A Little More Each Day

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

Weekly Wrap-Up: Double digit runs!

Instead of going right to the normal wrap up, I’m going to take a minute to gush about yesterday’s 10 mile run. You guys don’t mind, right? I can remember when I got to 10 miles on my last half marathon training plan (the next to last long run then, as opposed to halfway through the plan this time!). I was so nervous about hitting that double digit run and yet I was also excited because I knew I was at the end of the training cycle. This time, I wasn’t nervous at all. I had absolutely zero doubt I’d get the ten miles in without any trouble, which is really amazing. My shift in confidence about my running is definitely a huge NSV!

My other big NSV for the week is being honest with myself about my weight creeping up and making a change. It was hard to admit to myself, but good to get it out there. I feel like I got a little kudos from the universe for that decision by finding a long ago Bravo sticker when I was cleaning out my car:

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Literally found this on Wednesday when that post went live!

Literally found this on Wednesday when that post went live!

As part of that re-evaluation, I’d decided to work on snacking on veggies instead of so much fruit and was rewarded by this bonus at our grocery store – definitely a nice cosmic reward. πŸ™‚

Woohoo! Nothing like a little cash back, right?

Woohoo! Nothing like a little cash back, right?

All in all, I’m feeling good about things this week.

Workouts

Monday 50 minutes walking, partly at lunch at work (glad to get back to that!) and partly at home

Tuesday 5 miles in the evening, for that crazy humid, embarrasssing-sweat stain run!

Wednesday 33 minutes walking outside while Darrell did bedtime

Thursday 4 miles in the evening, with the requisite crazy humid hair

Friday 35 minutes walking (Can I just say that I’m a little tired of the 10K a day challenge? I really miss being lazy at the end of the day every once in a while instead of heading out for a late night walk to get those last steps in!)

Saturday It was crazy foggy in our neighborhood Saturday morning:

It was 830 in the morning and like running in a cloud!

It was 830 in the morning and like running in a cloud!

I’ve really been working on doing my easy runs at a truly easy pace (more about that coming tomorrow!), so I didn’t look at the pace on the Garmin (much) or worry about any intervals or anything. I just ran and if I felt like taking a walk break, I did. What was amazing about that was a) it was so PLEASANT and b) my pace for that “easy” ten mile was 11:20 overall, which is the same as it is when I’m struggling more. Amazing. I suspect it’s because I’m running a lot faster during the run intervals because it’s fun and I feel good and I know I can walk whenever I want. Mindset is everything.

Omaha is always overrun with turkeys this time of year. This one was hanging out in a neighbor's yard.

Omaha is always overrun with turkeys this time of year. This one was hanging out in a neighbor’s yard.

I did stop for a bathroom break and to refill my water bottle at the grocery store near my house – why have I never thought of that before? There’s never any reason to worry about running out of water, now that I’ve realized that. I will say that even though this was an easy run that felt good, I was sore later in the day. Foam rolling helped and I was sure to stretch immediately after the run.

Sunday Today we’re going to be doing some yard work, which I’m not really looking forward to but it must be done. At least it’ll help me get to 10K steps a day. I’ll be sure to do some more yoga and stretching so that it feels more like a recovery day, I promise.

Meal plan for the week

Since we talked last week about how we plan meals, I thought I’d share this week’s meal plan with you guys. It is based on a) the eggplant, corn, various squash and other veggies we got in our CSA bag and b) input from my guys. I looked at the schedule for the week and saw that I have a hair appointment Thursday night, so we know we need something in the slow cooker that day since I’ll get home a little late.

Oliver wanted chicken stew and he started perusing his two favorite Sesame Street cookbooks to find a recipe.

Oliver wanted chicken stew and he started perusing his two favorite Sesame Street cookbooks to find a recipe.

