October 30, 2012

Mount Desert Island Marathon Race Recap

It's hard to believe that the Mount Desert Island Marathon weekend extravaganza has already come and gone....  Marathon #2 on October 14, 2012 is in the books.  And oh how sweet it was! Rain and all.

My friend Sarah signed up for her first full 26.2 miles on Valentine's Day and I too fell in love with the idea of  another marathon and all that goes with it and what better place than beautiful Maine, near Sarah's home and built in cheering section.

So S-man and I got up early Saturday morning, said farewell to Izzy B all ready for her princess weekend and hit the road for northern Maine.

Where we encountered moose....

And black bears!

As you can see the Saturday before the race was a gorgeous day!  Beautiful, but we could feel the chill starting to come through and while there weren't any clouds, we knew the rain was coming.  The further north we went, the more Simon wished he had his jacket on for the pictures. "Mom, it's colder in Maine than Massachusetts"

We arrived at Sarah's that afternoon and there was this toasty sight for us in her beautiful home. 

The boys hit it off and were out of sight playing within 5 minutes of our arrival even dressing up Puggy leaving him to protect their sneakers.

Then discovering their mutual admiration of these guys....

And then watching them as a bed time treat while Sarah & I finished up the pre-race meal of pastaINATOR and fresh baked bread and molasses cookiesINATORS. Yum!


We spent the evening in front of the fireplace strategizing for the next day.  We talked, weather, times, places to see the family, how much gu, nuun to carry, but mostly we just tried to relax and enjoy this thing.

I laid out my clothes and was ready to get up and go, hoping to "sleep in" as long as possible (a complete luxury) to the very last second.  In fact, this was the first night in MONTHS I hadn't been woken up got a full night's sleep.

I got up 5:30, and because Simon is also an early riser (a quiet one, thank goodness) I got to see him before we left.  I had a banana and coffee and we headed out to Bar Harbor and made a stop at COA to use the facilities (anything to avoid the portajohns!).  It was nice to see Sarah's office too!

From there we chatted easily, tried to stay warm and then headed for the starting line.  My one mistake was not hitting the portajohn 10 minutes before the start.

Sarah had the home-town crowd behind her and knew quite a few people and had many, many well wishers greeting her at the starting line, both runners and spectators. She had several co-workers and student staffers running too and one of them joined us for the first couple miles before taking off.  (We later caught up with him again around mile 24.)

Chatter died down and we were all silent during the National Anthem and then cheers erupted and the energy was intense while they blaired AC/DC's Thunderstruck.

Here is a video I found posted by The Maine Runner of the starting line.  You can see me and Sarah at 1:41ish in our colorful matching racing duds and even syncing our watches at the same time.  Ha!

Mile 1 - 4
We took an easy pace going out.  We chatted with Sarah's student staffer, Kyle not believing that the day was finally here.  I could feel that we were both a little nervous at the start.  The first two miles are always odd.  But we chatted and Sarah and I were both starting to get in the groove.  We decided in the first few miles not to go out too fast so we wouldn't burn ourselves later.  So we kept the music off and decided to chat for the first 6 miles then put in the earbuds.

The only problem was by mile 2, I had to pee and bad.  Kyle thought there were portajohns at mile 3ish, but I didn't see them. We looked at other runners ducking out into the woods and I considered it. I was going to try to wait for a little blue plastic oasis, but I finally couldn't take it anymore and when I saw a set of promising looking bushes, I sent Sarah on her way with music promising I would catch up soon.

This was the only time I also regretted not getting the skirtsport with the spankies over the ultragirl shorts.

Oh, that I and I forgot to turn off the auto-pause on the Garmin.


As I left the cover of the woods I heard from behind, "Feel better?!"

"Much" I yelled and laughed back.

I could see my pink twin just ahead of me and my legs were happy to go go go and catch up with Sarah only having left her on her own for few minutes.

Mile 5 - 10
I took my first gu around mile 5. By this time it was pretty soggy.  My shoes were soppy from the jaunt into the bushes, but it was still a good time.  Sarah put in the music, I kept one earbud out to check in with her, listen to her footfalls and try to capture the energy of my surroundings.  But the music was nice too.  A little bit country, a little bit rock n' roll, with plenty of top 40 sprinkled in too.

We saw some beautiful houses and Sarah showed me where she used to take her beloved dog Ceilidh to run around and where they laid him to rest.  Definitely a poignant moment for Sarah. His energy was certainly felt with us on the course powering up those hills.

Mile 11 - 15
I had my second gu about this time.  I was feeling pretty strong, trying to keep the energy up.  When we hit the 2 hour mark, I could feel Sarah needing just a quick boost. We talked about this for a little bit and noticed it was about the same time frame as our 20 miler we ran together in Boston.  (Post race we think we might brainstorm fueling strategies just before this marker.) This was by far some of the prettiest sights on the course.  Every time we came around a bend and saw the trees and the water, I had to catch my breath.

Mile 16 - 20
I swear the race directors must have paid a fisherman to don his yellow slicker and pull up lobster traps on an rainy Sunday morning as we ran by so we could have such an iconic Maine image in our minds as we remembered this race.

They handed out gu at 16 and I ate one and stashed the other. Sarah managed to get me one too at later water station so by the end of the race, the 3 I ate were all replaced.  Score!

I saw lots of discarded gloves (it was so wet) and even a few soppy wet race jackets a long the way.

We chatted with one of Sarah's neighbors, a long time runner who had run this race several years in a row.  He said to be sure to save some for the hills at the end.  It was humbling to see him later on the course walking and deciding to drop out.

