A Little More Each Day

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

Adding a little fun to a walk

Yesterday’s workout was supposed to a “fun” one per the training plan – i.e. just get out and move however you want. After my lunch meeting, I decided to take the long way around back to my office to get in a little walk for exercise and try to make it a little fun so I could check the workout box for the day. After a day spent at the computer, it was nice to get out in the fresh air and seeing the leaves start to change is fun enough (especially getting to kick through piles of them!).

Leaves they are a'changin'

Leaves they are a’fallin’

What really made it fun, however, was finally testing out the new app I bought a few weeks ago called “The Walk.” (not sponsored – I paid for this out of my own curiosity and am just reporting on the experience in case you’re interested) This app is currently $2.99 (iOS – also available on Google Play, but I don’t know the price) and was actually developed in the UK in collaboration with the National Health Service as a way to motivate people to get up and move a little more. It uses your phone to track the time that you’re active and the number of steps you take (with the inherent limitations on that pedometer function that most phone apps have) but the really interesting part is the way that it does that. This is actually an audioplay, that makes me think of radio dramas from a by-gone era. As you walk, you open up new pieces of the story by hitting new time markers.

In the game, it shows this path overlaid on a realistic city map.

In the game, it shows this path overlaid on a realistic city map.

I found myself walking farther than I’d intended just to get to the next piece of the story. The story is a spy thriller at this point, although from the reviews online it sounds like it later skews to a light sci-fi flavor. I particularly like that I could turn the app on and either listen to the new story clips as I was going or listen to something else and come back to the story clips all at once. I’m enjoying the voice acting quite a bit (currently the story is in a train station in Scotland and the voices and background sounds are very realistic).

If you don't have the app screen open, you'll get an update on your home screen letting you know you've opened a new clip.

If you don’t have the app screen open, you’ll get an update on your home screen letting you know you’ve opened a new clip.

They have built in badges and rewards within the program to motivate you along, in addition to earning more of the story. I especially want the “keep moving” badge, in keeping with my desire to get more steps more often during the day.

I particularly want that "Keep Moving" one!

I particularly want that “Keep Moving” one!

I forgot to turn the app off after my walk and so it started tracking my steps again for the 4 minutes it takes me to walk from my office to my car (happily, it being on in the background for the afternoon didn’t seem to affect my battery life). Whenever I would stop moving, I could see a summary on the phone of my progress for the day:

Progress bar for the workout

Progress bar for the workout

This made me think of the Walk It Out game we have for the Wii, which I also like as a way to make exercise a little more fun and rewarding (I talked about that one here). While I appreciate going for a walk just for the chance to move and the mental relaxation of it, it’s nice to have a little game to spice things up a bit sometimes. I’ll let you know how things go with the story as I get closer to the end. πŸ™‚

How do you spice things up on a walk or other workouts?

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Stocking a healthy freezer

We had a minorΒ  catastrophe over the weekend:

Ugh. Lots of melting! What a mess!

Ugh. Lots of melting! What a mess!

I didn’t close our freezer very well and the door popped back open. It was almost 24 hours later when I noticed it and by that point, lots of melting had occurred. So much food lost! It’s frustrating to say the least. It broke Darrell’s little heart to throw out the jambalaya I’d frozen for him to have while I’m traveling next month. (Nothing like the time this happened when this freezer was FULL of pumped breast milk – I literally cried)

On the bright side, I’ll get a nice deep clean in on the freezer (although I promise it wasn’t that messy until the big thaw) and we’ll start gradually rebuilding our freezer stash of goodies. The freezer can be a great place to stock on healthy options that make it easier to get healthy meals on the table.

I’ll be keeping an eye on sales in the grocery store to restock on some of our favorites over the next month or so. Some things I’ll be watching for:

– Shrimp and individually frozen tilapia filets thaw quickly and make a quick, easy meal to grab from the freezer when I don’t have anything else ready.

– Frozen veggies can be a really budget friendly way to get more veggies into your diet. Frozen produce can be as nutrient rich or more so that fresh produce, as it’s typically frozen very shortly after it has been harvested. The veggies are great to have on hand for side dishes or snacks (love the little individual servings of edamame!). I’ll also freeze any veggies we get from the CSA that I can’t use quickly enough.

