Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in Review

I can't link back to an old post detailing my resolutions for 2007 (no blog yet), so you'll just have to trust me. They were as follows:

1. Exercise 21 days in a row with the goal of forming an exercise habit that would last all year, and hopefully a lifetime.
2. Start eating "better".
3. Lose 15-25 pounds.

I'll be damned if for the first time in my life I didn't actually pull off all of my resolutions!! I actually exercised every single day from January 1, 2007 through February 1, 2007. Looking back at my logs, I did no exercise at all on only 85 days this year. Considering the Bell's Palsy and a nasty bout with the flu, I'm quite pleased with myself. I improved my diet immensely, eating for nutrition and counting calories 6 days out of 7 with very few exceptions. And I lost 20 pounds. On January 1, 2007, I weighed 149.8 pounds. Today, December 31, 2007, I weighed in at 130 pounds. Not only that, I am down 3 belt holes (started out in 2, tightly, and am currently in 5, which is the smallest on my belt!) and 3 pant sizes (12 to a 6).

Beyond all of that, beyond the numbers and the hours and the stats, beyond the physical change there has been a mental change as well. I began this year in a state of depression. I dreaded exercise and looked to food for comfort. I disliked my job and felt like it was the only major thing occupying my life. I missed the world where I used to live - a world in which I felt confident, smart, in control. And I didn't see any way out.

Though I didn't mean for it to happen this way, running and all the other forms of exercise in which I've dabbled have been my way out. I lost weight, ate better, got stronger, more confident. I found that finally I had something to strive for again, some measurable goals, some measurable improvement in my life. I had something to take pride in. Something that was difficult. Something that I accomplished, whether it was exercising every day for a month, completing C25K, completing One Hour Runner, running in my first post-college 5K, or running in my first 5 mile race ever. I got off hormone pills, got married, and somewhere in there I regained myself. But a better, improved self. A me who looks forward to workouts and is glad to have done them. A me whose favorite x-mas gifts are the ones to do with running. A me that isn't afraid to spend money on running, because I know I'm not going to quit. A me that has taken steps to get out of the bad work situation, but a me that isn't as bothered by that situation as I used to me - because I have a complete life outside of work now. A me that can be a better wife to my husband because I'm taking care of me.

These are the things that no resolution can bring, but these are the things for which I'm most grateful in 2007 - the new improved me, both inside and out.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

'Nuff Said

Yesterday.

Mile 1: 9:48
Mile 2: 9:29
Mile 3: 9:42
Mile 4: 9:53
Mile 5: 9:49
Mile 6: 9:50
.14: 1:27

Total time: 1:00:01
Total distance: 6 miles
Average pace: 9:44/mi

OHR = Done, in flashy (for me), though late, fashion.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Planning Next Year

Well, next year is on the horizon. I'll do a post on Monday about goals met this year and goals for next year, but I'm already in the planning stages for next year.

I definitely want to focus on running some longer short races in the immediate future because Houston has available 10Kish distances all over the place from January-March every year. I've always wanted to run the Beach run down at Galveston for Mardi Gras, and Mardi Gras comes early this year, so that'll be my January race. Then 5 miles in February and another 10K in March. On my B list for the first quarter (and thus not reflected yet in my sidebar) are the Buffalo Wallow XC 6K, the Bayou City Classic 10K, the Law Week 8K, and the Bellaire Trolley Trot 5K.

My other simultaneous focus will be on the Lone Star Sprint Triathlon in late March. Work stuff may prevent me from actually registering for the thing, but I really really want to try for a tri (or several) this year, so I've decided to follow a modified version of this 10 week plan available at Tri Newbies Online. I'm basically going to modify it to make it more run intensive for the 10Ks, but I can conceive going for more distance in the pool too. My biggest fear heading into a tri is the bike. While I'm fairly confident that I have the 12 mile distance in me, I've been riding on stationary bikes of various types, and not on an actual bike. The last time I was on a bike, my comfort level just wasn't very high, so my goal and challenge for this 10 week plan is to develop a level of comfort on my bike and not to ride those miles indoors. If I can't make the Lone Star Tri, I'll try for the CBI Tri in the Woodlands in May (which I'll probably do either way anyways).

The last quarter (ok, well maybe third) of the year will be half marathon training. The middle two quarters are up for grabs, but maybe a bike-focused quarter and then a swim focus? That might work because a swim focus could easily bleed into or overlap with running when I start upping the mileage for the half marathon....

I love planning!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Run on a Country Road

Photo credit to Preston.

X-mas Gifties and Running

My running made out well this holiday season. On the way to my 'rent's, we stopped at the Nike Outlet in Conroe. I love this place. I came out with two shirts and a pair of tights for $70. Based on the msrp's, it should have been about $160.


Then Preston gave me another top (that I had bought for him to give me at Target - like this photo, only blue), a pair of running gloves, an IOU for a skullcap with a pony hole, and....
































wait for it.....





















































wait for it.........




















































A GARMIN FORERUNNER 305!!!!!
Which I'm so excited about using that I ran 3.5 miles at the 'rent's yesterday and another 3.5 miles this morning. Sweet!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Funny Kitty Shit

So, two mornings ago, I got out of the shower and I was standing on my dot (that is what we call the bathmats in the master bath because they are round) drying off when Cal came into the bathroom and sat down on my foot. I started giggling and talking to him about what a goofball I thought he was because my foot was wet and he should therefore be avoiding it. When he got up and walked away, there was shit on my big toe.

This morning as I was getting dressed, Grimmy, his brother, was interested by the toilet. He's been interested by the toilet quite a bit lately, actually, but today he just couldn't contain his enthusiasm any longer, and he jumped in. In the toilet. Seriously. And immediately jumped out. Water went everywhere and I laughed my ass off.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best Day Ever

Oh.My.Gawd!!!! Yesterday (specifically yesterday afternoon) was the best day ever. Best news. Ever. Awesome, just freaking awesome. You know sometimes you lose faith in other people or in an organization, but then someone (or someones) pulls through and does something that really restores your confidence/faith/zing? Look for big changes in my life just after the New Year. That's all I'm saying for now.

4 miles in 40:49 this morning. Felt good. Tried a couple of pick-ups, they felt good too. I need to make a habit of this as I seem to be stagnating at about the 10 minute/mile pace.

Wow wow wow!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bag? Wrapping paper. I feel like it just looks better - makes it look like I really care. Oh, and I love to open wrapped gifts better, too. There's something about really tearing into something when you don't know what it is...

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. One time expense, less mess, longer life.

3. When do you put up your tree? Thanksgiving weekend.

4. When do you take down your tree? New Year's weekend.

5. Do you like eggnog? I don't dislike it, but I think it is a pretty serious diet no-no.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Sugar the cat. Best Christmas present ever.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. My mom does, though. It is an Avon one. My granny was an Avon lady and she gave mom a new piece of it every year. She always let me help pick it out. Mom's actually stays up on a side table year-round.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My dad and Preston's dad.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My mom.

10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received? JaMIL's fruitcake. When you have to start off your gift-giving sentence with, "I know everybody hates fruitcake, but..." then just don't go there, m'kay?

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I'm afraid that I'm the worst Christmas card sender ever. But I sure love receiving them, via mail.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas Vacation, Donovan's Reef.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually around June. But it is shopping without a purpose. I just start keeping my eye out for anything that anyone I need to buy for Christmas for would like. Then around September I get a little more serious. With all that, though, we've still got one present to go this year (for Preston's Dad, go figure).

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I've recycled it into the company "yard sale" for charity.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Anything sweet.

16. White or colored lights? Colored are my favorite. I know that they are passé, but my family always had colored, and I just can't seem to see past it. With that said, ours are white.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Sleigh ride, Winter wonderland, Carol of the bells, Noel, Silent night...

18. Traveling for Christmas or stay home? I'd prefer to stay home, but now that we live so far from both our families, travel will be the norm. May I just say that it sucks donkey balls to have to be back at work on the 26th.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? *singing* Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vizen; On Comet, on cupid, on Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? Rudolph!

20. Angel or Star on top of tree? Star.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People.

23. What I love most about Christmas? The memories, the coziness, the feeling of being a kid again.

On Texas Weather. Again.

Oh my gawd is it ever cold outside.

I knew last night when it was 42 when I went to bed that I was in for a cold morning. When I woke up the thermometer read 36, but it is mounted right up against the house, so less than 32 is a reasonable guesstimate. I quickly donned my under armour compression top, nike slouch jacket, nike capri running pants, a stocking cap, and some gloves. Then I went out into the bedroom to sip some water and kiss my husband goodbye. The water still had ice in it. In Texas. 8 hours after making the water, there were still ice cubes in it.

I put on an additional shirt and decided to mount my watch on the outside of my shirts so that no skin got inadvertently exposed to the cold when starting/stopping/glancing at the watch.

Good thing I did. The outer-mounted watch was a good set-up that I'll use again. I never took off any of the layers I had on, even when I was warmed up. That's how cold it was this morning. Ran 4.75 miles in 50 minutes. Coldly.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Today I Grew Balls

I buy my groceries at the same place every Friday. Today, as usual, I swiped my card while the checker was checking me out and I put my coupon at the end of all my stuff. She missed the coupon and hit enter, completing the transaction. I asked her to add the cou know pon. Here's what followed:

Checker: Well, your transaction is complete, I can't do the coupon.
Me: Yes you can, I've seen it done here before.
C: Well, it is only my second day here and I don't know how.
Me: Great. Call your manager.

