Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Ten: Vacation Edition

1. As you all know I have been rabidly looking forward to this vacation. I needed it in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

2. We chose this vacation because we really didn't have a lot of extra cash this year. In fact, after our flooded family room (read: cash to rebuild), Mr. Helen having to purchase some sort of new vehicle (read: cash for down payment), and my sister-in-law's death (read: funeral expenses and 3 airline tickets at the last minute to an expensive 'zone' from where we live), we actually didn't have any "extra" cash.

3. By giving up our Friday night takeout and making some other adjustments, we scraped enough together to drive a couple of hours away. We took wine from our own stash, some food, and every supply we could think of so we wouldn't have to buy much of anything once we got there. Really, all we needed was minimal funds for a week beach pass and a couple "clam shack" style meals out. Doable and worth the R&R we would get out of it.

4. We arrived on Saturday hopeful, excited, looking forward to so many things. Even though it was overcast and humid feeling and cold, the original forecast said all that would end by Monday night. So we would have to deal with a day or so of not great weather. Two hours after we arrived, while we were trying to enjoy a glass of wine on the deck, it started sprinkling. It never stopped and actually got worse. I'm not kidding - it poured rain for 4 straight days.

5. Mr. Helen is known far and wide for his extraordinary patience and outstanding ability to see the glass half full in the face of troublesome circumstances. He's really very good at not reacting.  We tried to stick it out because we had rented the cottage for the whole week. Meaning no refunds.

6. On the 3rd day he said, "Enough is enough - if it's still like this tomorrow, let's pack it in and blow this Popsicle stand."

7. We discussed that rather than continue to spend money to stay - if you can't go to the beach, EVERYTHING costs $$ (eating out because we couldn't cook on the grill, trying to find things to entertain us like movies, bowling and museums), we would go home to free entertainment: TV, computer, and already paid for season pass to our own beach ready and waiting when the weather broke.

8. On the 4th day we woke to the hardest rain yet along with a forecast of the 5th day being overcast all day while the storm cleared out, leaving only 1 possible day of sunshine for the entire vacation.

9. A vacation in Cape Cod in a 'Noreaster is no vacation at all. So we cut it short and left.

10. We rolled the vacation dice twice and "crapped out" both times this summer. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.

We tried to do some free things like go see some lighthouses.
This is Highland Light aka Cape Cod Light.
We had umbrellas but not rain gear.  The wind was blowing so hard the umbrellas couldn't stay open. 
All that white stuff in the photo is not fog, it's blowing RAIN.
 And that is what it looks like on Cape Cod during a 'Noreaster.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up.

All I wanted from either week I took off of work this year was just to get some rest, some complete relief - time that was void of all the things that are pulling me under like lead weights.  I didn't get it either week.  I feel as if the universe has conspired against me and yet I know that is the silliest idea ever.

Even though I am doing everything in my power to mitigate the stress, it hovers over me and threatens to consume me at any minute.  I hate when I feel like this because it makes me ultra sensitive to everything, including things that I normally would not even react to.

And it makes every day things like eating healthfully and getting some exercise seem like the biggest mountains to climb, even though they really are not.

I have only had one other time frame in my life when I can remember being in a similar place but for some reason I cannot remember how I managed to claw my way out.

Exhaustion has set in, completely and fully. I am feeling so overwhelmed by every aspect of my life right now, I am almost beyond crying - or coping.

This makes me sad.  Because I don't want my life to be about crying or coping.  Or settling.

I want my life to be about living abundantly and fully and joyfully.  I should be able to have this.  To do it.  Because really, I am only responsible for me.

Yet here I am stuck in a mud rut, smiling externally and screaming my head off behind the smile.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

And We're Off!

Much to Mr. Helen's chagrin, I spent last evening cleaning the house.  I like to come home to  a clean house.  It makes me feel like the vacation is extended.

To use up some things left in the fridge,  I made a macaroni salad and a chopped veggie salad to take with us. I packed a bag full of spices, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, eggs, bacon, bread, steaks and chicken. In order to be economical we plan on cooking a couple of times.  I packed the very biggest suitcase we own - and it's a big one - full of everything I might possibly want to wear.  

