>Personal GPS!!??

>Good news or bad news first? Okay, the good news is that I ran today after letting myself off the hook yesterday. I even ran 3.5 miles – yahoo for me. What’s the bad news? The bad news is that I got lost running today. Yes. It finally happened. Now, in many ways this is no surprise (especially to my husband). I have no sense of direction at all and was giddy when I received my GPS for my car a couple of Christmases ago. It has gotten me to my destination many times after “recalculating” once or twice (or more). I have actually gotten lost even WITH the GPS in my car, but that is another blog entry for another day.

Back to today. So, I take advantage of the beautiful day and head outside at lunch to get my run in. I decided to make up my own route. It worked really well one other time (famous last words). So, I decide to simply go one particular direction until my half-way point (1.75 miles) and then turn around and backtrack back to the university. Sounds simple enough, one would think. Well, the first part worked out fine. The run actually felt pretty good, saw some pretty homes and kept track of where I was going – names of streets. I should mention that I don’t live in the same neighborhood where I work. I commute about 45 minutes south so I don’t drive around much where I work at all and am not familiar with the streets. The rationalization continues. As I’m heading back I notice that the street I was on suddenly changed names and I got all confused. I turned around and headed back the other way and then it happened again! Ugghhh! I decided to go against my instincts and run in the total opposite direction. I see a street named “University” up ahead and take it that it is a good sign that I’m getting close to John Carroll. Pretty soon I see an intersection I recognize and the big huge brick classroom building looming ahead. Ahh, home, sweet, work! By this point I had already finished my run and was walking back, wondering just how late I was! I got back at 12:55 and had approximately 5 minutes to shower, dry hair, etc. I am proud to say I was back at my desk ready to rock-n-roll and eating my lean cuisine at 1:07.

All in all, it was a good run even if I took the scenic route.

>Good decision or rationalization? You decide!

>So, I made the decision NOT to run at lunch today. All my intentions were to do so, brought all my stuff and even was prepared to run outside if necessary (have a long-sleeved shirt). BUT, getting closer to lunchtime I decided not to go based on these reasons:
1. It was cold outside (lower 50s and windy) and I’d rather run outside. The inside track was just not appealing today.
2. It is supposed to be nice both tomorrow and Friday (upper 60s).
3. I have a 1:30pm meeting with a student so it would be pushing it to get the run in, shower, eat, etc.
4. Both Thursday and Friday I don’t have meetings after lunch until 2pm so plenty of time.

So, in conclusion, for the reasons stated above I decided to “skip” today and run both Thursday and Friday. Good rational decision or good ol’ fashioned rationalization??!! I know what I think….:-)

>The Green Light

>So, I’m writing this book that chronicles my weight loss journey, right? My original plan was to see if Weight Watchers would publish it given that I talk about the company throughout the book. I contacted the company via the website and asked about this option. After I got an initial generic automatic email response back, I had low expectations that I would hear back from anyone about my particular question. Well, yesterday I actually did! A woman kindly emailed me back and told me that WW does not publish any unsolicited manuscripts and wished me well. She did say that many members who have had success publish on their own. Well, that was all I needed to hear. I learned of a website called www.lulu.com from the “My Happiness Project” book that I read recently that is a self-publisher and it looks very cool. I looked at it briefly and it is very reasonable to have them publish a hardcover book for me to keep. They also have selling options through the site, but I’d have to explore that more. In the meantime, I need to keep proofing and editing and have someone else read it and edit it soon as well. I was worried about getting permission from Weight Watchers to use the name in a published document, but I guess I just did!!! It is just fun to know that this is a real option for me and that I don’t have to worry about using the WW name. Hooray!

>The Amazing Race!

>I had a great race experience yesterday! I ran my second 5K and it was the “Run for the Orphans”. It began at Seton School, but mostly the route was throughout Hudson Spring Park trails. It was cold (real feel of about 33 degrees). I was dressed appropriately, however, with leggings, long-sleeved underarmour shirt, fleece jacket, windbreaker, hat and gloves. I was really keyed up and nervous before the race. I had gotten up early to go to my Weight Watchers meeting first and get my regular breakfast and coffee. Luckily I ran into a former high school friend at registration. It helped calm my nerves to talk with her a little bit. A few minutes before the race began my parents showed up which was also fun and very supportive. Mike had to take Zach to soccer so they couldn’t be there that morning so the ‘rents filled in!

