Archive for March, 2012

h1

I Broke the Scale

March 30, 2012

I knew it might happen. It’s a worry every person who’d like to shed some pounds has: am I going to break the scale?

 

Well.

 

I did.

 

So many little pieces...it's like someone threw a glitter party in my bathroom!

I’d blame it on the ‘roid rage, but Wednesday was my last day on prednisone.

And then I’d blame it on karma telling me that I should only weigh myself once a week and not be obsessed with the scale…but I wasn’t even trying to weigh myself! I was just moving it so that I could clean my bathroom. I picked it up, and only an inch or two off of the tile, it slipped and shattered into a sparkly mess.

Now I can say I broke the scale. Like, actually broke the damn thing.

h1

Getting Back on Track

March 27, 2012

It’s time to get back on track…the Weight Watchers track. For the week before the half marathon and the week after, I didn’t track anything except my weight. Four weeks ago, I weighed the same amount that I did this morning. In the grand scheme of the number of cupcakes I ate before the half (2.5), among other mindless eating choices, that’s not so bad.

But now I’m not training for a half marathon, and I’m also not trying to maintain my current weight…

It’s been ridiculously easy to slip back into some old habits. Fortunately not every old habit, but I know I’m not eating as well as I should. The obvious answer to regaining control is to just start tracking again, which I’m doing, but I also wanted to reflect on the things that worked well during the first 25 pounds that I lost, and get myself excited about eating well to lose more.

Things that worked

  • Less alcohol. No big secret here. I just drank less. It helped that I was also training for two races: I usually skipped drinking the night before my weekend long run. When I went out with friends, I drank fewer drinks, better quality.
  • Less cheese. Not necessarily less dairy; Greek yogurt and I have a fantastic relationship. But less cheese, and better cheese. The more flavorful, the less you need to make an impact.
  • I nixed French fries for the most part. They are truly a rarity in my diet now.
  • Less animal meat, more other protein. Lentils, lentils, lentils.
  • Small substitutions. Make an omelet with one egg and one egg white instead of two eggs.
  • Giving myself permission to eat a s***-ton of fruits and vegetables. I’m not sure why I ever saw them as luxury, but I used to see fresh fruit and vegetables as such…and as too expensive. I’m glad it dawned on me that it was costlier in the end to see them as a luxury.
  • One-pot meals. If I can just toss everything into one-pot, I’m much more likely to eat a balanced meal. Left to cook veggies separately, I usually get away with a salad, maybe some carrot sticks. Sometimes all that ends up in my mouth if I don’t cook everything together is whatever carb/protein I’m eating. But if I can make some sort of stew or frittata or other dish where you can really pack in the vegetables? I eat well, friends. So well.
Remembering the proper care and feeding of me
So the next step is to remember what got me here (not too far off from how I’ve been eating lately…just need to remind myself when I get off course), and then to remember that I enjoy cooking, I know how to cook, and there are fun things to make that don’t have to break the Weight Watchers bank.

Need a quick meal? Lentils. Vegetable broth or water. Onion and garlic if you have it. Canned tomatoes. Any green. Any other random vegetables you have around. Any ratio, really. Had it on the table and portioned out into work lunches in less than 30. This version was 3 WW PointsPlus per serving.

A go-to for me is any kind of lentil soup. I think I was originally inspired by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks and her recipe for Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup, but in the last few years, I make it with whatever random vegetables I have around. Last night I had kale and sweet potatoes from the farmers market and pre-chopped garlic, shallots, and onions from Trader Joe’s (amazing. Less than $2, ready to go). In the fridge? Random amount of vegetable broth. The cupboard? Random quantity of lentils. I’ve put together similar soups for anywhere from 3-5 WW PointsPlus.

It was good to poke my head around the farmers market and get inspired again. I picked up a small loaf of sunflower flax bread from a Baltimore-based (but they sell all over the DC area!) bakery that I love.

