Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Lesson in Flexibility

Flexibility: every now and then you get a reminder of why it's so necessary, in running as in everything else. That's what Thanksgiving Week was for me this year.

Leaving off where my 16-miler finished...we left for Virginia, where Dan's sister and her family live, the next day, which was the Saturday before the holiday. Ruthie, my little girl, had largely gotten over her stomach virus. We were excited for the week ahead, as over the course of the seven days we were going to see Dan's entire extended family. And I was looking forward to running in a new place, and at sea level, too. The travel day wasn't bad, and I had big plans for an exploratory 3-to-4 mile run the next morning.

It wasn't to be. I had felt sort of queasy all day on our journey, but figured it was motion sickness from a bumpy landing. I'm prone to motion sickness anyway. But it didn't go away, and sure enough I spent most of that first night throwing up and most of the next day sleeping. The preschool virus had gotten me!

On Monday, thanks to my running-reinforced immune system and all the sleep (bless my sister-in-law for her white noise machine), I felt nearly 100% and managed a slow but nice 8-mile run. Charlottesville is one hilly town! I got to see a lot of the University of Virginia campus that day and even found a windy trail up a mountain. Things shifted again the next day when my little 10-month old nephew came down with the Dreaded Virus. It lasted two days for him, poor guy.

I was supposed to do a track workout on Wednesday, but didn't want to bug anyone to drive me to a high school (they were all too far away to run to), so I found a nearby gym, paid the daily drop-in fee and for the first time since early June ran on a treadmill. I figure intervals are an OK thing to do on a treadmill, as tracks are flat anyway. I knocked out a good solid 6 800s.

Thanksgiving itself was a nice day. I took my friend Kathy's advice and threw out the scale, just enjoying my dinner and especially lots of pumpkin pie. My plan was to run 18 miles on Friday, the day before we were due to leave.

But that, too, wasn't to be. That night, Dan came down with the Dreaded Virus. As did his mom. As did his sister. And her husband. That left two adults standing: me and my mother-in-law's husband. That wonderful man let me out for a three-mile head-clearer, but other than that I was busy trying to keep the kids quiet or, if not quiet, out of the house so the invalids could sleep. No 18 miles in Charlottesville. (Just as a side note, I have no idea how my son Will avoided this virus. I'm even scared to type that, for fear I will jinx it.)

Dan felt much better by the time we flew out on Saturday. Happily, I had taken Sunday off work. So that afternoon, after we all returned from church, I shouldered my CamelBak stuffed with Shot Bloks and set out for what I was sure would be one sucky 18 miles of slog. After all, I had just been down at sea level for a week, was tired and dehydrated from flying and driving the day before and generally hate running in the afternoon.

The final twist to this story? I felt *great* on this run. I actually completed it more quickly than the 16 miles I'd done the week before.

Flexibility is a beautiful thing! Sometimes (not always, but sometimes) it even rewards you.

Weight check-in: Home scale today: 128.4; 21.7% body fat (maybe the stomach virus wasn't all bad); didn't go to weight training today due to a kindergarten tour, so no gym scale to compare it to

Weeks until the Houston Marathon: 6.5 (ahhhh!)

Have you entered my giveaway?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giveaway: T-Shirts & Cards from Banana Blossom Press

The time has come at last for the giveaway I've been talking about for weeks.

One of many wonderful "says-it-all" cards you can find at Banana Blossom Press. Perfect for a running partner, supportive spouse or coach!
Maria Millsap started Banana Blossom Press (to use her own words) "to honor those in the fitness and wellness community who support me in my athletic endeavors." In a short video on her Web site, Maria notes that she celebrated her first three-mile run by smoking a cigarette! She's been-there, done-that with all of the things we average athletes deal with as we journey toward achieving our goals. She's also pretty badass, having just run the Seattle Quadzilla (four half-marathons in four days!).

I was honored when Maria contacted me last summer to tell me she was thinking of using a quote from my "Why I Run" essay (which appeared on Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell's "another mother runner" blog) on her next T-shirt. Two weeks ago, she sent me the first version of that shirt, which reads "Every run is redemption," the last line of my essay. She also sent me two other great T-shirts and a sample of the understated and elegant cards she's created just for runners.

