About Stina

A native of the south suburbs of Chicago, Stina strives to live a healthy, happy life while remembering it's about more than just the finish line.

355. A Fresh Start

I’ve been  struggling with this blog for a while now.  I haven’t felt connected with it.  I’ve struggled to find my voice.  I’ve tried to start over, but I’ve yet to find a way to make it “fit” for me.  So after much contemplation, I’ve decided what I need is a fresh start and a claim slate.  So here we are.

A new blog.  A new approach.  A fresh start.

Running in Chucks: it’s about more than just crossing the finish line

I won’t be taking this blog down, but I won’t be posting here anymore either.  I will probably be transferring some of the content here to my new blog, but definitely not all of it.

So check it out and come along for the ride.

354. Random Thoughts Thursday

I could probably write  a separate post for everything here, and I probably should for content, but I don’t feel like it.  So instead I present you with a bunch of randomness currently on my mind.

Last weekend was quite the weekend for me.  It was full of all kinds of firsts.  I ran 16 miles for the first time (along with 14 and 15 miles along the way!) I shot a gun (multiple guns actually) for the first time ever, and I made homemade bagels for the first time. (FINALLY! I’ve only been talking about making homemade bagels for about 3 years now!) It was quite an impressive weekend really.

The boy owns guns and likes to go shoot them with his buddies. I have no interest in guns and even less interest in shooting them. Plus, I’m a disaster on my own; I don’t need to be a disaster with a deadly weapon in hand. But I know the boy likes guns, and I knew he would REALLY like it if I went shooting with him one day. So for Christmas I applied for my FOID card (Firearm Owners ID – It’s an Illinois thing. Illinois loves it some gun laws.) and gave the boy a copy of the application along with a note promising to take him shooting once I received my FOID. We finally picked a weekend and went. Honestly, I was surprised by how nervous, uncomfortable, and just plain scared I was to begin with. When we walked into the range, I would flinch or jump every time someone would fire a shot. I was on the verge of tears for at least the first 20 minutes simply because that’s how I most often react to the stress of nervousness/ being uncomfortable. Ultimately I had a good time. I would definitely go again but probably not anytime soon. Nik puts up with a lot of my ridiculousness (and my various kitchen experiments) so it was nice to do something that was really all for him.

I don’t know if I was feeling extra ballsy after my adventures with guns or if it was just fresh in my mind because I found a recipe when I was pulling recipes from old issues of Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times to add to my recipe binder, but I decided I was also going to make homemade bagels on Saturday.
image

I used this recipe from the November 2011 issue of Cooking Light. I’m not sure why I waited so long to make my own bagels, but I’m glad I finally did this because these bagels were AWESOME! I stuck to the recipe pretty closely to make sure they came out right, but I did make a few minor changes:

  1. I left out the barley malt syrup because a) I didn’t have any and b) I didn’t feel like trying to track it down. The recipe says you can leave it out so I wasn’t worried.
  2. I brushed the bagels with egg yolk thinned with water. I also topped half of them with salt, minced onion, poppy seed and sesame seeds to make everything bagels.
  3. I only made 11. I had 6 that were about 3.5 oz and 5 that were about 4.5 oz. I could have cut down all the 4.5 oz bagels to make a 12th bagel, but I was too lazy.
  4. I baked for almost twice the suggested time. I cooked them until golden brown on top and hallow sounding.

I totally rocked my February Challenge, and I feel like a rock star for it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you know how good I am at failing at my fitness challenges.  Last month, I killed.  I blew my goal of 175 activity points (which I increased about a week into the challenge from the original 150 points) out of the water clocking in at 212 activity points for the month.  I tracked 26 out of 29 complete days.  I did fall short on my fitness class goal only attending 4 out of 5 classes.  However, that was a scheduling failure rather than me blowing things off.  There are a pretty limited number of classes I can actually attend to begin with since I don’t get home until about 6 in the evening. When you account for my Weight Watchers meetings on Tuesdays, my darts league on Wednesdays, and my training runs on Mondays and Thursdays, I’m left with Friday, Saturday and Sunday for classes.  There aren’t any evening classes on Friday and I run on either Saturday or Sunday.  That leaves me one day a week to do classes and since there were only 4 weeks in February, well…getting to 5 classes wasn’t really realistic with marathon training taking top priority.  What’s important is that I didn’t fall short of the goal simply because I was being lazy.  So because I feel like my challenge was a huge success despite that, I’ve decided to go ahead and reward my successes.   I’ve deviated from my original reward plan though and ordered How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (the reward for my bonus weight loss goal) instead of the fitbook.  There is a method to my madness though kids.

