Archive for September, 2010

Where is the ice cream?

You might remember me proclaiming I’m quitting ice cream a while back.

Wondering how I’m doing on that?

For the most part, really good.  The beginning was rough.  I still had ice cream here and my thoughts reminded me of what I said to myself when I attempted  to quit smoking ages ago…”Well, I’ll finish after this pack is gone, no sense in wasting money.”

And so it became “I’ll finish when this ice cream is gone, no sense in wasting money.”

The thing is, the real moment which matters isn’t at home, it’s at the grocery store.  Being able to NOT put the ice cream into my cart is all that matters.  If I don’t have ice cream at home, then I won’t eat it very often.

So I didn’t buy any.  I instead chose a mango sorbet which is lovely and which doesn’t cause me to enter some sort of eating contest mode where I shove as much into my mouth as possible.  The sorbet took the edge off, but it wasn’t ice cream and boy oh boy did my body know it!

I swear to you I went through a sort of withdrawal.  I didn’t get the shakes, but I certainly went through a period where my mind tried to convince me I NEEDED it.

And then one day I just forgot about it.  Magically.  I even forgot to eat the mango sorbet.  I even forgot to walk longingly past the ice creams in the grocery store.  I forgot to replenish my  mango sorbet.

All this has happened in the past three weeks and I’m quite pleased with the progress.  I have eaten ice cream while out (a scoop comes free with my meal at a restaurant I frequent nearby which is literally the best deal around, soup, salad and a meal and ice cream for like 6 bucks.  I eat the soup and salad and box up the meal for the next night…. anyway).  I ate that scoop and it was ok.  I didn’t have any more ice cream available to me so it wasn’t a major issue, but I did crave more and that tells me ice cream at home is likely a no-no for the foreseeable future.

I will always wonder what it is about ice cream that makes my body go crazy with cravings, but I’m totally going to work at maintaining a distant (but loving) relationship with the stuff.

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Oh, the agony

As a girl, I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to that “unmentionable” time of the month. (Yes guys, this is your cue to ignore this post.)

Even when I first got my period, it never came more than ever 3 months or so.  Sure, it didn’t come with any sort of real regularity, but who would complain about every 3 months?  Not me.  As I gained weight, my period dwindled to 2-3 times per year which became slightly worrying.  I mean, sure it’s great and all but I *can* still have kids, right?  Right?

See, I tried the whole getting pregnant thing for a good six months once.  It didn’t happen.  Whether it just wasn’t meant to be or if I truly wasn’t ovulating, I’ll never really know but I do know one thing:  I’ll never forget reading how being overweight can affect your periods and your ovulation.  It echoed a day when a certain gynecologist of mine had lectured me about my weight, made me feel stupid, and then gave me some birth control pills to “tide me over” until my real ones could come in…. though those pills, he warned, weren’t meant for a girl my size.  They had low amounts of hormones which just wouldn’t work effectively on my mass, see?

I cried after that gynecologist visit and I cried the day I realized my weight could be causing my difficulties in getting pregnant.

Why am I telling you all this?  It’s relevant, I swear.

As I’ve lost the weight, my periods have slowly become more regular.  At first they just went back to every 3 months or so and now… strangely enough, it seems every 3 months isn’t enough.  My new (and fantastic) gynecologist is seriously happy about this.  (I sometimes think it’s a total pain in the ass, I mean, think about it… if you hadn’t gotten your period every stinking month until you were 32… wouldn’t you think it was just the biggest pain?)

Now here’s the real issue.  I have years upon years of buildup which now equals painfully heavy periods.  Painfully heavy.  Ridiculously heavy.  Cramps so bad I want to curl up in a ball and suck my thumb.  (I do curl up in a ball, I do not suck my thumb.)  It’s pretty debilitating at times.  I work in a high school, I can’t abandon my students when I feel like things need tending to.  I can’t pause class and curl up to let the bad cramps pass and I certainly can’t let the pain and hormones show in my personality.

So, by the time I got home tonight… I was exhausted.  I had a headache.  All I wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep.  Had I not had those horrible runs last week and a six mile run looking at me this week, I likely would have gone and taken a nap.  Well, ok, let me restate that:  Had I not had the horrible runs last week and a 15k coming up at the beginning of November, I likely would have gone and taken a nap.

I didn’t, though, and I managed to eek out 40 minutes though not at as fast of a pace as I’d have liked (but I’m totally still counting it as a win).

My heart rate was up there so I know I was working hard and I’m loving that calorie burn.  I don’t necessarily feel tons better physically than I did before the run but I do feel a whole lot better mentally.