Frozen fruits & veggies take up a ton of space in our freezer but it's worth it!

Frozen fruits & veggies take up a ton of space in our freezer but it’s worth it!

– I also keep frozen fruit on hand for oatmeal in the morning – far quicker and usually cheaper than fresh berries. Frozen fruit is also handy for smoothies. If you have any bananas that are getting too ripe, be sure to toss them in the freezer rather than throwing them out. They’re great for smoothies or baking!

– If a lean protein that we like, such as pork loin or chicken or ground turkey, goes on sale, having extra freezer space let’s us stock up (that of course requires me to remember that it’s out there! and remember to thaw it!).

– The freezer can also be a great place to keep flavor boosters, like the frozen garlic/ginger/herb cubes I love so much. I also keep nuts and sesame seeds in there to keep them fresh longer.

As you can see, I gather a big stock of these when they go on sale.

As you can see, I gather a big stock of these when they go on sale.

Of course, the occasional ice cream cup or bar might find its way in there too. πŸ™‚ I love the Weight Watchers ice cream bars a la the Snickers ice cream bars.

Obviously I won’t be rebuilding all of this stash at once for budget reasons, but I’ll be checking out the freezer section any time I pass through the store to pick up a couple of things at a time. A healthy freezer definitely makes it easier to stay on track during the week!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Taper time is here!

AsΒ  I sit down to write this, I realize I only have three workouts to tell you about thanks to a slightly different kind of week and yet they were all AWESOME runs, so it definitely doesn’t feel like a short-changed week. Because I’m on call this weekend, I’d bumped all of the workouts in the training plan up a day so my long run (11-13 miles) would be on Friday instead of Saturday. This is the peak mileage week for my 13.FUN half marathon training plan and while I knew it would be tough, I also knew it was all downhill from here.:) In keeping my goal for the month of being kind to myself, I didn’t set any pace goals for any of these runs. I just wanted to get nice, easy, injury free miles on my legs. I also gave myself permission to skip a cross-training workout if I needed it this week, given how busy things were. The most important thing was getting the three runs in and I felt okay letting one (but not both!) cross training sessions fall by the wayside for a week.

Seeing all of the gorgeous leaves starting to change definitely helped me get out to run every morning this week!

Seeing the gorgeous leaves starting to change definitely helped me get out to run this week!

Weekly Workouts

Monday 6 miles easy running on the tweaked schedule (originally Tuesday’s workout) and I felt the first glimmer of confidence that I’d be able to finish all of this miles on the schedule (22, which is a lot for me to get in on weekdays!) when I was able to get up early and hit the road to get these done easy peasy Monday AM (12:15 pace).

Tuesday Rest day on the schedule and timing-wise, I was glad not to have to squeeze in a workout as I had that after-work career development function to attend. Wrangling my nerves was enough of a workout πŸ™‚

Wednesday 5-6 miles on the schedule today and there was no way I could get them done in the morning since I had a 7 am meeting (ugh). I’m proud of myself for hitting the road at 8 pm, even though I was tired, to get those miles done. It was a lot more nerve wracking running in the dark and crossing roads at night than in the morning when it’s equally as dark; I think that’s because in the morning, most sane people are asleep whereas things are still hopping between 8-9 pm while I’m out there trying not to get squished. Thank goodness for my blinky light! (12:30 pace)

Thursday 4 miles or cross-training on the schedule today and there was no way I’d be doing 4 miles since I’d run late Wednesday night and would be running again very early Friday morning. However, with a 7 am meeting (again!) I didn’t find a way to get any cross-training in either. I’d decided at the beginning of the week that it was okay if I didn’t get this workout done, so I didn’t beat myself up about missing it and instead looked forward to Friday.

Friday 11-13 miles, the longest run of the training plan. I talked about this run yesterday, so you guys already know it went well. I was so pleasantly surprised that I was able to get up at 5, get 11 miles done and still get to work by 8:30. Thank goodness my husband took O to school that day. I have to say, I was especially pleasantly surprised by how good my legs felt after those 11 miles! No ill effects all day at work nor on Saturday. (12:00 pace, with the last mile the fastest!)

