Archive | December 2013

Holiday Game Plan Results (So Far)

Well we are home from our trip down to warmer climes to celebrate Christmas.  Nine days ago I stepped on the scale to get a baseline and put my head in the right place.  Nine days ago I wrote down everything I would do (and wouldn’t do) to try and keep the scale from deviating too far upwards of that number.

My trip started out immediately with breaking my alcohol rule, and not even in a little way:  margaritas.  But I made good food choices otherwise that day and vowed I would run off the excess in the morning on the beach.  I noticed my throat was a bit sore with each sip of margarita going down, but I didn’t think about it…probably the ice.

Not the ice.  After my four plus mile run the next day I started to feel the cold coming in full force.  On day two I felt myself steadily going downward:  nose running, throat needing clearing, sneezing.  Still, I took a long walk on the beach and eschewed the bun on my burger and dessert at dinner (I did, however, break the alcohol rule again).

I spent the rest of the week fighting a particularly nasty cold.  The second cold I’ve had this winter (this month!) and I don’t really understand it.  I am generally healthy and hardly ever get sick.  I eat better now than I have in most of my life, and exercise more too.  I don’t know what happened, but running went out the window for the rest of the week because I could hardly breathe what with all of the coughing.

I did keep walking, though, at least three miles every day but one, and often more than four.  I swam too, the chlorine in the pool seeming to help clear my chest and my nose.  Despite not being able to rest well or much, the cold did finally start to clear up the day after Christmas.

The sickness did, as it always does, lower my resolve.  I managed fruit and yogurt every day for breakfast, and did keep lunches light for the most part.  I did eat too much sometimes at dinners, although I was good about avoiding desserts for the most part. I drank more than I should have, every single day.  Yesterday was probably the worst day.  Long delays at the airport and an upgrade on the plane meant a warm and boozy flight home.

I forced myself to step on the scale this morning, not wanting to wait until Wednesday to see the carnage.  I squeezed my eyes shut and slowly opened them as the number appeared.

The exact same number as it read nine days ago.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I could not tell you at all why that is, but for today, still recovering from my cold and tired from my trip?  I’m ecstatic.  And I am so glad that I stepped on today, so I am motivated to keep the number down over what is guaranteed to be a boozy New Years and a few days of cold weather comfort eating before the kids go back to school.

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Holiday Game Plan

Well it’s the day we start our holiday trip, a week of family, fun and hopefully warmer weather.  I stepped on the scale this morning and found it up a pound from Wednesday (um, also from yesterday….grrrr).  We had a big holiday meal with family last night so I attribute it to that.  But it’s a cautionary tale for what will be a whole week of essentially the same thing, nearly every night.  So I need to get my head in the game.

Exercise Game Plan:

  • At least one long run of 6+ miles.
  • Minimum of three runs total for the week
  • Walk on days when I don’t run, so there is some physical activity on days when we don’t travel

Food Game Plan:

  • Be sure there is healthy breakfast food available:  oatmeal and/or greek yogurt and fruit
  • Go light on lunches because dinners will be big
  • Stick to lean proteins and avoid low glycemic carbs (“the white stuff”)
  • No more than 2 drinks at dinner
  • Dessert yes, but not every night and only a few bites
  • Water, water, water

We have the same tradition every year of going to spend the holiday with family.  Always the same place, always the same dates.  We’ve done this for the last eight years so I know what I am in for.  Last year, I gained six pounds in the week and a half holiday break between Wednesday Weigh Ins.

My goal this year is to maintain.  I know I won’t lose and I’m fine with it.  Maintaining, honestly, will be a challenge.  But I did it over Thanksgiving and I should be able to do it this week too.  I just need to really be conscious and aware of my choices.

I can do this.

Wednesday Weigh In

Last weigh in before Christmas break, and I’m feeling good about it:  down 1.6 from last week.  Still not quite back down to my low point in early November (just 1.2 lbs away from it) but I’m ok with it.  I’m happy with coasting here until January and then getting back on the wagon and down into the land of Single Digits To Goal.

