Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Mishmash

Ever hear a crashing sound somewhere in your house, but can't figure out what exactly happened?  Both Jeff and I got up to investigate, but didn't see anything amiss...and the usual suspect, Kip, was outside.  Later that day, though, I opened a cupboard door and discovered that the plastic shelf supports had given way, and the top shelf in my cupboard - the one holding an entire set of dishes, had fallen.  LUCKILY, I'd opened the door where less of the dishes were...otherwise, I'm sure I would have had a painful dish shower.  One trip to Home Depot later, we had metal shelf supports in hand, as well as an order for an extra shelf for each cupboard.  WHY we waited almost 12 years to do this is beyond me, as they weren't even very expensive!  Silly us.  Anyway, the new shelves are in and hopefully I have the weight distributed a bit better now:
Ahhh, my Fiestaware STILL makes me happy!
The blue dishes on the top shelf are what fell...while I don't use them now, they were the first set of dishes (and wedding presents) and I still like them enough to hold onto them.


The other day while I was in line at Starbucks, the woman ahead of me had a very complicated drink order that included "nine pumps of sugar-free vanilla" - NINE???  Holy chemicals, lady.  I wonder, if she used the real stuff, if she'd put nine pumps in?  Made my iced non-fat latte feel very tame by comparison.


Kristen, my fashion guru, who blogs over at Low Fat Dressing, has a series on weight-loss maintainers (she calls it "They Walk Among Us" which cracks me up), and this week, she is featuring me!  Thanks, Kristen - and I love that one of the pictures you chose is me wearing an outfit that you helped me pull together!


Earlier this week, my friend Terry came to town and we went on a little road trip, to tiny Paige, Texas (pop. 275) - home of Yarnorama!  This store is in the middle of nowhere, but well worth the drive - they had so many gorgeous yarns and all sorts of was a bit overwhelming at first, but I managed to choose a few skeins to play with:
The bottom left yarn is soooooo soft!  I'm making a masculine scarf with it.  The lime green?  Maybe a baby hat?  The multicolored yarn...scarf.  Although they had a gorgeous short-sleeved sweater made from it, but that's way beyond my capabilities right now.
This is GORGEOUS.  The owner said two skeins would make a scarf, and I had them in my hands, but came to my senses and didn't buy them, as I just finished struggling with the ribbon yarn in my "adventurous" scarf and I really need to get better at knitting before I take on a challenge like that.  But I'll be back for you, my pretty!
Terry is a weaver (she and her dad built her loom) and she found lots of fun things as well!


For Fashion Friday, this week I have a very special model - my mom!  She's here visiting for a couple of weeks, and is modeling HER "adventurous" scarf - yes, I made that scarf for her.  I chose the color of the yarn based on what I know she likes to wear, and I also thought it would look great with her silver hair.  I was right...check it out:
Everyone, this is my mom, Judy.  Say hi!


Last week's long run outfit - I was so happy to break out all my pink stuff...maybe that's why the run went so well?  Or at least it made me feel happy so I ran happy?  Whatever it was, I'll take it.
Tomorrow we have 5.5 miles on tap, and then on Sunday we have a 5K fun run...except for Easter weekend, we have a race every weekend in April!  After that, the racing season pretty much ends until late fall, so we are taking advantage of doing as much as we can right now.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - Five Mile Victory!

I can't believe how great I felt doing that five mile run on Saturday.  Everything came together and I had one of those runs...the kind that reminds you of how much you love to run and why you keep coming back.  Jeff and I set off at almost the back of the pack, and made a pact to keep running to at least the first mile marker.  I thought for sure I'd want to stop before then, but surprised myself by keeping going for another third of a mile.  And in all honesty, I could have kept going, but Ricky Bobby was not registering anything for me, which was bugging me, and also there was the first "hill" (OK, really a slope...) and I kinda wanted to walk it.  Luckily, I discovered the problem with Ricky Bobby was *ahem* user error, as apparently I'd pressed the lap button when we started running instead of the all important START button.  Oops.  At least Jeff had started his Garmin correctly, so we had the total mileage going.  But I wanted to be able to see my pace, because I'm trying to run slow and steady on these long runs, and too often I'm all over the place, from a 9:30 to a 14:00 pace.

