Friday, December 31, 2010

Race Day!


Today is the day! I'll be doing my third race. In some ways it almost feels like my first race though, because it's different. This is the first time I'm doing a race in a distance I've done before. Because of that, it means it's the first time I'm doing with a race with goals more then "to finish".

I have a previous personal best time of 31:25 on the 5k distance and I'm hoping to beat it. I'm also hoping to break the 30 minute mark. The conditions seem alright for it. It will be cold, but it's winter in Canada, so that's expected. I have a bit of a cold, but it's in my head rather then my chest, so I think it will be okay. I've had some concerns over pathway conditions, but Calgary actually keeps the pathways in not bad shape. I'm thinking I can avoid slipping.

4975. That's my race number this time! Running room gave a very tasteful pylon orange jacket with the race package and I'll be sporting it for this race. I was prepared to tolerate the jacket for this winter, since I really need a better one then what I've been wearing. I didn't want to spend money for one that I'd shrink out of by next year. I have to admit that, while I hate the colour, the jacket is actually really comfy.

Also hoping to meet up with some other bloggers tonight! I'll be by the indoor playground in Eau Claire prior to the race. (That way Spud and Sweetpea can let off some steam.) I expect I'll be there from about 5:00 till 5:50. (I plan to do a short jog to warm up right before the race.) Come by and say hi if you're there! I'm very tall (for a woman) - about 5'11. I have long brown hair that will be in a ponytail. I may or may not be wearing the stylish orange jacket, depending how warm it is inside.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Making goals, staying realistic

I have a 5K race coming up in 2 more days. As I mentioned, I have some goals I'm hoping to meet for this race. If the stars align, my primary goal is this:

1. Run the 5km in under 30 minutes.

I have never run 5km in under 30 minutes while training. However, this race takes place in just about the flattest place around. I do most of my training in hillier areas. I have also run both my previous races considerably faster then I thought I was able to based on my training at the time. Race day adrenaline does amazing things.

I will control what I can. I'm well trained for this race and the distance itself is easy now. To achieve this goal, I will have to push myself, but I know I can do it over that distance. I am quite capable of running a km in less then 6 minutes, and I believe I can do five of them in a row like that.

Some things are unfortunately out of my control. It was fairly warm earlier this week and now it's started snowing. The forecast calls for more snow the next couple days. Sadly, this sets the stage for slick pathways covered with snow. Currently the temperatures forecast are a high of -9c (16f) and a low of -20c (-4f). The temperature I can handle, but this may mean the worst possible traction conditions.

Barring the ability to run a 30 minute 5K, my secondary goal is to:

2. Beat my previous 5K time of 31:25.

This should be very doable. I've lost more then 20 pounds since I ran that race and I am much better trained now. That race was mostly flat, but not as flat as this one. However, it was on dry pathways...

If none of the stars align for me, and I'm left sliding about (or going slow to avoid sliding), I will still be happy achieving this:

3. Finish the race strong, knowing I have pushed myself.

I'm controlling what I can. I'm optimistic that the combination of my training and the likely use of my yaktrax will push me forward to achieve the sub-30 goal. I'm going to temper my optimism with realism though. Whatever happens on Friday, it will not defeat me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Long time, no blog! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and spent time with family and loved ones. I've been lucky enough to have visits from family from abroad and across the country, as well as seeing those that live nearby.

Today I turn 33 years old. Birthdays don't mean as much as they did when I was younger, but I like numbers and a double 3 is kind of cool. I've never hated having a Christmas time birthday like some people do. I've never had to go to school on my birthday and I've rarely even worked on it. As a child, I didn't get ripped off with combined presents, since my mother had a Christmas birthday and knew what it was like. There was the downside to not having a present receiving time in the summer, but I don't think anytime of the year is perfect.

This year I have been spoiled. You could say I got a combined present this year for my birthday, but my combined present is one of these:

So, yeah, you won't hear much complaining. :) And I have received other gifts - largely accessories to go with it or for running.

This morning, I weighed in at 202.6 pounds. It was bittersweet. Sweet because it means I'm down 2.2 pounds since my last weigh in, two weeks ago. Given I had three straight days of family dinners, that's pretty great. It also means I'm down a total of 41.2 pounds, breaking the 40 pound mark. Bitter because I had planned to break out of the 200s before the year end. That's not going to happen. I'm not going to dwell on it though. I'm just going to break that barrier in January.

Today will be a full day. Lunch plans and then a movie and dinner date with my husband. I plan to eat moderately, though I won't be obsessing over my choices either.

3 days from now is my next race! I have big goals for this 5k, and I'm hoping I can do it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa came early...

...and brought me something pretty darn fabulous.

That folks, is a 2010 Marin Stelvio 105. She has a full carbon frame and shimano 105 components. Once I switched out the seat (torture device) that came with her, she felt great. I also got a trainer, but I can't wait until I can ride her outside.

The thing I didn't get yet was shoes and pedals (just have cheap platform pedals on her at the moment). The shop where I got her didn't have any shoes I liked, so I decided to hold off on the pedals until I get shoes. What type of clipless pedals do you use on your road bike? What do you like/dislike about them?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three Things Thursday

I've been doing some bike shopping

It seems very likely that Santa is going to bring me a shiny new road bike. Yeah, the weather sucks for biking this time of year, but that's what trainers are for, right? Plus, there's some decent sales right now which will probably go away come spring time. I also really need to start getting some time on the bike. That's the part of the triathlon I'm the most nervous about right now, and it's purely because I haven't biked in months (aside from a stationary recumbent bike which really only counts as cardio, not as biking.)


My husband isn't a big fan of my new running skirts

That's not to say that he hates them. Just that he finds them "too school girlish". The plaid one, I can see that, but the other one?

I've been married to the man for five years and I didn't know he had a problem with school girls. There's always new things to learn about your partner. ;) For the record, I still like them and will still be wearing them.


I'm debating a name change for my blog

To be honest, it's not so much "if" as it is "when". When I started up my blog, it was going to be about my journey from obese to healthy. It was going to be all about me shrinking. I don't think I really saw an end to that.

Now, it's much more. Even while I continue to shrink, it's not the main thing that defines me or my blog. Plus, the time is coming when I will no longer be trying to shrink.

How did you choose the name for your blog? Have you ever changed it? Do you think the name will grow with you?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Weekly weigh in and goals

This weeks weigh in: no change.

Looking back at the week, I had some challenges. I had a mini meltdown at one point wondering whether I was actually going to be capable of doing this triathlon thing - I went kind of off track that day. There was my husband's Christmas party, and while portion sizes were reasonable, I did have wine and desert. There was a trip to the walk in clinic (just a mild ear infection for Spud, nothing serious) with a four hour wait at dinner time followed by a search for an open pharmacy on a Sunday evening. That resulted in some poor food choices.

That's life. I didn't always make the best choices, but I didn't make truly horrendous ones either. If a poor week for me is one where I maintain my weight, I'm doing alright.

That doesn't mean I can keep it up like that though. I've been giving it some thought, and by the end of April, I'd really like to be able to start shifting my focus from weight loss to triathlons. Truthfully, I would have liked to switch my focus earlier, but I think that with the weight I have left to lose, April is a realistic time line.

It's tricky balancing weight loss and training, but at this point, my runs will still be benefited immensely by me losing more weight. Looking at my before and current pictures this week opened my eyes up to how far I've come, but I'm not there yet. Not by a long shot.

The upside of this week is I had some fantastic runs. I've been upping my mileage and it's feeling great. I also have figured out how to manage my asthma during the winter, which has made a phenomenal difference.

Last week's goal was to get more sleep. I must admit that it was an almost complete fail. A few nights there were legitimate reasons why I couldn't get to bed early enough. Other nights I chose to do other things rather then go to bed. Plus, my children didn't cooperate on that score and woke up far too often at night. Not something I can keep up. I really do need to sleep more, but I think imposing a 9:30 bedtime on myself might be shooting too high. 10:00 may be more realistic on a regular basis.

This week's goal is to get back to basics. Track my food. Eat clean. I've been eating less fruits and veggies lately, and I simply don't feel as good as I did before. It's not just about the calorie count. It's making those calories count by eating the foods that keep my body functioning the best it can.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Buying too small clothes

Do you ever buy clothes that are too small for you?

For a long time, I thought this was a bad idea. It can be downright depressing to look at a closet full of too small clothes and many of us already have smaller sizes there. Aside from that, just because something is the right size (eventually), it doesn't mean you'll love the way it looks on you. Plus, once you actually get to that size, you deserve the shopping trip as a treat.

