Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's the Happiest Time of the Year!

It's the happiest time of the year!  Christmas?  New Year?  My dad's birthday (Dec 29th)?  Well, ok, all of those are great in their own way (except for the New Year, I'm still out on my feelings for that).  But I'm not referring to any of those.  I'm referring to marathon training!  That's right, it's marathon training - part 2!  I'm training for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon at the end of April.  Since I'm going to follow the same 18 week training program that I followed for my first marathon, the 2011 Chicago Marathon, training officially starts this week!

I was really excited to start marathon training again!  It's like when you have a baby (well, I've never had a baby, but this is what I've heard), when you have a baby and even though you are in agonizing pain, you forget it all afterwards when you hold your little bundle of joy!  Training for my last marathon started great and pretty much continued great, even though there was that 5 week period of time when I was so tired of running that I thought I would never (ever) run again!  But holding my little bundle of joy (the finisher's medal - lol), made it all worth it! 

Holding my little "bundle of joy!"

So much so, that I couldn't wait to run another one!  After a few bumps in the road with my knee, I felt I was ready to start my training this week!

The first week's schedule calls for weekday runs of 3 miles, 3 miles, 3 miles and a weekend long run of 6 miles.  After much debating, I figured I would start my 3 miles on Tuesday.  But on Monday, December 26th, after learning that my friend Kelly from Running (Kell)ometers was going to run with a running group out of our local running store, I was torn.  This running group runs every Monday night at 6:00 pm.  I am never able to go because I don't get home from work until 6:00 and I have personal training.  Even though I didn't have work that day, I still had personal training.  I decided that I was not going to go.  Then my friend Mike called me (Marathon Man was from date #2 I had before) and said he was thinking of going and wanted to know if I wanted to go.  Now I knew 2 people going and I had already really wanted to go.  So as I was sitting in the parking lot of the gym (couldn't marathon man have called me sooner?), I had to decide right away what I wanted to do.  Should I be responsible and go to my personal training or ditch it and run with people I'm never able to run with!  I opted for being irresponsible for a change and ditch my personal training (I felt really bad when I texted my trainer!).

But I went for the run and decided to call it a marathon training day - day 1!  Even though my schedule called for 3 miles, I ended up running 4.3 miles.  My knees actually felt really good!  The only issue I had was that I was running a little too fast for me right now.  I haven't been running much since my little knee issue.  And the hills in the neighborhood were killing me!  If not for the fact that I was running with Kelly and her dog Pepper, I would have stopped to walk for sure!

After the run in front of Running For Kicks
Kelly, Pepper and me
Tuesday was marathon training day #2!  I thought that the 3 miles would go pretty easy.  Weather was not too cold.  Luckily the rain had stopped.  But as soon as my foot hit the pavement, my knee was in trouble.  Then I realized that I didn't have my knee strap on and went back in to get it.  But again, my knee was not feeling too well.  I was going to do 2 laps around my neighborhood which is about 3 miles.  But after close to one lap (about 1.36 miles in) I realized I was running at an 11 minute mile pace and also felt a pain in my knee.  I decided to stop and walk for a minute.  I thought about cutting my run short (this loop passes my house) and I was going to stop at 1.5 miles.  I decided even if I walked a little bit, I should at least try for 2 miles or 2.5 miles. 

However, I changed up my path a little bit as I passed some obnoxious little shits teenagers that had nothing else better to do  were hanging out.  Yeah, the teenagers were out last night since they are all on Christmas break!  And running past them in the dark was just not so much fun!  Let's just say the word "assholes" shot out of my mouth at some point.  I know, very lady-like!

I ended up stopping at 2.75 miles figuring it was close enough to 3 miles.  Bad knees, not listening to headphones (since it was dark and I needed to pay attention to my surroundings), and little shits made this run the worst run I had since my mini meltdown after Thanksgiving! 

