Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the Road Again, Part I

Tonight I'm flying up to Wisconsin, land of delicious cheese (and ice cream, and brats, and beer, and fudge, and steak, and...well, you get the picture). I have two 3.5-mile runs left to complete, as well as another cross-training day.

Unlike Florida, where I lived out of my own house, this will be my first trip since I began training that doesn't provide me all the comforts of home. I have to stay at two separate hotels, there isn't a nice familiar neighborhood in which I can run, and there aren't going to be any kitchens with all my own foods. This will be a challenge. I don't want to gain back the same 5 lb I gained while in Orlando (I would LOVE to stop gaining and losing the same 5 lb!). And I don't want to miss a run.

But I don't want to obsess about this the entire time I'm trying to enjoy my getaway.

Like I said previously (and what I truly believe), life and fitness should coexist peacefully. One shouldn't trump the other to gain our attention. I shouldn't have to sacrifice life to be fit. And I certainly shouldn't sacrifice fitness while navigating through the complexities of life.

Truly, I should do what I want, which is to run, eat normally, and come home with wonderful new memories and experiences. 
Up next: a recap and some pics!

Continue reading...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spoke Too Soon!

Last night after my run, I was feeling great. I was proud of myself for knocking out 5 miles AND doing my toning exercises. I had that postrun clearheadedness, that feeling of what a car might feel after getting a long-overdue oil change---clean, tuned up, raring to go. I ran a couple of errands at the grocery store and dollar store by my gym and headed home for the night.

Then, out of nowhere, that dreaded gurgling feeling, accompanied by nausea, a headache, and dizziness. A couple of shots of Pepto Bismol and a chaser of ginger ale later, I was in my bed---fetal position---wondering what in the world I could have ingested that would turn me from pounding the treadmill to hugging the porcelain thrown within a couple of hours! I hadn't eaten since dinner. I only drank a sealed bottled water I got from my parents' house. Then, I remembered the Diet Dr. Pepper I bought from the dollar store. It must have been that. I wanted a soda from the grocery store, but I remembered that the same bottled sodas were only a dollar at the dollar store. Cheapskate that I am, and in order to save 49 cents, I held out and bought the Diet Dr. Pepper. 

I woke up still feeling queasy and slightly unsettled so I decided I would just go for the 2-mile walk option instead of trying to cross off a 3.5 miler. So I set out for the Metro station in my neighborhood. I felt lousy, weak, and all around not in the mood. I saw the bus coming up behind me and the bus stop directly in front of me. So I hopped on. Defeated and disappointed, I took my seat, mad at myself for wasting a perfect opportunity for exercise.

But I made up for it with a 2-mile walk in the afternoon, even though I wasn't really feeling all that great the entire day. I'm taking tomorrow as a rest day and will run my 3.5-mile runs over the weekend somehow. I'm determined!

I pretty much had a lousy day. I argued with Brian all day because 1) I wasn't feeling good, 2) I was feeling frustrated about a lot of other things I won't go into for the sake of trying to keep this blog uplifting, and 3) (TMI) it's that time of the month and I've been feeling overall out of sorts all week. Just being honest. No, it's not an excuse to be a jerk or to pick fights. And I'm sorry about that.

Life still happens around our fitness/running/diet/health goals, and a lot of times life affects whether we succeed or fail, whether we maintain our enthusiasm, whether we binge or stay on plan. If we lived in a bubble we would all be fit, fast runners with no hang ups about food, right? However, that's not how it is. And the key to our success is to work to make our health and pursuit of health an ingrained function that operates independently of our consciousness. Easier said than done? Sure. But that's why we're all here. We're working toward that goal. And in doing that, we are well on our way!

Continue reading...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Some News of the Ornithological Variety...

Just kidding...(you Family Guy enthusiasts get the joke, I'm sure)

But seriously, Family Guy seems to always be on TV at any given time. I found this out last night (or rather early this morning). I went to bed around 10 pm, which is early for me, because, as I wrote in my last post, I wanted to get up and go to the gym before work for my 3.5-mile run and some strength. So much for that! I ended up waking up at 1:30-ish and COULD NOT get back to sleep. I tossed and turned. I kicked off my blanket, got cold, and then pulled it back on. I fluffed my pillows, flipped my pillows, rolled to one side and then the other. All to no avail. I decided that the best course of action at this point was to watch TV until I got drowsy again. So I turned on the TV to Adult Swim on Cartoon Network and, luckily, Family Guy was on (again). By this time, it was 3 am. I watched both episodes and stopped short of Robot Chicken then went to sleep. 

This happens to me sometimes when I know I have to wake up extra early. It's like the anticipation of having to get up earlier than usual---whether to go to the gym or catch a flight or whatever the reason---makes it impossible for me to get any real sleep. When I know that I need to get up at an ungodly hour, I either can't fall asleep or can't stay asleep. Early 6 am flight? Need to catch the Super Shuttle by 3:45 am to get to the airport? Forget it. I stay up all night. Then, I can't even sleep on the plane. For me, it's like the window of opportunity for sleep slams shut the minute the alarm goes off.

That's why I don't really like to make big plans to go to the gym early in the mornings. To do this, I usually have to get up at 4:45. I can't tell you the number of times I would pack my gym bag and work clothes, etc., the night before only to wake up at 4:45, change the alarm to 6 am, unpack it all the next morning, and end up working out after work. Some days I manage the early workouts. Sometimes, like last night, I get too worked up about getting up early that I end up completely rearranging my plans for that extra hour and fifteen minutes of sleep.

