Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hungrier and Hungrier

I ran 5 miles today at the gym. I could actually have done more, but lately I've been getting blisters that start to really hurt at around mile 3.5! Could it be the shoes? the socks? Today's blister annoyance was disappointing because I truly felt like I was in "the zone," just like when I ran the 10 miles in CA. Who knows how far I could have gone had my left foot not been on fire. I felt like I could have run on and on and on. Anyway, 5 miles (plus my 2-mile walk to the metro) isn't so bad.

Now that I've been running pretty much every other day, sometimes even on consecutive days, and now that I've added mileage, I've noticed more than just the blisters. I've been ravenous. I actually feel like I've gained a little weight since I started training for this half-marathon! I caught a glimpse of myself in the locker room mirror today and I looked puffy. Maybe it's just me. I'll weigh myself sometime this week. Before I went to CA, I didn't weigh anymore than the usual 150. My clothes still fit fine, just a little differently, tighter in some places and looser in others. My body's probably just shape shifting because of the change in my exercise level and eating habits.

I really want to be lean. But I know I have to work on the willpower. I have to be OK with being hungrier and lose the need to satiate that hunger ALL THE TIME.

Continue reading...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Running and Working Weekend

Saturday run: 6.2 miles 
Sunday run: 4.0 miles

It was a good weekend for running! The weather was perfect: cool and sunny in the mornings, warm with low humidity during the day.

I didn't run anywhere interesting, I must confess. I just had too much to do to leisurely run all over town. I just ran around my neighborhood, which was fine. It got the job done, right? After my runs, I had to get to work on my freelancing (and watching FearNet On Demand Movies and the Lifetime Movie Network).
I did go to this huge thrift store on Saturday. I wanted to see if they had any interesting beads or buttons for this shrug I'm knitting. There were so many cool things! I didn't buy anything because Monday is their 25% off everything day. I saw this great pair of brown leather Franco Sarto shoes that would look great for the Fall, and they were $6.95! I didn't buy them because I wanted to wait until they were even cheaper on Monday, haha. Some things there still had the store tags! Unfortunately, I didn't find any cool buttons or beads. But when I go back tomorrow after work, I'll look closer at the vintage clothes to see if there is anything I can buy that has cool buttons.

Anyway, I'm tired being on the computer! I wish had one job that paid all the bills instead of multiple jobs. But I'm not going to complain too much. In all seriousnee, I'm lucky enough to have a job, much less two jobs so I can have a little extra. I'm really blessed and lucky in that sense.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Normal-Person Eating

Many of us who have battled our weight for the majority of our lives know that we can't really eat "normally." Our bodies have thus far precluded us from partaking in the joys of thoughtless eating, of enjoying food for food's sake rather than tricking ourselves to view food as a necessity and never a pleasure. We eliminate this, add more of that, limit, limit, limit. We count calories; we perform mind-numbing mathematical calculations that we could never in a million years answer correctly back in our old high school algebra classes.

We tell ourselves that this is how we'll get thin or get fit or get to whatever goal we set for ourselves and our bodies. And for those who strictly prescribe to these tenets of weight loss and fitness, this way of life works---and works well. I firmly believe that making a commitment to a healthy-eating lifestyle along with exercise will do the trick. I believe that diabetes-related complications, such as cardiovascular disease, can be alleviated by eating accordingly and exercising.

But part of me, the part who always felt like an outsider, just wants to be a normal person, a pizza-eating normal person.

There are times when I resent the burden of my own weight awareness, which I've carried day in and day out for the majority of my life. I resent the overanalyzation that occurs at the planning of every meal. I see commercials and programs on TV in which attractive women and men at particular restaurants eat with gusto, eat without intense scrutiny (of their food and of themselves). 

And they look normal to me.

Yet, I can't help but assign moral connotations to foods. I call some foods bad and sinful, whereas the accepted dieter's menu of foods, like vegetables and lean anything, are more positively labeled as good, on-plan foods. But who in this world is truly, wholly moral or immoral. Aren't we all sometimes sinful or make bad choices?

So why must my eating record be cleaner than my soul?

I suppose I called this blog Cupcakes & Fitness: Having My Cake and Eating It Too because I want so very badly to find a way to eat normally. I want to eat healthy, good-for-you foods, yes. But I want to still enjoy the social, pleasurable aspects of food and eating as well. I don't want to be the one to order a side salad while the rest of the table enjoys the house specialty. I want to be able to include myself in the festivities, in the act of the meal and not be the outsider sitting on the fringes of the table quietly nibbling lettuce. I want to be able to call for a pizza without guilt. I want to go to the amusement parks and have an ice cream cone, relishing the cool creaminess in the summer heat.

I want to have my cake and eat it too!

Is there a way to go to the restaurant and order the house specialty and not overindulge? a way to order a pizza and not eat the entire pie? a way to have an ice cream cone to celebrate the joys of summer? I hope with all my heart that there is a way, a way to eat normally, like naturally thin people.

I have a friend who has been very thin since high school. It's her natural body type and requires no effort on her part to maintain. She eats normally. She follows the school of Paula Deen and stays at or around 100 lb. She can order creamed chipped beef when we go out to breakfast and triple-cheese ravioli at dinner and not gain an ounce. 