But this brings me to one of the things I really don’t like about Weight Watchers (and yet have a solution to, other than to guesstimate): how you track things that don’t have a barcode, you didn’t make yourself, or weren’t made by a huge chain store. If I want to accurately track bread, I’d have to: buy something with a nutritional label; bake a loaf myself; or go to a chain restaurant whose items have been included in the WW database. Not much room for accurately tracking the little guy… (Although, good news: Atwater’s actually does include their nutrition information on their website, but many places don’t have that information readily available.)

I suppose it’s just a reminder that what’s easy or convenient isn’t always better. I’ll continue to figure out ways to track the “good” stuff, it just takes a little more effort.

And now for my new favorite “splurge” item (OK, not really a huge splurge – it’s just 1 WW PointsPlus for 1 Tbsp.):

OH NO THEY DIDN'T! They did! And it's so good!

You could do a lot worse, folks.

h1

When Yoga is Your PITA

March 26, 2012

So, I have a pain in the ass. My doctor approved yoga, with the warning that if the poses were hurting me, I’d take child’s pose and proceed from there. She agreed that yoga stretching could help, and I looked forward to my regular Monday night vinyasa class.

Until my regular Monday night vinyasa class WAS the pain in my ass. Vinyasa (flow yoga) is awesome…and in my class, you never know what you’re going to get. If the instructor told me that I’d be in utkatasana for the better part of an hour, I would have stayed at home in child’s pose in my PJs. Instead I tried half of the class and then…left. I felt a little bad about leaving, but I was just getting frustrated, and didn’t feel like I could focus on the class.

Ohhhh...it's an IMAGINARY chair. Still a pain in the ass.

I was pretty jittery, too; I am hoping that was just a side effect of the prednisone (and not a sure sign of impending crazy). The doctor warned me about that as a side effect, and, true to form for me when I take medicine, I was a crazy, shaky, hyper girl before class. Not exactly calming at 8:30 on a Monday night…

Two more days of prednisone. Walking feels great, but sitting at my desk chair for much of the day feels counter-productive. It seems like the tightness/pain is alleviated more quickly once I stop doing things that aggravate it, so…progress?

Big thumbs up for sleeping. No pain there.

Downward-facing cat likes home practice. And naps.

h1

Such a PITA!

March 24, 2012

Experiencing a total PITA (that’s Pain in the Ass) these days. Quite literally.

I went to a doctor yesterday (new-to-me doc since I moved recently) about the hip/knee/pelvic pain/inflammation/tightness/whathaveyou I’ve experienced lately.

Diagnosis? Tendinitis.

Treatment: 5-7 days off of running (walking, swimming, yoga are A-OK); 5 days of prednisone

I’m happy she looked at it, and absolutely willing to try the treatment, but what happens if the prednisone/rest doesn’t fix me remains to be seen. She was really all about more of a drug-heavy treatment, and I’m…well, not. I’ll take ’em when I really need ’em, but a lot of drugs make me nauseous…including prednisone! (Unrelated side: if prednisone makes you queasy, I highly recommend NOT seeing The Hunger Games in the theater until your treatment is over. So. much. camera. movement. But a great movie. And a totally different kind of Peeta that is not at all a PITA.)

No sense of relief in my leg/hip/pelvis/ass yet, but I’m trying to be patient. And do walking or laying around activities versus sitting activities. (Please do not send me one of those seat donuts just yet…actually, pretty sure that wouldn’t help at all, physically. And definitely not mentally.)

I’ve never had tendinitis or taken prednisone or been waylaid like this, and I’m trying to keep the long view. A little concerned about the race I have in four weeks. Equally concerned about eating everything in sight. It’s amazing to me that a little 10mg pill can make me so hungry. Better get to walking/swimming/namaste-ing lest the scale and I get into a fight because of ravenous hunger. If you’re not at work or offended by choice language, check out what Jack Black has to say about that

h1

Three Things Thursday: Billy Goat

March 22, 2012

High on a hill is a lonely…Billy Goat Trail. Well, not as lonely as I thought. I had the day off from work, and since there’s more to fitness that running, I went for a hike on one of the best trails in the DC area. Even midday on a spring Thursday, there were plenty of folks out there. Some reviews of this trail indicate that it’s good for beginners…I disagree. Section A has a lot of climbing and hopping on rocks high on a cliff above the Potomac. And today I had the shit scared out of me good fortune of seeing 9 snakes! And hearing the rustling in the grass of at least 3 more, but I didn’t hang around long enough to find out!