I wore this one on the plane to Virginia. It says "no run=cranky+moody". So true!

This is the "Every run is redemption" shirt. Maria tells me she's going to lighten up the colors in the final version.

This one says "running. it's family thing." Awesome for my fellow parent-runners.
The T-shirts are by American Apparel and wonderfully soft. I'm so grateful to Maria not only for sending me this fun package (an early Christmas gift) but also for the Redemption T-shirt. Long after Boston is or isn't achieved, I will still be running and feeling like a new woman with every mile I add to my life total (sure wish I'd been keeping count!).

So what's the giveaway? I'm offering one lucky winner the T-shirt of your choice and one set of cards of your choice (and yes, Maria does offer guys' shirts, so you dudes should enter too!). Here's what you should do if you'd like to be that winner:

1. Follow my blog and leave a comment telling me you do.
2. Go to Banana Blossom Press, have a look around and leave a comment telling me which shirt and which set of cards you would choose if you win.

1. Follow Banana Blossom Press on Facebook and let me know in a comment.
2. Follow Banana Blossom Press on Twitter and let me know in a comment.
3. Donate to my Houston Food Bank cause. This is good for TWO entries to the giveaway (and if you've already donated you automatically get two entries per donation; donating again will get you two more).

I'll choose a winner on Monday, December 5.

I hope everyone had a Thanksgiving brimming with blessings. Ours was a wonderful but crazy week. I'll tell you all about that, and today's 18-mile run, in my next post.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Got 'Er Done

I ran 16 miles this morning.

It wasn't easy. The crazy wind that dogged me during last weekend's 10K had returned. It felt like it was coming from all directions. And when the wind wasn't blowing, the sun was hot. It was a bit like a fever, where you get hot, then you get chilled, but you never feel good. I had been up two nights in a row with Ruthie, who was sick again, this time with a nasty, pukey stomach virus. Last night Dan took most of the Ruth duty, since I had had most of it on Wednesday night. But I still was tired, and also worried, because tomorrow we take off for our Thanksgiving trip to Virginia. I don't want any vomiting kids on the airplane, or at my sister-in-law's house with her 10-month-old.

Dan and I talked about whether I should put the run off until Sunday. I told him I was happy to do just three miles today to take the edge off, if it made the packing, the Ruthie watching (Will was at preschool) and him getting some rest easier. He decided that I should get the "Big Daddy" run out of the way. So I did.

In the end, despite the wind, the hot sun, the poor sleep and the worry, it was a good thing. I kept it within my McMillan pace range for this sort of run, and as always, when I was done, I felt the confidence boost that comes only with a long effort. Perhaps even better, I'll have plenty of time to enjoy the weekend with our extended family without worrying about my long run (I still plan to do that easy three, but I'll do them on Sunday!).

Because of all this, I haven't prepared the giveaway post I was planning to leave you all with. It's a great giveaway, from a wonderful company run by a creative runner. I will have it up next Sunday. This will be my last post until after the holiday week. I plan to check in with your blogs a little bit, but I'm giving my own a rest.

Meanwhile, I will leave you with this suggestion: head over to Jill's blog and sign up for her 2nd Annual bloggers' holiday gift exchange. If you don't know her yet, Jill is a great blogger, a wonderful source of running wisdom, and the gift exchange will be fun.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eating Check-In: Thanksgiving Strategies

Once again I forgot to weigh in on my home scale this week. I'm off-kilter because our whole family is headed to Virginia on Saturday for Thanksgiving week, and I've moved all my runs and other workouts up so I can get my long one done on Friday instead of Saturday (which will be its own kind of long run with two little kids on two planes across two time zones).

Yesterday at weight training I did weigh myself on the gym scale and came in at 130.8--better than last week. The work pants are feeling looser, too. With most of the kid illness behind us for now, we're back in a better groove at home with planned, healthy meals. The Halloween candy petered out quickly at work, which also helps. It may be the Calm before the Storm of Food next week, but I'll take it.

