Saturday, July 30, 2011

Success on All Fronts: My First 5K

I’ve had success, dear reader(s), with my first 5K! I finished at 54:07 according to my HRM. I'll have to wait until they post the results to see my official time. The walk there was .35 miles from my apartment, so I set three different laps on my HRM: Lap 1 – walking to the registration/starting line; Lap 2 – walking the actual 5K; Lap 3 – walking home from the finish line. I burned 397 calories doing the 5K and about 45 each getting to and from my apartment, so that’s 487 calories in under an hour! Pretty good, I think.

Some things I learned that will help with my next 5K:

1.     3.1 miles is no joke. It’s a longer distance than I realized and I need to walk more so I am not as surprised or tuckered out after the race.
2.     I am not ready to walk/jog a 5K. Maybe during cooler days, but walking/jogging a 5K in 90 degree heat isn’t doable for me yet. (I ran for a total of 105 seconds today.)
3.     Good call on the water. They had a great food/drink stand there, but I drank my whole bottle while I was walking.
4.     Don’t go to registration so early. The race started at 9 a.m.; registration opened at 7:30 a.m.; I left my apartment at 8 a.m. It took me 3 minutes to register and get my time tracker anklet. Then I stood there for over an hour. I was by myself, which was fine, but that meant the time went even more slowly. Also, my feet were getting bored and tired from standing. Next time I will go early, but not that early.
5.     I ate before I left, which was good. They had a lot of food there, but I noticed it was donuts and muffins, and other pre-packaged goodies. Fruit, yes, but lots of other tempting things for a fat girl who loves her pastries. Best to eat before I go and stay away from the snack table.
6.     I got some blisters. I knew I had problem areas on my feet but I forgot to get any type of pads for them, so I just dealt with it. They’re not too bad, but they started hurting about 1.5 miles in, so next time I will be sure to get some sort of protective pads for those areas.

Here’s a picture of me before I left my apartment:

Here’s a picture of me upon my return (check out the official number badge!):

And an up-close one of my sweat and smeared make-up:

The race was fantastic. Lots of friendly people and plenty of walkers. I was certainly not in last place when I crossed that finish line (I pictured me being rushed by the police escort that brought up the back). One lady had a dog that kept just lying down in shady spots. He’d be jogging alongside his owner then – bam! – lying in the middle of the street. He was me in dog form, I think. Then a woman passed me who was talking to her son about exercise. She said it doesn’t matter when you finish, just that you keep moving and finish. Her whole family was doing the race (her other family members were running) and she walked alongside her son, who wasn’t ready to run yet. It was very refreshing to see a mother so encouraging. I even saw a kid wearing a shirt that I designed (I was a graphic designer for years before I became an editor).

After I finished, I had a mini bagel with about 1T of cream cheese (it tasted soooo good!) and ate it as I walked back to my apartment. It was a great morning and I cannot wait to do another 5K!

Side note: When I filled out the registration form, they had a place to mark what size shirt you wanted. Now, I’m an XL girl. That’s just the size I’ve been since I can remember (I did do a quick stint in size L when I magically lost that 50 or so pounds a few years ago, but that didn’t last long). But guess what size I got? A large. I’m all sweaty, so I haven’t tried it on yet, but it looks like it will fit. I’m not going back to XL. I refuse.

Change of topic: last night I did the spinning class. Jeff, the usual instructor, was back. I think I might love him. He’s adorable and encouraging and listens to some pretty good music. He was way more intense than Mary was (although Mary was really good and I’d totally do another class with her again). He had us do an 8-minute climb. The first time I took his class he had us do this too, but I couldn’t stand and pedal for more than one minute. Of course, that was during my foot problem, but even without that, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do much more than three or four minutes. But last night, I started out slowly and just told myself that I would stand and pedal as long as I could, but that it was okay to take a break when I needed to. One minute passed and I was still standing. Then two, three, four. By the time we passed the five-minute mark, I knew that I wasn’t going to sit down. I had already passed the halfway point. I had already done the hard part. And guess what? I made it all eight minutes! How fantastic is that?! Eight whole minutes of climbing. The sweat was just dripping off of me. I can’t wait to do it again next Friday.

