Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The calm before the storm


This morning was my first early morning run in two weeks.  Last week, since we were scaling back, I didn't run Tuesday morning.  I was elated to see such a difference in the morning light. There was a huge difference in just 2 weeks!  I actually finished my run this morning in broad daylight! Yay!  That means that spring is really coming.  This makes me very happy.  Very happy indeed. Although, as I type this, there is a storm rolling in that should be bringing 20-30cm of snow with it.  That's 8-12 inches for my American friends.  I hate it when snow and weather disrupts my running.  All I can say is that the sidewalks and streets better be cleared before my scheduled run tomorrow night!

I'm getting butterflies in my stomach.  My half marathon is this Sunday.  Although I'm confident in running it, and my hamstring feels the best it has since I injured it, I'm still a touch anxious.  I'm a bit bummed because one of the Back of the Rat Pack Girls is not feeling great (knee injury), and may have to sit this one out.  This is a pretty upsetting turn of events if it actually happens.  More upsetting for my friend for sure, but I was looking forward to sharing this experience with her.  I've given her the name and number of my physiotherapist.  He said that although he won't be able to fix her by Sunday, he'd give her a good and thorough assessment to determine if she should run on Sunday or not.  I'm hopeful that the assessment will go well.  Fingers crossed!

This week at work, a few people either claimed to not recognize me, or people who I know well, walked right by me without acknowledging me.  I get it that I look different.  Especially with the bangs! Which incidentally are getting too long and need a trim.  I got some photos from October 25, 2011.  I had been on the Dr. Poon diet for one month and had already lost 20 pounds.  Michael snapped the old ones at my desk.  Today Mary snapped the new ones for me.  You know, when I was morbidly obese, I never envisioned my face looking the way it does now.  I don't know what I thought it would look like thinner.  I admit that I don't look like myself.  So if you know me and you walk right by me, I understand.  I still do a double take sometimes when I catch a glimpse of myself in a window or a mirror.

About 270 pounds.
About 168 pounds.

So Monday is a big day for me.  I'm back onto phase one of Dr. Poon's Metabolic Diet.  I'm getting mixed reviews on my decision to lose another 10-15 pounds.  Trust me, I have some fat I can still lose.  Mostly in my mid-section, glutes and upper thighs.  And lets not forget about my fat calves! Remember?  I still can't wear regular width calf boots!  And it's not muscle either, trust me!  But the added weight-loss is strictly for running performance. Fifteen pounds of fat to a runner is a big deal.  Dropping excess fat will help with my pace.  So I'm back on phase one for 6 weeks.  Six weeks is nothing.  I once stayed on phase one for 6 months.  I can do anything for six weeks!

After six weeks, I'm back on maintenance.  And that's when I'll start speed training.  I'm sure that I'll be eating like a horse again in no time.  Speed/interval training is a very effective fat burner and I'll need all the extra nutrition I can get my hands on.  The good stuff though.  I don't think I can ever deviate too far from the diet plan I follow now.  It's sort of ingrained in my head.  That's a good thing.  The only way that I'm gonna become addicted to processed carbs and sugar again is if I start eating them again.  You can't miss what you don't have.  That's why it's so easy for me to stay away from them now.  Nothing is worth returning to where I've been.  Nothing tastes that good.  Trust me.

Where I've been...
Julien still doesn't think this is me.
Where I am.  Note the role in my mid-
section, and my fat calves!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weight-loss and running goals

Although I'm madly in love with running, this is the real
love of my life:)

So I've been thinking about where to go from here.  I need goals to work towards and I'm not sure exactly what I want to commit to at this time.  On the one hand, I would like to get back into instructing.  I spoke to the Manager at the Running Room yesterday and he needs instructors for the 5K and 10K clinics that start in  April.  That was a touch disappointing for me because I really wanted to teach Learn to Run again with my gal Beverly.  Now I'm contemplating the 10K clinic, but I'd be instructing that solo.  The reason why I'm looking at the 10K is because my clinic and practice runs could be counted towards my weekly mileage.  So I wouldn't have to schedule solo runs on top of my clinic runs.  That is a definite positive.  The other plus for me is the employee discount.  I'm finally going to be a big girl runner and buy a Garmin.  The employee discount will definitely help out with the expense of that!

After I run the Chilly Half Marathon next Sunday, I am going to focus once again on weight-loss.  I think I'd like to drop another 10-15 pounds and really work on some running goals I have for myself. One of those goals is to work on my pace.  That will improve with speed work (once my hamstring completely heals).  And it won't kill me to drop a few pounds (mostly in my hips and thighs) which will also help with my pace.  My focus in March and part of April will be weight-loss.  Then from mid-April to the end of June, I will work on my speed.  From the end of June until the end of October, I will train for the Road2Hope Marathon.  It's a Boston qualifier, and although I'm not delusional enough to think I can qualify for Boston this year, I'm gonna give it my best effort.  I'm also not registering until August.  That will help me to determine how my training is going.  If I'm doing really well, I'll go ahead and register for the full marathon, if I'm struggling, I'll register for the half marathon and make the full marathon my goal for the next year.

So back to phase 1 (unlimited lean protein, leafy greens and mostly green veggies) for me for six weeks!  I can do it no problem.  I did it for six months once, six weeks is nothing!  I'm still going to run, just not the distances I have been.  I'm going to ease back on running after the Around the Bay so that my hamstring can completely heal.  I'll run to keep my fitness and aid in weight-loss, but I won't be doing any 20K runs.  Maybe 12K will be my long run for six weeks.  I'll still run 5 days per week, but scale back to 36K per week instead of the 50+K I've been running.  I think a long run of 12K per week and 4 days of 6K is very reasonable.  Especially when I'm cutting back on my carbs.  I'll eat phase 2 on my long run day.

