Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I was naughty and pushed my Day 4 workout back a day. I was just jonsing for a nice, long, peaceful run. It was overcast all morning which had really cooled things down. I laced up my shoes and headed to the trace to get some good mileage in and try to work out some of the soreness and water retention in my body. As sore as I was, my goal was for a sloppy 5 or 6 miles. It seriously took about 3 miles for my legs to finally loosen up. They felt like lead bricks the entire time before. But once they got warmed up, it was on! My pace increased by about 20 seconds.

I hit the 4.5 mile turnaround and decided to head back. The clouds were really rolling in and I could hear thunder in the distance. Just after mile 5 it started to rain. At about mile 5.5 it REALLY started to rain. There was nothing I could do but run in it. I just ran and had fun with it. The cool rain on my legs felt great! I was soaked from head to toe and thank goodness for my running cap. It kept the water out of my eyes.

I finally sloshed my way back to the car after 9 miles, dripping, soaking wet. I checked my split time on Minnie and I had improved my pace by 40 seconds per mile from the first split! Wow. Now if it could just rain like that for every race I could PR without any problems! :)

The run really worked most of my soreness out and it helped me flush a lot of the water weight I was retaining from the gym workouts. I did Day 4 yesterday and although it was still killer, I had to modify the moves much less. And I really concentrated on my form this workout. I'm still having some issues with the side planks and frog push-ups, but I'm getting there. And I managed a 2 mile tempo run yesterday after the workout. I killed it on the treadmill busting out two sub-nine minute miles. Sweet!

Today is day 5 and then two days rest time. I think I shall enjoy my days off by running. HAHAHA! Sad, I know.

Let me just say though that I have a WHOLE new appreciation for all you CrossFit folks!

Today I love: Sugar free jello chocolate swirl pudding. Yum!

Monday, May 25, 2009

And here I thought I was in shape...sorta

So, I bit the bullet and started the Making the Cut workouts this week. Oh. Mah. Gawd. Let me tell you, Jillian is a torture queen. Those workouts are killer!! Funny that my only respite were the sprints she has you do between circuits. I actually looked forward to the sprints to let me body rest a bit and get back to something familiar...running. Day 1 kicked my ass. (I would have usually opted for "butt" or "booty" here to be a little less abrasive, but ASS seemed most appropriate for how I felt after!). I was dripping in sweat and my quads and arms were shaking from the strain. I thought I would get in some decent cardio afterward...thought. I barely squeeked out a 3 mile run/walk. My body was just spent. The Day 2 workout was a little better. My form on all the lunges is improving and I'm finding the exercises I like and the ones I dislike (push-ups SUCK and I totally cannot do them right).

Day 3 was rest day and BOY did I need it. My whole body was screaming at me. All I can say is that Aleve is my friend. No run after Day 2...again just too completely exhausted. I thought I'd fit one in during Day 3 since it's an off weight training day. Nope. The in-laws are in town this weekend and they're a bit high maintenance. I couldn't break away for a run, plus my body was really, really sore and tired. I figured I might could do with the rest.

Today is Day 4 and I opened up the book to look at the workout. It's a repeat of Day 1. The killer one! *&%$! I can do it...I can do it. Tomorrow is a repeat of Day 2 and then two days off. Sweet!

I'm still struggling to find balance between the gym workouts and running. Hopefully I can get through this first week unscathed and settle into a better routine. And hopefully my body will stop screaming at me at some point. Jillian suggests breaking your workouts up into mornings and evenings - weights and cardio. I may seriously have to start doing that. I'm really struggling to fit it all in at the same time.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone. Everyone please take a moment to remember and pay tribute to all of our service men and women and the amazing sacrifices they have made and still make everyday for us.

Today I love: The red, white and blue and everyone who has served to protect it. (Really that's everyday, not just today).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fitness Test

A couple of friends of mine were talking about this book, Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels and how it really helps you lose those last 10 lbs and gives great results. So, I got on and ordered me a copy - curious about the program. I really love watching Jillian on TBL (and Bob too for that matter) and would LOVE to have her/him train me just once and kick my butt. This book outlines a 30 day plan of eating and exercise. The exercise routines are really similar to the CrossFit plans that I've seen. Single sets, medium reps on constantly different muscle groups with no rest. So, essentially your body is getting a cardio workout and you are constantly challenging different areas. I think the P90X is similar too, but I've never really tried it - only seen the infomercial.