Needless to say, it was a long day at work, especially when your job is to read dry scientific manuscripts all day long! But I was determined to get to the gym tonight to get my scheduled run in. I was NOT going to miss a day!

And I didn't (with a little help from some sugar-free Red Bull!)

I got home, took care of the puggies, ate a Bagel Thin with some almond butter and an ear of corn (no butter), and went to the gym.

Where I ran 5 MILES and did some chest, triceps, and deltoids too! So that's my long run for the week. Now when I go to Wisconsin, I'll only have my shorter runs to do, which will be so much more convenient! But hey, if I end up running another long run this week, then why not?

Tomorrow, I want to either run my 2-miler or 3.5 miles, depending on how my knees and back feel.

Till Tomorrow,

Continue reading...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finding the Time

Today is the first day of my week 4 half-marathon training. It's a stretch and strength day, which was great because my knees and lower back are sore and they definitely need a break from the impact. I'm still getting used to running so frequently, and sometimes my body can really feel it. It's getting better every week though. So today I walked 2 miles and will do my strength when I go to the gym tomorrow morning. I really need to remember to get toning in more often.

As the weeks progress, the miles will stack up until the long runs are just shy of the half-marathon distance.

This worries me. I travel a lot for work and have a pretty busy fall conference schedule ahead. It's actually already starting next week when I leave for San Diego for 12 days!

Usually when I am away on business, I excuse myself from any real exercise routine. I go down to the hotel fitness center and get in a little run here and there when I don't have to be at the conference until later in the morning. If I am scheduled to be at the conference bright and early, I don't bother to exercise at all.

My 3.5-mile runs are hardly an hour. From door to door, including a walking cool down, the whole exercise takes close to an hour. The little 2-milers are quick and easy. Not a problem, really, for home or away.

Now, my 4- and 5-mile runs take a little longer, of course. But those have been the long runs, which are run on the weekends. Again, not a problem. I used to run 10 K every Saturday and Sunday last year. Eventually, however, the program will call for 5 and 6 miles throughout the week and upwards of 7, 8, 9, and 10 miles for long runs. Running 5 or 6 miles during the weekdays will be a challenge for me, especially if I'm away for work and living out of a hotel/airport. Some hotels have terribly outdated fitness centers, or they are off in some creepy, dark area of the hotel. My job doesn't provide me with a rental car, so I'm stuck with what's within walking distance. If you know about government per diems, then you know that, depending on the city and how much per diem you get, sometimes these hotels are anything but 4 star or in close proximity to anything very interesting, much less a gym (Although the opposite can also be true, again, depending on a lot of factors. I've stayed anywhere from Hyatts, Hiltons, and Embassy Suites to Days Inns and the like.)

I WILL make the time while I'm at home. That's not an option. But what about running while traveling?

I'm going to visit Brian in Wisconsin this weekend. I'm leaving here on Thursday, which I will count as my rest day. We will be in Madison, WI, on Friday and will be heading up to Wisconsin Dells for the rest of the weekend. I'm praying that the hotels where we're staying have decent fitness centers. According to their Web sites, they do have them. But I've been to hotels that claim to have fitness centers only to find that it's a closet with a broke-down treadmill and a stationary bike (but I've also been to some awesome hotel fitness centers, to be fair). I have to run 3.5 miles on Friday. Brian has to work that day while I hang out and wait for him. I've never been to Madison, WI. If the fitness center sucks, it just might have to be an opportunity to tour Madison on the run and try not to get lost!

At the Dells, I will have to run 5 miles for my long run (unless I try to get it knocked off in Madison). Brian doesn't like to run, and I hate to waste what precious little time we have together running for an hour and focusing on just myself and training. That will be hard. It'll be hard to choose how to spend that very precious hour or so of my visit.

Did I mention that Wisconsin is a delicious state? I mean, I don't think I've eaten anything there that didn't taste out of this world. So that's yet another challenge!

But if I committed myself to running a half-marathon, then I'd better find a way to incorporate my running program into my life, no matter where I am and no matter what comes up that could distract me from training. I need to be versatile and focused and not make excuses to hit the lobby lounge instead of the fitness room or to go out to a decadent dinner at the local hotspot rather than go workout at the end of the day.

I have to MAKE TIME for fitness, if I want it. After all, achievements aren't just handed to us. We have to commit to the work it takes to make those achievements ours.

Tomorrow, I'm going to get up early and run my 3.5 miles at the gym and get some toning in, too, since I didn't get a chance to do it today.

Till Tomorrow,

Continue reading...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Babies & Bows

This morning, I knew I wouldn't have time to go to the gym because I had to go to church and take care of the puggies before going to yet another baby shower. So I woke up at 6:30 am and peeked out my front door to check the weather. The temperature seemed tolerable, so I ran a long, hot 2 miles. I thought I might be able to get a 5 K in, but my knees and lungs were telling me that they would prefer to go back inside. Tomorrow is a strengthen and stretch day, so it'll be a good break from running.

Today, I want to give a plug to my friend, Karin (Hamburke's Bows), who makes the most beautiful and creative bows on Etsy. I recently bought this one from her, which I wore to the shower.

This bow is beautiful! I think it would make a gorgeous bow for a bride! It's very finely crafted, with pearl details. When/if my day ever comes, I'll definitely have to commission her to make me a bow to wear!

