Friday, August 12, 2011

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Will Run For Popcorn

I've talked about money being my motivation... but what about food?

I'm not lying when I say that there are times in my run when I think about one thing... one salty, buttery multiple of a thing:

Really, it's not much a surprise if you know me even just a little bit. I am OBSESSED with popcorn. As a fat, lazy child, I would eat a bag twice a week with no shame. Microwave popcorn isn't terrible for you. It's just not good. There's no nutritional content in it and it packs some weird carb/fiber ratio you have to be careful of. But mainly, it's the chemicals in the artificial butter that make it unappealing.

Now I make my own with my favorite kitchen gadget, the popcorn maker, every Sunday. I have some tricks that make mine extra delicious- like, putting a spritz of water on fresh popcorn to help the salt stick or spraying it with oil to bring out the butter flavor. I've also done away with regular salt for all cooking, so I stick to sea salt. It packs more of a punch. I use a vegan butter to reduce the fat and sodium content. I'm not saying that my method is good for you, but comparatively, a bag's size worth of homemade popcorn is about 30 calories, 10 grams of fat, and half of the sodium less. Oh, and it doesn't have all the chemical additives and sticky, frustrating mess the microwave leaves.

And because I'm healthier, I share. B gets half of my popcorn when he asks for it. And believe me, my popcorn is like crack. You'll want more.

Back to the story, so it's 10am on Sunday and I'm at mile 8.5 of my 9 mile run. I see a group of ladies in pink and instantly realize that they are part of the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk that an online friend of mine was a part of. She flew in from Colorado to participate, so I knew this was a rare chance to find her. However, I didn't have a phone on me (mine broke on Thursday) so I couldn't directly get a hold of her. I instead decided to follow the walkers back to their pit stop. There, I asked around for her in vain. She hadn't come through yet, but she was on her way.

About ten minutes in to waiting and chatting with the walk volunteers, it started to rain. Ok, no, not rain... monsoon.

Eventually, it got so bad that I was yelled at by a man in a neon pink bra and cowgirl hat to get under the undepass for shelter. They wouldn't let anyone leave till it let up. After about an hour and a ton of impatience on my part, I decided to sneak out with some softball players also forced in the pink filled underpass. When one of the volunteers was distracted, five of us booked it out and in to the rain.

Bad idea. The only thought getting me home was the promise of that popcorn crack. Seriously, many runners have a motto or motivational thought to help them get through a wall. Mine is: Popcorn. POPCORN. POPCORN!!!

After another half mile run home, I came in looking a bit like this:

But, I ran 10 miles, felt great, and even did it in the downpour. I felt amazing. And that popcorn I had later that night was so worth it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Eat Run Eat

For some reason, as I was typing the title of this blog, this song got stuck in my head:

I'm. So. HUNGRY. So much so, that I'm googling this:
Yes, that is the Hot Doug's menu, and no, I've never been there before. JUDGE ME!!!
I've been eating poorly this week. Between the Sonic, ice cream, Rainforest cafe, 2 bags of (eek!) microwavable popcorn, Taco Johns, etc... well, I haven't done so hot. 
I'm just so hungry.
No. Really. My stomach is singing symphonies to me, and they are more on the line of:
In my head, I tell myself over and over that I should be satisfied with between 1300-1800 calories. That's what I need to maintain and/or lose weight. I dont need anymore. 

Than I read articles that tell me to eat as much as I like. I'm a runner for Zeus-sake. Putting out over 20 miles a week means I earn a friggin' cheeseburger or nine. And those fries--carb loading for the weekend. 

But, deep down, I know that this binge is not meant to be. Want to lose weight? You have to eat less, but also more. Try to get a deficit in calories in vs. calories out, but dont take too much out or you'll hit starvation mode. 


I just want to eat. And eat. AND eat. Preferably, I want to munch on salty, hummus covered anything. As I run longer and farther, that want turns in to a need as the stomach basically threatens to eat itself. Sometimes, this hunger is frightening just in its intensity. Of course, it comes with headaches, tiredness, Modesky-esque rumbling... etc. 

