Monday, December 27, 2010

Bad idea of the day...

Half marathon training began this morning.   That means I have to actually run on weekdays again.  I decided that since hubby is home for another week, I would go a bit later and take the girl dog with us.  Cali is a lab basset-corgi cross.  She has hyper terrier energy in a short but labby package.  I figured she'd be happy running at my happy pace.  Boy, I could not have been more wrong.

Turns out her happy pace is about 3 mins faster a kilometre than mine is.  By the end of 3 blocks, I was huffing and puffing and being hauled along much too fast on the icy streets of Langdon.   I had worn my traction guards for the first time as well and HATED THEM!   I decided to turn around and take Cali home and throw the guards in the basket by the door while I was there. 

I headed out again as soon as I had caught my breath and had a lovely little run around town.  It is chinooking here (for those of you who aren't from here and don't know what a chinook is - think warm winds coming over the mountains and making winter much more pleasant as long as the pressure changes don't give you migraines).   So running in 0*C was quite nice and I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of the public pathway is actually being shoveled this winter.   I thought I was going to be stuck on the unshoveled sidewalks or running up the middle of the street but, for now at least, that doesn't seem like it will be the case.

My Garmin tells me I burned 400 calories in the 4.61K I ran.   That makes me happy.  Not as happy as my scale telling me I am 4lbs lighter today than I was Christmas day, but still pretty happy.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

SCORE! New Running Shoes for MEEEEEEEE!

I'm so happy!  I just scored a new pair of running shoes for $30!   Anyone who knows me, knows that I am always trying to outfit my running gear in a really budget-friendly way (being a stay at home mom and trying to manage on one income makes me hyper-aware that $200 for running shoes will either mean I go without or that I wear one pair long long long after they should have been retired).  So I tend to check ebay all the time for shoes.  I'm lucky that I wear clown really big shoes so there is less competition when I find a deal on a brand new pair.  There are loads of shoes on there, though they may be a discontinued model, but they are still perfect for me :)  So far, since I started running, I haven't had to pay more than $35 for a pair of brand new Nikes (usually brings it to $50 with shipping).  Sure, I have to wait a week to get them, but the savings is worth the wait...and the cheapness means I can have a couple of pairs to rotate.

Christmas Hangover and living in reality

Ok - it's not what you think.  I didn't have a drop to drink this Christmas.  I am just feeling the after effects of too much sugar and salt.  It was a year ago that I weighed in and saw the reality of my post-baby slacking and, when I stood on the scale yesterday, I was suddenly up almost 8lbs from the week before!  I also took my progress pics since my food journal runs out today and I look like I am HUGE with a giant gut. I KNOW it isn't real.  I am likely retaining water from all of the salt and not enough water intake.   Add to that a bit of raging monthly hormones and the number and pictures are just wrong.   When I thought about it a minute or two, I decided that I am not counting this weeks weigh in or photo.  Next week, when I start my new journal with the new year, I will take fresh new pictures (Might be a good time to pick a better background too lol) and will go from the weight that day.  

As for this week, it's time to start some half marathon training.  It will be my first weekday run since San Fran and I am looking forward to getting out there.   My brain needs a good cleaning and nothing does that like a quick 5K :)  I'm also looking forward to running in the mountains this week when we are in Canmore to meet up with my family for a little holiday get together.   Since we'll have onsite babysitting, I think my hubby is looking forward to going for a run with me - his first since he started :)  It'll be nice to have the company.  

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

I just wanted to write a quick note to wish you all a very happy Christmas.  I am eating far too much and enjoying the heck out of it. :)  No fear, though - on Monday I ramp it up and start getting serious about training and eating right again.   Even though I am loving the fancy foods now...I am really looking forward to better things :)

Hope you are enjoying all of your special holiday foods too!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Let the Half Training Begin

Ok - here is the training plan that I am following to prepare for my half at the end of March.   I wanted a 12 or 13 week program so have modified the 12 wk Novice plan on www.halhigdon.com

 
Week
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
1
(Dec 27-Jan2)
5K run Cross train 40 mins 5K run
Cross train 40 mins
5K Run (Resolution Run)
Rest
6.5K Run
2
(Jan 3-9)
Cross train 40 mins
5K run
Cross train 40 mins
5K run
Cross train 40 mins
6.5K run
Rest
3
(Jan 10-16)
Cross train 40 mins
5.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
5.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
8K run
Rest
4
(Jan 17-23)
Cross train 40 mins
5.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
5.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
8K run
Rest
5
(Jan 24-30)
Cross train 40 mins
6.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
6.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
10K run
Rest
6
(Jan 31- Feb 6)
Cross train 40 mins
6.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
6.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
5K run
Rest
7
(Feb 7-13)
Cross train 40 mins
7K run
Cross train 40 mins
7K run
Cross train 40 mins
11K run
Rest
8
(Feb 14-20)
Cross train 40 mins
7K run
Cross train 40 mins
7K run
Cross train 40 mins
13K run
Rest
9
(Feb 21-27)
Cross train 40 mins
8Krun
Cross train 40 mins
8Krun
Cross train 40 mins
10K run
Rest
10
(Feb 28-Mar 6)
Cross train 40 mins
8K run
Cross train 40 mins
8K run
Cross train 40 mins
14.5K run
Rest
11
(Mar 7-13)
Cross train 40 mins
8K run
Cross train 40 mins
8K run
Cross train 40 mins
16K run
Rest
12
(Mar 14-20)
Cross train 40 mins
5K run
Cross train 40 mins
5K run
Cross train 40 mins
10K run
Rest
13
(Mar 21-27)
Cross train 40 mins
6.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
3.5K run
Cross train 40 mins
Half Marathon
Rest



Now I just have to figure out some sort of eating plan to go along with it so I can start blasting off the last 25lbs while I do this.  Oh - and I decided that this half is just to keep me motivated to run through the winter.   So I will not be doing speed or hills (besides - the ice over the winter would make both borderline dangerous).  I am going into this with no time goal.  My goal is to finish and to run consistently throughout the entire race.

