ham is good

Yesterday took some years off of me.

Or at least drained some of my soul.

Ultimately, I was planning on some “anger and resentment” miles on the treadmill when I got home from work.  Alas, Simon puked on my bed so at that point, I was done.  It was anger and resentment couch time.  I just couldn’t muster any more energy.

Part of my angst, was this judgey-mcjudgerson person was supposed to be coming through my apt yesterday.  On Monday I cleaned a ton and tried to get everything ready.  The thing is, the last time this person  came through, I was told I was a hoarder and needed to go to counseling.  So, this was hanging over my head.  Thankfully, they never came by and now I don’t have to worry about it at all.  It’s fantastic.

Today has been a bit better and I got some shoes in the mail!  Yay!  There are some sweet deals on PureFlows 3 right now and I considered stocking up.  I only picked up one pair though and used some birthday money – thanks fam!

pureflows3 - love
pureflows 3 – love

I also looked at a pair of the Brooks Launch.  From what I read it seemed these were fairly interchangeable but more cushion.  I’m probably completely wrong since I usually pull information out of my bum with a dash of internetting to support it.  We’ll see.

the launch - verdict is out
the launch – verdict is out

I do want to wrap up this post by sharing something very special with you.  I purchased this ham from Costco.

oh so good
oh so good

It is simply too delicious.  In my fam, we look forward to having ham for dinner because that means the leftovers are for “ham on toast” breakfast.  Of course I could get some regular lunch meat but a) I’ve had this major aversion to lunch meat since Sept.  All of  sudden it became slimy in my mind and I can’t eat it.  b) it’s just not the same as real ham.  Thankfully, this ham is simply too yummo and while it’s on the pricey side it’s totally worth it for me.  They have turkey as well, which I might try next time.  They also have some steak strips that are already cooked.  I’m working on kicking up a bit of the protein as I can feel myself slacking in this area as of late.

Anyway… boring post… I know.  But wanted to stop in and say hello.



According to reports the next few days are going to be north pole kinds of storms.  14′ of snow is supposed to fall and the temps are going to be crazy cold.  I have my fingers crossed for a snow day!

oh weather, you can’t vex me! unless I can’t fly out on wednesday, then I’ll be crabby!

This whole weekend I’ve been lazy.  It’s been wonderful.  Coming back from vacation and jumping back into work always throws me out of whack.  It’s just re-establishing routine.  Thursday and Friday were two busy days as far was work was concerned.  I did most of the prep work for them before I left for break but since I haven’t learned how to control the actions of others (definitely working on it!) there were snafus.

my snuggle-bug
my snuggle-bug

So I’ve used this weekend to decompress.  Simon and I spent some quality time together.  I ran on Friday evening and some miles are on the docket for today as well.  It’s a good thing too, 4 days separate me from the start of the Dopey Challenge!  I still can’t believe it’s here.  Obviously, time passes but it took forever to get here and I’ve been waiting so long!

DopeyhouseofmouseHow did my training go?  I didn’t stick to the plan exactly.  In fact, I probably estimated a 67% success rate.  For me, this is huge.  Of course I still don’t feel fully prepared to DOMINATE the Dopey Challenge.  However, I do feel ready to COMPLETE it.  Back in the early days of training, I had visions of busting out a marathon PR, not stopping to walk until mile 17 of the marathon and essentially skipping across the finish line.  Don’t worry, I’ve since adjusted these expectations.

It happened slowly, adjusting my standards.  I accepted that walking will be part of my success, not a detriment to it.  Allowing my expectations of myself to be more manageable makes me feel more confident that I will, indeed finish it.  It’s so strange!  This “phenomenon” has happened to me before.  When I wanted to first lose weight, it didn’t actually happen until I stopped hating my body.  Learning to appreciate it, was the catalyst to eating better and moving around more.  I used to pray every night that I would wake up in the morning thin.  It was hard work and acceptance that ultimately helped me drop 85 lbs.  I know hard work and acceptance is the key to finishing the Dopey Challenge.

