A Little More Each Day

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

Cooking Light Recipe Round-Up

**This was supposed to post yesterday but thanks to tornado and storm warnings, I never got the chance to hit publish! We’re safe. I hope all of you in tornado alley are as well. Gotta love spring!

One of my goals for this year was getting back to doing more of the things I enjoy, like cooking. One of my favorite sources for new recipes is Cooking Light, because their recipes are based on whole foods (for the most part), user friendly and “don’t taste like diet food” per my husband. Some of our favorite family recipes come from there, like our go-to tuna melts.

Over the last month, I’ve tried several that were keepers. First up, chicken gyro bowls (with the recipe here). We loved this because it was very family friendly. We all loved the flavors and set it up as a big do-it-yourself bar, which meant we could all choose the components we liked, like lots of chickpeas and tomatoes for Oliver and lots of olives for Darrell and cucumbers for me.
Gyro bowls

Next up, the slow cooker ramen bowls were surprisingly tasty. The original recipe is here, but I tweaked it a bit when I made it because I couldn’t find one of the seaweedy ingredients. I also used chicken instead of pork because I had chicken on hand. The broth has much deeper and more complex flavor than you’d expect for something out of the slow cooker. You get a nice umami hit from the mushrooms and soy sauce, but you don’t actually end up tasting those flavors distinctly as they meld into everything else. Even O loved this!
Ramen

Another Asian winner from a recent Cooking Light was the Shrimp Lo Mein (recipe here) that came together incredibly quickly for a tasty work night dinner. We tweaked the veggies a bit to reflect what we had (zucchini, peppers and edamame) and it came together in less than 20 minutes. It’ll definitely be part of our weeknight rotation!

Lo Mein

Cooking Light often includes freezer friendly recipes, which is handy for a busy family like ours. When I have time to cook, I like being able to put something back in the freezer for busier times. There was a zucchini and black bean burrito recipe recently that looked tempting (here) and we tried it out. I was a complete FAIL on the burrito rolling front. I measured the filling so that it matched their directions but couldn’t get them to roll once filled. Maybe I had smaller tortillas? Regardless of their unwieldiness, the taste is good so I’ll just keep them in the freezer for dinners on busy nights rather than trying to transport them to work since they’re a bit messy. Darrell’s, which had chicken added and a little extra cheese, looked like tacos more than anything else, but even my veggie only versions wouldn’t close. I have reheated one of the frozen burritos, however, and the taste and texture are great so definitely try them but with bigger tortillas or less filling than the recipe suggests (or may just with more burrito-rolling dexterity than I have?).
Fail

What is your favorite source for new recipes? Try anything good lately?

PS Re-reading this, it totally reads like a Cooking Light ad but it isn’t – totally my own opinion. 🙂

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TotR: Dream Race Swag

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is Race Swag: What’s the best you’ve gotten, the weirdest you’ve gotten, the thing you’d wish you’d get. My first big race of the year is coming up May 15 at the Papillion Half Marathon. Last year, I was excited because we got a fairly nice bag with our shirt and race bib, as well as a coupon for free gelato (yum!). Somehow, I’ve never used either the bag or the gelato coupon though. Bummer.

Cute shirt but big! Need to remember to size down next year.

Cute shirt but big!

The most unusual collection of race swag I’ve received was at the Turkey Trot 5K I did in Arkansas a couple of years ago.

What an odd assortment!

What an odd assortment!

In the pink World Gym bag we got:

  • Grape juice
  • Jif to Go peanut butter
  • Small Clif bar
  • Atkins chocolate coconut bar
  • 4 plain Bic pens
  • Rectangular wooden pencil from Home Depot
  • Sample of dog treats
  • Sample of contact solution (?????)
  • Car air freshener (????)
  • Burt’s Bees lip balm (pretty excited about that one, honestly – love that stuff!)
  • Several coupons for local gyms & frozen yogurt

For most unusual collection of race swag, that’s definitely hard to beat. My favorite race swag is the stuff I’ll actually use, but this collection was maybe a little TOO practical. I should rephrase my favorite swag as stuff I’ll actually use TO RUN. 🙂

The Des Moines Half Marathon always gives us sample packs of Biofreeze, which are the perfect size to stick in your pocket for a long run. The Peak 2 Peak 10 mile race gives us running specific items each year, including a pair of socks one year and a water bottle with a built in mister last year.