I'm on a team with four of my work-mates for a program sponsored by our employer called "Hold for the Holidays." (Yes, the city government in Boulder is health-focused too!) The object is for each team to collectively gain no more than 2 pounds per member (we were all weighed in private a week and a half ago) and to encourage each other in healthy habits throughout the holiday period. For our group that means we can collectively gain no more than 10 pounds. Each week we get mailings with strategies to help cope with the food deluge. For Thanksgiving, here are some of their suggestions and how successful I think I'll be at them:

Work activity in wherever possible. Walk the dog. Play football outside instead of watching it on TV. Take a family stroll after dinner.
I don't think this will be a problem. My sister-in-law (and Dan's family as a whole) are good at moderation and healthy habits. Plus, my running program is about to really ramp up the miles. I have an 18-miler scheduled for a week from this weekend. I'll run it in Virginia. Let's hear it for sea level!

Use a small plate for your meals.
Um, I can't say I expect I'll be really good about this.

Don't starve yourself ahead of the big holiday meal. Eat breakfast and lunch as usual.
I always eat breakfast. I am incapable of starving myself for any reason. This recommendation should be just fine.

Think about which "treat" foods you really really like and which you're OK passing on. Resolve to skip the passers in favor of the must-haves.
I will try to do this. I love pumpkin pie and cookies. I'm OK skipping anything meaty and anything creamy. That said, I don't know what tasty things will be served on Thanksgiving or Dan's birthday, which is the next day. Dan's family contains a number of excellent cooks. I may be doomed to stuffing myself on everything!

What about you? Will you adhere to that advice? Got any tips not mentioned here for managing the gravy train?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Kind Profiles

In the last few days, a couple of other bloggers have honored me by featuring me on their pages.

Big thank-you to Jessica at Pace of Me first of all. She's doing a series called "Rock My {Running} World," and I'm grateful and lucky to be the second person featured under that heading after her own sister. (I also dig the fact that her sister and I are about the same age and at about the same running level, too. I wish I could run with both Jess and Jodi.) I expect Jessica will be added to my "Inspiring BQ Stories" page very soon, because her latest showing in the Marine Corps Marathon was a gigantic PR and put her just two minutes from qualifying. She has worked hard for this. She and I now have a joint dream of meeting in Boston in April 2013.

The second place you'll find me is in the Houston Marathon Committee's blog. They too are featuring some runners ahead of January's big race. The guy they profiled before me, Sary Joudah, is actually a much more inspiring runner than I am. I really enjoyed reading his story. And if you're running Houston this year, the committee's blog is a great place for information as well as inspiration as we pull within two months of race day.

Later this week I will have a giveaway I'm excited about. I won't reveal much today, but I will tell you it has something to do with this site.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Race Report: Longmont Turkey Trot 10K

I woke up this morning wanting to see a 10K time that starts with a 4, but when I heard the wind (one of those autumn gales rushing down the mountains from the west) I knew it probably wasn't to be. In racing, you take what you get as far as weather goes. In the end, I set a slight PR for both my pre- and post-kids self (50:55, down from 51:42 set at sea level in 2004). Plus I really enjoyed the course, wind and all. So it wasn't a bad day at all!

Finishing with a smile! It was great to have my husband and kids with me at this race.

Here are the details.

Pre-Race: The race wasn't until 9, so I didn't set an alarm and woke from a great sleep at 6:45. My kids got up soon after, I got them breakfast and then ate my own--dry Cheerios, about six ounces of OJ and a banana. I also had several glasses of water and one glass of Ultima, an electrolyte drink I can tolerate because it's sweetened with stevia rather than sorbitol or tons of sugar.

I also took a shower. I've mentioned before that I'm not much of a girly-girl, but I do like shaved legs under my capris and clean hair when I race. Then I put on my race outfit: capris and a short-sleeved neon-green race shirt from last summer's Heart and Sole Half that my daughter Ruthie picked out (Ruthie, by the way, is MUCH better; she even went to the dentist yesterday and did great during her cleaning; the mouth sores are still there, but healing; thanks to everyone who wished her well).

I wasn't sure about this shirt. I don't like to stick out in races in any way. But what do you say to your almost-five-year-old who is coming out to watch you run six miles in the wind when she wants you to wear a certain shirt? You don't say no! And it turns out it was a good shirt. My husband and kids were able to spot me coming in to the finish wayyyyy before I got there--I could hear Dan yelling from a half-mile away! Also, another runner complimented me on it as we ran together briefly in Mile 5. We agreed there was no way I would be hit by a car. When I saw her later after the finish she said she had used me as her rabbit, watching my shirt ahead of her like a flag.

