Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mile-High Heart Rate Hike!

I've been in Denver for about 2 whole days now. And I've had a headache every day, a pounding, vertigo-inducing headache. Coming from the East Coast, relatively close to sea level, I have never been anywhere like Denver (other than hiking in the Shenendoah Mountains on day trips, which isn't really that high), which is known as the Mile-High City. I didn't think that everything I had  heard about high altitude making a difference in how you breath and feel (for those of us new to it) would apply to me. Well, I definitely feel a difference!

The morning after I arrived (Wednesday), I went down to the hotel fitness room to get in a run. Now, usually my heart rate during my runs (regardless of the terrain) ranges from 130-145 (the first few minutes) to a peak of 165-175 (at about half an hour at my fastest). But yesterday morning, I was literally 5 MINUTES into my run and my heart rate shot up to 175 almost immediately. I had to slow down after it reached 190 for fear of passing out. I had to slow down to 4.5 on the treadmill just to get my heart rate down to 165, and that's pretty much speed walking. I barely finished 3.1 miles, with an original goal of 4 miles. It was a disappointment. And walking uphill? Yeah, I feel so out of shape here! But this tired, breathless, easily tired, headachey feeling I've had has made me even more committed to being fit. I would hate to feel like this all the time.

Well back to work!

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Nothing Beats Gold!

I've mentioned before that I don't have a gallbladder. I lost her almost a year ago, actually! Wow, time sure does fly.

Presurgery, I was explicitly told not to eat fatty foods because doing so would surely bring on another attack (just about the worst pain I'd ever felt, like someone was stabbing me and punching me in the gut at the same time), so I heeded that warning to the letter, even though I had to travel to Chicago for business (yup, even though I had a ticking time bomb gallbladder), which is the home of some of the most delicious food, and then on to Milwaukee to visit Brian. During this trip, I turned down fish fries, curds, deep-dish pizza, steak, and the like. 

Then after surgery I was told to expect to be intolerant of many of the foods I now enjoy, especially of the high-fat variety. Well, obviously I didn't suffer those postsurgical woes, and I recovered quickly and pretty much 100%, which I'm extremely grateful for---except lately.

Lately, because I've been, ahem, lax on my diet, I've been getting some grief from my tummy. Nothing gross. I just feel overall discomfort, like trying to digest rocks would be a good way to put it. After my surgery, I ate healthy, with intermittent treat days here and there. I would never eat pizza on consecutive days, or even weeks; I didn't eat cake, unless it was on a special occasion; I didn't eat "whatever I wanted" even in moderation; I always had to have vegetables at every meal; and I tried to avoid processed foods and frozen dinners whenever possible. I was a good eater, if I do say so myself. But lately, um, I've been lazy, as I've written previously. And I've been feeling ill for it. I haven't gained a ton of weight, maybe a pound or two. But I've felt it!

So today I started on my path back to healthy eating (which I've been going on and on about in previous posts but didn't do anything about because of the whole laziness and boredom issue), and I don't really care how much of my money I spend on it! I don't care that a Whole Foods salad bar salad will cost me $6 compared with a slice of $3 pizza. I don't care that lean meats and brown rice made at home will require me to cook again rather than buying whatever Lean Cuisine is on sale in the freezer aisle. I've reached the end of my rope with digesting rocks and feeling like I'm full of sludge (which, TMI, is what my gallbladder was full of according to the surgeon)!

Today for lunch, I had steamed corn, carrots, potatoes, and green beans, which would be a typical lunch for me last year. I also had two wonderful treats that I wanted to share with you because they were so delicious!

Last night, we went to the huge international grocery store again, the one where I had the unfortunate encounter with dragon fruit. There, amidst the endless produce, I found these (still on the stem!):

and these:

The first picture is of golden dates! They are smaller than the variety I'm used to seeing (i.e., Medjool), but they were still so good! Dates are great little sources of fiber, carbs, potassium, some B complex vitamins, and magnesium. (Source: Family Nutrition Online) They're great for taking the edge off a sweet tooth and are excellent in oatmeal or with a little peanut butter.

The second picture is of a golden kiwi. Let me tell you how delicious a golden kiwi is! It's a lot like a green kiwi. The odd thing is that it tastes greener than a green kiwi. I mean, it tastes like green jello, like lime candy. One little kiwi contains more vitamin C than oranges, as much potassium as bananas, beta-carotene, as well as fiber and anti-oxidants. 