Having said that, there are times when it can be worth it. That time is when you can get good sales. Everybody loves a sale, and when you can scan the sales rack for multiple sizes, it's that much more likely you'll walk away with a good deal. The jeans I am currently wearing are ones I picked up last spring for $8. I don't love them, but they are a great in between wardrobe solution.

Right now, Running Skirts is having a sale. Now, admittedly, the skirts aren't at some crazy good price of 80% off, but they are 50% off, which is pretty good. I ordered 2 skirts and they arrived yesterday.

These skirts don't fit me right now. Well, not prettily anyways. That's alright though, because if you've read any of my recent posts about running, I'm currently doing it in frigid temperatures. Short skirts and bare legs don't mix well with -20c (-4f).

Come spring time though, I'm going to be sporting one of these cute skirts on the running trails.

What about you? Do you ever buy too small clothing, or are you waiting till you are actually there?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas party - fancy dress

I'm not taking too much time to post right now. I ran 12 km this morning with Jen, and I'm heading to the pool shortly with the kids and husband. I'm not going to swim laps, just to play.

Last night was my husband's Christmas party. It was a chance to dress up and a reason to buy a new dress. As disappointed as I initially was at buying a dress so far from my goal, I found something I really liked and felt good in.

I think I cleaned up alright, and it's a far cry from where I started...

I ran a lot more this week, and found the distance way easier. I think keeping my weekly mileage up is going to be key to feeling good on the long runs.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

HTFU

HTFU: it's a phrase that I keep seeing thrown around on a triathlon board I frequent. For the longest time, I was in the dark, because I had no idea what it meant. Then somebody else asked.

Harden the f*** up.

This morning, I dropped my kids off for a sit and came home to get ready for my run. I mentioned to my husband (who was working from home) that I was thinking of running at the track. It was -17c (1f) outside. He kind of questioned why. He reminded me that I had all the clothes I needed to run outside and every time I do it, I feel like it wasn't so bad afterwards. Every time.

So, as I went upstairs to consider which clothes to wear (based on an indoors or outdoors run), I realized something.

I live in Canada. I'm planning on doing a race on Dec 31, and a triathlon that may be bloody cold. I love running outside, and I'm not interested in quitting every September so that I can start from scratch the next spring. I'm also not interested in doing long runs at the track and the treadmill makes me shudder.

HTFU Deb.

(It was one of my best runs in a long time.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three things Thursday

The pool is currently a ghost town

I went swimming yesterday and it was dead. There were 2 other people swimming laps, and they were both regulars that I see all the time. I'm thinking it may be like this most of December and then January things will get crazy busy.


My Children are adorable in their Christmas outfits.

Today was Spud's preschool party (which we all went to). I was going to dress them casually when he insisted he had to wear his Christmas hat and shirt. Sweetpea decided that her cute pink outfit wasn't enough and she too needed her Christmas dress on. So, they were rather overdressed. But, they're cute, so what does it matter?


Photo taken by
Melinda Gombert

There's something very wrong with my tastebuds.

Spud, Sweetpea and I made cookies for his preschool party. He insisted that the oatmeal cookies needed chocolate chip rather then the usual raisins. While I was eating one (yeah, should have skipped that), all I could think was: this tastes better with raisins.

What self respecting woman prefers raisins over chocolate?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When you don't feel like it

Yesterday, I woke up feeling blah. I went through the motions. Spud had preschool and I had Sweetpea scheduled to go to a sit, so I had a few hours by myself. Once I had them both off, I came home. I was supposed to go for a run, but I felt like curling up with a book and a tea and doing nothing. (Truthfully, I probably would have curled up with a chocolate bar too, if I had any in the house.)

Thing is, I had made plans. A couple days earlier, I had made arrangements with a friend to go running. I did not feel like it, but I had a commitment, so I sucked it up, got my running clothes on and went out to meet her.

Gayle is one of those people who has infectious enthusiasm and she was completely enthusiastic about this run. We ran down by the river, which was covered in snow. The ice sparkled in the sunshine. Before long her enthusiasm was wearing off on me and I was feeling better. A saying comes to mind that couldn't be more true in this situation: "you'll never regret the runs you do, only the ones you don't do."

I think I'm a pretty lucky runner. For the most part, I love it. I'm usually excited at my opportunities to run and I don't have to fight with myself to get out there. I'm not perfect though and like everyone else, sometimes the motivation is just lacking.

Would I have gone out if I hadn't had plans? Truthfully, I don't know. Sometimes you have to use all the resources at your disposal, and this time, I was lucky enough to have part of my support system there for me. I used to be afraid of running with other people, but now I'm loving it, and it is certainly helping me get through the dark winter months.

And sometimes, you just have to suck it up. Acknowledge that you don't feel like it. Then, do it anyways.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weigh in and weekly goals

This week I weighed in at 204.8 for a weekly loss of 1 pound and a total loss of 39 pounds. I am neither thrilled nor devastated by that weigh in. I would have liked more, but it was a rough week for me and I did not get all my workouts in. I'll take that 1 pound and add to it later.

This week my goal was to stretch after all my workouts. Unfortunately, when I say I didn't get my workouts in, I'm not kidding. I spent most of my evenings (after the kids went to bed) hunched over a little table making hair clippies. I didn't sleep well, as I was up too late, too often, preparing for the craft fair. Plus my children have decided to start waking up at night again. I got in 1 swim and 1 run. Blah. I stretched a tiny bit after the run and completely forgot after the swim.

No wonder I only lost 1 pound.

This sounds like a rather whiny post. For that I apologize. Whiny section is over and now it's time to get to the dealing section.

First of all, it's making me see that if I am going to do craft fairs again next year, I have to plan much better and much further ahead. IF I am going to do them. I'm not enjoying being a clippie factory anymore. The money I make for the time I put into it is pretty low, so that doesn't even make up for it. It may be time to prioritize and cut less productive things out of my life so that I can focus on what is more important to me. This year, my family time suffered significantly as did my sleep and workouts.

The good news is, I finished my final craft fair this weekend! Now I have the time to devote to my family and myself again.

This weeks goal is a repeat of one I've done before. Sleep. I simply have not been getting enough of it and I'm feeling it. So, I will be going to bed early again - around 9:30. My daughter pretty consistently gets up by 6:30, and right now, I am expecting at least one overnight wake up. A bedtime of 9:30 will set me up to function better during the day.

As we're approaching Christmas, I'm not changing too much of my regular routine. The week of Christmas, my husband is off of work, so it should actually be easier in most ways. I intend to take advantage of opportunities to get to the pool during morning lane swims and run during daylight.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The cold isn't as bad I thought it was

It happens every year. We get summer (or some imitation of it), then fall, then we get hit with a huge snowstorm. People drive super slow and everyone complains about how cold it is. I'm no exception. When it got cold, I immediately stopped running outside and tried to commence hibernation.

The problem is, running at the track is boring.

Not only that, but I don't like being too hot anyways. So, why was I whining about how cold it was when I could easily dress myself up to be warm?

Yesterday, I did another 10 km (6.2mi) run with Jen and group. I actually overdressed a bit. I think I've almost got my running wardrobe figured out for the time being: wool socks, light weight long johns (top and bottom), running tights, long sleeved shirt, windshirt, vest, toque. I could have dropped the vest yesterday and I definitely needed a lighter weight hat. Maybe Santa (or my husband) will get me a new one. I have a few other items I can add when it gets colder and I can take some away.

Now, my big hangup is running when it's cold and dark. I am fortunate in that I have opportunities to run during daylight quite a bit. But, my race is going to be after dark, and I can't keep running at the track just because I have to do an evening or morning run.

Do you run in the cold and dark? Do you worry more about slipping when you can't see the path as well?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Making choices - things you like to do

Since it's the season, everyone is baking. I have to admit that in past years, baking has always been something I felt I had to do. For one thing, it's Christmas. For another, I enjoy it and I'm good at it. Given those facts, isn't it something I should do?

However, if I start thinking about it, there are a lot of things I would like to do. I would like to go skiing and rock climbing, hang gliding or zip lining. I'd love to backpack or hike somewhere warm right now. I also want to sew Christmas pajamas for my family or take knitting up again. I'd like to paint parts of my house or redecorate. I'd like to go to Hawaii, China, or Europe.

