A Little More Each Day

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

Weekly Wrap Up: A return of neck pain . . . And running hiatus

Good news, bad news.

Good news:

    • First half of last week was great in terms of my fitness goals! Lots of walks and a 9-interval running workout.
    • I stayed on track with my food choices all week despite lots of travel. I made good choices and tracked everything, including some indulgences.

Healthy choices on the roadA healthy room service breakfast left room for yummy lemon cake!

  • I didn’t let the stress of travel throw me off plan!

Bad news:

  • During that run Wednesday, my neck pain came back with a vengeance – and has stayed. It hurt worse than it has since February and still hurts. Even worse, I also had an increase in my thumb pain, which means this wasn’t just muscular. The nerve was irritated again too.
  • The neck pain freaked me out so much that I was pretty much a slug for the last half of the week. Food choices were good, but my step counts and workouts were minimal.

I’ll admit, the neck pain got me down and there were some cookies that weren’t tracked on Memorial Day. However, Tuesday I was right back on the horse, weighing in and tracking again. I’m beyond frustrated with this neck pain, but I knew this was a possibility. The physical therapist seemed wary of me trying to run at all because of the impact and inflammation. Turns out she was right – at least for now.

I’m re-evaluating my summer plans. No more running for a couple of months – I’ll try again in the fall if the summer goes well. However, without running, I’m going to need to find something that keeps me moving. I need something that gives me the “training for a race” level motivation to keep moving, even if what I’m doing is stationary bike, elliptical and walking. It is amazing the number of things that involve stress to your neck! Biking on the road is out for a while, as is swimming. I’ll have to find fun in low impact things for a while. On the plus side, I have time to finally get good about strength training. Maybe I can work on coming up with a plan and a sticker chart. I’m super motivated by a sticker chart.

I need to view this as an opportunity to try something new and to avoid running in the heat of summer. Always a bright side. 🙂

Also a bright side for me? A date with myself Thursday night for Wonder Woman!!

Wonder Woman!!I am ridiculously excited about this movie!!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our weekly wrap up! Next week’s weekly wrap up will hopefully include reports of two strength workouts, walks every day and good food choices.

How do you stay motivated to keep moving through an injury?



Weekly Wrap Up: Slowly but surely!

Slowly but surely I’m getting back on track!!

This week, I met most of my goals from last week:

  • Run two times: Done! I did two sets of 7 intervals (30 second run/2 minute walk). It feels so nice to be back to running again that I’m tempted to run longer, but I know slow and steady is the name of the game here to be safe with my neck. Every workout I get through without any neck/arm pain feels like a big win though!
  • Four mile long weekend walk: Technically, I did this (well most of it – 3.5 miles) but I combined it with  one of my run workouts. I did a five minute warm up walk, my 7 run/walk intervals and then walked to finish out my miles. Ideally, these would be separate but I slipped in the rain Saturday and couldn’t work out at all that day so I screwed up my schedule. 😦
  • Continue tracking: Done and rocking the tracking! Know what I’m really proud of? Mid-week (Wednesday-Thursday) I was down to 222, which is 9 pounds down from my re-gain high. Over the next two to three days I floated back up to 225, probably due to fluid given how quickly it happened and some saltier than usual food. Over the last year, any time I’ve noticed that kind of regain after a half-hearted attempt at righting the ship  I’ve said “screw it” and gone back to eating however I want. This week, not so much. I tracked the number and kept right on tracking my food. I really feel like I’m settling back into my groove with my food and tracking!
  • Thirty minutes of exercise a day: Other than Friday, where I just got too immersed in work to do it (or let myself get immersed, rather) and Saturday when I was babying my aching knee in hopes of getting a workout in on Sunday, I hit this mark every day!

Lots of wins for the week! That’s a great feeling after feeling this sense of unsteadiness with my eating and my workouts for the last couple of months. Between guilt about my weight gain and my neck injury, I got totally off kilter. It feels good to get back to “normal.”

