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Saturday, January 27, 2007

That which does not kill you makes you stronger

Last night, we took the family to Applebee's for supper. I had the Cajun Lime Tilapia Weight Watchers meal, which was awesome. The fish was perfect and was served on rice with fresh red and green peppers and a side of broccoli, cauliflower, and squash. We also had an appetizer sampler from which I ate hot spinach and artichoke dip. So now, lets take an inventory of the vegetables in this meal:
- green and red peppers
- cooked spinach (a first)
- artichoke (another first)
- squash (yet another first)
- broccoli
- cauliflower
Also, I should mention, the night before that I ate a baked sweet potato, cut french fry style - another first, and delicious I might add.

For those of you that didn't know me a year ago, you probably do not realize the significance of this. I spent most of my life being pretty anti-veggie. I would eat a select smattering of raw veggies, mostly lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery. Raw only - cooked vegetables grossed me out, I would literally gag if I came in contact with cooked vegetables. When I got a burger, I would immediately pick off the tomato and onion. For pizza, I was a strictly meat only gal. And so it went for years and years, picking off some of the only healthy pieces of my meal.

A big part of my transition from the chubby life has been a commitment to not only eat healthier and smarter, but to keep an open mind to new things that I have habitually rebuffed. I have realized that vegetables are actually tasty when cooked right. I purposely try new foods that are prepared in a healthy way.

I tried four new vegetables this week and I am still alive to tell the tale - that's awesome, yeah me.

As far as exercise goes, I completed my 5th day for the week today. I did 30 on the trainer, and did 30 on the treadmill with my sister Michele chatting with me on the elliptical, which was fun. The outdoor ice rink at Traxler Park was set to open tonight too. Mike and I were going to go and give it a whirl, but it was warmer this afternoon and it looked like they weren't going to open after all. We'll have to try another time I think. Sounded fun though, at least something different to do and a chance to get outside!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Getting back on the Road

My sister Tracy is again home safe and sound after a scenic overnight detour through Chicago on her way back to Denver, thanks to Old Man Winter and lots of snow. We took her to Madison Sunday afternoon for her return trip and shortly after we left her, they cancelled her flight. She then took an alternate flight that stopped in Chicago where the remaining leg of the flight was cancelled. Got word from her this morning that she made it home, so that is a relief.
We had a wonderful visit, getting in lots of quality sister time and spoiling the children with all the attention. Tracy took my Lucas snowboarding for the first time, which he absolutely LOVED! One of these days I might even work up the courage to give it a try, but I really hate falling down and it sounds like that is about all you do the first day.
I did get off track a little with the visit. I wavered up and down a few pounds all week. The meals were bigger than I probably should have had and it was difficult to find time to exercise, but its not as if the opportunity to spend time with distant family presents itself every day - was I supposed to not see them so I could get in quality time with my treadmill?? I don't think so! There is plenty of time to get things back together now that things are settling down. I did get up 45 minutes early every morning so I could ride the trainer or elliptical, so that was a even trade in my book.
I took a run last night that was a bit of a challenge. It really was nice out after all the snow this weekend, hovering right around freezing, but plenty of sunshine to warm me up a bit. It sure is a lot more challenging to run in the snow. As I took off, there were still lots of Parker High Students walking home to dodge around. I found myself yelling thank yous to the houses along my route that had not bothered to shovel. How do they get away with that? It's a school zone, the kids walk the same route I run every day, yet no one holds them accountable for following city ordinances and keeping their walk clean? Several walks were still untouched with no attempts made to clear the snow and countless others that had been partially cleared. The egresses were all terrible - it didn't seem as if anyone had bothered to clear them out after the plows went through, which meant that you had only a few choices: jump into the pile and take your chances what was underneath or stop at every corner and walk gingerly through. Both choices stunk, so I just hopped through them and hoped I would not break my neck with a mis-step. I made it home safely and it felt great to get out on the road again. I never even looked at my Garmin once I got home to analyze my pace and other stats (I'll look at it and upload it later today). I think there should be a correction factor to apply when snow running - it's cold and wet and physically challenging (one might even say "treacherous" but that would be cliche ;-) )
I see that Pat and Athena have had a little taste of the icy life lately, and all the fun that brings. Seems none of us are lucky enough to escape the cold this year- Hope y'all are enjoying it!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What a busy week.
Sunday, my sister Tracy arrived from Denver for a brief visit. Michele and I drove to the Madison airport to pick her up, with Jacob in the back seat helping navigate by spotting the planes as we got closer. I have been the co-pilot for this trip once before but never the driver so I did print off some directions and ran out the door. My sister Michele co-piloted our adventure and as we got into the heart of Madison, she looked closer at the map to see that our destination was listed as "center of Madison", not "Dane County Airport." Apparently, when I printed the map, yahoo didn't recognize the address so it just gave me a default map and I didn't notice it when I glanced on my way out the door. So, Michele pulled out the old school road map of Madison and tried to put a plan in place to get to the right spot. I knew we were in trouble when she said. "Oh I'm not the best map reader........" We got the full scenic tour of Madison and several nearby communities, landing finally in DeForest before I called Mike to navigate us to the right place, arriving in a mere 1 hour and 45 minutes (It's about a 45 minute drive). What a fiasco! Somehow we managed to get there just as Tracy deboarded her plane. Unfortunately they lost her luggage, but it arrived bright and early the next morning.
We have had lots of family time this week. Chef Boy-R-Mike has been cooking up a storm for suppers. I took yesterday off and Tracy and I ran around running errands. We have certainly enjoyed our time together.

