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.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Better Son or Daughter

Oh Lord, I was on a high this week. And by high, I mean finally feeling normal. Yippee!

And then, two days later, I'm back down.


I would really love to be out of this- to feel normal, happy, proud. Oh, and I'd love to look at myself and see someone who is smiling rather than looking like the Ghost of Christmas past.

If you can believe it, I spent so much of yesterday just staring at nothing with no thoughts in my head. I spoke more words to the man on the L asking me about the book I'm reading (Last of the Mohicans) than actually communicating with anyone else.

Today, well, it's no different. I feel, uh, better. But I seriously think it's because I've spent much of the day planning for my niece's visit and trying to find Alex's 1st birthday gift online. Seriously, how can you not smile when looking at adorable babies in cute outfits?

Anyways, B sent me this song yesterday while I was in the thick of things, and it's been stuck in my head ever since. It eerily sums up exactly what is going through my head.:

Oh, and I ran 4 miles yesterday. I should throw that in someplace, so why not here? 4 miles is a pretty easy undertaking, but I ran it after work yesterday. I usually do all of my runs in the morning, before 8am, so there was a huge difference. I obviously felt more self conscious with the added amount of people on the trail. I guess there was more pressure to get through my intervals without looking like I'm about to fall apart or die of heat exhaustion.

Only 3 days away from my tune up 10K- or as my runner friends are calling it, RunHades 10K. I had really wanted to pull a PR (personal record), but with the race not starting till 7:30 and the temps as it is, I'm going to stick with just finishing as my goal. 

This is a great test to see how I will do in the heat with my half marathon. Only 4 weeks out! I'm feeling more and more confident as well as freaked out. My motivation is at a high with my training, but to make sure that I keep on running after I cross the finish line, I've decided to pay myself. For every mile I run, I'm giving myself a dollar and doubling it if it's a race. For July, I've already deposited about $21.50. Cha-ching!

Anyways, have a happy and healthy weekend. I'll be back, I'm sure, with a race recap on Sunday night or Monday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why I Dont Support Your Weight Loss

Support from family and friends means the absolute world to me. Even when you dont know it, you are giving me the strength and courage to fight my deamons- weight loss, depression, desire to eat popcorn every night, addiction to MTV reality shows, etc.

Today, one of my coworkers, whom I only see in the Fall, stopped by my office to ask about music gigs. The first thing she said to me was "Oh my goodness. When did you get so small?" She didn't know that I had been working my ass (literally) off for the last 9 months. She wasn't prompted or given a cookie to say such nice things. And I wasn't wearing lyrca infused miracle panties. She just said it.

Feeling good, I thanked her for her words and we started discussing running and all of my races, including this weekend's Fleet Feet Women's 10K/5K. Little does she know that when I'm running on Sunday, I'll be thinking about how her face lit up when I said, without hesitation, that I am running to get healthy.

It's easy to blow smoke up my ass. It is still that large, but it's one thing to show genuine interest. And that's what keeps me moving. I hope I do the same in return for all of my friends who are out there at the gym or are posting fitspiration blogs and race recaps. We are all in this together.

BUT, and it's a big BUT, I will not support just anyone. You have to do this smartly. This shouldn't just be about the number on the scale or the size of your tape measure. This is about obtaining the healthiest, manageable lifestyle. For many of us, that does include dropping 20-30-40-50-100lbs. So, just so we are clear on why I'm not friending you back on Sparkpeople or why I refuse to give you any advice on facebook, here's a list of my exceptions:

I will NOT support you if you are intentionally eating under 1200 calories a day. Whether it be for a wackado diet or your own need to cut your calories, 1200 is not sufficient. 1200 calories is what you need to have normal brain function- that's not to strive, create, push yourself through tough workouts. 1200 is the baseline low that you should shoot to get over. And when I mean over, let me say that as a 4'11" female at the weight of this tshirt cannon:

I strive to eat between 1400 calories (non-workout days), 1600 calories (strength and short runs), 2000 calories (long runs or over 2 hours of cardio). I'm assuming you are not as short as me, so add about 100 calories to each of those numbers and you most likely have the number you should be eating at if you are female.

I wont even begin to list all the horrors that could go on if you continue to eat at 1200, but let's sum it up by saying that you will most likely give up, gain weight (starvation mode really does suck), or wind up with depression/muscle loss/fatigue/hair and nail loss/etc. So dont do it, please.

On the same line, I will NOT support you if you partake in a dangerous or redic. diet trend. That 1200 number? Subtract it by about 400 calories. That's how much you are allowed to eat for the first week of a diet that requires you to also inject yourself with hormones twice a day. How idiotic does that sound? And oddly enough, it's a real thing that quack doctors supposedly recommend. Do not tell me you are doing this diet to be healthy when clearly the means of getting you there are downright dangerous.

 Even the caveman doesn't want to participate in the Caveman Diet.

I will NOT support you if you dont give yourself rest days. It's a rookie mistake, I know, and there are weeks in which I will forget that my body cannot recover unless I let it. If you're a new runner, dont run every day. In fact, 3 days a week is what most 5K-10K runners use to train. Any more is unnecessary and can lead to injury. And, if you dont allow your body to rest, I can guarantee you that you will burn out.

I will NOT support you if you are not completely honest about your program and effort. I just read a story about a woman who is tired of listing to her friend complain about all the hard work she puts in at the gym with little results to show. The story goes on to say that the author frequently saw her put in 10 minutes on the "old lady" bike and then spend an hour at the juice bar with a protein shake and a cereal bar.

