A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll be back after the holiday with full updates of our travels, including Thanksgiving and the glorious beach wedding. For now, I’m going head out for a quick one woman turkey trot to shake off the stiffness of a 7 hour car drive and a night on an air mattress with a wiggly 6 year old (ouch!). I hope you have a wonderful day, full of things to be grateful for and the time and space to pause to appreciate them!

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It’s the most wonderful (Chaotic!) time of the year!

I LOVE the holidays but wow does time fly during that time frame between Halloween and New Years. I can’t believe Halloween was two weeks ago and I’m already making a list of supplies for Thanksgiving. Whew. Good things that have happened since I last checked in with you guys:

  • Running is going well, with no recurrence of my arm pain and lots of happy, running endorphins, even with short runs. If this is the only level of running I get back to, I’m still happy and grateful to be here!
  • I’ve lots of big dinners related to work lately, complete with indulgent foods and lots of alcohol and yet my weight is not climbing through the roof. I’m still at a lower weight than I was two months despite these indulgences, thanks to the fact that I’m not snacking as much and not eating everything on my plate every time I’m out. I haven’t lost in the last week thanks to all of these indulgences, but I’m not gaining either and that’s a win.
  • I met my goal of getting an order in place to recheck my kidney labs. I’ll be doing it this afternoon! Health self-care for the win!
  • I made progress in one of my #40for40 goals and styled my hair reasonably nicely for the Children’s Hospital Gala this week:

Hair success
I know it isn’t fancy, but it is a big stretch upwards in my hair skills!

Thanks to the gala, I’ve also set a post-Thanksgiving goal: to try out Orange Theory Fitness. In the silent auction, I won a one month membership and have been curious about Orange Theory for a while. I’ll be sure to give you guys a full update after I try it out.
VictoryI also won this awesome cookie-making basket that will make holiday baking easier!

Over the next two weeks, I have two massive healthy-lifestyle challenges coming. 1) I am going to the beach wedding of a dear friend (and am SO EXCITED for her and that I can join her!). 2) Thanksgiving (obviously). These are both events where I’m looking forward to the people I’ll be with, so I’ll be focusing on the people first and foremost, with some selected treats along the way. My success in not snacking and not binging despite some significant stresses lately makes me think that I’ll get through the next two weeks relatively unscathed, but I don’t want to take that for granted and lose track. I’ll bring my workout gear with me for both trips – and am planning lots of dancing at the wedding!

What’s your plan for Thanksgiving? How many days do you allow yourself for Thanksgiving indulgences? For me at least, it’s those non-Thanksgiving days around the holiday that actually get me in the most trouble. If I keep my treats limited to the actual holiday, things will go much better!

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Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween everyone! Today I’m working at the Children’s Hospital and this is my look:

Happy Halloween

Oliver said “Mama, that’s a bit much.” Ha! Who cares what he thinks. πŸ™‚ How often does a girl get to wear a Wonder Woman crown at work? Thank goodness I’m at the Children’s Hospital today where it doesn’t raise many eyebrows.

Good news:

  • I’ve run THREE times in the last week and no return of my neck / arm issues! It is so exciting. I’m sticking to my goal of no more than every other day and brief run intervals, but I am having so much fun. πŸ™‚
  • Because I’ve had some success with weight loss lately, I feel motivated to go into the holiday season without being completely derailed. That’s a much better feeling than I’ve had for the last few months!
  • I’ve been doing push-ups (most) days as part of a challenge with friends and it’s a nice feeling to get back to doing some body weight exercises.

Goals for this week:

  • Lots of work stress lately and not letting up soon – especially with schedule chaos for the holidays, so I need to refocus on stress relief. My goals for this week in that regard are to do either 10 minutes of yoga or 5 minutes of meditation each morning. My hands are feeling stiff, which is partly weather but partly stress and I need to be cognizant of that.
  • Follow up with my rheumatologist to recheck my kidney function. They mentioned doing it after they let me restart naproxen, but didn’t schedule it and I haven’t followed up. Ignoring my health is not a good idea!

TA DA for the week! I’m on a phone call right now with the NIH and the director at the top of my food chain for this program just said that my being dressed as Wonder Woman is very fitting for my station in life.

I hope everyone has a safe holiday this evening if you’re celebrating! Enjoy any treats you choose. πŸ™‚ This is actually a holiday where I’m not tempted to indulge at all thanks to nasty food poisoning episode a few years ago on Halloween. Since then, I have ZERO appetite on Halloween.

Painting

What’s your favorite Halloween treat to give or get?

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Goal Check & New Goal Setting!

Now that I’ve finished my walking half marathon, it’s time to check in on my other goals for the year and set some new activity goals going forward. Having that race to train for DEFINITELY helped keep me moving, so I want to be sure I have a new goal to chase.