So that is my plan Stan! As soon as the weight is off, I'll work on speed and return to maintenance. I'm excited about my plans and even though I'm likely running solo for a good part of the next eight months, the weather can only get nicer, and I don't mind running alone.  Don't get me wrong, company is always nice, but so are audio books!  Plus my gal Tanya wants to run trails this spring/summer.  My absolute favorite runs are trail runs, so I'm totally looking forward to the nicer weather.  Bring it on!

We are a tall bunch of people!  I'm wearing 4 inch heels which would bring
my height up to 5'11"! Photo courtesy of CBC.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Run well, eat well, live well

After my run tonight.
I always manage to look happy
after a run...because it's over!!!

I am soooooooo done with winter!  I love running, and I want to start loving it all over again, but the cold, snow and windchill this past winter, has made me less than enthusiastic about running.  It is such a chore to get myself to runs and I have to talk myself into them.  I'm always good once I've been running for a couple of kilometers, but starting is BRUTAL!  It's hard to regulate your breathing when the wind is slapping your face so hard.  And breathing all together is just harder on the lungs when you're dealing with sub zero temperatures.  Done I say!  I need spring.

That being said, I had a pretty decent run this evening.  I ran the best pace I have in almost two months.  Wow!  It's been almost two months since I pulled my hamstring.  Where has the time gone?  I can barely believe that it's less than two weeks till my half marathon.  I remember the first day of the clinic.  I was so unsure of myself and wondered if I would actually be able to run a half marathon.  Well I'm not going to break any records, but when I run my first half marathon, I'll be one week shy of my running anniversary.  Now that's something to be proud of.  I went from being pretty much sedentary to running a half marathon in one year. You really can do anything you want if you want it badly enough.

I ran 9K tonight at a 6:40 pace.  It was speed work night, but I am not doing speed right now.  We ran to a road close to the running room which is an oval and everyone else did their laps for speed, I just ran around in circles with Dawn.  We chatted, we laughed, we bitched about the cold and wind.  You know, really bonded.  My hamstring feels the best it has since I injured it, and I really want to run the Chilly Half pain free.    So forgoing the speed was a good thing.  Too much strain would have put me back where I started.  I'm still doing exercises to strengthen my glutes as that is where my issue lies.  Weak ass.  So squats, bridge, and core exercises are my focus. Graham, my physiotherapist, has seen a huge improvement in the mobility of my hip and that is key to my recovery.  So I'm VERY hopeful that in the next week and a half, with our mileage tapering, that I will be in real good shape for the Chilly Half.  Fingers crossed!

My go to meal.  Chicken breast, green beans with garlic and
pepper flakes, mashed white turnip.  Boring but filling!

Eating has been good, but when I'm running longer distances, I find myself ravenously hungry!  I'm still following the same eating rules (with some maintenance additions) I have for the past year and a half.  I eat veggies (no white potatoes), fruit, and lean meat.  I also eat almonds, and some kind of nut butter (2tbsp) before a long run for a quick jolt of protein (I also digest it pretty well).  But mostly I eat chicken with a couple of sides of veggies.  And I eat until I'm full.  I load up on meat more than anything else.  I've been getting some great deals on meat.  Chicken breast for $2/pound, pork roast for $1.47/pound, extra lean ground beef $1.97/pound.  I stocked up this week. And extra virgin olive oil for $3 a liter?  Score!  I swear that since I have started eating healthier, my grocery bill has gone down significantly.  I know I used to spend tons of money on junk food and going through drive thru's.  I don't miss the expense of that, or the gross feeling that I always had afterwards.

I wandered over to the Live Well network and see that they have posted my makeover episode of the Steven and Chris show on line.  So if any of my American friends wish to watch, the link is right here.  And the good news is you don't have to watch the whole show if you don't want to. They show it segment by segment.  Watch segment 5 too if you have a moment.  It's quick, I promise.  Right at the end Chris (host) calls out my little guy, and he's just super adorable (my little guy, not Chris:)  Enjoy!

This is what I remind myself everyday...No excuses!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The post about 20K, cramped toes and medieval torture

The boy and I during our visit to Nonna and
Nonno"s.  He's showing off his crusty bread!

Everyday I go through my comments and remove all the spam that got posted.  They usually have to do with diet or web design.   But there was one today that told me if I have vaginal discomfort while urinating, I should wrap it in gauze and put it in the infected area.  WTF does that mean?  I know it's computer generated spam, but at least make sense!  I get about 20 spam comments a day.  It's because I don't have word verification (annoying for those who want to leave comments). Ahhhhhh, the sacrifices I make for my readers!  You are all worth it though:)

Pretty ship:) HMCS Haida.

Yesterday was my long run (20K/12.5M), and my longest distance to date!  It was a freaking cold day again.  Minus 18 Celsius (0F) with the windchill.  Cold enough that I never really got warm. Even though I was sweating, the cold gave me chills throughout the run.  I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty much done with the cold.  Makes me proud, and I feel like a committed runner because I ran through this winter.  And all outside!  It wasn't a particularly mild winter either.  The route mapped out for us was the same one we've done for the past month, It was getting a little old so we (the Back of the Rat Pack Girls - minus Monica and Dawn) decided to run a completely different route and ran along the waterfront for 10K before turning around and making our way back to the Running Room.  We got to see beautiful scenery and some lovely ships, including the HMCS Haida.  It was quite a treat!