This week, we’ll have Mexican chicken casserole, Salisbury steak meatballs (confession: this will be just the boys – I’m not a fan, so I’ll be having ratatouille instead), pork loin with kale and tomatoes, and slow cooker chicken stew. My back pocket recipe, for when I’ve forgotten to thaw something, is going to be our favorite tuna melts. Several of these will be new recipes for us, so I’ll let you know how they turn out.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! Stay safe with all of the holiday travelers and revelers out there!

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Italian meatball sliders

This weekend, I tested out a Cooking Light recipe from the March 2012 issue that I’ve had flagged forever: Italian Meatball Sliders. I must confess that I took this recipe as inspiration more than following it exactly, thanks to a lack of time and a couple of key ingredients. It still turned out great, so I thought I’d share my modified version and the original (slightly more complicated) recipe down below.
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This made 6 servings in our house of burgers that were sort of halfway between normal burger size and slider size. You could up or down size them as you like for true sliders or regular burgers.
In a bowl, gently mix:
1.25 lbs ground lean turkey
3 garlic cloves (I use the frozen cubes)
1/3 cup fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup diced roasted red pepper
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 large egg
Once all of the ingredients are incorporated, shape them into patties of your desired size. Be aware that this is very wet and sticky after you’ve mixed it, but they held together well for me when I cooked them so don’t let that put you off!
Cook on your grill or stovetop until cooked through. I used my Griddler (panini-press type device) and it took about 6-8 minutes.
Serve on the bread of your choice – English muffins were the perfect size for us – that has been popped under the broiler topped with slices of mozzarella cheese. As you can see in the picture, we also tried one with feta cheese and that worked well too!
Italian Meatball Sliders
Put a spoonful of your favorite marinara on the bread and cheeese, top with the patty and close the whole thing up. They were really tasty in combination and I think we didn’t lose anything significant in terms of taste but saved a lot of time! We’ll definitely try these out in the future with the Italian sausage mixed in, like the original recipe suggested, but for a weekday, these were a quick and tasty option!
PS We crumbled the leftover patties into our favorite marinara to beef (or turkey, as it were) up our spaghetti sauce for dinner last night and it worked great! I love repurposing leftovers into something new!
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Cooking Light Original Recipe (March 2012)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces lean ground pork
  • 2 (4-ounce) links turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
  • 12 slider buns, toasted
  • 12 basil leaves

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add garlic and shallots to pan; sautΓ© 3 minutes or until shallots are softened, stirring frequently. Combine shallot mixture, ricotta, and next 8 ingredients (through egg) in a medium bowl. Shape mixture into 12 (1-inch) meatballs; flatten each meatball slightly.
  2. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add meatballs to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning once. Add marinara sauce; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until meatballs are done. Top bottom half of each bun with 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce, 1 meatball, 1 basil leaf, and top half of bun.
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Friday Favorites: Runners World Favorites

My first favorite of the week has got to be my Aggies upset win over South Carolina yesterday! Whoop! No one tell Darrell, but I’m definitely going to turn Oliver into an Aggie fan (I’m Class of ’00). I need to dig up my Twelfth Man towel for him.

My second favorite moment of the week has to got to be my good deed of the week, which would be catching Grandma Ellie as she fell off the runway at the drag gong show I went to over the weekend (fundraiser for work). Thank goodness I was paying attention and caught her. After 30 seconds or so of getting her reset, she just kept on dancing. She was having such a great time! I hope when I’m her age I’m still dancing like that!

Grandma Ellie got lots of tips!

Grandma Ellie got lots of tips!

In honor of Runner’s World’s new cover look they’re going to be doing, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite recent (to me anyway) Runner’s World pieces.

First up is the hilarious and true Starting to Run? Abandon All Reason column by Marc Parent. I really love the Newbie Chronicles in Runner’s World and this one was so very true. I particularly liked the advice not to give up cashews – only take one big lifestyle change at a time or you might get a little discouraged – and the bit about putting off thinking. As I continue to slog through a soggy, humid August, I’m constantly reminding myself not to think too much and just run!

