Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hey you! No, not you. You! Over there! Yeah, you!

You!  On a diet! 

Hmm, can you guess which book I recently checked out of the library?

I'll give you a hint:  "You on a Diet" is the name of the book.  Yes, I suck at guessing games.

I was in the library this week picking up a book I had reserved through the library's online system when it hit me:  A library has books on its shelves.  This library I am standing in right now is full of books on its shelves.  Including books about diet and exercise.  Perhaps I should check one out from the shelves instead of spending the hard earned money I don't really have anyways on books. 

So I browsed through all, gee, four racks of Dewey decimal'd books (it's a really small library branch) until I found the diet and exercise books.  I thought I'd look for that French Women book -- even though I have the nagging suspicion I may already own that book -- but didn't find it.  I did find two books I've always wanted to peruse but did not want to buy.  One was You on a Diet:  A Guide to Waist Management (or some such title like that; if I like the book I'll figure out exactly what the title is and post it here) and the other was the Beck book a lot of folks have blogged about. 

I started with You on a Diet.  Because the cover was blue.  I don't know.  Anyhow, I'm maybe ten whole pages into the thing.  I think I'll keep reading some more.  I have a short attention span when it comes to self-help books.  It sounds fabulous for about ten to twenty pages and then, because I have no patience when it comes to books, I skip ahead to the end to try to glean just what it is I should be doing or saying or eating or waxing to make my life all sparkly and wonderful.  Then I find out it's something like "never eat anything remotely tasty again but you can have plenty of vinegar and glitter" and I close the book and put it aside, never to be read again.  Guess how many self-help books I have bought or checked out that I've never finished?  Yeah, about 98% of them.  This is why I don't buy the damn things anymore.  Or least, I try not to. 

Is it just me, or are all these books tending to be the same?  Within the first words of the book (heck, probably on the cover) the You book has already fallen into one of two categories that all diet books fall into.  Either your fat is completely not your fault (the You book), or it is your fault but actually not really.  Both then tell you how not to be fat anymore.  Often involving copious amounts of vinegar and glitter. 

So far, I have learned from You on a Diet that agriculture is why we all became fat, all diets are impossible to follow and that's why we all became fat, and that I should never have to count calories again because counting calories doesn't keep us from being fat.  Okey doke. 

What I started thinking about is that I've never been one to follow (adhere to, become a convert of) any particular plan.  I cherry pick.  But eventually it all comes down to:  Eat less.  Move more.  A lot of food is crap.  Avoid the crap. 

Except that You on a Diet told me that even the eat less part doesn't work.  Because modern food is evil.  And then there was a YOUreka! imp off to the side and then I went to see what was on the USA network. 

I would also add in there that it also all comes down to:  There are no quick fixes.  But that's my own, not out of any book.  Because they all say you can have results in only three days!  Seven days!  Two weeks!  21 days!  A month!

Why don't any of them say that if you eat less and move more and avoid the crap that you'll lose up to a pound a week and depending on the amount of weight you have to lose this process will take anywhere from five weeks to 18 months or longer? 

I know why.  Because those books don't sell. 

My favorite part of this book so far is that the print is nice and big.  That may be all I take away from it:  Did not strain the eyes -- give it a big thumbs up!

If you're wondering if I have a point to all this, so am I.  I think it my point may be that when you get right down to it, the solution to losing weight and eating healthy is very easy while the implementation of that solution is extremely difficult.  Did I need yet another book to tell me this?  Not really.  Remind me, maybe.  That's why I come here.  Other than to amuse myself, hopefully amuse you, and hopefully keep myself from committing homicide for just one more day. 

In other news, and after all of that, I'm down another 0.2 lbs today.  Cilley scale antics aside, no way am I taking this for granted.  I am mindful of what I am eating and when I am eating and why I want to eat nearly every second of the day.  It's fairly exhausting.  In fact, I'd really like a pizza tonight.  Or homemade hashbrowns topped with eggs over easy so that the yolks break into the hashbrowns.  Comparing the two, the hashbrowns and eggs is probably the healthier and definitely the cheaper option.  Pretty sure no one ever hunted and gathered a pizza, yeah?

the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Feast or famine: Not your only choices in every day eating

Week 2 of The Plan is still going well.  I was worried that I'd be hitting the ravenous part of my diet changes, but so far so good (knock on wood).  You know how it goes.  You cut back your calories by eating the portions you are actually supposed to be eating and for the first few weeks you feel like you are starving all the time.  At least I do.  Although, as I read what I just wrote, maybe I'm doing okay because I'm eating as I should be -- in other words, I'm not cutting my calories drastically or otherwise in order to lose weight, I'm just eating what I was supposed to in the first place.  Maybe that is the trick?

Either way, I've noticed that the quality of the food I eat definitely makes a difference.  The Plan calls for consuming an average of 1800 calories per day.  As I add exercise back in, that may need to be adjusted but that's where I am at this week.  Now, I could eat 1800 calories of pizza (it'd probably take what, three slices?) or even peanut butter cups (8.57 regular sized packages of Reese's, in case you were wondering) but obviously I'd be starving pretty quick because what else would I eat the rest of the day?  That's where quality comes in versus quantity.  My hunger is better satisfied if my meal is comprised of, for example, 800 calories of chicken breast, pasta, peas, and a salad as opposed to, say, an 800 calorie double cheeseburger with bacon.  They are equal in calories but not in what they are.  Kind of like the old trick about which will fall faster, 10 pounds of marbles or 10 pounds of feathers?

Monday evening I planned my calories to include a treat of two peanut butter cups and a glass of milk.  I'd had a working lunch so I'd ended up with a turkey club sandwich (including bacon and I'm sure real mayo), real potato chips (as in, not baked) and a (big) cookie.  On the whole, about 300 more calories than my usual lunch.  Dinner was a chicken caesar salad, and then my treat.  Funny thing was, after about the first bite of peanut butter cup it just didn't taste all that good.  The milk was much better.  In retrospect, I would have been happier with something like a single dark chocolate kiss and then glass of milk. 

So yesterday I just wasn't all that hungry all day (stupid sinuses AGAIN) and ended up with the potential for a lot of calories left on the table (so to speak).  I thought hmmm, maybe I can have extra peas and extra mac & cheese -- because when you're not feeling great you want to eat stuff you like and I didn't feel like any other sides than those (I had chicken breast for my protein).  I sat down and calculated the calories of what I wanted to eat, and was still only at 1677 for the day.  And I felt satisfied after eating, not overly full (even despite the extra mac & cheese, it was really yummy with the peas mixed in), and good for the rest of the evening. 

To keep experimenting with this in actual practice, today in my lunch I have not only a sandwich (I made this fabulous turkey salad sandwich filling), carrots, and a fruit like I normally do but I doubled the amount of fruit.  I figure if I fill up with that, more bulk than calories, I should be golden until at least my afternoon snack -- the latter of which I haven't even been hungry for in recent days.  I would have added more carrots too, but there are only so many I can take in one sitting. 

And the result of all of this so far?  Well, as I've mentioned many, many times previously I believe my scale is playing games with me (it's an evil scale) so I'm still weighing myself every day mainly for the amusement factor.  I just know I'm going to catch my scale messing with its own calibration, I just know it!  But so far I'm down a pound since Monday.  Evil, evil scale!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week -- we're halfway to the weekend! -- even if you have horrible weather as we do here in Cilleyland.  However, it is supposed to get nicer as we approach the weekend.  So far, I have zero plans for the long weekend.  I can't decide if I like that idea (sleep!!) or if I should go find something to do.  I'm sure I'll end up at work at some point over the weekend; my best friend L turns 40 in early June and I am taking some time off to throw her a birthday party so I have to get far enough ahead that my boss doesn't blow a gasket when he figures out I'll be gone for four days.  Then again, that could be kind of fun.  Muwahahahahahaha!!

the CilleyGirl

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend pictures

Here are some of the pictures from this weekend's ramblings.

My friend S's coworker Des was the main reason we went wine tasting this weekend.  Des is from the midwest and although she's been to Portland before she'd never been to Multnomah Falls.  Since that's on the way to Hood River, we stopped to show it off.   By the way, these aren't blurry pictures; it's from the heavy mist coming off the falls. 

The bridge below the falls isn't always opened to visitors.  Here's one reason why:

See that big ass piece of rock there?  That fell down from above not all that long ago, made a humongous splash when it happened (as you might expect). 

Since I've got the heights thing, I happily sent S and Des off to make the trek up to the bridge with my camera.  S took the last picture, and she also got a really great close up of the rock in all that mist.

Amazing, isn't it?  Some day soon I need to make the trip down to Silver Falls State Park and take some new pictures of all the falls down there. 

In Hood River proper, there aren't many opportunities to take scenic pictures.  We did take some at the first winery we went to, which was a little ways outside of the town.  The weather was so much nicer than it had been in Portland.

