>Runner’s Rage

>Okay, I need to vent a bit…

So, I experienced “runner’s rage” at the track today during my lunch run. I’ve said before that I totally respect walkers; I think we can co-exist peaceably as long as we all observe certain very simple rules. Like common courtesy. When a runner or a walker is wanting to pass simply move to one side or the other and allow that person to pass. Is this a lot to ask?! Apparently it was for the “mall walker” I encountered today. I call her a mall walker because she was carrying a full-out purse, texting, and then talking on the phone at one point. Seriously? If you need to do that, either step off the track for a bit or just stay in your office at lunch. So annoying. While this behavior was mildly annoying I could overlook it, but not what happened next. I come around the corner to pass her and she stayed right in the middle of track and I had to almost mow her down!!! This was probably the third time I had passed her – once on the right, once on the left…she was just not feeling the passing groove thaanng. So by this point I had had it with cell-phone, mall-walker woman so I yelled, “just pick a lane!” as I passed. Now, maybe I shouldn’t have yelled, but I certainly wasn’t going to stop and have a conversation with her at that point. My run was hard enough to get through today – tired from not sleeping well last night – up early and just fatigued after a long week. It is stressful to have to stop myself from running over someone on the track!!! Are you with me? Anyone? Whew…okay, I feel better now. I’m ready to face another day of mall walker mayhem.

>My Latest “Ah-Ha!” Moment

>Mind. Body. Spirit. People often talk of these three elements of our human experience. I definitely have had experiences in my life that have focused clearly on one of these areas. Mind (cognitive ability, thinking) – I’ve experienced this through all my schooling, tasky stuff, work experiences – probably much of my life has been focused on this prong of the three. Spirit (soul, feeling) – I’ve experienced this through my relationships, my faith life, reflective activities. Body (physical pleasure or pain, activity) – I’ve experienced this through childbirth, and exercise.

I believe that all three of these elements are gifts that each of us have been given in order to experience this human journey we are on: to live, learn and love through our lives. For me, the power of being truly alive is stronger when these elements are combined in some way.

Well, I had a realization the other day about something. This realization began with a confusion I could not put my finger on and I had to sit with for a couple of days before I could really figure it out and put into words what I stumbled upon(which is often the case with me these days). So, here it is: for me, running combines all three of these elements together simultaneously. This is why it is so powerful for me! It is clearly a mind, body and spirit experience for me. My mind is engaged because often I have to use my brain to coax and motivate myself into completing my run or some different challenge. My body is engaged because, duh, – it is running! And my spirit is engaged because I feel a connection to a power greater than me when I’m running. I wouldn’t describe it as a higher power exactly. It is more like a power within myself. My own spiritual power. This is very hard to put into words, but I definitely feel it. Is this what people call, the “runner’s high”? I don’t know. I just call it being connected. Being connected or engaged in a very real way with myself on all three levels like this has not happened often in my life and it is really wonderful. If you can find a way to make this connection, by all means JUST DO IT!!!

>My ipod is possessed!

>I have a predicament with my ipod. It really is more of a love-hate or hot-cold relationship. Much like my relationship with my computer at work…oh Windows – when it works its great, when it doesn’t it sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new ipod. I have the ipod nano, the purple version to be exact, that I purchased on black Friday this year at approximately 4:30am for $145.00 with a $15 Target gift card with purchase. What a deal! Plus I have the chip that goes into my shoe so it tracks my distance, time, calories and so forth. Very cool. I have used it since January and have logged almost 60 miles on it so far. Also, very cool.

One of the coolest things about this new gadget is that it talks to you. A woman’s voice (of course I picked a female voice) comes on at my halfway point and announces the distance I have left to go. Then she announces when there are 400, 300, 200 and 100 meters to go. When she begins this countdown it is my cue to go into sprint mode and try to beat my time and set a new personal record. This countdown combined with my music is very motivating. Then, at the end of the workout she congratulates me and tells me to push the menu button to end my workout. After that, however, I have to dial the ipod to the “end your workout” selection and push the center button to lock in my time. Sounds simple, right. As it should be.

Sometimes, however, it is challenging to dial the button around because a) I’m sweaty, b) the ipod is sweaty and c) I’m just stopping from a full sprint. However, I have developed a strategy…when my “lady friend” begins the 400 meter countdown I remove the ipod out of the pocket in my shorts and hold it, ready to “end my workout” and also attempting to remove the sweat from both the ipod and my fingers. Foolproof plan. This plan has been working fine so far – managing to add only mere seconds before “locking in” my time. Did I mention I’ve started competing with myself to better my time?

