Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm Back!

Way-ell. Long time no see, huh?

Sorry about that, folks. Things have been crazy at work and I didn't have any time during the days last week to write. And when I came home, more often than not, I ended up putting in a few hours of work as soon as dinner was through. I'd like to believe you were all distraught without my regular posts, but something tells me you managed just fine. :)

It was a little difficult for me not to be able to blog last week because I had a lot I wanted to share. I kept drafting posts in my head on my runs or as I performed the more mindless tasks at work, but they never had a chance to materialize.

So here are my updates:

1. Work
I've been creating an internal website for our department. This is why things have been so crazy; it's an all-hands-on-deck sort of thing and I ended up taking the lead on this initiative (you're not supposed to bash coworkers online, so I won't get into why this was necessary). It's been a challenging project, mostly because I have absolutely no experience with SharePoint Designer (or, hell, SharePoint in the browser). I've done a little digital illustration for this, but since logos and graphics aren't very high priority and my department doesn't possess any great graphics programs, I've had to work on this at home. On my time. And it takes forever because I'm brand new to vector art. Here's an in-progress drawing:

I need to add shadows and depth this this graphic, which I started to do last Thursday...but then the program crashed and I lost 2.75 hours of work. I posted about it on Facebook, hoping that sharing my frustration would make me feel better. But it was almost worse when I got a comment from one of Pete's friends, "Ctrl + S every 15-20 minutes." Ooohh. I really wanted to respond with, "REALLY??? How did I not know about this wondrous command called SAVE? You have revolutionized my world, Sir!" But that didn't seem fair. I mean, I just knew when I made my status update that someone would write something like that, even though EVERYONE knows you're supposed to save constantly and NO ONE remembers to. So instead, I went on a 4-mile run the next morning.

2. Running
The pent-up frustration from the night before led to one of my best runs ever--four miles in 42 minutes. That's an average pace of 10:29 min/mile. It was also my third four-mile run that week. I'm really trying to push on pace and distance. The Warrior Dash is coming up and Pete informed me a few weeks ago that he wasn't able to register in our time slot, so he's starting an hour after us. I have no idea how long the Dash normally takes, but a friend of mine who ran the MN one in July said it took her a little over an hour. If it takes me that long, Pete will miss witnessing my jump over fire. Which isn't a huge deal, but it is. So I'm going to be push push pushing on my runs until September.

3. Cosmo
Has developed a penchant for digging holes, bless his little heart. He also went in for his "big boy" operation today. The vet called Pete and told him that Cosmo was out of surgery (at like 11 today), and doing fine. He's going to be sore and a little groggy this week. I'm working from home tomorrow and Thursday to keep an eye on him.
Also, we're thinking about training Cosmo to be a therapy dog. I really want to get back into volunteering--aside from teaching at church, I haven't done much since I left Madison and quit the Optimists (like I did a whole lot of good through them anyway). I would love love love to work with sick kids, so I started poking around on the St. Jude website. I saw a snippet about therapy dogs and it got the ol' wheels spinning. All we have to do is solidify the training we've already done with Cosmo and then go through an evaluation. And wait until he's a year old. So that's one of our goals for the next six months.

4. Friends (part 1)
She JUST posted on Facebook this morning, so anyone who reads this blog and cares probably already knows, but I found out last week that one of my good friends (and bridesmaids) is pregnant. I can't even begin to express how happy I am for her. And I'm so frigging excited to meet this kid. Gillian, my friend, is brilliant. And hilarious. And so is her husband, Clint. Gillian was one of my many inspirations for losing weight--and an important one at that. When I first met her, she probably weighed close to 250 pounds. Over the next two years, she shrank down to about 155--and she's pretty tall, maybe 5'7"/5'8". I know this might get a little long, but I have two stories for you:

Gillian and Clint Discover the Baby
It had been a fun night of drinking (Gillian is an avid fan of beer and whisky), and Gillian and Clint just weren't ready to pack it in yet. "I kind of want some Southern Comfort," Gillian said to Clint.
"OK, let's hit up the liquor store," replied Clint.
"We should also get a pregnancy test," said Gillian, "Because I've felt a little crampy tonight."
"OK," said Clint, "Where should we go first? Target or the liquor store?" said Clint.
"Probably the liquor store," said Gillian.
"Well, Probably Target," said Clint.
A little while later, Gillian walked out of her bathroom and said to Clint, "Well I guess we don't have to run to the liquor store."

Melora Talks to the Baby
Gillian and Clint were visiting his brother down in Alabama. One day, they went to the beach, with their nieces. One of the girls, Melora, ran up to Gillian from the water and said, "Auntie Gillian? Can I talk to the baby?"
"Well, sure," said Gillian. "It's pretty little, but I think the baby can hear you."
"Should I tell the baby I love it?" Asked Melora.
"Yeah, you can tell the baby you love it."
"Should I say 'toilet'?"
"What? You want to say 'toilet' to the baby?"
"Well, I guess you can say 'toilet,'but I don't know if the baby will know what that is."
"A toilet is where you go poop and pee, Auntie Gillian."
When Clint and Gillian leave for work in the morning, Clint tells Gillian he loves her and says, "I'll see you later," then leans down close to her belly and says, "And as for you: Toilet."

