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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Whew! They're over!

What a busy few weeks we have had getting ready for the holidays. It's so much fun to get ready, but so nice to be done too! We had my family over for Christmas dinner, which was fun. Mike and I made steak and turkey kabobs, lots of veggies, a variety of fresh fruits, mashed potatoes, and a few other things. The veggies were probably cooked a little long, but overall the meal was pretty good if I do say so myself. It's tough to steam big bunches of vegetables. We made strawberry mousse for dessert which was yummy and easy - just fresh strawberries, fat free cool whip and strawberry Jello. Just 70 calories per serving. Overall a healthy, fairly low-cal meal that tasted pretty good. I have been beating myself up for days now for dipping into the Christmas cookies and Chex Mix and blowing a pretty good meal. It's so hard to be good all the time!

My parents got us subscriptions to RW and Triathlete magazines and Michele and Jeff gave Mike a couple really cool training books that we keep looking through. They got me a cute pink bike jersey too - perfect choice, I am loving the pink this year. Several weeks ago, I had a discussion with my niece Taylor about those sports headbands and hair ties that are rubberized and how I had bought some headbands at the Adidas outlet and was disappointed that they didn't have the rubbery part to make them stay put when I exercise. Anyway, she remembered that and got me a set of the sports bands. I thought that was pretty cool that she remembered that and was so thoughtful. She is a pretty neat kid.

We had a few nice days to run, including a nice 4+ miler around the neighborhood the afternoon of Christmas Eve. I just feel spoiled by all the mild weather we have had this month - I wish it would stay like this the rest of the winter, but that's not too likely. A girl can dream...........

I took a 20 mile spin on the bike yesterday afternoon too. It was pretty cold out for that - about 36 degrees - but not too windy and the sun was out which seems to at least make it feel warm even though it's not really. Every time I take a bike trip this winter I learn something or at least think of something else I need for winter riding. It's really just a trial and error process to put the right outfit together to stave off frostbite. I suppose I will have it down by the time Spring comes then I will have to learn it all over again next year! I think I have it down now - several layers of jackets and fleece, bike shorts with thermal running leggings over top, neoprene booties over my bike shoes, and my Sub4 running beanie with a fleece neck gaiter over that so I can pull it up and down as needed. The gloves need some work - the fingers got pretty cold this last ride so I need something a little more substantial. I'll need to dig around in the glove bin in the closet for a different pair to try. I think I'll try some toe warmers too on the next ride. The feet stayed pretty warm, but did start to numb up about 2 or 3 miles from home.

We went to the bike shop last night and got ourselves a little Christmas present - a Blackburn Ultra trainer. Now we will be able to ride our bikes indoors all winter long in the comfort of our living room. Santa is also bringing us each a new pair of running shoes. Mike got the new Brooks Beast and I am going to try the Asics Gel Nimbus from Jamie at I think I have figured out why I gravitate to mens running shoes. Ladies standard widths are a B and mens standard are a D width. Since I have some pretty wide Flinstone feet, I have always bought wide ladies (a D width) in regular shoes, but ladies tennies have always felt too narrow, especially Nikes. The light bulb has clicked on - I like mens tennies because they are D width - DUH!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Calculating Target Heart Rate - the formula

I have to be truthful. I seem to have been born with a fuzzy math gene and tend to stay away from math problems. I did this calculation last week for the first time in my online fitness class at BSU. I have seen the formula before, but have always taken the lazy path of letting my gadgets do the math work for me. So basically I let the Garmin do the work and take its word on it.

Here is the Kervorven (sp??) formula for calulating Target Heart Rate (or THR):
First palpate your pulse for 60 seconds while resting and calm. This is your Resting Heart Rate ( or RHR).
Then take:
220 - (your age) = estimated Maximum Heart Rate (or MHR)
MHR - RHR = Heart Rate Reserve (or HRR)
HRR x 0.60 + RHR = lower THR
HRR x 0.80 + RHR = higher THR

Kinda makes you wish you had paid better attention in that freshman Algebra class eh?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jake's Weekend of FUN