Mr. Helen has spent the last hour cramming it all into Goldilocks, our Honda Civic.  He declared, "It's official!  We're actually moving, not going on vacation!"

I have OPI's Shorts Story on my nails and toes.

I have age appropriate shorts on my body.  I'm ready.

Here's a little slide show of where we're going.  Double click on one of the photos and the slide show will come up. I hope to see most everything except the one where there's snow!  If you miss me, just imagine me with a huge smile in the middle of one of these photos.  Maybe I'll even come back with a few of my own.

2010 Vacation

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stay Calm People, There's Nothing To See Here

I can't just run around all willy nilly eating potato chips and pepperoni.  It doesn't work for me, even if I do eat it only when I'm hungry.  Here is where we play catch up!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Just kidding.... even though I should probably do some extra running.  Here's the real one:

Got you again!  I suppose you can see where I'm going with this:

Which is, my friends, a 2.2 pound gain.  Even though there is one more week until the end of the My Long Hot Active Summer Challenge, this will be my last weigh in for that group, due to the fact that I'll be on vacation next week!  With no internet!  With no ability to post photos!  Can you tell I'm excited?

When I started that challenge my opening weigh in was 179.4.  So a pitiful .6 pounds was lost overall.  How sad is that? Well, it is what it is, nothing to be done about it and I'm moving on.  The good thing is that my other goal for MLHAS was to run my race and I did that!  In this case, I'm going to choose to look at this glass as half full.

Truth be told, I am ready for a break from the scale.  Over this last year of blogging, this is the most times and most regularly, I've weighed myself.  My blogging anniversary is September 2, so I'm considering weighing again on that day and then maybe going for weigh-ins on the 2nd of each month.  But that's all part of the thinking I'll be doing over vacay as I decide where to take this blog.

Because I'm not taking it on vacation and I'm most certainly NOT taking a scale!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Ten: Books, Food and Sex

1. My huge news from last week? I won a book giveaway over at the Miz’ place! Goodness how exciting is that what with all her commenters and such! Here’s a review of the book:

"If you’ve ever hiked up your boobs just to remind yourself how they used to look, secretly hoped the wino on the corner would whistle at you like he used to, or recently realized that they are now making elevator music out of your favorite ‘classic’ tunes, you will love this book. It’s pee-in-your-pants funny and it’s all too true!"– Jenny McCarthy, author of Belly Laughs and Baby Laughs

Um, yeah, all of the above.

2. The great no-cooking experiment ended on Sunday. I couldn’t take it any more as I found myself reaching for things like potato chips way too often. Here’s what I learned. If I don’t cook, Mr. Helen will just boil a pound of spaghetti every couple of days and eat that – even if there’s no sauce. He fills it with butter and grates some sort of cheese all over it. He also ate a half gallon of chocolate chip ice cream in 2 days. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I cook in self defense.

3. As we discussed that fact that I cannot eat spaghetti every single day – that I need fruit and vegetables, and as I reminded him (once again) that due to my thyroid, my metabolism sucks, he looked dumbfounded. Then he said, “Have you thought about working out harder?” Which is really interesting since I work out more often than he does. The biggest difference is in our daily lifestyle: I sit in an office all day and he is on his feet, in 40 degrees, moving all day.

4. I’m learning a lot about mindful eating, mainly that it means just that. I have to be careful to really BE mindful. When I am distracted by other things I easily fall into eating too much, or eating junk.

5. Having said that, (anyone see that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm? Hilarious!) I got home last night to find Mr. Helen diligently preparing his homemade fried Chicken Tenders. They were delicious, but truthfully, I really, really wanted a salad. I should have had a salad. But I didn't because he prepared those things with TLC and honestly he doesn't spontaneously cook that often on his own and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. Huh. A whole new dimension of mindful eating I have to work out.

6. I work with a (younger than me) woman who I find quite physically attractive. While I know I could never have her body shape, I find her overall look to be one I’d like to have. It’s sort of funny because she and I have the same ethnic background: English/Irish. Only she has that sort of steamy Dylan McDermott Irish thing going, while I’m more like Conan O’Brien.