In fact, I started re-thinking marathon training for a split second too.  It was training day 2 and I was having problems!  I have 17.5 weeks of this left to go!  It shook my confidence a little bit to say the least.  But as the wise runner once said (actually, it was Kelly on Facebook last night), "Tomorrow is always another day. There will be good days and bad days out on the trail, but the good outweighing the bad is what keeps us asking for more!" 

Training day number 3 will be on Thursday as a cousin wants to go to the gym with me.  I'm hoping for the best!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ultimate Before!

Yesterday I got an email from about a local Chicago 8k I do every year, the Shamrock Shuffle 8k.  They combined all the pictures from 2006 on of the Shamrock Shuffle 8k into one site for your viewing (and re-ordering) pleasure!

They actually only had 2 years listed, 2007 and 2009, even though I ran this run since 2004, missing only 1 year.  I happened to pull up 2007 and WHOA!  That was a sight!  This run is either in March or April every year.  I'm guessing this was late March or early April.  I started Weight Watchers in May 2007.  Therefore, these pictures were taken about 1 or 1.5 months prior to starting the weight loss process.  This is most definitely my heaviest weight to date!  And the pictures do not disappoint!  How about I throw in a 2011 Marathon photo after, just for shits and giggles.

2007 Shamrock Shuffle 8k

2007 Shamrock Shuffle 8k

2011 Chicago Marathon

2011 Chicago Marathon
 Now, as much as I want to delete those previous run photos from the existence of this planet, I have to look back and smile for a few reasons. 

#1 - Look how far I've come.  And even though I have rough patches and I gained a little weight back, it's still an amazing accomplishment that I sometimes forget about. 

#2 - In the 2007 picture, I'm running.  I'm running an 8k!  And to think I even ran my first half marathon the year before in 2006, still overweight!  I did it back then.  All too often, I hear people say they can't do something until they lose weight.  They think they are too big, too heavy.  They don't even try.  This proves you can do anything you set your mind to.  Do you think running an 8k (or half marathon) or even a 5k was easy for me back then?  No!  I walked parts of it.  But I finished!  And I didn't give up!  Again, this is also an amazing accomplishment!

I hope you all have a happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!...and Running News

It's Christmas time!  It seems that no matter the chaos or stress of shopping, decorating, preparing, etc., I get in an extremely happy mood this time of the year (especially the week right before!).  I love looking at the lights on houses, I put lights on my own house, I love seeing the tree in my living room.  It's such a festive time of the year!  (Can you tell how happy I am??  lol).

In preparation for Christmas, there is one (and only one) type of cookie I make.  Pizzelles!  I probably posted about them last year.  They are delicious and a favorite of my family.  I have since inherited the pizzelle making process.  Pizzelle's are Italian waffle-like cookies.  Traditionally I think they are anise flavored, however, I do not like anise flavor and our recipe is a vanilla recipe.  My favorite!  This year, my cousin wanted to help me make them.  They are her favorite cookie and I always give her some.  She thought she could share in the joy!  I warned her that pizzelle's are labor intensive cookies, you make the batter but your arm just about falls off from trying to stir the thick mess!  Then you have to drop two balls of batter on the pizzelle grill and press down for about a minute.  You can only make two at a time and we make about 100!    Here are a few pics to commemorate it!

My cousin making pizzelles

A few of the finished product!
 Luckily, my cousin had a good time making them and she made about 90% of it for me this year!  Woohoo!  I may enlist her help every year!

Afterwards, I did something totally out of character, I made more cookies!  Actually, I helped my cousin make some.  We made some sugar cookies and frosted them, some macaroons and some chocolate covered pretzels.  I have never made chocolate covered pretzels and was amazed at how easy they are! 

Me making the chocolate pretzels. 
Yes, it was a sweats kind of day!  (And laundry day!)

Some of the finished product.
 A few nights before my cookie extravaganza, I was invited out for another cousin's birthday.  How about a photo op!  I clean up kind of well, huh??

Me on the left and a cousin on the right.
 How about some more Christmas pictures?