My husband and I got lots of laughs from Mark Remy’s Sock Mishap Sends Runner to ER. For months I would put my socks on the wrong feet almost every time, even when I tried to remember to pay attention to the little L and R on the socks! Thank goodness I never ended up needing medical attention. πŸ˜‰

I check to be sure I have them right before big races. :)

I check to be sure I have my socks right before big races. πŸ™‚

Thanks to a super-busy work week, I haven’t been running my preferred early morning runs this week. Instead, I’ve been hauling myself out in the dark and damp to run at night. The numbers geek in me really enjoyed this article from Runner’s World this week about what time people run all over the world. Apparently, they looked at data from Run Keeper all over the world to figure out what time of day people head out to run and it is fascinating. In Scandinavian countries,Β  because the days can be very short many people run at lunch. In India, because of the high temps and the traffic, most people run very early in the morning. If you’re into data and graphs (raises hand geekily!) definitely check it out – very interesting!

My last favorite has to be my favorite silly goose of a kid – I love that our photographer got his silly moments too! (Okay, probably the last kid pic – I’ll try!)

My two favorite guys getting silly.

My two favorite guys getting silly.

Have a safe fun holiday weekend everyone!

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Reviews of a couple of new piece of gear: SkirtSports Skirt and GymBoss

Tuesday evening, I dragged myself out of the house for a really sweaty evening run. 5 minutes into it, my phone was already fogged up:
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Foggy camera lens made for an interesting picture of the setting sun.

Foggy camera lens made for an interesting picture of the setting sun.

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I was getting in my scheduled 5 mile run in true mother runner fashion, running two miles while Darrell was giving O a bath and then swinging back by to given bedtime hugs and kisses before finishing 3 more miles while Darrell did bedtime. I have such a stellar partner in parenting!
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While I was out running, I was testing out a couple of new running toys that I thought I’d tell you guys about. First up, I was rockin’ my cute new purple running skirt from SkirtSports that I’d picked up when I registered for their virtual anniversary next month (coupon code SkirtPink10 if you want to pick something up yourself). The skirt was super cute. I loved the color and the straighter fit was flattering. It was from the Katherine Switzer 261 line and I loved having “Fearless” written on my skirt as I hit the road. It definitely added to the rock star mother runner vibe I was feeling for the evening. πŸ™‚
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Loved my “fearless” rear view

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Overall, I thought the skirt performed well with a couple of exceptions. The skirt comes with built in shorts, which rode up a bit but didn’t chafe. I’m not sure how long I’d be able to avoid chafing, given the seaming and the fact that it did move around a bit but at least for 5 sweaty miles, I had no problem. There are pockets on each leg that are just big enough for a phone or a gel, which was nice and my phone definitely stayed securely down in the pocket. There’s even a hole for you earbud cord to run through, which was cool.
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The biggest problem I had was more related to my super sweating that anything else. As this is a straight cut skirt, it didn’t bounce as much around my legs as my SparkleSkirts do which I suspect is what led to this rather embarrassing sweat pattern:
Yes, that would be a big sweat spot over my crotch. Ugh.

Yes, that would be a big sweat spot over my crotch. Ugh.