I think that’s it for now. I have to get showered up for my trip to Trader Joe’s. Have you gone to Trader Joe’s yet? What are you waiting for?!

Exercise: 5K!
Total Calories Burned: 487

Friday, July 29, 2011

5K and Kale

I’m getting ready for my first 5K tomorrow. Eee! I’m pretty excited. I’m going to jog some, but won’t push it since I have to go twice the distance I normally do when I walk/jog on my own. I haven’t run at all this week because I didn’t want to put any undue stress on my foot before the 5K, but boy am I anxious to run on the treadmill again! Maybe next time I can run for 3.5 minutes! A girl can dream.
I’ve been lightly researching the preparation for 5Ks. A few websites I found said to eat beforehand, but eat a few hours beforehand so the food has time to start digesting. So, I’m going to get up at 7 a.m. (the race starts at 9) and have some coffee and an egg sandwich. That should give me enough protein and complex carbs to stay energized during the race. The consensus is more carbs and protein after the race, too. I don’t think this really pertains to me since I’ll be mostly walking, but it’s good to know for when I become a legit runner to be reckoned with.
I know I mentioned this in a previous blog, but I’ve been researching triathlons lately and found one that I am going to participate in next fall (2012). It’s the Danskin Triathlon and there is one in New Jersey, which is the closest one to me. I’m willing to travel further for one (they have one in Massachusetts!), but the bike trail in NJ is flat, which is a plus. Another plus: it’s all women! They even have a training schedule posted on the site, which I will use to prepare closer to the event. I’ll have to keep checking the site so I don’t miss registration.
Lastly, I finally did something with that kale. I made kale chips, like Bethany suggested. They were delicious and easy like your mom. They really absorbed the seasoning though, so next time I’ll take it easy in that area. I’ve been coming into work a little early for the past three days in order to make up for my early departure on Monday (Clay’s garage flooded). It’s starting to wear on me. My head feels heavy. My eyes feel heavy. My arms can barely press the keys on the keyboard. Ok, so that’s a little dramatic, but I am tired. I signed up for a spinning class tonight but am hoping to catch a quick nap beforehand.
Next time we talk, I will have completed my first official 5K. Godspeed, my friend(s).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I lost 1 pound this week. I had the day off so I went to Kristi's meeting in Ligonier. It was a nice change of scenery. I didn't get home until 7 p.m. so I didn't have a chance to swim tonight. But my bag is all packed to swim tomorrow after work.

Also, this Saturday is my first 5K! I'm pretty excited and nervous. I hope it goes smoothly. I'm assuming they'll be a hydration table at some point, but just to be safe, I'm going to take a water bottle with me. I'll mostly be walking so it shouldn't be too cumbersome.

Not too much else to talk about tonight. Gotta get cracking on my book club book. Good night!

Weight Loss Tonight: 1 pound
Total Weight Loss: 19 pounds

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spinning and My Walk/Jog

Last night, I took another spinning class at the Y. If you'll recall, last time I took that class was during my foot problem, so it was a rather painful, albeit rewarding, experience. But last night, sans foot pain, it was fantastic. Mary was our instructor for the night because Jeff, the regular Friday night instructor, was on some long bike ride (in this heat - yuck!). We biked to disco, which isn't my style of choice, but the music is just a background noise once you get started. Most of my time was spent cheering myself on because that class is brutal. We did a lot of hills. This consisted of us sitting for four seconds, standing for four seconds, etc. until we were doing two-second intervals of standing/sitting. You try it. It's a mess.

