Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm a Big Sap.

I know a lot of you already read Mary and/or Kepa's blogs.  But if you don't, you must go immediately to Kepa's and watch the video, then go back to both and say congrats!

After you wipe away your tears, that is.  Sheesh, I cried just about all the way through but my goodness it's so sweet and romantic.

Congrats Mary & Kepa... and thanks for reminding me what real love can be like.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Silvery Moon

Not much to say today.  I couldn't sleep at all last night so I finally got out of the bed at 3:45.  Drank coffee and left the house for my run by 4:30.  The moon was up and it was gorgeous.  I didn't have the iPhone so no photo.  The humidity is creeping back up but I only had to run a short 3 miles today and I survived.

When it comes to growing things,  I've shared that my method is plant and pray.  Spring of '09 I bought a hibiscus for my patio.  When winter weather rolled in I had absolutely no idea what to do with it so I dragged it into the house.  By the time I took it back outside this spring, it had absolutely no leaves and looked dead.  When Little Helen came home for Mother's Day she was laughing because it looked so sad.  When I got home yesterday this is what I saw:

Here's a close-up of one of the gorgeous flowers:

It's called Orange Crush - I love it!  There are many more buds on it ready to burst open.  It makes me happy to see that when I pull in my driveway.

Checking in for My Long Hot Active Summer Challenge:

That's another 2 pounds lost.  This may be the lowest weight I've been in a while.  It's a mystery to me and I fully expect to hear "April Fool!" any time now.  But I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Ten, the Extreme Random Edition

1. The humidity finally broke a bit around here. I swear it had gotten so bad you couldn’t leave a loaf of bread out for two days without it developing mold.  It took 2 days for my running shoes to dry after last weekend's long run where I sweated so much my shoes were making squishing sounds at the end.

2. Laurie asked about the pictures taken during my long run last weekend. Yes, all the photos are with my iPhone. I carry it in a pouch that’s on my Fuel Belt, just in case I need to call for help or a ride home! Yes, I stop to take the photos and usually take a quick sip of water at the same time. It’s really OK to stop and take a drink of water when you’re running a long training run. In fact, in the sort of humidity I ran in, it’s probably advisable.

3. I have honestly never seen an anesthesia like the one used on Mr. Helen for his oral surgery. I kept asking him why they said he needed to have someone with him the rest of the day and boy did I find out. It literally took almost 18 hours and an overnight sleep before he was with it again.

4. I am a glass half empty sort of person. I want to be the glass half full person but every time I start to have a little faith in people, something happens – like my car accident last Thursday - that reinforces my belief that people are not inherently honest or good or nice. The good, nice people have made a choice to live that way. Just because I choose to be honest and good and nice doesn’t mean that others will. In fact, they probably won’t. By expecting the worst, I’m pretty much never surprised.

5. Have you ever seen a wonder diet advertised or had a friend who did something to lose weight that even while you’re thinking “that’s crazy!” the little devil on your left shoulder is suggesting that you try it?

6. I’m finding that the mindful eating thing is working with the wine too. It’s as if since I know I can have a glass of wine anytime I want, instead of trying to fit it into a calorie budget, I’m actually choosing not to have it.

7. The summer after Little Helen finished college, her childhood pet, a cat named Stripes, passed away. Stripes actually hadn’t done too well for several months prior and I distinctly remember telling Mr. Helen that I thought the cat was waiting for Little Helen to come back home. Ever since then (2001), we’ve been pet free by choice. I never knew that was so upsetting to people. I had such a spirited discussion about this with someone the other day I wondered if the person was jealous or really did think I was a bad human for not wanting pets right now. I have all sorts of empathy for child-free by choice people now.

8. Why have a public blog if you’re not going to allow comments? I don’t get it. I do completely understand monitoring comments and removing offensive material. I guess I just feel that if you’re writing just to write and don’t want comments, make your blog private.

9. Something else you don’t know about me is that I suffer from terrible motion sickness. I pretty much get sick in any form of transportation. Which is the main only reason we’ve never taken a cruise. A few years back after years of taking Dramamine and getting sick anyway, my doctor prescribed me the Scopolamine patch and opened up a whole world of possibilities because now I can travel without getting sick. Yes, if you wear it long enough there are some side effects but even those are worth not throwing up in a plane sitting next to a stranger.