I am feeling a little sad this week though. For many years, I was a cub scout den leader and later a boy scout leader for my sons' pack/troop. One of the scouts that I followed from about 2nd grade on was a little boy who was kind of special to us. He was a little boy who came from a family that didn't have a lot of financial advantages. He was smaller than the other boys and less mature, had some trouble relating to other kids socially at his age level. He was the kind of kid that others at school picked on for being a little different. For me, he was the kid I wanted to tuck under my wing and protect from that. He was appreciative of everything we did for him and he was genuinely excited by the things we planned to do with the scouts. We exposed him to a lot of outdoor activities, I took him on overnight camp for the first time ever the summer between 4th and 5th grade and Mike took him to scout camp the next year with the group. Along with some others, we facilitated the troop "adopting" their family for Christmas one year and were able to provide them with some basics that they didn't have in their small run-down trailer, like a working stove and other things many of us think are basic necessities that they just didn't have. Anyway, this past Friday morning our little friend Scotty and his mother and sister were discovered brutally murdered in their mobile home. It just sickens me to imagine the atrocities this little boy and his family saw before they died. Last night, they arrested a man in the case, a long-time sex offender who lived in the same trailer park. I hope they fry that bastard. Slowly and painfully.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Thanks for the Inspiration

Last night after work, I decided to go for a run. It was chilly so I bundled up and took off. As I ran and listened to my ipod, I was feeling pretty good. I crossed path with some runners from the high school as I started off. They were running a pretty fast clip in the opposite direction so I picked up the pace a little, I wouldn't want to look like the slow old lady I am in front of those gazelle-like teenage girls after all! As I ran I was thinking about all the folks I read about on the RWOL forums and various blogs. I thought about Pat who is running a half marathon this weekend. I thought about Athena, who is gearing up for marathons. I thought about all of the stories I have read online about them and countless others and I kept running. I passed the turnoff for my small route, then the medium route. I was on the long path. I was getting dark so I made sure my arm flashers wer going and I donned my headlamp. For a while, I was feeling icy stings on my cheeks, which I thought was my breath crystallizing as I exhaled. After a while, I realized it was actually spitting rain/sleet. I headed up the path behind the high school toward home. As I reached the left turn towards home at the 4 mile marker, I decided to take a right instead and make a new route - my extra large route, unchartered territory. After all, Pat's running a half, Athena's running a marathon - I could do an extra 2 mile loop, that's nothing compared to them! The rain kept spitting and I kept going and when I stepped in the door at home, I had 6.23 miles logged on the Garmin - pretty sweet. It felt good and I never stopped to walk. Yeah me.

when I got home, Mike and the boys wanted to go out for supper. I wasn't real hungry but showered up anyway and went along for the ride. I began to feel a little nauseous. My legs felt like rubber and were starting to burn. Then they started to feel tight and crampy. I got colder and colder and started shivering. We pulled into Red Robin and I was feeling a little lightheaded as we walked in and took our seats. I didnt' order anything, I planned to just eat a sliver of whatever Mike ordered, which was my favorite A1 Peppercorn Burger and Fries. I drank about 4 Diet Cokes as we sat, hoping the fluids would make me feel a little bettter. The food came and I sliced off a thin piece of Mike's burger and picked at a fry. I wasn't hungry, so I just picked it apart. AS we drove home, I was shivering and achy. I grabbed a bottle of water and crawled into bed once we arrived and slept for 2 hours off and on, then got up and drank some more water and ate a grapefruit.