My dream race swag? Hands down, park admission at a Disney park. Never happen, I know. I’ll settle for delivery of a Dole Whip to my room the afternoon after the race. Or maybe a discount on registration next year . . .

Thanks as always to Patty, Marcia and Erika for hosting our link up! What’s your favorite race swag?

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Camping misadventures & a good long run

I feel like every month, I look up and am suddenly at the last week of month with no clue how I got here. There are 6 days left in April, including today, and I’m 370 minutes short of my activity goal for the month (1800 minutes), which is totally doable, and the things left on my master list for this month are all attainable but I need to make this last week of good one. Know what else needs to happen the last week of April? My last long run for my training for the Papillion Half Marathon. 🙂 I love getting to the last long run before race day. This training cycle has been so laid back compared to my last two half marathon training cycles and I have REALLY enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed having a reason to get out and run more miles than I would have if I weren’t “training” but not having the sense of pressure I had with my last couple of training cycles. This has been a nice sort of active rest before I plunge into marathon training for the last half of the year.

Workouts

Monday – Rest day, unintentionally, but I did at least do some yoga and strength.

Tuesday – I intended to run hills, but the day got away from me. I still ended up with 52 active minutes according to the FitBit, so I was running around a lot!

Wednesday – I crammed in a 3 mile run on the treadmill between work and swim lessons, which meant I was more than a little sweaty when I ran into pre-K to fetch O for lessons. Hopefully no one minded too much. Any time I go more than a day between runs, I’m a little nervous about running again because I apparently forget VERY quickly that I am a runner. Whenever I start a run again after a couple of days off, there’s always this sense of relief that my running legs are still there, which is silly I know.

Thursday – Two tempo miles, with little over half a mile for warm up and then cool down. It was 4 pm and hot and I really didn’t want to run, but I made myself go out and do it anyway. I told myself I could adjust my intervals to 1:40/0:30 instead of my usual 2:00/0:30 in deference to the heat and you know what? My paces were 11:10 / mile, which is faster than last week’s normal 2 minute intervals. I’ve heard of other people having this experience too, with faster times with shorter run intervals. It is certainly interesting. I’ll try it again and see if it was just a fluke. My NSV for the week is allowing myself to sit down and watch TV for a while instead of cleaning out the pantry while I was home waiting for an IKEA delivery. I was taking the day off from work, after all, so a little moment of relaxation was a great gift to myself and one I have a hard time allowing myself.

Friday – I was supposed to run 3-4 miles but stayed too late at work and it never happened. One thing this training cycle has reinforced to me is the importance of early morning runs in my life. If I don’t do it first thing in the morning, odds go up HUGELY that it won’t happen at all. I need to keep that in mind when I get to the more serious marathon training this summer/fall. This week’s good deed was bringing in a bunch of food for the food drive at Oliver’s school. He really seems to be grasping the idea of what a food drive is for, which is good, and how fortunate we are in our little lives.

Saturday – I did something new for my long run today: I ran to tee ball practice. Normally, I just run a loop and come back home but I decided a point to point would be more interesting. I woke up early (and got to see the sun rise, which is always nice) and headed out to get in 11 miles before tee ball at 9. The tricky part of this plan was that it required me to run through a neighborhood where I always get turned around. I figured getting myself un-lost would just add to my mileage and I’d have less to make up once I got across to the park. It was a great run, partially because I didn’t get lost but mostly because I felt like I was taking it super easy and still my pace was 13:20/ish, which is more than reasonable for my long run since my race pace target is around 12:30 for this particular half marathon. Even more surprising, I was getting faster and it was feeling easier as I went along. Even low stress training pays off over weeks and weeks I suppose.

Sunrise

Saturday night, I got even more activity in as we headed out to the park to go tent-camping overnight with Oliver for the first time. We had a good time with s’mores and roasted marshmallows and all of that fun stuff. O taught his toy monkey to hula hoop and I taught O to play Bocce. Things went great until we were awakened at 4:30 am by a thunderstorm! I was worried about getting wet but then Darrell pointed out that we couldn’t stay in a tent with that much lightning. Duh. We decided to just load up and head back to town as we had planned on leaving around 8 am anyway. Oliver was such a trooper about it all and treated it as a big adventure to be hauled out of the tent in the dark. We gathered everything up and stopped at Village Inn for a really early breakfast on the way back in, laughing at how our first family campout turned out. Oliver still had a great time and we spent a lot of time napping Sunday as storms continued off and on all day. I’m grateful that we can laugh about our little misadventures.
Camping

Sunday – I had 4 miles on the training plan, originally to be run in the park where we were camping. That didn’t work out, obviously. I got dressed to go out Sunday afternoon but Darrell said no since we were again under a severe storm warning (and it did ugly – you were right dear, I should have stayed in). I ended up walking the 4 miles in the house as the storm raged around us. Better than nothing, I suppose. I also did some strength training.

