Monday, March 30, 2009

An Updated Playlist

Now that I am back on the running wagon, I am updating my playlist. I always like to get ideas from what other people are listening to, so it's only fair that I share mine:

If U Seek Amy - Britney
Last Name - Carrie Underwood (old favorites die hard)
Keeps Gettin' Better - Christina Aguilera
If I Ever Leave This World Alive - Flogging Molly
My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson (she's back, baby!)
Supermassive Black Hole - Muse
I Dare You - Shinedown
Love Story - Taylor Swift
You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette
Don't Let Me Stop You - Kelly Clarkson
4 Minutes - Justin Timberlake

I'm baaaack....

Yes, I am still alive. Believe it or not.

I took a break from running and, accordingly, my running blog, after a particularly rough 5k on Valentine's Day. During that race I managed to get lost on the poorly marked course, have my Nike+ bite the dust, and lose my favorite headband. I hated every minute of that race, and I decided to take a break from running to evaluate whether I wanted to keep at it.

During that time I tried to stay in shape. I picked up hour long spinning classes at my gym and bought the 30 Day Shred workout DVD (which kicks my ass, by the way). All this was (and is) fine and dandy, but I've started to miss my runs - especially the long runs on Sunday afternoons.

So...I'm baaaack.

And I signed up for my first half-marathon. (July 12th!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Great Shoe Debacle

Last summer when I first started running, I wore a random pair of New Balance shoes that I had sitting around the house. They were awful. My feet got really hot (and, consequently, stinky) and the shoes rubbed at a spot on my right ankle which left me with blood dripping down my foot after each run. So, on the advice of, well, everyone, I decided to go to a local specialty store and be fitted for running shoes.

Now, my town has a couple of different running stores. I picked the one I was most familiar with and went for it. The guy who helped me looked at my feet, looked at my shoes, and talked to me about my running habits (where, when, how far, etc). He brought me out several pairs of shoes and eventually, I ended up with the Mizuno Waveriders - a neutral shoe. They were great. From the start they were comfortable and supportive. I was in love.

Fast forward to the beginning of February. I noticed that my knees were aching after runs, even relatively short runs. While trying to figure out what the problem was, I realized my shoes were probably shot. I had been using them consistently for 8 months or so and it was time to replace them.

In a moment of disloyalty to my original choice of running store, I dragged my husband out to the newer, shinier running store with the "video gait analysis" - designed to find your perfect shoe. My first clue that this was not going to end well should have been the fact that the employee assisting me looked to be about 12 years old.

The child looked at my arches and then had me run barefoot on a treadmill while he recorded my exploits. After reviewing the video in slow motion, he told me I was a moderate to severe overpronator. Accordingly, my "special helper" brought me several pairs of shoes to try on, all of which felt like bricks strapped to my feet, especially after wearing the Mizunos for the last several months. Eventually, I decided to go with the Asics Kayano because it felt the least brick-like of the shoes I tried on.

They.were.Terrible. Yes, capital T terrible.

The first time I went out on a run in them, I ended up with a huge blister on my left foot and a lot of tightness in the right ankle. The tightness in my ankle stuck around for the next run, joined my pain in my left knee. By the third run, I realized the shoes were forcing me to run on the outside edge of my right foot, which in turn was forcing my left knee to bear all the weight on my runs. The ball of my right foot was barely even touching the ground.

Luckily, the store has a pretty liberal return policy so I was able to get a full refund when I took the shoes back. My next step is to go back to Store #1 and buy a new pair of Mizuno Waveriders.

I am sorry my love. I was wooed away by the fancy-schmancy "video gait analysis." I've learned my lesson, and I won't stray again.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Still trucking along

I haven't had a chance to update recently, but here's what's been going on:

This past week, I did a 1.5 mile run on Monday and a 4.5 mile run on Thursday. I didn't intend for Monday's run to be so short, but I just wasn't feeling it, so I quit. Probably not the best decision I could have made, but eh...whatever.

Saturday the husband and I did our long run for the week - 7 miles. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes, not including the 2 or so minute break we took to get some water and suck down a gel. Actually, the husband had a gel. I thought I would give the strawberry Shot Bloks another go. They still tasted good, and I didn't get stomach cramps this time. BUT I actually felt slower after I ate I had just eaten a heavy snack. I just don't think these are for me - I guess I'm sticking with the gels for now.