7. I mention this woman because she also weighs in the neighborhood of where I know I should be. She fills in at our reception desk during lunch so I often see her eat. I have also seen her eat in social situations when some of us from work have gone out. I realized the other day that she eats just about half as much as I do. Huh.

8. My mental “ideal” weight has changed over the years. I used to want to stay between 120-125. Then it became 130-135. Then 135-140. Then 140-150. Right about now, I’d be thrilled to be under 160 but really happy if I could get to 150. Very ironic since I weighed 149 when they put me on the scale the day I went to deliver my daughter into this world. Sigh.

9. I am very much at a cross-roads about all of this because the mere thought of really tracking my food again makes me nuts. Yet, it would be a huge mental and emotional adjustment for me to begin to think this is the “size” I’m going to be be. Because I’m not truly happy at this size.

10. I was completely fascinated by this item I heard on the news last week:


Put it out there and tell me, sex or weight loss?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mind over Matter

Got up this morning to run and it was pouring outside.  Went out to my good old treadmill and after about 2 minutes, it stopped and flashed me.  I tried turning it off and on but it kept flashing the stupid E11 error.  Dug the book out and found out that meant it needed a calibration sequence.  OK.  Did that.  Turned it on and after 2 minutes it flashed me.  Repeat this for 45 minutes and finally decide 1.  This thing needs professional help, and 2. You should have just run in the rain, damn it!

That was how my day started.  Welcome to Monday of the week before vacation.

Thank goodness I got a couple of really good runs in over the weekend, including a virtual run with Shelley at 5:45 am on Sunday (6:45 her time)!  We had emailed back and forth on Saturday and decided to go for it.  Lucky me, I was running in 62ish degrees.  Decided I'd better try to run fast as I knew poor Shelley had to slog it out in Texas heat and humidity.  Someday we're going to run together, right Shelley?

I came in the house and was feeling pretty cranky about not getting my run in.  But what could I do?  I definitely had a choice:  I could let this color my whole day or I could make up my mind that missing this run would not define me or my day and go on.

Mr. Helen, who works as a butcher and is in 40 degree temperatures for most of the day year 'round, when asked how he does that?  Isn't he cold? always says, "It's mind over matter.  If I don't mind, it doesn't matter." A lot of truth there, for the most part.  Sometimes it takes a fake a 'till you make it attitude to get through these bumps in the road.

The other aspect of this that struck me as I drove to work is that we really do need to be "mindful" in many areas of our life. 

As you faithful readers know, I worked my way into the great "I'm not cooking" experiment last week as I explained in Point 8 of last week's Tuesday Ten.  This actually lasted until just yesterday.  But by yesterday,  I was beginning to realize that at least for me this wasn't necessarily a good thing.  Because as the week went on, I found myself getting quite sloppy with mindful eating.  I found myself letting myself get too hungry and then reaching for the fastest thing, often potato chips or a slice of cheese.  Because truly, the things that I would have wanted to eat were not around.  No fresh fruit or veggies (other than salad mix), no nicely balanced meals of protein, veggies and a bit of carbs. 

I've never been very good at winging it or flying by the seat of my pants and this no cooking experiment reinforced that.  My planning tendencies have served me well and that includes planning meals.  Because the truth is, I don't believe that all food is created equal.  Or maybe what I want to say is that it is indeed possible to have too much of a good thing and not enough of some fun things and vice versa.  Personally, I need a piece of chocolate now and then, but I also need chicken, and green beans and pasta.  A diet consisting of any one thing is not good for me because boredom sets in and I begin to do things like get too hungry and eat potato chips and turkey pepperoni as my meal.

Or, as in this case, I didn't mind, but it did matter.  It mattered a lot because by yesterday I wasn't feeling so great. I also think I may see how much it mattered when I do my last weigh in for the summer on Wednesday. 

So the lesson I've learned over the last week is that while it's nice to have a break,  it pays off to pay attention.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Don't Waste Your Weekend!

Happy Saturday Bleeps!