First, I'm not a crafty person AT ALL!  I usually hate even doing crafts!  But a friend showed me an ornament wreath and even though she offered to make me one, I decided to be bold and try this myself!  After I had it all done and was trying to hang it up, I dropped it and all the ornaments went flying!  Luckily they are shatter proof. I almost gave up and threw it out but persevered!  It actually didn't take long to fix it and I like it better than before. It just needs a bow and maybe some garland weaving through it but I'm pleased with my results!  Nothing beats making something yourself!  Especially when you don't think you can!

My ornament wreath! Not bad for a not-crafty person!
  Now for some other random Christmas pictures!

My grandmother always made our stockings when we are born.  Here is mine.

Here is the whole family's stockings.  I leave mine at my parents with all the rest! 

Picture of my Christmas Tree.  We spent a whole $30 this year instead of the normal $15!

Running News:

I started running again!  Yay!  I was out for 3 weeks while waiting for a doctor appointment.  When he told me it was runner's knee (full recap in this post), he gave me some exercises to do but said I can still run! 

I started out slowly though.  Last week, I ran 2 miles (about 11:00+ min pace), then 2.5 miles (10:30 pace), then 3 miles (9:58 pace).  Actually I didn't look at my pace for the entire run.  I don't want to go fast, I just wanted to run at a nice, easy, comfortable pace so I don't hurt myself.  I can pick up speed later.  So when I finished the 3 miles at a sub-10 min pace, I was a little surprised and happy.  That was a comfortable pace!  Nice!  So getting back into some faster paces shouldn't be too difficult hopefully!

My marathon training starts next week.  Therefore, I haven't wanted to run too much right now just to give myself a break.  But I did want to get a few miles under my belt.  I figure I will have to run enough once I start training again!  And can I tell you, it felt SO GREAT to be running again!  I missed it!  I almost can't believe how much I miss running when I don't do it!  It never used to be that way!  When I started running last week, I had to stop myself from running every day!  And my knees felt pretty good too.  Hopefully it stays that way!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!  I hope you all have a great one!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yup! I'm a badass!

I think when you officially get diagnosed with a running related injury, you should be considered a badass runner!  Don't you all agree?  When you can start pulling out terms like "IT band" and "runner's knee", I think it's official.  Ok, maybe not a badass runner.  I guess it just means I have some work to do to get back into good running shape!

Yesterday, I went to see a doctor about my knees.  He's a regular doctor but I was referred to him by my marathon pace leader.  She had seen him previously and he is a marathoner.  Runner's know it's best to see a doctor that knows specifically about running.  Other doctors will tell you just not to run.  Runner doctors (yes, it's a technical term) will see what you have to work on so you can get back out there to run.  By the way, my dad told me he was going to tell me that I had to stop running.  I said "No Dad, runner doctors don't tell you to stop running!"  When I told the doctor this, he said he has only ever told 3 people to stop running in 30 years of practicing and he said he thinks he cried more than they did!

If you read this post, you will remember that I had a mini-meltdown after Thanksgiving.  After deciding to go for a 6 mile run on Saturday after Thanksgiving, I quickly realized that the pain I was having in my knee was still there.  As I typically do, I decided to run through the pain.  Almost after that, I decided I might have to only do 5 miles or 4 miles instead of the scheduled 6 I wanted to do.  Within the first mile, I cut it down to a definite 4 miles (2 miles out and 2 miles back).  As I got to the halfway point (2 miles out), I stopped to walk for a minute.  Now, I never usually stop to walk on a 4 mile run.  But the knee pain was still there and I wanted to assess the situation.  I quickly decided that I should stop running.  I thought if I continued running and doing the same thing as I always do, I could permanently injure myself.  So I thought the best thing to do was to stop running now and see a doctor about the issue.  I don't want to permanently injure myself since I want to start training right after Christmas for the Illinois marathon at the end of April.  