I've observed her eat many times over the many years of our friendship. And I always notice the same thing. She NEVER overeats. She eats for pleasure and out of hunger, but she will eat only until those desires are satiated; she eats only until it stops being as pleasurable and never when she's no longer hungry. Can I ever learn to eat that way?

I love eating healthy. It makes me feel wonderful and clean. But there are some days and certain occasions that call for more freedom, the freedom to be normal. And I think (again, just for me) that it could be OK. The celebratory cake or the pizza I ordered to save money will all come out in the wash if I continue to practice responsible eating, by which I mean aiming to eat healthy always but not denying myself the pleasure of food on occasion, as in if I get married someday I'm not going to spit out my wedding cake!

And although I believe that everyone should follow the rules of healthy eating, such as eating whole grains, lean meats, and a lot of fruits and vegetables (and of course exercising and maintaining a healthy weight), and make those a part of our daily habits to avoid the devastating consequences of diabetes and obesity-related illnesses, I don't want to believe that food, in and of itself, is bad.

It's what we do with it and how we use and abuse it that damns us.

Continue reading...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Run Win!

Today was a good day.

I got a lot of work done at the office and on my freelance stuff, I averted disaster by successfully correcting a huge knitting mistake that could have ruined hours of work, AND...


I'm so happy that I'm back to running. It felt great, aside from some sniffles. My chest was clear and my heart rate was on target.

It helped that the weather was absolutely perfect, sunny with low humidity. It's supposed to be like this the rest of the week and through the weekend, so I'm already dreaming of potential routes to run that might be interesting. I'm not going to run tomorrow because I don't want to go overboard and relapse. But I will walk and stay active. Friday I plan to run 4 miles or so. Then on Saturday, I want to run somewhere completely different and more interesting! I might run to the mall and back, which would be about 7 miles, or I might run through town up to the mall and stop and have a coffee while I'm there. That sounds like it might be fun! And it would give me something to run to for a change.

No, it's not like running through the palm trees and ponds in Orlando (sigh) or like running through Downtown Disney in California or like running up and down the steep hills of Mission Valley, San Diego. But you make due with what you've got!

I'm back! WOO HOO!!

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Run Fail

I had run the longest long run on the training program in California when I flew through 10 glorious miles to and from Downtown Disney. I was easily running 5- and 6-mile runs every other day like they were cake walks. Up and down the hills of San Diego despite the chill of the California mornings, I ran. "From now on, this training will be a breeze." I thought to myself. "It can't get any tougher than the 10 miles I already accomplished!"

Then I returned home. I was back to the typical hot, sultry, humid late summer of the mid-Atlantic. And I was sick. My chest burned; my sinuses throbbed in my head; tissues were strewn about me in crumpled white crusty balls on my bed and on the floor and in the pockets of my jeans. My mornings started with a behind-the-counter Sudafed (the kind you can make meth with) and a diet Coke (because the carbonation felt good against my throat). The heat exacerbated the pressure in my head, making it like a vice wrapped around my face.

The worst part? I couldn't run.

Today I was determined to try. I set a goal of an "easy" 4 miles (cocky, no?). After work, the weather was cooperating and not very humid, and the sun had disappeared behind some clouds. My cold had abated, with only a trickle from my nose and a slight tickle in my throat.

Off I went. The run started easy enough, and I was relieved that I was able to get back to my favorite hobby as of late. Then, by the time I hit 1.5 miles, my heart rate was 186 bpm, high above my usual running heart rate of 165 bpm. My chest felt like it was filled with cement. Black phantom spots were appearing in front of my eyes, and my balance was starting to get shaky. So, at mile 2.36, I stopped and walked.

Less than 2 and a half miles.

I almost wish I never ran. I'm terrified of running tomorrow and achieving (if you can call it that) the same results. I was only sick for 5 days. I only didn't run for 5 days! How could it be that I couldn't complete 2 and half miles?

Right now, my head aches and my chest is sore from the exertion. Sigh.

I'm sure if I give it some time, I'll get back in top form. If fact I know it. I guess I'd rather take it slow than pass out and embarrass myself, right?! LOL

Tomorrow I'm going to try and workout again, hopefully with better results!

Continue reading...

This Weekend's Blog Break

I took a break from blogging this weekend because 1) I didn't run because I was sick and 2) I had a lot on my mind and a lot to get done that had absolutely nothing to do with health or fitness.

I won't bore you with too many details, but I didn't sell my watch. It's a $5,000 watch. One place offered me a pitiful $650 and the other place went up to $800, with the option for consignment, which could fetch me up to $1,200. I might consider that. I didn't change my phone plan because in the end I might save just $10 a month, but I would have to renew a 2-year contract. I'm thinking about this.

But I did manage to finish the editing test for the second freelance job I have lined up. It was SO MUCH simpler than the other one. I figure with these two jobs, and if they don't totally bury me with work, I'll do OK. I'll at least have some extra money every month that won't have  go to various bills. See, closed door = opened window = new opportunities.