So today’s Three Things are some pictures from the hike. If you’re in the DC area and you’ve not been, get out there. You won’t believe you’re mere miles from the Beltway and downtown. Well, except for the weekend crowds…be prepared.

Those nice Carolina blue blazes mark the trail...much of which goes over big rocks like these.

You can park across MacArthur Blvd. from Angler's Inn for free (although they are doing construction there...hopefully that doesn't mean the free parking is going away), or head down to Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center (NPS). You can access the C&O Towpath and Billy Goat Trail from either, but if you go to the NPS visitors center, you walk past these gorgeous falls to get to the northern Billy Goat trailhead.

Sometimes your feet just want to break free of the confines of running shoes. Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend Chacos on the Billy Goat...too many snakes way too close to my feet, and I felt a little less stable on some of the rocks than I typically do when I go out in hiking boots. But totally worth it to get started on my Z tan.

I hope that, wherever you are, you’re getting to enjoy some sunshine this fine spring.

h1

Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon…Part II!

March 20, 2012

Continued from Part I…here are some thoughts about my first half marathon.

Course

I’ve been in the DC area for almost six years…this time around. I’ve lived in the area a couple times before, and having grown up a military brat, DC is as much a home — maybe a little more — as just about any other place. So getting a quick (relatively speaking) foot tour of a large portion of my “hometown” was…awesome. I loved this course. With the exception of the streets immediately at the beginning and end of the race, I’d been on every part of the course over the years.

I pretty much zoned out on the ridiculous hill known as 18th Street NW/Connecticut Ave. NW. After the race, a friend that ran it said, “Sweet, now I know where Vapiano is!” I replied, “Oh, did someone tell you?” She countered, “No, we ran past it…” Right. I was just struggling up the hill…

There was a band at the end of Harvard Street NW, just after Mile 8, as you turned down onto 5th Street NW. Something about that band got me really fired up. I had a great time between Columbia Road and North Capitol. I’m guessing the folks partying hard on their well-decorated porches did, too. And, while I appreciated the offers, I politely declined their dixie cups of beer. Offers of post-race BBQs welcome, though.

By Mile 11, my feet were pretty sore, and by about Mile 12, the top of my right foot was cramping a bit. I walked some, and periodically stopped to stretch and massage my foot.

The end of the race? Wow…what a doozy. Coming down C Street, folks on the side of the course kept shouting that the finish was just around the corner. Then we turned the corner. And folks on the side of the course shouted that the finish was just around the corner. Whaaaaat?

It was. An uphill finish where you couldn’t see the finish line until you were almost on it. Tough 1/10 of a mile!

When you're not concerned with beating any particular time, it's easy to pull off for a second for photo ops.

Friends

As I mentioned in Part I, my friends are awesome. I started the race with a friend, had a few other friends running (like her and her), and saw friends between Miles 7 and 8 (surprise – I didn’t know they’d be out, or where they’d be – and they met me at the finish too!), just before Mile 10, just after Mile 11, and at the finish. They all told me I looked great, and seeing them made me ridiculously happy. Not-so-secret secret: I looked great when I ran past them because I knew they’d be there. Who wants to drag ass past your friends? Not this racy gal. Thanks for the boost, guys! The excitement of seeing my friends definitely added a spring to my step.

And an interesting perspective from some of these friends: what it’s like to watch a whole race. I’ll admit that I’ve never seen a whole race before. When I’ve gone out to see friends run, I’ve pretty much just gone to see them, and didn’t hang around the whole time. But some of my friends hung out on North Capitol with food and drink and watched the whole thing. They said it was pretty awesome to watch the fastest folks go past, and then to notice the changes in pace and the differences in pacing between the marathoners and half marathoners.

And they confirmed, mercifully, that I was not the slowest one out there. But even if I was, I’d be OK with that. I mean, hey, I was out there, right?

