A Little More Each Day

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

Tuesdays on the Run: Dream Race

This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is Dream Races and I confess, it was fun to daydream about my dream races during O’s swim practice yesterday. 🙂 Thanks to April, Patty and Erika for hosting as always!


I don’t have just one dream race, but I do have several on my wish list.

– The Mayor’s Midnight Sun Half Marathon in Alaska: This just sounds like such a gorgeous way to see Alaska. Can you imagine the scenery?

– The Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco: I loved running in San Francisco when I visited last year and have heard such great things about this race!

Golden Gate bridge

– Something in Washington, DC (maybe the Rock n Roll?): Washington is one of my favorite cities to visit and I love seeing all of the race pics from friends who get to run there. It’s on our vacation destination list when O gets a little older, so we’ll try to coordinate vacation and a race.

Walt Disney World Marathon: Yes, I’ve decided to tackle a full marathon and I can think of no better place to do it than Disney World. Disney has been a huge motivation in my running from the beginning, so I’d naturally want to take that next step there. I won’t be tackling this for a few years, just because of the training time. I’d like O to get a little older so he doesn’t care so much if I’m gone for four hours on the weekend for a training run. I’m thinking that a marathon for my 40th year sounds like a good timeline (a little over 3 years from now). **My husband thinks this one is particularly funny because when I first started running, I told him to take me to the hospital if I ever started talking running a marathon because something was seriously wrong with me!

What about you? What are your dream races?



Weekly Wrap-Up: 4 weeks to go!

I love how quickly spring “springs” upon us. It’s hard to believe my May half marathon, which seemed so far away when training started back in chilly January, is now only a little over 4 weeks away. I only have two 10+ mile runs left – crazy!! This week was pretty good – I got all of the runs done as prescribed and other than one miserable heavy legged run on Thursday, they all felt pretty good without any pain or other new issues. I do need to get better with the foam rolling though I want to keep things feeling good for the next month!

You can always tell spring is coming when everything becomes this technicolor pastel array of pinks and purples and yellows.

You can always tell spring is coming when everything becomes this technicolor pastel array of pinks and purples and yellows.


Monday 3 easy miles on the schedule and the first mile was truly easy. The next two? Not so much. I went out to run after dinner and at about 1.25 miles, my stomach expressed it dismay at my pre-run dinner. 🙂 I’ll definitely have to practice food for night time runs before Wine & Dine in November.

Tuesday Hill workout on the treadmill – I wanted to play this a little bit by ear because I didn’t want to aggravate my Achilles, but I ended up doing the workout as planned. 15 minutes of a warm up jog, followed by 8 – 1 minute intervals at 4-5.5% incline and 5-5.5 mph. I walked for a minute between each interval to recover and did a little 10 minute cool down jog. I only felt a twinge in my ankle during the 5.5% incline, so I only did one of those.

Wednesday Cross-training: 45 minute walk

Thursday Easy 3-5 miles on the schedule and I had the worst 3 miles on the treadmill (39 minutes). My legs just felt so heavy and my feet were bricks. I don’t know what the problem was, but I know bad runs just happen sometimes.

Friday 2-3 easy miles or cross training: I had a very redementive (is that a word?) 2 mile run Friday morning, with only a 0.05 minute walk break in the middle. I needed that truly easy run to remind me why I do this. 🙂 As a bonus, I did a 10 minute walk on Friday afternoon through the neighborhood by O’s preschool rather than just standing around waiting for the spring bonnet parade to start. Yay for extra movement! I also did lunges, squats, calf lifts, bridges and clamshell

I'm super proud of myself for walking while I read my phone waiting for the parade, instead of just standing around reading my phone. :) Thankfully it's a protected path so I didn't have to watch for cars and could read Facebook while I walked.

I’m super proud of myself for walking while I read my phone waiting for the parade, instead of just standing around reading my phone. 🙂 Thankfully it’s a protected path so I didn’t have to watch for cars and could read Facebook while I walked.

Saturday 10-12 miles, with the last mile as a strong finish: This was a really nice afternoon to run and everything felt pretty good. I wore a new pair of Ghost 7s to get a few miles on them before the race and ended up just below 12 minute mile pace for the whole thing, which was a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t really pushing anything. For the last 1.1 miles (I ended up at 10.5 miles at my house and decided that was a good stopping point), I ran with walk breaks only when I crossed the street. Even better, I know I could have pushed harder with the pace and could have tacked on a few miles. A good place to be a month out from the race! I did some gentle yoga as soon I got done to stretch things out.

Sunday I got in a few easy little bursts of activity, like a walk to the duck pond and cleaning out the garden, but mostly enjoyed my rest day. I did get my weights for the week in with my trusty kettlebell – thank goodness I set that as a goal for the month or I’d put it off more than I already do!

This week, I’m grateful that Oliver has finally gotten big enough to really be helpful around the house. He helped me clean out the fridge and actually did a good job scrubbing his parts! Isn’t that why we have kids? For the help with housework? 🙂 My good deed for the week is also O-related, in that I apparently get to be the arbiter of “special treats” for O’s preschool now, thanks to my position on the food board, and so I gave the okay for Rice Krispy treats for an after-parade treat instead of the usual healthier snacks. My NSV for this week is the observation that my squishy belly is definitely getting smaller and less squishy, no matter what the scale says. I really wish I could be better about taking body measurements so I’d have a concrete measurement for that, but now I’m pleased with just the overall impression of improvement.