Anyway, we walked for about a minute and a half, and then started running again...and ran all the way up "Harvey Hill"!  You guys, back when I was doing my half marathon training, this hill kicked my butt more times than I can count, and I ALWAYS had a hard time getting up it without a little walking.  Not only did I run the whole thing, but when we got to the top and turned the corner?  I kept running.  We'd been slowly gaining on two ladies, who we trail every long run.  Jeff kept saying "they're half your age - look at how well you're doing!" and you know, that was pretty motivating, even for this non-competitive person.  We caught up to them at the three mile marker, where the water and Gatorade was waiting for us.  I stopped to walk for just a few seconds as I took out my reward chocolate Gu, but kept going, since I knew that they all would easily catch up to me and I didn't need to refill my handheld water bottle anyway.  I sucked down the Gu (yummy - like a melted candy bar)(a lot of runners don't need fuel that early, but I can barely eat anything before these long runs and I wanted to be sure I had energy to get to mile five) and sure enough, the ladies and Jeff caught back up.  We all kept running, but then a funny thing happened:  we passed the ladies.  And we stayed ahead of them!  I was shocked.  Shocked! 

Just past mile four, I heard from behind a voice saying "Shelley, you're doing great!" - it was Kim, who had arrived after we'd all set off and had caught up to us (she's a speed demon!).  She finished the run with Jeff and I - we chatted a bit about our outfits (you will see why in the picture below), and then mostly she and Jeff talked the rest of the way while I just tried to concentrate on getting to the finish...yes, I was getting tired, but I never stopped running.  Go me!  Five miles!!!  And we weren't the last ones to finish, finally!  Wheeeeeeee!!!
Kim and I in our Skirt Sports ensembles...both wearing Gym Girl Ultra running skirts and their Signature Tees - how fun!

I also wanted to mention that Jeff and I have been playing "race ya" during our short runs on Thursdays...basically we do a half mile warm up, and then pick a point (light post, trash can, statue, bridge), say "race ya to it" and then run as fast as we can to it.  Great fun, and we've been getting in about 30 minutes of a combination of the warm up, the racing, and the walking-while-gasping-for-breath-afterward (OK, just me).  I mentioned this to Helen in an email and she said we were doing "fartleks" (lolololol)(yes I'm an adolescent boy) and that they help you to increase your pace.  It definitely increased the fun in our run, so there's that.  At this point, I just want to run and enjoy myself...and lately, I've been pretty successful at that!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Muddy Girl Recap!

Yesterday Jeff and I got up super early and drove to Houston - Baytown, really - to meet up with Kelly, Chuck and their daughter Rachel so we ladies could get down and dirty in the mud.  It could not have been more perfect weather for the race - gorgeous blue skies, a little breeze, nice and warm - just one of those spring days that makes you glad to be outside.  We met up at the race area, which had a great shaded tent with lots of food and beverages available...really, we could have started eating and drinking right away, but we figured we'd hold off until after the race.  Which wasn't really a race - more like a fun run/walk, with lots of obstacles to power through along the way.  There were waves of 150 runners every thirty minutes, so it never felt very crowded.  Our start time was 11:00 am, which gave us plenty of time for pictures and goofing around.  Fair warning:  this is a picture-heavy post (but would you expect anything less from me?).
The paparazzi was there in the form of Jeff and Chuck.  Check out Jeff's shirt - I gave this to him back when I was the only runner in our family!  Tina created it for me, and it proved to be pretty popular at the race, as a few women asked where he got it!
...and yes, the paparazzi stalked me EVERYWHERE I went, lol!
Me, Kelly and Rachel - so fresh and clean!
No more pictures, please! ;)
Then Kelly turned the table on the, Jeff!
Posing with Kelly's friends Jennifer and Katherine.  Jennifer is wearing a grocery sack held down with flaming duct tape on her head to keep the mud out.  She was a hoot and a half!  It was her birthday, so she could get away with anything!
Start of our wave - look at everyone run!
...and here's us.  Hey, why expend all that energy at the beginning?  We took it nice and easy!

