intervals.  What was I thinking?!?  That was more than double the run time.  I died.  Well, obviously not, as I lived to blog another day, but it was incredibly hard - I managed to do a mile , but it was awful.  And my ankle really bothered me for days after that run.  Not the wisest decision - I guess my body has not caught up with my mind when it comes to running.  Motrin has, once again, become my very good friend.

On Saturday, I set Ricky Bobby (my Garmin) to even 2/2 intervals for our 2.5 mile run.  Oh, let me back up for a minute.  Like most of the country, we've had a really mild winter - until Saturday morning.  The first official running club meeting, and it was freezing cold and windy!  We were standing outside from 6:30 am until we finally started running at 7:30 - the temperature was 36 degrees with a wind chill of 26!  Frozen is what we all were.  We normally don't have such a long delay, but the first day always has new people signing up, introduction of the coaches, a little bit about running least I knew it was going to be rough, standing out there in the cold like that, and I wore an extra jacket and wrapped a blanket around my legs.  It helped, but still...fingers, toes and faces were numb by the time we started our run.

Anyway, our group started out and I ended up running with a new member, Molly, who I ran intervals with last week on our track-workout-that-ended-up-being-a-run.  Not gonna lie, it wasn't easy, and several times I glanced down at Ricky Bobby, sure he had stopped working.  One thing that surprised me was that it didn't take very long to recover between the running intervals - I can see dropping down to a one minute walk interval in the near future...but not quite yet.

Yesterday, Jenny and I ran 2/2 intervals - we were huffing and puffing and finally, around the third or fourth run, I said "we've got to slow down!" so we did.  The one thing about setting Ricky Bobby for an interval workout is that your running pace doesn't show on the screen, and while I'm sure I could push buttons and have it appear as we ran, I'm afraid I'd either mess up the interval settings, or trip and fall because I'm looking at my wrist and not the road.  So I wing it when it comes to pace, unless Jeff is running with me - then we can use his Garmin for pacing.  Jenny and I pushed each other through that run, which is a major benefit to having a running buddy...harder to quit, mid-run!  Anyway, after I got home and uploaded the Garmin info, I understood WHY we were having such a hard time - we were speed demons!  Well, for us.  I'm sure plenty of runners would laugh at this, but almost all of our two-minute running intervals were between 11:20 - 11:47 range - which is fast!  Again, for us.

We ended up running just over three miles, and my ankle didn't start hurting until about the last 6 minutes, which is an improvement from the weekend.  I can see that I'll just have to keep slowly building up the amount of running time on it, and appreciate the pain that comes, because it's stopping me from overdoing it.

Life is good.  I'm running!  Yay!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thinking Beyond the Diet

Very early on, when I started my diet "this time" (as opposed to my countless other diets over the decades), I became aware of the concept of maintenance, thanks in part to Lynn.  I'd stumbled upon her blog, saw that she had lost a lot of weight...and was keeping it off.  It was a light bulb moment for me - oh, people actually go on a diet, lose weight and STAY thin?  What a concept!  Sounds a bit silly, but truly, how many times have you gone on a diet with a goal weight in mind?  And changed your eating habits just until you hit that goal weight?  Yeah, I think we've all done that.

Because of that light bulb moment, I kept the idea of maintenance in mind the entire time I was losing weight.  I tried to think about how I was going to keep the weight off - and as my diet evolved over the months and months that it took me to lose 100 pounds, I constantly asked myself  "am I going to be able to keep eating like this?" after I was "done" with the diet.  If I honestly didn't think it was something I could keep up, I looked for alternatives.  And that's how I eventually stumbled into the way I eat now...I tried out different things, I read tons of successful bloggers and how they were eating, and I even *gasp* read a few books along the way.

These are some of the lifestyle changes that I made as I lost the weight and consider them my "standards" now:

Eat breakfast.  I never used to do that.  Over time, I switched from eating no breakfast, to eating a Yoplait fat-free yogurt with Kashi cereal, to now eating Greek yogurt with either fresh fruit or dried cranberries and some homemade granola.   While I loved the Yoplait back then, I can't even stand the smell now - it's too artificial and sweet to me.  But the first few times I tried Greek yogurt?  Yuck.  It was too sour for me.  Now, I love it.  Tastes change, and as I ate less and less processed food, I ended up not liking the chemical taste that comes with so much of the diet foods. 

I don't eat fast food anymore - haven't had McDonalds or Taco Bell (my old mainstays) in years.  Seriously!  I keep an emergency Clif Bar and a couple 100-calorie bags of almonds in my purse, in case I happen to be out and lunch is delayed, but I rarely have to break into my stash because I try to plan my meals, even on busy days.  I know things can get away from us, and that seems to be the excuse I see when dieters end up "having" to do a fast-food drive thru, but really - aren't you worth the extra few minutes to either fix yourself something healthy (it doesn't have to be involved...lord knows, I'm the queen of simple when it comes to meals) or have a little something (like the nuts or a bar) to tide yourself over until you CAN eat a regular meal?