We had the pleasure of running with a new friend, Bernette.  I think we all felt a little bad that we found each other so late in the clinic.  With only a couple of weeks left, Bernette runs closer to our pace, but was trying her darnedest to keep up with the faster runners in the clinic.  It was a pleasant run filled with good conversation and even better companions.  The only downside was that my toes did cramp during this run, and they cramped pretty early on.  The cramping started at 13K.  It wasn't as bad as it had been in the past...but very annoying none the less.  I got pretty quiet later on in the run because I was focusing on the pain in my toes.  Mind over matter.  It's all mental.  I was able to complete the run without having to stop, but I hate how the discomfort consumes me during the run.  That SUCKS!

This has got to be the most unflattering photo of me ever!
But I don't care.  Everyone else looks fab.  I look like I'm
trying waaaaaay too hard, or constipated...pick one!

So now we scale back.  That was my last long run before the half marathon on March 3rd.  I know that I can definitely run another 1.1K no problem.  Even with crampy toes.  My hamstring was sore after my run, but I stretched really well, and it feels great today...my rest day.  I will run again in the morning.  A short 6K (3.7M), then run again on Wednesday (10K/6.2M) and Thursday (8K/5M). Friday is another rest day, then Saturday is 6K.  Sundays long run?  A measly 6K.  I can do that backwards!  Okay maybe not.  Now I'm just getting cocky!  I'm so excited and nervous all at once. I'm looking forward to seeing what my finishing time on the half will be.  My goal has always been to finish.  We shall see how I do.  I'm hopeful I will run the race healthy and pain-free.  If things keep going the way they have, that hope may become a reality.

I have physio three times this week and next week, and a massage booked the Thursday before my race.  If I have to have something stripped again, so be it.  It hurts like nothing I've ever felt before, but is totally worth it.  I had no discomfort in my calf yesterday.  Mark (massage therapist) talked about how stripping of muscles could have been used during medieval torture.  He's convinced that if he lived back then, he could have gotten anyone to talk during muscle stripping.  I concur 100%.  Not only would it have been torturous during, but would have actually been beneficial in the long run.  More like therapeutic torture.  He's a bit warped.  He also mentioned that if you were laid out on a stretching rack during torture, there must have been a time where you thought, "that feels pretty good"...right before you begged them to stop stretching you.  See warped!

I went out for lunch with my gal Beverly today.  I haven't seen her since the taping of the Steven and Chris Show and I missed her terribly.  We talked about future plans.  I'm toying with teaching the next Learn to Run clinic at the the Running Room with her.  I'll have to run alone again, but with the nicer weather coming, I'm totally pumped to get up early, early, early if need be and finish my runs in the morning.  No problem.  Once I get into a schedule, I'm good.  I like the morning runs better anyway.  Gets it out of the way and also gives me energy and good mindset for the rest of the day.  One more month and I think I'll totally be there!  Can't wait.  Sadly, Beverly's not running the Around the Bay relay with me.  She's plagued with injuries right now and needs to take care of herself.  The upside of that is I get to run it with my hubby as my partner.  Nothing says "I love you" like sweating your asses off running a 30K relay together.  LOVE YOU BABE!!!!!!

After the 20K on Sunday!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Resting on a Saturday afternoon

An NSV for me!  And one I just tried today because
bath sheets will not stay around me anymore. I can wear a
regular sized towel. When I was my heaviest, a bath
sheet wouldn't fit around me!
I have to BEST readers in the world.  Thank you all for your words of concern and encouragement from my last post.  I read my comments carefully and thought I'd respond to all of them in this post.  I love getting comments and please fell free to voice/express yourself however you feel fit. I welcome constructive criticism and have a pretty thick skin, so don't feel timid or shy.

I admit, I am a bit of a running fanatic.  You are absolutely right Paula.  I have replaced one addiction for another.  That being said, you really can have too much of a good thing.  Running is good for me, yes.  But pushing myself too hard can be counter productive.  If I was healthy right now, I don't think I would be as fatigued with my training schedule.  Not only was I keeping up the 5 days a week training, but I'm also doing physio 3x per week and stretching and exercises 2x per day.  That with my hectic work schedule has me tired.  Good point well taken Paula.  And just for the record, I would never kill you:)

You are absolutely right Steve, I am burning the candle at both ends.  And it will catch up with me in negative way.  I really want to run my half marathon pain free, so I have scaled back my training a bit early.  I am still running my long run tomorrow (20K or 12.5M), but I DID NOT run today.  You heard it here first folks.  I skipped another run.  I'm feeling a bit antsy, but I'll cope.  Lynn mentioned that I could be over training, and again, if I was healthy, I think I would be okay.  But Lynn, you could be absolutely right.  With my injury, I may be over doing it.  Thanks for the advice and food for thought Lynn and Steve!

I had a massage yesterday morning and I actually cried.  Not sobbing, but tears came out of my eyes.  I had another muscle knot in my calf, and Mark stripped it real good.  Much harder than he did the last time.  I have honestly never felt pain like that before in my life.  The downside was the pain, the upside is the knot is completely gone.  I had a great physio appointment yesterday. Graham stretched me out really good and when I left, I felt no pain in my hamstring.  I also felt no pain this morning when I woke up.  And I still feel no pain.  I am super excited that, fingers crossed, I may be running my long run tomorrow pain free!

Vanessa suggested that maybe I should change up my exercise a bit and try something new.  I have actually been thinking about this a lot lately.  I would love to try cycling in the spring, and I remember my gal Dawn talking about a cycling group she rides with or used to ride with on Sundays.  I may give it a try.  They ride with people of all levels of cycling, so it sounds like something right up my alley.  Thanks for the suggestion Vanessa!