Oy with the poodles already...

Ok...I was going to write "holidays" up there, but decided on a gem from Gilmore Girls instead...My December goals are not going great.   I've been working out 5-6 days a week, but beyond that everything else has gone all to hell.  The holiday treats have become something to do throughout the day - either baking them or eating them.   If I am into the treats, my water consumption seems to fail and I am dehydrated most of the time now.   So, with a little over a week to go on this month, I am aiming to just keep up the workouts and try my best with the water.  I think a little weight gain is inevitable but I can hopefully keep it low and then when the motivation of the new year kicks in, I can concentrate on blasting it off.

It's hard to admit that I have no willpower.  I'm usually a pretty resolute gal and this has been really hard.  I feel like I am constantly failing.  So, in an effort to save my sanity and happiness, I am just going to let myself have a week or two of bad eating but I promise I will be back on the diet wagon Jan 1.

In other news...my half marathon training plan starts next week.  I need to type up my schedule, but I will post it as soon as I do so you can see what I'll be up to.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Very Vegetarian Christmas

Let me just come right out and say it…it's not about the turkey.   Not in our house, anyway.   We are a house full of vegetarians and while we've tried the Tofurky thing a few times, it's quite disgusting.  And then there is the joy of being the only vegetarians while visiting family.  I have to give our families A LOT of credit here…they have tried to make us special vegetarian foods so we don't feel left out, but often the results are not what we could consider something we'd want to eat for our "special" holiday meal.  After all, how many people want their special meals to be someone elses experiment?  It would really just be much easier if we could just bring our own tried and tested meals with us and have no one be offended.

A few years ago, we decided to try something new.  Instead of trying to fit our vegetarian lifestyle into the turkey-centric mindset of the masses, we decided to forge our own path.  And, if I should say so myself, it's a pretty good path and has given us a pretty neat tradition.   Every year, we choose a different country and prepare special vegetarian foods from that country/culture.   The beauty of the tradition is that the country doesn't even have to be real.  One year we did a middle-earth Christmas - hobbit style.  Lemme tell ya, by Elevenses, we were STUFFED!  Lots of mushrooms that year and a whole day spent watching the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings movies.   So much fun.

This year, we haven't chosen our country yet, but I am sure it will be fabulous.   From researching the foods, sourcing recipes and shopping for unique ingredients - it is sure to be an adventure.  Something to remember for years to come.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Week 3 Check In

I'm not so great at the blog upkeep thing.  I'm trying, though :)

Another pound down this week (surprising since the holiday chocolates seem to suddenly be appearing in the house and family celebrations have started).  I haven't done the measuring yet but I am probably down another inch or two.

The pushups are starting to work...I noticed some new definition in my arms this week.  GOOD - it makes it worth the pain of doing the program.   I am now up to 88 pushups.   As for the plank challenge I issued myself, I can now hold one for 1:36.  Amazing, considering only a couple of weeks ago I could barely hold one for 30 seconds.   I had to switch the planks to the opposite days of when I do pushups...my body is just toast after I do them and it was feeling really had to hold the plank.

If I stick my fingers in my ears and yell "la la la la la" then perhaps I can drown out the metal chastising I've been giving myself for my rotten eating all week.   I've pretty much negated my workouts in overages.   But I still lost a pound so I am doing ok.  I am still on track to be down to my pre-San Fran weight by xmas.  I just have to be more careful and concentrate on eating more real food instead of holiday crap.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Story

Ok - I realize that many of my run posts have been centered on my diet struggles.  I just noticed that I haven't really touched on what 2010 has been for me.   In January 2010, I weighed in at my heaviest, non-pregnancy weight ever.  208lbs.  On my 5'9" frame, I didn't look like what people typically think of as FAT, but fat I most certainly was.  I had two, 7 month old babies and had given myself a bit too much permission to eat freely while I was breastfeeding (well, I was technically exclusively pumping but the principle is the same on the mommy-front).   As a result, the pounds kept packing on. 

When I stood on the scale on Christmas day 2009, I cried.  It was time to change, but I had no clue how.  I had been through the yo-yo cycle a hundred times in the last 10 years and I knew it was time for a lifestyle change.   The motivation to get exercising came on Boxing Day, when I wandered into Walmart and saw all 4 seasons of Felicity on DVD for ridiculously cheap.  I had been wanting them for years and they had always been super expensive.  I decided that I would buy them, but I was only allowed to watch them if I was on my stationary bike and the pedals were moving.   It was exactly the motivation I needed.

2010 started with me sitting on the bike and watching one episode a day.  It quickly became the favourite part of my day.  Meanwhile, I was also reading "Secrets of a Former Fat Girl" by Lisa Delaney and liked the sound of it.  I wanted to be a "Former Fat Girl", but I didn't want to follow any prescribed diet plan.  From my history, I knew that if I strapped my ovo-lacto vegetarian self into any particular diet plan, I was doomed to fail.  Instead, I decided that I would give myself an allowance.  While I was providing milk to my babies - I would eat in the neighbourhood of 2000 calories a day.   I figured this would give my body enough to nourish itself and the twinners.   Using my DietMinder journal, I wrote everything down.  Diet, workouts, water intake, vitamins.  If it went into me, it was written down.   It wasn't long before the weight started to melt off.

Late in January, a dear friend of mine told me that she had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.   Anna was a marathoner and had been trying to get me to run for years, but I had the usual excuses (bad knees, asthma etc etc) so i managed to avoid it at all costs.  That all changed when she told me her diagnosis.  The first thought through my head was "I need to find a run for lymphoma and do it".  When I told my hubby, he said "But you're not a runner" and my response was "I guess I'm gonna become one". 

