Friday, August 26, 2011

Moment of (Weigh in) Truth

As you all know, I lost all my weight with Weight Watchers.  I love the plan.  I think it really doesn't feel like a diet if you do it the way it's intended.  It also helps keep me on track with food.

After about 6-8 months of slipping and not counting points, I was finally back on track!  For a good 3-4 weeks I was couting all points all the time!  It felt good.  A few of the pounds I had put on since November were slipping away slowly but surely.

Then came the dreaded work trip to Atlanta with the all you can eat buffets all day long!  See my last post about that trip.

As much as I tried to eat healthy, I definitely got lax and didn't count and ate some things I shouldn't have or ate a little too much at times.

I wasn't able to weigh in last weekend after I got back from Atlanta, and frankly, I didn't want to.  What would be the point of the scale showing pounds gained, which could be anything from eating too much food to retaining water from sodium.  So I decided to wait and just eat right this week.

I weighed in today and the scale showed 0 pounds lost!  Hey, I look at that as 0 pounds gained and after Atlanta, I was fine with that!  Plus, nasty ol' TOM (Time of Month) snuck up too.

So, if I keep doing what I'm doing, I'm heading in the right direction.

In other news:  Running.

I had to run 5 miles yesterday for training.  I decided to run in the City.  I love running in the City.  There are other runners, the City is beautiful, there is a nice Lake breeze!

I can't help but stop and take pictures sometimes with my phone.  I scene will strike me.  Here is one I took yesterday.

Tomorrow is a cut-back running week and we "only" have to run 12 miles.  Sigh.  When your cut-back weeks are double digits, you know you are in trouble!! 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Work Conference & 16 Mile Run

Last week I went to Atlanta for classes related to my job.  The classes were 4 days.  Included in the price was all-you-can-eat food from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Not good for someone trying to maintain and/or lose weight!  We got a breakfast buffet (3 rows of breakfast foods and pastry), unlimited snacks all day, and 3 rows of lunch buffet.  We had to get our own dinner. 

The food was actually really delicious!!  Another problem!  But the good thing was, they had healthy options too, such as fruit, salad, oatmeal, veggies.  But tons of other bad food too: burgers, day was Italian food, one day was Chinese food.  Well, you get the picture.

I started out every day pretty well.  Oatmeal and fruit or an egg white omelet and fruit.  Lunch started good with salads, as lean of a protein and I could find, veggies, maybe more fruit.  But by Wednesday, I HAD to try a burger (because I heard they were delicious, and they were).  I had a little dessert one day (they had their own dessert row too!!).

Even with the healthy food, my stomach was screaming the whole time I was there.  I was definitely eating more food than normal, even if it were healthy. 

I drank tons of caffeine:  hot tea and diet coke were favorites!  Also not good for the stomach.

I did manage to get most of my running in on the gym treadmill.  I got 4 miles in last Tuesday and did 6 miles on Wednesday.  The 6 was supposed to be 8 miles but I couldn't bare to be on that treadmill another minute!  When I got home Thursday night, I did my other 4 miles for that day!

I decided not to step on the scale when I got back.  Added sodium among other things would make it show I gained about 10 lbs and that would not help me one bit!  I decided to wait a week before I stepped on the scale.  Well, I waited until this morning instead and stepped on it just to see where I was at.  I may be up only a pound, not quite sure.  I'll take it!

In other news...

I had to run 16 miles last weekend.  The longest I've ever run was half marathon distance (13.1).  I knew a month ago that I wouldn't be able to run on the day that I normally run with my training group.  I arranged it so that I would go with my personal trainer.  He said he would do it. 

Well, low and behold, on Thursday he hurt his back.  So he needed to take some time to recover.  I was freaked out!  I didn't think I could do 16 miles by myself!  That's a long time and sometimes the negative thoughts in my head take over!

I started trying to find someone to run with me, at least some of the distance.  Maybe my cousin could run the last 4 (that's better than nothing), but he had plans that day.  I emailed my hairdresser because she has a running group but she didn't respond in enough time.  My last ditch effort was to send an email to MY running group (why didn't I think of that before). 