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I dearly hope all of the neighbors who saw me running around like this didn’t think I’d had some kind of accident. I may save this skirt for less sweaty runs (shorter/cooler) because that was definitely not flattering. Before it got sweaty, it was super cute so I’ll definitely hang onto it for short runs, hikes, etc.
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I also tried out my new Gym Boss. The Gym Boss is an interval timer that you can clip to your pocket or your shirt or wherever else you can think of. You can set intervals in pretty much any variation you’d like, which was nice. My Garmin Forerunner 10 also has an interval function, but you can only do 30 second increments. With the Gym Boss, you could do 2 second intervals if you wanted (not that I could imagine wanting such a short interval). I also liked that you could set how long you’d like the alert to be, up to 9 seconds, so you have a bit of time to notice “Oh, the interval is alerting” if you get as easily distracted as I do. I set it to vibrate because I was wearing ear buds and wouldn’t hear the beep over the podcast (okay, and more importantly, my own super loud breathing). I really liked the vibration to alert me to interval changes! I could feel it easily when it was clipped up on my bra strap on my shoulder. I clipped it to my pocket for a while and couldn’t feel it as well on my constantly bouncing legs. The only downside to the Gym Boss was the fact that I had to haul out the instructions to figure out how to set it as it wasn’t particularly intuitive, but other than that, it was a nice little tool for following intervals in running or strength training or HIIT workouts. If you don’t have a smart phone or for some reason don’t want to use an interval timer there (I’ve never found one I particularly like for my running needs), this would be a relatively inexpensive, small option to consider.
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Have you gotten any new running toys to play with lately? Anybody else ever been embarrassed by awkward sweat stains?
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I purchased both of these myself, with no compensation in any way for the product or post, as always. πŸ™‚
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Weight Loss Wednesday: A course correction

First, something to make me and you guys smile before I get to less cheerful stuff:

This was after a particular rom-com worthy kiss on the mouth from my guy. We're normally kiss on the cheek types but Amy asked him to kiss me on the lips and he took it very seriously, which made me and Darrell nearly die laughing.

This was after a particular rom-com worthy kiss on the mouth from my guy. We’re normally kiss on the cheek types but Amy asked him to kiss me on the lips and he took it very seriously, which made me and Darrell nearly die laughing.

All smiling now? Good. πŸ™‚

The not so good, my experiment with Simply Filling isn’t working out as well as I’d like. There are still things I love about it, particularly the healthier family meals and the chance to practice self-regulating in a way I really never did with regular Weight Watchers. My clothes still fit and I’m running well, but I have to admit that after a week of avoiding the scale, I had to face facts this week. My weight is up 5 pounds since I started this little experiment almost 2 months ago.

That is by no means catastrophic in the grand scheme of things, but definitely a red flag that prompted some re-evaluation. I went into this knowing that it was an experiment and therefore something that might fail and that’s okay. I look at it as my own little personal quality improvement project.

Simply Filling PDSA cycle

Quality improvement is a never ending cycle, just like weight loss and maintenance – we’re constantly re-evaluating and adjusting, or we should be anyway. In re-evaluating my experience with Simply Filling, I think I definitely want to keep the family centered meals and the practice with self-regulation but clearly I need to build in some kind of adjustment to get things back in line.

My new action plan is going to be a hybrid of Simply Filling, with eating to “satisfaction” of the list of healthy power foods and fun with healthy family meals, on the weekend. On workdays, I’ll go back to the regular daily points tracking that I used to my first two years of Weight Watchers. There’s nothing that says I have to do the same thing every day, right? I’m definitely not someone who could do weekend “cheat days” but a weekend with the flexibility of the Simply Filling plan might be a happy medium for me. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll definitely keep you posted, if for no other reason that to reassure anyone out there that needs to know that your plan and your needs can change over time. That’s okay. We just keep rolling with it. πŸ™‚

Any other quality improvement geeks out there? I love a good QI cycle. πŸ™‚

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Another run-iversary!

Two years ago today, I went for my very first run. I am so glad that I re-read last year’s run-iversary post! Today is a crazy busy and I’m not sure how I’m going to my 5 mile run in. Something about the joy and hope and absolute optimism about my running that is in last year’s celebration makes me realize how far I’ve come and WHY I’ve come so far – this is fun. πŸ™‚ It’s fun in some of the moments of running and it’s especially fun in the rockstar afterglow of running.

In honor of the hopeful girl a year ago and that rockstar of a girl two years who headed out on that first run, an update to let them both know how far we’ve come:

– I ran that 10K I was training for this time last year and crossed the finish line with a literal smile!