We were looking for our boys around mile 14 on, and we finally saw them about mile 18.  They were waiting for us with signs and pretzels (yes! salt!) in hand.  It was such a welcome sight.  I grabbed a wonderful hug from my son and chuckled as we ran on.  Simon, my dear sweet boy, has a 50/50 chance 85/50 chance of putting his shirt on backwards. Smiles abound.

Since the roads were open to drivers, the boys leap frogged us and met us at the next mile for a photo op.  And the best part, Simon must have seen me smile at his shirt and he turned it around.

With the rain, the boys stayed in the van playing bey-blades until we would come running up and they would yell for us.  Sarah's husband grabbed this shot from the other side of the road as we ran by. (Note the woman behind us wearing a Hefty bag. She shows up later in this race report.)

Hi guys!
The boys in the mini-van weren't the only leap froggers, we saw plenty of spectators doing the same and because we stood out as "twins" we got a lot of "It's the PINK GIRLS!!!" shouts from cars and the crowds.

But the best cheers were from the boys "Go MOM!"

Mile 21 - 25
So cute story.  Two actually.

But first, I have to tell you something very cool some of our 'virtual running' buddies, all couch-2-5k graduates did while me and Sarah were rocking out on the course.  About 7 of our friends (some we've me in person, and some we have yet to meet face to face....but will soon I hope!) ran a virtual marathon relay with us, texting & fb'ing to hand off the virtual baton. Starting at 8am in FL, then on to AK, VA, MN, AZ, and CA finishing it up.  The thought of that and the strength of their legs definitely pushed us forward.  Sweet, right?

Back to the race..... So MDI was a very adorable small town race, but super supported especially given that it was raining so much. And as I mentioned Sarah being a home town favorite, knew SO MANY PEOPLE and people all over were wishing her and us well and running along side and cheering us along the sidelines and leapfrogging us to see us again on the sidelines. So I got introduced to lots of very sweet, cool people.

Between mile 20 and 21 there was one of the more steeper hills on the course. (Frankly the whole course was either up or down, but this one was particularly long and steep marked by a traffic light at the top.) Anyway, Sarah knew it was coming and goes, "Katharine is at the top of the hill waving her pompoms cheering us on" I start looking for looking for the pompom waving fan, thinking, Sarah probably introduced us to her friend, I should know who this is. I go, "Now, who is Katherine again?" Sarah, rather than explain or call me out on how I should *know* who Katherine is (the virtual marathon relay runner from Arkansas who shakes her virtual pom-poms for ALL of us. every.single.race.), says in her marathon brain brilliance and economic use of words gives me her super secret spy name. (so secret, I can't even tell you her name without her permision): "P---- M------."

"OOOOoooooooH!!!" I say and laugh. And then I take off, charge up the hill get to the top, turn around and jump up and down, wooting it up, waving my arms, shaking my virtual pom-poms yelling, "Go Sarah! Go Sarah! I'm channeling Katherine!"

That got a smile out of Sarah and I loved the feeling of challenging my legs up that hill.  When we got to the top we cruised for a bit and then we got a comment from the runner directly behind us.  Remember the "Hefty Bag" woman from the picture..... Well we had been behind here since about mile 6 and Sarah mentioned how she looked like she had wings.  I was just surprised that someone could run with a bag on for a whole race.  When we got up the hill and she saw me jumping for Sarah, she commented on how cute we looked and how much energy we both had.  It was nice to hear. So I struck up a conversation.  Partly it was because I remember running Boston and starting to feel the need to get distracted feeling and wondered if me just talking would help Sarah.  That and I love talking about running and what better place to find runners than on mile 22 at a marathon.....

After "Glad Angel" (Sarah oringinally called her "Hefty Angel" but then thought better of it.  She was quite slight.) started up the conversation I had to ask about the bag.  She said she didn't want her phone to get wet.  Ah-ha!  Made perfect sense.  Her sweet Georgia southern draw was nice to listen too as she told us about her and her husband traveling around doing marathons.  About how originally she was the runner in the family, but then he picked it up and became a Marathon Maniac attempting to do one in all 50 states.  This was his 11th.   But as school teachers, it's tough. I filled her in on Sarah and her first and told her all about our virtual running friends and as it came out of my mouth it really sunk in on just how totally awesome that was and she agreed.  We chatted a bit longer and talked about the course and she commented on how our race packet said to treat this like a "mini-ultra" because the course was so challenging.  I think I totally missed that part of the race packet. But I could see how that was true.  (I later went home and actually read it and yep, it did say that!)

Anyway it seemed like Sarah was in a groove so we said our good lucks and went on our way.  I didn't check too often, but I did look at my watch and at that point and asked Sarah if she wanted to try for a time goal or if she was feeling good at the pace we were going. We decided to keep going and that gentle reminder of "mini-ultra" as a FIRST MARATHON!! was just fine.

We also hit Sarah's 1000th mile and Whooped it up for a jolt of excitement there too.

Mile 26 - 26.2
The last mile was kind of a blur really.  Traffic was open and there were a lot more cars.  We knew were were close to the finish when we started seeing runners donned in there mylar capes were walking along the side.  I never know exactly how I feel about that.  I get this mix of emotions like, "Yay!  We're close!"  to "Argh, they are already done!"

With the traffic there and the last turn and all the puddles to avoid, I got confused and actually asked one of the firefighters that was attempting to direct traffic (cars and runners alike.) "Which way do we go?"

Then we saw the finish!

We grabbed hands raised em up and crossed the line! I grabbed Sarah for hug.  We got our beautiful medals, mylar and headed for some food!

I scarffed down a chocolate milk, a banana, bagel and totally went for the chocolate ice cream.  I grabbed 3 reeses for the boys and we left the muddy, soppy tent and found them just outside.

It was a very nice reunion with our boys who snapped a picture for us.    