In addition to wine tasting, we stopped at a couple of jewelry stores where I got these:

Each one is about one inch square.  The front is silver and the back is gold toned.  Each opens up to a small space for a picture or something. 

I personally think it's too small for any sort of a picture but I thought maybe pressing a lilac blossom in there would work.   They also had necklaces that said "peace" (just the words) and "imagine" (which had a symbol), my friend S got the latter.  If the "believe" had come with a symbol I would have just gotten that one, but since it did not I couldn't decide between the two.  Luckily they were each 50% off so it was almost like getting the second one for free!  At least that's what I'm telling myself :)

If you like the necklaces they still had several left, we got them at a place called Twiggs.  They had some really beautiful pieces. 

I'm off to have the nighttime sweet I budgeted into my daily calories, then to an early bed while trying not to get sucked into the finale of 24.  If I'm going to make it to the gym tomorrow morning, I need to be nighty-night by 9:00 p.m.  Gosh, remember the days when being a grownup meant you got to stay up late?  What happened to those days?  ;p

the CilleyGirl

Week 1 Recap and the Return of Pee Butt

Week 1 Recap:
Starting weight - 194.4 lbs (highest in about two years)
Ending weight - 191.2 lbs
Difference -- 3.2 lbs lost!

While I still believe my scale is fucking with me, I am down 3.2 lbs in Week 1 of The Plan.  Yay! 

Week 1 went pretty well, except for having to postpone the exercise part of things to give my legs time to rest.  I've also got yet another sinus infection thanks to all the lovely pollen flying around.  My allergies are so bad at this moment that the sole of my foot keeps itching.  That's when I know it's serious. 

As I mentioned, I went wine tasting this weekend so I had that challenge to The Plan.  Well, technically I watched people taste wine.  I was the designated driver.  Now, if you did not know the Cilleyland area is full of wineries.  There's maybe a trillion or so.  As Oregon's wine industry has grown, it has become very commercial and on the whole just not as fun as it used to be even just five years ago when we would go hiking and then pull out the Thomas Guide to see which wineries were nearby.  Tastings were only a few dollars, or often times free, no purchase necessary.  Not so anymore.

However, it's not quite as bad yet in the eastern part of the state.  Since it was pouring in Portland we decided to head east towards (hopefully) drier skies to Hood River, about an hour away.   There we were delighted to find not only eventually blue sunny skies but long tasting lists with only a $5 tasting fee.  And in three out of the four wineries we went to, when they heard I was the des, offered me ice water or even soda.  That has never happened in any of the westside wineries.  Overall, I had maybe a third of a glass of wine. 

We also stopped for lunch at a place in Hood River called Big Horse Brew Pub.  The food is good but the beer is really good.  We opted for the sampler, which had nine brews.  Between a sip of each of the nine and then remainder of a 4 oz taster that I finished of my favorite of the beers, I had about 4 oz of beer total.  We did go for sushi that evening, which is where the calories really added up, so on the whole I was about 800 calories over my goal for that day.

For Week 1, my calorie goal was 1,850 per day.  With the higher Saturday calories I averaged 1,919 calories per day.  I burned an average of 2,060 calories per day.  I also averaged just over an hour of physical activity each day; I haven't determined exactly what triggers it to be physical activity.  I think it's just moving around at all. 

So, according to these stats I really shouldn't have lost any weight, which is why I believe my scale has a twisted sense of humor.  But I am happy with the loss, so the joke is on it :p   I definitely need to add in more exercise to keep this up.  I'm going to try running tomorrow to see how my legs feel, just something short and easy at the gym.  I should have some pics up soon of our wine tasting adventure as well as some cool necklaces I bought in Hood River.

How did your week sum up?  Happy to be starting a new one?

Almost forgot to mention Pee Butt!  Yes, my dog peed on me in her sleep last night.  No, I was not happy about that.  Corkage may be required.

the CilleyGirl

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'd really rather not

I was planning this great post about my weekend plans, and then I watched the latest episode of Criminal Minds.  The one where the guy uses social networking sites and a "let me show you how much faster fiber optics would be" scam to stalk his female victims and plant cameras in their homes, then strangles them for a live internet audience and takes their bodies to a freezer where he hung them up on meat hooks so he could admire his work for forever.  Or until a power outage.

Okay, so I know the odds of all of that are slim but it does make you think.  But since I live in a place nobody can find without explicit directions from me and I try not to post explicit information about myself online and I live with two big dogs and weaponry, I feel confident enough.  I'm keeping my eye on all of you though.  Plus I may be a serial killer for all you know.  I do like knives.

Annnnnyhow.  Another more or less full weekend is on tap, what with putting a few hours in at the office and going wine tasting with my friend S on top of the usual groceries/laundry/smelly dog stuff.   I should probably do some yoga and some weights and maybe even some running in there as well.  Wow, now I'm tired just thinking about it. 

That could be from lack of food.  Sort of.  Okay, not really.  I have continued to stick to the nutritional portion of The Plan for the first week, with my daily calories right where I want them to be.  It's gotten a little harder as the week has progressed, particularly when I haven't been feeling well, but mostly it's just the difficulties of trying to settle into a new routine.  One one hand, I haven't made anything off limits, just certain trigger situations (I can not be trusted on my own at a drive through).  On the other hand, planning out all my meals starts to get to me pretty quick.  The first time I ever did anything like this, I would fantasize about going to a restaurant and ordering anything I wanted.  It was the Black Angus steak house commercials that got to me the most, the ones where for one low low price you got the appetizer, the entree, and the dessert.  I wanted all that so much.  It wasn't wanting to go over my calories, it was the freedom of choosing from a whole bunch of things to make up those calories at that time.  I could have all of that in a meal, in fact I did, but it just wasn't planned for that night or that week. 

In case you're wondering, I'm the designated driver for the wine tasting so I'm not actually drinking.   We've done this before; my friends will pay my way, feed me, etc., and I drive them around so they can get smashed.  If there's something my friend thinks I'd like or that is really good I'll have a sip of her wine but that's it.  We all have a great time, we stay safe, and I'm not drinking a few thousand calories.  I just have to watch out for the snacky food.  They always have snacky food.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

the CilleyGirl

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Please all rejoice in my awesomeness.

Every had one of those days at work?  No, not those kind of days.  I have too many of those kinds of days, and I don't like them.  I'm talking about one of those days where you manage to figure out or do something that is so great, all must rejoice in your awesomeness. 

I'm having one of those days.  I am awesome.

It may not really translate to many professionals outside of the law, but I'll give it a shot.  Lately we've been getting some weird things in from our counterparts.  Motions and the like that are asking for or bitching about things that are contrary to how we've all done things since 1997 and/or what the law says.  About every other day brings something new, and my boss and I shake our heads at each other and wonder what the other guys are smoking. 

Today I had to prepare a response to one of those weird items, and as my boss and I discussed it we kept saying that it was just wrong, it has to be wrong what they're trying to do, but it was so odd we didn't have anything offhand to point to as proof.  It's like trying to find where our laws or the Constitution says we all have to follow the Constitution.*  So I got onto our legal research site and found a case that stated outright they could not do what they were trying to do. 

When this happens in the legal field, this makes you feel like a rock star.  I'll tell you a secret about the law:  most of the time we're just winging it.  Rarely do you have something very black and white upon which you can rely.  You can argue one statement -- even a seemingly definitive one -- a hundred different ways.  How it comes out depends mostly on who you are, who you are arguing against, and who you are arguing before.  Most importantly, in my opinion, is that you sound like you are right when you are arguing it.  Sounding rational and logical and calmly assertive can make the most ridiculous argument work.  Or at least not get you laughed out of court.

It made answering the other guys a snap today.  My motion to dismiss was basically,  "Here's what they are trying to do.  Here's what this court said about doing it:  NO.  Please make them go away.  Thank you."   It just went out in today's mail so I don't know if they'll gracefully bow out after receiving it, but I sure hope so.

Reminds me of the time I got audited by the IRS over my student loan interest deduction.  I was in deferment for several years, and during that time your interest gets capitalized.  IRS regs, in an extremely, extremely rare moment of clarity, say you can deduct capitalized interest.  They actually use it as an example.  Again, extremely, extremely rare for the IRS to be so clear.  My former lender does not believe capitalized interest qualifies for the deduction, consequently they do not include those amounts on whatever form it is they have to provide you with.  This can be thousands of dollars of interest that you are not considering in calculating the deduction.  I read the pamphlet on the topic, realized the error, and amended three prior years of tax returns.  I think I got back about $1,000 as a result.  Then I got audited, along with one of those bills for additional tax due plus a couple zillion percent interest tacked on top.  I sent the IRS a letter saying "Your regs say I can do this.  Here is where they say that.  Please make your bill with its absurd rate of interest go away.  Thank you."