But now I was 2 miles away from home. Sure I could have done a run/walk home, but I had a pity party on my walk home instead.  I was frustrated and started to cry!  If you know me, you know I cry when I get really frustrated.  And I get frustrated when I feel like I can't (or shouldn't) do something.   Let me sum that up for you...  ME + CAN'T = FRUSTRATED = CRY.  Now we are all on the same page?  So I haven't run a single mile since that day.

Back to my badass-ness (again, technical term) and the Dr. visit.  In a nutshell, I have runner's knee.  For those that like long medical terminology, Runner's Knee is also called Chrondromalacia Patellae or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.  And for those that like medical definitions, you can google it.  For now, I'll just tell you what it means for me.

The doctor put me through a series of tests which involved taking off my shoes and socks, standing on one leg (several different times), laying on my stomach, laying on my back, laying on my side, put your leg this way, stretch it that way, blah blah blah.  And over and over I heard, "This is the worst I've seen!" or "Oh my god!" or "We need to take you out back and shoot you because it can't possibly be that bad!"  (Seriously he said that!). 

He did say I was young (thanks Doc!) and healthy (thanks again Doc!) so my issues are completely fixable! 

1. My knee points outward instead of forward.  And my arch rolls inward (fallen arches), which is the opposite of the way my knee points.  Therefore this puts added pressure on your knee and instead of your bone or something (uh, yeah, I'm not a doctor) moving nice and smoothly through your femur bone, it tends to snap across it which can cause a popping or grinding sound (and my knees grind horribly!). 

2.  I have incredibly bad hip flexibility.  This is why he wanted to shoot me.  He said he had the worst until he's seen me.  Therefore, I have to fix it or he has to shoot me.  I told him I will fix it!

3.  I have weak butt muscles (insert your own joke here)!  He had me stand on one foot and he put his thumbs on my spine and grabbed my waist.  When I stood on my left leg, he said I passed.  When I stood on my right leg, he said I failed.  I found out that my butt when I stand on my right side dips down instead of staying straight, which means my butt muscles are weak.  I wonder if it means though that they are only weak on my right side and I have unbalanced butt muscles??  Hm...  Anyway, runner's need a strong butt and core section.

4.  Incredibly tight IT band.

To make a long story...uh...long...he told me I could either see a physical therapist or try a few exercises he gives me and see him in about 3-4 weeks.  He said with the exercises he gives me, I should show an 85% improvement within 3 weeks.  I think I may just try that first instead of physical therapy.

1.  One exercise that I have to do is to strengthen a muscle on the knee.  The doctor pressed down on the side of my knee with his finger and said "Flex this muscle." My response was "Uh, muscle?  Uh, I don't know how!"  He said "Exactly!"  Frankly, I didn't know that there was a muscle there to flex!  I basically have to do the following exercise 50x in the morning and 50x in the evening with both legs every day.  It is called the Terminal Knee Extension.  The exercise can be described as follows:   "To perform a terminal knee extension exercise on the floor, sit upright with your leg straight and place a rolled-up towel, foam roller or other cylinder-shaped object under your knee. Flex your toes toward your shins and straighten you knee as far as possible."  The doctor told me to focus on lifting the leg up by pushing the knee downward.  Here is a video I found on you tube but I do it sitting up.

2.  The other exercise I have to do is a stretch for my hips.  This is called Psoas re-sets.  The Psoas is a muscle at your hip.  For stability and to make sure I'm not turning my body, I have to stand facing a wall with my hands on the wall for stability.  When I get better at it, I don't have to hold on to the wall.  Then simply, take one leg and while keeping it straight, lift it to the back as far as I can and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat 1 time.  Then bend the leg at a 90 degree angle and repeat the exercise 2x.  I have to do this stretch with both legs 5 times a day every day.

3.  Arch supports or motion control running shoes.  Basically the running shoes that I got fitted for at a running store prior to marathon training are the wrong shoes.  They are cushion shoes and I need motion control shoes that won't let my foot/arch fall inward.  He said right now to just by some arch support inserts and next time I get new running shoes, buy motion control ones.  I actually believe the trail running shoes I purchased are motion control shoes with good arch supports.