5. Friends (part 2)
Pete and I went to Des Moines this past weekend for a friend's wedding. Pete got to witness downtown Des Moines for the first time this weekend. All six buildings. (I kid, I kid!). It was so fun to see everyone, but it made me seriously sad that I moved away and missed our senior year at Drake. I promised the McNurleners that I'll be visiting sometime soon...after all our already-scheduled trips.

6. Weigh-in
Last Wednesday's weigh-in was a disappointment: I gained a pound. It wasn't that devastating, however, because I kind of expected it. I lost two pounds the week before, and I always have a gain following such an excellent loss. I do feel bloated lately, and not very excited to stay on plan. I did not track the day of the wedding, and I feel very guilty about that. It's so hard to stay on plan when you're traveling and eating out. I was complaining to Pete yesterday that I just wish I could trust my instincts with eating only what I need and my body to do what it needs to do with the food I eat. I'm sick of writing everything down and tallying everything up. I think I need a kick in the pants.

OK. That was my (long) update. I plan to get back to regular posts this week, so hopefully we won't have to sit through something like this again! Thanks for your patience!
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Warren Zevon, Gold Medal Park, and Ender's Game

The string of busy weekends continues.

Last week, I told you my weekend plans. They pretty much held. Friday night we went to the Shout House, where (after some gentle prodding of the pianist), I was able to hear my request: "Werewolves of London." Lots of fun!

Saturday I woke up at 8am to let the puppy out and give him his breakfast. Then I went back to bed. It took me a while to fall back asleep, but once I did, I was out until 11:20am. Woke up with a locked jaw and a very, very sore neck. I stayed in bed for about a half-hour, massaging my neck. Then I went to the basement and did the Shred. I followed that up with a 10-minute jog on the treadmill (plus a 5-minute walking warm up and 5-minute cool down). And then I cleaned up the kitchen a bit, had the best omelet ever (Pete made it: green beans + kale + 1 oz cheese. I'm telling you. AMAZING). I showered off the workout stank, and then I hopped on the computer and worked until it was time to leave for dinner.

Dinner was at the condo of my dad's friend, Noel, in downtown Minneapolis (right across from Gold Medal Park). It was a lot of fun! And delicious! The porterhouse had way too much fat on it...but it was DELICIOUS. After dinner, we got to watch the Aquatennial fireworks from Noel's porch. Best seats in the house. Best firework display I have EVER seen. It must have cost a fortune. We hung around, watching all the peons below find their way back to their cars and get stuck in traffic. Then we went home. Played with the puppy just a little bit, then put him (and ourselves) to bed. We never did make it to my coworker's housewarming party (oops).

Sunday I woke up at 8am and ran four miles. It was cooler than normal (75 degrees), but humid as all get-out. Still, I had no trouble running the whole thing. I started out with a pretty good pace (10:10), but ended with an average of 11:13. Eh, I'll take it. Then I got ready for the day and made myself a smoothie before we met up with some friends at the Highland Fest. It's small, kind of like a county fair in St. Paul. We walked around, looked at the crafts, watched kids go down the giant inflatable water slide, fed feed to some ADORABLE BABY FAINTING GOATS (and pygmy goats, and a camel, and some other four-legged creatures). We also hit up the food stands. I had an iced coffee while everyone else got gyros, cheese curds, corn dogs, sandwiches, and chips. Mmm. Iced coffee.

After that, I went home for our second book club meeting. Abbie was hosting it at our place. We'd forgot about it until Pete and I were driving to the fair, but Abbie pulled it all together with time to spare. It was a smaller group this time, but was a lot of fun because the ladies who showed up were ladies we happen to know quite well!

After the book club, I hopped back on the computer for...MORE work. And that took hours. After which, Pete and I did our grocery shopping. Dinner last night was snacky (cheese, crackers, salad). And we watched like three episodes of Battlestar Gallactica. Slowly moving through this series. Slowly.

We went to bed far too late, so my 6am workout didn't happen. I plan to Shred before dinner tonight. And then after we eat (and I shower), we'll visit my mother-in-law so she can take in a dress I plan to wear this weekend for a Des Moines wedding. The second time I ever met her, it was for a fitting of the same dress so she could shorten the straps. I remember thinking the dress looked so great on me. Now, it looks way better (if a little baggy, at the present). I can't imagine wearing it at 199 pounds! Funny how that works...

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday Friday Saturday

I got to play infield again last night and I did pretty well. I rocked at catcher for two innings before declaring I couldn't play that position again and endure the umpire's creepiness anymore (seriously, there should be NO reason he'd have to touch me). I played second base for the rest of the time and loved it.

We lost by a mile, thus preserving our perfect record of 0-10.