And last but not least Connie!  I actually bought the dress with the $1000 gift card they gave me. Everything I wore was borrowed.  Shoes, accessories, clothes.  I wore the outfits for the show, and everything was returned to the store with original tags.  Well, with the exception of the Spanx. That they let me keep (thank goodness)!

This cracks me up!  I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little obsessed
with running a marathon...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Too tired to think of a title...

Photo courtesy of CBC
This picture cracks me up.  Aside from not looking like me,
see the line about 1/3 up my right leg?  That's the line from the
sports socks I was wearing!  You can see it a bit on the left leg too!

This is going to be a drive by post...I think.  I'm not sure I have too much to talk about. I am beat.  I think that the hectic schedule that I have been keeping is finally catching up with me.  I find myself sleeping in every morning.  Before this past week, I was awake every day at 5:30am.  I'm dragging myself out of bed most mornings and only giving myself enough time to shower and get out the door.  I'm tired.  Most nights I am asleep before my head hits the pillow.  So not like me.  Maybe it's the training I've been doing for this half marathon.

After my long run this Sunday (20K/12.5M), we taper off.  It is a welcome change for me because perhaps it will allow my hamstring to heal up properly and maybe, just maybe, I won't have to run my first half marathon injured.  Maybe, but highly unlikely.  It's definitely getting better, but I set myself back last week when I wrecked it again during the speed work.  For that reason, I did not do speed this week.  I did a regular run with my gal Tanya, who's also not feeling stellar these days.  See, speed really does kill!

It's torn me up to eliminate the speed work from my training.  But it is my first half marathon, and I really only want to finish it.  Having an injury totally sucks!  Not only has it been holding me back in my training, but it also messes with my confidence.  My pace has gone down and I'm always nervous I'm going to injure my hamstring more.  My run with Tanya yesterday was pretty solid.  My pace was almost back to normal.  Tonight's run was slower and I wasn't feeling great.  I had a stitch the entire time and it was raining pretty heavily most of run.  I don't mind running in the rain, but didn't have my running cap with the rim which sucked because the rain was right in my face. And it was hovering just above zero which means I got the chills, which I still have right now!

I'm looking forward to the weekend.  Here in Ontario we have a long weekend because Monday is Family Day.  I really need the long weekend!  I need the extra day to do absolutely nothing if I wish to, and maybe I'll even get to sleep in fo'realz yo!  I am so not hip enough to pull that off.  It gets a laugh from my clients when I talk to them like that.  Even though we laugh together, they are definitely laughing at me, not with me!

I'm part of a weight-loss challenge at work.  Me and four other women of various sizes are weighing in every other week.  I'm actually not trying to lose weight, but I get weighed in because they asked me to be a part of the competition.  So I figured, why not?  Everyone gained this weigh in  but I managed to lose 1.5 pounds.  Don't ask how.  I have changed nothing in my eating or exercise regime.  In fact, I may be eating more.  But, I'll take it!  I gave the other women an inspirational pep talk, and I'm hopeful that everyone will have much more favorable results next weigh in.

Pickle Barrel deliciousness!

I ate at the Pickle Barrel yesterday with a client and I had an awesome chicken skewer dish.  It came with rice, veggies, Greek salad and garlic bread.  I asked them to hold the rice and garlic bread and they gave me extra veggies instead.  And I ate the Greek salad.  There was a ton of food.  It was super yummy and super filling!  Today I ate at the Mandarin with a different client. LOTS of grilled chicken and roast beef.  I also had quite a bit of salad from the salad bar, and some mixed veggies.  I indulged in the fresh fruit, 'cos I knew I was running tonight.  I left maybe a bit too full.  My client admitted to feeling like a slug because he ate so much.  I told him that we should not be eating to excess like we did today.  Made me think of my old life and how I'd gorge myself.  I hate that feeling because it makes me feel like I'm out of control.  Thank goodness I had about 6 hours before my run to digest the food.  There's no way I would have been able to run soon after eating all that food.

For my American friends, if you care to watch the episode of Steven and Chris that I am on, it's being shown on the Live Well Network this Wednesday (February 20th).  It's episode 74.  If you don't get the Live Well Network, it will be available to watch online shortly after the airing, and I'll post the link when it becomes available.  I'm off to bed.  I have a pretty full day tomorrow.  If I wake early enough, I may do a quick 5K before getting ready for my 9am massage.  My calves are feeling better, but there is still a slight knot in the left one.  Then I work all day, before I have physio in the evening.  Like I said, thank goodness it's a long weekend.  I definitely need an extra day of R&R.  Especially after my long run on Sunday!

Today's fortunes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

If I fell, and I did...

Well now.  Am I stubborn, or just plain stupid?  The jury's still out.  After sacrificing my running regime last week for the sake of healing my hamstring, and having a pretty awesome run on Sunday, I go out for a early Monday morning run (against the advice of my hubby and BIL) and fall twice.  Yep, my worst nightmare come true.  I fell, not just once, but twice.  Now my thinking was that it was a balmy 3C (37.4F) at 6am on Monday morning.  Therefore, the streets would be wet, but slip free.  Wrong!  The temperature rose overnight, but the lack of sun prevented the sheet of snowy ice from melting.  The sidewalks were somewhat cleared, but the roads were pretty slick still.