In non-running news, the light box arrived on Thursday. And, of course, the day it arrived was the start of a heat wave here - the temperature has been in the 60s ever since with plenty of sun. I've still been trying to use it regularly because I know that by the end of this week it will be cold and nasty again.

The biggest change I've noticed in myself since getting the light box is that it is easier to wake up in the morning. I'm not dragging myself out of bed after hitting the snooze button 7 times - trying not to cry because I am so tired and don't want to go to school. Now, the alarm goes off, I hit the snooze but then end up getting up before it has a chance to go off again. If that's the only benefit I ever see from the box, it will have been worth the $120.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Look! There, in the sky....

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's.....THE SUN!

That's right, the sun decided to pay us a little visit this weekend, and it was amazing. Saturday it got up to 60 degrees here, so the husband and I decided to move our long run up a day to take advantage of the great weather. We managed to get in 6 miles in an hour and 8 minutes. The only stop for walking was when took a quick break around mile 3 to slug down a couple of Clif Shot Energy Gels. I had the Strawberry flavor (which also has 25mg of caffeine) and the husband had Razz. While the taste of the strawberry gel was nowhere near as good as the blocks, it wasn't bad. Just different. I washed the gel down with a couple of swigs of water and headed back out on to the trail. (When I asked the husband what he thought of the Razz flavor, his response was, "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.")

After my experience with the shot blocks, I was waiting for the stomach cramps to begin. Luckily, they never came. And, the best part was that I could really tell a difference in my energy level during the last leg of my run. I honestly felt like I could have kept running for another mile or two without much problem.

In my excitement to get out on the trail and soak up the sun, there was one thing I overlooked. The mud. Once it started to warm up on Saturday morning, all of the ice and snow covering the trail started to melt, turning the trail into a swamp. After about a mile, my shoe laces were so wet and dirty that they refused to stay tied. It didn't matter if I tied them tighter or looser, double or single knotted, they were coming untied every quarter mile or so. Eventually I just gave up and ran the last 2 miles with my shoes untied.

Here's what my shoes looked like when we got home:

And for reference, the shoes are supposed to be white, not brown. The mud also came through the tops of the shoes, leaving my socks looking like this:

Somehow the husband's shoes came through unscathed. Hmmm....


I also popped in to a weight watchers meeting on Saturday morning. I was down 1.8 pounds since my last meeting (two weeks ago) to 140.2 lbs., which means I have now officially lost all the weight I put on over the holidays. Woo hoo!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bought It.

Just waiting for it to arrive.

Thwarted (TMI Alert)

Today was set to be a 4 miler. I had about 1.5 hours between classes, so I ran over to our student rec center and hopped on the treadmill. Things were going along pretty well when, at around mile 1.5, I started burping. Salmon. While I enjoyed the grilled salmon sandwich I had for lunch, I didn't necessarily enjoy tasting it over and over again during my run.

Then, around 2 miles my stomach started rumbling. By 2.25 miles I had one of those "Oh my God. I have to go to the bathroom. Now." moments. (If you run somewhat regularly, you probably know what I am talking about.) I stopped the treadmill and walked (rather quickly) to the closest restroom. It was packed with undergrads who were changing clothes, despite the huge signs everywhere that say not to use the bathroom as a locker room. This is a tiny bathroom - two stalls and a small area with a sink - and there had to be at least 6 girls in there. I gave them my best exasperated look and went downstairs to the locker room to use the restroom.

When I came back upstairs I noticed something that I had overlooked in my rush to get to the bathroom - there was a line to use the treadmills. Damn you New Years Resolutioners!! After all this, I didn't have time to wait in line, finish my last 1.75 miles, take a shower and then make it to my class on time. So, I admitted that the universe - or at least salmon, undergrads, and school - was aligned against me and gave up. I stretched, took a shower and headed back to school.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Quick Check In

Day 3 in WeekTarget23
PB Toast-320
1c Strawberries-119
4 Mile Run423
Jimmy John's-185
Mountain Dew-50
Vegetarian Chili w/LF Cheese-5-5
Ritz Crackers-4-9
Skinny Cow-2-11

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Contest

Check out the scale giveaway on Roni’s Weight Loss Blog! I can win an Affordable Food Scale from Eat Smart and so can you! Click here for contest details!