I learned a long time ago that I had to stand up for myself or nobody else would.  The IRS sent a nice, short letter back saying that I was correct and that they would go away.  Reading between the lines, the letter was more of a "Thank you for not using profanity, anthrax, feces, and/or crayon in your response to us.  We truly appreciate it."  They may have not even checked to see if I was correct in my argument.

So, long story long, I'm having a good day.  I think the only other profession that this really translates to is medicine. You figure out or cure the ailment when no one else can, a la House.  In the business world, maybe it's akin to catching an error that would have cost your company a whole lot of money or even embarrasment.  That happens in law too; I remember a legal secretary in my old firm caught an error -- challenging a paralegal who was convinced the legal secretary was wrong, which is a huge no-no in the legal field -- that had it not been caught would have cost the firm nearly half a million in legal fees.  She was a total rock star.

Gosh, this kind of makes law sound like fun.  Okay, fine, maybe it kind of is.  At least how I do it.  I know a lot of lawyers who bemoan that they aren't able to use their creative side in this field.  I disagree.  Law gives me complete freedom to be as creative as I want, to say anything and do anything I can come up with. 

As long as I sound good doing it.  Almost like this blog.  :)

the CilleyGirl

*Trick question; there is none.  We all adhere to the United States Constitution as the supreme law of the land because -- get this -- we all say it is.  Nothing says we have to.  We just do it.  Blows your mind, yeah?  Took me six weeks of Constitutional Law to figure it out and I was the first one in the class to get it.  Because I am awesome.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A spanner in the works

A few things have popped up, leading me to postpone starting the exercise part of The Plan for a couple of weeks. 

First, I'm sick.  Not in that beautiful, twisted, cilley way you've all come to know and love.  Or rather, not just in that way.  No, I'm getting a cold and I'm miserable.  I'm almost always stuffed up so that's not such a big deal, but I've also got a slight temperature, a raging sinus headache, a sore throat, and to complete the picture the overall body aches started this morning.  Add in the TOM cramps on top of it all and I am not a happy camper. 

Second, my quads are still reminding me I ran a marathon two weeks ago.  They are doing this by feeling about four inches shorter than they should be.  I'm not sure if this is a direct consequence of the marathon or if it is being caused by my back and hip issues (which I still have), or a combination of the two.  Regardless of why, the result is that I can't run like a normal person to save my life.  Seriously, if a rampaging bear had come out of the woods yesterday during my run, I'd be toast.  Although actually, I can't really walk properly either.  It's like my legs just won't bend properly.  I was supposed to do my easy two mile run yesterday at 12:28.  I barely managed 13:50.  This is slow even for me.   When I do quad stretches, I get a gentle pull but nothing that reflects how tight they feel when I try to run.  I'm going to keep on stretching and go see the chiropractor yet again this week. 

Once I get on top of this sickness stuff -- since I want to get over it as quickly as possible -- I will also keep doing short easy runs.  I won't focus on pace or anything, just on getting my legs to work properly again.  They do start to feel better after about two miles, which didn't help me in a two mile run, but at least they do get better.  Given that I was beyond a complete novice going into the marathon, I should have expected taking longer to recover.  The chiropractor should help as well. 

In other news, I'm down another 0.2 lbs from yesterday.  I'm fairly certain my scale is just fucking with me at this point.  They're like that, you know.  At least with not feeling well, it's easier to stick to my diet because all food sounds pretty blah at this point.  So, yay?

the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A story of de'feet

Not my de'feet, thankfully.  Everything is going well on The Plan, but since I am running after work today there's not much to report.  Although remember how yesterday I pretended to quit because I hadn't lost a single solitary ounce after half a day on The Plan?   Not sure if I mentioned that yesterday I logged my highest weight in about two years, but this morning I got on the scale out of curiosity and I've lost 2.8 lbs.  Since yesterday.  I know that either yesterday or today was an anomaly and that I haven't really gained or lost that much since yesterday (since I'm not a Biggest Loser contestant or anything), but I still find it amusing.  And if I haven't lost another 2.8 lbs by tomorrow, I'm quitting!!

Anyhow, back to de'feet.  Since I have little to report on The Plan other than an incredibly boring recitation of what I ate yesterday and how many calories that was and what percentage of carbs and protein and fat, I thought instead I would tell a story.  That's how much I care.

A few years ago, my stepdad broke both his legs.  Funny, yeah?  Well, maybe just funny to us because it's kind of par for the course in our family.  Right up there with "remember the time grandpa was using a chainsaw in a windstorm and he almost cut his own head off?  No, not the time he was using a chainsaw in a windstorm and almost cut his own leg off, the other time."  I'm not making any of those up either.  Okay, back to the story. 

It was a few days before his and my mom's birthday -- they're born on the same day, but several years apart.  It was a milestone-type birthday for one of them, 55 or 65, something like that, so they were planning to have a big BBQ that weekend.  I was trying to figure out if I could swing a trip up there for it (it's a five hour plus drive, not fun for just a weekend trip). 

So, on a Tuesday I think, my mom was in the house canning and my stepdad was out in the barn hauling stuff up to the loft because they were having a BBQ and wanted to clean house.  At this point in time -- and this is crucial to this part of the story -- there were no stairs up to the loft.  To get up to the loft, you had to climb to the top of a twelve foot ladder.  Not just up to the top, but stand on the top rung top of the ladder.  Can you see where this is going?  I thought so.  Usually when doing something potentially dangerous my parents work together, but there was some timeline factoring in to the canning so he was out in the barn by himself.  Without carrying one of the walkie-talkies I bought them years ago just for this reason, but we'll overlook that. 

He gets up to the top of the ladder and it wobbles.  He slips.  He slides down the ladder.  Not like wheeeee!!! on your butt, let's go again that was fun, slide down the ladder.  This was slide down the ladder, scrape all the skin off your shins on the way down.  Which he did.  However, that was actually a good thing because if he had fallen off the ladder, he would have impaled himself on the John Deere tractor that was parked underneath the loft.  We like to make things challenging in our family. 

He slides down the ladder and hits the concrete with both feet.  Breaking one of his shin bones (I forget which) and his heel bone in one leg, and then shattering his ankle in the other leg.   Because when we do something, we do it in a big way. 

So there he is, on the floor of the barn, two broken legs (although he doesn't know they're atually broken but he can't put weight on one leg for certain).  He now has to crawl 30 feet or so across the barn floor -- concrete, not sure if wood planks would have been better for any of this -- to get to the door of the barn so that he can try to get my mom's attention.  Luckily for him, not only does the kitchen window face the barn door but my mom is in the kitchen at the time.  She manages to get him another 20 feet or so across the gravel driveway and up into their SUV; my mom is about 5'4", my stepdad is at least six feet and around 250 lbs.  Off they go to the ER, 40 minutes away.

This is when I get a call, my mom telling me he's fallen off the ladder in the barn.  My first thoughts are, he had another heart attack and that's why he fell, or he broke his back when he fell (which happened to a neighbor of ours back in Issaquah).  Luckily no, just maybe a broken leg.  You think?  Long story long, he gets a cast on one leg, an airboot on the other, and something like 26 pins in his ankle.  He has to travel with an MRI scan of the pins so they can match them up and confirm there's no 27th pin as a bomb.  He wasn't very diligent with the rehab on his ankle so he walks kind of stiff now.

Now, I told you this story to tell you this one.  Over the past couple of months, his foot has been bothering him, the one where he shattered his ankle and has all those pins in it.  Being that he is a man, my mom had to push him into going to the doctor to see what was going on.  They figured it was a problem stemming from his ankle.  Turns out, he has a piece of metal in his heel.  Not from the ankle pins; from walking around barefoot in the garage and stepping on a piece of metal.  Because he has lizard feet like most men do, he never noticed he'd stepped on something until it worked its way about a half an inch into his foot and was pressing against his heel bone, causing the pain.  He had foot surgery last week and they pulled out a half inch long piece of wire.  I know, because my mom made them save it so she could see what the hell was in his foot.

Moral of the story?  First and foremost, the weirdest stuff amuses me.  After I got over the concern of he hadn't had a heart attack or was going to die or be paralyzed, I thought it was funny as hell.  Only he would manage to fall down a twelve foot ladder and break both his legs.  Actually, it was more like only he would think it was a good idea to climb to the very top of a twelve foot ladder, next to a big ass tractor.  He'd made me go up there several times, and that was before the loft even had a floor.  (And I'm deathly phobic about heights.)  Poetic justice, as far as I was concerned.  The loft now has stairs, by the way. 

Second, always do stupid stuff with a buddy.  Or the walkie talkies your daughter oh so thoughtfully bought you years ago because you think it's a good idea to climb to the very top of a twelve foot ladder. 

Third, pedicures are important, and they're not just for women.  Take care of your feet!  And while you're at it, trim those nasty long toenails.  The latter is just my pet peeve, but really.  They're gross.  This is why runners lose toenails, you know.

