Monday, March 28, 2011

Preparing for a Trip

Once again conference season is here. Luckily, this year I've managed to keep business travel down to 4 trips. I gave away my fifth trip (to Phoenix) so that I can run in the Race for the Cure 5K. But I do have to go to San Diego on Saturday for a week (with a little stop in Anaheim first).

I've been doing really well and getting really motivated about my "spring training" and have lost a couple of pounds and have really upped my workouts (5 days last week!). Even though I admit that I do eat a little more on the weekends, I'm definitely on a roll. So, naturally, with the change up in my routine during my trip, I'm worried about backsliding and undoing all the good I've done the past couple of weeks. There are SO MANY good things to eat in California (Sees Candies, Sprinkles Cupcakes, fish tacos, fish and chips, fresh hot tortillas, and chips and salsa, just to name a few things I enjoy).

So, I'm already prepping myself and making a plan for when I'm there.

1. I'm making travel food/snacks: The cross-country flight will take forever, and I know that I get suckered into eating airport junk (hello candy and Wetzels Pretzels!), especially when I'm tired and sleepy (I have a 6 am flight). To combat this temptation (and huge waste of money), I've already purchased a cantaloupe and some kiwi to dehydrate. Dehydrating them will make them easier to eat, without worrying about the mess of eating juicy fruits. Plus, they really do taste like candy when dehydrated, so it'll be a sweets fix. I'll also pack a healthy sandwich to eat for lunch during my layover. When I get to Anaheim, I'll be met by my parents and brother, so I know we'll eat out. Luckily, my brother is on yet another health kick. And there are plenty of healthy choices in SoCal. You just have to actually CHOOSE them! What's really hard to resist are the between-meal treats, like the beignets and hot salted caramel popcorn at Downtown Disney (YUM). I'm pumping myself up to keep healthy and motivated!

2. I have a workout plan: This week, I'm going to get 4 workouts in. I would like to get 5 in, but realistically I think I'll have too many errands to run on Friday night after work to get one more in before I leave. But I do usually exercise when I go to Cali anyway (except for the rare occasion it rains). While in Anaheim, I get in some great runs to and from my brother's place and Disneyland. It's a good 9 or so miles roundtrip. Here's hoping I can still do 9 miles! Then, in San Diego, I have a usual route I like to run that's about 5 miles roundtrip. So I'm going to get some running in at least a few times.

3. Allow myself a treat or two: I'm all about getting into great shape for the summer, but I'm not into feeling deprived or not enjoying life every now and then. So, if I want the salmon tacos one night, I will have them. I'll ask for sauce on the side and pass on the chips. Because believe me, there is nothing like fish tacos from San Diego. I'm not a Mexican food fan. In fact it's my least favorite food. But when I'm in San Diego, the Mexican food is just so good and fresh, especially the seafood. I'm not, however, going to eat things that I can eat any old place, like candy, chips, and junk like that. I also (purposefully) gave up Sees Candies for Lent. I also gave up meat and haven't had any since before Ash Wednesday, so that's another thing I can't gorge myself on. No burgers and no fatty sandwiches from places like Panera or Corner Bakery. If I can't keep a promise to myself, I can a least do a better job of keeping one for God. There are also these little tiny mangoes that I found last April when I was in Anaheim for a conference that I LOVE. They are literally the size of a Cadbury Creme egg or smaller and are so sweet! But hey that's a fruit so give me a break!

I think I'll do fine. The hot weather will be here soon and I dread feeling uncomfortable in my skin when that time comes. Another motivation for me is that I have a few girlfriends, whom I've know forever. We plan these "theme dinners," like this past Saturday we had an 80s night and got all dressed up and listened to NKOTB. The next one is our 90s (because our proms were in the early to mid-1990s) prom night, where we have to wear our actual old prom dresses. Yeah, It would be nice to actually fit into it!
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beans and Chocolate

So I tried out a recipe from Now Eat This! like I said I would yesterday. First, although I said I was going to try and make the chocolate chip cookies, I realized when I got home that I had more of the ingredients for the brownies (also made with beans).