She outlines a menu that she wants you to follow for those 30 days, but mainly it's about eating within your caloric allowance (based on your BMR) and adhering to the right protein/carb/fat ratio (mine's 30/40/30) based on a short quiz that tells you your oxidizer type. The diet says to limit the caffeine, processed foods, sodium and sugar as much as possible. And of course, drink lots of water. All doable.

I'm seriously thinking about trying this. I've concentrated so much on running that my upper body strength and ab strength has pretty much been ignored. This was blatantly obvious by the fitness test you're supposed to do before and after. There's an aerobic endurance test (doing step-ups for 3 minutes and then pulse check), ab strength test (as many sit-ups as you can do in 1 minute), upper body strength test (as many push ups as you can do in 1 minute) and a lower body strength test (hold a wall sit for as long as you can). I performed pretty much as I expected, but the upper body strength test threw me for a loop:
  • Aerobic endurance = Good (one pulse count away from Excellent! Thanks Running!)
  • Upper body strength = Below Average (seriously...real push-ups are killer. My little stick arms were shaking!)
  • Abdominal Strength = Average
  • Lower body strength = Excellent (I held that wall sit forever...I was shocked! Thanks again Running!)
This was a bit of a wake-up call for me. I just stuck with running to stay "fit", but I'm not balancing out my whole body. I need to focus on strengthening my core and upper body as well. I know it will ultimately help my running. But, I always have trouble justifying those "lift" days and time. I just want to run, run, run. So, I think I may try this plan. The workouts are tough, but only about 45 minutes. Adding that plus running will be tough, but it's worth a try.

Got a good 5 miles in last night while the weather is still cool. I slowed down a little from the previous run, but the wind was pretty brutal. Managed to average a 9:47 pace...still below 10:00 so I'm a happy gal!

My question for today then is how do you guys find balance between running and the gym?

Today I LOVE: four day weekends!!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is this May??

Ok, the weather guy is up to something. I don't trust him. It's been too pretty this week. Lows in the mornings of 57 and highs of 80. And where did our humidity go from last week? It's been perfect running weather. Too bad this is only supposed to last a week and then it's back to the Purgatory that we call "summer" in the deep south....unbearably hot, ungodly humid and mutant radioactive-waste-sized mosquitoes that will suck you dry of any blood cells you have pumping through your veins.

What a difference a few degrees makes though. I went out for a 5 mile run yesterday to enjoy this weather while it lasted. It was cool enough for me to wear my running tights. Remember when you were a kid and a new pair of shoes made you feel like you could run Super FAST?? My running tights do that for me. Anytime I put them on, I feel like I'm the Queen of the running kingdom. Anyway, I cranked out my five and enjoyed every bit of it ...well, except for that first mile. The first mile always sucks. I got back to the house and saw that Minnie said I averaged 9:37 pace for the five! SHUT UP!! I couldn't believe it. I had been feeling a little frustrated because the heat really slows me down. I've been struggling to keep a 10:00 pace on just three miles lately when I run outside. This cool evening run really boosted my confidence back. I'm Ok. I haven't lost my speed and stamina from this winter. It's still there - just hiding from the humidity.

I'm so glad we have a long holiday weekend coming up. Whew - I need it. Hopefully this weather will hold a little longer and I can get some good runs in. Hubby's parents are coming in this weekend, but I can usually squeek a run in before they wake up in the morning. I think I'll still run the usual 8 with the girls on Saturday. I missed running with them last weekend and I really need to get a long run in.

Oh - just have to share this picture. I had a great weekend babysitting my niece. We painted nails (of course) and I let her pick the color. She wanted bright green with blue stars. HAHAHA...She loved it! I quickly took it off as soon as I got home. :) Husband said I looked like a witch. (umm...thanks...hahaha!)