The reason I went ahead and ordered the cookbook instead of the fitbook is because I’m following Michelle’s lead and going for a Meatless March.  Back in September 2010, I made the decision to stop eating animals.  I never proclaimed myself a vegetarian because I expected to eat meat again, and I have.  Lately though, I’ve been wanting to get back to a primarily meatless diet.  This seemed like a great way to do it!

I signed up for my fifth half marathon yesterday.  The Rock n Roll race series was offering a Leap Day discount of $29 off any race.  I’m usually able to pass up a deal, but that’s a really great discount.  I decided to snap it up and registered for the Chicago Rock n Roll half marathon on July 22nd.  I was hesitant to sign up since I hate running in the heat.  (Really, I just hate the heat.)  But it was hard to pass up such a deal, especially when it would be an encore performance, and a chance to kick ass, of my very first half marathon.

Last week I decided to impulse buy a cast iron skillet, a cast iron grill pan and The New Rules of Lifting for Women off Amazon.  I haven’t used the skillet yet, but I’m a fan of the other two items thus far.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Have a happy Thursday!

353. Weight Watchers Wednesday: PointsPlus 2012 Week 12

I know I said I’d tell you all about my homemade bagel recipe, but I forgot about a continuing education seminar I had to attend yesterday which totally threw my whole day off.  So you can hear about my bagel making adventures tomorrow instead.  On to the weigh in…

Last week’s weight: 150.6lbs
This week’s weight: 152.8.lbs
Change: +2.2lbs
Total Loss: -14.2lbs

Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this week.  I had a really great week, and I was even thinking I might be down under 150.    Then my girly parts kickied into gear, and I actually felt myself getting more and more bloated yesterday.  Ultimately, I knew going into weigh in I would be up.  However, I’m also confident I’ll be right back down next week.  I briefly considered not weighing in last night, but I firmly believe in “keeping myself honest” and weighing in every week.  In retrospect, however, I kind of wished I’d skipped it.  I’m not upset about the gain because I was expecting it.  I am however a little annoyed with ending such an awesome month (more on that tomorrow too) on such a bummer note.

I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and I’m sure next week will be right back down to where I was.

352. Marathon Monday: Week 8

This week’s lesson in marathon training: check, double check, and triple check your route and mileage before embarking on your longest run ever; failure to do so may result in an even longer longest run ever.

If you follow me on DailyMile then you already saw how my 14 mile training run turn into a 16 mile training run as a result of my inability to properly map a route and do basic arithmetic.  There’s a really nice set of trails near the boyfriend’s house that I run on pretty regularly.  To date, I’ve only ever run the red trail which is a 9.4 mile loop.  However, since this loop connects to other trails, I decided to run these rather than doubling back on my usual loop.  I thought it might be fun to see some new sights.

So Saturday night I mapped out my route, and set my plan using the handy dandy Forest Preserve District map which I’ve included for your reference below along with some fun notes.  Anyway, my plan was to start at the bottom at the beginning/ end of the 3.1 mile purple loop.  I’d run the purple loop north until I hit the green trail.  The green trail is a 1.7 mile trail which connects the purple loop to my usual red trail.  I’d run the 9.4 mile red loop and then run back, finish the purple loop and get back in my car so I could stuff my face with homemade bagels (more on that tomorrow).