NOTE:  He said the Patellar Tendon Strap was probably a very good thing for me to use while marathon training and running the marathon because it absorbed some of the stress that would have otherwise have gone to my knee due to the arch issue. 

I'm a badass!  Ok, maybe not a badass!  The good new is that I can run.  He said there is no problem with me continuing to run!  He said just try to go at a slightly slower pace for now until I do some of these exercises.

MORAL OF THE STORYIf you have a pain and it doesn't go away, see a doctor.  And for runners, see a doctor that knows about running.  I feel much better now that I saw the doctor and can get exercises to help me prepare for my upcoming marathon training!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Women's Self Defense Seminar

Last Saturday, my cousin Toni and I went to a Women's Self Defense Seminar.  I saw the link for this seminar posted on facebook on one of my running groups group pages.  I've always wanted to go to one of these seminars and thought this was a great time!  There was a Christmas special he was offering, $10 for 2.5 hours!  Sweet! 

At first I was a little freaked out to find that it was in a residential neighborhood instead of in a gym somewhere.  Then I found it was in someone's garage.  I was wondering how serious this was going to be.  Also, my cousin and I got there right at 2:00 when it was supposed to start, we were trying to get there early but that didn't happen.  When we walked in, there were no other women there, just 4 guys!  Uh, yeah, we were a little freaked out.  But then the women showed up and the instructor started the class.

The point of the seminar is not to learn all kinds of kickboxing moves.  The point of it is to learn some moves that you may be able to use in order to defend yourself if you are being attacked.  They are defensive moves.  Back when I was about 11 years old, my dad signed my brother and myself up for some Judo classes (we went to like 8-16 weeks, I can't remember because it was a long time ago).  Judo is a defensive form of martial arts that is supposed to subdue or immobilize someone.  This self defense class was a combination of different defensive martial arts, including Judo.  Therefore, I remembered the purpose of it and some of the moves I learned way back when.

The fun part?  We actually practiced on live people!  When appropriate, they wore helmets, pads and cups for protection.  A few things we learned:

1. The wrist grab - if someone grabs your wrist, you pull your arm towards where their thumb is and twist out of the hold.  This will work for either arm. 

After you remove your arm, you can try to defend yourself (basically hurt or immobilize your attacker so you can get away).  So the next thing we learned is to poke their eyes with our thumbs.   After that, take the bottom part of the palm of your hands and hit your attacker repeatedly in the face with force moving them backward.  Now, you can either get away or do my favorite...kick in the groin!  Ouch!

2.  Grab from behind - if they grab you from behind, there are a few things to do.  The first, if their arms around around your body and arms, you do a move that resembles the superman!  You thrust your butt back as hard as you can as you fling your arms forward (in kind of a superman position).  Then to immobilize them, you take your elbows (reminder, they are behind you) and elbow them in the ribs/chest several times as hard as you can, then do a backward kick (cuz we can and we are awesome!).

If they grab you from behind but your arms are free, you put your hands into fits and hit the tops of their hands with your knuckles as hard as you can (it really does hurt) and they will let go.  Then repeat the above steps (elbow and kick).

3.  If they are coming at you to grab at your neck - Poke them in the eyes with your thumbs before they grab you!  Then grab behind their heads and pull down.  Take your knees and knee them twice in the chest.  The next is hard to explain but you cub one hand by their chin and the other at the top of your head and twist them down to the ground.

4. Grab around neck from behind - take both of your hands and pull their arm down a little (so they don't choke you). Step with one foot to the side of them and simply bend over.  They will do a little flip and end up on the ground.  Then you can take your foot and slam it into their ribs.

There may have been more things we learned.  These were just some basics.  He actually had us each stand in the center of the mat for 3 minutes while the "attackers" came at us from the front or back and we had to try to defend ourselves using our new moves.  It was a little intimidating at first to think we had to do this for 3 minutes!  It seemed like it would be such a long time!  Actually it went by quicker than I expected.