I know, working out is hard work. And often times, you will get sweaty. Your makeup will run. Your hair will become matted and frayed. And fitness clothes? Sometimes not the most flattering to do squats in. Dont get me started on how boring machines can get or how intimidating classes can be... But these are all excuses. You dont burn a cookie off without sweating just a bit. And you certainly cant take back all those trips to Wendys without making some puddles in spin class. Suck it up. You get what you put in. It may not be immediate and it may not be as exciting as you had hoped, but it will come and it will pay off.

And finally, I will NOT support you if you try to sell me something. When did weight loss become the Mary Kay industry? I'm not knocking those who do it, and I apologize in advance if you do sell for these organizations. But here's a big warning: Do not even attempt to sell to me. I wont bite. Same thought, but dont even try to make me a part of your "sales team." I'm not going to your fitness party and I'm certainly not trying your "gourmet" shakes (that will subsequently cost me over $200/month for).

It's that easy. Eat right, put in the right amount of exercise, know when to rest, and dont try to sell me shit. Do this and I promise that I'll be there at every mile to cheer you on and blow smoke up your huge bum until it's small and perky.

Monday, July 11, 2011

4 Till 13.1. Crap.

Well. I just checked my calendar.

I'm just 4 WEEKENDS off till my Half Marathon. Oh, you know... that thing that I've been training all year for.

Cue anxious sweating and mental cursing.

Normally, this would send me in to an imaginative Rocky-esque montage of me running up and down the Lake Front path to the sound of "Eye of the Tiger"

My photoshop skills are getting better! 

However, this revelation is different. This is a freak out. A freak out in which I spend two days pouring over all material related to half marathon training plans. What should I be eating? What about my shoes- I think I need new ones. When do I get them? What should I wear if it's hot? What should I wear if it's cold? Should I bring my fanny pack hydration pack with me? Should I also bring my gels, gu, adrenaline bites? What if I'm not ready!?! What if I haven't trained hard enough or long enough!!! What if I'm the slowest, fattest, ugliest one there!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

The truth is: I'm pretty much ready. What's making me freak out is a combination of a horrible run on Sunday in which I could only run 8 out of my scheduled 11 (really, it was supposed to be 12.5) and the fact that my views on races are both dread and excitement.

The lead up to a race is full of self-doubt. There are so many what-ifs involved that it becomes a mind game. I hate this part. I hate looking at my training, something I put countless amount of hours and sacrificed so many precious sleeping hours for, and thinking that I didn't do enough. I hate that I will look at those gazelle like ladies at the Half Expo and know that I will be behind them from start to finish. These four weeks will be nothing but analyzing and agonizing. 

But the lead up is always the worst part. When I get to the race, I'll be overjoyed, full of nervous butterflies, but calm in my pursuit. At the start line, I turn in to a captain. I know the charts, the path, the intervals. Now it's time to lead my ship home. And at the finish, I'll reward myself with a bagel and a banana (maybe even some brunch or ribs). And at home, I'll put my medal and my bib on my wall and admire it every time I start to feel like I didn't do enough. 

Schedule for the week:
Monday- yoga and kickboxing
Tuesday- 5K, New Rules strength
Wednesday- dance or swimming
Thursday- 6 miler, New Rules strength
Friday- Rest
Saturday- Spin class or work outs in the park (yoga, pilates, zumba)
Sunday- Fleet Feet Sports Women's 5K/10K (doing the 10K), New Rules strength

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fit Book Review

I own a total of one, count them ONE, fitness oriented books. You'd think with my obsession, I'd have a library full, but I'm sadly not on the book bandwagon.That, and I feel weird about buying books.

Anyways, ever since I started my ongoing Biggest Loser Challenge on, I've heard nothing but raves for one book in particular:

Friends were getting pretty awesome and consistent results with this book, so I set out to get one. Only problem was my aversion to buying books. While the CPL has a couple in it's shelves, it is ALWAYS checked out. When I finally got my new toy (my precious!), I decided to bite the bullet and download it. Having an electronic copy made it easier for me to lug it around to my apartment's gym and local YMCA anyways. Win-win.

Now, for the good stuff.

The book is split up in to four-ish sections:
I. The introduction. Obviously, it does as it should. It gives you a vague overview about what you're getting in to and some of the benefits of making ladies lift barbells instead of "Barbie" weights. I already lift weights regularly and do not use the pastel colored variety, so this already made sense to me. This is a great section to read if you are on the fence about your need to lift anything but a tv remote and spoon as it does walk you through the medical reasons why weight lifting is better than about 80% of what you probably do in the gym today. Throughout the book, he uses a large number of somewhat recent medical and university based studies to support or break down his findings. He even tells you when they are small studies, which I support as a complete and utter nerd.

What I did not like is how he puts down endurance training. What he says about endurance (especially running), makes sense in that cardio, especially non-interval work for long periods of time, breaks down muscles while strength training builds it back up. However, I think there are many cardiovasucal benefits that outweigh the good and bad of running or elliptical hogging. The trick is, as he notes, is to focus on intervals rather than continuing endurance. Since I Jeff Galloway my runs, I essentially does what the author supports.
II. Nutrition. As you most likely know, there are a BAJILLION diets out there. Most of the big ones- Watchers of Weights, Carbs Are Evil, Near Starvation, Carbs Are Our Friends, etc.- get some attention. He sums up his "diet" pretty simply. We cannot survive on 1200 calories (the lowest we can go to optimally function, but oddly, what most diet gurus suggest). We need the right amount of fuel from macro nutrients: fat, carbs, and protein. By eliminating or drastically decreasing one of those nutrients, we are depleting ourselves of what our bodies need to survive and prosper. Especially when lifting, macro nutrients mean even more to help build the muscle. He suggests the Zone like 30-40-30 ratio. Meaning, most meals should be 40% of your caloric intake should be carbs, and 30% and 30% should be fat and protein.