After a short run early Friday evening around my neighborhood, we went to my sister's to pick up my nephew Jacob for the weekend. It was the first weekend after baby Isabel's arrival and we wanted to do something to make the weekend easier for Jeff and Michele and also to do something special for my only nephew.
After collecting him and all his stuff, we first stopped at the grocery store to pick up some kid-friendly food. We filled our cart with a variety of treasures: corndogs, squeeze cheese in a can, XBox fruit roll ups, sugar-free creamsicles, roasted peanuts in the shell, and a butterfinger. Once we got back to our house, we set Jacob up in Lucas' room. We changed the sheets and set up the things he brought out on the bed, including roughly 100 stuffed animals, his pillow and blankie (the one I made for him as a newborn - its seen its fair share of adventures and shows it!), and his sleeping bag. We watched lots of Christmas kid movies and had a lot of fun together.
On Saturday, we went to Jake's last basketball game at the YMCA and got to see him a make his third basket of the year. I was so excited for him! I don't usually get to see him shoot it up, so that was pretty cool. His chosen reward was a happy meal, so we went to McDonald's for lunch. We took a little shop to Super-Walmart and got him a pair of jeans and of course a new toy.
Sunday morning was filled up with playing mariokart on the GameCube. After a quick lunch of corndogs we headed back to Jake's house.
We had so much fun with him this weekend. he is just the perfect age - funny and curious, yet pretty self-sufficient. On Friday night, I left the room for a minute and he and Mike were watching TV when a commercial came on - an public awareness ad about human papiloma virus (genital warts). He turns to Mike and says "you know......" As Mike steeled himself to deal with what he might say or ask next, he then said "why is it always about the ladies? What about us men? When is it about US??" all the while he is asking this he made yackety-yak gestures with his hand. I really miss those funny moments with little ones. I hardly see my kids anymore even when they are home - mostly I just see them come out of their room for a ride, a handout, or a meal. It was so nice to spend time with Jake and enjoy hanging out with him having fun.
After we went back home, Mike and I went out and ran 4 1/4 mile. I clocked about a 11:30 pace, but we both thought it felt like a pretty leisurely and I stayed at about 80% of my MHR for most of the run (instead of my usual 100-110%) even with all the hills we had to climb.
I have decided hills need to be my friend. Not only do I have to run them repeatedly to get anywhere in my neighborhood, I think I need to think of them as tools to help me be faster in races. Most of the races we have done were relatively flat, so to train in our hilly neighborhood should theoretically make me faster in the races or better able to deal with a hill during a race. At any rate, I have noticed they are getting easier every time. I no longer call every hill a bad word in my head, nor do I ever have to stop and walk to steepest ones. I just dig in and climb. Yeah me - I think that shows definite progress. Baby steps.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Running the Trails

Last night, Mike and I took a long run on the Rock River bike trail since it was such a nice day out. We parked at the trail head and after a 1/4 mile warmup walk, we took off running. The trail is nice and flat, without much noticeable elevation changes, which was nice since we are so used to hill running around our house.
We ran 2.5 miles to the waste treatment plant at the other end of the trail by Afton. Knowing that I had to run back to the car and I had never run that distance before, I took a chicken-out break and walked 0.2 miles at the turnaround. Then we were off again. We ran back and continued on back to our car. All told, we had 5.5 miles of moving time, including the warmup walk and chicken break.
That was the biggest run I have done and surprisingly, it was also the quickest pace I had ever done. It was a great day, kind of cool but comfortable and it just boiled down to the right balance of desire and energy. I am pretty pleased with myself and am itching to do it again already.
Next time, I am bringing dog spray. I was shocked by the amount of people walking their dogs off leash. We first encountered a HUGE German Sheperd that was excited to see us coming up the road. There were several others along the way, all shapes and sizes, but were all unleashed and loosely supervised. One little dog took off and ran alongside us for quite a distance. I wasn't going to stop and lead him back, perhaps his owner learned a lesson about controlling his pet. I am neither afraid of dogs or dislike them, but I think it is terribly irresponsible to bring a dog out in the public arena and let them run loose. I have 2 dogs of my own, they are lovely friendly temperaments and I would guess would never intentionally hurt someone or scare them. I would never put that to the test because, despite their good temperaments, they are DOGS not humans. Someone running up on them or riding by on a bike could spook them or scare them and they could react defensively- I want that heavy leash on board so I have some hope of controlling the situation if I have to. I do not want to be the runner that scares a dog and makes it bite me after it's owner waves, smiles, and hollers "Its OK - he's friendly!"
While I'm at it, why can't people pick up their dog poop on the trail or at least lead them to the side of the path to do it? I dodged more piles along the centerline last night, I'm lucky I didnt end up doing the poo-poo slide!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

THe Biggest Loser Blows my Mind

Well, the Biggest Loser Finale just got over. This is hands down my favorite show ever, especially the finale. Tonight's was especially meaningful since I am so close to reaching my own goal weight. Now here's the part that blows my mind:
I have lost 176.5 pounds and 52.61% of my starting weight.
On tonight's show that would mean that of the contestants that got voted off and competed for the $100,000 prize, I had a higher percentage of weight loss and a higher amount of weight lost.
Erik, the winner of the grand prize lost 52.58% of his body weight, 0.03% less than I have lost. He lost more weight in raw pounds, but percentage wins the prize.
The moral of that story is that I missed my shot at a quarter mill. Like Ed McMahon says, you can't win if you don't play.
I wonder if I could somehow deduct that as a loss of income on my taxes............. anyone from the IRS have some advice for me to make that work??

I got in a quick 30 on the bike tonight, didn't get a chance to run because I went to salon to wash that gray right outta my hair and get it cut. Nothing like a fresh 'do to lift your spirits. Hopefully, it makes me faster!