Mary mentioned that she does a Saturday morning class too, so I looked up the time when I got home and decided to do it again this morning since the classes didn't start until 9 a.m. But when I got there, at 8:45, the class was well underway and possibly even nearing its end; I guess the online schedule is wrong. So I walked/jogged instead on the treadmill. I loved it. A lot. My first jog was three minutes straight! Three minutes!!! That's the longest I've ever run. I was on the treadmill for a total of 30 minutes and I spent 15 of them jogging. How great is that?! It is such a different experience. Much easier, I think. The track has a little give, you're in an air conditioned room, and you're running on a guaranteed flat surface. Not to mention you don't have to constantly be looking down for rocks, twigs, and uneven sidewalk cracks. It's fantastic. I also found that my recovery time was shortened. Outside, in the heat, it takes a few minutes to calm down after a jogging spurt, but on the treadmill it took about one minute each time. I'm going to put this into my weekly exercise schedule I think. At least until this heat wave is over.

Next Saturday is my first 5K. I walked for 1.69 miles in 30 minutes this morning, but that was with a lot of jogging. I hope I'll be able to do the whole thing in an hour. Afterwards, I'm taking Kristi to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. She just joined WW (yay!) and lost 6 pounds her first week! Go Kristi! Anyway, I think every living person should shop at Trader Joe's. That is one fantastic store.

I'm pretty much done with exercise this week. I'll be swimming a little bit tomorrow, but that's just leisurely swimming, not anything too vigorous. But between spinning and my walk/jog I managed to burn 1,145 calories in the last 24 hours!

I'm going over to Hannah's in a bit. Gonna cook up that kale I bought last week. I'm a little nervous about it, but I think it should turn out okay, don't you?

I'll leave you with this taunting image. You know you wanna try it:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weigh-In, Lake Chautauqua, and My Grocery List

I gained .2 pounds this week. Not bad considering the weekend I had. Clay and I went up to Lake Chautauqua in New York, expecting a weekend of biking and boating. Here we are on the wine trail, prior to checking in to our motel. As you can see, we are excited for the trip:

The website for the lake bragged about a beautiful road that wraps gently around the lake, perfect for bicycling. I was so excited that I texted this to Clay, “It looks like once we park at the motel we can bike to wherever we need to go!”

False advertising on Lake Chautauqua’s part. The road does wrap around the lake, and parts of it were beautiful, but it was a busy highway full of too-fast cars and went from desolate to crowded town in .7 seconds. There were also some pretty decent hills, too, which aren’t my strong point. So we hardly biked all weekend. We got 4 miles in at a park near our hotel and 4 miles in at Presque Isle before it started raining. We also kayaked on the lake for 45 minutes (that’s some hard stuff right there!). This upset me, so I had a beer (Southern Tier's Raspberry Wheat = Delicious!):

So that is why I’m pretty impressed that I only gained .2 pounds. Because I ate horribly with little exercise. Now, Hannah thinks I give food a bad rap. I mention how “bad” it is and how I shouldn’t eat it. She said I treat it like the enemy. So let me say that I do not think food is my enemy. I think all food is wonderful and can be eaten in small quantities. So while I say I ate horribly, I mean the foods I ate should have been in smaller doses.

Among the larger portions of food that I should have consumed less of this weekend:
pad thai, ice cream, bread, cheese, wine, wine, wine

But I ate lots of fruits and veggies! And I tracked every single bite.

Last thing I will say about the trip: look at this sunset!

I spent the night visiting my sister and grocery shopping, so I’m too beat for a picture, but I did manage to snap a few shots of my groceries and my lunch salad that I blogged about last week:

Clockwise: Kale, Spring Salad Mix, Cantaloupe, Red Onion, Mushrooms, Orange Pepper,
Sweet Potatoes, Baking Potatoes, Bananas, Vine-Ripened Tomatoes
Not sure what to do with the kale -- I've never eaten it before. Gonna look up some recipes tomorrow. I felt pretty awesome putting all those beautiful and colorful fruits and veggies up on the conveyor belt. And now for my salad:

Inside the bowl: Spring Salad Mix, Red Onion, Tomato,
Orange Pepper, Mushrooms, Goat Cheese
For my dressing I will have 3 T of Marzetti's Pomegranate Vinaigrette. So, the total PP value for the whole salad is 7 points (3 for the dressing, 4 for the cheese)! And it's delicious!

