Archive for April, 2010

All Dressed Up

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

My husband is really good at his job. I only kinda know what he does because it’s quite technical, but I know that it’s important and that he’s good at it. Case in point: He recently won a big engineering award and his company flew us out to Phoenix & put us up in a swanky resort for the weekend so we could attend an elegant awards banquet.

When he told me about his award and the banquet that went along with it, he told me to “go out and buy a fancy dress.”

This was both exciting and nerve-wracking.

First, I don’t often wear dresses, and when I do, they’re typically long and fairly casual. “Fancy” dresses are completely out of my comfort zone. Second, this was also clearly going to be an extravagant event, filled with a bunch of big wigs and incredibly smart people who work at my husband’s company, as well as their wives (all of whom I imagined to be Perfect Tens). I was a bit nervous about the whole thing, but obviously, immensely proud of my husband, and therefore wanted to look my best and turn on the charm to the best of my ability.

Dress Shopping

I went to the mall by myself with a general idea about the style of dress I’d get: Something classy and a little sexy, but nothing over the top or too ‘loud’ since this is a work event. I made a bee-line for White House | Black Market; for some reason, I felt like they would have the right dress, even though I had never shopped there before.

I went in, browsed everything, and found nothing. I was about to leave when one of the salespeople asked if she could help me find something. I hesitated for a minute (usually I don’t let salespeople help me find clothes) but then figured I probably could use some help. I told her what I was shopping for and she took me around the store again.

She pointed out a number of dresses that she thought would look good on me, and I did my best to have an open mind. I only said no to a few while they were still on the hanger. For most of what she suggested, I told her I’d give it a try. One of the first ones she pointed seemed promising, but they only had two of them in stock: Sizes 10 and 2. I’m a size 12, but she said I should try it anyway.

I got to the dressing room and started trying them on – 5 or 6 in total. I really liked the first; she did too, but her fondness for that one waned as I tried on the rest, whereas at the end, it was still my second favorite. Some of them were awful – they just didn’t flatter me at all. She did a lot of accessorizing (which I basically know nothing about) and that improved some of them, but not enough. I ended up buying one that I never would have looked twice at – and definitely never would have tried on – without the urging of the saleswoman. (I guess they’re not all bad.) AND the one I bought was the size 10! I didn’t even notice it was smaller than the rest until I was paying. I thought for sure when I got to the 10 in the stack of 12’s I’d notice the difference, but nope!

Incidentally, that’s me in the winning dress in the top corner of the blog – the new ‘during’ photo. Nice, right?

The Banquet

As I said, I was nervous about the event itself, too – though it was lessened since I had a dress I felt would help me fit in better. There was a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and an awards presentation. I knew 1 person (besides my husband), and I only knew him a little, so it was all about small talk and mingling.

I got all dolled up*, gave myself a pep talk, and walked down to the courtyard on my husband’s arm. I figured that as long as I didn’t embarrass him, all would be well.

I don’t think I embarrassed him – at least he didn’t seem embarrassed. This is going to sound awful, but the wives weren’t quite how I had pictured them. They were just… normal women. For some reason, I elevated these wives in my mind to the level of a Botticelli’s Angel or something. While they were all lovely, they were just normal, real women. After talking to them (and drinking some wine), I started to feel more comfortable and relaxed a bit, and then I was actually able to enjoy myself! It was a good night – very successful.

And my husband really did call me his “trophy wife.”

I love him.

*This is how bad I am at über-womanly things: I had a strapless dress and no strapless bra. Whoops! Thank you Target!

Practice Makes Perfect

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

It’s exactly one week before the half marathon. Just 7 short days left!

I used this weekend to “practice” what I’ll do next weekend. For instance, last night, my husband and I made a delicious whole wheat pasta dish with olive oil, shrimp and vegetables. (Carbo-loading!)

This morning, I got up early, had a quick breakfast of a whole wheat english muffin with all-natural peanut butter & jelly and a small cup of coffee, did my… ahem… business, rubbed some biofreeze onto my bum, took an Ibuprofen, and went for an 11-mile run.

Two hours and seven minutes later, I returned.

I ran all 11 miles without stopping to walk at all. As always, it was challenging, but I did it! And with hills! Prior to this morning, the furthest I had run was 10 miles – all flat. Before that it was 9 miles – with hills – and I had to walk some of it.

So today’s run was a huge success!

I am now feeling much more confident about the half next week. I am now convinced that I’ll be able to run the entire thing! Especially since I just looked at the course for the first time, and it seems surprisingly un-hilly… at least for Pittsburgh. Maybe all this training on hills – difficult as it has been – will pay off!