10. My favorite blog last week? Written by the Miz. Who needs no introduction. It was all about Self Objectification: judging ourselves based on appearance because we believe that is how others judge us. Something I did for way too many years. Menopause has set me free. Have I mentioned that being 50 rocks?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Almost Speechless

Lots going on in my part of the world.  Thursday night on the way home from work some bozo backed into me then drove away - woo hoo.  Car is now at body shop and I'm driving a rental.

Mr. Helen had oral surgery on Friday.  We found out Thursday night that his insurance wouldn't cover anything except the extraction because the tooth wasn't broken from an accident.  $1000 out of our pocket - woo hoo. 

I spent the entire day yesterday dealing with his anesthesia drugged butt... never seen anything like it as he bascially never came out of it entirely until this morning.  Plus I was in the midst of trying to deal with my car accident issues.  My stress level was probably around a thousand percent by 9 p.m. when I went to bed.

Today I ran, and I needed it.

5:45 a.m. - 78 degrees - 97% humidity
Air Quality Alert: Dangerous Ozone, Don't Attempt Breathing
11.6 miles in the books.

Mile 1:  Sun coming up

Mile 2 - Big Sunflowers!

Mile 3.5 - Sun coming up over the Cove - All the way at the end is "my" beach.

Mile 4.5 - World Famous Eugene O'Neill Theater
Many Broadway bound plays are developed and show here first.

Mile 5 - Harkness Park
One of the reasons I take this route is because there are porta potties in this park, just in case...

Mile 6 - Another sunrise shot

Mile 7.5 - Americana Furniture Barn
Furniture store that has been in business in our area since the 1920's

Mile 9
"The Duck Pond", located in the town next to mine
Those are water displays right in the middle.

Mile 10 - the high school where Mr. Helen and Little Helen graduated from

Mile 11.6
Home, Sweet Home where the Ice Bath is!

Hope you're all having a great weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Their Party!

If my count is right today (or tomorrow) is the birthday of TWO of my favorite bloggers:  Leslie, at Something Brilliant is Brewing, and JBS at Journey Beyond Survival.  I love them both for very different reasons - Leslie and I are sort of in the same age/same stage of life (well, she's a little ahead of me).  So much of what she writes hits the nail on the head for me and where I am right now.  I recently found out that JBS is the same age as my daughter!  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I found out.  Of course, that might have something to do with her gorgeous writing.  It will make you laugh and it will make you cry.  And, it will make you astonished at what she's dealing with at such a tender age. 


Now, the rest of you get over and wish them a great day too.


While I was on staycation and not blogging, I was given this lovely award by Jo at Weight on Me at 50+

One of the things I DO like about blog awards is that they usually lead me to bloggers I wouldn't have found otherwise, which is the case with Jo.  She is a fairly new blogger with only a few followers - I hope you'll go take a look and see if she's got any inspiration for you!

So, I'm supposed to reveal 7 things about myself that you didn't know.  This is hard because I feel like lately I've been putting it all out there but let's give it a try.

1. Yesterday was the 4th Anniversary of us purchasing our house. Thing is, for both me and Mr. Helen, it was our very first home purchase ever. I was 46 and he was 51. But we wanted to do it right and have the downpayment and not put ourselves in danger of losing it. In this economy, we are so glad we did.

2.  I will eat or try almost anything.  There are very few foods I don't like and won't eat.  I don't like liver, lima beans, oysters, mussels, salmon and bluefish.  And don't try to tell me if you cook them your special way I will like them.  I won't.

3.  One of my favorite things to do is entertain.  I love dinner parties, cocktail parties, BBQ's, etc.

4.  If I ever win the lottery (yes, I do buy tickets occasionally), I would upsize my house so that I'd have my dream kitchen and dining area and be able to do the entertaining I really want to do.

5.  It is very, very difficult for me to trust.  If I do get to the point where I trust completely and then I'm betrayed, I never let that person back in again.

6.  Shoes are my favorite accessory.  Mostly because my foot size hasn't changed that much over the years, even with weight ups and downs.  Right now I own approximately 100 pairs of shoes.  I've been known to pay more for my shoes than the dress I'm wearing.