When you are having something (usually a treat) where you can choose the size, always go for the small.  On the rare occasion that I get an ice cream, I order a small.  EVEN THOUGH my mind tries to trick me by saying "you hardly ever get ice cream...go for the double" - I get a small.  Same goes for something (somewhat) healthy, like a smoothie.  Jenny and I used to run for smoothies, and after 4 or 5 miles, that large smoothie had my name all over it!  But a small is what I ordered, bargaining with myself that I could order something else if I was still hungry afterward.  Which, of course, I wasn't.  It's not always an easy thing to order the small, but in the end, I'm usually glad I did.

The last thing that I have to work hard at doing is splitting my meals and sharing my treats.  I'm a first-born and don't share well.  This is not a natural concept for me, STILL.  But by sharing some tortilla chips with Jeff at Chipolte, say, means that I can have a few without going overboard.  Same for the burger and fries that we routinely split on Friday nights...I get to eat something that is definitely more on the decadent side without blowing my maintenance to smithereens.  Same for desserts - while it's rare that we have anything other than frozen yogurt, if we do order a dessert, it's always split.  And as for that frozen yogurt...heck no, I don't split that!  I am, however, working hard to make sure I can still see the sides of the cup after I've filled it...those self-serves places are a blessing and a curse!

I'm not a professional dieter, I just play one on the internets.  What works for me may not work for you.  However, this IS working for me, and if you are looking to make some permanent changes in your weight, why not give it a try...after all, what do you have to lose?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Mishmash - Is This What 'Stitch and Bitch' Means?

Knitting update - the good, the bad and the ugly:
Clockwise:  yellow is the rib stitch that will become a little case for some knitting supplies, blue is the washcloth, pink/green is the scarf.

The Good:  I still like it!  I'm slowly but surely understanding how to knit, purl and make a rib stitch (like the cuff of a sweater - which is simply "knit/purl/repeat" - how fun to see THAT turn into ribbing!).  And because I want to spend so much time knitting, I've made a deal with myself that I can't knit unless I've exercised for the day.  My Sit and Knit diet is not only working with the eating (can't snack if your hands are busy) but is also making me workout so I can knit, guilt-free! Everyone (and by everyone, I mean my multiple personalities) wins with this!

The Bad:  I'll be trucking along and discover that I've made a mistake somewhere...and it seems pretty hard to fix.  So I unravel my piece down to the mistake.  And then?  I can't get the loops all back on the needle in the right direction, which causes MORE mistakes.  End result is NO end result...meaning I have to completely unravel the piece and start all over.  My sailboat washcloth?  I'm on the third try.
See the tally marks on the bottom of the page?  You have to knit the first seven rows before you start doing the pattern, and that's how I keep track of what row I'm knitting (maybe there's a way to look at the piece and tell how many rows you've knitted, but I can't do that yet).  Three sets of tally marks.  The furthest I've gotten is to row 16.

The Ugly:  You know, I'm generally a pretty positive, easy-going person.  Which is really good when it comes to knitting, because it can be frustrating.  I learned how to knit left-handed, and had success.  Then I went to a knitting store, where the (left-handed, herself) woman working there convinced me that it would be easier if I retrained myself to knit right-handed, which would enable me to read patterns without having to reverse everything.  That made sense, so I did it - wasn't easy, and I think that's where my mistakes happened, as I'd go on autopilot and whoops - reversed the direction of my yarn.  Overall, not a big deal, as I'm sure I'll get more used to knitting's barely been a week, after all.

But I was well into my newest scarf, and found a mistake, and after unraveling about an inch, I was pretty sure I hadn't gotten the loops back on the needle correctly.  I went BACK to the knitting store (third trip in a week, if you're counting) to ask the oh-so-helpful woman if there was a trick to fixing a mistake.  Only she wasn't there, the store owner was.  Who was nice and helped me, but in a bulldozer-type of way.  Wrap your yarn around this hand.  You were not knitting left-handed, you were knitting backwards (I don't know if it's just me, or every lefty, but it really rankles me to be told I'm doing something "backwards").  I'll fix it (only she didn't).  Stop purling and join my beginner's class - I'll teach you the right way to do everything.  Well CRAP.  Not only did she not help on the scarf (there ended up being purled stitches, which I think happened because the loops were twisted...?), but she threw me into my "acquiesce by intimidation" mode, which I tend to do when I feel overwhelmed and just want to get out of there.  Quite the different experience from my prior visits to the store.