I ran my regular weekday morning route and once I got to the park 3K from my house, I soon discovered that all the paths were covered in ice.  So I pretty much did a silly skating, slidey thing through the park until I thought I had good enough grip and started into a run again, only to fall right on my left knee.  I now have a lovely bruise on said knee.  But that's not all!  I get up, shake it off and make my way out of the park.  Once I get back onto the street, I start running home. I'm less than a kilometer from my front door, I round a corner and go down on my left hip.  It was very slippery and my feet just came right out from under me.  I actually just went limp, and other than my ego, nothing was bruised.  I almost didn't want to tell my husband because I just knew he would give me hell.  I'm not gonna lie, I was stiff all day yesterday, especially my calves.  I think they need stripping again because I can feel the muscle knots in them.

Doing my bridge exercises at physio
with Pizza Pizza right outside my window!

My physiotherapist has me stretching regularly, and I'm faithfully doing the exercises to strengthen my lower back and glutes.  My physio appointment tonight was a very good one.  My back and left leg have much better mobility and he can totally see lots of improvement.  Exactly what I wanted to hear.  He was super impressed that I rested for three days.  Something he would have never dreamed of asking me to do. Even though that was hard for me, I do give myself credit for realizing that I am not Wonder Woman and that it's okay to rest when I need to.  I will not gain 120 pounds by resting for a couple of extra days when needed.   That folks is progress!

Tomorrow night we do speed work again.  I have decided that if my hamstring becomes painful as soon as I start to sprint (like it did last week), I will just be running my normal pace around the track.  It's just not worth it for me to re-injure myself again.  My goal is to finish the half marathon on the 3rd of March, not break any records.  I can work on  my speed when I'm feeling 100% again.  This plan made my physiotherapist very happy.  By the time my week is over, I will have run 52K (32M).  My week began Monday and ends Sunday.  That's a lot of mileage for me.  The most I would have run in a week.

My half marathon clinic is almost over.  We only have a couple of weeks left before my race.  Then what?  I've worked myself up to the half marathon and have my 15K of the Around the Bay on the 24th of March, but then I have no running goals.  I debated whether or not to move onto the Marathon Clinic, but my dilemma is that I would be taking it with unfamiliar people because none of the Back of the Rat Pack Girls wants to move onto the full marathon. This means that I would likely be running alone because I'm not as fast as the marathon group.  If I'm gonna be running alone anyway, I might as well just train by myself.  I already know how to do hill repeats and speed work, and I already have the training schedule.

I'd like to run the Road 2 Hope in November, which is a a full marathon and a Boston qualifier.  I definitely won't be qualifying for Boston this year, but definitely a goal of mine for the next year, or the year after that.  In the meantime maybe I'll do some smaller races this spring and summer with another half marathon thrown in for good measure.  We shall see.  All I know is that I have to continue running because I can't imagine not running.  It has become such an important part of my life and no matter how busy or hectic life gets, I always make time for runs.  It's what keeps me grounded and sane.  When life gets crazy and demanding, a run always makes me calm and helps me focus.  It's the cheapest therapy out there!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Still a work in progress

Did y'all get yourselves dug out of the snow?  Friday was a snow day, but I managed to completed quite a bit of work at home.  Talk about cabin fever.  I didn't go out to run...for the second day.  I was getting antsy.  Then Saturday rolls around and I slept in and missed my morning run I had planned.  I had to leave my house by 8:30am so I could swing by the store first, then to Brampton for the support group I was attending.  I was wondering if I would be able to get out of my street. The plow came by overnight and I was able to make it out in time for the meeting.

The lovely ladies I got to meet on Saturday morning.
L-R: Teresa, Debbie, me, Gloria, and Susan in front:)
What an awesome group of women I got to meet at the support group!  We all follow Dr. Poon's lifestyle and are at different stages in our journey.  Just sitting around and discussing my lifestyle with like minded people was a special treat.  It was so helpful discussing our struggles and issues with self-esteem.  Something I'm still working on daily.  After meeting everyone, I realized on my way home that I am the most toxic person in my life.  Sad but true, and that really sucks! Everyone else in my life is incredibly complimentary and supportive towards me.  I am the only one who has negative thoughts.  I am definitely still a work in progress!  I need to see actual comparisons of myself to really see differences.  And I need to start giving myself a break.

This is how I still myself in my mind
sometimes most of the time.
This is what I really look like. And all
I can think of is I need to work on my ass!

I never ended up running on Saturday because by the time I got back home, it was already mid-afternoon and I knew I was doing 18K the next morning.  I didn't want to do two runs within 24 hours of each other.  So I grudgingly stayed in.  My hamstring thanked me because when I was walking into the Running Room this morning, it almost felt normal again.  Until I slipped on the wet floor and slightly pulled it again!  Are you kidding me?  I can't believe that happened!  It wasn't too bad though.  Just a dull ache.   Stretching and physio exercises are definitely helping!

Of course, not running for three days had my mind going bonkers with ridiculous scenarios.  I was convinced that even though my eating had not changed at all (except for some Poon friendly snacks Susan brought to the support meeting) that I had gained a ridiculous amount of weight.  My clothing fits exactly the same as it did four days ago.  Missing a couple runs did not send me over the deep end.  It's all in my head and I need to definitely work on healthier thoughts about exercise and food.  See!  A work in progress!

Pre-run coffee!
Pretty huh?

This morning's run was cold, cold, cold!  It said -14C (6.8F) when I left my house this morning.  My eyelashes froze again, and I just couldn't get warm.  We did a different route for our 18K and all my Back of the Rat Pack Girls, with the exception of Monica (who is in sunny Florida so we don't miss her), came out to run this morning.   It's always a nicer run when I'm with friends.  We talk about everything and anything.  What happens on a run, stays on a run.  It's an unwritten runner's rule! Lots of bonding happens fo sho.  There were some pretty things to look at during the run and we got a very decent workout because we had to run walk up a HUGE amount of stairs, up the giant hill I've done the past few weeks (which was only partially plowed), and another hill that was about 400 meters. Needless to say, I was tired when I finished.  All that and we ran on a lot of snow, because things were not plowed very well.  It was like running 18K in the sand.  My calves are feeling it right now!  Oh!  And my toes didn't cramp again for the second week.  Physio really is helping!