I have to admit, I am not very conscientious about hydrating when I run. I drink a bottle of water before I take off and I drink when I get back, but I don't carry a bottle or stop for water breaks. Usually I don't do big runs, so it just hasn't been a huge issue. Tonight it was. I know that the way I felt was a direct result of dehydration and frankly I don't want to be there again - it was uncomfortable and kinda scary. I won't lose the lesson here. I will make a better effort to stay hydrated and carry at east a little water with me when I run so I don't do this to myself again.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Anniversary Day - and the Kick Off for our Lighten Up Wisconsin Team

It's here. On this day one year ago, I began the unchartered territory of taking control of my size. It seems like yesterday I was sitting in Dr Partello's office full of ambivalence and nervousness wondering if I had the will power and drive to be successful. I guess I did.

I registered our team today for Lighten Up Wisconsin, a group of co-workers, plus the hubby and my sister. Several teams from our health system register onto this statewide program that runs from January to May, and they compete against each other not only through the statewide program but the top three teams in each category from the groups registered through Mercy Health System receive recognition from the System. We will be competing in the categories of Weight Loss and Activity Miles, which we should be able to make a pretty good showing. It's kind of personally symbolic for me that we are starting this on my personal anniversary, kind of like starting a new chapter in my journey, taking me to yet another level of bettering and challenging myself.

Bring it on, I'm ready for what's next.

Todays activity:
15 minutes on the trainer this morning (keep reading for the story)
55.31 minutes on the trainer tonight
Total mileage: 15.01 miles

Tomorrows plan: up early on the trainer, big run after work (hopefully outside but its flipping cold!)

The story: I got up early this morning (5:30 AM) to get some quality time in the saddle. I let the dogs out, then headed downstairs to hop on my bike. With one eye open, I started taking down the bike from the trainer to switch them out. I struggled with it a little since I am still working on making this transition smoothly, but after several minutes I finally got it off and had loaded up the other bike. I put on my bike shoes and started to hop on only to notice that I was trying to clip onto the pedals of Mike's bike. RATS! So, I traded the bikes out again which seemed to take forever. By the time I was done farfling around with the bikes, I was able to get only a lousy 15 minutes of riding in, not nearly enough to work off my frustrations. The saddest thing is I should have recognized my own bike in the first place. Although we both have red Giant OCR 2's, they are distinctive. Mike's bar tape on his tri-bars is white with little skulls and mine is red. That should have been my first clue. Actually, they are both labeled with our NAMES on the fork, which should have been clue #2. I am not a morning person - I guess this proves it.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Gel Nimbus 8's - The Jury's still out

The day we have waited for is here - arrival day of the Christmas shoes. I took a short run tonight in my new Asics Nimbus shoes. I think I like them, but it may be too soon to tell. I did have some issues with numb forefoot, but that may have been due mare to the brisk January weather than the shoes aggravating my feet. Either way, it is a problem that has alwasy been easily fixed with OTC Orthotics.
THe run was a quick 3.25 miles through the hills in the neighborhood. I had intended to take a big run, but had to wait 15 minutes to give the ipod a chance to charge (it was DEAD) and it was quickly getting dark. I had intended to take my head lamp for when it got dark, but forgot to tuck it into my pocket, so once I noticed it strting to get dark, I took a turn for home instead of seeking out a longer loop.
Tomorrow is a big day, the anniversary of starting the VLCD diet. It's hard to believe it has been a whole year and I am just now transitioning back to regular food. I tried today to make an appointment with my dietitician to move into the final phase and work on getting to 1200 calories or so for maintenance, but I didn't reach her. I'll try again tomorrow - it's time.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Just for Fun

Got this from Pat's site, thought it was fun. I am a believer n any site that tells me I look like Elle McPherson! LOL!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Karma's Return