Our instructor then put together a video montage of us doing our 3 minutes.  I have attached the You Tube video montage!  Note, the face masks are pretty hard but we were getting so much into it and afterwards, I had a sore side of my hand from the hammer punches to the mask and it got all bruised and swollen!  lol

The lady in the yellow shirt was awesome!  Basically she towered over these attackers and just started pushing them out of her way.  Pretty funny!  I'm in the purple t-shirt.  My cousin is in the gray v-neck with sweatpants. Enjoy!  See if you can recognize the moves I explained above!  Look closely and you will see some groin kicks!!

All in all, we had a great time and learned some great moves.  Will we remember to use them if being attacked?  Hopefully we will never have to find out.  But the key is to just do something!  There is no real wrong way to defend yourself.  If it gets the attacker away from you, you did the right move!  Maybe I'll have to test it out on some of my dates!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Was I being punked?

Off topic blog post: Dating 101

First, let me apologize to my blogger friends that are also my facebook friends as you may have heard some of this already.  Of course, have no fear, I will poor my heart and soul out on here and give you ALL the nitty-gritty details!

It's no secret I'm not married.  It's also no secret that I HATE dating!  Especially in my early 30's!  It's fun in your 20's as there are no expectations of "Why aren't you married yet."  I imagine it's fun in your 40's or 50's as I would think people have moved past the fact that you aren't married.  But in your 30's?  You get this a lot:  Why aren't you married?  What's wrong with you?  Are you crazy?  Are you gay? (Yes, it's true, people think it, they just may not vocalize it, although I have had it vocalized too! lol).

There is this underlying assumption and expectation that by a certain age (usually no later than 30), you should be married, about to be married (aka engaged), at least in a serious relationship that will eventually end with engagement and marriage, or at least have a kid (even out of wedlock)!  lol.  If you are single and 30, there must be something wrong with you!

So in true form, after my last relationship didn't work out (aka Mr. Nebraska), I decided to get back into it fairly quickly by joining  I soon realized that it was a mistake.  I thought I was ready to date or at least it would help me forget about Mr. NE.  It didn't.  And a few months into it, I realized every single person that showed interest in me, I turned down.  I did try to show interest in a few others with no luck.  But as some family/friends pointed out, I wasn't giving ANYONE a chance.  I would see their email and roll my eyes and either dismiss it altogether or respond with a polite "not interested" email.  (With you can pay for 6 months and get an additional 6 months free.  But with this you have to send at least 5 emails to new people every month.  Therefore, I would use my "rejection emails" to people as part of my 5 emails so I wouldn't have to pay for the second 6 months).   It's a way to cheat the system!  lol

After about 4-5 months of this, and with the suggestion of my cousin, I decided to give one a chance.  My cousin was thrilled and told me to get drunk, naked and make bad decisions or at least naughty ones.  We will call him Mr. Lithuanian (my cousin and I always give them names so it's easier to remember them by, i.e. Veggie Man, Marathon Man, etc.).  Mr. Lithuanian made reference to a Lithuanian dish they were eating on Thanksgiving, hence the name.

DATE DAY.  It wasn't confirmed we were going out that day.  I emailed him with the suggestion of going out that day (Sunday) or next weekend.  He emailed me at about 10:00 a.m. telling me he was going to call me in a "few moments."  I guess that meant about 3:00 p.m. (problem #1).  Fine, I'll look past that.  He was watching the Bears game with his dad.  He asked me if I wanted to go out for and early dinner "like right now."  Uh, sure...I'll be up for that.  We decided to meet at 4:30 (as I was traveling out his way).  He suggested meeting in a church parking lot and taking a walk to look at Christmas lights on the way to the restaurant and then also walking back a different way to look at more.  I thought that sounded kind of nice!