This week, I’m heading to Baltimore for work, which required some reshuffling of my normal running week as Baltimore is one of the few cities where I don’t feel safe running alone in most areas. I’m not going to try to find a place for the last 11-12 miler while I’m there and would rather not run my last long run on a hotel treadmill (although that would be its own kind of mental training). I’m going to try to take tomorrow afternoon off and do it here, if it isn’t raining too badly. If it is storming again (a possibility per the forecast), then I guess I will be doing it on a treadmill in Baltimore when I get there Thursday. Otherwise, this last full week of training will include a hill workout (this is a really hilly course), a tempo run and some easy miles. Here’s hoping I finish feeling strong! My last two long runs have felt great, so I’m feeling confident about my ability to finish with a smile unless the weather gets too hot. Fingers crossed!

Have you ever gotten lost on a long run? While I didn’t get lost, per se, I will confess that I was totally surprised by where I came out when I got through that neighborhood! I was about half a mile further north than I was expecting to be.

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

weekly wrap up

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New goals this year for Earth Day

Oliver has been talking to me all week about Earth Day because they’ve been working on recycling all week. We’re good recyclers in our house and we try to be environmentally friendly as much as possible, but every year around this time I try to pick a couple of new goals. Last year, I added a recycling bin to my bathroom because I was throwing away a surprising number of things rather than walking them out to the recycling bin in the kitchen (lazy!). We of course also use our local Community Supported Agriculture program and try to buy locally as much as we can and grow veggies in our own garden. We’ve even taken up vermicomposting and have worms that eat our food scraps, so there’s not much garbage at all generated in our house.

March 2014 had us entering the world of worm farming (going strong by the way!).

March 2014 had us entering the world of worm farming (going strong by the way!).

This year, we’re adding a few extra things to our healthy-world routine:

  • Meatless meals once a week (usually Monday for the alliteration): It takes a lot of resources to raise meat for human consumption, so we’re trying to cut back. According to MeatlessMonday, it takes 11 times more energy to produce animal-based protein as it would an equal amount of plant-based protein. You can make a big impact by cutting back, even without completely eliminating animal proteins. We’ve been doing one vegetarian dinner most weeks since January and everyone has been really accepting of it, which is great.
  • Switching from foil to parchment paper for roasting: I roast veggies all the time and usually use foil to speed clean up. You can’t recycle foil here, so it just gets thrown away. What I didn’t think about until recently is the fact that the foil I throw away never really goes anywhere – it isn’t like its biodegradable. Parchment paper, however, is much more biodegradable and still gets me quick and easy clean up for veggies so I’ll definitely be making the switch for most things.
  • Switching to bar soap instead of liquid: I read an article that talked about how much more energy and resources go into producing liquid soaps rather than bar soaps, which makes sense now that I think about it from a packaging perspective, as well as a longevity perspective. A bar of soap lasts far longer than most bottles of liquid! Yes, I like the feel of liquid soaps but that isn’t a good reason to be adding to waste so I’ll make the switch for me (and hopefully convince my guys too!).
  • Recycle glass. Our garbage service doesn’t include glass in its routine recycling, but there are facilities here in town. We don’t have a ton of glass, but when we do we can clean it up and collect it for recycling. I’d guess we’d only have enough to fill a container a couple of times a year, so it won’t be much added work and will help cut back on our garbage a bit more.

Have you made any new healthy-earth goals this year? I’m expecting a big “Earth Day” craft from Oliver tomorrow given the amount of blue and green paint he’s been covered in all week. 🙂

 

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Book Review: Run to Lose (and some better options)

Earlier this year,  I bought the newish Runner’s World book Run to Lose (link FYI – no perks for me) because I thought their insights on the balance between running and weight loss – not the straight line we’d like it to be – might be interesting. I read it a while ago but have struggled about whether or not to say anything about it here because I hate saying bad things and yet I have to say, I wouldn’t recommend this. I continually get emails about the Run to Lose book and program from Runner’s World, so just in case you are too and are considering it, I thought it was time to share a bit.

