A Little More Each Day

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

Weekly Wrap Up: Picking up steam!

Two good weeks in a row! I was beginning to despair of ever stringing together two weeks of strong workouts. Last week wasn’t perfect, but it hit the right notes and I feel good having a nice run of workouts behind me as I head into this week, with lots of travel to stress me out. I am going to Memphis for work this week, leaving at the awful hour at 5:15 Wednesday morning which means I’ll have to leave my house at 3:30 AM to get to the airport in time. Yikes. On the plus side, that means I’ll get to Memphis before lunch if all goes well, which leaves me plenty of time to tackle this week’s long run that afternoon since I don’t have anything else on the schedule that day. For the rest of the trip, I’ll be tied up in work meetings from 7:30 am until 8 pm, with lots of that networking that I find so stressful. My goal this week is to make the best food choices I can and keep my stress under control, with a good bed time and breaks from the crowd of people to collect my thoughts whenever I need it. Stress is definitely my biggest lupus trigger, so I need to keep that in mind as I navigate this week.

Workouts

Monday I woke up early and did 2 miles at a slow easy pace Monday morning, knowing that I had a 0.75 mile walk ahead of me that evening. As I made that walk, between my house and O’s school, uphill and still wearing my skirt and heels that I’d worn to work all day, I totally give myself credit for all 3 miles on the training plan that day. 🙂 Heels and a skirt make the miles count more, right? We had a parent meeting for kindergarten. I can’t believe how fast my baby is growing!

Tuesday Rest day, not the hill work on the schedule.

Wednesday Hill work, not quite like I wanted it to be, but good enough! I used to be really bad about shorting the warm up and cool down of interval workouts just so I could squeeze them in, rather than getting those extra miles before and after the “real” work. Those extra warm up / cool down miles have value too and I did a great job getting them when I was training for Des Moines last fall. This week, I was faced with no workout at all or a shortened version of my hill workout and I decided to get the hills done. Yay for not skipping! I promise to be better about the warm up and cool down in the future. I did 6 one minute intervals at 5% incline, 12:00 minute mile pace (a little faster than my goal for this race) on the treadmill. True, there was very little in the way of running other than those intervals as I ended up with only 1.07 miles when I hopped off the treadmill, but something is better than nothing!

Thursday 3 easy miles on the schedule, but I was crazy dizzy all day. Not sure what was going on, but I definitely wasn’t in a good place to run that day. I could barely walk so I definitely gave myself an extra rest day.

Friday 3 miles, with the middle mile at tempo pace (11:40 in this case). Like I did in the fall, I adopted the approach of race intervals rather than a specific pace when I was doing these tempo miles. I decided to start for now with 2 minute run/30 second walk, which worked well for me in Des Moines and resulted in 11:20 minute miles, exactly on target! I was pleasantly surprised to be at 11:40 now, given how stiff legged I still feel this early in training. I also did a round of body weight exercises and realized how quickly I lose strength when I stop doing this regularly! Those push ups got HARD again! My NSV this week was at the gym after this workout, when I glanced at my legs in the mirror and thought “ugh look at that loose, lumpy skin.” Let’s just say I don’t wear short shorts in public often. I walked away from the mirror after that not-kind thought and physically turned myself back around to make myself look again and think of something good about my body. It was so hard, which is so sad. It should be easier to be kind.

Saturday 3.1 miles at an easy pace with GORGEOUS weather, plus 6K+ steps (and HILLS) at the zoo all morning before the run. My good deed this week was making it a point to pick up any litter I saw around the zoo, which was depressingly a lot. (Don’t you love Oliver’s inside out style at the zoo? Some fights just aren’t worth having as a parent – inside out clothes is one of those for me!)
Zoo style

Sunday 7 miles at an easy pace (most in the 12 minute mile range, faster than last week’s long run) – it’s amazing how good it feels to get that workout done early in the day rather than waiting! Lots of yoga stretches and some strength training in the evening rounded out a good day.

Total for the week: Strength X 2; 16.82 miles over 4 workouts February is ending much better than it started! I feel like I’m finding a happy medium between the rest the lupus demands and the workouts I want to do.