As for the running, I've had an annoying cold since I got back from CA, so I haven't run in 5 days. This morning I was all set to go to the gym before work, but when my alarm went off at 4:30 am, my chest and head felt achy. But I packed my workout things and will go today after work. I'll start slow and aim for 3.1 miles. If I can do more, great. But I'm not going to kill myself. By the middle of the week the weather should be perfect for running, so I'm hoping to get some outdoor runs in then. I hate treadmills. I think that's what's so unmotivating about getting back into it.

Continue reading...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Finally Succumb

I finally succumb to the cold that my body's been wanting to get for the past week and half.

You know what I mean. You start feeling a little off. Maybe you get a headache and a tickle in your throat, but you can't really call yourself sick. The days go on and you start feeling more tired than usual, and you wake up with a stuffy nose a couple of times. Then BAM! One day, it hits your full force. You're sick. Your nose is stuffy, your head hurts, and you can't taste anything.

That's what happened to me this morning. And throughout the day, it only got worse. At work, they called it the California Cold since whenever someone comes home from a California conference, they get a cold. My boss, who's an avid runner, asked me if I'd added miles to my run lately. I told her I ran quite a bit on the trip and that I ran 10 miles and several 5 milers. She said that when you add a significant number of miles, your immune system weakens for a while. I don't know if this is true, but she's been running forever and does half-marathon distances for her weekend runs! So maybe I have some sort of mutation of the California Cold and the Runners Cold. Who knows. All I know is that I feel terrible and haven't run in 3 days, and I don't think I'll be running tomorrow either. Bummer.

Running is such a tension reliever and stress reducer for me that I'm really disappointed in how my weekend runs are ruined because of the fact that I can barely breath and I feel like complete s***.

I have two freelance opportunities in the works so I'll have more time to work on that. They don't pay anywhere near as much as the freelance job I lost, but it's something. I still need to streamline everything though. Tomorrow I'm going to the jewelry exchange to try and hock my diamond watch. I hope they buy it and I hope they pay me something close to what I want. Then, I'm going to go to the mall to shop for a new cell phone carrier. I use Verizon now, and it's really expensive and I don't even have data or a smartphone. My cell pone is a 4-year-old LG flip phone and I'm paying $86 a month, sometimes more!

Anyway, wish me luck for tomorrow! Hopefully I'll accomplish something that will bring me some relief about my financial situation.

Continue reading...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to the Hot Jungle That Is Virginia

It was hot today! After more than a week in cool, dry SoCal, I can definitely feel a difference. It's summer here! I really like the heat, so I don't mind at all. I was so cold in California.

I must admit, though, that running in Anaheim and San Diego was a breeze. I could just keep going and going because there was no humidity and the temperature was moderately warm to cool and crisp. I'm wondering whether I can run 10 miles here right now, or if I can even run what became an "easy" 5 or 6 miles like I did there. I would probably be in better shape if I lived somewhere where the weather was ideal for outdoor exercise. But it'll be cool like that here in a month or so. Then I'll have a couple of months of good running weather.

Now that I'm back, it's "get my s*** together" time! I'm still a bit congested so I didn't run today. Tomorrow, I'm going to walk my usual commute (2-3 miles). I want to run a nice long run on Saturday morning and a shorter run on Sunday so I'm taking it easy.

Well, I'm going to leave you with some nice pics from the most beautiful city in the U.S. (even though it's cold in the summer, LOL)!

Continue reading...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Last Night in CA

Well, it seemed like a long time, but really I feel like this trip was both REALLY LONG and REALLY SHORT. Part of me wants to get back to my life in VA (or rather getting my job situation figured out), but part of me doesn't want to walk in to that empty condo. Part of me wants to get back into my routine, but part of me will miss my family. I wanted to run 10 miles this morning, but I'm sick with a cold and a little bit of chest congestion. I did manage to run 6 miles, though, to Downtown Disney and a little of the way back. But my chest started to hurt so I walked the rest of the 4 miles back. It took me a little over 2 hours, which is still not too bad considering I walked.

I know some of my posts seem like downers lately, but that's just because I really have no idea where I am in my life. I don't know how to make things the way I want them to be. And that really frustrates me and brings me down sometimes, especially when I see my friends and family moving on to all these wonderful things and phases in life: moving to a place they've always wanted to live, having babies, getting married.

I admit that I'm envious. Very.

Don't get me wrong. My health and fitness are important to me. Getting in great shape is important to me. These are areas in my life that I can actually control. But it's not the end all be all. I want A LIFE.

I am blessed though. I'm not trying to sound ungrateful:

I CAN run
I have a supportive family who loves me
I have a wonderful boyfriend
I have a roof over my head
I still have one of my jobs left
And most importantly, God never leaves me empty handed. He always has something for me to fall back on.

Till Tomorrow,

Continue reading...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Sweet Home...

...is where I wish I was right now. I'm back in Anaheim. I'm tired and CAN'T WAIT until I'm in my own bed again. Sigh.

This morning began with my friend texting me to tell me that she's in labor. I haven't heard anything else from her so I hope everything went well and that she's doing fine with her new baby. I can't even imagine the joy they must be feeling right now. I really can't.