So if I add it all up…9.4 + 1.7 + 3.1 = 14.2.  Perfect, right?  Wrong.  Does anyone else see my failure there?  I certainly didn’t…

16 Mile Run Map Girl Can Do

Somewhere around mile too late to actually matter I realized that I forgot to consider the 1.7 I would have to run to get back to the purple loop from the red loop.  Oops.  I probably would have been more upset about this fact except for the fact that about the time I realized my mistake, a coyote ran across the trail 30 feet ahead of me.  I was pretty sure I was going to be eaten so I wasn’t going to see that extra 1.7 miles away.  Luckily (or maybe unfortunately?) I was not eaten so I did have to run that extra 1.7 miles.

So that’s how my 14 mile run turned into my 16 mile run.  Honestly, I’m kind of glad it did.  I’ve been feeling pretty confident about my training and tackling these longer mileage runs, but I would be flat out lying if I said I wasn’t scared shitless by the idea of running 16, 18, and 20 miles…I mean, 14 miles is less than a mile more than the half marathon distance which I love so that wasn’t a big deal to me.  16 miles or 18 or 20 is a different story.  I could see myself freaking out the night before one of these runs.  My surprise 16 miler didn’t give me a chance to freak out.  And you know what, 16 miles really wasn’t that terrible.  Don’t get me wrong; it was no walk in the park, and I don’t think I’ll be heading out for 16 mile runs on the regular once this marathon is over and done with.  But it wasn’t nearly as terrible as I probably would have built it up to be.

Overall, I had a good run.  I felt pretty good until around mile 10 when I started to get tired.  (This also about the point that I started having to run into the wind which certainly didn’t help.)  Around mile 13 I was starting to hurt.  It wasn’t a “oh my god, I need to stop running now” kind of hurt but more of a “okay, this isn’t fun anymore am I done yet” kind of hurt.  Afterward I felt like I had run 16 miles, but I wasn’t dying.  My knees, ankles, and the sole/ arch of my left foot were particularly sore last night, but otherwise I felt pretty okay.  I made sure to ice my knees before bed last night which helped a great deal.  My quads are quite sore today, but I’m fairly sure that’s because I completely forgot to stretch them yesterday.

Also, rather than limiting (or forcing) myself to posting on Mondays, I’m going to be poating Marathon Musings whenever I damn well please.

351. Veggietastic Breakfast Bowls

Yesterday I mentioned one of the things that is really working for me is eating a massive amount of vegetables.  One of the ways I do this is to load up my breakfast with 3 – 4 servings of veggies through these “Veggie Breakfast Bowls.”  This isn’t really a recipe so much as a method because you can use pretty much anything you want to create these bowls.  I like to switch it up week to week based on what veggies I have on hand and so I don’t bored.

Aside from being loaded with veggies, one of the nice things about these veggie bowls is that you really can make everything in advance, throw the bowl together and pop it in the microwave for a couple minutes if you don’t have a lot of time to make breakfast in the morning.

So here’s how I roll in the mornings:

  • First, grab a large-ish bowl and add about ½ c of your grain of your choice.  This week I went with quinoa that I made ahead on Sunday, but in the past I’ve used grits, couscous, and even oatmeal.  Since the grain was the only pre-made element of this morning’s breakfast, I just heated it in the microwave for 90 seconds.  If the rest of your ingredients are pre-cooked microwave it all at the end.

  • Next up, top the grains with 2 – 3 cups of veggies.  This week I’ve been using about 1 c of slice baby bellas and 2 cups of spinach which I sauté together in a splash of olive oil.  I’ve also used Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and leftover roasted veggies.

  • Now top your veggies with an egg.  I like to use over-easy or poached eggs so I get a nice runny yolk to mix in, but if runny egg yolks aren’t your thing you could definitely use scrambled or even hard boiled.

  • Top it all with some cheese (or don’t).  I bought a giant bag of Cabot 50% Reduced fat Sharp Cheddar Snackers at Costco a couple weeks ago so I crumble one of those on top.  Feel free to add some salt, pepper, garlic powder, or other seasonings as well.  Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t.

  • Finally, mix it all together and enjoy!

Depending on the grain I’m using, the whole bowl clocks in at 6 – 7 points plus and usually keeps me full for several hours.  (I eat breakfast about 6:30am and generally don’t start getting hungry again until at least 10:30!)