7.  I started running because it was "free" exercise.  I now spend approximately $300-$500 a year on sneakers, wicking running clothes and race entry fees.  I supposed it's still less expensive than some things I could be doing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weighing In

Here it is Wednesday already and time for a weigh in to honor my committment to My Long Hot Active Summer Challenge.  Since I have been trying mindful eating over the last couple of weeks, I had no idea, really what to expect.  But I wasn't afraid because no matter what, I am truly enjoying this new way of approaching food.  My stress levels have dropped a whole lot for sure.  It's hard to explain other than to say I just don't constantly think or worry about food.  I eat whatever, whenever and it's working out pretty well.  I am eating things that I haven't had in a long, long time, like the BLT I had for lunch while on staycation. My sensory satisfaction level has been so high that after I eat, I really don't think about food at all again until I start getting "hungry" signals from my body.  The other thing I've noticed is that I'm not craving sweets as much.  I swear some of the eating I was doing was simply because I had more calories "left" or because I was looking for satisfaction I couldn't find in the bland choices I was making.

The only exception to this was Monday when I came back to work and that was more of wanting to chew or something to alleviate the boredom.  I chewed a lot of gum on Monday.  Yesterday, I was busier at work and found myself back to not thinking about food.  So far, so good - at least for me!

That weight is down 1.6 pounds from the last time I blogged about weigh in.  Last Wednesday I had lost .6 (but wasn't posting, I just reported to my challenge thread) so this is another pound down in the the last week. Huh.  The downward trend is one I'm liking and hope keeps up, thyroid willing.


I wanted to respond to a couple of the comments I got yesterday regarding my upcoming race.  I know some folks don't read all the time or are just finding this blog so maybe it's not clear that I have been running for 8 years and racing on and off for 7.  I am quite aware of the satisfaction of just getting a race done.  HOWEVER, when one is an experienced runner/racer, you have a yearning to do more than just finish.  In fact,  it's very normal to want to do better and run faster in your races.  As I thought about what I wrote and some of the comments, I realized that perhaps I did know my times were slowing down.  Much of it is weight related and I know that too.  As soon as I can figure out how to shake the extra weight, I'll let you know.  In the meantime, I'm running with extra weight which makes me slower, no matter how much I train.  In 2008, I think in knew in the far reaches of my mind that the slower times were going to mess with me so I stopped racing.  This race in August will the the first I've done since October of 2008.  While I have never expected it to be my best, I really was hoping it wouldn't be my worst.  But, in may be, and I've got to work through that mentally.  The one thing I know for sure, especially once you get into any distance racing, is that a huge percentage of the race is mental - breaking through when your left brain starts telling you that you suck and you can't run.  So I've got to get my head wrapped around reality and then I'll be ok and be able to do just what Roxie suggested, which is to have fun with it!

I also suspect that I'm probably doing what Mr. Helen accuses me of all the time:  being harder on myself than anyone else ever would be.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times he and I have gotten into arguments on the way home from Muay Thai Boxing because I am thrashing myself for screwing up combinations or not being able to remember a weapon form or something along those lines.  Too many expectations, especially the whole expecting perfection thing.  I've let that sort of pressure stop me from participating in too many things in my life and it's definitely one of the things I have noticed (uh, maybe because he keeps pointing it out) and been working on this year.

On the other hand,  I hold my first races to near and dear to my heart because I had absolutely no expectations and was able to just go run.  Any time, any new distance was a personal best.  Now that is fun!


Another comment that struck me was Leslie's who agreed with me about the camping thing then stated that she has started upgrading to business class on flights when she can.  What a great idea!  I can't believe I've never thought of that!


Do you do anything nice for yourself?  I mean something that is just for you and not related to your weight or as a reward?  When I turned 40 I was given a large gift certificate to the salon where I get my hair done.  I decided to not use it for hair but started getting a manicure every 2 weeks.  The gift certificate ran out and I enjoyed it so much, I kept going.  Ten years later I am still doing it. Every once in a while I throw a pedicure in there. It's just for me.  I'm worth it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Ten

1. So I learned yesterday that mindful eating is going to be hard at work and when that happens, it’s going to be hard after work. It’s not that I didn’t have enough food, I had plenty. It’s when I’m bored stiff, evidently I want to munch everything in sight. Bored Stiff is my job description right now. Too long to go into here but suffice it to say it took everything I had not to raid the vending machine at work and the fridge when I got home.