I don't get to do everything I want. Sometimes it's finances that holds me back. Sometimes it's time. Sometimes it's just realism. There simply is not enough time to do everything I'm interested in. I'm starting to look at some of my less healthy habits as a choice.

Sure, I could bake cookies with my kids... or we could walk to the park. My kids will be happy with either, and so will I. One choice is the better one though. I could make a pie... or I could go for a run. I feel a heck of a lot better after a run then I do after eating a pie.

For the first time in my life, I am making the choice to do something other then the things I used to be attached to. It's not that I'm giving up baking. I'm simply choosing to do something else.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. I bought my Christmas dress!

I went shopping with my kids and actually managed to get a dress out of the deal. My children had a favorite: a sparkly sequined number.
Photo source
Kind of like one of these, but it was multi coloured.

Sweetpea told me "pretty dress Mommy!" Spud informed me "you loooove that dress Mommy. It's shiney." It was so short that I wasn't sure if I could sit or bend over decently while wearing it though, so sadly I did choose to go for something a bit more tasteful.

The neat thing that happened while shopping was all the dresses seemed to be fitting funny, and finally I realized I was trying on the wrong size. I was actually trying on dresses that were too big! Once I got into the size that fit me, I found one that I fell in love with. No pictures right now though. You'll have to wait until I am all dressed up for the party next weekend.

2. I didn't buy shoes. Thanks for nothing Payless.

Okay, am I the last person on earth that doesn't text? I ask this because lately Payless always seems to have a discount that they only extend to you if you text a code in. I am not interested in texting and I doubt I'll ever do it. I will someday have a smart phone of some type and might email from it, but I intend to bypass texting entirely. I think it's kind of like fax machines. It's a fad that fills a tiny gap between other technologies being developed, but before long it will go obsolete.

Having said that, I was extremely disappointed with Payless's policy on the discount. No text, no discount. As far as I'm concerned this is discrimination. The customers that don't text for whatever reason are not eligible to receive the same prices as those that do. I have no doubt that there are still plenty of people that don't text aside from just middle aged homemakers like myself.

I have bought virtually ever pair of shoes my children have had at payless as well as many of my own. Today, I left a pair for myself and for my daughter on the counter and I won't be shopping there as long as they continue this policy.

3. This weekend I am doing my final craft fair.

I've found this craft fair season to be particularly exhausting. I don't enjoy making hair accessories as much as I used to. I really don't enjoy the politics of the competition with how many other people are doing it. I would rather be running.

I haven't made a firm decision, but I'm leaning towards being done with it after this craft show. I can go back to making them for fun and do it just for my daughter or gifts. Then I can spend time being active rather then hunched over a table in my basement with the glue gun.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How are you approaching December?

At this time last year, I had been half heartedly trying to lose weight for many months without success. I was tired of it. I was tired of keeping track of what I ate. Tired of having to restrict foods I liked. Tired of the inevitable results on the scale every time I slipped and ate (or binged on) something I shouldn't have.

It was December. The holidays. I wanted to do Christmas baking and eat it too. I wanted to make and decorate a gingerbread house (and you have to sample those candies to make sure they aren't poisoned, after all). I wanted to enjoy pie (one of each kind, of course) with Christmas dinner, birthday cake for my birthday (Dec 28), wine at parties, and ollie bollen (a dutch tradition - deep fried dough, kind of like fritters) at New Years.

So, I made a choice. I made a choice to let myself. To do it all. To live it up. It was to be a last dinner, except it was a month of last dinners. I sure ate to prove it. In that one month, I added an extra 10 pounds to my already obese frame.

Was it worth it?

Well, I don't believe in regretting the past, since that's what makes you the person you are now. So, in some ways, I suppose it was. It taught me a lot about myself: what I am made of, what I can handle. When I started in January, I did start with a new determination and a new purpose.

Would it be worth it now?

No.

I have worked too hard to get to where I am now. Interestingly, my biggest reason for keeping on track has changed. It's not so much to avoid the 10 pound weight gain I had in this month last year. Moreso, if I go nuts, my running, swimming and biking will suffer. Big time. I know that a month of no activity coupled with ridiculous food intake will set me back months in my training. I know that stopping my running now and eating Christmas cookies every day may kill my chance of doing a half marathon in the spring. Or my Olympic triathlon in the fall.

I am not willing to give that all up. I want it a lot more then I want those cookies.

Some people are great with moderation. I am not some people. Christmas is also a day, not a month. There is no good reason why most days should be treated like every other day. No reason for excessive serving sizes and desserts with every meal.

My strategy for this month? It's to treat most days like a regular day. To eat healthy foods in reasonable portion sizes. Even Christmas dinner can be healthy. Turkey is actually a pretty good protein choice. All the side dishes are optional both in whether to have them and in what quantities. I can do crafts with my kids instead of baking. If I do choose to have a treat, it will never be on an empty stomach and it will be a very small serving. Better yet, I'll steal a bite or two from my husband and call it a day.

Activity? I like something I read just recently. It was along the lines of: stop saying you don't have time to fit a work out in. Start asking yourself how you are going to make the time.

How are you approaching the holidays?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weekly weigh in and goals

This week I weighed in at 205.8 pounds, for a weekly loss of 2.2 and a total loss of 38. I'm nearing two big milestones. First of all, the 40 pound loss mark is within reach. Then, getting below 200 and entering onederland isn't far behind.

Last week, my goal was to get back to weighing and measuring all my food. Um... yeah... Okay, I kept this goal up barely at all. My kitchen scale has a dead battery which I had meant to replace and didn't get around to. And, my measuring cups? Well, I just didn't use them.

Having said that, I did get back to a point of being aware of my serving sizes. I started to realize that I was had been eating too large of portions on some of my regular foods, and I can tell that without measuring. Despite the fact I didn't make this goal at all, I'm not going to make this my goal again for next week. I am going to replace that battery, and I am going to start periodically measuring my food, particularly the ones I have more of a tendency to go overboard on.

I also gave myself a new calorie range last week. I dropped from 1600-2000 to 1200-1600. I must admit that I lived near the top of that range most days, and went over it the day of my long run. I may consider adjusting it, but I'll give it one more week before I make that decision. It's a balancing act for me to eat enough to sustain my training while still losing weight.

So, my goal for next week? Stretching.

I tend to skip stretching a lot of the time because I find it boring. I know there is mixed research about it, and some of it even hints that stretching isn't always necessary. Stretching does make a difference for me though, and that's what really matters. I notice that I get less stiffness in my muscles when I stretch following a run. I also need to start stretching my arms following swims. So, this week, I'm committing to doing at least a few (yeah, set the bar high...) stretches after every workout.

I have 4 more weigh ins this year, and 6 pounds to go before I hit onederland!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Great run, New (sort of) friend

The blogosphere is an interesting place. You read and comment on other people's blogs, and they do the same on yours. Sometimes, you find people that you relate to more then others and you form friendships. These are often friends you will never meet due to geography, but sometimes geography isn't such a barrier...

Jen from Triathlete Within is one of those friends. We've had a long online courtship. I think she's pretty amazing. She's done the Banff triathlon (that I'm training towards this year) in some pretty severe weather conditions. She even looks good in a wetsuit, which is a feat in itself. She also only lives about 30 minutes away from me.

My husband claims we've been stalking each other online. When Jen mentioned that she was starting a Sunday running group, I was super excited. I missed a few because of my crazy craft show season, but this weekend, I had a craft fair on the Saturday and the Sunday was free. So, on a snowy day, I made the drive into the city to meet up.

Now, I have to admit, I get anxiety about running with other people. For all the weight I've lost, I still have a ways to go. Sometimes it makes me feel like the "fat girl" all over again. In your average group of runners, you don't see too many people my size. We also were going to be doing 10 km, a distance I have done many times. It's also a distance on which I've crashed many times.

Having said that, I haven't transformed my life by letting my insecurities hold me back. I now acknowledge them and carry on. If somebody wants to look at the "fat girl" running, that's a big improvement over the "fat girl" eating a donut.

I had a smooth drive in and got to the parking lot a bit early. It was cool outside, so I waited in my car for a bit. When it was almost 10:00, I took off my big winter jacket and changed from my boots to my running shoes. Jen arrived a couple minutes later, and we greeted each other with a hug. It was a new experience. I've never "met" somebody before that I already felt like I knew so well.

In a few minutes we were off. We were all dressed for running after all, not standing around. I declined the suggestion to run with the faster runners and ran with Jen at a bit of a slower pace. It made me feel a lot better about my fear of crashing towards the end of the 10km. I can push my pace for shorter distances, but I know if I push it for a full 10km, I may pay.

