Saturday, August 25, 2012

Redecorating Pics

The guest room is finished, the bathroom has some hardware changes that still need to be completed, but the painting and the new rugs and towels are there. So, here are the widely anticipated pics!

This is taken from the hallway looking into the bathroom

As you can see, one wall is red and the others are white. That gaping hole?  The new mirror and vanity lights will cover that up!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The 16 mile Nightmare

Friday I was to run 16 miles as part of my Chicago Marathon training. I had nightmares leading up to Friday. I was truly dreading this run. One of the main reasons I was dreading it is that I also went caffeine free last week. For those of you who know my normal coffee intake, you will know this is no small feat. Getting through the first day was horribly difficult. I was to run 8 miles that day. I made it 4. My legs felt like lead, my head was pounding fiercely with a withdrawal headache; to put it mildly, I was a mess. I declared myself "sick" and went to bed. The only thing I emerged for was to pick Nate up from work, declare he was in charge of dinner, and after dinner, I literally went straight to bed. No lie, I was in bed at 6:30 pm and I slept the whole night. The next day was much better. The headache was gone but I still felt the "lead" feeling in my legs. Nate wondered if I had mono. So, you can see why I was dreading the 16 mile run. In fact, Friday I ended up cheating. I wanted to reach the 16 mile marker, but I knew I wouldn't make it. Maybe that's part of my problem. I talk myself out of things so easily. I ran 5.5 miles in an hour, which is my standard 11 mph pace. It was tough, but I could've gone longer. However, I decided that I'd bike the rest. And I did. In 40 minutes, I biked over 11 miles. Although I did go a total of 17 miles, I felt like I had gone two steps backward in my training. I'm honestly beginning to freak a bit about the race. I'm a month and two weeks out from it and I feel like I've got such a long way to go. I haven't met my weight loss goals for this training journey. I'm not running like the wind (the fantasy in my head is that I run long graceful strides with my hair flowing long behind me. As you know, I don't even have long hair, so I'm not sure how in the world this fantasy would even remotely become true). But what I need to remember is what I have accomplished. I'm now able to run 5 miles and even 10 miles without breaking into hives. I am stronger now than I ever have been. And, for the marathon, the whole purpose is raising money to take clean water to Africa - not Jenna running long graceful strides with long flowing hair. If I walk some...even a lot....of the race, I'm still there. I'm still participating. I'm still fulfilling my commitment. THAT is what I need to focus on from this point forward. And focusing on that, will help me run that much further and finish the race.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Training/Diet Update

Today I will attempt to run again after resting my shin splint over the weekend. It doesn't hurt anymore, so that's good. However, I've developed some pain in the arches of my feet. Not quite sure what that's about, but as I prepped the guest bedroom for painting yesterday, I crouched down to tape a section of border and when I stood back up horrific pain hit in the arch of my foot. It happened to the other one a bit later and I decided to stretch my legs for awhile.

I'm going to look for a good yoga or stretching dvd to do as I don't think I stretch enough and I really am not well educated in the best stretches to do and the correct technique.

