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.


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

337. 2011 in Review: Dedicated

Instead of setting goals or making New Year’s Resolutions last year, I followed Rachel’s lead and choose a verb.  My verb for 2011 was dedicate.  Honestly, my verb, much like many New Year’s Resolutions, fell from the front of my mind pretty quickly.  Despite the fact that it wasn’t at the forefront of my thoughts and actions, I do think it was lurking there somewhere in my subconscious driving at least some of my thoughts and goals.  I didn’t think I’d made much “progress” with it until I really stopped and looked back at the year.

In 2011…

…I wanted to dedicate myself to my health which I definitely did in the second half of the year when I joined Weight Watchers and started seriously working toward finally reaching my goal weight.  I finished the year feeling pretty damn good about my progress and myself.

…I wanted to dedicate myself to fitness and running.  Exercise and fitness is always my biggest struggle.  I set goals.  I flake out on goals.  I set high expectations, and fall short.  However, despite my many failed fitness challenges throughout 2011, I still feel like I did manage to truly dedicate myself.  In May, I finished the Wisconsin Half Marathon, crushing my PR by nearly 25 minutes.  In October, I finished Dallas 13.1 knocking another 10 minutes off my PR with a finishing time of 2:24:22.  Then there was my almost 5K PR in April, my definite 5K PR in October, and knocking out my goal of a sub-28 minute 5K a short time later.   I know all of these PRs are a direct result of my increasing dedication to training and fitness in general.  Even fitness challenge failures still have a positive impact.

…I wanted to dedicate time to myself.  I don’t think I did this in quite the way I intended when I set the goal a year ago.  When I set this goal I was thinking about taking time to sit around by myself doing nothing; however, I think I did even better than that.  Dedicating myself to my health and my running was dedicating time to myself.  I dedicated to my Weight Watcher’s meetings every week regardless of what was going on.  I dedicated myself to hours of running, usually alone, when I’d rather be sleeping or hanging out.  I dedicated myself to going to bed early getting adequate sleep most nights.  I used my commute “wisely” to read more than 45 books this year.

…I wanted to dedicate time to my blog.  This is one area I really do feel like I fell short.  I truly enjoy blogging, but I also find myself consistently struggling with it.  A lack of inspiration/ motivation to write, a failure to prioritize writing posts, and at time a complete disconnect with my purpose.  I feel like I’m constantly working and reworking my blog without ever really making progress.  I get frustrated because I feel like I should have figured it out by now, after 2 years.  There will be more to come on this though.

…I wanted to dedicate myself to growing up.  This is another thing that didn’t happen in quite the way I expected, but I feel like I left 2011 more mature and ready to really move forward into “adulthood.”  And honestly, I don’t think I could adequately explain myself much further on this one,  so I’m going to leave it at that.

Honestly, I haven’t made a ton of progress on my 2012 goals.  I wasn’t even sure how I planned on approaching them.  But after writing this post and really looking back at 2011, I think choosing a verb was a great plan which I intend to do again this year.  I’ll be back with my 2012 verb in the next week or so.

325. Weight Watchers Wednesday: Session 2 Week 8

First thing first, I want to encourage you all to go read Laura’s post today.  It’s a seriously brilliant post about making changes in your life and the importance of timing.  Now on to weigh-in.

Last week’s weight: 153.6lbs
This week’s weight: 154.4lbs
Change: +.8lbs
Total Loss: -10.2lbs, this session: -2.2lbs


This week was…weird, and the gain came as no surprise.  From a food and fitness perspective, I started the week really strong.  When I got back from Dallas, I was all about veggie-tastic meals.  Last Tuesday, I made a super veggie-heavy stir fry.  I ate a one pound bag of baby carrots over two days.  I was all about it.  Then Wednesday and Thursday and most of the weekend through to Sunday afternoon, I just felt hungry all.the.time.  I was also craving really heavy foods – carby, fatty, the whole shebang.  I could have eaten Mexican food all day every day and been happy as a clam.  Then come Sunday evening and Monday, I was no longer feeling ravenous and back to wanting veggies and whole, healthy foods.

