Monday, January 30, 2012

The Choices You Don't Make

Today I am thinking about choices.  We are faced with a constant flow of them daily, and some we can brush off so easily, with little thought, and others stump us. 
Working out is a choice we all have, and nearly every morning when my alarm goes off at 4:50am, I really have to consider my options before convincing myself to just get up and do what I set my alarm to do.  I will not lie, it isn't easy, especially on days when I know I won't be home again until nearly 9PM after a long day at work and school.  
But I realize the important choice isn't always the one you make, but the one you don't.  When I choose to get out of bed when my alarm goes off, I am choosing to not let my laziness get the best of me.  Because I know that I will feel better once I am on the treadmill, getting the blood flowing.  And when I make the choice to eat something that will give my body proper nutrients, I am passing up the choice to put myself back on blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. 
And when I choose to put garbage in my body, I am passing on the choice to have my body feel good, and to look good in a strappy tank top.
I consider myself to be a fairly good problem solver, and have often gotten creative in the process, but I still falter with my diet/exercise/health because I don't analyze it the same way, weighing out the choices I have, I tend to let myself go on a very hedonistic autopilot sometimes.  But when I am thinking clear and strong, I realize that I am simply not even looking at the negative as a choice.  When I do something that will hinder my progress, it truly is a choice I am making.  But sometimes I just don't hold myself accountable. 
Toward the end of last week, I was in such a good place, eating right, pushing my cardio workouts, and feeling in high spirits looking toward summer.  I had planned cheats for Friday and knew I could manage Saturday's family meal OK, but going into the weekend, I told myself I was going to try to keep my diet relatively sane.  But just before the end of my workday, something happened to trash my mood, and on the drive home, one kid said something that hurt my feelings, and the other was grouchy from a bad day at school, and I just felt overwhelmed by the moment.  We stopped on our way home to buy some chocolate, and we three devoured it easily in the half hour it took for our pizza to arrive. 
Then pizza.  Before, when I was really really on-track, I would have two pieces of pizza, and that would be it for the entire weekend.  Nowadays, I have 4 pieces and continue eating badly through the weekend.  Saturday morning, the kids and I went to the store for a few things, and bought some more sweets.  Then, by the time my husband got home from his photo shoot Saturday evening,  we went out to dinner at our favorite spot, and my stomach was already feeling like it was throwing up the white flag, so I ate chicken fajitas, and only had one tortilla.  Then, because he has been so depleted of calories and carbs for so long, my husband convinced me to have yet another cheat meal on Sunday, this time a burger and fries, followed by dessert.  I didn't eat much else yesterday, as that burger sat in my gut all night until it finally made me feel quite ill right before bed last night.  And this morning, I still feel kind of aweful. 
It comes down to paying the consequence for my choices.  I could have chosen a salad and skipped the dessert, those would have been wise choices with positive outcomes. 
So, I am going to try to make better choices, especially on the weekends, so I don't end up another sad story. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Umm College...Wait, What Was I Saying Again?

I am officially a college student.  Again.  The start of the week had me questioning my sanity, as I am twice the age of most of my classmates, but I got into my groove like I always do.  I am taking a class on abnormal psychology of the child and a class on adolescence (human development).  Since my sons are both autistic, I am naturally fascinated, and both have open-book exams, so I expect to be able to ace both. 
The first few classes of any semester really bring out anxiety in me, finding my classes, adjusting to the others in the room, and establishing myself as the coolest one are challenging, especially when all the others are half my age.  But, even though I am not exactly all the way where I want to be, I am not where I was.  And that has done wonders for my self-esteem.  I don't think I would have had the courage to go back to college without that being true. 
So where am I at?  Instead of blogging this week, I have used the time to get a little head start on my homework.  The week went somewhat as planned, somewhat the same as the past month has gone, about 75% on plan.  And, I gave myself the leniancy because I knew I would be stressed out and anxious. 
Yesterday, despite having an inner-ear issue making me mighty dizzy, I ran intervals at 5mph, with my last interval at 6mph, which still feels like a sprint.  Not so sure I can train myself to run that fast for that long in only 3 1/2 months.  And I'm really not sure how to go about it.  I may do some research this weekend before my next run on Sunday.  I have found that my focus has shifted to school and I have been a little unenthused about the 5k, but maybe once school becomes part of the routine, the focus will shift again. 
It has been feeling like spring around here, with temperatures much warmer than usual and even some rain, most of the snow has melted, and I am once again looking at patches of lawn that should be dead and frozen under several feet of snow.  I don't mind, it actually makes me feel like I need to be working toward a body I will be proud to show off this summer, and procrastination is only going to have me sitting idle in the same spot I've always been.  But the dream of summer is one I do like to linger in.  This year, I vow not to take one minute of summer for granted. 
Wow!  School has really numbed my brain.  What a boring blog!  I'll be back again once I have something more interesting to say. 
Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Other One

I tricked you!  If you were looking for the gem that I removed, it is on my other blog, Crunchy Little Paint Chips, and it should make you chuckle, or at least explain to you why I need to move out of Wisconsin.
Happy reading, bloggies.