The things that are helping are no-brainers, really.

  • I’m waking up earlier. If a workout isn’t done in the morning, it doesn’t get done.
  • I’m prepping lunches and dinners ahead of time (and pre-tracking!).
  • I’m loading up on fruits and veggies and water. Duh.

Veggie-full soupMy lunch this week will be this veggie-full chicken soup!

Why did those things, which seem so obvious now, fall off my radar? Who knows. I know it will be easy for me to fall out of these habits again if I’m not careful, so I’ll keep tracking everything and setting goals here every week so I can navigate summer temptations. I’ve got vacation and the temptation dairy free ice cream (a wonderful and dangerous discovery) to balance after all, along with weather that’s hot enough to make workouts seem like the worst idea EVER.

My goals for this week:

  • Make healthy choices at work dinners: I have two work dinners this week, as well as a breakfast/lunch out of town where I’m going to give a lecture. Restaurants are no excuse for bad choices. Lean proteins, veggies sides and coffee instead of dessert are all strategies I used before and can easily adopt again.
  • Fruit and veggies are my friends for my road trips: I’m driving down to Kansas City for the lecture I’m giving and will bring along fruits and veggies for snacking on the way. No need to just inhale grapes – I can mix in some sugar snap peas too.
  • Two running workouts: Up to nine intervals now! Woo hoo! I’m staying safe and sticking to the plan.
  • Thirty minutes a day: Trying again, with including the workouts in my schedule instead of relying on chance. Plan for success!

Wish us luck this week as we navigate the last week of kindergarten! Excitement is running HIGH in that classroom (poor teacher!) and it’s trickling over to lots of bad sleep for O at home.  Transitioning in and out of the structured school schedule is going to be a whole new challenge for us!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia (and Wendy!) for hosting our wrap ups!

Any big plans to kick off summer now that school is winding down?


Wonder Woman!!

Anyone else kicking off summer with Wonder Woman? 🙂


Finding time for self-care

I found myself mentally drafting this post, about how important it is to find time to take care of ourselves in the midst of life’s chaos, during a super-relaxing facial last week.

Then I realized I’d completely spaced on a work commitment for the evening, that someone else had to cover at the last minute because I was off my game.


Regardless of this “oops”, I still think self-care is totally worth it and very important. In fact, it is especially important because I’ve been running in circles so much I don’t know up from down!

How am I finding time for self-care lately?

  • Small things count: I may not have time to lounge in the tub, but I can put an aromatherapy tab in the shower with me to have a couple of spa moments in the morning.
  • Do double duty: Time is precious, so make the most of it!
      • The facials started because I’m almost 40 and I’m not great about making time for routine skin care. I get an hour to relax and it seems to be helping my skin too. I’m also a big fan of the new skin care sleeping masks, where I just put them on before bed and wake up with better skin. Yes, I am so lazy that the extra step of washing a normal face mask feels like too much. Even if the overnight masks aren’t REALLY helping that much (who knows), I FEEL like I’m being indulgent and that counts. Win win!
      • Last weekend, I went to the paint and wine place here in town to paint a picture. Two hours of fun and relaxation for me and the finished product of the painting: the Mother’s Day gift I’ll give me mom. One less thing to shop for!


    • I may not have time to read as many books as I like, but I spend a lot of time in the car. My Audible subscription is money well spent to help me feel like I’m indulging my love of reading, but there are also lots of options from the library.
  • Get outside: Speaking of the car, I avoid it if I can, to get in a walk outside. Fresh air always does good things for my mood and taking a walk during the middle of the day always feels like an indulgence. Couple that with the fact that it avoids the stress of driving in traffic and I’ve got another win win!
    • Just taking a step outside for some fresh for a minute or two can be a huge relief, even if I don’t have time for a walk.