We chatted as we ran - the kind of talking where you say half a sentence then take a breath before continuing. It was one of the first times for me that a long run didn't feel like a battle to complete. The time flew by. When we hit our turn around point, I had lots of energy to keep going. We're both garmin addicts and regularly checked our distance. When we reached the end, we hit exactly 10 km. We both knew we had to run an extra little circle if that's what it took to make our garmins get the last 10th or 100th of a km.

Afterwards, four of us went for coffee and chatted some more. We laughed and joked and tried to convince Jen's husband to do a triathlon. (He runs and bikes, but doesn't swim.) Never once did I feel like the fat girl in the group of runners. I simply felt like a runner in a group of runners. For the former fat girl, that's a pretty cool feeling.

So, thank you for the run Jen. And thank you for a new friendship. The internet is a new social venue, but it's great to transfer one of those friendships into real life. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and friends!

We had Thanksgiving over a month ago here in Canada, so it's just a regular day for us. I hope that you all enjoy your day and your feasts in whatever way you've chosen to do so!

2. We're getting a break in the weather!

At 7:15 am, the temperature is already at -8c (18f) and it's supposed to go up to +1c (34f). I'm super excited! I'm going to take the kids for a walk after Spud finishes preschool, and am planning to get an outdoor run in with the chariot.

3. My husband asked me to make a Christmas list for him

Almost everything on it was related to running and triathlons. My Christmas lists used to be mainly kitchen gadgets and small appliances. He's lucky that I'm not at my final size yet, since it meant I restrained myself from putting clothing or a fuel belt on the list.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekly weigh in and goals - stepping it up

This week I weighed in at 208 pounds even, for a weekly loss of 0.2 pounds and a total loss of 35.8. For the record, when the weight change is less then a half pound any direction, I consider that to be the same as maintaining, which for the record, it's not time for yet.

So, what's the deal?

If you're not losing weight when you should, there's two areas you should look at: food and activity. Generally food is the real culprit as weight loss is about 80% nutrition, 10% activity, and 10% good genes. In my case, I'd say it's a bit of a combination, but mainly food.

I did get back to tracking this week, which is really important. However, I'm going to suggest that some of my portion sizes have grown. I tend to be pretty good at eyeballing portion sizes for months after a phase when I've measured and weighed. The problem is, it's been months since I've done a phase of measuring and weighing my portion sizes.

The other thing that I'm going to suggest is it's time to adjust my calorie range. Currently the calorie range I try to stick to is 1600 - 2000 calories, generally falling around the 1800 mark. The idea with the wide range is it gives me leeway to eat more on days when I'm particularly active and hungry. For quite a while, this range worked for me. I was losing around 2 pounds a week on it, and "if it's not broke don't fix it".

Now, it's broke. I'm not losing weight while eating in that calorie range. There's two reasons for this: first of all, I'm at the same calorie range I was 20 pounds ago. The amount of calories my body needs to maintain my weight has gone down, so there's less of a deficit.

The other reason is my level of activity. While I'm still getting planned work out sessions in, I'm less active in my regular day. With the weather getting frigid, we haven't been walking to the park or river as much. Instead we're driving to an indoor play centre, or lazing around at the pool. I don't actually think this is a major contributor, but it is a small piece of the puzzle.

It's time to adjust that calorie range. I'm going to drop it to 1200 - 1600 for the time being. I like having the wide range as it allows me to listen to my body more and be realistic about when I really do need more food. I'll play it week by week and adjust it again if I decide it's necessary. Hopefully it will make a difference and make the pounds start coming off again.

So, weekly goals...

Last week my goal was to stick to my planned activity for the week. Looking back at it, I had an aggressive plan of 11 work outs over a 6 day period. I did not stick to every workout. I did 8 over the 6 day period. Lesson learned. The week was busier then I expected and I had set my goals high following a week where I'd only got 4 work outs in.

This week's goal will be to weigh and measure my food. Tracking my food and counting calories doesn't do much good if the portions have grown over time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Comfort food on a cold day

It's cold outside today. Not just cold like yesterday when I bragged about being hardcore. Really frickin' cold. This morning it was -34c (-29.f) with a windchill of -44 (-47f). Heck, it's so cold with windchill that the fahrenheit numbers are lower then the celsius ones. (I don't really get how the conversions work. Thank goodness for online calculators that do it for me.)

If you're like me, you start to crave comfort foods on days like this. A tasty stew, or macaroni casserole, a warm apple crisp...

I don't think there's anything wrong with comfort foods in and of themselves, but if you're like me and have trouble with moderation, it might be time to reframe what you consider a comfort food.

Enter the best soup ever:

Today I made a butternut squash soup. Super simple to make:

Spray roasting pan (I use a turkey roaster for the space) with non stick spray (I prefer olive oil). Cut in half 2 butternut squash and lay down in a roasting pan , add one red onion cut into chunks, and one bulb (yes, bulb, not clove) of garlic. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Take it out and scrape the squash into a large pot, add the onion and garlic. Add 1.5 - 2 cups vegetable stock (you could use chicken stock, but I like to be able to feed this to vegetarians). Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.

Then use an immersion blender to puree it. (You could use a regular blender, but it would take a few batches and be a bit of a pain. Seriously, it is worth owning an immersion blender just to make this recipe.)

You can add salt or pepper to taste, but I find with the stock, I don't need to.

Seriously delicious. And, seriously healthy. And, it helps you meet your vegetable quota for the HBBC.

Monday, November 22, 2010

For the record, I'm hardcore now.

So, if you've been reading my blog this past week, you may have noticed that I've been doing a lot of whining about the weather and not a lot of running in it. Today, I changed that.

Today, the temperature out there is a cool -20c (-4f) with a windchill of -30c (-22f). Today I ran - outside.

I dropped the kids off at a sit this morning and came home. I had to check my email, and then I looked at the kitchen. It really needed to be cleaned.

Um yeah...

I decided to suck it up. I got all my outdoor clothing ready and hopped on the exercise bike to warm up. One thing is for sure, if I'm going out there, I'm not walking to warm up. I'm running the instant I leave the house, so that I don't freeze anymore then necessary.

I borrowed a face mask I gave to my husband for skiing, so I looked a bit like a bandit, aside from the red neck warmer.

I put my newly acquired yak trax on my shoes so I wouldn't slip and I headed out.

Before I went out, I told myself that I only had to do 1 km. Today was about getting out there, not doing the distance. In the end, I did 2 km before I came home for a warm shower.

It wasn't as bad as I was expecting, although I do need a warmer jacket.

Can I be considered hardcore for running in that temperature?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Getting outside in the cold

I have to admit a problem I'm having. It's going outside. Now, I have been going outside for various reasons every day, but I'm avoiding it when I can. The temperature has been around -20c (-4f).

The first day it snowed, I dressed myself and the kids up in full winter gear to go for a walk and make snow angels. Since then, I shudder at the thought of being outside longer then going from the car to whatever location. I don't know what my problem is. Intellectually, I'm well aware that proper clothing can make any temperature comfortable, but I feel like my bones are just cold.

Then there's running. I swore I was going to run all winter long. And I am. But, so far, it's been at the indoor track. Sure it's boring watching the walls go around, but I pump up my music and go. Somehow, I need to convince myself that I can run even in the frozen wasteland. I don't know if I should just dress all the way up, including snow pants. Then go for a run and over heat. Maybe then I can convince myself that I will be fine running in this weather.

I'm scheduled to run a 5k race Dec 31. Now, to be quite honest, I'm hoping for a chinook (a weather phenomenon we get here where we can warm up 20 degrees or more.) Fact is though, I don't get to schedule the chinook, so I better be prepared to do it, even if it's frigid.

So, what are your winter running strategies? How much clothing do you wear, and how do you convince yourself to get out there?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. I've done my last couple runs at the indoor track.

Yesterday evening, when I signed in, the lady said "okay, I'll mark you down as walking". I really wanted to correct her and tell her that I wasn't walking. I was running. I decided it wasn't worth it. I've noticed that the majority of the people on the track are just walking, so I suppose the assumption is natural. At $2 a time, or 12 runs for $20, I don't think I'll ever buy a treadmill. I much prefer running outside, so I only intend to do the track when I really need to.