Finishing my first 10K with a smile :)

Finishing my first 10K with a smile πŸ™‚

– I’ve run all of a 5K race, which was such a huge accomplishment for me. Since then, not only have I run a sub-30 minute 5K, I’ve run more races than I can easily recount and almost always have a new race on the horizon (currently 4 on the schedule!).

– My “slow” running then was a 15 minute mile and now I feel slow at 12 minute miles. That’s 3 minutes faster and that’s huge! Even more importantly though, now I truly believe that a mile is a mile – there is no slow in running. It’s all running. πŸ™‚

I ran through Cinderella's castle!

I ran through Cinderella’s castle!

– Not only did I run that half marathon, I’ve got two half marathons on the schedule for the next 6 months and one of those is actually going to be a 10K one day followed by a half marathon the next. A year ago, 13.1 miles seemed pie in the sky – 19.3 in two days was unimaginable!

– I set a goal to run in all 50 states and now I’m up to 16, with plans to cross Pennsylvania, Maryland, Utah and possibly DC off the list by the end of October.

Things have changed so much in a year. Running is now part of my life, my stress relief and my joy more so than part of my health and my weight loss. I can’t wait to see what next year’s run-iversary looks like! All of this definitely has me in a much better mindset for tackling 5 little old miles on such a chaotic day – 5 miles is just a fraction of how far I’ve come so far!!

 

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Meal prep for a healthy week

Yesterday, I spent part of the evening working on preparing food for the week. This is definitely part of my Sunday afternoon routine these days and it is so helpful! It’s one of those tips that you read over and over and yet it looks different for everyone. I thought I’d walk through my meal planning process, with all of the working mom realism that comes into play.

– First, I look at my schedule for the week and check with hubby to figure out how many meals we actually need, who will be home to eat and which days are going to be late or otherwise challenging for food. In our house, we usually go out to eat at Village Inn for Wednesday for Free Pie Wednesday, so I never have to cook dinner that night (yay!) and there are other nights where I may be working late, hubby may be going out for the beer with the guys or some other issue that throws a monkey wrench into things.

– Next, I check out CSA basket to see what fresh produce I have for the week to incorporate into our plans because those are things I’ve already paid for and don’t want to waste! I also check to see what proteins I already have in my freezer, like ground turkey I didn’t use in an earlier week or something else.

CSA bag, with turnips, bell pepper, jalapenos, bell pepper and corn I have to work into the meal plan for the week.

CSA bag, with turnips, bell pepper, jalapenos, bell pepper and corn I have to work into the meal plan for the week.

– I brainstorm a list of meals for the week for Darrell and Oliver, looking through cookbooks or asking what they’ve been craving. The CSA bag comes with a newsletter that can be a good source for ideas as well. Meals for the week in our house include a few frequent themes:

  • Something in the slow cooker so there’s at least one day I’m coming home to a meal that’s already made.
  • Something that doesn’t require thawing anything (or at least something that’s a quick thaw) because inevitably I will forget to thaw whatever protein I need at least once during the week. Sigh. Last night, I’d planned on Italian meatball sliders. I went upstairs to make them and realized the ground turkey was still in the freezer. Oops! On this week’s list, I had the sandwich thin pizza option so I decided to go ahead and make those last night because it didn’t require thawing anything and I bumped the sliders back to tomorrow. Always have a couple of pantry options or things you can throw together quickly for those days you forget some crucial prep step in the rush to get out of the house in the morning. I’m not the only person that happens to, right?
  • Something that allows me to throw all of the components back in the freezer if I never get around to making it. If something comes up and we end up eating out or having more leftovers than expected and I don’t get around to a meal that I’ve planned for, being able to toss the components back in the freezer keeps it from going to waste. I usually plan for an option like this for Thursday or Friday.

– Once we make the list of meals, I check for ingredients I already have so I don’t unnecessarily double purchase things and make a shopping list. I know my shopping list doesn’t have to cover the whole week, because I usually do a big shopping trip on the weekend and a produce run mid-week because we got through fruit like crazy! When you get everything home, think about what you’re going to use in a day or two and what things can go in the freezer.

