Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thank you Secret Santa

When I got home yesterday I had a small envelope from Amazon waiting for me sent by my secret Santa Leana  Jill over at Run with Jill hosted a blog gift exchange and when I opened my package inside I found this:

Got a kick out of reading it and learned lots of interesting Canadian recipes like beaver tail and moose stew.  Thanks Leana and Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Thoughts and Trying Something New

Ahhh Christmas.  The time of year when people's driving sucks even more than usual and when sweaters that should have been burnt years ago are now proudly sported everywhere and called fashionable.  Lest my sarcasm confuse you let me reassure you that this isn't another post filled with reminiscing about the "good old days" and talking about the unappreciative youth of America.  I like Christmas and I like presents.  Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or depressed.  How can you not help but fist pump in triumph when you beat other shoppers and find that one perfect parking spot close to the mall entrance?  And you can practically taste victory when you manage to score free shipping and a coupon code on that item for Aunt Sally.  Christmas can manage to bring out the best and worst in people, but while driving around looking at Christmas lights, I focus on feeling the Christmas spirit (while harshly judging tacky light displays).

But Christmas aside, I did want to post the first of what will hopefully be weekly(ish) posts as mom and I delve into new workout routines.  We have both been really bad these last few months and are looking to drop some weight in 2012 and get back on track.  While running will still be our thing....five marathons on the books for next year (more info to come)!!  We both recognize that we need to cross train more and try new things.  The fitness world is chocked full of classes and we have decided to venture into this strange and crazy world by trying one new class every week.  Luckily a lot of gyms close to us offer a free trial class so this will hopefully be a cheap way to sweat off some weight and probably make complete a$$es of ourselves in the process.

This weeks attempt: Pilates for Runners.  Now we have both tried Pilates in the past and found it to be a great cardio workout.  Unlike the yoga classes I have taken where flexibility and head stands are called for, Pilates seems to be more of a toning and strengthening workout.  I am particularly looking forward to this class as it is taught by a marathon runner who promises to make you a "faster more efficient and injury free runner."  Who wouldn't want that!  So mom and I will be jumping in the car this evening to head out and try Pilates for Runners....I'm anticipating lots of grunting and potentially some uncontrolled laughter as I struggle to do sit-ups.  I'll be sure to post our thoughts after class!

UPDATE:  So we made the trip downtown to Pilates and all in all really enjoyed the class.  Kristine the instructor was very methodical in her approach and rather than jumping from one position to the next, really took the time to explain the reasoning behind each move and how to position your body.  Also, because this was tailored to runners, she spent a lot of time working those muscles that are frequently weak in runners.  Once again I was surprised to find myself sweating during this class as the movements are so minute and to the outsider it probably looks like we are all lying on our backs struggling to tie our shoes.  Oh well, Pilates for runners was fun and we will be sure to update you all on our next exercise adventure! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Living in the Present

Christmas is stressful.  We all freak out about it,  whether it be gifts,  decorations,  holiday parties,  or crazy families.  And then you get a message out of the blue that puts everything into perspective. Tuesday,  I went to the memorial service for my friend's husband.. Charlie.  Charlie was only 63,  which now that I am 52.. I can say is way too young.  This was unexpected,  and no one was prepared for it.   Family and friends had an opportunity to talk about a man they had all loved.  It was a service that truly was a tribute to a life well lived.  And that was the one thing that struck me... everyone was laughing because they all had Charlie stories and the common theme was Charlie always lived in the moment.  His goal in life was to enjoy it and to make sure those around him enjoyed it as well.   Every statement was a joyful remembrance of this man's life.  I was struck by all those who related how much they would miss Charlie's laugh the most.  What a life lesson I got.  I was prepared to go and grieve and to leave feeling wrung out and miserable.  Instead I left much more light-hearted than I had when I arrived.  

Charlie was also the man that taught me how to program computers almost 30 years ago.  His patience and laughter during my beginning attempts as a programmer provided just the balance to my frustrations at learning this new task.  But he believed that I could do it,  and because I respected him,  I believed I could as well.   His belief fueled a 30 year career that has provided for my daughters all these years as a single parent.  To say I owe him much would be an understatement.  And at his memorial service,  I received another lesson from him... to live in the present.  To focus on joyful moments with friends and family because those little moments become the memories others have of us.. and wouldn't you rather want them to be positive ones!  Charlie you are already missed,  but your friends are already talking about this years Christmas party and how you will be there in the stories that are told about you at past gatherings.   You lived life well,  thank you for the reminder to all of us on how to do this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Do You Eat....?

So now that it is several days past Thanksgiving and we have all begun to crawl back from carbohydrate comas I thought a post discussing one of the most common questions Mom and I get would be in order.  When we decided to change our lifestyles and become healthier, one of the most important things to consider was our diet.  Previously, I had become a vegetarian due to ethical reasons.  While this change certainly decreased the amount of red meat I consumed it also meant I just swapped breads and pasta for chicken and steak and a 350 lbs. vegetarian was created.  I stuck to the vegetarian diet, even when I received quiet a few surprised looks whenever I told anyone I was a vegetarian.  I could see their eyes grow skeptical as they sized me up and thought "what a fat vegetarian!  I thought that was a myth, like Bigfoot or Yeti's."

So our first step was to ditch the unhealthy vegetarian food items and get back to the basics.  In the summer this meant a lot of salads and fresh fruits and veggies, in the winter big pots of vegetable soups.  Somewhere along the way I decided that mom and I should take the next stop and adopt a vegan diet.  This change has brought even more benefits and has left us truly feeling healthy at last.  While I'm not pushing the vegan diet on anyone else, I can say that personally it helped me drop some of those pesky pounds while leaving me feeling energized and satisfied.  I have found it is hard to be sluggish on kale and spinach!  This transition, was made that much easier with a few food items I would like to share.  These are all quick and easy products that taste great and also just so happen to be good for the environment too.

First up is the so called "miracle noodles" featured on many talk shows, diet cookbooks, and blogs.  We were on the shirataki train well before Rachel Ray decided to splash some EVOO on them and found these noodles to be a great alternative to traditional pasta.  At about 10 calories a serving you could potentially eat the whole bag and still be under 100 calories for a meal.  However there is one caution - these noodles, made of some sort of yam flour, smell extremely strong straight from the bag so follow the directions and wash them well before eating!!