Well today I have a headache that could take down an elephant so I'll make this short and sweet.

Till Tomorrow,

Continue reading...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

3 Weeks Down!

They say it takes 3 weeks to develop or break a habit. I can proudly say that I've completed 3 weeks of my half-marathon training! I'm quite proud of myself. I haven't missed a single day and during travel, too! I hope this marks the beginning of one of the best habits I've ever had.

The first 3 weeks, to be honest, weren't that challenging as far as distance was concerned because I've run all those distances before (up to 5 miles). But running so often in a week based on a schedule was definitely a challenge. I'm not going to lie. There were days when I didn't want to run. I wanted to go back to my usual routine of going to an exercise class and only running on the weekends. My knees and lower back feel fatigued, and I'm afraid I haven't done as much strength and toning as I usually do (which used to be everyday) because running and toning take too much time, and it's hard when you have a long list of other daily chores to complete.

I may stay at this week or the next week for a few weeks for a couple of reasons. 1) I have a lot of time until the race, and the program in fact suggests stretching the weeks out. 2) I'm traveling pretty heavily the rest of the summer through Labor Day weekend. Next weekend is Wisconsin Dells. Then, a few days after I get back, I leave for California for 12 (!) days. Then, I have a couple of weeks before I go to Milwaukee for Labor Day weekend. I'm not exactly sure where/if I can get in up to 8 miles at any of these destinations. I will keep up with the schedule though, so at least I'll be able to maintain the level of running frequency I've already achieved.

Tomorrow I have a busy day, so I won't have time to go to the gym to run, but it's not really a running day anyway. If it's not too hot in the morning, I will squeeze in a mile around my neighborhood and do some weights inside. I'm scheduled for 30 minutes of cross training.

After my run this morning, I hung out with these two guys all day:

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Might As Well Be Running on the Sun!

Today, I had it in my head to do my long run: 5 miles. I got home from work, took out the pugs (my parents are out of town so I'm dog sitting), had something to eat, and then found my dad's Magic Mic karaoke system! I couldn't help but belt out a few tunes since no one was home! Then, after it cooled down a little outside (not really, it was still 97 degrees at 7 pm), I set out for my run. I was already feeling very tired today (all week actually), and the humidity was oppressive to say the least!

Well, I ran 2 miles, felt like I was going to vomit on the sidewalk, saw my vision getting shaky, and decided to call it a night! Yes, I gave up in the middle of a run. However, I was only scheduled to do the 2 miles or some other type of cross training anyway, so I didn't really flake out on my training program. See how I got myself out of that one? Haha! But really, I just wanted to get the long run out of the way for the weekend. I guess it's on for tomorrow morning then. I will definitely be going to the gym instead of running outside. The overnight lows are supposed to stay in the 80s with high humidity so there won't be any relief from the heat tomorrow morning.

As for my eating, I ate well today, except for the Snickers bar I had in the afternoon. It's Friday, gimme a break! Before that I had already eaten about 850 calories for the day. The Snickers bar was 280 calories. For dinner, I had shirataki noodle spaghetti, which I would say was about 400 calories. Then I ran 2 miles and walked a mile burning a total of 475 calories. That's 1,055 calories net.

Well, I'm off to bed so that I can be well rested for the 5-miler tomorrow morning!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

You Are Invited... my pity party. Be forewarned. I'm in a blue mood today.

When I was in Florida last week, I got up at 7 am every morning excited about my run, whether it be 2 miles or 4 miles. I looked forward to the sun shining brightly, its heat on my back. It was the best part of my day. Regardless of whether I went to bed at 10 pm or 2 am, I always set my alarm to 7 am and awoke promptly at that time, got dressed and ready, let the pugs out on the patio, and took off on what I truly felt was my own personal time.

I can't even begin to write just how much I miss it. It literally brings tears to my eyes to think that I won't be back there until October at the earliest. I won't be back for any more summer runs in the neighborhood; no more throngs of summer tourists crowding the malls, restaurants, and parks; no more intense summer sun tanning; no more Florida for a long while. I feel so homesick and it's not really even my home.

Because of certain circumstances that I'll go into some other time, I feel like I'm in a constant state of missing someone, some place, or something. I suppose that's the very definition of loneliness---longing, always feeling removed, displaced, misplaced. Sometimes I wonder when/if that will ever change, when my longing will ever be satiated. I think this has a lot to do with what I've been told is my obsession with food. Food tastes good, and it fills me. It's the only hunger I feel I have the power to satisfy right now. But food isn't what my heart really wants. It's a temporary remedy, a bandage. I turn to food like an old friend. I find comfort in eating because for about an hour, I feel satisfied. Luckily, I also turn to exercise. Running makes my heart beat. It makes my lungs work. It makes me feel like I'm living. But the food part is what keeps me from achieving the fitness level I know I can achieve.

I registered for the half-marathon because I wanted to change that. I wanted to focus on training and reaching a goal that, until now, seemed like an impossibility. But it's not easy to rip the bandages off, especially when circumstances are still the same, when you still need that crutch, that old friend to turn to. But I am trying.

For me, losing weight and getting healthy isn't as easy as following a few simple rules and being motivated. I only have 15 pounds to lose and it's easy to become complacent. I understand that some people might not find what I have to say on this blog to be useful in their own journeys. Some people might think it's a waste of time to read a blog about someone who is, for the most part, relatively fit and in the healthy BMI category trying to lose a few extra pounds while indulging in cupcakes and other "bad" foods and, worse, posting pictures of them. But, to those who are reading, it's not just about the weight or vanity.