We went through several obstacles, including running through a rainbow of water sprayed by some nice firemen, a tire run (note to self: step IN the tire, not ON it), ran/walked up and down hills (Rachel and Jennifer rolled down one for fun), belly crawled under some ropes through sloppy mud, and climbed over barrels (ok, the taller people walked over them).  Then we got to the cargo net, and saw the paparazzi across the water, stalking us once more:
Waving to my fan!
 Kelly and Rachel, action figures!
You can see how muddy we all were at that point - it was like we were wearing mud gloves from our belly crawl!
I really like climbing the cargo net - this one wasn't nearly as high as the one at Beach Palooza, but it was pretty slippery with the mud-coated ropes.
I call this one "synchronized climbing"!
I now have a "cargo net pose"!
And done!  Proud moment. 

After the cargo net, there was a water stop, where most of the cups had a bit of mud on them.  Tasty!  Then we climbed some hay bales, went over more barrels, and then slogged though some deep, squishy mud.  That was hard, and I think each of us fell at one didn't hurt, but the mud kind of sucked you down and it was difficult to get up.  Lots of laughter on this one.  We could see the last obstacle, which was a water run, and the finish line ahead.  Yay!  We were ready to be done, get our medals, and get some of this mud cleaned off.  But wait...there were race officials standing between us and the water run.  They pointed toward the woods and told us we had to go through there first.  WHAT???  I could see the finish line!  Argh.  Chuck caught my reaction via telephoto lens...I think my body language says it all:
So we turned toward  the woods, where we went through slippery mud, falling and falling - and apparently I even stepped on Kelly's leg when she was down and I didn't realize it!  Sorry Kels!  This was the hardest part of the race - it went on forever!  At least half a mile.  Or maybe an entire mile.  Maybe two...hard to say (ok, probably wasn't more than half a mile...but still!).  All along the way, we'd see shoes abandoned...the mud was doing an excellent job of sucking them off feet.  Luckily mine stayed on, but if one had slipped off, I was prepared to sacrifice it to the mud forest.  Finally, we came out and got to the water run, which was above my knees.  The nice thing about that obstacle is that it washed away a lot of the mud.  Chuck was on the side, and just as he yelled my name, I went down.  Glad I could entertain the paparazzi!
Almost done...
 There's the finish - yay!!!
One woman placed the medal around my neck, and then the next lady asked me if I was in the 11 or 11:30 wave...I could see she was holding the box of mugs that the first 10 finishers in each wave receive, and while I was tempted (the mugs were CUTE!), I was honest, and told her that no, I wasn't one of the first 10...which really - LOOK at me.  Do I look like I could speed through that course?!?  LOL.
 Jennifer, Kelly and Katherine coming in!  Woot!!!
 Clowning around for the after-race photographer.
My post-race treat - a mini cupcake.  My stomach was growling during the race and I couldn't wait to eat something!  This hit the spot, dirty hands and all.
 I like this shot - rehashing the race while enjoying our treats!
And yet another goofy pose.  We had a great time, and this race was a fun distraction from everyday life.