Going back down the stairs!  That's my gal Tanya:)
I'm feeling very weary right now.  I have a couple of pork tenderloins in the slow cooker.  I'm making sauteed cabbage, green beens and either mashed rutabaga or mashed sweet potato.  I haven't decided yet!  BIL is here for a visit, so Jules is happy.  He has someone new to play Super Mario with...and he loves playing with Uncle Ross's IPad.  I'm still doing the endless laundry that this family of three accumulates.  Thank goodness I did my grocery shop last night.  I don't have the energy left in me to do it today!  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

After our 18K this morning.  L-R: Brett, Dawn, me, Tanya.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

That surreal moment when you see yourself on TV for the first time...

Electrotherapy and icing on the hamstring.
Glamorous huh?

Today was such a blur for me.  I was up before dawn to get ready for my early morning physio appointment.   Then I finally made it into the office after almost a week of being on the road.  Once in the office, there were all the emails, voice mails and just regular mail to sort through.  I ended up sorting through stuff, returning messages and gathering work to bring home with me.  Friday looks like a write-off driving wise and since I have an hour (in no traffic) commute, I'm calling a work from home snow day!

Physio this morning was excruciating to say the least.  Last night was my first ever round of speed work, and I did not like it at all.  I much prefer hill repeats.  I would have rather run the 400 meter hills 10 times, than do four 800 meter speed repeats anytime.  We ran to the MacMaster track then ran around it twice as fast as we could.  You shouldn't be able to talk when you're running for speed.  It's 800 meters twice around the track.  Then you run slowly around once before running hard again 2 more times for a total of four 800 meter laps.  The minute I started running hard, my hamstring acted up and by the time we were done and headed back to the Running Room I had to walk in the last 500 meters or so.  I get to do it all again next Wednesday, and add two more 800 meter sprints for a total of six!

I was in a lot of pain when I went to physio this morning and Graham felt a huge muscle knot in my left hamstring.  He used his elbow to work out as much of it as he could.  It hurt, but not as bad as when my massage therapist uses his elbows on me.  Graham was too afraid of hurting me I think. I ended up getting electrotherapy on my lower back while my hamstring was iced.  I felt better when I left then I did when I went in.

My hamstring bugged me all day.  I was in the office so there was a lot of sitting and of course the commute home in not very good weather.  By the time I got to the Running Room for my half marathon clinic, I had decided that I wouldn't run because I just knew I would make it worse.  It almost killed me to make that decision, but Ron, the assistant manager at the RR, told me I was absolutely doing the right thing.  He also pointed out that I could rest it a couple of days and run on Sunday for my long run, or run tonight and end up aggravating it so badly that I'd be out for a month.  I'm resting it.  I will do my exercises and try to roll it out.  That could help like it did when I first got the injury.

No bangs today.  Upper management kept asking where my
bangs were.  They'll be back tomorrow.

So back at the office, my friend Michael scouted out the only TV in our whole office building that had cable.  We went to the upper management floor and watched my episode of Steven and Chris at around 2:20 pm.  I knew I was going to be on in the second half.  Michael, Linda and a couple of upper management people watched the episode in the waiting area for the "bigwigs" of my work place.  I was very anxious because I honestly couldn't remember very much from the taping of the show.  I couldn't remember what I said and I was sure I was going to look huge!  TV is supposed to add pounds!

The entire experience was very surreal.  Although I know that is me, I just can't believe that it is me.  Would it have killed me to smile more?  I'm not gonna lie, I was freaking nervous.  I was most afraid of falling in those shoes.  They were 4 inch heels!  Thank goodness I only had them on for the duration of my stage appearances.  And I wasn't too pleased to see my bat wings making themselves seen.  I'm not too torn up about that though.  That's my reality.  I'm not perfect, nor do I pretend to be.  I usually make a concerted effort to hide the problem areas a little more thoroughly though!  C'est la vie!

You can see the blurb they wrote about me on the Steven and Chris website by following this link. The show has been posted on the CBC website for viewing and my Canadian friends can watch it here.  It looks like the Live Well Network is a couple of weeks behind in episodes.  They have episode 71 slated for the 17th of February and my episode is number 74.  I'll keep an eye out for my American friends and I'll post the link when it becomes available.

The outpouring of support and well wishes has been overwhelming over the past 8 hours.  I have received endless Facebook messages, emails, text messages and tweets.  I want to respond to them all, but I need to keep my sanity.  Thank you all for your generous and kind words. It means the world to me.  The past year and a half has been a crazy ride for me.  I've done things I never thought possible.  And being on the Steven and Chris show was the icing on the cake.  I love that I have these memories to keep with me while I continue to have aspirations and make goals to work towards.  I feel like I can do anything that I put my mind to.  And I've said this before, but I'll say it again.  If I can do this ANYONE can. You just need to be ready to make permanent changes in your life, and want it badly enough!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Time is NOT on my side

Monday morning drive to Peterborough for...
Cheap gas!  It was 130.7 in Toronto!