It’s hard to believe I only have four weeks of training runs ahead of me! I’d better make them count, right? Here’s hoping everyone has a great week!

PS Check out Christine’s post today over at We Run Disney about sharing training plans. I absolutely, 100% agree with her! I’m not a running coach or trainer or anything like that, so I’d never tell anyone else how to train, but at the same time, I think sharing how I’m training might be helpful for someone else who is trying to figure out how to make their own training plan work in their lives. I know I always enjoy seeing how other people make their workouts fit, whether its on a track or a treadmill or an actual hill or how they pace/practice fueling/whatever. Definitely go check that out today!


Friday Favorites: Randomness!

There’s no better word for this collection of Friday Favorites than random but they are a random bunch of things that made me smile and made me pause to think this week. Also random but less smile inducing – the snow we got yesterday evening. You’d think I’d be used to snow on my tulips but it still catches me off guard.

My tulips are peeking out!

My tulips are peeking out!

We have to kick off this week with absolutely everyone’s favorite thing on the internet (or at least everyone on my Facebook feed): this story of the police officer and boy helping his mom across the finish line of her first 10K. It truly doesn’t matter where you finish a race, even if you’re dead last, because you got out there and tried something big and scary. As Emmie says here, stories like this should make us celebrate the people in our lives who have shown up with us and the times we ourselves have taken that first scary step of showing up.

I’m also excited for Laura over at Project Lovely Laura, who is not only finding her running mojo again but also got featured on her local news. Check it out here!

Next month, I have a road trip coming up with Oliver and I know from experience that there are several little towns we’ll travel through with only McDonald’s for food options. I usually pack our lunches for this trip (see my road trip tips here) but it’s always good to think about a back up plan. My go-to for emergency McDonald’s stops is the 4 piece chicken nuggets kids meal (the small one, not the “mighty meal”) which, a little depressingly, is more nutritionally appropriate for a 175 pound mom than my 40 pound son. I was a little relieved to see my usual kids meal on this list of McDonald’s recommendations from 10 nutritionists on CNN this week.

Speaking of nutrition, check out my crazy kid's chickpea pizza this week. He insisted on putting lots of "banzo" beans on his pizza and loved it.

Speaking of nutrition, check out my crazy kid’s chickpea pizza this week. He insisted on putting lots of “banzo” beans on his pizza (as well as on the side) and loved it.

(Gear change for which I am too tired to think of a transition): I know that as a busy mom, I struggle with guilt about the “selfishness” of training for races and the time it takes away from my family. No matter that it’s frequently time my family is asleep, either before they’re awake or during naps on the weekend, that nagging sense of “I could be doing more for them” is still there far too often. I think we have to remind ourselves, as Angela does so wonderfully over at Marathons and Motivation this week, that taking care of ourselves is actually an important part of taking care of our families too. Seeing us tackle new challenges and pay attention to our bodies in a healthy way teaches them crucial lessons that our children will carry with them. Beyond our children, it even helps to serve as a good role model to your partner and to your neighbors and anyone else who is watching (like Raven did at our 5K this weekend – Go Raven!). It’s always okay to be a little selfish sometimes, of course, but don’t kid yourself – taking the time to exercise and train is not a purely selfish pursuit. It really is doing good for more people than you realize. It’s hard to juggle exercise with work and family (like T-rex runner discusses here in Womens Running this week), but it’s worth it in the long run.

Speaking of struggles, a lot of us struggle with knowing exactly what our weight should be. BMI has some serious flaws (see TMI on BMI here), so it can be hard to know what is a healthy weight for you. Katie over at Runs for Cookies talked recently about an interesting blog comment she got that had her thinking about what her healthy really is. I think the commenter had a good point, in that our bodies find a happy point in ways that are sometimes beyond our control. The fact that we don’t want to lose the ten pounds of re-gained weight as much as we wanted to lose 100 pounds in the first place also plays into things. It was an interesting comment and good discussion from Katie as well. I love when blogging becomes a conversation! It’s so great to hear other perspectives on our struggles. Definitely check it out.

To round out this completely random collection of favorites, I have to share this post from Chris, Desiree’s husband over at Finding the Skinny Geek Within. Not only do I love when we get hear from a blogger’s partner, but I’d actually just pointed out this home-sous-vide device to my husband earlier this week when I saw it in the Sur la table catalog! (Explained it to Darrell as “that water circulator thing they use on Iron Chef”). It’s definitely going on my birthday list now, thanks to Chris’s review!

Apologies for being all over the place this week – it’s been that kind of week. 🙂 Here’s hoping you all have a good weekend! Wish us luck with the weather – O has a “Spring Bonnet Parade” this afternoon and snow would be a real downer for all of those bunny ears and tulip hats.