I spent the next month looking for lymphoma runs and, finally, stumbled upon Team in Training.  The icing on the cake was that one of the events they offered was Nike Women's.  This was a race Anna had done in 2007 and it felt like the perfect fit for me.   I needed to learn to run before I could register for it, though.  So, in Late February, I started Couch-to-5k (a learn to run program that I had read a lot about).  It was 8 weeks long, but promised that I would be a runner when it finished, as long as I trusted the program.  On May 8, 2010, I started training with Team in Training and on May 9, I ran my first 5K - the mothers day run in Calgary.   By this point, I was 30lbs lighter than I had been when the year began. 

I was no longer breastfeeding and my weight had plateaued so I re-evaluated my calorie allowance and decided to drop it down to in the neighbourhood of 1500 calories.  That gave me enough energy to keep going with my half marathon training and with chasing after two - 1 year olds.   Almost instantly, I lost another 10lbs! 

Ok - here's some picture proof...I really wish I'd had a better backdrop but this still works:


The rest of my summer consisted of another 5K, two 10Ks and wrapped up in October with my TNT half marathon in San Francisco.   Just for kicks, I did another half in November with a team mate (and another 5K in December with yet another on the calendar for the end of the month).   My weight went up after returning from San Fran because I totally slacked off.   But now I am back on the wagon.  I only want to lose another 23lbs and I am giving myself until the start of April to do so.   I am back on the bike every morning (this time, I'm watching "Sliders" - brings back my college days of sitting in my dorm room, watching on an 8inch B&W TV). 

I have also decided that if I am going to look good in a swimsuit in April, as a lounge on the beach in Mexico, I am going to need to do some strength training.  Usually, I am totally into fitness videos for my strength training, but I really couldn't be bothered so I started the 100 pushups program and am working on improving areas I am weak.  I figure right now I can only do pushups using a stability ball...so I will start by doing the program that way.  Then I will do it again, graduating to knee pushups.  THEN, I will do it AGAIN but as a big girl - up on my toes.  Taking 18 weeks to do it will hopefully help me do something I've never been able to do before.   A good goal to work towards.

Nowadays, I am finding inspiration in unlikely places.   I discovered BenDoesLife and I love his philosophy of "Doing Life".   I have also taken to following the blogs and twitter feeds of other running moms.   The Run Like a Mother book has helped me to put my running into perspective and to help me know that I am not alone out there with my time constraints and my wanting to better myself to make me a better mom for my kids.

As for what the future holds, who knows.  All I do know is that my kids deserve to grow up with a mommy who is fit and energetic.  I don't want them to have a fat mom.   I know that the things i am doing right now to better myself and my health with be the things that they grow up knowing and it will make life so much easier on them when they grow up.  Maybe I can help them avoid being fat girls themselves.  Guess only time will tell.

Diet Stupid

Today is the day I stop being "diet stupid".  

It's a classic scenario in CoriWorld.   I start the day strong with an intense workout and then a really healthy breakfast that balances everything I need to have balanced.   Lunch starts to show a little fraying around the edges as I make myself something good and healthy and then I nibble at whatever I am making the girlies.  Usually not alot of nibbling, but a piece of rotini here or a hunk of cheese there.   Usually so small that I fool myself into believing that it doesn't need to be written down because I probably wore it off serving lunch.   When I sit down to watch my stupid soap TV show in the afternoon, I usually have a little nibbly snack and, if we don't have junk food in the house, it is usually a healthy one (I am still pretty good about measuring and recording the junk food, though).  Dinner has potential to be either really good or really bad.  Watching the portions my hubby takes usually makes me want more and I usually deny myself hold back so I can have an evening snack while watching TV.

This is where it all falls apart.  The lights go down and the willpower makes it an early night and leaves me defenseless against the pantry.   The pantry light comes on (automatically, I swear) and the door waves me inside.   Next thing I know, I'm climbing the shelves to see what goodies might be laying in wait at the back of the top shelf (our designated "junk" shelf). Because I know I'm a "to the bottom of the bag" snacker -  I start off okay, measuring out exactly what the package says is a serving.  And then the bag or box gets a little unintentional bump and a few more pieces fall into the bowl.   And then I eat.   And,since that rarely satisfies what I want...and I've been so good all day...I go back for another handful.   And another 200-500 calories makes its way onto my food list for the day.

When I take the time to figure out what I've done and do the math - my morning workout usually cancels out more than my evening diet stupidity.  I can justify it that way until Sunday, when I step on the scale and the number hasn't budged.   I've worked out all week and eaten relatively healthy, but that little slice of diet stupidity I have in the evening has kept me standing still for another week.  

So, today, the diet stupidity stops.   Even if I need to only eat pre-packaged, calorie restricted snackies, I will keep my evening chow-fests to no more than 200 calories.   It gives me a little wiggle room and should help me stay on track as long as I have an allowance.  

Here's hoping.    So, tell me - what is your diet stupidity?  The thing you recognize as hurting your efforts but you do it anyway....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2nd week - not so great

Well, week 2 is where I usually get sloppy and this one was no exception.  I did GREAT on the workout front.  5 days on the bike and then a run on the 6th.   But holiday goodies and cold winter nights did in my good intentions for eating well.   Luckily, the workouts seem to have balanced out my dietary indiscretions and I stayed the same for the week weight wise (lost 1.5 inches, apparently).  An up note for the diet crap...I did write everything down.  So at least I wasn't pretending to be in denial about what I was doing LOL.  

Now the junk food is out of the house so I can concentrate on being good again.   Week 3, I get the eating back on track.  If I can stick to my calorie allowance and keep up the workouts...I should see a big loss by the end of next week.  Here's hoping.

Off to bed now.  I have a super early appointment in the morning so I need to get up extra early to get that workout in.  As my little Doodle would say "Nuh-Nite"

Santa Shuffle - Dec 4/10

The day dawned super cold (like -20*C cold), though it warmed up to about -10 by the time the race started.   I had planned out my super cute ensemble for the fun run and then, at the last moment, decided to add a layer (it ended up being overkill).