Since today’s run went so well, I’ll eat the same thing for dinner next Saturday, and have the same breakfast on Sunday. I’ll also repeat the biofreeze/Ibuprofen combo if necessary.

Oh, and I’ve decided to get a massage on Friday to work out any knots I’m carrying around.

I’m still a little nervous about it, but now I’m more excited than worried.

11 miles. Wow.

By the way, I’ll be using TweetMyTime to automatically update people on my progress, in real time, while racing. If you’re interested in getting those updates, you can ‘like’ Watermelon Waistline on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (@_kimbolina) – or both!

Pain in the Butt

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Thursday was my glorious return to softball! When I say “glorious”, I mean that it was wonderful to play again, not that I played wonderfully. Well, I wasn’t too bad, actually, but there’s always room for improvement!

I pitched the entire game. It’s a lot of pressure, but I enjoy it. I did pretty well, too. Again, it could have been better, but I only walked a few people, I struck a few people out, and I did a decent job of fielding. (Though there are two balls that I really wish I had caught: One a line drive to my head (eek!) and two, a piddly pop fly that came down between me and the short stop. I could have had them both if I was a little quicker. Next time.)

Here’s the thing: All day yesterday and today, I’ve been suffering from what seems to be a pulled muscle in my left buttock that I believe is the result of the repetitive pitching motion. It’s incredibly painful. Incredibly.

Simply walking around my house makes me cringe, but I still had to do my run yesterday: 5 miles. I went out before dinner with the best of intentions.

And it hurt like hell.

I thought: Just keep going and eventually it will go away.

It didn’t.

I thought: How upset will you be with yourself if you stop halfway through?

A lot.

But I stopped halfway through anyway. I didn’t just stop as in walking. I stopped as in doing one loop instead of two and immediately going home. It was the first time ever that I did this, and I still feel miserable about it.

I know why I did it, and I know that it was probably the right decision: There’s no reason to push too hard during a training run and risk worsening an injury. But that doesn’t change how I feel.

Worst of all, I’m still in pain, and tomorrow I’m supposed to do 11 miles – my last long run before next Sunday’s half marathon.

Did you hear that?! The half marathon is one week away and I’m nursing a pulled muscle in my butt!

Geez louise.

I’m going to try a few tips my massage-ynist mother gave me: Sit in a hot bath for 10-15 minutes, rub the affected area, and treat with biofreeze. Hopefully that does the trick!

In case it doesn’t, does anyone have any other suggestions?

It’s The Climb

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

While in Arizona last week, my husband and one of his (our) best friends, Z, climbed a mountain.

Camelback Mountain, to be exact. See how it looks like a camel’s back? Kinda? I know: It’s not Mt. Everest, and the trail from beginning to end is only just over a mile, but in some places it’s incredibly steep.

From the City of Phoenix website:

Summit Trail (Echo Canyon)
Length: 1.2 miles one way
Elevation gain: 1,264 feet (summit is 2,704 feet)
Difficulty: Strenuous and difficult

This is a very strenuous trail recommended only for experienced hikers. The trail ascends through some spectacular sandstone rock formations and offers unparalleled views from the summit of the greater Phoenix area.

Note that we are not experienced hikers. In fact, I’ve hiked less than five times in my life. I love it, and I have a decent level of fitness at this point in my life, but I’m definitely not experienced. My husband and Z are the same way: In pretty good shape, but also not experienced at hiking.

We started our day by going out for breakfast. Z and his wife (who unfortunately was stuck working that day) love breakfast more than anyone else I know, and they make it their mission to seek out the best diners wherever they happen to be.

As previously stated, I ate like a javelina (aka: wild, desert boar) while on vacation, and this delicious breakfast was no exception. I ate more than any one person should eat… and then I went for a “strenuous and difficult” hike. Who does that?

I knew we were going hiking – and that we were hiking Camelback Mountain which is viewable from basically everywhere in the city because of its size – but for some reason, I still didn’t realize how challenging it would be. None of us did. By contrast, the hike we did in January of South Mountain was (literally) a walk in the park. I think we were all expecting something similar to that, and therefore, we were ill-prepared for this hike.

First, there was that huge breakfast immediately prior to the hike. Plus, I was wearing a hat that was too tight and giving me a headache; I actually took the hat off not long into the hike and left it on the side of the trail to pick up on the return trip. The other problem was that we had two waterbottles, which, don’t get me wrong was better than nothing, but had I known what this was like, I would have wanted a Camelbak (aptly named, eh?) that allows you to sip through a straw the water that you’re carrying on your back, freeing your hands so you can more easily hoist yourself up on the rocks.