Dan saw the shirt from a long way off.

The Race: We got there too late for me to warm up. I hit the bathroom and went straight to the start with only about two minutes to spare. While waiting in line, I ate a pack of Black Cherry Shot Bloks. I figured a little more sugar and some caffeine wouldn't hurt. I was a little chilly at first, but despite the wind the sun was warm and there's no shade on this course, so I figured I'd be OK.

The first three miles were the windy ones. Miles 1 and 3 were straight into the north/northwest wind. Mile 2 featured the only hill of the pancake-flat course. These things are reflected in my times for these miles. I was trying to hold back a bit, knowing the weather wasn't favorable and that I would still have half the course to go when we finally got out of the wind. I paid a lot of attention to my breathing: four steps for every inhale/exhale cycle. It was nice and controlled.

Mile 1--8:17
Mile 2--8:14
Mile 3--8:19

Then we turned east. Boy, turning out of the wind helps!

Mile 4--7:56
Mile 5--7:54
Mile 6--7:54

We had to go west again for most of Mile 6, but you know how it is when you're almost done. You can hammer a bit and be OK. I'm proud that Mile 6 was as fast as Mile 5. And I'm proud that I found a kick for the last quarter mile, though I'm sure having Dan and the kids cheering for me had as much to do with that as any ability of mine.

Last .2--7:00 pace

Finding a finish kick--I couldn't quite catch the girl in red, but she and I passed two other women just ahead of the mat!

The times may be off because the Garmin never matches the actual time. But I was much closer on the watch and the official time than I usually am, so I must have done better with the tangents than in the past.

My only real disappointment was that the finish line clock said 49:04 when I crossed the mat. I thought I had done sub-50, only to find out that was the clock for the concurrent two-mile race. Fortunately I found this out quickly, had about a 30-second sulk and then cheered up again. You can't argue with a PR of any kind in the wind. Dan also helped (as always): he said he thought a 10K PR seven years and two kids after my prior one was really awesome.

The Lessons:

Good Things (besides the new PR):
1. I paced myself almost perfectly. Now I know I can handle the tempo and race pace runs I have coming.
2. I didn't let adverse weather get me down. You get what you get with weather. No whining.
3. I felt good the whole way. I was definitely done at the end, but I am not sore and know I can hit the ground running with training again this week.
4. This was an awesome field, especially for us double-X chromosome types. The women's winner, Nuta Olaru, finished a mere three seconds behind the 18-year-old top male (he ran 35:11, she ran 35:14!). Dan said it was an amazing finish, that she *almost* caught him. Olaru and five others among the top ten finishers were in their 40s (Colleen DeReuck, one of my favorite local Olympians, was sixth and top female master); the man who finished 8th was 50 years old. (Running) life does NOT end at forty. I was honored to be 11th out of 58 women in the 35-39 age group (my group's winner ran 39:17), 50th out of 298 women and 173rd out of 555 overall.
5. I can run without music! Turns out I probably didn't need to (lots of folks were running with music), but the official rules for this race said no headphones and I'm a rule-follower. This was a good confidence-builder for sure. While I have no plans to ditch my iPod, it's great to know I can run well without it.

Bad Things
I can think of really only one negative thing about this race (besides the sub-50 continuing to be elusive): This time doesn't indicate a readiness to run my BQ time in a marathon. My McMillan running calculator paces for my Houston training will stay about the same after this race. I was hoping to be able to run my training efforts a little faster.

Like I said, though....no whining. Just gotta keep on doing the work.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sick Kid and Weight Check-In

Over the weekend my daughter came down with a nasty virus called hand-foot-and-mouth disease. It's given her horrible sores inside her mouth, so painful she can't eat much of anything. At first she had a fever, too. That seems to be gone, but the pain in her mouth--and her grumpiness because eating is so hard--are still there. This is her third day home from preschool. According to the doctor, she should feel much better within a day or two.