After the game, Pete and I went for a run. We'd been meaning to do so in the morning but we cannot get to bed before midnight! It's so frustrating! I've been so tired all week and it's my own damn fault. I just need to be strict about bed time, but I never feel ready to pack it in. Going to bed means that my Pete time is over and the next time I'm conscious, I'll be scrambling to get ready and then go to work. Why would I want work to come sooner? So instead of putting myself away at a reasonable hour (and ensuring that I get at least 6 hours of sleep before my morning workout), I drag the night out as long as I can.

I need to figure this "responsible adult" stuff out.

Anyway, the run. We started on the run and got to just over a mile before I called it quits. We'd been drinking at the game--this was the team's strategy actually. Everyone showed up early and drank beer. Someone brought a bottle of tequila and gave it to our pitcher (she didn't last one full inning of pitching after that before calling in a replacement).

So I had 24 ounces of beer in me and developed a nasty side ache that I just couldn't shake. I don't think my attire was giving me the proper, ah, support, otherwise it probably wouldn't have been that fatal. Since Pete was with me and curious about his pace, I strapped my phone on him, reset the MapMyRun app, and sent him on his way. Dude ran two miles at an 8:15 min/mile pace. I've been running since FEBRUARY. He hasn't. So not fair.

I walked a bit and then rallied and forced myself to run a shortened route home--all total, I did two miles and Pete did three. When I got home, Pete wasn't there, so I poured him a huge glass of ice water and waited for him. As I waited, I did the Erase Arm Flab Fast workout. I like it OK.

Finally, Pete showed up. He'd returned home waaay before me and had taken the car out to look for me. An SUV full of drunk kids had heckled him on his run and made him realize that I was walking in the dark with no cell phone and a side ache on Thirsty Thursday. I felt bad that he basically drove around for nothing, but what a guy! 

Anyway, we tried to get to bed on time last night and I turned off the light sometime around 11/11:30. Got up at 5:30 this morning for another run. A successful run (3 miles at a 10:00 min/mile pace). Today is Sushi Friday with my coworkers, and this week my sister is joining us! So excited! I'm going to stick to one roll again and have my salad in the afternoon--that worked well last time. Tonight we've got a big group going out to a piano bar in downtown Minneapolis. It should be a lot of fun! We'll be doing dinner there. I scoped out the menu, which is pretty restricted and greasy, but I found a few better options and I think I can cobble together a not-terrible meal.

Tomorrow we're going over to the condo of my dad's buddy, Noel, to celebrate his birthday. Noel is important. He was my dad's best friend and gave the eulogy at his funeral. I like him, but I wish he had more stories about my dad. When you ask him to tell one, he just gets a faraway look in his eyes and says, "Your dad and I had a lot of fun..."

Um. OK. Like how?

Anyway, after that party, we have to swing by my coworker's housewarming party. But the good news is that we have no obligations Saturday morning. And for my workout, I'm planning on doing the Shred and running the treadmill indoors, so I don't have to worry about waking up before it gets too hot. Which means I can (finally) sleep in!

I am SO excited. :)
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-In: Finally Another 5

I've been pushing and pushing since I hit 30 pounds lost and I finally lost another five...and then some.

Total weight lost: 36.2 lb
Current weight: 163.4 lb

It's taken seven weeks to lose five pounds, but I was very lucky in that there were visibly noticeable changes to my body and looser fitting clothing to spur me on. You have to expect that things are going to slow down as you get closer to goal, and I'm happy that the scale has kept moving.

To celebrate this milestone, I'm going to try to take another set of progress pics tonight.

Ever onward!
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Bathroom Project Begins! And Landscaping. :)

While I was out running through clouds of colored powder this weekend, Pete was hard at work in our backyard. He started another landscaping project and this one is going much faster than the last. A few weekends ago, he took out some shrubs in our backyard that were overgrown and ugly. This weekend, he started building a retaining wall around the spot and plans to install some new plants there. We're thinking we'll probably have some form of hibiscus there, for sure. We'll probably also get some lower, leafier plants (I liked the burning bushes we saw at the Home Depot this weekend).

It's not done yet, but here are some pics of the wall. Looking good!

Also, I thought I'd show you the tile we picked up for our bathroom. We're saying that we're not 100% sold on it yet, but I think we kind of are.

The plan would be to tile the floor and maybe like 2/3 feet of the wall in the tan porcelain tiles, and then, of course, tile the shower, up to maybe a foot from the ceiling. We'd run a stripe of the glass, 3 tiles thick around the wall and shower, and then we'd find a way to work in random patches of the glass. We're also thinking it would be cool to edge the floor in the glass tile or something and I think it would be really fun to work the glass tile into the frame around the mirror.

This is all very preliminary, though. We still have to contact the tiler and cabinet shop, but I'm getting excited! Oh, and for this project I actually remembered to take some before shots of the bathroom.

See? Not TERRIBLE, but that tile is ooh-glay. And although the shower is old (and dirty! Oops!), it's pretty neutral. The problem, really, is the tub, which is tiny tiny. No way to bathe comfortably in that thing!