Well, yesterday my ipod went rogue on me. My strategy failed miserably. I held the ipod and when I attempted my plan, it all went crazy. I couldn’t get it to “end my workout” and then it kept turning the volume way up rather than stopping. This kept going for what felt like 20 minutes (it probably was 20 or 30 seconds at the most) until I finally got it to stop. During that time I almost dropped it, probably swore outloud from being blasted by my too loud music and almost bumped right into my walker friends on the track. To top it all off, I was congratulated my some famous woman athlete that I had “just completed my longest workout ever”! Ha – not intentionally!

I’m thinking about getting some Holy water.

>My Fantasy Run

>So, I have been running since last May. My running venue of choice had always been outside (no treadmills!) and I was committed to running all through the winter outside as well. Yeah. That didn’t work out as planned. I made it through Thanksgiving in my leggings, fleece jacket, hat and gloves, but once the temp dipped below the 40 degree mark, I was out. Plus, add snow and ice into the equation and I was definitely out for the count. Luckily, I work at a place that has an indoor track that is free for employees to use. Now running on a track has its pros and cons. Pros – weather is predictable, since it is inside. I can just wear shorts (well, and a shirt). Also, there are no hills which is kind of a bonus. Plus, the track is very “giving” and probably better on my legs/knees than the sidewalk or street. Cons – it is boring. Also, this particular track is banked on the sides so it is awkward, especially when there is more than one person on the track at a given time. Passing can be dangerous! Did I mention it was boring??!! Well, that is all I had so I “put my big girl panties on” and realized the pros definitely outweighed the cons. Plus, it is free and right at my work!!

I have finally gotten used to the indoor track and actually quite enjoy it. I have my music to keep me going. Every now and then, however, it is challenging to overcome the boredom of running around, and around, and around and around again. Fourteen (14) times around is a mile so I do that 3 times! Good thing I have my ipod that tracks it so I don’t have to keep count!!

Well, today I discovered a new plan to fight the boredom – my fantasy run! It is not what you think – it is not just a fake or made up run. I actually have a selected daydream that I think about and visualize during certain songs. Today it was “Desert Rose” by Sting. That was the song that I needed some extra help to get through. During that song I visualized living on a beach somewhere and being able to run every day on the beach with warm sun, sand and water. I also visualized that my hubby ran a scuba shop on this island somewhere, that we lived in an awesome little place overlooking the ocean and had our own wine-cellar. At one point I think I was running a little bed and breakfast too. It so worked! It was a great workout and my daydream/fantasy really took me there and helped me to get through a difficult part in my run. Not sure what it was about that song that conjured up that image, but that is what came up for me.

The mind is a very powerful thing to be sure. Now, I’m thirsty for a glass of Cabernet…

>The Perfect Meal

>The other day my status update on facebook highlighted my favorite meal these days and it involved fish. I have to say this again – it involved FISH! Not pizza, mac-n-cheese, a fine cut of steak or some decadent chocolate dessert. I should share that I was not raised eating fish. We were pretty much the meat and potatoes type of family with lots of casseroles, and city chicken…still not really sure what that is. Anyways, I don’t remember eating fish at all growing up. The closest thing to it would have been the New Year’s Eve’s that my parents treated themselves to a pound of shrimp (which I did not eat) or the one time I remember having lobster at home. That noise of their screaming still haunts me! Even as an adult, fish has not been my go-to food at all. I would have always chosen meat, chicken or even turkey.

Well, times have certainly changed! Part of the goal of Weight Watchers is to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and try new foods – to mix it up a little bit. As I just looked into the fish case at the local grocery store, I was very uncomfortable so I knew I was in the right place. Plus, the lobster tank was right next to it…ahhh! I didn’t like the smell of the fish case, had no idea how to prepare it and frankly it just looked…fishy. But, in the true Weight Watchers spirit I pushed through this feeling and ordered some tilapia…sun-dried tomato to be more specific. I like tomatoes – how bad could it be? I also asked the attendant some questions about how to prepare it. Thankfully, we already owned a fish basket and it was in the summer months so we could do it on the grill. I felt better already.

Much to my surprise I LOVED it! Perfectly cooked and tons of flavor. I was also shocked that my family devoured it! I moved this menu item to the top of the rotation list and it appeared at least weekly on our dinner table with rave reviews. I tried various other tilapia breading flavors and also used marinades. I even tried other types of fish – cod, mackerel. But “tilapia fish” as my son calls it was always the clear favorite. Now, I’ve cut down to probably once every two weeks in the winter months since it is not as good in the oven as the grill. And, on a side note, we had to disable our smoke detector because of the dog’s severe anxious reaction to it going off every time we used the broiler.

So, lesson learned here? Keep an open mind and try something new – you never know what you might discover about yourself. And while I still might not consider myself a full-fledged fish person, it is one of my favorite meals now. Who’d a thunk it.

