Thursday, April 29, 2010

Monthly Weigh-In: Month Four

This is shaping up to be a great week.  I finally, finally, finally reached my 10% weight loss goal at Weight Watchers this week.  Actually, I not only met it but I exceeded it by another two pounds.  For all the many times I have joined Weight Watchers I have always wanted to hit the elusive 10% goal that they have you shoot for and have never got there before now.  I received my 10% key chain and I am going to use it with pride. 

When the meeting leader asked me what was working for me I didn't have a really great answer.  I guess it all boils down to a lifestyle change. When I have done the program in the past I tried to figure out how many cheeseburgers, fries and cookies I could cram into my daily points allowance.  Needless to say, I was frequently hungry and it didn't work.  This time around I have really embraced healthy eating and I have to say I like it better than the constant parade of junk food I used to eat.  Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and even the green smoothies have become my natural go-to foods now.  Don't get me wrong, I still want a good pizza or piece of cake on occasion.  I just know that I don't want or need that every day or even every week. 

As Mr. Niehaus would say, here are the happy totals.

Starting Weight (12/29/09): 185.00

Current Weight (04/28/10): 165.00
Pounds Lost: 20.00

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top Pot Doughnut Dash Race Report

I won't bury the lead on this one:  I got a PR!!  A solid one too and one I wasn't expecting. One New Year's Goal down!  Woo-hoo!!!

Going into the race, I figured that I could get near my previous PR of 30:30 (9:50 pace) but not meet it.  I was guessing around a 10:00 pace.  Since all my training has been geared towards the half-marathon and I have almost completely neglected speed work I really was running this just for fun with no expectations.  The day before I had a great 8 miler at a really strong pace so I also figured that would make my legs a little fatigued for race day.  I guess my training has been paying off after all because I didn't even notice.

There was a good crowd at Greenlake on a sunny Sunday morning.  There were many more people than I expected for an inagural race.  Kevin and I met up with Amber and Mike pre-race and then got in our respective pace groups with Kevin on the side to act as race photographer while the three of us ran.  Since the course is where I began running seven years ago I know it very well.  I have logged countless miles walking and running around the lake.  I could run it in the dark.  Heck, I have ran it in the dark a lot actually.  It is flat, fast and the place where my best training runs take place so that all was working in my favor too.

The first mile was crammed with people at the beginning and I found myself more annoyed than usual at having to bob and weave around people to find my pace and get in my groove.  At the first mile split I realized that there was a good chance I could PR today.  By mile two I knew I pretty much had it in the bag.  Mile three felt like I was slowing down quite a bit and I could feel myself getting pretty exhausted.  Also, my self-diagnosed exercise induced asthma (thank you internet!) started kicking in and I was coughing quite a bit.  Usually the coughing only happens after a run so this was a new and unwelcome development.  On the plus side it wasn't the "oh my God, I'm going to hack up a lung" kind of cough so that was good.  Clearly it didn't affect me much.

Here are the splits:

Mile 1   9:45
Mile 2   9:13
Mile 3   9:09
.10        8:38

The official results were a time of 29:14 which was a 9:26 pace.  This was a time PR of 1:16 and 24 seconds off my per mile pace.  I could not have been happier with these results.  I figured my PR  would fall sometime this year but I didn't think it would be this soon. 

The downside to the race was that they ran out of doughnuts before we could get our tasty treats.  They claimed to have brought more than 3500 doughnuts and just slightly more than 2200 ran the race.  Clearly, some people were pigs and took more than one or took one even though they didn't race.  Grrrrrr.  I wasn't even going to eat mine.  I was going to give it to Kevin for being such a good sport and getting up so early to attend a race he wasn't running.  Besides, the three miles wasn't even going to cover the calories in the donut.  But dang it, if you are going to run the Top Pot Doughnut Dash there had better be doughnuts at the end waiting for all runners.  Even with poor pastry planning it was a good race and I will consider running it again.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

For My Birthday ...

...I would like a slow loris.  I would also like my job to involve staying home and tickling the slow loris.  I would also like "staying home and tickling the slow loris" to not sound so filthy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Baseball in Many Forms

It was a very baseball themed week last week.  On Tuesday, Kevin and I got to go to our first game of the season where we watched the Mariner's begin to turn around their slow start by beating the A's.  It is such a geeky, happy thing to be going to games again. 

Friday night was a performance at The Seattle Rep of August Wilson's "Fences" which has a loose baseball association.  The protagonist was a former Negro League player who is one bitter guy about the segregation of his youth and not getting to play in the majors.  Of course, there was a lot more going on then just baseball in this play as it was more about race and interpersonal relations then baseball.  It was an extremely well-acted and well-written play.  I found out after the fact that it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama the year it was first performed.  You think that would be something they would tout in the production notes. 