2. My son is planning on becoming a personal trainer.

When I was running with the kids on Tuesday, I had to take walk breaks every few minutes. (Running with a chariot is very challenging.) Spud would ask me why we were going slower. When I told him I was out of breath, he told me to take a drink of my water. Then: "You drink your water mommy? Now you have energy; now we can go FAST again!"

3. I've been getting a bleeding toe. (non-runners, you may just want to skip this.)

My toes are shaped funny in a permanently pushed together configuration. (perhaps from years of wearing slightly too small shoes?) When I run, one of my toenails has started cutting into the toe next to it, even if I trim the toenail the day before. I think I'm just going to have to wrap the injured toe in bandaids to keep it from happening.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Weekly weigh in, mini goals in the cold and dark

First off the facts. This weeks weigh in was 208.2 for a weekly gain of 0.6 and a total loss of 35.6.

Now, I am firmly of the belief that it is possible to do everything right and still maintain or gain a small amount of weight over the course of one week. Water weight can cause fluctuations and hormones can play a roll. The real question is: did I do everything right?

No.

There's 2 main factors at play and since weight loss is fairly straight forward, the factors are pretty simple. Food and activity.

I have not been tracking my food properly. I've been tracking, sure, but it's the kind of tracking where I sit down at the end of the day and try to remember everything I had. Not so good. I could do that prior to having kids and actually remember everything. Now, some of my brain cells have melted and I forget things - meaning I have probably gone over my calorie range at least some days.

The other is activity. I have always said that I don't exercise to lose weight. I train to swim, bike, and run better. Doing so much can actually make it more difficult to lose because it introduces the balancing game of eating enough to sustain significant activity. I rarely consciously add calories due to activity.

But, I did settle into a calorie range that worked for me to lose a couple pounds a week. This worked for me at at time when I was running 4 times a week, swimming 3, and biking when I could. In the last week, I ran once, swam twice, and did a short stationary bike session. Not cool. Even if I didn't intentionally add calories due to activity, the reason that calorie range was working was due to the activity.

It's ironic. On the very week that I made plans to do a half marathon and olympic triathlon, I also practically stopped running. Seems I spent a lot of time thinking about it and not a lot doing it.

So, what's going on?

Well, I combined a busy week with cold and dark then used it as an excuse. I've lost my interest in 5am running. There isn't a speck of light in the sky, and the mercury continues to drop. Waiting for my husband to get home doesn't help. Since the time change, it's completely dark by the time he gets home as well.

That's the situation. We'll talk solution in a minute.

Let's change gears for a moment and talk about weekly goals. Last week, my goal was to get more sleep by getting to bed by 9:30. I did it every night but one. The first few days, I actually found myself exhausted, despite getting more sleep. I'm not sure if that's just a result of my body adjusting or what. Overall, it has made me feel more human though, so I'll continue to strive for more sleep.

On to this week. Given what I've identified as the challenges this week, I think my goal is pretty obvious. I'm not making it tracking though. That's just something I need to, and will do. Period. The goal is activity.

There's no reason I have to do my runs at 5 am. There's also no reason I can't come up with a different plan, and that's what I failed to do. I have multiple ways to get runs in. Either outdoors or at the local track. I can do it early morning or evening when my husband is home. I can take the kids out in the chariot and do it with them along, like I did yesterday (hard work!) I can make use of my babysitting co-op and run while I have my kids in sits.

Spud and Sweetpea hanging out before the run

With the weather changing and life being busy, it's easy to put things off, sometimes to the extent that they never happen. Without a plan for my activity, it became too easy to let it go. So, this week, the goal is to make a plan which accounts for schedule and weather. Then stick to it. Simple right?

So, here's the plan.

Yesterday: Chariot run (done!), evening swim (done!)
Tuesday: track run (done!), evening stationary bike
Wednesday: Chariot run (weather dependant) Evening swim (plus track run if chariot run doesn't happen)
Thursday: 30 day shred (in the morning if possible), evening stationary bike
Friday: Morning run (outside if it's not too slippery), evening swim
Saturday: morning long run
Sunday: Active rest day - swim lesson in the evening

I feel so much better when I am active. Having a plan sets me up to follow through. Next week, I'll see a loss that will propel me that much closer to Onederland.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Commit

It's all fine and good to make goals and to plan to do things, but it's equally important to commit to them and follow through. With running races and triathlons, actually signing up for the race is a step that makes it real for me and sets things in stone. We aren't poor, but we're also not in a financial state where I can throw money away. If I sign up and pay for the race, I'm doing it.

"Deborah Johnson is now Registered
for Subaru Banff Triathlon."

Those were the words that came up on the screen following my online registration. I also registered for an Alberta Triathlon membership, which commits me to doing at least one more race. (The membership is $20 for one race, or $35 for the year.)

For someone that asked, an Olympic triathlon is not the one that has a marathon at the end. That's an Iron distance, which is a 2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike, and 26.2 mi run. I will do an ironman one day, but that day is years away.

An Olympic distance is a 1.5 km swim (0.93 mi), 40 km (24.8 mi) bike, and 10 km (6.2 mi) run.

What I had been planning on doing this year is sprint triathlons, which would be one third the swim distance and half the bike and run distance of an Olympic. I am confident that I could do a sprint triathlon a week from now if the opportunity existed.

I am not confident I could do an Olympic a week from now. Quite frankly, the Olympic distance frightens me. The swim terrifies me. What if I drown? The most non-stop swimming I have done is just over a km. And that was not in open water. Can I ride my bike 40 km? Don't know. I've never done it. I can run 10 km, but can I do it after swimming and riding?

Well, now I'm committed.

The good part is, I don't have to do the Olympic triathlon in a week. In fact, I have almost 43 weeks to prepare. 43 weeks ago, I couldn't run for a minute, or swim a metre. Let's see how far I can go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Free cookies

This weekend I did a craft fair. Yes, on the side I sell ridiculously cute hair accessories for little girls. In the past, I've been weak at craft fairs. There's always somebody there selling baked goods. I usually neglect to bring sufficient food, and when it gets slow, I get bored, and the baked goods get really tempting.

This time, I successfully steeled my will against the baked goods and they weren't even that tempting. I kind of looked at them and went: "meh, not that great looking." I brought sufficient (healthy) food that I couldn't use hunger as a legitimate excuse.

What was tempting was the table of free refreshments (aka cookies). Why is it, that when something is free, we get this urge to take advantage? I mean, if I want or need a cookie, I have the financial ability to buy myself a box of them. There was nothing special about these cookies. I have no doubt I could find them in a box at the grocery store. Yet, for some reason, when it's free, my mind goes "better get it before it's gone".

For what it's worth, I also resisted the free cookies. Yet, I find it a very interesting gut reaction that I had. It's not like there's any shortage of cookies in the world - particularly mediocre store bought cookies. Why does my mind instinctually feel I must have it because it's offered free?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Go big or go home

Image source

Wednesday I started asking myself "what next?" What's my next step in my racing life? I've done a 5k, and a 10k. I have plans to do both of them faster. Both of those will be accomplished by March.

Then there's triathlons. When I set a goal to do a triathlon last spring, it was with trepidation. I did not run or swim - at all. To dream of doing a triathlon was huge. To plan to do one seemed even more amazing. My intention was to do a sprint triathlon. (5k running, 20k biking, 500 metre swim). Small distances to some, but a huge accomplishment to a non-runner with a fear of deep water.

Initially, doing triathlons was intended to help with the weight loss. No more. Now, I'm losing weight so that I can run and do triathlons better. My entire mindset has shifted, and it's the kind of shift that is life changing.

One of the comments on Wednesday came from Jen. She told me "I think you're going to be disappointed if you only do a sprint tri this year. You're definitely capable of more". True words. Thank you Jen.

At the time I set the goal, it seemed ambitious. Now, I regularly do all of those distances and more multiple times a week. Okay, I'll admit I'm less trained on the bike, but I can still ride the 20k, with 90 pounds of kid and chariot behind me. When I ride without pulling the trailer, I feel like I'm flying.

So, what now?

A spring half marathon.

A fall Olympic length triathlon.

I'll still do my sprint lengths... to train for the Olympic.

Go big or go home.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Take a moment today

Please take a moment of silence today to remember those that fought and died for our freedom.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What comes next?

After reaching a major goal, there is always a little bit of a let down period. It's kind of like a "now what?" phase.

I finished a 10k race this weekend, which for me, was a major accomplishment. I was never a runner. Never "liked" to run. I was the fat girl in gym class that walked the 12 minute run. This weekend I ran for over an hour. If only my high school gym teachers could see me now...