If the thought of yam flour noodles doesn't make the kiddies run to the dinner table another pasta/main dish option we have found is broccoli slaw.  Those bags of pre-shredded ruffage, when steamed and lightly tossed with pasta sauce, make an awesome quick dinner for two.  Again they are extremely low in calories so you don't have to feel guilty going for that second helping.  Another note of warning about these though - if you are new to eating lots of fruits and vegetables, broccoli can cause some serious gas.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but the first time mom and I cooked up a big batch of this we created our own soundtrack to Australia as we watched the film later that night.  

Two other products I have come to love are my go to food items for lunch.  First, I am a peanut butter addict and find it difficult not to take spoonfuls of this stuff several times a day.  To combat this addiction I have found the pre-portioned Justin's nut butters to be a great option for me.  Throw this in my lunch bag with a couple puffed cakes and I'm set.  And the cakes I am currently loving are Kim's Magic Pops...we have these at several local grocery stores, and while I don't know who Kim is, I can say her cakes are magic at only 15 calories a piece and great topped with a variety of items like hummus, honey, or yes peanut butter!

So while temptation is all around this time of year, make sure you take some time and plan to have some healthy options on hand...come January 1st when the fitness craze hits everyone, you will be able to smile and strut in jeans that still fit!  

Have you tried one of these products? 

Do you have your own favorite healthy foods or tips to share?

Friday, November 18, 2011

One Hot Mama

Getting older sucks... okay I'm going to say it again... Getting older sucks.   To hell with the 50 is the new 30 crap that you hear. If you hear that from someone,  I wouldn't want to buy a used car from them,  because they are liars.  

Milestones that no one talks about.
30 +  Once you cross the 30 age mark you stop healing the way you once did.  
Remember when you could go on a weekend and party,  or perform some fun athletic event,  like whitewater rafting,  horseback riding etc,  and then go into work on Monday none the worse for wear...  Once you hit your 30's.. that leaves you.   Maybe it is for a reason.. you are 30 something after all so time to start acting like a grown up.   I got tossed off a horse at the age of 31 and dislocated my ankle.  The really cute emergency room doctor said.."wow.. your going to wish you broke that..."    Why?  Because your over 30 and that is going to take 6 months to heal.. WTF???  I was incredulous... but he was right.   It was 6 months before I could honestly say it didn't bother me anymore,  and it still lets me know when the weather is going to change.
40 +  40 something becomes the decade where you no longer have long enough arms to read.   It starts slowly.. you find yourself squinting at print and bitching in restaurants that the lighting is really bad.    You hold items out as far as you can to be able to read small print.   Finally you break down and buy a pair of readers at the grocery store.   1.25 magnification isn't s-o-o-o bad...right?  Besides they come in really cute colors.  Next thing you know you have 10 pairs of the suckers in varying degrees of power sprinkled all over the house/office/purse/car.  Next step must be the big sun-glass goggles that are so prevalent in sunny southern climes.
50 +  Welcome to Menopause...  Our mothers didn't really talk about it.   Yes they mentioned hot flashes in passing but really you couldn't have done a better job preparing me for this? Thank heavens layering is currently a fashion trend.   I head to work with a tank top under every outfit because I just never know when the strip show is going to begin. Now that it is winter in Ohio.. and my bedroom is kept at a comfortable  60 degrees,  I thought this would help.  But I go to bed under 2 blankets wearing fuzzy pj bottoms ,  a tank top and a sweatshirt.. and sometime during the night I find myself lying naked under a ceiling fan?   I know ,  I know you can take medication for this.. but really I don't need drugs to deal with something that is normal and natural,  even if it isn't exactly fun.  I have tried the teas,  and I know there are other herbal remedies to try.. but many of them are pricey... so...we shall see how long this phase lasts... And hopefully I won't have a house fire on one of the "those" nights.    Can't wait to see what 60 brings....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Marshall Marathon - Race Recap

Most of us are aware of the Marshall Football team tragedy in 1970 , when the football team was lost in a horrible plane accident.   So running a marathon , where you finished inside the "Thundering Herd"  stadium, carrying a football tucked under your arm across the finish line,  made this race an attractive option on Lindsey's to-do list.   In case you didn't know it she is going to try for the 50 States marathon club.  This is where you run a marathon in every state.. At first I thought this was a crazy idea,  but... now that I am going to attempt a full marathon next year .. not once ... but 3 times.. I understand the attraction.  So I went along to do the 1/2 marathon,  and to drive the car home.  It was just 3 weeks ago that we did the Indy marathons, and both of us were wondering how this would work.

We drove over Saturday afternoon.. Huntington is a quick 3 hour scenic drive.  The marathon is hosted by an organization called Healthy Huntington.  And the one thing that struck us as we drove in to town,  was the number of Cancer and Heart doctors with billboards around town.  Also the number of cemeteries...It was kind of creepy.  We picked up our race packets at the University rec center.. really nice place by the way and the shirts were ADORABLE!  Buffalo imprinted long sleeve tech shirts from Brooks,  very nice.

Race morning,  I wondered who they had to pay off to get such amazing weather.  Temperatures were just under 40,  but it wasn't windy at all.  Stadium bathrooms were open so no long lines waiting to use a freezing cold porta-potty,  but rather a toasty warm bathroom.  The race is small.. about 1500 half marathoners,  and 500 full marathoners.  And the runners are extremely friendly.
Honestly it was the people we met along the way that made this race for both of us.   We met 2 gentlemen who were part of the 50 states club.  You can find them ,  because they ... like us... hang at the back of the pack not trying to break the time of their last marathon,  but just enjoying the run and the scenery.  Both had run marathons the day before!  One had driven down to Savannah,  run the Savannah marathon, then got in the car and drove 9 hours to Huntington,  to run Huntington on Sunday!!!!  We picked their brains to see what races they had enjoyed the most and just chatted along a mostly boring first half of the course.   It wasn't until about mile 6 when we entered a park ,  did I really enjoy the run.  You can't tell from this picture though.. This was in the Huntington newspaper the next day...I don't look like I'm enjoying this much..