Yeah, so I followed the directions exactly (except I substituted the sour cream for some Chobani Greek yogurt I had that was nearing its "use by" date). And they smelled great as they baked. When I pulled them out of the oven the chocolately aroma filled my entire condo and I was so excited to try these new healthy brownies.

Well, let's just say that a brownie is a brownie and beans are beans. And you can shape beans into brownies, but what you'll get are chocolatey bean paste squares. Maybe I did it wrong or maybe it's supposed to taste like that. But I consider my attempt at this recipe a FAIL. The texture is gag worthy. So, I'm going to NOT make bean desserts (unless it's a real bean dessert and not some bait-and-switch number like these brownies) anymore and just stick to eating the real deal in moderation or as a special treat.

My next culinary project is dehydrated kale chips! I have a really nice dehydrator that I haven't used in eons. But when I was in Whole Foods the other day, I saw these plastic containers of dehydrated kale chips selling for $7.49 for a small container. I love kale chips and I usually make them in the oven, but they wilt after a while. So I'm hoping dehydrating them will keep them crispy, at least until I can eat them at lunch at work. For those of you with dehydrators, let me suggest dehydrating cantalope. SO DELICIOUS!

On the workout front, I can't begin to tell you how exercising regularly has helped with my mood! I feel so much better since I started working out again last week! And my arms are so sore! I forgot how good that postworkout soreness feels. Sure, I ran for miles and miles while I was training, but I never got sore. I just got hurt (knees, achilles, plantar fascia, blisters, etc.). It's kind or nice to not feel compelled to run every week. I ran once last week (4 miles). This week, I don't think I'm going to get a run in, and that's ok. My next race isn't until June and it's a 5 K, so I think I'm going into semi running retirement for the time being. I'm sure I'll start to crave it again soon. But for now, it's not my workout of choice.

Tonight will be my third day in a row of exercise. Tomorrow I plan on some Zumba. Friday I have to take my puggy to the vet for some shots. Saturday is cardioresistance class. That's 5 days this week.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Now Eat This!

I LOVE the new recipe book I got! It's called Now Eat This, by Rocco Dispirito.
Aside from him being easy on the eyes (more pics inside!), the recipes are great. So far, I've tried the Red Apple Coleslaw and it was really awesome. The best part is that it's only 78 calories and 2.5 grams of fat vs. the typical stats for full-fat coleslaw, which are 260 calories and 23 grams of fat. The serving size is about half a cup. I want to try every single recipe, especially the Shrimp Po' Boy w/ Spicy Mayo. That would actually go really well with the coleslaw.

They've got recipes for chocolate chip cookies made using white kidney beans and brownies made using black beans. Now, I've heard of this type of exchange (beans instead of butter, etc.) before and I've always wanted to try it and see if it really is any good. Well I am now! Tonight, I'm going to try making the Triple Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. I've got my cannellini beans soaking at home as we speak! This recipe makes 20 cookies. The stats are 45 calories and 1.4 grams of fat per cookie (I do wonder how big these are, we'll see) vs. the usual full-fat CC cookie stats of ~200 calories and 10 grams of fat per cookie.

Hopefully the cookies don't require a side of Gas-X! (because of all the beans, haha!)
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Yeah, Seriously

To the Anonymous Commenter:

First, I don't know where you got all of that, but obviously you've come to some very unsupported conclusions. Let me break it down for you. First, the post "Muddling Through," in fact, reiterates that fact that yes, sometimes life is frustrating for any number of reasons. Introduce me to someone who has NEVER felt frustration! It’s part of the human experience. But we can submerge ourselves in self-doubt and fear and gloom OR, as the post says, we can look at what we DO HAVE, as stated in the sentence "I'm a lucky person. If a little chub is my biggest problem right now, I should be tarred and feathered for complaining about it!" It seems like the semantics of this entire paragraph has been lost on you if you think I was just moaning and groaning about all manner of "whoa is me." Please ask a friend to explain it to you if you need to.