Saturday Rest day (sort of) – I’m on call this weekend, so there’s been lots of running around working. On top of that, O wanted to get out our Halloween decorations out so there were lots of trips up and down the stairs. It was fun to see how excited he was about all of it. I’ll be sure to take some pics this week for you guys. We have loads of pumpkins! My husband and I had an exciting Saturday night of reading through my work project together. He says he didn’t understand a tenth of the words and now realizes just how much smarter I am than he is. I’m really not and really grateful that I have a husband smart enough he’d take on editing to help me out! Hanging out in bed with the laptop and editing a big manuscript was not our wildest and craziest Saturday night by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re getting closer and closer to finishing that project!

Sunday 3 miles or cross training – This will probably be cross training just for convenience, but I promise that this workout won’t get skipped! I actually feel the need to move again after a rest day these days.

Next week’s training schedule starts to ease back off, with a long run of only 8 miles (yes, I’m laughing at myself for “only” 8 miles). Before I know it, the race will be here! Time to start making lists and looking at logistics. πŸ™‚ I loved how easy and fun all of these runs felt this week. That’s a great feeling to take into tapering!

I’ve told you guys before about getting locked into a construction zone at work when I lived in Little Rock right? Well, I had a bit a deja vu moment with Oliver on Friday at daycare! They always give the kids stickers on Friday to celebrate a good week and O is usually a stickler for putting the paper backing of the sticker in the garbage before we leave the building. Friday, for some reason he just threw it in the grass as we were walking to the car. I saw this and we had a stern little talk about littering and headed back inside to go pick it up. It had blown into the playground and for security reasons, all of the playground gates are locked from the outside. We traipsed back in, went out to the playground and my chastened little guy picked up the paper (plus two others dropped by other kiddos) and we headed back in. Only to find that the doors automatically lock behind you.

Oops! Locked doors!

Oops! Locked doors!

Again, it makes perfect sense from a security perspective. If no one is on the playground, those doors should be locked to keep someone from just walking into the building (how sad is it that we have to worry about these things with our kids)? I got out my phone to call the front desk of daycare to come let us out but thankfully another parent saw us from within the building and came to let us in. That guy looked very confused but I just smiled and said thanks like it was no big deal that we were locked out on the playground on Friday evening. Why wouldn’t we be? It was what all of the cool kids were doing this weekend. πŸ™‚

I hope you guys all had a great week!

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Last long run!

Yesterday I woke up super early to get my 11 miles done. Definitely proud of myself for getting that done on a workday! The last long run of a training cycle is such a nice accomplishment, partially because I finished knowing that the next time I ran 11 miles there would be people cheering me on because it’ll be race day! The last long run is also Β nice because it gives me a chance to test out things for race day. Β After all, “nothing new on race day” is probably the best and most consistently given race day advice out there.

– I had oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, just like I do before most of our long runs and just like I plan to do on race day. I’ll be able to bring oatmeal and grapes with me for my race day breakfast, so it’s definitely what I wanted to practice with (plus a cup of coffee of course). Β One nice thing about the Des Moines half marathon is that I’ll be in a hotel within walking distance and shouldn’t have to arrive nearly as early as I did for the Princess race. That’ll allow me to eat breakfast about an hour before race start, which is my usual pre-race timing.

There is something so soothing about oatmeal when I'm up WAY too early in the morning.

There is something so soothing about oatmeal when I’m up WAY too early in the morning.

– It’s also a good time to test any fueling/hydrating strategy you’re going to use. I think I’m actually going to carry my water bottle with me for this half marathon as I’ve been doing that for all of my long runs and don’t mind it at all. I also really liked not having to go through the chaos of water stations at my 10 mile race as it let me keep to my planned intervals.

Those were my last 2 salted caramel gus!

Those were my last 2 salted caramel gus!

 

-Speaking of testing out fueling, one of the two gu’s I used (I always bring an extra) was peanut butter and while I liked the taste, the texture was so thick it was hard to get out of the package! Majorly frustrating but good to find out on an easy training run rather than in the midst of a race.

