Thursday, March 29, 2007

Swimming on my lunch break

I have a wonderful aquatic center across the street from work, and since I've been looking for another non-running activity to do, I decided to go swimming on my lunch break today.  I usually just eat lunch at my desk, which means I don't end up even having a break.  So, I figured I could have a break.  I even went a few days ago and got a new swimming suit.  I found the perfect (modest) black Speedo at Ross Dress for Less of all places - and it was only $16.  What a bargain.
So, dressed in my brand new swimming suit (which I have yet to look at myself in the mirror and see how it fits) I jumped into the pool.  I decided to have no expectations for myself.  I haven't swam in years - really since college.  So, I figured I'd just see where I was.  Growing up, I was a swimmer.  I think I've talked about how very un-athletic I was (asthma and bad knees).  But one thing I could do was swim.  I never joined the swim team or anything like that.  But I did take swim classes, even in college.  And I'd go to the pool and swim laps just for fun.  In fact, I've always thought I was one of the best swimmers that I know - maybe not speed-wise, but definitely endurance-wise.
Anyway . . . back to today.  Immediately I remembered how much I love the pool, and as I set into a rhythm, I had an epiphany of sorts:  while I'm getting to the point where I can actually run a decent distance without sucking wind, I don't enjoy running.  I've been doing it to get in shape, hoping one day I will grow to love it.  But I do enjoy swimming.  I enjoy the way it forces my breathing and body into a rhythm.  I love the calm and serenity of the water.  And I love how it makes me feel - refreshed and invigorated, without the punishment that running seems to cause.
I swam in 3 (down and back) lap intervals:  a freestyle lap, breast stroke lap, and side stroke lap (down on the left side, back on the right side).  I alternated my intervals a few times, and didn't even realize until I looked at the clock that I had gone a full 20 minutes.  My pace wasn't super speedy, although I was faster than either of the men on the lanes next to me.  It felt amazing, but I had to stop and get back to work.  And the entire rest of the day, I've felt really good.  I may not even mind having to work late tonight (we've got a killer planning commission agenda).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

End of the 21 day goal

I wanted to update all day yesterday, but I never go the chance.  My 21-day sugar fast ended on Sunday.  And I made it.  I only cheated one time - when I accidentally ate a Life Saver that G gave me.  Really that shouldn't count.  And I did actually eat dessert to celebrate the end.  I had a small piece of Angel Food Cake covered in fresh strawberries - with a dollop of whipped cream (or whoop cream as G calls it).   Mmmmm.  It was yummy.
I'm going to continue to limit my sugar intake; however I will allow myself the occasional splurge for special occasions.
I didn't lose a single pound during that 21 days.  But, I no longer have sugar cravings.  Its out of my system, and that was my true goal (although the loss of a pound or two would have been an added bonus).
So, yesterday was the beginning of a new 21 day goal, and I've been contemplating for a few days what my new goal should be.   I've been toying with the idea that it should be to give up my diet pop addiction.  I LOVE me some diet coke, diet dr pepper, diet mtn dew, etc.  You get the picture.  I have one when I wake up, and usually another by 9am or so.  Then, more at lunch, another during the afternoon, maybe some with dinner, and even more before bed.  I do drink water too - I shoot for 64 ounces and usually make it.  And I do pee lots and lots.  I'm sure most who know me think I have bladder problems because I pee so much.
There is no question that I'm addicted to caffeine, and I'm sure the addiction itself is a bad thing.  And I do try and eat so heathy - mostly organic, no processed foods, etc.  I'm limiting chemicals and unnatural food processes in the rest of my diet - its a bit of an oxymoron that I drink so much diet pop.  And I'm sure the artificial sweeteners are pickling my brain.  But its so damn good.  I feel as though I've cut out so much more from my diet, that I deserve at least one guilty pleasure.
I've decided that I am going to try and limit my consumption, but I'm not ready to cut it out completely.  Yesterday I only drank 2, and I felt ok.  I know that cold-turkey would give me a terrible headache, and probably make me an extremely difficult person to be around for a few days.  Maybe that can be my next 21 day goal.