I also feel a whole lot better knowing (as this period comes a mere 5 weeks after the previous one) that my body is happy with what I’ve been doing.  My IBS is practically non-existent, my allergies are more under control now than ever before, my hormones seem to be regulating…. and my body seems to like it.

All in all, not a bad life.

I love Saturdays

Seriously, can it get any better?

I always intend to sleep in a bit on Saturdays, especially now that the weather is cooler and I’m not trying to beat the heat for my run.  However, it just seems as though I can’t contain my excitement and I’m awake even before my alarm would go off on a week day. 🙂

Today’s run: a mere 3 miles per my training schedule.  Last week was my epic 5 (which the Garmin ate) and next week will be a fantastic 6.

I’ve noticed my stride is a bit messed up after attempting to run on the treadmill Thursday (another epic fail which makes two horrible runs this week).  I tried not to stress about it as I seemed to initially get better and THEN make things worse if I concentrated on it too much.

And, in case you want to know what I look like at 5:45 am while I’m waiting for the sun to rise so I’m not running around in the dark (which I totally used to do until a number of people yelled at me about the horrible things which happen to women that early in the morning).

Still sporting my bondiband (still love, love, love it) and with a newly acquired vest for mornings such as this one where it’s too chilly for a t-shirt and yet much too warm for a sweat shirt.  It’s a cheapo vest bought for a tiny amount of money as a practice run on if I’ll like wearing such things.  I think I’m giving the whole vest idea a thumbs up.

I found myself craving some gloves as my hands ended up being the only part of my body cold… anyone out there know of good gloves for that sort of thing?  Do I need special ones or will any old pair of gloves do?

And for breakfast this morning: Peanut Butter Waffles courtesy of The Non-Dairy Queen.

Yup, that’s a tractor plate.  Don’t. Judge. Me.

The waffles were good, not quite what I was expecting but pretty healthy all things considered.  I topped them with some real maple syrup – which ended up being too much sugary taste which sorta put a damper on the whole thing.  I will probably make them again and just top them with some mashed banana or something.

So there you have it, a fantastic Saturday morning, complete with pumpkin spice coffee (which I bought at the store and made after a LOT of Twitter talk about pumpkin spiced lattes and which, I can assure you, are likely one million times better than my coffee, which sorta sucks).

I can’t wait to have some good week day runs this week and go for those 6 miles next Saturday!

Oh my.. what have I done?

Sometime in what seems like the distant past (likely 6 weeks ago), I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 5K in Chicago.

Seriously, what could be better than running another 5k and then following it up with some chocolate?

(Do you really need time to think about that?  I think not.)

As my running has improved drastically in the past few weeks I’ve found myself growing more and more excited about this 5k.  I keep setting new time goals for myself and trying to figure out what is realistic for me.  Last week I felt pretty sure this would be an opportunity to improve my time by an astronomical amount.  My first 5k I came in just under 42 minutes.  My goal for the Hot Chocolate 5k?  Well, I’m thinking I could do it in 36 minutes, possibly less.

So, enter this past Saturday when I ran 5 miles and felt fantastic afterwards.  In fact, when I finished I thought “I could have run 6” which is, well, pretty amazing.  And so, I spent Sunday agonizing over a small thought which popped into my head:  Should I try for the 15k on November 6?

Let me tell you, I agonized.  All day Sunday I felt restless and nervous.  I even went for a long walk to try and clear my head.  I dug up the training schedule I’m currently working with to see what my mileage that day would be… and the result was 10 miles.

I Twittered, I posted on Facebook, I even sent texts to my dear sister asking if I should do it… if I should take the plunge.

And then, after reassuring myself everything would be ok… I took the plunge and wrote the email asking if I could change my registration.

Monday came and I had that horrible run and to be honest, I felt relieved I hadn’t heard anything back about upping my race to the 15k.  I mean, there’s no need to push it, there will be more chances for long races in the future.  Tuesday comes and I’m quite relieved not to have heard from them, it likely means my email will be ignored and I’ll be having a GREAT time running a 5k.  Easy.

Then last night, quite unexpectedly, the email appeared.  Now, I’d just sent a query asking if it was possible to change my registration and so I half anticipated some reply such as “yes it is possible, please let me know if you intend to do so yadda yadda yadda”.  I guess with up to 30,000 participants, that kind of personal attention is impossible because… well.. here is the email I got:

You know that feeling you used to get when you were little and you’d done something naughty and there was a slight instant when you KNEW you were going to get caught… you know, right before your Mom started yelling?