– The long run is also a good chance to test out your outfit, down to the last detail. This is crucial if you’re wearing a costume, of course, but a good idea regardless of what you’re wearing as it can clue you in to things that shift or spots you may chafe. For the Princess Half Marathon, I actually did my last long run on the treadmill at the gym just so I could practice in my actual race outfit which was more suited to the anticipated 70s+ in Florida in February than the single digits we had in Omaha at the time.

I'll be going with the newish Brooks shoes for the half marathon as I loved them for this 11 mile run!

I’ll be going with the newish Brooks shoes for the half marathon as I loved them for this 11 mile run!

– With my last long for my Princess Half Marathon, I also practiced my planned pacing intervals and the music I was going to listen to for the race. This time around, I didn’t do that because as stressed I’ve been lately, I just needed a nice easy run. I’ll practice race pace intervals with my 8 miler next weekend and likely test out my music then too. Music (as opposed to my usual audiobook or podcast) feels like racing to me so I’ll definitely save it for that more dedicated pace workout.

Part of the reason I have doubts of doing 13.1 miles in a few weeks is that even on this hilly, easy run, my last mile was faster than the ones before it!

Part of the reason I have doubts of doing 13.1 miles in a few weeks is that even on this hilly, easy run, my last mile was faster than the ones before it!

How long is your last long run for a half marathon? This training plan offered me the option of 11-13 miles and I only had time for 11 miles on a work day. I know some of the Galloway plans go up to 14 miles, but I have to say that I really liked that I hadn’t gone that far before the race. For me, having the mental kudos of “Hey, this is further than you’ve ever run before” during those tough last two miles at Princess was so motivating. This time, I don’t feel like I really need to get to 13 miles before the race because I’ve done it before. I have no doubt that I can do it again. It’s not worth risking injury by pushing too hard at this point.

All in all, it was a great, confidence boosting long run to end the training cycle on. It felt easy and fun and left me still loving running, which is all I can ask of a long run. πŸ™‚ Before I know it, race day will be here and I’ll get my victory lap for all of these early mornings and many miles. I’m definitely looking forward to it!

 

 

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Friday Favorites: Seeing a downhill stretch coming!

When I’m on a run, I LOVE when I know I’m coming up on a downhill stretch in the path. Just knowing that for a few moments at least, things will seem easier, is such a fantastic and freeing feeling. In running, as in life, there are always going to be uphill and downhill stretches but I hope I never lose my appreciation of the downhill moments. My work deadline is next week, which means that no matter the outcome, soon this gigantic thing will be done. Today is my biggest run of the half marathon training plan, which means everything is shorter and easier until I get to the actual race October 19th. In short, my friends, I see my downhill coming and I’m so looking forward to it! With that in sight, I’m already thinking about setting new goals for October for post-project and post-half marathon. I definitely want to get myself in a healthy frame of mind before the holidays hit with all of their temptations. I’ll be joining the Stay Away from Tricks and Treats challenge that Desiree over at SkinnyGeekWithin is coordinating to help with that. I’ll let you guys know what I end up choosing as my official goals. Check it out if you could use a little help staying on track during the looming holiday season!

I’ve linked to Authentically Emmie before in my Friday Favorites because she shares such great insights about the never ending struggle with binge eating (among all of the great fashion and other things she posts!). Her tips this week on dealing with stressful time in life without resorting to unproductive and unhealthy coping mechanisms are practical, honest and exactly what I needed to read on Sunday morning as I was sitting at my dining table working while my guys were out having fun at the zoo (giving me uninterrupted time to work – thanks honey!).

Christine has a quick and succinct overview of 6 yoga poses for runners up this week. What I really like about this post is the fact that I can look at a single picture and tell what I’m supposed to do. Super user friendly and I can see how every one of these would help me as a runner (especially tree pose – yikes is my balance bad!).

Laura has a post up this week about returning to running safely post-partum and while I don’t plan to be post-partum again in my life (one and done, knock on wood!) I think these tips are helpful for anyone returning to running after time off. It’s all about being kind to your body, respecting that you aren’t picking up in the exactly the same place you left off and easing into things!

You guys remember me talking about getting startled by a neighbor’s Halloween decorations a week or so ago right?

One of my neighbors already has these Halloween decorations out and they scared me to death coming across them in the dark Tuesday morning!