For now, my goal is going to be to do one item of housework a day.  I know that doesn't sound like an uber-lofty goal, but some days after an early morning run, 11 hours of work, 2 hours of commuting, and getting the kids in bed, I'm exhausted.  Things tend to build up - especially laundry.  So, last night I did 3 loads of laundry.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I had forgotten how easy it is to put away just one load of laundry (usually I'm putting away several).
So - there it is.  My new 21-day goal.  Housework.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Zion trip

(Having picture issues again - forgive the out of orderness) Gracelin loved the cairns. I can see why - the do seem strange and almost magical. For those of you who don't know, a cairn (pronounced karen, like the girl's name) are used in hiking to mark the way along a trail - especially in an area where the trail isn't necessarily evident. Like in a redrock area. This is a cairn that G built herself, and was extremely proud of.
My annual spring conference for work was held in Springdale this year - just outside of Zion National Park. We saw this as the perfect opportunity to take a mini-vacation with the family. It was a quick trip - only 2 nights in the hotel. But the drive is only about 200 miles, so it was do-able - even with the little monsters . . . er, kids. We even managed to fit a hike in to the Emerald Pools. We packed the girls into their packs, and headed out. I felt I huge difference in my fitness level even from where I was last week. We passed several groups of people - but no one passed us. And we were quite the sensation with our packs. It was a good feeling to pass groups of huffing and puffing people, all while carrying 30 pounds of kids on our back. I will have to admit that part of what kept me going at my fast pace, was the fact that Bryn would cry if I stopped. That girls loves constant motion. I was a bit disappointed in the pools this year though. It seems that the drought was really affecting the water levels. But it was still wonderful.

I did start to have some foot pain on the way down. Ben had forgotten his shoes, so we were forced to buy him a pair of shoes in town before our hike. The salesman convinced him to try a pair of Keens. He was very happy with his purchase. So, after our Emerald Pools hike, I convinced Ben that I needed a pair as well, along with some new support socks. I love them - they are so comfortable. I took a short hike with G the next day, and my feet felt wonderful. My plantar fascitis didn't hurt at all. I'm thinking I may start running in them :)
Gracelin got a hiking hat, that she refused to take off for the first day and half. I'm not sure why I like this picture - I think the cheesy dinosaur looks out of place. But G loved it. How many girls do you see hugging dinosaurs?
The kids had a blast down there. There is something so spiritual about the red rock cliffs. On the way down the canyon, G noted that the mountains appeared to have been "glued together and then painted". She's right - the landscape is simply amazing. There was a park next to the city building, where my conference was located. The kids spent lots of time playing there.

At our hotel, there was a short hike (about 15 minutes) that circled up to a knoll. At the top, was an amazing vista. G hiked up there twice. She's a tough little girl, and she was proud of herself for making it to the top. Bryn cried a lot of the time she was being carried - I finally figured out on our last day, that she was sad because she wanted to be walking too. That girl is all about motion.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Not all mornings are good

I actually went to bed at 9:30 pm last night, and Bryn slept through, with no night wakings.  That meant I got almost 7 full hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I should have felt good and rested - right?  Then why do I feel so horrible?

My run this morning was utter crap.  I actually started out feeling strong, but after about 7 minutes I started feeling really light-headed and sick.  So, I walked 2 minutes and then tried to run again.  I only made it about 2 minutes again before I started feeling pretty sick.  So, I would walk a bit, run a bit.  I did manage to do 2.12 miles in 30 minutes, so all was not lost.  And I do know that there are going to be bad runs occasionally.  It just sucked.  I entered my info into the nifty tracking software at, and my pace was slower than it has been for 3 weeks. 
Oh - and I've gained 2 pounds since Monday.
Then, on the way to work, I started getting a migraine aura.  It was dark and rainy, so the glare from the lights was bad.  Between that and the flashing, I'm lucky we made it safely.  Usually I can avoid a headache if I can take some meds right when the aura starts, but since I didn't have anything in the car, I had a headache before I even got to work.  So, here I sit, trying to function.  I have a 4 hour meeting that starts in an hour.  I have to be better - I'm taking the minutes.  This is my second migraine in the past 2 weeks - I wonder what has been causing them.  They are definitely increasing in frequency, and its affecting my ability to function on the days I get them.  Strangely too, I seem to get them from looking at bright lights.  Does that even make sense?
Poor Bryn's not doing well either.  She's got a terrible stuffy nose and cough.  I can tell she feels utterly miserable, yet there's nothing I can do for her.  Her fever is finally gone though, so I don't think she's got an infection anywhere.  I have been debating taking her to the doctor today, as we're leaving in the morning for a long weekend trip down south.  I really want her to feel better for our trip.  If not, it may end up not being so fun.
Sorry I sound like such a bitch today.  I wish I could just go back to bed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh so tired

