Last night I went on just about the most pathetic run of my life. I knew things were going to be bad when I started getting winded after only about a quarter mile. And it didn’t get any easier after that. It was one of those runs where I just couldn’t catch my breath. Very discouraging. But throughout the misery, I kept telling myself that every run helps me get ready for my next race. Some people say a bad run is better than no run, and most of the time I agree with them. (There are other times that I’m pretty sure I should have stayed on the couch eating junk food, though!) I’m still seriously out of shape since getting injured back in January (sometimes Disney World is not such a magical place), but the Orange County half marathon is on May 3rd and I’d like to be at least somewhat prepared for it. It’s going to be tough, but my plan is to ramp up the mileage of my weekend runs between now and then so that 13.1 miles won’t be such a shock five weeks from now. I’m definitely nervous, but I think I can do it. Unfortunately awful runs like last night make my confidence wane. But as I was recovering from those 4 miles that I barely survived, I looked back and realized just how far I’ve come on this journey. First I got horrible blisters from my Nike Frees so I bought several other types of running shoes to try. Then I started getting really bad ankle pain, which led to a podiatrist telling me I was a severe overpronator. Luckily a pair of orthotic inserts and some stability shoes fixed that problem. Then I developed tendonitis in my foot. I have to lace my shoes up pretty tightly because the orthotics prevent my running shoes from fitting too well. The good news is usually I can keep the tendonitis at bay by keeping my laces a bit looser. Finally, my January injury during the Disney World half marathon. What I initially thought was a knee problem turned out to be iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. It took several trips to the chiropractor and an appointment with an orthopedist to figure that out, but at least it’s a problem solved. Rest and lots of stretching was the cure. There have definitely been a lot of obstacles so far! What’s next? Hopefully nothing serious! I’ve registered for way too many races already this year and I don’t want to miss any of them!
New Year’s Resolution #1: Decide whether to train for a full marathon
I realize that the worst ideas usually follow this statement, but I have a plan. A friend/co-worker of mine is running the Disney World Marathon next weekend and she’s been sharing the ups and downs of her training with me throughout the fall and winter. Needless to say, it’s been pretty grueling. While I don’t envy her the long weekend runs and tons of weekday miles as well, I am a little jealous that she gets to run through all four Disney World parks during her 26.2 mile trek next Sunday. That is going to be so cool. I told her a while back that if I was ever going to consider running a full marathon it would definitely be at Disney World. When I said that, however, not a single fiber of my being thought I’d ever actually do it. At my current fitness level running a half marathon is really difficult for me so the concept of running twice that far was practically incomprehensible. But as the Disney World Marathon weekend approaches (next weekend – yikes!) I started to wonder if maybe it was possible. So I came up with a plan. (Time will tell whether it’s a good plan or not, but let’s not go there.) During the first four months of 2015 I’ll follow the “time improvement” training plan for the Tinkerbell half marathon (May 10th at Disneyland) and see how it goes. This plan requires quite a few weekend runs that are longer than the 13.1 mile half marathon distance. If I’m honest, this really scares me. More like terrifies me, actually, but it’s something I have to do if I want to decide whether to train for a marathon or not. My ultimate decision point is no later than April 28th when the registration for the 2016 Disney World Marathon opens. At this point I’m about 50% sure I’ll decide to do it, but there are a lot of dependencies. Fortunately I have some time to make up my mind. If nothing else, it should be an interesting journey!
As the year is drawing to a close I thought I’d write a little recap of my 2014 resolutions. I was surprisingly successful! The combination of realistic resolutions and hard work really paid off!
Resolution #1: Eat good breakfasts
Win! I now eat breakfast everyday, and it usually consists of some sort of fruit smoothie concoction. Since attempting to go grain free (and I’d say succeeding about 75% of the time), I’ve been trying to make egg concoctions to alternate with the smoothies. Unfortunately I haven’t made anything particularly good yet. I might need to try to scramble some eggs before going to work, even though it will mean getting up a little earlier. I’m generally against extra work in the morning, but this might be worth the trouble. Especially since swinging by the McDonald’s drive thru for an Egg McMuffin isn’t an option anymore! I have a few additional goals related to my breakfasts that I will be working on in 2015, such as making them healthier without sacrificing taste, but in general I did pretty well in 2014!