Here's Jeff's favorite part of the race:
He very kindly offered to help me wash the mud one point he was spraying the water at me as I ran around like a crazy person - it was cold!
 The race swag - super cute shirt (with my blog flower featured on it!).  This shirt is a teeny-tiny, fitted, size large...quite a few ladies there were disappointed with the sizing of the shirts, and a lot of us can't wear them (in public, anyway).  Lunch bag and koozie were also included. 
Yep.  I am most definitely a Muddy Girl!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Mishmash

My Sit and Knit diet continues with success:  I finally finished my "Adventurous" scarf.  AKA the cussing scarf, as evidenced by Jeff's Facebook status update a week ago:  My wife Shelley took up knitting, wow can that girl cuss!  It's not that the scarf was terribly difficult to knit, but with double wraps on every third row AND the ribbon yarn that was all kinds of textures, any mistake I made (and I made a few) was really hard to figure out how to fix on my own, so that meant a trip to the knitting store, where they very nicely helped me...and helped me, and helped me. The last straw was when I was about 85% done, and messed up.  I ended up going to the knitting store yet AGAIN, getting it fixed, and then I sat there and knitted it until I was done, just in case.  Whew!  I love how it turned out, and I will make this again in the future, but not before I get more experience and am able to see and fix my own mistakes.
Close up of the pattern - I love the colors of the ribbon yarn and how this turned out...well worth the trouble!

Here's the cherries washcloth that I finished - I'm not super impressed with how well the design popped (compared to my sailboat and ducky washcloths).  The instructions for the fruit washcloths called for size 3 needles, but the ladies at the knitting store thought that was ridiculously small, so I ended up making it on size 5's.  For comparison, the sailboat was done on size 8's and the ducky on size 7's.  I'm thinking of making another fruit washcloth - for my knitting readers, would you go bigger, like size 7, or smaller, like size 3?
I actually "blocked" this a bit, although as you can tell by the uneven sides, not all that well. 

Next up for my knitting projects is a bulky baby blanket for my cousin, Jill, who is expecting her new little girl in June.  (hi Jill - surprise, I'm knitting you a baby blanket!)(you probably already guessed that)(I promise, there will be no cussing attached to this project)  Also, just to keep things interesting, some more wash cloths, the bulky baby hat, and another scarf.  Because, hey - I have all these needles...might as well use them, right?

Just a quick picture to keep up with my 10 weeks of different running outfits for my 10 Week/10K program:
Since you already saw the full pose on Wednesday, I thought I'd show how Paco wanted to get in with the green theme - he loves to play along!


Fashion Friday - Keep or Return?  OK, here's the scoop:  I'm just feeling blah about my stomach and my upper arms (never-ending issue with me - I could link and link and link to the times I've written about this, but just know, unless I get surgical intervention (which I will never do as I'm too chicken and cheap), this is what I get to deal with as a result of distorting my body with food for decades) and I am not enjoying most of my warm-weather clothes.  So I went to Kohl's and tried on a bunch of tops - egads, what is with the old-school Mrs. Roper caftan bat-wing tops?!?  I'm sorry, but they don't look good on a skinny mannequin, much less a real person!  Anyway, I came home with this:
Feeling a bit like Minnie Pearl with the price tag hanging - guess I could have tucked it into my sleeve.

I like the color, and I feel like it camouflages both my stomach and my arms, but I'm on the fence, although with the second "trying on" for the picture, I think I'm on the side of keeping it.  What do you think?

And I know that some of you are wondering why I just don't try working out those "problem" areas more.  I have, and while everything did get smaller, they were still out-of-proportionally "there" - and I was more interested in running, so I let that part of my workouts go.  When I've been on the treadmill at the gym during the last few weeks, I've watched the personal trainers work with clients, and thought maybe I should go that route again.  But some things about my gym have been getting on my nerves lately (more than the cost of lockers) and I'm not sure if I'll continue my membership there, so I don't want to get tied into anything should I have a hissy fit and quit come to a rational decision and end my membership.  Going back to Brad is not on the table as it's only personal training - you can't go to his gym anytime you want and run on the treadmill, which is something that I like having available.  Not to mention the gym is the only location with an indoor lap pool, which saves my skin, literally.  Ack, how did Fashion Friday turn into a body/gym rant?  My mind, it's a jumbled mess.