The biggest thing I’ve done this month in regards to self-care is to TALK ABOUT IT more openly than I normally do. We want to pretend that we can do it all without taking that pause for ourselves. Maybe some people can. I technically can I suppose . . . but I’m happier if I don’t. I’m a better worker and mom and wife and Jessica if I don’t try to do it all without taking these little moments of self-care. Let’s admit that we need to take care of ourselves and most importantly, that it is OKAY to make space in our minds and our schedules to make self-care a priority.

By talking about it, not only can we strategize ways to make it work (no matter how important it is, let’s be real – it’s tough to fit in), but we also make it easier for others feel like it is okay to prioritize themselves. Someone called to ask if I’d present an award at graduation in her place last week because she needed to prioritize some self care needs and knew I’d understand. Like so many things, this is a group effort! I was happy to cover so she had a night off.

My favorite self-care from last week was going to kindergarten field day. No, watching my kid kick a ball and twirl a hula hoop wasn’t self care. That was momming. Know what made it self care for me? A large flavored coffee. A little thing, but just enough to shift my mindset to “me time.” I spent an hour and a half drinking my coffee and watching O play, enjoying a gorgeous day, before I returned to writing assessment plans, grants, lectures and everything else I had to do to catch up. It was a lovely day – even if the juggling to get that done with my work day was a little chaotic.
Field day

That large flavored coffee made me late to field day. I missed Duck, Duck, Goose.

It was totally worth it.

How do you fit in self-care in a busy life?



Weekly Wrap-Up: Old lady injuries

Oh you guys, I am getting old. My knee is killing me thanks to dancing too much at graduation Friday night. Why did I think I could keep up with all of those young people? LOL!

In my defense, I was riding high on the joy and gratitude for winning a teaching award. 🙂 It’s always nice to have your work appreciated!

Looking back at the goals I set last week, I did pretty well.

  • I tracked all of my food, even the free sangria I was given on Mother’s Day (much appreciated!).
  • I drank lots of water every day.
  • I walked 30 minutes every day (and felt so good!).
    • Bonus workout: An hour of ill-advised dancing Friday night.
  • I ran once (okay, not twice, but still got in 7 intervals and felt good afterwards!).
  • I got significantly caught up at work. Now I’m only behind on two big projects – much better. LOL!
  • Family time! Oliver and I had a great Mother’s Day, with a jaunt to the hotel, breakfast together, a trip to the zoo and our favorite sushi for lunch.

NapsThe zoo wore him out, but I embraced the sleepy cuddles. I know he’ll outgrow that before I’m ready.

Oliver was SO excited about our weekend together. I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Saturday morning and when I got home, Oliver had our luggage waiting for me.
MisadventuresAs soon as we got to the hotel, Oliver immediately busied himself unpacking per usual. Out of the suitcase came four board games, four stuffed animals, a gold doubloon and a medal. Missing? Toothbrush, toothpaste and underwear. Gotta love little boys. They have priorities. We played all four games but I never did figure out what the medal and doubloon were for.

What’s up this week? Building on this momentum! I feel like bit by bit, I’m taking baby steps back to where I used to be.

  • Run two times (7 intervals each time): One already done on Monday!
  • Four mile walk on the weekend: Long weekend walks were part of my original plan to ease back into running that I’ve forgotten about over the last few weeks of family chaos.
  • Continue this tracking momentum: Since tracking everything for the last 8 days, my weight is down 7 pounds. Is a lot of that water? Sure – but I’ll ride this momentum as far as I can to get back into the rhythm of this.
  • Continue 30 minutes of exercise a day, even with two 7 am meetings this week and a big grant deadline.

When did you realize you were getting “old”? I’m not sure if it was the sudden (and persisting!) knee pain while I was dancing Friday night or the fact that I didn’t know several of the songs the DJ played, but I definitely felt my almost 40 years this weekend.

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




Weekly Wrap-Up: Off the road for a bit . . .

