Diet or diet not, there is no try

It’s been about two weeks since my last post – in which I was moaning my lack of fashion sense.  And sadly, no change has come forth in my closet.  Still have the same old clothes, many of which are ones I hang on to thinking that somehow either the 80s will come back into fashion or that I’ll instantly lose 50 pounds.  Yeah yeah I know – I wasn’t even fashionable back in the 80s…but maybe retro will make me cooler this time around.  

But it is time to clean out the closet.  As college professors – my husband and I very much look forward to this time of year.  Our classes are over and we survived finals (although some of our students did not). And our children are still in school for another month or so.  Thus – our new found ‘freedom’ means that deep cleaning of the house must commence.   Hey – we are a wild wild pair!  So the closets are often the first things we go through – where we try to be honest about what we really need to keep.  Just glancing at my closet I figure I’ll be left with 3 pairs of yoga pants and a dress of dubious color and style.

On top of the moaning of my clothes…I’ve complained about my weight.  Part of the wardrobe issue is the deep sense of insecurity about how those clothes fit.  When you start to consider applying Body Glide on the days you’re not running – you start to get a little worried.  Here I’ve been running for over a year and I’m still at the same darn weight I was at when the doctor read me the riot act about my health. Time to download yet another app for keeping my eating in check and tracking my weight. (I’m always downloading the free versions of such apps – I’m cheap.)  So for the past few days, I’ve nursed the chronic plantar pain, typed all my foods into my iPhone, and broken out the Gold’s Gym Cardio Boxing for the Wii.  I’ve also done some slow jogs around the block to get my foot back into the game.

And in the middle of all this came along a great idea…..or maybe it’s just a “better than good” idea. Cause it was Steve’s idea….which I’ve agreed to….for better or for worse.

This morning he offered me the following proposal.  Pick a goal weight.  Make it to that weight and he’ll give me $1000 to buy new clothes.   !!!!!!!!!!!!!

One thousand dollars!!!!!!!!

But hold on there’s a catch (there’s always a catch)….

Steve went on to say – if I don’t make it to the goal weight, I get only $50 for new clothes.  Well that and the joy of failing at losing weight.  Which we already know I am incredibly good at.  So that $50 could totally put me in the running for worse dressed college prof come Fall 2012.   Although I’m probably already on the short list.

What can you do with an offer like that?  You have to take it, right?  We’re talking 1000 dollars.  Sadly – I don’t think all total I’ve spent that on my clothes in the last 4 years or so….if you don’t count in running shoes and such.  (See note above – I’m cheap – and fashion impaired so that explains a whole lot.)

Before I officially agreed to it – I should point out that:

a) Steve is a man of his word.  He offered me 50 cents to drink wine at dinner out of the bottle – perhaps cause he was too lazy to get a wine glass down from the cabinet.  He paid up.  (Again – wild wild pair)

b) Steve has more faith in me than I do.

c) Should I win….I do not intend to blow the money in the clothing section of Target (although that is tempting)….I fully intend to make my sister come to FL to shop with me and improve my fashion sense.  Okay – maybe only the first one.  She can only do so much  in one trip.

I sat and looked the goal I had put into the diet app.  Unfortunately that goal weight is projected to take me till Sept.  By then I’ll be needing more clothes for back to school.

So I counter proposed a different goal weight (roughly 26 pounds less than today) by my birthday (August 5th).   And maybe I can get down to the other goal….but at least this goal would bring my BMI back down from the stratosphere.

So now I’m staring at the calendar sheets I printed out and stuck on the fridge and wondering what the heck I’ve gotten myself into.  But then the next minute I dream about how fast I could run if I could lose 26 pounds.  (I mentioned this deal to a friend tonight at a school event….I summed it up that she and I would need to run a lot this summer cause “I have to run my @$$ off.”  Yup – that will be about 15 pounds of it.)

Then I start thinking about cheesecake…..and then I start thinking about running in just a sports bra rather than my giant old shirts (with holes).  And I think this is a doable idea.  As long as I stop thinking about cheesecake.