I’m not sure if the crazy appetite was left over from running the half marathon last Saturday or if it was hormonal, but either way, I don’t think that was truly my issue this week.   I think my biggest issue was that I didn’t track from Friday afternoon until Monday morning.  I always do better when I’m tracking.  It’s an undeniable fact that, for me, tracking equals success.  So this week tracking is my only goal and focus.   

The last couple days, I’ve been thinking much more “big picture” about the weight loss process, and while the rest of this post does tie in with this week’s weigh-in, I really want to take some time to reflect.  One thing I’ve never really learned to do is be too hard on myself.  Generally speaking, I don’t think this is a bad thing.  I think being too hard on yourself can set you up to fail because nothing and no one is or ever will be perfect.  If you expect perfection, it’s easy to become frustrated and give up when you’re never achieving it.  Setting the bar high is good, but that bar still needs to be attainable.  However, there comes a point where failure to be too hard on yourself can be just a big a setback. 

Sometimes you need tough love. 
Sometimes you need to tell yourself “This is unacceptable.” and “You can do better than this.”
Sometimes you need to be a little hard on yourself. 

This is not something I’m good at.  I’ve read so mant articles about negative self-talk and treating yourself with the same kindness you give to others, and maybe I’ve taken that just a bit too seriously.  I’m the kind of person that gives too many chances.  I always see the best in people.  I’m forgiving and tolerant, sometimes to a fault.  I often give people more chances than they deserve, and it has, in the past, led to me being hurt by others.  I’ve been told all these things, and I know them to be true of myself.  And while most people are much harder on themselves as they are on others, I’m not.  I’ve found I tend to be very forgiving of myself and give myself a second and third and fourth chance.  And I probably pat myself on the shoulder and tell myself “It’s okay” a little more often then I should.  Again, I don’t think this is truly a bad thing, but there’s a point at which it becomes counter-productive.  Just like some people need to learn to be kinder to themselves, I think I need to learn to be just a bit harder on myself.

So how do you strike the balance between being too hard on yourself and being forgiving enough that you’re not constantly battling yourself and putting yourself down?  How do I tell myself “I can do better than this” while still allowing for the fact that perfection is illusive at best?

I think for me personally step one is admitting when I’m upset with myself or disappointed with my behavior.  On Monday I had a tiny revelation that just maybe I do not always own my negative feelings.  I had the following conversation with Laura on Monday:

me:  I’m a little concerned about weigh in this week. I had a really “bad” Thursday through Sunday.

Laura: What was bad?  And how could you have made better decisions?

me: I didn’t track at all since Friday. I’m sure I’m maxed on weekly points. I just ate a lot of not that great food, and overdid it. I don’t necessarily feel guilty or regret it because I was feeling hungry like all the time and really craving carby, rich foods but now I’m totally over it and all about clean healthy foods and veggies, but I’m sure my weigh in will reflect the weekend

Laura: Well take it as a lesson and inspiration to make sure youre tracking. However, its one weekend. Its the end of a busy month and you get a fresh start tomorrow.  And everything you do today and tomorrow will help that weigh in

me: True. I dunno like I said, I’m not upset about it. I think really I just needed to “confess” as a means of accountability or something.

Laura: You are a little upset if you are letting it worry you for your weigh in Otherwise youd be like eff it. So just move past, own it and get to tracking everything. Thats when you are the most successful, plus your schedule is slowing down and you have a consistent workout schedule now

One simple sentence held so much truth.  I was upset about it.  So why was I pretending that I wasn’t?  I’m allowed to be upset about stuff.   I’m allowed to be upset with myself when I don’t do as well as I could have.  So I suppose this week I have two goals.  Track every single day and own my emotions – negative or positive.  My goal isn’t to start beating myself up over every little thing but rather to allow myself to be pissed off at myself when I know I could do better.  Because I also realized that even when I do own up to my negative feelings, I often downplay them.  Maybe it’s because I feel like being upset is being too hard on myself, but it’s not.  Being upset or being pissed off at myself is okay.  It’s how I use those feelings that matters