One of my neighbors already has these Halloween decorations out and they scared me to death coming across them in the dark Tuesday morning!

On Monday morning, when I was up for my 6 mile run at 5 am, I was clearly not quite awake yet as I came out my front door and literally jumped when I saw this:

"Halloween" as Oliver calls her

“Halloween” as Oliver calls her

Yep, got startled by own Halloween decoration (which is decidedly NOT scary) because I forgot that I’d set her out and somehow thought someone was just standing in front of my house at that hour of the morning. Sigh. I clearly need more sleep. πŸ™‚

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Balance

The work dinner I attended Tuesday night was all about work-life balance and it was a very interesting time for me to talk about that particular topic given how busy I’ve been lately! I have to say that I’ve done a pretty good job finding moments of balance in the last week.

– I took time to make cookies with Oliver on Saturday, which was totally worth it (even though we’ll end up throwing away the cookies because O is the only one of us who is eating them and some of those got WAY too big for him!).

Anybody have a good sugar cookie recipe for cutting shapes?

Anybody have a good sugar cookie recipe for cutting shapes?

– We also took some time to make ghosts out of paper plates and toilet paper. πŸ™‚

O is very excited about Halloween this year!

O is very excited about Halloween this year!

– While Darrell took Oliver to the zoo for a few hours so I could work Sunday, I made a quick pit stop at Trader Joe’s for a couple of things to cheer me up:

Aren't these gorgeous? I'm a sucker for pumpkins these!

Aren’t these gorgeous? I’m a sucker for pumpkins these!

I love to always have fresh cut flowers in the house!

I love to always have fresh cut flowers in the house!

– I treated myself to lunch outside when I took a break during my work on Sunday.

Sitting on my beloved deck with my lovely lemon tree. As quick as fall arrives here, I'll have to move my lemon tree inside in a few week so I'm glad I enjoyed one of my last weekend days outside with it.

Sitting on my beloved deck with my lovely lemon tree. As quick as fall arrives here, I’ll have to move my lemon tree inside in a few week so I’m glad I enjoyed one of my last weekend days outside with it.

– In a weird bit of “balance” I listened to Alton Brown talk about holiday cooking and particularly cookies while I was running last night. It was so weird but so right to listen to him talk through cooking all of those goodies while I was pounding out the miles late Wednesday night. πŸ™‚

Newly discovered podcast I've been binge-listening to

Newly discovered podcast I’ve been binge-listening to

These little moments are definitely helping during weeks like this and like I told the students Tuesday night, it doesn’t take a lot to feel like you’re keeping things in balance. Sometimes just little moments you steal for yourself (like an hour listening to a fellow food geek talk about cooking Yorkshire pudding) are enough to keep you from feeling like you’re going too far off the rails. πŸ™‚

How do you keep things in balance?

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Eating to soothe social anxiety

In my twenties, when I gained the majority of my weight, I was in the midst of horrible struggles with social anxiety. I had a paralyzing fear of being in social situations and couldn’t force myself to get over it. The only people I really interacted with were people I knew from before college, before this started, or people I worked with one on one for long periods of time. I can remember so many times I would get dressed to go to a party with classmates, only to be unable to actually leave my house. I’d get so frustrated with myself I’d eat and cry and eat some more. Sigh. It’s gotten a lot better over the years, thankfully, but I still get a little panicky anytime I’m put in a situation where I have to make conversation with people I don’t know well.

Last night, I got asked to come to an event where we were supposed to talk to students about finding work-life balance and how to make decisions to get from where they are in school to where I am now. That part of things was okay. Somehow I’ve reached the age in my life where I get asked to talk about that a lot. I was told that there would be pizza, which I was a little wary of just because stress is making my stomach a little sensitive these days and I didn’t want to set things off by eating pizza, which my system definitely isn’t used to anymore.

My snack before I headed out to the dinner, so I wouldn't be starving and tempted to eat too much pizza!

My snack before I headed out to the dinner, so I wouldn’t be starving and tempted to eat too much pizza!