– Anything that can be prepped in advance, in terms of chopping or peeling veggies, washing fruit, or cooking components can be taken on Sunday afternoon when there’s usually a lot more time available. We’ve been getting corn in our CSA basket lately and I’ve fallen in love with roasting with the husk on. So quick and easy and the silk comes off easily after it comes out of the oven. Definitely try it!

Just cut the tassle off the end and roast for 30 minutes or so. It steams in the husk and then the husk and silk all peel off easily when they cool.

Just cut the tassle off the end and roast for 30 minutes or so. It steams in the husk and then the husk and silk all peel off easily when they cool.

I (or even better, my husband) also prep a big batch of oatmeal for the week so I’ve got ready made, healthy breakfasts for the week.

– Think ahead for how you’ll use leftovers. Will they be lunches, reincorporated into another meal or go into the freezer for future meals? It helps tremendously to go ahead and pack away the leftovers for lunch or the freezer or wherever. We keep a list on the pantry door that’s divided into grocery shopping, meals planned and leftovers so we don’t lose track of things in the back of the fridge. We tend to use leftovers for lunch or make quick sandwiches, so it is easy to throw everything together each night and have a little less to do on crazy weekday mornings.

Knowing I’ve already laid the ground work for healthy meals for the week makes it easier to resist temptations of things like the smell of fried chicken at the grocery store or those golden arches on the drive home for a long day. How do you get ready for the week?

Our family pictures turned out great this weekend! I love this shot of my guy's silly faces.

Our family pictures turned out great this weekend! I love this shot of my guy’s silly faces.

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Weekly Wrap-Up: A new kind of workout done!

This was an interesting week of workouts, in good and bad ways, from the craziness of Tuesdays split-three-ways run to Saturday’s 8 miler with “ten minutes strong finish” on the schedule.

Workouts

Monday My lovely impromptu 20 minute walk outside, plus lots of running around day to get me to 10K steps.

Tuesday Ultimately, I got in 7 miles in a 2 mile, 3 mile and 2 mile split over the course of the day. I would not recommend this approach but I got it done. I’m happy to say that I ran all of the 3 mile middle chunk on the treadmill without a walk break. It’s been a while since I did that!

Wednesday I was sore from Tuesday, so only a 20 minute walk plus lots of stretching.

Thursday 5 miles, tackled in one fell swoop in the morning before work. It felt good to get a run done correctly after Tuesday’s chaos!

Friday Cross training – some yoga with my favorite little partner, plus 45 minutes walking.

My favorite yoga pose :)

My favorite yoga pose πŸ™‚

Saturday Training plan called for an 8 miler with “ten minute strong finish”, in which we are instructed to pretend our kids are chasing us. πŸ™‚ I headed out to the park where my co-worker was running her first 5K, so I could cheer her across the finish line after I’d finished my run. The fun part of that was getting to start my run by crossing through their finish line.

imageIt was 95+% humidity, so I took it easy for the first 7-ish miles and decided that my strong finish would mean running the last 0.8 miles (thinking that would be 8-10 minutes) without a walk break. In the humidity, after 7 miles, that was definitely tough but I’m proud to say that not only did I run it all at the end, I ran it at less than 10 minute mile pace which is great for me! It’s so good to see such real improvement in my running over the last year. I definitely could not have finished with such a good sustained effort 6 months ago! It was also really nice to have an excuse to be out at my favorite park and to cheer Raven across the finish line for her first 5K!

I love the little detours onto tree line paths in this park!

I love the little detours onto tree line paths in this park!