The park had a nice crushed gravel path and we spent the next 5 miles running in comfort.  We could have used a few more water stations along the way,  but for a half marathon experience,  I was enjoying it.  It seemed easier somehow than Indy had been... probably because it was so flat.

At  mile 12.1 Lindsey and I separated.. I headed toward the stadium to complete my run,  she headed across campus to circle around and start the loop again.    I finished the race 3 minutes faster than my last 1/2,  which was nice... but the post race food was a disappointment... lots of Little Debbie snack cakes and burgers... so I headed to the car to grab some peanut butter crackers and to change my clothes.   I caught Lindsey as she made her way around the back of the stadium and bitched about the food... She just looked at me like I was crazy... because she still had 12 more miles to run!
I jumped in the car and drove back to the park area,  so I could wait for her there.  The weather was still gorgeous with temperatures in the mid 50's and tons of sunshine.   I hung out at one of the water stations talking to the volunteers and complementing them on a job well done!  They had the football game on and were having a great time encouraging the runners.   I ran about another 2 miles with Linz around the park and then drove back to the Stadium to see her finish.   She completed her race about 2 minutes slower than Indy, but not bad at all.  (She swears it is the extra Porta-potty stop she had in this race versus the last)

Overall not a bad weekend.  Great weather certainly helped make this an enjoyable one,  but she is glad to have WV off her race list.   3 down... 47 more to go!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Success at Indy

Since I have done a terrible job updating this blog to reflect my running goals/progress I did not share how my marathon training (version 2.0) went compared with the disaster that was the Flying Pig. If you need a refresher on my first attempt at a marathon just scan back to one of the early posts and you will see me lamenting about poor training decisions, poor nutrition decisions, and poor outfit choices....or maybe those came only after looking at the race photos.

Anyway, this time around I promised that I would train smarter, eat better, and be less of a head case about this whole marathon thing and the result was that I had a MUCH better race this past Saturday in Indianapolis.

We left Cincy on Friday afternoon with the dogs safely in the care of my gradma, a.k.a dog babysitter and hot dog provider, and made the short drive up to Indy. The race is sponsored by their big health network, so the race expo was appropriately staffed with tables full of free bandaids, icy hot, and athletes foot creme. With about 2,700 runners total between the half and full marathon it was a small, but well run expo and while I missed all the glossy brochures and swag that the larger Flying Pig expo had, it was still a very organized affair. We then left the expo and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Drury Inn and lets just say it was a great choice! I am not a paid spokesperson for this chain, and really dislike staying in hotels, so believe me when I say mom and I were impressed. They were a sponsored hotel of the race and went
out of their way to include race friendly hot food on their free dinner buffet as well as open the free morning buffet about an hour earlier than normal so we racers could eat before we left.

Morning of the race arrived and all in all we both felt calm and ready to go. We arrived about an hour before the race, got our race numbers and chip timers on, and then stepped out of the car into 25 mph winds. Yes, the curse of Lindsey struck again where weather is concerned. I can almost guarantee that if I am running there will be rain, snow, desert heat, or hail...I think I have run in all these conditions so Indy started off as no exception. We made it to the start line, visited the potties, and then huddled together to try and stay warm.

Outwardly we looked like this...

Inwardly we were both questioning our sanity as to why on earth we wanted to drive all this way, spend the money, and then freeze our smaller butts off all for a shirt and a medal. So in reality we probably felt more like this...(notice the crazy dude behind me in tiny shorts and a t-shirt. Honestly I don't get some runners!!)

But we went ahead and lined up with the rest of the slow runners in good old corral F and hit the road at 8:30 am. The marathon and half marathon course was identical for 12 miles so mom and I got to stick together for a good long time. That was a huge plus for me as I definitely tend to hit the early miles too fast and then pay for it in the end so mom's job was to keep the pace steady and be my donkey. If you a horse person who get the reference...have a thoroughbred that needs settling down, stick a donkey in with them and it calms the horse. Not that I consider myself a thoroughbred or anything...but mom was definitely my jacka$$ this morning. The course was amazing as we ran through a big national park and beautiful old neighborhoods. The early miles were clicking and here I am at mile 8 even smiling...something I don't think I did at all the last time.

Mom did great for about the first 8-9, but then her stomach started acting up and by the time we reached the hills on mile 10 she was clenching and shuffling up those babies. I give her a ton of credit for keeping up though as I have had those days before where you are begging for bathroom and they are just no fun. We stopped at a porta potty around mile 11 and then reached the spot where we parted ways and I head out into the park again while she turned toward the finish line. After she left I got out the good old ipod, cued up some Eminem and started rapping and running. The course was a long out and back between miles 15-24 so it was great to be able to see all the people both ahead and behind you. As I went I started to feel better and better, I even sang and cheered them on as I went. By mile 19 I was full out belting Adele's Someone Like You to runners as I made the turn and headed back into town. I felt great, like I could tackle anything...the kind of run where everything falls into place and you feel amazing. I remember thinking this is why people do this and as a woman yelled "You go girl" to me at 22 I thought "that's right Lindsey you got this b*tch." My hips and glutes did start to act up by mile 23 and I walked a decent portion of the way until mile 25 rolled by and I could start to hear the music at the finish line. I picked up the pace a bit and headed back and by mile 26 could see the banners, and finish line crowd. That last .2 miles didn't mean a thing as I jogged into the finish with the smile on my face happy with my performance. I finished in 5:20, no speed record here, but a 40 minute improvement over my Flying Pig yeah I was happy. Medals were given out by the local Army ROTC guys who all called us ma'am and who I made pose in a picture with me.

The post race party was small, but these race organizers thought of everything and even had veggie burgers for us vegans to eat...I LOVE THAT and made sure to send them a big thank you afterwards as many race officials just don't think of us veg-heads. So Indy was a huge success and a very enjoyable weekend and I will be sure to post official race pics when they go up. Mom and I have one more big race on the calendar for this year in three weeks we head over to West Virginia to tackle the Marshall Marathon and Half-Marathon where she will hope to improve on her time, and I will hope to have a repeat of Indy.