Can't. Get. Warm.

Today's high: 17 degrees. Sleet? Check. Snow? Check.

Tomorrow's high: 15 degrees. More Sleet? Check. More Snow? Check.

When it's this cold, I just can't get warm, especially my feet. It doesn't matter how many sweatshirts or pairs of socks I put on, I am always cold. The only thing I can do to warm up is to hop in the shower for a few minutes and let the warm water and steam work their magic. However, lots of showers + cold, dry air = super dry skin. Agh! It's a never ending cycle of pain and frustration. Plus, using so much hot water makes my already enormous gas bill even worse.

Needless to say, I didn't make it out for a run today. However, Mondays are usually a day of rest for me, so no big deal. When it's this cold, making it out of the house is a victory in itself - and that I did do. I make no promises for tomorrow though.

Also, it looks like light boxes run about $100-$150. On the one hand, that's expensive for my broke-can't find a job in this economy-law student self. On the other, my sanity is invaluable. I'm still considering.

Day 2 in WeekTarget23
PB&J w/4oz. milk-419
More PB-3-7

Definitely dipped into my 35 "extra" points today, but that's okay. Overall, I was happy with my food choices today. Lots of fresh vegetables (bell peppers, mushrooms, and lettuce in the thai and tomatoes in the tacos) and lean proteins (chicken in the thai and soy crumbles in the tacos). And lots of peanut butter. Yum.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Today's points

Thanks to Roni for creating this daily food journal generator.

Day 1 in WeekTarget23
Kashi Waffles w/strawberries and light syrup-419
Turkey sandwich with LF provolone cheese-514
Dill pickle slice014
2 mile run216
Hot chocolate-313
Pineapple chicken w/brown rice-75
Weight watchers cookie sundae-32
Homemade pomegranate soda-11
Total:22 1

I'm starting a new Weight Watchers week today, and I went a whole day without dipping into my 35 "extra" points. It has been a long time since I have done that!

*Note: I edited the pineapple chicken recipe and added a red bell pepper and 1/3 of an onion. Yum!


I'm struggling. Struggling with the weather; struggling with classes; struggling with my food choices; and struggling with my runs.

This time of year the weather is always difficult for me. When the highest temperature all week long is 24 degrees and there is little to no sunshine for weeks on end, I want to hibernate. I want to stay in my pajama pants and sweatshirt all day, watching Roseanne episodes and eating salt and vinegar potato chips while surrounded by my dogs.

I don't want to read for classes and I don't want to lace up my Mizunos and go for a run. I don't want to count points or really do much of anything. Maybe read a good book. Between naps, of course.

And, the more salt and vinegar chips I eat, the less I want to do anything. And when I don't do anything, I want to eat more chips. It's a vicious cycle.

If you have any doubt about how much I hate this weather, let me give you a snippet of the conversation I had with my husband yesterday afternoon as we were watching the news:

Weatherman (that bastard): It's going to be another cold one this week. Sunday's high is 20 degrees with a 30% chance of snow. The high on Monday will be about the same with a 60% chance of ice and sleet.

Me: I hate this. I hate it. I hate it. I'm so sick of this cold.

Weatherman (still a bastard): By the end of the week, however, we will get above freezing and should see highs in the upper 30s.

Me: Shut up you idiot. The high 30s is not warm.

Husband: (Laughing) It's not his fault.

(Silly, silly husband. Don't you know better than to mess with me in the middle of January by now?)

Me: (Dissolving into tears) I know, but I hate him anyway. He's stupid, and he's got stupid hair.

And so it goes. I know that in some parts of the country, a high in the thirties would be a godsend. However, I do not live in those parts of the country. I do not want to live in those parts of the country. If I lived in those parts of the country, I might become suicidal.

Anyhow, this is my long winded way of saying that I ate a bunch of junk this week and only managed to get one run in during the week (4 miles). This is also why I have about 400 pages of reading to do for my afternoon class tomorrow but didn't start until this afternoon...and why the bag of salt and vinegar chips I bought on Tuesday afternoon was gone by Friday.