I can't wait to get back from Denver to pick up more of these!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sharktopus... what I'm watching on the SyFy channel right now. I LOVE those SyFy channel B movies, featuring such future classics as the aforementioned Sharktopus; Lake Placid, parts 1-3; and Dinocroc vs. Super Gator. My wildest dreams would come true if I could be in just one of those movies. How much fun would that be? I wouldn't care if they paid me $100. I could totally play the nerdy scientist fighting against time to save the hapless tourists from certain peril. So if anyone out there happens to work for SyFy, drop me a line. I'd be willing to get paid in gum.

Anyway, I broke my hiatus today (YAY!) and ran a good 5 miler around my neighborhood this morning. And my knees didn't hurt. I'm so glad I listened to my body and rested when I needed rest. My body pretty much told me when I was ready to run again.

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Friday, September 24, 2010


This week, I took a little hiatus from running and working out. It might be the change of seasons or just plain old bordom or exhaustion, but my body just didn't want to exercise, at least not strenuously. My knees have been sore for over a week, and my morning run this past Tuesday literally made it hard to stand up for long periods without leaning on something for the next couple of days after that.

Physically, I wouldn't be surprised if the dwindling daylight hours are starting to affect me also. I do notice a change in my energy and moods in the fall and into the winter (even though today is supposed to be a record-breaking 96 DEGREES!) I have a diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, which I'm supposed to be on prescription supplements for, but I don't take them (I know, bad). I should probably start, especially since my outdoor time will be less and less in the coming weeks and months. My knees are probably affected by my overall lack of energy because I probably don't run in proper form.

Mentally, I don't know how to kick start my motivation. I'm bored with my fitness and eating routines, so that it's making me lazy, which in turn makes me feel terrible about myself. And I've been so exhausted with my new freelance work that I don't have the time to think of ways to change things up. I'm literally working from the minute I get to work until the time I go to bed, which is quite late, as well as for a good portion of the weekends. I just feel so tired in my head after all is said and done that the last thing I want to do is exhaust myself physically as well. Sigh.

I know it's about getting adjusted to a new routine and figuring out a mental schedule for things. I'm still very lucky to have such a problem as too much work when there are those who have no work at all. I'm lucky that I got a freelance job just as my old freelance gig decided to lay me off. I'm actually still getting work from them until December, which is great. God never closes a door on me without opening a window, even if it's just a crack at first. I'm thankful for that.

I'm just having a tough time fitting everything in everyday. I know, I know, wait until I have kids to come home to AND try and workout and do freelancing. Then I'll be STRESSED! :-)

I wish so much that I could take a break and go to Orlando (without any freelance to do) for a few days and run in the mornings in my parents' neighborhood and not think of a single thing other than what mile I'm on. This time last year, when I had more money and less work, I would have gone down there in a heartbeat (the tickets are $84 each way right now). Now, I think that the $180 (including taxes) would be better spent NOT running off to Florida on a whim, and I can't take a break from my freelance work because I'm still relatively new and training and don't know any of the people I correspond with very well yet.

Anyway, here's to next week being a better week. Oh wait, I'll be traveling to Denver for conference next week (and running a 5K next Saturday). So here's to getting it all done AND traveling.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Running Late

This past weekend, the weather was gorgeous. It was in the mid-80s with clear sunshine and no humidity. I can't begin to tell you how much I'm cherishing these last days of warmth before the coming colder months (which I dread every year).

On Saturday, I ran a short 4 miles around my condo neighborhood. My knees need a break from long runs (either that or I need new shoes). Then, I headed to Potomac Mills for some window shopping with my parents. I like to go out there because I love walking the expansive outlet mall and going to lunch. I don't really buy much. I just like to look at the shops (and people watch).

On Sunday, the weather was, once again, outstanding and rather warm (mid-80s again). My mom had an impromptu idea to go apple picking out toward West Virginia. I love going out into the country, westward into the mountains, where bright red barns sharply contrast with the densest and greenest greens, where streams cut through the valleys and cows and other livestock indulge freely on the verdant pastures. It's truly beautiful country. Virginia is gorgeous the further away from DC you go, and I often forget to appreciate its beauty when I'm stuck in traffic on 95 or 66 or just about anywhere in NOVA. I forget about the southern charm and the small villages that seem to have been left behind by the passage of time, where one can often find an old 1950s relic, chrome fins and all, parked outside a service station and where shops and American flags line Main Street.