What I was not expecting was the blast of that same old social anxiety when I showed up and there was the little mix and mingle before dinner, and then with dinner. All of the students of course knew each other and knew the other faculty members and I was this unknown in the midst. I could have ameliorated that by introducing myself and then I would have had something to talk about because I’d have to explain who I was and what I was doing there, etc. I didn’t think of that though. Instead I just stood there not sure where to go or what to do. Sigh.

At least now I know better than to try to eat to soothe that feeling. If hungry isn’t the problem, food is not the answer, right? I made healthy dinner choices (it wasn’t pizza after all!) and then just kept a glass of iced tea with me the rest of the evening so I had something to do with my hands. Eventually, the more focused career advice part started and that was a little easier because I know what I’m supposed to say. The small talk after the official program broke up also wasn’t bad because at that point, the students are all coming up to me and wanting to know more about me because I sound very interesting when I do these kinds of talks. πŸ™‚

By the time I left, I was so spent. I’m very introverted, so doing something like that where I have to expend so much social energy (which feels like a thousand times more work on the days the social anxiety rears its ugly head) just exhausts me. I wished I had a run on the schedule for the night so I could recharge a bit. Β I was incredibly tempted by the leftover goodies I was bringing home from the event for Darrell:

 

Anytime I have to do a work thing after hours, I try to bring a treat home for Darrell to make up for a night of solo parent duty. :)

Anytime I have to do a work thing after hours, I try to bring a treat home for Darrell to make up for a night of solo parent duty. πŸ™‚

I’m proud of myself for resisting that, although I did inhale a healthier snack as soon as I got home even though I knew it wasn’t a physical hunger I was feeling.

I’m proud that I didn’t let my anxiety lead me to making food choices I’d regret. In particular, keeping my little cup of iced tea in my hand all evening gave me something to keep me busy and distracted. Instead of binging on something when I got home, I wrote here and got a healthy snack and went to bed at a reasonable hour. All in all, much healthier than those dark olden days.

Do you get tempted to eat when you’re nervous? How do you handle it?

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Where have all of the steps gone?

I was so relieved when the 10,000 step a day challenge was over earlier this month because it meant no more pacing around the house trying to get to that magic number by the end of the day. I was so relieved to just be done at the end of the day I didn’t worry about step count at all for a couple of weeks, despite in general being a big fan of pedometers (see more about it here). That definitely showed in my weekly progress report from FitBit in my first week post challenge:

I was averaging over 12,000 steps a day during the 10K a day challenge. Big change!

I was averaging over 12,000 steps a day during the 10K a day challenge. Big change!

Even more eye opening were the notes I jotted down during my “a day in the life” experiment a couple of weeks ago.

My step count post run: 12736

At lunch: 14692

When I got home: 16535

When I went to bed: 17449

That means I got less than 5000 steps for the day after my run. That’s not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, and definitely an improvement from the good old days. I can remember a day pre-Oliver when I got less than a thousand steps in an entire day, thanks to a lazy Sunday spent hanging out in the basement watching TV.

There have been a couple of really interesting articles on Runner’s World this summer discussing the recent studies about the dangers of sitting, even for athletes (check them out here and here). In a nutshell, running 7 hours that Tuesday morning does not really protect me from the dangers for sitting for hours at a time in my office (or on my couch for the rest of the day on the weekend). The good news is that it doesn’t take much movement, just some, to break things up during the day. I may try setting an alarm on my phone to go off every hour or so to prompt me to take a little walk around the floor. It doesn’t take much, but sometimes a little bit is all that it takes.

After yesterday’s 6 miler, today is a rest day on the training schedule but I’m going to make a goal to get up at least once an hour to walk around my building. I’ll let you know how it goes! I can do anything for a single day, right? πŸ™‚

 

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Paying attention

I mentioned in yesterday’s weekly wrap up how un-stellar Saturday’s run was, in term of a fitness and “oomph” perspective. However, it really wasn’t just my conscious goal of being kind to myself this month that kept me from feeling too horrible about the run. I had an eye-opening encounter about half a mile into the run. I was trudging along, wondering whose cement pillars of legs these were because they certainly weren’t mine and running through the litany of reasons this run was going to suck (weather, breakfast, forgot to BodyGlide even though Saturday’s blog post was about chafing for crying out loud and I knew this bra chafed!, etc). Another runner passed me going the opposite direction and said “Oh, wow, look at all the deer!” I turned and realized I’d already run past 3 deer who were standing maybe 20 feet from me. Seriously.