Protein is the main emphasis. He suggests buying whey protein powder, which I have been meaning to get for my morning smoothies. I, personally struggle with protein consumption. I tend to eat only about 60-80 grams a day when we should, as exercisers, get 100+. Now, as we know SOB is a vegan and protein consumption can be very difficult for those who are not living off of perdue chicken planks like I am. The author does mention vegan and vegetarian lifestyles in a somewhat positive way, but this book is not for you if you are unable to manage that large amount of protein in your diet.

III. Workout Plan. Basically, his strength plans are all large muscle groups with light emphasis on the core (which, if you read or study the body, you know that the core are actually muscles connected to other muscles... so you are working your core when you use your legs, shoulders, etc). My first workout was last night and it went like this:
Warm Up: Floor to stand squats
Exercise A (continuous): 2 sets of 15 reps of barbell squats
Exercise B1 and B2 (repeated): 2 sets of 15 reps of 60 degree angle push ups and 2 sets of 15 reps of step ups with 10lb weights in each hand
Exercise C1 and C2 (repeated): 2 sets of 15 reps of standing rows with barbell and 2 sets of 8 reps of a jackknife lunge on the swiss ball

Now, this is the easiest workout, so the amount and quality increases over time, but you can personalize it however you want. He does not tell you how much weight to use, but even though I do lift frequently, I struggled with just the weighted barbell on the squats and rows. Unless you are using a very light or smaller barbell, this could be quite the challenge ahead. Oh, and I should mention that even with the 60 second rests in between the sets, I did this routine in 30 minutes. I like efficiency in my workouts.

Overall, the book gives you enough plans for about 6-9 months of workouts. They are also broken down in different stages and the exercises offer vary in difficulty. The pictures of the workouts are great and really helped me decipher what was needed to be done, but if you aren't a picture person, his descriptions are pretty straight forward. Just read beforehand.

What I did not like... 6 months is all you get. There is really no explanation on what to do when you finish the program. It's just done. I also do not like that he doesn't list the equipment you will need. If I didn't have access to my apartment gym or YMCA, I'd be furious if I bought this. Just in case you're curious, you will need: a barbell with plates, a step (preferably a block step or a bench), hand weights over 5lbs, swiss balls, and cable machines (but there are modifications mentioned if you do not have this). All in all, I got it done in my bare minimum apartment gym, but my barbell was much larger than the one used in his book, I used a bench as my step block, and I opted to do the standing row instead of a sitting one since I dont have a cable machine that modifies.

IV. Motivation. The last part is about motivation. To be honest, it didn't really inspire me, but I've been on this journey for awhile. When I got to the last section, I just wanted to do it. I didn't need to hear about all the excuses he hears or how he wishes me well. I do like that he is no-nonsense. Just get your work done. You're on vacation? Great. Take it, enjoy it, maybe workout if that's your thing. But when you get home, get in to the routine. Ok. Kids stressing you out? Deal with that. Work out later. Modify. Adjust. Adjust some more.

So my overall opinion is that this book would be great for those ladies out there who are intimidated by the weight room, but who have some experience with weights or lifting. If you have no idea what a barbell is or cannot perform a pushup on your knees, try something lighter until you're ready. You will not lose weight with lifting, but you will most likely lose inches and gain some balls-to-the-wall confidence. And, dear god, you will NOT bulk up. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I'm not going to splenda-coat this: My self esteem is as low as it has ever been. This measurement also takes in consideration the month long, no-sleep marathon my freshman year of college that made me break down over jean purchasing. I was about 10lbs thinner then. Yikes.

Things I have previously found beautiful about me have been slowly slipping away over the last year. I used to love how long my hair has grown. Now it's a rat's nest that I dont even bother to straighten or curl. My once lovely chin is covered in blackheads. My fearsome calves? Tree trunks.

I've gone from examining myself in the mirror to avoiding it at all costs just so I can save myself some time in self-humiliation:

Last night, my bad side was apparently out in full force and SOB had had enough of it. Later in the evening, I mentioned wanting to give in and buy P90X, he laid it on me:

My low self-esteem has made me become obsessed with working out.

Obsessed? I wouldn't necessarily say that. Let's analyze:

Do I spend the majority of my time reading about working out?: No. I spend more time researching my nutrition and obsessing over Etsy creations. Oh, and cute animal pictures. 

How many hours a day do I spend working out?: About 40 minutes-two hours 5 days a week. 

How much money have I spent on working out?: My  monthly investments are a $20/ month membership to the Y and $5-10 a month on dance classes. On time purchases are at $20 on a running and lifting book, $120 on a Garmin watch, $80 on shoes, $200 on race sign ups. I haven't bought any new weights, videos, memberships, special foods or cooking supplies, etc.
Would I physically or mentally fall apart if I missed a schedule day of workouts?: No. This holiday weekend was evidence of that. I missed 3 in a row days of exercise. I ran only once. My only dedicated exercise from Thursday-Monday was one spin class. Did I feel guilty? Yes. I did. Only because I know how easy it is to take one or two days off and it turn in to a month or a year. But I dont fret or moan. I dont even complain much. I just resign to the fact that whatever I missed will get done at some other time. 

The results: Yes. I am obsessed. 

Dude, I'm writing a blog totally dedicated to my workouts and depression. Of course I am obsessed.

The first thing I do when I wake up is plan my fitness routine. Am I running? I'll sleep in my sports bra and wave shorts. Am I swimming later? I'll make sure to rest my arms during the day. Is it a rest day? I make sure my calories are lower. I go over little plans of attack from 5am-10pm every day.

I have calenders for my workouts, spreadsheets for my weight lifting, printed out ideas for swim workouts, posted goals for running and spinning. My entire life is a reminder that there is a run coming, spin class on Saturday, and that I want to fit in this dress by this date. Oh, and I force my boyfriend to leave the living room so I can put on a 20 minute strength video OnDemand that's hosted by some woman with a smoker's voice and a Richard Simmons attitude.