I know that it seems like I’m setting up a bunch of excuses to explain why we didn’t reach the summit, but we did! We stopped quite a bit along the way, and made a lot of incredulous remarks like, “Are you freaking kidding me?!” and “Holy shit – it just keeps going!” and “#$%&!”, but we finished.

Actually, we were about to turn back – mostly because my husband’s knees were really aching – and then I asked a cute couple coming down how much further it was to the top. They said it was “less than 5 minutes” from where we were, and that was all we needed to hear to push through to the top.

We were all so glad we did, too: It was amazing at the top! Beautiful vistas all around. And a lot of people resting and taking in the view.

Interestingly, I was more in awe of some of the people we saw than the view. There was a couple in their late twenties/early thirties who timed themselves. It took them only 33 minutes to reach the top. It took us over an hour. Crazy.

The way back down was super fun! It was still challenging, but it was a very different kind of challenge.

I feel like I could really be good at hiking. I thoroughly enjoy it, and frankly, under the circumstances, I think I did a great job (would have been much better with a smaller breakfast…). I’d love to be one of those people who climbs mountains like this regularly – and works to better their time with each ascent!

In a Split Second

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

After my mini-vacation, I eased my way out of my food coma and back into physical activity with my Monday night Hip Hop class.

I was having a great time, even though after the first 20 minutes I was completely lost and had a hard time keeping up. I have to say, I’m a little surprised at how utterly terrible I am at hip hop. I’m not delusional or anything – I didn’t think I’d be great – but I have rhythm from playing various musical instruments in my day, and I have pretty good balance and coordination (now) thanks to Kung Fu, so I thought I’d be better than I am. Oh well. Moving on…

One of the moves in the routine we were taught last night involved this sort of ‘squat thrust’, but you know, with swag. I did it a few times without issue, and then as we were running through it again with about 10 minutes left in class, my pants split.

That’s right: Once again, I split my damn pants in front of a room full of people.

To be more accurate, they were shorts. Long, black shorts. And I was wearing light pink underwear – not black on black like the last time, unfortunately. Also, this split was not in the crotch, but in the ass. When I eventually got home and surveyed the damage, I found a split about 6 inches long from top to bottom right along the seam, and then another 4 inches across in the middle. Very weird. Very huge.

Ok, so at the end of the routine, everyone goes into their squat, and I hear &  feel my pants split and immediately stand back up. Thankfully, I’m in the back of the room, so I don’t think anyone saw what happened. Of course, they all saw me standing while they were on the floor… and then they saw me quickly tell my friend what happened and run from the room… sideways.

I changed my shoes and left in a hurry. A quick reprieve in the elevator allowed me to get a feel for how extensive the damage was, and I could tell it was bad. I then left the building and walked (ran!) the 2 blocks to my car holding my purse behind my back. I’m so sly…

Embarrassing? Yes, of course. But here’s the amazing difference between this event and the last: Even though it would be easy for me to get upset and blame myself for my vacation gluttony, I didn’t think that for a second. I simply blamed the pants for being old and worn out. I was embarrassed because my ass was hanging out, but not because I have a fat ass. Big difference.

The changes in my attitude and self confidence (and, of course, the size of my ass) in the last few years are amazing. And events like this only serve to solidify that fact, rather than send me on a downward spiral.

Of course, now I need some new long shorts that are workout appropriate… and reinforced in the buttocks so as to contain all my swagger.

Gluttony

Monday, April 19th, 2010

My husband and I recently returned from a mini-vacation to Arizona. He won a big award at work (yay!), and his company flew him and “a guest” out for a banquet*. Since we have friends there, as well, we decided to stay a few extra days.

Much fun was had by all. However, the four days we were away were detrimental to both my eating habits and my half marathon training.

I didn’t run a single time we were gone. This means I missed 2 mid-week runs, and Sunday’s long run. I would have done the long run today, but I got terribly sick last night after getting back home, and – though I’m much better today – I was definitely not up for running 11 miles. Or any miles…

I have a sneaking suspicion that getting sick was my body’s way of telling me it was unhappy with the food I had been giving it. Obviously we ate out a lot – that’s what you do on vacation – but I didn’t even try to make good, healthy decisions. I ordered whatever I wanted, and then ate the entire thing. Every single time.