So that's what we're working with. Hopefully I'll have updates on this room soon!
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Monday, July 16, 2012

My First 5K!

What a weekend! I had so much fun and it flew by way too fast!

Friday night, rain showers ruined our idea for a picnic, so instead of hitting the deli and salad bar as planned, we bought a frozen pizza (for Pete. Curse his insane metabolism!) and I ate leftover black bean couscous salad with a hard-boiled egg and a smoothie made with raspberries, bananas, and almond milk. Then we hung around the house for a bit, watching HGTV (ugh, we're soo addicted, peeps). And THEN we went to the Katy Perry movie! As luck would have it, the non-3D version was playing during our preferred time--we're not fans of 3D, partly because Pete's vision doesn't handle it kind of need two working eyes to appreciate 3D and Pete's left eye picks up little more than shapes and shadows.

Highly recommend the Katy Perry movie. Highly. It was fascinating, I even teared up. We're not even huge Katy Perry fans. And the experience was fun, too--we found it hysterical that Pete was the only man in the audience and we were by far the oldest there--except for a mom who brought her two small children and an older woman who came in alone. Oh my gosh, though, Pete totally embarrassed me when we were walking into the theater. We were coming in behind this gaggle of preteen girls and Pete says, not that quietly, "UGH we are SUCH bigger fans than those girls. You can get those T-shirts at Walmart. We got OURS at the Katy Perry concert." I mean, it was funny, but I got so red in the face when the girls looked back at us, totally skeeved out!

Anyway. Saturday I ran the four-mile loop in the morning...had to walk some due to the heat and humidity...then Pete and I went to pick out tile for the bathroom. More on that in a later post. Then I went with Abbie to the MN fair grounds to pick up our packets for the MN Color Run 5K. We stopped by Target to pick up some cheap sunglasses for the race, and then had dinner with Pete: rotisserie chicken, salad and fresh pineapple. And then we went to my friend's engagement/house warming party.

Hours and hours later, I realized that Abbie and I had to run in the morning, so I collected my sister and my Pete and we went home. And then we woke up four hours later for "the happiest 5k on the planet." I took two pictures:

After I took off the Color Run headband

And the rest of these are stolen from Facebook and taken by this lady

Some of our walkers. I say "our," but Abbie and I had signed up for the race before we realized our friend was forming a team, so we just kind of tagged along with them, unofficially.
My sister got COVERED in red-orange
Abbie and I with the our friend's BF, who ran with us...and one of Abbie's buds in the background. :)
The team...most of them

LOVE this!
I took these next two pictures. Someone discovered an unused pack of color and at this point I was done with breathing the stuff in, so I offered to play photographer.

Stole this from another team member's Facebook. His pictures make me want to look into this Instagram thing!

It was so much fun! Even though I kind of felt like crap from the night before, we were able to run most of it--we walked some of it because it wasn't a serious 5K. The color cloud at the end of the race was SO intense. I can't say I enjoyed inhaling mass quantities of colored powder, but I'm glad I experienced it! The whole event had such a fun atmosphere and I got such a kick out of watching Abbie try to make friends with anyone and everyone nearby. After the 5K, I showered (I still have color under my arms, around my ankles, and on my scalp and hands), and then I took the longest nap of my life. When I woke up, I started some laundry, and then Pete and I got some dinner and did some grocery shopping. I capped off my weekend with a few hours of work (UGH) and a game of fetch with Cosmo. And now it's Monday and I can't wait for the next weekend!
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Rock Star!

Hey everyone, I was a rock star at softball last night!

OK, not really, but I far exceeded my team's very low expectations and it felt fanTASTic! So here's my predicament: I couldn't make the very first game of the year, and so when I showed up for the second game, people had pretty much already claimed their positions. Not being that skilled of a player, I didn't feel like I could really lobby for a coveted infield position (occupied by people who actually played the sport through high school and college). So I've been languishing in right outfield for the season. I'm TERRIBLE at right outfield. The only balls that come your way are real hits from skilled batters who who know how to aim. Or they come from lefty batters, who always seem to be the big hitters. So, my team thinks I can't catch. And I'm an OK base hitter at bat, but I've never been able to make it to the batting cages, so my hits rarely clear the dirt.

Last night, however, our team manager offered to swap with me so I could play first base for an inning. I love her! She did this for me at the last game we played, but I only had the ball come to me once and it was a wild and crazy throw from our shortstop, which I missed of course. I was so bummed after the game because that had been my one chance to prove myself. Last night, though, I had an AMAZING inning at first base! First batter came up and hit the ball to our shortstop, who threw to me. Out. Second batter came up and hit the ball to our pitcher, who threw to me. Out. Third batter hit the ball to our center fielder, who caught it. Out. Bam!

The fact that my team thinks I'm pure crap really worked in my favor there--the pitcher and shortstop made sure that they took their time when throwing to me, which is something our team needs to work on.