So, now what?

Well, it's been working for me. Having a race on my horizon has kept me focused. It keeps me from skipping runs because I know I need to do them to get ready. It keeps my nutrition in check because when I eat poorly it screws with my runs.

Next is a 5k for New Year's Eve, the resolution run. That's right, while everyone else is dressing up for a swanky party, I'm going to be sweating it out and setting a personal best for the 5k distance. Maybe breaking the 30 minute mark...

Then, I'm pretty sure another 10k is on the table. There's one for St. Patrick's day. It's a longer break between races then I'd prefer, but there's not a lot to sign up for in January or February. I'm thinking it may be realistic to break the one hour mark.

One thing that's pretty cool about my running is I have lots of room and potential for improvement. My times are respectable enough for a beginning runner, but pretty darn good for an overweight one. Weight has a huge effect on running, so between further training and more weight loss, I have a lot of potential to get faster.

Now the next question: Do I sign up for a half marathon in the spring? Or, do I shift my focus to triathlons and wait until the fall to do a half marathon?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weigh in and mini goals update

This week I weighed in at 207.6, for a weekly loss of 1.2 and a total loss of 36.2. Not a huge loss, but I'm okay with it. Last week I had a large loss that made me think it was partly due to dehydration. This may have just evened it out.

This brings me to the next point. I've started setting weekly mini goals, and one week in I'm liking it. This week, my goal was to drink my water and I did great. I really enjoy water, so it was no hardship for me. I just had to make a point to keep filling up my glass or bottle.

For the coming week, my goal is going to be to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked to obesity, and on a personal level, I have a much harder time controlling my cravings when I haven't slept enough. I also don't feel as good running and swimming when I'm exhausted. It affects just about every aspect of my life.

To achieve this, I've switched my workouts around. I no longer am going to run on mornings following an evening swim. It just didn't leave enough time in between to sleep long enough. It doesn't mean cutting out my runs and swims, just doing them on the same day, which actually puts more time between them. I'm hoping it will have the side effect of getting me back on my bike the other days.

I'm also going to make a point of going to bed by 9:30. That's right folks. 9:30. I think that officially makes me old.

At least I can be old and well rested...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Run Without Borders - race review

Saturday I ran my first 10k (6.2 mi) race. I'd been working towards it since finishing my first 5k race in September. I won't say that training was free of challenges, but I worked through them and came to race day (semi) confident that I could do it. My biggest challenge was bonking and running out of energy on my longer runs. I had figured out a food combination that seemed to work for me in my final training run, so I just hoped it wasn't a fluke and would work again on race day.

My main goals for this run were to not bonk, and finish within 1:10. My last training run I had done 10k in 1:12, but the race was a much flatter route, so I figured I could shave off a couple minutes.

I got up bright and early so that I could have my breakfast a few hours beforehand. Then I made the drive into downtown Calgary. Since I live outside the city, I gave myself plenty of time in case I dealt with traffic or parking issues. I had problems with neither and arrived with tonnes of time and while it was still mostly dark outside.


We had made the decision for me to head in alone. While I would have loved to have my kids and husband come watch the race, I did not want the morning stress of getting a 2 and 3 year old ready and out the door in time. Plus, it was pretty chilly. I knew I'd be fine since I was running, but it would be a lot harder on the kids waiting around. This report is light on the photos, since I didn't have a photographer/husband along.

I killed some time walking around before the race and checking out the beginning of the course. Looked like there was construction and the pathway was closed where it was supposed to go, but I figured they had it worked out. About 20 minutes beforehand, I ate my homemade granola bar and apple. That had worked well for me the previous week, so I was hoping it would again.

About 5 minutes before the race, somebody from one of the sponsor gyms got up on stage and started doing an aerobics warm up. I decided that I didn't need to do knee ups or hamstring curls since I'd already been walking around for an hour. Instead I took a last minute bathroom break. Yay for a location that has an indoor area to wait when the weather is cold!

Then it was time to head outside. I was dressed fairly lightly, so I let a lot of people go in front of me to get out the door. I only had a light, long sleeved shirt on. It amazed me that other people would be able to run with a heavy jacket, toque and mitts. (It was right around freezing 0 c, 32 f).This picture was taken prior to the start.
I didn't have my camera with me during the race itself.

Everyone seemed reluctant to go near the front. I know that I'm not a front of the pack runner, so I was trying to hold back, but I ended up much closer to the starting line then I would usually go with about 6-7 rows of people in front of me.

Then the signal was given and we were off. Surprisingly, I was keeping up with those around me. There were a few people passing everyone, but those were people that clearly should have gone up to the front (where there was lots of room).

I knew I was running faster then usual, but I figured I'd go with it for a little bit. I felt fine and I wanted to see if I could let the race day adrenaline carry me on a bit. We went across a bridge that took us around the area where I'd seen construction.

The view of the bow river from the bridge.
The entire run was on pathways by this river.

When my garmin beeped for my first km, I realized that I had finished it in just under 6 minutes. I wasn't surprised, since I knew I was running on the fast side for me. I figured I could probably keep it up if I only had to do 5km, but would likely burn out if I tried to do 10 at that rate. I usually go closer to 7 min/km on my longer runs. I slowed down a little bit to find a pace I felt I could sustain a bit better.

Not long afterwards, we passed the 1km sign, except, according to my garmin, we were actually 1.23 km in. I figured that the first sign must just be in the wrong place, but when we passed each km sign, it was always 0.23 km further then it should be. I realized that they had only accounted for the construction by detouring the route, and adding distance, but not taking that distance off anywhere else. Since the race was an out and back, that meant both the first and last km were longer then they should be.

My run/walk plan for this race had been to run except at the water stations (2.5, 5, and 7.5 km). Truthfully, I wasn't sure I'd be able to, but I found the energy of all the runners really helped propel me along. I didn't even walk for a minute at the aid stations like I'd planned. I just slowed down to grab my water, swallow it and discard my cup - maybe 10 seconds.

Around the 5km mark, I was starting to get tired. At around 7km, I reminded myself that I just had to keep my legs moving and they'd carry me to the finish. Throughout this time though, I still managed about a 6:30/km pace, which I have never been able to do on a long run before.

At the 9km point, I picked up the pace. I know I can run 6:00/km, and with only 1km left, I didn't need to save my energy. (Though admittedly, that last km was a long one.) The point where I felt frustrated was when I hit 10km. I had signed up for a 10k race! Not 10.5! But, whether I knew I had done 10 or not, I hadn't crossed the finish line, so I kept going.

I was just starting to wonder if I had pushed myself too much for the last stretch when I turned a corner and there was the finish line. One of the race volunteers was there and was cheering me on, telling me I was almost there. I sprinted to the end and crossed the finish line strong.

1:06:21

Despite my frustration about the long course, I still finished in less then 1:10. In fact, I was done 10km in 1:03:39, so breaking the hour mark isn't an unrealistic goal in the future.

Running races is an amazing feeling. I push myself in a way I don't think I'm capable of in training. Then when I go back and train, I know I'm capable of more, so I try for it. I'm becoming an addict, and this time, the addiction is a good one. That adrenaline is better then any brownie.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Race results

Just a quick post to share my 10k race results.

I felt great about the race and finished in 1:06:21.

The course was actually almost half a km long though. There was construction on part of the path, and they just detoured the race without shortening it anywhere else. According to my garmin, it was 10.46 km. I was not the only one who noticed it, so it wasn't a faulty garmin reading.

Had it actually ended at 10k, I would have finished in 1:03:39. Not bad for a first 10k! I'm still going to count 1:06 as my official personal record though.

Race Day!

Excuse the frizzy hair. I'll be wearing a hat.

Just a quick post to say that today I will be running my first 10k race! 3216, a good number. I'm 32 years old right now, and 16 is half of that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. I'm getting pre-race day nerves again.

I do the run without borders on Saturday, in 2 days. I didn't sleep well at all last night, despite attempting an early bedtime. I just don't deal well with stress and I need to get a better handle on it. I have been running over 10 km, once a week, for more then a month now. I can do the race. My only goal is to finish and set a personal best (which is easy when it's my first...) I need to just let go of the nerves.

2. The increased water consumption is going well.

I think I picked a great week to focus on this given I'm racing on Saturday. I'm feeling a lot better and not as snacky now that I'm drinking water. It is still taking a conscious effort, and I'm having to remind myself to keep filling my water glass, but I am easily getting in my 3 litres a day.