2. There were several blogs I commented on yesterday. When I went back to read other comments or followup, my comment wasn’t there. I’m pretty sure not everybody was deleting what I was saying. At least I hope not!

3. Many of the bloggers I read regularly have been talking about their camping trips this summer. I’m not a camper. At all. To me roughing it means I stay in a motel instead of a hotel and have to go out to buy my morning coffee because there is no room service.

4. If you saw me before my morning coffee you would agree that me not having coffee is roughing it too.

5. I ran 33 miles the week I was off work. I haven’t run that many miles in a week in a couple of years. I also ran in the heat more since I wasn’t getting up at the crack of crack.

6. It is NOT the heat, it’s the humidity. I have a friend who lives in Vegas (but used to be a right coaster) and she says she’d rather be in 110 degrees in Vegas than in 80 + humidity.

7. I have a Facebook ‘friend’ who gets on via Daily Mile and complains because it takes her 36 minutes to run 4.5 miles, while pushing her baby in a jogging stroller, in the current heat and humidity we’ve been having. Makes me want to drive to her house and slap her, then hide her updates.

8. I know to run faster I need to lose weight. I just haven’t been able to figure out how to make my body let go of the excess.

9. Based on all the hot and humid runs I did over my staycation, I now believe it to be entirely possible for me to have my Worst. Race. Ever. on August 7th. I say that because I actually did take the time to go back and look at my results and for some reason, each year I’ve done this race I’ve gotten progressively worse. I never realized that until now.

10. Yes, while knowledge may be power, ignorance IS bliss. Yes, I am questioning why I even want to attempt the race.

Monday, July 19, 2010


It has been years and years since I had a "staycation" - meaning a whole week off where I stayed home and wasn't off to the Caribbean or some other fabulous destination. Years ago, I routinely took them but had a child that needed attention so the weeks were always full and busy. 

Last week, because I had a week's worth of vacation to burn since we did not make our (sort of) annual Caribbean trip, I was home.   Thing is, there wasn't a lot of money to be spent because we will be going away in August so are trying to save our pennies for that.  So, even though I live in a beautiful area near the ocean with plenty of things to be done, things needed to be free or cheap. Which makes plans a bit weather dependent.

I have a resident's season pass to the beach so I could come and go as I pleased.  My only cost would be the fuel to drive the 5 miles.  Monday-Thursday we had absolutely crap weather.  It was either overcast or threatening thunder storms.  The gross weather eventually cancelled out every single semi plan:  New York City for the day, taking the ferry to Block Island, picnicing at our local winery. 

By Thursday I was in complete frustration and ready to scream mode.  Instead I started scrubbing and cleaning and whipped my house into shape, discovering that we were cohabiting with quite a few spiders.  Then I tackled a photo project that I had been wanting to do since Christmas and actually finished it.

Friday the weather was supposed to be better but was awful - for outdoor things anyway.  So, I got up early and went for my long run.  My running schedule gave me two days off this week so I decided to move some runs around and take them back to back so my legs would get a real good rest.  Then I got my grocery shopping done and was wondering what the heck I would do over the weekend.

Finally, the weather broke and I got my beach days on Saturday and Sunday - just in time to go back to work today.  Yesterday while sitting at the beach I decided that I won't be taking a staycation like this anytime soon.  In the future if I have a whole 5 days to burn I'm going to add them one at a time to weekends and have a whole bunch of long weekends instead.  I know for a fact I'll enjoy that a whole lot more.

I did exercise quite a bit.  I did three Muay Thai classes and ran 33 miles which is more than I've run in forever!

The other thing I did was to not track caloric intake.  I ate according to appetite all week.  It was very odd because I am sure I have been eating less, even though food was more readily available.  And not once did I go crazy with cookies or ice cream or cheese.  For example, I love bacon but hardly ever would have allowed it as a calorie counter.  One day I decided I wanted a BLT for lunch.  So I made one just the way I wanted and ate it around 12:30.  I didn't eat again until 7:30 that evening.  In fact,  I didn't even think of food again until probably around 6:30.  I noticed this happening over and over each day.  It completely fascinates me that I would eat something I really want and it's enough.  That I'm not constantly thinking about food or my next meal or snack.  It is amazing to think that simply being satisfied could do that.