The past couple of days have been hectic!  I have been trying to get into the office the past two days, but find myself overwhelmed with stuff going on with clients in the community.  I tell you, there just isn't enough time in the day, or days in the week to complete what I need to.  Yet I still manage to fit running into my busy schedule.  Running, blogging, physio, working, commuting, mothering, home making.  You name it, I do it!  The young woman I ran with on Sunday told me that she couldn't run more than a couple times a week due to her busy schedule.  Now granted, she worked a couple part time jobs and went to school full time.  Same thing I did when I was in college and university.  I told her everything I did including my five runs per week and she became silent.  But I guess it's all relative.  

Some people are willing to get up at ridiculous times in the morning to fit a run in, and some aren't. I get it.  I have to do what I have to do.  No one is making me do it but me.  I'm not gonna lie.  I want to stay in bed when it's -14C (6.8F) and I'm headed out my front door in the dark. Not even my dog will hang with me.  He's smart enough to go back to bed.  But I also know that if I want something badly enough, I will do it.  I have proven that to myself over the past 17 months.  I definitely don't want to gain back any of the weight that I have lost, therefore I run.  I run my ass off (hopefully it will fall off soon) and I continue to eat the same way I have for the past year and a half. I have figured out what works for me and this is it.  Everyone is different.  This is my reality.  

Check me out.  I finished my run this morning
in the daylight.  Dare I say spring is around
the corner?

I haven't booked another appointment to see Dr. Stephen yet for my maintenance weigh-in.  I'll figure out when I'm headed out to Peterborough again and book myself in to see him then.  I have peeked on the scale, and my weight is pretty solid with a pound or two fluctuation.  Although my weight is up and down by a pound here and there, my clothes are getting loose again.  My size 10 jeans are getting big around the upper thigh and waist.  I can take one pair off without undoing the button or zipper.  So my body continues to change.  I don't think I'm gonna see much difference on the scale pound wise, but I can definitely see differences in my body.  I guess my ideal weight is supposed to be around 165 - 168.  I fit comfortably into size medium tops and pants, and have size 8 jeans that are real comfortable.  I am happy with that. I just need to tone up some problem areas (ie: abdomen, upper thighs, upper arms), and I'll almost be normal.  Almost because my upper arms are pretty much hopeless without surgery.  I can't complain though.  That's really the only area that likely needs surgical intervention.

I attended my physio appointment yesterday and Graham, the therapist, was manipulating my back.  I started to feel anxious and self conscious because he was arranging me on the examining table by lifting my hips and legs and would feel me tense up because all I could think of was that I was too heavy and he was going to hurt himself by moving me.  He kept telling me to relax and to let him do the work.  This is one of those times where my inner fat girl should just leave me alone because stuff like this will affect my treatment. I was finally able to relax and let him move and lift me where he needed to, but it took everything in me not to resist.

I'm really looking forward to Saturday morning.  I'm heading out to Brampton to meet some other Dr. Poon lifestylers (is that even a word?).  I think not since spell check is highlighting it.  Anywho (also not a word), others who eat the same way I do.  I communicate with them via Facebook, and it will be nice to meet them in person!  They meet for regular support groups and this will be the first time that I will be attending.  I'm a bit nervous, but excited all the same.  That's no reflection on them.  I always get anxious when I meet new people.  I already know they are lovely.

I won't post again until Thursday night so this is your reminder that I will be appearing on the Steven and Chris show this Thursday (February 7th) at 2pm (EST) on CBC.  The description of the show is, "Our makeover dream team pulls off another amazing transformation".  This is pretty accurate, since I look nothing like myself!  Now for my American friends, I have found a list from another blog of the American stations that pick up the show, but this list is from 2010, so things may have changed since then.  I do know that you can watch episodes of Steven and Chris on the LiveWell Network in the US.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My experience with LSD

So this morning I ran my longest distance to date.  That's right folks.  I ran 18K.  And I was the solo Back of the Rat Pack Girl there.  Dawn was still on hiatus in the Caribbean somewhere on her running cruise, Monica was having some knee issues, Brett's car wouldn't start because of the cold and Tanya's little peanut was sick.  So I was the lone Pack Girl there and had to run with people I don't know very well.  Not my favorite running scenario, but I needed to getter done, so I ran with strangers.

My pre 18K meal.  Coffee with cream, 2 hard boiled eggs,
an apple and 2 TBSP of natural peanut butter.

It was cold this morning. About -14C (6.8F) when I headed out to the Running Room for my run.  I would have liked nothing better that to stay in my warm house drinking coffee, but if I had done that, I would have felt like complete crap all day.  So I dressed in my running shorts, with my running pants over them, a technical t-shirt, long sleeved technical shirt, and my RR jacket.  I had on gloves and mittens, a head band and a hat.  And my technical ski socks from Walmart!  My feet were toasty warm all run long:)

Never had either of these flavors.  I'm a boring
vanilla girl...

As I headed out, I made sure I had some Gu with me.  Gu is an energy gel that is used by athletes to replenish lost nutrients during strenuous activity.  Since my run was going to take me over two hours to complete, it was important that I had a little something something to get me through my run without  feeling as though I was gonna pass out.  I did eat a breakfast and I ate really well the day before, so I wasn't too worried that I was gonna be undernourished or anything.  I also had two flasks of water, that ultimately ended up freezing.  But I was able to get some of it down with the Gu.

Four of us started out running together.  At about the 6K mark, two of my group went off on their own, and although I ran their pace, I stayed behind with a young girl because I didn't want her to run the route alone.  She was visiting from Toronto and came out for run club, so she wasn't familiar with the route we were running.  Plus the running instructor in me just couldn't leave her on her own.  So I slowed my pace down and stayed with her.