3. I'm going to have to change my swim/run timings.

I've been having a harder and harder time getting up for my runs in the early morning. I never delay it without having a firm plan when I'll make it up, but I have started turning the alarm off more and more. I think it comes down to the fact that I just haven't been getting enough sleep.

I usually swim and run on opposite days, but that means I'm swimming until 9:00 at night and then setting my alarm for 5:00 the next morning. It's not like I even get 8 hours when it takes into account the time to get home from the pool and wind down. Then there's the times my kids wake up. I've decided to start swimming and running on the same days. It will actually put more time between them then when they're on opposite days, and I'm more likely to start getting my biking sessions in again.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Calgary area - come join us!

So, if anyone else is reading and/or blogging in the Calgary area, here is our chance to have a little bloggy meetup! Come do the resolution run with us!

Right now myself, Jen from Triathlete Within and Nicole from Haute Runner are doing it. Let me know if you want to meet up with us. We won't plan to stay together during the run as I'm sure everyone has different time goals, but if you're in the area, it would be great to make some connections.

As for me, I had my fastest recorded run yesterday. Early morning, I turned off my alarm, too exhausted to run. Instead I went out in the evening when my husband got home.

I decided to really push and see what I could do. I'm happy to say that even without race day adrenaline, I managed an average of 6:12/km (about a 10 minute mile) for 5.5km (3.4 mi). For me, that's pretty fast, and is longer then I've ever maintained that pace before.

It also proved to me that I can run in the evening. Sometimes I get really stuck in my routine and feel like I have to do it the way I have been. It's good to have solid routines, but it's also important to be flexible.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Not one piece - Halloween aftermath

It's now two days past Halloween. Normally for me, this would mean dealing with the aftermath. Too many candies consumed and a (smaller then it should be) pile left there still tempting me. The sugar running rampant in my system and making me want more, more, more...

Not this year.

This year, I haven't had a single candy. Not one mini chocolate bar, not a caramel candy, not one chocolate bar... Oh wait, I already said that. Yep, the mini chocolate bars have always been my Halloween drug of choice. Sounds easy, you say? After all, I didn't give out candy. But, I did have two very cute candy collectors:

Spud was absolutely obsessed with the idea of trick or treating. Ironically, the kid doesn't even like most candy and chocolate. The joy of it for him is in going to houses, saying trick or treat, roaring his lion roar. Sweetpea is happy enough to eat any sweets put in front of her, but fortunately also likes healthy food, so does fine as long as not too many sweets are in front of her.

Sweetpea was tired, and only lasted a few houses before we dropped her back at home with Daddy, where she promptly fell asleep.


After a long time trick or treating with Spud, he ate half a little box of smarties and was satisfied. I took a moment and looked at the pile of loot.

"Do I allow myself to have just one?" I asked aloud.

My husband, who sometimes acts as my conscience when I've lost my own, answered my question for me. No. He reminded me of the fact that I'm running my first 10k race in less then a week. I don't want to screw around with my nutrition and go off track again.

He was right.

That moment of craziness where I felt like I simply must eat some of that chocolate passed quickly. Now, two days later, it's just about gone. If I had gone for it and had "just one"? Well, we all know it wouldn't have been just one.

I'm all for occasional treats and special occasions if it works for you. Let's be honest though: there isn't anything special about Halloween candy. As chocolate goes, it's the cheapest, lowest quality stuff out there. Not worth an indulgence. You also have to be honest about whether it works for you. If you can't have just one, don't have any.

So, moving forward...

I drank a lot of water yesterday, and interestingly found myself very thirsty even with the large quantities I was getting in. Makes me wonder if I had just gotten so used to ignoring those signals.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Weekly weigh in and mini goals

This morning I weighed in at 208.8, for a weekly loss of THREE pounds and a total loss of 35.

Now, as pleased as I am with that, my first thought was: "am I dehydrated?"

Don't get me wrong; I don't mean to take away from the fact that I'm doing well and I'm getting this weight to move now. I expected a loss. But, for me, 3 pounds in a week is a LOT. I may be over 200 pounds, but I'm also a 5'11 woman, so I'm not even obese at that weight and getting closer to healthy. Not enough that I'd expect big drops like this.

I also did a 13 km run yesterday, my longest yet! Having said that, looking back, I don't think I actually did a lot of water drinking after my hour and a half of running. It was a busy day. We took the kids to the pool and then there was the craziness of Halloween night with small kids.

Some of you may have noticed that I never set monthly goals for October. After a few months of setting goals, I felt like my lists were getting longer and longer, and meaning less. What I've decided to start doing now is setting mini weekly goals. Each week, I'll choose something to focus on: either an area I think I've been slipping in or something new I'd like to add to my routine.

Having said that, my goal for this week is to drink lots of water. A minimum of 3 litres a day. I like water. I don't mind drinking it. Lately, I've just become absent minded about it and haven't been doing it. I used to have a couple glasses of water along with everything I ate. I used to constantly be drinking from one bottle or another I'd have around. Somehow, I let those habits slip, and it's time to bring them back. This morning, I had a glass of water along with my usual herbal tea. I plan to add extra glasses into my routine, and in between it as well.

So, in conclusion, Onederland is coming closer, and I'm going to start drinking my way there.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Will eggs fly?

I've come to a really big decision about this Halloween. One that I didn't really think I'd ever make.

I'm not giving out candy.

It something I've given a lot of thought to, and when I finally went to the store to find some alternative to the traditional Halloween junk, I found these:

They're mini pinball games and animals.

I didn't come to this decision lightly, and I'm going to be honest. The first reason I was considering going the candy free route is selfish. I didn't want endless amounts of mini chocolate bars in my house calling my name. I'm getting better at saying no to various temptations, but for me, the first step in saying no is keeping it out of my face in the first place.

There's a bigger reason for going candy free though. Throughout this process, I've maintained that it isn't just about the calories. It's about the health. And, if I'm avoiding something for my own health, how responsible of me is it to feed it to someone else? For example, if white bread isn't good for me, it's not good for my children. As such, I no longer have white bread in my house. The only crackers are now trisquits, which are one of the better choices out there, since they have no sugar or white flour. I'm not saying the contents of my pantry are perfect, but gradually, as I've looked at foods and decided they aren't really food, I've questioned why I would feed it to my family.

I'm not saying that I'm as strict with my other people's food as I am my own. For instance, I don't expect that anyone else needs to completely avoid sugar the way I do. I hope that my children are able to learn moderation in their food choices.

Halloween, however, is no longer about moderation. The actual trick or treating, I don't mind. I actually find it a nice tradition which brings back a sense of community. Neighbours open their doors and you meet the people that live 3 doors down and you've never talked to. Children have fun dressing up in costumes. And they get candy. Lots and lots of candy.

I love traditions. I find it really hard to break any. But, the tradition of junk at every house is one that I think could change. It's too bad you can't give out apples anymore, as everything has to be individually wrapped to be considered safe.

But, lets start voting with our dollars. Go to the store and choose something that is a better choice for our children. A healthier choice. The more people that do this, the more stores will bring in for options. It will take years to make a true change, but one person at a time we can begin.

So, will my house get egged this year? I don't know.

What are you giving out this Halloween?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. I'm sick - again.

I feel like I'm just getting hit with one cold after another. It sucks. It also puts me in a position of needing to decide between resting to get better or pushing through with my runs and swims. Right now, the choice is to push through and do them, but go easy on intensity. The only good thing to come out of it is that I've discovered I'm craving citrus fruit and tea, rather then my usual white carb craving that comes along with a cold.

2. I got new headphones for my ipod shuffle today (covered by warranty, at least).

Seems apple messed up on this one. The headphones that came with the shuffle start to short out when worn by people that sweat. The salesperson that helped me commented that none of their products are meant to be subject to humidity. I told him that apple had heavily marketed the shuffle to the fitness community, down to showing people running with it in their commercials. He had no response to that.

3. It's gotten cold here.

Swimming is easy, since it's inside. Running is doable. I just have to suck it up and dress properly. I'm trying to reconcile myself with the fact that biking will be nearly non-existant over the winter. I don't want to spend money on my hybrid bike to replace the tires with slicks, which means I can't use it with a trainer. (I also don't have a trainer yet.) A new road bike isn't in the forecast until next year sometime. I'll have to make do with the recumbent exercise bike, which doesn't actually use the muscles the same way.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Running with a calorie deficit

Training for a 10 km (6.2mi) run has proved to be a lot more challenging then training for a 5km (3.1mi) was. To get up to the 5k distance, I just followed the program and gradually increased my running times. I'm learning that it isn't quite as straight forward to run longer distances.