    • From my 40 by 40 list, I’ve been doing a lot of fun things, including dates with both of my guys, breaking out my jewelry/fashion comfort zone, mastering a couple of new foods (pancakes!) and having adventures like my river float, hiking and others. I’m loving this time of more fully embracing life!

Pancakes

    • One specific fun thing in my 40 by 40 list was baking my way through my Great British Bakeoff Cookbook with Darrell and we tackled the Battenburg cake over the weekend. It turned out really well and wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be!

Battenburg cake

  • All of the things I’ve been doing for 40 by 40 have also served my word of the year: FEED. I’ve embraced the joy of cooking again and really become more thoughtful about how I’ve fed my spirit and my brain through my 40 by 40 list.
  • I’ve also really thought about how I’m eating and have a confession: You know how I told you I’d lost some weight recently? Want to know how I did it? Cut out that three pounds of grapes I was eating a day. That’s essentially it. Turns out, a bowl full of grapes at bedtime and with breakfast may have health benefits, but isn’t scale friendly for me at this age.

New goal for the rest of fall: Resume running GENTLY. I went out to run yesterday and just threw in the occasional spurt of running as I walked. Thanks to the walking I’ve been doing lately, it felt really easy from a cardiovascular and musculoskeletal perspective. I was only stopping to walk because I was forcing myself to take it easy.

  • I’ll run no more often than every other day.
  • I’ll run no farther than a 5K for the next year. Keeping my goal small will hopefully keep me from pushing too fast.
  • I’ll embrace every step I get to run with gratitude. Yesterday, every step was a joy because I was just so glad to be running again without pain. I want to hold onto that joy and appreciate how fortunate I am to run at all.

I also want to keep moving enough that I can walk or run my own Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. No sitting around and getting lazy now that my half marathon is done!

Pumpkin carving

Cute family photo of the day to share: Family date to the botanical gardens for pumpkin carving! This was seriously the best $10 I’d ever spent. They provided the pumpkins and supplies and CLEANED UP THE MESS! Wins all around!

What are you looking forward now that we’re truly into fall?Β How are you doing for your fall goals?Β 

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Mom’s Mystery Medal Walking Half Marathon: COMPLETE!

This weekend, I walked 13.17 miles and I earned my lovely half marathon medal, complete with the cutest finish line squad ever waiting in front of my house.
Half marathon

Some key details and lessons learned:

  • Gear matters as much for long walks as it does for long runs. I made a bad sock choice and ended up with both a blister on the ball of my left foot and a raw spot on my left heel. 😦 When I first noticed the heel area (which I suspect altered my gait enough to cause the blister), I should have called Darrell to bring me new socks.
  • Water is key; fuel really wasn’t (for me anyway). It was a PERFECT day in terms of weather and cool. I brought a big water bottle with me, with Nuun just as I’d do for a long run. I also brought some Sport Beans and a granola bar, but never felt like I needed them. Maybe because the calorie burn is slower with a long walk (this took 4.25 hours), I’m not depleting my glycogen stores in the same way? I ate lunch as soon as I got home, but otherwise didn’t feel super hungry that afternoon/evening or the following day.
  • Recovery was SO much easier. I was little tired in the afternoon, but I’m not sure if that was because of the walk or because I’m not sleeping well. Otherwise, the only real ache or limitation I had was the blister. I felt perfectly ready to work out again the next day.
  • It felt SO good to accomplish this. Yes, it was a finish line at my house and really just my own goals that drove me to complete all of the miles. However, that goal was super valuable as it kept me moving this fall and reminded me that I can do big physical things. That helped me see that if I can never run again, I can still be an active and healthy person.

What did I learn from this?

  • Long walks are a great way to exercise in a way that is low impact and much easier on my body.
  • Training plans and a “race” day are a huge motivation for me and even if I never run again, setting this kind of event goal is going to be key in my activity. This might include more walking half marathons, bike events, hikes or other events of my own making.
  • These big walks help my lupus symptoms as much as running did, whereas shorter walks really don’t help as much. Dedicated exercise really is worth it for me.

Now that I’m done with my fall race, what’s my next step? I think I’d like to try to run again. It’s been 4 months since my last run and 8 months since my herniated disk. I think it’s time to try again, gently. I have no expectation of getting back to long or fast runs anytime in the next year. However, being able to go out for a 20 minute walk/run in the morning would be lovely. I confess, it may be our beautiful fall weather that’s making me itch to run again.

This medal is definitely going on my wall, right next to my marathon medal. I suspect it will always be one of my favorites, because O made it for me and because it stands for a time when I got myself moving again rather than moping.

What makes a medal a favorite for you? Confession: I have my medal hanger still laying on my desk, but promise I will eventually hang it and this one will be prominently featured!

 

 

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Ta Das for a Crazy Week!