Resolution #2: Take care of my skin
Win! I took my last dose of Accutane on December 14th and I’m absolutely thrilled to be done with it after nine months. I won’t miss the monthly dermatologist appointments and all of the red tape associated with actually getting the prescriptions, but my skin has looked great since I started the medication. Taking the Accutane was a last resort for me since topical treatments and oral antibiotics weren’t working for me. I’m so glad I did it, though. Despite the side effects (very dry and sensitive skin, periodic rashes, and extremely chapped lips), it was worth the hassle. Now that I’m done taking the Accutane I’ll hopefully never have to take any more. There’s always a chance that I will sometime in the future, but we’ll see what happens. For now I’m enjoying my clear skin and the added confidence that comes with it!
Resolution #3: Run a race
Win! Not only did a run one race, but I ran twelve! Can you believe it? And that number doesn’t even include the two races in October that I signed up for but didn’t actually participate in (one due to work and the other due to oversleeping). How crazy is that? And the even crazier thing is that I’m already registered for twelve races in 2015 (4 in January, 2 in February, 2 in March, 3 in May, and 1 in October) and I know there are going to be many, many more! It’s so hard to believe that a year and a half ago I couldn’t run more than a block or two without getting seriously winded and now I’m running half marathons! I’m not competitive in any sense, but signing up for of these races challenges me and gives me something definite to work towards. And even when I run very slowly or feel terrible after crossing the finish line, I still have a sense of accomplishment for reaching a goal. All of the awesome medals I have hanging on my cubicle wall at work aren’t bad either!
Resolution #4: Wear shorts
Win! I actually wore shorts on a regular basis over the summer due to the prolonged hot weather in Los Angeles that lingered well into October. The only thing I miss about the relentless summer weather is wearing shorts. On the weekends it was so easy to throw on a pair of shorts, a tank top, and my cushy Nike Free shoes and go about my business. It was the perfect outfit for Disneyland, shopping, or just running errands when it was hot outside (and inside too since my apartment doesn’t have air conditioning). Now that it’s winter and we’re enjoying much cooler temperatures, the Nikes that babied my feet all summer don’t really pair well with my drawer full of skinny jeans. It’s a shame. Luckily I have big plans for wearing shorts in 2015. If all goes well I’ll be headed to Maui in June with some friends, and shorts are practically mandatory in Hawaii! I’ll be looking for some new pairs before then, though. I only have three pairs of shorts that fit, and I’m using that word loosely. I’ll be doing some shopping as soon as spring clothes hit the stores in 2015!
Resolution #5: Visit as many new states as possible
Win! In March I took a little side trip to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware while on a business trip to DC. That added three states to the list of ones I’ve visited. And then in May I set foot in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. Six new states in one year – not bad! My total right now is 33 out of 50 states, and I already have plans to increase that number in 2015, but it might take more than a little planning to cross some of the states off my list. I’ll cover that more when I start posting about my 2015 New Year’s resolutions in January. If I’m lucky I might even make it to New Jersey when I’m in DC for work again! (I can’t believe I missed it last time.) I’ve decided that trips and experiences are better than presents (based on all of the races I’ve traveled to, that’s probably obvious), so in December I made a travel wish list that I fully intend to make some progress on in the coming year.
Resolution #6: Read every night before bed
Fail! While I did ramp up my reading after making this resolution back in March, I definitely haven’t been reading every night. More often than not I find myself tapping away on my laptop or watching TV on my iPad as I’m sitting in bed. This is a very bad habit. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about decreasing my overall screen time in 2015, but I still want to encourage reading at bedtime. I have always loved to read, but it’s a hobby that has sadly fallen by the wayside over the last year. Now that I’ve installed a blue light filter on my iPad Mini I should be able to utilize my Kindle app to my heart’s content at night without disturbing my sleep patterns. Hopefully. I have no idea if the filter will really work, but it certainly can’t hurt to try. I’ll write more about this next year in relation to my 2015 resolutions. I have quite the backlog of interesting books that I’ve downloaded so I’m excited to start reading them!