What did she expect - that her second day was going to make it ok with me for me to lose my dollar???

I told Preston and he said, "Isn't it nice to grow big balls?"

It is. It really is. I'm proud of me right now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dreams

In the past two nights, I've had two vivid dreams, with images that I can remember after I wake (unusual for me).

I don't know what last night's dream was about, but I was left with one extremely vivid image: me wearing shorts with leg hair as long as a man's glinting in the sun (I'm a natural redhead). And I was embarassed about it - I knew I needed to shave. But in the dream that 2 months worth of hair growth had occurred in 1 week. Weird.

The dream from the night before was much more strange. I dreamt about Alan, who was my best friend for 6 years (last two of high school and all of college). The background story is that when I returned from my New Mexico archaeological dig after graduation, I gave him a call. He was visiting his parents (in the same town that I was in - not the same town he lived in), so I asked if I could drop by for a bit and see him before he went home and show him some pics from my dig and all that. He said no, he was too busy. I was pissed off and really hurt -- I had been gone for 3 months, I had missed him, I hadn't even been able to call since I didn't have a phone out in BFE, and he couldn't even spare 10 minutes to give me a quick hug and check out some pics?? Anyways, I never called him after that, because it is my nature when pissed/hurt to make the other person come to me, and he never called me either, and just like that, he was gone. That was, what?, more than 4 years ago. After a year or so, I stopped thinking about him and missing him, and I really haven't thought about him in a long time, now. So I was totally shocked when I had this dream that Preston and I were in line for a movie, but it was a really long line like an amusement park ride line, and I see Alan behind us as we are winding our way through it. I ignore him. (That's me, always the bigger person.) And then suddenly he comes up to us and starts talking. He apoligizes for losing touch, for not seeing me that day, etc. And that was it. It started raining on the line, and Preston and I go to find a seat at the top of some bleachers under a little overhang.

This dream brings up some important issues for me, though, that have been skating around in the back of my head for awhile now. Have I really gotten over everything that happened back in high school? Regarding some people, absolutely. But regarding others? When there was a feeling of betrayal, pain, loss, or shame -- I'm really not so sure. Will I go to my high school reunion in 2 years? If I do, will I still be this vengeful and bitter person inside? Will I portray the happy great-to-see-you person I want to be, or will I actually be that person? At what point does losing a friend stop hurting? Would I ever be able to look him in the face and pretend like none of it ever happened and make small talk?? I just don't know. And that bothers me. What do I need to do to get to that peaceful place with regards to every aspect of my life?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stoopid Coccyx

I forgot to mention in my earlier blog that when I woke up this morning, my coccyx was pissed. Just like that. I went to bed last night fine, and woke up this morning feeling like Preston had pushed me out of the bed and I had landed directly on my ass. Only on my ass. My arms and feet must have been stuck in the covers or something. And the carpet must have magically disappeared because it feels like I would have landed on concrete.

But I've had no falls. I biked on Monday, but not yesterday. I did Core II last night -- did Core II hurt my coccyx??

It didn't hurt to run.

It did hurt directly after the run, if you know what I mean.

It doesn't hurt to stand.

It does hurt to sit (which I do 10 hours per day at work - not counting hour commutes to and from).

WTF???

Topic Change

Well, I was going to bitch about Texas weather this morning. You know, about how it is mid-December and freaking 70 degrees for my run this morning. And rainy. And how the other day a cold front "blew through" where it rained like hell all day, got cold for like 5 minutes, then turned around, tucked its tail and ran, because the big scary Gulf of Mexico told it to. And you know, the Jingle Bell run that I had wanted to do last Sunday, how it seems to make good sense to plan a December fun run for early afternoon when the sun will have broken the chill and created almost perfect running weather. Unless you're in Texas, in which case the sun will have made it 80 degrees and humid as hell by 2pm. In December!!! On some days. If they had had the run a week earlier, it would have been 50-60 and beautiful. Because that's how we roll.

But I'm no longer going to talk about that. My run this morning trumps even weather angst. Because oh my goodness did I ever have a crappy run this morning. It started off slow. I was feeling, well, slow and lethargic and dead-legged. I tried to distract myself by purposefully noticing the holiday decorations that have gone up around the neighborhood - this worked for one of three loops. On loop two, I just kept telling myself that you should never judge the crappiness of a run until you are more than 2 miles in, so I dogged it out. As I got ready to start loop three, I noticed that when I was done running, I may need to go to the bathroom. The issue didn't seem pressing, so I continued on. (You can see where this is going now, can't you??) I noticed that I was really using poor form: abdomen was loose, arms were floppy and creeping up, head was jiggling around, etc. So I focused on running this last loop with better form. Until my stomach happened. I was maybe half a mile from home when I hit t-minus-one-minute-ago with no warning at all. My eyes popped open, and I started running faster. Then it got worse. (Worse!!) Around a quarter of a mile away from home, I started to panic, taking long loping strides. I realized that my turnover had gone down, so I reminded myself to pick that us. I was freaking flying up this giant hill to home. And I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I turned down my street, only one tenth of a mile now, and started fumbling my key out. I saw Preston's car leaving the driveway, and hoped he wouldn't mind when I flew right past him - I had no time. Powered up BM's driveway, unlocked the door with a shaking hand, and made it. Made it. Sat there quivering, panting, dripping sweat all over the place. But I made it. That is the closest I've *ever* come to not making it. And it was really really close.

Bathroom emergencies make me fast. I was running slow enough that I was looking at 3.5 miles in 40 minutes, until the crisis hit about 35 minutes and 3.25 miles into the run. I ended up with 3.75 miles in 40 minutes, and I know I was going faster than 10 minutes per mile as this run was "progressive" paced relative to my level of panic.

Wow. That's all there is to say. I made it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Core and Strength

For some reason around Thanksgiving I seemed to get a second wind of motivation. I used it to recruit my husband to C25K and to make a committment to restart weight training at the gym.

Those two goals have been going well. Although we aren't yet consistent with the 2 times per week minimum at the gym that I would like, we are at least getting once per week, and with going last night we've got a good chance at 2 or 3 times this week. At least we are *weekly* consistent right now!!

Then the other day I decided I wanted to incorporate core work. I remembered seeing a program on D3 Multisport called Core Strength, parts I-VI (look under D3 Tips). I convinced Preston to partake with me, and Sunday night we did Core I, following the advice of just one set of 5-15 reps for beginners. While Preston was especially challenged by crunches on the FitBall, I found my nemesis to be back extensions on the FitBall. Oh, and push-ups with the FitBall are hard core. Pun intended. Last night Preston mentioned that his abs were sore, and though I'm not sore, I am "tight" in my abdomen. I'm really excited about Core II tonight!

The ultimate plan is to incorporate 2-3 days of core and 2-3 days of lifting during the week on alternating days.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

On Cardiac Stress Tests:

This didn't go too badly. I lasted 14 minutes, with the last 2 minutes running 5mph at 15% grade. My max HR for their purposes was 194, and I topped out at 184 bpm in those last two minutes. I technically probably could have kept going, but I was feeling very annoyed by the fact that they were making me hold on to the treadmill, which was decreasing circulation in my hands, making them very cold. Also, my hospital gown was falling off my shoulders, which was getting on my nerves. My HR started going down pretty quickly - below 120bpm within about 2 minutes, but it hung out over 100 for awhile after that. I think part of that was that the lady was talking to me. When she first hooked me up my ticker was running in the 90's, and I think that is directly to do with my shyness and also with my nervousness regarding the test. I know that my RHR is more than 30 bpm lower than that, so we're cool. Hopefully I'll get some results soon.

On Mothers-in-law:

I cleaned and cleaned preparing for JaMIL's visit this weekend. Her house is a total pig-sty, so I wasn't doing it for her so much as I was trying to remove all available ammunition from her arsenal. I should have known better. Before she even got in the door she asked us if we needed a leaf-blower for Christmas, and before the door even shut behind her, she started telling us about how we needed to wash our windows. Seriously, I couldn't make this up. The hypocrisy is really what gets me. We aren't clean people, so she should be happy that we gave her clean sheets and cleaned the guest bathroom before she showed up. Not to mention the total dump conditions she lives in. Anyways... The rest of the visit went just about along those lines. Thank goodness she is gone now.

On Running:

I didn't make it to the Jingle Bell 5 Mile run yesterday. I really wanted to, but with JaMIL making me miserable and the lack of race-day registration, it just didn't go down the way I wanted.

As a result, this morning I set the alarm a little early in hopes of knocking off at least 50 minutes. Despite the gentle rain shower that I ran through for the last 25 minutes, I ran 4.72 miles in 50 minutes. Left shin was a little tweaky in the first mile, and left knee got a little bitchy in the last mile, but otherwise it was a lovely run.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday Nights

Thursday nights have been my favorite nights this Fall. Primarily because of two factors: Preston is in school (meaning that I get to watch whatever I want on the TV), and I don't have to work the next day. The fact that the night falls so late in the week means that all of the shows that I've DVRed during the week that he deems stoopid are just waiting for me to watch. I watch Biggest Loser, Ugly Betty, Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, America's Next Top Model, and LA or Miami Ink. Yes, I know we're not looking at the stuff of mental or athletic giants here, but I looooooove it!! Sometimes I stationary bike for about an hour. Sometimes I just snuggle up on the couch with blankets and pillows and kitties. There's almost always chocolate.