Last night I watched Forks Over Knives and am truly astonished and amazed at it all. It promotes, as does the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead video, a vegan or "plant-based" diet. Nate and I attempted a vegan diet before. For all of one week. That time, he requested that we give it a try and I put forth my best effort for that week and then found out that he had been eating other food on the side and I quit. This time, (yes, I believe we're going to go for it again) it's for me and I'm bringing him along. He says he'll be happy to eat whatever I cook and he's all for eating right. So, there you have it. Operation Vegan 2 begins next week. I had already gone grocery shopping for this week and feel pretty guilty over wasting the steaks I bought, so that's why we're going to eat one more week of a meat based diet and then switch. It'll also give me a week to do some brushing up on the area of veganland. In last night's video they interviewed several athletes and competitive triathloners that are on and maintain a vegan diet, so I feel comfortable about switching it up before the marathon. In keeping track of the food I eat on, I have noticed that I always am over in the area of daily protein. So, I know that I will be able to get the right kind of protein I need from the plant based diet.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Nate and I celebrated our 5th anniversary yesterday. I can't believe it's been 5 years. I guess it's true when they say that "time flies when you're having fun!" We were both reflecting over the growth of our relationship and I am so pleased to be able to say that we really have grown closer as the years have passed. I purposely weighed in yesterday morning because I didn't want to  have to worry about what I was eating/the calories I was taking in/etc....which is very good after we ate fried seafood at a New England seafood shack for lunch, had a Bruegger's Bagel sandwich for breakfast, and gelato for dinner. Our initial goal was to go to Mystic, CT and explore the area. When we got there, Mystic was having it's annual art fair. I'm really not sure why this happens, but it seems like no matter where we decide to visit, we end up in the middle of the town art fair. Don't get me wrong, I love art and I find some of the work absolutely exquisite. However, after living in Ann Arbor for 4.5 years and dealing with it having 4 art fairs over a two week span of time, I've learned a few things. #1. I cannot afford anything that is for sale. #2. It isn't nearly as fun to look at art at an art fair when you know there's no way any of it is going home with you. #3. Art fairs normally occur on the hottest, most humid, most chance of precipitation days of the year, so if you are looking for good weather you need to leave the location immediately. We decided to go to the Connecticut Aquarium, which is located in Mystic, and we were surrounded by screaming 3 year olds for the majority of our time. We also learned that the CT aquarium basically has three exhibits that you will pay 5 arms and 6 legs to see: the Beluga Whales (I must say, watching them almost made it worth it), the sea lions, and penguins. That's it. The only one of those three that actually looked like the aquarium put time and effort into creating a nice environment for were the whales. The sea lions and the penguins were in two big swimming pools. It was somewhat disappointing. They did have a traveling exhibit on the Titanic and there were parts that were quite interesting, but I believe I may have mentioned the screaming 3 year olds?? Yeah, their presence was a tad on the distracting side. I can say that being around these children did not cause me to have any motherly pangs at all. I was just thankful to get out of there!  We then went to the Sea Swirl for lunch, which used to be an ice cream stand that they added a sea food shack to as well. Nate got the full belly clams (yeah, I grosses me out too) and I got the shrimp. We are loving the sea food in the Northeast. And we are finding that these road side stands are some of the best places to get it. We decided to drive around some more, since we didn't stay too long in Mystic and we drove to Stonington, which I've decided is my new favorite place in CT. I want to go back there and just walk around. They had cute shops and gorgeous ocean views. They also have a lighthouse museum there. As we continued to drive through, we found out we were only 3 miles away from Rhode Island, so we decided to keep going and drove to  Newport to see The Breakers and the other mansions there. Never again. Well, I say that, but we actually have come up with a plan for when we visit there again. We are going to go early in the morning. We are going to park the car and walk everywhere. We will only drive again once we are ready to leave Newport. The traffic was horrendous! But it was neat how we worked as a team to find a route out of there that helped us avoid as much traffic as possible.

You may be wondering what in the world the title of this post has to do with what I have so far written. If you deduced it has nothing to do with it, you would be right!  However, last night, as we were relaxing, I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It was amazing. Joe Cross went on a juice fast for 60 days. He was 309 pounds when he started (I believe that's right) and he lost gobs and gobs of weight. He drove around the US and inspired others to join him. This one man started at 429 pounds and in 10 months he had lost 202 pounds. The documentary basically showed the bodily changes that took place, but you could see the difference in attitude and energy level. The basic philosophy of the juice fast was that your body needs dense nutrition to function properly and we keep filling our bodies with crap. It talked about the difference between micro-nutrition and macro-nutrition. Basically, he ate a raw diet, but in juice form to help his body absorb the nutrients quicker. It helped him detoxify and "reboot" his body. Nate came out at one point to see what I was watching and he say a familiar glint in my eye that should make anyone wary. I told him it was an excellent reminder of what we should be doing and how we should be eating. He patted me on the arm and went back to his computer. I love this man. He encourages me in whatever I want to do. When I said I wanted to run a marathon, he's supported me every step of the way. He's agreed with me that I can spend all this money to sign up for the marathon, he bought plane tickets, bought my Camelbak marathoner vest, etc. and here I am telling him I seriously am considering throwing out all our food, buying a juicer, and giving him only green juice for 10 days. He doesn't say no. He doesn't scoff and say, um, do you recall that you just finished eating gelato? He pats me on the arm and goes back to his happy place (probably internally hoping that the extremity of this plan will deter me). We will see!  I know that with the training I am doing, it is not wise to go on a juice fast at this time. However, this may be something to consider after the marathon... Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Just yesterday, as I drove Nate to work, I mentioned how so many of the runners that are part of the World Vision marathon team have been injured. Just yesterday I told Nate how important it was for me to make sure I stretch properly to avoid injury. And, just yesterday, while running, I developed (I'm not sure if this "develops" or not, but it's the only word I could think of to describe what happened) a shin splint in my left leg. It's painful, it's achy, it's swollen, and according to the experts what I need to do is "rest" to avoid further compounded injury.  My question is, how in the world do I "rest" when I'm supposed to run 15 miles tomorrow for my long run?  How long do I rest; until there's no pain at all?  If that's so, I won't be getting out of bed each morning! I honesty think I need to start taking yoga or something in addition to my workouts. My muscles tighten up so badly after a run that I literally shuffle around like I'm elderly. Stretching afterward helps some, but not completely. I think I'm going to look into a yoga dvd or something that will help me stretch fully and correctly that I can do each morning and after a run.