Ok, back to the grind.

Today I LOVE: how frisky my dogs get in the cooler weather.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Food Hangover

If eating healthy and (mostly) sugar-free and feeling great hadn't convinced me, my massive food hangover from last night has. After my workout yesterday (3.5 mile run with sprints on last mile) hubby and I decided to go out and get something to eat at our favorite local eatery. I mentioned that since I upped my workout mileage I've been famished every few hours. This was no different - in fact probably worse. I had just worked out. I'm usually pretty good when we go eat here, choosing the fried shrimp basket with side salad (dressing on the side, of course!). Nope - not last night. My stomach had somehow developed a mind control device and forced my mouth to form the words "Fried shrimp po' boy with sweet potato fries, please" (at least my stomach is polite if not a masochist).

And I finished Every. Last. Bite.

ANNNDDD of course two hours later I felt completely miserable. Acid reflux - check. Distended belly from bloat - check. Sudden urges to rush to the bathroom - check. And I woke up this morning feeling completely sluggish and blah. I was meeting a friend at the gym for an 8:30 a.m. workout. I barely made it through 3 miles of elliptical and incline walking. This, in turn, made me even more mad at myself. So I decided to punish my smart-mouthy stomach and go for a sweaty, humid, jog (or "shlog" - shuffling jog) for 3 more miles outside. It was ugly. But I felt a lot better after that major sweat session.

No more eating like crapola. The moment's pleasure was soooo not worth the 24 hours of pain and suffering. And I didn't like how it affected my workout - at all.

Back on track now.

On goal for 30 miles this week! Sweet! I'll try and squeeze one more workout in on Friday to round out the 30 and then it's on to girl's weekend babysitting my niece!

Today I love: Having a good work-out week!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pink is Awesome!

Shocker of all shockers on The Biggest Loser Finale last night! It was a night for the older folks to dominate. Jerry - the 64 year old (oldest contestant ever) dominated the "at-home" contestants and lost 177 lbs to take home the prize,and dark horse Helen, won the overall competition at 48. That's right...64 and 48! That's just freakin' AWESOME! How inspiring. Seriously. If I can't get my butt off the couch to exercise and eat right while they can...well, I just have no excuse. Funny too that pink has now dominated for three seasons in a row. Someone from the pink team has won overall for the last three seasons. I knew I loved pink for a reason! It's now synonymous with strength, perseverance and drive.

Good workout last night. I made it up to the gym and got in 3 miles on the elliptical machine (to loosen and warm my legs up) and then 4 on the treadmill. I ran the first three and then did speed work the last mile. I was going to do an arm workout, but I was pretty wiped after that. I stopped there. I'll try for arms tonight.

Do you ever have those times when you feel your running isn't improving? That you've plateaued and you're just not getting the results you want? I've been there a bit the last couple of weeks. I know it's partly because the summer weather really slows me down. Running outside in 90 degree heat and 70% humidity just zaps my speed. That's frustrating to me. I was easily running 9:30 and 9:40 during the winter/spring and now I'm lucky to get under 10:30 in the heat. But I can still maintain a good pace on the treadmill. Last night I was able to hold a 9:15 pace for three miles and then with the speed work I was holding at 8:06 for over a quarter mile at a time (recovery and repeat). So, I know the strength is still there. I just need to keep up the consistency and push myself out of that comfort zone.

Today I Love: that my hubby is meeting me for lunch. Yeah!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WTF?? I lost weight without going crazy?

I've been on a sugar fast now for a little over a week. I gave up refined sugar, HFCS, and only artificial sweeteners in limited quantities. My goal was to do this for two weeks to try and curb my voracious sugar cravings and highs and lows. It really hasn't been that terrible. I stocked up on lots and lots of fruits and veggies and have been munching on nuts and cheese for snacks. As long as I don't let myself get too overly hungry, I'm OK.