I am obsessed and it is no one's fault but mine. I made myself in to this subhuman, weight lifting, cardio bunny. 

But here's the deal. I dont think I want to fix it. My weight and body composition are no where near what it should be for a girl my height and shape. I may have a good 22lbs start on fixing it, but I'm still about 30lbs behind. I have to be obsessed. This is my health I'm putting on the line. This is my ability to have children, sleep properly, walk up stairs without developing smoker's lung, shop anywhere I want, wear strapless dresses, eat a burrito in public, or shake what my mama gave me without having to worry about things shaking that my mother clearly did not give me. 

I give in. I'm obsessed.

Wednesday weigh-in: Even after a week off, I lost this week. -0.7lbs 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Birthday Recap

While I wait in total anticipation for the Casey Anthony jury decision, I figured I should update this. Maybe.

When I last left off, it was almost my birthday. I had made my mileage goal with a spectacular 5k run and I was feeling good heading in to Thursday.

On Wednesday night, I was the DJ of the evening for DDPP. Had a FANTASTIC time and made a kick ass playlist. I wanted to do something to honor my birthday, so I picked out a song from every other year starting in good ol' 1987. Here's the list with some explanations:

1987 (warm-up)- Bon Jovi Living on a Prayer: Number one song from my birth year... how could I not pick this? Plus, the video starts with the band stretching and putting clothes on.
1988- Harry Belafonte "Jump in the Line" (from Beetlejuice): LOVED the movie, and this song is a big crowd pleaser for DDPP.
1990- B52 "Love Shack" : Another one of those "how could I not?" picks.
1991-2- Deee-Lite "Groove is in the Heart": I really struggled with the early 90s because when I was 5 or 6, we listened to only oldies or country songs. My older brother was big on Nirvana, but Nirvana is obviously not the best to dance to!
1993- Salt N Peppa "Shoop": A later love. Every girl must love this song. It's required.
1995- No Doubt "Spiderwebs" : Another requirement for any girl growing up in the 90s. This song is still one that I will turn up on blast if I hear it in the car.
1997- Spice Girls "Spice Up Your Life": Guilty pleasure #1. I was OBSESSED with Spice Girls. I still remember taking countless "Which Spice Girl Are You" quizzes and demanding to see their movie as soon as it came out.
1998- Madonna "Ray of Light": You cant mention the 90s or 80s without Madonna. It was a big fight between Vogue and this.
1999- Jamiroquai "Canned Heat": This song truly started my love of electro-indie-pop/rock. And the music was in one of my favorite dance movies, Center Stage.
2000- NSYNC "Bye Bye Bye": Guilty pleasure #2. I loved BSB more, but NSYNC is more conducive for dancing.
2003- Outkast "Hey Ya": Another "how could I not?" But B gets mad when he hears this at weddings because the song is clearly about getting a divorce.
2006- Apples in Stereo "Can You Feel It": Do you like happy, feel-good, dance music? Find yourself some Apples in Stereo and turn the volume way up.
2008- Beyonce "Single Ladies": In 2008-09, I broke up with my longest term boyfriend... one I wanted to marry because, as Beyonce puts it, "Put in three good years, cant be mad at me."
2010- La Roux "Bullet Proof": My favorite pop song of last year, and my motto for this year.
Random (last work song)- Dexy's Midnight Runner "Come on Eileen": This song is ALWAYS in my DDPP playlists. No rhyme or reason. I just love it.
2010 (cool down)- Peter Gabriel "Heroes": Great song to come off of a high.

Dripping in some funtimerainbow90srock sweat, I returned home to find SOB in a suit, on a rooftop deck (facing the lake and skyline), with a gigantic bowl of homemade pasta. And garlic bread. He even pushed a "meat"ball around his plate with his nose for me.
I'm cuter. And less demure.

On Thursday, we woke up, got dressed, and screamed our heads off at Six Flags for 9 hours. Ahh to be young and not to know what a roller coaster hangover feels like... BTW. There is this new ride in the water park called Torpedo or something, but it should be called Bank Teller Tube of Death. To sum it up, a floor drops from underneath you and you get shot through an enclosed tube of water and in to a small pool. It is not fun and I swear it gave me this nasty cold I'm fighting.

Saturday night was my adventure in to cake making. I actually LOVE to bake. It's soothing to me. I just wish I could eat all of the things I plan on baking. But I had decided a month or so ago that I would make my own birthday cake. I found this recipe which claims to be the best chocolate cake ever... and it's vegan. It did not lie. The cake came out super moist and, well, it was vegan. I then had fun decorating it with icing. It took me about a half hour to decide upon what it should say, but an Office episode helped me decide:

Here's a picture of my cake:
Cake win!

Anyways, the rest of my vacay was spent at home.. drinking with pops. Seriously. Bar hopping with my dad. Oh, and celebrating graduations.

And then there was fireworks on the rooftop.

That sums it up. I will have a more interesting post later. Pinky promise. Just a ton is going on (which I intend to write about), so I'm limited in posting energy.

OH!!! And I got a Nook Color. If you are a lucky lady/lad like me and have one, you should find me and share your book collection. My sister already sent me a saucy book that I devoured in about an hour. Now it's become crack and I want more. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mission Accomplished: 1000 Miles

I'm not really one to make and keep a goal. I'm forgetful and old in my ways. Resolutions were more of an idea rather than feasible reality.