We went to a small orchard called Crooked Farm Orchard in Purceville. I've been to larger orchards/vineyards, as there are many in the area, although this one was just fine. The Golden Delicious apples we picked are sweet and crunchy. I even climbed up into a tree to reach a few good ones up near the tops! Let me tell you how much I've neglected my arms lately. Focusing so much on running for the past summer and lately has really affected my upper body strength. I'm not happy about it! I really need to get back into weight training more often (read: at all!)

I took 2 days off from running because of my stupid knees. But this morning I actually got up and went to the gym before work and ran 5 miles at a good, consistent pace. Of course I was running very late (for work) and didn't do strength. I didn't realize that I was a half hour behind schedule! I guess I lingered in the locker room to long getting showered and changed.

Well, lunchtime is over and it's back to work!

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Light Week

Well, my knees, Achilles, and plantar fascia still felt sore from last weeks' hilly long run, especially my knees. I'm guessing the uneven sidewalks and running steepish hills did it. So, I made this a light week. I ran 5 miles on Tuesday, 4 miles yesterday, and will run tomorrow (Sunday). Of course I did some walking on the alternate days.

I'm terrified of getting an injury because that would ruin so many weeks of hard work. Even though the half-marathon isn't for several more months yet, I don't want to get an injury that'll put me out of commission when the training needs to get back into high gear in a couple of months. Plus I'm running a 5K at my conference in Denver (through downtown, sponsored by the conference!) in a couple of weeks so I don't want to be injured for that!

Also this past week, I've been trying to reincorporate healthy, fresh foods into my diet. I had given up on that somewhat the past month because I was having a financial nervous breakdown. But I realized that the last thing I should sacrifice is my health, right! So, even though it's more expensive to eat fresh salads and fruits and meats (as opposed to frozen, sodium-laden or fast foods), I'm going to make the sacrifices somewhere else. Seriously, I would buy an extra large $10 delivery pizza and eat it all week to save money. That's nuts and totally not worth it! I could definitely tell the difference in my skin and hair and overall mood and energy levels.

Well, I'm off to get my car washed and vacuumed! I was attacked my a HUGE grey and black stripped spider last night while I was driving. Then, I'm getting some work done. BOOO!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When Are You Really Done?

Today's run: 5.5 miles

Today, I was reading a blog post from Prior Fat Girl and she mentioned that, after losing a significant amount, she is happy at her current weight and doesn't feel the need to lose anymore. This got me thinking about why it's so hard for me to lose those last few pounds to get to my "ideal" weight, which is 10 pounds less than what I weigh now. I have had no motivation to count points, reduce carbs, reduce fat, or any of the other ways in which people lose weight. I've tried, and I'll go a few days on the wagon, but then I'll fall off as soon as I can't stand the hunger any longer.

I think that part of me is, dare I say, happy just as I am?

I'm not overweight and I'm fit. I can bound up staircases and walk AND run for miles without any trouble. I'm happy with my body and what I've achieved. I look decent in pictures and I can buy any type of clothes in my size. AND I don't have to starve to stay this way! So there is really nothing that I can think of that can motivate me to continue to try and lose weight. And that's probably why I've stayed pretty much the same weight for 4 years, despite all my efforts to lose the last 10 vanity pounds.

I'll never be model thin. I'm not sure I would look good that way anyway; I'd be a pole, no backside and no breasts. I almost lost the last 10 pounds last year (before my surgery), but it was a b**** to maintain even a pound of that loss. I had to workout for hours a day and live off of 1,000 calories a day net after my strenuous workouts. I ALWAYS went to bed hungry and my body constantly ached and was injured. All this just to weigh 142 pounds and be pretty much half a dress size smaller. Yeah, I notice I'm a little fluffier, but I'm also not always hungry and I'm not physically pushed beyond my limits.

I'm maintaining. Sure, I can't just eat until the cows come home. I will always have to be aware of how much I eat and, of course, eat as healthy as I can. But I'm maintaining and have been maintaining for 4 years. And that's something I can consider an accomplishment. I'm happy at this weight and at this activity level. I want to stay this way.

I want to be DONE losing weight. And I think, for the most part, I am.

And that's OK. I'm OK with that (I hope!)