Fourth, do I need to come up with better stories?  I got a lot of them.  Besides the chainsaw in a windstorm incidents, there's the time the wheel came off our SUV.  As we were going 60 mph.  Or the time he got so annoyed that a sticking car door wouldn't open that he ripped the handle right off the inside.  That was a few seconds before one of us pointed out that the door was locked at the time.  Ah yes.  My childhood.  It's full of beautiful memories.

And this is cheaper than therapy.

the CilleyGirl

Monday, May 17, 2010

Week 1, Day 1 of The Plan

Well, I've been on The Plan now for half of the day and I'm at about 822 calories for the day.  I haven't lost a single, solitary, measly ounce yet.  This plan sucks!  That's it!!  I quit!!!  If you need me, I'll be over here, up to my ears in the sushi trough.

Yeah.  Just kidding.

But isn't that how we all tend to feel on the first day of a new plan?  "Look at how well I'm doing, this is so easy, I must have lost weight already!"  And then you get on the scale.  And then you throw the scale out the window.  Where it smashes into the head of the most recent Jenny Craig spokesperson, killing her instantly. 

Okay.  Just kidding there too.

I did The Plan shopping yesterday and did so well I forgot to get the Reese's peanut butter cup I had intended to get.  I was going to eat that last night before The Plan started, but now (since it's TOM) I may have to budget one in for later this week anyhow.   My main challenge in shopping was trying to figure out my lunches.  I'm a little tired of deli meat sandwiches, and was into the PB&J I had last week.  But I didn't want to temp fate by doing PB&Js so early in The Plan.  I tend to put large quantities of peanut butter in my sandwiches and I'd rather not have an 800 calorie sandwich right now, thank you very much.   I thought about doing frozen lunches supplemented with veggies and fruit but those tend to have such high sodium for so few calories.  High sodium is also the danger with deli meats, particularly when I often opt for the pig.

I decided to splurge on a real turkey breast.  At least, at $15.00 it felt like a splurge compared to the $3.99 to $8.99 for which I could have gotten a pound of deli meat.   I did absolutely nothing to that sucker before popping it into the oven -- no spices, no oil on the skin, nada.  I found out a few hours later that not putting oil on the skin is a fabulous idea if you are prone to eating poultry skin, because this stuff came out like rawhide.  I was not tempted to nibble on the skin in the slightest as I ruthlessly stripped it off and stuff it down the garbage disposal.  I don't think even the garbage disposal liked it.

After suffering through my hacking at it with a knife (I'm usually much better at carving than this, don't know what was up with that), I had over two pounds of premium, hand-carved, juicy turkey breast.  My sandwich today was very tasty, and the meat clocked in at around 119 calories.  If I get tired of turkey sandwiches, I can use the meat in a salad or a wrap or just as it is with some mashed potatos and veggies. 

Overall The Plan is so far, so good.   I actually ate some breakfast at breakfast time and then had a pre-lunch snack before lunch.  I've got a pre-dinner snack ready to go and then it's home for dinner.

I lead such an exciting life, yes?

the CilleyGirl

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Because I am a (realistic) wuss, I have updated The Plan

Since my 5K didn't go as spectacularly as I had planned or hoped, I thought perhaps I should re-evaluate the first week of training of The Plan.  My goal is to do better than The Plan, but to add a touch of realism in there so that I'm not setting myself up to fail.  It also keeps the overall goal of running my league's Fall Finale 5K (on October 2) in under 30 minutes. 

Here is the revised Week 1 of The Plan

Monday:  Rest. I am just that ambitious.

Tuesday:  Easy run, two miles at 12:28 minutes/mile.

Wednesday:  Weights (lower body).

Thursday:  Speedwork, five miles with warmup and cooldown, 3x800 in 4:51 with 400 jogs.  (I have until Thursday to figure out exactly what that means.)

Friday:  Weights (upper body).

Saturday:  Rest.

Sunday:  Long run, six miles at 12:28 minutes/mile.

I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can.
the CilleyGirl

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friar Trot 5K

This was my first time running after the marathon, and I was optimistic about how I'd do.  This was also the first time out with my new Garmin (now dubbed "Butters", after the Harry Dresden character for whom polka will never die).  I had programmed it for a 5K PR (I was very optimistic), but that dream got smashed after a string of SNAFUs.

I don't know what I was thinking when I set my alarm the night before, but it was set for about ten minutes before I had planned to leave for the race.  Despite that, I didn't feel rushed and managed to get out the door at ten minutes past seven.  The drive down to Sherwood went quickly and so by 7:30 I was parking my car in a big field near the school.

Note #1 to the race organizers:  While I appreciated the plentiful close-by parking, that field was an ankle-breaking nightmare.  Also not so much fun for those of us who have both skin and nasal allergies with grass.   I notices problems with my breathing after each of the trips I made to and from my car.

I fumbled on my race bib -- after what, 30 races I still can't manage to pin a bib on decently? -- turned on Butters and followed the pack towards the race.  I felt great as I hit a short line to the potty (indoor plumbing even, they opened the school us for us), said hi to Alan at the NW Running League table and put in my league raffle ticket entry, and stretched out.

Then they announced that due to overwhelming participation in the race, the race start would be delayed 20 minutes.  As all of the proceeds were going to building their new gymnasium, I was glad that they were doing well but the delay meant I was standing around for nearly an hour waiting to run.  Which resulted in a very stiff low back and legs and an increasing need to make a return trip to the potty by the time the race started.  The horn sounded and we were off.

And then we weren't. 

Note #2 to the race organizers:  In a race where you have a very high percentage of walkers, most of whom have never been in a race before, please please please emphasize in the race packets and the pre-race announcements that walkers need to go to the back of the pack at the starting line and that they should stay to the far right or the far left. 

As the horn sounded, the first 20 or 30 runners (those who expected to place) made it off no problem.  The rest of us?  Got to walk SLOWLY and nose to nose with our fellow races as the area they had us waiting at the start was huge whereas the starting line was corraled off and about only 15 feet wide.  Now, since this was chip timed that wasn't such a big deal.  BUT, this logjam continued for a good quarter mile as the narrow course continued through a short green space.  So not only a whole lot of people trying to make their way through a 12-15 feet wide path, it was also uneven with a lot of holes so you had to watch our foot not only to make sure you didn't trip on the ground but that you didn't trip over another racer.  Who as far as I could tell were all walkers and all walking next to each other down the middle of the path.  Single file people!

It is a good thing for everyone that one of those SUV jogging strollers wasn't near me on this path. 

Can you tell I've got a raging case of PMS today?

Anyhow, I finally made it to daylight and more room on the course where I noticed just how stiff my legs and back had gotten during the long wait.  No matter how much I tried, I couldn't get my pace below 13:36.  My mental strength just went at this point.  I started to walk and figured that was it for me.  Yet after about 20 seconds of that, some hidden part of me went "What the hell?  You did 26.2 miles at only a minute slower than 13:36.  So what if we can't go faster.  Start running!"  And so I did. 

I haven't figured out much about my Garmin yet, so my screen showed only how far I had to go and my overall pace.  I really liked both of those, although I want to add what my current pace is to that.  Anyhow, as I watched my overall pace slowly tick upwards, I knew that after doing a whole freaking marathon I didn't want it to keep doing that.  As my legs worked out their kinks, I slowly started to get faster.  Not dramatically, but second by second my pace started to creep downwards.  I wanted to get under a 14:00 minute mile, and I was on track to do so.  My legs finally started to feel good by mile two and I picked up several seconds on a short downhill into a park. 

Then I came to a short but steep hill out of the park, just after the water station, and I lost a lot of what I'd gained.   Grrr.  But I kept on, and slowly the seconds ticked back down again.  I ran past a funeral home in downtown Sherwood and thought, how appropriate.  As I approached the school, I was at 14:03.  I had some kick left but as I crossed the finish Butters said I was at 14:01.  Darn.

Yet Butters also said I was at only 3.04 miles.  Official chip time has me at 0:42:09 and an average pace of 13:34.  Given the frustrations of the bottleneck at the start and my uncooperative legs, I'll take it.

Overall, I'd definitely do this race again.  The shirts, while cotton, are really nice in a great dark blue slate color with the cute friar logo (the logo is cute, the friar is just meh).  The entry free included the shirt plus a raffle ticket and a beer.  I didn't feel much like beer that early in the morning, although it looked great -- Cascade Brewing, some sort of raspberry beer -- and they raffled off something like 30 items.  I didn't win anything, boo.  This raffle was part of the race itself; the league had six items, which I also didn't win.  Sponsors included Carl's Jr. which brought some fabulous and huge chocolate chip cookies and these little chocolate cakes with white icing.  And they had tons of them; after three hours they were still putting out more.  The race folks had mini bagels with packs of real cream cheese, and you could also buy brats (which smelled fabulous, but I was $1 short).  The course was almost entirely flat and mostly residential.  My only complaint was the race delay, which they said was the first time they'd ever not started on time, and the jam up at the beginning.

