Archive for December, 2009

I’m Happy When I’m Hiking

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Tomorrow I have plans to go hiking with some friends. I haven’t seen these friends in a long while, and it’s been even longer since I’ve hiked, so tomorrow will be a lot of fun!

It’ll also be a fabulous workout. Lately, most of my exercise has been in the form of running – which is great – but when you do the same workout all the time your body gets used to it and doesn’t continue to progress and change. My running routes are always different in length and terrain so they’re not exactly the same, but hiking is a big diversion from my recent norm. It’s good to throw your body a curve ball once in a while and keep it guessing.

Not to mention that changing up your routine will keep you engaged mentally in addition to physically.

I have no idea how long or far we’ll hike, or what the terrain will be like. All I know is that we’re putting on our gear and heading out after breakfast.

And it will be awesome.

I hope the rest of you are doing fantastic things with the rest of your holiday break… that is, if you’re lucky enough to still be on a break!

A Christmas Miracle

Friday, December 25th, 2009

I ran 6.5 miles today.

In the rain.

Without walking.

In 1 hour, 16 minutes.

Hallelujah.

Holiday Magic

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Yesterday I braved roads overrun with an obscene number of last-minute shoppers and headed to my gym which happens to be in close proximity to a huge, fabulous (and obviously popular) grocery store and a large shopping mall. I jumped on a treadmill at said gym with all the best intentions: At the very least, I would do another 5k as on Sunday; at best I’d break my distance record of 6.2 miles.

After finishing 3.1 miles, I was feeling strong and was interested to see what would happen when I hit the 60-minute mark on the treadmill – the treadmill at Rachel’s gym caps at an hour (ridiculous) so I was curious about mine… It shut off at 42 minutes! Insanity.

I gritted my teeth, restarted my treadmill and kept running. Not long into my fourth mile, I started feeling some discomfort on the instep of my right foot. There was some significant rubbing, and I was afraid the friction was bound to result in a nasty blister. I ran through it a bit, but after a while, it became so uncomfortable that I decided not to keep pushing – if I got that blister, that would cause painful running all week.

So I ran until I got to 5.1 miles and called it a day. That’s 2 miles more than my Sunday run, so I’m pleased with that.

This morning my husband and I exchanged Christmas gifts (a little early, I know!). One of his gifts to me was a pair of athletic socks with a ‘double-layer, anti-blister system’ to prevent the exact problem I had on the treadmill yesterday! And he bought them before I told him about this particular issue – he’s magic :)

I’m really looking forward to hitting a new distance PR, and with my new socks, nothing’s holding me back! I think I’ll do it before week’s end. I declare it to be so – it’ll be a great gift to myself!

On that note, I hope you all treat yourselves to something that will make you feel good this holiday – just not food-related! Take some time out for yourself to read a good book or pamper yourself with a pedicure. After all, ’tis the season for giving!

Ten! – Hot 100 Update

Monday, December 21st, 2009

There are ten days left in the year. Ten of the hardest days all year to keep up a healthy lifestyle. In the last few days, though, I’ve been feeling rejuvenated so I’m looking forward to really ending 2009 with a bang, as was the idea.

And now, an update.

Keep running! Following my 10k earlier this month, I took a break from running. It wasn’t intentional: It started out as recovery, then I endeavored in some home repairs which took up a lot of time and created some serious body aches, then I was simply out of the habit. It’s also tough to be motivated when 1 – you’re not training for anything in particular and 2 – there are only a few hours of daylight each day, and those are the hours spent working. Plus, it’s cold.

That being said, I’m happy to say that my break is over. I hit the treadmill at the gym yesterday and busted out a 5k. The first mile, like always, was the toughest, but then my body stopped protesting and it came easier. It was just boring. I need to figure out some way to keep my mind engaged while running on a treadmill, because I usually want to set myself on fire after 20 minutes. If anyone has any suggestions in this regard, I’m listening. It felt good, though. And even though it wasn’t that far, it was the first time I’d run in about 2 weeks (I know – fail.) and I was able to do it without too much difficulty. That made me feel better because I had found myself in this terrible loop of self-doubt: It’s been a while since I’ve run – what if I can’t run nearly as far as before? Maybe I’ll give it a try tomorrow… and then of course, it was even longer since I had run. It’s all good though: I haven’t lost it, and I’m back on track!