This week, I’m so grateful for my husband who loves me despite my quirks. Butternut squash is by far my favorite vegetable and the frozen butternut squash puree is a quick easy way to get my fix. I confess I eat it like mashed potatoes. Anyway, it’s a seasonal item and I know that my local grocery stores are going to stop stocking it soon. My husband, bless him, bought all they had at two grocery stores this weekend so I had enough to last a while. This freezer is what love looks like some days. 🙂
Love is squash

 

My important question for all of you today is this: I have a few hours to kill Sunday afternoon in Memphis. Should I go see Deadpool, which I’ve been looking forward to but haven’t managed to see yet, or go to Sun Studio while I’m in Memphis? I’m thinking the latter, because I can see Deadpool at home. I was going to Graceland but ultimately decided I didn’t feel like spending the $50-ish it would cost between a ticket and parking. I’d rather get the bigger picture of Memphis’ music history. I’ve already been to the Civil Rights Museum, but confess I’m tempted to go again as it is impressive.

What would you do with 4 hours to kill in Memphis?

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up!

weekly wrap up

 

 

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Happy Heart Month!

I can’t believe we’ve gotten to the end of February without talking about Heart Month! February has been designated as American Heart Month and we celebrate it by wearing red and going on heart walks, but I celebrated it this month when I went for a check up and again cheered for my normal blood pressure. Yes, there’s a little internal “hooray!” every time I ask for my numbers and they’re normal. Heart health is very personal for me, both because of my own history with high blood pressure and because we lost both of Darrell’s parents to heart disease at a very young age.

I never thought the blood pressure cuff could make me smile. :)

I never thought the blood pressure cuff could make me smile. 🙂

My high blood pressure was a big motivation for me to overhaul my diet and exercise habits and finally try to lose weight back in the summer of 2012. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure when I was 29 years old. My blood pressure had run high for several years, in the “pre-hypertension/hypertension” range of 140s/90s. I always explained it away as a high stress job or having a headache and therefore a little pain that day. My health care providers always allowed me to wave it off, never engaging me on bringing my blood pressure down or losing weight or changing my diet and exercise. I now know that I should have insisted we address it! Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, causing 1 in every 3 deaths each year. That means one woman dies every minute from heart disease. We must advocate for ourselves. We must recognize that heart disease is common and lethal and woefully under-recognized in women by many health care providers. Ignoring the warning signs for years left me in an OB/Gyn’s office for a check up where they found that my blood pressure was 220/110. They should not have let me walk out of the office like that. That’s a dangerously high number. I was told that I should talk to my primary care doctor about it and that was it. Thankfully, that was high enough and scary enough that I did follow through with my doctor before I had a stroke and I started two medications to get things under control.

When I started losing weight in 2012, I did so hoping that I’d be able to get off of my blood pressure medication but knowing that I may not be able to do so because blood pressure is due to a lot of factors, not just obesity. However, I also recognized that just by making changes in my diet and exercise to try and lose the weight, I was helping my heart even if the scale didn’t budge. Losing weight helps your heart, but so do eating a healthier diet and moving more – those things are worthwhile even if weight loss is slow or non-existent so please don’t give up on your healthy lifestyle choices for your heart’s sake!

GoRedforWomen.org and the American Heart Association have developed “Life’s Simple 7”  as a list of some simple tips you can start adopting to decrease your risk of heart disease. These are things we already know we should do, but they’re worth thinking about again this month:

Move more! Get 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days a week.

Control your cholesterol: This mean you have to get screened and get treated if things are high. You don’t know what your cholesterol levels are unless you check.

Eat better! Seems simple, but eating more fruits, veggies and fiber can help your heart tremendously, as does avoiding trans fats.

Manage your blood pressure: Like cholesterol, you won’t know if yours is high if you don’t get it checked. It’s a “silent killer” because it can be asymptomatic until it is too late. Don’t put off getting screened!

Lose weight: Notice that this is only ONE piece of this puzzle, so don’t give up on exercise and eating well even if weight loss is slow.

Reduce your blood sugar: I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant and have a strong family history of type 2 diabetes, so I get my blood sugar screened regularly. Controlling diabetes with diet, exercise and medication can help your heart and the rest of your body.

Stop smoking: This was a big factor for Darrell’s parents, who were both heavy smokers, although I still worry about his genetics as well since they were both less than 50.