Sunday A rest day, but I still need to get 10K steps in for the day. I have to say, I don’t enjoy getting myself up and moving that much on my one real rest day for the week and in that sense, will be glad when the 10K step a day challenge is over. I think I’ll go back to a goal of averaging 10K steps a day. πŸ™‚

Today we’re out for family pictures to make up for the rained-out session a few weeks ago. Hopefully I’ll have some nice new pics to share soon! I hope you guys all had a great week!

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How running Disney changed my life

The Mickey Miles podcast celebrated their 200th episode with a discussion of how running Disney changes lives, including lots of call ins from Disney runners all over the country, including yours truly. πŸ™‚ If you’d like to know what I sound like in the real life, check me out about an hour into the podcast. I sound less like a 12 year old girl than I used to, thankfully, and O was very excited to hear me on the radio Saturday morning.

Truly, I can’t say enough about the importance of RunDisney in my running life. I honestly don’t know if I would have kept running without the “carrot” of Disney running events.

Not long after I started running (two years ago this month! wow!),Β  we decided to book our very first Disney cruise. At that point, I’d decided that I liked the rock star feeling of running but was worried that I’d give up on it because it was hard and I was slow. I wasn’t sure I’d stick with it, honestly. Thanks to the wonder of the DisBoards, where my husband and I read post after post on the Disney cruise ships so we could plan and discuss tips, etc, I came across the Castaway Cay 5K. We weren’t going on the trip until April, so I decided to set that as my goal – that I would stick with running enough to get to run that 5K on our cruise. There were definitely times where I drifted to running once or twice a week, but I never gave up completely because I knew I was going to get that little plastic Mickey medal. I can remember telling everyone at my Weight Watchers meeting about my new goal.

Castaway Cay is a gorgeous (humid) place to run!

Castaway Cay is a gorgeous (humid) place to run!

I now know just exactly how “low key” the Castaway Cay 5K is for a Disney running event, but it was still such a great experience and I highly recommend it for anyone lucky enough to do a Disney cruise. I can’t wait to run it again in February!

As much as I love my little plastic Mickey medal, I love my Princess medal maybe just a smidge more. I will never forget how it felt to cross the finish line of the Princess Half Marathon, knowing that I could run 13.1 miles and really, that I could do anything. That race did exactly what I needed it do when I decided to run it – it kept me running enough to maintain my weight loss and it gave me a new goal and new challenge to ease me away from the weekly reward of weight loss stickers at Weight Watchers. I didn’t expect the absolute burst of confidence it gave me.

I still remember and love this moment :)

I still remember and love this moment πŸ™‚

Disney World is definitely one of my happy places, if not my happiest place. I have so many wonderful memories from my own childhood, from trips with my husband and now trips with our son. That has made it the perfect, happy, supportive place for me to take on running challenges and feel like I would be supported and celebrated no matter my size or my speed. Yes, they’re expensive, but they are truly priceless for all RunDisney has done for me in helping me start and maintain my weight loss. It all started with a mouse indeed. πŸ™‚

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Friday Favorites: Getting ready to cheer!

Fingers crossed that we have fewer typos today!

First, I have to tell you my favorite moment of the week. Oliver’s birthday was last week and I made a decadent chocolate cake. On Wednesday, I decided to throw out the leftover cake because it had been sitting around for days and was reaching the point where it wasn’t the freshest. I threw away half of a chocolate cake! In the old days, that would have never happened. This cake would have been gone in a day or two because I considered cake acceptable for any and every meal.

What a waste of cake!

What a waste of cake!

The favorite moment wasn’t the NSV of throwing away the cake (although that is great – birthday cake is definitely something of a trigger food for me) – it was the indignant “Hey!” I got from Oliver when he came into the kitchen and saw his cake in the garbage! He was okay with my explanation that it was getting too old, thankfully. I suspect he’s going to get more vocal about his treats as he gets older and is exposed to them more often.