The race was tough. The course was SO hilly, but I was proud of myself because I DID NOT stop and walk at all and that was my goal! I did not want to walk!!! I know some people do this, but for me I would feel that it would be cheating. So, my time ended up at 31:17 and I was okay with that, especially because of the hilly terrain. I beat my time for my first 5K in October which was 32:18 and that was on a flat road race. Totally different! I also achieved a personal best on my mile for the first mile of the race yesterday at 9:03. That was pretty cool.

I didn’t win anything in this race (like I did in the first one – first place FSA/ONLY FSA!!) I came in 82 out of 141 runners…not too shabby for a non-athlete like me!! I felt like I wanted to throw up as I came across the finish line. But, I didn’t. Then, I felt good…good that I accomplished something…good that I competed and improved…good that I ran the entire time…and if I’m totally honest, good that I wasn’t last – not by a long shot!!! The organizers of the race caught videos of the runners at the start and at the finish which they put on youtube which was a nice surprise.

I need to look at the active.com calendar to find the next race. It is just great to have something to train towards. Very cool. I “heart” running!!!

>Size DOES matter!

>I’m getting ready to run a 5K on Saturday at Hudson Springs Park. I’ve walked the trail at the park before, but I thought I should at least run it once just to get a feel for it. I’m glad I did! It kicked my butt! There are quite a few hills along the way and they are not small!! I’m used to gradual ones, but a couple of the ones on that trail are pretty steep! For the first time ever I actually had to stop and walk a little bit of the way! However, I did finish! I was disappointed at first because I’ve been running longer distances than that. But, like I said – size does matter with those hills! My time was slower than normal, but that is to be expected because of the hills, I guess. I’ll be ready to rock-n-roll on Saturday and run the whole time. I’ll be sure to blog about it, don’t you worry!!

>My own route

>Today I had the best run of my life. No, seriously, I did! I think I might have said that before, but it is totally true this time. Perfect conditions outside…55 and sunny…just enough wind…I was dressed perfectly right…shorts, long sleeved running shirt with t-shirt over it. I felt so good before, during and after the run. I ran 3.5 miles in 35 minutes flat and my rate per mile was 9:58 according to Pamela (I’ve named my ipod nano now – Pamela – just this second I have dubbed her “Pamela”). I could have run longer actually if I didn’t have the time constraints of my lunch hour.

But, the best thing about my run was my route. It was MY route. And by my route, I mean I made it up myself. I started out following the little post-it that I carried with me that I has directions for a route that I know is 3 miles that I got from a friend. Of course per my normal MO, I made a wrong turn in Albuquerque (thank you Bugs Bunny)…but now I think it was not an accident. Because I just felt like running. I wanted to see where my feet wanted to take me so I let them. Of course after Pamela told me I was at the half-way point I just turned around and ran back. I’m not THAT crazy…and didn’t want to have to have my colleagues send out a search party for me. It just felt so good to run where I wanted to run. Very freeing not to have to follow someone else’s prescribed route or even my own prescribed route. I liked to make it up as went go along, which in many ways is totally NOT like me in life. I’m a planner. I’m a planner for a living, as a matter of fact. Perhaps that is why I liked NOT following a plan today. I’ll have to do this again…but not the same route!!

Hey how about some irony to finish the story! I forgot to pack a towel with me today and didn’t realize it until after my run in the locker room. Luckily, I borrowed a hand towel from a friend! What was that about me being a planner?!! Or perhaps this is just another lesson…hmm…

>Pushing Through the Wall!

>I finally pushed through the 3-mile wall today! I just decided to set my nano to 3.5 miles and see what happened. I have never run more than 3 miles at a time and have wanted to do it for about a couple of weeks, but just never had the gumption to DO it! Today was the day. It was strange because the woman “in my ipod” (I really should give her a name) gave me more feedback than she does on my normal 3 mile setting. She announced one mile, half-way point (1.75), .5, and then the standard count down from 400 meters.