On a better note, today was a good day and I managed to eat relatively well and got in a short run. After deciding I couldn't bear the treadmill for another day, I layered up and ran 2 miles in my neighborhood. Not exactly where I am supposed to be in my half-marathon training, but at least I left the house. Baby steps.

***Running off to check on the price of sun lamps.***

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tracking Points

Today's points (so far):

1/2 bowl of oatmeal made with a tbsp of PB2: +2 Points
Mountain Dew (I know, I know): +3 points
Apple: +1 point
Mushroom Melt Sandwich (guesstimate): +10 points
Grilled Veggies w/Olive Oil: +2 points

4 Mile Run: -4 points

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Review: Luna Sport Moons

Today after class I was starving. (This was probably because I made the oh-so-smart decision to eat knock off pop-tarts for breakfast.) Usually I keep some type of snack around so that at times like these I don't go crazy with hunger and decide that McDonalds sounds like a good idea. (It never is.) So, today I started digging around in my bag for one of my go-to snacks (usually a Fiber One bar or a banana) but came up with nothing. That's when I started digging in my gym bag.

I managed to come up with a pack of Luna Sport Moons that were watermelon flavored. Granted, not the greatest snack, but it was something and by this time I was desperate. However, once I took a bite of the first "moon" I realized I was not desperate enough to eat these! They were disgusting. I didn't even bother to take a second one out of the package. Instead I threw the whole thing away.

So, while I wasn't testing these out during a long run like I had intended, I can tell you that if I had tried them during a run I would not have felt any more energized - because I would not have been able to force myself to eat enough to make any sort of difference.

In a Funk

I went to a Weight Watchers meeting last Saturday. I was up .8 to 142 lbs exactly. That means I gained less than a pound over the holidays. Good enough.

The problem is that since that meeting, my eating has been out of control. I've been eating out way too much, which hurts not only on the scale but my pocket book, too. For example, today I had Fiber One Toaster Pastries for breakfast: 7 points. (I know there is nothing good or natural about a pop-tart knock off, even if it has 35% of your daily fiber, so spare me the lecture.)

For lunch, I met up with the husband and had a grilled turkey sandwich. (Sounds healthy-ish right? Don't be fooled. The turkey was topped with full fat cheese and honey mustard dressing and served on a pretzel roll.) I also had french fries. Points: only God knows.

Then, I fell asleep on my couch watching the inauguration festivities and when I woke up I was ravenous. The result? Half a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips - gone.

To top it off, I skipped out on my run this morning to watch the inauguration and haven't summoned the energy to go out in the cold and get it done. Now it is late and dark and the Biggest Loser is on in 45 minutes, so I'm going to go ahead and call today a bust - at least on the running front.

I've got to get out of this funk, so I'm setting a goal for myself to track points for the remainder of this week. Maybe it will be enough to counter all the crap eating I've done in the last three days. I really just hope it will give me back some control and motivation.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Confession: I (Sometimes) Hate Running

Usually I don't hate running. Most days I actually like it. However, there have been a handful of times in the last year that I have absolutely despised running. During these moments of pure, unadulterated hatred, it seems like there is a little HalfGirl devil over my right shoulder. She taunts me about how tired/cold/hungry/sick I feel and reminds me in a sing-song voice of all the other great things I could be doing like sleeping or eating pancakes.

Usually DHG (Devil HalfGirl) stays out of my way, especially during races and only shows up on those days that I am especially worn out or just bored with my routine. However, during this morning's 5k race, DHG made herself right at home on my shoulder, only waiting 2 minutes into my run to start her incessent taunting.

"It's cold. Your lungs are killing you. This hill is a killer. So is this one. So is this one. And this hill too.'re only halfway done and you had to stop and walk up that last hill. You could be in bed right now. Or at IHOP eating pancakes. Oh, here's another hill. You probably won't make it up that one either."

And so it went. In all I stopped to power walk about 3 or 4 times, for 5-10 seconds each. That, of course, is my trend. If I let myself stop to walk just once, I feel like I "have" to stop again and again. DHG did have a point about the hills though. This race had more very steep hills than any of the other races I have run before. In fact, the first 3/4 miles was nothing but one huge ass hill.