I'm really dragging this morning.  I took some allergy medicine last night (still can't believe I need it so soon this year) and it really knocked me out.  It normally doesn't hit me this badly, but I'm in such a sleep deficit that its like the straw that broke the camel's back.
Bryn refuses to sleep through the night.  It's been so long since she has slept all night, that her nightwakings are a habit now I think.  But, this week she's been really sick, so she's had even more.  Last night she was up 3 times.  At least she just nursed and went back to sleep in the night, but its enough to make for a very tired mommy.  I'm really ready to wean her, but as long as I can nurse her back to sleep in the night I don't want to.
I don't know why she needs it so much in the night.  For naps, I just lay her down to sleep and she stays.  And even at bedtime, I do nurse her, but then we read stories and lay down, so she goes down awake then too.  I know she CAN sleep without being nursed.  There's just something about nights for her.  I'd so love to wean, but for now I can't.  Not until she starts sleeping all night.
I'm really thinking though that I need to wean so that I can start to lose some weight.  I've been working so hard at it, and the scale just won't budge.  I fluctuate between the same 4 pounds - I have for weeks.  And it just isn't fair.  I eat better than anyone I know.  I'm on day 16 of my sugar fast, and I've done extraordinarily well.  I only cheated one - I accidentally ate a Life Saver that G gave me.  I'm not sure that even counts.  But beyond that, I eat so well - whole grains, nothing processed, no white anything (bread, rice, etc).  I keep between 1500-1800 calories a day.
And my workouts are going great.  I'm on week 6 of the c25k plan.  This week I'm doing 25 minute runs - which do wind me, but I can complete them.  I feel great afterwards, and I'm starting to miss exercising on my off days.  In fact, I'm considering finding another exercise to throw into the mix on my rest days - perhaps riding my mountain bike or even weight training.  I'm thinking at a minimum I should be more faithful about situps and pushups - I need to find something to help tone my flabby upper body.
It seems like I have the perfect recipe for weight loss.  And I do feel great (if I wasn't so dang tired all of the time).  But I want to look as good as I feel.  I'm thinking that maybe I won't see a significant difference until I do wean Bryn.  I have been pregnant or breast-feeding (or both) since Summer 2003.  That's almost 4 years that my body has been helping to support another person.  Maybe its afraid to let go of any additional weight?  For now, that's the theory I'm going on.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Battlecreek Falls

(For some reason, I can't get the pictures to load correctly)

We took our first hike of the season on Saturday. It was such a beautiful spring day - low 70s and not a cloud in the sky - the type of day just begging you to go outside. And we were very anxious to try out our new Kelty Adventurer packs. So - we decided to give Battlecreek Falls a try. Its only about a mile up a narrow canyon, and while its a steady climb, its not too strenuous. We figured it was a perfect way to break in the new packs.

It actually only took us 15 minutes to reach the falls. Along the way we passed a small cave, that was very interesting to G. We let her out of the pack to explore. The falls themselves were really pretty, but a little drab since none of the trees were out yet. We need to go back in a couple of months when things are green. I'll bet it will be very enchanting then. Even so, Gracelin loved walking down to the bottom of the falls with Daddy. I stayed up on the trail with Bryn - it was a bit chilly down by the water and I didn't want to get her wet and cold.

Gracelin LOVED being in the pack. Poor Bryn didn't love it so much. She was fine as long as I was moving, but as soon as we stopped, she'd cry. It really wasn't fair of us to take her out - she'd had a fever all weekend and a bad cough. In fact, I took her temperature after her nap, and she was 105. Poor girl was probably just miserable. I hope we didn't ruin her forever on hiking.
I felt really out of shape too - its amazing what an extra 30 pounds will do to you. I was so winded, and I broke a sweat. And still today, my back and calves are feeling it. It was supposed to be a rest day from running, but I feel more worked over than I do after a run.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I did it!