I honestly am pleased and a little surprised at the number, because our cookie swap was last week.  I’ve had at least a cookie a day since then, some days more (high point:  Saturday, with five, ugh).  I’ve tried to balance it with better food choices.  I’ve drunk less wine this week, which is definitely a factor.  I also got significantly more exercise in.  It has been super snowy here, so I have had shoveling, in addition to using my treadmill to keep up with runs.

I’m not great with treadmill running, but if it’s the difference between that and nothing due to snow and ice outside, I’ll do it.  It’s boring, I usually want to give up about ten minutes in, but if I stick with it, I can usually crank out 3 miles without incident.  I’m not sure why, but I am consistently slower on my treadmill too.  It’s older (nearly 20 years old, I think….I bought it used from someone in 1997…it’s a good one but it’s old), and may possibly be stuck on an incline position.  Still, it gives me what I need when I need it (typing that sentence makes me smile).

I am going to weigh in once more before our holiday break on Saturday to get a true “before” number.  I will, between now and then, try and work on my game plan.  It’s not rocket science of course.  But I really need to wrap my head around the holiday.  Last Christmas I gained six pounds over our break, and didn’t get back down to the low point I’d reached just before it until this fall.  NINE MONTHS of trying to erase that damage.  I will not be letting that happen again.  I need to be super clear in focus, and writing out the plan out here in the blog will help me keep that good headspace I have right now through all of the celebrating next week.  🙂

Current Week: -1.6 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose:  11.8 lbs
Age:  43
BMI:  27.7

My Year In Running

I had been waiting to put together a “My Year In Running” post because I had one more race on my schedule:  the Holiday Run for Toys in Fairfield, CT this Sunday.  Alas, a nasty winter storm is brewing and looks to hit Saturday night, postponing the race until the following week.  Unfortunately I cannot run the race that particular day, so that’s it for me:  my race year is done.

races

My year looked like this:

January:  Joe Kleinerman 10K...79:22
February:  Sweetheart 4 Mile Run…50:05
March:  Shamrock and Roll 5K…35:33
Sandy Hook Run for the Families 5K…36:02
April:  DAWS Run Your Tail Off 5K...31:48**
May:  Mother’s Day 10K…79:10
Memorial Day 5K…35:56
June:  Stratton Faxon 5K…36:14
August:  MADD Dash 5K…37:28
Newtown Road Race 5K…38:41
September:  Autism Speaks 4 Miler…47:19
October:  Monroe 4 Mile Trail Run…52:32
November:  Vicki Soto 5K…36:02

13 races in 12 months.  My goal is to run one race a month so I was OK even without this weekend’s race.

Best race experience?  Wow, that’s hard to choose.  I think that most of the runs were well organized.  Probably the Sandy Hook run, just because it was so moving and emotional.  For a race with over 15,000 participants (by far the largest event I have ever participated in), it was really seamlessly run.

Best run?  I PRed the Shamrock and Roll run in March on a super flat course in New Haven, CT.  But I also felt really great through the Joe Kleinerman 10K and the Vicki Soto races.

Best piece of new gear?  My New Balance shoes that I finally got from Woodbridge Running.  Super comfortable on my big, wide feet.  Second place goes to the key holder case I got that attaches to my shoe laces (also a New Balance product).  Love both.

Best piece of running advice?  A runner I really admire and respect told me that it didn’t matter how fast I ran a race, just that I got out there and completed the miles.  I beat myself up constantly about being slow and that sage advice meant something to me, because it came from someone who I consider a “real runner”.

Most inspirational runner?  I could talk about so many people but if I am going with someone I know personally, it’s my girlfriend Sue.  She started on her fitness journey just a year ago and now routinely beats me in races.  She amazes me and pushes me to continue training.  Second place goes to Kevin Bresnahan, who ran well over thousand miles this year for Chase Kowalski (one of the victims of Sandy Hook).

A few words to sum up your running year?  An awesome journey.  I have met so many wonderful people through my running.  People I would have never met or become connected with otherwise.  I’m so grateful for the new experiences that running has brought to my life.

Onto 2014.  I don’t have anything scheduled yet. I won’t do the Kleinerman 10K again this year, but I would like to get another 10K in again soon.  My goal for 2014 is definitely a half marathon.  I don’t know which one yet, but it’s definitely my goal.