Do we have to be perfect at these things or do all 7? No, of course not, but making our best effort to take better care of our hearts can help ameliorate some of the risk that we have from our genes, our other medical conditions (like my lupus) and the fact that we are women who are higher risk than most of us realize, just by being women. Take care of yourself and advocate for yourself to get the care that you and your heart need, this month and every month.

American Heart Month - Go red!

For more information, check out:

GoRedforWomen.org

Millionhearts.hhs.gov

www.heart.org

Are You At Risk for Heart Disease?

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Thinking about my diet & lupus

I’m a little more than 6 months into this lupus adventure and have figured out some things that clearly trigger my symptoms, like a poor night of sleep or work/parenting stress. Sun makes things worse and running makes things better, which makes spring and summer workouts complicated. I’m also starting to notice that there may be other things triggering these symptoms and wondering if I need to pay attention to food more closely. With my flare a week or so ago, things seemed worse after we went out for Valentine’s Day lunch, which is part of what made me wonder if something I eat or drink (perish the thought!) might make things worse. We all know I’m not particularly into restrictive diets or avoiding foods willy nilly, but I thought it was worth looking into what kind of things I need to think about in terms how I eat to help my lupus symptoms. After all, food can and should be part of maintaining overall health, not just the “enemy” in terms of weight loss and weight maintenance.

The most important thing to remember in terms of food and lupus is to maintain a healthy diet, just like everyone is supposed to eat, with lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins and calcium containing foods while avoiding processed foods and saturated fats. Not only are these things good for us in general, they can also help minimize some of the things that occur as complications of lupus and as side effects of lupus medications, like an increase in heart disease seen in lupus patients and an increase in osteoporosis or brittle bones because of the sun avoidance and decreased vitamin D, as well as a side effect of some medications. I try to do all of those things anyway, so I was reassured by most of what I read in mainstream resources. This kind of diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important in minimizing the stress our poor joints are already experiencing, maintaining our cardiovascular health as much as we can, and because some believe that obesity itself can worsen systemic inflammation.

However, I did run across a few interesting things that I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t realize that there’s a compound in alfalfa sprouts, which I commonly include in my salads if I eat at a salad bar, that can trigger lupus flares and was recommended as something to avoid in almost every source I looked at! (L-canavanine, if you’re curious) Distressingly, a lot of resources also recommend avoiding garlic because it can stimulate the immune system. I felt so betrayed by the John Hopkins Lupus center for including garlic in its list of things to avoid because I can’t dismiss Hopkins as whack-a-doo medicine. Sigh.

Caffeine is on some lists, as is alcohol (although most say small amounts are fine) and sugary foods. In both of my most recent flares, I had both sweets and alcohol in the 24 hours before. It’s telling that I’m much more willing to consider the possibility of giving up sweets (or at least avoiding them as much as I can) than I am willing to give up alcohol. Obviously, I’d do whatever I needed to in order to stay healthy, but please don’t take away my wine!

Wine is good for you too right?

Wine is good for you too right?

Another thing I ran across was the idea of nightshade foods, like white potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, triggering symptoms for some people. For the nightshade foods, it appears that some people are sensitive and some aren’t so you have to experiment a bit. Really, with all of the autoimmune diseases, our individual triggers are going to vary. That’s why I’ve been careful to stick to more mainstream, evidence supported sources of information in my “research” because there are so many individual stories out there and those things may not be universally true.

I’m working on keeping track of what my symptoms are and what I may have been exposed to in the day preceding the symptoms, especially things on this list. I’m realizing now how difficult it is to completely avoid these things! I’m trying to avoid nightshade plants for the next few weeks and then reintroduce them to see if they are a trigger for me. The avoidance of peppers is killing me because that includes a huge number of my spice mixes and spice mixes used with food in general! I have a whole new respect for people with food allergies and I’ve only been doing this for a few days.

Aside from highlighting how hard dealing with food restrictions must be, I’m also newly appreciating the importance of food in my overall health. Healthy foods can be medicine and we need to respect them as such. By being aware of how what we eat makes us feel, we could all learn a lot about ourselves.