Tuesday's Run Outside

Mike and I went for an outside run after work yesterday, a rare opportunity so far this month. Overnight, there had been lots of fog and rising temps so the snow and slush had pretty much been eaten away. It was misty out and there were some patches of sidewalk that were still pretty icy where less than conscientious owners/tenants lived. There have been several days where it was possible to get out and scrape the walks or driveways and shovel out the corners covered in after-plow, but apparently it was much more important for these folks to get out and decorate so heavily that it looked like Christmas threw up on their houses. Maybe they thought the heat of a BILLION Christmas icicle lights would melt the sidewalks bare, thereby making scraping to the cement unnecessary? At any rate, we had to watch our steps carefully to avoid slipping ass-over-teakettle on the slippery patches. I really felt like I was cooking along, getting ahead of Mike in several places and feeling like for once I was setting the pace instead of him.
When we got to our usual turnaround spot, I noticed Mike was looking a little green. He said he thought he might throw up and I believed him. I offered to walk back home, but he wanted to keep running but cut right back the way we came instead of veering off on our long leg of our route. I guess that solves the "feeling faster than Mike today" mystery.
It was starting to get dark out and it was still a little foggy which we had anticipated, so we were wearing flashing reflector lights on each arm and Nike safety vests. (By the way, Eastbay has these on clearance right now for a STEAL of a deal - $7.99 for the vest and flasher set) As we started across a busy intersection with a 4 way stop, we noticed a big garbage truck rolling our way. Since we were already in the crosswalk we carefully continued forward with our flashers going full tilt for maximum visibility. The garbage truck driver was apparently a very special guy, since he doesn't need to stop at stop signs like the rest of us nor does he have to yield the right of way to pedestrians. Maybe when you drive the biggest thing on the road it's not important to follow the traffic laws. Maybe he was distracted by the cigarette he was trying to light or the conversation he was having on the cell phone attached to his ear or maybe his big butt had gone numb from sitting on his garbage truck throne impairing his driving ability. He slowed down just slightly and barreled right through the intersection. As we saw that he wasn't going to stop, we did a quick hop back towards the curb. As he sped past us, he made an obscene gesture and yelled something I couldn't hear while shaking a fist. I gave him my own special salute right back. Some people are just assholes.
We continued on towards home, the hardest part of each run. No matter what direction we take, the ending is always uphill to get home. Not just a hill and you're done - you go up a hill only to find a slight flat stretch followed by another monster, another brief flat spot and another hill, and on it goes. I try to tell myself that it's good for training, that hill work will make me faster, or whatever. The bottom line is I hate hills, they suck. The next time we build, my vote is to build the house at the bottom of the hill instead of the top. Wisconsin is nothing but rolling hills, which is pretty to drive, but not as much fun to run or bike!
It's too bad Mike was feeling sick. I was feeling pretty energetic and I think I could have done at least a 10K or farther for a change of pace. Maybe next time!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My other cool news

I forgot to mention in my earlier post - I submitted a "Why I love running" entry in the contest for the Final Sprint website. I got an email tonight telling me I won one of the Timex Ironman watches in the contest. I'm having a really great week......

I think I will just post the letter

Dear Jennifer,
It was a pleasure seeing you last Friday! Listed below you will find the exercise assessment results from the 4 assessments you have had thus far. Your results indicate an amazing commitment to exercise and healthy living. Take one day at a time with the PFE process and be sure to give me a call if you have questions or concerns. Keep up the hard work and happy holidays!
Yours in Health,
Stephanie *********, MS, Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Weight: (withheld, sorry!)
Body Mass Index: 56.1(optimal < 30)
Waist: 51(optimal < 33)
Circumference Measurements: (inches)
§ Upper Arm: 17.25
§ Chest: 56.0
§ Hips: 66.5
§ Upper Thigh: 34.0
§ Upper Calf: 21.5
Heart Rate: 96
Blood Pressure: 144/80
Estimated Max MET: 5.25 (poor category)

Weight: 171 pounds
Body Mass Index: 27.6
Waist: 35.5
Circumference Measurements: (inches)
§ Upper Arm: 10.5
§ Chest: 38
§ Hips: 42
§ Upper Thigh: 23.75
§ Upper Calf: 17.0
Heart Rate: 72
Blood Pressure: 108/64
Estimated Max MET: 11.9 (above average)

Total Inches Lost: 79.75 (over 6 feet!)
Total Weight (lbs) Lost: 176.5
Total Body Fat Lost (%): 15.4

Monday, December 11, 2006

Baby Day is here!!!!!!!

My sister had a beautiful baby girl this morning, Isabel Renee. She was 7# 8oz born at 8:07. Mike and I were at the hospital as early as decently possible and I got to hold my brand new girl - how exciting!!! We took Jake and Taylor to lunch in the cafe afterwards, then went our for quick shopping fix.