This was the original plan:
  • My arm warmers under my Old Navy Running Shirt
  • red Mountain Equipment Co-op t-shirt over top
  • MEC leggings
  • Moving Comfort wrap skirt
  • and then the holiday touches of red cable knit leg warmers, santa hat, and my houndstooth scarf.  
  • red fleece gloves

When the thermometer seemed so sold, I decided to kill the arm warmers and wear my Avia running jacket under the t-shirt - a move I lived to regret because I got very steamy hot fairly quickly.

Here's me and J right before the race, dressed all super cute :)


We took it at a pretty easy pace - it was a family fun run so there were tons of kiddos there and A LOT of people just meandering.   The route ran out of Eau Claire Market and then along 3rd ave to connect with the running path again about a block west.   Then out to 14th street, across the bridge and back again - finishing up by running across Princes Island and then back to the Market.  

I did end up taking walk breaks at the half way point and then just before the finish.   I think I am a cold weather cramper.   I've been getting really bad cramps at my normal pace lately and they worsen when I get up to race pace.  This was disappointing, because I know that J and I ran the first 8K of our half, just 3 weeks ago, at much faster than we went yesterday.  Of course, we weren't battling ice.

In the end, we finished in 34:37 by my Garmin. Defintiely not my fastest 5K ever, but given the fact that it was really icy and they we were caught behind a delivery truck on the path on the island (!!!) I think we did great.  And it was a lot of fun to see the different costumes people were wearing and the general festiveness in the air.

The things I learned:

    •    Santa hats just don't breathe!  Must buy a wicking santa hat if I plan to do these in future years.
    •    To just trust my instincts on what to wear.  I would have been quite comfortable in my original planned outfit
    •    I'm not sure I like the 5K distance except for short training runs
    •    I should learn to enjoy a 5K for the fun run aspect of it.  If it isn't timed, I shouldn't sweat it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NaNoEdMo

I've been trying to think of a plan of attack for editing my NaNo novel.   Write now I am so burnt out from writing it so quickly that I can't even begin to focus on making it something better than the flaming ball of crap it is (I'm reading it right now - I have no disillusions). 

As though the great void of the internet heard my pleas for help, I found out about National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo) today.  NaNoEdMo falls in the month of March and provides the same kind of structure as NaNoWriMo, but from an editing standpoint.   Even though March 2011 is going ot be insane around here (I run another Half Marathon AND I need to prepare for our trip to Mexico) I think it'll all work out and bring me a little further along in turning out a decent novel.   Guess we'll see, but I'll never know if I don't try.  Since I took the time to write the novel, I don't want to see it live in a dark computer folder for the rest of eternity.  I owe it to both it and myself to see what it can become :)

December Goals

Well, here we are - it's already December.  Where did this year go?   December is usually the month I let everything go to hell with my eating and exercising (actually, I'm not sure I've ever made it to December with exercising before so I am already ahead there). In an effort to keep myself on the wagon, I am going to set some monthly goals going forward and see if I can't stay on track with them.

1) Work out at least 5 days a week, preferably 6
I am going to just stick to my biking and running and wrapping up the 100 pushups program and continuing with my mini-goal of being able to hold a plank for 3 mins.

2) Keep my food journal up to date

If I don't write it down, I will gain. With only 118 days til Mexico, I can't afford to gain

3) Drink more water.  and then drink some more.
In the winter, I am so bad at keeping myself hydrated.  So I am going to aim for 4 full bottles a day (I have a large water bottle I carry with me everywhere)

4) Don't sweat the small stuff
It's the holidays and dealing with everything that entails is pretty stressful.  I am determined to NOT get stressed out this year and to just enjoy it. 

That should be enough to get me through the month.   Next month, I guess it'll be time to look at new years resolutions and to start training for my Half in March!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weigh In Day!

So I stepped on the scale this morning, expecting to see that 1.5lb loss I've been seeing all week...and it turned out it was a 3.5lb loss instead!!!  I am so happy.  That is half of what I had gained since San Fran.   I also saw a 4 inch loss, but I never really put much stock in the inches because I am never sure I am measuring where I did before.

So, my buckling down is getting me back to where I should be.   I'm going to admit it here, though.  I will likely indulge in some treats this afternoon while Hubby watches the Grey Cup and I read my novel cover to cover.   But rest assured, at 5:45 tomorrow morning, I will be back on the bike to keep doing what I'm doing and blast that weight off!

I'm Officially a Novelist!


It's late.  I'm tired.  But I'm a winner! :)   I decided that with only 4000 words left for a win on NaNoWriMo 2010, I might as well just plod onward and finish this puppy off once and for all.   According to the NaNo Word Count Validator, I finished with 51,584 words...Scrivener (the novelling software I used for the project) only counted me at 51,532.  Honestly - anything over 50,000 is a win and I'm not certain I did a very good job of scrambling my text before I validated so I think I'll believe Scrivener more :)

Writing a novel in 30 days is a daunting task to begin with...to finish it in 27 days is exhilarating.  I can't believe that I now have this amazing little book that I can edit and add to and polish to perfection.   Hopefully I can turn it from the flaming ball of crap it will likely be (when I actually load it onto my Sony Reader tomorrow and start reading it) to something I can be proud to call my own.  In the meantime, I intend to revel in the fact that I just wrote a book.  I quit Facebook and I wrote a book. 

Sure, it was hard.  Sure, there were days I wanted to forget the fact that I even started to think I might have a story in me.   Sure, there were days that the flaming crappiness of it all made me cry (just kidding on that last one).  All that matters now is that I wrote a book and I'm going to do a little dance of joy!

and yes.  I did buy the t-shirt :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

#amwriting

I have less than 4000 words to go until I have reached 50,000 words in my NaNoWriMo novel.   I actually think I can wrap it up in that many so I might actually need to add in an epilogue.   No matter what, though, I've decided to finish it tonight.  Won't be going to bed until I do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 5 and holding strong!