Lose some more weight. I have no idea where I am with this. I don’t know what I was doing Friday morning, but it wasn’t weighing myself. Hopefully it’s still on the lower end of the 170s, but my motivation levels were down in the past few weeks, so I’m sure it’s not lower than my low. We’ll see come this Friday. I’d really like to be down 90 pounds by January 1. I think I can do it.

Eat out less – cook more. My husband and I are really having some fun with this. It is far easier to cook when you have the ingredients, so I’ve taken to going grocery shopping more frequently. It actually works out pretty well, since my grocery store is directly across the street from my gym. Go to gym – buy food for dinner – cook and eat healthy (and delicious!) meal. Works out nicely.

Hopefully things stay on this path up. I’ve refound the motivation and I’m actually excited again about working out and eating right. Of course, Christmas is later this week, which will include a visit with the family… The family with lots of great bakers. It’ll be a challenge, but I’m up for it.

Now THAT’S Motivation For Ya!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Toward the end of January, I have the pleasure of being a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding. A little while ago, I told the story of my trip to David’s Bridal to order the bridesmaid dress, which really could not have gone better.

A quick recap: I tried on a size 12, which fit, and in fact was a little big. So I tried on a size 10, which also fit (meaning I got it zipped…) but it was tight. I was tempted to go with the 10, with the idea that I would be smaller by the end of January (this was in October), but decided it was better to be safe than sorry. I mean, all bridesmaid dresses have to be altered in one way or another anyway (damn racket…) so I’d just have the 12 sized down as necessary.

– cut to now –

The dress has come in. I tried on the dress to see how much altering will be necessary.

And it was tight. TIGHT. So tight, that I thought maybe the store messed up and ordered the 10 after all. But alas, it’s a 12.

So what the hell?! I find it unbelievable that I got that much bigger in the last 2 months – or bigger at all, really. None of my other clothes are ill-fitting, and the scale has actually gone down from October. So what’s going on?

Regardless of the reason, this is the situation: The dress that I am supposed to wear all day (and in photos) at a wedding in exactly 34 days is uncomfortably – and unattractively – tight.

So what do I do? Do I bust my ass trying to slim down a bit more in the next month? Do I try to exchange the dress for a larger size? Do I get it ‘let out’ a little from the seamstress? Do I pour myself into the horror known as Spanx? Do I piss off my friend and wear something completely different? (I’m thinking something in a plaid…)

I’m not entirely sure what I should do. Ideally, I would be able to resize my body rather than the dress, but is that the most pragmatic course of action? And if I go with this plan, how long do I wait before going to the tailor? Smaller body or not, the halter strap is way too long, so an alteration is required no matter what.

Hopefully some of you out there can empathize with me. This dress must be worn in 34 days. What do I do?

What would you do?

When Planning Ahead Goes Wrong

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I’m what you could call a planner. (Except when I don’t plan at all, but we’re focusing on the planning bits for now.)

Before I started caring about things like calories and saturated fats and preservatives (oh my), it was not a rare thing for me to be out and about, get hungry, and stop at McDonald’s or Wendy’s for a quick ‘pick-me-up.’ Not necessarily for lunch or dinner, either. I’ve been known to stop for a 700-calorie snack on a whim.

The thing is, people get hungry. I get hungry… legitimately hungry! And what’s a girl supposed to do when you’re in the car running from one place to another for hours on end without accessibility to your healthy snacks?

Exactly! You bring a snack with you! An apple or a granola bar (I love all things Kashi). That way, if you get hungry on the road, you have a healthy option available. Without that, it’s a lot harder to resist pulling into that drive-thru.

So that’s the idea, at least. And for a long time, that worked for me: I would bring a snack when I knew I would be gone for a long time, and eat it only when I was truly hungry.