And I have to do…..or do not.  There’s no trying about this.  I’ll be 42 on my birthday.  And I’m sick of saying “by my next birthday….”   I’m envious of my running friend who has recently lost a lot of weight. I’m tired of wearing running capris cause my running shorts are too tight.  And I’m not a fan of sportswear that is only made for women who are stick figures. The last one I can’t change….but I certainly can work on the other ones….

I never thought I’d make it a year or more with running.  And yet I am – still running.  So anything is possible… I can and will make this work.

I’m not going to post about any particular diet or such.  I know the rules of the game – eat less, move more.  And log everything you eat.  All three simple things….that get old after about 3 weeks.  But I have about 13.5 weeks to make it work.

Who’s in with me?   (Of course $1000 not guaranteed to anyone other than me.  🙂



Thank you Steve Jobs.

I didn’t know that I needed a small digital music player to play my tunes and encourage me when I run. But you did.

I didn’t know that I needed apps that could set interval timers for me. But you saw that potential.

I didn’t know that I would be able to run with that digital music player strapped to my arm while it also kept track of my pace, my distance, my training. But you had a vision of that possibility.

When I was a kid looking at my first Commodore 64, you were already thinking beyond that box and what else it can do. And now, decades later, I sit with my MacBook Air on my lap, blogging about my running.

When I’m out running now, my kids can be entertained by friends like Buzz, Woody, Mater, and Nemo thanks to your vision, your capital, and your willingness to let people like John Lassiter do what they do best.

While I’m slow to posting my thoughts on your passing, the speed with which my words are read by so many other people is thanks to the fact that so many interactions with the internet are enhanced by Apple products.

When I run, I often think about those who inspire me. Thank you for the inspiration to reach beyond what is now and look to the future that we can’t even imagine yet. May I remember to always strive to go beyond my current best and beat it, whether it’s running or living.

RIP Steve Jobs.


Run, walk, repeat…

Timing’s everything. In comedy – and in running. And believe me – my running is rather funny.

But seriously – I really appreciate the Galloway method of taking regular walk breaks. As one who has not been running all her life (or really ever before this year), the walk breaks have made a difference in my mental assessment of whether I can actually do this. I do indeed feel stronger at the end of my runs. And I’m generally still running at the end of the run (the general exception being that on these incredible humid FL summer days – sometimes I’m practically crawling home).

However, I’ve learned an important lesson in attempting to run/walk regular intervals. I am lousy at being a human stopwatch. For the last few weeks I would run with the Nike+ app on my iPod touch – but I have it set to tell me stats at every mile. You can have it alert you every minute…but that got annoying. I could look down at the iPod to check my time, but that’s rather annoying – and likely to cause me to run into something. So I decided I’d just let my body decide when to run and then walk.  Ha ha.  Turns out that tends to be quite funny.

The one thing I remember well from my AP Physics class years (and years) ago was that human beings are lousy thermometers. (For example – all my Northern relatives laugh at us Floridians for complaining about winter temps in the 50s…..but seriously y’all – that’s just COLD to us.)  Anyway – let me add that humans are lousy timepieces.  Or at least this human is. No future in being a pacer-setter or rabbit for me! I’m pretty sure I was walking WAY more than recommended on certain days. I have discovered that I have no ability to guesstimate when 1 minute is over. I just would decide that “I’ve run enough” – and I hadn’t cause usually the last bit of my run suffered greatly.

So I’ve finally found an app for that.  🙂 Actually I found an interval timer app that will work in the “background” while Nike+ is the app I’m looking at. (I’ve found that it works better that way – and I do like to check my pace and distance occasionally.) I had purchased one that was easy and I liked a lot (called Two Timer) – but it would pause when you put it in the background. (Note to developer – please fix!)  Now I’m using the free version of “IntervalTimer” which isn’t bad.  I’m not sure that I really know what I’m doing when I set it. But the beeps and bells are distinguishable from one another. My husband has looked into getting a Gym Boss timer (they have a Galloway green one!) as the volume on his Garmin is shot. (He’s trying the walk breaks as part of his training for the Disney marathon.) I’ll let you know how that works when we get one.

Regardless of how you keep track of the intervals – I’ve learned it’s really important not to guess the timing. This week’s runs with the new timer app were SO much better for me. I was stronger throughout the run and not as lackadaisical about how much running I should be doing. The heat was still yucky (and I turned home really quickly this morning – too much humidity and I started my run too late in the morning) – but I felt so much better for keeping regular intervals rather than guessing my way through the workout.