I leave you with the Adele video of Someone Like You as I wish you all nothing but the best!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wouldn't it be cool to....?

How many times in your life have you started a sentence that way?  Insert dream , compete in an Ironman, travel to a foreign country, jump out of an airplane, climb Everest...  The list is endless and it's fun to think about doing something that seems exotic, or difficult,  or rare. But that is normally as far as the dream goes.  A brief and shiny day dream,  or an animated conversation with a group of friends.   Not many people take the next step to actually DO what they dreamed of.  

Back in April, Adam and Jeff,  2 recent Adelphi University graduates and members of the Track and Cross country team were at practice when someone casually tossed out the idea wouldn't it be cool to run cross country... really cross country.   The members talked about it and had arguments over whether they could actually do it,  and that was as far as it went.  Or so they thought.. but Adam latched on to the idea and started to really think what if?   He decided he really wanted to do this,  and Jeffery agreed that they could run across the US.   Both men had charities they were passionate about and thought this might be a way to both raise money for charity and attempt something beyond the norm, challenging themselves both physically and mentally. 

(Picture taken from the

They left New York on August 20th accompanied  by Ian and James.  Ian , who was originally scheduled to run with them,  but suffered a freak accident just weeks before the run,  and James would be the support crew.  Riding along in Adam's "clown car"  (he called it that)  a Yaris,  packed to the gils with supplies, including their hotel for most nights.. a tent.   While they weren't planning on joining in on the run,  they map out routes,  keep an eye on the weather,  supply meals and provide invaluable assistance to their running friends. 

We have followed their journey online from Facebook and their website.  and I was beyond thrilled that when they made it to KY,  I  was able to drive down from Ohio to hook up with them, buy them lunch ,  pester them with questions,  and then run with them a little to experience the journey from their perspective.   I was humbled by these young men,  who were so appreciative of my interest in their trip.   But I am inspired by them almost daily when I think about what they are attempting to do. 

I promised I would do what I could to get the word out about their trip.  To hopefully encourage others to donate to their causes,  to try to get other running groups,  running stores motivated to help support them along the way.   A hot dinner,  a warm bed,  a friendly smile.. or join in for a few miles as I did to get a view from the road.  I started emailing running stores this weekend. Hopefully they will return my message. 

 As I have been training for my first 1/2 marathon, 13 miles seems insignificant compared to the over 1100,  they have gone in the last 35 + days.  I ran 12 miles Saturday in the rain with a smile on my face thinking about these young men as they headed into Illinois,  about a 1/3 of the way through their journey.  

Safe Travels Gentlemen... May the road rise to greet you.  
   (Picture taken from the

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Trek Ladies Tri

  So if you are nervous about doing something new and different (a Triathlon)  you look for the safest event you can find in your area.  Enter the Trek Ladies Tri in Columbus Ohio.   All women and lots of support sounded like the perfect way to dip my toe into this sport.

  Originally it was slotted to be located at Buckeye Lake,  about 2 hours away, outside of Columbus on your way to WV.   But because of the previously mentioned lack of rain ,  Buckeye Lake turned into an algae filled cesspool and race directors decided to move it to Deer Creek in Mt. Sterling Ohio.   Cool,  that shaves a 1/2 hour at least off my drive..  Not cool...  You have to do packet pickup on Saturday...Damn...

  So we drove up Saturday to pickup my race packet and attend the expo.   The weather was gorgeous.  75,  sunny,  water was glassy smooth.   I got a chance to look at the swim course,  and after seeing the buoys in the water,  I felt better... Yeah..I could do that.    Then because I have a really smart kid who suggested it..  we drove the bike course.   Most flat country roads,  with corn fields on both sides.  Only 2 downhill/uphill combos.  Okay  I can do that.  So not a totally wasted trip,  it calmed my nerves.

  Saturday night,  eat appropriately ,  brown rice,  veggies, ...remember whatever you eat has to exit the next day...hopefully before you get on course.    That's why you see tons of port-a-potties at these events.

  Sunday ,  up at 4 am,  Lindsey made me a power smoothie to drink in the car on the way up.   Temperature outside 60 degrees.. good thing I packed my arm sleeves for the bike.    The trip up was quicker now that we knew were we were going.   Arrive in total darkness ,  with the winds gusting up to 15 mph.  The lake that had been perfectly calm yesterday now was choppy with a few white caps.  WTF!   Standing around for an hour before start,  I was jealous of all the women who had wormed their way into wetsuits for warmth.  I was freezing.. The water was 10 degrees warmer than the outside air temperature,  so I couldn't wait to get started.  

First half of the swim... I thought I was going to die....seriously.  Every time I took a breath ,  I would get smacked in the face with a wave and swallow lake water.   Started to hyperventilate a little.  Noticed the woman behind me who flipped on her back to back stroke.. Brilliant!  Did the same and getting a few breaths with my face out of the water calmed me down enough to finish the front half and make the turn for the back half.  Got into a rhythm and it went much better after that.
 Spent 4 1/2 minutes in Transition 1,  swim to bike.  Putting compression socks on to wet feet is not the easiest thing in the world.   Thought I should try to eat something,  but with  all the lake water sloshing around in my stomach.. that was out of the question,  so I threw 2 fig newtons in my bike bag and hit the road.  The bike felt great.  I was having fun,  got into a pretty steady cadence and just enjoyed the scenery.    Enter first hill.   I made it 2/3rds of the way up in the saddle and then knew I needed to stand.  After about 3 pedal strokes,  my right clip,  which had been loose before I started,  gave way and the next thing I knew I was standing in the road...OOPS...  push bike to top of hill... back on and away we go.   Try not to crash coming in to Transition 2.. bike to Run. ...

Notice the super cute rock and roll arm sleeves!  They make me feel tough even if I'm not.    2 1/2 minutes in T2.  Easier to simply pop off the bike shoes and pop on the running shoes.  Slip on my Nike+ watch and pace counter,  and out on the road... As I headed out of the chute,  the winner of the event ran by me heading to the finish line... Damn...that's a reality check.