I just completed w5d3 on the c25k running plan. For those of you not familar with the plan, this is a full 25 minute run with no walking. I'd been feel lots of anxiety about this day - mainly because, from here on out, the plan calls for straight running, with no breaks for walking in the middle. Its a huge milestone, and I'd been looking to that day with some dread.

Although today is my day off, and I have all weekend, I got up at 5:30 to run. I was worried that if I didn't get it in this morning, it would be a struggle to find time. We're finishing our basement, and the HVAC contractor will be there all day. I really didn't want to have to try and run down stairs while he's working. And I have a Passion Party tonight. I wanted to try and run today too, as tomorrow Ben and I have plans to strap the kids into our Kely Adventurer packs and find a non-snowy trail somewhere. And I want fresh legs for that.

So, anyway, I got up at 5:30 am on my day off to run. Overall, I felt really good. Towards the end, I had to drop down to a 4.5 on the treadmill, which to "barely running". But, I ran the whole thing. About 20 seconds from the end, I think that I maybe threw up in my mouth a little bit - and I counted-down those last few second. But I did it. I immediately felt an overwealming sense of accomplishment. It was a really great feeling.

This may sound strange to say, but I miss running on my off days. I know that the program is pretty clear about having rest days, but I'm starting to think that maybe I could at least get up and walk on my off days. I think if I walked at an incline it would be non-boring enough to make me want to continue. And it would be good training for hiking season that is fast approaching.

I found the coolest running log, appropriately at Its also the webpage that has the c25k plan. I had just never bothered to check it out - I've been logging all my stuff just on a hand-written chart. But yesterday, I entered all my info since I started 5 weeks ago. Its the neatest thing - it keeps track of lots of different information, and then you can create custom graphs to track improvement. Although it doens't feel like I've progressed much, I made a graph yesterday that shows I've shaved almost a minute off of my mph pace since starting. Thats great progress! I highly suggest checking it out. You can even keep track of non-running exercise activities - and you can classify them however you want, and only graph certain activities. I love maps, charts, graphs, etc - this is the perfect thing for me! I'm such a geek.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Totally random things

Thanks for all the concern for Gracelin.  Overall, she is doing much better.  She is still so pale and skinny (she's not eating much).  And she's got big purple circles under her eyes.  But I think she's probably just wiped out from her traumatic weekend.  She hasn't lost her sweetness.
Anyway . . .now to my real blog post of the day.  I'm going to talk about yesterday.  Yesterday was the strangest day.  Have you ever had a day where things were almost surreal?  Well, that was yesterday for me.  So weird. 
First of all, let me tell you about what happened on my lunch break.  I was in line for a salad at my favorite lunch place. It is a very busy place at lunch, and I'd been in line about 15 minutes. I was next to order, behind a group of 3 women, all around 50-ish. Right as they were about to order, one of the women PEED HER PANTS. She was a very thin and stylish woman, but she was wearing tight khaki pants, and it was very noticeable what had happened.  I felt so badly for her.  But, here's the weird part - she still made her order, waited in line for her food, and carried the tray of food to the table for her and her friends. OMG! I think I blushed for her - meanwhile, she appeared undaunted. I just about died!
The rest of the day went fairly routine.  But, on the way to pick the girls up from DC, I saw an old man on a bike get hit by a car.  He was on a big tricycle-looking bike thing.  I saw him start to cross the road, and almost in slow-motion, saw that he was about to get hit by a car.  I tried to shout out - like I would have done any good - but it was so frustrating to sit there and watch it happen.  I felt so helpless.  But, after it was over, my rusty EMT training kicked right in.  I jumped out of the car and ran to the scene.  I was the only witness and had unfortunately forgotten my cell phone.  The man in the car who had hit the biker was shaken up, but he let me use his cell phone to call 911.  The poor man who had been hit was very disoriented, but seemed ok otherwise.  He kept trying to get up off of the ground, and was very upset that his bike tire was broken.  We were only 2 blocks from the fire station, and they responded quickly.  Luckily the man was ok, and even refused transport. I was amazed that my rusty EMT skills kicked automatically.  And, I was really proud at my ability to be a good witness. But what a day.
What a week.  I'm ready to go back to my boring life.
Oh - and I may as well update on my running.  Today was the first day that I didn't complete the requirements.  I have kind of been struggling this week with the time change - my body still thinks I'm getting up at 3:30 am (as if 4:30 am is much better).  But about 5 minutes into my run I started having abdominal cramping.  I went upstairs to use the restroom, but by the time I got up there I felt better.  So, I went back down to finish my run.  But, about 4 minutes from the end, I had to walk for one minute.  I know that doesn't sound horrible, but its enough to make me feel like I need to repeat this week.  So, I probably will.  At least I'm trying, right?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Weekend from HELL