Karma is a funny thing. You make an innocent comment one day and the next thing you know it rears its ugly head and kicks you in the teeth, usually when you least expect it.
One day recently I was talking with friends and wished out loud that I had taken a week or so off during the holidays for myself (strike 1). I have 8 weeks of vacation time coming and thought in hindsight it would have been good to take a few "me" days. Next thing you know I was stating my opinion that all the hoopla on the news about norovirus was overkill - it's just the stomach flu after all, not the plague (strike 2!). Thursday, I tipped the scales again. I mentioned to a co-worker - OUT LOUD, mind you - that I hadn't been sick since I started the diet almost exactly a year ago (STEEEEE-RIKE 3!!!!!!!).
Karma woke me early Friday morning with a major bellyache, the unmistakable beginning to a long miserable day and a righteous bout of some sort of GI virus. I will spare you the details, but it was not pretty. I spent my day either laying in bed or hanging out in the bathroom. Every joint in my body ached and after sleeping until 3pm, I worked up the gumption to shower about 5, then required a nap to recover. We went to bed about 9:30 and I slept until 9:30 this morning! I awoke feeling about 80% and my symptoms finally resolved about noon.
I rode the trainer for an hour and a half or so this afternoon while watching a movie, Happy Endings. The movie was OK, not great but watchable. It felt really great to be doing something physical after being such a slug for a day and a half.
We ordered RoadIDs tonight, something I have been meaning to do for a while. I get a kick out of the coincidence that the guys who run the company are Ed and Mike Wimmer. Maybe it's just coincidence but I decided it was time to stop tempting fate and order one, just in case karma decides to take another stab at me!

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year Y'all!

I last reported buying a bike trainer and I have already logged many, many miles on it. (I thought I would give you all the action shot to match Mike's - sorry we are dorks sometimes) What a cool piece of equipment! It has a totally different feel than our recumbent stationary bike and I get to use my own bike - can't really get any better than that. Awesome workouts that really make you sweat and gives you the rubber legs feel when you are done, so you know you really worked it. One thing we did learn was that the Forerunners were pretty much useless on the trainer since you don't move, you log no miles, just heart rate.

So, we were off on NY Eve afternoon in search of a Cat Eye Astrale 8 Cyclocomputer, which is basically an odometer with a rear wheel reader for cadence so it can log miles on the trainer. We do love our gadgets and I personally crave the data so I can see on paper (puter actually) where I am having gains or setbacks. The bike shop here in town was closed, so we ended up at Erik's Bike Shop in Madison, a nice place to visit and a decent price, but still the bulk of my business will continue to go to Michael's Cycles here in town - they are great to work with.

Today, being the first day of the new year, it was important to me to get off to a great start. Even though I haven't run in a few days, I took a run by myself around the neighborhood, my medium sized loop of a 5K and some change. It wasn't fast but I did it even though I didn't feel much like running today. Tonight, i also got on the trainer for a half hour (32 minutes), just to get a good bike start going too. It helped that The Biggest Loser was showing as a marathon today and after watching bits and pieces all day, I was motivated to do a little more work. It felt good and I am glad I did it.

As the year closes and the new one starts, it is a good time to reflect on the past and set new goals for the future.

My proudest achievements of the past year:

- Losing more than 50% of my body weight. This was last year's NY goal, and was absolutely achieved. Nuff said on that.

- Achieving my highest level of fitness since at least my teens, and probably more like ever.

- Having my second consecutive deficiency free annual State survey (third in my career) and a deficiency free JCAHO survey (second in my career) at work. For those not in the health industry, this is a HUGE statement of the quality of care we provide and a speaks volumes about the ability and training of my nursing staff and my leadership skills.

There are many moments that I am proud of in the past year, but these stick out in my mind as the top 3.

My Goals for the Coming year:

  • Complete my first Duathlon and my first triathlon, then continue to do as many as physically and financially feasible
  • Complete a 10K race or more
  • Compete in at least 1 bike race
  • Learn to Mountain Bike
  • Graduate from Ball State with a BS in Nursing, thereby making me qualified for the job I have done for the past 10 years......................
  • Continue to gradually lose weight into the 150 range or better, and maintain without significant gain
  • Learn to run with my nutjob dog without injuring either of us ;-)

I will leave you with a couple pictures of my favorite baby, Isabel in the baby scrubs that were a shower gift from me. Michele brought her over Saturday and we played dress up with her for while.

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