The next inning, I tried second. I didn't get a chance to get anyone out, but I was the cut-off in one play and had no problem catching it. Next week is our last game of the season and I'm hoping I get to play infield for an inning or two. I'm really hoping that the team sees that outfield is just not for me--last night I had one ball come to me in right field, which I missed, of course. It was a fast one and I took off sprinting after it. I was so disheartened that I missed the catch, but I was able to redeem myself with my speed--my fellow outfielders were all impressed. Looks like the running is paying off!

After the game, Pete and I went out for dinner at Perkins because we're super fancy like that. I got two eggs over-easy, a pathetic fruit bowl (whooo honey dew) and toast. Then I took the puppy on a walk. The very puppy, by the way, who did THIS while we were at work yesterday:

The hell?? There's just nothing for it. Pete and I are gone about 9 hours a day, thanks to our commutes, and staggering our schedules just doesn't work on a daily basis. I've researched it and the best (and only) piece of advice is taking your dog on a walk in the morning to tire him out so he's better able to sleep through the day. Which we do. We can't pay for a dog walker/sitter, and shibas have bladders of steel, so he's just going to have to learn to like the pen. Pete leaned wood against the wall to protect it today, but now we get to add this repair to our weekend docket. Sa-weet.

Anyway, took the doggie on a walk yesterday. I'd spotted some walking paths on my hilly run in the morning and I wanted to check them out. Turns out they'd make another GREAT running route. The walk out was a lot of fun. The walking path dumped us into a neighborhood a little over a mile away. I pulled up Maps on my phone and saw that if I continued through the neighborhood, I could loop back on Wescott and make it a nice 3-mile run. But last night, with the dog, that wouldn't work, so we turned around and went back the way we came.

It was getting darker and I was despairing at the idea that our walk home would take so long. Then I realized, "Hey. I'm wearing a sports bra. I'm wearing tennis shoes. We can run!" So we ran home. And Cosmo did very well! At the puppy equivalent of a jog, he didn't burn himself out or try to crash in the grass. He just kept up with me the whole way home. I think I figured out how to take him with me on my morning runs! I just need to give him a nice 10- or 15-minute walk before we start to run, so he can get the sniffing out of his system. It will save us so much time in the morning if I can combine the two.

Today I've got a salad for lunch, but I'll be going out with some coworkers for sushi. The rolls aren't great on points, but I really like this group and I never get to see them, so I want to go. This time, instead of getting two rolls, I'm going to get one (spicy tuna, obvs). Then I can eat my salad later in the day. Tonight, Pete and I are doing a date night (Perkins totally doesn't count). I think we're going to hit up the grocery store and pick up some meat (probably grilled chicken) from the deli counter. We'll take a spin through the salad bar, and Pete will probably pick up another side, like potato salad or something. Then we're going to try to find a nice picnic spot. And then I think we're going to the movies!

What movie to see? We already saw Moonrise Kingdom, we heard Brave isn't that good, we could care less about Spider-Man-take-two, and we hate Madea. Maybe we'll see Ted (although I'm ambivalent)? Or the Katy Perry documentary. Yes, we want to see it. I know, it's Katy Perry, I know. But we saw the Jusin Biebs documentary and LOVED it even though we don't listen to his music. We just like documentaries, OK? Get off my back!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Just Call Me Wheels

I had an amazing run this morning! Remember that super hilly route I tried a few weeks ago? I woke up this morning with an itch to run it. I had been thinking last night that it might be beneficial to do some running HIIT, but I didn't want to do it on the treadmill because it beeps something awful whenever I change the pace. I could only imagine that BEEP-BEEPing faster or slower every minute would wake Pete up. So I went to bed thinking, well, I'll just run outside. When I woke up, I had it all figured out, "Run a hilly course and just push it up each hill!" It might not work out to the exact intervals I want, but it would get my heart rate elevated for short burst at a time.

So off I set on my run and in no time, the MapMyRun app was announcing my first mile. Pace: 9:13 min/mile. Wha???

That's so fast, for me. That's freaking awesome, for me.

Of course, most of that first mile was before the hills started, but I had just climbed up that first hill when my mile was announced. Once the hills started in earnest, my pace took a big hit, but I still managed to pull off three miles with a pace of 10:20 min/mile. That's like my fast first mile pace on a normal day. At the cabin (plenty of hills and TONS of humidity), my pace hovered just above 12:00 min/mile.

AND I realized on my run that I forgot to write about my accomplishment last Tuesday: I ran those four mile! Whoo! The full four miles, no walking, and it took me 47:57 min. That's actually not that much faster than when I failed to run the same route that Sunday. Running and walking it put me at like 48:something. But my focus was distance and endurance, not pace, and I'm still proud of the accomplishment. I think I'm going to have to work that four-mile route into my weekly workouts.

I'm also still trying to work strength training into the mix, but without a home weights set or gym membership, it's tough. I'm on Level 2 of the Shred, which is great for shoulders, abs, and legs, but my triceps feel neglected. After I finished the Shred on Monday, I did 50 stair push-ups (I know, I know, weak, but that's all I can muster at this point). That actually got my arms nice and shaky, so I might keep it up.