All in all we ran 15K together before she had to stop because her stomach was bothering her (too much Gu if you ask me) and said she was going to walk back into the Running Room.  So I ran the last 3K by myself. I turned my phone off at 15K because my battery was dying and I didn't want to lose my run, but I ran a 7:15 pace with my young friend, then ran my normal pace for the last 3K.  I'm happy with that.  Sunday runs are our Long Slow Distance (LSD) runs.  All in all an enjoyable experience that could have been more so if I dropped LSD just prior to the run.  May have been more enjoyable, or just completely psychedelic   Who knows where I would have ended up.  Probably a good thing I didn't.  I may not be writing this right now!  And can you even get LSD these days?

Anywho, although my left hamstring was still a bit achy, it definitely felt better overall.  And for the first time EVER, I had no cramping in my toes!  Very bizarre indeed because I kept waiting for the pain to come and it never did.  My knee problem from last week was also not an issue.  The knee pain went away the same day it came.  I also ran up the giant hill on Spring Gardens Road in Burlington again.  When I'm running it, It feels like it's never going to end. I think that this is the 3rd time I've run it.  It gets easier every time. Not sure how easy it will be during the Around the Bay when I've run all the other hills prior to the giant last one!  So all in all I'm happy with my run this morning.

Wednesday is the beginning of our speed work.  I'm not exactly sure what it is except that we do a warm up run, then we run around a 400 meter track as fast as we can twice, then around once slowly before running twice again as fast as we can.  Or something like that.  I'll let you know on Thursday how that goes.  I ran 50K (31 miles) this week.  I have never run that far in a week before. I also ran over 170K (106 miles) in the month of January.  Not too shabby considering the weather conditions.  I'm sticking to the promises I made to myself.  I'm not missing runs, no matter what the circumstance (illness and family emergencies are the only exceptions).  We're already into February and the days are getting longer.  I look forward to running in daylight everyday very soon. That will make me an even happier runner!

That is a genuine smile.  I just finished the 18K:)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My week in pictures

Just because...she's real pretty:)

Yesterday was my rest day and I was stiff and sore all day.  My physio appointment went well.  By the time I left, I was feeling much better.  Much more movement in my hip flexor and no pain in my hamstring.  Now they have given me even more exercises to do.  Every time I go I get a new exercise and my 15 minutes 2x per day, has turned into 30 minutes 2x per day.  I can definitely feel improvement though, so it's worth it.

Just back from my short run this morning.

This morning I went out for a short run.  Well, it was supposed to be a short run.  Six kilometers is what I had planned.  I met my former Learn to Run student Sher out on the trial near my house. He actually just lives around the corner from me.  He hasn't run since before Christmas and wanted to get back into it again so I agreed to run with him.  We ran 4x 4:1 intervals at a comfortable pace. When you have such a gap in your running, you need to pretty much start over again.  However, if you stick with it, you will regain your running endurance pretty fast.  After I ran with Sher, I ran my 6K on the same trail.  I ran about 2.5K with Sher and the .5K it takes me to get to the trail, so my short run actually turned into about 9K.  S'all good though.  I ran pretty leisurely with Sher, and managed a sub 7:00 per kilometer pace on my own which is the fastest I've run by myself for weeks.  I didn't want to push too hard.  I have my long run tomorrow morning.  Eighteen kilometers. You read that right people.  I'm running 18K tomorrow!

Real sexy I know.  Quad stretch!

When I got back from my short run, I stretched myself out real good and did my exercises.  I didn't get to eat my recovery meal until a good hour after I got back.  A little bit too long to wait, but I didn't over exert myself so I wasn't too concerned.  I was watching the Steven and Chris show this morning and there was a fitness expert on the show who was talking about working out and what you should eat after an intense workout.  She gave the worst advice I could imagine when she said that you could eat an entire chocolate cake after an intense workout and it wouldn't affect your weight at all.  A chocolate cake is just junk.  Junk is not going to help you build muscle and effectively replenish your nutrients.  Worst advice ever!  I cringe to think that some viewers are actually going to listen to that!  She did however make a pretty good stir fry with chicken breast, turnip, sweet potato, red cabbage and other yummy veggies.  Now that you could eat a whole lot of after an intense workout and it wouldn't affect your weight.  I know because I do.

I look different when I lie down.  My face
looks bigger and dare I say less wrinkly?

As you know, I'm on Twitter and I still don't really get it.  I was hacked a few days into opening my Twitter account and I'm sure I annoyed many of my followers by sending them bogus private messages about "miracle weight-loss secrets".  That is so not me.  I used to be a believer of a miracle weight-loss solution.  I never found it, but I was sure it was out there somewhere!  I really just didn't want to put the work and time into losing weight at the time I guess.  If you ever get a message from me saying I endorse some sort of weight-loss method, delete it.  I'm hoping the problem is solved because Twitter security finally reset my account for me.  I actually considered deleting my account because the spam and bogus messages were overwhelming.  I lost a bunch of followers too.  Oh well, it's all good, for now!

Tuesday's fortunes.
Baby shower cupcakes that I did not eat!
Ripped jeans on a blustery day.
Friday's fortunes. (See how much I go to the Mandarin)?
Goofing with the hubs.
And looking real wrinkly.
Goofing with the boy just before my run this morning.

Things are slowly returning to normal at my house.  Hubby has been sick since last weekend.  He finally hauled his ass to the doctor yesterday and got antibiotics for his strep throat.  Jules also had antibiotics for his Impetigo.  The Impetigo has cleared up and he's just finishing up the medication.  Hubby said that the week before last a kid was in the classroom with a rash and sores all over his face.  Why oh why would they let that kid in school if he had such a bad rash. And call me over cautious, but if my kid has a strange rash anywhere, we go to the doctor tout de suite.  That's just the way we roll around here.