Second, where in ANY of my previous posts (if you've even read them) do I say anything about breaking up with my boyfriend. We are in a long-distance relationship right now. And yes, many people don't believe that can work. But you know what? It does work for us. I’m not going into detail about my relationship on this blog. But we still love each other and are happy with each other (and yes, I can speak for the both of us) even though it's hard to be apart from the one you love. And yes, I complain about it sometimes. Again, loneliness = human experience. Ask any wife or husband or significant other of any military or anyone who has to live apart from the ones they love. Should they break up too because they get lonely sometimes or because they complain about missing their loved ones? Do you really thing that it’s not worth it to love someone just because you can’t see them everyday? If it's inconceivable for you to understand that love can withstand distance, then I'm sorry that you've never experienced that kind enduring love. I’m sorry that love isn’t worth that kind of effort for you. But no, there is no break-up in the works. Sorry, you won’t get that kind of drama here.

Third, I do focus on my life, hence the blog ABOUT ME and my efforts at fitness. I just trained for and RAN a half-marathon. It takes a lot of focus and commitment to train and prepare for something like that, especially for a novice. In addition, I’ve written entire posts about MY GOALS, which have nothing to do with anyone other than myself.

So, seriously?!
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Muddling Through

Something's got me down in the dumps. 

The thing is, though, when we're faced with negative thoughts, we can either surrender to the gloom and doom and give up all hope. Or we can fight for every little glimmer of hope and in time put all those little points of light together and make life shine again. Like the prayer says, "Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I'm a lucky person. If a little chub is my biggest problem right now, I should be tarred and feathered for complaining about it! If my biggest problem is that I feel lonely sometimes and have to resort to watching Redbox or Fearnet movies on a 62-inch screen alone, or if my biggest problem is feeling like a failure sometimes because I have this notion that my life isn't where it should be and I have to resort to retail therapy and maybe a bottle of nice red wine, then I should be put in the stocks! The horror! There's a whole world of suffering out there that doesn't even begin to touch my privileged little life, suffering that makes my petty complaints and disgruntled ramblings self-centered to say the least. So things suck sometimes. So things don't go as WE planned. I just have to remember that my life is going according to plan (just not MY plan!) and that everyone's personal life experience is unique. Although we walk through this world with other people, no one really shares our particular path. We walk that walk alone, from birth to death. Anyway, I digress...

On to lighter more on-topic (with regard to the theme of this blog) news:

The good news is that I did find some fitness-related motivation while I was out shopping for new workout shoes (all I have are running shoes and I desperately needed new training shoes). I went to Marshalls, a discount store that had a whole bunch of spring things out. There were some really cute clothes. I remember a couple of years ago and even last year just buying whatever I wanted because I felt good about how I looked. A few extra pounds really puts a damper on the shopping experience because I really didn't feel like anything would look good. There was a top that would've been something I'd buy in an instant, but I felt like it wouldn't do much for my flabby deflated arms. So I put it down and walked out of the the store without anything cute. And you know what? That little bummer moment became a point of light for me. I WANTED the top. It was only $15. I felt bad about myself and didn't buy it. That's not an experience that I particularly care for. As you know, I'm not into extravagant spending anymore so the loss of this cute, yet inexpensive, top really did it for me.

My goal for the week is to workout 5 times and lose 2 lbs.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Now I Remember!

I'm starting to remember why I used to workout like a fiend---It felt really good.

Now that I'm getting back into the swing of things (I've worked out 2 days in a row, both cardio and weights), I'm starting to remember how clear my head was when I used to work out daily and use weights. I'm starting to feel good in my body again, both mentally and physically. I don't feel constantly bloated or like mud was flowing through my veins.