I finally woke up yesterday headache free.  I have no idea what brought that sucker on but I sure am glad it is gone.

Should  have gone for a run first thing but woke up too late and had taken the day off for a couple of doctor's appointments.  Let me share with you how not to spend the rest of your day off:  scrubbing every single floor in your house on your hands and knees.  Plus assorted other house cleaning which meant 5 hours of manual labor. Followed by grocery shopping.  It was a full day. Afterwards, I wasn't feeling so bad about missing the run.  I don't know about the rest of you but I often clean the house and Mr. Helen doesn't even notice.  Yesterday he came in from work and was standing in the kitchen.  As he glanced towards our dining room, he said , "What the heck did you do to the floors?"  So I guess it was worth it since they really have a great shine going on now.

That left me with the whole weekend free - woot!

So, I slept in this morning until 6 am and then proceeded to sit around and drink coffee until 7.  Got up, got dress, and hit the road with my new running shoes that had come in the mail two days ago.  New running shoes always make me feel like I can conquer the world!  Aren't they pretty?

Okay, so I didn't conquer the world, but I did manage to run 7 miles - very happy with that, indeed.  Now, I'm off to the beach.  Gotta get those beach days in while I can as it seems like Fall is fast approaching.  Remember that tree behind my house that's already changing?  I finally got a photo to show you:

After the beach we are having a cookout for my mother-in-law's birthday.  Pearlestine the Disco Queen (as Mr. Helen calls her) will be 78 years old tomorrow.  Unfortunately her Alzheimer's is so advanced, she won't even know what we're doing or why.  But it helps the rest of the family to keep on keeping on.

So that's my business... hope you all are having great weekends!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Steady as She Goes

I didn't get up and run this morning like I had planned.  I have had the most wicked headache ever since Monday.  It has been surging in and out like the tides and pretty much driving me nuts.  When the alarm went off, I opened my eyes and immediately shut them again because my head was pounding.  The last thing I wanted to do was add pounding feet to my pounding head! I thought I'd just lay there and see if it went away but it didn't so I finally got up at 5 and poured some coffee and took some aspirin - which is the equivalent of taking Excedrin.  Did you know Excedrin has caffeine?   It seems to be subsiding now.

Today's weigh in for My Long Hot ActiveSummer Challenge shows me holding steady.  I have to admit I was a bit surprised by this as I've often seen a slight gain from the extra carbs I consume prior to racing continue to show on the scale afterward.  I am really very pleased and hoping that I don't see a delayed gain later!

Not much else to report today.  I do want to say thank you to everyone for all your kind comments on the Tuesday Ten.  I really didn't say that about blogging to get compliments but you gave me so many that now I know what to do if I'm feeling down!  Just kidding...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Ten

1. I hate discrimination: ethnic, racial, gender based. Hate it. If you are my friend and I see you being discriminated against, I will gladly beat down the discriminator. And take great pleasure doing it.

2. My father-in-law has been laid off/forcibly retired at the age of 82. He worked for the same Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge dealer for 61 years. Started as a mechanic and worked his way through every position on the service side then went over to sales and worked his way up to General Manager. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with her Alzheimer’s 15 years ago, he decided to back away from the GM job but stayed in sales. He should have retired 5 or 10 years ago but his job rapidly became his socialization as my MIL spiraled into her disease. It’s hard to understand when it’s said that Alzheimer’s is a Whole Family Disease until you’re in the midst of it.

3. August is a hard month emotionally for me. Tomorrow would have been my brother-in-law’s 41st birthday. I can’t believe it’s the second one since he passed away. Followed by my former boss’ birthday on the 18th and my sister-in-law’s on the 29th – both firsts since their deaths.

4. The state I live in is having Primary Elections today. I was super impressed when I got there and saw teenagers working the polls. First of all they were so polite! Secondly I couldn’t help but think what a great way this is for them to learn about the process.

5. The race I did last Saturday was not about actual time for me. I did not set a time goal while training. In fact, for my training program, I used my worst time ever at this race to calculate what paces I should train at. It was about proving to me, that after a 2 year absence from racing that I still had it in me to actually do it if I put in the training. The faster time was just icing on the cake. And that faster time? Still 10 minutes slower than my best time ever at this race, so there you have it.