Breaking News: Nightstand Gobblins in Green Bay Area

I do not, for the life of me, understand why people lie about stupid things.  In my little corner of the office, I get to see all sorts of people who tell little white lies about their glasses.  "I don't know how they got that way, I just set them on the nightstand before bed, and when I woke up, they were all mangled!"  Blasted nightstand gobblins are at it again.  And today, the familiar, "I got hit by a box and they got all bent up."  I have put out a bulleton to be on the lookout for vicious boxes that take great delight in trashing the eyewear of unsuspecting and innocent victims.  Green Bay is on high alert. 
Really people?  I know it was either the right cheek or the left that smashed your glasses while you carelessly left them where they don't belong.  I am optician, yes, but I am also a future psychologist, and I know what you did to your glasses.  (Gasp!)  And while your secret is safe with me, I can tell you with certainty, that you cannot see from that part of your body.  And lucky for the lot of you, I am an expert at fixing butt-smashed glasses to look nearly brand new, and I won't even laugh at you.  At least not while you're in my store.
But these are the little lies we all tell at some point, hoping that it will cover up something we are embarassed about.  "My large ass smashed my glasses" is, while entirely truthful, a little unsettling for all of us, therein we create the ferocious "box" or nightstand mystery, or my favorite is the blaming it on the grandkids or the dog. 
At any rate, we are imperfect creatures, and telling a fib is fairly natural for most of us.  It is a defense mechanism, a slight escape from an uncomfortable situation that we don't want others to know we are dealing with.  The problem comes when we start to lie to ourselves.  And the complicated part is deciding what is what. 
I have been quasi-committed to my health as of late.  Yesterday's awesome inspiration by way of looking at before and after photos on an infomercial was short-lived and I started this morning off with a heaping spoonful of Nutella.  Not on wheat bread like they suggest, but straight out of the bottle.  Why?  Because it was there and looked tastey.  But it's made with hazelnuts and skim milk, I told myself.  Then I looked at the nutrition label.  First ingredient, sugar, then palm oil.  Good times!  I didn't lie to myself, I didn't think it through, I just didn't even try to talk myself out of it.  I acted with the reckless abandon of a skinny person.  And to think of myself as a skinny person is a huge lie.  When I started this journey, I didn't struggle with food because I was so commited to the final goal that it was all I cared about.  Somewhere along the line, I started letting little things creep in, and create alternate universes for me.  But I knew that this journey would not be without obstacles and challenges.  I just need to calculate a way to overcome them.  And for me to think I don't care about my health or about getting to my goal is also a lie, but having to face that truth means I have to be accountable for my actions.  It is so much easier to stay on track when I am too broke to buy junk food or have it in the house (the Nutella was for the kids, you see), but I can't use that as an excuse. 
I am so looking forward to the weekend, to relax, put this odd chaotic week behind me, and possibly move forward with my 5K training.  Of course, I could be fibbing, but that is between me and the nightstand gobblins.
Happy Thursday loyal readers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weren't you Pregnant?