Today I begin the redecorating of the bathroom and guest room. Nate's parents are coming to visit over Labor Day, so there's no time like the present to do some painting and redecorating!  I'm pretty excited about it - and will post pictures of the final results!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Two Months Out

In exactly two months I will be in downtown Chicago positioning myself to begin the marathon. I'm in the first heat, so my start time is 7:30 am.

As I look at where I am and where I need to go, I know there are some steep hills to climb to finally reach my goal. The weight loss is the big thing. I really feel that losing the weight will help me to run the race faster and with less chance of injury. However, as I want to  lose 20 pounds by October 7th, there are some major choices and decisions that must be made to get there.

Decision #1: There can't be any "cheat days." I have too far to go to think that "one day won't hurt." I need to see each day as a step toward my ultimate goal and remain disciplined throughout each step.

Decision #2: My training needs to head outside. I've been training in the gym because I haven't really known my way around and haven't known where I can run where I feel comfortable. I need to get used to the elements - running in humidity, running in heat, running in rain and probably most importantly, running on pavement vs. a treadmill. I've mapped out a route and have ordered the "gear" that I believe I'll need to help me with the run.

Decision #3: I've decided to not run a race in September. The reason is that my long runs are continuing to get longer and longer and I need to be running those lengths instead of finding a race to run - which would keep me from running my long runs for that week. My last race is August 18th and it is an 11-miler.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lack of Progress

I've been feeling great about my training. I feel the difference in my legs and I feel how strong they are becoming. I've gotten into the routine of running two "easy" days, one "hard" day, and one "long" day. My average pace has increased from a 12 minute mile to a 10:30 mile. I see improvements all around - except in the area of weight loss. This past week, I really stuck with it in terms of eating within my caloric goals so that I would lose weight. However, I stood on the scale this morning and I had gained a pound. I was so baffled by the number that stared back at me that I actually weighed myself 4 more times to see if something was wrong.Nothing like getting hit with a ton of bricks four times in a row! That just can't be right, can it? I ran 24 miles this week. 24! I cross trained. I weight trained. How in the world did I gain a pound? When I weighed myself mid week, just to see how I was doing, I was down 3.5 which was much more in line with what I thought I'd lose for the week. And then I look at the last two days of eating and have to realize that every day matters. It was Nate's birthday yesterday. So, Friday night we had Buddy's Pizza. Because I had run 10 miles that day, I was still way under my caloric goal for the day, so I felt ok. Yesterday, for Nate's birthday breakfast, we went out and I did have a massive omelet and pancakes. It was over and above what one should eat for breakfast, but I rationalized that I was having it for breakfast and lunch, as we were going to be volunteering with the church all afternoon. At 12:30 we went to the town green and volunteered at an event until 7:00.  About 3:00 I had a subway sandwich - once again, it was an ok choice when it comes to a dinner choice. I drank water throughout the afternoon. When we got home, I did have the munchies, so Nate made us air popped popcorn and I had two bowls with nothing on it - no butter, no salt, no anything. I was proud of the choice I made and went to bed confident that when I weighed this morning I would see a big loss. Instead, I'm here trying to pick my jaw up off the floor and talk myself back into the fact that I need to stick with what I know and hopefully next week there will be a different result. I need to realize that going "off plan" for one day does make a difference and that it is never worth it. The omelet and pancakes I had yesterday in no way were worth what I'm feeling right now.