I don’t know why I was going so crazy with the food. It was like I couldn’t help myself. I gorged myself over and over again, to the point of feeling bloated and gross. And then I did the exact same thing at the next meal.

It bothers me that I could go so ridiculously overboard – and for so many days in a row. I’ve overindulged before, but typically that’s for a meal or a day, not 4 straight days. AND without much** exercise!

I’m happy to report that at least I’m back on track today. It feels good to eat food not prepared by a restaurant. I didn’t run today, but I went to hip hop, and that was good. Mostly.***

*This banquet required that I buy a fancy dress. More on that later.

**We did climb the to the top of Camelback Mountain on Friday, which was both difficult and tons of fun. Photos and story to come!

***More to come on that later, too.

Ten miles? Check.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

My run this morning was fantastic. FANTASTIC.

It was challenging (obviously), and toward the end I was really tired, but overall, I felt great.

I ran with two other girls: Friend #1 and M-Cat. Both are training for their first half marathon like me, but theirs isn’t until the end of May, whereas mine is May 2. That means I’m a few weeks ahead of them in training. As you know, 9 miles is the furthest I’ve run. That also happens to be the longest run for Friend #1, though she hasn’t run that far since the fall. M-Cat’s furthest run was 6 miles, and she has a knee that’s been giving her problems, so this was an ambitious outing for her, but she was willing to try it!

We set off running from M-Cat’s house at 9:06. It was a beautiful day – lucky, considering we’re in Buffalo and there was actually snow yesterday (Snow! In April!) – the blue sky was perfectly clear, the sun was out, there wasn’t much wind, and it was a great temperature, not too hot or cold. Beautiful morning for a run.

The girls told me to set the pace since it was “my” run. I started out a bit slower than I usually go, and they were both happy with that. I was afraid of going too fast since in my 9-mile run last week, I was out of energy after 6 miles.We ran out five miles, then turned around and ran back. At the halfway point, I was still feeling pretty good, and started thinking maybe I should speed up. M-Cat’s knee was starting to give her troubles though, and I didn’t want her to push harder than necessary.

Around Mile 7, we all put on our headphones to help us with the final three miles. Unfortunately, M-Cat’s knee had enough at Mile 8 and she had to bow out of the final two miles. She called in her back-up plan (aka: husband) who came and picked her up, while Friend #1 and I continued on.

We picked up the pace a bit, and I could really tell the difference. It felt good for a few minutes, and then the excess energy expenditure started to catch up to me… not to mention the fact that I had already run eight and a half miles. At about 9 miles, I told Friend #1 I had to slow down a little, knowing I wouldn’t be able to finish the final mile at that speed. She was happy to do so. (Incidentally, she didn’t seem tired at all – she was actually TEXTING at one point! Machine!)

It’s usually said that the first mile is the hardest. I agree, but only for shorter runs. On longer runs, the last mile is the hardest for me, so mile 9 was tough even at the slower pace. Friend #1 could tell that I was having problems (probably from my loud grunt) and told me that our finish line was “just around that corner.” That you could “see my car shimmering in the sun.”

I searched and searched for that damn car. It was nowhere to be seen. I swear she lied to me. It was another 3 or 4 minutes before I could see the car. Her vision can’t be that much better than mine! True or not, though, it worked: Thinking that it was so close kept me moving. SHE kept me moving. In fact, she asked me afterward if I thought I would have finished without walking if I was on my own. I’d love to say that I would have, but I’m not sure that’s the case. Maybe, but I was damn tired in that last mile. But now I know I can do it, so there’s that :)

I felt so good when I crossed the threshold of M-Cat’s driveway (at 11:03, 1:57:ish after our start), who immediately came out with big cups of water for us – so nice. Of course, as is pretty standard for me, the good feeling was replaced by a feeling of sickness. The sickness subsided once I was in the car for a few minutes, and went away completely within the hour.

Then I was just back to feeling good. Sore, yes. But still good!

I feel so proud of myself… of all three of us! M-Cat feels a bit disappointed that she couldn’t do all 10 with us, but her 8 was a HUGE accomplishment for her. Two miles further than her previous longest distance – and with a bum knee! Crazy. And now she knows she really has to get that knee looked at by a doctor, so that’s an added bonus.

Friend #1 kicked some serious butt, too. She said she probably could have gone at a slightly faster pace, but we were just concerned with finishing, and not overly concerned with how long it took. I’m glad I didn’t push to go at a faster pace even though I felt like I could go faster at times because it was so hard at the end that I may not have finished at a faster pace. It was a good call.