So after I finished my first half marathon a couple of weeks ago my mom asked me what my next challenge was going to be. At the time I had no idea, but I think I’ve got something lined up now. Despite being fairly active since the beginning of the year, I haven’t been able to maintain any sort of weight loss. I actually joined a weight loss challenge in January with mixed results. My goal wasn’t to lose a lot of weight, but dropping 5 lbs would be fantastic. I started out somewhere around 123 lb and at one point in February I was down to about 120 lb. I was ecstatic! But then I had surgery, causing me to be sedentary for a while, and the numbers on the scale rebounded very quickly. How frustrating. Even after I started running regularly again in March, my weight wouldn’t budge. I dropped out of the weight loss challenge after six months because sharing my stats every week was more stressful than motivational. And as I’ve said, I try to avoid sources of unnecessary stress in my life. They just aren’t worth it. So I gave my scale the summer off and vowed to not weigh myself again until after the Labor Day weekend. What incredible freedom! I ate what I thought was necessary in order to keep up with my half marathon training program, including a few days of major indulgence before my longest runs. The only measure of my body’s size was my clothes. On the morning of the Disneyland Half Marathon, the last thing I was worried about was my weight. I was happier to cross the finish line that day than to see a low number on the scale. The day after the race I tentatively got back on the scale after a three-month hiatus. It read 121.9 lb. I was skeptical of this number, however, since I’d just completed a grueling 13.1 mile run and I was sure I had lost a lot of water weight. The good news is that a week later when I got back from DC (where I ate a lot and didn’t exercise) I weighed exactly the same. Maybe it was real weight loss! Or not. A few days later I was 126.3. Two days after that I was 123.9. And then the next day I was 122.1. My body is so weird.
So what could I do to try and jump start some consistent weight loss/maintenance? After doing some research and talking to some friends and co-workers, I decided to try eliminating grains from my diet. It’s not technically low carb (I still need starches for running fuel) and it’s not strictly Paleo (I’m still eating dairy and potatoes), but I think it’s the first step towards keeping my weight on a more even keel. This means I can’t have any bread, cookies, crackers, rice, or pasta. It seems restrictive when it’s put that way, but I’ve been told I won’t miss the grains after a while. We’ll see about that. I definitely have to put more thought into my meals now and it will require me to start cooking more often. I’ve been lazy in that respect this year, but last night I slow cooked some chicken and roasted some carrots and green beans to take to work for my lunches. This will have to become a regular occurrence. Do you realize how difficult it is to find a grain-free meal at any kind of restaurant? I had a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, and potatoes at Disneyland last Sunday morning, but your average eatery doesn’t have much that’s not served on a bun. So I started my grain-free journey this week and so far I feel great! Grains aren’t completely absent from my diet yet (I had a box of Frosted Mini Wheats in the cupboard that I didn’t want to go to waste), but I’m getting there. I know this sounds vain, but my ultimate goal is to be able to wear a couple of pairs of jeans I bought back in 2012 that are too tight at the moment. Of course I want my body to be healthy and to fuel it for the long runs I’ve got coming up later this year, but comfortably zipping up those jeans would make me feel even more amazing! I’ll let you know how it goes.