I will be interested to see how that plays out this week back at work.  I have to bring my food with me - unless I plan on buying lunch every day -  which means trying to figure out what I want for lunch at 6 in the morning, rather than standing in the kitchen and thinking "what do I want to eat?" 

So that's that.  The blahcation is in the books and I'm back.  Did you miss me?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pea Soup

I bet you thought I was going to post another recipe didn't you?  Nope.  Pea Soup would be what I ran in this morning.  I took a picture for you to see, but I'm not sure it really conveys just how thick it was:

You know what causes that sort of fog?  Dewpoints in the 70s, humidity at 100%.  Goody.  When I first went out I almost went back home to the treadmill but honestly, I really don't like the treadmill unless it's an absolute necessity.  As I ran along to the sound of air conditioning units and smelling the sea, I wondered why I wasn't seeing any nocturnal creatures because this sort of fog tends to bring them out.  No sooner than I had the thought than a little baby skunk toddled out in the road right in front of me.  He heard me, his tail went up and I stopped dead in my tracks then started back peddling.  I really wasn't in the mood to be sprayed this morning.  Once I backed away he put his tail down and sauntered to the sidewalk.  At least he wasn't in my house, like what happened to POD recently.  (If you haven't read her post you must!).

Anyway, I slogged through it for 5 1/2 miles. Another run I'm chalking up to endurance and conditioning because it was not a pretty sight people, not at all.

As of noon today I'm on staycation!!  I couldn't be happier to have some time off.  I'm sure the week will go by in a blink.  I'm not sure how much I will be blogging as I intend this to be a week of not planning.  A whole week of doing whatever, whenever.  I think a change in routine like that is good for the soul.  Or at least it's good for me.

For now, I'll sign off like Roxie does.

Take good care. Rest up. Back peddle when necessary.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sweet or Savory

A while back there was a run of posts around blogland and other internety places of recipes making oatmeal savory instead of sweet.  They must have started right around the end of spring because I have yet to try that as I tend to be a fall and winter oatmeal eater, except when I'm training for a race, which I am currently doing.

Sweet oatmeal is one of the things I can manage to gag down prior to my longer runs.  The fact is, when you're going to be out running for a couple hours, not only do you need to refuel at some point during the run, you need to eat something about an hour before you take off and it needs to be sort of carby with some protein and easy on the tummy.  In this case, you absolutely have to eat even if you're not hungry - which is usually the case for me as my stomach tends to take a while to wake up.

Faithful readers know me to be an early morning runner and while I do not run my weekend long runs at 4 am, like I do my shorter ones during the week, I do try to get out between 6 and 7 depending on the weather (read: heat) forecast and just exactly how long I'll be running.

So, in order to eat something an hour before a 6 am run, I have to eat by 5.  Which means I still have to get up at 4:30 or so and that's why I said I gag down my oatmeal. 

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a recipe for a Breakfast Couscous.  If you've never had couscous, the best way to describe it is that it is a pasta but the size of it goes from small grains that look like sand, to a big pearly size.  Usually, this is made as a side dish or used like rice where you put something over it. It's yummy and we eat it often in its savory mode.

Intrigued, I made a batch and I love it! This weekend, when I do my long run I will be gagging down a bowl of this prior to heading out. Of course, being the sort of cook I am I made some changes to the original version I'd seen. So far, I've only used the smaller couscous but as soon as the batch I have made up now is gone, I am going to try a larger size.

Whether or not you're a runner or athlete who is trying to fuel up, breakfast is an important meal. Here is my version of the Breakfast Couscous; maybe you'll like it too!

Fruity Breakfast Couscous

1 cup whole-wheat couscous
4 teaspoons brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup dried berries & cherries mix, chopped a bit
¼ cup dried mango, chopped

Combine couscous, brown sugar, cinnamon, almonds, and dried fruits. Mix thoroughly. Store mix in an airtight container until ready to use.