322. Weight Watchers Wednesday: Session 2 Week 7

Last week’s weight: 154.4lbs
This week’s weight: 153.6lbs
Change: –.8lbs
Total Loss: -11lbs, this session: -3lbs


I was honestly surprised when I weighed in last night.  I really wasn’t expecting a loss of any kind so even a small loss was enough to excite me.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t feeling confident yesterday/ last night; it was just that with the trip to Dallas and the half marathon over the weekend, I just didn’t foresee a loss.

I managed to eat all 49 plus 1 of my weekly allowance points as well as all 37 of the activity points I earned.  (In case you’re curious, 26 of those were from Saturday’s race alone, and I actually broke even at the end of the day with 26 extra points earned and 26 extra points consumed.)  Combine that with the fact that there was fair potential for my muscles to be retaining some h20 after running and traveling, it just didn’t seem like a winning situation for dropping those good ole el-bees.

But I did.  And I could not be more excited about it.  I’m really and truly absolutely at the lowest weight I’ve been since I started losing weight in 2009.  Truth be told, I think I’m at the lowest weight I’ve been since somewhere around 2002.

I’m hoping that now that half marathon training is over (for a few weeks away – more on that later.) I will be able to consistently drop the remaining 12lbs I have left to hit goal.  One of the biggest struggles I’ve had is figuring out how to balance how many points I’m eating with my increasing activity level and mileage.  Now that I’m going to have a more consistent activity schedule, I hope I’ll be able to balance my points and activity for even and consistent weight loss.

I didn’t set any goal last week, but I have a few for this week. 

–          I will run 3 times this week and get 3 strength training sessions in.

–          I will limit eating out to once this week (not counting the wedding I have Saturday night.)

–          I will finish cleaning out my closet and drawers and drop the stuff off at Goodwill.

Until next week…

321. Weight Watchers Wednesday: Session 2 Week 6

Last week’s weight: 154.6lbs
This week’s weight: 154.4lbs
Change: –.2lbs
Total Loss: -10.4lbs, this session: -2.4lbs


Can you believe I nearly forgot about Weight Watcher’s Wednesday today?  Okay, well, I suppose it’s not actually that difficult to believe.  My mind is obviously on its way to Dallas already.  (Too bad I’m not even close to being packed and ready to go!)

I felt much better about weigh in this week than I did last week, and technically weigh in went better this week.  A .2 lb loss really isn’t much, but it wasn’t a gain.  I’d like to think I would have seen a greater loss if I had been more disciplines on Saturday, but who knows.  Either way, I went into Saturday night having made the decision not to track or worry during the wedding.  I had an amazing time, and that was most important to me.

This week at my meeting we talked about celebrating our small changes and victories rather than focusing on our obstacles.  She had us right down our changes and victories as well as obstacles we still face.  As usual, it was far easier to list the bad than the good.  I have my obstacles memorized – the weekends, eating out, not tracking when I have to guess at the points value of food, skipping workouts, not doing enough strength training, and more – but I had to actually stop and think about the victories, and even then I struggled to list more than one.  So today I’m taking time to reflect on the small changes and victories – big and small – as a reminder than every success is worth celebrating.

I’ve really embraced cooking and making things from scratch using real, whole foods.

I’ve drastically reduced the amount of processed, packaged foods and convenience foods I eat.

I’ve made my own bread.

I’ve run a mile.

I’ve run three miles.

I’ve run six miles.

I’ve run 13.1 miles. Twice.

I’ve become a runner.

I’ve PRed again, and again.

I’ve lost more than 40lbs since January 2009.

I’ve learned to love broccoli…

…and spinach…

…and Brussels sprouts…

…and salad…

…and mushrooms, tomatoes, and a whole mess of other vegetable I always hated.

I still eat fast food, but not nearly as often as I used to.