Tomorrow I have a 5 mile run on the schedule.  FIVE MILES!!!  Don't ask me why that seems so much further than the 4.5 I did last Saturday, but it does.  Plus, I got a look at the route and from about mile 1.5 to mile 3, we'll be on "Harvey Hill" - a deceptive stretch where you just keep climbing...although after that, the rest of the run will be relatively flat and/or downhill, so that is good.  And then on Sunday, I'll be in Houston for the Muddy Girl obstacle course race with Kelly and her daughter!  I figure that since we'll be getting "rest time" from running every time we reach an obstacle, the fact that I will have run 5 miles the day before won't bother me.  Any case, we're doing this for fun, so there's no pressure to be fast...not that there was any danger of that happening, lol!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update

I ran less miles last week - about 8.5 - but considering that I only did intervals on Saturday, I ran more of those miles than ever before.  It's becoming evident to me that the distance, while still a physical challenge, is more of a mental thing to me...I'm holding myself back, and I'm sure a lot of that is fear of hurting myself again.  I've got to get over that.  Each time I complete a run, I feel like I dodged a bullet, which is a little ridiculous at this point as I'm fine.  Any little twinge I feel is just a normal part of running.  I don't have to baby myself any more.  Gah - sometimes I think I need to write "YOU'RE FINE" on my forearm so I can be reminded of that during my long run!

The run on Saturday was 4.5 miles and I'm happy to report that I made it to the end - the picture below was taken after we finished.  I ran for a mile, then walked for a minute, times infinity.  OK, not that long, but it began to feel like it, especially when I had to keep running beyond the mile markers that Coach Dale had set out, because I was actually covering a mile PLUS about 300 feet (for that minute of walking) - that started to mess with my mind a bit.  So I think that for the next long run, I'll completely abandon any set walking breaks and just go with the flow and see how far I can push myself (mentally as will as physically, because no matter what, I usually want to stop running about 20 feet into it) before I need to take a quick breather.

As it was St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, I dressed for the occasion...would you expect anything less of me?  Haha, I think not.  Naturally, I wore as much green as possible - after the run Coach Jessica was standing next to me and observed that even my pony-tail holder was fact, I was wearing green in seven  places  - can you pick out all seven (hint: I'm pointing to another)?
Warm enough to break out my running skirt, Casper-legs be damned, lol!

The pictures above show some of my favorite parts about running:  we've just finished a long run, we're standing around for a little bit rehashing everything, my body is good and tired, I feel like I've accomplished something, and it's only 8:30 on a Saturday morning!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Random Thoughts on Cravings and Hunger...

And why I eat a fairly monotonous diet most of the time.

First, let me say that I am not a foodie.  Sure, I ate a lot of food when I was overweight, but it's not like it was gourmet...I got fat on fast food (hello Taco Bell and McDonalds), convenience food (hello pizza delivery), junk food (the three C's - candy, chips and cookies), and, of course, quantity - back in the day, I could pack it away like no one's business.

These days, I am pretty boring, and I know that what I eat would drive some of my friends crazy, because I tend to have the same things over  and over.  Why do I do this?  Well, because it's easy.  I don't have to think about it - and quite frankly, I don't want to spend a lot of time focusing on food.  For me, when I do that, food becomes FOOD.  And as you can see by my "before" pictures, I had a lot of years where FOOD was a huge priority in my life.  No more.  Most of the time, it's just something to stop my hunger.  Sure, there are great meals, but I prefer for them to be few and far between.  I've (mostly) lost my obsession with food - it no longer has the hold on me that it once did.  And as with other addictions, I've accepted that it's a daily reprieve, which becomes evident when I do eat something that sets off my cravings and brings the actions of the "old me" back.

One thing that is almost always guaranteed to throw me off my path is sugar.  I get more crave-y when I have sugar.  Dark chocolate doesn't do it to me as bad as milk chocolate, but eating much of anything that's sugar-laden sets me off.  I know some people can work that kind of food into their daily diet based on calories, but I have to consider the consequences, too...and most of the time, setting off cravings is just not worth the internal battle for me.