**This race time is so far off of my normal 5K times that I truly do think that the course was short.  I have never before or since run anything even remotely close to this time.

Wednesday Weigh In: Not So Fast

So last week’s nonchalance is followed by this week’s frustration.  A week of being sick and the ensuing inactivity and comfort foods that went along with it found the scale up a pound over last week this morning.

I have had a thoroughly nasty cold that was so bad I spent most of Thursday and Friday on the sofa.  I still didn’t feel great over the weekend and frankly am still fighting a cough.  I haven’t been to bootcamp in over a week, and plan to try and go back today.  I’m not sure how it will go because I know that my lungs and throat are clunky but I’ll do what I can.

I stepped on the scale yesterday and it was a pound less than it was today.  So I am not entirely sure what happened in the last twenty four hours…it wasn’t a terrible food day and I even shoveled snow.  If I hadn’t stepped on that scale yesterday I would totally understand the gain but watching the scale all week I didn’t see it up until this morning.  I guess sometimes it takes a while for it all to gel.

Anyway, it’s a good wake up call on December 11.  If I don’t watch myself, I’ll will give up all the hard fought ground I’ve made this fall in terms of fitness and food choices.  Even though my head is fuzzy, it’s no excuse for making bad choices.  Even if I can’t exercise as vigorously I can still choose better foods.

Moving on….

Current Week: +1 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose:  13.4 lbs
Age:  43
BMI:  28

Vicki Soto 5K Race Recap

This one is a long time coming.  I ran this race over a month ago.  Why haven’t I written about it?

Honestly, I am not sure.  I guess it was a pretty emotional day and I hadn’t really thought I could get it all out in words, to do it justice.  But now looking back on my year of running (one more race to go), I don’t want to leave it out.  So here we go.

It was a chilly November morning, but beautiful and sunny as my girlfriend and I drove down towards the Long Island Sound town where Vicki Soto hailed from.  She was the 27 year old first grade teacher who was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook a year ago.

It’s all still very real here, that day.  As we approach the anniversary even more so, but it’s never far from us here.  We have friends who lost here, and the tributes have been all year long.  The kids go to school in my town.  Sandy Hook is never far from us.  It was not even a question that I would run this race, and my girlfriend agreed.

We had gone the day before to packet pick up because there were so many registered.  The bibs and the shirts all had the Flamingo logo emblazoned on them; they were Vicki’s favorite.  I bought a hoodie there as well:

sotorace1

We arrived early and walked around the race area.  It was large; they were expecting over 2,000 people.  We tried to take it all in….the magnitude of it.  The spirit of it.  There was something palpable about the people who were there volunteering….a positive edge that I hadn’t expected.  This wasn’t a memorial race.  It became clear this was a celebration.

soto2

My friend and I bought some bracelets to run with…they are a fundraiser of course, but they also give me a sense of having that spirit with me.  I have Chase Kowalski bracelets and a Sandy Hook bracelet that I’ve often run with that give me that same sense of “I’m running for a purpose” feeling.

The parking lot where we assembled filled up.  Pretty soon you had a sense of how immense this race was going to be; it was nearly claustrophobic.  We ended up going to walk early to the starting line because of the crowd; it was too close.  On the way we saw people we knew.  Like I said, Sandy Hook is very close.  There were at least ten people I knew running the race that day.

All along the route, there were these little plastic flamingoes.  Over three hundred, apparently.  That’s roughly one hundred per mile, so you can imagine, they were everywhere, lining the race route.

flamgingo

As we approached the start line, we saw that two fire trucks had been placed just beyond with an American flag draped between.  It was such a beautiful sight, and gave you a sense of the gratitude that we all felt at being a part of this beautiful event.  We kept saying it over and over:  there’s a spirit here.

sotoflag

Finally it was start time.  There was a moment of silence and bells were tolled.  Someone sung Amazing Grace and we all stood, silently crying.  It was just a hauntingly beautiful moment.  Vicki’s family members spoke to us all and then it was time.  Finally we were off.

sotoflamingostart

We passed this life size flamingo made of balloons as we started.  It was a big crowd, so it was slow going at first, but we weren’t here for time….we were here for Vicki.

sotocrowd

That’s a lotta people.