Back when I was training for the half marathon, I would do nothing but go for two or three runs per week (two shorter ones and one super long one). That's all I could do without aggravating my plantar fascia or Achilles or knees. Luckily that was enough to get me through the race! But I HAD to rest between runs because the wear and tear of running was too much for me to handle without getting hurt. And I was VERY afraid of getting injured and not being able to run in the race at all. So I took it easy for months, pretty much just running two or three times a week and nothing else.

But I think the way I trained left me out of shape in that I gained weight from lack of regular exercise (two 5-milers and an 8-miler didn't burn the calories I needed to burn to lose weight, especially since they made me hungrier!), and because I was so careful to rest between runs, I lost a lot of muscle, too.

Folks, this is the wrong way to train for a race! Don't make the same mistakes I made! There are plenty of training programs out there that encourage you to eat healthy and cross-train. I just didn't follow them. I was so worried about finishing and building cardiovascular endurance that I missed out on all the benefits of a training program. I should have come out of this one lean, mean running machine!

Anyway, I'm going to chalk it up to it being my very first long-distance race experience. And finishing at 2:43 isn't too shabby for it being my first time! And of the 13.1 miles, I probably walked a total of half a mile combined. I was smack in the middle of the pack (6,100 of 13,700 finishers). Heck yeah, I'm super proud. Fat, but proud! haha.

Speaking of running, I have a strong urge to get some miles in! I did cardio with weights the last 2 days, so tonight I have a date with my old friend the treadmill. Tomorrow it's the cardioresistance class at the gym, then I rest on Sunday. I'm eating well (except for too much cereal today. I should probably not buy cereal ever again!) and I've lost 5 lb using the 2 weeks of Medifast and eating healthily. When I get back into shape, I'll post comparison pics.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So What's Next

So, what's next on the agenda for this year?

My first goal (Princess Half-Marathon) has been successfully accomplished!

It just goes to show that keeping your eyes on the prize really does work in terms of accomplishing something you set out to do (if only that it's as easy when it comes to losing this pesky chub!). I've always had trouble making a real committment to things I can easily get out of, like vowing to clean more, to eat less, to stop spending money, to stop wasting food, etc. These are all resolutions and goals that, in the past, I've found a way to get out of accomplishing, a way of "reasoning" it out to death or using the umbrella excuse "I'm too busy to think about that right now."

I think that setting goals is very healthy, mentally and physically, even if they are just small goals. So I'm going to jot down some things, both big and small, I'd like to get done in the near future.

1. Get back to working out AND LIKING IT. That's the key: and liking it. Lately, working out has been like pulling teeth. And I've felt the effects of the lack of regular exercise physically and mentally. I'm more anxious, more down and out, and more tense and negative these days. But when you're feeling blue, you don't want to work out, so it's that vicious cycle that could go on and on until I firmly decide to break it.

2. Stop acting like I'm too old for it to matter. I think a lot of my lack of motivation lies in some subconsious belief that I'm 33 and I'm too old to enjoy some vanity, that I shouldn't be concerned with being pretty anymore because the time for wanting to be hot has passed. Not so! Why do I matter less to myself now than I did 10 years ago?

3. Beat my 5K time from last year's Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure. This is a doable concrete goal. Last year, I finished the 5K at about 34 minutes. That's my average 5K speed for road races. I want to finish in 30 minutes.

4. Pay off my little credit card debts. I have two credit cards with about $500 each on them and a Bill Me Later account that I use for travel that has about $500 on it. I want to pay these off by the summer. This would be more doable if I didn't owe a couple Ks for taxes :(

Those are all little things that I would like to do. Now for the big things that will take a little more work.

1. Get a good job I like that pays well. I want to minimize the freelancing and just get one good job.

2. Go to Rome, Italy (or any where in Europe). I travel a lot, but domestic travel is getting old. I need to see someplace that isn't just another cookie cutter city or suburb.