Run to lose

On the plus side, Run to Lose is a very easy read. It’s quick and written like the average blurb and graphic filled article in your average health magazine. The problem, however, is that it is just as superficial as all of those magazine articles (and many magazine articles are in fact more in depth). There isn’t anything here you can’t find readily online or in other sources. It primarily focuses on beginner nutrition basics, with nothing more detailed or thoughtful about the needs of runners at various levels of training trying to maintain or lose weight. It has superficial coverage of a wide variety of diets in one chapter, but doesn’t actually draw any conclusions from those descriptions in terms of what might work best for runners. There’s a section at the end about emotional eating and other things that go into weight loss/gain, but not to any useful degree. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this so I’d ignore those emails from Runner’s World. How many times can I use superficial in one paragraph? Still – let’s you know how I really feel, right? 🙂

Eat to Peak cover

If you want to fuel your running better, manage your weight and get a better understanding of nutrition, I think both Eat to Peak and Racing Weight are better choices, particularly Eat to Peak (my reviews of both through the links). If you really want to work on the “whys” and mental aspects of weight loss, I found the Beck Diet to be incredibly helpful (Amazon link FYI). I still find myself going back to some of the Beck Diet exercises that helped me mentally deal the hows and whys of my weight gain and loss. Looking back, I’ve apparently never actually reviewed the Beck Diet here but I highly recommend it. It doesn’t recommend any particular diet and exercise strategy. Instead, it focuses on the cognitive aspects of weight loss, including changing self talk, evaluating motivations and tracking things that trigger your eating habits. I own it and re-read it any time I find myself straying too much – in fact, I think I may be overdue to repeat those exercises given how much I’ve gained in the last year.

I confess I was a little disappointed because I love Runner’s World as a magazine and love their cookbook, so expected more from their brand. I confess I was maybe also unrealistically expecting a magic bullet to the problem of weight gain while you’re training, since I’m looking at spending the back half of 2016 training for a marathon. 🙂

Have you ever found yourself disappointed in a book because you expected more from the author?

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2016 goal: Do I really want to train for a marathon?

This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic was a check in on 2016 goals, which I already wrote about a bit earlier this month here. Instead, today seems like a good to talk about a goal I’ve been tossing around in my head lately – do I want to run the Walt Disney World marathon in January 2017? Early registration opened today, with general registration next week so it’s time to decide.

When I first started considering the marathon, I told myself I’d see how my training went this spring before I decided on the marathon. Last fall with the training I was doing for the Des Moines Half Marathon, I developed some knee pain toward the end that cut some runs short. I turned out to have a good race without knee trouble, but definitely wanted to see if that reared its head again with this spring’s training before I decided on the marathon. So far, I haven’t had any injury or knee pain and I’ve got enough long runs under my belt this cycle to feel comfortable saying my body is handling this training well. Importantly, I’ve taken this training easy in terms of mileage and have rarely run 6 days a week like I did last fall.

I would use the Hal Higdon Marathon Novice 1 plan for training, picking up at the “half marathon” in that plan after the back to back half marathons of the I-35 challenge. I used Hal Higdon for my first 10K and my first half marathon. I like the straightforward building up of mileage, focusing on that gradual progression of miles. The maximum mileage would be 40 miles a week, just above the peak of 35 miles I did with half marathon training last fall. Can I safely do that mileage? I think I can if I’m smart about following the plan and keeping the runs easy. My goal in a marathon is just to finish, so I’m not going to worry about paces.

I’ve been thinking about this for months and reading lots of “are you ready for the marathon” articles like this one and this one and you know what? I think I am.