Elixir of the gods

Elixir of the gods

Have you ever had to avoid certain foods because of allergy or intolerance? What was the thing you found hardest to give up? I confess, I’d rather live a life without cheesecake than a life without wine and I am not even willing to consider a life without coffee at this point, even if caffeine is also on this list.

Note that I’m not a dietitian or rheumatologist so none of this is medical advice! Just my thoughts as I travel this new road!

Resources:

Web MD Lupus Diet

Molly’s Fund The Lupus & Diet Dilemma

The John Hopkins Lupus Center Diet

Lupus.org Will nightshade vegetables increase joint pain or lupus flares?

 

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TotR: Favorite Medals

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is Favorite Medals and I always love an excuse to go look through my medals again! Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting the link up!

ToTR logo

I love some of my favorites for the races they represent and some because they’re just so pretty.

  • Topping the list for both of those reasons has to be my Princess Half Marathon medal, which is both beautiful and so important to me because it was my very first half marathon. I still remember what it felt like to get this medal. 🙂
I still remember and love this moment :)

I still remember and love this moment 🙂

  • The Papillion Half Marathon medal is just so pretty with its big butterfly (the symbol of the city). I’m looking forward to this year’s medal, even if it is the same as last year because a girl can’t have too many butterflies, can she?
Isn't it a cute medal? Definitely one of my favorites!

Isn’t it a cute medal? Definitely one of my favorites!

  • I like my Star Wars medals because a) I loved those races and the accomplishment of finishing my first back to back challenge and b) they’re Star Wars and cool by definition, right? I actually brought them to Oliver’s school for parent show and tell last year.
The challenge medal is a spinner with Yoda and Darth Vader.

The challenge medal is a spinner with Yoda and Darth Vader.

  • As honorable mention, I have to include Oliver’s first Mickey kids race medal because we had such a good time running to earn it. It hangs in his room by his bed. 🙂
He was doubly excited that his kids race medal is bigger than my 5K medal

He was doubly excited that his kids race medal is bigger than my 5K medal

 

I confess I covet a Mickey Marathon medal. Even if it isn’t this year, I hope that I get the chance to earn one some day!

Do you run for bling?

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Weekly Wrap Up: What a difference a week makes!

What a difference a week makes! I’m grateful that the weather improved enough that I was able to get out and run enough to build up some mojo FINALLY.
weekly wrap up
Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our wrap up!

Workouts

 

Monday 3.15 slippery miles Monday morning to get moving again after last week’s sluggish, lupus-y weekend. Morning miles are crucial for me – if I wait until late in the day, it’s far too easy to skip my workouts. I’ve got to get back in the habit of waking up early.
Slippery mornings

Tuesday Rest day, unintentionally because I skipped the morning wake up and shocker: couldn’t make myself run in the afternoon!

Wednesday 2.04 slow miles in the morning but at least I got out there (a rarity since I have to work early on Wednesdays!)

Thursday Darrell went to the gym Thursday morning, so no early AM run (but Yay for Darrell!). I intended to leave work early to get my interval workout in, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I decided to do a hill workout (because hills are just speed work in disguise right?) out in the neighborhood that night. My NSV this week is definitely hauling myself out of the house at 8:15 Thursday night to get that workout in! I can do hill workouts in my neighborhood, but really can’t stick with a consistent effort for speed work without a treadmill, so hills it was since I wasn’t going to the gym. I did 6 one minute hill intervals, with a total of 2.5 miles.

A quick word about moving around workouts: While this week is a lot better than any other training week I’ve had in 2016, it isn’t what the week looks like in my training plan. You can shuffle around training workouts to some extent, so long as you avoid doing two hard workouts back to back (like speed work or hills the day before a long run). I moved my easy runs around a lot this week, but got the miles all done, and borrowed next week’s hill workout to get a “quality” workout in without going to the gym. Just think about what your miles need to do for you and how to do them safely if you’re moving things around!

Friday 2.19 easy miles – One nice thing I noticed this week is that all my workouts were getting unintentionally faster as the week wore on. Turns out, the more I run, the easier it is to run!

Saturday 3.03 miles, easy pace in the afternoon to earn my beer at girls night out. We saw How to Be Single, which was a good girls’ night choice, but I needed the alcohol to get over the social anxiety hump. Bonus NSV: tracked all of the goodies that night!