This morning, the first thing I saw when I fired up the TV was an infomercial.  I will admit, I tend to get sucked in while I wait for them to disgust me and tell me how much they charge for it.  I know it can cut through an aluminum can and still slice a tomato, but how much is it?  But today, the infomercial showed transformed fatties with their beautiful new bodies, complete with 90 days claims.  But before I could roll my eyes, I saw it was Tracy Anderson, personal trainer extrodinaire whose program they were selling.  I got sucked in.  Gasp!  She has trained Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow!  I want to look like them.  And all at once, before I knew it, I was reinspired.  And for the low, low price of $100 I can order the 4 CD set and transform my life.  Now, I am usually pretty skeptical of any infomercial, particularily those that pedal hair in a can, but this one makes sense.  She is a personal trainer, and she knows how to work accessory muscles, not just do the same old squats and lunges that bore me to tears.  It's like having a personal trainer in my living room.  Not a silly dance class, but someone showing me new ways to work my muscles.  And the before and after photos are pretty inspirational.  Lets just say, I'm considering using some of my birthday money to invest in the set.  Anyone try it yet?  Don't be shy, you can chime in.
For the second time in a month, someone mistook me for being pregnant at work today.  And, if you have ever been on the receiving end of such a slip-up, it is as uncomfortable for you as the one who made the mistake.  Here's a thought, if you aren't sure someone is with child, don't bring it up.  Actually, I should be happy it happened, in both instances it was because I was wearing an extremely baggy shirt.  My work shirts were ordered by catalog, with no samples to try for fit, so I ordered them a bit big, in case the sizes ran small.  They are quite a bit too big, but I kept them, hoping they would shrink.  So now, aparently, they are so baggy on me that people are mistaking me for having a bun in the oven.  When this mistake first happened a few weeks ago, I started wearing more fitted sweaters, so today's comment went more like, "Weren't you pregnant the last time I was in here?"  When I answered no, he said, "huh, must've been someone else."  Funny enough, he addressed me by name when he walked in.  Wink.  So, I get it.  I need to not wear those baggy work shirts anymore.  They are just soooo comfy.  God knows how many more people mistook me for pg but didn't say anything!
This week I have been doing my cardio like I should, but the eating is still not 100% commited.  I have been buying a lot of junk food for my kids, trying to live vicariously through them, and then, indulging in the end, justifying until my monthly lovely makes it's appearance.  But today, after being reinspired, I thought of how much rubbish that is.  What I am really doing is giving myself the green light to be lazy about nutrition, and giving myself an excuse.  Yes, we women have challenges, and I believe at times it is best to just have a little indulgence to get it out of your system, but the cravings aren't there every day.  But I eat like they are.   And it isn't like I am ruining my day with McDonald's or something, it is more like, on-plan all day, then half a bag of popcorn at night.  Dumb, mindless eating.  And the funny thing about it, when I am eating off-plan, and someone else has fresh veggies in the fridge, I salivate at the sight of those veggies.  I am letting emotions run me, instead of listening to my body.
On Monday, after a full week of mutilated diet and indulgent weekend, I was 164.  Scarey to see those numbers on the scale again.  Then after a squeaky clean Monday, including gallons of water consumption, back down to 160.  So it seems my diet secret is to binge on salt and carbs, then lose 4 pounds of water weight in a day.  Yikes! 
I think I will be a little more committed now that my motivation has been perked up a bit.  Summer will be here before I know it, I don't want to have to hide a hideous body or resort to wearing baggy clothes that make me look pregnant!  I am going to do a weight workout tomorrow, because I can, and because it has been the better part of a month since I have.  And because on Sunday when my car died and I had to try and steer it without power steering (while trying to move it out of the way) I felt like I was going to die from the exertion and my muscles are still sore.  Sheesh!
Hope you are all having a great week, and are not getting mistaken for being "with child". 

This weekend will be a run.  Not sure how far or how fast, but I will run. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter Can Suck It!

Joe-Bob fell true da ice while tryin' to ketch him a feesh.  Good job Joe-Bob!  Newsflash, in case you live in under a rock, it hasn't been cold enough to freeze the water in dem der ponds.   Still, idiots abound.  People just do not learn.   In this part of the country, we can usually start expecting snow around the third week of November, and almost almost get a blizzard by the second week of December, thereby certifying a "white Christmas" that everyone is apparently so fond of.  After two snowless months of listening to the skiers and miscellaneous other snow lovers whine, we finally got our first measurable snow last night.  It snowed for 24 hours straight, and blew all over the place.  It didn't add up to much, maybe 4 inches, which is just enough for people to finally be taught that even with their fancy vehicles and 4-wheel drive, slippery is slippery, and Wisconsin roads will not be outdone by any vehicle.  Although, I think for my next vehicle, if I stay in Wisconsin much longer, I shall look into purchasing one of those government snow plows.  They seem to stay on the road OK, and everyone gets out of their way.  Just a thought. 
My vehicle, complete with front wheel drive and nearly-bald tires (sigh.  Still haven't been able to afford new ones) was sliding all over the place and raising my blood pressure to new heights.  Thankfully I live less than 10 miles from my work, but the reminder of just how much I hate snow came flooding back to me yesterday.  Yes, it is pretty to see.  To be brutally honest, I actually like snow a little bit, when I'm not driving in it.  But then there is the inevitible driving, slipping and idiot drivers to contend with.  I may have grown up around here, but I am certainly no longer cut out to live in a snowy place!
Sigh.  I made it to work safely this morning, but I have a gigantic hill no matter which direction I come, and I nearly didn't make it up the hill this morning.  Someone pulled out right in front of me, forcing me to slow and then I lost my momentum and slipped and slid and spun my tires until I got there.  If there is one thing I am, it's tenacious. 
I guess that's why I haven't let my recent week of poor eating and little exercise bother me too much.  I had an off week.  I only did cardio the past 3 days, but let my diet relax the entire week.  I realize the cardio was doing nothing for me physique-wise, but it was some sort of sanity in the midst of the chaos.  Turns out, my body's "issue" was the impending natural disaster that happens to me every month, this time the week leading up to it was just way way worse for me than usual, and complicated by trying to stave off 3 different flu bugs I have been exposed to, and a headcold that is sitting heavy in my ears and throat. 
I think the worst of it is over, and I can get back to normal within the next couple days.  Tonight I will stay in my cozy apartment, eat pizza with my boys, and watch Ghost Hunters with the lights out, while the wind whips the snow into a tizzy outside.  I plan on enjoying my weekend and doing as little driving as possible before the next big storm moves through on Monday.  I might sneak in a run this weekend too, now that my body seems to be getting back to it's normal state.  It really does help relieve stress!
Only 4 months until my 5K.  Sounds like a lot of time for such a small distance, but I have a lot of work to do if I want to increase my pace.  The next couple of months should be interesting!
If you have lasted through my completely worthless babble, have an enjoyable day and a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Anti-Bliss and Salty Fries