I used to love McDonald’s now the smell of it makes me sick (except their breakfast.  I still love McMuffins.)

The last two pairs of jeans I’ve bought were size 8!

I get up early enough to make breakfast at home almost every single day.

I pay attention to portion size, and often eat half as much as I used to.

I’ve learned to stop when I’m full not when I’ve eaten it all.

I eat much more intentionally and much less “because it’s there.”

The vast majority of my carb intake now comes from whole grains.

I eat way more fruits and vegetables than ever.

I always check the label for ingredients and nutrition facts before buying something.

I’ve got the boy checking the label before buying things.

I’ve lowered my blood pressure.

I’ve lowered my cholesterol and improved my “good” cholesterol.

I couldn’t wear the dress I planned to on the cruise because it was way too big.

I eat more locally, seasonally, and ethically than ever.

My sweet tooth is dwindling. 

I haven’t been tempted by the Halloween candy bowl at work even once.

I’ve helped encourage and instill better eating habits in those I love.

In cleaning out my drawers at work, I found that paperwork from my insurance license back in June 2008.  It had a head shot on it; I barely recognized myself.

EDIT: I forgot the one change that has probably made the biggest difference in my weight loss: meal planning.  I swear by it.

So now you tell me; what healthy changes – big or small – are you celebrating?

307. A Different Kind of Fit on Friday

I don’t have much to say for fit Friday this week.  I could recap my running and strength training from this week, but that’s not very exciting so instead I’m going to take Friday is a much different direction this week.  Fashion Friday!  (You can all blame thank my BFF Laura over at Odd Duck Blog for this one.)

I will be the first to admit I am not very fashionable.  I try (sometimes), but it’s definitely not something that comes naturally to me.  I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, and I truly believe Chuck Taylors are appropriate footwear for all occasions.  I rarely embrace trends, and when I do, it’s usually as they’re on their way out the door.  I’m still fighting the skinny jeans trend.  Sometimes I’ll manage to put together a really cute, almost trendy outfit, but I generally chalk that up to luck. 

However, I’ve begun to realized, in large part due to Laura’s inspiration (I really encourage you to check out Laura’s Fashion Friday series. She provides a really unique take on how fashion and dressing well fits in with weight loss.) ,  how important dressing yourself well actually is to developing body confidence especially when you’re constantly working to change and improve your body.  Last week I mentioned my decision to buy myself a whole mess of new clothes when I reach my goal weight.  But this week, I had a small revelation.  If I don’t start trying to dress well now, how am I going to know what the hell to buy when the time for new clothes comes?

So, I’ve started making an effort: hair, make-up, accessories, cute outfits, the whole she-bang.  You’ll have to forgive the bad lighting and crappy cell phone pictures.  I never actually intended to use these in a blog post.




The jeans are the “Rockstar” jeans from Old Navy.  I actually bought them last year, and I’ve maybe worn them a dozen times since then.  Honestly, I’m not really sure why I’m so resistant to skinny jeans other than the fact that I feel like they make my feet look ginormous.  I will say I tried on a pair of the “Rockstar” jeans this year, and I absolutely hated them.  I don’t know if Old Navy changed the cut or what, but I was not a fan.  I guess I’ll have to look elsewhere for skinny jeans this time around.  The top is also from Old Navy and the jewelry is Lia Sophia.

And here is my outfit from yesterday; this is actually the first time I’ve won this skirt since I bought it.  Like the pants I mentioned on Wednesday, I bought the skirt dirt cheap and a little too tight the last time I was around 155lbs.  I never actually wore it though. 


The skirt and cami are from Penny’s, and the sweater is from Target.  The belt actually came on a dress I own.  The jewelry is Lia Sophia.  After work I swapped the skirt for those aforementioned skinny jeans for a family dinner date.

So there you have it; my first attempts at dressing like I give a damn.  I doubt I’ll do Fashion Friday weekly, but maybe once or twice a month to keep you updated.  And maybe, if you’re lucky, one of these days I’ll show you just how horrendous my style was back in high school.