*sigh* And I believe that the writer's strike is going to prematurely make this my last awesome TV trash viewing Thursday night of the season. I salute thee, Thursday night, and I'm going all out tonight!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Year on Out Plans

My plan for some time has been to fun the Jingle Bell 5 miler on the 9th. However, it is looking like that is in jeopardy. I still very much want to run it, but JaMIL is unfortunately invading on Saturday and I don't know when she'll leave on Sunday. I was thinking about lying and saying I have to go run it because I was already registered for it before I knew she was coming... but that would require me at least registering before she comes. Online registration is closed, and I'm scheduled for a cardiac stress test on Friday... I think if the stress test goes well and everything is ok afterwards, then I'll register in person on Friday before she arrives. But with all these variables, you can see why I'm not totally sure I'll make it. Oh, and the forecast says it's supposed to be in the 80's on Sunday afternoon when the race will be run. You know, 40 degrees warmer than it was when I ran this morning. The joys of Texas.

If I do run this weekend, it'll probably be my last race in 2007. If I don't... well, I rather want to run a race this December, so I'll be looking around. Perhaps the Resolution Run 4K?

Ran 4 miles this morning in 40:40 (Got a new battery in my Baby-G - supposedly this kills the waterproofing, so will look for a new watch when summer rolls around). Hopefully will bike/lift this evening.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Preston!

This is the one day of the year that I have to suspend my dislike of JaMIL and be thankful to her for Preston.

And so he burrowed back under the covers as a birthday present to himself when I slipped out into the cold cold morning air for my workout. Hopefully he is still asleep.

And I will take off work 3 hours early and take him to the restaurant of his choice (which if it hasn't changed from yesterday is Red Robin) and give him his presents and try to make it a happy relaxing day for him.

Because sometimes as we get older we need an excuse to treat ourselves. And sometimes we need an excuse to reflect, and though the holiday season is littered with such times, for me, Preston's birthday is just one more reason to be thankful for my love.

Even if he is *almost* 30 now. ;-)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Two Runs and some Food Stuff

Ran this morning 3 miles in 30ish minutes. I say "ish" because my well-loved G-Shock went the way of the ghost this weekend. So instead of a lovely stopwatch, I ran with my teeny analog non-lighting-up watch. So I basically ran for distance with no real clock, but that run usually takes me 30ish minutes, give or take (probably more usually give), so 30 minutes is what we'll call it. Hopefully will get a new watch tomorrow (for Preston's birthday).

Friday I ran with Billy down at AP. I don't know why I suck so hard every time I try to run with him. In this case, I'm pretty sure it had to do with the new upright stationary bike experiment I'm doing at the gym and the resulting dead quads, but still!!! Anyways, we ran about 30 minutes with hills and about 3 walk breaks.

I was telling him about the diet I put Preston on, and he was asking me about the foods, so I thought I'd give a handy little reference here of my favorite diet foods. The goal of my diet was to reduce calories while increasing protein and fiber intake. It worked for me. It is working for Preston. It is good stuff. So, on to our favorite foods!

Snickers Marathon Nutrition Bars: 150 cal, 7 g fiber, 10 g protein.
Amy's Burritos (the cheese ones are my favorite): 300 cal, 6 g fiber, 11 g protein.
Anything Kashi. I've tried the Go Lean oatmeal, the Go Lean cereal, the waffles, and every single one of their frozen dinners, and I like ALL OF THEM. Seriously. Give them a try.
Oven Poppers also make a really cool product. My favorite is the crab stuffed flounder. They come pre-packaged 2 per box, so a serving is all measured out for you to prevent overeating.

So, an eating day in my life goes like this:
7am: Snickers Marathon Nutrition Bar (dark chocolate is my fav)
8am: Dannon Light n' Fit Yogart Smoothie
9am: Bolthouse Farms Mocha Cappuchino
11am: Pringles 100 calorie Pack (craving salt around this time every day for some reason)
1pm: Amy's Burrito + banana
6pm: something reasonable (e.g. Kashi or oven popper and veggies) (500ish calories) + something chocolate (100-200 calories)

I also make every effort to drink *at least* 64 oz. of water per day.

Preston is taking this basic outline and adding in a Toaster Scramble for breakfast, an additional granola bar for snack along with an apple, a 3pm snack of string cheese and either carrots or raisens, and a slightly larger dinner. Oh, and at least one soda per day. He also subtracts the yogart, cappuchino, and banana.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2 Layers = HOT

2 long-sleeved layers are perfect for sub-50 degrees, I learned, but if the temperature is even borderline at 50, then I should just go with 1 long-sleeved layer. First winter running with real running clothes means that I'm still learning a lot about how to dress myself!! I also wore gloves and a stocking cap this morning, and while the hat stayed on, the gloves came off around a mile and a half. I hate running around with gloves stuffed in my pockets, but I think I'd hate having freezing hands for the first 15 minutes more... (hoping for some less-bulky running gloves and one of those neat caps with a pony hole for Christmas, Santa)...

This morning I felt kind of heavy, lumbering, slow, creaky, plodding... then I looked down at my watch and was shocked to see that I had run my loop in about 11:15 - pretty quick time for me. But all those adjectives continued to describe how I felt for the rest of the run, even though that went pretty quickly too, pace wise. But, oh, it didn't mentally feel quick!! I must have been off my mental game this morning.

4 miles in 41 minutes for about 4.5 miles in 50 minutes. Going to go lift with Preston tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Damage

I was really worried leading into Thanksgiving about weight gain. My goal was simply to minimize the damage, since I eat such a controled diet there is almost no way to meet or assess my normal caloric goals when I'm eating food cooked by someone else.

It began the Thursday before Thanksgiving with a potluck lunch at work. By some cruel twist of fate, I had finally starting dropping again from the weight loss plateau that I've been at for the past month or so. I went through the line taking small samples of only my favorite stuff: sausage, ham, turkey, mashed potatos, sweet potatos, and a roll. I took only a very small amount of each, making sure no portion touched any other portion. I was given some flack by my colleagues, who I assured I was saving myself for dessert. When dessert rolled around, I went back for one very small piece of the cake I had made (knowing I had used all of the low fat substitutes, etc.). The next few days I was pleasantly surprised to see that I hadn't gained from my foray into Thanksgiving.

I kept dropping weight all week leading up to Thanksgiving. I weighed 129.6 (goal weight is 125) on Thursday morning before the 5 miler. I made a mistake on Thursday, though. I ate a small breakfast before running (Snickers marathon bar and a banana). Then after running I had another banana and a bagel (around 10am). I thought that would hold me 'til lunch at 2, but lunch wasn't ready when we got there at 2, and I felt like my stomach was eating itself by then, so I started grazing on crackers (leaving off the cheese - I was still trying!). Finally lunch was ready, so I ate mashed potatos, turkey, and 3 rolls with butter (love rolls with butter!). For dessert 2 of the yummy white chocolate covered Ritz and PB that I had brought (and estimated at 100 calories each).

Theeeen (oh, no, it doesn't stop there!) on Saturday we went for *another* Thanksgiving with my husband's Dad's family. I made another mistake that day. I had eaten a good breakfast, but hadn't lunched before we went over there. Preston and I were both starving, and his dad and step-mom busted out the crackers with cheese and summer sausage. That stuff is goooooood, let me tell you, and I ate it like I only see it a few times per year (which is true, but not wise) and like I was incredibly hungry when I saw it (also true, also not wise). Then they took us out for Mexican food for dinner, where I had half a chicken quesadilla with guac for dinner. I really fell off the wagon that day.

My best work friend left the company yesterday. It is possible that I took him out to Starbucks for a 400 calorie toffee almond bar (each - one for him and one for me). I'm just sayin'...

So the end result of all this debauchery? 2 pounds gained. 131.6 pounds. (Which is the exact weight, ironically, that I was plateaued at right before I started losing again right before the holiday.)

Lessons learned? Don't go places hungry. Bring your postrace nutrition with you if you aren't going home after a race. Have a plan and stick to it.

I'm back on the plan.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Saddle Sore

The new goal from now until Christmas holidays is to go to the gym to lift at least twice per week. Starting yesterday with Preston.

I decided that since I hadn't done anything aerobic since the 5 mile run on Thanksgiving, I should ride the bike for half an hour at the gym to warm-up. I thought riding their bike would be a nice change for me, since mine is a recumbant and they have an upright.

O.M.G. Let me just say that riding an upright is soooooo much harder! And my butt hurts sooooooo badly today.

So the new goal is to hit the gym at least twice per week for weights, and to ride their upright at least once (but preferably twice) a week so that my butt is ready for a real bike when the weather warms up.

Preston did C25K Week 1 Day 1 yesterday!!!

I had a nice, but cold, recovery run for 30 minutes and 2.8 miles this morning.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Run Thru The Woods 5 Mile Race Report

I ran my very first 5 mile race in the Woodlands on Thanksgiving Day this year.

A cold front had blown through during the night, and the temperature had dropped approximately 40 degrees from the mid-80's to the mid-40's on race morning. This was frustrating because it was the first incidence of such a cold front this year, so I had no practice for what to wear and how such conditions would effect me. I finally decided on my under armour compression long-sleeved shirt with my new Target pull-over with built-in mittens on the top and my standard Old Navy shorts on bottom. I topped all of that with a stocking hat, sweatpants, my Nike jacket, and a sweatshirt for the ride over and the wait at the start line. Luckily I have a loving husband who wasn't running, so I was able to wait until just minutes before the start before I had to strip down to running gear and feel the cold.


