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: 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.


(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?


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?