Book Review: Eat to Peak: Sports Nutrition for Runners and Triathletes

I’ve had a run of book reviews lately, haven’t I? I guess that means I’m doing a good job with one of my goals for year: making more time for my love of reading! This book was sent to me by a fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador to review (book provided free to me, all opinions are my own) and I am so glad I got the chance to see it! I wish I’d had it to read when I first started running and was trying to figure out all of this nutrition madness. The book is “Eat to Peak: Sports Nutrition for Runners and Triathletes” by Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD and I cannot recommend it enough.
Eat to Peak coverEat to peak back cover

I confess, when I was first starting out, I likely would have been intimidated by the title of this book and assumed it was for “real athletes,” not an overweight, almost middle aged mom jogger like me. If you’re thinking that as well, A) we are real athletes! and B) this book is great for any and all levels of runners. It seriously answers every question I’ve had about food and running, from what I should eat as part of my daily diet to how I should fuel workouts versus races to recovery foods. Even better, all of that information in wrapped up in well-written, easy to follow language that explains the science (and cites the science if you’re a geek like me who wants to check out the research papers). There are also tons of real-world examples of what that science translates to, in terms of your own diet.

The book is divided into several sections, with an introductory “common questions” that explains some of the basis of the book, like why the focus is on everyday fueling, why kilograms instead of pounds, how she chose the science and other things. The first section focuses on nutrition basics, walking you through how to figure out how many calories you need based on your weight and whether or not that weight is right for you (beyond just BMI). It also discussed the various macromolecules, like carbohydrates, fat and protein, and what those do for us, how much we really of each and what the healthiest options are for inclusion in our daily diets. There are lots of examples of how to use these healthy foods, especially helpful if you’re trying to introduce a new type of whole grain or a new veggie and aren’t sure what to do with it. This section also includes micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, with a balanced discussion of good food sources as well as guidance on supplementation.

The middle section covers a lot of the questions I had about training when I first started as a runner. What does adequate hydration look like? How do I get electrolytes and how many do I need? How do I navigate that giant wall of energy gels and drinks and waffles at the running store? She walks through hydration and electrolytes, pre-exercise meals and fueling during exercise, with recommended amounts based on the workouts and your size and examples of what a 230 gram carbohydrate meal for fueling 3-5 hours before exercise (for example) might look like. I have that page flagged for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November! My favorite part of the whole book is the section where she walks through the many options for fueling during workouts, from drinks to gels to chews to real food to bars, with pros and cons and nutritional information for each. She does a great job walking through factors to consider when you’re deciding what to try, because different things will work better for different people depending on the type of workout, your size, your stomach, how much you sweat, etc. There’s also a great overview of recovery nutrition, with crucial advice on how much your really need (because many of us tend to over-reward ourselves post workout in the name of recovery!).

The last section on Hot Topics included lots of interesting little tidbits about coconut water, paleo diets, beetroot juice, caffeine and lots of the other things I see tossed around on social media. She does a great job explaining the theoretical benefit of those things as well as what (if anything) is actually proven about these trends. I really appreciate that the whole attitude of this book is realistic, proven nutrition advice and not fad-driven opinions.

An example of the TL;DR summary of the caffeine hot topic

An example of the TL;DR summary of the caffeine hot topic

The appendix at the back of the book made me wish I’d gotten the paper copy rather than the e-book because it made my fingers itch for a pencil to start doing the math! (Don’t worry – there’s a link to a website where you can print the worksheets!) There are worksheets for calculating your BMI and your calorie needs (based on the science discussed earlier in the book), as well as your macronutrient needs. Plus, there’s a food log, a training and fuel log to use while you’re experimenting with your optimal nutrition and hydration and cheat sheets for exercise fueling. The appendix is a great resource for translating everything you read in the previous 200 pages into your real world.

Sample worksheet for pre-exercise meals, depending on how long you're eating before you run - saving this for Wine & Dine training!

Sample worksheet for pre-exercise meals, depending on how long before you run that you’re eating  – saving this for Wine & Dine training!

Overall, I really loved this book. It’s a great resource for anyone who wants to fuel their runs for better performance or wants to better manage their weight (be it maintenance or loss) and overall nutrition while running safely and effectively or even if you just have a general interest in nutrition. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of nutrition for athletes – we’re all athletes if we’re hitting the road. Also don’t let the triathlete part throw you off. While there are tips scattered throughout specific for the particular needs of a triathlete, the focus is on a broader nutritional scope so I never felt like “this section doesn’t apply to me.” Each chapter includes a “Too Long; Didn’t Read” (TL;DR) summary of the high points, but I found myself really reading each section because it was just such an interesting blend of science and real world practicality and not just a recitation of the same “nutrition” blurbs we see over and over in health and fitness magazines.

This book is definitely going on my “Recommended” list for my runner friends who are interested in improving their nutrition to fuel their running. Thanks to Chrissy for sharing it with me! If you check it out and like it as much as I have, be sure to drop by Amazon and / or Goodreads to give her some reviews to help her out.

Have you read any sports nutrition books you’ve enjoyed? Do share!