I seeded myself about 2/3 of the way back in the crowd. WHen the gun finally went off, we all stood around for another minute or so, then began the slow stroll to the start. The pace picked up when we were almost there, and I started running.

I figure I seeded myself well because I was being passed about as much as I was passing people. It was actually pretty frustrating - by far the most tight race start I've ever experienced. I tried to just relax and go with the flow near the center where the fasters could get by me on the left and I could left-pass the slowers. There were plenty of both.

Going with the flow served me well the first mile - 9:33 (by my watch).

Unfortunately, that fast first mile freaked me out a little. I mean, I had 4 more to go, and I was running at near my best 5K pace. I pulled in the reins mentally, and soon was forcibly slowed when we were squeezed into one lane when the course went onto a 45 access road. Hit mile 2 at 21:30 (their clock - so probably about 20:10).

The next mile was really quite uneventful - hit the split at around 30:30 and proceeded into uncharted race territory. Fortunately the fourth mile went really well also. We hit the one and only big hill for the second time on the return trip over 45. It definitely seemed steeper in mile 4 than it did in mile 1!! One guy near me yelled out "Love the hill and it will love you!" I thought I'd go with that, knowing that I was almost to my final mile. People down on 45 were honking at us as we ran over the overpass. It was pretty cool.

Hit mile 4 at over 41 minutes, so that hill did slow me down some. Then I tried to pick up the pace a little bit, concentrate on my posture and the fact that I was almost there. I was a little out of breath from the hill, so I tried to get that under control.

Before I knew it, I was on what I thought was the home stretch. I had done really well at visualizing myself in the course map up to that point, and I think it really helped me mentally with running the unfamiliar course, but here I got it wrong. But I learned from the Dad's Day 5K in June, and even though I couldn't see the finish line, I knew I was really close, so I just kept running through it.

Finally I turned the corner and saw the finish line. Crossed in 52:50 by the clock. Forgot to stop my watch til my chip was off, stopped it at 52:18, so I was hoping I had pulled a sub 52 time, but I wasn't sure.

I did. 51:26 for a 10:17 min/mile pace. I achieved all but my most ambitious goal. I'm really pleased with this first 5 miler, but I can already see that if I hadn't psyched myself out about that fast first mile I may have had a shot at a sub-50. I can't wait to give this distance another try. Sooo... next up = the Jingle Bell 5 miler on December 9th.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Exercise is Still Better than Not

Last Thursday, I received a call from my neurologist, who had ordered an echocardiogram approximately one month ago. A call is not what you want from this doc. My echo showed atrial dilatation. I have an appointment with a cardiologist now, and will know more after that next week.

Who knew that some simple facial paralysis could lead to all this: scars on the brain, an enlarged atrium....

Given that, this seemed appropriate.

Time to Bust Out the 5 Miler Goals

With Thursday fast approaching, I've been doing some thinking about this race, my A race for the second half of this year--my very first 5 miler. Actually, technically, it will be my very first 5 mile run ever. Although I've covered the distance in training several times, I've never done it without walking. So I'm a little nervous. But also excited about my first racing foray into distances greater than 5K.

Calculator fun abounds on pre-race days.... This pace predictor based on 29:40 as my 5K PR says I should be able to pull a 49:06!! Running Times gives me a 49:14. Galloway's 10K predictor pace translates to just under 55 for a 5 miler.

So, with all that in mind, what are my goals?
1. To finish.
2. To finish without walking.
3. To finish in less than 60 minutes/less than 12 minute miles.
4. To finish in less than 55 minutes/less than 11 minute miles.
5. To finish in less than 50 minutes/less than 10 minute miles.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Run and Packet Pick-Up

Saturday Preston and I went to go pick up my packet for the Run Thru the Woods. We were standing in line behind this incredibly annoying woman who insisted on taking out all of her t-shirts and checking the sizes even though the guy told her that he couldn't exchange them, but that she could exchange them on race day. The other guy who was pulling the packets came up, looked directly at Preston (who was on the far side of me and not looking at the guy), and asked our names. I responded, he asked if 1 or 2 people, I said 1, and he brought me the packet. Then he asked me which race I was running.

I'm sure he didn't mean to make me feel like I wasn't part of the club. Like my husband who is out-of-shape is more likely to be part of the "runner's club" than I am. But he did. Even though I'm sure it was unintentional.

This was after our waitress at lunch always looked at Preston. *sigh*

Yesterday Preston was really awesomely helpful. I always have trouble with running motivation if I don't run first thing in the morning. It is like I can't find a time where food intake and desire coincide, and thus I often won't run. Yesterday around 1 it had been about 3 hours since I had eaten, and I was toying with the idea of running, but feeling lazy. I told Preston I was trying to decide between running "today or tomorrow", and he says, "why don't you just go ahead and go today". And I did. Couldn't very well wimp out after that, could I?

So yesterday: 3.6 miles in 35:52. Yeah, baby, a training run in sub-10s. Hells yeah. I have Podrunner to thank for that - 179 bpm sped me up without me even really realizing it. Sweet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pimp Definition

The results of Unshelved's annual Pimp My Bookcart contest came out today, and an e-mail thusly circulated amongst the staff at the library.

A 76-year-old colleague says to me, "Please tell me there is a juvenile definition of p-i-m-p." And yes, she did spell pimp instead of saying it.

I say, "Well, no, not exactly. It is the word you are thinking of used as a verb to mean 'making something really neat'."

Pat on my back for not saying "tricked out", "ghetto-fab", or "blingbling".

Bat Run!

Went for another run with my ex-work buddy, hereafter known in this blog as BB down at AP. He still kicked my ass, but I held up a little better this time! I didn't walk until 25 minutes into the thing. Then it went like this:

Me: Screw it, let's walk.
Walking.
BB: Isn't that the parking lot just up there?
Me: Shit. Let's run it out then.

I need to work on my mental game! Obviously I had the ability to run it out, since I did. So it seems that it was just that I couldn't see the finish line that killed me. I know that that is a problem I've dealt with in my 5Ks, but not in my neighborhood runs since I'm so familiar with my running grounds now. It definitely illuminates a need for me to get out into unfamiliar territory and slog it out, whether I can see the finish line or not.

The most badass part of this run, though, was that we were approaching the Bat Bridge right at sunset. We could see the bats swirling around under the thing, so we decided to run up on top of it. As we were passing over, they started flying out en masse, dipping and diving and stretching into a long twisting ribbon in the sky. Beautiful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Pulled the Trigger

I am officially registered for the inaugural Rock n' Roll San Antonio Half-Marathon next November. My inaugural half-marathon.

Holy shit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back to Running

Ran this morning 3.8 miles in 40 minutes. Felt good. Felt not-splinty. Felt like I could have kept going if I had the time.

So I think I'm going running with Billy again tomorrow after work. That'll be another short but ass-kicking run, I'm sure, so I'll try to run Friday for 40ish minutes again. Then take Sat and Sun off, run Monday 40 minutes before the big day on Thursday. I can't believe my first 5 miler is only about a week away!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rest in Kitty Peace, Sugar

When I woke up yesterday morning, I had 3 cats. One may have been old and her ass may have been drunk, but she was there, and she was doing fine. By the end of the day she was gone and buried.

Sugar was a small (7lbish) siamese mix cat. She died near her 17th birthday. She was a Christmas present to me in 1990. Best Christmas present ever. I remember that Mom and Dad and I went out to this lady's house (who I forever after nicknamed The Cat Lady). She had tons of cats. She brought out this one tiny little siamese kitten and asked if we wouldn't mind taking this specific one, because she was the runt. We took her. I remember her getting all carsick on the way home - nastiness coming out of both ends, and how we joked about how much nasty smelling stuff could possibly come out of such a tiny cute little kitten. She quickly discovered that her favorite spot was curled up just below my right ear once we got home, and she purred like a motorboat. The white parts of her siamese-ness were so pure white that my 9-year-old self named her Sugar. She was polydactyl, meaning that she had an extra toe on each of her front paws, so we called her Sugar Mittens. She also loved laying in front of the fire. Soon enough she discovered that older people are stiller and quieter than young ones, and attached herself to my Mom. When she was about 3 years old, she got out of the house and was gone for about 2 weeks. It must have been Spring or Fall, because we were sleeping with the windows open and Dad woke up in the middle of the night to hear her crying. He followed the sound down the street and found her in front of the elementary school. He brought her home. She must have been drinking out of people's hoses, because after that she always preferred to drink her water dripping out of the sink. It really wasn't surprising that she could wake Dad up with her cry in the middle of the night, because boy, did that cat ever have a set of lungs. I once had an apartment neighbor tell me that she always knew when I left town for the weekend because she heard the cat crying. Sugar followed me to college at the end of my junior year when my roommate had moved out. That is when I will tell you that she saved my life, just by being there and being dependent on me. I actually told Mom that I'd only take her on a trial basis, because I knew she was more Mom's cat than mine, and I thought she'd be really happier with Mom. But she adjusted well, and even seemed to become attached to me, and we lived 5 years together happily after that. She was never an overly friendly cat, to the point that Preston and I nicknamed her "Old Biddy" in the past year or so, but she and I had an understanding. I would provide the food, water, and petting when she arrived on my lap, and she would arrive on my lap at least once per day. That was our arrangement, and it worked for us. She'd even show up specifically at times when I was stressed out, as if she knew that a purring kitty was just what I needed. I'll never forget how much she helped me in that way one miserable junior high piano recital day. We've had a couple of scares in recent years. In 2004 when I was in Denton, she was facing off with another cat on the other side of the window when she became entangled in the pull cord for the blinds and practically hung herself from her abdomen. I rescued her, but not before she sunk her teeth into my wrist in fear. That little puncture wound got terrible infected, one of the most painful happenings in my life, but I was just so glad that Sugar was unharmed. More recently, back in January when her ass got wobbly, I thought we were near the end. But she coped with her wobbliness really very well - so well that I was really quite startled when I found her paralyzed yesterday. And even more recently she escaped for a final time while I was away getting married. I though surely I'd lost her for good and was wracked with guilt, but 4 days later Preston found her a mere 5 houses down the street, seemingly no worse for wear. She lived in 7 places. Had 5 seperate kitty companions, all of which she tolerated and hated equally. I will miss her terribly. I'll miss her yowling every night when Preston and I are trying to watch tv. I'll miss having to lead into the house with my foot because she's trying to escape as usual past any unwitting human coming into the house. Most of all I'll miss getting out of the shower and laying down on the bed and having her arrive for her attention without fail, because she loved clean humans. I'll miss her crawling up me and sticking her nose against my lips for me to blow gently on, and I'll miss the motorboat purring that never ran out of gas.