We did it!
This was really a fantastic race. I am so incredibly happy for Sarah finishing her FIRST ever 26.2 on such a tough course and with the conditions we faced.  I was happy to run, to run with Sarah, to see all the places that mean so much to her and her family and I was so honored that she shared it with me.

Still smiling!

I am excited for me that I finished my second 26.2 feeling strong and ready to go again. Or farther. Or both. 

October 16, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

Best.Butternut.Squash.Soup.Evah. I have to re-post because I can never find where I left this one. 

I just have to write this down now so I don't forget.  Seriously, I wanted to drink this soup with a straw it was so dern good. Ok, I actually did take a small sip with a straw. 

Whaa....I couldn't find my spoon and it was there.  It was clean.  Don't judge.

Note: I like to microwave the squash for about 8 minutes to soften them up.  It makes it easier to peel and cube. 

2 butternut squashes peeled & cubed (about 8ish cups)
2 onions chopped
1 big carrot chopped
1 apple peeled and cubed
3 T. butter
5 c chicken broth 
3/4 c. half and half
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Melt the butter on med high heat and sauté the squash, onions, carrots and apple for about 12 minutes.
  2. Pour in the chicken broth  and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Blend with a emulsion blender 
  5. Stir in the half and half.
  6. Salt & pepper to taste.
Makes 12 cups.

August 14, 2012

Oh my gosh, a garden post!

This summer we decided to forgo the CSA (hence no Friday's Drawers) and instead stick with BJs (they have a good selection of organics and now local produce), the garden, and supplement with our local  farmers market.  It isn't a huge market, but they have a good selection and are there every Sunday from 1-5 which is the perfect time for me and littles to browse and sniff cilantro and dill and peaches.

And what we don't get from the farmers market, I pick from the garden. This year is my second year with a plot at work and I would say it's been pretty successful.  I learned what we liked from our farm share last year and made sure to plant those things.  So we have lots of kale, chard, basil, tomatoes and a single pepper plant.  I just put in beets for the fall since I am loving this summer borscht Molly sent along.  (Will post this amazing recipe soon. Promise.)  Though, it won't be summer borscht by the time they come up, I think I can still get a good portion of the ingredients....hmm... I hadn't thought about that.  Roasted beets are always good too. 

Anyway, here are some pictures of the garden.  It is so nice to be around green after sitting in front of a computer screen all day.  I love going out and picking the cherry tomatoes for my salad and put them in right then an there.  But I have to remember to NOT do what I did the day I took these pictures....go out with said salad, already dressed, (the salad, not me...wait, I was dressed too, I mean...anyway) with dressing on the salad, set it down and instead of just picking tomatoes and going on my merry way, picking weeds too only to find a dressed salad completely cooked.  From fresh spinach to steamed in the August heat.  Oh well.  I still ate it anyway.  
Boatloads of basil!
Can I just say how I love the smell of my hands after picking the heads off all the basil!  If only they were made of mozzarella and olive oil instead.

I just got back from a run.  I think I am hungry.
Kale, chard, and peppers
Kale chips!

First time with tomatoes
I have never grown tomatoes before.  Cherries, yes, but my tomato plants have never survived.  I am so excited to have 5 plants with about a dozen fruits on them.  Yes!  

August 10, 2012

16 miles just happened.

Book Barn omen for my  weekend 16 or my current mindset?
One of my goals for training for this marathon & running in general is to have as little disruption to my family life as possible.  That means, running while the majority of Z's are getting their zzzz's and not skipping runs so I turn into an irritable, cranky mamaB. So this marathon-training go-around, rather than head out for a long run (group run, in winter) on a Saturday morning and get home around lunchtime, I've been running early, early or late, late or on my lunch break and often, I'm running solo. The question is as the runs get longer, how does one "squeeze in" the long ones if you aren't as fast as Kara Goucher?

This week the training plan called for 16 miles.

Believe me, I really want to be like, "Yeah, 16 miles! No biggy. Been there, I can hack it."  And then when it was done....  "Wow!  16 miles!  It was so fun! awesome! [insert motivational enthusiasm here!]"


Hot. Humid. Alone in my head.

My first attempt at 16 was Saturday night. I made a double figure 8 like- loop route sticking within a 5ish mile radius of our house and left it up on the laptop screen so David knew where I would be. I wanted to try out my faux camelbak backpack hydration pack so I strapped it on and headed out.

Within a 1/2 mile my shoulders were already rubbing raw. (Note: only use hydration pack with a t-shirt, not great with with a Nike Tank) Back home for the fuel belt.  When I got in the door I was sweating buckets and it wasn't going anywhere.  I hadn't even gone a mile.  It was so hot & humid, I aborted the mission and decided to go to bed with a second attempt in the morning.

Second attempt. Sunday, 4:30 am.

I'm up sans alarm and convinced myself that the only way I was going to make it to 26.2 miles in October (and to church on time) was by putting these miles in and that meant getting out of bed. Now.

Rather than re-map a route, I decided to keep the same one from the previous night even though I knew staying within 5 miles of the house felt like I could bail at any time. It was a risk.

Out the door and the morning was even more humid, but not as hot. At 3 miles I was really ready to call it quits and go back to bed. It was just so incredibly icky, soupy, soggy mess. I turned on one of the side streets and started to head back.

I was miserable. Miserable hot and miserable that I could even think of giving up so easily.  And well, just miserable. (see silly game.)

Then I thought, "shoot, what if David needs me (even though it was 5am and why would he need me at 5am?! unless...well....but I mean in an emergency.), I'm not where I said I would be." So I got back on the route and debated just heading home via the last leg.