Weight Loss Wednesday: Know thyself

At work, I was asked to participate in a leadership development program. I really don’t see myself as someone with leadership roles and don’t really have much interest in taking on leadership roles at this point, but I said yes because a) I was pretty sure my boss would want me to – I was right about that – and b) I thought my participation might help the administration see that people like me, who are less visible than some others in the organization, could still contribute to leadership and development. The first thing they had us do was a series of personality tests, sort of Myers-Briggs-ish. I’ve done a lot of personality testing in my day but I spent part of my flight to California for the Rebel Challenge reviewing the 4 books of results and interpretations that this one came with and was surprised by how well the testing captured some of the issues I struggle with in life in general, not just in terms of my leadership capacity at work.

  • I got really low scores on recognition, with comments that about how uncomfortable it makes me to be recognized publicly for my accomplishments. It’s funny because I am very achievement oriented (also correctly tagged me with that one in this analysis) but once I’ve achieved the goal, I don’t want anyone to call attention to it. That was very much an issue for me with weight loss, in that I was very driven to lose weight and get healthy, but wanted to sink into the floor any time anyone commented on it or heaven forbid, congratulated me on it. I can be socially awkward on my best day (and the “reserved” thing came up more than once in discussion of limitations in personality in terms of leadership potential) but those interactions always made me look like a blithering idiot because I had no idea how to respond appropriately. I talked more here about how to respond to comments gracefully, so you can handle it better than I do. 🙂
  • My problem with recognition comes into conflict sometimes with altruism, which was correctly picked as one of my primary drivers. I really do want to make the world a better place, as touchy-feely as that seems. In talking about my personal story of weight loss and running and healthy changes, I struggle with not wanting to call attention to myself and feeling like my story is nothing special versus putting my story out there because it might help someone else. I know reading stories of people who had over a hundred pounds to lose was hugely helpful for me when I finally took the plunge and joined Weight Watchers, and yet those stories are few and far between. I even sometimes feel a little self-conscious talking about myself here in this space and have to remind myself that a) it might be helpful for somebody and b) it’s really just a diary that a few hundred people read, so it’s no big deal right? I sometimes see the “How I Did It” and other features in magazines like Health and contemplate sending in my story, but the idea of thousands of people looking at me makes me shy away from that. My leadership coach (yes, I got assigned a leadership coach and she’s an uber-extrovert who loves recognition and self-promotion so it’s an interesting dynamic) wants me to step up and take opportunities that scare me, so maybe I’ll put my story out there more broadly this year.
  • The assessment noted that I prefer to communicate in writing and that I’m generally good at that, which I thought was funny given this blog. I definitely find writing to be a useful tool in sorting out my feelings, which is why this blog has been so helpful for me in maintenance beyond the accountability piece. As an introvert, I really need to spend a lot of time mulling over things in my own mental space and having the ability to write things down and re-read them over and over is crucial. I find myself writing about things I would never talk about in a Weight Watchers meeting or with another human being period, so it’s a much needed outlet.
  • A weakness highlighted in the assessment was my tendency to be overly self-critical and focus on the negative about myself. That has definitely been true for me in a lot of things in terms of my relationship with the scale, my body image and my running speed. One of my big goals for this year is working on that, at least from the body image and scale perspective, by focusing more regularly on non-scale victories and positive thoughts about my body. Apparently I need to start doing this at work too. I have a white board in my office – maybe I need to start writing one good thing I’ve done each week up there (Don’t worry – I won’t do that, what with the whole lack of self-promotion and avoidance of recognition thing. Plus it would make me look nuts)

I also liked that I scored a ZERO in mischievous. 🙂 Apparently I am very careful, responsible and socially appropriate. If the survey people had ever seen me respond to a compliment, they’d take that “socially appropriate” part off of the list. I also only scored a 4/6 on a section titled “likes people.” My immediate mental thought was “but I love people,” but then I had to admit that I love people in controlled amounts so long as I keep my own space.

The whole reason they had us do this for leadership training was to “know ourselves” better so that we could address our weaknesses and maximize our strengths. I think this is also key in making healthy changes in life. I needed to spend a lot of time in self-reflection at the beginning of my weight loss journey to figure out what my drivers were, what would work with my personality and my flaws, and I’ve had to re-assess that frequently as I added running and added races and entered maintenance. Knowing yourself may sound touchy-feely and hippy-ish (and boy does it when an earnest guy in a suit is talking to you about how important it is at a dinner session in a hotel, which is where this happened at work), but for me it was definitely worth some of the uncomfortable moments of honesty.

Speaking of honesty, here's to being open with weigh ins: no change this week, which is okay. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Speaking of honesty, here’s to being open with weigh ins: no change this week, which is okay. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Have you ever had to do any kind of personality testing? My husband applied for an IT job in Omaha when we first moved that had a required “personality test” that really just appeared to be screening for sociopaths. He didn’t get that job, but we’re going to hope it isn’t because he failed that test. 🙂



TotR: Race Signs, Plus Diva Dash 5K Recap

This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is Favorite Spectator and Race Signs.  Thanks as always to Erika, Patty and April for hosting!


