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


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.........

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


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).


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.