  • I’m not injured (and am in fact fairly injury free in my running life overall – KNOCK ON WOOD!)
  • While my life is never stress free, I at least shouldn’t have another huge grant to write between now and the marathon and my work schedule between now and then is actually pretty friendly for training. This is as low stress as I’m ever going to get, so now is as good as any time.
  • Is my lifestyle conducive to this? I’m actually more worried about training for the back to back half marathons, which will have me away from my family both Saturday and Sunday for a couple of hours at a time than I am the one long run of marathon training weekends. Of course, I’ll also be more tired than I’ve been with any other training cycle but Darrell is on board with this, even knowing that it’ll make me less effective on the parenting/wife-ing front for the fall. His agreement may be because he’s bribed with a cruise after the marathon and a chance to do Harry Potter worlds at Universal on the Saturday pre-marathon while I’m resting and getting ready.
  • I’ve been running for almost four years now and have 7 half marathons under my belt, so I’m comfortable running long distances, fueling, following a training plan and listening to my body. I know the marathon will stretch me beyond what I’ve done before, but I’m coming from a good base.
  • Most importantly, I think I can do this and I want to do it. That “want” is going to be really hard when I haul myself out of my house for a 20 mile run in December in Nebraska.

I’m in.

What have I done?!

 

Time will tell if this is a good idea or not. 🙂 This definitely informs a lot of my running goals for the rest of the year. I’ll need to focus on maintaining my fitness and building a good base of strength training during the off-time between the Papillion Half Marathon next month and the start of training in the later summer. I’ll need to be conservative in my runs for the I-35 challenge so that I build my endurance and my strength for those back to back half marathons, which will give me a good base for the marathon, without pushing too hard and injuring myself. Importantly, because that back-to-back half marathon race weekend falls in the middle of the marathon training, I have to be extremely careful about not pushing the pace during those races and derailing the marathon training still to come after that.

You know how I know this was the right decision? I pulled the trigger on registering a little over an hour ago and I don’t have that “What have I done?!” sense of panic yet. I’ve got this.

Thanks as always to Erika, Patty and Marcia for hosting Tuesdays on the Run!

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How did you decide when to tackle the marathon? Any advice for me?

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Survived breaking the running rules

One of the things you run across frequently in articles and blogs about running are the importance of avoiding back-to-back “hard” workouts if you want to avoid injury and burnout. I’ve probably even talked about it here. This week, I confess I totally violated that rule. After a week on call and then my big project at work, I didn’t get any runs at all in until Friday. What I SHOULD have done was just pick up the training plan as it was and run easy miles on Friday and Saturday and then my long run Sunday. I don’t have a time goal for this race so it isn’t worth risking injury to try to get in those hill repeats and tempo miles. Naturally, I talked myself out of that perfectly rational plan. Oops!

Workouts

Monday/Tuesday: No workouts because I was just too busy and too tired! I respected the need for rest. I was grateful however that I got this lovely little box of chocolates from a student who I helped with a last minute assignment:

Thank you

My NSV this week is the fact that I immediately shared these with everyone else rather than eating them myself and only allowed myself to have one carefully selected (and tracked!) treat. They were so cute!

Wednesday/Thursday: No runs, but I did get in some family walks and some strength training with Oliver in the living room one evening. I taught him burpees and he taught me squats. I wish I could be in his class to see a bunch of pre K kids doing squats! So cute!

Squats

Friday: I finally got out to run! I took a couple of hours off for some personal time after a busy week and got in 4.5 miles. Since I’d missed my hill workout on Tuesday, I decided I’d run all of the hills on the route, which ended up at 10+ hills. My legs felt it the next day! I also got to run on our neighborhood’s brand new sidewalk (which I was part of approving thanks to my role on the SID, which was cool). Looks like someone got out there before they wanted us on it! Oops! It wasn’t me I promise! I felt good to run again.

Fresh sidewalk

Saturday: I’d registered ages ago for a 5K on Saturday morning, so I decided to make that my 3 mile tempo run for the week (again, not a choice I’d recommend with hills on Friday and long run Sunday!). In deference to my Friday and Sunday workouts, I decided I’d just stick to my 2 minute run/30 second walk intervals I’ve been doing for races rather than focusing on a particular tempo pace. Those intervals got me to a 11:30/mile pace, which felt tough by the end (but the last mile was still my fastest!). More details on the race coming later this week.

Sunday: Long run day, which was definitely needed since I’d had the week before this off for call and the week before that, shorted my long run by a couple of miles. I targeted 11 miles and just worked on getting them done, not worrying about pace. My legs were definitely a little sore from hills and tempo miles after 10 days off! I had Darrell and Oliver drop me at the park since it was a lovely spring day and I wanted a change of pace from the neighborhood. There’s a big loop around the lake, so you just keep running until you hit your mileage point. I appreciate the break from worrying about picking up extra bits of miles on this road and that road like I do when I run in the suburbs. I was pleasantly surprised by how good these miles felt and that my pace was 13:15/mile even though I felt like I was taking it really easy. I definitely have a half marathon in me next month even after this lackadaisical training cycle. I did notice the heat as I got closer to noon, which reminded WHY I decided not to set a big time goal for spring half marathons any more: It’s just too hard to adjust to running in heat after training through winter!