1d1e6693fd685f88224b956e95f2b64eMy mental game is a 1000% stronger than last year at this time!  It’s even stronger than it was for the Nike Women’s marathon.  Not to mention, I’m excited about having fun during this run.  I was so dreading it last year – I didn’t want to fail.  I finally got it through my thick skull that failure is not measured in finish times.  My only goal for the Dopey Challenge is to complete all four races.  During every training run I envision myself crossing the finish line.  I’ve seen it so many times I know I can make it happen.  While I’m nervous, I’m also excited!

I’ll talk more about my strategy for the race tomorrow.  I’ve got an idea in mind so writing it out will be helpful.

embrace the bad run… or at least side-hug it

Yesterday and Tuesday made me rethink the whole “getting out of bed” thing.

Tuesday morning – I experienced a fairly intense panic attack.  Once I talked myself down and my chest no longer felt as tight and I could breathe again, I carried on with the day.  Nevertheless, the fierce panic stayed with me.  I have no idea why.

buzzfeed’s 26 problems only anxious people will understand

Wednesday – I was crabby all day.  I was still anxious but beyond this I was just grumpy… and felt like I was being judged and not passing muster.  Two fun sized bags of peanut butter m & m’s later, I wasn’t any happier.  I knew it was time for a run.

There I was – READY.  Ready to pound out the anxiety swirling around in my tummy and the frustration building in my head.  I quickly changed after I got home from work, picked a movie on my kindle and fired up the treadmill.

I expected it to go like this

It didn’t.

Two miles later I was sucking wind and didn’t have the heart or the gusto to run any further.  I decided at least I could do some ab work right?  After some push ups, some butterfly  sit-ups and a couple of planks I just laid on the floor.  Totally defeated.

As I was laying there I realized two things:  1)  I needed to vacuum.  2)  It’s one bad run and I can try again tomorrow.  Dopey is getting closer and I can tell I’m putting all of this pressure on myself.  So if one run is tough then this means my races will be horrible.  Deep breaths Aim.  I can make this happen, I know I can.  I also know I need to be hitting some quality mileage – not only for my legs/lungs but for my confidence.  It probably helps to remember I’ve been training for months now – months… as in PLURAL!  This is a huge step for me!  For my first 25k I might have trained for 4 weeks.  The race wasn’t pleasant but I finished.  Actually training is a whole new world for me!

I got up off the floor and vacuumed.  Next I did some dishes, got my coffee ready for the morning and ate some dinner.  I had to go back to work for an hour and by the time I got home my spirit was a little brighter.

Runners everywhere talk about having a bad run.  We know they happen and on some level I think we even expect them from time to time so this isn’t anything new to me.  But when they happen it seems to shake my resolve and I question why I ever thought I could run X distance in the first place.  Clearly, I’m a bit on an extremist!

So back at it again today.  Maybe it will be another challenging run where I will wonder why I ever decided to become a runner or maybe it will be the type of run where it feels like you are flying.  Whichever it is, I still have the next day to try again.  And maybe I will let it sink in that a bad run is still A RUN and hold onto that piece a little tighter.

Deep, eh?

the gif at the end makes it worth reading

It’s a Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family!  I can’t even begin to tell you how happy this makes me – especially with it being a long weekend and all.  The thing is, there are scenes in the tv version that are NOT in the theatrical version.  I thought I was a nutter at first but finally googled it and it’s true.  I wish this was the version that I had on DVD!

Getting off of the couch for a run yesterday was tough.  There wasn’t any good reason just being a bit lazy.  I had a coupon for $10 off at my local running store so finally this, along with a kick ass new playlist (that I spent at least an hour on Friday night) motivated me into setting out into the slightly chilly afternoon.  At the store I picked up some fuel – GU Brew, peach tea flavor and some Honey Stinger goodness.  I also finally grabbed a handheld.  I’ve been MacGyvering my fuel belt and a water bottle since that horrendous day back in Sept.  Although I’m proud of my trickster ways, it was getting annoying on long runs.

this is so gross

I couldn’t decide between the above cartoon or the next one – so you got both!