Anyway, I ran my last run in San Diego this morning---4 miles. Now I'm back at my brother's apartment and there's too many people in too small a space. I'm hoping to for a long run tomorrow morning.

Well, I'm gonna sign out for the night. I'm feeling very moody and cranky. Part of me really wants to go home, but part of me dreads the very idea of it because of all the s*** I left behind.

I wish I was in Florida right now. Some joy of my own wouldn't be too bad either.

Sorry for the cranky post.

Continue reading...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last Day in San Diego

Today was my last day in San Diego. As much as I love this city, I'm glad that I'm heading into the last leg of my trip. I'm headed back to Anaheim tomorrow afternoon, back to that gawd-awful couch for two more nights. I feel like I've been in California forever, but at the same time it went by in the blink of an eye. I'll miss my family when I leave :(

On my way from the trolley to the convention center, I also watched a little bit of a half-marathon that was going on downtown. I wish I could have ditched my suit and bag and joined in! I can't wait until the Disney Princess Half in February!

But I do have so much to do when I get back, including starting that new freelance gig, get my finances in good shape, and get ready to head to Wisconsin for Labor Day weekend. I can't believe it's Labor Day weekend already. I hate to see summer go. It's my favorite season, especially when it's hot like it's been. I hate cold weather.

I didn't run this morning because my chest felt slightly congested. Tomorrow morning before we drive back, I'm going to go for a short 4 miler. We're not going to Universal Hollywood anymore because we got lazy, LOL. I'm glad because then I can try for another 10 miler on Tuesday morning! I love running to Downtown Disney! Running back home usually consists of a treadmill or some boring run around the neighborhood. But now that I've really upped my mileage, I'm going to run out further, toward more interesting things.

Oh and I hid my comments because I got tired of seeing a huge goose egg after all my posts. You can still leave a comment, though, if you feel so inclined. I know my life's not all that interesting. But journaling has been helpful to me in not only my training but also in getting my thoughts out there. They make more sense when I see them written out :-)

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Things To Do When I Finally Get Home

I didn't run today because I had to get downtown by 8:30 am. There was a cold mist in the air under cloudy skies this morning anyway; it was the kind of weather that makes you want to get back in bed and bunch up the covers to you face.

As much as I like spending time with my family and not having to be in the office for the past week, I do miss the comforts of home, like my own bed, and not to mention the summer! It's nice during the day here, but once the sun starts to set it gets downright cold (and breezy).

There are also a million different things I need to attend to once I get back:

1. I have to start eating well again. I haven't eaten like I'm trying to lose weight all week! I'm not pigging out, but I'm basically eating what I want. All the running is what's keeping the fallout to a minimum.

2. I have to finish some work for my new freelance gig. It pays squat compared with the freelance job I just lost, but I need it for now. It's daily work for about a third of the pay. I don't want to do this AT ALL, but I have no choice.

3. Begin the process of streamlining. I'm going to the jewelry exchanges I contacted last week regarding them buying my Baume & Mercier diamond watch. I'll sell it to the highest offer. It's a beautiful watch, but I hate wearing it. It's heavy, too flashy, and doesn't go with anything I have really. I've worn it a handful of times, and for what it cost me, it's wasteful to keep it. It's not an investment piece like Rolex, so I might as well unload it now for the right price and use the money to pay off a credit card. I'm also going to sort my things and try and see what I can sell/donate/rediscover/revamp.

4. Knit a shrug for a dress I want to continue to wear into the fall season. In fact, I want to use all the yarn I have stored up (i.e., bought and never used)  to make some new fall accessories, scarves, and sweaters instead of buying them.

5. Develop a concept I have for another blog about dining out on a budget.

6. Pray that everything works out for the best and that I am able to take each obstacle and challenge as an opportunity.

7. Keep RUNNING! I'm so close to getting to my distance goal!

Wish me luck! And if you're the praying type, send out a little prayer for me. I know that I'm still so blessed, but sometimes my head doesn't follow what my heart knows to be the truth. Thanks in advance!

It's the last day of the conference tomorrow. I'm going to try and get in a short run in the morning beforehand.

Continue reading...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Still in San Diego

This morning before work, I ran 5.5 miles and dropped 2 seconds off my time. It was a tough run though. My legs were sore and I was feeling tired from having a little sinus issue (since I got to CA).

Since I've been in San Diego, I've had to run some creative routes because of where I am. I basically run on intermittent sidewalks, parking lots, around the mall, and around my hotel's parking lot to get the miles in. I thought for sure the hotel I'm staying at had a fitness center, but I was probably thinking of another hotel for one of my other trips. I have five hotel reservations for various upcoming trips to keep straight! Thank goodness for e-mail folders!

I would love to run another 10-miler before I head back home, but I don't think I'll have the time. I can't run tomorrow or Sunday because of my work schedule. I'm going to run another 5-miler on Monday before heading back to Anaheim. Then, on Tuesday, I'm going with my family to Universal Studios Hollywood. I've never been there, so it'll be interesting to compare and contrast it with Florida. Next Wednesday I head home. I can't wait to get back to some hot weather! The nights here have been freezing! So I'll have to wait until next Thursday for another run, which totally sucks. But it happens. At least I can say that I ran throughout my trip and not feel guilty for blowing it off, which is what I usually do when I'm on a business trip.