Then, slowly but surely, it turned into taking a snack with me just about every time I left the house, no matter how long I would be gone.

I never bring a snack home with me, either. They get eaten, every time. Usually within minutes of pulling out of the driveway.

Hungry or not.

Damn my 4H-taught preparedness! This is bad. It’s true that a 130-calorie granola bar made with 7 whole grains containing loads of fiber and tons of protein is a much better choice than a McHeartattack and fries. However, eating granola bars – for no other reason than they’re delicious – is not good either.

At this point, it’s just a habit: Upon leaving the house, I grab a snack, and upon leaving the driveway, I eat said snack.

I know I need to reign in this problem before it becomes more serious than it already is, but it’s tough. I can’t just say ‘No more snacks in the car’ because there are times that I really do need to have a snack with me. Just not every day.

Maybe I have an oral fixation and I just need some gum. Thoughts? Does this happen to anyone else or is it just me?

Let me tell you, it’s a good thing pie isn’t very portable.

(mmmm… pie…)

Turn Around, See Me Runnin’

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Growing up, I was not athletic. Even a little. I played softball (for the town, where everyone got on a team), but I relied on my size more than any athleticism: I had a lot of weight behind me so I could hit far enough that I wouldn’t have to run fast in order to get on base (think Babe Ruth, but without the booze). And I was usually the pitcher or catcher, so I didn’t have to be able to run quickly when my team was in the field, either.

My sister, on the other hand, was athletic. It was one of the many things about her of which I was always jealous (in addition to being smart, talented, popular, thin, beautiful, and still nice… you know the type…)

She used to run with my dad, who was quite the runner in his day. He once ran a 5k in just over 18 minutes – incredible! Once or twice I joined them on my bicycle and I still couldn’t go as far as they did.

I always knew my father loved me but it was clear that we didn’t have much in common… not like he and my sister. I felt like I was a disappointment to him in that I was overweight and had zero interest in athletic endeavors. I always preferred indoor activities, like drawing and television watching.

There are so many wonderful things about my ‘new’ life. One of them is that I finally feel like I have something in common with my father besides money (we’re very fiscally oriented).

He insisted that everyone go for a run the day after the Turkey Trot. Just a quick one-miler, to ward off extreme soreness. Everyone else came up with an excuse not to go, so it was just us. And for the first time ever, I ran with my dad.

I’m sure he never thought that he would run with this daughter, just like I never thought that I would run with him. It was great! I hope it happens more often.

Unfortunately, he stopped running years ago for a reason – he has bad knees. You never know though, right? He managed a good walk/run effort for the Turkey Trot and then that mile the following day. I think there’s hope!

Nearing the End! – Hot 100 Update

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Incredibly, there are only 20 days left in 2009. Exactly 2 weeks until Christmas – and I’ve yet to begin holiday shopping (eek!), but that’s not really relevant here…

What is relevant is my progress on the goals I set forth to meet 80 days ago when The Hot 100 Challenge began. Here goes nothing!

Keep running! All of my running the last few months has been building up to the 10k race I ran last week, which was a huge success. I was able to run the full 6.2 miles without walking at all! Unfortunately, I haven’t run again since that race. It’s been f-f-f-freezing outside, plus I’ve been working on a home improvement project that has both kept me busy and made me sore. I know these are lame excuses, but I have to say, that I’ve enjoyed the break.

I’m the kind of person who needs something to train for; running  for the sake of running seems silly to me. To that end, I have officially decided that I will run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon* on May 2, 2010. Now there’s something to train for! I plan to get start back up in the next week or so, but for now, I’m ok with a brief intermission.

Lose some more weight. Eleven days ago, I weighed 178. This was the tragic result of poor decision-making over the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m pleased to report that this morning, I was down to 173. Not only have I undone the damage done by my turkey day indiscretions, but this is a new lowest weight for me. I’m now down 89 pounds.

My initial goal in The Hot 100 was to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year. Clearly, that’s not happening. But rather than get down about that fact and say ‘screw it – what’s the point in trying?’ I’m still going full-steam ahead. So what if I won’t meet that goal by an arbitrary date? I will meet it – it’ll just take a little longer, that’s all. And being down 89 pounds feels pretty darn good for the time being.