Went to Rogans and tried on a billion running shoes for Mike's birthday present (He is 39 today by the way!) but came out of the store shoeless and in need of some input from others. Anyone tried running in the Brooks Beast?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Busy Weekend

Well, another busy weekend over with in a flash. Yesterday, we finished up the last of our Christmas shopping and ran errands all day. We still have things for the kids left to get, but since they are usually quite snoopy, we won't buy for them until the last possible second!
Today we were up early. I did one of the "Firm" video aerobics workouts for 50 minutes plus warmup/cooldown (Man! my butt and legs are killing me now from that!) followed by 30 minutes on the stationary bike. Then we were off again. We went to the fabric store to pick out fabric for a baby quilt and a few other miscellaneous errands. While we were out, we realized that we should make another trip. Tomorrow my sister is having her baby- for Christmas we bought them a 1G memory stick for their camera. It dawned on us that that would probably be best used by them for their trip to the hospital tomorrow so they can take more than 8 pictures, so we brought them their present early.
I spent the afternoon making baby Izzy's quilt. The picture above is the finished product and it turned out really nice. The front is dark denim with pink embroidered flowers and the back is white flannel with flowers, butterflies, and Eiffel towers (since her middle name is Renee). The trim is white eyelet lace with butterflies embroidered on it, really pretty. Not sure if you can see all the detail in the pictures. It is also her Christmas present, but I am giving it to her early too.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Trip to the Fitness Center

This morning, I had a follow up visit with my exercise physiologist, Stephanie. I love going to see her - she is so positive and supportive, just a genuinely nice person. I got to show off a little bit today too, which was kind of fun. we started by measuring body composition. My body fat percentage is now down to 26% (normal for my age is 21-33%) - so I am smack dab in the middle of NORMAL! It's been a long time since I was able to say that, it sure feels good! I can't seem to stop smiling today. I have converted from 109 pounds of lean mass to 126.5 pounds of lean mass since January, also a significant improvement. We did measurements too which are all way down. I am also down into what I call "exercise vitals" - those that are on the low end of normal due to cardiovascular fitness. We then moved onto the 12 minute treadmill test. This is a walk/incline test and it was hard for us to get my heart rate and perceived exertion up to the range we were shooting for (a good thing). Overall since January, my METS have improved from 5 (Poor for my age) to 11.6 (well above average, almost in the excellent range). I don't remember all the numbers, but when I get the written report next week, I will post more specific highlights.
I just love my visits with Stephanie. I think of all the people supervising my program, she is my favorite. It was so much fun to show her where I am and what I can do now - she just seems to be as genuinely excited and proud of my accomplishments as I am.
I worked out extra hard last night, with a 30 minute run on the elliptical and a 30 minute bike on the stationary. I cranked up my intensity as much as I could and really worked hard. I need to step up the weight training too, I have been slacking in that area the past few weeks. My sister loaned me "The Firm" video set and I think I will give that a try this weekend- that would be a nice change of pace for something to do.
I have a lot of people I owe thanks to for my success. First and foremost, my husband has been my biggest cheerleader and motivator. Not only does he tell me I am beautiful every day, but he pushes me to push myself. We are competitive and I am always striving to catch up to him so I can "win" - I think he knows that and always raises the bar to give me something to strive for. My kids have taken on the responsibility of cooking for themselves often and helping with watching my dogs or whatever needs to be done so we can get our exercise in. They had some pretty major changes in their lives too when we gave our 2-week notice to Dunkin Donuts and Taco Bell, and they have rolled with it pretty easily and without complaint. My family and friends have been tremendously supportive too, always with a kind word or trying to do what they can to be supportive. Recently I have also expanded my circle to include some wonderfully supportive folks I have met online through chat rooms and discussion boards. Not only have I been able to draw on their successes to motivate myself, but they have offered support to me as well and for that I am very thankful.
One of the things Stephanie asked me today was if a year ago I would have seen myself reaching the place I am in right now. I can honestly say I did not ever imagine myself being as successful as I have been. I think the biggest change has been in my approach to life. I used to spend a lot of time rationalizing why I couldn't do things - I couldn't exercise or take a hike because I was afraid I would fall. (I had fallen down some stairs in 2003 and broke my ankle - it became my excuse for why I couldn't do things. ) My attitude has evolved over the past year from "I can't do that because...." to "wouldn't it be fun if we tried......" It's funny how many opportunities are opened up just by changing your approach. I would never have envisioned the things I am considering today: trying Ride to Cure Diabetes, doing triathlons, taking on a 10K or half marathon. Getting off the couch was my catalyst and I hope I can inspire that spirit in others.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


Still cold in the frozen tundra, so the exercise bike was my buddy tonight. Got 50 minutes in quick before we went to my sisters to set up her wireless network. I was really happy to see my youngest son come downstairs with us and ran on the elliptical trainer for 25 minutes. Yeah! It's nice to see my kids following me to the exercise equipment instead of to Taco Bell!