I looked through my photos and can’t find any pictures of race signs, which is a little sad because I really do enjoy them. My first real encounter with them was at my first 10K in Omaha a couple of years ago. I was so amazed to see people out cheering and remember punching the “Power Up Here” poster I passed in the last mile (I’m convinced it helped!). My favorite sign at Princess was Peggy Sue’s “Hello Complete Stranger I’m Proud of You Too”, undoubtedly. After months of reading about it, when I finally got there and saw that she was really was there, I was so struck by her radiating enthusiasm for all of us and by the realization that I was really about to finish my first half marathon. I love that so many people have carried on her spirit and her sign since her passing. At the Star Wars Half Marathon, my favorite sign was a little boy holding up a poster that said “General encouragement all around but mostly Yay Mommy!” I confess, I can’t wait until O can make me a Yay Mommy sign for some race.

There were a few “Yay Mommy” signs at this weekend’s Diva Dash 5K as well. I ran this race last year and had a lot of fun, so I was happy to sign up again this year and check another 3.1 miles off of my 100 miles for the year. My secretary was also going to run it as her 2nd 5K, so I was excited for the chance to support her as well. I did packet pick up Friday afternoon and got my cute purple shirt shirt, plus my personalized bib (always a nice touch).

Always nice to have your name big and bold :)

Always nice to have your name big and bold 🙂

The race was at 8 am Saturday morning. After running 5.6 miles at home, I changed clothes and gathered up my guys to head out to the race. Happily, the race started at Aksarben Village, which meant that Darrell & O could play on the playground and/or hang out in the cupcake shop while I ran. They took advantage of both.

There were a LOT of tutus on this course.

There were a LOT of tutus on this course.

There were almost exclusively women running , with lots of groups in tutus and mother-daughter pairs. Apparently there were 3 men somewhere but I didn’t see them!  I didn’t see my secretary until about a quarter of mile into the race and then I hung behind her for a while in case she needed a boost. She was very focused so I didn’t want to distract her and truthfully, every time I thought about stopping for a walk break myself in the first mile, I’d see her still going and keep it up myself. I passed her on the first hill, but kept her in sight over my shoulder for the rest of the race. She rocked it!

I took it easy on the hills, which were uber steep. I’d walk at least part of each, knowing that hill work is part of what aggravated my ankle before. I didn’t want to set things back on my first run in a week! Happily, I had no pain. I had a great time chatting with the other women around me, including one mom who said she felt a little guilty for holding her gazelle-like daughter back. Her daughter looked to around 7-8 and was tackling those hills like they were nothing!

It is really hard to take a photo on a course that captures the hills, I've realized.

It is really hard to take a photo on a course that captures the hills, I’ve realized.

Coming into the last stretch of this race, I remembered last year where I petered out to walk with less than a quarter of a mile to go and got so disgusted with myself. True, I think I only walked a step or two before I made myself snap out of it then, but that kind of mental failure is definitely what I want to avoid in Lincoln in 6 weeks! So, as part on my on-going “mental toughness” practice, I decided that it didn’t matter what my time was but I was going to run from mile 2.5 in. I’m happy to say that I did it! Every so often, my little bad brain voice would pipe up and say “It doesn’t matter if you walk – your time doesn’t matter here” and “You aren’t really racing this, so why push” and I just squashed that voice and kept moving. In all of this mental wrangling, I lost track of Raven, so I was excited to hear them call her name a few seconds after mine as we finished. I grabbed a medal from the box (for some reason no one was handing them out?) and happily awarded her the very first of what I’m sure will be many medals. (**I just found out she got second place in her age group. Yay!!) I grabbed my own medal and some water and we headed back to the cupcake shop where our guys were waiting.

A festive start and finish line, complete with music and an announcer calling out our names as we finished, thanks to shoe tracking tags.

A festive start and finish line (photo snapped pre-festivities, obvs), complete with music and an announcer calling out our names as we finished, thanks to shoe tracking tags.

I told Raven that she kept me running longer than I wanted to in that first mile because she looked so determined and someone else came up to her as we were walking away to tell her the same thing. Newbies, you never know who is watching you! You are seriously an inspiration, whether you realize it or not. We all are.

I don’t think I did a good enough job fueling between my 5.6 miles in the morning (for which I took no fuel, but I did have a snack on the way to the race) and the hilly 5K because I was literally shaking after the run, but otherwise I felt fine. It was nice to run again after a week off and to feel so pain-free afterwards! It’s also always nice to run for a good cause with a bunch of other women out to have a good time on Saturday morning. My official time was slower than last year, but I’m totally okay with that since it came after a long run earlier in the morning and I had such a great mental finish. I’ll definitely do this again next year! After all, there aren’t many 5Ks with bling, right?

Two minutes slower than last year, but I'm okay with that.

Two minutes slower than last year, but I’m okay with that.

Have you gotten medals at 5Ks before? This is the only 5K I’ve run with medals, other than the Castaway Cay 5K and it’s definitely a nice little perk.

I do prefer the crown over last year's diamond ring design.

I do prefer the crown over last year’s diamond ring design.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Tuesdays on the Run link-up for lots of fun race signs and other running goodness!


Weekly Wrap Up: Pain free!