But on January 1st, I made an insignificant proclamation that I would make my body travel 1000 miles by my birthday, which just so happens to be this Thursday. My rules were:

Walking under a 17 minute mile didn't count
Normal transportation from work, grocery store, beach, restaurant, etc. also didn't count
My heart rate should be in the fat burning "zone" (or over 110 bpms)
Only miles that were counted on my spark tracker- so no elliptical, step machine, stair climber, row machine, etc.

Each month, I clocked in around 80 miles from the spin bike. I am a terribly dedicated spinner. I  love everything about it. First of all, it can be adjusted. When I'm injured or have tired legs from other workouts, I can lower my resistance. I can also take standing breaks, which are easier on my body than spinning completely in the saddle. Secondly, it can be competitive if you are in the right class. My Saturday morning power group basically competes to see who can get the top mileage for the week. 30 miles in a little over an hour is always my goal. We even have competitions to see who can sit and spin over 80 rpms at the highest resistance (I'll never win that one)! But most importantly, spin is all around conditioning. Obviously it is a killer workout for your thighs and calves, but it also tones your ass and forces your core to stay balanced and engaged.

And if you are lucky, and your gym has a Spinning machine with the video... you get to watch this guy calmly lead you through fake hills and fast tracks:

No, seriously, this guy is like the zen master of spin classes. My current instructors just yell at you till you want to cry. This guy wants you to be one with the bike.

Ok, so spinning covered roughly 480-500 miles of my 1000 mile goal. The other 500 miles?


Holy smokes, I ran over 400 miles this year SO FAR. That's roughly the distance from Chicago to Nashville, TN. I am blown away by that number. Just being able to accomplish that makes up for the torn up feet and random leg pains.Oh, and the constant need to consume everything in site (see last post on pita chips).

This morning is when I crossed over to the 1000 threshold. In fact, Spark says that I am 3 miles over that.

This run also happened to be my last run of my 23rd year. It was an easy 3.1 miler, one that I ran out by the marina. I usually dont run there because it can get crowded, but it was such a lovely morning and you could see the city rising from the waterfront at just about every turn. When I hit the half way mark, I didn't even want to turn around. I contemplated being late for work or calling off all together. That's what running does to you.

Giving myself a new body and lifestyle is and was the ultimate gift.

Now, for the next 6 months, my goal is to get in 900 miles. Yes, I know, that's 100 fewer than the last 6, but, as Game of Thrones urges: Winter is coming.

Now, go celebrate your lofty-ish goals, my friends. I will be.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend Warrior

I'm going to just be completely honest and say that my weekend wasn't much of anything. I ate horribly (McDonald's, gnocchi, stadium food, alcohol... etc.) and I worked out at a minimum. I'm pretty sure the only time my heart rate got to the cardio level was when I watched Michael Bradley score the first goal for the USMNT v Mexico Gold Cup game... which they promptly lost.

I did get in a run. Finally. 5 miles on Sunday, right before I headed down to Toyota Park for the Chicago Fire game.

And since this post has nothing to do with anything in particular, enjoy this AWESOME proposal in Section 8, the hardcore cheering section for the Chicago Fire. Dear Man of My Dreams: Please do this:

Speaking of which, Fire game was great. I won, sort of, club tickets. We were going to go anyways, since it is my birthday week and birthday weeks require Chicago Fire games. But the club seats were pretty much icing on my proverbial cake. We had our own waitress, got to go in through the swanky club (air conditioned) access, a private store, and super clean bathrooms! Ginger and I spent much of the game gossiping and discussing my life choices.

Conclusion: When someone in your life isn't supportive or even present, it's ok to do immature things. (Win)

Highlight of this weekend: Workouts in the park. Is there anything more lovely than doing yoga in Millennium Park, which happens to be my favorite place in the whole US? The sun is shining down as you cat and dog your way through poses, and the atmosphere is pretty inviting and calming. You dont find that often, even in home practices of yoga. Often, when I do my sun salutations in the morning, I do them with a bajillion things running through my head- what I'm going to wear, how work will go, can I eat a bagel today... etc. But doing them in a park, on a Saturday, with the world driving past you... well, a clear mind is the only thing it results in for me. 

So, with a pretty sweet farmer's tan, a heart pumped up with cholesterol, and a somewhat clear mind... this week begins. It's my birthday week, so please be kind.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Reprieve

Part of it is probably the depression, but I've been feeling more and more... disconnected lately, especially from working out. It's been all habit and routine, nothing fun. Combine that with not being able to go to my regular gym because of concerts and power outages, well, I'm obviously not motivated. I'm the opposite. I'm freaking burnt out. Even my running is suffering because of an Achilles Tendon strain.

So, it was decided that on this week of June, I would give myself a reprieve. I would work out when I wanted to workout and not follow my usual set schedule. Instead of forcing runs at 5am every other morning or going to two-three spin classes a week, I'm allowing myself to just rest when it needs to and work out when it wants to. And if it does want to, I get to pick the activity. It's not sanctioned.

Yesterday, for example, I would normally do a strength training routine and 30 minutes of HIIT (interval training). Instead, I opted to force SOB to take a 3 mile walk with me down the path. To be fair, I did promise him Big Chicks food and drinks after.

During that walk, we talked about the emotional issues I've been going through, we swung on a swing set, and we watched the boats come in and sail off from the marina. In the end, we both agreed that this was an excellent way for us to spend some time together that was out of the house and sort of active. It certainly helps that we both burned around 260-80 calories. I am a convert, oh holy walkers.

And of course, we got Big Chicks on the way home. My chicken fingers with fries and a vodka cranberry certainly washed away any calorie burn I may have had today. Total calories for yesterday: 1800 (which is only a little over my highest amount of calories possible).

I wish my constant need to eat everything around me would stop. I've been on some week long binge that I'm blaming on my Sunday 12 miler. Seriously, I alone have gone through a party sized bag of pita chips in about 5 days. Those are $4.99 a bag, Michelle. Get with the poverty program!