Sunday I felt so accomplished when I finished my 6 mile run Sunday afternoon because a) it was my fastest run all week and b) it meant I’d finally had a week in 2016 where I got all of my training runs done! Winner winner! Sunday was also great because I helped a dad and his toddler son doing grocery shopping from Mommy’s list (quinoa is tricky!) – my most smile inducing good deed for the week – and had a great breakfast date with my handsome little man at a local restaurant. Homemade Nutella poptarts! Yum!!

Breakfast date

All in all, a much better week and I feel pretty good. I got in a total of 16.45 miles – much better than the last few weeks! While I did my plank a day, I didn’t do any other strength training but I’ll be better about that this week. I also hauled myself out of bed this morning to run by reminding myself how good it felt last week to get all of my workouts done. I love this slightly “used” feeling in my legs, which is weird I know.

Anybody else weirdly like that sore/tired feeling? So long as it isn’t too sore of course. 🙂 I’m not a freak, I promise!

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Book Club: It was me all along

This month’s selection for Wendy’s Taking the Long Way Home Book Club isn’t really a running book at all, but is definitely something I was interested in: It was me all along: A memoir by Andie Mitchell. Thanks as always to Wendy for hosting! Be sure to check out her link up for more thoughts on the book from others.

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Andie Mitchell is a food blogger who wrote this memoir last year about her struggles with weight and with her body image even after her weight loss was “finished.” I will confess that this book was painful for me to read, both because she was clearly in a lot of pain during the times she describes and because I could identify so strongly with her descriptions of what it was like to be overweight, as they so strongly echoed my own experience. I will be honest, it was hard to relive those feelings, so be warned about that before going into this book.

Andie was overweight and made aware of being so from a very early age. If you haven’t experienced that, it can be hard to describe how much that imprints on your brain and how that can lead to binge eating. The descriptions of binge eating were almost unbearable to read because they were so true, for me at least. The wanting to be normal, but not being able to, somehow feeds that whole cycle of binge eating. “It was this dichotomy that killed me. The wanting to be different in order to be perceived as better, yet wishing I didn’t have to try so hard.

I wished I could find some hideaway, somewhere I could be as reclusive as I pleased and just eat. And eat. And cry. And eat. And cry.” THIS. My life. Pretty much every day for years.

She describes being in classes and being unable to “bring myself to raise my hand, fearing the attention it would draw,” which was very much my experience in college when I tipped the scale from chubby kid to obese young adult. I definitely had the same reaction to running late to class, in which ““…if I found myself running late to the lecture hall, even by just five minutes, I was compelled to skip the class altogether, knowing that few things were as anxiety inducing as trying to squeeze through tight rows of fellow students to find the lone open seat.” It seems unreal or an exaggeration, but I can promise you that those things were true for me as well.

The temptation to resign yourself to being the fat girl is so real and so painful. Looking back, it seems like it was easier before I started caring about fixing this problem but I know logically it was a different kind of hard. Like me, Andie did find a way to handle the binge eating and lose weight, but she found herself swinging too far to the other side of the eating disorder spectrum in an effort to stay in control, after being out of control for so long. The swing to the other direction, of obsessive control and fear of food, is a very real possibility and something I’ve veered a bit into myself in the first year I was at my goal weight. I’m still trying to find that happy medium. It can be very easy to trade one eating disorder for another, as Andy did.

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The closing thoughts on the things she’ll miss were things I could have written, if I’m being honest. There are definitely still times I miss eating with abandon. I miss the days when my first response to a change in my food plan wasn’t fear, as it still can be (although that’s getting better). I miss that delicious, over the top food, even though I know it would cause me such a stomach ache I’d think I was dying now. I miss not having to think about all of this.

I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever re-read this. I lived too much of it myself and reading it was hard. However, I’m glad stories like this are out there so that you can know you aren’t alone. There are people out there who get what you’re going through, as you move from overweight to weight loss to whatever this “after” period is supposed to look like. It’s always a good thing to have stories out there to show us we aren’t alone in the human experience. I hope that Andie has continued to find her way with a peaceful relationship with herself and with food.

Do you find it hard to read stories that are too close to your own?

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Helping a kid keep healthy habits

 We’ve talked before about how big a motivation Oliver is for me in adopting a healthy lifestyle. Darrell and I both want Oliver to grow up with a healthier diet than the southern fried food we grew up with, but I also want to avoid introducing the kind of food and body image issues I struggle with.