This week, I took it easy on the weekday workouts to let my sore ankle settle down and I’m happy to say it worked! Between the walking rather than running and the every other day calf exercises, the pain at rest went away completely and I was even able to run my long run Saturday with no problems. I’ll keep up the post-workout calf stretches and every other day calf exercises just to keep things in good shape. As a bonus to the calf exercises, I’ve noticed my balance (which is horrible!) has gotten a lot better, at least as evidenced by ability to hold a tree pose while waiting for my tea to brew last night. 🙂


Monday 2-3 miles of running on the schedule, for which I subbed 2.2 miles of walking in 38 minutes. It was a hilly lunchtime walk around campus and my ankle didn’t even bother me on the hill, which was a very good sign.


Tuesday 3-5 miles on the schedule, for which I subbed a nice 4 mile walk outside at 18:35 pace. Since I started running, my walking has definitely picked up the pace too. I had to force myself to keep walking and not run, as I was in my neighborhood and tempted by old patterns. I focused on the emerging sights of spring and the joy of thinking “wow, I’m a person who now has to hold themselves back from running!”. 🙂

Wednesday Cross-training on the schedule, which is usually walking. I decided on a 20 minute walk just because I was too tired to think of a more interesting option.

Thursday 60 minutes of walking, which we’re going to assume was 3+ miles given my usual speed (no tracking on), plus body weight strength exercises.

Friday This called for 2-3 miles of easy running or cross training. Since I was going to try to run for the first time early Saturday and honestly, since I was out of time, I decided that a quick mile in the park was good enough for a Friday afternoon. It was better than nothing, right? What you can, when you can (#wycwyc) I also did some foam rolling Friday night to get ready for running again Saturday morning.

I do love this little pond. It's right across the street from daycare, so it's a great place to stop to get a quick bit of movement in.

I do love this little pond. It’s right across the street from daycare, so it’s a great place to stop to get a quick bit of movement in.

Saturday 9-10 miles on the schedule and I was definitely feeling ready to run again. I had plans to run a really hilly 5K (Diva Dash) at 8 am, so I woke up at 5:30ish to get in 5-6 miles before I headed into town. I got 5.62 miles in, which wasn’t quite 6 miles but we’ll call it close enough. It was a nice easy pace and without consciously trying, my last mile was my fastest (sub 12 pace). I then headed out to the 5K (full recap Tuesday) which I ran in 34:21. Considering the hills (super steep, so I made sure to walk part of each one to protect my ankle a bit) and the fact that I’d already put in 5+ miles that morning, I’m totally satisfied with that time. I ended up with 8.74 miles, which is close enough to 9 miles, right? My ankle didn’t hurt at all during the run or afterwards, so I think things are good! I also did some strength training with weights Saturday afternoon to get my second strength session in for the week.

Sunday I snuck in some yoga stretches and poses throughout the day, but otherwise tried to respect the rest day. It was honestly tough because O was ornery this weekend and I really needed a run to clear my head. At least I’ve progressed to the point where I was craving a run, not food when I was tense right?

This week, I’m grateful that my child is generally so well behaved that these minor bouts of ornery-ness are about as bad as he gets. I know we’re lucky that what most people would consider normal 3 year old-ness is actually on the naughty end of his spectrum, in terms of defiance and asserting  his independence. 🙂 I feel like I’ve noticed so many NSVs this week, from not diving into food when I was feeling impatient with O (and then feeling like a bad mom for being so impatient), to noticing when I was with O at the dentist that he and I together weigh less on the dentist’s chair than I weighed alone a couple of years ago.

He was such a rock star in the dentists chair!

He was such a rock star in the dentists chair!

My good deed for the week has been rechecking and restocking our tornado supplies. ‘Tis the season! If you live in a tornado prone area, be sure to check out the Red Cross or Ready.gov for the supplies you need to have in case of an emergency.

I think I’m ready to go back to running like normal this week. I’ll see how things feel after today’s easy 3 miler to decide if I’m going to do my hill workout on Tuesday or wait a couple of more days and do it Thursday. I can’t quite believe it is only a little over a month until my next half marathon. It’s time to start getting a little more serious about my long runs as practice for race day. I have 3 10+ mile runs left in the training plan (with one cut back week and then a taper). I’ll want to maximize those and practice my pacing and fueling.

Here’s hoping you guys all have a great week!



Friday Favorites: Body image edition

Apparently after reading and thinking about Honey, Do You Need a Ride last week (book review here), I was left with body image on my mind because a lot of the things I flagged this week were about how we see ourselves. Self-image can be the hardest thing to wrangle for any of us, but especially those of us that are trying to lose weight or have lost weight or are trying to get stronger. This post from Suzi made me laugh and made me smile because I remember the little things I’ve noticed about my body on this journey, like the day I noticed my clavicles. And the day I fell in the toilet and understood why women get upset when the toilet seat is up (more about that here). Noticing the little changes in your body is so crucial to help keep things in perspective – it’s about more than the scale. It’s about this whole body we’ve got to carry us through life and practicing self-appreciation is a crucial skill that’s rarely taught in weight loss programs.