Yeah, that’s the feeling I got when I read that email.

It’s like… a done deal.

So yeah, I’m freaking out a bit because Monday’s run knocked down my confidence.  Plus, there are a million things I need to figure out between now and then (wardrobe, garmin/no garmin, hydration, etc) which I have no clue how to start figuring out. Oh, and you know, the fact that I’m going to run 9.3 miles.

I can do this.  I know I can.  I’m scared, but I can do it.  I’m afraid, but I can do it.

And when I do manage to cross that finish line… I’m pretty sure I’m going to have an epic tearfest.  I pretty much get one any time I think about the race in general.

So yeah, if anyone out there has any advice on what to wear, garmin/no garmin, hydration, etc… I could use it!  And… you know… if you want to give me some “you can do it’s” those would be appreciated too.

Pumpkins…pumpkins everywhere!

Seriously, I’ve been dying to get my hands on some pumpkin.

Everyone seems to be talking about pumpkin overnight oats, which just about makes me shiver with glee.  I mean, I love pumpkin… or at least, I love pumpkin pie.  Hmm, maybe that’s not quite the same thing.

I’ve tried for two weeks in a row now to get my hands on some canned pumpkin at the grocery store.  No luck.  I swear.  I’ve searched the entire store from top to bottom.  I can find pumpkin pie filling (you know, it’s got loads of goop already in it and is sky high in calories I certainly don’t need) but not actual pumpkin.  I know they make it, I’ve bought it before!  It’s simply nowhere.

As I walked through the produce aisle this week I saw some baking pumpkins.  They’re so small and adorable that I couldn’t help but pick one up… and doing so jogged a memory of reading a blog post somewhere (the danger of reading so many blogs) about making your own pumpkin puree.  And this is how I walked out of the store with a $0.99 baking pumpkin.

It turns out, making your own puree is just as easy as it sounds.  You bake the thing, take the baked pieces and put them through your food processor.  (There was a lot of babble about taking out excess water from the pumpkin and I worried about this as it’s totally the type of step I usually omit because it’s tedious work… Some may want to do so if they’re using it for pies or something but for my purposes, it wasn’t ridiculously watery or anything.)

You know how some people can effortlessly cut open a huge object like a pumpkin or spaghetti squash without it being a huge production?  I am not one of those people.  I think those people have better knives than I do.

Scraping out the innards…. not as fun as I remember it being when carving pumpkins as a child… though the goo is just as slimy and squishy as I remember.

See how little this cutie is?  Seriously.  Soo cute.  Into the oven at 350 for an hour.

I didn’t even check on them at all.  I just baked them for the entire hour and then took them out when the timer went off.  They’d turned this gorgeous deep orange color and I had to taste a bit of baked pumpkin as I couldn’t remember if I’d ever had it before… and it turns out… I genuinely enjoy pumpkin; just plain pumpkin, nothing on it, no sugar or spices… it’s good stuff!

After the pumpkin cools enough (naturally I refused to wait) you peel the skin off, using a knife to aid the process (I now have burnt fingertips  because of my impatience).  Then you chunk it up and put it through a food processor.

And then you have pumpkin.  It’s not as dense as in the can (mostly due to the water issue) and apparently the water issue isn’t hard to resolve.  Simply place some coffee filters in the bottom of a strainer, put the strainer in a bowl, put the pumpkin in the strainer and leave in the fridge overnight.  As I’m not making pie, I’m skipping this step.

First thing I did?  I made up some pumpkin overnight oats complete with pumpkin pie spice, extra cinnamon and a tiny bit of maple syrup.  I’m pretty sure it’s going to be epic.

I also decided to roast the pumpkin seeds, fishing them out of the goop is… interesting.  I’d never done it before.  I felt like a kid playing in slime.  🙂

All in all I got 5 cups of puree from one tiny pumpkin for $0.99.  If I like the pumpkin overnight oats, I may buy quite a few more, do them up and freeze them…. no more searching for canned pumpkin.

From epic triumph to epic failure

I shouldn’t be surprised

Running is like this… one brilliant triumph to get you loving it again followed by a heart-wrenching failure to knock your ego  back down.  Yesterday’s run sucked.  I didn’t even finish.  I couldn’t make myself finish.  I ran for 15 minutes taking two walk breaks.

Yeah, that totally sounds like someone who ran 5 miles on Saturday, doesn’t it?