My half marathon training plan officially started today! (Actually, my augmented plan that includes more the just my three required runs per week started yesterday when I went to my first spinning class in over a year. It was tough, not because I got tired – my cardiovascular fitness is much better than it was a year ago – but because spinning works different muscles than running. My legs felt like jelly when the class was over!) The Disneyland half marathon is on 8/31 so I’ve got a long road ahead of me to be ready to run 13.1 miles by then, but I think I can do it over the next four months. My first training run tonight went really well. I only did 3 miles, but I averaged 11 minutes per mile, which is a faster pace than on my longer runs. I’m hoping to build up my stamina so that I’ll be sufficiently prepared when I start increasing my mileage. Eventually I’ll have to run 14 miles one Saturday a couple of weeks before the race. That seems like an almost impossibly long distance when I think about it. I must admit that I’m really nervous. I’m afraid of failing. In fact, I subconsciously tried to sabotage my run tonight. I was worried that it wouldn’t go well and that would put me in a bad frame of mind for my training program right from the start. It’s hard to come back from that kind of discouragement. I don’t bounce back from disappointment as easily as I’d like to. But I know that I’ll definitely have good runs, bad runs, and ugly runs throughout this process, and I’m fully prepared for that. Luckily tonight’s run was great, but I’m going to need some mental fortitude when I inevitably have a bad day. There will be bumps in the road to the half marathon in August, but it’s a journey I’m really looking forward to!
Back in 2001 when I was at intern at Boeing my roommate was tall, thin, and gorgeous. We didn’t get along at all, but I couldn’t deny that she was attractive. Fortunately we successfully co-existed, mostly because she spent a lot of weekends away at her parent’s house. This may have been the only thing that kept us from killing each other. One weekend when she was gone she had left a pair of jeans on her bed. As interns we lived in two-bedroom corporate apartments that housed four girls each so we had to share a bedroom with someone else. Very dorm-like with the twin beds. But anyway, back to the story. I remember being so jealous of my roommate’s thinness that I decided to try on her jeans and see how far away from fitting in to them I was. So I slipped them on. They were way too long for me because she was about 4 inches taller than me, but other than that I was shocked when they fit! I was sure I wouldn’t be able to button them, but I was wrong! I wore the same size jeans as my skinny roommate! Woohoo! So what did that say about me? I thought I was much larger than she was, but in reality we were about the same size. I had a completely warped mental picture of myself. (In my defense her jeans were a brand that used waist measurement as the size and all of my jeans were from Old Navy which had an almost meaningless even-numbered sizing convention.) Sadly I still have bad body image, even after all these years. It’s just so hard to unlearn after it’s been learned. But I’m working on it, and I probably always will be.
“So here’s to 2012 and all of the inevitable ups and downs it brings! I’ll make sure to write about all of them.”
It’s the last day of 2012 and I couldn’t be happier. Well, I guess I could be happier if I wasn’t sick and sitting at home tonight rather than at the New Year’s Eve party I was invited to, but there’s nothing that can be done about that. Even though I was looking forward to socializing tonight (especially after doing a good imitation of a slug since I got back from Tallahassee) I wasn’t about to risk inflecting anyone else. I still feel pretty gross. At this rate I’ll have to take Wednesday off from work because I won’t be well enough to be around people by then. But anyway, so far on this last day of 2012 I’ve only managed to return some shoes at the mall, take down and put away my Christmas decorations, and watch a ridiculous amount of television. Tonight I’ll be ringing in the new year watching movies (and maybe Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve if I can stay awake – I fell asleep really early last night because I was feeling so rotten) on my awesome new flat screen TV. Or watching more episodes of “Doctor Who” on my iPad. It’s a toss up. It isn’t the most glamorous way to bid farewell to 2012 – heaven knows I’d rather be wearing a party dress and laughing with friends – but one way or another I’m glad to see this year end. Regarding the quote from my last post of 2011, I haven’t documented all of the ups and downs of 2012 yet, but I will in due time. Things have been happening in the last few months that I’ve kept somewhat under wraps, but eventually I’ll be able to write the truth about all of it. But not yet. Happy New Year to my loyal readers. I’m looking forward to 2013 more than you know.