One person responded.  I wasn't sure who he was but I know I run with him (I haven't talked to everyone in our running group). 

It turned out perfectly!  We met early on Sunday morning.  He had placed water and gatorade every 1.5-2 miles along the course for us so we could still have our water stops. 

Turns out, he is in his 50's.  He ran his first marathon in 2007 at the age of 53 and has run a total of 9 marathons since 2007!!  Wow!!

Even though 16 miles is a long time and it was hard (especially those last 3 miles), it went by incredibly fast.  We talked to each other the whole time!  He seemed equally glad that I sent the email out because he also would rather not run alone. 

My IT band is holding up ok.  There was just a slight pain on my 16 mile run but not much.  I'm trying to stretch and use the foam roller and hoping it doesn't get worse.  It seems ok for now. 

This weekend is a cut back week for our long run, it's "only" 12 miles.  But the following weekend is 18 miles!!  2 weeks after that is 20 miles!!  Then Oct 9th is the Marathon!  It's getting so close!  I can't believe it!  I've got a nervous excitement going on right now! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

The dreaded IT Band injury!

I'm back!!  Did you miss me?  (P.S. the correct answer is "yes!"). 

Ok, now that we have that straightened out, I have lots to talk about.  But I may split it up into two shorter posts.

First:  The Chicago Rock N' Roll Half Marathon, August 14, 2011

I was pretty excited to do this half marathon last weekend.  This half was the first I had done back in 2006 (when it was called the Chicago Distance Classic).  My time back then was 2:55:55.  I was thrilled to break the 3:00 mark for my first half marathon!

I have done this same run every year except for 2007 (because I hurt my knee that year).  So I have a special place in my heart for this one.  It's a hard half to do because it's in August and the last two years have been brutally hot!   I also run this half for the charity group UPS for DownS.  Click here if you would like to donate.  I have been running for them for about 4 years now.

Anyway, this half is super early in the morning.  The run starts at 6:30 a.m. and it's in the city.  This means I have to get up at 4:30 a.m.

This year, I had a wedding to go to the night before.  It was my co-worker's wedding.  My goal was to limit myself to 2 (count them...2!!!) drinks and leave my 10:00 p.m.   That didn't quite happen.  I had 2 glasses of champagne before sitting down, 2 vodka and juice drinks (1 before and 1 after dinner), 2 glasses of red wine during dinner and later a martini.  Whoops!!  And we didn't even get done eating dinner until 9:55!  How was I supposed to leave at 10:00!  So I set another limit to leave by 11:00.  I finally dragged myself out of there at midnight!!  Whoops (again!).  I just had such a good time that I didn't want to leave.

I got home at 1:00 a.m. and went to bed at 1:30 a.m. and subsequently got up for the half at 4:30 a.m. to leave the house by 5:00 a.m.!  Wow!  That's right.  For those mathematically challenged, that's 3 hours of sleep!

But I got down to the half.  The weather was perfect!  It's was cooler and less humid than normal.  We took a group photo and off I went.

My charity group. I am second row, second from right.
 The weather was overcast and looked like it might rain.  And it did but it only sprinkled a little so it wasn't too bad for for the run.

The problem?  Around mile 7, I noticed my IT band (it run from your hip down your leg) was starting to give me a little pain.  I tried to stretch it out and then kept running.  By mile 8, it started to really hurt!  A million things went through my head: 

Oh no, not an injury! 
Keep running! 
I'm training for a marathon, I can't get hurt!
Just make it to the next water break and then stop and walk or stretch it out again.
I don't think I can finish this half!
I have 5 miles left!
Should I walk the last 5 miles?
I want to beat my previous best time!

I ran to the next water break after mile 9 and the pain was pretty bad at that point.  I knew I didn't want to injure myself bad because of the marathon training, but I didn't want to give up on my favorite half marathon!