I’m finally done traveling for a bit! I don’t have a work trip until August (other than one overnight to Kansas City) and have done my duty with my family in Louisiana for a while. Last week was rough with travel to DC and then to Louisiana for the funeral! Food choices were abysmal, but let’s focus on the positive:

  • Lots of walking, including intentional walking time every day last week
  • Another run without any recurrence of my neck pain!

Park Honestly, heading out for a muggy little run in the park on the morning of the funeral was the best antidote to all of the crazy of last week. It was just the reminder I needed to get back into a healthier mindset now that I’m home and feeling like I’ve got a little space to breathe again.

This week, my food choices have already been better by leaps and bounds! I’ve restarted tracking with points on Weight Watchers, rather than the Simply Filling plan, and I’ve found it surprisingly easy (for all of three days) to get back into the habit of owning everything I’ve eaten. I’m not naive enough to think it will stay this easy, but for now, I’m going to celebrate every good day and try to string a few more of them together. I shouldn’t be letting things like stress and travel throw me off this much – for years I managed all of this! I think I’ve just gotten so much busier at work that I haven’t made the mental space to really deal with my eating and my weight. Here’s hoping that this week’s “new attitude” sticks around for a little longer so I can build some momentum.

Goals for this week:

  • Run X 2 (moving up to seven run intervals!)
  • Walk 30 minutes every day I don’t run (doing okay so far!)
  • Track everything I eat (even that sheet cake I ate but should have skipped yesterday)
  • Drink water! (Last week was all about the large Sonic Diet Dr Peppers)
  • Get my head back on straight. Emotionally, I’m fine with my grandmother’s passing. She was 80 years old and had a full life. I’m more worried about my mom dealing with all of the logistics, but that won’t require as much hands-on assistance from me or as much mental effort as it isn’t in my wheelhouse like the medical stuff was. I had a responsibility to “fix it” with the medical issues of the last month, but don’t feel the same need to do that with the legal and financial issues that are coming now. Other people can help with that. I need to focus on getting back on track at work, and most importantly, with my family.
  • Get reconnected with my family: I had lunch with O Monday, am going to field day on Friday and am spending the night in a hotel with O on Saturday night so we can have lots of time to cuddle, play and have room service. 🙂 My kiddo loves hotels, so we’re going to celebrate Mother’s Day with just the two of us and no normal household responsibilities. O is super excited (as is Darrell, who also gets the weekend off in this deal!). I’m also planning a date night with Darrell next weekend, if we can arrange a babysitter.

What are your Mother’s Day plans? I’m mostly interested in someone else feeding me all day and doing ZERO chores all day.

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




Easing back into running

Now that spring is here I’m itching to get back to running, but my last visit with my PT has me rethinking my original plan of diving into a Couch to 5K program.
Do you really have to run?
 Big question, right? Technically, no, but really – I’d like to. Her concern is with the impact on my probably still fragile cervical disc. The neurosurgeon said it would be a year before it had fully healed. Does that mean I can’t run at all? She didn’t say that, but did say that I should take it slow and keep it minimal during this year. She also suggested other exercises, at which point I got to demonstrate how UNcoordinated I am on the elliptical. She didn’t believe me when I said I couldn’t really do it until I showed her. She couldn’t put her finger on exactly where I was going wrong, but agreed I was definitely going wrong!
I promised no big or long running this year and to take it easy, watching for any sign of my symptoms returning. As much as I want to run for my sanity and my weight management, I never want to go through this herniated disc nonsense again.
In the sense of finding a balance, I’ve decided on this approach:
No more than 2 run workouts a week, to give me plenty of time between to notice if there’s any inflammation or any problem.
– No plans for anything longer than 5K distance or anything with speed work, hills, etc. Short easy running!
– No plans for continuous running. My goal is to keep to run walk intervals for the next year, until I’m further out from this injury.
What is that actually going to look like?
1-2 workouts a week, starting with 30 second run/2 minute walk and increasing the number of rounds of that from 5 to 15.
– If I can handle 15 rounds (about 40 minutes) of those intervals, then I’ll start increasing the run intervals up to 60 seconds (gradually) but still keep a significant walk break (no less than 90 seconds).
– Keeping up my long walks on the weekend (4 miles) and my strength training for my arm.