I also really liked Laura’s follow up post about handling our negative voices and this post from Joanna Novak on Zelle about changing the chant in our heads. That inner monologue can be so disheartening and yet we’d never speak that way about one of our friends. In particular, Laura’s advice about broadening the scope of how we think of ourselves was particularly striking to me. When we get in these negative thought spirals, it’s never because we’re looking at the entirety of ourselves and it is bad. It is usually because we’re fixated on a single aspect of ourselves and we are so much more complicated than that. We need to continue to practice changing that inner voice to one that is more affirming than assaulting.

On a different note, this week was registration for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. Happily, I’d registered earlier this month thanks to our DVC membership so I wasn’t in that mad scramble. The race sold out in under an hour, which is a little mind boggling but not nearly as mind boggling as some of the reactions I saw on Facebook. People got really bent out of shape about not getting in. I understand the stress of trying to get because you want Coast to Coast or because you plan family vacations around it. I booked my Star Wars race through a travel provider largely to avoid the worry that I wouldn’t get in and would therefore screw up my chances of Coast to Coast this year. We’re planning family vacation around Wine and Dine and so I was worried about getting in (but had a back up plan of regular registration day or a charity provider if I didn’t get in on DVC day). I really really love Patty’s post about all of the chaos, particularly the reminder that this is an event we do for fun. If stress over RunDisney registration isn’t a first world problem, I don’t know what would be. I acknowledge that I say that from the position of someone who got registered fairly easily, but honestly I would have been disappointed but otherwise shrugged it off if I hadn’t. I’d just vacation without getting up in the middle of the night to run 13 miles and really, that’s not a bad thing. Here’s hoping it settles down soon (and that Disney doesn’t go to a lottery – I’m with Patty; that would suck).

I forgot I had pics stored in here of meeting Ree at a book signing a couple of years ago. :)

I forgot I had pics stored in here of meeting Ree at a book signing a couple of years ago. 🙂

Lastly, while I don’t normally include the Pioneer Woman on my Friday Favorites lists (although I do love Ree), I really enjoyed her post this week about finding motivation in the outdoors when she’s out exercising. This week, with my enforced walking instead of running, I’ve been really focusing on my environment as a way to distract myself from the desire to run and it’s been amazing to see the grass starting to come in over the last few days and my tulips start to peek their little heads out. I love watching how things change outdoors in spring and that communion with nature is absolutely the best part of exercising outdoors, for me (and apparently for Ree too – we share more than a love of chocolate it seems).


Cookbook Review: Dinner The Playbook

One of the more common questions I get asked in real life is how I manage to cook reasonably healthy dinners with my work schedule and all the other chaos that comes along with life. I’ve written here a couple of times about our approach to meal planning and preparation (here and here), but I’m going to add the recommendation for this book: Dinner The Playbook (the link is FYI – no perks for me). This book is written by Jenny Rosentrach, of my favorite food blog Dinner: A Love Story and cookbook of the same name that I also adore. I seriously wish I had a giant stack of these books to hand out to my friends who struggle with this!

DALS Playbook cover

So what’s so great about this book?

– It’s set up as a 30 day challenge for revamping family dinners in a way that is workable for busy people. I had no interest in the 30 day challenge idea (although it tells you exactly how to do that if you’d like) but I loved the tips for selling your family on the idea of the challenge because they come in handy when I’m convincing a reluctant three year old to try new foods. 🙂 These include getting kids involved in picking out foods to try, giving things fun names, incorporating some familiar ingredients and my favorite – using the phrase “I don’t know yet” to keep your kid just off guard enough about what dinner is going to be to avoid giving them time to really dig in on their resistance to something. If I give O enough time to think about the fact that we’re trying a new food at dinner, he’s a lot more likely to work himself over “not liking it”than if we all just sit down together and he gets to see us ooh and aah over the fun new thing on our plates.

– One of my favorite sections is the “Art of the Kitchen Dump,” all about using up those bits and pieces in the fridge at the end of the week before you head out to restock at the grocery store. I am amazed that I’d never thought before about freezing cubes of leftover stock (I always seem to have half a box of stock!) just like I freeze leftover wine. Not that I often have leftover wine, of course.

– There’s also a great section dedicated to things you can do on the weekend to get a head start for the week, like prepping a vinaigrette for salads or roasting chicken. I love that all of the tips are actually practical for a busy life!

– The recipes are phenomenal! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve made the homemade marinara sauce on page 65. It’s crazy simple and yet so much tastier than my previous marinara approach. We also loved the pan roasted chicken thighs with carrot and potato hash, which sounds impressive but took literally minutes to throw together on a weeknight.

Roasted chicken thighs with carrot-potato hash: crazy easy and delicious!

Roasted chicken thighs with carrot-potato hash: crazy easy and delicious!

I also loved the salmon-lentil salad for lunches during the week and have made it a couple of times.

I confess I subbed packaged salmon for the fresh roasted and it still turned out great!

I confess I subbed packaged salmon for the fresh roasted and it still turned out great!

There are lots of recipes for quick side dishes and recommended pairings, which I love. Each recipe also includes tips on prep you can do ahead on the weekend or what you should set out before work to get a head start or other tips for quicker prep.