Thursday when I picked up G from DC she seemed just fine, but by the time we got home she was burning up with a fever. In fact, she escalated so quickly that I had Ben take her to InstaCare. I was very unimpressed with their level of care - they sent her home telling us she had a virus (never mind the fact that she had no cold/flu symptoms). She had a difficult time falling asleep, so I laid down with her.  About midnight,  she sat straight up, pointed to the window, and whispered "mommy, do you see that?"  Of course I didn't see anything - but she protested that there were alligators trying to come in her window.  She started getting hysterical, and they puked all over her bed.  I took her to the bathroom to get cleaned up, and I took her temp - it was 105.  We had a very long night. She kept thinking there were monsters in her room trying to get her.  Finally about 6am she was delirious, and saying things that didn't even make sense.  She was talking in a weird gibberish-alien language. I took her temp again and it was over 106 on Mortin and Tylenol.

I kind of freaked out a bit - isn't that the level where a fever can "fry your brain?" So, I got the kids packed up and I took her to the ER. They got us back almost immediately.  Since she had no cold/flu symptoms, the doctor initially thought UTI. In order to get a  clean sample, they had to put a catheter in while she was fully awake.  Poor girl screamed and cried - her tummy muscles were flexing so badly.  We waited over 45 minutes for the results.  Finally the doctor came in and told us the urine was clean, and he wanted to do blood tests and a chest x-ray. Poor girl did not handle those well at all.
The worst part of the day though was that we were across the hall from the main trauma room, and we could see and/or hear everything. They wheeled an old man in from the ambulance who looked like hamburger. Turns out he had been run over by a semi truck (see article). He was alive when they brought him in, and we basically heard him die. After he died, they wheeled him into the hallway in plain sight of us. His obviously dead body was barely covered by a sheet, and G kept asking my why the poor man had a sheet on his face. He was replaced by a combative man who'd been in a gang fight. He screamed and shouted obscenities for 90 minutes while being restrained by about 6 police officers.

We ended up spending over 6 hours in the ER.  Turns out, G has pneumonia, which is so weird because she doesn't even have a cough, and has been healthy for about a month. They gave her antibiotics at the hospital and sent us home. On the way back from the hospital, we stopped off at my ILs house to pick up Bryn (who had so kindly taken Bryn to their house). While we were there, someone broke into the neighbor's house across the street. The mom had just taken the kids to the park for about an hour, and came home to find their house ransacked. The thieves must have been watching the house for awhile, because in a few minutes they were successful in stealing a ton of stuff - in broad daylight. So scary!

Anyway - back home G wasn't any better. Her fever spiked at home again, and got up to 107. It really scared me. She was already hopped up on Motrin and Tylenol, so I put her into a cool bath. But, her fever was still 107.1, so I called her doctor, who told me to get medical care immediately. SO, we hustled back to InstaCare. I don't think anyone believed me that it was that high, and they treated me like I was an idiot. She was "only" 105 by the time we got there, and they told me to go home - that they couldn't do anything else for her that I hadn't already done. So, we took her back home, where her fever did drop to about 102-03. She actually slept all night, and woke up happy.
She's feeling better, but still sick.  She look so pale and sick.  She's not eating very much and seems to get tired easily.  I did take her to daycare for ? day today, but we're following up at 2pm with her regular ped.  I hope this is the end of our sickies for awhile.  Its supposed to be in the 60s all week.  I'm ready for some warm.