I may not believe in God or heaven for myself, but I hope that there is a kitty heaven, and I hope she is outdoors in it where she always wanted to be, playing like she was young and napping in sunny spots, and finding someone's lap to purr in and be petted in, but only when she wants to. She was a good cat. We had an understanding. I loved her, and I will miss her.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Running with a Buddy

Yesterday I went for a run with a buddy of mine from work.

I learned something: running with someone is very different from running alone. For me, much harder (though it probably didn't help that we had selected a hilly route - AP). Well, make that several somethings that I learned, because I also learned that conversation pace is slower (or slower feeling) than I normally go.

He ran me so hard that I had to stop to walk twice (twice!!) in a 30 minute run.

But I'm taking it as a challenge. As long as I didn't run him off with my slowness, I'm so going to keep doing this 'til I stop sucking at it. It'll also be like finally starting some speedwork/hill training, which I've been meaning to do anyways.

Afterwards, Preston and I went over to the Museum of Natural Science to see Lucy. Wow, Lucy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Do you smell something fishy?

I take a fish-oil liquid cap every morning for cholesterol-happy-hunting. For some inexplicable reason, I like to play with the pill first. Well, not totally inexplicable. The pill is really big, and when cold, lodges in my throat sometimes. So I kind of roll it around in my hands and squeeze it a bit to soften it up before I swallow.

Yesterday morning it burst. Oh yes. At my desk at work. The damage was mostly limited to my hands. I immediately got up to go wash them, but after countless washings yesterday and two showers, my hands STILL smell fishy.

Moral of the story? Just like mom always told you: don't play with your "food".
Another 40 minute run for 3.6 miles this morning. Stopped to stretch calves/shins once in the first mile.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My Purple Shirt and a Compliment

Last week I got out one of my favorite shirts that had been sequestered in my closet because I (read here: the girls) had gotten too big for it and it was gaping in the front when I sat. It is this lovely deep purple shirt (almost black) that I brought on a whim for too much money back when I still did stuff like that (read: pre-mortgage). I love that shirt. It is also the only shirt I have that accomodates my amethyst necklace (won in a work auction for $15) and earrings (X-mas present from hubby last year to go with the necklace) well.

The purple shirt is too big. You read it right. The formerly gaping bra revealing shirt is now *too big*. WTF?? It looks like it freaking swallowed me. Hangs limply all over me, hiding everything about my upper body. Waaaaaaay too big. I guess I'm making progress after all. RIP, purple shirt. Hope someone at the Goodwill loves you as much as I did.

On Thursday when I was leaving work, my purple shirt joy was re-inforced. I was headed to the 5K, and a woman who I work with asked if I was going to the gym. I said no, to a 5K for a short run. Then she said that she had noticed last week in a meeting we were in that she thought I was losing weight. I said yep, almost 20 pounds. 20 pounds!!! She seemed totally shocked. Then she started backtracking to make sure she hadn't offended me.

I'm never offended. If you can tell I lost weight and you think I look good, bring the compliments on!!! You may just give me the impetus I need to get over a hump. I swear I'll never think you were implying that I was fat before. ;-) Because I know I wasn't. And I actually think it is cool that no one realized I had that much weight to lose. Who knew that my body could hide it so well?? Well, good for my body, but let's not go back there, m'kay? 6 pounds to go (yes, I'm currently stalled - have been for almost a month, but at least it is holding steady). 6 pounds to go!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

4 Mile Fun Run - Opted Out

The Optimists' Club 4 Mile Fun Run down in Sugarland was on my schedule for Sunday, but I opted out after a going away party for a work friend went to almost midnight. Preston justified it for me. There'll be lots of runs, but this particular friend will only leave work once. Good call.

I have a little guilt about it, though. I really wanted a longer-than-5K-but-shorter-than-5miles under my belt before Thanksgiving. I'll check out the local schedules, but don't hold too much hope for it.

So, ran 40 minutes this morning for 3.6 miles. Shins are still pissy. I stopped twice to stretch them and my calves, which seemed to help a lot, but I'm getting pretty frustrated with it. Thanksgiving 5 miles is my freaking A race for the whole damn year, and I'm not happy with feeling like it is being threatened by my stupid shins. I'm in practically new shoes (less than 50 miles on them, I think), I am not adding tons of new mileage, and I've noticed some new definition in my calves, so I suspect that it is just a case of my calves being too strong for my shins. I'm trying to add some shin-strengthening exercises each evening when I'm watching tv, and at this point can only hope.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rice Owls 5K Race Report

As I said yesterday, I knew I wasn't running for a PR. 30:53.3 @ 9:58 minute miles.

It is funny: I've gotten so used to each and every race being better than the last, I am actually feeling a little down about it. But I know I'm being unreasonable. I'll get it right soon - this is still my 3rd best 5K time ever!

I was right to be concerned about time. I got off of work at 5, changed clothes in the bathroom (forgot to bring a plastic bag for jewelry, so raced in full work jewelry!), and didn't hit the car til 5:20. I made it to the race with just 15 minutes to spare. For my hyper-early neurotic personality, this just isn't enough lee-time, and because of that, I was having a little rumbly in my tummy. Just perfect for racing. (Sarcasm.)

I had also had a long day at work. My two best friends there are both leaving for bigger and better jobs this month, and my emotional nerves are starting to get a little frazzled.

My car thermometer read 85 degrees right before the race. It might have been a little high, but there is no doubt that this was my hottest run in the past three-ish weeks.

Anyways, with all of that in mind, I found it un-fun that once I hit the event and got my chip (very cool chip-holder, btw, a velcro strap for around the ankle) I actually had a lot of standing around by myself time, not knowing anyone there.

Finaly, we started. The best part of this race, for me, was the Rice U Naval ROTC unit, which ran chanting about 100 yards behind me for pretty much the whole race. Really helped to keep my mind off of things - thanks NROTC!

Ran the first mile in 9:58, what would ironically be my pace for the race. Second mile in 9:47. Third mile must have been a bit over 10. Unusual for me to slow down in the third mile. The second mile felt longest, as usual, but the third mile was unusually tough for me this time too. Don't know if it was my mind, my left shin (stoopid shin!!), or my body after the long (10 hour) day at work, but I just didn't have it. I am proud that my pacing was relatively even throughout, even though I didn't follow my normal pattern.

Only complaint: no food at the end, and only one line for water with little tiny cups that had to be filled (took forever). I'd like to see bottled water at the end.

All in all, nice training run for me. I would always prefer Preston be able to come to these things with me - might not bother in the future if he can't. Not too sore at all today, so hoping to be primed and ready to go on Sunday morning (assuming I haven't overdone it the night before in one of said work friends' going away party)!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Twisty-tie Pwnage

This morning, Preston and I watched as Cal, the big black cat, lay quitely next to the twisty-tie that he had been attacking earlier.

Suddenly, his brother Grimmy comes flying around the corner, makes a stealth attack on Cal, and withdraws.

Cal sits there looking confused for a second, then smacks the twisty-tie emphatically and calmly walks off.

I look at Preston, "Cal really is your son."
P: "Why do you say that?"
Me: "Because he killed the twisty-tie when he was really mad at his brother."
P: "Maybe he was just showing Grimmy what he would like to do to him."
Me: "I'll pwn you like I pwned this twisty-tie, bitch."
P: "Uber-pwnage."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rice Owls 5K Tomorrow

What do I want from this 5K?

I actually considered not doing it. Pretty seriously considered not doing it. For a few reasons: this nagging splinty pain in my left shin, the fact that it is going to be a pretty close squeeze getting there after work, and just general ambivalence.

I told Preston, and the only solution was to sign up or shut up, so I signed up last night. He is going to be the bestest husband ever and pick up the packet today on his way home from work, so I don't have to worry about getting over there quite as fast.

So, what do I want from this 5K?

This is a C race for me. I want to run well. I don't *need* a PR, nor do I feel strongly that I have one in my legs right now. I really really don't want to piss off my shins any more. So, I want a nice quick injury-free enjoyable time. With injury-free being the most important adjective, and quick being the least.