 

Oliver and I went to a cooking class together on Monday where someone thought it was a wise idea to give a bunch of kids FOUR desserts at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. We had a ton of fun cooking and what struck me most watching Oliver was how well he self-regulated his food intake. Instead of eating all 4 desserts just because they were there, Oliver took tastes of things but didn’t feel the need to finish them. Who doesn’t finish chocolate cake ?! A kid who knows that just a taste is as good as inhaling the whole thing, that’s who. It amazes me that my kid has a healthier relationship with food than I do right now. Now I’ve just got to be careful not to screw it up!

Green smoothie

So how are we going to keep that healthy mindset?

We involve him in picking out the food we eat and in preparing it. He’s always more likely to eat a new food if he’s had a hand in what shows up on the table.

Chopping pears

We have a garden and let him actually participate in knowing where the food actually comes from, in addition to visiting the farmer’s market and talking to real farmers. Our city mouse is fairly sheltered about the real world, but this at least gives him a little glimpse. We’ve been afraid to tread too far into the whole idea of where his beloved turkey comes from, but veggies we can talk about freely.

We talk about food in terms of the good things it does for us, in terms of giving us energy and building our muscles. He was the only kid in pre-kindergarten who talked about calcium in the milk back when he broke his leg.

We don’t talk about foods making us fat. I am distressed at how hard this one is. Why should that be my automatic answer to why we don’t have dessert every night? We don’t have dessert every night so we can save room for foods that build healthy bodies. That should be the answer to myself, just like it is to him, not we don’t have dessert every day because it would make us fat.

We let him self-regulate how much he eats. This is so hard for me as a mom, letting him decide how much is enough. However, developmentally kids are good at regulating amounts of food they eat when they’re young. At some point in childhood, we teach them to ignore those signals. They aren’t as inherently good at regulating the kinds of food they eat, so it’s our job as parents to make sure they get a good variety of nutrients rather than live on chicken nuggets. However, it isn’t our job to make them clean their plates. I have to tell myself that a million a times a week.

We encourage sometimes foods like cake and pie and cookies as sometimes foods, worth enjoying but not worth feeling guilty over. Again, I have to struggle not to project my issues here as well! We try to avoid using food as a reward or emotional balm as much as we can too, although Oliver has called me on it when I screwed this up! Just a week ago, we were talking about things to cheer us up when we had a bad day and when I mentioned cookies, he told me “food is not a friend Mama.” What a wise guy!

We never talk about being fat or gaining weight or anything like that in front of him. I’d love to say I never talk about it when he isn’t around, but I’m just not there yet. I’m getting better. I need to be sure I don’t talk about myself EVER in a way I wouldn’t talk about myself in front of him.

How do you encourage your kids to keep a healthy diet and a healthy relationship with food? I’m dreading the intrusion of the real world once real school starts. Right now, things are fairly controlled in terms of the kind of food school provides (no outside foods at our preschool and limited treats) and what we have at home. With public school and visits with friends, I’m about to lose a lot of control of what he’s exposed to. Fingers crossed that the lessons we’re teaching now will stick a bit!

 

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TotR: Race Shirts

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is Race Shirts: our favorites and our least favorites.  Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting the link up!

ToTR logo

This is a particularly timely topic for me because I just got rid of some of my least favorite shirts. It feels sort of wrong, because I EARNED those shirts, but frankly I have a drawer full of race shirts I never wear. The shirts I gave away were mostly cotton t-shirts. Very few of them are cute enough that I’m going to wear them in my day to day life, because I can’t wear something that casual to work and I’m actually sort of working on upping my weekend clothing game from it’s current lazy mom look. Right now, those shirts are just taking up space and someone else might enjoy them.

Much more fun to consider are my favorite shirts.

  •  I have one cotton race shirt that I really like: the Jingle Jungle 5K shirt. It’s cute, cheerful and Christmas-y enough that I wore it while we were on vacation last November. I could see wearing it again if I was somewhere warm enough for a cotton t-shirt during the holiday season, so I’ll keep this one. Even if I don’t wear it much, it always makes me smile.
Bonus: Super cute shirt that I got to wear to the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party later in the week!