All this happened on the same day as my oldest nephew's birthday, so we called that night to wish him a good day. When we called, we found out that he had gotten beat up by his mom the day before his birthday - bad. Then she locked him in the garage where he bled all over. She finally let him in the house, but not before making him clean up his own blood. He called his dad (my brother) to get him. He's called DCFS and his attorney has filed papers to give emergency custody to my brother. They're also filing criminal charges to my ex-SIL on child abuse and neglect. Just the instance a couple of weeks ago where the 6-year-old almost died is probably enough to get full custody to my brother. And, the icing on the cake was that she didn't even buy him a birthday present.  What an evil woman.
In the midst of all this, I did manage to get my run in on Friday and this morning (even though today it was like getting up at 3:30am because of day light savings time)  UGH. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wednesday = hump day

Get your minds out of the gutters people.  I'm not talking about *THAT*.  Wednesday is the middle of the week:  after today, its all downhill.  For me, this not only applies to the work week.  My couch to 5k running plan is only a 3 day workout.  After Wednesday's workout, I only have one more for the week.
Good thing too!  Today just about killed me off.  I'm not sure why either.  I woke up with a terribly sore throat (you know the kind where you can barely swallow your own saliva without cringing?) so maybe I'm getting sick or something.  At any rate, I could barely finish.  By the end of my second running block I nearly died.  I had to cut back to 4.5 mph, which is barely running.  But, technically, I finished.  My last run for the week is a full 20 minute run without stopping.  Its been a long time - years - since I've run a full 20 minutes at once.  Maybe Friday's workout will kill me.  I need to remember though that my focus right now is time.  Not speed.  Not distance.  So I suppose if I have to run at a 4.5 mph pace (which really is BARELY running) at least I AM running.  Right?  And if I do have to repeat a week, so be it.  At least I'm trying.

While I'm here, I'll update on my sugar fast.  Day 3 and I still haven't cheated.  I almost caved last night.  After a particularly stressful day and a bad migraine, my hubby asked me to meet him at Chili's for dinner.  I just had a salad, but he wanted dessert:  Chocolate Molten Cake.  Chocolate is practically medicine for a hormonal, stressed-out woman.  It took all my will power to watch him eat it.  I went home and had ? cup of my no sugar added ice cream (only 120 calories).  So, 3 days down, 17 to go!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Still going strong

My run kicked my butt today. Every week the workout changes. This morning I did:

5 minute warm-up walk
5 minute run
2.5 minute walk
3 minute run
1.5 minute walk
5 minute run
2.5 minute walk
3 minute run
1.5 minute run
5 minute run
1 minute walk

I run at a 5.0 mph pace and walk at a 3.0 mph pace. I know it doesn't sound like the most strenuous workout, but for some reason it really kicked my butt today. After I was done, I sat down at my computer to check my progress and see what my Wednesday workout will be (since I know this week is the first week where each day the workout is different). I saw that I'd really messed up. What I was supposed to do is:

5 minute warm up walk
5 minute run
3 minute walk
5 minute run
3 minute walk
5 minute run

Its only 6 minutes less running than I did, but that extra time really kicked my butt. Wednesday I step up to 8 minutes at a time. It should be a piece of cake after doing my extra credit.

I am trying hard not to become discouraged. I know I said that I'm focusing on my fitness level, not what the scale says. And I've even been good about not weighing myself constantly. In fact, it had been 2 weeks since I've been on the scale. So, I got on this morning, and expected to see myself down a pound or too. To my horror, I saw that I've gained 4 pounds in 2 weeks!!!! Ok - so I know that muscle weighs more than fat. And I am on my period. And my clothes are fitting better, so I should let that be my guide. But I'm still discouraged.

I need to probably work harder on my diet. I've been letting myself cheat a bit more lately, because I'm working out. But, I need to be more diligent. I've decided to do another sugar fast. My neighbor was talking to me about goals the other day. He said that every 21 days he sets a goal for himself. That sounds like a pretty good idea, so I'm going to try it too. My goal for this 21 days is:

I'm not going to eat any refined sugars. No treats. No candy. I'm seriously addicted to sugar, so its going to be difficult. But I can do it. I'm also not going to weigh myself until the 21 days are over.

Wish me luck!