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two Towns in an Hour (and some change)

To break myself out of my rut, I decided to take the advice of two of my commenters from my last post. Not Just Celery suggested that I add more cross-training and strength to avoid injury and burnout. That's a great idea and I'm thinking that I'll cut my running down to three times a week and add some strength and cross-training. Mark from Fatophobia suggested some new tunes. Well, I downloaded a bunch of new songs last night and planned out my run for this morning. I wanted to run from my condo to my parents' house the next town over.

It was a nice run. The weather was perfect for running this morning; it was cool and clear. I set out and ended up running 7 miles. I have to admit that I can especially feel my knees tonight. I haven't felt sore in a while, but I definitely feel it now. I think it's because it's so hilly around here that I ran downhill half the time, which is killer on my knees. So it's good that I'm going to lay off the running for the next couple of days.

I haven't gotten my next batch of freelancing, so I'm going to pretty much veg out on my bed watching TV. I'm sort of glad, but part of me knows that getting the articles during the weekend would've given me a head start on them, and I'd have less work during the week. Oh well. Why not relax as long as I don't have a choice, right!

Now, back to King of Queens! Oddly, I think Kevin James is kinda cute :-)

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Friday, September 10, 2010


I was talking to Brian last night about running and training. Basically, I'm feeling burned out and bored with running, the music I listen to when I run, the routes I run, the treadmill, etc. But I know that if I take a break from it, I would regress and that, frankly, would annoy me more than the boredom.

The past couple of nights I've run 5 miles (each night) at the gym. Don't get me wrong, I feel great afterward, and 5 miles has become pretty much my standard run in addition to a long run once a week. I've gotten up to 7, 8, 9, 10 miles on these long runs, which leaves me no where left to go but the 13.1-mile half-marathon distance, which I'd like to try for in the near future (when I have the time). But the race isn't until February, so that would be 5 or so months of maintaining and trying not to get injured.

Why did I start training so early? Well, because I didn't think I could actually do it. Yup, I underestimated my abilities and thought it would take me much longer to achieve the 10-mile distance (which was the last long run that was to be run a week before the race). Now, the thought of all this running for the next 5 months makes me feel mentally tired.

Will I give up the training? Absolutely not! I'm going finish what I started! I have yet to run 13 miles! But maybe I'll stall a little and run 5 miles a couple of times a week and maybe 6 miles for a long run for a few weeks just so it stops feeling so tedious. Then when it's closer to the race, I'll start upping my mileage again. Besides, all this running is wreaking havoc on my system and messing up my internal clocks, if you know what I mean. Maybe I'll devote more time to cross-training and weights. Maybe I'll mix it up a little.

Anyway, as I write this I'm already thinking of running a super long run tomorrow morning.. Part of me feels obsessed with it and part of me wants to run a 5 K and call it a day. Talk about torn!

I wish I could take a couple of weeks off and go back to going to Jazzercise or Zumba or kickboxing and not run at all, but I honestly think it would drive me insane. I would constantly be worried about losing endurance. Crazy obsessed worried about it. If any runners are out there reading this, any advice?

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

8 Questions

Mark over at Fatophobia tagged me to answer the following questions! My first tagging...

1. If you could choose one movie to watch daily for ever, what would you choose?

It would be a toss up between Gladiator, Goodfellas, and Titanic, all of which I've watched an embarrassing number of times!

2. What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?

I fall down a lot and am a complete clutz so I would have to say the time I was running on a sidewalk along a busy street and fell on my palms and knees. I was far away from home, bleeding all down my leg, and had to call my parents to pick me up.

3. You are allowed to take one trip in a time machine, when would you travel to?

I would travel to the time when I was in my early teens and so desperate to grow up. I would convince my young self to relish every bit of this wonderful time and to not try so hard to hurry it along.

4. If you could go on a date with any celebrity (past or present), who would it be and why?

I would love to go on a date with the pre-Prisilla Elvis Presley, although I would probably be completely disillusioned by him, forever toppling him from the pedestal I have set him upon, haha

5. What is your favourite website that has consumed a lot of your time recently?

My guily

6. A genie is willing to grant you a single wish. What would you wish for?

Other than the other two wishes? The courage to accept the things I can't change but that are meant to be.

7. What was happening, the last time you cried tears of joy?

I saw Brian waiting for me at the finish line of my very first 5K. He looked so proud.