I've PRed every race I've entered since I started running again. It had to end sometime, and I want it to end with me being smart. So let's do it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tight Hamstrings

I usually only feel this level of tightness after a good day of groveling in the garden. I keep running over my run yesterday morning to see if I can figure out what I did to tick my hamstrings off, but there is nothing - there was nothing new except 5 additional minutes of time.

Thank goodness for no morning runs until Sunday this week, and no runs at all until Thursday night!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday Brick and Monday Long Run

On Saturday I got a wild hair and decided to do a brick workout in mid-afternoon. Preston said he was actually really surprised because I never mentioned it until I told him I was going to do it, and when I told him, I didn't ask or waffle around about it.

I decided to go 30 minutes on the bike followed by a 30 minute run. I wanted to stay pretty conservative, since this would be my first real brick in the proper sense of bike followed by run, and I wasn't sure how my legs would care for it.

The bike was easy on the stationary, and I had taken up my sunglasses and ipod so I could make a quick transition to the run. Came out my front door running, planning for a quick 2 big loops and back to home for about 2.75 miles, which I figured would take 30ish minutes. Nothing special to report, other than the incredible tightness in my quads which I'd guess is normal in a brick. The weather was beautiful - mid-60's and sunny.

More shockingly, I wasn't sore the next day!!

This morning I needed to put in a long run, since I'd like to run the 5K over at Rice on Thursday evening, and then I'm for sure going to run the 4 miler in Sugarland on Sunday morning. I want to give my legs plenty of rest before both of these races, since I tend to go out hard in races and come up sore the next day, so that left only today for my long run.

55 minutes on schedule. Cold again this morning. A little tweaking in my left shin. Otherwise nothing special, except that I was rather slower than normal - ranging 12-13 minutes on my normally 11-12 minute loop. 4.9 miles in 55 minutes for 5.25 miles in 65 minutes with the walking. That was Week 9 Day 3 of OHR, I'm almost done!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Longer in Winter!

My schedule dictated my long run for this morning. Normally I would ignore my schedule, especially since I was up late last night moving a 75 gallon aquarium from one side of a very large room to the other. However, running has been going well with the lovely cooler temps, so as much as I wanted to turn over and sleep in, I couldn't quite make myself.

So One Hour Runner called for 49 minutes today, and yes, this is still long for me. I headed out with the intention of running 4 of my big loops, plus the hill back towards my house. If I was having a really fast day, then I'd have to tack more distance on, but that wasn't likely, and didn't turn out to be a problem.

I did have one problem. My first ever cramp on the run. I was only about half a mile in when my left shin suddenly started feeling very splinty. Then the calf cramped up and I started shuffle-hopping down the street. Very quickly the tension loosened for me to keep running, and within another half mile all of the pain and splinty feelings had completely abated. Not sure what to think of all that!

The most remarkable thing about this morning's run was my consistency in pacing. Every one of the 4 1.1 mile loops I ran was right at 12 minutes within a few seconds (erring on the plus side). 4 mile split was right at 44 minutes. Tacked on the hill for the last 2 minutes for 4.5 miles in 50 minutes with walking warm-up/cooldown making 5 miles in 60 minutes.

The colder weather definitely makes going longer easier for me. I feel like I could just keep running once I get started, though getting started is harder!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Winter Wonderrun

Well, folks, I had my first winter run here in H-town. For clarification, winter is anything below 55 degrees. Fall/spring is 55-70 degrees, and Summer is 70+. I've been doing a little fall running with my summer running in the past 3 weeks or so, but now it is time to mix in some winter running! (Even though I know very well that I'll probably be back to summer running by next week.)

And let me tell you, my hot Texan blood was freaking freezing during my walking warm-up. I couldn't wait to start running! Then, unfortunately, I was running into the wind to start, and my teeth were actually chattering. I'm such a reptile. Once I finally turned the corner, however, and got that wind out of my face, I started to heat up, and after that the run was actually really pleasant.

I wore some capri running pants that I got on sale at the Nike outlet in Conroe for $9. They are not flattering, but for $9 at 4am, no problem! I also wore the Nike slacker jacket I got at the same time for about half price, which I loooooove. I might need to get another one of these - one for running and one for not running. I just saw on their website that they have one in green... Anyways, definitely need to invest in additional cool weather gear, because with my sweat rate I'm going to be doing laundry every other day otherwise.

That's all I've got for now. 3.5 miles in 37 minutes. With walking for 4 miles in 45 minutes total.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mutt Strut & Runway Race (5K) Report

This event is held on the runway at Houston's Intercontinental Airport. Actually on the runway. As a result, I'd recommend it very highly to anyone looking for a very flat course and a possible PR. Other pros included the wonderful post-race food (breakfast burritos), and if you have a dog, this is one of the few local races where it will be welcome. I must also say that they did a wonderful job in getting plenty of portacans. There were absolutely no lines, even 5 minutes before race start.

Cons are that it is a small race - not chip timed, long lines for packet pick-up on race day, poor instructions on access to the race and retrieval of times and photos after the race.

Now for my race. I went looking for a PR. It was a lovely morning - in the high 50's until the sun came out. I was a little uncomfortable with the initial line-up. The incredibly small size of the race plus the decree that people running with dogs had to line up at the back meant that I was waaaaaay farther in the front of the pack at the beginning than I am totally comfortable with. There also wasn't a large pack of runners at my pace like there usually is, so I went out a little fast (4:30 for the first half mile). Dialed it back for about 9:30 on the first mile.

The setting was very cool. They hadn't closed the adjacent runway, so you could see planes landing throughout the race. In the second mile, one came in right over my head. Very cool. Total time 19:45 after the second mile - where did my speed go??

At that point, I was a little concerned about breaking 30 minutes. I still felt like I could pull a PR, but I really wanted to break 30, so I put on the afterburners and started trying to reel people in. Crossed the line in 29:20. Broke 30 minutes and a PR!!

Still a shame that the thing wasn't chip-timed.

I'd also like to comment on running turns. I passed people on every single turn on the course because they'd slow way down and try to run it like a u-turn. Think of yourself as a race car. Don't slow down. Come into the turn with a tight line and then swing wide.

I also think that the flatness of the race played to my advantage in that I could see the finish line from 1.5 miles out. Somehow nothing seems all that far when you can see the end, you know?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Declaration of Intent

It has recently been announced that San Antonio will have the newest Rock n' Roll Marathon and Half.

I'm going to sign up for the half.

I declare.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just Your Standard Negative Splits

Ha!! Nothing standard about negative-splitting, as much as I wish it were so.

But when I went out for my run this morning, that's just what I did. I was scheduled for 34-36 minutes (I'm not following OHR perfectly...), so I decided to do 3 big loops of 1.1 miles each. On a good day I can go sub-11 on this loop. On a bad day, greater-than-12. It was about 75 degrees out, and from the outset, I knew I wasn't going to be breaking any speed records today. First loop: 12
Second loop: 11:30
Third loop: 11

Sweet.

(3.3 miles in 34:30 for a total of 4 miles in 45 minutes.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Unintended Short Morning

Apparently, I slept through my *two* alarms for my 4:25am wake-up. My husband, who has been unfortunately been re-trained to accept such things during the Bell's Palsy and has not been un-re-trained yet that me sleeping in isn't acceptable, just thought, "Oh, she's snuggling me. That must mean that she heard the alarm that I just turned off, and is choosing to ignore it." Not so much.

Anyways, that led to a frantic shortie Tae Bo (Cardio Circuit 1 - one of my all-time favs, but still). I told Preston he's lucky he didn't help me miss a run!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Friendly Suburbian Advice from an Early Morning Runner

I'd just like to mention a lesson that I've learned from my time pounding the pavement before dawn's rosy fingers stroke the sky...

A lot of people have sprinkler systems in suburbia, where I live. Sprinkler systems are awesome. If I didn't have one, not a single living thing that required more water than what fell from the sky would be alive on my property. I heart my automagic sprinkler system.

But within the blissful forgetfullness of automation lies a danger: how do we know if our sprinkler system is actually working, and properly?

I'd like to recommend monthly checks of your sprinkler systems. Turn the thing on, and stand there for a minute bearing this in mind: the pavement doesn't need water. Also, when the water runs out of your yard and onto the pavement, your yard is temporarily saturated. You are watering for too long, thus watering the pavement, which as I said, doesn't need water.

Also I'd like to mention trash days. The bliss of forgetting that you have a sprinkler system unfortunately extends to trash days. Either program your sprinkler to never water on your trash pick-up days, or develop the habit of putting your trash in a non-sprinkler-targeted area. For instance, on your driveway, on your neighbor's lawn, or in your dog's stomach. If I was a trash pick-up person, I'm pretty sure I'd hate everyone. (Oh wait....) How much would it suck to drive up to a soggy, overturned trash can and have to touch it? Not to mention the waste of water as your sprinkler waters the underside of your now very clean trash can.

Just some friendly advice....

Ran on Saturday around 8:30 am with 65 degree temps for 45 minutes and about 4.25 miles (walked another 15 minutes for an even 5 miles). Ran this morning at 5 am with 75 degree temps and high humidity for 30 minutes and about 2.75 miles (3.25 with the walking). Go me!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why missing a run needs to be a good thing

This morning I had a 45 minute run on schedule. Perfectly scheduled for the coolest, least humid morning in the forecast this week.

I skipped it.