I haven't missed any runs or spin class due to this, but I did miss weight training yesterday staying home with her in the morning (still hoping to be able to do that chin-up at some point). As for today, I was supposed to have a day off work, and I planned to go out to lunch with Jill at last. But it wasn't to be. I was really unhappy about this. It's not the first time I've had to cancel something fun because one or both of my kids got sick. I haven't mentioned it, but I've been dreading cold and flu season for weeks, watching as my friends and their kids have come down with various kinds of crud and wondering when it would move to our house.

Now that it's here (in addition to his sister's situation, my son has a cold--nothing horrible so far, but he's a sneezy, snotty mess), I'm feeling more sanguine. If we can keep Will from catching Ruthie's bug, I'd say there are even some good things about this timing:
  • We're traveling in a week and a half for Thanksgiving; these illnesses should have run their course by then
  • Their 5th birthday party is three weeks from this weekend; I'd hate to have this happen then
  • I am not yet to the truly hard, high-mileage weeks of my marathon training program, where there's guilt about leaving the kids so much with Dan even when they're well and where I'm more susceptible to viruses myself
  • Sick kids nap a lot; so do the parents who stay home with them; I'm getting more sleep this week than I usually do because I'm not at work
Small blessings, right?

In other news, my eating is NOT going well. I couldn't weigh in at the gym yesterday because I didn't go, but this morning after spin class I got on the scale at home. The Halloween candy appears to have caught up with me:

Weight--131 (so bummed to see a 3 on the scale again)
Body Fat--22.1%

Blech. Oh well. Maybe it's Mario's revenge for the bet on his NYC marathon time.

I know what I need to do: stop the creeping snacking, stop using the miles as an excuse for eating junk and stop the portion ballooning. I've definitely gone through worse eating patches, and I'm still making Mario's recipes, but it's time to get back to the straight and narrow.

At least I don't have sores in my mouth. Knock on wood.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mario Bet Winner and a Couple of Blog Recommendations

There was a lot of great news from the New York Marathon today, including a new course record. Congratulations to all of you who ran, especially Carrie and Erin.

And unless my race-time stalking powers betray me, Mario Lopez ran a 4:23:31. That means Tricia of Running, Life, Etc. is our big winner. Her guess of 4:23:11 was uncannily close. By the way, I heartily recommend Tricia's blog. She is going to run her first marathon next year, and it will be really fun to read about her training as she heads for success. She's really good at keeping it real, too.

My friend Kathy suggested I post about my experience running NYC in 2005. Since it's such ancient history at this point, I'll just list a few highlights. I do think this is a race everyone who loves running marathons should do. It won't be your fastest time, but every step is memorable.

The highlights for me were:

  • the fabulous summer and fall of training that led up to it, including running in Hawaii on our honeymoon, running in my first relay and running a 5K PR
  • forgetting my bra and borrowing one the morning of the race (thank God it fit, and didn't chafe!)
  • running on the top of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (yes, I got the top deck! almost as lucky as winning the lottery first try, which also happened)
  • seeing my husband, in-laws and friend Wendy twice on the course (Wendy used her NYC savvy to get them around)
  • sticking with a really great pacer woman to run what was a PR at the time (the other pacer for our level gave in to the high 70s temps and couldn't maintain it)
Heading toward Central Park with a few miles yet to go; I'm in the blousy orange shorts; no one wore running skirts back then as far as I know

  • getting a sponge from the Sponge Bob people
  • entering Central Park at last
  • after the finish, telling the pacer that my next goal was to have a baby. Who knew we'd end up having *two* at once?
  • eating an amazing meal wearing my medal at the Blue Water Grill with Dan, my wonderful in-laws (who traveled all the way from Pennsylvania to watch me run), Wendy and my other old friend, Jim
Dan and I celebrate with his mom and step-dad, Patrick, at the Blue Water Grill

Good times!

Thanks for suggesting this, Kathy. Kathy is a new blogger. She ran her first marathon in Portland last month and has two more planned (including Houston with me!) early next year. Read about her journey at got to keep on running long.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Newsflash! Mario Lopez Will Run NYC!

Did you know Mario Lopez, my nutrition guru, is also a marathoner? He's running the New York Marathon on Sunday!