Oops, I almost forgot.  Bushwalla was to play the after race party, and due to some race result issues he ended up playing several songs while I was still there.  Not sure if I've ever heard him before, but I liked the music.  He also has a talent for balloon animals, so he had some great banter and made balloon animals for the kids.  He also had a bunch of hula hoops that people could use while he was playing.  I was impressed.

Hope you are all having a great weekend, and in the case of the PacNW enjoying the beautiful weather!

the CilleyGirl

Friday, May 14, 2010

More on the plan, part something-or-rather

It is supposed to be bee-yoo-tee-full here in CilleyLand this weekend, and I'm doing a 5K race tomorrow morning, so I probably won't be on the computer much between now and Monday.  And since the plan (henceforth The Plan) begins on Monday, I realized I should probably write something about the exercise part of The Plan

I found this groovy little Smart Coach thing over at Runner's World, right on their front page.  It has you input a recent race time (5K, 10K, half or marathon), the distance you are training for (5K up to a marathon), how many miles a week you train, and how hard you want to train.  Then it spits out a a training plan where you can change up a few things (your long run day, the day your plan starts, and the length of your training schedule; I chose Sunday, May 10, and 16 weeks).  Your plan has rest days, easy run days, speedwork and tempo days, and then a long run. 

I'm not clear on what the plan is supposed to do right off the bat.  Let me explain.  I put in my recent 5K PR (0:37:09) and that I was training for a 5K.  It came out with really slow (even to my mind) paces for all the run runs; even the speedwork seemed kind of slow.  On race day, in 16 weeks, I would better my 5K PR by just over a minute. 

Yeah, that seems like a lot for only a minute. 

So back I went to the Smart Coach and started playing around with the numbers.  When I entered in all of my own times for the 5K, 10K, half and marathon, the resulting workout either came up too slow or, in a few instances, too fast.  I finally just picked a number, kind of a "this is what I'd like to run a 10K in" and ended up with something that looks doable.  The easy and long runs are just a few seconds faster per mile than where I am now.  The tempo runs are about a minute and a half faster per mile and the speedwork is about two minutes faster so that should be interesting.  The mileage per week doesn't really kick up until after my big July 1 work deadline is over so that's good.  And at the end of it?  On race day I should be just under nine minutes per mile. 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Sorry, let me catch my breath there.  Seriously, though, it is an interesting proposition and one I am willing to work towards.  I may die trying, but I'll give it a shot.

I still haven't definitively settled on what my cross training and rest days will be, but I think Week 1 of The Plan is going to look like this:

Monday:  Rest.  I don't want to jump right into things or anything.
Tuesday:  Easy run, two miles at 11:37 minutes/mile.
Wednesday:  Weights (lower body).
Thursday:  Speedwork, five miles with warmup and cooldown, 3x800 in 4:28 with 400 jogs.
Friday:  Weights (upper body).
Saturday:  Rest.
Sunday:  Long run, six miles at 11:37 minutes/mile.

Kind of ambitious, considering my marathon taper became a super-taper thanks to back and hip issues.  I'm going to see how Week 1 goes -- particularly with the weights bracketing the speedwork days -- and tweak The Plan from there if needed. 

Here's hoping you have a lovely weekend!

the CilleyGirl

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Motivation? I got your motivation right here!

Yesterday I was really really bored busy at work and needed to goof off for a long while a quick break.  After racking my brain for all of half a second, I went to StumbleUpon to see what they would offer me.  Rather quickly the parade of pages came to this:

These are comparative body scans of a woman at 250 lbs and a woman at 120 lbs.  I didn't note where the picture was; the only thing on the page besides the picture and a sentence to the effect of "these are the comparative..." were a bunch of mean, horrid, obnoxious comments.  Along the lines of "some people are disgusting pigs that shouldn't be allowed to live" and "disgusting poop in the fat one's colon, we should kill fat people."  Since I couldn't hunt down all of those idiots (and eat them), I choose to now ignore their existence completely. 

But the picture is worth posting.  It sure had an impact on me.  Even the brains look different.  That could have another source, I know, but still.  It's also going on my fridge in glorious living color.  To help me be strong against things like chinese food.

Guess what I had for my last hurrah dinner last night.  Did you say chinese food?  Good guess! 

I wanted to address a recent comment, to explain my four month plan thinking a little more.  I'm not saying goodbye to never eating anything but rabbit food for the next four months.  I'm doing it as a way not to eat it by myself for the next four months.  For starters, I like maybe five vegetables so I would suffer from malnutrition pretty quickly if I did that.  But more importantly, some foods are to me like alcohol is to alcoholics.  I can't be trusted to order a nice, sensible meal when I'm by myself.  Look at my regular Arby's order:  two sandwiches, a large fry, usually a large chocolate milkshake AND mozzarella sticks, most of that smothered in Arby's sauce.  Doesn't matter what I swear I will order, this is what I end up doing.  Same with sushi.  My two friends and I go out for sushi and it's maybe $40 for the three of us.  I go to the same restaurant for takeout and spend $25 just for me.   The difference?  I'm embarrassed to eat like that in front of my friends.  It was also embarrassing when the sushi guys started putting only one set of chopsticks in the takeout bag.  Yet that wasn't enough to stop me.  I'm like the sushi godzilla. 

So my plan is not to limit what I can have (beyond not going on the "all chocolate, all the time" diet) per se, but to give up certain bad-for-me habits and to implement certain new ones with the idea that it will only be for four months.  Now, it won't be for only four months -- but shhhhh don't tell my brain that.  That's just going to be the trick I use to get myself through the month.  Or week.  Or day.  Or hour.  Or minute.  And if I slip up?  I'll start back up again with my healthy eating and living in the very next second. 

Part of this will also be breaking things down even further.  As I said before, I'm not quite ready to squarely face the fact that this will be changes I am making for the rest of my life.  That seems like much too long.  Four months is better.  Some times it will simply be "See if you still want it in an hour."  Or in the next five minutes.  I think the underlying theme of any weight loss success is to take it one ______ at a time, whether that is counted in seconds or days or whatever.

The body scan picture did kind of take the fun out of my last hurrahs.  Also, I got my new Garmin 305 last night.  Yay!!!  As I was waiting for it to get its first charge, I read the little manual.  Ha!  This thing can do so much, I was starting to think it might do the dishes or maybe my taxes.  Alas, no.  At least on the dishes.  I'll have to wait until next year to see about the taxes.  I plan to take it for a test run (ba dump bump) on Saturday's Friar Trot 5K.   Today I feel infinitely better physically than I have since my marathon.  Yesterday I could barely get out of my office chair, my back was so sore.  Today, while I'm not yet springing cartwheels (I'd probably kick something and break my ankle snerk), I can stand up without having to use my arms on my desk (good thing it's a sturdy desk) to do so.  I'd love to PR again at this race.  We'll see!

the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Working on the plan

Even my horoscope is supporting me in this:

On Monday, May 10:
It's an excellent time to take stock of your health. You may want to check in with the doctor, start a food diary or just commit yourself to a more positive course of action. All should go well.
On Tuesday, May 11:
Exercise is on your mind in one way or another -- maybe it's just all the new spring runners or gym-goers prodding you, or maybe it's something deeper. In any case, better health is yours if you want it.
So that's kind of nice, yeah?

I pulled my bodybugg stats last night to start getting an idea of the calories I burn and therefore the calorie goal I would need to set in order to lose, say, a pound a week.  The average calories burned for the past month was around 2,380.  That sounded pretty good and right about where I thought I was, until I realized that in those 30 days would be the marathon and a couple of long runs which I would expect might skew things a tad.  I also took a few days off from wearing the bodybugg in there as well. 

But I need a place to start from, and this is as good a place as any.  Plus an 1,800 calorie goal doesn't freak me out, not like a 1,500 calorie goal would.  I can always adjust it as necessary, with the help of the bodybugg and, you know, the scale.

I had a bit of a last sushi hurrah last night.  My fabulous friend the Radioactive Girl suggested I get a raging case of depression to help with my weight loss goals, but that won't work for me.  I usually eat more when I'm depressed, seeking that "If I can't be happy, at least I can be happy in my mouth" kind of moment.  Which sounds way dirtier than I meant it to be (which was, not at all).  What can I say, the RG is a bad influence on me.  And I'm okay with that.

Anyhow, back to the sushi.  I've always found it difficult, and majorly depressing, to face the fact that these changes will be for the rest of my life.  I know they will be, and I accept that, but I'd rather it be a secret from my brain.  Otherwise I get depressed and then I eat, and you see where this is going, right?  So I try to phrase it more in terms of "Hey, it's only for four months!  I can do that!"  (And it may even be only for three months, I keep forgetting to check how long this next training program is.)  I also know that it's not the last time I'm going to have sushi in the next four months, because snerk I'm a realist and I loves da sushi.  But it will be the last time for the next four months that I get sushi takeout.  As I tend to go just a smidge overboard (get it?  sushi - overboard?  aren't I so funny?) with the sushi.  Urp.