350. Weight Watchers Wednesday: PointsPlus 2012 Week 11

Last week’s weight: 152.8lbs
This week’s weight: 150.6.lbs
Change: -2.2lbs
Total Loss: -14.2lbs

Reflections

I was in a really awful mood most of last week.  I wasn’t sleeping well.  I had no energy.  I blew off most of my runs.  I was not a happy camper.  On top of all that I had a bad weigh in last week (as evidenced by the above previous weight) that, honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood to blog about.  I discussed the weigh in with Laura, and I was fairly certain it was a direct result of allowing myself to become really dehydrated over the weekend.  However, discussing it was Laura was about as much talking about it as I wanted to do; plus, any blog I would have posted last week would have been miserable whining.   I usually subscribe to the something is better than nothing philosophy, but last week nothing was definitely the better choice.

Moving right along, weigh in this week confirmed that last week really was a result of being dehydrated over the weekend.  I lost the 1.4lb gain from last week as well as another .8lbs.  I’ve also officially hit the 150lbs mark.  I was absolutely over the moon last night when I saw 150 pop up on the scale.

When I first started my quest to lose weight back in 2009, 150lbs was my goal.  It was (and still is.  I certainly haven’t gotten any taller in the last, oh, 15 years…) a bit above the healthy BMI range, but it was the weight I remember being around the time I started college.  It seemed like a nice round number, and as good a goal as any.  I knew I ultimately wanted to get into the healthy BMI range, but 150lbs was close enough as an initial long term goal.

In addition to being my very first weight loss goal, it’s also been my next “milestone” goal for the last few months.  150lbs just felt so elusive.  I’d get close to it without ever quite reaching it.  It was starting to seem like the wall I would never get passed to reach my goal weight.  I know I’m not actually passed it yet, but just getting to it feels like such a huge victory.

One of the things we do at my meetings is when people reach milestones, the leader asks what’s been working for them to help them reach their goals.  It can be really helpful, and since I’ve actually changed things up quite a bit this month, I figured I’d go ahead and share what’s working for me.

First and foremost, veggies.  I’ve been maxing on the vegetables this month.  I recently got a Costco membership, and I’ve started buying my produce there.  It’s much cheaper than buying it at Jewel or even Target, but of course, it’s only a money saver if you’re eating all the produce and not throwing it away.  So since I’ve been buying my produce in bulk, I’ve been eating it in bulk.  I managed to eat something like 3 pounds of Brussels sprouts over a two week period.  I’ve been eating garbage salads for lunch nearly every day at work.  I’ve even been getting 2 – 4 servings of veggies at breakfast lately.  I’ll actually be sharing that “recipe” tomorrow so check back!  (Funny story: For the last two or three weeks I’ve actually been miscounting my servings of fruits and veggies.  I had it in my head that two cups of leafy greens was a serving when really it’s only one cup!  I’ve only been giving myself half credit on those daily salads!)

The other thing that seems to be making a big difference is my increased activity.  Since starting marathon training, I’ve been earning crazy numbers of activity points per week (We’re talking 40 points minimum, but this week I’ll earn 86 if I complete all my scheduled workouts.)  I actually increased my February goal of 150 points to 175, and I’m still going to blow that out of the water.  Now, I’m definitely not suggesting everyone go out and try to earn 80 activity points each week, but a small increase in activity definitely helps.  The other important part of this is I’ve really been focusing on balancing my increased activity and increased appetite.  Marathon training actually isn’t ideal for weight loss since (from what I’ve heard) you’re pretty much hungry all the time and you need to be properly fueling yourself to tackle ridiculously high mileage every week.  I think I mentioned previously that my goal is to eat a minimum of half my activity points.  Most weeks I eat all of my activity points and about half of my weekly points.  So far it seems to be a winning strategy.  We’ll see how it holds up.

So for now, my plan is to just keep doing what I’m doing.  My only goal is to make sure I’m really paying attention to my water intake on the weekends.  It’s always more of a challenge when I’m not sitting at my desk with a water bottle in front of my and a never ending supply of cold, filtered water about 15 feet away.  My next mini weight loss goal is to hit 148.  That’s my 10% milestone as well as 15lbs lost since joining Weight Watchers.  My “bonus goal” for February was to get there, but since it’s still 2.6 pounds away, I’m not sure I’ll get there this month, but if I continue at this rate, it will be soon!