The morning had warmed up considerably over the hour that we’d waited for the race to begin, so I got warm quickly in that bright sun.  Even though I wasn’t here for time, I still wanted to do well.  I started off at a moderate pace, immediately lost my friend in the crowd (who, despite running for less time than me, is faster….she’s better about being able to push herself than I am) and set out to enjoy the race.

There were cheerleaders from the local high schools placed every half mile or so.  There were families in the neighborhoods all out cheering.  There were people giving away candy (it was three days after Halloween).  There were signs and lawn art all out, honoring Vicki.  It was really something.  I tried to just run and savor that amazing feeling of being a part of this event.

I skipped the water stop and kept going.  My pace was good, I knew I’d finish one of my better times, because the course was mostly flat.  I saw a few people I knew pass me, but for the most part I stayed with the same group the whole time.  I felt good the whole time, right up until the last half mile.

There was a hill.  A big one.  It was actually the highway overpass; we’d gone up it on the way out so I knew we’d hit it on the way back.  It was about mile 2.5.  Because I’m not a pusher like my friend, I walked it, wanting to finish strong.  Strong for Vicki.

And I did.  I ran the rest of the race feeling good, and wasn’t surprised when I finished in the low 36 time frame, one of my best times this year.  My friend had finished three minutes before me (one of these days I’ll catch her!) and so we headed back to the parking lot where the post race food was set up.

It was actually so crowded by that point that I just opted for water even though there was a ton of great, donated, catered food.  I wasn’t interested in waiting ten minutes for it, because I’m often not hungry at all after a race.  I mostly just want to drink water.  We said Hi to a few people, snapped this post race photo and went to the bar next door to share a celebratory glass of wine (what, you don’t drink at 10am after having run 3.1 miles? ).

racefinishsoto

We talked a bit about the race together, raised our glasses with the few other boozy souls who had joined us before heading home.  It had been a truly lovely race….beautiful weather, great people, well organized.  But again, what struck us was just the spirit that pervaded the whole day.  From the volunteers to the logo to the flamingos everywhere…you just felt that something good had happened there.  It wasn’t sadness that brought us there, even though we all wished the event that brought us all there had never happened, but it wasn’t the death we all thought of that day.  It was the life.

As her shirts say:  Live, Laugh, Love.  And we did.

PS:  When I got home, I discovered my time, 36:02 was EXACTLY to the second the same time I ran the Sandy Hook Run for the Families 5K last March.  The angels were clearly with me on both occasions.

Wednesday Weigh In: One Holiday Down

I’m not surprised that this week’s weigh in shows a loss.  How’s that for nonchalance?  Two Thanksgiving dinners, one wedding, two travel days and staying in a hotel and somehow I managed to pull it off.  My goal was to maintain, but I didn’t.  I actually dropped a little weight last week.

I think the best I can manage to say about it is that I kept my head about me.  I was careful about what I ate but I also didn’t deprive myself.  On Thanksgiving number one, I loaded up on turkey and vegetables and had one small spoonful of mashed potatoes and stuffing.  On Thanksgiving number two, I again kept to the protein and avoided the larger than my hand but looked oh soooo good rolls.  At the wedding, I stuck to the same strategy:  protein and veggies and fruit.  On all three occasions I had dessert, but just a few bites rather than the whole thing.

When there were snacks out I stuck to protein and veggies and stayed away from the crackers and dips.  I drank water whenever I had any opportunity.  And my big win, when we ate at the hotel buffet breakfast I had fruit and oatmeal rather than the greasy eggs, sausage and hashed brown potatoes.  All of which I normally love, but the fruit was beautiful at the hotel and I knew I’d be having protein later in the day, so I thought the oatmeal was a better choice.

Of course I drank, probably too much, but not too much and I always stuck to wine as opposed to mixed drinks (well there was that one shot of tequila, but it was a wedding after all).  🙂

All in all, I’m pretty proud of myself.  I’d like to get back down to my new low point (which I hit a few weeks ago and promptly reacted to by gaining some back) during December and then coast there for the rest of the holiday season before moving back downward come January.  I think this is a realistic goal for me.

Current Week: -0.6 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose:  12.4 lbs
Age:  43
BMI:  27.8