Here are a few other things that really made me laugh this weekend:

I can't even stop laughing at this one
I can’t even stop laughing at this one

I was at the store the other day and this was abandoned on the belt next to me

dino down!  it just looked really funny
dino down! it just looked really funny

Then in the candy aisle I saw these

I just love the part that says, "not a low calorie food"
I just love the part that says, “not a low calorie food”

I’ve got some items to check off from my to-do list today.  The laundry piles need to be tamed, a long run, and clean my bathroom.  I know it doesn’t sound like much but the laundry is going to take me some time!

simon really should be helping – he is a messy little bugger

my definition of a “carb” is probably wrong

Brrr!  The snow has hit!  It is chilly!  I have no idea why I haven’t turned my heat on in my apt – I hate sleeping in a warm room so maybe this is part of it?  Who knows but I think Simon is starting to get grumpy!

Monday morning I woke up late (even later than usual!) and I was heading out of my room and stepped on a vacuum attachment.  UGH!  It hurt!  And I tweaked my ankle a bit.  The only thing I could think of is if I couldn’t run anymore because I’m a slob I am going to be crabby pants!

this sorta fits… but is also too funny

Then I spilled coffee in my car – akk, liquid gold!  I know – I really do live a hard life.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how I was going to limit my intake of carbs.  I should clarify my definition of “carbs” –  bread/noodles/rice/whatever and starches.  My co-worker was giving me a hard time that I don’t know the proper definition.  Maybe not but this is what I am going with!  The first few days, I would have traded my pinky finger for a bowl of Frosted Blueberry Mini Wheats!  But as the days passed it got easier.  I didn’t drop carby goodness all together rather staying away from them for breakfast and lunch; dinner they are back on the table!

these lil’ buggers call to meeeee

Again, the first couple of days, I went really overboard at night.  I felt as though I was depriving myself and I just MISSED (mostly) bread.  The deprivation didn’t stick around and it got easier and easier.  I also found I don’t snack as much and I think my diet seems healthier.  I didn’t realize how much I depended on quick foods i.e. processed.

No more granola bars, breakfast bars, some snacky-type items or a lot of sandwiches (at least during lunch).  This is going fairly well, although there are times when I miss having these fast options.  I do realize these were empty calories especially considering they didn’t keep me full for very long.  Lunch is my hardest meal since I can’t quite figure out an easy/quick menu.  I also depend heavily on dairy.  Oh and eggs – I should own some chickens!  Habits are hard to break and I’m lazy when it comes to meal planning.  I do feel this is more of a lifestyle change so it’s still a work in progress.

my pie craving is reaching level 5 status. I fear for the pumpkin pie that is in my future!

Because there are so many types of meal plans out there, I needed to consider where I was going to fall – was I going to eat beans?  Fruit during the day?  Dairy or no dairy?  As I stated, I am keeping the dairy and I avoided my beloved bananas initially.  I missed having bananas for breaky so I knew I was going to bring this back.  I’ve been wishy-washy on beans (they are not paleo approved) but I want to keep these for dinner.

Are there any changes?  Actually I am not sure.  I do know I’m losing inches but considering I’m running as well I’m not sure which is a result of which.  My food choices are healthier  and I feel full longer.  I *think* I’m eating a little less sugar too but let’s not go overboard just yet!  This is not even close to an overnight process for me!

this is exactly how I feel

Any good ideas for lunches?  I think vegetarian would be good options but ones that don’t rely on breads, rice or noodles…

some odds and ends

Yesterday I had a migraine so I didn’t want to nor could I post.  The day before that I was majorly productive – worked late, cooked dinner, did laundry and a few other items on my to do list.  I think I used up all of my productivity power.

this is all I can manage today

Today I’m back!  Yay!  I am also excited for three packages that came in the mail today.  A new sports bra – always fun.  Whoever Fiona is, I kind of love her a lot

I was too lazy to actually take a good pic
I was too lazy to actually take a good pic

New shoes – we’ll see… wait – didn’t I just get new shoes?  I did, however, I want to bring two pairs with me to Disney in order to switch off between races.  Also, I hate choosing between Brooks and Mizunos.  It’s like choosing which parent I like better.  Now I have both.

new mizunos
so fresh and so clean, clean

By the way – (if applicable) would you pick the Wave Enigmas or the Wave Riders?