Run was an out and back.  Lots of encouragement from the runners heading back in to those of us heading out.  That was nice.  I was glad that I could offer the same on my way in.  Secretly glad that I was able to do so to as many people as I could,  which meant I wasn't even close to being last...ha!    As I ran into the parking lot the trees obscured the eventual finish,  but you could hear the crowd and the music going.  The announcer was interviewing Lindsey!  She was telling the story of our weight loss journey and how this had been one of my goals.  It made me so proud of both of us,  and the crowd really congratulated me.  Sally Edwards came up and offered her personal congrats as well.   And I got a really bitching medal!

   Will I do this again?  That day.. I wasn't so sure,  but in hindsight.. Yes.  I need to do another,  next year we will start this craziness again.  Next up,  my first 1/2 marathon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sprint Triathlon - or How NOT to train.

Part one... the training up to the event...  Part two...Race recap.

About 3 months ago,  I thought it would be fun to do a Sprint Triathlon.  I know most of you are saying what makes this "fun"? Lately I find that getting outside of my comfort zone is fun.  Because in my head,  I want to try a Half Iron man...and then if that went well ... a Full Iron Man.  This will take several years of work... so step 1.. a sprint Tri... or Baby Tri as I call it.  I can re-evaluate after that.

This particular one consisted of 1/2 mile swim,  12 mile bike,  3 mile run.    A half Iron man is a 1 mile swim,  56 mile bike,  13.1 mile run... so you can see a sprint is just a taste of what the real thing is like.   But heck you have to start somewhere.  Besides this was a woman's only event,  so it felt less intimidating.

12 weeks before the begins.... I knew I would be okay on the run.  I run 2-3 times a week at least and I never do less than 3 miles,  so I really didn't worry about that.  I knew that would take care of itself.  

Bike.. I had been taking a spin class 1-2 times a week for over 9 months.  I know.. spinning is not really road cycling.  But it does get your legs in decent shape and more importantly.. your butt used to being in a bike saddle for an hour.  So,  in late May I thought,  I could start throwing in once a week ride on the road through out the summer and that would be enough.   Enter Mother Nature.....

June was the wettest on record,  July the hottest on record... and I did not head outside on a bike either month. I am a pussy so the August I was feeling a little panicky.  My road work consisted of one 14 mile trip on the Loveland bike trail,  and one 8 mile trip to the local Farmers' market on a Saturday morning.   Not exactly what I was looking for...

And then there was the swim.   I started off swimming laps at LA Fitness.  First time out,  I could only do 8 without pausing... Okay... that is a problem.   1/2 mile swim is equal to 33-34 laps of LA's pool..  I had some work to do here.  So I worked in 2 swims a week ,  most weeks,  working on building my endurance.   2 weeks prior to the actual event,  I could do the laps in about 20 minutes time.   I was feeling better about the endurance,  but swimming in a pool is a whole different thing to swimming in a lake... with 200 + other people.    I did manage to make it up to Hueston Woods for a training swim hosted by the MOJO tri group here in the city.    That proved to be invaluable.   I learned about how to site so you swim straight,  and how to enter and exit the water.  Silly sounding,  but there are reasons why you do things a certain way,  and once you practice a few times,  it makes sense.   That one trip to a lake made me feel a little more confident and really doing one of these events is more mental than anything else.

Because at the end of the day,  I knew I had enough energy, and physical fitness to effectively work out for 2 hours ,  but would I let the little "you can't do this..."  demons get in my head.    They were there.. dancing on my shoulder and chanting in my ear... but I am learning more and more to ignore them.  Which is sometimes the hardest part of achieving anything at all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Don't Give a Sh*t

Currently mom and I are in marathon training mode for the Fall. We are running the Indianapolis Marathon on October 15th - for her it will be the half, for me it will be a second crack at the marathon distance. As you all recall the first time didn't go so hot with stomach cramps, lots of porta potty stops, and maybe even some crying and general discomfort. This time I have sworn to myself that I will train smarter and this includes joining a local running group so that my weekly long runs can be done in the company and misery of others. So far this tactic seems to be working and we are now up to 15 miles for our long run this Saturday.

However, in running and talking with these individuals I have noticed one annoying habit that many of us seem to possess. Here we all are at 7 am on a Saturday morning in 90 degree heat successfully completing longer and longer distances and yet each of us seems to be battling a negative voice that tells us we are too slow, too old, too fat, or too something. I have heard more than one runner compare themselves to someone skinnier and faster and find themselves wanting. Rather than celebrate our abilities we choose to focus on unrealistic expectations which can only lead to unhappiness. Do I wish I could be a faster runner? Absolutely. Am I trying to shed those annoying 20 lbs? You betcha. But I also can remember a time not too long ago when running a mile would have been impossible much less 26. Yes the girl who cheated on the Presidential fitness test every year in high school (sorry gym teachers out there), can now run a mile with no problem. And for that I am grateful. So I will be trying to focus on that feeling over the course of the next few weeks. As my weekly miles steadily increase and race time approaches it is with gratitude that I will be running this marathon - thanking my body that it allows me to do such things...even when I am cursing and questioning why I have chosen to do so.

So like the narrator in this hilarious youtube video points out - be like the honey badger and try not to give a sh*t when the desire to negatively compare yourself to others creeps up. Because even when you may feel like you are running in slow motion, you are still pretty badass!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Personal Space

  Yesterday we decided to hit a movie.  It's been in the 90's here (like the rest of the country)  for over 2 weeks, and getting motivated  to do anything productive is hard.  Headed over to see Crazy, Sexy, Love.  No this isn't a movie review...  it was enjoyable.  Not as funny as I had hoped,  and Steve Carell seems to always play the same character,  but a particular scene in the movie reminded me of one of my personal pet peeves that just happened that very morning.

In the movie, Ryan Gosling is giving dating tips to Steve Carell while they are at the gym...  Ryan is naked and standing about a foot away from the seated Steve Carell.  Just take the clothes off this picture and you get the idea...