As for my weight, I've maintained. I have been on a plateau for about 3 months now with me gaining and losing the same 3lbs over and over again. I dont expect this reprieve to do much in this department. But I'm hoping that I will come back on Monday with vengeance. Till then, my friends.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


So many races coming up. So many concerts too. Even though I'm poor, I've managed to fill these Summer months up nicely.

Here's my list:

7 days till my 24th birthday (June 30th)- I actually have terrible, terrible birthdays that usually involve me crying... so not really looking forward to this. I am, however, taking Thursday and Friday off so I essentially have a 5 day vacation. On my to do list is to run 12 miles the day of, visit a museum, lay on a beach, or go to 6 Flags. Depends on my mood. Ideally, I'd like to go away on a vacation, but my birthday falls on 4th of July weekend, so that ain't happening.

24 days till my next 10K race (July 17th)- Got a free entry to the Fleet Feet Women's 5k/10k. It'll be a good prep for my first Half in August. The last 10K I ran was in 35 degree, rain, wind, lake water weather. I'm hoping this will be better! Any race where the wind doesn't physically stop you from moving forward is good enough for me!

32 days till the Decemberists concert (July 25th)- This will be my second Decemberists concert! The first show, I had won tickets, but I actually wasn't a huge fan of the band. I was going through (and still am) a electro-indie-rock thing and the Decemberists were way in the other direction. But after that show, I was hooked!

38 days till Paul McCartney concert (July 31st)- I just sold both sets of my extra tickets, so dont even ask. This is, as mentioned in my last post, the latest stop in the "Oh My God! My Idols Are Getting Old and Out of Shape" tour. Cannot wait!

52 days till Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon (August 14th)- Originally, the reason why I was running was to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon next February, but life plays tricks and I was left wondering if I could afford a trip to Disney. In a panic (and with coupons in hand), I signed up for the Rock n Roll Half so that I would continue to have some goal in mind. I'm one of those people that if I'm not signed up for a race... I wont run. I need something to be constantly training for. After this race, I will switch over to an indoor tri goal for the winter and then start my training for the 2012 Chicago Marathon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Heart Goin' Boom Boom Boom

Warning: This has nothing to do with my health.

Ok. I feel bad for not posting about my health on a health based blog so here's the recipe I use to make my breakfast shakes. I swear that it keeps me full from 8am to 1pm every day and gives you three servings of fruit, 9 grams of protein, and 11 grams of very healthy fat:
In a blender, uh, blend:
3-5 strawberries
1 banana chopped
1/4 cup of dry oatmeal
1/2 cup of sugar free, natural orange juice
1 tbsp of peanut butter
You can add protein powder or supplements to this as well. I just make mine minimal as possible. I hear you can also add kale to this and never taste it, if you want your veggie fix.

Ok, now to the main part of this blog. 

After a long day of work, I headed out to the United Center to meet up with my sister, bro-in-law, and father for our second concert in the tour I'm calling "OH MY GOD. All of our idols are getting very old and out of shape. Must see them now before they die." In May, we saw Paul Simon (brilliant!) and in July we are seeing Paul McCartney (wanna go with? buy our extra tickets here!). I think Bruce Springsteen should be next on our list if he rolls back around to Chicago for obvious reasons. 


Who was crossed off the bucket list last night? I'll give you a guess:

Except, he now looks like this:

Eeks! When your idols begin to look like Billy Joel, you know it's time to lay down the money for tickets.

Give up? ... Need a sledgehammer? 

Wow. When did I become that lame?
It's Peter fucking Gabriel, you fools! Bow down to the Prog Rock King. BOW DOWN. 

Except, he's less prog rock now. Last night's show capitalized on one of my favorite albums of last year- Scratch My Back. No drums, no guitars, and covers of other people's tunes. In fact, he started the whole show off with a melodramatic version of David Bowie's (ah! add him to the list!) "Heroes." The best part?
He was backed up by a MO FO' ORCHESTRA of epic proportions:

Eat that Paul Simon and your four man Cajun band.

Prog King played 3 hours. Yes, at his age, 3 hours. His first set were mainly covers, including "My Body is a Cage" by Arcade Fire and a Regina Spektor song. Here's him singing "Hereos" so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about:

Amazing. Right? Wish you could have all been there to share in the joy and beauty of it all. At one point, I was sitting with my jaw opened wide- taking in every note, but consciously thinking about how this was a once in a lifetime thing.

I grew up with Peter Gabriel, or with the help of him. As one of my dad's favorite artists, I can fondly remember him singing every word to "Blood of Eden" or "Kiss the Frog" while we were driven home from softball games or grandma's house. In a crazy time, Peter Gabriel was always there to say goodnight to us. And there to greet us when we got back in our dad's truck. Sharing last night's concert with my dad brought me to tears on several occasions (once being during his first set when Gabriel spoke of his own father and played Father and Son). 

I am thankful that I have the memories of singing Dont Give Up with daddy-o and my sister at my side as the orchestra played on in the background. We rocked back and forth, alternating verses. At one moment, my dad reached over to me when the lyrics crooned, "Dont give up. You still have friends." It was in that moment that all the saddness I had carried over the last couple of months disappeared for a second. My dad, Gabriel, and the world were reassuring me that things are going to be alright.

Monday, June 20, 2011

12.5 Miles

Wow. This weekend was a bummer. Grief, disappointment, anger, resentment... everything was bowling over. I'm not lying when I say that I spent much of Saturday curled up on a futon with a 12 inch cheese pizza by my side (er, in my stomach).

I'm lonely. It's easy as that. Even with my working out, taking classes, trying to better myself bullshit... I have a big gaping hole where friendships should be. I cant remember the last meaningful conversation I've had with anyone that wasn't family or SOB. Even worse, I have no rememberance of just getting a drink with a friend in the last four or five months.