This blog is about my personal struggle to achieve my best self. It's about finding the courage to change the things I can, as the prayer goes, even when I can't change anything else in my life (for now). It's about proving that I CAN become what every mean kid in elementary school (I actually was the fattest girl in my class for many years) thought I would never be---worth a second look, worth their friendship and respect, worth choosing.

Sorry for the vent. On to more positive posts tomorrow!


Today was my rest day. Tomorrow I'm going to either run 2 miles or so some other exercise.


I've actually eaten very well all week. No fatty treats, no junk. We'll see what the scale says!

Continue reading...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Slaying the Dragon(fruit)

As I get older, I find that I've become more open-minded about trying and experiencing new things.

I'm at that point in my life where I'm less cautious, less restrained when it comes to seeking out life experiences. I want to create an amazing memoir, a rich collection of lively anecdotes, the right to say "been there, done that" more often. If I were to delve deep into my motivations, I would probably say growing older terrifies me. I'm not so much scared of aging; I'm afraid of one day looking back and finding that I lead an unfulfilled life, that I lived within a tiny box, that I wasted my time on earth not taking in the full bounty of what it had to offer. I'm afraid of dying without having passed on my stories and my life lessons, my own claim to immortality.

This mindset has lead me to eat some pretty interesting things the past couple of weeks, like fried gizzard and livers (I'm assuming that it's pork!)

The other night, my mom and I went shopping at Lotte, an ENORMOUS ethnic grocery store that has everything from Latin foods to Vietnamese foods and everything in between! The variety of foods this store carries is beyond description. My favorite part of the store is the produce department. The fruits and veggies are fresh and inexpensive. I can buy my strawberries, bananas, and bok choy in one trip!

These are some healthy foods I brought back: strawberries, baby bella mushrooms, Rainer cherries, and two packages of shirataki noodles. I learned about them from Lyn of Escape from Obesity, who posted a recipe for this low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat tofu noodle. It's wonderful! I also bought a dragonfruit!

I remember seeing these brightly colored pink fruits and wondering about them each time but never buying one.

 But I wanted one! So when my mom said we were going to the store, I did an Internet search on how to pick and eat one.

Then the moment I'd been waiting for!

It was interesting to see the pale, white speckled fruit inside the hot pink and green exterior. For some reason, it reminded me of flax seeds.

They are supposedly firm and crunchy, but this was soft, like a kiwi (it is supposed to taste like a cross between a kiwi and a pear. Yum, right?)

The taste!

The verdict...

It tasted like a kiwi mated with a potato. I don't get it! Maybe I picked a bad one? I'll have to research more about this fruit! I won't give up on it yet!


Today, I decided to switch my schedule around a little. I ran my 3.5 miles this afternoon through my parents' neighborhood. I'm not used to a hilly track, so it KILLED me. It was also 89 degrees and very humid!

Tomorrow, I will take my rest day because I think my body (especially my knees and back) wants a rest.

Oh, and I've already lost 2 lb of the 5 I gained on vacation!

Till tomorrow!


Continue reading...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

There and Back Again

When my alarm went off this morning at 4:30, I heaved my stiff and sore body out of bed and, in a groggy fog, got myself to the gym to run my scheduled 3.5 miles. I thought I wouldn't be able to run a good run; I thought my leaden legs would struggle and fight me every meter.

Then, before I could even talk myself out of it, I was on automatic, choosing more challenging settings on the treadmill. And I took off at an even faster pace and higher incline than usual. I ran the entire 3.5 miles like I was running on air. My legs took over and got me to the finish, and I felt invigorated!

I ate pretty well today. Of course my Weight Watchers online tracker says that I went a little over my daily points again. But I still have plenty of Flex Points and Activity Points (which I add to everyday) so I don't really think it's a bad thing. I'm really starting to think that tracking my points isn't for me. I just get irritated when I lose points for eating things like cherries and mangoes, or when I try to get some protein by eating a tablespoon of almond butter (which is, like, 5 points by itself). I lose motivation when I see that I only have 3 points left for dinner, and, after walking 1.7 miles to the Metro station, I'm starving. I just don't think 1-point soups at night are going to give me the energy I need for my early-morning runs, especially when they start getting longer and longer or when it's running plus strength training.

Maybe I'm not doing it right? Any Weight Watchers out there? One day, I ate all my 21 points and calculated the calories out of curiosity. It was under 1,000, which I don't think is enough, for me anyway. I do have good luck with using applications like Fitday.

I've been trying to lose these darn 10-15 pounds for years, but it by no means makes me an expert. I would have lost the weight my now if I was. Part of my journey is trial and error, trying again and again until that Eureka! moment when the stars align and my body, my eating, and my exercise are all in sync and the weight comes off. I was doing it last year; I came thisclose to reaching my goal, until I was sidetracked by a health issue.

But I'm not out for the count! I'm well now, I can eat just fine (obviously!), and I can workout normally.

Tomorrow, I'm going to go to my Jazzercise class, since I'm scheduled to either run 2 miles or do some form of cross-training. I haven't been to class since I started the half-marathon training, and I miss how fun and energetic it can be. I'll also be slaying the dragon(fruit)! Stay tuned!

Continue reading...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yet Another Day 1?