I took a lot of time between mile 9 and 10 and tried to stretch.  It didn't seem to help.  And when I got to mile 10 and looked at the clock, I lost 1.5 minutes on my pace that mile!  I was so upset and disappointed.  There was NO WAY I was going to be my old best time for half marathons!

I suffered through the remainder of the run.  I think I ran the rest of the time.  I had set a goal in the beginning to stop at every other water station to hydrate (since I drank the night before).  And I kept that goal up. 

With the last two miles, I looked at the clock and it appeared that if I kept about a 10 minute mile pace the last two miles, I probably could beat my time.  I wasn't sure on the time because my garmin wasn't working properly at all!  But 10 minute mile pace with a pain in my leg seemed brutal!

At the finish stretch, I looked at the time and halled ass!!  (Sorry for the language, but it's true!).  I sprinted as hard as I could trying to make every second count!

And guess what?.....I finished and I got a new PR!!  My old best time was 2:14:11 and my time for this half was 2:13:31! 

My feelings were two fold:  First, I was thrilled that I got a PR with the injury that I had!  BUT...I was disappointed because I think about the 1.5 minutes I "wasted" on that mile between 9-10 and the fact that if I weren't injured, I may have come in under 2:10!

But I tried not to be too upset and give myself some joy over the new PR! 

Here are a few pictures of my friend and her son Josh with me after the run (I look horrible and it was raining).  They were the reason I started running for this charity group.

Later that evening, I had to go on my work trip (more on this trip in the next post).  Monday, my IT band was still hurting pretty bad.  It hurt when I walked and when I went up stairs. 

Because I'm part of a running group through CARA (Chicago Area Running Association), we get free injury advice from a group called Nova Care.  I called their injury hotline number and told the lady my issues.  I told her my foam roller was at home and I'm on a business trip.  I asked if there were any stretches I could do to help with this injury.  I also asked her if it would be ok to run on the treadmill at the hotel to continue training for the marathon.  I didn't want to further injury myself.

She gave me some stretches and emailed me some information.  She said with the stretches and strength stuff, I should be able to run.

I did continue my runs this week.  I was supposed to do 4 miles, 8 miles, 4 miles.  I did that all except I cut the 8 miles to 6 miles.  I cut it, not because of the injury but mostly because I hate running on the treadmill and it was pure torture!!  Haha!

This weekend is 16 miles.  This is the most I have ever run and I'm a little nervous.  I can't run with my training group so Mike, my personal trainer, said he would run with me.  But I stalked looked at Mike's facebook and it appears that he hurt his back so I'm not sure if he will be able to run.  If he doesn't, I almost don't know how I will make it through 16 miles!  I will keep you posted on that run!

Have any of the runners in the group here ever had an injury?  Did you keep training or did it sideline you?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Hey there!  How's the blogger world?  Seems I'm only able to post about once a week right now with the hectic August schedule I've got going on right now.  Probably fine as I'm at a loss for words anyway!

I had my friend's daughter's dedication last weekend (for those unfamiliar, it's like a Christening).  Anyway, I wore my new dress.  And even wore a little makeup!  The results?...  How about a before and after picture?


Around Summer 2007.  I think I had lost around 20 lbs so it's not a true before picture.  But it's bad enough!!

Whoa?  Where's Mandy?
  I clean up well!  Actually, its weird for me to look at a picture of myself and say "Hm, I look pretty nice in this picture!"  For years and years, I hated every photo taken of me! 

But even still, I look at this picture and, even though I know I look nice, I see the flaws.  I see the wrinkles in the dress because I had already been in the dress for 5 hours.  I see that my face looks shiny, maybe because my car has no air and it was hot out.  I see that it looks a little bunched at the waist and I should have pulled it down a little bit!

Funny, how we notice the little negative things when NO ONE else would notice that.  In fact, I've been getting a lot of compliments on this picture!  And it is SO HARD for me to take compliments.  But it's nice to hear and so I accept them now and just say "Thank you!" 

And I've been getting compliments from my personal trainer Mike at the gym too!  Well, granted he is complimenting his work!  "Wow Amanda, your arms look great!"  or  "Wow Amanda, your back looks really good too!" 