As I complained I figured I would just keep moving forward --- in the opposite direction, away from the place I so desperately wanted to be, where I craved to be, people and out of my own head, anywhere by here. Each complaint was answered with, "just to the end of this street, ok, to the next street."  "Are your legs ok? Yes? Are you sore, no? Then keep moving."

About 9 miles in, I hit the end of the street with my second 5 mile loop + 2 miles home staring me in the face, I was ready one more time to turn around and just head the 2 miles home.

I started the loop.

I couldn't even look at the road in front of me.

I started to stare at my feet.

One step. Two step. One step. Two step.

I started to daydream about the this mirage, a water fountain I thought I saw during the first loop on the golf course next to the side of the road. Just 3 more miles confirm/deny said mirage.

It really was a water fountain!
I was at the end of the loop and on my way home.  I found my yurbud I lost and spent a good searching for in the rain on Tuesday night!  Huzzah!

And then on the hill up to my house, I look at my watch. I realized 16 miles just happened. 16 miles just happened???

3 hours of really, really hard happened.

I love running so much. I really, really wanted this run to help get me out of this running in place feeling in my head. I really wanted this run to make me feel complete pumped, ready to tackle anything.  The run was more like something really, really hard with intermittent places of joy that I can latch on to and remember.

When I finished, I know there were 3 hours of hard, sure, but I what I really hold onto most are these 3 things:

  1. 1. It was important to be where I told David I would be. 
  2. 2. I found water! 
  3. 3. I found my lost yurbud!

When I am in it, when I am in that dark, horrible death spiral of discontent and it seems so incredibly hard to get out of it, I just want to turn back and crawl back under the covers.  It is so easy to feel the hard.  I want the things and the people that I love to pull me out of it. But I need to just keep moving. I need to do it. Me.

One step. Two step. One step. Two step.

And soon, the really, really hard happens, I am home and I chose to what to remember.

August 01, 2012

Silly game.

Happiness is the journey from Point A to Point B, right? 

All those tips and tricks I said I was going to do on Friday, I did them. Drank water, planned my meals, ate an awesome egg chard breakfast Sat morning, tracked my weekend wine, stayed away from the pancakes,  went for a long run, and most importantly, the Monday morning beating up game...it didn't happen. Nope. So....Yay!

Yet, somehow this weekend I played a different game. I played the "happier if...." game. That is a terrible, terrible game. Even with all that positivity around my eating, (or maybe *because* I didn't use food as the outlet....) I still played that awful game.

Maybe you know it? Maybe you play it? For me, it sometimes goes like this....
I'd be happier if my tan skirt would fit.
I'd be happier if my daughter would go to bed on time.
I'd be happier if my pace was faster.
I'd be happier if we had more space.
I'd be happier if my boss/partner/child/friend would just.....


Before I even say what is on my mind and further hurt anyone or be even more ashamed of myself, I will stop and recognize this awful game for what it is worth.  One that gets me deeper into the death spiral of discontent.

I may not be able to stop the struggle entirely, but I did do a couple things that made a dent. It's a start.

1. I fixed the bedroom bookshelf, cleaned up the clutter in our bedroom and organized the closet. One space ready.
2. I wrote down all the things my spouse does that makes ALL of our lives, especially mine, easier. 
3. I told him how grateful I am for said things. 
4. I smiled at myself in the bathroom mirror.  (This may seem odd, but I think it works. I notice how when I smaile at others they smile back and we all feel better.  I wondered what would happen if I actually smiled at myself rather than scowl and think of all the things I could be doing better.) 
5. I went for a run. 

On days like this , I am reminded that it isn't about playing silly games, judging ourselves or beating ourselves up when we fail but the process of living and learning and getting back up.  Maybe that is what being happy is.  Maybe it is about getting there, the process, not the end in itself.  The journey is the goal. Mary Oliver got it spot on.

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save. 

The Journey by  Mary Oliver

As for this week's stats:
79 Activity Points (All eaten too!)
Ate all my weeklies but 3
Ate all my dailies
Ran 41 miles (87 for the month of July woot!)
Did 152 pushups (Though based on the last class, I wasn't getting low enough so now I am going to start over with the 100 pushup challenge. This time with a 2in book to hit. So this number will most likely be lower next week....BUT they'll be "real" pushups.)

July 27, 2012

The Dreaded Weekend.

Yes, the dreaded weekend. Blasphemous! How dare I dread the weekend?!

Ok, not all of it is dreaded.  The time with my sweet love, my family, friends, going to the pool, a long run or working on a home project certainly isn't dreaded, not to mention the time away from work....but the lack of structure, the non-existent outlook reminders, the missing packed breakfast, lunch and snacks make food choices so.darn.difficult on the weekends and sometimes, yes, makes me dread weekends.

Maybe it is boredom or that my planner and my little tracker is not right in front of me the way it is on my desk, or maybe it is that I am around the kids' food and the pantry and the leftover franken-crusts, but whatever the reason, weekends and food are so tough. Or it could be that for me....


I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way. So if I am going to be on-program, really, really on-program I need some handy-dandy tips & advice to keep me mindful, present and the inevitable calling from the pantry --- "Chrrrisssty....come eat this coooornbreadd.....then granola then nutella+pb+banana covered tortilla then the camp snacks then...."