I wouldn't go that far.

I'm confident that I didn't venture too far away from my goals and am still very committed to reaching them, even more so now that my half-marathon training is well underway and I'm feeling the improvements in both cardio and endurance. I'm also going to do Mickey's Halloween Family Fun Run 5K on October 2 because I think it'll be fun and because I want to get an idea of what it's like to run through the Disney theme parks. And it's an excuse to go to Magic Kingdom!

I've been on vacation for a week and I have to confess that I ate with what can only be called sweet abandon, which has led to "morning-after regret" of sorts in that I gained almost 5 lb. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I think that if I hadn't had a stellar exercise/running week while I was in Florida, I would have probably gained even more! But I know (because I definitely FEEL) that a lot of it are the effects of too much sugar and sodium, especially sodium!

I don't have any pictures of food today because I'm always a little disorganized when I just get home from a trip, so I didn't pack my camera. But I am using my Weight Watchers online tools again (for now) and tracking my points, even though I HATE tracking points. I feel like I can't eat enough healthy foods because all these points add up so fast! For example, I ate a lot of Rainer cherries (they were only $3.48 a BOX in Orlando, as opposed to $7.99 per/lb here, so I ate A LOT of them) and a whole sweet juicy mango (that was $.055 each in Orlando, as opposed to $1.99 per/lb here) for a snack and it cost me 6 (SIX!!) points. I ate a salad and a whole-grain roll from the Whole Foods salad bar, which totaled up to 9 (NINE!!) points. The salad consisted of mixed greens, a tablespoon of crumbled feta, and about half a plain chicken breast with 2 tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette. I had low-fat waffles with two slices of turkey bacon for breakfast and that was 5.5 points. For dinner, I stuck with some pretzels and a can of that Progresso 1-point Italian meatball soup, which doesn't taste terrible, but I would have rather had more salad or maybe some grilled chicken breast. I went over my daily points, but I still have those Flex Points I can use. And I'm sure I'll accumulate a lot of Activity Points.

I do realize that I can eat those healthy foods when I'm not trying to lose weight. After all, everyone should be (or at least try to be) eating healthy, even if they aren't trying to lose weight. But I also know that there needs to be some kind of deficit in caloric intake in order for there to be a loss. So I'm going to try to stick to using this tool for now because I do have a big appetite, especially when I'm working out.

Today was the beginning of week 3 of my half-marathon training program. It was a Strength & Stretch day, so I took it easy and walked about 4 miles throughout the day (commuting). I was just so tired and achy this morning from the 2 days of traveling that I could not get to the gym.

Tomorrow is a 3.5-mile run, which I will get up early for and complete!

Continue reading...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back to Reality!

And the reality is that I need to get my eating back on track after a week-long, delicious vacation. Thinking about it, there are some things I ate that I regret eating, like fried chicken, a McDonald's Happy Meal, and random candy. Those are all foods I don't usually eat, and I don't really even crave or like them. But I ate them because 1) they were convenient (the worst reason for eating certain foods) and 2) I was on vacation mode and felt like it was a treat. But why do we sometimes see foods we don't even like as treats? Is it because they're "forbidden" foods? Is it because we forget how bad we feel after we eat them?

There are foods that I don't regret eating because, to me, they are treats. I don't regret the cupcakes because they were so delicious, and I can only get them in Orlando. I don't regret trying out that Carolina BBQ place and trying fried liver and gizzards and fried okra because I'd never tried them before. They're added to the list of foods I'll try once but don't really need to eat again. They were OK, but I don't generally like fried foods. TMI, but I don't have a gallbladder anymore so they sometimes upset my stomach. I don't regret the vanilla Stoli and Diet Cokes at Universal City Walk because I was having a good time, there was dancing, and there was music. I really miss dancing. I haven't gone to a bar or club in years! I only get to go when my parents take me in Orlando, if you can believe it!

But tomorrow, it's back to eating healthy!

Well, I've gotta unpack catch up on some TV!

Continue reading...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shelf Life

This morning I woke up early to run my 4-mile long run before I had to help close up the house and pack the van. It was a beautiful, sunny, hot Florida morning. And it was a bittersweet run. I love finishing my long runs. I work hard all week and deserve the sense of accomplishment I feel when my Nike+iPod tells me I have 400 meters to go, then 300, then 200, then 100, then "congratulations, you have completed your workout." But it was my last run along the ponds and palms and friendly neighbors. Next week, it's back to the gym and around my condo neighborhood, which just isn't the same.

As I ran, I daydreamed about what it would be like to live there, to have a decent job and not care about what people thought of me or what I chose to give up to get there. I daydreamed about the many years I've daydreamed the same dream over and over. It's 17 years, at least. I thought about everything that has happened in my life that took me so far away from this goal.

Should dreams have a shelf life? Should we let go of hopes and goals that seem to drift further and further out of reach? I don't know where the line is that divides failure and cutting your losses.

Isn't that how we sometimes feel about our health goals?

So, what is the shelf life of a dream? I guess we find out when it leaves a bitter taste in our mouths.

Till Tomorrow,

Continue reading...

Friday, July 16, 2010

One More Night

I'm writing with a clear mind, so maybe this post will be a little more upbeat! It's my last night in Orlando. Tomorrow, midmorning, we're heading back to Virginia. Even though I hate to leave, there are some things I miss about my lonely little overpriced-and-underwater condo. I miss my bed the most. I miss having 800-thread count sheets and all of my down pillows piled around me when I sleep. I even miss the groove my body's carved out on the right side of the bed. I miss falling asleep to reruns of Family Guy and King of the Hill on Adult Swim. I do miss those things.