Super cute shirt that I got to wear to the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party later in the week after the race!

  • I wear my super cool Star Wars shirts a lot on the weekend. They’re tech shirts, so I could wear them to run (and the storm trooper one is in the workout pile – that blue isn’t quite my color), but I actually tend to wear them when I’m feeling my geek pride on the weekends. Also, they’re cut really nicely so they’re comfy and fairly flattering.
The Yoda shirt is my favorite.

The Yoda shirt is my favorite.

  • I also really like the colors of the Wine & Dine shirt (hmmm – my favorites are most my Disney shirts, surprise surprise!) and the fact that the design is subtle enough you don’t immediately notice that it’s a running or Disney shirt.
  • The Des Moines half marathon gives us a long sleeved tech shirt with a half zip neck that fits really well, so I’ve gotten a lot of use out of that one too.
  • I have a soft spot for my very first race shirt, from the Commitment Day 5K. As a bonus, it is super soft so I wear to sleep sometimes or for non-running workouts.

In addition to my general dislike of plain cotton race shirts because I don’t get much use out of them, I also have a weird tank top that I got at a local 5K that I just can’t love. At first I liked the idea of a tank top as opposed to a tee because I could get some use out of that for shorter summer runs. However, this one is cut away so much that a lot of my sturdy (by necessity!) sports bra gets exposed and that just isn’t a good look for me.

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I confess that I always remember races more fondly if I liked their shirt options. Do you choose races based on the shirt choices?

 

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Weekly Wrap Up: Making peace with a flare :(

This weekend did not turn out like I expected. I had plans to finally meet my mileage goal for the week with a 4 mile run on Saturday and an 8 mile long run on Sunday. As often happens with parenthood, kid stuff derailed me and then lupus piled on.

Oliver got sick Friday night and was up late with fever. I could tell O was getting sick when he refused to eat the brownie we decorated at the Valentine’s Day party Friday afternoon in school.
Brownie time

He ended up in bed with us Friday night, which means I pretty much did not sleep. On a good night, he’s a wild sleeper. When ill, he’s a monkey high on Mountain Dew. I slept not a wink. He’s doing better – the fever only lasted about 24 hours. It took me longer to get back to normal. It turns out, a horrible night of sleep made all of my lupus symptoms flare up, with swollen hands and pain in my hands, my elbow and my jaw. Ugh. I also forgot that other lupus symptom I tend to pretend doesn’t exist – fatigue.

I gave myself Saturday off, figuring being 4 miles short for the week really isn’t any different than any other week in this first month of spring training. I assumed I’d be back to normal Sunday after a good night of sleep (which I did get, thankfully). However, that isn’t what happened. While I could tell I’d slept, the fatigue was still there. The swelling was still there. The pain was still there. My husband had to point out to me that I’m sick and this is going to happen. I’m lucky that I have mild, annoying lupus, without any of the more serious complications at this point but man is it annoying. I also haven’t really figured out when I’m feeling tired because I’m a working mom who just powers through tired or when I’m feeling tired from the lupus. If I were giving advice to a friend, I’d point out that either way, I should take the time to rest. However, I struggle with seeing that and allowing myself that time. Instead of my long run, I spent Sunday afternoon in my tub with the jets going and bath salts.

I can’t remember the last time I missed a long run on a training plan. I know it isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of my training this spring. I have repeats of my longer distances in the plan, so missing one long run isn’t going to hurt. I knew I’d have trouble getting everything in thanks to weather around here anyway, so a missed run isn’t catastrophic. On the plus side, I did end up with over 8K a steps a day for the week thanks to a great and active week prior to Saturday. I also did get some runs in and some strength training and today is another day to start again. And on the greatest bright side, I’m married to a man whose response to a sick and slacker wife is to send me to the tub and ask if I need to regularly schedule more spa days to keep from getting run down. 🙂

Looking at this week, I’ve decided that I just need to let that 8 mile long run go. I’ve got the first interval workout on the training plan tomorrow, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to do a long run today before an interval workout tomorrow.