Despite the giant hills and the reminders of how I could be stuffing myself full of pancakes instead of running 25 degree weather, I finished in 30 minutes 46 seconds. That was 4 seconds faster than my last 5k, back in October, which gives me a new personal record. [ETA: I came in 11th out of 19 females in my age group and 86th overall (out of 155 finishers). The average time for the race was 31:16, so at least I was better than average.]

However, I WILL get my time below 30 minutes by April, which is the next 5k that I am planning to run.

Here's a screenshot of my run from Nike+. The spots where DHG were loudest should be quite obvious. (I also forgot to "end my workout" after I crossed the finish line, which accounts for the huge dip at the end.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

6 Miles! And a Product Review

6 Miles!! That's right, I ran 6 miles yesterday.

Granted it wasn't pretty - afterward my face was beet-red and I had to stop and walk for a bit right around the 4.5 mile mark, but I picked it up and finished the last 1.25 miles strong.

Now that I am running for just around an hour on "long run" days (yesterday's 6 miles took me 1 hour and 6 minutes), I've decided to start experimenting with energy gels and chews. So yesterday, about 3 miles in to my run, I had some strawberry Clif Shot Blocks.

Now, I had heard some nasty stuff about energy gels and chews, which made me quite wary of trying them. In fact, one day at our local running store I heard a kid exclaim, "Gross! These taste like fishing bait!" after trying some shot blocks. (No, I didn't ask him how he knew what fishing bait tasted like, although I wish I had.) However, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. They were good. In fact, they were so good that I ended up eating the whole bag, instead of the 3 pieces I had originally planned on. Oops.

As I continued on to my final 3 miles I kept waiting to feel more energized. Or, at the very least, not like I was about to die. It didn't happen. In fact, my stomach starting cramping up a bit around 4 miles, which is ultimately why I ended up walking for a bit. I'm not sure if the cramps were related to the shot blocks or not (it could very well have been just that my body was unhappy that I was increasing my mileage). Looking back on my run, I also realized that I probably didn't follow the shot blocks with enough water. This could also be the source of the cramping.

In event, I'll probably try them again sometime and see what happens if I drink more water (and only eat half the bag). In the very least, they deserve another shot because they are so yummy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

4 Miles

Just a short update: During my break from class, I went to the gym and got in 4 miles. I'm not sure why, but it was a GREAT four miles. I never had that "I still have X miles left" despair feeling. Instead I kept thinking to myself, "Wow. I feel great. I only have X miles to go."

The only problem was that I forgot my iPod, so I wasn't able to update my Nike+ stats...which also means I am going to fall behind in the challenges I have signed up for.

Okay, back to studying. I'm have to be ready to stand up and yell "Objection!" at 8:30 tomorrow morning, so I better get ready!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

5 Miles!

I can now officially say that I can run for at least 5 miles at a time! I've done it twice now, so I know the first time wasn't a fluke. (I know my Nike + stats say I only did 4.5 miles, but I spent half a mile calibrating my system, since I hadn't done that in a while.)

On the eating front, I have been doing so-so. I have been tracking everything I've been eating this week, but I am already out of my weekly points "bank" and I still have several more days to go this week. In any event, I'm not going to make it to a weigh-in this week because I am taking an intercession class which runs for about 12 hours a day. By the time I get out of class, all of the Weight Watchers meetings in my area are over.


The Biggest Loser starts this week! I'm afraid I'll have to miss the first episode due to the aforementioned class (boo), but hopefully NBC will post it online. (We're broke and behind in the times, so no DVR for us.) I really wish they would do a Biggest Loser reunion show and bring back all the finalists. I'd love to see them all now.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Check Out My Mini!

I have a Nike + system, but I only use it about 1/2 the time. I don't know why, I guess because I just forget. To remind me to use it more often, I've added my stats and my "mini" to the sidebar.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Today I am not running. Instead I am at home with what one might call a "dehydration headache" and recovering from a night that involved an entire bottle of passion fruit flavored liqueur.

Here are my running/health related goals for 2009:
1. Get my weight down to 140.
2. Run a half marathon.
3. Run at least 5, 5k races and set a new personal record.
4. Run at least 500 miles over the course of the year.
5. Have fun!