And I miss eating healthy, clean foods, working out, and losing weight! I'm hoping to break even when I weigh in again. But I wouldn't be surprised if I gained a pound or two. I exercised every single day I was down here and burned over 500 (sometimes over 600) calories each time. I honestly don't think I've ever logged so many miles in 1 week! I know running daily is making me more fit. My heart rate takes longer to reach my target each time, and 3 miles has become very doable. It used to be such a chore.

That's the crazy thing. I have so much time to exercise here, but I also have so much time to eat junk! If I ran daily at home AND ate my usual healthy meals, I would be a calorie-burning, weight-losing machine! I need to commit myself to my half-marathon training schedule and eat well. If I do that, I'm sure I'll FINALLY lose those stubborn 15 pounds instead of taking one step forward and two steps back all the time.

Today was supposed to be a rest day, but since I can't workout on Sunday because we'll be on the road, I'll make that my rest day instead. Today I ran an easy 2 miles, walked a mile, and did some arm work. Tomorrow, before we leave, I'm going to run my long run (4 miles). That's 2 weeks of the 12-week training program done!

If I can get back here in the beginning of October, I might want to try Mickey's Halloween Family Fun Run 5K just so I can get more race experience. It sounds like a lot of fun!

Today, after my workout, I had some of the cereal I've been eating because we need to finish up the milk.

Then, for lunch, we went to the Asiantown and had Pho.

Aaannnddd of course there was a bakery that I needed to check out!

There, I bought a taro sweet bun, which was delish! Taro is a root. I can only describe it as being similar to a sweet potato. It's purple and probably 100% carb. You can also sometimes find taro tart yogurt at those new tart yogurt places, like Yogurtland, popping up everywhere.

Well I'm off to pack and cry about leaving (haha)!
Tomorrow I'll be writing from Florence, South Carolina! Woohoo.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Winding Down

As they say, all good things come to an end. Tomorrow is my last day in Orlando before I head back on the road to reality, back up north, watching as the last of the palm trees and Spanish moss appear less and less frequently and the oaks, evergreens, and lush grasses take over the woods along 95 North. It's almost time to say goodbye to sunny, hot mornings and invigorating runs with the sun on my back and the sunscreen running in my eyes, of coming back to my mom's breakfasts of eggs, toast, and coffee. It's almost time to be welcomed back to my solitude.

It seems like a mere wink from the time we exited off I-4 onto Orange Blossom Trail until now. A week has passed as quick as a midsummer storm. But, like I said, these fleeting pleasures such as vacations end. I was talking to a bartender tonight about the state of the Florida economy, and he said that Florida's been hit hard and that I would be lucky, being from out of state, to get a job here in the near future. It was disheartening advice from a bartender. Aren't they supposed to patronize your whims and enable your self-medication? But I think I appreciate his honesty. It's not me, it's Florida.

We used to come down here for my dad's birthday every July, the four of us: my parents, me, and my brother. But those were different days, back before everyone discovered their own places and spaces and found less and less time to gather together going to Disney World or Universal Studios or flea markets or outlet malls. I understand that too. You are born into a family to grow and leave to begin your own. We can't be children forever, right? At some point, we must fly from the nest and actualize our own individual destinies and destinations. But there's always going to be that part of us that wonders "when did all this growing up happen?"

Today I ran my scheduled 3 miles, walked a mile, and did some arm work. I ate as I have been eating this vacation---2 meals and a lot of fruit for a snack. And I had some drinks (as in very recently), which may have brought about the melancholy of this post.

When I get home, there will be (and should be) an overhaul in my eating. I've kept up with the running schedule. But exercise was never my problem. I got a fortune cookie today that said "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten." Isn't that the truth!

Unit tomorrow,

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Good Golly!

In a previous post, I mentioned that I loved running in my parents' neighborhood down here in Orlando. Their neighborhood is a gated community that has several small ponds and one large lake. It's designed as a mile-long loop, so it's perfect for running and easy to keep track of how far I've gone and how far I still have to go without checking my iPod, allowing me to enjoy the scenery.

This morning, my running schedule called for either a 2-mile run or any other type of exercise. I chose any other type of exercise because I simply didn't want to run this morning. I needed to change it up a little so I decided to go for a walk. I walked 3.5 miles (well, I strolled and took picture for half a mile!) in an hour and burned 250 calories.

Here are some shots of my favorite "track:"

And, of course, beware of the gators!


After my walk, I didn't really have much of an appetite so all I had was one slice of light wheat bread and sardines. I know it sounds gross, but I eat gross things sometimes! I didn't really feel hungry for lunch, but I did snack on some rainier cherries and mango.

For lunch we went to a Chinese restaurant that is known for it's hot and sour soup.

And some shrimp with garlic sauce with about a half cup of rice (it was white rice, yuck).

But the highlight of the day was going to Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Molly! This cupcakery actually won Food Network's Cupcake Wars!

Where I bought these!

These are mini cupcakes in (clockwise) carrot cake, high hat, tiramisu, and strawberry with cream cheese filling. I ate the strawberry and carrot cake. These are tiny, so they're just the right size to satisfy my sweet tooth without going too far overboard.