Happy Friday everyone! This week has turned into a crazier week than I expected thanks to a last minute work trip to Little Rock, but there’s been lots to celebrate.

      • I just pulled out my “to do” list and realized I’ve already done most of this week’s “must dos” – Woo hoo!!
      • Today, I’m checking one of my “40 by 40” boxes and wearing an outside-of-my-comfort zone flashy necklace for my work meetings today. I must say, I like it. πŸ™‚

    New bling

    • Before I left home, my weigh in was the lowest it has been in 6 months. Progress feels good.
    • My vice chair liked my mentoring plan for the department. Yay!
    • This weekend, I get to do my Mystery Medal Walking Half Marathon and the mystery of the medal has been revealed:

Race medal

Isn’t it cute?

I’ll be back next week with a report of the walking half marathon. I’m curious to see how this compares to running a half marathon.

Are you getting gorgeous fall weather? I’m ready to crunch through leaves and break out sweaters! Have a great weekend!!

 

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Ta Da from San Diego!

Wow is California gorgeous! I’m enjoying the weather (but will also enjoy getting back to Omaha with my boys and my lower cost of living later this weekend!).

Updates since last we talked:

    • Got my last long walk done last Tuesday, have done lots of easy walks since thenΒ  in “taper” and feel good about walking 13.1 miles next weekend. Oliver was tasked with making my medal while I was gone this weekend. I’m also going to take a little downtime during my meeting to map out my route so that Darrell and Oliver know exactly where to set up my finish line.
    • Ta Da! While here in San Diego, I was on a Q&A panel in front of my peers and did just fine. Whew!
    • Ta Da! I celebrated my way around the world in EPCOT last weekend and then got right back on the healthy eating wagon on the way home. I really feel like I’m back on a better food track, after several weeks now of focusing on my choices and not the scale.

Food and Wine

    • Ta Da! I got incredibly positive feedback from the chair of a national group I’m working with. Apparently, there are conversations about me and my leadership ability that are taking place among the powers that be. That’s the best possible way to be talked about!
    • Ta Da! I saw a ton of grey hair in the top of my head last night and have decided that either a) I look distinguished or b) I’m going to schedule myself a hair appointment and enjoy a little self care. Either way, it’s a win! Perspective is key.
    • Ta Da! I’ve taken advantage of the in-room yoga several times this week and loved it as a quick way to start the day. I need to start using both my fold up travel yoga mat and online yoga videos to do this more often when I’m traveling for work.

Yoga

    • Ta Da! I’ve gotten positive feedback and definite interest from two people I’m trying to recruit up to Omaha. My team is so great that I think anyone should want to come work with them.
    • Ta Da! I had this amazing pineapple drink last night at dinner. I know – not healthy or a particular self success or anything, but isn’t it pretty?

Yum!

What are your ta das this week?

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Ta Da Friday: Travel day!

My biggest Ta Da today is that I’m treating myself to a weekend at EPCOT for the bachelorette party of a lovely friend. πŸ™‚ Don’t be jealous of my glorious food pics over the weekend!
Ta Da!!

Don’t you love my new official Ta Da theme pic?

This week’s other Ta Da’s:

    • This little blog of mine reached a thousand posts over this week. I’m so grateful for all of you in my little invisible community. You’ve supported me in so many ways over the last few years!
    • I counseled a promising young doctor on her career options and convinced her (at least temporarily) that she’s worth far more than she thinks she is! Hopefully, she’ll remember my voice and her value when that enthusiasm inevitably starts to fade after our conversation.
    • I’ve had a week where I feel on plan with eating and with my exercise. I’m recognizing more and more that those things go hand in hand – when I’m regularly working out, my self identity becomes healthy person. Healthy person doesn’t eat the package of Cookie Butter Oreos just because she’s a little stressed. (OMG have you tried those?!)
    • I had to do a photo session yesterday for work for over an hour and at no point did I think “Ugh I’m too fat to be in all of these pictures.” Major #NSV! We did all of these photos outside on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus and it was a gorgeous day. I kept giggling at the awkwardness of it all and the curious looks of people wandering by my “model for a day” session. It was an afternoon with lots of smiles – some genuine, some not-so much (cheeks still sore!).

Photo day

  • This week I got complimented on my parenting, my teaching ability and my leadership. All wonderful things. πŸ™‚ I also got called out for being a good collaborator. Oliver was listening in as Darrell and I discussed the latter bit and asked what collaboration was, if Mommy was so good at it. “What do you think it is buddy?” “Talking over other people?” Ouch kid.

What are your Ta Das this week? Be sure to share them with yourself and celebrate all you’ve accomplished rather than all of the things you didn’t get crossed off of the To Do list!