You know, sometimes, trying to listen to your body just has to become more important. I'm having a flare up with the palsy these past few days, and right now, healing and becoming pain-free just needs to be my top priority. And that meant sleeping the additional 45 minutes today.

Now if only I could convince my guilt of that...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, I have abs???

Yes, I do. And they are making themselves felt. I mean felt.

Last Sunday I felt the urge to do some crunches. No big thing. Just kinda felt like it. I did about 50 (could have gone longer, but got distracted) and a few push-ups, and wandered off to other things.

Then on Monday I thought, "Those crunches felt good. Let's do some more while we watch tv - maybe we can make a regular thing of this again." And I plopped down on the floor and crunched 100 times, with 25 push-ups.

Ummm, yeah. I didn't crunch last night because every tiny little ab muscle was screaming at me yesterday.

The sad part is that I used to be able to do literally hundreds of crunches. Seriously. No exaggerating. I was in high school/college at the time and really thin and I'd joke that my abs were the only muscles I had.

I think I may try for a few more crunches tonight during the tv watching. Or tomorrow. Or both. I'd like to be an ab beast again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Another Slogfest

Arg, I'm ready for a good run!!

When I left this morning it was 74 degrees with 91% humidity. 91 freaking percent. Would you like fries with your liquid air??

The schedule called for 34 minutes. I ran 35. Like an idiot. I felt a big twinge in my shins in that last minute. Because I'm an idiot.

Anyways, 3.1 miles in 35 minutes for a total of 3.75 miles in 45 minutes (5 minute warmup & cooldown walking).

Monday, October 8, 2007

What to say??

So... I'm having a mild freak out this morning.

But I wanted to document another crappy run yesterday. Correction. It felt seriously crappy. But it was pretty fast. Make of that what you will: 30 minutes running with a 2 minute walk break after 25 minutes, because I felt just that crappy. But I ran 3 miles (and that is after subtracting the walk break) for 10 minute miles. On a training run. After it was light outside.

Actually, I ran my 1.1 mile loop in 10:55. Then I tried to slow it down.

Guess that didn't work. Go figure.

Tae bo this morning and again on Weds. Hope to run Tuesday, Thursday, and one weekend day. Goal is to bike in the evenings on Tuesday and Thursday as well. No missing workouts this week!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What a Difference a Few Days Make!

Last night I told my husband that when the alarm went off at 4:25, I needed to get up. If I didn't get up, he was to proceed with annoying me all the way out of bed, if necessary. Shockingly, it wasn't necessary. The alarm went off and I didn't even think of turning over for more sleep.

I rushed through my morning routine, because I had calculated that if I got out of the house before 4:45, then if I was feeling good at my planned 33 minutes, then I would have time to go for the long run of 41 minutes for the week. I looooove getting the long run in early in the week because it takes all the pressure off of the weekend run.

Yesterday when I stepped outside, I regretted not running because the weather was so nice - probably in the 60's. I only hope that this morning would be as nice, and it was! I was actually chilly during my warm-up walk.

I decided to do 3 large loops for 33-35 minutes, and then I could run up the hill and tack on an out and back spur for the remaining minutes. Of course, if I felt like going past the 33 minutes.

The first loop (approx. 1.1 mile) went really well. I was concentrating on trying to engage my core and run with better posture. The second loop, as always, was the most difficult to get through. I tried to focus on strengthening my mental resolve, because it isn't physical issues that make that second mile so hard. Then the third loop was gravy, because I knew I was on the home stretch. I decided to go for the long run. The run up the hill was tough, then the out of the spur was easy (slightly downhill), and on the back I tried to run hard for the last 2.5 minutes. Here I focused on engaging my core, lengthening through my torso, shoulders back, and increasing my turnover, which gets progressively slower throughout my runs.

Preston drove by during my cooldown walk, so I was able to kiss him goodbye and wish him a good day. Then I tried getting my heart rate. I need to work on this! I took off my watch so I could push the button to light it up with my left hand, and found my pulse with my right hand. Apparently the light only stays on for 2ish seconds, and when my focus would switch to lighting it back up, I'd lose count of my pulse! Anyways, after a few tries, I got something around 200-210. Not bad for a max HR, but I should try measuring it a few more workouts to get a better reading.

The parentals are coming in tonight to stay until Saturday. I tend to be good about running when they're around. *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rest or Bum?

My uncharacteristic weekday quietness is due to a lack of exercise.

That's right. Yesterday morning when the alarm went off, I got out of bed, did by bathroom business, weighed myself, and decided that another hour of sleep was totally worth not running.

This morning when the alarm went off, I didn't even pretend to be interested in getting up to see how tired I was. I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

I don't want this to be a trend. I'm actually frightened by how easy it was this morning. I think it is due to the meds that I'm still on for Bell's Palsy, but I am just soooooooo exhausted. It doesn't seem to matter how much sleep I get, I could always do with more right now. It actually feels a bit like when I had mono in college.

So I'm trying not to freak out. Maybe it is the meds. Maybe it is the palsy. One way or the other, if my body wants more sleep, I'm going to try to oblige. At least occcasionally.

But damnit if that run isn't re-scheduled for tomorrow morning, and damnit if I'm going to sleep in 3 days in a row. I *will* run tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll just skip OHRW6D1 and move to W6D2 as if nothing ever got skipped. Then I'd even be on track....

I will run tomorrow morning. I will run tomorrow morning. I will run tomorrow morning.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Preston Definition

Preston. v. To Preston, To be Prestoned, Prestoning: the act of circumventing a person or situation somewhat underhandedly.

Example: There is a stop sign in your neighborhood on a 4 lane divided road. There is almost always a car parked just past the stop sign in the right lane, therefore most people pull up to the stop sign in the left lane, leading to long lines to get through the stop sign. You are Prestoning if you pass the big line of people in the left lane and pull up into the right lane and gun it off the line to get in front of the person who was at the stop sign in the left lane. It isn't that it is technically wrong, but many people would feel that it is morally ambiguous - almost cutting in line.

Heard in the car the other day at said hypothetical stop sign where both Preston and I usually Preston people. "Hey, that car just prestoned me!!!"

Awesome.

Hellish Long Run Done Yesterday!!

Funny to put exclamation points after something I'm calling "hellish", but there it is.

I did my long run yesterday. 38 minutes, as per the OHRW5D3 redo plan. And it SUCKED. I mean really sucked. I went at 4:30 in the afternoon. It was about 88 degrees with a heat index in the low nineties. Humidity approximately 70%. Shade zero. Nasty nasty nasty hot for a run. Especially when I've been running in the mornings about 20ish degrees cooler than that of late. And let me tell you, I felt every extra degree for every minute I was out there.

I knew it was going to be a long haul when I looked at my watch for the first time after 5 minutes. At 10 minutes I had to convince myself to go til 15. At 15 til 20. At 20 til 25. At 25 til 30. At 30 til 32. At 32 til 33. At 33 til 38. That's how hard this run sucked.

I ran 3.3 miles in 38 minutes. That's the same distance I ran in 33 minutes just 3 days ago. That's how hard this run sucked.

So what's the cause of the exclamation points? I ran. Damnit, I got out there and did it. And I wanted to quit very badly, but I didn't. I gutted it out. I finally had a 3 run week again. I'm finally on track again. And no matter how hard the experience itself sucked, I did it and that can't be taken away from me.

Here's to hoping that tomorrow morning doesn't suck!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Wagon, Milkshakes, and Me

When I got sick a little over 2 weeks ago, I started dropping weight like I had always dreamed of doing. I even got within 3 pounds of my ultimate goal weight (125). And I was eating everything and anything I wanted! It was like a dream come true.

But we all have to wake up from dreams sometime, and my body is signaling me that I'd better pinch myself real quick and hop back up on the diet wagon before all this year's hard work goes to waste. I've gained a pound every day for the past 3 days. Back up into the 130's. Back up onto the wagon.

So I'm putting it out there that I'm back on the wagon again. You know, so I actually have to *be* back on the wagon again. Starting today, we're back to 6 days on diet and 1 off each week. And I can't declare an off day until I've been on for 7 days. Them's the rules. *sigh* I'm really really going to miss Chick-fil-a cookies n' cream milkshakes...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mentally Good Run

This morning I hit the road for what was supposed to be a 32 minute run. I tacked on a minute 15 to the end because I wanted to - sue me.

The focus this morning was on control. I wanted to control the HR, to control the breathing, to control the speed, and generally just to get in a solid run.

I did just that. My large loop, which is always the one I start with, is a 1.1 mile loop. I felt really solid and hit it in around 11:20. Then I decided to run it a second time, hitting the mark at 22:30 (negative split!). On that second loop I tried to focus on the mental aspect of the run, because mile 2 always seems the hardest in a 5K for me. Near the end of the second loop I was doing the math in my head trying to figure out if I could fit in a 3rd big loop in time. I knew that I couldn't do it in 32 minutes, but I was sure I could in under 35, and I had headed out the door early this morning so I had the time cushion, so I decided to go for it! Hit the third loop at 33:15. I negative split this entire run!! And this is really a tempo run type pace for me!

I did have a couple of quirks. My left calf feels a little tight. Stretched after the run, but still tight-feeling. The third toe on my left foot was bothering me at the beginning of the 2nd mile. Possibly causing the calf tightness?? Also, my quads have been chronically tight on running days since the last 5K race I ran. Not quite sure what is up with that.