Ever try McDonald's fries dipped in a carmel sundae?  Oh yeah, that's where I'm at today.  That whole business about trying to stay on track with my diet while taking a break from working out?  No go.  For some reason I feel like I need TLC, mentally and physically.  Hot baths are not cutting it anymore.  Can't say as though the sugar consumption is doing it either, physically, but it sure feels good mentally to indulge. 
Once I knew I wasn't going to succeed at my Maintain, Don't Gain contest at work, I sort of threw my hands up in the air, figuratively, and decided this week was going to be a break.  Sometimes I just get sick of having to always be concerned with every morsel that goes into my mouth, and that is when I take a break.  Interesting enough, it is usally when I give myself permission to eat whatever I want, I tend to not go off the rails as much as one would expect.  It is a mental game.
What I normally handle with grace, I find nearly too irritating to bear today.  People asking if their glasses need to be adjusted.  Umm, you tell me.  Do they feel bad, do they slip down, are they crooked?  Why are you in my space?  People freaking out because their new pair doesn't feel exactly the same as their old ones.  Do new shoes feel the same the first time you put them on?  Then there are my favorite (!), the calls wondering if their glasses are ready.  We call to let you know when they are ready.  Seems like an easy concept; if you didn't get a call, they're not ready.  And no, I can not, by way of Magic 8 ball or other magical resources, determine when the lab will have them ready for me.  Rest assured, there will be a call when they are indeed ready.  Teeth gritted.
Blah!  Hate feeling so irritable.  Probably hormonal.  That is why the salty fries with carmel sundae hit just the right spot.  Only 3 hours and 15 minutes left to endure of my anti-bliss.  Will try to be in a better mood tomorrow. 
Hope your Tuesday was less annoying than mine!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Yawn! Monday Again?

The weekend did not cure what ailed me, unfortunately, and I woke this morning wishing it was still Saturday.  Not that I had a particularily crazy weekend, but I felt very drained and tired/sore for the entirety of it.  I spent a lot of time interacting with my kids, playing lot of games and watched a little football.  My food was as I expected, and as I have come to allow, pizza on Friday, our favorite restaurant on Saturday, and a few sweet treats thrown in for good measure.  The good news is that, I am slowly taking back my weekends, so that not everything I put in my mouth on the weekend is bad.
I intentionally rested on Saturday, as I was feeling like I'd been hit by a truck, still sore from last week and feeling the sinus pressure spreading to my stuffy ear.  I knew I needed to take it easy.  I didn't even do the much-needed housework on Saturday.  OK, so it might have been an excuse to not do housework, but my kids got lavished with attention. 
Yesterday, as is the case most Sundays, I had to work my workout schedule around my husband's.  We are usually wanting to go at the same time, but that doesn't work with kids.  So I let him go first.  He goes to the gym and generally takes about 2 1/2 hours, but I figured it might be good for me to eat and have time for it to digest before I attempted to run.  My body was still all sore, but I talked myself into believing it was not as sore as the previous day.  So I did some heavy duty house cleaning, scrubbing the bathroom to a brilliant shine.  Having only one bathroom in a household with 3 males in it, means it is a challenge to keep it clean!  By the time my husband got back from the gym, I was feeling exhausted, for no real reason.  I felt like, not only should I not be running, I wanted to be laying down taking a nap.  I never nap.  But I had planned to run on Sunday, so by George, I gave it the old college try.  I decided I was going to try and run 5mph for one mile.  I had a decent warm up and then...5mph felt like 10mph.  I could only keep it up for 3 minutes, and then after a failed attempt to keep going at 4.5mph, I decided to walk at a moderate pace.  After a few minutes I ran at 4.5mph for another 3 minutes, and then it became brutally evident that I should not be running.  Nothing felt good about it.  I walked for an additional ten minutes to cool down, and called it a day.  I hate when a workout doesn't go well.  Not that I was certain I could run a mile at 5mph, but I thought I could do better than that.  When I am in my normal condition, I am sure I can, I was just so off yesterday. 
It had me worrying about my 5K, and thinking maybe I'm not cut out for it.  I know I can finish it, but I'm not really sure how to train myself into a better finish time.  I will do some research, and I have a few friends who also run, so I am not without my resources. 
Later that night, my husband was contacted by a very powerful person who wants to work with him.  This man is the former art director of one of the biggest fashion houses in the world, and he wants to work with my husband, to do a fashion shoot and "build something".  He is from Paris and co-created a very well-reviewed fashion magazine about urban culture.  I won't devulge his name until something more concrete happens, right now it is just a Facebook correspondence (initiated by this man) and a mutual desire to work together.  It has the potential to be the big break we have been so certain would happen this year.  I have been so excited, it is hard to think of anything else.
But alas, there is still the rest of our world.  We still had to get up and get the kids on the bus, and get to work.  I, getting bombarded with calls from people wondering, "Are my glasses ready yet?" *sigh* and my husband driving his forklift around, lifting dangerously heavy loads in dangerous, and un-heated warehouse.  It is fun to dream about the posibilities though.
This week, I am going to rest as many days as I need in order to feel recuperated.  Not sure what will come of my workouts this week, but I am going to try to keep the diet right on track.  Have intentionally added some extra veggies and changed up my fruit selection this week, to get me out of my dietary rut. 
Have a good Monday, friends.  My quasi-famous fairytales return tomorrow.