We have another game to go to tomorrow night and I am busily clawing my way out of 8th place in my fantasy baseball league. 

Ah, the sweetness of spring.

Weekly Training Log - Week 14

Well, I hit another mileage PR this week:  26.2 miles.  I only had 26 scheduled but figured that in the running world 26.2 was a nicer, rounder number.  My legs sure felt it by the time I got done with Sunday's long run and today was a blissful running-free rest day.  I also bought new shoes on Sunday and I can't wait to take them out and start wearing them in.  I didn't realize exactly how broken down my old shoes were until I put on new ones and had that "oh, so this is how shoes are supposed to feel" moment.  Apparently I was grinning like an idiot after taking them out of the store for a test jog.  My achy, sore feet will be happy now.  I realized my old shoes had well over 600 miles on them, it was time.

Monday - 1 hour yoga

Wednesday - Five miles at the lake.  The lake miles always feel the best.  This should bode well for Sunday's race there.

Friday - Five miles with some small rises and hills.  Felt great even though the speed was slower.  It's funny how not long ago five miles was a HUGE deal to me and now it doesn't feel like much at all.  Maybe I can get that way with double-digit runs someday.  Excuse me while I go day-dream awhile about that.

Saturday - 4.2 crappy ones on the same hilly route I did last week with no problem. 

Sunday - 12 miles.  Not much to say about this other than my legs were shot.  They felt like lead and were tight the whole way.  The weather, however, was gorgeous and that helped shut-up my inner whiner a little bit. 

Even though the 12-miler sucked I feel pretty ready for Eugene.  If nothing else I am ready to dial down the miles for a few weeks until I ramp up for the Seattle Rock 'n Roll half. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekly Training Log - Week 13

Only three more weeks until the half-marathon and I am definitely on track to PR but I am starting to worry about my speed.  For the amount of training I have put in I feel like I should be faster. 

This was a recovery week so the mileage is lower than it has been.

Monday - Yoga.  This was a new class and a new type of yoga for me: kundalini yoga.  If you read about it it sounds a little woo-woo but it is great breath work and mental cleansing plus a couple of moves that kicked my butt.  A winner I think.

Tuesday - Cancelled the scheduled run because of some family health drama.  All is normal again now.

Thursday - Four great miles around the home neighborhood.  I chose the hilly route because I need some hill work and I am proud to say I didn't have to walk any of the hills.  Even the beast that appears at about .15 miles in to the run.  Woo-hoo!

Friday - 3.5 craptastic miles.  I haven't felt this sluggish on a run in a very, very long time.  While I was out there I mentally went over my food intake for the day and I am pretty sure that is the culprit. 

Sunday - 11 miles!  My legs got really tired after mile 6 but I pushed on and finished without walk breaks.  I had to really, really, really fight myself to not stop but I didn't and that was a huge mental boost for me.  The bad part about this run was "Morton's Neuroma:  The Return".  Instead of the usual numbness I have always experienced, about 7 miles in I could feel sharp shooting pains start in my left foot.  It got really bad in the last 1.5 miles;  I actually yelped out loud a few times.  Yes, I yelped.  It was particularly painful when I would step on a pebble with just the right part of my foot.  Most unpleasant.  I am buying new shoes and new SuperFeet this weekend which will help down the road but I won't wear them for Eugene.  There just isn't enough time to break them in properly.  In the meantime I might just stay off of gravel paths. 

Total mileage:  18.5

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Kitty Anniversary

Six years ago today I found Jackie at the Humane Society and brought her home with me.  She was nine months old at the time and hasn't aged one bit.   She is still the same weight, which means if she were a person she could totally still fit into her old high school jeans.  Bitch.

She is still playful but respectful of bedtime which are wonderful qualities in a cat.  She is also becoming a bit of a lap cat but only for me and, much to his dismay, not for Kevin.  She'll get there though.  Lately, she has been enjoying her cat condo and all the birds that descend in almost Hitchcock-ian fashion upon our bird feeders.  The hummingbirds have also drawn a lot of interest.  They must look like the world's biggest insects to the cats.

She is probably the sweetest little kitty I ever met and I am very glad I found her meowing with her little paw reaching out of her cage towards me. 
Getting ready to bat a hair tie and send it flying.

It is also the 144th birthday of the ASPCA so go forth and hug a furry friend today and do something nice for those that aren't fortunate to have homes yet.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Easter Eats

What is the first thing you do with your big box of fresh produce that is meant to help you eat healthier?  Why you make a tart, of course.  A Meyer lemon and chocolate tart to be exact and my it was tasty.  Healthy eating is awesome! 
This was one of our desserts on Easter which, of course included the traditional ritual bread bunny slaughter.  Even though I know my brother is going to do this every year I am still surprised when, at some point, I turn around in the kitchen and see the bunicide on the table.  This is really the only family tradition we have.  Not sure what that says about us.