I've been trying hard to change this. Working out, changing my outward appearance, and forcing happiness has given me some social courage to try new things and break some restrictive limbs. Even with my trying, I still find myself without a solid friend of my own in the city (or burbs). 

Yeah, I know. Enough of that.

Either way, my weekend was a lot of self-pity, woe-is-me style mourning.

On Sunday, the morning after my pizza escapades that put me at a staggering 2200 calories, I laced up my Mizuno Waves and wandered quite mindlessly out the door. Just like the night before, nothing felt good. My legs ached, my hips were tight, shoulders tense.

I had 12.5 miles to run before I could go back inside, in my cocoon of blankets and food.

First three or four miles, all I could do was whine. I've decided to practice running without music during my long runs, so all I had to listen to was the sound of me mentally analyzing each and every relationship in between the sounds of traffic and seagulls. Zen running? Yeah right.

At mile 4.75, I see my first glimmer of hope that I'm almost at my turning point:

Even though I use that as a reference that I'm almost there... it also means I have the hardest part of my run left. The next 2 1/2 miles are on horrible concrete, no shade or trees, uneven paths, and crowded with tourists and other runners/bikers. My focus turned from "my life is horrible" to "this run sucks ass. i just want a cheeseburger or those pizza leftovers."

It's funny how occupying your mind with how much a run sucks will take you away from thinking about how everything else in your life seemingly blows. Ah depression, you are a silly little bitch.

Anyways, I hit 6.25 miles around the Ohio Street Beach and I begin my turn around, back down the path of concrete and Chinese tourist Hell. At this point, I'm in a zone. It's an angry zone full of profanities addressed at dog owners, small children on big wheels, and unafraid city birds... but hey, a zone is a zone. Miles 8 and 9 pass unnoticed by anybody but my legs and the poor people running or biking next to an increasingly sweaty me.

And my ship in the fog appears. Ah yes, I forgot to mention that at some point, God, in his infinite wisdom, turned on his cheap ass fog machine to obstruct any beautiful scenery I may have been able to entertain myself with. Even the lake, although a mere 20 feet from me, was only visible by the floating garbage popping out of the white haze.

Anyways, the ship. It's there and it's telling me to rest my legs, call a cab, and give it up. This ain't going well. I take it up on the rest of legs portion but head back once I realize how expensive it would be to take a cab from North Beach to my apartment and how much walking I'd have to do for the nearest cab accessible location. Plus, I wouldn't wish my lingering BO on any cabbie in America.

I'm moving again. This time, much slower. "Fuck" goes my left shoe. "You" goes my right shoe. It's a chorus of anger. Even my usually submissive back and shoulders are starting to scream at me. I put on my music. But on shuffle, all I get is Mozart and some Amy Grant. Mental note: remove anything that used to belong to my aunt off of my itunes asap.

At one point, somewhere between mile 10 and the end, I sat down on the damp grass and collapsed. What the hell am I doing at 7 in the morning? Oh, I know. I'm trying to push myself too hard, too fast... just so I can run some race. Just so I can pretend that I am accomplishing something. I'm punishing myself. I'm not loving this. I'm hating every step.

But it's only a mile and a half back. And I've got a bed, a boyfriend, and 6 inches of left over pizza waiting for me.

I get up, finish it. Under 3 hours, even with my breaks. Runner's high hits me about twenty minutes into my ice bath. Even with doubt, impatience, aches and pains, and an emotional void sucking me... I still did it. I ran 12.5 miles. I did it with tourists and small children blocking my uneven, foggy path home. It's enough to numb the rest of it. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Remeber When I LOVED It?

I awoke to the sun shining, birds twirpping (twittering?), and the breeze blowing through my window. Perfect weather... if it wasn't 5am and time to run.

4-5 times a week, I do this to myself. I sleep in parts of my workout outfit and lay out the rest of my gear the night before. Everything is in the living room so I dont wake up slumbering SOB. My Garmin 305 is charged, my Ipod is synched up to my ever rotating playlist, and I have the bad weather gear nearby in case. It's all routine.

My alarm goes off right at 5:02am and I typically roll out like a rodeo clown from a barrel. I'm out the door at 5:20 and stretching outside on the benches by 5:30. After a couple minutes of searching for a satellite, my Garmin locates me, and I'm off.

My pace is always much faster on my first run interval... typically at 9:40-9:50 min/mile. In my head, I kid you not, I'm counting down seconds until my walk break. When I get bored, I make a deal with myself that if I make it to the next lamp post in 5 seconds, I'll check my watch. Oh, and I do some heavy duty people watching. Nothing like hot ass runner watching in the wee morning hours.

This goes on...and on...and on until 2.5 miles or around 30 minutes. I'd go longer, but I just dont have the time. 

I'm just here to get it done. Train. Move my butt. Make it easy... whatever. This certainly isn't a Nike ad quality workout. It's just work.

Nike: King of Inspiration Marketing.

And if you read through all of that, I'm surprised. I'm even boring myself. And that's the point. These training runs are not important or interesting to me anymore. When people ask how my morning runs go or how I could wake up that early to run on some gravel path, I lack the enthusiasm I once had. I dont share details of how my pace was or if I got any hellos from hobos. I just did it. It's become a no motivation, low energy, get-it-done-and-shower kind of deal.

I once read that people who do sports or work on their fitness should be proud. I mean, how many people are honestly up at 5am and running? How many do it in rain, snow, fog, wind? How many do it, period? In this city, there are 2.6 million people- 239,000 are my age, half are female. I've already bested the majority of those people by just stepping foot outside the door and walking at more than a 19 minute mile.