Wait, did I tell you want almost the first thing he said to me was on the phone?  After the initial, "Hi, this is (Mr. Lithuanian), he proceeds to ask me, "Why aren't you married? What's wrong with you? Are you crazy?  I assume you are relatively intelligent so what's the deal?"  To which I respond, "What? Why aren't you married?"  Turns out he was joking as he proceeded to ask me if I had good balance, etc.  I was just a little taken aback (this should be problem #2 but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt since I'm incredibly sarcastic myself).

I rush to get there on time.  I was actually about 2 minutes late.  I assumed he would be there already because he said he lived right by this place.  I hate being late on a date!  Well, it turns out he was late, at least 10 minutes (problem #2 but I can easily overlook this!).   He also mentioned on the phone that he would bring some hot tea (since I mentioned I liked tea) for our walk (ok, bonus point #1).

We get there and go on our walk.  It was getting dark at this point and I probably should have been walking in a more well lit area but I didn't feel threatened by him and I had just gotten down with my self defense class the day more (more on Self Defense 101 next post) so I felt I could take him out! lol

Our walk was ok.  It was kind of a little too long with not enough Christmas lights to see.  Luckily the weather wasn't too cold so I wasn't completely freezing!  He did go past houses and make comments on who lives there, what is up with them, etc.  lol.  Ok so he knows the area well.  There were no sidewalks to walk on and we had to make sure we didn't get hit by a car on the way! 

Finally we get to the restaurant which was Italian food (bonus point #2 for picking Italian).  Normal date conversation proceeds.  After dinner, well of course the bill comes.  He doesn't say anything when he looks at it and proceeds to mess around with getting money out.  Now, what I typically do it offer to pay for my half.  What I expect on a first date is for him to tell me, "Oh no, I got this! Don't worry about it!"  So here is what happened:

Mr. Lithuanian: (Reaches in pocket for money)
Me: Oh well, I'll pay for half!
Mr. L: Ok.
Me: (Completely speechless, would have started to laugh if he weren't there)
Me: Oh well, I wasn't sure what your thoughts are on that topic.
Mr. L: (Says nothing).

Uh, really?  He just let me pay for half?  On the first date? (Problem #3 and 4...because it's such a big problem!).  I have no mind paying for myself when we are several dates in.  But I think the way it goes on a first date is: he offers to pay, female offers to pay for half, he definitely DOES NOT let his female date pay for half!  He even came back after leaving the tip, had $2 left and gave one to me and kept one.

Fine.  I got an inside chuckle out of this and we left.  Walked back a different way that had more sidewalks so as not to get run over.  He proceeded to tell me where he went to elementary school, which window was his third grade class and what his teachers name was, showed me where just about all his old childhood friends lived and gave me their names (first and last), showed me where he used to skateboard, etc.  Really, I am NOT making this up!  (I really think this is Problem #5 actually!).

I could tell he was trying to get a feel for my comfort level with him as while giving me a rundown on his childhood, he was more touchy with my arms and even tried to put his arm around my shoulders and keep it there for a minute.  I made sure to keep my hands nice and warm in my pockets so there would be no attempt for him to grab one!

I forgot to give you problems #6, 7, and 8!  He lives with his parents!  He's 35 and lives with his parents!  Ok, he has a semi-good reason for this: he cut back on his work and is getting his PhD.  But really, in my opinion, at 35 years old you should NOT move back in with your parents unless you ABSOLUTELY have to!  (It really does put a wrench in dating, btw).  In this day and age and with the economy, some good reasons are: you temporarily got laid off, your parents are ill and you need to care for them, your parents lost their job and you are helping them out...

We finally get back to our cars after making it through his entire childhood looking at Christmas lights.  I was relieved because I really had to use the bathroom (note to self: always use the bathroom before you leave the restaurant).  We talked a little more by the cars and he asked if I wanted to go bowling next time (since I said I liked bowling and he does too).  I said sure as I try not to be too judgmental (can you tell?) and thought I would give him another chance. 