Steve Carell is obviously uncomfortable staring at Ryan's... ahem "junk",  and Ryan is clueless... which brings me to my pet peeve.    At the gym on Saturday am,  I finished up with my swim,  and headed to the locker room to change.   the locker room has 160 lockers.. yes I looked at the number to be sure,   set in 3 bays.    Our particular area had over 50 lockers in it.   Of these 50 lockers,   2 of us were using the space on opposite sides.   I had the locker open and was over at the sinks brushing out my hair.   In walked another woman,  who strolled over to our locker area,  and proceeded to put her stuff in the locker next to mine?????  48 lockers are open.... with enough space to give you at least 4 feet of personal space,  but you choose to put your stuff in the locker next to the one I was using ,  and then stand there in front of both of the lockers getting ready to hit the gym.  In order to get to my stuff I had to say excuse me twice... and you frowned at me ... WHAT !!!!  I bit my lip trying not to be sarcastic,  but really you are an idiot.

There I feel better,  plus now I forever have this wonderful picture of Ryan,  to look at whenever I need inspiration to do more sit ups.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When did the Cell phone store replace the DMV?

So, I had to get a new drivers license this year,  and had to make the dreaded trip to the DMV.  I planned ahead, had all my paperwork ready,  showed up 5 minutes before they opened.. only had 5 others waiting at the door?   What?   I walked in and was greeted by 6 smiling workers,  and was helped immediately.  I thought I had entered the twilight zone.  I didn't have to take a paper number.. sit in a line realize I had number 999,  and they were currently serving customer 2? (Remember Beetlejuice?)
I commented to the girl who was helping me,  that this wasn't what I was used to. She stated that since people can now get their plates online,  traffic at the office has dropped dramatically.  I guess decreased customers,  makes for happier employees as well.   Wow!  In and out..10 minutes.

Fast forward 2 weeks... thinking about replacing Time Warner with Direct TV.  Doing the math,  I think we will save about 40 bucks a month!  But had some questions about service,  internet,  the equipment etc,  so a stop at Cincinnati Bell was in order.   You can order Direct TV from them,  bundle it with their internet service and get an additional discount.   Stopped by the local store at approx 7 pm on a Friday evening.   Walked in and scanned the room,  7 employees (they are wearing distinctive blue polo shirts, so are easy to point out in the room)  and about 10-11 customers were in the room... Good odds ,  right?   WRONG..

Cell phone companies have the high tech equivalent of taking a number... type your name in a computer kiosk at the door,  watch your name appear on the large screen TV's mounted in the room and see that you are # 4 on the list of people waiting.   Not bad... especially when you look back about 5 minutes later and see 6 more names have been added after yours...

So now the game begins.. you watch an employee finish up with someone and think... YES!  one more name off the list.. but wait... said employee suddenly wanders back behind the magic curtain (back room)  and doesn't return.    Okay maybe it's his break... but then it happens again... another customer leaves,  another employee leaves the floor.  If this is the norm,  I'm not ever getting out of here.  One more time we watch this dance,  and those of us waiting ,  wandering around staring at the cell phones that are covered in so many germs from I don't want to know how many hands have touched them,  and then casually glance up at the TV.. the names haven't changed...  Finally one employee returns and calls out a name.. it only took 25 minutes to get assistance...  But during that 25 minutes.. what had been 7 employees dropped to 3.  What the other 4 were doing in the back is anyone's guess...

Do they have camera's back there scanning the showroom floor where they giggle and point at the customers waiting like sheep to see their name finally make it to the top of the list.

Oh and to top it all off... the employee who finally did call our name... No real answers to any of my questions.    No they don't know when our area will be getting Fiber Optic.. they don't give employees that information...   Okay.. No,  I can't tell you what the $5.99 a month insurance and service charge covers,  or why it is considered optional?,  Not you only have 48 hours to decide if the direct TV system will work for you,  other than that you are locked in for 2 years...

So there is 45 minutes I'll never get back...  but,  I still think Time Warner is out of here... I mean 40 bucks a month is a lot of money.. Now how much time will I need to spend on the phone with Time Warner trying to get my service canceled?

Friday, July 15, 2011

It was the best of was the worst of times

My mother and I created this blog as a no "BS" zone in regards to our own personal struggles and successes with creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In looking back over our few postings and reflecting over the last few weeks I realized that I was not being completely honest with myself or the blog world in not updating this site more frequently and sharing some of the tougher or darker sides of this journey. This morning, not unlike quite a few mornings in the last few weeks, I woke up, looked in the mirror and began a self-criticizing dialogue. Thoughts like "ugh look at that roll" or "why can't you weigh are so fat!" floated through my head. These thoughts have created a lack of motivation in regards to my workouts and a lack of control in my dieting. Instead of 15-20 lbs to lose I now have more like 25-30 and I have no one to blame but myself. I feel like a failure - why when I have gone through this incredible journey do I keep sabotaging myself and why do I have such a hard time shedding my "fattitude??

I know there is no "end" date when you are making a lifestyle change, but I also know that I could be a whole lot fitter and happier if I stopped the grazing and slacking. I ran a great 5 mile run on Wednesday, felt great for a good portion of the day, and then came home and pigged out and ended up putting on 2 lbs. I ended up feeling miserable and defeated. I know there are plenty of other people out there who have experienced and done the same thing. We start with the best of intentions, but somehow/somewhere lose our way. So in sitting down to write this blog I had another conversation with myself (this time featuring less criticism) and really tried to identify the reasons behind my own shame spiral. So here are the things I need to change about my own situation and maybe some of this will sound familiar to you:

1. Loathe my career situation - I recently graduated from college with high hopes of having a career in education. However, I have zero prospects and the school year is quickly approaching. Instead of being excited at the opportunity of working with my very own students and sharing my passion for learning, I am instead piecing together a living with part time jobs that have left me unhappy and depressed. So to conquer this one I need to relax! Plenty of other individuals are struggling right now, and I need to realize that a) my job does not define me as a person nor does it define my life and b) if I continue to persevere I will eventually find a position/place where I can be happy

2. Daily weigh-ins/body comparisons - I began weighing myself daily somewhere along the weight loss journey as a way to celebrate my little successes. However, as the weight loss slowed (as it always does) I continued to weigh myself every morning and what started as celebrations became opportunities for self-criticism. So I need to stop the pressure that I have put on myself to conform to a certain body type/weight by a certain date and instead celebrate and enjoy all the things that I can now do in my healthier body.