Also, if food is too good, I will actually avoid it.  Jeff and I have even said, while eating something particularly delicious, "this is too good - we can't have it again" because we both know how easy it is to go down that path of overindulgence.   Yes, this may sound crazy and abnormal to many of you, but after all of the struggles I've had with my weight over the decades, I'm probably not normal.  Then again, who's to say what IS normal, right?  All I'm doing is muddling through this lifestyle the best way that I can, figuring out what works for me, and, in the process, maintaining my weight loss.

And for me, that's enough.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Mishmash

You guys just CRACKED ME UP with your comments on my Cranky post...I'm so glad I'm not alone, and also?  I'm glad that we can look at ourselves and our situations with a grain of salt.  Thanks so much for playing along with that post!


This week has been wonderful, because it's Spring Break and the students are gone from my town.  The streets are so empty that I would have gone joy-riding, just to enjoy the lack of traffic, except that gas prices are a bit on the high side to do that.  Oh well, when I did have to go somewhere, it was a real treat.  Jeff and I made sure to go out to dinner as well - empty restaurants are a nice change, too!  Life will be back to normal here by Monday, but each year, this is my favorite week to live here.


Did I just mention how nice it is in my town this week?  Then the fact that I jumped ship yesterday and hitched a ride with Jeff to Austin would seem crazy, right?  Especially since A) we had to leave at 6:15 am; and B) there's this little thing called SXSW going on, where every musician known to mankind AND all kinds of hipster fans have invaded the town.  But, the lure of a trip to a running store convinced me, so after he gave a speech to some environmental association, we both got new shoes!  Matching shoes at that, although thankfully they come in different colors for men and women.  Now we BOTH can run faster and jump higher!
Newtons - Gravity model.  Purty.  


SQUIRREL!  Every morning this squirrel jumps onto the roof and looks in the window at me while I'm sitting at my desk.  I don't know if she's checking up on me or what, but it always makes me laugh.  Of course, it makes Paco insane, and he tries to bark her away, but she's got his long as he's on this side of the window, she doesn't move.
She's watching me...
Eventually she moved even closer, to the tree right outside the window, where she leisurely ate her breakfast.  I wonder if I'm like her "television" - hmmm, I should try to be more entertaining for her!


Sit and Knit diet has resulted in a finished ducky washcloth, a finished cherries washcloth (that is currently drying - no picture yet), nearly half of my "adventurous" scarf completed (I set that one aside to work on some other projects, but I'm back at it now), and also, my purple skort from last summer is fitting looser.  OK, that could be from the running...or a combination.  Either way, I'll take it!
This would be cute paired with some baby wash as part of a shower gift...
And here's my next ambitious project - I'm going to try and make a version of this baby hat (minus the extra bumpy yarn, plus pom poms at each corner) using these chunky double-pointed needles.  I'll be knitting in the round, which I've never done.  Stay tuned...this could get frustrating interesting!

Here's my running outfit for last Saturday - I hope that this is the last time I'll be showing you multiple layers, gloves and long tights!  It was cool and rainy, but tomorrow is supposed to be warm and dry - hurray!
Since I've described everything in detail several times, I'll just tell you about my gloves - they came in a two-pair set from Target that were originally $2, but were on clearance for 60 cents...yes, 30 cents a pair!  Quite nice, since I often start out wearing gloves but take them off after a couple of miles, and it's too easy to drop one without noticing.  This way, I won't feel so bad if I lose one (and yes, I bought several sets).
Remember when I showed you my colorful bands for my Road ID?  Well, Coach Dale brought us some USAFit bands - woohoo, now I have gray, which matched my shirt!  It's the little things that make my day. :)

We have 4.5 miles on tap tomorrow - with warm and DRY weather forecast.  Should be a nice run in our new shoes!  Have a great weekend, and don't forget to wear your green on Saturday for St. Patrick's Day!