Sooooooooo.  I went home and unraveled the scarf completely and started over.  MY way.  Still right-handed, but holding the yarn the way that worked for me.  And if you're keeping track, I have a washcloth that has been unraveled three times and a scarf that has been unraveled twice.  But as Bob is my witness (Rugrats), I WILL finish these projects, I WILL be successful, and I WILL understand the mysterious world of knitting!


Last week I challenged myself to wearing a different outfit for each of the 10 Saturdays of Running Club (sure, some people do easy challenges like 100 sit ups, but me?  I'm hardcore, baby!).  Here's outfit #1:
I went with a favorite color - pink!  Eagle eyes will notice that I even matched my ponytail holder and Road ID band - yes, I'm that crazy.
Saturday outfit #1 - it's still a little chilly for me, so I layered my old Nike capris under my old workout shorts.  Had I gone running in the morning, I would have worn a jacket as well.


Now, you all know that I'm a little bit nutty about color and having things match (or go, as Stacy and Clinton say).  It's the little things in life that make me happy.  With that in mind, I've been wanting to order more colors of the Road ID wristbands, and decided to treat myself to all of them, as a "return to running" reward.  I can't tell you how fun it was to open the package and see all the colorful bands pop out - and at a buck each, this was well worth it.
So pretty!  Everything except for the yellow band is from Road ID - Janell sent me that one a couple of years ago - and the nice thing about this system is that you can wear the metal info tag on any standard silicone band.

I had to show you what was happening while I was taking the picture of the soon as he hears the beep of the camera being turned on, Paco's ears perk up and he poses:


Speaking of that dog, I mentioned that he doesn't like thunder.  Jeff took this picture last Friday night, during that bad storm - he's not normally a lap dog, but quickly becomes one at the first BOOM!
Multi-tasking - comforting dog while reading blogs on my netbook, with knitting projects nearby, and also watching the weatherman freak out on TV.  And?  Please note my two containers of's all about the hydration!

OK.  Tomorrow, it's take two for Running Club.  The excitement builds!!!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - 'Work With It' Edition

Well, running club did not go as planned, because we had severe storms roll in Friday evening, along with two tornadoes just outside of town!  Jeff and I were sitting at our local hamburger place, where we had just finished splitting a burger (and had plans to get some frozen yogurt next) when the tornado warning came on the television.  Decided we'd better book it home (just a five minute drive), which was a good thing, as the torrential rains caused flooding all over!  After a few hours of rain and some hail, it eased up a bit so we went in the front yard (along with most of our neighbors) to check out our drainage area, which is normally a nice grassy play area.  It was flooded, and spilling out onto the street - I've never seen it this bad! 
Friday night - brave neighbor, going barefoot in the flood waters (I worry about creatures like snakes being them so I wore my rain boots)
Tuesday afternoon - this is what it normally looks like!
Paco may be afraid of thunder, but floodwater?  FUN!
This side of the street was covered from curb to curb - good thing we didn't want to go anywhere!

The town was flooding all over, so running club was called off - but this being Texas, our weather is so extreme that it stopped raining and most places dried out enough that Jeff and I were able to go out for a run on Saturday afternoon!  We went to the scary statue park but stayed in the roadway, as the trails were covered with mud, silt and still had some pretty good puddles.  On the schedule for Saturday was a 2 miler,  which I did using 3 minute walk/1.5 minute run intervals.  Pretty easy considering we've been walk/running around 3.5 miles, but I wanted to do what we would have done with the club.  I give this run a big thumbs up!
Paco, doing his whole body lean onto me, as usual...

This week has been a bit off, and I've realized that I just have to work with it, because no matter what I plan, things are going weird.  It started with Saturday morning's run being cancelled (so I worked with it to go in the afternoon), then on Monday, the temperature was below my 40 degree comfort cut-off for the pool - but I went anyway.  Got there and noticed that the water level was way down - my pool buddy Nancy swam up to me and said "it's really cold" - oh, great.  Not sure why so much water was missing, but they were adding more, with a nice cold hose...which was two lanes over from where I swam - and also?  The heaters weren't on!  I knew I wouldn't last too long, and I couldn't stand the thought of getting my face and head wet, so I worked with it by just doing kickboarding - 50 lengths.  Better than nothing, right?

On Tuesday, Jenny wasn't able to meet me for our run, and while I wasn't relishing the idea of running by myself, I planned on going out after I got my hair cut.  Then I got a reminder email about the track workout that night, and while I don't plan on doing many of them (because I'm trying to limit my running to just 3 days a week), this worked out perfectly to get my run in with I went.  And I got another opportunity to work with it, as the track was closed (soccer game was being played), so we ended up going for a little run instead!  Good thing I decided to be flexible, right?

Today is another swimming workout, and I sure hope the pool is filled AND warm.  But if it's not, I'll work with it, one way or another.