6. After the race we spent 4 hours at the beach where the race starts and ends. It was a gorgeous, perfect, beach day. I would never deny anyone, no matter their weight, the opportunity to be on the beach. Some people just need to actually look in the mirror when they try on their bathing suit. Then there’s a whole other group who have a decent bathing suit, but have neglected the "landscaping" that should be done. At one point Mr. Helen remarked that he either had to lay back and close his eyes or change the direction of his chair. I’m just saying.

7. The Topsy Turvey has turned out to be a terrific tomato planter. I actually bought the one from QVC that came with a stand and holds 3 plants. I’ve got grape tomatoes, beefsteak and a hybrid. Since I have to garden on my patio this has been a perfect solution.

8. Eleven days until vacation. One reason I know I’m REALLY ready is that I don’t feel like cooking. Normally, cooking for me is somewhat therapeutic. In fact the more I cook, the less I tend to eat. But I haven’t cooked a single thing for well over a week. I bought a rotisserie chicken last Friday, got Mr. Helen to cook on Saturday, told him we were eating the leftover rotisserie on Sunday, didn’t even mention food yesterday and Mr. H. ended up going and buying some fish and putting it on the grill, tonight there is leftover fish or leftovers from Saturday, tomorrow I’m going out for dinner with my mother and he can fend for himself. That brings us to Thursday when I will not have time to cook because I will be at Muay Thai so it will be sandwiches or takeout. Which brings us right back to Friday. I wonder how long I can keep this trend going….?

9. I have some decisions to make soon. The first is in regards to my running and if I’m going to try to get in another race this fall. I need to figure out if I want to keep up with the Saturday long run commitment, along with the early morning running in the dark that it takes. The second concerns this blog. When I started blogging September 2, 2009 I said I would blog for a year and then re-evaluate. (I think in my mind ‘re-evaluate’ meant if I lost a lot of weight and was “popular and inspirational” I’d keep going.) Uh, yeah, right. While I enjoy it, I haven’t been spectacularly successful at meeting the weight loss goals I set out for. OK, let’s just face it. I’ve sucked at that. Also, I do not consider myself a writer in any way shape or form. I think I’m running out of things to say. I mean how many times/ways can a person say, “I’m trying to get there but I’m still not where I want to be?”

10. I seem to be long winded with the Ten today so I’ll finish with this: Vanilla or Chocolate?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hit the Road Jack: My Long Azz Race Report

Elissa are you running the Kelley race at OBP?

Thursday at 10:41am ·  ·  · See Wall-to-Wall

    • Helen  Running is a relative term but yes that's the race.
      Thursday at 10:52am ·  · 

    • Elissa  Good for you! It's always 1,000 degrees on the day of the Kelley race ...
      Thursday at 11:11am ·  · 

    • Helen Which is exactly why I chose it for my return to racing - if I suck, I'll blame it on the weather.
      Thursday at 11:18am via Email Reply ·  · 

    • Elissa excellent plan
      Thursday at 11:22am ·   · 

That right there is an exact Facebook exchange I had with a friend on Thursday.

So, for the race itself.  We had one of those freaky fronts move through Friday night and the miracle of low humidity was given to us as a gift.  When I got up Saturday morning, it was only 64 degrees with a forecast high of 78.  The break in humidity alone was enough to make me want to weep leap for joy.  But, I also knew that it would mean the race crowd would be big and it would be fast.

As I hydrated and ate my oatmeal I had to fight off pre-race jitters.  I had them bad - almost like this was my very first race ever.  Mr. Helen smartly decided to get the heck out of the house and went off to work for a couple hours saying he would see me at the finish line.

This race is unique because it's free so to register for it, you send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the race director and about a month before the race, you get your Bib in the mail.  There's also race day registration but I always do it ahead of time and since the start of the race is only 5 miles or so from my house I can arrive in a leisurely manner, literally at the last minute.