The first week of starting over is always the toughest.   I had really let myself go in the month since San Francisco.   Every day this week, I have been diligently recording everything that enters my mouth and remembering to see it all as fuel.   It hasn't been easy.  A few days, I have strayed over my calorie allowance...but not to the tune of 20 peppermint patties...we're talking maybe 200 cals tops, here.

The scale is telling me that I've lost a pound and a half so far, though I know not to trust a weekday weigh in...the only one that really counts is Sunday (though, with that reasoning, why does my diet minder journal have a spot for a daily weigh in?)

It has felt amazing to haul my ass out of bed at 5:45 and get moving.  I'd forgotten how productive I feel for the rest of the day and I haven't found myself dragging once all week.  Gotta keep that up!  I've also incorporated the 100 Pushups program into my workouts AND have been working on how long I can hold myself in plank position (Thank you, Ben, for making me think of adding this in).  I'm only at 40 seconds, as of today, but that is already more than I was on Monday (31 secs).   Just little ways to sneak in strength training when I have no desire to do any of my videos and I fall asleep just thinking about picking up weights for plain ol' reps!

It is 123 days until we leave for Mexico and I have 23.5 lbs to lose before then.  I think I can do it.  Help me stay strong over the holidays....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tasting the NaNo finish line

I crossed the 42,000 word mark today on my NaNoWriMo novel and am feeling like I should take advantage of a horrible TV night (thanks to the US Thanksgiving) and boost the count even further.   I have this unwritten little goal to finish the book this weekend - well in advance of the deadline (I guess it's not an UNWRITTEN goal any more, eh? LOL)  It would just be nice to finish ahead of time and get my life back...guess we'll see if the pull of Netflix and Mad Men draws me away from my computer...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ahhh...Spring Race Registrations

As part of my whole "get back on track" resolution, I decided it was high time I stopped faltering and just registered for some spring races already. Being the medal whore I am, I signed up for a small Half Marathon in March and a 10K at the end of May - both with advertised finishers medals. I still need to register for a couple more on my wish list, but their registration sites aren't up yet.

With the half being only 17 weeks away, I guess I'd better hammer out my training plan. I'm thinking something 12 week that I can start in January. Any suggestions out there?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Doug Coupland on Twitter

I got a gift card for Indigo today and decided to treat myself to a little post-birthday shopping spree online. About once a year, I get a hankering for a new Doug Coupland book and the recent deep freeze here had made me really want to just curl up and read (usually when I should be writing). So, I moseyed on over to coupland.com to see if he had any new releases and, lo and behold, he does (and it managed to fall into my online shopping cart at Indigo). While I was on his site, I also happened to notice his little Twitter link which made me wiggle with glee. I don't know why I didn't check for him sooner. I tend to love his take on the world so now I can have a happy little dose whenever he deigns to send one out into the twitterverse. Yay!

(I also picked my self up Hal Higdon's Marathoning and a book on raising twins - somehow I managed to satisfy all of my tastes in a single shopping cart!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why NaNoWriMo?

For many, the thought of writing a novel in just one month is really and truly daunting. For me, it seemed like it would be the only way I could force the story out of my head and ensure I didn't hold onto it forever. I knew that if I was ever going to write a book - I needed to do it fast and furiously.

I first heard about National Novel Writing Month a few years ago - probably around 2006. The whole thought of writing 50,000 words in just 30 days scared the crap out of me and I tried to push the very concept to the very back of my mind where it would preferably never surface again. Then in 2008, I was wandering around my computer to migrate some files over to another hard drive and I came across a manuscript I started in 2003. It was only a few pages long and was a true testament to my writing procrastination. Around August of that year, I started to think maybe I should give that month long novel thing a try. Of course, as the tale goes, I suddenly found myself pregnant and was not feeling so hot by the time November arrived so I never got any further than registering at the NaNoWriMo website and then I abandoned it before I could begin.

In 2009, through a brain that was well fogged by the first 5 months of caring for twinfants, I knew there was no way I could commit the time necessary. Once again, there was no novel coming out of me that year either.

Fast forward a year to 2010 and I had just spent months and months immersed in my online social networks, fundraising my ass off for Team in Training. I used every tool I could to drum up money or rounding up attendees for events or holding contests and raffles. By early summer, I was burnt out on Facebook. I wanted to quit it so badly, but I knew I couldn't until I was done in San Francisco and had thanked everyone once and for all for helping along on my journey. Unfortunately, I had several months ahead of me where I felt like I needed to check in constantly so I wouldn't happen to miss out on something someone said or suggested. It was becoming exceedingly unhealthy as each day passed. Finally back from California, I drafted up a letter of resignation and posted it on my FB profile. I gave people my contact info and told them I was returning to the land of the living and if they wanted to spend time with me there, they were more than welcome to contact me..but I wasn't going to find myself trapped in the time sucking void any longer.

Now, with the roughly 5 hours a day I had been finding myself lost on there, I needed to find something to do on my computer that could use the time and distract me from the fact that I had deleted my account and wasn't returning. It was the perfect opportunity to get my book out of my head!

On November 1, I put the twins down for their nap and sat down at my computer. I had originally thought I would just add to the existing manuscript (though it is kind of a no-no in nanoland to do that). In a last minute decision, I created a new folder on my computer and then started to type an entirely new book, using the title of the original one for my starting point.

Now, 21 days into the challenge, I have no doubt that I can finish the book in the time allotted. I have 36,595 words written and 9 days to go. Is the book a best seller? Not yet. It's still kind of a flaming ball of crap in serious need of some major editing. It might never top the bestseller lists, but I already know it is the kind of book I would like to read. Often when I am writing and I stop for the day, I find myself anxious to return to my computer so I can read how the story ends. It is exciting that way. And who knows...maybe in a few years you will walk into a bookstore and see "The Loracian Stone" by C.A. Nicholls on the shelves there. I hope it'd be the kind of book people will want to read but only time will tell. All I know is that when November wraps up, I will have the base to start working with and to see if I can actually turn it into something fantastic!