Lastly, I went swimming today. First time since the ear infection. My earplugs felt good in my ears, but I’m going to pay close attention to them in the coming days. We’re suppose to get a heat surge here this week so I might be doing some gym workouts so I can stay out of the humidity and heat. I want to try running on a treadmill. But right now I have to sleep.

Weight Loss This Week: +.2 pounds
Total Weight Loss: 18 pounds
Exercise Today: 30-minute swim
Calories Burned: 317

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Verdict

Just ate my WW food. The coleslaw was pretty awful. It had some sort of spice in it that really messed with the taste. It was either too much pepper or some kind of horseradish sauce. Odd. The mac and cheese was bland. I added salt and it was still bland.

But that's what you get when you buy pre-made meals I suppose. I'm glad I tried them (and I still have the veggie lasagna and potato salad in my fridge to try), but from now on I think I'll stick to my fresh, delicious salads. I've been putting 1.5 ounces of goat cheese on them, which is a break from the reduced-fat feta. It's really made a difference. I miss my salad even more now that I'm blogging about how much I miss it.

P.S. This isn't really my salad. I found this on the simply recipes site. But it looks good, doesn't it? I'll post a picture of mine sometime.

P.P.S. (or P.S.S. - I never remember which letter repeats) I am looking into triathlons. I found out that I've been swimming an average of 1/2 - 1 mile each time I swim at the Y! That, plus my stellar biking skills, and my new-found love of the walk/jog make me a perfect candidate for a small triathlon. I just gotta make sure the water is safe. I'm afraid of water.

Some Excitement

Exciting news, my friends! I just sent the registration check in for my very first 5K! I will be doing my usual walk/jog combo for the event and I even get a free T-Shirt. I’m assuming I’ll get a number, too, which is pretty official. AND, the race starts within blocks of my house, so I can warm up on my walk to the starting line then start the race with a nice jog. I hope to finish with a jog too. I was a little worried that I would be the sluggiest participant, so I checked out the stats for the previous ones and was happy to see that they ranged from 17 minutes (who the hell runs 3.1 miles in 17 minutes?! Some young 20-year-old jerk, that’s who.) to 1 hour 2 minutes. So I should be good. I’m not sure what my pace is now, but I think 20 minutes to walk one mile will be plenty of time and I should complete it in an hour. But I’m not really too concerned with my pace yet. I’ll worry about that after I learn how to run for longer than 2 minutes.
My friend, we’ll call her “Sara Rabbit,” taught herself how to run. We meet for sushi as often as we can, and last week, over some spicy tuna rolls, we were talking about running. I told her about my 2-minute jog and she said the coolest thing that I never ever ever thought about. This is what it was:
“You know what’s really cool? When you finally get to start counting the distance you can run instead of the length of time.”
She’s a genius, I think. That 2-minute run I managed to squeeze out was .2 miles. I remember looking at my HRM after I had finished and noted the distance. That’s 1/5 of a mile! If I can do that four more times I will have run one whole mile! That will be a huge moment for me.
As if you can even handle any more exciting news, my dear readers, I have also found ANOTHER 5K to walk/jog in October. Kristi is signing up with me for that one. Speaking of Kristi, we are meeting tonight to walk/jog in a local park in Greensburg. It will be my first official exercise of the week and it is much needed. I can’t wait to get back into swimming next week.
I am also trying something new for lunch today:

I’m pretty anxious to see how it tastes, but I gotta say, I’m already missing my fresh veggies. I was going to pack a side salad with it, but I also bought WW Coleslaw too, so I’ll have that instead. Frozen dinners are nice, especially WW ones, because they count the points for you and they’re easy, but they’re high in sodium, so I have to watch. I also got the vegetable lasagna for tomorrow. Next week I’ll go back to my salads.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I lost 2.8 pounds this week. I am extremely happy for that because I haven't been swimming at all since getting swimmer's ear. This coming weekend will mark the two weeks that I had to take off from it. I'm going back to it next week, but will limit my swims to once a week for one hour. I'm crossing my fingers that my ears stay infection-free.