And along with giving up the sugars I decided to quit obsessing about the scale. I usually ritually weigh myself every morning and it always sets the tone for the day. "Yeah - you maintained your weight - lookin' good Mr. Cartah!" :) or "OMFG I gained 3 f'in pounds! HOW IN THE HELL did I gain 3 f'in pounds after running 25 miles this week?!??!!!" :( Usually it was more toward the latter. Then I would then obsess about which "diet" I was going to adhere to this week - Atkins, Zone, South Beach, calorie counting, Abs Diet??? All to no avail. I would go back to my overindulging ways by the weekend and be famished and then the whole vicious cycle would start back up.

While I was on the sugar fast I refused to weigh myself. I knew it would be an adjustment and I knew that all that extra fiber and fruit/veggie loading would create extra bloat. So I stayed away from the demon spawn scale. I didn't want to get discouraged. I gave it a week.

I tentatively decided to step on the torture device of glass, metal and digital numbers to see where my (fully naked and after I peed, of course! - gotta get as light as possible...ha!). I felt like a contestant on The Biggest Loser. I had no idea if I had gained or lost weight. I could just hear that scale beeping at me as it determined my weight. And the results were....

2.5 lbs lost!! HOLY CRAP!

I knew I'd had a good week working out. And I really tried to concentrate my eating on stopping when I was full and avoiding sugars. Was I 100% with the sugar avoidance? No. Did I avoid artificial sweeteners like I should have? No. Did I obsess about every little bite I put in my mouth? No.

So, I will continue to limit my sugar intake over the next week and see where that gets me. I have noticed that the sugar cravings have lessened since last week. I'm not shaking uncontrollably and hitting up my friends/office mates/perfect strangers for a "sugar fix" anymore. :)

On other notes....heel pain seems to have subsided. I ran in the shoes again with no latent heel pain this time. I'll try another long run in them and see if they were the culprit.

Today I Love: that it's The Biggest Loser Finale tonight!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bruised heel

Uh-oh...the outer left portion of my left heel is bruised. Not terrible, "I can't walk on it" bruised, but still sore and bruised. And the only thing I can figure out is that it might be my new shoes. I didn't notice anything weird or uncomfortable while we were running on Saturday. But on Sunday I noticed a bit of pain when I was walking around the house barefoot. It's a little more prevalent today. Hmmmm.... I hope, hope, HOPE it's not my BRAND FREAKIN' NEW SHOES that did this. I'm going to check out the insole when I get home to see if I notice anything out of sorts.

I took the day off yesterday from the gym/running. I hit it pretty hard last week - worked out six days and 32 miles (that includes elliptical and running) total. I felt like my body needed a break. I took the dogs for a nice 2 mile trek around the neighborhood. Of course, we had to stop and sniff everything and stop and pee and stop and try and chase the birds and...Oh wait - when I said "we" I meant "they". I certainly didn't stop and pee anywhere. :) (although I did stop to sniff several people's jasmine and sweet olive and gardenia bushes)

This week I'm leaving on Thursday night to go babysit my niece for the weekend. I know I won't get any gym time in between Friday and Sunday, so it's crunch time the next four days.

Oh and I just found out that the in-laws may be coming weekend after next. Great.

Oh and I'm famished too. I really, really am craving an egg sandwich.

Today I Love: that we have a cafeteria in the basement! Egg sandwich - here I come! :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Good run??

I met up with C. and L. at the trailhead this morning for a good 8 mile run. I ran into them last week and we exchanged e-mail. They asked me to come run with them this Saturday. I mentioned in my last post, I like to run with them because they're a little faster than I am and they push me out of my comfort zone. I totally need that if I ever plan to consistently break the 9:00 mile.

I set my alarm for 6:00 this morning. We're supposed to meet at 6:45 and that would give me plenty of time to grab a bite, drink some coffee, use the restroom and wake-up before we hit the running trail. The dogs woke me up at 5:15 for some unknown reason. Guess they were hungry - little farts. So, I got up and fed them and relaxed at the computer until it was time to go. I don't know what I ate last night that killed me but I started having lower stomach/bowel cramps from the moment I woke up (sorry...TMI, I know). I think it was all the fiber from veggie loading. I took some pepto in the hopes that they would subside within the next hour.