8. How would you survive a zombie apocalypse?
CARDIO, haha. I love that movie.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Last Hurrah at the Dells

Another year of going to Wisconsin Dells is over. For the past 4 years, the Dells has become the very idea of summer. I can go to Florida any old time. But the Dells is strictly a summer place for me. There, I feel like I'm back to where times were simpler. I feel like a I go a decade or two back in time to a place where drive-ins still trump any HD IMAX 3D theater, where boat rides, fudge, and candy apples aren't just nostalgic novelties, anachronisms set in a world of high-tech thrills. Of course the waterparks are all the latest and greatest. The travel channel wouldn't have named Noah's Ark one of the best if it weren't up to par with the likes of Six Flags or even Disney World.

This weekend, Brian and I closed out another summer together. Maybe this time next year neither of us will be left behind at the airport.

I leave you with some pics! Back to fitness (and a few less cupcakes!) tomorrow!


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Thursday, September 2, 2010

8 Miles

Tonight I went to the gym and ran 8 miles! No blisters, no cramps, nothing to derail me!

I was actually going to skip running today because I had cramps that could take down an elephant, but I took some aspirin and felt better so I decided to go and run an easy 3 or 4 miles just to say I did. Well, my quick and easy run turned into 8 miles before I knew it! I stopped mostly because 1) it was getting late and 2) I was getting bored with my music. I tried this second-skin blister tape that I got from the running store and it worked great! It is expensive though, $7.50 for a pack of six.

Anyway, like I said, I ran too long tonight, so I've gotta get to work on the freelance so I can continue to pay my mortgage! :( Yuck. Sorry for the short post!

This weekend I'm heading to Wisconsin and I want to get a run in at the Dells because that's the one place of all the places I've been going lately that I haven't gone for a run.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Goodbye to Summer

Even though we haven't technically transitioned into the fall season, and even though it's a hot 95 degrees outside right now, summer, in my mind, is over. September 1st begins what I call the "Berrrr" months (September, October, November, and December). Durning these 4 months, we, at least here in the Mid-Atlantic, spiral downward into the cold, dark winter...brrrr....The days are already noticably shorter, and the air somehow smells and feels different, muskier. In a few weeks, there will be a crisp bite to the breeze, even on a warm day.

The mindset around this time of year is getting back to school, getting back to business, getting back to what we were doing before vacationing, lounging by the pool or beach, eating boardwalk fries soaked in apple cider vinegar, snapping blue crabs and licking the Old Bay off your fingers. We start to think back fondly on the barbeques and picnics and fireworks, on a summer well spent.

Around here, it's still hot, even into October some years. And looking back I remember sweating in my school uniform (because back the schools, at least the schools I went to, didn't always have air conditioning) as I organized my newly assigned locker. But it wasn't that spring-into-summer sweat. That kind of sweat felt good. Emerging from a cold, dreary winter, I always welcomed the increasingly warm days leading up to June and the end of the school year. But fall sweat felt more like the stress of heavy backpacks and getting used to homework again. Fall sweat was worrying about going or not going to Homecoming; it was about fitting in yet standing out enough to get noticed (in  a good way) amongst 1,000 other children/teenagers all crammed into one building.

I always feel melancholy this time of year. My fondest memories are of summer days spent with my family in Florida or Ocean City and, lately, of days spent at Wisconsin Dells playing miniature golf at Pirate's Cove with Brian. It's not that I, for some reason, believe summer will never come around again (God willing there's always next year). But until it does, there's no escaping the winter to come (unless I finally do move to Florida, again God willing). There's no escaping the too-short days and snow and cold biting rain---the inevitability of it. Obviously, I'm not a cold-weather girl. Never have been. And I'm sure some of you love the cold as much as I love heat, so for you the fall is a welcome relief from oppressive heat and humidity. But for me, it's waiting time. It's the time of year when I wait for the first buds of spring and the time to "spring forward" our clocks and watches.

It's not that I spend the fall and winter unproductively or in a state of utter gloom. I do have that Disney Princess Half-Marathon in February and a lot of other activities related to the holidays and (of course) the busy fall travel season here at work. I don't dig a hole and jump in. Oh no. I just love the summertime and will miss it. When the the last leaf finally falls from the tree and when it's dark and cold at 5 pm, I will long for summer and the sun on my face and back. I will long for shorts-and-tank-top days and watermelon and juicy sweet peaches from the farmer's market. I will wait for it, for any sign of it. I will count the days until it gets here, even as I shovel snow from the driveway bundled in my down parka and mittens.

Goodbye summer. See you in 2011.

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