I love Florida, but I'm looking forward to getting back to Whole Foods salads! Too many treats, no matter how moderate, really make me feel like YUCK!

Tomorrow is a 3-miler day with strength! Perfect to sweat those cupcakes out of my system!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Is It A Rest Day Yet??

This morning as I set out for my scheduled 3-mile run, I DID NOT WANT TO GO. My back was sore and I was so tired from going to bed late and getting up at 7 am everyday on my vacation (I want to beat the heat!). But I went anyway and ran a very slow 3 miles and walked another mile to gradually lower my heart rate. And I was so glad I did!

I started later (8 am), so the sun was already a fireball in the sky. By 1 mile in, I was bathed in sweat, with sunscreen dripping onto my eyes. But it felt good. It felt good to know that I'm making this sacrifice for myself and no one else. It felt good to know that I'm building my strength and my stamina using my own body, pushing it to see just how much it can do. My heart was beating and I felt alive!

That's the thing about exercise with me. Somedays I don't want to do it. Most days, however, I do it anyway and I never regret it. I just have to keep reminding myself of that!

I didn't eat anything interesting today, just the same breakfast. We did go to the Chinese buffet where I ate my favorite sauteed bok choy and green beens and some steamed tilapia and salmon. For dessert, I had some sweet, juicy watermelon (and a crab rangoon!). I was still full come dinnertime, so I ate some ripe, sweet mango and called it a day. My camera battery is charging for some pics tomorrow!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Another Day In Paradise!

When I was 13 and in the 7th grade, my family loaded up our white 1988 Subaru XT6 and took the Amtrak Auto Train from Lorton, VA, to Sanford, FL, for the first time. I can remember being so excited to be going to Disney World for the first time. Some of my classmates who had gone brought back stories of pirates and princesses, fairies, and Mickey. We, on the other hand, went to Ocean City, MD, every.single.year and stayed at an ocean-front boardwalk motel called Surf & Sands, which has since been converted to a Days Inn, sadly losing some of it’s Eastern-Shore boardwalk charm.

For us, traveling all the way to Florida for the first time was an event, from start to finish. I remember arriving at the Amtrak station in Lorton and bringing our pillows and backpacks filled with games and magazines and Game Boys to our seats, eager to discover what this adventure would bring and what fantastic stories I would bring back to school in the fall. My brother and I quickly sought out the essential cars––the dining car, the snack car, and the observation car. We napped, we walked through cars, we ate dinner watching the the southern landscape roll by, and watched the after-dinner movie. The train chugged through the night, going from deep-green pines to savannas to palms. I remember arriving in Sanford after the overnight train ride and not believing that we were SO far away from home.

Since that trip, I have been in love with Florida––maybe because it evokes so many beautiful memories of a childhood gone by, maybe because my Florida memories always include the people I love the most. Nowadays, I am in Florida several times a year. It’s my heart’s hometown. Be it destiny or fate or what have you, I have never been in a position to be able to live in Orlando, so I make due with visiting often.

It’s only fitting that I set the goal of running the Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon, which runs through all the parks and places that remind me of being 13 again, of how things can be so shiny and new in the eyes of a child, of how magic and fairytales might just exist in the same plane as our ordinary lives.

Sorry if this hasn't been a very health (or food)-related post so far! Sometime this week I'm going to the cupcakery Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly here in Orlando (my favorite cupcake shop in the area), where they have the cutest mini cupcakes, which are nice little treats for those of us trying to control our food intake without giving up a treat now and then (except on vacation, as is the case with me, when I unfortunately have little self-control! BOO!)
Today was a scheduled Stretch & Strengthen day, but I hate to waste a running day in Florida because my parents' neighborhood makes for the best track. It's a mile in circumference, with lakes, palms, and bougainvillea blossoms all along the way. I ran 2 miles, walked 2 miles, and then did some triceps, lats, and delts with 8-lb dumbbells.
Today's Eats
I got up a little later this morning since we didn't get home until 2 am from karaoke!
So it was nearly lunchtime before I was showered and ready for breakfast/brunch. I had the same cereal and one slice of light wheat bread with some scrambled eggs on it.
After a much-needed nap, I was feeling munchy and in the mood for an afternoon snack. I had a peach, a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich, and a few of these:
We ended up going to Logan's Roadhouse for dinner:
Plain salad, no dressing. That little plate of cheese is what I removed from my salad. It was just generic cheddar and not worth the calories.
For my meal I had the 6 oz sirloin, medium, with a huge sweet potato that I didn't even make a dent in!
This is what was left:
After dinner, we headed over to Downtown Disney to enjoy the night air and have coffee. I get so tempted when I'm there!
But, I didn't indulge in ANY of those. Believe me, I usually at least treat myself to least. But tonight all I had was a Cuban coffee (no milk) from Bongos Cafe Cubano!
And now the day (and eating) is done, and I've got to turn in so I can get up and run my scheduled 3 miles!
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

This Blog So Far

It's been 11 days since I started blogging here at Deedah's Cupcakes & Fitness, and I'm sure no one is reading but Brian. Hi, Gagoo! But that's OK because I really find that blogging has been so helpful in bringing my goals to fruition. If I see it written, if I know someone is reading, I'm less likely to become discouraged and give up. I'm less likely to eat that extra piece of candy, and I'm less likely to make excuses not to go to the gym at 5:45 am, which is sometimes the only time of day I can get a workout in.