>My Lenten Discipline

>So, I have decided what I’m going to do for Lent. I’m not catholic, so I don’t feel obligated to do something or give something up for Lent. And I can eat meat whenever I want during the next 40 days – bonus. However, I do think it might be good for me to practice a spiritual discipline. It may help me be more reflective, more spiritual…if nothing else it will help pass some time of this snowy winter that is dragging on!

So, I have decided what I’m going to do. I’m not giving anything up. I know there is a huge contingent of people that do this and that is fine. They pick either a vice or some food they love and pledge to abstain from doing this, or consuming this item. This will not work for me. Not only do I not like the idea of “giving something up” I just no myself too well to be successful in this area. I don’t work well with feeling deprived (enter my love for the Weight Watcher’s program). My experience has been that feeling deprived actually pushes me to partake in the “taboo thing” even more. I also just think that I would rather take the positive spin on this spiritual discipline idea and ADD something rather than take it away.

So, drum roll…I pledge to write 1000 words of my book each day of the 40 days of Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 17. This will ensure that I have at least 40,000 words written by Easter! Exciting! Oh, and blogging doesn’t count towards the word count – that is extra! I finally started to write “my book” after starting with this blog and with the coaxing of my dear husband. I think he might be tired of hearing me blather on about things, but whatever the case, it has been started! I’ve decided to write about my weight loss journey – now, that is a surprise! I always thought that my first book would be about the teenage angst that I felt growing up, or some other work of fiction, but nothing has really made me feel as passionate as this weight loss journey. So, there it is.

What will become of this book? No idea. I’m writing it for me…as a creative outlet, a work to chronicle this part of my life. It might be cool if somehow, somewhere along the way I sold the idea to Weight Watchers and made millions, but que sera, sera.

Until then, guess I’ll keep my day job and get that laptop crackin’!

>Some rockin’ chili!

>Gotta share this recipe for chili that I made a month or so ago, but enjoyed some again tonight from the freezer. You know something is a keeper when your eighteen-year-old says, “Mom, this chili rocks!” It is so easy because you basically just open a bunch of cans and cut some stuff up…simple, plus no meat to have to mess with!

Grandma’s Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili (btw – you can make it on the stove too – just let it simmer for awhile to cook all the flavors in)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes in puree
1 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbls chili powder, or to taste
1 Tbls dried parsley
1 Tbls dried oregano
1 Tbls dried basil

*I also add one (1) packet of chili spices and 1 can of tomato sauce.

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Season with spices. Cook for at least two hours on high. Serves 8 and is 5 points per serving. Enjoy!!

>My new mantra

>Last night I synced my ipod nano to my computer on the Nike site and it tracked me at 50 miles so far in 2010…pretty cool. One of the challenges you can track on the site is to run 210 miles in 2010 – totally got that one at the rate I’m going so I’ll have to figure out a new goal. There is also a training module for 5K, 10K, etc. It is a 12-week program…I’m thinking about doing the 5K one, but I want to find anoter 5K first and plan it out accordingly – I’d like to do most of my runs for this outside. So, it has to be 40 or above for me to do that!!

My run was hard today. I ran with my “runningmad” play list (it gets me going when I need extra motivation) which is made up of motivational songs by mostly women – Kelly Clarkson, Alantis, Gloria Estefan, and more Kelly. I didn’t feel like an elephant like the other day, but I just couldn’t push it as hard as I wanted to. I ran my 3 miles in 29:09 which is about average for me now. I feel good that I did it, but I was feeling badly that it was hard to do and then I realized…I ran 3 miles!! I – ran – 3 (THREE) – miles!!!!!!! This is huge for me!! Again, never been the athlete, and certainly not the runner so this is huge for me! I’m starting to redefine what being a runner is…not that I’m training for a marathon, but I frickin’ ran 3 miles…more than a lot of folks would ever attempt to do! At the end of my run, my ab workout and my stretching, I feel so powerful, like I could do anything. If I could bottle that feeling I would be a rich woman. But I need to remember that I can call upon that power at other times in my life when I feel less confident, less sure of myself, less strong. I need to remember my new mantra…I am woman, watch me run.

>Flashback #1 – The Ramsey Un-Christmas

>So, this post has nothing to do with weight, nutrition or exercise, BUT I just had to share it. Periodically I feel like I will want to share some flashbacks with you. This one involves the tonsil drama. Zach got his tonsils out two years ago Christmas (he was 5) and it was a drama to beat all dramas, to say the least. I was so stressed and frustrated during this time that one Sunday morning I sat down and wrote this before going to church. I felt much better afterwards…

Twas the 5th day before Christmas

Twas the 5th day before Christmas when all through the house of Ramsey
Not a creature was taking their medicine, eating or drinking…not even Zachary.