I got there about a half an hour before and immediately hit the restrooms then took off for a half mile warmup jog.  Back to the restrooms then back to my car to get my Fuel Belt.  Even though this is a well-supported event with water stops every couple of miles, my stomach cannot tolerate Gatorade so I've learned to wear my own water system and carry my own energy/hydration drinks. As it turned out, yesterday I was on a completely different drinking schedule than where the stops were located so I was really glad I had my belt on.  When I would come to a water stop, I used that water to refill the one water bottle I was carrying.  It worked out great!

The crowds were as big as I suspected.  Strangely enough I didn't see a lot of runners I knew, except for one couple who happens to attend the same martial arts dojo as me.  While I knew they take part in lots of 5Ks I had no idea they ever ran distance.  And when I said that to them they responded that they woke up and "just decided" to do it.  Oooookay.  If you're not a runner you won't understand this, but that immediately began to mess with me mentally.

What do you mean you just decided to do it?  I've been training my butt off for 12 weeks!  Oh. My. God.  I'm going to get beat by people who "just decided to do it."  I''m going to be dead last.  I'm going to be last in my age group.  I'm going to suck. Oh. My. God. 

I immediately began to use the positive mantras I had practiced and put a stop to those thoughts.  Because, after all, it was not about them at all, but it was all about me.

The gun went off and I was  really happy with how I went out, forcing myself to run slower than I felt like I wanted to.  I got a lovely surprise when I saw our fellow blogger Karen Anderson and her husband sitting on the ocean wall yelling my name and encouragement. Most of the miles feel like a blur today but I do remember thinking at one point that this was first time I could remember having so many people around me so late in the race. You know that hill at mile 8?  The one with no shade and no water that feels like 100 degrees even if it's only 78?  Yep, that's exactly how it was.  My mantra:  "I eat hills for breakfast.  I eat hills for breakfast."  And I fast walked it more than running it.  My reward?  On the crest a guy that I had seen at the beginning of the race but who then took off really fast... I caught up to him - and then passed him!  Ahhhh, little victories.

As I neared the end, I continued to pass other runners.  As I went by a woman who seemed to be alternating jogging and walking I told her to walk to the corner and then run like hell for the photo!  She laughed and thanked me and told me good luck.

I came around the corner and there was Mr. Helen screaming his head off.  The most exciting thing about seeing him?  I knew he had my food!!!  He was using my camera instead of his own so these photos aren't the best but here's a few shots of me running to the finish:

I can't figure out what the heck I was doing with my arms in this one - lol!

Heading for Mr. Helen to get my victory kiss. You can see the waterfall hose in the background that our fire department provides.  It feels like the best thing ever after a long, hot run!

This was my exact Facebook status on Saturday, right around 11:30 a.m.:

Helen  I went. I ran. I didn't suck. I wasn't last in my age group & I wasn't last overall. In fact, I think I ran about 5 mins faster than when I last ran this race two years ago!!!

 via Facebook for iPhone  ·  · 

I broke the curse trend! Instead of getting worse, according to official race timing, I ran this race 4 minutes and 20 seconds faster than the last time I ran it.

(The pace of the race WAS fast! The overall winner finished in 1:03 and the women's overall winner finished a full hour ahead of me - ha! Those folks from my dojo?  As Mr. Helen pointed out - they only finished 2 minutes ahead of me and are almost TWENTY years younger than me.  OK, so now I feel better...)

Why is this such a big deal to me?  Because I'm two years older than the last time I ran it.  Older usually means slower and I thought I was in better running shape two years ago so I assumed I would be slower yet again.  Because I found out that I still have a little something left in me and it makes me feel like I'm not completely failing.  It was the icing on the cake of a long hot summer of training in humidity and trying to be serious about my running again, even though I'm not at my ideal weight for running.  It means I wasn't going through the motions for nothing.  It was the EXACT confidence booster I needed.  If I can do this, what else can I do?  What else can I finish? Where else will I find victory?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

That's A Wrap!

That right there is a photo of the actual training schedule that I used for my upcoming race. The race is billed as 11.6 miles but every time I’ve run it, my Garmin tracks it longer. In any case, there are no 11 or 12 mile training plans so in order to get in the right amount of running, I used Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Half Marathon Plan.