Friday, January 6, 2012

La La La La La...I'm Not Listening

Yesterday I said I was in tune enough with my body enough to know when it was time to take a day off.  I didn't lie, but sometimes I just don't listen.  My alarm was accidentally set for 5:30, which would have insured that I didn't have time to work out.  I say accidentally because every week day it goes off at 4:50am, but when I slept in yesterday I forgot to reset it to the normal time.  I woke up at 4:47am on my own, joints bitchin at me, despite the balmy 38 degree morning temp.  I stretched my sore legs as I put my shoes on, and an overwhelming, and uncharacteristic feeling overcame me.  I do not feel like running today.  I don't even feel like being on the treadmill at all today.  So I decided I would go to the cardio room anyway, and see what came of it.  There are also stationary bikes and an eliptical, and I figured if the desire just wasn't there, at least I could watch the news on the theatre-sized high def screen while I stretched some more. 
As soon as I got in the room, it made me feel like I needed to do something.  I looked at the treadmill, and it told me, "No way, fattie, you are not killing me today."  So I tried again on the eliptical.  What a sight I must have been.  I had to set it down to nearly the lowest settings on stride and resistence.  I only put up with it for 6 minutes before I switched to the treadmill and pushed out another 9 minutes of lower-than-normal intensity on it, which felt like walking on air compared to the eliptical.  Now, being the person I am, I will challenge myself to work more on the eliptical, to get "better" at it, and be able to increase my intensity.  While I was using it I did notice that after a minute or so, it didn't bother my knee as bad as last time I tried it, and it seemed to really be strengthening my leg muscles, which is a huge bonus both for running and for keeping the kneecap in place. 
Speaking of the kneecap, it has been slightly irritated since the 6mph interval run.  Then again, my whole body feels sore and tired right now, so why shouldn't my knee also.  If all goes well, I may try to do a mile at 6mp this weekend.  I don't know if I'm ready for that just yet, but I guess I'll find out.  As Garmins are way out of my budget right now, I am going to try to find a selection of songs that coincide with my 6mph pace, to help me keep my pace up while I run.  Now, I just need to find some sort of headphones or the like that will stay in/on my ears when I am running.  Any advice? 
It will be tough, but I am going to try to listen to my body this weekend.  If I don't feel good, and don't feel like working out, I know there's a reason.  I haven't had very many days off of the treadmill in the last month, even though it's just cardio, it is still exertion.
Well lovely readers, I hope you all enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Answer in a Deflating Intertube