Me: "I've been doing really good on my eating lately!"

Him:  "You can really tell!"

Oh that is so nice to hear!!  lol

But I have been trying pretty hard!  With an off eating day here or there, mostly I'm doing really well. 

I think what it is is that I know the marathon is now less than 2 months away!  I want to make sure my body is as healthy as it can be.  Which means I do NOT starve myself.  I eat a good mix of carbs and protein and fat.  On weight watchers, I always eat all my daily points and all my weekly points. 

Training is going well for the marathon.  I have a half marathon this weekend.  My trainer Mike is running with me the following weekend for my 16 mile long run.  That is the most miles I've done by almost 3 miles!  I can't do it with my group so I asked him and he said yes!  I think that should be lots of fun!  Oh who am I kidding, I'm going to be dying!  But I love the support!  Thanks Mike!

And yes, now comes the busy time.  I have a wedding Saturday night.  I have a half marathon Sunday with a start time of 6:30 am!  Then my flight for Atlanta for work is at 7:00 pm!  I'll be there until Thursday night.  Then next Saturday I'm having a yard sale!  So I'll be working hard moving boxes around!  And Sunday morning, 8-21, I'll have that 16 mile run!

Phew!  I'm pooped just thinking about it!  So, I'll let you know how all this craziness goes! 

Have a good weekend and a good next week!

Friday, August 5, 2011

T-64!! Plus WI Results

What!?!  I can't believe I only have 64 days until the Chicago Marathon.  My very first ever full marathon!  In fact, I'm exactly half way through my training program, 9 weeks down and 9 weeks to go!  I am actually getting really excited!  I was terrified when I started the training program.  T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D! 

Now, not so much!  Sure, I'm still worried about actually making it through all 26.2 (don't forget that miserable 0.2 at the end!) miles, fear of the unknown is the worse!! But the training is going so well!  I have my off run days where just 1 mile feels like torture!  But I have other days when I feel like I can breeze right through 10-12 miles! 

The Chicago Rock N' Roll Half Marathon is next Sunday.  I have a wedding the day before (not too excited about that!!) but I'll be leaving early since I will ONLY know the bride!  I will tell you though, I am planning on meeting my future husband there!  Just sayin'...  Anyway, I'll try to get to bed as early as possible.  The half starts at 6:30 a.m.!!  Which means I have to get up at like 4:30 a.m.!!  And I'm leaving for Atlanta for work for those classes that evening!! 

I'm not really looking forward to the food I may eat that week.  I will try to be good but we will be provided with food for breakfast, lunch and a snack and then have to get our own dinner.  I will try to eat the healthiest options possible.  I don't want to blow my progress I've been making this past month.  I actually feel like I'm going in the right direction for a change!

Ok, let's get to my week of food.  It was an "off" week to say the least.  I did track every single point though.  I just felt hungrier than usual!  We all have those weeks!  So I gained 1 lb.  I'm not really worried about that gain though.  I lost almost 5 lbs in the last 3 weeks and I think it's my body's weigh of holding on to things.  We will see after next week.  By the way, I'm not planning on blowing ALL of my weekly points in the first two days this time!

Oh, I forgot to tell you guys about my new workout!  On Sunday, I borrowed my cousin's bike (because I needed to get air in my tires) and decided to try bike riding.  Now let me start out by saying, my cousin and I tried bike riding for exercise a few years ago.  This type of exercise was SO HARD for me!  I would go two miles and be dying!  Yet I could run half marathons!  Perplexing!

So, when I grabbed the bike (and my garmin to use for something other than running for a change!), I headed out for 6 miles!  I ended up doing 16 miles!  I went 8 miles out.  I wanted to go 10 miles out and 10 back for 20 total but since it was my first time doing this, I decided to play it safe!  So I went 8 miles out and 8 miles back!  I was riding the bike for about 1 hour and 20 mins!  It was fun!  So I will be trying to incorporate this exercise in my schedule.  It's actually a good cross-training exercise on my "rest" days from running!