Eat out less – cook more. This one’s been pretty good. I haven’t been as iron-fisted about not eating out as much, but I think that’s because it’s become more natural to prepare my own meals. I just don’t want to eat out 6 or 7 times a week. I’m finding new foods that I enjoy – and new ways to prepare them.

I find that it’s much easier to keep up with this when the house is stocked with groceries, and currently, I am one Mother Hubbard. This weekend’s activities will have to include a trip to the supermarket to remedy this situation.

Twenty days left!

*who wants to join me?

I Like Running?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I just received an email with photos from the 10k I participated in on Sunday. There have been photographers at most of the races I’ve run, but I’ve never been in (or recognizable in) any of the photos.

Because this event was so small – and they had two photographers! – there are a number of photos of me this time. As I was reviewing them, I was struck by something amazing:

I’m smiling in every* picture. As if I’m enjoying myself.

Apparently, I like running. Who’d a thunk it?

I do like running, though. In fact, I’m seriously considering signing up to run a half-marathon in May. It both excites and scares me to think about. I’m going to mull that one over for a bit…

But for now, for your viewing pleasure, some photos of me (with the fabulous M-Dog in one!). Ignore my crazy running outfit, especially the ridiculous hat over the huge headphones – when you can’t have both, function must win out over form.

Kimberly 10k!10k Road Race2pics

*Except the finish line… so weird.

One Weekend – Two Triumphs

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

My first ever 10k was a huge success! Even with a bruised ankle, being sore from my Black Belt test yesterday, not having run all week, and only getting up to 5 miles during training, I was still able to run the entire 6.2 miles without walking for even a second.

I finished with an official time of 1:05:28! That’s a 10:33 pace, which I’m darn pleased with.

It was absolutely freezing this morning, and I wasn’t dressed entirely appropriately. The only thing I was really missing was gloves. My poor fingers never warmed up, even tucked inside my jacket sleeves. This was partially because I had to keep pulling them out to blow my nose, which ran incessantly the entire race. Damn exercise-induced rhinitis!

One of my friends ran this race with me  – remember M-Dog? – and I kept up with her for the first mile or so. After that, I had to slow down a bit, and I knew that she was already going slower than her normal pace, so I told her to run on without me.

Once I hit the 4-mile mark, I knew I would be able to run the entire thing. Once I hit the fifth mile marker, I was thrilled: With every new step I said to myself, “This is officially the furthest I’ve ever run. This is officially the furthest I’ve ever run…”

I kept switching positions with two women running together. They ran a bit faster than me, but they couldn’t keep that up. So they would start walking, and I would pass them. Then a few minutes later after they started running again, they would pass me. This must’ve happened a dozen times throughout the race – it was really quite ridiculous – but it kept it interesting. I was hoping that when we got to the end I’d be able to keep their running pace and cross the finish line with them. In the 6th mile, when they caught up to me after walking a bit, I hung with them for a minute or so, but then I had to fall back to my slower pace again. They beat me by about 20 seconds.

It was tiring, but I felt good. In fact, I had enough left in me at the end to be able to sprint the last tenth of a mile. I was actually going so fast that my face is wind-burned!

I’m very pleased with my performance today: I ran the entire thing, and in a good time… for me. I have to qualify that it’s a good time ‘for me’ because only 4 people in the entire race were slower than me. I was totally bringing up the rear. The two girls I kept trading places with joked one of the times they passed me that they’d have to walk again soon, and so to “not worry.” I laughed, but really, I wasn’t worried about beating them at all. I was competing with myself, not some random women whose running abilities and preparation I know nothing about. And even though I was very nearly last, I’m proud of myself.

It’s funny: This was a smaller race, with only 112 participants (I was 108). I’ve found that the smaller the event, the more ‘elite’ the competitors. This same pace at the 12,000 participant Turkey Trot last week got me a much better finishing place.

It doesn’t matter though. Like I said, I was competing with myself.

And I won.