Long run

My good deed this week was holding the broken port-a-potty door closed for another runner while we were out Sunday. They still haven’t opened the real bathrooms or turned on the water fountains in the parks here!

Oliver made me a “snack” after my run because I’d run lots of miles. 🙂

Snacks

I ended up at 18.5-ish miles for the week, which is shorter than I’d intended this week but reasonable all in all. I have two more long runs before a little taper and race day on May 15th.

Thankfully, my legs feel good despite breaking the “rules” this week. I promise not to make a habit of it. This week, I’ll stick a little more closely to the training plan to finish strong. Next week, I’m traveling to Baltimore so I’ll have to juggle things a bit to get my last long run in but all in all, I feel ready for a relatively painless and enjoyable half marathon next month. That’s really my only goal for the race (although if I beat my prior time on that course, it would of course be nice!).

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

weekly wrap up

What running rules have you broken in your training?

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Random thoughts and a couple of marathon questions from my fried brain today . . .

I still feel like every coherent thought has been wrung out of my brain. I definitely need to decompress! However, these confessions and random thoughts have been hanging in my brain as conversations with my invisible friends (aka you guys) all week so here they are, with no particular cohesion or theme:

I intentionally left a sink full of dishes on Tuesday night because I knew my husband would take care of them on his day off Wednesday. Would it have been nicer to take care of them so he didn’t have to on his day off? Absolutely. Oops. Feels better to confess that.

There’s a particular toilet in the Children’s Hospital that always leaks water and doesn’t flush well. I think of Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter every single time I accidentally chose that stall.

I own 5 different patterns of this dress from Land’s End. It has pockets, comfy fabric and the sheath structure I like so every time it goes on sale I buy one. I need to rein my dress habit in a bit.

Speaking of dresses, I’m LOVING Stitch Fix and even more surprisingly, Darrell is too. He rarely comments on my clothes but has talked quite a bit about the Stitch Fix goodies. In my two boxes so far, they’ve done a good job of taking my likes and needs into account and stretching my comfort zone just a bit. I love the sheath shape but had mentioned that I wanted to figure out how to wear belts in a flattering way, so I’m loving this sheath / slightly A line dress with a contrast stripe that is very belt like. Now I know that wearing a belt there would work on me! Can’t wait for my next box! (Also, don’t you love my oddly composed photo for you guys?)

Stitch fix

I have totally failed Oliver in the “stranger danger” talk. I let him go to the bathroom alone at Village Inn because I knew no one else was in there. When he got back, I asked him what he would do if someone he didn’t know talked to him in the bathroom. “I’d say hi to them.” You aren’t supposed to talk to strangers, buddy. “Strangers take people. And treasure.” I think he might be confusing pirates and strangers – time for a little remedial parenting. 🙂

One parenting thing I’m doing right: getting my kid as obsessed with the Hamilton songs as I am. There’s nothing like watching your four year old try to sing along with “The Room Where it Happens.” We’ve listened to this pretty much all the time for the last two weeks. Obsessed
I unexpectedly have open time tomorrow morning because I had two meetings get cancelled, so I’m taking the morning off to take a nice run and clear my head a bit. I may also attempt to remake that poor cake for Darrell’s office, but I’ll deliver it myself this time.

A couple of questions for the marathon runners out there: What do I need for a marathon that I wouldn’t already have for half marathons? Something bigger for water, since I usually just use a small handheld. A Garmin that has longer battery life. Which Garmin would you recommend? Anything else I need? My birthday is in July so I’ll be stocking with marathon goodies before my marathon training starts. 🙂

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Feeding things other than hunger

Yesterday, I finished up my part of a big project at work. The last push required a lot more mental effort than I was expecting (those things left until the last minute always do!) so I was wiped out by the end of the day. I had the Cooking Light slow cooker ramen already going in the slow cooker, but even the steps to finish that seemed like more work that I was capable of that evening. I was simultaneously mentally wired and exhausted from working all day. I wanted dinner out that I wasn’t responsible for and I REALLY wanted a glass of red wine.