 

349. Marathon Monday: Week 6

Before we get to my marathon Monday post, I wante to let you all know about the raffle Cassie at Back to Her Roots (one of my favorite blogs at the moment) is hosting to raise money for the Avon Breast Cancer walk she’ll be completing with her sister’s in June. Go check it out, make a donation to an awesome cause, and get chances to win awesome prizes.

Cook for the Cure Raffle

Now, on to my post…

I don’t have much to say about this week’s training since I’m still in “familiar” territory so I thought today it would be fun to take a look back on how the hell I got to this point. I mean really, if 10 years ago you told me I’d be training for a marathon I would have laughed in your face.  Heck, if you’d told me a year ago I would be training for a marathon, I would have laughed in your face.

I was not a runner at.all. I was a swimmer through most of grade school and high school, and I absolutely hated running. My chief complaint during land work-outs was that if I wanted to run, I would have joined the track team. Sometime in college, or maybe it was shortly after college, I found myself a little bit envious of those people who would just get up and go for a jog. I still subscribed to the “run only when being chased (by something life threatening)” theory, but a tiny part of me secretly longed to be one of those runners. I’d try to go out running every now and then, but I would always end up going too hard, too fast, or too far. I’d be sore and miserable the next day and decide I just wasn’t cut out to be a runner.

I tried to find the exact date I decided to start the Couch to 5K program, but I couldn’t.  Truth is, as I’m trying to look back at it, I actually haven’t kept a very thorough record of my running history.  Maybe I should change that….

Anyway, I know it was sometime in early 2009.  It might’ve even been January or February when I decided running was going to be the drug of choice for my new healthy lifestyle and weight loss journey.  I started the Couch to 5K program on the treadmill at the gym, and I don’t even remember if I finished the whole program, but I remember bits and pieces and celebrating small victories along the way.  I remember how frustrating and difficult transitioning from treadmill to street was.   (Hard to believe how much I loved the treadmill back then considering how much I absolutely loathe it now!)  I remember celebrating every mile further I was able to run on the street.  I remember the indoor track at the Oak Lawn Pavilion being my summer in Chicago running “safe-haven.”  I was so excited the first time I ran 4 miles on the indoor track that August, and after my longest outdoor run that September.

I ran my first 5K in October 2009.  I was so terrified to even sign up for a race that my friend Sarah, who was my racing buddy until she up and moved to Austin on me, basically told me ‘Sign up, or I’m signing you up.’  Even after I was signed up, I was terrified of not being able to finish.  I buckled down and trained hard.  By the time race day rolled around, I was probably well enough trained to have run a 10K.  I had already run 5 miles.  I ended up having an amazing race that day and actually set a 5K PR that I didn’t touch for nearly 2 years.

That was also the day I spent an obscene amount of money on my first pair of “real” running shoes forever sealing my fate as a runner which is good because I also became addicted to races that day.  I ran the Girls on the Run 5K a few weeks later and the Santa Shuffle a couple weeks after that.

Less than 6 months later I was registered for my first half marathon.  As you may remember, that race wasn’t my finest moment.  My training was derailed by my personal life.  However, despite a less than stellar first half marathon, I was officially obsessed.  I quickly signed up for the Dallas 13.1 half marathon when Laura suggested it in November 2010, and since October 2011 wasn’t nearly soon enough, I went ahead and signed up for the Wisconsin Half Marathon as well.

Sure there are times when I’m totally disinterested in running, but ultimately, I love it.  To date I’ve run (at least) 15 races including 4 half marathons.  When I started running in 2009, I had no idea where it would take me and what it would teach me along the way. But in the last three years I’ve learned so much.  With a dedication and focus, and maybe a moment or two of temporary insanity, you can accomplish things you never thought possible.  I’ve got a long way to go to cross that finish line after 26.2, but I’ve come this far so why stop now?