So, I feed it, and I remember that if my stomach is to the point that it could overpower an 80s cover band, then I should eat. I try to be sensible about it. I continue to promise myself that when I ramp down my running in two weeks, I'll eat less, especially less carbs until this all begins again for marathon training.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

It has been one week since my last strength training session. My muscles are exhausted. My physical capacity for moving at anything over a turtle's pace while lifting anything but the remote has dwindled. I am sunburned (and blistered) from relying on a 9 year old to apply lotion at the beach on my pasty back. And my brain has been turned to mush from a proper melting from this man:

I've spent my entire weekend in a state of exhaustion, to say the least. On Thursday, I was still feeling feverish, so I wisely took the day off. I never take sick days. I always have this guilt complex about it. I feel like if I can type and answer questions without vomiting, than I should go in. But for some reason, I was compelled to take off Thursday. My head was throbbing, I felt feverish, and my stomach was aching. And my productivity would have been at a zero. So, I reluctantly took the day off to lay around in my pjs, watching tv and checking my work email from home.

On Friday, still feeling ill, I skipped my morning run. I was supposed to do 6 miles, but after about 3/4ths of one, I had to stop. My legs were cramping and my headache was almost unbearable. I knew I had a long day ahead of me, so I just gave in and walked home (tail between legs).

Luckily, I had enough energy to entertain my 9 year old niece for our pre-planned slumber party. We spent several hours at the beach (hence the blistering sunburn on my back... soooo painful), took a bit of a nap, rode the L to the Rainforest Cafe, played in the Faces Fountain, and then saw Beauty and the Beast. I ate too much junk, overloaded on carbs, and spent precious water time jumping over waves instead of actually swimming. But it was worth it to spend some quality time with the little one.

Unfortunately, I learned the pains of waking up a 9 year old at 7am on a Saturday after a long night out. She fell asleep on the ride back home. The baby nephew was awake enough for me to give him his present:

Isn't this not the most essential toy? We had one (minus the creepy eyes and cup holders) and played with it for years! Now they only make them for the toddler set, so they are much safer with a door lock and foot board, and are about half the size. I do miss the days when we would roll this down the yard at my grandma's house.

Oh. And I beat Brendan at several hands of poker. I won $2.40 off of him.

Sunday morning, I awoke to beautiful, clear blue skies... which is the opposite of what I wanted to see. I had a 12 mile training run planned and I did not want to run in anything but clouds, a steady breeze, and temps under 70. Instead, I got starting temps at around 82, no breeze, and no shade covering. My first 5 miles were easy, but as soon as I made it for mile 6-7 (easily the hardest because of it's location right on the water and no shade or benches), I was dead. I slowed and made it to the rest station at mile 8. I then made the decision to suck it up and run past the smelly Lincoln Park zoo trails so I could run under some tree cover. That's when my watch started fizzing out and telling me that I had run a 22 minute mile. I mean, I guess it could be so, but it then told me I ran a 9 minute mile... so there' that. Damn GPS. Either way, I finished my 12 miler in a respectable time (that didn't count my five-seven minute pit stops at the rest areas). I recovered pretty quickly after some Gatorade, soy milk, and a pretty hardy lunch.

8 hours later, I was sitting/standing in historic Wrigley Field waiting for Paul McCartney to come on. He put on an amazing show. I couldn't help but taking moments to remind myself how much of a dream come true it was. I saw Paul McCartney live. I sang along to Hey Jude and air drummed Let 'Em In. How cool is that?!?

Anyways, so obviously not much fitness and way too much bad eating. Here's my intended schedule for this week:
Monday: Spin class (taking it light since my sunburn is horribly painful)
Tuesday: 3 mile run, ST
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: 6 mile run, ST
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Spin class, ST
Sunday: 9 mile LSD

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kilts and Dollas

I've mentioned it briefly before, but I'm currently giving myself $1 per mile run (doubles on races).

It's a sweet little motivator considering I am horrible about not putting money away voluntarily. Sure, I have direct deposit where I put a portion in to my 403B (whatever the hell that is, but it sounds fan-cy) and another little portion in to my savings account. But those portions are small and insignificant and I rarely just move money over when it's left over from bills and fun stuff.