Sad Confession :(

Ok - I am a bad girl. All year, I worked so hard to train for my races and to lose the weight I gained during and after my pregnancy. When I left for San Francisco, I was down 40lbs from where I started on January 1. And then I slacked off. I blame part of it on my dark days after finishing my Team in Training journey. Another I indirectly blame my twinners for deciding that sleeping through the night is an optional activity after they had done so well up til then (teething be damned...mamma needs her sleep!)

Of course, I suppose I could have just sucked it up and foregone the extra few hours of sleep to get on the bike or to haul my ass out the door for a weekday run...though honestly, I kept telling myself it was ok to sleep longer because I was technically still recovering. Can you hear all of my excuses piling up yet? Perhaps you can hear the crinkling of discarded candy wrappers in my garbage can because I NEEDED the tub of peppermint patties the size of my head for while I was working on writing my book!

Well, today I stepped on the scale and hauled out the measuring tape. I'd been weighing in and watching my weight creep up, but the measuring hadn't been done since the week before we left for California. Today, I let the reality slap me across the face a few times as I saw the scale tell me I was 7lbs heavier than a month ago. The tape was the worst, though. 5 inches. Youch. That stung.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, what can I do but buckle down again. My food journal is the thing that kept me on track before so now I will once again write everything down and try to stick within the rough calorie allowance I give myself. I'll head to bed earlier so that an interrupted night won't leave me as sleep deprived because I definitely need those early morning workouts. I went from a manageable 20 lbs to lose before Mexico in April to a daunting 27lbs.

My first goal is to drop the 7 I just gained before Christmas. 7lbs in a month = do-able. And with my announcement to my hubby this morning that I m not baking this December - I think it might actually happen. Then I will work my butt off (and my belly and those jiggly thighs) to lose the last 20 before I get on that plane. I think I need to register for that half marathon I've been faltering on so I have a training schedule to follow again.

As for today..I am giving myself one last bad girl day. A place to wallow in chips and chocolate covered pretzels while I write. Tomorrow I am going to haul out my old Richard Simmons Foodmover and concentrate on staying within my calorie allowance while attempting to stick to the Canada Food Guide so I know I'm being healthy. Tomorrow I become good diet momma again and strive towards making something of myself that my daughters won't one day be embarrassed to walk through the mall with (Well, until they are teenagers anyway - nothing will save me then LOL)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Really Freaking Cold Run

After Team in Training, a bunch of us decided that we would like to keep running together on Saturdays. It has been kind of sporadic for the last month, but today 3 of us ignored the fact that it was freakishly cold (-21*C) and we got out there and ran. We didn't go far...just under 4K, but it was really about the coffee at the end and laughing with great friends.

It was also a great opportunity to see exactly how bad we are at dressing for the super cold of Calgary! We all overdressed...by a lot! I had been super worried that I wasn't going to have enough warm running clothes to get me through the winter, but that fear was laid to rest today!

I love running with friends! Love love love my Runner Girls! Can't wait til next weekend!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Last Chance Half (Not too late for a race report)

This past Sunday (Nov 14/10), I ran in the Last Chance Half in Calgary with one of my Runner Girls, J. We had signed up a month before we did Nike Women's Half on the premise that if we were going to spend the bulk of the year training for something, why not run another one while we had that training in the bank! Seemed like a brilliant plan until the hills in San Francisco killed me! LOL

Following our return from SF, I really only managed a couple of 14K runs in preparation and J joined me for one of them (being her only run). We were going on a wing and a prayer. My only goal for the race was to significantly beat my Nike time, which wasn't going to be hard because it had taken me nearly 3 hours to run that one. When a little birdie had tweeted that there were finishers medals at this half, I knew I had something to chant in my head when the going got rough! My usual mantra of "Coffee and a Cookie" was replaced by "Gonna get a medal"

Start time was 10 am, with an option for a 9:30am early start. All of the documentation we got at package pickup said that if you were planning to come in later than 2:30, you should consider taking the early start. We were torn because we knew we'd be on the cusp of that, but decided to start at 10 anyway.

And start we did...way too fast. J wanted to go at a run 20, walk 1 and we'd agreed to stick to a 6:15-6:30 per Km pace. Well, every time I glanced at my Garmin, it was blinking 5:30 or 5:55 but we were feeling ok so we went with it for a while. I made it on the 20:1 until the 50 min point where I sputtered out "Go on without me - I need to scale back to 10:1 so I don't die!" J promised that if she felt herself running out of steam, she'd drop back to rejoin me.

I found myself falling into a nice and easy 6:45 pace and figured I could maintain that for the rest of the race. By the time I hit the turnaround point, I was still feeling good and it looked like I could still hit close to a 2:30 finish. Another of our Runner Girls, K, was meeting us in the last half to run us in and as I came around a bend, I could see the two of them ahead of me. I tried to turn up my speed to catch up with them but spasms in my quads pulled me up short. Slowing down got rid of them immediately so I took it as a sign that I was meant to keep to my own pace.  It was right around this time that I was running right near Martin Parnell (The Marathon Quest 250 guy)...I cheered him on a bit and then he pulled ahead of me and was soon out of sight.  It was still super cool, though.  That guy is a real inspiration (and so tall)!

Around another bend, I suddenly ran into them. J's back had started spasming and it was killing her to run. K said she'd stay with her and we'd meet up at the finish area. As it turned out, for the last 8K, we leap frogged along the path. She would run when she could and my pace started to really fall back.

When I finally crossed the finish line, I was in the lead, but I didn't know by how much. For at least the last K, I was running 9 min/k and seriously dragging! I collected my medal and a bottle of water and pulled out my camera so I'd be ready to snap J as she crossed...its a good thing I did it then because she was only 34 seconds behind me!