Oh, and my bike still isn't fixed. It hits 6/18 gears. I need Pete to take a look at it to determine if a bike shop is absolutely necessary, but there's so much around the house he'd rather work on. Which brings me to some fun news: Pete and I decided last night that we're redoing our bathroom! SO excited! We've actually put a lot of work into it: Painted walls, new toilet, new faucet, new light fixture, new towels, shower curtain, rug and accessories, new shelves and hooks, etc. BUT, despite our best efforts, it's still been referred to as, ah, "ugly as sin."

SO we're going to use the four free hours given to us as a wedding present by the contractor who is friends with Pete's family. He's a slow worker, so we'll burn right through those four hours, I'm sure, but he does good, careful work--perfect for tiling our floor and walls. We're going to pick out tile (stone) this Saturday. We'll also be talking to our friend who has contacts at a cabinet shop so we can get a new (full-height) vanity. And Pete's researching whirlpools. YES!

So be patient, peeps! Soon, very soon, you'll be able to read about something other than WW and running!
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-In

I don't think I mentioned how absolutely amazing it was to come home after five days at the cabin. It was so nice getting back into control of what I ate and when I slept. The first thing I did when I walked in the door was empty the dishwasher and clean the kitchen. We got groceries, did laundry, and took the puppy on a walk. We made dinner and savored some healthy food--it wasn't like we were feasting on salads or anything--nothing too granola, just good, lean food.

But then, I love a good routine. I was one of those kids who had meltdowns on vacation, who experienced "too much birthday." Growing up, I didn't miss a nap, a meal, or bedtime because my mother valued her sanity and knew exactly what kept me from freaking out.

So I always look forward to coming home from vacation with as much excitement as leaving for vacation.

 And now I'm pretty much back to my beloved routine. Morning workouts, all day at the office, home cooked dinners and evening walks, a little Netflix, AND my Wednesday Weight Watchers meeting. I'm up .4 pounds this week. The damage is done and I'm going to keep moving forward. I'm still down lower than I was two weeks ago and I'm confident that I can pull off a loss next week. 

6/27: 166.8 lb
7/3: 165.6 lb
7/11: 166 lb

This weekend shouldn't be too busy: we have an engagement party to attend on Saturday night and on Sunday, Abbie and I are running the Color Run. Totally doable and Pete and I are stoked that we'll get some quiet time. I'm so boring, no?

p.s., check out the newest pic of Cosmo on the Watch Cosmo Grow page!
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

At the Cabin

Ugh! Sorry I haven't been able to post in forever. I wanted to write something before I left for our fourth of July "weekend" at my friend's cabin, but work was crazy right before I left, then I was literally packing right up until the second we stepped out the door. I thought I'd be able to post yesterday, but the craziness at work didn't go away during my absence. I've been running around like a chicken with her head cut off at the office for the past two days. Lovely.

Anyway, I had an amazing time at the cabin! Beautiful weather, beautiful people, lots of water, and (because it's Minnesota) puh-lenty of mosquitoes. My friend's cabin is just outside of Mankato, in Southern Minnesota. We took off for the cabin a little after noon on the Fourth of July and got there in the early afternoon. We pitched our tent (the cabin is nice, but doesn't necessarily have enough room to comfortably house thirteen people), and then hit the lake post-haste!

I couldn't even give you a rundown of each day if I tried--they all kind of bled together. But I can tell you that a typical day looked like this: wake up, run (some days), eat breakfast, change into swimsuit, put on sunscreen, jump in lake, sunbathe, hop on the pontoon for a spin, take a nap in the hammock, eat lunch, zip around behind Pete on the jet ski, go for a swim, sunbathe, eat dinner, grab some drinks, hop on the pontoon for a spin, jump in the lake, change into pants, apply bug repellent, grab some drinks, watch bonfire and fireworks, clean up, crash in tent.

Oh, it was so nice to get some R&R. Not a whole lot of sleep, though. I'm a light sleeper, and the lake is HOPPING well into the morning.

I brought ear plugs, but they can only block so much. And the household is full of early risers. I was able to supplement my nights with a few 20-minute naps I was able to grab in the hammock, but Pete and I were both completely beat by Sunday. We've been trying to catch up on sleep since we came back, which doesn't work well because we're both night owls and our employers compel us to appear at our respective offices in the morning (what gives?).

If you're at all familiar with this blog, you're probably waiting for mention of my nutrition and exercise during the trip. That's all I seem to talk about these days anyway. :) Well, I think I did OK. Considering.

See, Abbie and I went into this weekend with a solid plan: pack running shoes and workout clothes, prepare healthy options ahead of time and bring three coolers along (some of the cooler space was devoted to booze because, um, we're twenty-somethings). Not all of the food got packed, in the absolute rush of Wednesday morning. Actually, Pete ended up packing the coolers and he did a pretty damn good job based on the limited information I gave him.