3. The green-eyed monster - yes jealousy. I have begun to harbor a ridiculous and unreasonable jealousy towards my mother and her own weight loss successes. Every time she celebrated completing a great workout, or losing a pound I didn't respond the way I used to with a hug and a congratulations, but with a passive and indifferent response. Why? Because inside I was jealous and unhappy with my own performance and felt the need to try and sabotage her own journey. That is ridiculous, hurtful, and childish and I have made a promise to myself that I will also stop these behaviors and act as the supportive partner to her that I once was - I am SO sorry mom!

So what does all this soul searching mean? It means its time to relax and focus on the positives again. It means its time to take off the pressure and enjoy the journey. And it means being more truthful with myself and my abilities. I started taking yoga and one of my instructors gave us this quote that I found to be very appropriate:

"Don't seek, don't search, don't ask, don't knock, don't demand - relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it." - Osho.

Time to breath, relax and get those good vibrations going. I am currently two weeks into a 16 week marathon training program for my second marathon so I will be updating weekly progress reports where that is concerned as well as try and post more about the types of exercise and food that we eat. So hears to everyone who can read this and if we can all just relax a bit more.

Happy Friday everyone!!

- Lindsey

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Conquer the Hill 10K - Race Review

  So okay,  I haven't done a ton of races... yet.... but enough local ones to feel like I am starting to become a bit of a race snob.   There are definitely things that make one race more enjoyable than another,  and Evendale's Conquer the Hill 10K checked off most of the boxes!

  Negatives, They don't use online registration or chip timing ,  BUT  their entrance fees are really low.. like  $15.00 bucks.  If they wanted to use online registration and chip timing I understand that the cost to enter the race would probably need to increase to $20.00.   I think they should consider it... because they have a great event going on.

Positives.  After 30+ years of doing this ,  they understand how to do it right.   No parking issues,  easy packet pickup the day of the race with plenty of volunteers.  Adequate bathrooms.   They didn't use a starting gun,  just a person on a megaphone,  which for those of us hanging out in the back of the start line,  couldn't really hear or understand,  but heck... I just go with the flow anyway.     Course is hilly (hence the name)  but if you live/train in the Cincy area,  you should be used to it by now right?  Lots of spectator support out on the course,  with their lawn sprinklers turned toward the runners.. THANK YOU!  It was cloudy and humid on the 4th,  and I took advantage of every last one of them.   Plenty of water stations,  that were staffed well and much appreciated,  also due to the heat and humidity.   Evendale's finest were out on the course holding back traffic,  so the course was very safe even when on the main streets.    

At the finish you were handed a ticket,  to write down you name/ race bib and your time was entered in after the fact.   (I would like chip timers)  But their total for my time and my time from my Nike+ weren't off that much.   Fruit baggies and bagels at the finish line  and a CUTE t-shirt (one of my favorites) to top off the run.

Great way to start off your 4th of July celebration.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flying Pig Weekend Recap

So our most recent exercise challenge took place the first weekend in May here in Cincinnati at the Flying Pig. Back in 2010, Mom and I watched the marathon on local news and generally walked away feeling guilty and humble that we weren't there tackling the races. So we both decided that next year would be different - for Mom it was going to be the Pump and Run, a combination weight lifting and 10k challenge that requires the participant to run a 10k race and bench press and curl (weight depending on age and body weight). For me it was the full marathon, all 26.2 miles of what turned out to be something close to torture.

Beginning in January we both created training plans for ourselves based on our separate goals. Mom's included trips to the weight room in the gym, crossfit sessions with our trainer, and runs. Mine included a plan of steadily increasing miles and cross training days (mostly stuck to cycling and some strength training). As race day approached, however, it became evident that we both overtrained for this event. I had IT-band issues that I struggled with and then pulled a groin muscle 3 weeks before the marathon that forced me to back way off my miles. Mom pulled her shoulder about a week before the event and also found herself forced to take a rest. Needless to say we were both a little concerned as the weekend of event began.

This day was packet pickup and the weight lifting portion of mom's Pump and Run. We arrived downtown at the convention center, made our way through the tables of race promoters pushing their own races, picked up our t-shirts, posters, and bibs and then headed over to the weight lifting area. Man was this a gun show with pumped up guys everywhere! I give mom A LOT of credit for signing up for this event and I could tell she was a little intimidated stepping up to the bench press with all these men watching her. However, she did GREAT - her goal had been to get 10 reps out, but with her shoulder injury she was convinced that one was going to be too many. Yet when she laid down on that bench she managed to get out 3 really good pumps and walked away feeling good about her performance.

We woke up to beautiful weather and mom was feeling fresh and ready for her race. We drove back downtown (starting to feel like deja vu) and she lined up with thousands of other participants. Her goal was to run it in under 1:15. I took my place at mile 4 and waited for her to pass, cheering the other runners and enjoying the great weather. Soon mom cruised by and was looking really good, yelling that she felt great and was obviously enjoying herself. She crossed the finish line not long after and was well underneath her goal at 1:09:21 looking strong and focused. I think at this point she was just excited to be finished!
Now it was my turn. Woke up at 5:00 in the morning to light rain and chilly temps - where was the sunshine from the previous day! Ate my breakfast, got dressed and got back in the car to take our third and final trip downtown. As I left mom at the car I could tell my stomach was a little upset and my nerves only increased as I made my way to the starting line. The race coordinators had decided to do corrals this year and unfortunately this caused a lot of confusion and pushing as people struggled to funnel themselves down one flight of stairs and line up according to their "appropriate" race time. I finally got to my corral and did some light stretching. Before I knew it the race gun had gone off and the crush of people started pushing forward. I passed the start line and began running feeling okay at this point. The race course is extremely hilly, but the early miles are pretty flat as we ran across the bridge into Newport and then back into downtown Cincinnati. At mile 6, however, the hills really kick in and my stomachache turned from slight discomfort to full on knots. I missed mom at mile 5, but finally saw her around 10 and she could tell I was in trouble. At this point I was nearly in tears as the miles seemed impossible and my body just felt beaten. She ran with me for about half a mile and then promised to find me again and left. I continued run/walking for the next couple of miles with my half marathon time being 2:39, not too far off my goal of 2:30. Yet at the half way point is where things went from bad to worse. Leg cramps and hip cramps followed my stomach issues and it was only with mom pushing me and talking me through at mile 15 and 18 that I honestly stayed on the course and didn't admit defeat. The last 6 miles were the most difficult thing I have ever attempted as it was a slow journey back into town and the buildings just looked SO far away. However 6 hours later, a full hour over my goal time, I finally hobbled across the finish line and got my marathon medal.
I look a lot happier in this photo than I honestly felt, as I know that this marathon wasn't my best performance. However, for that race on that day it was enough for me to just finish. Once my legs stopped screaming, and I was able to eat a few pretzels and relax, I could take the marathon experience in more fully and walked away knowing that I was going to have to try this marathon thing again. Definitely NOT at the Flying Pig, which I believe is not a beginner friendly marathon (even though its billed this way) but at a smaller and flatter course.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Mom and I need to come up with a better training plan for the next time around. More cross training, more listening to our bodies needs. Less trying to be superwomen and push ourselves to extremes.
  2. Choose a race that is less crowded/crazy so that starting line is less stressful and I am less likely to begin race too quickly.
  3. Better hydration/eating especially the day before. Looking back I made a classic rookie mistake and did not watch my water intake as closely as I should have and I think this definitely was the source of my early stomach issues.
  4. Include more flexibility/yoga in my training routine as this will hopefully teach me breathing techniques and relaxation that will help with my pre-race jitters.