This has been a crazy busy but productive week, which is definitely preferable to those weeks where I feel like I’m running around like a mad woman and yet accomplishing nothing! During my “mental health breaks” this week, I’ve enjoyed these posts from around the web:

In RunDisney news, racing season is about to get started again with the Disneyland Half Marathon. I can’t wait to see everyone’s posts and recaps next week! I got lots of nice smiles while reading Half Crazy Mama’s post about things Not to Do at a RunDisney race. With a Disneyland race next on my horizon and rumors of how great the churros are, I particularly liked number 1 – churros are probably not great race fuel. πŸ™‚

Princess Alana over at 2 Princesses on the Run has a great post about Falling back in love with running. I love her honesty and realism – sometimes we fall out of the habit of running and forget what we loved about it in the the first place. We forget that it really is possible to find time during the week to run and we forget that we are totally worth that effort! Read her post and get a dose of real world inspiration!

Speaking of real world inspiration, you guys know how much I love Katie over at Runs for Cookies. Her honest posts about weight loss, weight maintenance and struggles with binge eating have been so helpful for me over the last several years. This week, she celebrates 5 years since she started her weight loss journey and I think it is so great that she has framed her achievements in that time in terms of the things she can do now, not a number on the scale or on a clothing label. This is about so much more than the scale! Thanks Katie!

In that spirit, I have to share you what may be my favorite piece of weight loss advice ever: Make the next healthy choice. Simple, straight forward and oh so true. It doesn’t matter if you just ate a gallon of ice cream. Pick yourself and make the next healthy choice, whether that is taking a little walk, planning a healthy dinner or just choosing to forgive yourself for whatever has happened before. Definitely check out this blog postΒ  for the whole scoop. So fantastic!

Last but not least, I got an email yesterday from Sweat Pink about the Skirt Sports virtual races to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Skirt Sports is a running skirt company that started ten years ago after its founder, Nicole DeBoom, won Ironman Wisconsin wearing a running skirt. In addition to that very cool beginning, they are also collaborating with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to register for and complete the Boston Marathon, so they have girl power in spades. The virtual run (either 10K or 10 mile – your choice) comes with a gift certificate for their very cute running gear, as well as a finisher’s skirt or shirt. I’m tempted by the skirt/capris combo, as it is going to be too cold for my beloved SparkleSkirts before I know it! If you’d like to register or buy anything from their site, you can use the code SKIRTPINK10 until September 15 for a 10% discount on the virtual race registration and/or anything else on their site. (I wasn’t compensated in any way for mentioning this – just a coupon code passed on to me for you guys from Sweat Pink!) I’m going to try out either the capris or maybe one of the cute “Fearless” skirts from the Katherine Switzer 261 line. I’ll let you know how it works out!

Last but not least, my good deeds for the week: First, I donated to a friend’s sister’s autism classroom via DonorsChoose.org. I am amazed at all of the things teachers have to provide for their own classrooms so I’m happy to help out wherever I can.

Second, while I was getting coffee at work earlier in the week, the very busy barista had just passed the whole carton of milk over to a guy who complained that the carafe was empty. After he finished, I took the carton and refilled the carafe before doctoring my own coffee. As big as her line was, it would be a while before the barista got a chance to get all the way around to where the carafe lived to take care of it. It took me all of a minute to refill it for her and the look of surprise and relief and gratitude on her face was totally worth it. πŸ™‚ Any little thing that saved her from a) cleaning up the mess when someone inevitably knocked the carton over or b) dealing with complaints about it getting warm in the carton is a good thing, right?

My goal to decrease my Splenda intake is going great by the way!

My goal to decrease my Splenda intake is going great by the way!

I hope you all have a great weekend! Tomorrow, I have an 8 mile run with a “ten minute strong finish” on the schedule which will be an interesting challenge. I’m planning on timing the run so that I end up near the finish of my co-worker’s very first 5K! I’m so excited for her and am really looking forward to being there to cheer her across the finish line!

Anybody need some virtual long distance cheering this weekend? Let me know and I’ll send good vibes your way! I’m in a cheerleader sort of mood. πŸ™‚

 

 

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