As of yesterday morning when I ran 5K, my training was done – see all the cross outs? Now I have two days of complete rest and then the race on Saturday.

Right now the weather is predicted to be in the high 70’s and sunny. There is a stretch in this race, right around mile 8 where there is no place to find shade and it is straight up a hill for almost ¾ of a mile. It’s awful. 77 degrees will feel like 97 right there. One year I was so out of sorts – it was 90 degrees that year – I think I was actually hallucinating a little. So why on earth would I subject myself to this again?

I actually chose this race for several reasons:

• It’s in my hometown and it’s free. That’s right – it’s a timed, measured course, supported with water/Gatorade stops every 2 miles or so, with a great finish festival sponsored by our local running club – and it’s free.

• I haven’t done any racing in two years so I figured if training didn’t go well, or weather conditions were awful (like pouring rain) on race day, I could back out and wouldn’t be upset (or feel obligated to run) like I would had I spent $50 to enter.

• Because it’s always held the first Saturday in August, you’re pretty much guaranteed hot weather, which means you might not necessarily get a good race time. Believe it or not, my ego needs that cushion. If I do horrible, I will definitely blame it on the weather.

So that’s it. I think I’m about as prepared as I can be. During the past twelve weeks, I have run a bit over 250 miles, with my lowest mileage week being 14.8 and my highest 33.1. I made some adjustments along with way due to my sister-in-law's death and getting strep throat paired with a double ear infection, but pretty much I only missed 2 runs total.  I have drunk gallons of water, some of it spiked with Nuun tablets, and probably close to a gallon of Accelerade. I have run in gorgeous cool temps and managed some fast runs. I have run in hot, humid, disgusting conditions and slogged through runs. I’ve spent this week tapering and consuming a few more carbs than normal. I’ve done everything I can and now the rest is up to actual race day conditions.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday Ten

1. My latest blog gripe: getting an email that begins, “Hi! I am new to the blogging world and I’m involved in ________________ and wondered if you’d go vote for me? I’m trying to win _________________. Thanks for your help and if you have a blog, please let me know, I’d love to read it.” Why is that irritating? Because to find my email address they had to go to my blog profile and guess what else is there? The link to Doing A 180. You can bet those emails go straight to my spam folder.

2. Speaking of spam, I’ve had a few requests to remove the word verification from my own blog. The result? An almost immediate spam comment. I’ll leave it off for a while but if it keeps up, I’m turning it back on.

3. My favorite laugh out loud blog last week was written by Middle Aged Fat Woman. Please go here: http://reflectionsonamiddle-agedfatwoman.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-i-did-for-brown.html as it’s definitely a must read. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

4. As much as I hate to admit it, summer is waning. There’s a tree that I see when I look out my kitchen window that tells the story. The top of it is already turning red and gold. When you’re a summer lover like I am, this season is never long enough.

5. Another way I know? Lately, my runs have been to moon set instead of sun rise.

6. Peak and taper is when a runner is most susceptible to getting a cold or some other weird affliction. Because of that, I’m drinking Emergen-C every day. A mega dose of C & B vitamins can only help I think.

7. I’m eating a few more carbs than usual this week. Good, whole grain, wholesome carbs that will help me build my glycogen stores and stay hydrated during the race (yep, carbs make you retain water!). So, my apologies to my fellow challengers but I won’t be weighing in tomorrow. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all the distance racing I’ve done, it’s don’t weigh yourself during the taper.

9. They keep spotting great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod. 14 of them swimming together at last count, which closed all the beaches one town away from where our vacation cottage is. The town is south of where we’re staying so hopefully the sharks keep swimming towards the Jersey Shore. Maybe they’ll go snack on that awful Snooki or The Situation.

9. I know I’m ready for vacation by the following: I don’t want to do anything. By anything I mean cook, exercise, go to work, answer the phone, be online, or be on a schedule of any sort. I’m ready for a complete disconnect from “regular” life.