A very wise philosophy professor once told me, "Things are always most confusing right before you find the answer."  I think I have shared that before, but it is so often at the forefront of my mind, that I feel it is worth repeating.  I spent a good portion of yesterday sulking; whining inside my head.  It is so counter-productive, but it is a kneejerk reaction to not seeing results of my efforts on the scale or measuring tape.
I have hit a huge plateau, and I have been on it for so many months.  Granted, there has been a lot of yo-yoing during that time, and a rollercoaster of waxing and waning commitment to it, but I have stayed within the same set of numbers for longer than I ever expected.  I got so frustrated yesterday when I thought about how much effort I feel like I am exerting, and my recent level of committment.  I do cardio 5-7 days a week, at varying levels of intensity, including running.  Running in itself is a confusing concept to me.  I have always thought of it as one of the most intense forms of exercise one can do.  Mainly because it always felt so challenging to me.  Hell, when you're obese, even walking feels challenging.  When I was reading the manual for the treadmill I use, it had a section on deciding whether to walk or run, and it was actually discouraging running, saying that you get almost the same caloric burn with walking as running, but in order to get any real increase you had to run at such an extreme pace that it isn't worth what you do to your body in return.  Pssh!  I thought.  Ridiculous manual trying to tell people not to run.  I know how much more challenging it is, I must be getting something way more beneficial than just the runner's high.  Right?  Then, when I saw the same numbers on the scale and measuring tape I conceded that it must have been the truth.  That is when I began pouting and sulking, the confusion sitting heavy on my thoughts. 
I know that cardio is tremendously less effective at keeping metabolism elevated than weight lifting.  I know that burning a few extra calories every morning isn't going to make much difference in my physique.  But I know it is keeping my heart healthy, and that is way more important than outter appearances.  Granted, I want to look good.  I feel like I have earned that; I feel like I have put so much work into it and right now, the changes are just so slow in coming.  Despite all my frustration, I signed up for my 5K yesterday, so there is no backing out of it now. 
By the time I got home last night, I felt completely burnt out, to the point of achey joints and stuffy ear.  Everyone around me is sick with stomach flu or head cold, and I just can't fathom the thought of dealing with either right now, so I have been upping my vitamin intake (which is usually non-existent) and trying to be more restful.  My kids have been exposed to stomach flu at the babysitter's house, so I have been encouraging the same for them.  Last night, instead of free-play and running around before bedtime, we watched movies and nibbled on popcorn.  I let my guard down and had some popcorn and even a handful of sugary cereal (dry).  I felt completely drained and fell asleep before my kids.  Fortunately, I think we are going to stave off the flu, but one of my sons is getting the stuffy nose.  Fingers crossed we can keep it to just that.  There is an outbreak of Whooping Cough in a nearby school system, it has everyone on edge. 
Last night before bed, when I was changing into my sleepwear, I was caught off guard by how muscular and lean my quads and hamstrings look.  My upper legs in general look good, I haven't been paying attention to it, but the running is shaping my upper legs nicely.  It's embarassing to admit that I couldn't look away for a while.  It is almost the same feeling I had when I first started losing weight around my belly, to see it smaller was so strange to me that I would examine my new body over and over.
This morning, I rested because I have become very good at realizing when it is time.  Achey joints usually means I am in need of a day off.  The down side to that is I felt more sluggish and stiff, because I didn't get my blood flowing like normal.  In hindsight, I should have began the morning with a nice session of yoga or simple stretching.  Next time, perhaps.  When I was getting ready, taking off my fitted fleece that I wear to warm me up in the chilly mornings, I had a really powerful and uplifting feeling wash over me, that a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to wear that fleece, if I could have even got in on me and zipped, which is doubtful,  it would have looked horrible on me (it has a runner's cut, which is very flattering for my current figure).  The best thing to happen in a long time, happened next.  When I took off the fleece and my shirt, I noticed that my sweatpants were looking suspiciously baggy in an area that I thought would be fat forever.  The dreaded fat roll that hangs over my hips and all around my back, which makes an intertube-looking layer just above my butt, has shrunk!  Again, I had to look at it over and over, making sure it wasn't just my clothing constricting it.  Nope, some fat has left the building.  If time had allowed, I would have taken my hip measurement, but I was already running late, so I will just have to rely on my eyes.  And now that I think of it, I will not take that measurement until next month, because I want to see just how much those numbers will fall in the course of a month.  I immediately thought, it must be the running!
So maybe in the end, I should remember the lesson that the race is not for the swift but for the steady, and for the strong-at-heart.  And for the patient.  Hard work does equal results, but predicting when and where they will appear is not for mere mortals to decide.  And I am OK with that.  I am going to just keep putting in the work and let the chips fall where they may.  Today's lesson proved to me that if I can lose weight in such a hard area, that it is all going to come off eventually.  I just have to keep believing.  And next time I feel this confused, I will try not to look at is as a frustration, but a time of celebration, because I know that the answer will be just around the corner.
Hope you find your high today and keep on running.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