Things haven’t been going that well in my life lately which means that besides spending Thanksgiving with my brother I haven’t enjoyed the holidays at all so far. October, November, and December are my favorite months of the year and I always try to make the best of them. However, I was struggling just to survive October and November of this year so there wasn’t really much enjoyment going on. Yesterday I decided to change that. I promised myself that December 2012 is going to be different. Nothing grand, but I’m going to do everything I can to make this month the best it can be. So last night I drove to Downtown Disney just for the heck of it. A new restaurant opened there recently and I’ve been wanting to try it, but Downtown Disney is so popular this time of year I’ve been reluctant to brave the crowds. But yesterday it was raining (welcome to winter in Southern California) so I figured the majority of folks would stay away. Turns out I was right. Parking wasn’t a problem and neither was the line at Earl of Sandwich. I’m always looking for a good sandwich place so I was excited to give this new place a try. I got one of their seasonal sandwiches which included turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy. It sounded delicious, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The flavor was good because the turkey and stuffing were really tasty, but there wasn’t nearly enough cranberry sauce to balance out the saltiness and the texture of the sandwich was way too soft and mushy. It could have benefited from some crunch – either from some celery or apples in the cranberry sauce or some fresh onions thrown on top of everything. I’m glad I tried the holiday sandwich, but next time I’m at Earl of Sandwich I’ll order something different. After eating my dinner on the covered patio which was kept quite toasty with overhead heaters, I wandered all over Downtown Disney checking out the holiday decorations and store offerings. Money is tight these days so I didn’t buy anything, but browsing at Disneyland is still a lot of fun. When I left Downtown Disney I swung by Kmart on my way home to buy a wreath. I’ve had my eye on a small crystal wreath I saw there about a month ago so I figured it was high time I actually bought it. I was right about that too because it was on sale! Bonus! That wreath is the first bit of holiday decorations I’ve put up this year and seeing it on my front door makes me smile. Not a bad way to start the holidays, if I do say so myself!
“People are going to tell you who you are your whole life, but you’ve just got to punch back and say, ‘No, this is who I am.’ If you want people to look at you differently, make them. If you want to change things you are going to have to go out there and change them yourself, because there are no fairy godmothers in this world.”
Once Upon a Time
Looking back on last year while also looking forward to this year, here’s what I’d like to accomplish during 2012…
1) Establish a workout routine and stick to it as closely as possible. I successfully started going back to the gym last year, but not as regularly as I’d like. This resolution seems like the next logical step and I’m pretty confident that I can do it!
2) Establish a healthy eating pattern and stick to it as closely as possible. I did a lot of cooking last year which was one of my main goals, but I tend to fall back on frozen pizza for dinner when things get hectic. This year I want to make (or buy if necessary) healthy meals even when we’re busy.
3) Family planning (this is the main reason for the first two resolutions). Just writing that makes me nervous and excited!
4) Save more money. This means I’m going to have to think about each and every purchase and ask myself if I really need whatever item I’m contemplating buying. I consider myself pretty thrifty already, but there’s always room for improvement.
5) Cook more new dinner recipes. For anyone who visits my webpage regularly it was probably already obvious, but most of last year’s new recipes were desserts. They’re just so much fun to make! But this year I want to try more new main dishes and side dishes.
6) Don’t let food go to waste. I hate throwing away spoiled food (especially fruits and vegetables), but I tend to do it a lot. This year I’m not going to buy any groceries unless I have plans to use them to their maximum extent. I may have to invest in some good Tupperware to freeze leftovers if I want to meet this resolution!
7) Walk a half marathon every weekend. I’ve been seriously slacking on weekend exercise since the Long Beach half marathon in October. I’ve only taken one long walk since then and it was only about eleven miles. If I want to get back in to shape, and if I want to be able to enter another race, I need to get back in the habit of walking every weekend.
8) Make the game/junk room livable. Considering its current state this is probably going to take all year, but if Dan and I ever want to have more than two house guests at a time we’re going to need to have both spare bedrooms available.
This is a pretty long list of resolutions, but I think I actually might be able to accomplish them in 2012. I have a feeling this is going to be a fantastic year.