So, new goal: go watch a whole race, from the elite folks at the front of the pack all the way to the folks at the end who need cheers just as much as the front runners.

I think my friends took this because they wanted to make fun of my "fanny pack." That belt came in pretty handy for stashing more than the microscopic pocket on my capris can hold.

Progression of Feelings

I am nothing if not sentimental, so I’d be remiss to not acknowledge my feelings about this race.

As I mentioned in Part I, I had serious doubts about my ability to run this race as late as the day before. I’d trained, but had some difficulty throughout, and benched myself for a few weeks. But in the few weeks before the race, I’d felt pretty good. Then I started experiencing some strange hip/pelvic pain unlike anything I’d experienced before (and for which I’m going to a doctor in a few days). So I had major apprehension about this race. If I attempted it, what might happen? I had terrible visions of my hip giving out and me collapsing in Dupont Circle…if I made it that far.

But during the run, I physically felt fine. Some soreness in my feet toward the end…pretty sure that’s the price you sometimes pay for pounding the pavement for mile after mile. When the going got rough, I looked at the mile markers, judged that I probably only had 20 minutes to go, and reminded myself of my favorite coach‘s mantra: You can do anything for 20 minutes.

So I did. And damn if I didn’t feel awesome when I crossed that finish line.

I promise I will never do this again. Total cheeseball move.

Random observations

Anyone else notice the banana stand in downtown DC? So many banana peels on the ground…clearly this would be a ridiculously tragic way to go down in a race…taken out by your fuel. Same goes with the GU packets. That shit’s slick.

My lucky green shirt? Probably being relegated to the yoga pile. I’d done a few runs in it with no issue, but I was Chafy Stacie during the half. Major red, painful blotch on my left arm. Really attractive at work this week when it’s been warm enough to wear short sleeves. I thought to Body Glide under the straps of my sports bra; guess I need to add inner upper arms to the Body Glide list. Or just relegate the shirt to the yoga pile.

I will never, ever run a race in a full bodysuit. I saw a few of those, and by Mile 7 or so, they appeared to be sweaty, sweltering masses of crazy runner. Anyone tried this before? Are there vents? Special wicking material?

So...add it to the necklace rotation? Maybe not?

So. That’s that. My first, slightly crappily-trained half marathon is in the books. I had an awesome day and it just reinforced the running bug I caught a little while back. My time was 2:32, and all things considered, I’m happy with that. It was a PDR and a PR, and I look forward to blowing that PR out of the electrolyte-enhanced water in future half marathons.

h1

Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon…Part I!

March 18, 2012

Going to commit a big blogger sin here and write only half a post of thoughts on my first half marathon (Get it? Half a marathon, half of my thoughts? Yeah, that’s pretty bad…). After the race yesterday and for almost all of today, I’ve been going non-stop and haven’t sat down to put good words to my thoughts. So…here’s Part I! Forgive the incomplete post.

Yesterday was the Rock n’ Roll USA Half Marathon and, considering how my hip/pelvis was feeling earlier in the week, I rocked it! It wasn’t the race I thought it would be when I registered in November, but it was SO much better than the race I thought it would be on Friday.

All smiles at seeing some friends just after Mile 11.

More updates to come, but overall: great experience. Good weather, albeit a little hot. No crazy course mix-ups, straight-forward gear check, plenty of food and drink available at the finish. And, key for me: no hip or pelvis pain during the run. At. all. Any aches and pains seemed pretty standard; my feet were a little sore by Mile 11.

And I was only punched in the face once.

True story.

At about mile 12.5 or so, a very uncoordinated girl who was raised by wolves was probably not used to crowded courses stretched her hands out very quickly at 90 degree angles, sending her closed fist straight into my nose as I was passing her. She felt bad, but wanted to chat about it. No way, lady! I assured her it was fine, but sped up a little, checking for blood. No blood, no foul.

The best part of the run? (Outside of finishing it, of course!) I have amazing friends and family who support me. I had such a fun weekend with these tremendous folks.

They also make ridiculously awesome signs.

Esuper Esexy ESWEATY Estacie! It was hot out there!