No Time for Hibernation

The gift this morning presented, was temperatures warm enough to not make my nostrils stick together as I crunched across the icy, snow-dusted lot to the cardio room.  Today was low intensity cardio, and even that felt like a challenge, as my body feels like it needs a rest.  Might be a sign to schedule an appointment to use that spa certificate sooner than later, though I was considering saving it for after my 5K. 
This morning as I checked myself out in the mirror, I suddenly realized that, despite the lack of snow, winter is in full swing, and there are really only about 2 1/2 snowy months left.  That, for me, is bittersweet.  I loathe snow and will be happy to be rid of it, but I am still not tank-top ready.  Then I delved more into it and realized that this recent focus on running has been positive in general, but has also become a convenient excuse to not do weight training.  I always feel too sore to do a lower body session, and by the time my legs feel healed, I run again, so as not to lose momentum on the training for the 5K.  Convenient.  The funny thing is, I used to really enjoy lifting weights.  I like feeling strong.  It is so much more of a hassel to weight train than it is to do cardio right now, as I cannot do it without waking up my husband, who is already quite sleep-deprived.  And if I wait until he is awake, I have a half hour or less to get my session in, in order to get myself and my kids out the door in time.  It is a challenge, but not impossible.  I need to make more of an effort to get the weight training in.  It has been a while since I have had any great progress on the scale and the measuring tape, and I'm sure this is a huge component.
So, I think I need to set another goal that has nothing to do with the 5K, so I don't allow myself to continue to be lax in other areas.  It may involve the purchase of a new piece of clothing I can work toward sporting this summer.  I will mull over the details and blog about it when I come up with a good goal/motivation.  Is it a bit insane that I am excited, even though I haven't designed a plan yet?
So, this week is halfway through, I am going to try to get a good weight session in either tonight or tomorrow morning.  No more slacking.  I am finding more and more that I need to buckle down and push myself harder if I am ever going to get off this dreaded plateau!  Time to make progress.
Hope your week is going smoothly.  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Trusty Undergarments are a Must

Today I ran so fast that my underwear fell down!  Yes, that's right, I'm sure it was quite a sight to see me running along trying to catch the earbuds as they flew out of my ears, while simultaneously trying to pull up my undergarments.  Luckily, at 5am, there isn't a whole lot stirring around my complex, and I was the only one in the cardio room, as I always am, but the gigantic windows behind the treadmills do face out toward the opposing appartments' front windows.  Note to self, chose underwear wisely on running days. 
6 miles per hour, that's what I ran, in one minute intervals.  I wasn't sure if I could do it, especially as I approached the 5.5mph mark and it felt like I was going to fly off, but once I settled into it, I found it was quite accomplishable.  Not sure how long I could keep running at that speed, but that is why I will work my way up to it.  Now I just need to figure out a plan of attack. 
Yesterday I got a belated birthday hello from an old friend, whom I'd recently reconnected with.  It's funny how such a little thing can make you feel so good.  I know my enthusiasm could be easily misinterpreted, but my conscience is clear.  This friend was with me in the trenches when I worked nearly 8 years in a convenience store,  and over the time I knew him, he was a confidon and someone who could always make me laugh until my sides and cheeks hurt.  As someone I admired greatly and spent years crushing on, I always wanted to impress him, but always felt like I sorely missed the mark.  Once I met my husband-to-be, I knew there could be no one else for me, and over the years I lost touch with my friend as we both spent time developing our families.  Though I had thought about him from time to time, wondering how he was, I would have been horrified to let him see me in the state I was after having two kids and totally neglecting myself.  Now, part of what keeps me on track, is knowing we will indeed see each other again, posibly this summer, and I will be looking way different than he's ever seen me.  And, it won't be that I want to try and win his affections (I am married to a male model, for crying out loud) but to show him that I am what he thought I never could or would be.  When he knew me, I was very weak in every conviction, and it was evident I made everyone else more important than me, so that I wouldn't have to focus on the things I didn't like about myself.  Now, I have so much confidence and self-conviction I am simply unstoppable.  I know, my dear friend will celebrate my successes with me and our famililes will come to know each other and it will be a warm, and hopefully more lasting connection.  It has totally inspired me to push harder, to show him what I have/can do.  I would be lying if I said that it wasn't a little bit about showing him what he passed up.  Not everyone gets the opportunity to do that, not everyone improves themself as time goes by.  But really, the exilleration I will get from being the glowing, strong woman I am will be my own best reward.  I am proud of myself, that is most important.  And it may turn out that we don't see each other face to face anyway, with the way my husband's modeling career is moving, we may not be in Wisconsin too much longer (fingers crossed) but I have resolved to spend more time in my hometown in 2012, visiting family and friends who have long felt negelected, so I am certain we will meet up at least once before I move, when and wherever that may be. 
First, there is a 5K to complete, and a college career to dive back into.  Really, when I think about what it takes to make me happy, I already have everything all lined up; an amazing family, great friends with whom I can share every pain and triumph, a great job and a fresh start on a new, meaningful career, and finally, my health and triumph over obesity.  Now if only I could get out of this snowy state...
Tuesday is awesome.  Hope you are having a good one!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Feeling Groovy