And now it’s time to go to bed, knowing I did an amazing thing today. Ten miles. Wow.

Gearing Up!

Friday, April 9th, 2010

It’s almost midnight on the eve of my first double-digit run. I have to leave my parent’s house (where I’m staying this weekend) at 8:30am to meet Friend #1 at her place. We’ll then drive to M-Cat’s house and set out on our 10-mile run from there: Five out, five back. All flat. Or so I’m told, at least…

I’m actually looking forward to this! I’m nervous, of course, but I’m reasonably confident I’ll be able to keep up with my friends. I believe I’ll have the advantage since I’ve been training on hills and this place is flat. Suckers :)

I feel like a kid the night before the first day of school. So much excitement and anxiety. Who knows what the day will bring?! I should be sleeping, but my goosebumps are keeping me awake.

Details tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Psyched

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

You could say that Sunday’s run psyched me out. More than a little.

Monday is an off day, but Tuesday is supposed to be five miles. Well, this past Tuesday, I simply wasn’t up for it. So for the first time in over a month, I skipped my run with no plan for a making it up.

Yesterday, I was still wallowing in self pity and – once again – wasn’t up for getting back on the proverbial horse. Even with everyone’s support and encouragement, both in the comments on my last post and from a few folks in person (THANK YOU!), I just couldn’t bring myself to get out there again.

And then my husband said something that struck a chord: Even though I knew I wasn’t “giving up” he pointed out that people rarely choose to give up. Rather, they put off whatever it is they want to do one day. And then another day. And then before you know it, they’ve given up.

I knew he was right. I don’t necessarily think if I skipped one more day I would have stopped training for this half marathon altogether, but it’s a slippery slope, and I didn’t want to cross that line. Plus, I knew that with each run I skipped, 1) I would feel worse about myself and 2) it would be that much harder to get back into it when I eventually did run again.

So I did my best to psych myself up, rather than out. I went for a 5-mile run at 9pm and spent the hour thinking about all of the encouragement and wonderful advice I’ve received recently. I shortened my stride and slowed my pace (a la Rachel). I cranked up the motivational tunes when it got particularly difficult. I considered how far I’ve come and how it’s truly not the end of the world if I do have to walk, but did my damnedest to push past those feelings, since – for the most part – it’s a mental thing not a physical thing at this point. I got in the “zone”, so to speak.

I ran all five miles. Slowly, but without walking. I felt much better when I returned home than before I left. So, as per usual, I was glad I did it… even though every fiber of my being was screaming “No! Stay on the couch in your jammies!” Now I’m back on track, with just one run missed this week. Not too bad, considering.

Saturday is the epic 10-miler. My first double-digit run ever. And I can do it.

I can do it… I can do it… I can do it…

See? I’m getting psyched!

What Was I Thinking?

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Longest run to date yesterday: 9 miles.

It was completely unfun.

I wish I had enjoyed it more. Or that I didn’t have to walk a WHOLE  BUNCH during the last 3 miles. Or that when I was done I didn’t feel ill and sore all over.

But that’s not the case. I was miserable most of the time, and for no reason that I can pinpoint like in other runs that weren’t my best. There were hills, but they were all very doable hills that I’ve conquered over and over again. I didn’t eat a butt-load of terrible food that day. I wasn’t dehydrated or overtired or underprepared.

I just felt tired and weak. I got a few cramps in the final third of the run, and that certainly didn’t help. (I really need to try some of those core workouts from Runner’s World recommended by a commenter last week…)

When I got home, I took a shower and then a two-hour long nap. I wasn’t sleepy; the nap was accidental. The kind of nap that just happens after a period of laying in bed because you can’t force your body to move anymore and there’s nothing else to do but sleep.

What really worries me is not this one run, because – really – it’s just that: ONE run. It’s the next bunch of runs. I’m supposed to do ten miles with Friend #1 and one of her friends (the one I ran with at last year’s Turkey Trot) on Saturday. What if I can’t do it?

The week after that it’s 11. Then 12. Then the half marathon, which I really want to be able to complete without having to walk.

Am I being unrealistic? According to all sources, this is a totally reasonable goal. Maybe – for me – it’s not realistic. Maybe I need more time. Maybe I’ll simply never be a distance runner.

I don’t know…

Maybe this is just too ambitious of a goal for me right now. I’m not sure I can do it.

I don’t intend to give up based on one bad run. Or even 5. But man am I feeling more than a little discouraged.

Now accepting words of encouragement. Go.