So here are some of the things I'm going to work to follow this weekend:

  • Eat a good breakfast.  During the week, I take my breakfast to work, which is usually greek yogurt & granola.  On the weekends, I get to cook...yay!  Except sometimes the kids really want pancake....oh irresistible!  I struggle to stay in portion control here.  So, for me, I am going to stick with my favorite green eggs concoction. 1 whole egg + 2 whites scrambled with sauteed onions and chard from the garden with EVOO, sea salt & pepper.  Gets the veggies in early!  And if the lovebugs want pancakes, fine, but I'll be freezing the remaining to keep me from nibbling away.
  • Drink Water. Lots of it!  One of my biggest pitfalls on the weekends is that I forget to drink water.  Seems silly, but I do. And then I get migraines from not drinking enough or I have terrible run from dehydration.  During the week I drink plenty.  My office is 10 ft from the water cooler, so there is no excuse at work.  And added bonus, what better way to get up and away from your desk than to head to the loo.  (Must be the London Olympics influencing me.) But at home, I forget.  So here is my plan  Set my phone alarm to go off every hour and make sure I get a swig. That is, until night time when I'll switch to the wine. Who needs alarm then!

  • Plan.  I love church, but coffee hour can be excruciating for introverts like me people with food issues like me.  Granted, we do lots of whole food, vegan type stuff - No Vienna Fingers here!  But still portions and finishing the kids food so it isn't wasted is my MO.  So a couple things I'll do here: Stick with the veggies, keep some weeklies or APs available, chose the small plate, or none and use a napkin and really, truly track. You bite it, you write it. Being grateful and really thinking about where the food comes from helps too.
There are several more tips I can think of, but frankly, I know myself well enough that if I make my list too long and overwhelming I'll have a harder time following it.  So, I will commit to cooking a good breakfast Sat morning, drink water, and plan to an extent for the inevitable snacking (and that bottle of wine....over the whole weekend of course!). 

Lastly, come Monday, I vow not to beat myself up if I don't follow these tips to a T.  

Yesterday's Stats
26+15 PPV eaten 
14 APs earned. (8 miles of h-u-m-i-d swamp-thing run worth of APs!) 

July 26, 2012

Marking Progress.

One of the things that bothered me about my life on Weight Watchers was the connection to the scale. Sure, WW does promote 'NSV' (Non-Scale-Victories) but so much of what Weight Watcher is, is well...Weight. 

And if there ever was a a Watcher of Weight, it was me. 

My self worth  and my mood seemed tied to the scale. If it was down, I was up. If it was up, I was down.  Yo-yo dieting is more like yo-yo moods!  Somehow stepping on this battery operated measurement thing some how changed me even though it was just reporting the facts. 

It changed me because I let it.  

Meetings have certainly changed over time, sure, we still weigh in, but you don't have to go around the room saying if you were up or down that week like we did when I started WW the first time10 years ago. (Sheesh that was painful...yes, both the room thing and admitting I've been at this for 10 years!)

Even though the meetings aren't what they used to be, I want to take it a step further.  This go around, I am going to try hard to focus more attention on NSVs and measure my success in other ways. It worked well when I did couch-to-5k (clearly) so a new 6 week challenge is in order.


We do them every so often in my strength training class and every.single.time we do them (after the initial groan) I say, I really need to do between classes. So here is my chance. 

Here is how the 6week One Hundred Pushup program works - First you take an initial push test to see how many (in good form!) you can do in a row.  Then the next day you start your W1D1 (Week1 Day1) set based on your initial test.  There are 5 sets and a rest between each set with the last set maxing you out doing as many pushups as you can.  

There are only 3 workouts per week, so adding several pushups at the end of a run or before bed feels really doable and I think a better way to track progress. So I stared this week.  After the initial test, which I did 14 good-form pushups in a row (not bad) I did W1D1  yesterday. 

up to 5 push ups6 - 10 push ups11 - 20 push ups
SET 12610
SET 23612
SET 3247
SET 4247
SET 5max (at least 3)max (at least 5)max (at least 9)

Accountability is key, so here is me being accountable. Who wants to join me in being accountable and do the 100 push up challenge

Yesterday's Accountability Stats:
36 PPV eaten
9 APs earned
W1D1 hundred pushup challenge: 10/12/7/7/9 = 45 pushups

July 25, 2012

Getting with the program. Again.

For someone who states right up front at the top of this blog about losing weight using Weight Watchers, I have avoided actually going to a meeting for about a year now. I hit goal for the 3rd time in August 2009 and I still weighed in each month for the next 2 years. I did so for a few different reasons: 1. It was easy - we had WW at work. 2. I wanted to keep my LT standing. 3. It was free (as long as I was at or 2lb over goal) 4. I liked being able to pay it forward - I was motivated by those that lost & maintained and I wanted to show that it could be done. 5. It kept me accountable.

WW @ work stopped and I missed a monthly weigh in. I didn't want to pay. I thought I could just maintain on my own. But the further away I got from each of those motivations I mentioned above, the harder it was to get back. And the scale started to creep up. Sure, I am currently in a health weight range, but I am noticing a pattern and I am not ready to go down that slippery slope. I don't want to have a blog that describes me as "a mom of 2 that lost 60lbs 4 times over"; Three times is plenty, thank you very much!

Yet because I am in a "healthy" weight range it was actually harder to admit that there is a problem here. I'm not overweight. I'm only 3.2 lbs above my "official goal" (that is the goal I picked back when I was 210 lbs.) I am not looking to be uber skinny. So why go back to Weight Watchers?

I think for a couple reasons: I am tired of the cycle of listening to the "trying to be good" vs. "lighten up" voices in my head, those darn shoulds I fight so hard against: 

"You should really track"
"oh, lighten up it is just one chocolate" (which turned to 14)
"you ran 10 miles, you can eat that."
"you are going to run 10 miles, you can eat that." 

It became about the food and if I was "good" or "bad".  

This time on Weight Watchers, I made a simple shift, it isn't about what I look like, or what I weigh but to what I am going to eat that is going to best serve my body so that I can do all the things that I want to do and feel good doing them?