Credit: Runner's World

According to a Universal Sports interview online, he has a time goal. Here's a quote:

You know, I'd like to go as close to four hours as possible. But my running partner is unfortunately at 4 and half. To be honest, because my running partner tore his hamstring I'm feeling bad and feeling guilty. I'm like, ‘Should I slow up for him until he gets better and he's in good shape too, or should I just leave him and just do my own deal?' I'm a little conflicted. But I know I'm definitely going to complete it.

That's right, dude. Blame the running partner!

Mario was profiled in Runner's World a few years back and claimed a half-marathon PR of 1:48. That's better than my half PR by eight minutes. But when he ran the Boston Marathon for charity in 2002, he clocked a 5:41:42. So I have beaten him at 26.2 by nearly two hours.

He blamed his girlfriend at the time for his Boston time, according to the same interview:

Well that one I ran with my girlfriend and she didn't want me to cross the finish line without her. I swear. Believe it or not, I'm in decent shape.


So anyway, for a little fun for those of us not running NYC this weekend, I have a friendly wager with Raina over at Small Town Runner that I want to open up to everyone. I've got five virtual cents that says Mario finishes in 4:12. Raina (being a more generous soul) says 3:59:59. What's your guess?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Frozen Hair!

For the second week in a row, we had a snowstorm that started on Tuesday night and kept things gloomy through Wednesday. And for the second Thursday in a row I had to get up and run on a chilly morning in the aftermath.

Here's what my workplace looked like yesterday. Pretty!
Last Thursday it wasn't so bad. I had a hill workout to run, and there just happens to be a hill on the other side of the golf course near my house that I knew would meet the two most important criteria for a successful post-storm run: 1) it would be cleared of snow and 2) it would have little traffic. Since the bulk of the run involved me going up and down this hill, I didn't really have to worry too much about the winter pitfalls of uncleared sidewalks, black ice and cars not seeing me.

But I was worried about today. Today's run called for four five-minute intervals at half-marathon pace (which for me right now is supposed to be around 8:40). I knew I'd need a bigger course than my safe golf course hill, and I also knew that the sidewalks would be iffy and the traffic would be, well, there. But as Samwise Gamgee says in The Lord of the Rings, when there's a run on the schedule, there's nothing for it. You get up, you put on the right kind of clothes and you go.

Sure enough, just as the first of the five-minute intervals cropped up, I hit a patch of crappy sidewalk. We're talking ice like rocks and patches of slickness where there had been melting yesterday and re-freezing overnight. And there was no veering into the road, because rush hour traffic starts picking up around 6 a.m. here. I might have cursed a little. The first interval came in at an 8:52 pace. Blah.

But after that, as often happens, things improved. I got out of the residential stretch of the road and found that the sidewalks were much clearer around the little strip malls and shops further on. I was able to find my pace and stay steady. In fact, I found myself battling my constant problem of going too fast. Even the hardest of the five intervals, entirely up a hill, came in at an 8:42 pace. I haven't hooked the Garmin up, so I'm not sure what the fastest one was, but I did have to reel myself in twice when I saw 8:02 and 7:56 on the little screen.

As the stars gave way to the rising sun (AMAZING stars right now!) and the intervals ticked by, my spirits lifted. When it was time to cool down and head home, the sidewalks got crappy again but it didn't bug me. I ran 7.25 miles total and could have kept going.

When I walked into the house, the kids and Dan laughed at my frozen hair. Yes, sticking out from under my fleece beanie, my hair was crusted with white frost. I hadn't paid attention to the temperature, but when I looked at that moment, the needle on our little kitchen-window thermometer said 19 degrees. Makes me wonder how cold it had been at 6 a.m. when I first set out in the dark!!

I also noticed that, when I took the Garmin off my right wrist, which is where I always wear it, my right hand was noticeably colder than my left. Dan said he's experienced "cold watch hand" syndrome too. Apparently I need to make it looser, so the blood can get to that hand and keep it warm. Weird. Anyone else experienced this?

So I am pleased to note that as of today, November 3, I have yet to resort to the treadmill. The treadmill is a huge pain for me because I have to go to the rec center to use it. That means adhering to time limits, and even my weekday runs now take at least twice as much time as most rec center time limits. My friend Christine (I love that woman!) bid on my behalf on a 10-punch pass to Flatiron Athletic Club that was in the silent auction at her kids' preschool and won it for me. But FAC is now a 25-minute drive for me.