Hello dear readers!  I hope you all had an enjoyable New Year's celebration and came out the other side unscathed!  For me, the celebration began Friday evening, but I wasn't celebrating the coming of a new year, perse, more the end of the chaotic, so-busy-I-can't-even-keep-hydrated sale that we've been having since Thansgiving.  I doubled my normal sales in the month of December, and most of what I was selling was 50% off, so you do the math!  So when I walked out of my office on Friday evening, I was ready for some good ole fashioned cheat food. 
We ate at our favorite restaurant, and were seated in a different area, very charming and quaint, and we had a perfectly delectable dinner.  My husband was very exhausted and ready to be home, so we didn't get a sweet treat afterword, much to my (and my kids) dismay.  But I promised them McDonalds holiday pies the following day if they behaved.
Saturday morning I ran two miles in 34 minutes.  I don't know why I was making things so difficult with the kilometers/ miles per hour thing.  If I want to finish a 5K in less than 30 minutes, I have to run slightly faster than 6 miles per hour.  Now that I know what I am aiming for, I know how to get there.  At some point this week, I am going to try intervals and see how minute intervals of 6mph feel, and slowly work my way up, switching between longer runs at lower speeds and short to moderate length runs at 6mph or more.  It will be truly interesting to see where I stand. 
I noticed one thing while I was running this weekend, and now that I noticed it, it seems to be resonating through so many other things.  The first mile is always the toughest.  It's that first mile when the muscles are still a bit cold, and they want to tense up and use more energy than they need, and your heart feels like it's searching for the proper rhythm.  In the first mile, I am aware of the entire mechanics of running, the way my feet hit the treadmill, the sound my shoes make, my hamstring muscle starting to tense, my breath seeming strange and heavy.  Once I pass that mile, and the endorphins kick in, everything feels all warm, I find my natural groove, my breathing and footing seem to come in perfect rhythm, everything seems so in sync.  Life is just like that.  Stepping into the cold,tense beginning of something is always a bit offsetting, but once you begin, it mostly always gets easier.  On this particular run on Saturday, I plugged in my iPod (I am completely convinced that earbuds are the worst invention ever made) and cranked up the Bouncing Souls, and it turns out that melodic punk is really quite perfect for running.  When I finished my two miles, I was so proud of myself that I said in triumph (to no one) "HA!!! SUCK IT!  I JUST RAN TWO MILES IN 34 MINUTES!"  And I knew that whatever else transpired that day, that no one could take that run away from me. 
I did indeed indulge in said holiday pies, and except for a bit of popcorn and raspberry vodka later that night (the All-American way to celebrate New Year's Eve, right?) I ate on-plan all day, which is more than I can say for most Saturdays, when my mentality is anything goes.
I was going to rest on Sunday, due to my legs being sore from the run, but I ended up feeling so restless that I needed to move.  A fresh mix of freezing rain and light snow made it just not intelligent to drive, and I wanted some Diet Coke in the worst way, so I combined my workout with the reward of getting said drink, by walking to the convenience store down the street.  It is about 1 mile round trip, nothing to write home about, but getting some blood flowing into my legs made them feel a little better.  And the Diet Coke was deliciously cold and tingly in my throat when I got it home.  Win-win.
This morning my legs were still a bit sore, so I did some moderate cardio, changing up my intervals a bit.  My diet has been 100% back on plan and I haven't even been thinking about food today, other than the fact that I feel like my metabolism is revved way up and I am constantly hungry.  That is a good thing.  If my legs feel better tomorrow, I will test out the 6mph intervals, running at 6mph for a minute, then walking at an easy pace for 2 minutes.  I wonder if can even run that fast??  Once when I was obese, I started a new year out by joining a gym and I got one free session with a trainer.  I was truly a novice.  When he put me on the treadmill, I had no idea how to get it started, much less what to expect.  It was one of those gyms that looked like it was someone's basement and some powerlifter turned it into a cool industrial gym.  All it patrons were serious lifters, with gigantic muscles, even the women.  My personal trainer was so so very attractive and I was already feeling all kinds of out of place when he set me on the treadmill for my cool-down after a grueling muscle session.  I am sure you know what happened next, in my quest to fit in, I held the speed button down instead of pushing and releasing, and before I knew it, I was thrown against the wall, legs up over my head, showing my bottom side to the world and nearly suffocating on the fat around my stomach.  What a scene!  It does make me more cautious in cranking up the speed on the treadmill.  But if I learned one thing it is that one bad experience is just that.  If I had let that stop me from getting back on a treadmil for good, I definitely wouldn't be talking about running another 5K this spring.  And right now, that is the one thing that is keeping me inspired and fired up.  Chalk it up to an embarassing experience and a valuable lesson learned.  I actually look forward to my morning treamill workouts these days, that is something I would never have expected.  But life if funny that way; get past the first mile and it shows you some pretty amazing things!
Hope you are all finding your groove and feeling groovy!  Happy Monday!