I can't believe I didn't notice these guys when I'd passed so close to them!

I can’t believe I didn’t notice these guys when I’d passed so close to them!

I was so caught up in my own little negative cycle of thoughts that I hadn’t noticed one of my favorite things about this park, the wildlife. At that point, I reminded myself that I’d made the choice to come run in the park rather than the neighborhood because I wanted to see something different than my usual scenes of the suburbs. I resolved to appreciate my environment, even if my legs never perked up and the run never felt easier (it didn’t).

I love the many gorgeous wooden bridges in this park and the huge influx of butterflies we get in Omaha this time of year. There were people out fishing on the lake and loads of people walking their dogs (not many runners – most sane runners had finished in earlier, cooler parts of the day!). I did pass this guy running and singing at the top of his lungs:

I could hear him for a little over a tenth of a mile either direction. He was having a great time!

I could hear him for a little over a tenth of a mile either direction. He was having a great time!

Part of what I enjoy about running is the chance it gives me to take a mental break and appreciate the outdoors. That’s what makes this stress relieving and “me time”. I’m so grateful to that woman (thank you unknown runner!) for pointing out the deer and waking me up to the fact that I wasn’t really “awake” to what I was doing.

Consciously paying attention to all of the good things I was encountering helped so much in terms of keeping a positive mindset amidst a physically subpar run. I need to remember these moments more often!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Not the best week, but that’s okay!

I am embracing my goal of being kind to myself and therefore, while this week wasn’t stellar in terms of workouts, I am going to be totally okay with. You know what else I’m totally okay with? I haven’t gotten on the scale in over a week and am back to doing Simply Filling for the time being because it is easier and I need easy right now. I’m also surprisingly okay with that. πŸ™‚

Really, it’s been a crazy week for us and a lot of things have been brought into real perspective. We have a new and concerning health issue in the extended family, which makes everything else (including the fact that ANOTHER fish has died – sigh) seems like small stuff. It’ll all be okay, but it makes us very grateful for our own health.

Two quick NSVs before I get to the workouts for the week. First, this week at Village Inn, our regular waitress told me she was excited to see me because she wanted to tell me that she’d lost 18 pounds. She’s been working out and working on her diet for the last couple of months. I love how excited she was and I love that she knew I was someone who would understand how big of an accomplishment this was. We are in Village Inn a couple of times a week, for Free Pie Wednesday and my weekend breakfast date with Oliver at minimum, so they’ve seen how I’ve changed in appearance and my menu choices over the last few years. It’s nice to know that I was a little bit of an inspiration for her. πŸ™‚

I love the chance to sit and have several cups of coffee without waiting for someone to come refill it.

I love the chance to sit and have several cups of coffee without waiting for someone to come refill it.

Second, check out this crazy parking job next to me at the grocery store yesterday morning:

I am NOT the big red truck over the line. I am the blue SUV with the tiny sliver of space allowed to get into my door. Grrr!

I am NOT the big red truck over the line. I am the blue SUV with the tiny sliver of space allowed to get into my door. Grrr!

A couple of years ago, there’s no way I would have been able to squeeze into that sliver of space to get into my car but yesterday I could (muttering under my breath the whole time, of course). At least it was on my side and not O’s – it’s pretty impossible to get a kid into a car seat without plenty of space to maneuver!

Workouts

Monday The training plan called for cross training or a 3 mile run and somehow I got to the end of the day without doing either. I’m proud of myself for not beating myself up for it (or heading out at 9 pm when I’m already exhausted). I’ve only missed a handful a workouts in this training cycle and one short workout won’t matter at all.

Tuesday An easy 4 miles on the training plan, done in 48 minutes early in the morning. I knew I had two more days in a row of running ahead of me so I definitely embraced the EASY!

Wednesday A very rarely called for Wednesday run on the training plan, which threw off my mental planning for the week! I headed out Wednesday night to get it in, just below 12 minute pace (35:30 total) for an easy jog around the neighborhood. I really enjoyed seeing the signs of fall all around me, with leaves starting to change and pumpkins on the porches.