10. For a quick getaway, we do love the Cape but our dream vacation is in St. Martin, FWI. We are far enough away that cell phones don’t work, yet we could get on a direct flight and be home within the day. Regular phone call would be international so no one is going to do that unless it’s an emergency. We don’t have a laptop computer so are not even tempted to take it. Even the local newspaper is French, unless we happen to drive to Sint Maarten, which is the Dutch side of the same island. Alas, no SXM this year, but I’ve already started saving for 2011!

Do you have a special place you like to go to vacation and/or disconnect?

Monday, August 2, 2010


I cut my long run short on Saturday. By the middle of last week I was feeling intense fatigue that I couldn’t seem to shake. Mr. Helen suggested that I skip all running/Thai Boxing until my long run on Saturday but the little perfectionist devil that stands on my shoulder would not let me. I compromised by going to the beginner Thai class on Thursday night and working out 4 options for my scheduled 12 miler on Saturday:

1. Go do it and not pay attention to time – which would basically require me to leave my Garmin at home.
2. Do a loop where I could cut it short if I started to feel desperate.
3. Split the run into 6 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.
4. Skip it.

I figured with all those options I’d work something out.

Saturday morning I got up at 4:30 and spent an hour drinking coffee then drinking water. My stomach was not cooperative so I didn’t manage get anything to eat down. As I contemplated running or not I realized that if I missed this long run, it would be the only one I’ve missed during the entire 12 week training schedule and I just couldn’t get myself to quite let go. I decided to take off for the run with the idea that I would do “only” 6 miles if necessary. After warming up and getting my legs looser I felt like I could go longer. Since I had eliminated Option 1, I was wearing my Garmin and was able to adjust my route. When I finally got to the point where I could go straight and go home thereby cutting the run short, or take the left for a bit over 12 miles, I went straight. Though conditions were just about perfect (65 degrees, low humidity), I wasn’t “feeling” the run. So, I slogged out 11 miles in the end, instead of 12. Actually with my warmup and cooldown (not tracked on Garmin) I did around 11.5. From all my running experience, I know this was fine. So now, this week is the taper with much less running and my race on Saturday.


As I mentioned it was a gorgeous around here this weekend. After the long run and getting the house chores done, Mr. Helen and I decided to head for the beach. Just can’t pass up picture perfect conditions!

As we relaxed on the beach I got a text message from a friend. Cell service is funky at the beach - literally you might have service if you’re standing up, but not if you’re sitting down. Or if your phone is point west instead of east. Anyway, I wanted to answer the text and I had to stand up to do it. As I stood there typing, in my peripheral vision I could see Mr. Helen looking at me very intently. Huh, what’s up with that?

I sent the text off and lay back down on my blanket and he said, “Lanc (one of his nicknames for me), you’re looking pretty slim in that bathing suit.” Oh, so that’s why he was looking at me so hard. My brain is shooting off danger signals and telling me I need to tread lightly here, because my weight and dieting has resulted in quite intense conversations for us in the past. “Well thank you,” I replied. He says, “I think you’ve lost some weight but it doesn’t seem like you’re dieting lately.” That statement opened the door and led us into a discussion about my decision a few weeks ago to stop counting every calorie that went into my mouth. I said it loud and I said it proud: “I know this may not make you happy, or make you think I'm giving up trying to get my slimmer self back, but I cannot live like that any more. It was exhausting me. I had reached the stage where I was fighting everything: my thyroid, my food, my emotions. If this is the size my body is supposed to be, then so be it. I’m trying to make reasonable food choices and be healthy and eat when I’m hungry. If I happen to lose weight, great, if not I’m going to be OK with that too.”

His response?

“Good for you! You have no idea how happy I am to hear this. This is the best thing I think I’ve heard come out of your mouth. I am so glad you are letting go of all the years of dieting and feeling like you weren’t OK. You’re OK and I just want you to be happy.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

The really interesting thing about that whole conversation is this: In the past if he was eating something and offered it to me and I said no he wouldn’t let up until I took a bite. Since Saturday, all I’ve had to say is no thank you, I’m really not hungry, and he let it go.

So, my weekend was full of victories:  exercise, food, marital and emotional.  What more could I ask for, really?