Arch supports!  I’ve been whining about my right foot for some time now and I am afraid to go to the doctor.  I know, this really is stupid but I’ve sunk a lot of time, effort and money into the dopey challenge and I don’t want my stupid arch to come between us.  I did get a name of a sports med doc yesterday so I will call and make an appt.  As my friend Kara says, maybe it won’t really be that bad?  (hopefully this isn’t ominous foreshadowing!)

Other than these totally newsworthy events, I’ve been laying low the last few days.  I haven’t run since Sunday.  I wanted to wait until I got the supports and see if this helped.  Tonight will be a treadmill run or the flattest sidewalks I can find.

Oh and check out natures efforts:

naturenature 2Aren’t they crazy red?  I am not sure I have ever seen bushes this saturated in color.  They flank the courtyard of my apt complex and I couldn’t decide which one was more red.  So I posted both.  Seriously mother nature and midwest – well done.

Lastly, I’ve signed up for two races recently.  A local Turkey Trot, which is on campus.  It’s the oldest Turkey Trot in Kalamazoo and I’ve done it for about 5 years now.  Also, a 1/2 in February.  This is the second year of this local half and it’s called “Winter Blast”.  Last year I signed up but for a number of reasons didn’t participate.  Should be a good time and it’s nice that it’s 15 mins away!

“rocky wouldn’t quit”

Yesterday I ran 17 miles.  Once again, this was the farthest training run I’ve ever done (yes, you will read this each time the number gets higher!) and it was much harder than I anticipated.  This freaked me out a bit!

The good:

1.  I fueled really well.  I brought Honey Stinger gummies (very tasty) and a water bottle with GU Brew added, which I filled up for the second time in the middle.  This is huge for me folks!  I am terrible about drinking water while running!

2.  I immediately ate a peanut butter sandwich when I got home and ate a mix of carbs and protein later on – today, no violently huge hunger issues

thankfully I didn’t need to two fist my lunch… or breakfast… or a snack

3.  Ice bath.  Considering I was already chilled to the bone I almost skipped it.  Good thing I didn’t.  I’ve dubbed this “blanching my legs”, you know, like blanching some green beans!  I swear, ice baths are where it’s at and my poor achy legs feel much better.

different kind of blanche but this was funnier than a picture of green beans

4.  I did some stretching and foam rolling.

5.  My original goal was 20 but at 12 miles I knew I wasn’t ready to hit that number and reached for 17.

6.  No music – this kind of sucked but I didn’t finish until 7:22 pm and it was DARK.  I passed one runner at 6:30 and she had both headphones in – not good.

7.  I ran through all of the shady neighborhoods before it got dark – yay!

8.  By the end I was really struggling but I finished strong.  Why?  Because “Rocky wouldn’t quit!”  My new mantra.

this is how my legs felt

The not so good

1.  My arch is really bothering me.  After some webmd-ing I’m 98% sure it’s a “fallen arch”.  Basically my tendons running through the arch are all f-ed = they are all stretched out.  When this happens it can start to push out on your outer ankle as well!  Light bulb!  I had everything taped but it didn’t help enough.

this is exactly it! only the right foot is being temperamental – grumpy bugger

2.  Arch issues are also causing pain in my opposite knee.  I’ve got to get this under control.

3.  I didn’t stretch enough and didn’t wear compression socks/sleeves.  I think this would have helped with my legs feeling so fatigued.