We just bought our first pumpkin this weekend!

We just bought our first pumpkin this weekend! (We just have the one – not the abundance these guys have!)

Thursday Day 3 in a row of running and I was feeling it by the end of the day! I did 4 miles in 49 minutes (12:15 pace). The plan called for 4-6 easy miles but I did not have the oomph to go beyond the minimum!

Friday Cross train or rest and I definitely went the rest route, given how achy I felt Thursday night after 3 days of running and the ten miler looming Saturday. I was impressed at how much better I felt Friday than I had Thursday evening. I really didn’t feel stiff or achy at all.

Saturday I didn’t feel stiff or achy Friday because my body was apparently waiting to spring that on me again when I tried to run Saturday! This run was not pretty, but it got done. Part of the problem was not getting out to run until almost 10 am, which meant it was brightly sunny and getting warm and yet really damp because it had stormed overnight – not a great combo. Adding to the bad start was the fact that I ate breakfast a couple of hours before my long, which is not my norm. I usually eat oatmeal 30 minutes or so before, which works great for me. 2 hours left my stomach feeling empty and unhappy off and on for the whole run! Darrell & O dropped me off at the park and then headed to the library while I ran. Parts of the path were slippery because of the rain, and I was grateful for the excuse to stop and walk. I decided early on that as leaden as my legs felt, I didn’t care how fast I got these miles done, only that I did them. I took every shady off shoot of the path I could find just to get out of the sun.

I was so grateful for any shady spots!

I was so grateful for any shady spots!

I was supposed to run out of the park and over to meet my guys at Chipotle for lunch. Two problems with that: A) it was steeply hilly getting from the park and up to Chipotle, so I ended with two 13+ minute miles just due to the amount of walking I was doing at the end and B) I underestimated the mileage so I came up to Chipotle at 9.37 miles. Grrrr. Oliver had seen me, so I came to sit down for lunch for them and then they dropped me off before we got all the way home so I could pick up the last 0.6ish miles a little less than an hour later (I ended up a little over 10 miles). My total pace was 12:25, which wasn’t horrible for an easy weekend run and how blech my legs felt. I was actually surprised by that pace because I felt like I was crawling. I guess that bodes well for how much faster I’ll be in Des Moines in a few weeks, with more rested legs, better breakfast and hopefully better sleep under my belt. With everything we have going on, I have not been sleeping enough or well so I’m definitely operating sub-optimally. Here’s hoping for a nap later today! I’m planning on taking a day off sometime soon, after the work deadline, just to recuperate and catch my breath a bit!

Next week is intimidating in terms of workouts, but it is the last really big workout week. I’ve had to shuffle things a bit because I’m on call next weekend and there’s no way I can run the 11-13 miles called for on Saturday while I’m on call. Originally, the schedule had cross training Monday, 6 miles Tuesday, Rest Wednesday, 5-6 miles Thursday, cross training Friday, 11-13 miles Saturday and rest Sunday. Instead, I’ll be bumping everything forward a day: 6 miles Monday, Rest Tuesday, 5-6 miles Wednesday, cross training Thursday, 11-13 miles Friday, rest Saturday and cross training Sunday. That keeps the easy – hard – easy – hard schedule intact but oh boy is that going to be an early morning Friday to get 11 miles in before work!! Wish me luck.

Honestly, with this being the last big push week for the work project, plus all of those workouts, our meal plan week looks like “takeout/eat out/takeout/ freezer” for the whole week. Sometimes you do the best with what you’ve got. It’s not as unhealthy as it sounds. Oliver’s favorite place to eat out is the salad bar at our local grocery store. πŸ™‚ That’s on deck for Thursday night, just before we take him over to get his FluMist at the doctor’s office at 6:30.

I hope all of your workouts went the way you wanted this week and that everything else has been good in your world!

A couple of weeks ago, they did Sports week at school and I found this in Oliver's stack of art. It makes my little mother runner heart go pitter patter. :)

A couple of weeks ago, they did Sports week at school and I found this in Oliver’s stack of art. It makes my little mother runner heart go pitter patter. πŸ™‚ As O talked me through this picture, I could see where he was trying to draw running people, you know, before the scribbles took over.

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