There are still several recipes in this book I want to try out. Next up is the Summer Sausage Stew with chicken, corn and sausage. Yum! I love that these recipes don’t require any canned cream of whatever or any special cooking skills or techniques and yet are consistently quick, gorgeous, healthy and tasty.

If you’re looking for a real-life approach to getting delicious food on the table that’s healthy and actually quick and actually easy, definitely check out this cookbook. (After all, I’ve said love about a hundred times in this review right? How much more of a ringing endorsement do you need?) If you’re interested in slightly more complicated but equally delicious recipes, I also highly recommend Dinner: A Love Story. It’s also a go-to cookbook in our house, for the fantastic Tony’s Steak and the mouthwatering pork ragu if nothing else. Darrell requests the steak every 2-3 weeks, I kid you not.

Now I’ve gone and made myself seriously hungry. 🙂 What are your favorite cookbooks?

PS Realized today that given my love of books, I do a lot of cookbook reviews and running book reviews here on the blog, so I’ll be wrangling all of them together on one page over on the side bar for easier access!


Weight Loss Wednesday: Update on food goals for the year

Thinking about running and how it affects my efforts at weight loss and weight maintenance last week also got me thinking about my food goals for the year. It seems like a good time to re-evaluate how it is going, particularly the sort of nebulous goal I had of making peace with food and working on focusing on food quality. I think I’m making progress, but I still have work to do.

As ever, this is an exercise in patience but slowly and surely my Disney weight gain from the cruise & Disneyland is drifting away.

As ever, this is an exercise in patience but slowly and surely my Disney weight gain from the cruise & Disneyland is drifting away.

– While I’m not opposed to artificial sweeteners if the alternative is regular sugar, I could definitely work on cutting back my own usage of them. In particular, I used to have a serious diet soda habit. I’d drink 40+ ounces a day and that’s probably being conservative. Because I’m a little sneaky, even with myself, I set a goal to drink more water rather than planning to decrease my soda intake. It’s easier to focus on the positive, and drinking more water would undoubtedly be a positive thing, than to focus on the negative by taking something away. I set a goal to drink 64 ounces of water a day. I could add lemon to my water but that’s it – coffee or tea didn’t count and Mio or Crystal Light didn’t count (because all of those generally included an artificial sweetener and that’s what I was trying to get away from). I’m happy to say that it is working like a charm! I usually have a diet green tea (which does have an artificial sweetener) at lunch, but otherwise drink water with meals and throughout the day. I drink a big 30 oz cup of water to start the day with breakfast, which helps tremendously in getting to 64 oz. I definitely feel better, in terms of better skin, more energy and less thirsty, than when I drank more soda so I’m glad I snuck this quality change in on myself. Unfortunately, I’ve got to give up my lemon crutch as the dentist said it was hurting my enamel this week. 😦

The downside of a big cup of water with breakfast is my general lack of coordination pre-coffee. I poured this giant cup of water in my lap in bed last week!

The downside of a big cup of water with breakfast is my general lack of coordination pre-coffee. I poured this giant cup of water in my lap in bed last week!

– I love roasted veggies and usually use Pam (or a store brand spray) instead of butter or oil with the roasting. That’s okay from a calorie perspective, but some of the oils you could use like olive oil actually have health benefits. With a focus on calories (or points) for so long, I tend to slack off in the healthy oils category of my diet. Thus, I’m working on using olive oil (in a reasonable amount) to roast my veggies several times a week. I need to find my mister so I could use that to routinely roast things, but it is lost somewhere in my pantry!

–  Shifting to MyFitnessPal has been an interesting experience, in terms of food quality, because it is always easy to see a snapshot of my nutrition for the day beyond just calories or points. For example, I’ve been able to use this snapshot that I’m routinely at or over my sodium goal for the day despite the fact that I don’t salt my food. Turns out, I eat a lot of processed food that sneaks in sodium (even those light green teas!). I also tended to eat a huge portion of my calories in the day from carbohydrates. I’m not such a strenuous runner than I usually need to eat more than 50% of my calories from carbohydrates on an everyday basis, so this week I’ve been working on eating more protein (again focusing on what I’m adding rather than what I’m taking away).

This is where I've been hanging out for the last week or so, which seems like a better balance.

This is where I’ve been hanging out for the last week or so, which seems like a better balance.

– MyFitnessPal hasn’t been all good. It routinely overestimates how much I should be losing but I’m okay with that because I know my “obesity in remission” metabolism is probably wonky. My pants fit (most of them anyway) so I’ll just trust that my weight will slowly but surely fall back to my pre-Disneyland/cruise range if I stick with this. The important thing is that I’m making tweaks to improve the quality of the food I’m eating and to be sure that everything I’m adjusting results in a way that I’d be willing to eat forever.

For now, I’m going to keep it up with the water and adding protein instead of carb-centric snacks on non-running days. I’ll keep having a healthy mix of protein and carbs in my snack immediately after hard runs. I’ve adjusted my shopping list for the week to lower my sodium in breakfast, targeting one meal at a time. Just a little more each day, right?

How often do you re-evaluate the quality of the food you’re eating? I feel like I’ve been really neglectful of quality in my chase of the all mighty calorie, but I’m making progress.