The popsicles and ice cream were stocked in the freezer with care
In hopes that Zachy would soon eat it bare!

Zachary was nestled all delirious on the couch
In hopes that his tonsils would magically heal…ouch!

With Mr. Ramsey at work and I at home
We had just settled down when I answered the phone

On the other end of the phone there arose such chatter
Grandma said, call the doctor to see what is the matter

Away to the phone I called the doctor in a mad dash
The doctor said to go to Hillcrest Pediatric ER in a flash

So to Rt. 271 during rush hour we did go
With a sick boy, and grandma, we went very slow

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
A hospital sign up ahead, very clear

With such wonderful hospital staff that I knew right quick
My little boy would not for very long be so sick

More rapid than eagles the nurses all came
With blood tests and IV’s, and movies by name

We can turn on Scooby or Ice Age or Shrek!
Incredibles, or Monster’s Inc or Polar Express!

From the top of his head, to the bottom of his toes
Dash away IV fluid, and away did it go!

When the surgeon called in to check on the tike
He said the best thing was to stay overnight

So up to the 3rd floor of Hillcrest we flew
With Zach in a wheelchair, mommy and daddy too.

And then in a twinkling I heard from the bed
The call button’s buzzer and Zach’s little head

As I went over to check him and was turning around
In the door came St. Nurse with a bound

She was dressed all in white from her head to her feet
And her clothes had fun characters on them – how very sweet

A bundle of medical things she wheeled into the room
She looked right away like she was right at home

Her eyes were so kind, her dimples how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her voice so cheery

Her stethoscope was drawn up like a bow
And her coat and shoes were as white as the snow.

With the thermometer held tightly in her hand
She asked Zachy to wear a special arm band

She had a kind face and a warm demeanor
And a laugh that instantly made me like her

She was so supportive, the picture of health
And I cried when I saw her, in spite of myself

A wink of her eye and a nod of her head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread

She spoke encouraging words and went straight to her work
Gave Zachy his medicine, then turned with a jerk

And laying the juices on the hospital table
She gave Zachy a choice between grape and apple

She was firm, but kind as she gave her directions
And down went the apple juice – that was the best one

But I heard her exclaim as she finished her shift
Zach, remember to take your medicine and drink like a fish!!!!

>My Do-Over Week

>Sometimes I just want a do-over week, don’t you? Things just don’t go according to plan and you want to start over. Coffee spills on your coat, you constantly run late, everyone is fighting in your house…you know what I’m saying, right? Well, my week in terms of my weight/eating begins on Saturday. Every Saturday morning like clockwork (for over a year now) I set my alarm for 6:30am, roll out of bed, throw on the lightest work-out pants and t-shirt I can find, hop in the car and head to my 7:30am Weight Watchers meeting at “the hill” (Chapel Hill). I try to leave around 6:45am so I can go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and get a large coffee with cream and sugar and a dry english muffin with strawberry jelly. I then arrive, go to the bathroom, weigh in at my favorite scale (yes, it can only be a certain scale) and then eat my breakfast while talking with my WW friends until the meeting begins. This routine has been pretty much the same for the past year. Am I regimented? Do I not like change? Probably, yes. However, the point here is that it WORKS! Then, after a motivating meeting, I leave ready to start my new week with a fresh outlook, new ideas, new focus, and a new set of points!!! I adjust my exercise routine for the coming week based on what my weight is that week – I’ve been pretty much maintaining over the past few months so that is good.

Well, my routine changed this past week because of mother nature. I woke up on Saturday to a foot of snow in my driveway. At first I did not realize (or want to admit) it was a foot. Had I been on my way to work I’m sure I would have been moving more slowly and well aware about how much snow had fallen, dreading my commute. But, I was going to my meeting and I didn’t want to miss it! I was in denial. Well, as I shared on my facebook status update that morning I backed out of my driveway only to promptly get stuck! Boy was I mad! Somebody moved my cheese but good! So, I woke up my husband to help. Eventually he grudgingly stirred, mumbled and headed out to clear the snow (and the neighbors – that is just the kind of great guy he is). Meanwhile I was getting HUNGRY!! I now missed my regular 7:30am meeting and had to decide if I was going to try to make a later one or give in, eat breakfast and just call it a “do over-week”. I struggled with this for quite sometime. I couldn’t eat and then weigh in – BAD IDEA!! So after much consternation and consultation with my WW facebook friend, you guessed it! I gave in…oatmeal it was and time to read the paper on an early Saturday morning. And look, it is Tuesday and I’m still alive to tell the tale. Change is good I guess…in small doses. Now, what does the weather say for this Saturday……