To prepare 1 serving, in saucepan, combine 1/2 cup dry mix with 1/2 cup skim milk. Heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Mix well before serving.

4 servings, per serving (including the skim milk): 288 calories; 4.2g fat; 56g carbs; 3.3g fiber, 11g protein

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sweating it Out

I did go to Muay Thai last night, and of course was glad I did after I got there.  It was hot but not unbearable, except for my breathing.  The air quality is so bad around here I've been using my old pneumonia inhaler for the last couple of days.

Got up this morning at 4:05.  Left the air conditioned cushion of the bedroom and immediately thought, "It feels warmer than usual."  Put on running clothes and staggered downstairs to pour coffee.  Flicked on TV and turned to Weather Channel.  At 4:15 it was 81 degrees.  Huh?  Turned around and looked at thermometer.  Inside house it was 88.  "This is gonna be a hard run."

And it was.  Only 3 1/2 miles and it turned into a walk/run because of my breathing.  Still, even with the walking,  I managed an overall 12 min./mile pace.  I kept telling myself that this was good practice for my August race which is always hotter than Hades and the sun is beating on you to boot.  I know, I'm a glutton for punishment.

After I showered and rehydrated with some OJ and water, I went downstairs for my usual Wednesday weigh in.  I weigh the same as I did last week:  180.  No picture today brought to you compliments of a spousal unit who doesn't quite understand computers.  I had my camera plugged into one of the two USB ports that are right on the front of our computer.  When I went to get it, it was unplugged and my camera was not charged, but his mp3 player was plugged in.  When I asked him why he unplugged my camera he said, "You had it plugged into my slot."  "Um, there's TWO."  "Oh, I can use either one?"  "Yes."  Sigh.

Interesting thing happened last night with my new no tracking thing.  After we got home from Muay Thai I decided to make myself a big salad with chicken, black beans, peppers - sort of a southwestern flair, and a cheese quesadilla as a side.  I got everything together and started eating.  Suddenly half-way through my salad I realized that I was getting full and I really did not want to eat another bite.  I stopped eating and offered the rest to the Mr.   The reason I find this so interesting is that as a "calorie counter" if that whole salad was inline with my calorie allottment for the day, I absolutely would have finished it.  Since I had no clue what may caloric intake was, the only thing I could go on is the fact that I was full.  This morning while running I had the thought that this is exactly what I want:  to be conscientious of my food choices and conscious of my hunger. 

I want to be a Conscious Eater.

Speaking of eating, I am going to be one of those annoying question asking bloggers today.  I have some friends coming over to The Patio for drinks and hors d'oeuvres Friday night.  Do you have a favorite hors d'oeuvre you especially like to serve in the summer?  Please share.

And, if you're in the heatwave, stay cool.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday Ten

1. This is my first summer blogging. Is Blogland slower during the summer or is it just my imagination?

2. I’m on vacation countdown. 3 ½ work days and I’m off for a week. While this week off will be a “stay”cation, I am really looking forward to waking up without an alarm clock!

3. I added a photo of the potato salad to the recipe post. It’s the very one I made this weekend when Mr. Helen asked me to make for it him, just like I told you he would!

4. Elaine asked me what would happen if I didn’t take the ice bath after a long run. Very sore legs. I learned this the hard way as a new runner. After my 1st marathon, I didn’t do anything more than stretch out. My legs were so sore I was walking down stairs backwards for a couple of days. A friend told me about the ice bath thing so when I did my second marathon I took the ice bath. My legs definitely felt exercised but were not sore. I’ve been taking them ever since. The initial shock is so worth the long term benefits.

5. The difference between running at 8 in the morning when it’s 75 degrees and 4:45 in the morning at the same temperature is the sun. I was reminded of that between my runs yesterday and today. I love the sun, but not particularly beating down on me when I’m running.

6. Our heat index is supposed to be 107 by midafternoon today. I live near the ocean and we just don’t normally get this sort of heat. I have to say it’s making me worry about what temperature the dojo will be like for Thai Boxing tonight since that room is usually a little too hot for me anyway.