What made it:
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Black bean couscous salad
  • Black bean burgers
  • English muffins
  • Nonfat cream cheese
  • Skinnygirl coconut vodka
  • Diet 7up (as a mixer)
  • Strawberries, white chocolate, and sprinkles (for making this festive dessert)
What did not make it:
  • Peaches (in all fairness, we probably didn't have any left.)
  • Greek yogurt (in all fairness, I think I changed my mind about bringing it last-second. I think.)
  • Bran muffins (Dude. Seriously, Pete. Ha! Just kidding.)

We knew from years past that there would be a lot of meat and a lot of eggs. We also knew that there would be a lot of beer. The plan was to eat the meat, supplement unhealthy sides with the couscous. And, like I said, I did OK. I skipped breakfast sandwiches and had an English muffin with cream cheese, I passed on any and all bacon, we avoided the burgers (infused with cheese and bacon) and ate our black bean burgers on a bun, I had bananas and grapes and cherries for some snacks, I opted for vodka and diet 7up instead of pina coladas, I ate pulled pork without the bun, and (my pinnacle of success) I managed to make a salad out of walking tacos--it was pure ice burg lettuce, but a much healthier base than a bag of Fritos.

But I couldn't avoid the "Welcome" daiquiris. And I had chips with the garlic dip. And a waffle (with 2 tbsp cool whip and strawberries instead of syrup, so I did save myself some calories). My darkest moment was when the rest of my fruit was claimed for blended drinks: chopped up and frozen, then later served with an assortment of boozes and whipped cream on top. That sucked, but you can't really raise that much of a stink when you're someone's guest.

But it was hard. It's hard to go on a group vacation where there are all of these traditions--these meals that get planned every single year-- and you have to say, "you know what? Naw, I'm having this instead." Because no one really intentionally fights you on it, but it does make them uncomfortable. The guys were oblivious (more amused than anything), but the host, my friend's mom, who is so sweet and so generous and so genuinely wants to please her guests, presented a problem. It just felt mean. Rejecting the food offered. You come into the kitchen, and there are just mountains of food, and after the meal, she offers the leftovers to anyone and everyone--"Come on, guys, who's going to eat the last xyz? Someone needs to take them." And then you turn down the plate you're offered and say, "I think I'm going to eat this instead," and you get a, "OK, do what you want, I guess," and you just feel like such an ungracious guest.

I was able to do it for some things, but I never had the heart to break out the couscous. I probably over thought it. It probably didn't bother her or anyone else, but I just couldn't bring myself to be as strict as I wanted. And, I'm going to be completely honest, after four days of fighting and trying my damnedest to be healthy, I just gave up. That last day, I ate what everyone else was eating. I was able to track my points every single day, but that last day.

I ended up zig-zagging like crazy, so maybe it will all even out. I honestly don't know what to expect at weigh-in tomorrow.

I know what to do next year. Next year, I'll make a plate alongside everyone else, quietly forgoing the worst options and keeping my portions minimal. Then, after the meal, if I need to supplement it with something healthy, I'll do so when everyone is on the lake. I'll sneak off to the fridge in the boat house and eat the damn couscous and not make a big issue out of it.

Anyway. I ran two of the four mornings. The third morning was raining and the last morning just wasn't going to happen. I had to wake up at 7am to get my run in before it got too impossibly hot and by the end I was too sleep-deprived to make it. I was very active throughout the trip, though. I did lots of swimming and I tried wake boarding, which completely wrecked my shoulders and arms for the rest of the trip. And balancing on the jet ski worked my thighs--I have yet to fall off.

So there you go: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hope you all had a great Fourth!

Every picture here was stolen from my sister. :)

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Well, It's Monday

This weekend absolutely flew by! Friday we decided that the weather was too beautiful to spend the evening indoors. We got a group to meet us on the patio at Jake's for dinner. And then we spent the next few hours there, with a few more friends wandering in. I had the Asian Chicken Salad, which was disappointingly unhealthy. I calculated the points at 26. I decided that Friday would be my high-point day. It's this thing I've been doing, and it's worked quite well for me: calorie cycling (or zigzagging). I use a lot of points one day, usually on the weekend, and then drop down to my target point amount the next day. I went over the method in this post. It's not for everyone, but I'm just finding much more success with using up most of my weekly points over one or two days rather than rationing them out over all 7 (or not using them at all). My metabolism is screwy (thyroid disorder), so I feel like I'm constantly fighting to get it moving. And hey, if that means eating a fattening restaurant salad on a beautiful Friday night, well, twist my arm. :)

Saturday morning I woke up and did level 2 of the Shred. So tough! I'm going to be on this level for a while until  I can do the full amount of plank jacks, shoulder press/leg lift combos (Sha right!), and chair sits/V raises. Burns so good! Then Abbie and I loaded the puppy in the car so we could drive to Elko to watch Pete ride in a parade. Elko's a small town, and the parade wasn't very coordinated. We couldn't really find much about it online and it turns out it was about 2 blocks long (maybe I'm exaggerating). By the time we reached Elko, the parade was done and Pete had been dragged off to some random guy's front yard with his group. So we basically spent 1.5 hours of our beautiful Saturday in the car for nothing. With the dog.