They got a little better, but were still there at 6:30. I really wanted to run with them and didn't want to cancel, so I decided to just tough it out and if I had to stop, I would stop.

It was nice and cool this morning and partly overcast, which I thought was a good thing for the morning run. The temperature was cool. The humidity....not so much. I checked the readings for this morning and we were at 87% humidity and 77 degrees at 7:00. Ugh. Oh, and did I mention that there was NO BREEZE. None. Nada. Zip. I was drenched in sweat by the time we hit the 4 mile turnaround.

Between my nagging stomach cramps, killer humidity and tired, lead-laden legs (I was silly and did speed work last night) my pace was a lot slower than I had wanted. But, C. and L. were struggling too. We all suffered. So, I was glad I didn't hold them back.

We finished strong and averaged a 10:24 pace. I was so glad to see my car at the end. I was spent. I loved running with them and will definitely be back next Saturday (ohh wait - I'm out of town...Ok the NEXT Saturday after that). Running with them really pushed me and the miles flew by on the first half becuase we were talking most of the time. it was a good run, despite all the issues.

Today I Love: My new shoes and socks. It's like running on clouds!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Who knew running took coordination?

A friend of mine at work goes to a gym across the street during lunch several days a week. She managed to get me a free pass to use one day to check it out and go with her. I finally brought my clothes and decided to go with her on Wednesday. I loved working out during lunch! It felt great, I managed to get 5 miles in (4 treadmill and 1 elliptical). I ate my lunch at my desk while working and when I got home I was done. No hemming and hawing about whether I should go to the gym or run outside or even go at all. No talking myself into going. I was done for the evening. Plus, I didn't gorge that afternoon/evening because my appetite was still suppressed from the workout. PLUS!

Now, the thing is, I really enjoyed going with her. But, I can't afford to join her gym because I've already paid for a gym at home (40 miles away). I did ask about their daily rate and it's $15 each time. Ouch. They only have a daily, weekly and monthly rate if you don't join. Boo. I wish they would do a punch card know, buy four days and get one free! :)

Funny thing, they had two new treadmills upstairs in the cardio center. I had never seen these and they looked so cool and shiny and new! I wanted to try one out. They were made by Woodway Treadmills . They have a thick, treaded belt and wide running surface. They're supposedly made for the "long run" and give a little more cushion than the normal treadmill. It was really interesting to run on. It was definitely more cushiony and springy than a normal treadmill. So, I can see it being easier on the knees and ankles for someone with joint pain. I really liked the display too. It had a huge display screen that showed you quarter mile laps. And it also showed your pace, avg. pace, distace, cals and time in an easy to view format. There were speed and elevation controls on thumb pads on the front bar which made speed work much easier to control.

Ok, so the bad...this sucker has some TRACTION! I about busted my rear-end several times on this thing. Once I actually stumbled and had to grab the front bar to keep from falling on my face! (yeah - I'm a ball of grace). Ha. Seriously, it grips the crap out of your shoes. You definitely have to pick up your feet when you run. I didn't realize how much I shuffle my feet while running - especially when I get tired. That ain't happening on this thing. It will eat your lunch if you do. So, yes, it does cushion more, but the fact that I had to concentrate on picking up my feet made for a harder 4 mile workout than anticipated.

I went to Varsity Sports (my fav running store!) and bought some new running shoes. I had about 300 miles on my old ones and could tell it was time for new ones. They had the new thorlo Experia socks in - buy one get one half off. Let me tell you - these things are AWESOME! I love thorlo socks already, but these put the old ones to shame. The padding in these are strategically placed at the heel and ball of the foot - where you strike the most. The rest of the sock is a thin, wicking dri-weave material. I love, love, love these things! I may go back and get some more while they're on sale. Funny thing the owner, Ryan was in. He's an elite 7:00 miler and has a Ph.D. in sports physiology. He's a wealth of knowledge and experience and always has great running advice.