PT supplies

 I’ll be thrilled if I can get back to even a little running and tolerate it without injuring myself! If I notice any problems at all, I’ll stop. There are other ways to keep my sanity and my fitness. I’m not going to injure myself, I promise, even though there is a part of me that fears I’ll never really get back to running “seriously” (as seriously as this middling-slow girl was) again.
Anybody else absolutely incapable of using exercise equipment? I’ve had treadmill fails too! I’m just not the most coordinated in any aspect of life I’m afraid.



Weekly Wrap Up: Highs and Lows

This is a chaotic phase in my life. After my trip to Louisiana, we transitioned my grandmother to hospice care and she passed away this weekend. I’m glad that she is resting now and this is over for her. Death causes a lot of angst for families, both in terms of logistical issues (traveling to Louisiana again, in the midst of back-to-back work trips) and in dealing with the emotional aspects of funerals and loss. My mother, bless her heart, is particularly squirrel-y about funerals, so there is going to be lots of reassuring required.

AlligatorI haven’t spent this much time back in gator country since I moved away 20 years ago!

It’s also causing lots of angst for my personal little family. I was out a week ago for several days to deal with issues in Louisiana. This week, I’m out of town today and tomorrow in DC for a meeting and then leave again Wednesday morning to go down for the funeral. O would miss too much fun stuff at school for him to come with me (and I’m going to miss the kindergarten musical and his first track meet!!) but I hate being away this much.

This blurry photo is kiddie hurdles! Kiddie track practice is awesome!

Today, I got called here in DC because he was in the principal’s office sobbing because he thought I was coming to have lunch with him. I’m having lunch with him NEXT Monday to celebrate me being home, but that timeline was confusing for a kindergartener. We were both heartbroken for a while today. He seems to have recovered faster than me, particularly now that he knows I’ve sent a working-mom-guilt gift that will arrive tomorrow (complete with clearance from me to watch it – a movie – on a school night, even though that’s usually a TV-free time!). I’m really grateful that we’ve got family vacation coming up where we can spend so much time together that we’ll be sick of each other. PS Don’t worry – That Monday lunch date next week is happening because I’m taking a long overdue day OFF just for me after all of this!

Last week, I got in several walks, one run interval workout and hit my target of eating loads of fruits and veggies most days. Definite win! Saturday, things fell apart a little between a road trip in the rain (I brought Darrell and Oliver with me down to Missouri for a short work trip Friday & Saturday) and some stress eating due to my grandmother’s passing. I know that this coming week, with all of the Southern funeral food, is going to be a challenge. I’m going to focus on what I should be eating – 5 fruits, 5 veggies, lots of water – rather than all of the things I shouldn’t because let’s be honest – those “shouldn’t eats” are going to be hard to avoid at a Southern funeral. I’m also going to focus on lots of activity, including my two planned running interval workouts for the week and getting started with the Healthy Habits Happy Moms Walk This Way Challenge (30 days, free, here for more info). I’m going to check today’s 30 minute walk off of my list as soon as I finish here!

So, with the funeral coming this weekend, I’m not going to Cincinnati to attempt walking back to back 10K-5K within the time limits or to cheer on the awesome Meg in her marathon run. I know Meg will be awesome! If I can’t come, I’m at least going to help come up with lots of suggestions for signs for the cheering crew that is going. Share your favorites below and I’ll pass them along!

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our link up! Here’s hoping that after this crazy phase in life, I’ll be able to get back on track with some actual workouts to report.

What’s your favorite race sign?