I had an email the other day from a high school classmate who is involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She was a finisher in the Ironman Wisconsin this year and has run some of the same races we have this summer, so we have had a chance to email a couple times and talk for a few minutes before the Run for Rivers this Fall. One of the things she is involved in is fundraising for the JDRF, specifically the bike rides in different areas of the country, including Death Valley, Calasabas, Asheville (NC), and others. I am giving serious consideration to the Asheville ride, which is nearby some of Mikes family. Also a factor is that our niece Sarah is diabetic and we would have the opportunity to ride on behalf of her. We would need to raise $4000 apiece, and I would not be able to do it this year (I need to make sure I have enough study time to graduate in July!), but it seriously interests me. We will definitely have to give it more thought and discussion, but it is an exciting opportunity.

Today was the holiday party at work, and I'm pretty proud of myself for bypassing all the cookies, candies, and other goodies and eating just a small slice of ham and a couple servings of fresh veggies. I DO have will power!

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Inspirational Running Quotes Summarized from RWOL message board)

There are clubs you can't belong to, neighborhoods you can't live in, schools you can't get into, but the roads are always open. -NIKE
Running is more than just exercise. Running purely for the exercise would be like eating purely to exercise your jaw muscles. (courtesy of OTD-Colonel from RWOL)
Pain is temporary. Quitting is final. (Lance Armstrong).
I don't race to see who is the fastest. I race to see who has the most guts. (Steve PreFontaine)
"My sport is your sport's punishment." Seen on track and field and cross country shirts everywhere!"
Don't let fatigue make of you a coward."
"Catch the person in front of you. Stay in front of the person behind you. Beat the shadow next to you."
"If you can't win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record."
"Run like you stole something."
"Running is an unatural act, except from enemies and to the bathroom."
Outrunning obesity; one mile at a time.
No Brain, No Pain
Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory... lasts forever.- Keanu Reeves/Shane Falco - The Replacements.
"The best long distance runners eat raw meat, run naked, and sleep in the snow."--iditarod dog sled race
"pain is weakness leaving the body" USMC
Why couldn't Pheidippides have died at mile 20?
"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway."
"If you start to feel good during a marathon, don’t worry you will get over it."
“To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who's never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind.”-Jerome Drayton
“If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”-Emil Zatopek
“People ask why I run. I say, "If you have to ask, you will never understand". It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but know, deep down, how good it really feels.”-Erin Leonard
“The next best thing to running,is talking about running!”
"No doubt a brain and some shoes are essential for marathon success, although if it comes down to a choice, pick the shoes. More people finish marathons with no brains than with no shoes."-Don Kardong
"Why aren't you signed up for the 401K? I'd never be able to run that far."-Scott Adams, Dilbert (4/2/01)
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop." -Lewis Carroll, from Alice in Wonderland
The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals.-Hal Higdon
"Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer."-Percy Cerutty
"I know I run like a girl....try to keep up!!!"
"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift”- Pre
You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don't run and never will... those who run but don't race...those who started training for a race but didn't carry through...those who got to the starting line but didn't in the finish line...those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You're still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you've outlasted. -Joe Henderson
"A runners creed: I will win; if I cannot win, I shall be second; if I cannot be second, I shall be third; if I cannot place at all, I shall still do my best." - Ken Doherty
"Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving." - Maurice Greene
Someone may beat me, but they're going to have to bleed to do it. - Steve Prefontaine

The newest convert

Well, the hubby is officially a blogger now. Check out his site.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Jingle Bell Run in Snowbound Janesville

Yesterday, Wisconsin was hit by a huge snowstorm like much of the country. Schools and businesses closed, the roads were a mess, and Mike was able to get his snowmobile out on the trails for the first time this year. So naturally with all that fluffy white powder, you think to yourself that running outside sounds like an awesome idea, right?
We reported to the Janesville Athletic Club this morning for the Jingle Bell Run benefiting the Arthritis Foundation. After all the snow Friday, there was snow everywhere, including all over the roads. Sidewalks were un-shoveled. Icy patches abounded. After much discussion, we decided that it would be best to stick together and run where we could but stay safe and walk if we had to. We were bundled up in all out technical gear - lots of base layers, thermal tights, , fleece jacket, and windbreaker. My Sub4 cap was a must as were my Nike running gloves with the insert for handwarmers and a technical fleece neck gaiter. As a last minute thought, we also activated handwarmer packets that we put in the toes of our shoes to keep the tootsies warm.
The horn sounded and we were off. I had never ran on snow before and it took a while to get a groove going. The soft packed snow covering the roads was mushy and slid around underfoot making each step slippery and a little dangerous. I widened up my stance laterally and shortened my stride, which made a world of difference in stability, then dug in and got 'er done. It's funny how much more work it is to run in the snow. You use different muscle groups and because I was scared of slipping (and subsequently falling down on the ice), my muscles felt rigid and tight, ever ready to make a counter move to stay upright.
Once we got going I got more comfortable with moving in the snow. I was warm. My handwarmers were keeping my finger toasty tucked inside my gloves, and my toes were staying warm despite the slush dampening my meshy Asics thanks to the warming packets in my shoes. About mile 2.5, I realized that with each step my toes were getting hotter and hotter. The warmers tucked into my kicks are activated to heat up with friction and shaking. As my feet moved around in my shoes, it created both friction and shaking. As a result the warmers got hotter and hotter. Since we were close to the end, I decided I could suck it up until we were done. I was about 1/2 a block from the finish line and was seriously contemplating sitting down in the snowbank and stripping off my shoes, but a dug in and kept going. We crossed the finish and we hustled inside the athletic club. As soon as I was inside the door I sat, stripped my shoes off and removed the little fireball from my toes. After we got home, I could see that I actually had red contact burns across the ends of my toes. So I guess the lesson is not to run with toe warmers!
I loved the race. The snow was fun and it was just a good time to do something different. Mike on the other hand hated it. I ran a 12:16 pace, which is only about 45 seconds slower than my best pace so really did alright timewise given the snow hazard. It was an untimed fun run so not official times are taken or posted, but my Garmin clocked me at 37:27 at 3.05 miles.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rainy and Cold in the Land of Beer and Cheese