Anyway, I have an early day tomorrow!

Continue reading...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lack of an Appetite? Me?

Today I wasn't hungry---at all. I woke up early to get downtown for the first day of the conference. I had a bowl of raisin bran with milk and come coffee and a red delicious apple from the continental breakfast. When I got to the conference, my head started pounding and my throat was feeling really raw. So, I took a Sudafed to get me through the morning.

Then, I lost my appetite for the rest of the day. My coworker brought me a red velvet cupcake from Heavenly Cupcake in the Gaslamp Quarter, but I only ate a little of it, and that's just because she took the trouble of buying it for me. I never throw cupcakes away! I know I should eat if I want to run in the morning, but I just don't feel like it.

I'm just so sick of "travel food." Travel food is food I eat when I'm away, which usually consists of too many calories and sodium. When I first got to California, my brother and parents took me to so many restaurants and I really enjoyed it. But now, it's just too much. I'm homesick for my bed and my routine. And I'm crabby from eating poorly and being a little sick.

I know once I get home, I'll be glad to get back to my usual routine. But I also know that'll last about a week or two and then I'll start feeling lonely and restless again. That's how it usually is. I travel, I want to go home, I get restless and lonely, and I'll want to fly away again. I know that sounds crazy, but I'm a little crazy so it makes sense, LOL.

Tomorrow, I'm going for a run in the morning since I don't have to work until 1 pm. I'll do my best despite feeling under the weather. I don't have a chest cold, just a dry throat and sinuses, so it should be safe to run.

Anyway, I've got some work to finish and then off to bed.

Continue reading...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beautiful San Diego

This morning I got up early for my 4-mile run. The sun was shining, the air was fresh and cool, and my run was...hilly! Despite that, however, I managed to shave 10 seconds of my time, ending my run at 10:35 per mile.

After my run, I headed downtown to the convention center to set up my exhibit for the conference. Four hours of heavy lifting and assembling later, I went across the street to The Tin Fish, where the cashier, who looked like an even more broke-down Lindsay Lohan, was rude and needed a good lesson in getting over herself. Perhaps it was the fact that I was sporting my Milwaukee Brewers t-shirt, whereas the entire waitstaff was wearing Pardres gear? I'd like to think it was that rather than her attitude just sucking in general. Anyway, she certainly didn't take away from my fried oyster po'boy. No it's not diet food, but I only eat these in San Diego, so I think I'll survive.

Tomorrow is the first day of the conference so I can't run in the morning. My colleague and I are going to figure out our schedules, so hopefully I'll be able to run on Friday morning and squeeze in a longish run over the weekend. Although, right now my throat feels raw. I've felt on the verge of a cold since I arrived in California, but today was the worst. It's just really chilly here. Couple that with not sleeping well and that's a compromised immune system ready and willing to let the germs in. I hope I don't get sick! I've been sick while away at a conference before and it was not fun. Come to think of it, I was at a conference here in San Diego! Hmmm....

Anyway, I'm about to crash.

Till Tomorrow,
Continue reading...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thank Goodness for Small Favors

Tonight, as I type, I am in San Diego, CA, comfortably lying on a king-sized bed in my hotel suite watching Robot Chicken. The promise of a comfortable nights' sleep made me look forward to the end of this day. I'm also looking forward to my run tomorrow.

New city, new route. 

I was thinking about it today and realized that since I've started this half-marathon training program 6 weeks ago, I've run in four different states and five different cities and towns: my town, Orlando, Madison, Anaheim, and now San Diego. I've run in the Mid-Atlantic, the Deep South, the Upper Midwest, and Southern California. I even ran my longest run (the 10 miles I keep bragging about! sorry I can't help it!) while away.

I'm, for the most part, on track with my training and am up to week 5 or 6 at this point. I know that I'm scheduled for two 4-mile runs and a 5K race this week. I ran one 4-miler on Monday and plan on another one tomorrow morning. As for the 5K, I'm not signed up for any races obviously, so I'll just try and go for a 5-miler over the weekend. Unlike in Anaheim, this part of San Diego doesn't seem to have continuous sidewalks, and I don't have any particular destination to aim for, so tomorrow's run should be interesting. And the hills look killer!

The most important thing I've learned through this training, though, is that I CAN MAKE IT WORK no matter where I am. I'm a traveler. I have no choice in the matter. Until the race, I still have to run in Wisconsin again, Denver, Boston, San Diego again, and Boca Raton. That's not counting if I should hop down to Orlando for a little R&R in the midst of my travel-heavy fall season. But I haven't flaked out on my program yet and don't plan to.

That's the great thing about running. You only need your legs. You don't need a hotel fitness center or any equipment. You just need running shoes, the road, and the willingness to explore (safely of course)---oh and workout clothes/sweats! That's definitly a must!

Tomorrow I'm running early, grabbing some continental breakfast, heading downtown on the trolley to work, and then hopefully ending the day with an awesome fish sandwich from The Tin Fish across from the convention center and right in the shadow of Petco Field.