My finish time: 2:31:14!!!! A PR by 20 mins and 16 secs!!! WOO HOOO!!!!

And my medal:


Finishing this half was much easier on me than Nike was. When I finished Nike, I went through a really rough mental patch that it took almost 2 weeks for the darkness to lift. It was finally on one of those 14K training loops of the reservoir that the darkness fell behind me and I knew I was up for the challenge again. This time, I was elated and could enjoy it more. I was stiff for 3 days after, but now I am looking forward to getting together with my Runner Girls again tomorrow and taking it easy fr the rest of the year. I have 2 5K fun runs on the schedule for December but I won't do another longer race until 2011. For now it will be all about the coffee and a cookie with friends after the run :)

So I've decided to start a blog...

After months of following the blogs of other running mommas, I decided to start one of my own. The only thing stopping me before now? The fact that I don't see myself as being only a running momma! Yesterday, I woke up from a dream with the thought that I could blend my interests into a single blog and go from there. The words Read.Write.Run.Mom. ran themselves through my head and here I am!

I recently quit Facebook and have found myself with a ridiculous amount of time on my hands and it is translating into my exploring my interests and developing my life further. The time sucking void of Facebook had denied me this for almost 4 years (I refuse to say I was addicted, but it definitely wasn't healthy).

So, who am I and why should you follow my blog, you ask? I am Cori. Voracious reader, aspiring authour, fun runner. Even though Mom comes at the end of the name - that is who I am first and foremost. I am the mother of the most gorgeous identical twin girls on the planet. They are almost 18 months old and are an almost constant source of joy in my life. While I love them to death, when I was pregnant I made a pact with myself that I would not stop my life just because I became a mom. They deserve to have a vibrant mother who doesn't put her own life aside for 18 years and then flounder when they move away. I am staying at home with them for the time being and it has been hard to put my career on hold, but it has made me examine my priorities in life and to set goals for my future. For our future.

As a runner, I'll never lead the pack but I am really only competing with myself anyway. I started running in February of this year when a dear friend (a marathoner) was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The first words that escaped my lips were "I need to find a run for lymphoma and do it!" My husbands response was "but you're not a runner!" to which I replied "then I guess I'm gonna become one!" I started with Couch-to-5K and never looked back. In April, I signed up with Team In Training to do the Nike Women's Half Marathon and I raised over $6600 for the cause while falling in love with being a runner. To keep myself motivated throughout the year, I ran races as I hit certain distances. Two 5K, Two 10K and then my first half. A month later, i ran my second half. It has been an amazing journey and I am glad to have found something I love doing because it will help me keep my weight from creeping up and will show my daughters that it is important to be active.

Now for the writer part. Everyone I have ever known has always said "I totally have a book in me...one day I'll get it out". I really did have a book in me. I started with a title almost 8 years ago and wrote about 1600 words on it before I got discouraged and set it aside. The idea never really left me, but I was always to scared to sit down and start typing. Finally this year I decided to use my departure from Facebook to sit down and get the book out to see if it was worth having out of my head. I had signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a couple of years ago - found out I was preggo and dropped out. Then thought I'd do it in 2009...but I had 6 month old twins and was beyond busy. THIS year - I'm doing it. I threw out the old manuscript and started from scratch with my original title and an opening line...and now I'm seeing where it goes. I'm at over 30,000 words so far and I don't hate it yet LOL. Maybe I have a best seller in me...or maybe I have a flaming ball of crap. Guess only time will tell, but at the end of November, I'll have written my first novel!

As for reading...I LOVE books. I love words and stories and immersing myself in them. I am never without a book to read (Thank you Sony Reader) and, since discovering blog reading software (yeah - I know. I'm a bit behind there. I blame facebook), I have an endless amount of reading material I can call on at any point in the day. I will read anything that has a great story to it and am always looking for recommendations. I particularly love a good fantasy with an epic quest.

So that is me...hope you'll be back for more.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I run for life!

 After this weekend, I don't think I will ever hear this song again without crying...I wanted to share the lyrics:

I Run For Life
(Melissa Etheridge)

It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Everyday that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast
If you ask her why she is still running
She'll tell you it makes her complete

[Chorus:]
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me, my friend
I run for life

It's a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin and they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul
And now I'm still learning the lesson
To awake when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I'll tell you I run for us all

[Chorus:]
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister, your daughter, your wife
For you and me my friend
I run for life
Ohohohoh

I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

NWM 2010 with TNT - Race Weekend Report

It's been a couple of days since the race and it has yet to sink in that it is over!   The weekend was such an incredible experience that it is going to be hard to break it all down here…but I might as well start at Union Square.

Expotique

After checking into our hotel, Cam and I headed over to the Expotique tent in Union Square.   I picked up my bib number and we wandered around the tent a bit to see what was there (they had gait analysis, bra fittings, a booth where you could sign up for automatic Facebook race updates, etc).   I signed the TNT dedication wall and we decided to head on our way to Niketown to score some race merchandise.  

At Niketown, they had an entire wall with all of the names of the people running in the race.   It took about 2 seconds to find my name, right at eye level, near the street corner LOL.   Took a picture and then hustled into the crowd inside.   I bought a great running shirt and then we went shopping in Union Square (expensive, but awesome)

Friendship Run

On the Saturday morning, our team met in the lobby to go for a friendship run across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Our mentor, Kim, had arranged a great surprise for us - transportation to the bridge was in LIMOS!!!!   SO AWESOME!

That run was THE BEST way to see the landmark.   We stopped to take a ton of pictures and had a relaxing run with lots of laughs!  Really - the pictures are posted and they tell the story so much better!