Rain, rain, rain, rain. Today was not only rainy and drab, the temperature dropped from 50s this morning to a chilly 35 by the time I got out of work. I did 30 minutes on the indoor bike today, but wasn't motivated enough to brave anything outside.

I registered for my next round of classes this week. As a graduation requirement, I have to take an online phy ed class. No really, I'm serious, quit laughing. I started reading the textbook while I was on the bike and got 2 chapters done in a half hour. How much can really be said about goal setting and the transtheoretical theory of change as it applies to higher level wellness and fitness? I think that basically I have to read this incredibly dry book and commit to 3-5 days of fitness walking or greater for 10 weeks supervised by an exercise professional. It will be tough, but I'll give it a whirl. What a joke, but sometimes you just have to jump through the hoops because the man says so. LOL. I think I will take a stab at submitting the past 11 months of exercise logs and my evaluations from the exercise physiologist I already work with and see if I can get a pass. Worth a shot anyhow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A girl and her dog

Today, my 2 year old ESS pup Maddy and I went for a quick run after I got home from work. Daisy, my old girl was not happy to be left at home, but a) I know she won't misbehave, b) I cannot handle 2 dogs and run simultaneously, and c) she has a hard time doing much more than 2 miles - at 45 pounds she is far to heavy to carry home fireman-style.
So, I took off the Invisible Fence collar, slipped on her walk collar, and off we went. It had been raining all day so there were lots of puddles and mud for her to find along the way. She enjoyed every one of them. Trying to control Maddy on a leash is a little like stuffing toothpaste back in the tube - a total mess. She pulls, she lunges, she stops short, she zigs and zags all over the place. I was hopeful today that taking my life in my hands would at the least make me faster as she pulled me down the street. Remember the Marmaduke cartoons? That's kind of how the walks always go, only with a 45 pound ball of fire instead of a Great dane.
I ran my usual route backwards this time, just for a change of pace. It was interesting to say the least. There was absolutely no way to control my pace with Maddy along. She drug me along at breakneck speed, then we slowed way down as I tried to hold her back and regain control. And so it went over and over. The end result was a less than spectacular pace of 12+ minute miles overall. From a positive perspective, my arms are still firmly placed in thier sockets and we made it home without a major wipeout. We'll just call it a success and call it a day.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee

I got this sent to me from my good friend Lisa and thought I would share it:

You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see.""Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water."Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

It's easier to build a child than repair an adult. This is so true.May we all be COFFEE.

Big Exercise Day today

We started our day today with a big run as soon as we were out of bed and the paper read. Mike and I ran together for a change which I always enjoy - usually he is running way ahead of me and I lose motivation as he gets farther and farther away. It was really nice out, kind of cool, but I warmed up quickly as we got going. It was a big run for me today, 4.23 miles, and I think I did pretty well. When we got home, Janet called to set up another Sunday ladies ride, so shortly after noon, we took off on our bikes. We headed through Rockport Park and onto the bike trail to Afton and then onward to Turtle and Shopiere. We headed back a little differently, trying out the new pavement on Read road and picking up the bike trail to Hayner Road and back to my house. All told, we biked 33.29 miles this afternoon and it felt GREAT.
I suspect today was our last hoorah for getting outside much, especially on the bikes. The funny thing is, I had no idea how to dress for a warm (50's) almost December day. I left the house in a performance tank, 2 long sleeved driFit tops, and a florescent wind breaker. I had on bike shorts with tights over the top and neoprene booties over my shoes. I had lots of other equipment tucked into the waist band of my pants - a balacava, a hankie to use to cover my face, extra gloves, and lots of other goodies. I ended up needing none of this extra equipment and wishing I could strip off several of the other layers.
On this beautiful Thanksgiving weekend, I am especially thankful for the opportunity to get outside and enjoy being outdoors with my family and friends.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Berbee Derby - Like a Thanksgiving Day Parade Only Faster