Varsity is on Twitter now and I was talking to him about it. He was telling me how they had just gotten started on Twitter and really didn't know much about it. They haven't updated much because he said he doesn't have too much time to get in front of a computer. So I asked him if he had a BB or iphone. Yup - had a BB. I helped him load twitterberry to his phone to update more easily and frequently. He was like a kid in a candy store. :) It was great to finally be able to give him some advice on something for a change!

Our neighborhood is having a garage sale this weekend. I can't decide if I want to participate or not. I re-connected with two running girl-friends last weekend. I trained with them for the Mardi Gras half last year and they run just a bit faster than I do. I love running with them because they really push me. They go out every Saturday morning for an 8 mile run. I really want to run with them tomorrow because I'll be gone next weekend. I may get up and run with them and then just set my garage sale stuff out late (around 8:30). That way I get both in.

Off to the gym now...

Today I LOVE: having a day off!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Goodbye my dear, little friend. I shall not see you for a while. Our relationship is just not working out for me. Although you are always sweet to me, I cannot continue down this path of addiction and co-dependency. Really, it's not's me. I just don't want to be in a relationship with you anymore. I will miss you dearly. goes...I'm giving up refined sugar and fructose corn syrup for the next two weeks. Ack! All my sweet goodness will come from either fruit for dessert or the occasional bit of honey for my tea or smoothies. This will be a HUGE test of willpower, but my sugar cravings/addiction has seriously gotten out of control. And I'm a control freak. I like to micromanage. I like to be in control. I am probably going to be a total beeyotch for the next two weeks (my poor husband). Good thing I'll be out of town partially next week. But, I'm babysitting my niece who loves donuts. That's going to be a true test.

I've logged 10 miles so far this week. Shooting for 30 by the end of the week. On track and the legs feel pretty good. My recovery run really worked the soreness out. I think I'm going to the gym with a co-worker during lunch today to try and get a quick 3 miles in. Then I can hit the gym this evening for some bis and tris work and maybe another 3 on the treadmill or elliptical. While running is keeping my legs pretty fit, my arms and abs have wilted and withered a bit. I want to turn that jello into "hello!".

Today I LOVE: Raspberry flavored seltzer/soda water. Ritz and La Croix make great ones!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

crazy travel month complete!

Back home this week and no more travel (that I know of) for the next two weeks. I have one, wait two short trips for May but they're easy ones. One to babysit my niece for the weekend (yeah!! Girl weekend!) and one to make a presentation to the newbie employees (I call them "interds").

Orlando was nice, but HOLY COW that city is expensive!!! They nickle and dime you to death! Did you know that it costs $200 just to get in the park now!!?! I about fell out of my chair. I couldn't believe it. I'm kinda glad that Jeff couldn't make it down there. I don't know that we could afford the bank loan it would take to spend a few days at Disney. :D I did get to meet up with some dear friends who live there. It was great to see them and the girls and catch up. And by catch up I mean drink 2 and a half bottles of wine between the three of us. Ha!


The conference was really good. So often these things are on building science and mechanical engineering (Willie enginerd stuff. LOL!) Not that it doesn't interest me, but after you've heard the same thing over and over and over... This one really focused on the epidemiology of indoor air quality issues in buildings, homes and schools and the role dampness, insects, and chemicals play in human health and atopy. Usually mold gets all the blame. Now they're starting to focus on the whole picture and all the contributors. Good stuff!


I ran a nice 9 on Sunday at a 10:14 pace. I struggled a bit with the last two miles, but pushed it through. Again, it was mostly a combination of the weather getting warmer and not fueling properly. I forget that it's NOT winter anymore. I can't just run out and do an easy 16 without preparing. But, I was shocked that I kept a decent pace (for me) at 10:14. I was pretty sore the next couple of days though. I need to learn to take it easier when I'm inconsistent. I'm not a rock star. I didn't run much this week while in Orlando. The hotel was full of kids and I didn't want to fight them for the treadmill. Plus, I was starting to feel pretty burned out from all the travel. I plan on getting some good mileage in this weekend and hopefully have a good, consistent week next week (at home!! YEAH!)

GOOD LUCK TO WILLIE this weekend!!!!

Today I Love: that the plumeria are started to sprout leaves. The flowers won't be long!