Inspiration Dinner

Saturday night was the inspiration dinner.  It was held at the Moscone Center (same place as Steve Jobs Keynotes - yes, I am THAT geeky).  As the TNT participants entered the convention centre, the noise was deafening.  Every single staff person for TNT was lined up to funnel us in and were cheering so loud.   It was so overwhelming.  I tear up just remembering it.   It really drove home what we have been doing for the sat 6 months and how much it has been appreciated by the society.   As we descended the stairs, there was a man holding a sign that said "I'm a survivor because of you"…I choked right up when I read that.   The whole scene just showed exactly how big this thing is.   It's hard to describe.  I took a video that I will try to upload today.

When we finally got into the centre and got our food, the program for the evening could begin.  The emcee for the evening was John "the penguin" Bingham - a popular author and Runners Word columnist.   I had actually just finished his book "Marathoning for Mortals" about 2 days before we left so I was very excited.   Joan Benoit Samuelson was the guest speaker.  And then there was a woman who spoke about her sister's battle with blood cancer (cancer eventually won) and how her  and her 5 other sisters have been honouring her by running and walking in several TNT events.  

All in all an emotional night.   I wanted to stay a bit longer and meet John Bingham (and get a picture) and to buy some TNT merchandise…but we had a Team meeting and I had about 3 minutes to get back to the hotel so it was all kind of a blur and I missed out on both.  Ah well - another time.


RACE DAY!!!

Race day started ridiculously early.  My alarm was set for 4:30, but my eyes opened at 4.  A quick peek out of our hotel window showed me that the race organizers were up long before I was - the lights glowing over Union Square were blinding!  And we were 4 blocks away!  I choked down my untoasted bagel (what I wouldn't have paid for a toaster right about then) and tried to not let my nerves get the best of me.   I smothered on the anti-chafe cream and started to get dressed in my race clothes.

At 5:30, Cam and I wandered down to the hotel lobby for our team photo (thanks, hun, you got so many great ones) and then I sent him back up to get some more sleep before heading to meet me at the finish line.

The team headed out to the start line - stopping to check bags and take porta-potty breaks along the way.   Gathered in front of Victoria's Secret, it took me a good half hour to get my Garmin to pick up a GPS signal.  At least I wasn't the only one wandering around with my arm in the air over my head! 

The streets were packed with 20,000+ runners and walkers…it was solid people as far as the eye could see!  At 7am, the gun went off and we slowly made our way to the start gate!   And then we were off…running through the financial district on our way to Embarcadero along the bay.   The buildings blocked the signal for my GPS so I had no clue how fast I was going until we got to the waterfront.   I was feeling good though and didn't stop to walk for the first 20 mins.   I was running with 3 other girls from my team and then I suddenly had to pee.  Bad.  LOL To hear the girls tell it - I just sped right up and got waaaaay ahead of them.  The first portapotties weren't until around the 6K mark so I had a long way to go.   When I finally got there, the wait was unbelievable.  My gamin paused for over 12 minutes but then I was on my way again.  By that time almost everyone had passed me and I was on my own.  

So I decided to just run my own race and enjoy the sights as I went.  I walked up the hills I didn't feel like running and ran the ones I did.  I stopped when a sight inspired me and I took ALOT of bad self portraits. 

At one point, I was coming up a smaller hill and noticed the photo collages that each region had put together…as I scanned for the Prairie region one, I saw Anna up ahead and so hurried to catch up to her…it was one of my favourite moments in the entire race to be able to stand at the photos from our region with the person I was honouring and have a photo with her to immortalize the moment!   I ran with her for a little bit and then pulled ahead again.

At exactly mile 9, I was stopping to take my picture with the mile marker sign and Becky, one of the girls on my team that hadn't been to any training runs, came up and introduced herself and offered to take my photo.  I did the same for her and we both suddenly had someone to run the rest of the race with.  

With lots of encouragement and self-cheering, we passed mile 10 (where we saw Jillian's hubby, Brent, and my wonderful Cam) and then the miles flew by and we were suddenly coming up to the finish line.  It had started to rain - not hard, but enough to remind me that it has rained every race day I've had all year LOL. 

I crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 51 minutes, and 30 seconds.   And then I moseyed on over to the lovely fireman who presented me with my Tiffany necklace/medal.   Then I picked up my bright pink finishers shirt (pink, really?  Nike, do you hate me?) and wrapped myself in a foil blanket to keep me warm.  As soon as I had crossed the finish line, I felt the tell-tale heat of a blister on both feet (though when I got back to the hotel there wasn't any - it just really felt like one).   I checked in at the TNT tent where they gave me a TNT pin that said I did 13.1 (YAY!) and went off to grab some food and water so I could start replenishing what I'd lost.  

The TNT tent was right by the ocean and the rain and wind made it super cold out there.   I saw very few people from our team simply because they wanted to get to the hotel and warm up as soon as possible.   I wanted to go back to the start line to cheer Anna in, but was so cold and sore that I couldn't get my bearings to head back.  As it turned out, she crossed the line almost exactly 3 minutes after I did so I was likely still right there at the line when she crossed.   So, as soon as I saw Cam, we hightailed it out of there.   It took me a good hour to warm up after my shower!

This race was a tough but beautiful course…a definite challenge for my first half marathon…but I am so happy I did it!   I went through a lot of beating myself up throughout the training for having chosen a half marathon instead of a full…but in the end it was definitely the right choice for me.  There is lots of time to do a full down the line.  Anna is already talking about putting together a team in 2012 to do a full marathon for TNT and I will happily join them then :)


Victory Party

The evening after the race, there was a Victory Party back at the Moscone Center.  Cam and I got dressed up and headed over there.  Dinner was kind of disappointing on the vegetarian side (Veggie Chow Mien and Mashed Potatoes  does not a meal make).  There was a circus performance as entertainment.   We didn't end up staying very long because we realized we had to leave the hotel super early to catch our flight…so we had to take off and didn't get a chance to say many good-byes.  As far as I could tell - there was dancing firing up right as we left so I am sure there was lots of fun to be had.

And that, in a nutshell, was the race weekend for Nike Women's Marathon 2010 :)