I felt surprisingly good throughout the run. I was on the inside track today because of the cold (and snow, I might add – in April!). The first mile went by quick. My legs were a little stiff, but then after I got to .5 miles left, I felt really good – I could have run longer, I think. Great feeling just to have conquered the 3 mile wall. I’m not sure what my goal is from here…do I want to keep increasing my distance? Do I want to increase my speed? I’m leaning towards increasing distance. Of course, I am somewhat limited by time during my lunch runs, but I could still probably easily do 4 miles and shower within an hour. Okay, that is my new goal…I want to work up to doing 4 miles every run. I will keep doing 3.5 for awhile, however, and get used to that first…baby steps…

>Sometimes it just sucks!

>The only thing good about yesterday’s run is that it is over.

I ran with a friend yesterday (a new Wednesday thing) and we went on a new route…still a 3-miler, but with a lot of gradual hills throughout. It pretty much sucked from the first step. I was running a little bit late to meet her, so I skipped my before run stretch and I felt it right away.

I was hot, but I’ve run in hotter weather before.

I was tired, but I had a fairly good night’s sleep the night before.

I was hungry, even though I had my morning snack.

There was no good identifiable reason for this run to be “sub-par”.

I didn’t even really feel like talking because I felt out of breath immediately. I shared my thoughts with my running partner who confirmed that “yeah, sometimes you just don’t feel that great, but those are the runs you have to push through”. Just as I suspected – sometimes it just sucks! Eventually, we came towards the end of the route and there was an option to shorten it and my friend asked me if I wanted to end the run more quickly than we planned. At first, I said “yes” with relief, but then I thought about it for another split second and decided to push through the entire run. She asked me again if I was sure and I said “yes, I need to do this”. This may not seem like a huge deal to you, but it was a small victory for me.

We don’t always know why things “just suck” sometimes, but they do. When the going gets tough, I refuse to quit. Sometimes it just sucks, but that is when it is even more important to push through it. It makes the “good runs” on the track and in life all the more enjoyable too.

>A wedgie to beg for!

>So, I love this recipe for sweet potato wedges and I just have to share…so easy and so good!

Sweet Potato Wedges

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. You could probably do them on the grill too, but I haven’t tried that yet. Take 2 large sweet potatoes and slice each into 8 wedges. Put on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and some dried rosemary. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for 20-25 minutes longer. Enjoy! Serves 4 – each serving is 4 four wedges. 2 points per serving. Yum.

>Seeing is Believing: My Story

>So I sent in my application for the “Weight Watchers Role Model” Contest. Below is my 400-word essay that I wrote for it…

I reticently put the picture on the fridge. It was a beautiful, glossy, 5×7 photograph my mom had printed for me of our family at Christmastime 2008. Along the backdrop of our new church’s alter we were a great looking bunch. Great looking, that is, except for that woman in the gray sweater! Who was she?! I stared at the picture in disbelief. I recognized my parents, my sister and family, and of course my husband and two boys. The family Christmas picture was a tradition we had started a few years ago. But as I found the woman in gray again in that picture, for the first time I really did not recognize myself. I looked big. I looked frumpy. That woman in the picture couldn’t really be me, I thought. At that moment, I did not feel like the person staring back at me in that picture was the “me” I truly was inside. Looking at my unrecognizable self I had the startling realization that I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin anymore. As tears began to glaze over my eyes and a lump formed in my throat, I realized things needed to change. I needed to change. I had already felt my size 16 pants and XL tops getting too tight, but for me, seeing was definitely believing. This was the moment that prompted me to join Weight Watchers on January 10, 2009. I’m thrilled to say that after losing 46 pounds and 5 dress sizes I achieved my goal weight on November 28, 2009!

My journey has continued to be a challenge for me since achieving my goal weight. Maintaining my weight without the same incentives has been difficult (e.g. the actual losing weight, the compliments, the new clothes and the stickers!). What keeps me going now is helping to motivate others. When people ask me how I’ve lost the weight, I proudly say “Weight Watchers”! Many people have told me that I have inspired them to make positive changes in their lives. A number of my co-workers have recently joined a WW at-work program! In addition to staying committed to my Weight Watchers meetings (7:30am every Saturday) and running 3 miles 3-4 times a week, I started a blog to track my maintenance/running journey and help to keep myself on track. I’m hoping that this too can inspire others on their journey, as well!