I called Darrell and he was on board with that plan. Then I went to fetch my kiddo and was reminded that it was pajama day at school. There aren’t a whole lot of places I could think of with a glass of red wine and a dress code that allowed a four year old in the Perry the Platypus pajamas. Sadness. Village Inn it was. At least it was Kids Eat Free night and I got refills on my Diet Coke and I wasn’t cooking dinner.
Village inn

The problem is, those weren’t really the things I was craving. I was craving that glass of red wine and in trying to fill that “want” I ordered a tuna melt, which I had the calories for in my daily allowance and was enough outside my normal eating style that I thought it would fit that “special” feeling I was craving. It didn’t. It wasn’t what I really wanted. It just left me reflux-y because I’m apparently too old to eat raw onions at dinner.

We went home and did our usual evening routine. I was still feeling unsatisfied and we were out of wine, so I got myself a big bowl of fruit. I love a big bowl of fruit and it would feel good enough to fill that empty space, right? Nope.

Fruit

I also ate a chocolate I didn’t need and yogurt that didn’t fill the spot until Darrell went out and bought a bottle of red wine. I had a glass of wine and finally, felt settled. I talk about this, not because I’m an alcoholic (although I can see where you might have that concern) but because sometimes in our attempts to avoid the ONE thing we’re craving, we end up eating a ton of food we don’t really want or need. If you’ve got an urge for something that isn’t going away, maybe a small amount of that thing is better than all of the OTHER things you’re trying to have instead.

It’s a slippery slope, of course, especially for those of us who binge, but I’m working on learning to trust that urge and that I can stop with a small amount if I let myself honor that urge.

How do you differentiate between a craving you should honor and one you just let slide? For me, when I find myself in this position where I’m eating lots of other things and can’t distract myself from the craving, I’m actually at risk of binging on other things (I won’t lie – me and that fruit bowl got to that mindless, shoveling it in state). I need to figure out how to honor the occasional craving. This is a never-ending learning process.

PS – My kid drew the Martian Manhunter as his Folk Hero at Village Inn and this geek mom is pretty proud!

Martian manhunter

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What would I say to myself as a beginning runner?

This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic asks what advice we’d give ourselves as beginner runners, if we could go back in time. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say! Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting.

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I still vividly remember my very first run. The absolute first thing I’d tell new-runner me? GOOD FOR YOU! I’m still amazed I got out there and got started. I was over 250 pounds, it was AUGUST (who starts running in August?!) and I was woefully unprepared, but still I did it.

Other things?

  • Good sports bras are worth the money. I still remember the stretched out flimsy sports bra I wore for that first run (and far too many after that – for months!). Back then, I was 46DDD. I needed a serious sports bra and waited far too long to plunk down that money. Seriously the best money I spent on running.
  • The second best money? Get over the fear of the running store and get good-for-you shoes. Everyone has a different “right” shoe for their running. I was so intimidated by the running store that I put it off to start with and was SO NERVOUS when I did go. They were so helpful (check my first experience here) and the running store is definitely a happy place of mine now.
Worth the investment in time and $$!

Worth the investment in time and $$!

  • I promise no one is looking at you as harshly as you think they are. I knew I didn’t “look like a runner” and this made me self-conscious to run through my neighborhood and go to the running store and run races. Most people aren’t thinking of you or looking at you at all. Most of those who might notice you and think about you are thinking “good for you.” That sliver who might be thinking the worst? Who cares what they think.
  • The first mile? It’s always going to suck. That’s okay. It isn’t going to hold you back from tackling half marathons and race challenges and an impending marathon.

We might talk some more about things I learned in my first race and how to pick a first race. We might talk about reining it in a bit when we get too gung-ho about buying running stuff. You really don’t need so much stuff. 🙂 (Seriously check out all of the stuff around my waist in this race photo! I didn’t need to carry this much!)

I didn't get in line for the official photo in front of the castle, but there were photographers catching us in movement too (and videos!)

I didn’t get in line for the official photo in front of the castle, but there were photographers catching us in movement too (and videos!)

Mostly, I’d assure myself it was worth the work. Running has brought me stress relief and self-confidence. It has helped me a good role model to my kiddo. It has helped me meet some fabulous people through this blog. All in all, totally worth it. Good for you, new-me runner! Get out there and do it again!

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