Do you know how much of a hassle it is to take out your camera every time you eat something?! I do now, and it really makes me think about what I'm eating and if it's worth it. Today, for lunch we went to Golden Corral, which a huge steak and salad bar buffet. I ran 4 miles this morning and burned 660 calories (my scheduled long run), and I was starving (although I look anything but starving! LOL). All I had for breakfast was a bowl of cereal and sliced banana.

I wanted to use the run as an excuse to indulge in baby back ribs, steak, sides, and desserts at the buffet and go back for plates and plates of food, but I didn't because 1) I didn't want to keep breaking out my camera every time I got something new, and 2) I didn't want to post a huge pig out, especially after my fried chicken fiasco of the last day or two!

So, I had this times two, except I didn't eat the sweet potato because it wasn't very tasty:

This is a pile of mixed greens and steamed spinach seasoned with red wine vinegar (not vinaigrette!), a little cottage cheese, and tomato salsa along with a dinner roll.

I did have dessert, I'm not going to lie. I didn't take a picture because, honestly, I didn't want any readers to think I was stuffing my face with desserts at every opportunity. I tried to hide the fact that I had half a slice of carrot cake and a little scoop of chocolate volcano. Well, that backfired because I felt so guilty for this intended deception that I'm telling you anyway!

For dinner, I had a peach, some rainier cherries, a 4-inch-long piece of french bread with a teaspoon of peanut butter, and a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich.

My mantra for this vacation is I AM NOT GOING TO GAIN WEIGHT! I WILL KEEP MY RUNNING SCHEDULE! The running part is easy. I love to run. The eating part is something I need to really keep in check.

I vow a weigh in the morning after I get home to Virginia. Gain or loss (hopefully loss!), I'll post it here. So there's another goal: survive my first out-of-town trip since starting this blog without a gain!

We didn't go to karaoke last night because the place was packed! So we're going tonight!

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

FINALLY in Florida!

 After over 24 hours on the road (and eating on the road), I'm finally here in Orlando! Oddly enough, it's cooler here than how it was when I left Virginia! My internet is a little spotty so I thought I'd post now that I have it and keep my fingers crossed that it works the whole week!

Today I promised a pic of the dreaded continental breakfast!

It was raisin bran with reduced-fat milk, a half a bagel with light cream cheese and Smuckers, and one hard-boiled egg for protein. I was hungry this morning! I find that on rest days (from exercise), I am hungrier even though I burn less calories. Maybe it's that "I'm on a break" mentality because I was hungry all day.

As evidenced in:

But, I also stopped in Georgia for none other than some fresh Georgia peaches! They were so sweet and juicy!

Tonight we're taking my dad to karoake at Universal City Walk for his 65th birthday, which is today! I'll be sure to take some performance pics and post them, along with a more interesting post (hopefully!) tomorrow.

Tomorrow is also my long run for the week: 4 miles and NO MORE SOUTHERN FRIED ANYTHING!

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Cruisin' Down 95... Orlando, Florida! But for now, I'm settled down in Florence, South Carolina, for the night.

Eating healthy while traveling is not easy, especially on a long road trip. Highway billboards boast "Porterhouse Steaks for $9.99!" and "All You Can Eat Fried Chicken and Biscuits!" not to mention the countless fast-food stops at practically every exit. McDonalds, Wendys, Hardees, Bojangles. They all sound great when you're stuck in an overpacked minivan with your senior parents and a couple of pugs. Oh, and can I mention that my mom packs a huge shopping bag full of a variety of snacks? Can I also mention that we MUST buy pork rinds from every southern quick-stop store below the Virginia border because, of course, pork-rind quality increases exponentially the farther south you go?

I've been making this trip down to Orlando for 10 years, ever since my parents bought their house. And there have been times when I would snack the entire way down. My brother and I would buy candy from gas stations and treat ourselves to plastic-wrapped pastries late into the night (because my dad used to drive the entire way down nonstop---16 hours!).

The past few years, though, I've been flying more often than driving, but when I do go via minivan, I pack my own healthy snacks to satisfy my need to eat.

Today's Eats

I went to the gym early this morning and ran my scheduled 3 miles and worked on my triceps, pecs, and deltoids. I burned about 560 calories.

For my postworkout breakfast, I stopped at McDonalds on the way to my parents' house for an iced nonfat sugar-free vanilla latte and an Egg McMuffin without cheese.

Once we hit the road, I passed out for a little while and woke up to munch half an ear of yellow corn.

 ...and some cantaloupe.

After listening to a couple of hours of The Best of Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdink, I had a boiled egg and a farmers' market peach.

 I also had a Zone Perfect bar for dessert.

By dinnertime we were in North Carolina, and I saw this at North Carolina Exit 97!

I had to at least try some authentic Carolina BBQ. I ordered the BBQ Platter, which came with shredded chicken, boiled potatoes, coleslaw, and fried okra. Very southern, just how I like it!

Don't worry, I didn't eat all of that! I pretty much just skimmed off the top of everything. It was SO good! I also have to confess that I tried a little bit of the fried chicken my parents got for themselves---but just a little, I promise!

And there you have it. Day 1 of dining down 95 south. I ran, ate my healthy snacks, and still enjoyed some regional delights. I mean, come on, it's fried okra!

Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day for running, which is just as well because there isn't anywhere to run around the hotel. But I'll be sure to take some fabulous pics of the quintessential midlevel-hotel-chain free continental breakfast!

Time for bed!

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