I want to run. Far. I want to be strong, both mentally and physically. I want to fuel my body with the foods to help me do that and fuel my mind with the positive thoughts that come with making positive choices.  If that means shutting the shoulds up by getting back on program, then so be it.  

33 PPV eaten
7 APs earned

July 19, 2012

Up and down. Repeat.

7 miles. 5 hills.
There is something about hill climbs and there was certainly of a symmetry in this run.  Now that it is done, I feel ecstatic, proud and so glad I went out tonight.  But in it, well, that was a different story.

I went out planning on doing 7 miles.  After I did the first loop and it was exactly 1.4 miles, it worked out perfectly that 5 loops would get me to 7 on the nose.

The first loop I ditched my water and left it the trunk of the car and went out for a second loop.  In the second loop I was trying to convince myself to only do 4 miles.

In the third loop, I kept thinking, only 2 more left. You signed up for a hilly marathon, remember!

It wasn't really until the last loop that I was really, truly present in the run and realizing that I just spent the last hour waiting for these last 10 minutes!

I guess just like there are runs that make you realize how wonderful life is, there are also runs that remind you just how much of a climb life can be, and if you can be present, really, truly present, you can see how strong and how far you've come even if it takes 5 times of the same ups and downs to get there.

And there will always be water on the trunk of your car when you need a break.

Bikeless-biker update: No sightings yesterday or today.  But I have 2 bikes, a helmet and a U-lock ready to pass along!

July 17, 2012

People are Awesome.

About a month ago on a Friday afternoon, I was riding my bike home from work when I got to a unmanned police car and barricade blocking the road. Uh oh. I had no clue how to get home any other way, so cautiously, I went around the blocked road on my bike. It turned out the road was closed to cars because there was a bad accident and power lines were down.  Passing by the crashed car, I prayed that the person (one car and a telephone pole) was ok.  NSTAR was there and carefully waived me on.

Because the road was closed, I got to do something I don't normally get to do.... 

When I bike to and from work, I see the same bike commuter on the other side of the busy road we ride every time. We've passed each other for months, and recently we started waving and greeting with smiles every time. Without fail, I see this guy.  I don't bike every day, but based on the fact that I see him every.single.time, it is clear he does bike every day.....unless miraculously we are on the very same schedule.  

But on this particular day, the day of the bad accident, there were no cars or traffic between us, so we stopped in the middle of the road to chat.   

That is an odd feeling being in the middle of one of the busiest roads with no cars in sight.  

It turns out, he bikes everyday because he doesn't have a car, he came here from India just 4 months ago and his wife & 2 kids family will be joining him in a couple months. He commutes to the town I live in and I commute through the town he lives in - the exact opposite sides of a very busy road.  It was cool to chat with him when I normally wouldn't be able to. 

After the road block day, we were back to waving in the morning and afternoon. 

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, on my ride in, I saw him walking in nice clothes, not all sweaty as if he'd been biking in the heat like me and he was near his work place.  I waved and yelled, "You got a car!?" But on the ride home, he was walking again, this time well further down the road. Clearly, he didn't have a car.

I yelled, "Where is your bike?" 

"It was stolen." He yelled back. 

"Oh NO!" I yelled riding by.

He was still waving with a smile. 


Here, this man moved half way across the world, saving up for his family, and his main form of transportation was stolen. 

This part of the story would make me think, "Wow, people suck."  But wait. 

I happened to be telling this story as our legs were burning during what felt like an hour long wall sit durign our afternoon workout when someone happened to know a guy who has several bikes that he works on and she emailed her community and we have a bike ready for this guy.  

See.  People are awesome. 

Now it is up to the logistics.  We will find a way to get this bike to this bike-less biker. 

We are figuring this all out, but this one act, this generosity and connection and simple thing just really made my day.  

Hopefully soon I can report back that I am waiving to my bike-commuter friend on the other side of the road once again.

May 16, 2012

Sah-weet! Sweet Potatoes 3 ways!

I love sweet potatoes. An they are just so easy to make, serve, store and so good!. Here are three of my favorite Sweet potato recipes - from hardest to easiest, but all quite tasty and worth it!

Sweet Potato & Arugula Salad.
1/4 c canola oil
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 t dijon mustard
1 t turbinado or brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t red pepper flakes

2 c bite size pieces of sweet potato
2 T apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
1 T canola oil
salt & pepper
1/4 lb pancetta (I used bacon....mmmm bacon!)
5 c arugula
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted

In a blender or food processor, combine all the dressing ingredients until emulsified.

To make the salad: preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the apple cider, oil, salt & pepper. Place on baking sheet and road of 10-15 minutes, or until tender, but not overly soft. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the pancetta or bacon until crisp.

In a large salad bowl, combine the the roasted sweet potatoes, pancetta or bacon, arugula, and almonds. Drizzle with the dressing and slightly toss.

Sweet Potato Rosemary Soup (Recipe care of Seth, Tracy & Sasha, age 2, who very much approves!)
Makes 8 Servings

1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups vegetable broth
4 cups cubed organic sweet potatoes, about 2 pounds
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup low-fat milk

In a large pot, saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 25 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Be careful as liquid will be hot. Return puree to pot and stir in pepper, salt, rosemary and milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until hot throughout.

I added an onion with the garlic and that was tasty too!

And of  course the easiest of all....roasted.  These are easy to store in the fridge, they freeze well and make such a great snack.  I love them cold, skins and all. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
Cut several sweet potatoes in half length wise, quarter if they are big ones.
Coat with olive oil or canola oil, lightly salt and roast in a 400 degree oven until tender. (about 1/2 hour).
Done. Easy potato peasy.

I make these about once a week or so.

May 06, 2012

A Big Hunk o' Pasta Love.