We decided to stop at a park near my Mom's house (halfway between Elko and home) to let Cosmo run free in the fenced soccer field. He LOVED it. For like 5 minutes. Then he found the 1.5 feet of shadow from the fence on one side of the yard and just walked up and down that strip of grass. When we moved to a shady patch of grass under a tree, he looked so thankful. We hung out at the park for a bit (Bonus: the swings no longer sound like a dying animal when I'm on them!!), then headed home.

Saturday night we went out with my cousins and their friends for one last hurrah before they have to go home to Texas this Friday. We'll see them again on Wednesday, but Saturday was all about the adult beverages. It was SO much fun. Another great night on a hopping patio I'd budgeted my points enough that I was able to have two rum and diet cokes and still be one point under my daily points target (26). What does that equate to calorie-wise? Check this out: to convert points to calories, multiply the amount by 4, then add a zero to the end: 1040 calories. That's counting fruit and veggies as zero, mind you, so it's not nearly as low as it seems. You can reverse the equation (divide by 4, drop the last digit), to convert calories to points. Easy peasy!

Sunday morning I woke up early. I had 4 miles on my mind. Lying in bed, I'd worked out a route that would take me there. It was already in the low 80's, so I put on my shortest pair of running capris I own (I can't do shorts yet--my fat-girl thighs rub together too much), and a tank top. I chugged a bunch of water,  then out I went. My goal was distance, not speed, so I told myself to ignore the pace my MapMyRun app called out. But that's easier said than done and I was shocked to hear 10:10. Oops! So much for taking it slow! The first two miles went very well. Then, I hit what Pete has affectionately termed "Shit Rag Hill." Sorry for the profanity, but that's what it's called. He nicknamed it when we were running up it this morning.

I tried to find a good shot of SR Hill. Does this show it:? In the picture, you can see the telephone poles at the top of the hill--that's how long and high it goes. 

It's a long, steep ascent, following a quad-shredding descent. On a normal day it sucks. Three miles into a very hot run, it killed me. As I started up it, I developed the mother of all side aches. WHY did I think that chugging water before the run was a good idea? Sucking in my stomach and breathing in to full capacity, my old standbys, had NO effect whatsoever. I slowed to a walk. The sun was beating down and there was not one spot of shade on this particular stretch of road. I was gasping and had dug my hand into my side so I could literally lift up my liver -- a trick I read about (your liver is a very heavy organ and the jostling of a run can cause strain on the connective ligaments, hence the ache). As I walked, I could feel the sun burning the skin on my back. This was bad news--I needed to get up this hill and into the shade ASAP. I tried running again, but pain shot along my right side. Oh my gosh, guys. It sucked. I just had to take it. Eventually I was able to run up the last part of the hill, round the corner, and run along the shade for a bit (felt so good). But by then I was toast. My right side was done for and continued to hurt all the way home. I only ran maybe a third of that last mile. So frustrating.

I'm doing it again. Sometime this week, probably tomorrow, I'm going on that same route and I'm GOING TO RUN FOUR MILES. I'm starting to think that I need to break down and invest in a water belt. I get too thirsty if I don't drink before my runs and too side-stitchy if I do. It'd probably be better to just take sips of water as I need them. I've been holding off because I think running belts are for people who run farther distances, but now I see it's silly to hold on to some arbitrary principle when a water belt could actually GET me to those farther distances.

Ugh, anyway. After my run, we went to church, and then Pete and I came home. I crashed in bed for a bit while Pete, Man of Unfailing Energy, took the chainsaw to a bunch of our trees. I woke up and wandered out in time to see him climb high up into one near our deck, then slice through a huge limb. So glad that's all I had to watch--chainsaws freak me out. I made a dash to Eric's for some lube, then tuned my bike. I'd been waiting for Pete to do it, but he's got a million other projects and I realized that I'm not some helpless girl. I cleaned every inch of my bike and spent about 30 minutes de-gunking the drive chain. Then I fiddled with the derailleur to see if I could get the gears to shift better. Well, it's working, but I've noticed that sometimes I have to shift up two gears to get the chain to slip onto the next cog. It's probably going to take more work, either from Pete or a professional. I couldn't test ride the bike after I finished because we didn't have a pump for the tires.

We went to my mom's house for dinner--steak and veggie kabobs with corn on the cob and then angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert. Heaven. She let us steal her pump, so I'm thinking that tonight I'll fill those tires and try to get in a late ride. Pete, Abbie, and I are leaving for our friend's cabin this Wednesday and we have a ton of stuff to do before then. Pete and I are hoping to get as much as we can done tonight. But I bet I could squeeze in a ride when we come home from our errands. I'm going to try, at least!
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