So I plan to run outside as much as possible to avoid the time limits. It'll be better for my running anyway. And the frozen hair makes me feel like a bad-ass. :^)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mario Lopez Eating Weeks 4 and 5

I'll share some happy news first.

Somehow, despite many and significant slip-ups in the last two weeks (described below), I weighed in this morning on three different scales as NOT SO MUCH WORSE than the last time I weighed in two weeks ago.

Home scale=128.4 (post-run, pre-breakfast) and 21.8% body fat (the body fat was actually down)
Gym scale=129.8 (post-breakfast); no BF measure, but Chris, my trainer, is going to do it again next week
Special weigh-in for our "Maintain, Don't Gain, Over the Holidays" team at work=129.6

I have this man to thank (or at least his ghost-writers and personal chefs) for the Extra Lean Family eating plan:

So now for the bad and the ugly.....

Here's what happened in Weeks 4 and 5 that caused a bit of a breakdown in the good habits:
  • We got (oh, the horror) invited out to eat a couple of times by friends. Yeah, I know...first-world problem. But I've come to believe that restaurant food--more than any single food group, even sugar--is the devil when it comes to getting and staying lean. I do believe at some point that I will get better at not inhaling my entire plate of tasty tempting restaurant fare (in these cases, it was a brew pub twice and an organic grocery deli once)--but I am not there yet. So it's best for me just to avoid restaurants altogether. When someone invites your whole family out, though, what are you gonna do? Say no and look like a food prude? Fortunately, this doesn't happen very often.
  • Halloween. Peanut butter cups.The work candy trough. And cold weather. Hot chocolate cravings. 'Nuff said.
  • Insomnia. Yes, it's really true. The carb cravings came back after last Tuesday's bad night.
  • Portion distortion. All the other stuff aside, I found myself going back for seconds more than I was in the first three weeks. Gotta stop that. I just like to eat. What can I say? I wish it weren't so fun for me.
Fortunately, much of this is over for a couple of weeks (until the temptations of Thanksgiving week and a couple of family birthdays arrive). And returning to good news, we have stuck by the basic tenets of the Mario plan (meals planned in advance, most of the shopping done in one fell swoop on the weekend) even amid all the slip-ups.

There's still something that's a mystery to me, but it probably always will be. Why do plateaus happen where they do? My weight history since my kids were conceived looks something like this:

April 2006: twins conceived; weight 125
June 2006: height of morning sickness; weight 125
August 2006: morning sickness a distant memory; appetite HUGE; weight 145
November 2006: appetite waning, but weight gain continuing; weight 170
Dec. 8, 2006: twins born; weight before C-section--175; weight after C-section--150
Dec. 8, 2007: twins one; weight around 145; yeah, that baby weight didn't come off despite a year of breastfeeding/pumping
Dec. 8, 2008: twins two; weight about 137; I started running again for real that year and did a half in the fall
Dec. 8, 2009: twins three; weight back above 140; less running, more eating; blame potty-training and bed-wetting? or my own lack of willpower?
Dec. 8, 2010: twins four; weight between 137 and 145; the plateau getting old; I had started running again and started my Boston quest
June 2011: weight 134; some pounds finally came off as I ramped up for another half
September 2011: weight 128; more pounds came off post-Top of Utah Marathon
Right now, Nov 1, 2011 (twins almost 5): weight 129; thanks Mario Lopez!

So it took me almost five years to get back to the vicinity of my pre-pregnancy weight. Much of that time was sitting in a huge plateau in the five-pound range between 137 and 142. Now I think I might be sitting in another plateau at around 129-ish.

Why do these plateaus occur where they do? Why was it so hard to break through 137, and yet when I did I lost nearly 10 pounds? What will it take to break through this one?

Don't get me wrong. I could be happy and healthy for the rest of my days at 128 or 129 pounds. But I feel that 120 would be better for my running. We'll have to see what happens with some returned fidelity to the Mario plan. Because of course we're going to stick with it. I like the results. My husband likes that it's actually inspiring me to cook. :^)