Which reminds me.  Have you heard of this paleo diet?  A friend of mine is doing it, so I looked up a bit of info on it.  It sounds a lot like the blood type diet for blood type O, which I am.  If you find me bleeding to death, feel free to take all my blood as I am the universal donor and if I'm bleeding to death I won't be needing my blood any longer.  I wondered how what is in essence a high protein diet would work for runners; I found that there is a "paleo diet for athletes" book so I ordered it through the library.  Guess we'll see. 

I also just had my last iced shortbread cookie for the next four months.  Pretty sure that falls under a hunter-gatherer diet, right?

Among other changes I will be making for the next four months, diet-wise, are no fast food except for Taco Bell after the gym; eating breakfast at breakfast time; taking my daily vitamins; more fruits and veggies; and more fish.  Tater tots and fish sticks should probably go by the wayside there too.  I will attempt to limit my diet soda intake to two a day, but realistically I know that won't be very possible between now and July 1, our second biggest work deadline.  This is probably my last weekend of not working until then, except for the four day weekend I'm taking to go visit my best friend Lisa for her 40th birthday next month.  And looking at the upcoming calendar, I may put in a few hours this weekend as it is. 

I'll be summing up the next four month plan in an upcoming post, but for now that's what I got.  What do you think?

the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vat do you vant??

I ask this question rather frequently.  And in exactly that accent.  Most often, I am asking it of my dog, Cute But Stupid, as she is dashing back and forth from me to the kitchen.  "Vat do you vant?"  I like to test the theory of "dogs don't know what you're saying, it's just the tone of your voice" with CBS.  "Vat do you vant?  Do you want your head shaved?  Feet trimmed?  Go outside?  Are you hungry?"  And then I go with whatever question she dashes away from me on.  (It's typically the last two, in case you were wondering.  She's not that stupid.  Close, but not quite.  My friend's collie could distinguish between words that rhymed -- like he knew "slide" and "ride" were not the same -- so maybe I've set the bar a bit high.  Then again, maybe not.)

But lately I ask this question of myself:  "Self*, vat do you vant?"  Because I need to shit or get off the pot in terms of my health.  The knee-jerk reaction, the one most everyone gives when asked vat they vant, is to lose weight.   Even Kate Moss wants to lose weight.  Maybe she only thinks her kneecaps are fat, but there is something somewhere on that woman's body that she feels has the chub. 

Many of you may be saying to yourself, "Self, I only vant to be healthy" and that's okay.  That's kind of the PC answer, isn't it?  Kate Moss just vants to be healthy too, but what she really means -- what we all tend to mean -- is that she vants to be healthy and if that means she has to lose weight in the ol' knees, so be it.   That's my answer, too.  Not the kneecaps thing, although I do have the knee chub, but that I vant to be healthy and that means I need to lose about 60 pounds so that I can get rid of my hypertension, and if it really means that I get slim enough to wear these awesome, sexy clothes in which other people (particularly members of the opposite sex) find me awesome and sexy, well, I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and adjust. 

But what I really vant is to lose 60 pounds with no effort whatsoever on my part.  And short of a tapeworm -- which would require my participation in some way, shape or form to get the tapeworm -- that's just not going to happen.  No matter how much I close my eyes and wish upon a star and click my heels together and capture leprechauns to run them through a laundry press so that I can get squeeze every drop of luck out of the wee green bastards... Oh, is that last one just me?  Forget I said anything then.

So, not going to happen.  I have to actually put some work into it.  It's so unfair.

First, I need a plan.  That's kind of the easy part.  Sticking to the plan, that's the tough one.  What I need is something that sums up why I want to lose weight and get healthy more than I want to, say, go to Arby's.  Or not keep my portion sizes reasonable.  Or eradicate every fruit and vegetable from my home for weeks at a time. 

What do you do?  Do you have a mental picture in your head -- what is it?  Do you snap a rubberband on your wrist -- bad kitty!  Do you have a trigger phrase -- like "size six will mean more dicks"?  Maybe I can use "Polka will never die" in my weight loss efforts.  So far, that's the only mantra that has worked for me.  Although the "size six" thing is kind of catchy.  Hmmm...
  • "Size twelve, stop eating elves."
  • "Size ten, good way to begin."
  • "Size eight, keep losing that weight."
Naw, just not as good as the naughty one.  And what isn't, really? 

Well, I'll keep working on my plan and I will share it with you all.  Such is the power of the blogmistress -- muwahahahahahaha!!  I'm trying to incorporate some of my tech toys (not like that, dirty!) into this as well, particularly on calories since the regular formulas never seem to work well for me.  Then I have to shop and eat and run and sleep.  Hey, on Ambien I can do all of those at the same time! 

the CilleyGirl

*My grandpa, before he started to slip away a bit from us all, said this all the time.  "I said to myself, I said Self, it's time you do this."  He's still doing pretty well (early onset Alzheimer's), but he's just not quite the same anymore and it's sad.  So I'll do all the cool grandpa things for him.

Friday, May 7, 2010

This weekend is brought to you by the letter "S" and the number 305.

On my agenda:  Sleep, sauna, stretching, snuggles.  Probably sgrocery shopping, stelevision, and slaundry.  And perhaps even shopping shopping, which is where you all come in.

The next exciting adventure I am contemplating would involve tempo runs and speedwork.  I currently have a Nike+iPod.  I think I can swing that for tempo runs (just run faster and check my pace a lot), but I'm not sure how to effectively do speedwork without something like a Garmin.  Something that will give me real time feedback as to whether I'm meeting the pace I'm supposed to be meeting, that kind of thing.

So, my questions to you are: 
  • Should I get something like a Garmin? 
  • Will it do what I want it to do -- i.e., I can put in I want to do 400 meters at a 4:00 minute pace and it will yell at me to speed up or slow down, all the while registering how far I've gone overall through several rounds of this?
  • Should I get a Garmin specifically?
  • What make/model, accessories, yadda yadda yadda should I get?
  • Do these things work indoors? 
  • Do I need to spend another chunk of money to get a foodpod that will allow it to work indoors?
  • Any one have big breasts and wear a heart rate monitor?
  • How do those two (three?) all get along?
  • Suggestions on where to buy from?
  • Anyone traded up recently who wants to sell their old Garmin or Garmin-like device?
You can see why I need you.

My penguin impression has gotten better (or worse, depending on your perspective) so I'm off to the chiropractor to get all pretzeled up.  Then I'm off to home for two days of hopefully very little being asked of me.  And lots and lots of rest with a dog who smiles in her sleep. 

the CilleyGirl

Thursday, May 6, 2010

March of the Penguin (May of the Penguin?)

I might be quiet around here for a few days.... still in that post-marathon recovery where I'd really like to sleep all the time instead of, you know, work.  Then again, that's really not all that different from any other time.  Hmmm.

Seriously though, couple of things going on.  My hip and low back are debating whether or not to abscond completely.  It's not bad enough yet for John Wayne, but in the interim I do a fabulous impression of an Emperor Penguin.  To the point that I fully expect Morgan Freeman to start narrating my walks down the hallway.  Even my friend's husband noticed last night; his exact words were, "You're kind of waddling."

The other thing is that my quest to live a little less of the pharmaceutical life is off to an auspicious start as my doctor put me on a third (gack!) blood pressure med.  I reminded her my goal was to get off the damn things altogether, but she reminded me that being in good enough shape to complete a marathon without physical injury yet still having high blood pressure readings was not a good thing.  (I think I was about 126/89 for those who must know -- it's that second number that really needs to get down.)  The pharmacist warned me that most people feel sleepy for the first few days as they adjust to this particular kind of BP med, and he was right.  I'm ready to take a header into my keyboard. 

I did read through the prescription info/warning stuff like a good weeble, and learned that this one "may increase your ability to exercise."  So that's good.  The dizziness/lightheadedness, not so good but I can handle that.  My favorite side effect of this -- the medication to lower your blood pressure -- is low blood pressure.  Say it isn't so!  Yeah, yeah, I know what they mean.  I had an interesting episode of low blood pressure when I was forced to go to the ER last year for possible appendicitis.  I say forced because I knew it was related to somewhat mundane female stuff and my doctor's nurse gave me the option of going to the ER on my own to get checked out or she would send an ambulance for me.  She probably would have called my mother too.  Nice that people are so concerned, I guess, but this was first thing in the morning and after a few hours of not being allowed to eat or drink anything I got dehydrated and lightheaded and then my blood pressure tanked as they were trying to discharge me.  Then I got to spend another several hours in the ER being pumped full of fluids and eating vending machine sandwiches as they waited for my blood pressure to come back up.  I did learn that if you tap your finger just right with one of those pulse monitors on it that you can make cool patterns print out on the machines.  Good times.