Well, I'm off to sleep on this glorious bed with my four down pillows and nice clean sheets (for a hotel anyway)! Seven more days and I can go home to my own bed! I can't wait!

Continue reading...

Monday, August 9, 2010


I took a rest day yesterday because I wanted to give my legs a break after my 10-MILE run (I'm still stoked about that!). This morning, I ran 4 miles. I'm right on track with my Half-Marathon training, despite my recent travels!

Tomorrow, I'm leaving for San Diego for my conference. I'm REALLY looking forward to sleeping on a bed again. My entire body is exhausted from the stupid couch and running. It will be so nice to lie down on a nice mattress without my feet dangling off!

Right now, it's 7 pm PST, which is 10 pm EST. I haven't quite adjusted to the time because I've been sleeping late and waking up very early. I had to get up at 5 am this morning to take a conference call from back east, where it was 8 am for the person I was talking to. I have to do the same tomorrow morning before I leave for San Diego. I am so tired, both mentally and physically, so tomorrow, I'm going to forgo a run and let my legs and lower back rest. I'll probably just walk over to the shopping center across the street and get a nice hazelnut coffee at Corner Bakery. I love that stuff.

Anyway, before I start writing incoherently, I'll bid you goodnight. I need a vacation! What I wouldn't give for another week of R&R in Orlando!

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Low-Shop Diet

I'm on a diet.

Shopping has always been my drug of choice. When I was bored, I'd shop. When I was sad, I'd shop. When I was happy, I'd shop. If I wanted to feel good, I'd shop. I'd shop for clothes, nick knacks, pretty much anything that caught my fancy. In a lot of ways, shopping for me is what food is to an emotional eater. It was my favorite fallback activity, my favorite escape.

Now I have to shop a lot less, and it isn't easy. I still want to binge. I want to binge on end-of-summer sales, local boutiques, and fancy restaurants. I would have wasted my entire conference per diem by now and not thought anything of it, even though the conference hasn't even started yet. And I definitely wouldn't be crashing on my brother's hard leather couch while here in Anaheim. I would have been enjoying a hotel room right now instead of sitting in his bachelor-pad studio apartment that smells faintly of cigarette smoke and beer, with posters of bikini-clad women on the walls.

But sometimes, we have to make these sacrifices. Sometimes, losing is winning. Everyday, I am less and less interested in new fall fashions or jewelry or purses, what have you. I already have what I need for now. I don't need to patch up my boo-boos with new shoes or a new shade of lipstick because they won't make me happier. I don't need to celebrate my 10-miler with a brand new running skirt because it won't make me any faster than I am when I wear the old ones. 

It's hard sometimes, yes. But I don't need to consume anymore because I'm full.

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Video Extra: How To Be Alone

Just wanted to share this beautiful poem I found.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010


Today I woke up slightly jet lagged (although I'm feeling it more now that it's night time) and it was cold outside. I would have loved to stay in, eat a bagel, and use the chilly air as an excuse to back out of my plan to run out to Downtown Disney.

But I didn't.

Instead, I ran my long run to Downtown Disney.....AND BACK!

That's 10 miles in 1 hour and 50 minutes, no walking. Not too shabby!

The original plan was to run to Downtown Disney and then some until I reached my 6-mile long run distance. Then, my parents and brother were going to pick me up and we would go to breakfast. But I felt almost no fatigue from the 6 miles so I decided to keep going a little more. Still not tired. So I kept going, and soon I was within a mile from my brother's place. I decided to GO ALL THE WAY!

It was so exhilarating to run a distance I had never run before. Now I am confident that I can do the half-marathon because the only reason I really stopped this morning was because of a stupid blister on the side of my foot. Otherwise, I'm confident that I would have run the full 13 miles or at least very close to it.

I don't know what came over me. I just felt no fatigue. Maybe jet lag and the cold actually work in my favor.

Whatever it was, I was thrilled! I'm still so excited that I did this!

F.U. elementary school bullies!!

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Up in the Air

I’m writing this somewhere over the Rocky Mountains, over the clouds and canyons and snow-capped peaks on my way to Southern California. I’ve had two Continental Airlines breakfasts of Honey Chex, 2% milk, and, on one flight, a banana and the other a pack of raisins. I’m somewhere between being fully awake and exhausted from lack of sleep.

On the plane, I watched the George Clooney movie Up in the Air on my laptop. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it is about a man named Ryan Bingham (played by Clooney) who travels 322 days a year to different places to fire people and deliver motivational lectures on how to become unfettered by mental, emotional, and material baggage.

I enjoyed the movie very much. Its theme was timely for me, and I could relate to the occasional loneliness of frequent business travel. But there was one scene, one sentence, in the movie that played like a looping reel in my mind. Clooney’s character asks a man whom he has just fired (in an attempt to help him see the firing as an opportunity to pursue his long-ago dream of working in culinary arts):

How much did they first pay you for you to give up your dream?

I kept thinking of this line. I kept thinking about what my early dreams were and how and why they got away from me. Some of my dreams were the ridiculous fantasies of an idealistic, na├»ve young woman. Some dreams were more realistic, more like hopes and goals than just mere dreams. Some dreams I actually thought might come true but for one reason or another didn’t. Sometimes I regret this; sometimes I don’t. Some dreams are just beyond our control.