Total Weekly Milage: 16.0
Total Monthly Milage: 30.55
Total Training Milage: 46.55

348. Weight Watchers Wednesday: PointsPlus 2012 Week 9

Last week’s weight: 153lbs
This week’s weight: 151.4.lbs
Change: -1.6lbs
Total Loss: -13.4lbs, this session: -5.4 lbs

Reflections

To quote Angel… “Numfar, do the dance of joy!”

I was definitely doing the dance of joy when I weighed in last night.  That is another new low!  Now let’s just hope that I don’t gain half of it back next week which seems to the trend for me following a big loss.  Honestly, I was actually kind of surprised by the big loss this week.  I had a good week, and I was definitely expecting to lose some.  However, I did kind of overdo it with the Super Bowl snacking so I was legitimately surprised and super excited by this week’s loss!

I’ve been cranking out the activity points lately, and while I didn’t stick to last week’s goals exactly, I did do well.  I’m actually pretty proud of my fitness endeavors as of late.  I’ve been doing a good job of working on strength training and cross training and getting in my mileage.  Anyway, onto the goals review:

  • Fitness
    • Run Thursday (3 miles treadmill) and strength training (core) – I got up early and ran 3 miles outside before work. I ended up skipping the strength training though.
    • Run Saturday (8 miles) – My route came up short at 7.6 miles, and I needed to use the bathroom so I called it “good enough”
    • Spin Sunday and strength training (upper body) – I actually ended up doing my run on Sunday because the weather was better so I didn’t spin.  However, I did do the Saturday morning Kettlebell Intervals which is a full body ST workout.
    • I also ended up doing a 30 minute solo spin session on Friday evening along with the ST I was supposed to do on Thursday.
  • Food
    • Track 7 days (particularly Super Bowl) – I didn’t do a very good tracking during the Super Bowl; however, I tracked everything else all week
    • 2 beers max on Super Bowl Sunday – I didn’t drink anything on Sunday…but I did overdo it at darts last Wednesday.
    • Eat out 2 times max – done.

The one thing I’ve really been focusing on lately is making sure I’m eating enough.  This might seem kind of strange, but since I’ve started marathon training, and as I progress through it, it’s really important for me to be adequately fueling myself.  Despite what you might thing from watching The Biggest Loser, marathon training really isn’t a great way to keep up weight loss.  If you’re not adequately fueling you run the risk of poor runs, injury, etc. as well as actually halting weight loss because your body kicks into “starvation mode.”  Alternatively, you can definitely end up eating way too much during marathon training because of the insane number of calories you’re burning.

So for my strategy, which seems to be working really well these last couple weeks, has been to use my earned activity points before my weekly points.  I’m also making it a point to eat at least 50% of my earned activity points.  I plan to keep reassessing this as I progress through training.  If I’m constantly starving, I’ll probably increase my daily points or focus on eating more of my activity or weekly points.  My goal is also to make sure I’m spending these points (mostly) on quality foods not just eating garbage because I can.  I definitely think that will make a difference in my ability to keep losing weight.

I don’t really have any specific goals this week other than to make sure I get my long run in.  It’s supposed to be chilly and snowy this weekend so there’s a good chance I’m going to have to force myself out the door, but it must be done.  I cannot slack on these long runs…especially not early on while they’re “easy” mileage.

 

 

347. Missions Accomplished

Yesterday I mentioned one of my February goals is to cross 5 items of my Mission 101 lists; however, I haven’t given you many updates on some of the goals I’ve recently knocked off the list. Since December I’ve crossed 4items off my list, reached a major milestone in completing another goals, made definitely progress toward other goals and revised a few goals as well.

The first weekend of December, Nik and I took a road trip some place I’ve never been before.  We decided to take a long weekend, and I suggested a mini vacation down to St. Louis for a Blackhawks vs. Blues hockey game.  The game was awesome – at least a third of the people there were Chicago fans – and I had a blast going on the trip with Nik.  But I think I’ve decided that road trips just really aren’t my thing.  I’m like a baby or little kid.  As soon as you put me in the car, I pass out.  Being asleep for most of the trip kind of takes the fun out of a road trip no?