Today was the Berbee Derby in Fitchburg (by Madison). We got up early and roadtripped with Mike and I in one car, and my sisters Tracy (here from Denver) and Michele, her husband Jeff, and my nephew Jacob in another car. The race was huge. It was a 5K Run and walk, and a 10K - there were 2500 participants expected, including Jeff, Mike, and I. My new Forerunner arrived in yesterdays mail, so I was good to go although I forgot to turn it on at first and then forgot to stop it. The race was awesome, the course was a little hilly, but i still ran 35.23, an 11:24/mi pace. I think was a personal best and a thansgiving MIRACLE! Results and info can be found at

Lunch at my parent's house was good too. Had a little turkey and vegetables. I tried asparagus (ick) for the first time and brussels sprouts (super ick) but can now take credit for living on the edge and trying something new.

Here are a few pictures from today. The top one is Jacob and I messing around at my mom's house. The others are Mike and I and my kids, we were shooting for a Christmas card shot - what do ya think? Hope y'all had a great Turkey Day!

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Naughty Dog Is Dead Meat

my dog Maddy is such a shithead. I think I have finally come to grips with this simple fact.

She will be 2 this year and is the most destructive dog I have ever owned. Maddy has always been a chewer. When she was a puppy, she would shred toilet paper while I showered so it looked as if it were snowing by the time I was done. She once ate a stack of shipping boxes, creating a cardboard snowstorm. She has roughly 100 chew toys, tennis balls, rawhide bones, and a plethora of other toys to distract her from her mission in life - destroying anything of value in her path.

In the few years she has been alive she has been responsible for a massive amount of destruction. Her partners in crime are my 2 teenage sons who are often charged with watching her but pay very little attention to what she is doing when I'm not home. Last year, she chewed the corners off the new oak cabinets in my newly built house. That was the beginning of a long string of inappropriate chewy toys. Among other things, she has eaten the remote controls to all the TVs in the house, several video game controllers, lots of computer cable, at least 6 retainers. We resigned ourselves to lock her in a kennel whenever we were gone, which seemed to curb the problems. The day the boys went back to school this fall, they forgot to put her into her cage...... she proceeded to chew the cordless phone into a milion billion bits. Maddy is officially an electronics specialist- like everyone else in this house, she loves her gadgets. The only difference is we like to play with them, she however likes to EAT them! Lots of lectures ensued about responsibility and controlled containment strategies. Vows were given that it would never ever ever happen again - "promise."

Today, my hubby met me at the door and said "your kids aren't getting anything for Christmas." Then he hugged me. THe boys forgot to kennel her when they left for school today. Never one to pass up an opportunity to east soemthing of value, Maddy the Destroyer had eaten my Garmin 301, my most prized possession. She tried to eat my iPod too but only managed to mangle the charging cord and the cute pink leather case. She ate the buttons off the Garmin and munched on the screen so it is totally black. Because the buttons are chewed off, I can't get it to power off and quit beeping. With every sickly beep I would like to wring her stupid neck with the Garmin strap. Lucky for her, she ate the strap too.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What the heck IS a stone anyhow?

Someone commented that they had lost "a stone" and I have seen it in several other people's postings. How much is a stone equivalent to?
In my head I am picturing a guy taking rocks out of his pockets while standing on a scale. ....... :-)

it's a beautiful day for a bike ride

Just got a call from my biking friend Janet and we are going out on a group ride today. I am so excited - I miss the outdoor activities of summer/fall. It's funny, I never realized how much I enjoy being outside until this year - I am always itchy to get out and do something and dread working out in the basement gym.
Weather today looks lovely. Sunny and cloudless with no wind, but what worries me a little is a high in the 40s - BRRR! I'm gonna bundle up and give it a whirl anyhow - I bought a case of handwarmers at Sam's Club yesterday so worst case scenario I have to tuck them inside all the cold spots in my riding gear - LOL.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Back on Track again Baby!