When I started out as a copyeditor years ago, I was paid $28,000 per year.

Did I give up my dreams for the career I have today? Honestly? Yes, I mostly did. I gave up the silly fantasies and I focused on what I needed to do to be a responsible, independent adult. Would I have rather followed my dream to open up a restaurant or cafe or to have become a pastry chef? Absolutely.

A theme of the movie is that it's never too late to change course. It's not too late to start anew. I might not ever become a restauranteur or pastry chef or have a show on the Food Network, but I know that losing a job or income isn't the end of the world. It's an oppotunity to revisit the dreams I sold years ago and perhaps start dreaming of them again, even just to remind myself that I am a multidimensional, dynamic person, and one job or the loss of that job doesn't mean I've lost myself. It means I gain the opportunity to begin again and maybe, just maybe be happier despite being a little poorer.

But if you asked me about my biggest dreams today, the first would be that Brian finally comes back to Virginia, we buy my parents’ house, raise our children there, and live a simple life full of love, watching our children grow into the wonderful people. That would be the one singular dream that means the most to me. I no longer want to be at the top of my field. I no longer want to own luxury cars or houses or be a world traveler. I don’t want to be famous or infamous. I just want to be quiet. I just want to stay in one place for more than just a couple of weeks at a time.

I want someone to come home to after a long conference.

I want to fill an entire suitcase full of souvenirs and goodies for the people anxiously awaiting my return. I want to come home not to a dark, messy condo but to a house full of people thrilled by my homecoming.

Those are my dreams.

More health related

I’m going for a long run from my brother’s apartment to Downtown Disney tomorrow morning. This is about 4.75 miles. I ideally want to run 10 km for my long run so I will run back as well (at least up to 6.2 miles). Wish me luck! SoCal is SO chilly! I have no idea how cold it’ll be in the morning. And as you know, I’ve been running in the Florida and Virginia heat!

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

On the Road Yet Again!

At 3:45 am (about 4 hours) the taxi will arrive to take me to the airport for my 6 am flight to California. Tomorrow will be a LONG day! This will be short because I still need to get some packing done.

This morning I ran the longest 4 miles ever! I've been feeling anxious the past couple of days (for the obvious reasons), and I think that's why my heart rate shot up within a few minutes of my run! It was tough! The good thing about all of this is that I haven't had much of an appetite at all. I guess I'm what you would call an emotional noneater? I lose my appetite when I'm stressed, depressed, worried, anxious, etc.

Anyway, I've got a million things to do before the taxi comes! Sleep maybe?

Till Tomorrow,

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back to Basics

Yesterday afternoon, I got some news that could change my life as I've been living it. I got the dreaded letter, full of regret of course, informing me that, after 6 years, my freelancing services will no longer be required in 2 months time. Although I have a full-time job, this freelance gig was a significant contributer to my yearly income---very significant. But that's not the only thing that makes this so devastating for me. I loved working for this particular organization. They supported a cause that was dear to my heart, a cause that I've been fighting for my whole life. And now, they don't need me anymore.

I feel rejected (although I understand that nonprofits suffer the effects of a bad economy just as much as any business). And I'm scared about how I'm going to manage after losing a third of my yearly income. I've spent the last 2 days coming up with potential solutions (between sobbing sessions). I've thought of the best and worst case scenarios. I've itemized things I could sell on eBay or even pawn. I've prayed and counted my many blessings.

Now that my head is a little clearer and my tears have dried, I realize that this is the kick in the pants I've been waiting for. I've been suffocating under the weight of what I've let my life become. I've accumulated so much useless s***, so many things I thought would make me appear to be something I'm not. Just to name a few, I have four Louis Vuitton bags and several other designer bags, I have a Baume & Mercier diamond bezel watch that I NEVER wear, I have clothes folded away that still have tags. I have lived a wasteful, materialistic existance just to make my life appear more fabulous than it is. Why? Because I'm insecure. I wanted to create a persona my peers would admire and envy. I wanted to seem like "that woman," that huge success who built her own kingdom with her own hands. But you know what? I'm not that woman, and that's ok. I was a phony. I can't do it all on my own. Some women can and that's wonderful. But I can't, and there's no shame in that. There's only shame in the deception.

Actually, for the past few months, I've been fantasizing not about being a billionaire, like the song goes, but about returning to the kind of simplicity I should have embraced all along. I've been dreaming of whittling away at the materialism that has imprisoned me, that has pushed and pushed and pushed for more and more and more. It's like a self-imposed standard that's hard to maintain yet harder to abolish.

So I've decided that in the coming weeks, I'm going to start the process of streamlining. My goal is to not buy anything (except food and similar necessities) for 1 month (for starters). I want to inventory my things and sell what I don't need or want and rediscover the things I've tossed aside. I'm going to cancel memberships and other monthly dues that do me no good but I've been too lazy to cancel.

Mostly, I'm going to enjoy my half-marathon training (free) and health goals.