My swimmer's ear coincided with my reintroduction to running, so luckily I was at least able to run, even if it was only once (I'm taking that slow as well - don't want another injury there either). I got in one 20-mile bike ride on Sunday and swam for an hour or so at my parents' house (mostly leisurely, no laps), but other than that, I didn't get much exercise at all this week.

I did, however, keep a close eye on my eating. I've been staying within my daily and weekly points, but I've been pretty lax about the food I've been consuming. Last week I was a bit more strict and kept to lots of fruits and veggies and I think that helped.

This weekend Clay and I are going to Lake Chautauqua, which supposedly has a bikable road the whole way around the lake -- 40 miles total. If that's true, and we do it, that will be the most miles I've biked in one day. Needless to say, I hope we do it. We're also renting kayaks and possibly canoes, so that will be some great exercise as well.

I'll be tracking all weekend, but will most likely use all my extra weekly points and possibly some activity points as well. Clay is a bit of a foodie so he picked out two restaurants that we're going to try. The rest of the meals will be grocery-store quickies, which are my favorite. What's a grocery-store quickie? Well, let me tell you.

Last year, Clay and I went to Buffalo for a day. We had two restaurants we wanted to check out and didn't want to gorge ourselves too much on breakfast, so we stopped at a grocery store along a deserted (and possibly rapey) highway. Inside we bought a few slices of deli meat, two fresh caraway rye rolls, a few slices of cheese, and some packets of mayo/mustard/ketchup. We picked up a few snack items: chips, nuts, cheese curd (this year it will be fruits and veggies for me), and we sat outside on the curb and made our sandwiches. It was the best meal I've ever had. It felt like camping, only I knew I would return to a nice air-conditioned room later that night. You should try it sometime. Most grocery store delis have plastic silverware for cutting and spreading condiments, and most have packets of condiments as well. All you have to do is ask for them. By buying each component separately you're making a fresher sandwich that is a.) cheaper and b.) tastier. The deli man at this particular grocery store was very accommodating and offered us more things than we even thought to ask. So grocery-store quickies, that's what we'll be eating this weekend aside from the two restaurants that Clay has picked out. We're stopping for Thai too, so I guess that's three restaurants.

I'm falling asleep, so I have to end this. I think I looked skinnier in last week's photo, but I really do think I was just sucking in my gut more.

This week's weight loss: 2.8 pounds
Total weight loss: 18.3 pounds

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weigh-In and My Walk/Jog

As suspected, I gained 1.2 pounds today. I’m trying not to let it get me down though. I realize what it was that made me gain (poor food choices among other natural factors) and will work to control what I am able to this next week.

Tonight I went for a 33-minute walk/jog. I did 1.63 miles and burned 211 calories. I originally wanted to go for an hour, but once I got out in that heat I realized I should probably work up to that amount. That heat is some serious stuff. Especially when you’re jogging in it. I jogged for about a minute each time (probably about 7 jogs total). The longest I ran tonight was 95 seconds. I’m finding that my recovery time is less in between each jog. My muscles were tightening up toward minute 22, so I just walked the rest of the way home. I think I did very good and will keep an eye on my foot, but 211 calories is not much compared to the 600 I would have done swimming, so I have to do some fancy shuffling if I want to maintain my weekly caloric burn. I think getting in a few bike rides will help with that.

Here I am tonight. There is a definite change from when I first started WW, but my side view is crazy-thin tonight. Perhaps I was sucking in my gut more than usual. But I felt natural when I was posing, so I’m just gonna go with it. It might also have to do with the fact that I'm wearing a sports bra.