I forget sometimes just how easy it is to actually throw leftovers together to actually make something decent I look forward to eating. And is food, real food!

Since I've been biking more to work of late, PB&Banana sandwiches have been my go to lunch - easy to make the night before, not much to carry in the bag and I don't have to leave the safety of my desk after a sweaty run to go to the microwave to heat up.  Oh and they are just so darn good.

But a girl can only eat so much PB&Banana sandwiches before her hips start letting her know.  

Sorry Elvis. 

So tonight as I was about to put away our left over pasta (on sale for $.77/box!) dinner, I had a thought.  

I *was* going to wait to get some Italian dressing at the grocery store tomorrow, but thought....wait. 

I have olive oil.  vinegar.  I bet there is something I could do with that. 


Grabbed some chives from the garden, a little salt, a little (pardon me do you have any) dijon, a little pepper and whisk and ta da!  

Pour over pasta.  Wait!  There's more.  Add some of the spinach on sale today and we have our selves a lunch tomorrow!  


Anndd.....I just remembered we have a conference, with catering. for lunch tomorrow. 

Ok, so lunch on Tuesday then.  Save the PB&B for Wednesday.

May 01, 2012

baby, I would run to you

Why does one's mouth taste like metal?  I really ought to look that up.

April 17, 2012


Here is one way to handle all those Easter eggs!

I love eggs and when following @BornFitness and his #eggsperiment, I came across this fabulous tutorial.  I am totally trying this later tonight.  The kids are going to freak!

Though I am guessing we'll have to rinse them pretty well after.

Heh. This give new meaning to the phrase "farmer blow".

April 14, 2012

Boston Marathon Expo

One of the most exciting and insane parts about the Boston Marathon is the sheer number of people that are running, volunteering and cheering.  And many of those same people also attend the expo, since, well, that is where you have to pick up your bib.  And while there, you might as well check out all the gear both large and small companies are looking to market & sell to runners.  Cha-ching.

Last year when I ran for Dana-Farber in the Boston Marathon, I went to the expo to pick up my bib and poked my head into the convention center,  but I was so incredibly overwhelmed I only managed to make a quick loop and walked out without buying or trying a thing.  There was no way I was going to mess up my stomach before Monday's 'thon!

This year was different.  I'm not running Boston, but I am from here so I might as well soak it all in, right?  This year we did have the time to check out the gear, there was no concern of being on my feet all day and I'm still a runner with needs (!!), so we we made a day of it instead. Me and my daughter had a girl's day out and headed over to the Seaport World Trade Center to check out the expo.

Yup.  Still insane.

But we had a good time getting there for sure.  Green line-Red line-Silver line. And Boston was GORGEOUS today!

Girl's day out - posing at the Seaport
Yes, it IS truly insane at the expo. With Boston as the exception, the races I have done have been pretty small so an "expo" fits in a school gym or a meeting room in a hotel.  Boston took up the Hynes last year and the Seaport this year.  I guess it would have to be huge to bring 26,000 runners and their families into town for a 26.2 event.

Isabella and I walked around gathering freebies, trying sample and spinning wheel of fortune like wheels to try to win freebies at various booths.  We sampled Hawaiian rolls a couple times, lara bars (yum!), peach bavarian yogurt (more yum!), I tried different flavors of gu chomps, powerbar gummies, gaterade protein recovery drink (ew.) no, none of those for a 4 year old! We picked up safety reflectors, spf for lips, various samples of detergent, liquid soap and baby wipes (for those lunch runs!) from seventh geneation, and beef jerky?  really? (Yes, there was a beef booth), we got lots of coupons and even a cute little origami made for Isabella. And we tried on sparkly headbands together as Izzy said "Mama, these are sparkalicious!"

We even got our picture taken with the Lorax (We thought Simon would LOVE that!) at the Seventh Generation booth and the official car of the 116th Boston Marathon over with Nissan (they haven't sent it yet...boo. It was cute too!).

And Isabella made me a sign.  Awwwww.....
Go Mamama (with a picture of me)

In the people highlights, I talked to and thanked Danny Dreyer of Chi Running for his work and his book, said "you're amazing and thank you" to Kathrine Switzer as she walked past and got a chance to finally meet SBS - Sarah Bowen Shea from anothermotherrunner.

SBS and me.  btw,I'm 5'7"....just sayin' :)

It was pretty cool to call out to Sarah when I saw her in her "baddass mother runner" tee and have her turn around and say "Christy!" and get a big hug and take a picture. We got to chat for a bit before it was time to take the very patient, and I really mean that, 4 year-old back to the train station and the bag of popcorn I promised.

The highlight of Izzy's Day.

It wasn't until we were back on the train that I opened up my copy of Run Like a Mother to read SBS's inscription.  Pretty cool.

I am super excited for SBS and all the runners of the 116th Boston Marathon.  It looks like it is going to be as hot or hotter than it was in the 2004 marathon.  Stay cool out there!  I am so glad this year I am not running I got to experience the expo just as a runner and not as a nervous marathoner as I was last year.

Oh, as for this year and the stash?  A lot of cool stuff, but I managed to spend all of $5 on 3 pair of sof sole socks.  I can't wait to try them out on my long run tomorrow.

April 13, 2012


Last week we had the misfortune of our car breaking down, the car I typically use to drive to/from work.

Though, having been a 1 car family for 7 years and a 2 car family for only the last 10 months, it really didn't seem like that big of a blow.  Especially because it gave me the excuse to start biking to work again.  It's only 9 miles between work & home.  That really isn't that far on a bike.  I have considered running it too, but we'll save that for another day.  The car is now fixed, but I want to keep biking as much as I can.  I want to live by Simon's magic words as he waves his wand expecting the TV to magically turn off as we sneak the remote by him.... "Preserve and Conserve"....swish.