I'm still plotting through my next fitness adventure.  I think I've got a plan in place but I haven't worked out (well, even thought about) the food part of all so once I get something more comprehensive going on I'll talk about it here, get some input and pointers.  I did get signed up for my next race, a 5K on May 15 that is one of my running league races.  It's called The Friar Trot; rumor has it there are actual friars involved.  I love my life.

It's almost time to blow this popsicle stand.  Tomorrow is Friday!  Yay!  I promised my dog a whole day of snuggling this weekend.  Everyone knows you can't let a setter down.

the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Doing the splits!

Not the actual, physical kind of splits, although I was just talking about that with my coworkers on Monday.  Maybe that should be my next goal, be able to do the splits by age 50.  Or maybe not.

My coworker printed out my splits page from the marathon site, all with a smiley face and everything.  Here's how I did throughout the race.

I am in the 35 to 39 division, and came in 178 out of 180.  Not last! 

Out of 1,081 females I was 1,057.  Again, not last!

There were 2,333 finishers; I was 2,296 overall.  Thirty-seven whole people finished after me. 

My 10K (6.2 miles) split was 1:27:11.  I was a little disappointed in that until I did the math more closely.  I average around 40 minutes for a 5K, so 1:20 would be good for 10K.  I walked through the water stations and had at least one bathroom stop in the first 10K.  Overall, I think 1:27:11 was pretty good, considering I've still got 30K more to go.

My half split was 3:04:41, which was almost exactly what I did at Race for the Roses.  Again, walking through water and banana stops, two bathroom breaks by that point.  I remember the big hill at Eugene and that I ran up it at a good clip.  It must be on the down side of that hill where I logged my fastest mile time, just under an eight minute mile.  That was probably only for about 30 seconds, but still:  eight minute mile!

At 30K (18.64 miles) I was at 4:38:48.  This is where I started to dream that I could finish in under six hours.  I believed until mile 23, where I realized under six hours wasn't going to be possible, although I still hoped for 6:10, maybe 6:15. 

My last 12K (7.46 miles) took 1:47:55.  Again, I was disappointed in this until I did the math.  I'm at an 11:00 minute mile on a good day, all fresh legs and body and whatever.  The last 12K was 2.46 miles longer than the first 10K and took 20 minutes more.  That's pretty good, considering it was at the END OF THE MARATHON. 

Final official time was 6:26:43.  Average time for everyone else was 4:10:29.  I'm good with that.

By the way, I didn't mean to sound all bitter about how the race shut down earlier, etc.  I am bitter, but I didn't mean to sound that way ;)  But seriously, while I find it disappointing that that happens, I am not going to let it take away from what I accomplished.  I am a marathoner!!  Polka will never die!!

And in another by the way, the fact that I can keep going at a fairly consistent pace for over six hours has made me wonder if perhaps I might be better suited for another type of race.

You know, like an ultra.


the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eugene Marathon 2010: Race recap, part 2

And now we're on to.....


Warning:  This is long.

As I said in part 1 of the recap, I had nine hours in which to sleep before we had to get up to head back into Eugene for the race.  This was important because of the Ambien I took:  "Do not take Ambien unless you can devote a full eight hours to sleep."  And they are really, truly not kidding.  Because.....  I found out after the race that I was not truly awake until somewhere around maybe mile five of the race.

After the race, my mom and I were talking about the shuttle buses they had.  There was some sort of miscommunication between the race people and the bus drivers, and the bus drivers weren't going to let non-racers on the buses at all -- they were supposed to be for racers only until 9:30 and then open to racers and spectators after that until 3:30.  So somehow we get on the topic of how they're the yellow school buses and I say something like, oh I haven't been on a bus like that in years.  And my mom says, well except for the shuttle bus you took this morning.  And I answer, what shuttle bus?  Turns out I have almost no recollection whatsoever of leaving the hotel and driving to the Hilton, of my mom getting me onto the shuttle bus, of my getting to the race, none of it.  I only know from Tall Mom's race report that they did the national anthem before the start.  I only know from seeing it on the news that there was an actual starter gun that went off at the start.  I was still sleeping.

Moral of the story:  I need less pharmaceuticals in my life.

I do remember looking at the start for Tall Mom and Ann-Marie, but since I was asleep I'm thinking that left my observational skills less than sharp.  I did get interviewed by the news for about five minutes, although I couldn't really tell you at all what I said.  At least, I think it was the news.  I hope it was the news; it could have been some weird guy with a fetish for videotaping runners.  I wandered over to look down at Hayward Field (not terribly impressive, but I was asleep).  I hit the portapotties twice and then got into my corral at the very back of the pack.  Everyone started to move forwards and we were off. 

I loved seeing the clothing fly at the beginning.  I've never been in a race where I've seen that.  I amused myself through the rest of the race spotting discarded clothing, and I seriously considered grabbing someone's discarded Moeben sleeves around mile 18. ( They were really nice sleeves, but I was lacking in fine muscle coordination by that time so I didn't risk taking a header into the pavement.)

By the time the race started, I had to pee again so in the first few miles I have a vague recollection of just looking for bathrooms.  (I was still asleep.)  Not long after the first water stop there was an actual bathroom at a park, so I dodged off the course along with several other ladies where we took over the men's room.  Muwahahahahahaha!!  It was one of those where it had stalls but no doors on the men's side so just in we went.  As I was coming out there was this poor guy in line with all the women; I told him not to worry, we weren't peeking but that he still had to suffer with sharing.

At mile five I checked with Chip and I was just after the hour mark; given that I'd made a pit stop and was walking through all of the aid stations to hydrate I was a few minutes ahead of where I had expected to be.  I would have taken my first Gu somewhere in there as well; I took one around every four miles or so.  My race recollections are more in focus after five miles.

Somewhere between miles five and eight I found myself exactly pacing another runner and we struck up a conversation.  Her name was Ellen and she was running the half.  We ended up running together for the most part (she had a cramp and dropped back, I took another pit stop later on and we ended up reconnecting later on) until the course split off between the half and the full. 

From the parts where I was awake, I thought the course was really pretty except for that industrial kind of area between miles 10 and 12 or so.  I asked a volunteer where the heck I was at one point (downtown Springfield), and gave a few high fives to kids along the course through there.  The spectators were great throughout, although my part of the race had a lot less people once we went through the course where it passed back along Hayward Field -- where the half folks were already finishing and probably the leaders of the marathon as well.  There were still quite a few people throughout the course.  My favorite part was when we ran past the mall.  Several groups of folks had basically set up tailgating parties.  One had a table set up and everything with all this food.  I called out "not fair!" and they invited me up to have anything I wanted or needed.  I thought that was very nice of them.  (I more wanted a chair than food.)

By mile 18, the pack had thinned down to a couple of power walkers, the walking wounded, those who had completely slowed down to a walk, and then the slower runners like me.  It was more men who were the walking wounded.  I passed one guy who asked if I had any icy hot he could use.  I was still feeling great, although the heat was getting to me.  I had worn a base layer shirt, black and long-sleeved.  By that point, it was getting up to 65 degrees and I was started to overheat.  The course had less and less shade and I was drinking my own water more and more. 

Then at mile 20, I had a surprise.  Can you guess?  It was DUN DUN DUN lady with the cane!!!!!  I am not making this up.  I come around a corner just pass mile 20 and there she is, 50 feet in front of me.  I was pacing with one of the Team in Training racers and I told her that I had just spotted my arch nemesis.  She said, "You go get her!" and I just kicked it.  I went zooming past lady with the cane, checking as I went past that it was in fact my lady with the cane (she has an unusual cane).  I actually saw her on the news coverage the next morning and looked up her results; she finished 20 minutes after I did.  I kicked the lady with the cane's ass!

This is a good time to tell you all about my racing mantra.  The experts tell you to find a mantra, some phrase you can tell yourself to keep yourself going throughout the race.  I never really had one, until about a week before the race.  Hopefully I can tell the story well.

I am a big fan of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series.  The latest book just came out and I was reading it last week.  Now, in the series there is a great character named Butters.  Butters is a medical examiner.  His backstory is that he autopsied the bodies after one of Harry's big fights and told his superiors that the bodies were humanoid but not human (they were vampires, which in these books this flavor of vampire is no longer human in physical structure).  So that gets Butters a 90 day stay in a mental ward, until to keep his job he recants his story.  He gets his job, but he's shunted off to the night shift and gets all the crap assignments.  Butters doesn't actually believe in the supernatural, despite these weird bodies he saw.

Later, in one of the books in the middle of the series, Butters is rather abruptly confronted with the fact that vampires and wizards (like Harry) and such actually are real.  It's when zombies, including someone he works with who was alive minutes before, try to kill him. 