4.  I didn’t plan out my route.  This was totally dumb because I kept thinking I must have run further than I had because I ran all over (or it felt like it).  Not to mention it was short of the aforementioned 20.

I need roads Doc… oh and I said this quite a bit last night toward the end of my run. I laughed every time so it should be a testament as to my mental state by this time

5.  I went in with the following attitude: “I’m never going to be able to do this!”  Pretty positive, no?  My mental game was off the entire run.

6.  I almost got hit by a car.  I was at the cross walk and it was blinking walk but this woman didn’t see me.  I need some kind of blinking light if I am going to keep running in the dark.

7.  My garmin ran out of battery.

8.  It was dark.  I started at 3:30 but I would be out there for 4 hours.  Sometimes I forget to think things through.  Oh and it was chilly.  I was afraid of being too hot so I underdressed – then I froze.

Overall, I really am happy and proud of myself.  I’ve already thought about this weekend’s long run and I have a much better plan of attack.  Also, I’ve ordered an arch support and will be making an appt with the doc.  I will also bring music next time (if daylight allows) since it got boring.  I keep improving my long run approach though so I gotta keep the faith in my training!

yay halloweenie!

Happy Halloweenie!  Did you eat any candy yet?  Here is my favorite:

take 5 loves me back
take 5 loves me back

And here was the trick part of my holiday

yes, this was stuck to my window by a co-worker!
yes, this was stuck to my window by a co-worker!

Of course I laughed a lot – especially at the reaction of some woman who walked past me in the parking lot.

All in all, Halloweenie was a huge holiday in the fam.  My mom adored it.  With my job, Halloweenie isn’t quite so fun anymore.  It’s usually a night filled with mischief and debauchery.  I’m also proud to say, I”ve gotten over the desire to tramp it up!  I’m sort of an adult!  If I were to dress up, this is what I would choose

witchHead’s up – if you have a Chipoltle near you, wear a costume and get a $3 burrito.  I’m going to.

Yesterday I planned on running 8 miles.  I started running and felt pretty good.  My ankle and arch started acting up around mile 4 and I had a thought.  Maybe tightening my shoe laces will help?  I gave it a shot and couldn’t believe the difference.  It felt so much better that I did it to the other foot too.  I’ve never liked tying my shoes tightly so this was a big and new deal for me.

Anyway, at mile 5 I was almost home and thought to myself, “5 is good for today”.  Then I thought about the next day and knew I wouldn’t be able to get a longish run in and I told myself I was already mostly done.  So, I hiked up another big hill (it was my third for the evening) and finished up all 8!  I was happy with myself!

I hit some negative splits with the first and 6th one indicative of the hilly terrain:  11:30, 11:17, 11:07, 11:05, 11:07, 11:51 (I was hating my life right here), 11:17 and finally 11:05.  It was a good run and I iced both knees and my ankle when I got home.  I love it when I am a smart runner!

I can't help it - I adore this!
I can’t help it – I adore this!

Have a fun Halloweenie!

time needs to stop now!

Ugh – Monday and Tuesday I continued to feel under the weather.  I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so lethargic and it dawned on me that pain killers probably aren’t keeping me bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Yesterday, one of my fellow Dopey runners posted the following on my fb timeline: “Only 70 more sleeps!”.  I think I threw up a little in my mouth.  Remember how yesterday I said I should chill out because I’m not in peak training?  Well, that went out the window as soon as I read that!

So, I watched “Spirit of the Marathon” last night.  It really is such a good story and is so inspirational.  My favorite runner is Lori O’Connor.  It didn’t tell her finishing time but I was finally able to locate it (yes, I was a stalker) and she finished in 4:21.  I just really liked her determination and her confidence in herself.  She knew she had put forth the training and come race day she was ready.  I’m excited to feel this way!  And I know I’m on my way!

be prepared – this will be used again!