So, every morning I run, I spend about two minutes transferring over small amounts of money back and forth from my checking account to savings. Obviously, the amounts are small- $3.10 on Tuesdays, $6.20 on Thursdays, between $10-$14 on Sundays. But in total, it's a good $20ish a week or around $80-100 a month.

I already know what I'm going to spend it on (because you really dont think that I'm saving for nothing)... VACATION!


I haven't had a real vacation in years. Seriously, multitudes of years. I love traveling and since I'm not saving up for babies, weddings, homes, cars, etc.... I can afford (har har) to take some me time and move around a bit. 
My sister and I are currently talking Scotland. I should mention that my sister had to be dragged screaming on family vacations, so her wanting to go to Scotland is a complete surprise. I did have to explain, with utter frustration, that you couldn't just do a weekend in Scotland. The plane alone would take 7+ hours and we would lose time. The concept seemed lost. 

We still dont get it, Daniel.
However, I'm more than happy to visit Scotland. It's not the first place on my travel list. But, if it gets me out of the house and using my passport, I'm down with that. 
Plus, who doesn't want to see the land of Sean Connery? 

So, from now on, during my runs I will be thinking about martinis and Sean Connery. Maybe I'll try to pace myself to Annie Lennox or use some Braveheart quotes as my running motto when I'm in a rut. Sounds good to me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Had a Dream...

Woke up in a panic this morning. I had just come out of dreamworld and I was PISSED OFF.

My dream started with me signing up for the Chicago Marathon. In real life, it's my ultimate goal. I plan on running it in 2012. I was excited, nervous, but for some reason, I felt like I had trained enough. The night before, I was at a party and got home late (much like my last 10K). I didn't have time to pack or put out my outfits. I kind of just crashed on the couch.

When I woke up, I realized that I was running horribly late, which happens to be my biggest pet peeve and fear, so I ran to the start lines without double/triple checking my gear. As I made it to the start line, I saw that all the corals were lining up. I was in the third to last one (even in my dreams I'm slow... must work on that), so I knew I had a bit of time to relax and get warmed up. As I was making my way to gear check, I noticed that I didn't have my bib (the race number) on me. I knew that I couldn't run without it so I frantically begged and pleaded with the race organizer to let me run. She looked a bit like this:

After realizing that Ms. Trunchbull/race organizer wasn't going to let me get anywhere near the corals without a bib on, I called up a sleeping SOB and demanded that he race downtown with my bib. As I waited, I watched, horrified, as all the corals left in 2-3 minute intervals.

As B arrived and handed off my bib, I darted to the start line. But when I got there, they were packing it up and putting up the finish. The sag wagon had already left with the last runner to officially cross the start. And I was left alone, in tears, as the elite runners were coming in (even in my dreams, everyone is MUCH faster than me).

Odd thing was that when I woke up, I noticed that it was 5:40. My alarm didn't go off and I missed a training run. Not a big deal, but a bit odd considering my dream.

Now, knowing me, you know that I HAVE to analyze this dream. Sure, it could be nerves. My first half marathon is less than 3 weeks away! While I got in a great 10 mile run on Saturday morning, I'm still feeling anxious. This could be the same as brides who have nightmares about walking down the aisle naked or guests eating chicken instead of steak... that sort of thing.

That's a bit provincial for me. I'm equating this dream to my fears of not being able to lose any more weight. I admit that I've been slacking these last few weeks. Between my social life, my want to spend time with my boyfriend at home, and my depression... I've stopped tracking my food and my gym visits have dwindled to once or twice a week. I'm taking more "rest" days off, even when I truly dont need it. It's all excuses.

I seem to do this a lot in life- I get started on a good foot. I'm excited, raring to go, and I've prepared myself for every obstacle. But at some point in my journey, I'm always held back by my own doing (i.e. forgetting the bib). And I'm, of course, left to watch the rest pass me by.