But I certainly dont feel like it's an accomplishment anymore. It's become so routine and mundane. Even moments of pure beauty, when the sun is rising off the lake or birds seemingly chase me down the path, I cant find energy in it. It's all tired and old news.

I'm blaming it on my current relapse of depression. Currently, everything is nothing to me. Just a big blank empty slate that I am not willing to fill up. Maybe running, my once favorite thing in the world, has fallen to it. I'm hoping my 12.5 mile long run on Sunday will help me get it back. I never feel better than when I hit a new accomplishment or when my leg muscles feel like they are peeling off the bone.

In other news... I'm selling two or four PAUL MCCARTNEY tickets for his July 31st, Wrigley Field show. You want them? Bid on Ebay!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Conversations With the King

Dear Burger King:

Let me just straight out say that I do not like you. There. I said it. I remember trying one of your burgers as a child and thinking, "WTF?!? What are these little seeds on my bun and why is this thing cooked differently?!?" My opinions of you have ebbed and flowed with my taste buds, but it's been towards the negative side since infancy.

Why you are the only fast food joint with a free parking lot is beyond me. I'd love to have given my (ok, SOB's) money to the Panera or even Einstein Bagels, but spending an equal amount of money in quarters to park as it would to buy a sandwich is even more idiotic then your hamburger buns with seeds on them.

So, we drove around till we found how to get in to your deceptive parking lot. In my head, I repeated over and over again: "just getting the mini-cinnamon buns. just getting the mini-cinnamon buns. just getting the mini-cinnamon buns..."

Damn you and your stupidly colored ads. I knew better than to believe your pictures. No way could a $3 sausage-egg-cheese-devil'spoo biscuit look like a sandwich of the gods.

This story does not end happily. In fact, it ends with me devouring that majority of the said sandwich and an equally greasy small order of some tater tots nonsense. Oh, and then spending a good 20 minutes balking at the sodium and saturated fat levels:
My breakfast of the King= 628 cals, 46 carbs (Atkins-forgive me!!!), 43 fat, 131 cholesterol, 1586 sodium

You got me King. I'm officially terrified of you and what you do to my little sense of self-reserve. If I wasn't already freaked out by your nonsensical ads and mascots.

Now that it's all over, I am going back to my daily smoothie breakfast, and I will punish myself with a hill run tomorrow morning and a 40 minute ab/lower body breaker segment tonight.

Yours, regrettably:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Get At It

Wow. Gone since March.

Well, dont I feel like a fool.

The last time I wrote, I had just finished running my first 5K of the year. Since then, I ran a 10K and another 5K, moved to a different (and more awesome) neighborhood, officially started living with my SOB (significant other Brendan), and learned a whole bunch of awesome sauce things about myself that are too plentiful to list.

The one thing I haven't done, though? Lost weight. Me, High Empress of Consistency, hasn't managed to make the scales budge. AT ALL.

Oh sure, my 5K time is 5-6 minutes faster, run 11 miles straight, swim three different strokes for 300 meters without a rest, and constantly beat everyone in the mileage challenge at my regular spin class.

But that scale, yeah, it's a fickle bitch.

It hasn't been without trying. I mean, my schedule is pretty awesome:
Monday: 120 minutes of high intensity cardio (run, hill climbs, spin class or by myself, row machines, kickboxing, elliptical of doom, etc.)
Tuesday: 5am recovery run, 40 minutes of full body strength training
Wednesday: 60 minute swim training and possibly a spin class if I get there on time and can be persuaded by the teacher.
Thursday: 5am speed run, 40 minutes of more strength training
Friday: 60 minutes of yoga, pilates, and walk or hill runs
Sunday: Long run of 5+ miles or races and another 40 minutes of strength

I devote over 500 minutes of working this body till it's covered in sweat and screaming for a break. I've pushed it to some insane (and often smelly) limits.

But nada results.

I need a cookie. Fine. I want it. Damnit.

How's my eating... well, you can check out my sparkpage for that info. Just look at my food logs. I get in some decent food. I'm working on more veggies and less carbs thing. It's a process, I hear.

So, what am I doing back in blogger world? Well. On spark, I sadly have to censor myself. Sometimes I want to use the "f" or similar singular letter'd words, but get the big error button when I try to submit it. Other times, I want to talk more about my personal life, but I feel a bit off doing it there. Sure, I'll keep doing my weekly updates, but I'm hoping to keep this ol' blog alive. This is my space to vent about the joys of weight loss and fitness training. I've got some big goals to accomplish, like running the Chicago Rock n' Roll Half in August, and this is my space to be like "fuck it, I wanna run freeeee."

Another confession before I hit the "publish post" button? See, I have this thing called depression. Me and 9.5% of America suffer or make ourselves suffer through it. It's dark hole suckage and it sadly encompasses more than my personal head space. It grips and pulls at everyone and thing close to me until we are all nothing but couch dwellers, sheet hiders, and stagnant robots. It's been over 10 years since my diagnosis, and yet I still haven't found the perfect mixture of coping methods. Running myself in to a frenzy and punishing myself in spin classes have oddly helped me over the last year. But, lately, I've felt more detached, more tired, and more nothing. There will be times when this blog will be nothing but a space for me to be a whiny bitch, and I apologize in advance. I know that my depression lasts for months at a time and then will go away, so just know, it's temporary. Seasons change, and so does my mind. We are all evolving creatures.

To sum this awkward rambling of a blog post up, if you read these furthermore posts, feel free to comment. I dont expect it, but welcome it. Give me feedback. Yell at me and my confessions. If I take more than one rest day in a row, send me hate mail. And if I eat more than 2000 calories a day, please, feel free to come on over to the Up and Up apartment complex and steal my bucket of fried chicken from under me.