I also sent out holiday cards this year, er, last year.  Every year since I graduated college, I’ve intended to send out holiday cards, but I never managed to actually do it.  I bought stamps first figuring if I bought the stamps then I had no excuse not to buy and send cards.  One of my mom’s friends makes handmade cards so I bought a bunch of cards from her and sent them to my family and friends.

And since my holiday spirit seems to be at an all-time high, I also participated in a gift “tree” of sorts.  Back in September my company did a service project that involved painting the lockers in a local community elementary school that is struggle to be kept open in the face of dropping enrollment.  Part of that process is to make the school aesthetically pleasing.  It needs to look like a place you want to send your kids to school.  For Christmas this year, my company decided to do a Secret Santa project for the kids in the school with the goal of getting a gift for all 119 students.  The school is in a very low-income area so for some of the kids, these would be the only gifts they get this year.  I picked two students – a boy and a girl both ages 5 – 6 – and got them each a game and a book.  (Yeah, I’m that jerk who gave educational gifts.)

Another item I tackled in December was to knit myself a scarf.  I took up knitting back in college, but somewhere along the way, I fell off the needles.  I’ve wanted to get back into it, but I just never did.  I mean, I only knew the knit stitch and I’d never attempted anything more difficult than a scarf. And frankly, you can only knit so many scarves before a) your bored and b) you have more scarves than you or your friends know what to do with.  Then for my birthday, Laura sent me a little Mission 101 jump start kit which included two knitting books.  Since then I’ve reading the book and messing around learning different stitches.  A couple weeks ago, a woman I regularly talk with on the train and bus brought me a set of circular needles.  I suddenly had everything I needed.  I just finished a horizontally knitted scarf.  It was the same basic knit stitch of all the scarves I’ve made in the past, but for this scarf I used the circular needles and each row is the length of the scarf rather than the width of the scarf.  I’m very excited about it!  I’ll definitely be posting a picture when I actually wear it.  (I only had one skein of yarn so I made it pretty thin making it more of a fashion scarf then a “for warmth” scarf.)

I also recently hit the half-way mark of reading 101 books.  This is pretty impressive considering I didn’t REALLY start this goal until sometimes in the middle of 2011.

I’ve also updated a few of my goals.  In an ideal world, I would complete all 101 goals as originally written, but this isn’t an ideal world.  Circumstances change.  Priorities change.  Relationships change. Desires and interests change.   So here are my “replacement goals:”

#4 Finish a marathon

#23 Figure out what I want to be when I grow up

#36 Volunteer at a race

#37 Go hiking or biking in a National Park

346. Goals, Goals, Goals: February 5 Challenge

I didn’t set any specific January goals; I just chose my verb for the year. (It’s dare in case you don’t remember.)  However, this month it’s back to goals, goals, goals.   I’m going back to a numbers based challenge like my December to Remember, but on a slightly smaller scale.  I’m also focusing on my verb by picking goals that require me to push myself a little bit.  And of course I’ve got myself a clever challenge name.

February 5 Challenge

This month’s challenge revolves around the number 5 because my ultimate goal for February is to be down 5 pounds.  However, losing 5 pounds is not actually one of my goals.  It’s so of a bonus goal.  The hope is that reaching my 5 goals for the month will get my to the 5 pound mark.  I’ll be tracking this month’s goals on Laura’s group tracking sheet (BOTD February Challenge Tracker) so be sure to check that often.

The Goals

  1. Earn 150 activity points
  2. Track 25 complete days
  3. Complete 5 items on my Mission 101 list
  4. Attend 5 group fitness classes
  5. Do 5 strength training sessions

The Reward

If I reach all 5 goals, I’m going to buy a Fitbook.  I love the concept, and people who have them seem to love them.  I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting one, but I’ve yet to commit to buying one.  I’ve always got a zillion tracking options so I don’t really need the Fitbook, but I love the idea of them especially for tracking workouts.  Mostly, I probably just want to play around with it.

If I reach my goal of 5 pounds lost I’m going to buy How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.  I’ve had this cookbook on my wish list or a while, but I always talk myself out of it because Do I really need another cookbook?   However, I’ve been doing a great job of making recipes from my cookbooks over the last two month so another cookbook is totally in order!