Unfortunately, this is where I should write all the things I'm going to do to turn this rut around. I'll get myself fired up and hopefully inspire one or two of you to at least do a push up. But I'm just not in the mood. I've got The Decemberists concert tonight (YES), my niece spending the night on Friday, my nephew's first birthday on Saturday, and the Paul McCartney concert on Sunday. My free time and devotion to the gym is going to continue to take a back burner this week, along with food tracking. But luckily, I've been doing this for long enough to know how much fitness I truly need to get and what kind of food choices I need to make to balance each other out. I'll be fine.

But after this week, feel free to yell at me till I get to the gym.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

10K Recap

See these wonderful, delicious, sympathetic things? They were the only thing getting me across the finish line at the Fleet Feet Sports Women's 10K/5K on Sunday.

There I was, at mile 6, ready to either throw up, cry, pass out, or all three... but the woman next to me (a saint in a red Chicago Marathon shirt) urged me to keep going. "Just think of the popsicles" she said, breathless as I was. "God, I hope they have red!" I replied.

.1 mile left, I spotted SOB waiting for me. He started filming, I started screaming at him to stop. And in about two seconds, I was across that finish line and searching for that illusive red popsicle. No luck, they only had orange and purple. Sucks being a slow runner. No good popsicles left for those slower than a 9 minute mile pace.

It could have been worse... much worse.

Run Hades had basically sucked the life out of me from start to finish. The ground was a sweltering 84 degrees when the 5000 ladies took off from the marina. My first mile was spent thanking all that is holy for giving me the insight to bring my amphipod water bottle along for the ride. It was then accompanied by curses directed at my shin splints. I wouldn't blame them. My first mile was fast, even for me, causing my calves to basically buckle under me with each step.

"Slow the fuck down," I probably said out loud (and to the chagrin of the other runners who already thought I was crazy). 5 miles left and I didn't plan on burning out at mile 2. I was certainly not going to go down because my calves were a little pissed.

I was also not going to fail while trying to pass the herds of ladies walking the 5K, hand in hand. I get it, this is a celebration. You beat cancer, raised some money, got your lady loves involved, etc.... but do you really need to take up a path with all your love? Cant you just walk two-by-two, or a line? It could be a big freakin' parade. Some of us are not in it to hold hands. We are there to get sweaty, make a PR, and allow ourselves to eat a second serving of popcorn. Next race that has this issue, I swear I'm going to play a game of Red Rover.

 More photoshop skills learned!

At mile 3, I got to witness the craziness of an enraged golfer. To that man, who cussed out a bunch of fine looking women in short shorts and sports bras running past the drive way to the Lincoln Park golf course... well, you deserve no pity. What you said was horrifying, and I chuckled loudly as the cop came and forced you back in to your car before one of the three women chasing you down could kick your sorry, old, white ass. Next time, check the website or the trail. Signs were posted and races happen almost every weekend.

Mile 4, well nothing happened then. Just hot air.

At mile 5, we headed back to the marina. We circled around the soccer fields and past the lake front church. I finally passed a group of girls who were casually chatting the entire time. No one should be able to chit-chat about their kid's artwork and run a 10K in 90 degree weather. It's just not fair.

And then mile 6 happened. My angel in a red marathon shirt guided me to that popsicle heaven. I crashed on the lawn, sucking down that orange juicy stick (mmm... dirty). After a good amount of not moving, SOB and I got back on the trail for the 1 mile walk home... in 90 degree temps. I spent the rest of the day happily eating mac and cheese and popcorn. Nothing like post race, non-guilt.

Other highlights of the weekend?:
- Harry Plopper
- Hair cutz. Wish I took a before picture, but my hair was past my shoulder blades and enough to be deemed a mechanical safety issue. So it got the chop. It was a last minute call, one that I put in the hands of a brilliant and awesome stylist. He did great. My hair feels fresh as a daisy and I can actually see my neck now.
- My eating... Cartman style... I'll get back to you on the nutrition department. I've been bad.
- Oh, and hai, SOB's Brother, SOB'sLBM had his graduation party. That was fun, but SOB'sLBM's pictures were not flattering. I cannot wait till there comes a day when I do not look at pictures and shudder. A girl can dream.