Now before the awkward end of a date where someone is deciding if they should go in for a goodnight kiss, I usually make it a habit of going in for a goodnight hug!  I also make it a habit of turning my head so as there is no question I am not interested in said "goodnight kiss".  So in true form, I go in for my hug, he plants a big kiss on my cheek (lol) and gives me a bear hug of all bear hugs that I didn't think he would ever let me go!  And in which I thanked him for dinner (I should have instead thanked him for letting me pay for my half of dinner) and the walk and said goodnight and which he finally let me go!  I got in my car played with a few things, turned my car on and looked up to see him half hanging out of his car waving at me!  Uh...of course I waved back!  You can't not no matter how strange that is.

I mean, seriously!  Am I being punked here?  Where is Ashton Kutcher?  Where is Candid Camera?  Where?  Where I ask you!  It's got to be here somewhere!

Of course, he texted me later to thank me for the date and to inform me of a good Hallmark Christmas movie that was going to be on at 9:00 p.m. that night.  lol.  (Really, where are the cameras?)

Did I miss anything here?  I really don't think so.  That just about sums it up.  Yes, I will give it another chance.  First dates can be weird, especially blind first dates!  I really don't think my opinion will change much but hey, you never know.  Maybe he will let me pay for the entire second date?? 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1st? Goals!

(First, my friend Kelly was featured on Run, Jodi, Run's blog.  You can check out her post here!).

Wow! It's December 1st already?  Where has this year gone?  (And if you find out where 2009 and 2010 went, let me know that too, ok?). 

Many people this time of year say Adios, Ciao, Au Revoir, Sayonara to healthy eating and exercise!  I see it every year at the gym and at my weight watchers meetings.  The gyms become a ghost town.  My meeting centers will contain about 6 die hard members!

Not me!  I always think this is the BEST time of the year to incorporate these healthy lifestyle goals!  Eating healthy is not about the 1 or 2 holiday meals you eat, or the night you get together with your friends to celebrate, or even your work party lunch/dinner.  There are 31 days in the month of december. 

Yes, there are parties.  Yes, you have to spend time Christmas shopping (unless you are one of those crazy black friday shoppers that get it all done before December! Who are you people!).  Yes, you have to spend time decorating your house and tree.  But with 31 days in the year?  Even if you only ate right 20 days out of 31 days.  Even if you worked out 15 days out of 31.  Isn't that better than nothing? 

What better way to not feel guilty about that Christmas dinner than with a little run?  Or an exercise class?  Or some weights at the gym?  Or even just a walk with family or friends?  You can gain 10 lbs, you can remain the same, or you may be able to lose a little weight (if that's your goal).

So, these are my goals for December
1. Get back in touch with my online weight watcher group of ladies I know.  In doing this, they create challenges to help you maintain your healthy eating goals.  I plan on doing their December challenge, which essentially means counting my points, getting in the required amount of water, dairy, um...I forget what else!  See!  I need help!  lol.  Oh well, eating grains and protein, etc.  Oh and exercise!....brings me to #2...

2.  I am going to do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 6 days a week.  Now, this can be 30 minutes of hard exercise at the gym or 30 minutes of walking or anything in between.  As long as I do extra movement for 30 minutes, I'm covered.  The only exception I'm going to make is that I'm not going to count my walk to the train in the morning.  I feel like that could be cheating!

As for running, well, I said it before.  That's going on hold temporarily.  I did make a doctor appointment just to have my ankle and my knee/IT band checked out.  But the appt is in 2 weeks.  I think the rest will do some good.  Although it will do some "not so good" as I will be a little out of running shape when I get back into it.  My aches and pains are completely minor at this point.  The doctor appointment is just a preventative measure so I don't make things go from minor to not-so-minor.

Actually, I almost didn't make the appointment.  Sometimes I feel it's not bad.  It's hardly anything!  Maybe it will heal itself and just go away.  But I listened to others and I think at least seeing the doctor is good.  I'll keep you posted!

Have a good December! What are your goals?