Well, today I decided was the day where I get myself off the lazy track. Since the weather has turned cold with rain and snow I have had a hard time getting motivated to work out indoors. It's just so much nicer to ride around on my bike on country roads enjoying the scenery! I couldnt' wait to get out and run around in the sunshine or get the bike on the road. Watching TV from the elliptical or reading assessment textbooks on the stationary bike just isn't the same as being outdoors getting fresh air and sunshine. I have been slacking a bit becuase of this, not putting forth as much effort as I should be either. If I don't step it up I am going to be bumming at the Berbee Derby Thanksgiving Day.
I got up this morning early and did some time on the elliptical. So now I can check the front half off my "two-a-day" plan for today. After a quick shower, it was off to work and I walked the 2 miles to work. All summer I walked to and from work every day and I must admit I have slacked on this a little more lately too. So I am back on track with that again too, at least for today.
I have to go see the doctor tomorrow for what I think will be the appointment when he pulls me off the fast. I'm a little nervous about it - that will mean transitioning back to real food again. Being on the shake plan has been really a mindless experience - I had to drink 6 shakes a day, so basically I had to count to 6 and that was the extent of meal planning and calorie counting. Now the real work will begin, and it's work I have not always been really successful at in the past. I want to lose at least 14 more pounds before its all said and done and I move into maintenence. Can I do it? I sure hope so. I hope I can resist the call of Red Robin's A1 Peppercorn Burger, or the sausage pizza at Happy Joe's, or any number of my former favorites. I have to be strong andhave the courage to resist temptation. Wish me luck - send your good vibes my way!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pet Peeves

Why is it that everyone who congratulates you on your weight loss has to tell you how great you must feel? I didn't feel "bad" before I lost weight, I was just fat! I was healthy feeling and had no chronic health effects from my weight other than inactivity. So I guess that comment means fat=bad (the opposite of great) which frankly feels a little insulting.
While I'm at it- what is with people who ask loudly in a crowd how many pounds you've lost? I work in a hospital on the top floor so I am often caught in the elevator with someone who does that. There is no easy way to sidestep the bluntness of the question that I have found sucessful. I have tried answering "a lot," but the questioner invariably presses on even more loudly for the exact amount of pounds lost. In the last week, I have been asked that in an elevator full of Family Practice residents and then again in the elevator in front of at least 6 20-something construction workers (at the hospital working on a renovation). I have lost more than 175 pounds, or almost the equivalent of a high school linebacker......... it's really kind of embarrassing to admit in front of a pile of people you don't know that you were once at that level of gluttony. Everyone can relate to needing to lose 10 or 20 pounds, but I imagine there are a lot of folks out there who hear my answer and think "Wow - you must have been huge!". Yes, I was, thank you very much for shining a spotlight on it! There is another co-worker here in the hospital who asks ocasionally at the end of meetings for the update, still embarrassing but I can tell she is trying to be supportive.
I know these people mean well and are trying in their own way to be suppportive, and I try to remember that they probably dont mean to be rude or embarrass me to death as I try to answer the question before I crawl under a rock and try to hide...................

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Todays workout

Well, this weekend's plan to do "two-a-days" was overtaken by laziness. I did get an hour in on the indoor bike. I was going to run outside, but it just looks too cold and I am feeling very unmotivated! maybe I will change my mind before it gets dark out!

Pictures Family YMCA 2 mile 10/1/06

First pic is Mike and I with my nephew Jacob pre-race.
Pict #2 is me getting a high five from Jacob as I cross the finish.
Pic #3 is pre-race of Jeff (my bro-in law), Jacob (my nephew), me, and Mike. (I don't knwo what we were watching so closely.........

Pic #4 is Mike crossing the finish. We called him "Team Adidas" that day as he was decked out in Adidas gear head to toe (except remaining loyal to his Asics tennies).

Anniversary Pictures from the Zoo Run Run 9-23-06

Here we are on our 17th wedding anniversary after running in the Zoo Run Run in Madison. We had fun with this one - Mike wore a bowtie and I wore a clip on veil. We had matching Dri-fit tees made up too.

Mike got to the finish before I did and some lady told him "If you want to be married another 17 years, you better go back and find your wife!"

Had a blast with this race, although it was very hilly and challenging. I actually tripped, somersaulting down the street, about 1/8 mile from the finish line and sprained my ankle.

Pictures from the Cow Chip Classic 2006

The first 2 pictures are of me running the Cow Chip Classic. This was a really fun race. Also running were my brother-in-law Jeff and my neice Taylor (who was running her very first race!).

This last picture is my hubby Mike crossign the finish line.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mike Before and After Pictures

Picture on top is of Mike around 2001 while he was umping for our son's Boy Scout softball team. The one on the bottom was taken July 4, 2006 wearing the same shirt, after a 130+ pound weight loss. Quite a difference in the two, eh?

Introduction and After Pictures

The first picture is the "before" picture. It was taken at a family wedding in October 2005, and quite frankly when I saw it, that was the moment I decided it was time for a significant life change. It's funny how the mind works - I actually thought that dress was kind of slimming when I tried it on, but the truth is the camera doesn't support the fibs your mind tells you.

The second picture is Mike and I ready to go to his class reunion August 5, 2006. We clean up pretty well I think. Mike is at goal weight here, and I am still working at it with about a 140 or so pound loss at this point.

The last picture is of Mike and I at a birthday party for our niece, Sarah on November 3, 2006. Total weight loss to date in this picture: Mike - 135.5 pounds lost (37.38% of loss from starting weight) , Jenny - 176 pounds lost (50.55% of loss from starting weight)

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