I hope you all had a fabulous bunny day. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Green Smoothie Joy

It is 10:00 a.m. and I have already had my five servings of fruits and vegetables.  I love the green smoothie.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weekly Training Log - Week 12

I hit another weekly mileage PR last week:  23 miles.  I think I am going to drop the overall mileage this week but still bump up the long run mileage on Sunday.  The Higdon schedule I am ever so loosely following has this week as a recovery week so I think I will *ahem* run with that this week.

Monday - One hour of yoga.  This was my first class since my Thursday night classes ended.  It was taught at the Y and I didn't like it so much.  I got some good stretching and strengthening but no time to quiet the mind.  I am surprised by how much I missed that part of it.  I found a different class at a different Y this week and I LOVED it.

Tuesday - 4 mile inadvertent tempo run at the lake.  I meant this to be just an easy four-miler but everything just felt great so I went "fast". 

Thursday - Blew off spinning class because I was exhausted.  Felt some rest and grocery shopping were a better use of my time.

Friday - 5 miles of half-marathon pace at the lake.  However, I couldn't hold myself down to that slow of a pace for some reason and ended up doing 30 seconds per mile faster then I set out to do.  On the plus side, I was able to hold the entire 5 miles at the exact same pace which is almost impossible for me.

Saturday - 4 miles on a quesy stomach in the rain.  I really wasn't feeling good but made myself go out and do this. 

Sunday - 10 miles in gorgeous weather.  This was much more difficult than last Sunday's run even though the conditions were vastly improved.  I actually had to take a couple of walk breaks but I still cranked them out.  Hooray for the out and back run because it leaves you no choice but to finish your distance. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Monthly Weigh-In

This wasn't exactly what I had expected this month.  I thought I could hit my 10% loss goal but I fell a little short.  I admit that there were more than a few days where the point counting got a little loose and it shows in the results.  However, it is still a loss for the month of 2.4 pounds and I will take it.

Starting Weight (12/29/09): 185

Current Weight (03/31/10): 168.8
Pounds Lost: 16.2

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Veggies Are Here! The Veggies Are Here!

I used to serve as kind of a fruit and vegetable hospice.  I would buy the lettuce or the pepper at the grocery store and bring it back to live out the rest of its existence in the comfort of my vegetable crisper.  Nothing was asked of it and it was allowed a dignified death; if by diginified death you mean turning to squish in my refrigerator. But no more.  I have turned a corner (or a new leaf one, who is punny could say) and have began to embrace vegetables.  While Kevin was gone for a month I even, of my own volition, cooked and consumed broccoli.  Twice. I know, I know, who is this person and what have you done with Ann-Marie?

In the spirit of new, healthier food discovery I signed us up for a CSA last week.  CSA is Community Supported Agriculture for those not familiar with the acronym.  Our first delivery from our CSA came this morning and I am very excited about our produce.  OK, this isn't a CSA in the most technical sense of the word and yes I am aware how geeky being excited by produce is.  They do get product from outside their farm especially during the winter and early spring when not a lot is growing around these parts  They partner with mostly Washington and neighboring states but also with other producers.  It doesn't meet the locavore standard but I am not trying to be a locavore.  Besides, fresh produce from this region this time of year will pretty much be crap I don't want to eat; asparagus anyone? 

The produce is all certified organic and comes highly recommended by my friend Liane who has been a customer of theirs for awhile. 

Our box of happy that was delivered sometime before dawn this morning.

The contents of our box: 
  • Four Cameo apples (I ate one today so there are only three in the picture)
  • Four D'Anjou pears
  • One pound zucchini
  • Tomato
  • One pound potatoes
  • One bunch carrots
  • One bunch French breakfast radishes (who the hell eats radishes for breakfast? *le sigh*)
  • Four Valencia oranges
  • Two Meyer lemons (I have been wanting to try these for awhile.  They included a recipe for a lemon/chocolate tart that I might make for this weekend.)
  • One bunch green chard (any cooking suggestions?)
  • One bunch Romaine lettuce
  • One cucumber (for which Kevin is wholly responsible to eat)
You can permanently omit up to five items and we chose to never receive asparagus, avocado, cauliflower, mushrooms and okra.  You can also customize your order each order period if you want to make substitutions.  There might need to be beet substitutions in the future.  We are getting the small shipment every two weeks.  Once the tasty summer fruits and veggies start pouring in I might consider a weekly shipment though.

Seriously, any ideas what the hell to do with chard?  I don't care much for cooked greens as the texture is a little too close to mucous.