7. I am trying a no food tracking experiment for the next couple of weeks. I’m really tired of it and I don’t like tracking when I’m on vacation so now’s the time. I will say I’m going to eat healthfully and mindfully because I do know what sort of good food choices I should be making. But I won’t call it Intuitive Eating because I do believe my intuition is all out of kilter when it comes to food.

8. While I’ve been frustrated with my weight loss (or lack of) in general, when I did my monthly weigh in for the 101 Days of Summer Challenge, I actually lost 3 pounds in June. Maybe I should switch to monthly weigh-ins…

9. I sort of browsed through some blogs over the long weekend and by yesterday had started to see the “I ate too much” blogs popping up. I’m expecting to see the rest of them today.

10. Which got me to thinking… why do we do that? Do we deprive ourselves so much all the time that we see a holiday weekend or vacation as a free for all? Why not just eat mindfully but eat what you want most of the time so that the holiday is just another day… which is why I’ll be looking at some Intuitive Eating blogs today because I’m really curious to see what those people did compared to dieting bloggers. In the meantime, if you overdid it and have thought about it, tell me why, please. Or if you didn’t overdo it, tell me why too!

Monday, July 5, 2010

9 Miles: Tips, Tricks, and Pics

On Saturday, my scheduled "long" run was 9 miles.  I haven't done that sort of distance on any regular basis since 2008 when I last trained for a marathon.  The thought of NINE MILES can be intimidating but I've learned a few tricks that get me through it.

First of all, I try very hard not to think of the whole distance.  One of the things that helps me to do that is to visualize where I'll be running. That way as I'm running and I notice a landmark, I think 3 miles down, just repeat.   On Friday I got on Map My Run and worked out the route I wanted to use. I knew if I did sort of giant loop around the small city I live in, I could make the mileage and the run would be quite varied with lots of different elevations. The next thing I do is to make sure I've got all my "stuff" ready:  meaning that my Garmin 305 is full charged, my running clothes are laid out, and my Fuel Belt (I have the Hybiscus Pink one) is ready to go.  For a 9 mile run I need to have at least 1 bottle on my Fuel Belt containing a sports drink with some calories and carbs. Or, I need to have Shot Bloks to eat while drinking water.   I'm not a fast runner so after I've been running about an hour I need to take that in to make sure I have the energy to keep going.  A lot of these drinks make my tummy revolt but after having several upset stomachs over the years the one I've found that works well is Accelerade.  To get ready for my run, I fill one of my bottles with Accelerade and two of them with water and freeze them.  The fourth bottle I fill with water or a Nuun mixture just before I leave.  The reason I freeze the bottles is that by the time I want to drink out of them, they have defrosted but are ICY cold.  Believe me, after you've been running for over an hour it tastes sooooo good!  I even trick myself into believing that the Orange Accelerade tastes like a Creamsicle.

Since I had a busy day Saturday I needed to get out pretty early for my run - which means getting up early enough to get a chance to pour some coffee down my throat before I take off.  And, next week when my long run goes up to 10 miles, I'll actually need to eat something like oatmeal or a banana before I even leave the house!

The pace calculator tells me that I should be running my long runs at a 12:37-13:07 pace per mile.  BUT, the most important thing about a long run is that it should feel easy.  In other words, at any given time you should be able to talk to someone.  So, I was hoping to get the 9 miles done on the faster side of that pace which would have been a time of 1:53:33 but honestly, I would have been happy with any time under 2 hours, especially since I've been battling the ear infections and strep this week

Woke up, swallowed and my ear didn't hurt! - HURRAY!  Got my coffee down, got dressed, made sure to rub any place I thought I might chafe or blister with Body Glide (especially important when it's humid!) and was out the door doing my run at 6:17 according to my Garmin.  It was gorgeous and quiet, not much traffic yet and slightly overcast, which was just fine with me since I knew as soon as the sun came out it would heat up quick.  I just started slowly and bopped along and when I got down to the area of town where People Who Have A Lot More Money Than Me live, I thought I'd use the iPhone (thus the photo quality) to show you just how lovely it was!

Looking out over Long Island Sound

View of one of the lighthouses as I came around the corner

View of same lighthouse from the road side

View of same lighthouse from the other side of the corner
See the real house there?  Yep, one of those People I mentioned lives in that house!