And what better way to preserve and conserve then to use human power to get where I need to go.

Anyway, I have some bike-commuter posts thoughts percolating, especially with Bay State Bike week coming up in May, but today I want to ask a question about bike commuter etiquette.

If you were a bike commuter and came up from behind another bike commuter, would you say hello or at least acknowledge with a cheery smile or a casual "on your left/right"?

I am totally new to the longer bike commute.  Sure, I pedaled around town in college and used to make the 3 mile trek to my old job on occasion, but 9 miles through 4 towns is a bit more of a "commute" in my mind.  So I am learning.  A lot.

Like tires should be pumped frequently.

Greased chains make a much smoother ride and no longer makes an awful noise every time you shift gears.

If you push down and pull up at the 3'oclock position your hamstrings take some of the load of your quads!  

And of course my favorite:  Don't look where you don't want to go.

But back to etiquette. This morning, a clearly usual biker-to-worker guy (mirrors, saddlebags - on his bike not his body, stretchy tights and bright windbreaker) came up from behind me, went around me on my right, waited at the light for a bit and then jumped the red light.  No nothing. I thought that was odd, but whatever.  "Biker, bikers," sure I get it - you are biking to go somewhere, it is training, exercise, like a long run or speed work.  I smile or nod at people I run past, but sometimes I'm just in the zone, so biker bikers, I get it.

But bike commuters?

I figured a 'hey' loaded with "isn't it freaky to see all these crazy things along the side of the road like that disgusting thing back there I wish I could unsee?"  Or 'hey' meaning "what about those crazy cars that think they can beat a bike and make a right turn right in front of you. Jerks."  Or 'hey' ...."Isn't this just an amazingly beautiful day to be outside breathing the air in, getting your heart pumping and clearing your sinuses with a few snot rockets?"  Or  "Be careful out there."  You know, that kind of 'hey'. Or even just 'hey' meaning 'hey'

So me in my mountain bike with a back pack full of the day's necessities,  I am a tad slower than a 6' something-guy on a road bike so he was way way ahead of me the next time I saw him at the intersection waiting to cross in the cross walk.  But me on my mountain bike took the bumpy sidewalk/bike path on the parkway.  Admittedly, I decided not to stop to pump up my tires because I didn't want to get passed again.  (How terrible is that!) And then didn't think anything of it again for the reaming 5 miles or so.  In the last mile, on my mountain bike I can cut through the Arboretum taking the gravel paths as well as the paved.  Up over the hill on the gravel and down the other side dumping me right out in front of work.

Guess who was right behind me as I turned into the parking lot for work.

Unfortunately, he was on the other side of the road when I came out of the arb, so I couldn't acknowlege him.  But, Mr. Bike Commuter.  When I see you next week or the week after or whenever I come up from behind you, I'll be sure to say 'hey'.

Do you have bike or running etiquette you live by?

March 09, 2012

Shut the Should Up, People.

And by people, I mean me.

Over the last several months I have been quietly gaining weight. Ok, quietly as in I didn’t broadcast it over a blog, facebook or twitter. In my head I have been screaming. A lot.

But something happened recently to quiet the screams.

I gave up shoulding for Lent. (A practice I plan to keep beyond Lent.)  

I told the self that was berating me…you know the one that seems to scream at me every morning in the shower that I *should* be tracking my food intake, that I *shouldn't* eat after 7 or 8 or 9 or midnight, and to promise not to today, I *should* be a more patient mom, to whatever that shouldy voice was telling me….

Well, I told her to shut the should up.

Instead, I started to ask her, what would you say if someone, not me, came to you and was struggling? Would you berate them with shoulds? Would you dare speak to them the way you talk to me, to yourself, every day?

That got her to shutty.

Instead, we had a long chat. Or at least pen to paper chat.  I wrote her a letter so she would be quiet and just listen. I asked her to bring out her kind voice when she spoke to me. Stern at times, sure, fine, but not berating. I said it was still ok to continue to plan the day and think while taking a shower, but she was not to give me any guff about what the scale said. Ever. Again.

Unless of course she was talking about the sticker over the number.
Peeled back, it is still true.
Sidebar: That sticker "You are BEAUTIFUL! <3 <3 <3" was one handed out to all of us at Drag Ball Sunday at our beautiful church in Somerville. Because yes, we ARE beautiful and it is a good reminder.  Especially on the when standing on the scale.
Of course that doesn't stop me from peeling back the sticker to see THE NUMBER.  But I'd rather the sticker remind me what my spouse tells me everyday and truly believe it, than see a number and change that feeling. 
Back to the voices or lack there of in my head.  When I told her to bring out her kind voice, you know what happened? I feel lighter. And the scale is going down. Slowly, but I am ok with that. And the runs are increasing.  And my patience while still needs some work….especially after the 3rd pajama change and 4th request for water before bed…I am calmer.

Thank you Kind Voice.  You can stay past the 40 days of Lent (or rather 46, because of ALL days, Sundays are certainly not a day of shoulds, Lent or no Lent!)

Thank you Kind voice for not berating and reminding me I am just fine. Beautiful in fact.

We all are.

Sing it Mary J.

Let it go……
Can’t let this thing called love get away from you
Feel free right now, going do what you want to do
Can’t let nobody take it away, from you, from me, from we
No time for moping around, are you kidding?
And no time for negative vibes, cause I’m winning
It’s been a long week, I put in my hardest
Gonna live my life, feels so good to get it right
So I like what I see when I’m looking at me
When I’m walking past the mirror
No stress through the night, at a time in my life
Ain’t worried about if you feel it
Got my head on straight, I got my mind right
I aint gonna let you kill it
You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just…..