I also want to put a shout out to my baby brother!  It was his birthday yesterday!  This whacky kid (adult) ran his first marathon when he was 12 or 13.  He thought the finish line was closer than it was and basically sprinted the last few miles.  He ran that puppy in 3:30-something.  I know, AMAZING!

here is my mom and an almost baby kevin!
here is my mom and an almost baby kevin!
kevin was 8 months old when he started walking!  he is already wearing his marathon shorts!
kevin was 8 months old when he started walking! he is already wearing his marathon shorts!
everyone used to think we were twins - I loved it
everyone used to think we were twins – I loved it

Happy Birthday Kev!

growin’ strong now – GR 1/2 recap

Yesterday was the Grand Rapids 1/2 and full marathon.  In order NOT to bury the lead, I cut 9* minutes off from my last half earlier!  2:24 was my magic number.  It is also some kind of world finals for stilt walking – all 26.2 miles.  I know, completely nuts.  I’m thinking these folks have legs of steel.

I signed up for the half a few weeks ago as it was also my friend’s first half.  I was really excited for her!  She did fantastic!  I’ve done this race before, in 2011 and it is such a well organized and fun race.  If you want to know the tone of the race, read the FAQ section of the their webpage!

Yesterday I celebrated the baby shower of my dear friend and due to an incredibly un-mensa move on all of our parts, we got up very early and ended up being 3 hours early for the shower.  So, we went shopping!  I was worried about the crisp air in the morning so I picked up a heavier long sleeve shirt.  It worked perfectly.  And on sale.

Pizza for dinner (my go-to) and one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks.  6 am arrived and I slowly started getting ready to go.  6:38, I was out the door and headed into downtown GR.  My friends live about a half hour away and due to the back route I took – thanks GPS! – I didn’t hit any traffic, arrived at 7:12 am and quickly found a CLOSE parking spot.

Since I wasn’t going to tempt fate or the porta potty gods, I waiting in the bathroom line at the Y for 20 mins.  Completely worth it.  The race had 5000 folks and it took almost 9 minutes to get to the start line.

GR half 2013It was chilly, about 40* at the start but the rain held off the entire morning, YAY!  I checked my garmin at mile one to see what my pace was and it was somewhere around 11:15ish?  I wanted to see what my time was because I felt like I was going fast.  I was a little worried at this point since my efforts didn’t seem to be bearing fast fruit and thought it would be a tough race.  But I started to feel stronger and stronger.  I took half a GU salted caramel for the win at mile 3.84 and felt better at mile 5 then I did a couple of weeks at the same distance.

I also found that with feeling stronger I was pushing the pace.  I decided to only look at my garmin once in a while and knew even if I couldn’t keep up the pace, what did it matter?  I would slow down.  This was a really freeing feeling.  I kept going, walking through water stops.  Two stops took longer than I wanted – major bib failure that was thankfully rectified.

you get free socks too!
you get free socks too!

I felt good all the way to the end of mile 11.  Mile 12 I wanted to be done  and at the 12.45 mark, someone was playing the Rocky theme song.  Brilliant.  I pushed it harder and harder and eeked out two folks at the finish line.  I was so pleased with the run overall and with my drop in time from a couple of weeks ago.  I felt confident during the run, never questioned whether or not I could finish and when I did check had a handful of negative splits in there!  The earlier half my pace was about 11:46 per mile.  This time around it was around 11:08.  Actually following through with training really helps!

This is a great race.  Very well organized, e-mails from the race director on how to prepare and train, nice race shirts and socks and a lot of crowd support.  It’s a mostly flat course and at the finish line they gave out 13.1 or 26.2 stickers.  The after race treats were STOCKED with a huge variety including a free beer and a free cup of Wendy’s chili.  I strongly recommend this race!

*The official time said 2:26.  However, a minute or so after I crossed the finish line, I turned my garmin off and it said 2:26.  Also at this same time, the announcer said “and Amy German crosses the finish line!”  I didn’t think much of it at the time but now I realize my time was a bit messed up.  I KNOW I finished at 2:24.  I know – silly to split hairs over it but I moved my buns for those 2 mins!!