Here's the other little lighthouse that sits out in the Sound

If I ever became one of those People With Money,
This is the house I'd buy.  It's view?  Both the lighthouses!

2 1/2 miles from home.  Still lovely, sun under clouds but peeking out.
I think Pam was flapping her Angel Wings to make sure it didn't get too hot!

About a 1 1/2 miles from home the sun burst out!  
Then I saw these.  Who doesn't love a Morning Glory?

When I came up the hill to my house, I saw this:
So exciting people!  These are the ones I grew from bulbs and
we've been waiting to see the flowers!

Really important to recover properly.  For me that means an ice bath for 10 minutes
for any run over a 10K length

Of course it's also important to take in some calories ASAP.
A good ratio of protein, carbs, etc. so I sucked this down to make the ice bath go quicker!

I have to say that my planning and work paid off.  I ended up running 9.1 miles in 1:45 which is an 11:35 pace!  The thing is, it felt good and it felt easy so I'm sure I didn't push too hard.  Plus, I burned 1038 calories which meant I had room for whatever picnic food my heart desired.

Another reason I know I didn't push too hard was because on Sunday I was able to do a 5K recovery jog and my legs really did feel OK.

So, this coming Saturday my first 10 miler in the last two years... but I won't think about it, I'll Just Do It.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Free To Be

On Tuesday morning I woke up and felt funny.  Over the course of the day I sneezed a gazillion times and by the end of the day, my Muay Thai Boxing class felt like the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life.  Even the Mr. commented on how much I was sweating because the class wasn't particularly hard.

On Wednesday I got up and ran 5 miles even though my legs felt like bricks.  By the time I got to work I had a full on running nose and was sneezing again.  I was very busy at work but as the day progressed I became convinced that I had somehow caught a summer cold.

On Thursday morning I woke up and my left ear was pounding, my right ear felt muffled, and it hurt to swallow.  I made the immediate decision to call in to work and take my behind (and ears and throat) to the doctor.

As soon as the office opened I called and they took me right in.  The verdict?  Double ear infections and strep throat.  WHO gets this crap in the SUMMER is what I want to know.  For crying out loud. Which I almost did at the thought of my whole long weekend, that I have been soooooo looking forward to, being a bust because I had some weird summer virus.

Ah well, at least I didn't put off going to the doctor until we were in the midst of the holiday weekend because then it would have meant a trip to urgent care and a co-pay that was three times the amount of my doctor's visit.  I'm on my second day of the famous Z-Pack and should be feeling pretty good by tomorrow.

Which is of utmost importance to me, because Saturday I have a 9 mile run on the schedule, followed by brunch with a friend and a birthday picnic in the afternoon. Sunday will be a beach day as will some of Monday.  I don't have time to be sick and my brain is saying "party" even though my throat is croaking "Listerine."

Though the holiday means picnics, cookouts, beach, fun, and parties, I hope you'll find some time to reflect on the fact that we are truly, truly blessed to live in the USA where we are free to be you and me.  I'm proud to be an American.

Happy Birthday USA!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One Potato, Two Potato

A while back I mentioned a lower fat red potato salad that I make and one of the commenters said they would like to see the recipe.  Since the holiday weekend is coming up and there will be picnics galore, I thought today would be the perfect time to share.

Helen's Lower Fat Old Fashioned Red Potato Salad

3 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1/2 cup sliced green onion (scallions, spring onions, the green part only)
1/2 cup diced celery
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/3 cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise or Canola Oil Mayonnaise (make sure it's no more than 5g fat per T)
1 tsp. dillweed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 hard cooked boiled eggs, sliced

Put the cubed potatoes in a large pan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Cook 8-10 minutes or until tender.  Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.

Add onion and celery and sprinkle dillweed over.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over potato mixture and toss gently.

Layer egg slices over the potato salad mix and sprinkle with paprika.  Cover and chill completely - several hours or even overnight.

10 servings, serving size is 1 cup
163 calories, 4g fat, 5.5g protein, 27.5g carbs, 2.6g fiber

Mr. Helen, who is a very loud protester of anything too "diety",  loves this potato salad.  In fact, he often asks me to bring it to cookouts because it's the only one he really likes anymore.

Hope you enjoy!

What are you cooking up for your holiday picnic?