I got up and ran a little over 3 miles this morning. It felt so GOOD. It’s a tricky circle. The lupus makes my joints sore and makes me tired, both of which make it hard to run, but running makes all of those symptoms better. I just have to be careful about listening to my body more than an arbitrary training plan. I went through this in the fall and trusted my body not to push through too much and ended up running my best race at the Des Moines Half Marathon in October. I know this will get easier soon weather wise, too. All of the high temperatures in my 10 day forecast are over freezing! And there’s no significant chance of snow! All great things. I never used to mind the cold or the slippery surfaces of winter, but now I can’t tolerate the cold at all thanks to the Raynaud’s that comes with lupus and I’m terrified of falling on already sore limbs.  Maybe that ground hog is right and an early spring is coming. Fingers crossed!

This is sort of a downer weekly wrap up, but I have high hopes for this week! I’ve already started with a good run this morning, over 10,000 steps for today and some quality time with O. He and I are going to a kids cooking class at 4, which I’m really looking forward to! I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Be sure to check out Holly and Tricia’s Weekly Wrap round up. I will be checking out everyone else’s wrap ups to get a boost to get me over my funk about yet another not-quite-good-enough training week. 🙂 Thank goodness I’m only in this spring race to get me running regularly!

weekly wrap up

 

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Cookbook Review: Good and Cheap – Eat Well on $4 a Day

I realized this week that I haven’t yet gotten around to sharing the cookbooks I got for Christmas. You guys know me – I’m a sucker for cookbooks, so there are always several on my holiday wish list. A couple of the John Besh cookbooks I got this year are so gorgeous that I haven’t actually cooked from them yet because I’m too wrapped up in the pictures and the stories!
Good and Cheap

However, I have been cooking quite a bit from another cookbook I got: Good and Cheap – Eat Well on $4 a Day. I tend to spend too much on groceries and have a lot of cookbooks that call for fancier ingredients, but put this on my wish list to get some ideas for getting things back to basics a bit and it has definitely served that purpose well! I actually enjoy the premise of this book. It’s designed with foods and budgets that you could make work with the US Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps), so that families could make healthier meals on limited budgets. It also started as a Kickstarter campaign and has a cool buy one/give model, in which one is donated to a lower income family for every one that is purchased. Such a great way to give back AND the food is actually good and practical! Win, win!

The recipes included range from breakfast and dinner to snacks and desserts and are all very approachable. Even a beginner cook could follow these instructions and I think this would actually be a particularly good cook book for poor college students just starting out as cooks. 🙂 There are a variety of flavor profiles and ethnic cuisines included as well, which demonstrates that you can get a lot bang for  your buck with food if you’re thoughtful in your approach!

We made PB&J bars from the books, which were quick and simple (but crumbly, which she warned in the recipe description!). Oliver loved the taste and I loved how easy they were!

PB&J Bars from Good & Cheap

PB&J Bars from Good & Cheap

One of my favorite recipes, which I’ve made at least four times now, is a deceptively simple combination of flavors that I’m really loving: Brussel sprouts with eggs. Weird, right? It totally works though and takes less than 10 minutes to throw together! The original recipe calls for black olives, which I swapped out for roasted red peppers because I prefer the flavor. Saute shredded brussel sprouts with the roasted red peppers and a little olive oil, with salt and pepper to taste. When the brussel sprouts have started to soften, crack a couple of eggs in the dish on top of them and put a lid on to catch the steam. Let it set for a couple of minutes but not too long – you want the egg yolks to be a little runny. Top it with a little lemon juice (crucial!) and serve. So simple, but delicious! The combination of flavors really works. This has become my go-to healthy dinner when Darrell and Oliver are eating pizza or something similar.
Brussel sprouts and eggs
In addition to the recipes, there are loads of tips about smart shopping in the grocery store, basic equipment you need in the kitchen to do these and other recipes, (and it truly is a basic list! No uni-taskers!), a chart of seasonal produce and tips for using leftovers creatively. Mixed among the recipes are also sections about techniques that can be used for broader purposes than just a single recipe, like making your own croutons or cooking dried beans or putting together “bubble and squeak.”

I’m definitely going to keep this on my gift idea list for anyone interested in getting into cooking, as it was really accessible and had some great ideas inside!

What’s your favorite unexpected flavor combination?

As always, all opinions are my own. This was a Christmas gift, so no perks to me or affiliate links or anything for telling you about it!

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