Weight loss this week: +1.2 pounds
Total weight loss: 15.4 pounds
Exercise: 33-minute walk/jog
Calories Burned: 211

Some Random Happenings

It seems like every time I get on track with exercising I have some sort of physical set back. Maybe I jump into the new regime too quickly, choosing to do that exercise four times a week, or maybe it’s just bad luck. Whatever it is, it’s annoying. I hate that my body can’t keep up with my mental determination, because as we all know, that mental determination doesn’t come around often and when it does, it doesn’t always stick around very long.
Last Wednesday, my ears hurt. Like hurt to touch. It wasn’t an ear infection type of pain; it was more of an outer, physical pain. I couldn’t put my finger into my ear. I cringed when I turned my head because it pulled on my ear and shot pain through it. I decided it was because of my ear plugs. Ever since I got my swim cap, my ear plugs have hurt my ears. It’s because of the way the cap lays on my ears. But I thought I had fixed that problem by no longer covering my ears with the cap. So when this pain came on suddenly, I thought it was just my ears adjusting to being so beaten up by the cap/plug combo.
But the pain just got worse and by Saturday morning it was affecting my hearing. Hannah stayed over Friday so we could go to the Farmer’s Market in Ligonier (which was amazing even though it lacked in produce), and she suggested going to MedExpress. I was going to go, but I was going to go later, after she left, because we all know how boring those urgent care (or emergency room) waiting rooms can be, so I was thrilled when she was willing to wait with me.
Turns out I have a bad case of swimmer’s ear. I got ear drops with steroids (to help the swelling), and was told no swimming for two weeks. My goodness. I was hoping to ease myself back into running, and it would have been easier to do with other activities to rely on, but now swimming, my “safe” exercise, is no longer safe! This happens quite often with me. A few summers ago I got into a really good exercise groove and then hurt my back doing ab exercises in a kickboxing class. The summer before that I was bicycling all the time and in the midst of people telling me how great I looked (which meant the exercise was not only fun, but effective!), I hurt my foot in a weird gas station incident and I could no longer bicycle. I just don’t get it.
And to make things almost worse, I twisted my ankle yesterday during my bike/fishing trip. It was pretty painful at the time, but it feels okay and there is no swelling (other than the usual). But since that makes a pretty good segued, that trip was pretty cool. I think I will have a decent amount of poison ivy (next time I will wear pants with my bathing suit underneath for wading in the water to fish), but even with that it was pretty cool. We rode about 14 miles overall and stopped 3 or 4 times to fish. Clay made some cool rod-holders that he attached to our bikes, so we looked pretty official. I didn’t take my camera, so I have no picture to share, but they sort of look like this:

As for the holiday eating, I failed miserably. I thought I did okay, as I didn’t use all my extra weekly points, but when I evaluated what all I ate, I realized I didn’t do very well at all. Some of my disappointments included a large (and delicious) pepperoni roll, a large amount of (again, delicious) macaroni salad, and two ham and swiss stromboli pieces. Now, the swiss cheese was low-fat, but there was a lot of it in each piece. And then, the most ridiculous food-related decision I made this week, was getting a hot fudge sundae last night, the night before my weigh-in. Granted, it was fat free custard and sugar free hot fudge, but I was not hungry and had already had a 2 PP Fit and Active chocolate bar, which satiated my need for anything sweet. But I got the sundae anyway, because I couldn’t say no. Argh!  There were successes, too, and I am proud of myself for them. One major one being that I went to my parents’ house on Friday and didn’t eat like a jerk. I made a salad for a snack (usually I would have went for the leftover pizza in the fridge). I even jogged a little bit with my four-year-old niece. She did pretty good.

Today is weigh-in and I know I gained. I weighed myself this morning, when I always weigh the least, and even then I was up a pound from last week. But I will accept it and move on. This week I will get in at least two runs and two bike rides. Today will be a running night, and I will not let myself get hurt this time, dammit!