Anyways, I stretched more thoroughly than normal after this run. Hopefully my lazy butt will get out of bed for a run on Friday, and then maybe I could do a little yoga after for a really good stretch.

I'm all excited about running again. I'm so glad to have planned out my races and to have targets and goals again. And as of Saturday, I'll be pred-no-doze free and back to just being me. And that's exciting too!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Races - Attempt Two

Ok, here's what I've got.


I'm interested in the following races, but not committing to anything for sure yet. But I do think that they could all possibly fit into the training schedule nicely... and I may go ahead and add them to the sidebar...

10/20: Runway Race for Life 5K (this one is pretty sure - I think Preston'd get a real kick out of being allowed on a runway, so I've been wanting to do this one since I've moved to H-town)
11/1: Rice Owls Twilight 5K (this would be really convenient on my way home from work, so is likely.)
11/4: Optimist's Club 4 Mile Fun Run (Sugarland is a little far for me, but not out of the question. It would be nice to run one longer than 5K race pre-5miler, so this one is probably in. Also, the Optimists up in the Big D honored me when I was in high school, so it'd be nice to support them down here.)
11/22: Run Thru the Woods 5 Miler (My "A" race. This one is definite.)

A little nervous about stacking the Rice and the Optimists so close together. I would normally run a 3 miler and a 4 miler in training that close together, or even 1 day closer, but I'll have to be really reminding myself not to go out hard at Rice and blow myself up for the Optimists. Because I think in the scheme of training having a great run at the Optimists will be more beneficial to the Woods than having a great 5K at Rice.

I wish there was a 5K closer to the beginning of October that I was interested in. There is one this weekend in Kemah, but that is a little far for me. Next weekend is Race for the Cure, but that one is a little pricey, even for supporting an excellant cause.

But October 20th *is* only 3.5 weeks away...

The Plan

Ok, the plan is to start back on One Hour Runner with Week 5 beginning yesterday. If I stick with the program exactly as scheduled, I'll get to Week 10 in the first week of November, giving me a little lag time before the race (in case I don't stick with the schedule!).

Dang, I had specifically posted about races I was interested in, but looking back at my blog I see that Blogger ate the actual text of the post. Way to go blogger!

Hrm... let's see if I can figure out what I was thinking of doing...

Blarg... Can't focus right now - will post possible races later. Just thinking of 1 or 2 5Ks before the Run Thru the Woods 5 miler on Thanksgiving which is my "A" race right now. At least 1 5K before then, because I need to get my confidence back after this layoff of running I've had.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Back in the Swing

This morning I pulled out 2.9 miles in a 30 minute run.

I knew I was going out too fast, but I couldn't seem to slow down (though obviously I eventually did!). I had to work to keep my HR and breathing under control. I felt crappy! I still think that this is related to the meds I'm on, however, so we're going to declare that:

I'm back, baby!

I'm back to running 30 minutes at a time.

Now I've just gotta figure out how to get up to 60ish minutes (or 5 miles) by Thanksgiving in 2 months. I guess I could start OHR over from a midpoint??? More on this later, gaters.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Races??

2 Miles in the Clear Cool Morning

I ran this morning for the first time since Bell's Palsy began. The weather was lovely - it seems that the summer heat has for the most part abated for a few mornings each week - just the development I've been waiting for!

I went out for 20 minutes, just to test the waters. I had a little trouble - I think my heart rate was rather high, my rate of perceived exertion was certainly high, but I made it.

Felt like I might toss my cookies when I started walking after the 20 minutes, but didn't, probably because there was nothing in my stomach to toss. Cooled down rather quickly, though, and felt great from the endorphins afterwards.

Here is the deal: I've started another blog for Bell's Palsy. In running around on the Internet I've not been able to discover an actual day to day account of anyone dealing with BP, and I feel like such an account would help me, so I'm going to document the ins and outs of life with BP for as long as I happen to have it. That also means that this blog can return to the ins and outs of me trying to be a runner. Despite the DNS for the Bellaire Fall Fever 5K this past Saturday, my goal remains the Run Thru the Woods 5 Miler on Thanksgiving Day. It might take me a week or two to return to form after this temporary weakness, but I have every intention of doing so asap, so with this post, it'll be back to the regularly scheduled blogging.

Btw, I've lost about 4 pounds since the BP started one week ago. This makes me 3.5 pounds over my dream goal weight. This is not how I wanted to get there, but I can't help that right now. The other night I was watching a program "The Science of Lance Armstrong" that mentioned how the weight loss from Armstrong's cancer allowed him to come back to cycling 20 pounds lighter and thus with a higher power to weight ratio. I want to make BP (while recognizing that however traumatic it is - it is nothing in the face of cancer) my own equivalent: this isn't how I wanted to take the weight off, but since it is off, the goal will be to keep it off even as I recover and to simply train my body at this new weight. I am back to eating solid foods, albeit slowly, so hopefully the weight will stop drastically dropping now and we will be back to our regularly scheduled weight loss programming as well.

On tap for the rest of the week: Tae Bo tomorrow morning, Run 25 minutes Thursday morning, Bike on Friday, Run again either Saturday or Sunday with the other day off - shooting for a full 30 minutes that day. Then next week we'll take stock of the situation and proceed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Palsy Run

I woke up this morning at 2:40, after dropping off to sleep sometime just before 11. My eye was dry. I fixed it and couldn't get back to sleep. I tried snuggling Preston. I tried counting the seconds. I tried petting a purring kitty. I finally decided to get up at my normal exercise time (4:30ish) and go for a walk. Best. Idea. Ever.

It was a rather cool morning, and not raining, and I decided to just walk up and down my street (about .1 mi. each direction) in case anything medically weird went down. It didn't. I walked back and forth, back and forth, and then at the end of the 5th lap I thought it wouldn't hurt to run for half a lap or so, would it? Running felt so incredibly good. My face broke into half a smile and I felt like I could leap over the moon. I was instantly justifying running the next two odd numbered laps, which I did, to no less elation.

Then today at the neurologist's office, she told me it would be ok for me to continue on my normal exercise. After she told me that I'd be like this from 3-6 months. But still, my mind might not break knowing that I can still do good for my body. I can still push myself. I can still have goals. And the road doesn't care what I look like. And the darkness hides my twisted face. And at least it will be twisted into a half smile.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Parents of the Palsy

I just got off the phone with my mom.

When I was in high school she had surgery to remove her perotid gland. She was informed that one of the possible side effects was facial paralysis on the side of her face that the surgery was on, and she was really scared about that. She told me that I said to her, "Don't worry, Mom, I'll still love you even if your face is paralyzed."

She told me today not to worry, that she loves me no matter that my face is paralyzed. (Of course, I mean, she's my mom!!)

But she did say that Dad didn't want to look at the pictures I e-mailed them.

Working with Bell's Palsy

I'm having a rather no good dirty rotten bad day today. Yesterday too, for that matter.

Being at work with Bell's Palsy is interesting. First, you have to explain to everyone what happened to you. No, you didn't sleep on your face wrong, and no, you haven't had a stroke. What you have is caused by a virus, and while the virus may be contagious, the palsy isn't.

Then, being at work within the 48 hour of onset window you have to deal with your worsening condition.

You go to the bathroom several times to cry. You cry because your eye hurts because it can't blink, it is dry, it is sore from you manually blinking it, and you don't want to wear your patch. You cry because it is getting harder and harder to speak around the palsy (you try saying Yom Kippur with the palsy!). You are having to be slower and more deliberate with your speech. You are fully embarassed. You walk down the hall with your head down hoping people won't look at you or speak to you or smile at you, but when they do, you have to tell the story all over again. Or just ignore the look of confusion and walk on. You cry because you just spent 30 minutes sucking your lunch through a straw, and now you've stressed out your face and the palsy seems worse, if that is possible. You cry because earlier you thought maybe your face responded when you told it to smile, but it is a phantom smile. You can't smile, you can only twist your face into something so horrible no one can tell you are smiling.

I'm thinking that maybe I should switch to 8 hour days until I can blink again. But 10 hour days are what kept me sane in this job, and I'll cry for that too, if it happens.

Please, please let the neurologist allow me to exercise. Otherwise send me straight to a mental health care professional, because the end of the rope is neigh.

Photo Fun with Palsy

Lopsided smile.

Big smile.

I always wanted to be able to lift only one eyebrow at a time.

It's all good with the Palsy.

Amber as Gene Simmons on Palsy.

Preston has taken to calling me "Palsy Bizzy". Bizzy was my nickname before...

You know, I think the hardest part of this is the mental aspect. Imagine waking up one morning with half of your face paralyzed. I don't know if everyone is this way, but a large part of my self-image has to do with the way that I look. I always found identity in my red hair. I was never super-confident... I never really felt pretty, and I was still trying to lose weight, but I had gotten to a point where I was relatively confident with how I looked. Imagine having that confidence shattered one morning when you look in the mirror.

Imagine that everyday tasks are suddenly very difficult. Imagine brushing your teeth when you can't close the right side of your mouth. Imagine taking a shower when you can't close one eye. Imagine having to manually blink that eye at regular intervals thoughout the day. Imagine having to tape it shut to sleep. Imagine trying to eat or drink when the right side of your mouth won't close. Imagine developing a lisp and an inability to say p b or f sounds over night. Then imagine that your husband's name contains both a p and an s. Imagine trying to smile at your husband and he doesn't smile back because he can't tell it is a smile.