I don’t know what happened.  It could be my hormones.  It could be my mind set (it WAS the day I had to add 10 minutes to my harder runs).  It could have been my body wasn’t rested enough from Saturday’s run.  It could even have been the weather: the sun came out after the rain and I was shocked to find the temperature had risen another 10 degrees in the 20 minutes I was gone from my house.  An unexpected 86 degrees is an unexpected 86 degrees.  The humidity was awful.  I got dehydrated in two seconds.  Maybe it was all of the above.

After 15 minutes, I walked the rest of the way to my car, got in, downed about 30 ounces of water and headed home.  It left me in a funk all night.

As I tried to cheer myself up, I realized Thursday’s run will likely have similar conditions.  The weather has taken a swing for the warmer, it’s likely to rain all week and I’m pretty sure I’m just going to take Thursday’s run to the treadmill if the weather is even remotely muggy.

Grrrrr.

In other news… I’ve actually been avoiding the scale lately, convinced I’ve gained weight.  See, I run a lot, then I eat a lot and then I’m sure I’ve eaten too much when really I’ve just listened to my body.  Last night I thought about the scale and swore I’d weigh myself this morning.  I promised no matter how bad it was I’d take it like a (wo)man, start journaling my food again, and get back on track.

So this morning I stepped on the scale, cringed, and looked down: 169.0

Oh.

A nice surprise but it’s scary how many trick the mind can pull on you.  I was absolutely convinced I’d gained weight because of how much I’ve eaten.  I’m making a mental note to stop eating the treats the kids bring me, they’re not healthy and they just make me feel bad about myself for having eaten them.  I’m going to make sure I keep more fruit and snacky vegetables around, I’ve been lazy with my grocery shopping since school started.

I’m also going to hold my chin up and face Thursday’s run with enthusiasm and confidence!  (And I have 2 days to convince myself I’m confident about the run.)

Me. I did that.

I ran 5 miles Saturday.

Prior to starting I’d say it was 50% nerves/fear I couldn’t do it and 50% excitement because I was pretty sure I could.  I don’t know why but the concept of running 5 miles has been stuck in my head since I started running.  Why this number? I couldn’t tell you.  I honestly don’t know.  But, for whatever reason, my mind has linked the ability to run 5 miles with being a “real runner”.

So I guess I became a real runner on Saturday.

It’s still incredibly surreal, made worse by the fact that the Garmin ate the work out in some strange freak accident.  I’m not sure what happened.  I mean, it tracked my entire work out, it put me through my paces the entire time.  It yelled at me when I went above my target heart rate zone in the final mile (which I did because I gave it my all on that final mile).

And then I got home and it was all like “What 5 miles?”

I would have liked to have seen the results.  I would love to have a chart to show you my five miles, displayed proudly for everyone to see.  I just don’t have that though and it’s sort of a crushing blow.  I’m trying not to be too upset about it but… yeah, I’m sort of upset.

Some details I can tell you about the run:  My pace varied between 12:00/mile and 13:00/mile.  The pace started out around 12:00/mile and then slowly rose upwards towards 13:00/mile the further I ran.  The final mile I pushed myself and even sprinted towards the end!  I burned 634 calories.  I didn’t catch my total time.  Bummer.

Another detail about the run?  I cried.  I cried and then it totally reminded me of this post by Angela at Oh She Glows.  When I originally read it I nodded solemnly at the part where she states her question “Have you ever cried during a run?”

I mean… I HAVE cried.  I cried during my 5k.  I cried because I was there doing something I never thought I’d do.  I cried because I was so proud of myself for being there, for having the courage, for starting this entire journey at all.

Today I cried for many of the same reasons.  It didn’t happen until about 1/4 mile into my last mile.  As I rounded a small bend I suddenly realized:  Hey, I’m going to run 5 miles today.  And then it hit me.. BLAMO… right solidly in the chest.  I was going to run 5 miles.  Me.  The girl who can’t run, who could never run.  Me, the girl who just used to wish to be able to run a single mile because it just seemed like something everyone should be able to do without feeling like they were going to die.

Me.

And once I started crying, the tears kept coming as I realized I hadn’t yet run 5 miles but there was absolutely nothing which would stop me from doing it.  I knew I could push myself to the finish.  I knew there was no way I’d quit.  I knew I’d go all the way.

Me.

And so I cried through so many emotions.  I cried through the pain of years spent hating my body.  I cried through the pain of years of people’s snide comments and thoughtless remarks.  I cried through the pain of so many past fitness failures.

And you know something?  The crying didn’t even slow me down.  I kept on going.  I pushed harder, made myself go faster, and eventually sprinted to the finish.

Me.  I did that.  I still sorta can’t believe it.