 

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Taper time: Looking back on a walking training plan

Yesterday, I did my last long walk before my “Mom’s Mystery Medal Walking Half Marathon” on October 15. My last long walks were 9 miles the weekend of 9/24 and 10 miles this weekend (which ended being pushed back to yesterday due to scheduling issues). In that sense, long workouts up to 9 and 10 miles before a two week (ish) taper seems very similar to my prior training to run half marathons.

Partners

Oliver helped me finish the last of my 10 miler yesterday.

 

I thought this would be a good time to think through the differences between training to walk a half marathon and training to run.

  • Undoubtedly, this is physically easier for me than running (which is what I needed for my neck!). I haven’t been great about the midweek speed and tempo workouts and still I’ve had no real trouble with the weekend long walks. That likely reflects the leftover muscle strength from running more than anything else, but even though I’ve done mostly easy walks through the weeks, I’ve been fine with the steadily increasing weekend long walks and have no doubt I can walk 13.1 on October 15.
  • I have to block out a lot more time to get these long weekend walks done! It turns out that a difference of 5 minutes a mile between walking & running pace really adds up once you get to 7+ mile walks!
  • I haven’t really needed any fuel during the long walks. I always bring something, in case I feel like I need it, but haven’t felt the same kind of fatigue or hunger in walking 10 miles as I do running 10 miles. I also haven’t really focused on eating specific things before the long walks and haven’t felt any fatigue or GI distress at all.
  • I haven’t felt the same fatigue or hunger AFTER the long walks either. I haven’t felt like I needed naps or been starving when I get back home.
  • I do need to replace my shoes with long walks, just like with runs. I’ve been using my shoes from the marathon in January and they are definitely DONE at this point. My feet are the sorest thing about me after the workout is over. (Treating myself to new shoes before my race!)
  • I don’t get the same rush of accomplishment after a long walk. 😦 That might have something to do with the fact that my heart rate stays fairly steady and low (120s) even as the hills and miles pile up. Even as I push my pace to 17-ish minute miles as opposed to 18-19ish minute miles, I can only get my HR to the 130s with walking. I just don’t get the same kind of endorphins without that massive effort I guess.

Ultimately, this training plan has been educational (still need good shoes, still need water, still need to gradually increase miles, don’t need much fueling) and has served its purpose in getting to me to move. It’s also served an important purpose in making me realize how much I want to get back to running, even if I will be starting back at step zero in terms of rebuilding stamina.

Now, I taper, which is weird since I don’t feel like I’ve worked nearly as hard as I do in a running training plan. Nonetheless, I’ll respect the plan – and my busy schedule for the next two weeks! I’m heading to Florida this weekend for a bachelorette party at EPCOT’s Food & Wine festival and then heading to San Diego next week for a work meeting. Both will be chances to get in lots of walking, but not a long workout so my race will wait until I get home. That also gives Oliver plenty of time to make my medal while I’m not around to see it. I’m looking forward to the surprise of my medal and to plotting out the path of my one-woman half marathon. I’ve been saving a walk in my usual park for race day so I get to really soak in the scenery and feel-good vibes on my race day.

Family

Isn’t it a gorgeous park? And isn’t that a gorgeous photo? Our family photographer rocks!!

The take home from all of this is that walking a half marathon (or any distance really) is a gentle way to challenge yourself to move more without jarring things around too much. I’m so grateful I’ve had this plan to keep me moving since my injury!

I can’t believe I’m about to walk 13.1 miles just for the fun of it! What’s the furthest you’ve ever walked? Want to take bets on how many miles I get in at EPCOT this weekend? πŸ™‚

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Ta Da Friday!

This morning, I listened to the “Happier” podcast on the way to work and heard a fantastic idea: the “Ta Da” list. You all know I live by a To Do list (several to do lists sometimes!) but many times, those “to do” boxes go unchecked because of other things that come up. That doesn’t mean the day or week was a failure though – it just means you succeeded in different things than you originally intended. I mentioned earlier this week that I wanted to get back to recognizing my #NSVs as a way to stay motivated during this slow recovery from my post-neck injury weight gain. The “Ta Da” list is a way to incorporate NSVs and all kinds of wins. Thus, “Ta Da” Fridays are born.

– I hosted the second session of Happy Hour for a group of young female trainees and young faculty at my hospitals. So far it seems rewarding for all of us! We’ve discussed mentoring and how to figure out what you want to do with your life so far. πŸ™‚

– I decided to keep the size 14 pants not the size 16 pants I just bought because the size 14s were a little snug and the 16s a little loose. I am confident I will get smaller and not bigger!

– I tracked my food all week (and the scale is going down to reflect that!).

– I covered another working mom so she could get home for an evening with her kid.

– I recognize that my legs are getting stronger and more toned thanks to all of this walking. It feels good to work out again!

What are your TaDa’s this week?

CoffeeHaving a kid tall enough to reach the Keurig and make me coffee is also a big Ta Da in my world!

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