Speaking of which, I ran 4 miles yesterday. Today, my back was very achy, so I didn't workout out. I have a history of really hurting my lower back, which puts me out of commission for at least a week. And I don't want that to happen, especially since I'll be traveling for the next 12 days. Tomorrow, I will run another 4 miles and save my long run for when I get to Anaheim. I'm planning a great and fun 5-miler so stay tuned!

Well, I've vented enough for one night.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Unrelated to fitness, cupcakes, or diet...

Top 5 Reasons to Be Thankful Even When the Chips Are Down

1. The People We Love

2. Shelter From the Cold

3. Food to Eat
 4. Faithful Friends

 5. Small Victories
Mama said there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this my mama said...

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Stung Into Action!

Renewed motivation. Sometimes, after surrendering to complacency, after losing the flame that ignites our passion to accomplish our goals, we find ourselves feeling the wisps of a second (or third or fourth) wind. After a weekend of beer, cheese curds, steaks, and all varieties of chocolate, I want to recommit. I want to ride that second wind to my goal of being a 140-lb runner. I want that lean, fit body that I'd been working on for what seems like forever!

I do accept the limitations of my body. I accept that my breasts and backside are less than perfect no matter what size I am. I accept that I have an achy back and weak knees that may sometimes prevent me from working out as hard as I would like. I accept that I have stretch marks and cellulite.

But you know what I can't accept? I can't accept that those little imperfections negate all that is wonderful about how God made me. And I can't accept that I don't have control over what and how much I eat. Because I do. I may have to accept the limitations of genetics and biology, but that shouldn't stop me from working to be the best I can be despite those limitations.


Today was supposed to be a stretch & strength day, but I wanted to make up for my missed run last week while I was in Wisconsin. So, I set off for a 3-mile run in my parents' neighborhood. It was hot, but the humidity was tolerable and hills were killer!

Then, just as I reached 2.5 miles, I felt a searing pain on my wrist. I thought that maybe I kicked up a stick or some other sharp debris, but the pain was getting worse. I lifted my wrist so I could see what I might have cut myself on. And there, underneath the band of my Polar monitor was a frantic bee! It was stuck there stinging away. I shook my arm and tried to wiggle the wrist band loose, but that sucker was buzzing and fluttering its wings and just freaking.me.out! Finally, after what felt like forever, it flew free. And do you know what? I was still running during this whole scenario! I didn't even realize that I hadn't stopped!

But I did stop soon after because it started burning like a *expletive*! I was disappointed that I didn't finish my run, so I decided to go inside and do some strength exercises, which I've been letting slip ever since I started training for the half-marathon. All in all, I had a good workout. Tomorrow morning I'm getting up to go to the gym for my 3.5 miler (fingers crossed!).

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekend in Wisconsin

After a fun-filled weekend with Brian in Wisconsin, and although I'm very sad right now about leaving him 800 miles away, it's time to reassess the way I've been working toward my weight loss goal. Although the running goal is going very well, I've realized that my eating needs a major overhaul. I read about other weight loss bloggers losing pounds every week, whereas I have been losing and gaining the same few pounds since I started blogging. My problem is that I LOVE to eat. I love food. It's not that I eat a lot of fast food or other junk foods. I just overeat period, whether it be salads, whole grains, good carbs, bad carbs, desserts, or anything. I see specialty foods and HAVE to try them.

For example, while in Madison, WI, I came across a specialty shop called DB Infusion Chocolates in the Hilldale Shopping Center. They had the most beautifully made chocolates. They even wrapped them up in a fancy box!

I had it in my head that not eating these exclusively-made-in-Madison chocolates would somehow cheat me out of truly experiencing Madison. But why? Why do I need to experience a city through it's foods?

It's definitely something I have to work on since I travel so much, including a long trip to California next starting this Friday.

But I did run my 3.5 miles in Madison. It is a very health-minded city, with a lot of bicyclists, health food stores, yoga studios, and accessible walking/running areas.

The Hilldale Shopping Center also has a lot of wonderful boutiques and shops (non-food related) where I picked up this cute dress:

It's a very unusual dress, and it's hard to describe. But it was half off and so cute! I'm taking it to California with me, so maybe I'll get better pictures of it when I wear it there.

This is me trying to look like those cool University of Wisconsin students who were everywhere. I felt so old!

After a night in Madison, we went to the Madison Mallards game:

After the game, we drove up to Wisconsin Dells, which is home to the famous Noah's Ark Water Park, the largest in the United States. Wisconsin Dells is a family-themed tourist destination that Brian and I go to at least once a summer. It's wholesome, simple fun. We play minigolf at Pirate's Cove:

Go cheese shopping!

And, of course, eat at my MOST favorite restaurant, Ishnala. If you ever find yourself anywhere near Wisconsin Dells, you must go to Ishnala and have the filet mignon. It is the best steak you will ever eat!

My plate (6 oz filet, medium, and butterflied prawns):

Brian's plate (6 oz filet and lobster):

And we take our annual pictures under the Ishnala teepee. We have these pictures going 4 years back. It's sort of a tradition for us.

I have to admit that I missed one 3.5-mile run this week, but it's back to the grind starting with the usual Monday stretch & strength.


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