3. See a Broadway show. I used to go to NYC all the time. But lately no one wants to go anymore :( And Brian doesn't live here and the logistics to plan out a trip like that would be hard. There a lots of places I want to go with him, but the situation doesn't allow for that kind of thing. I don't really want to go into it right now on this blog.

4. Appreciate the life I have and focus on the things I can do instead of the things I can't, or focus on what I have versus what I don't. This is the hardest goal.
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

On My Way Back

I've been working on getting back to using weights and resistance and boy was I sore this week!

But I feel good knowing that the pain means I'm getting back into shape, hopefully in time for the warm weather. I can't wait to shop for cute summer clothes!

My ultimate goal is to do three cardioresistance workouts a week and one running day and just do some random things in the days in between, like walking outside and enjoying the spring. I want to keep up my running because I've signed up to do the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure 5K in June. I did it last year and it was really fun and for a really great cause that I believe in wholeheartedly. And I really want to do the Disney Wine and Dine Half-Marathon in October. Disney races are a blast! In my opinion, they are the perfect mix of athleticism and fun. No one's really hardcore serious, but everyone still gives it their all, so it's not as intimidating as other races. I like that. I'm not hardcore. The more fun the better! And I love seeing all the characters along the way!

Today I did cardioresistance class. I admit, I have a long way to go to get back the strength I lost. But I can feel it coming back!

As for eating, I haven't got much of an appetite. The past few days, I've had sort of an aversion to food. Do you ever feel like that? I do sometimes. Sometimes I can't stomach anything and everything seems so gross, even the things I usually enjoy. I would go for days not wanting to eat anything solid and only wanting easily digestible things, like mashed potatoes or soups. So I'm just going with it. I'm eating what I can for sustenance when/if I feel hungry. The Medifast foods are helping because they are small portions go down easily :) I haven't weighed myself yet because first I was waiting (and waiting) for Aunt Flo. I believe her flight was delayed because of all the long-distance running the last couple of weeks, LOL. Then she arrived finally, making me all bloated. But I do feel like I've lost a couple of pounds. I'm going to weigh myself after she leaves in a few days.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Second post of the day

Yes, Brian is tired of hearing about the race and the fact that I can't get the Coast-to-Coast medal. Yes, he had to endure 9 LONG months of me complaining about training and aches and pains and gaining weight.

BUT he went to Florida, endured my last-minute nerves, took me out for a filet mignon dinner for my birthday, and then he got up at 2 am the next morning and hung out with my parents for HOURS in the middle of the night while I ran. And that's not all. We didn't sleep after the race. We went to church and then went out to dinner and karoake for my mom's birthday celebration that night, not getting home until after midnight. For nearly 24 hours, he held my hand and supported me without a single complaint.

For that I am more grateful that I can even express. Thank you, Gagoo, for everything. I really couldn't have AND wouldn't have done this without you. Seeing you at mile 13 cheering me on will be one of my most cherished memories that I will keep in my heart until the day I die.

I love you
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Coast to Coast for 2012

Brian, since you said you're tired of hearing about this, you should probably stop reading now. But the blogosphere and those who are interested in such matters might still be :-)

Yeah, so I'm not going to go for the Disney Coast-to-Coast medal this year. I'm truly bummed. I was riding the high of finishing the Princess Half-Marathon and so psyched to head out to Anaheim and get that Coast to Coast. But then the logistics got in the way. It's Labor Day weekend. It's a cross-country flight. Gas prices, as well as airline fares, are climbing. Enough said.

The cheapest it would cost me to get the medal is at least $700. That would mean I would have to forgo a hotel room and crash on my brother's awful, awful "couch" in his tiny, ash-tray-smelling studio apartment in Anaheim. That couch always gives me a back ache. Not a good thing if you're going to run 13.1 miles at the crack of dawn. It's just not doable. I have a lot of other things I need that money for in the upcoming months, like other trips and vacations (haha!). But seriously, I need to pay taxes and a go on a few trips and can't afford to blow that much money on one thing. Now if I win the Mega Millions tomorrow. I'm definately going!