Now, Butters has a passion for polka.  As Harry and he are trying to get away from the zombies and the necromander, Butters insists on taking his one-man polka band suit with him.  All kinds of things happen, and long story short Butters knows he's basically cannon fodder here.  He understands his limitations.  In the normal world, he's not all that and in the supernatural world he's going to get himself killed.  In essence, he's freaking out about all of this for good reason.  To calm him down, Harry tells him:  Polka will never die.  It brings Butters back to himself and he actually ends up saving Harry's life and then helps save all of Chicago and basically the world by the end of the book.  I relate to Butters because while it's nice to think that you'd be all cool if it was you in that world, deep down you know you'd lose it too.  Polka will never die.

In the latest book, Butters freaks out and Harry tells him:  Polka will never die.  And that became my mantra for the marathon.  When I started to get tired, polka will never die.  It worked like nothing else I had tried had.

I felt great until mile 23, and then I started slow down.  The heat was starting to do me in.  If I had to do anything different in this race, I would have worn a light colored short sleeved shirt.  Those last 3.2 miles were in full sun and the longest ever.  I thought my legs were still doing well until I sped up on a downhill and my knees told me they might not hold me if I tried that again.  I kept on though, because Chip was telling me that I was much closer to six hours than it turned out I was.  I'm guessing that was because I had paused Chip during bathroom breaks and the two water stops where I had them fill up my water bottle.  I also vaguely remembering forgetting to unpause Chip for several minutes after the first bathroom break.

Still, my iPod and bodybugg stats are much better than I thought I did.  Chip had me at 27.32 miles and an average 13:55 minute mile.  My average pace was very steady throughout the entire run, even through the last 3.2 miles which surprised me.  My running pace stayed the same throughout, but I think it was my walking pace that slowed down as I neared the end.  My bodybugg had this:
  • 7am - 8am:  5 minutes walking / 49 minutes running
  • 8am - 9am:  3 walking / 57 running
  • 9am - 10am:  15 / 45
  • 10am - 11am:  18 / 42
  • 11am - 12 pm:  19 / 41
  • 12pm - 1pm:  17 / 43
  • 1pm - 2pm:  22 / 18 -- I finished around 1:20 pm so this would include me walking after the race finished.
I never did get to see my mom on the course.  I had estimated when I would reach each five mile interval, and I was going a lot faster than I thought I would be.  My mom missed me by about 30 minutes at the mall, which was the main place we had planned for her to spectate.  She did get to see me finish, which was great.  I saw on the news the next day what they were talking about with all the noise of the spectators in the stands as you finished on Hayward Field; they were maybe only 30 people in the stands by the time I finished so at the time I didn't get it.  But the people who were there yelled and clapped for everyone who was finishing and I really appreciated that. 

Like most races, they started breaking down everything before people had finished which bothered me and particularly my mom (in case you wonder where I get it from, this is it).  She went to go get my bag at the bag check and they were getting ready to drive the truck away; they had just left the rest of the bags sitting out on the ground.  I did get a finisher's medal this time (I would have raised holy hell if they ran out of those for this race).  I have no idea what kind of food they had; I don't think they still had pancakes left, they had dry bagels but nothing for them, and bananas that were going very brown.  Lots of bottles of warm water though. 

All finishers were supposed to get a 15 minute massage, but no one told the massage people that meant they needed to be there past the two o'clock race finish time.  I was the last person to get a massage, and I told them that they were in fact going to give me a massage as I had paid the same fee as the guy who finished first.  My mom had gone back over to the finish to get me the printout of my split times for the race -- "Makes a wonderful souvenir" said the promo materials.  She came back very annoyed that those people had closed down a long time before, and that in fact one man had just finished three minutes past the cut off and they were already taking down the finish arch.  So, dear Eugene Marathon people:  When the race doesn't end until 2:00 pm, THE RACE DOESN'T END UNTIL 2:00 PM.  I know you're tired and want to go home, but deal with it.  The gal who was checking in the massage people told me as I was waiting for my massage how tired she was, since she'd ben there since sitting at that table since 8:00 am.  I smiled and said that I could beat that:  I started running at 7:00 am and just finished.  She was like, oh yeah.  I smiled again and said, yeah I'm going to win no matter what else you've done today. 

Don't mess with a marathoner, man.  We can get mean.

So, would I do this again?  Hmmm, maybe.  I would want to do things "the right way" if I did, though.  I would definitely do weight training and I'd want to do the speed, hill, and tempo training.  But since I don't really want to do the speed, hill, and tempo training......  I do get frustrated when they shut things down before the participants have finished.  I am in awe of the people who can run a two hour marathon but I am just in awe of those who need the seven hours.  We've done the same 26.2 miles, we deserve to get the same treatment.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.

My legs are much better today, although carrying a full laundry basket down a set of stairs was a huge challenge.  My quads are now just very stiff, nearly all of the pain of movement has gone away.  I've got a doctor's appointment in about an hour (regular checkup stuff) and I'm going to ask her about the hands swelling issue since that happened again on Sunday -- not as bad as at my half, but despite two packs of Endurolytes it still happened.  I'm also planning out what I'll be doing in terms of running and diet for the rest of the year, and how I want that to go.  I ended my marathon training at 192.0 lbs, for an overall gain of four pounds from when I began this in January.  I was really hoping to at least break even. 

Congrats to every one who ran and big thanks to everyone who sent words of encouragement and to my friends who made the trip to spectate.  Great job to all!

the CilleyGirl

Monday, May 3, 2010

Eugene Marathon 2010: Race recap, part 1

I'm still mobility challenged so I'll post this in parts just to get it up sooner.


To tell the race report, I'll have to start on Saturday.  Mom and I had some time to hang out in the morning before having to head down to Eugene, so we chatted, planned race stuff, watched the end of the Boston Marathon (she said "now I just have to see how it ends!"), had some breakfast, etc.  Then it was time to clean up and get packed.  At which time I discovered I apparently had meant to do laundry that week:  All of my racing gear was in the hamper.  Bah.  Luckily we had plenty of time for me to run a load of laundry and get it all dry, except for my race shirt which can't go in the dryer but dried really quickly hanging in the back of the car.

I packed just about every piece of gear I own, in case I changed my mind about what I wanted to wear on race morning, and nearly forgot I would need, you know, other clothes to wear at some point.  We hit the road shortly around noon so that we could stop in Salem for lunch.  The restaurant was PACKED; there had been a local kids' race and most all of the participants ended up at Red Robin afterwards.  The kids had the coolest medals; I wanted to stop a kid so I could check out his/her medal but figured the parents wouldn't be thrilled with that. 

We made it to Eugene and the Hilton around 3:30, navigating around traffic blocks leftover from the earlier 5K race, in time to enter into another sea of humanity -- this one marinating in about 100 degree temperatures.  Seriously, did the Hilton have no air conditioning?  I was not impressed with the expo.  It was as if they planned to arrange everything so as to cause the most congestion possible.  The packet pickup itself wasn't too bad, but you had to dodge a zillion people in tiny corridors and stairwells to get to it, and many people seemed not to grasp the idea that people could move in both directions on stairs.  (Yes, I was a tad grumpy at that point.)  After a very short amount of time I needed to get out of there, so I wouldn't let my mom scope out all the free stuff and she then was grumpy too.  I thought I saw Ann-Marie outside the packet pickup but by the time that registered in my mind I just didn't want to turn around and fight back through the crowds if it wasn't her.  (But if you were wearing a denim shirt or vest and a hat then I think I did see you!)

We escaped from the Hilton and headed 30 minutes south to our hotel in Cottage Grove.  The gal was so thoughtful, she put us on the ground floor so that I wouldn't have to climb 20 or so stairs to the second floor after the race.  I had no idea at the time how much I would later appreciate that. 

Not long after we had lunch, my mom wasn't feeling well.  She crashed once we got to the hotel, and we spent a few hours trying to figure out if she was going to need to go to the ER for possible food poisoning.  (We didn't.)  But that meant I needed to track down dinner on my own, so I walked across from the hotel to KFC which was the healthiest choice in walking distance.  Where I stood with several other people for about ten minutes while absolutely no one acknowledged our presence.  I finally asked the other people if they had already ordered.  They hadn't.  By this time, I was all "my mommy is sick and I need to eat food even if it is this crap so I can go to bed before getting up at 4:30 a.m. to go run a marathon!!!"   So I called out to one of the workers scurrying by if we needed to have a car before we could order (they were busy solely with the drive thru customers) or if perhaps they could spare one person for the counter.  Which made all the other people standing with me laugh and cheer me on.  We finally got some help, and they were extremely extra nice to all of us at that point.  As well they should have been.

Anyhow, I choked down the best of the bad options and by then it was already time to try to sleep if I was going to get at least eight hours.  As I've mentioned before, I often take an Ambien before a big race because I am prone to insomnia (and then I get grumpy and then I abuse KFC workers).  You can get a good night's sleep and you don't get a hangover like you do from something such as tylenol PM. 

I allowed myself nine hours to sleep. 

I found out after the race that the Ambien had not worked its way through my system until after the race had started.  That led to one of the more crazy mornings/races I never knew I had.

More on that tomorrow.

the CilleyGirl