I am consistently running into the same problem. On at least half my longer runs, I've bonked (run out of energy and hit the wall). I've played around with my pre-run food intake a bit, but there is one major hold back: the fact that I am maintaining a calorie deficit in my day to day life.

I feel like I'm stuck between two worlds right now: the world of running/triathlons, and the world of weight loss. I'm finding that those two worlds don't mesh that well.

A calorie deficit = an energy deficit.

It's a fact. A calorie is a unit of energy. In order to lose weight, you have to expend more calories then you consume. This isn't a state that is conducive to endurance events. For endurance events, your body needs easily accessible calories to give you quick energy to keep going.

I've always maintained that activity is not the way to lose weight. It's essential for good health and weight maintenance, but not actual weight loss. I honestly believe it would be easier to lose weight by cutting my calories sufficiently, and sitting on my butt most of the day. Then an energy deficit wouldn't have as much effect since I wouldn't be trying to do much.

Now, that doesn't mean I'm giving up either. I do have a plan to stop bonking during my longer runs. It includes restructuring my food intake on the days of my long run so that I'm eating more before my run. I'm also allowing a slight increase in my calorie intake on the one day a week that I run for over an hour. Generally speaking, I don't eat more due to activity, but it's time to start making an exception on days where the calorie expenditure is becoming that significant.

I won't deny I'm a bit nervous about getting this figured out in time. I have one more long run of 13km (8mi) prior to my 10km race. It's a tricky balance figuring out what to eat, without having too much in my stomach when I start the run.

Does anyone have any recommendations of good running books that talk about nutrition? It's time I start educating myself a bit more rather then just going on instinct.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekly weigh in and Winter Onederland

First things first:

Today's weigh in put me at 211.8, for a weekly loss of 2.4 and a total loss of 32.0.

Meg at Grande Skinny Latte has put out a challenge. It's the Winter Onederland Challenge. In the weight loss community, there's a place that many of us shoot for known as "Onederland", meaning a weight that starts with the number 1, rather then 2.

Initially, I hesitated to commit to this challenge. I generally prefer to set goals for things I will do, rather then things I want to happen. Losing weight within a certain time period is something I want to happen which depends on what I do.

Having said that, I am starting to get so close to Onederland I can taste it. When I am really honest about my food intake, and I track it, my weight loss tends to fall into the 1.5 - 2 pound range per week. This is an average. Some weeks I lose a bit more, some less. That means that Onederland is not so far away.

The goal:

Lose at least 12 pounds in the remaining 9.5 weeks before New Years. (Meg is shooting for Christmas, but I'm giving myself an extra week since I have more to lose.) This requires an average loss of 1.3 pounds per week, a very realistic amount.

The method:

Track my food every day
Stay within my calorie range of 1400 - 1800
Continue running 4 days a week, and swimming 3.

There are other things I consider important to get and stay healthy, but when I was setting my monthly goals, I found I was starting to make the list too long and overwhelming. I'm endeavoring to keep it short and simple. Those are realistic strategies that shouldn't be hard to stick to.

So, bring on Onederland!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleep, who needs it?

Most of my life, I needed 8-9 hours of sleep a night. That was the amount that left me feeling well rested, happy and healthy. If I went more then a couple nights on less sleep, my body shut me down. I got sick enough that I had no choice but get the rest my body demanded.

Then I had children.

According to my mother (who I still think might have been delusional), I slept through the night at two weeks old.

My children did not follow my example.

Spud took 3 YEARS to sleep through the night regularly. Sweetpea (who is 1.5 years younger,) took 1.5 years. They both started sleeping through the night within a month of each other.

I learned survival. I learned to function on less sleep. And, I functioned like a zombie for a lot of that time. I could do it, but that doesn't mean it was good for me. It doesn't mean it was good for my body.

This past week has been like a revival of that time. Sweetpea is working on her final molars, and is usually waking up screaming once a night. Spud is wetting his bed, after staying dry for the last few months. Last week, I was preparing for a craft fair, and was going to bed late because of it.

Last night, I was up 3 times with my children. My children, who are now 2 and 3.5. Could someone please send them a memo that they should be sleeping better now?

How does sleep affect me? Well, my workouts have been sluggish and breaking my sugar addiction again last week was harder then it should have been. Today, I know I'm in for a challenge. When I'm this sleep deprived, I tend to want to snack more. It's like a belief that food can make up for lost sleep.

So, who needs sleep?

ME.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Smile and say thank you

Lately, I've fallen into an annoying habit. At least it annoys me when other people do it, so I think it's quite reasonable to say it's annoying when I do it.

The inability to take a compliment. I've got a few lately and I brush them off.

The compliment: "You've lost a lot of weight, hey?"
My answer? "I'm only at about 30 pounds now."

The compliment: "You're looking really good."
My answer?: "I still have a long ways to go."

Seriously?

Number 1, this is just annoying. When somebody gives a compliment, it's generally because they mean it and they want to make the person feel good. You're spitting in their face when you refuse to accept it.

Number 2, what is wrong with me that I am unwilling to accept a little praise? Do I feel myself unworthy of it? If so, I need to get a little bit of confidence and recognize the fact that I'm a pretty great person, and I'm starting to look it too.

Do you do this?

If so, practice with me. Imagine someone giving you a compliment. Smile. Then say, "thank you." Don't spit in their face.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Three things Thursday

1. I took a fall this week

I scraped and bruised my knees and hurt my hand. It was the stupidest thing. I was walking along with the kids and stepped off the edge of the sidewalk, turning my ankle. I fell flat down. My ankle is, funny enough, totally fine. My hand and wrist have been bothering me since then, causing me problems with anything I have to grip or lift.

The good news is, today, it just feels sore, rather then painful. I think it's almost at the point where it will stop interfering with daily activities. It hasn't stopped me from running or swimming, but it has kept me from biking, since I can't hold onto the handlebars or brake.

2. I gained 2.8 pounds this week

Sneaky of me to put it in with my three things Thursday, but I've been avoiding posting it, and I need to get it out there. I'm not going to whine or complain about it. I made a series of choices that gave me that gain. It doesn't put me back into the obese category - quite. I'm skirting the edge though, with a BMI of 29.9. Not a place I want to be, and not a place I intend to stay for long.

Already today, I'm starting to feel less sugar crazy. It's what I've experienced every time I cut out sugar. The first day is really really tough. The first week is hard. Then I start to feel more normal, balanced and in control. I'm past the worst of it though.

3. My son informed me yesterday that I am a good runner, as is he.

His sister, father and grandparents, on the other hand, are "not very good runners". I'm glad I fit into the elite category with him. I guess everyone else should step it up a notch... ;)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The all or nothing attitude

I've found it interesting to read some of the responses from my last post. One of the pieces of advice was that you need to allow yourself some of those treat foods in moderation. After all, the all or nothing mentality can be dangerous.

While I agree that the all or nothing mentality can spell trouble, I look at it differently.

Here's some examples of how I try to avoid "all or nothing":

If I do slip with my eating, it doesn't mean that I throw in the towel since I've blown it. I fight my way back to a balance and continue on my journey.

When I am too sick to work out, I take a day off. It doesn't mean I'm quitting my training program; it means I'm taking a break to let my body get strong again.

I have days where I eat more food because my body is legitimately telling me I need it. For me, there's a difference between a bit of hunger (needed to lose weight) and feeling low (like I'm about to crash). I don't ignore those feelings.

This is where the "all or nothing" is needed for me:

I don't eat small quantities of "treats" on a regular basis. A once of week chocolate bar or a small daily candy don't work for me. Even special occasions have to be approached with caution.

I'm not saying that everyone is like this, but for me, sugar is like a drug. Avoiding it doesn't make me want it more. Eating it makes me want it more. If I allow myself a moderate "treat", I crave more and I obsess about it. It's like a drug in my system. I start to get irrational and think about nothing but.

For me, moderation when it comes to sugary and refined foods is not good. Nothing works for me, and the cravings subside. Moderate treats lead to excess.

While I'm typing this, I'm still in detox. I've had 3 mandarin oranges today to avoid going for the junk I don't need. Now that we've all eaten lunch, I'm leaving the kitchen and the house and taking the kids to the park rather then thinking about the sugar that I'm trying to get out of my system.