If I had more self-confidence I would have scrimped and saved for this the past 9 months. But I highly doubted myself and that I would finish the Princess. So I didn't prepare for the possibility that I could go to Disneyland.

That's the lesson, kids. Always believe YOU CAN until you actually CAN'T. Preemptive strikes against your own potential makes for a lame story. End topic.

But I am gung ho about getting into spring and summer shape. I purged my closest this weekend and saw all my cute summer clothes just waiting to be worn! And I want to be in as good a shape or better than I was last summer before I even attempt to wear them again. The Medifast thing is going fine. It's just the springboard I needed to get back to the eating clean/exercising mindset.

Today I'm going to go to the gym and go for my first post-race run. My knees were not all that great the past week or so, so I'm hoping they are ready tonight!
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fitter and Fatter

The past 9 months I was really focused on my first half-marathon, and in fact I started this blog to track my training, although that didn't happen. But now that that goal has been met (YAY!), it's time to move on to the next goal.

Getting back my muscle tone and losing my fat gut.

I've never heard of anyone gaining weight from training for a run before. It actually seems absurd to me. But I managed to do it. I got fitter and fatter?? Seriously, my lung capacity and cardio fitness from all the running I've been doing has never been better, and I'm quite proud of that accomplishment. The problem is that running also makes me ravenous, and no matter how many hundreds of calories I burned running, I would follow it up with double in food afterward, especially after the long distance runs. I craved carbs all the time! and now I'm paying for it.

Yes, I am fitter and fatter. Sigh.

With spring and summer coming up, I need to get this pudge off so I can run around in tank tops and shorts without feeling like a pudgeball. A Facebook friend recently started Medifast and has lost 20 lb in a month. I don't expect those results (although I would LOVE it), but I do want a jump start so I signed up for 2 weeks worth of Medifast to kick start my weightloss. 

I think that the 2 weeks getting back into disciplined eating and getting rid of some water weight will be a good start and motivate me to start eating clean again. 

The package is supposed to arrive today and I plan on starting it on Saturday. Here we go!
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Post-Race Blues

I never thought I'd say that feel surprisingly sad that I'm done training for the Princess Half-Marathon. It got to the point where I was REALLY hating training. I dreaded running on that stupid treadmill and forsaking all other exercise in favor or running (leading to a 10-lb weight gain, if you can believe it).

I couldn't wait for the race to be over.

And then, all of a sudden, it was. Over.

I finished at a decent 2:43 (on 2 hours of sleep!). I didn't walk at all except for when I walked by the hydration stations because I couldn't figure out how to run and drink at the same time without it splashing all over my face and shirt! And I stopped briefly when I texted my family at mile 11 to let them know to head over to the finish line. Sure, it could have been better had I not stopped for the porto-potty, or texted, or if I could guzzle down the Powerade without slowing my pace significantly. But I guess that's something to work on for next time. Listen to me talking about "next time" when I swore to myself and everyone around me that I would retire from running after this half-marathon! But there's something addicting about the rush of crossing the start line and then, eventually, the finish line.

After the race I was feeling pretty exhausted from lack of sleep and the strain of running 13.1 miles. I don't think I've ever been that wiped out! I'm actually embarrassed of my picture from the race. I look frightening! With dark circles under my eyes, my t-shirt (which was too loose for a running race) all bunched up. I don't even want to order the professional pics!

Things I learned from this race:

1. Wear a tighter shirt. It twists as you run and I found myself tugging at it a lot.
2. Learn to run and drink from a paper cup.
3. Pee twice before the race
4. Wear at least SOME makeup (especially for the Princess Half) because there will be photographers and you don't want to look like you're about to drop dead.
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