In a few weeks we will begin training for our next challenge, but right now mom and I are just enjoying taking some time off from all the routines and wearing our medals to the grocery store.

Monday, May 9, 2011

How it started - A view from my side....

If you read my daughter Lindsey's post,  you will pretty much get the picture of our journey over the last 2 years.  While she started out heavier than I,  I had the award of being overweight far longer than she had.  Looking back,  I had been 20 pounds overweight most of my teen age years,  and then 40 pounds overweight by the time I got married at age 19...  The weight slowly crept on... year after year...Until I too tripped over that 300 pound mark.  At 5'10... that is an incredible amount of weight to be hauling around.

2 years ago,  my life consisted of food,  anti-inflammatory's for the constant knee / hip/ back pain  ,  blood pressure medications, and antacids.  It was not unusual for me to take 12-16 tylenol and 20 tums a day!  Oh yeah ,  I was killing myself with food... and I enjoyed every last bite... until I laid down at night and would promise myself that tomorrow would be different,  I would change my habits,  please lord,  just let me live through another night...

When Linz decided that she was ready for this journey,  I went kicking and screaming along with her.    I had NEVER seriously been to a gym before... (oh I had joined one twice... but never actually showed up...)  but we got lucky.  There was a Bally's gym 1 mile from the house.. no excuses about it was too far away....  And they were having a great membership drive... so CHEAP!  no excuses about it was too expensive....  And they were friendly and welcoming... no excuse about everyone is going to look at me and make fun of me.  Damn,  I can't get out of this.  

My first time at the gym,  I got on the treadmill.. put it on 3.2  (a slow walk..)  and managed to stay on for 10 minutes straight..  I got off sweaty,  sore kneed,  and embarrassed that I could only last 10 minutes.. And there became the birth of the first goal.   I want to be able to stay on for 30 minutes....  

And that truly has been my weight loss journey... Small seemingly ridiculous goals that move me from one step to the next.    30 minutes on the treadmill took almost a month to achieve... then it was  30 minutes at 3.5 .. a couple more weeks to get to that ...  but every time I would hit these little milestones,  I would have a minute of hell ya!  and the next minute I would look around and say.. okay what's next.    That is why this time I have had success and have truly made this a life changing event.   From the 49 1/2 year old woman who couldn't make it 10 minutes on a treadmill at a walk... to a 51 1/2 year old woman who just completed her second 10K,  and is setting my sights on a half marathon this fall and a 1/2 Iron man in 2012...

So if you are intrigued.. If you need a cheer leader,  ,  If you think you can't do this.. YOU ARE WRONG!   We will blog about our journey to this point, share what worked,  and what didn't..  Talk about our current training...  and hopefully you will come along for the ride!

Friday, May 6, 2011

How It All Started...Or A Two Year Journey Condensed Into One Post

While the blog name pretty much sums up my current status, mom thought that we should each begin this thing with a recap of our journey over the last two years. So without further ado here is roughly 720 days condensed into one blog post:

It was a day in early March of 2009 that I turned to my mother and said - "I think I am going to go join a gym." I don't remember the exact conversation that took place after this statement, but I'm sure I was probably eating cheetos when I made this comment and that it was probably followed by several supportive remarks from my mother, followed by fantasies supplied by both of us about what life would be like in slimmer bodies. If you are, or ever have been, really heavy you know what I am talking about. Fantasizes that involve shopping in more than one store, walking up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath, or entering a room and not worrying if any of the chairs will support you. Things that those skinny bitches never have to worry about.

However, unlike the hundreds of conversations we had had previously on this topic, the failed diets, the short exercise stints - this time I actually did join a gym and began working out. And one week later, my mother joined too and became my workout buddy. We traded in our stretch pants for sports bras and our snack cakes for vegetables and over the course of the last two years lost Biggest Loser amounts of weight...seriously - like a small Girl Scout troop of weight. We did it not through fade diets or stomach stapling, but through diet and exercise (damnit it works) and while our weight loss journey is by no means over, I can truly say that I have never been healthier.

So fast forward to a few months ago when a significantly slimmer mom turned to me and said "hey we should write a blog. We are funny, and maybe could give advice and writing our thoughts could be this whole cathartic experience." My initial reaction was to question her sanity as what could we possibly have to say that would be worthwhile for anyone to read? But then as I thought about it a little more and maybe grew a little more confident in myself I thought what the hell - worst case scenario no one but my grandmother reads this thing and comments. But if you aren't a relative of mine than welcome and hello. What we hope to accomplish with this blog is a melding of our exercise experiences, food sagas, daily thoughts, and priceless pieces of wisdom picked up from fortune cookies.

Get ready world as these two formerly fat chicks have a lot of time to make up for!!

- Lindsey