Now if only I can trick my body into thinking that 5am is a perfectly acceptable time to get up tomorrow – I’ll be able to manage a good long run in the am…

We’re going to need more bananas…

Steve and I are putting together our plans for Disney Marathon weekend 2012. That is – our training plans for success at Disney. And it brings up the age old question….how do you balance two runners, two kids, two jobs, and all of those other details of life? Who gets to run when and how many days?

Steve’s medal from the Disney 1/2 2011 hangs in his office…waiting to be joined withhis Disney Marathon 2012 medal. So that means mileage – and lots of it between now and January. He’s been researching all sorts of training plans online  – run/walk ones, three days a week, four days a week, five day a week, plans that include track runs (which we have little access to), plans for 28 weeks, plans for 18 weeks, plans for 13 weeks…’s pretty incredible to consider how many people have “the right plan” for producing a successful marathon run.

I’ve been much more laid back about planning for the 1/2…..My plan is to follow Galloway’s plan for “experienced runners” “to finish”. (Here’s the link to Jeff’s plans for the Disney weekend.) The plan is for those who have been running for 6 months or more (a category I squeak into by next month). I like that it’s 3 days a week and the long mile days seem do-able to me.  Even though one day is a 14 miler! The plan starts the week of August 29th….just over a month to go.

The large challenge will be making the time for all this running. I’ll probably stick to early morning runs during the week (except on days I have to leave early for work). And Steve can manage his runs before work as I’m getting the kids off to school. But the real issue comes on long run days. I’m starting to think that on Saturdays it will get a bit old for the kids if Mom and Dad alternate going out for runs all day. (We’re just fortunate that our kids sports do not involve games or matches on Saturdays… far….)

I guess we’ll have to be a bit flexible in our long runs.  Saturday nights or Sundays or some other times might be more feasible one some weeks. So we might have to make run plans on a week by week basis.

No matter what the plan details – we’re definitely in for a lot more laundry and will be needing more bananas (for Steve) and coconut water (for me) and gels (for both).


Here comes the sun…

This morning’s run was fraught with meteorological issues and technical problems. I want a do over.

Given that it wasn’t a long run, I opted to get up at 6am rather than 5am. And I learned an important lesson….I prefer 5am. And perhaps long runs. Yikes!

I’m not entirely sure that today’s humidity was linked to the time of day. That is – it was better at 5am the other day – cause the other day was less humid. It was horrid this am – and I suspect it was even bad at 5am (however at that hour I was in the midst of a crazy dream…). Some days in Florida, you can walk out the front door and WHAM hit the humid wall. Other days, like today, you step outside and feel fine for a few minutes and then you slowly become aware of the sweat that is seeping out of you at a rapidly increasing pace.

So, while the sweat was starting to flow, I only made it about .1 of a mile when technology tripped me up. I’ve occasionally found the Galloway 10k app to be buggy. That is – the music is out of sync or the app thinks it’s in the middle of a workout rather than at the beginning. Usually the problem is easily resolved. Not today. I kept walking to warm up while poking at the iPod. I then switched to using Nike+GPS and a new app that just does interval timing…so I could get the walk/run reminders but that’s it.  However, that didn’t work with Nike+.  So after walking and sweating and taking the iPod’s name in vain for 1/3 of a mile, I just gave it all up and stuck with Nike+ only.

The rest of my time out there wasn’t horrid….in fact I had some success with longer running stretches. One of my small concerns about the 10K app is that it is currently set at 1 min run/1 min walk. I haven’t been able to change that setting and I’m not sure that is the ratio I want. It was good to get myself started thinking about longer distances – but I want to push myself to eventually get to a longer run portion of the ratio. Once I ignored the apps and the sweat, I was managing 3 min stretches of running for every minute of walking…which made me happy.

Not a bad run overall….and got to see another sunrise. What a treat.

2.67 miles….71.5 total

I’m back to running on the Tues/Thurs/Sat schedule – I hope. This morning was muggy but nice.  Ran right after dropping the kids off at school. I always get a little self-conscious about being in running clothes at the school. Especially as there are many more “real runners” who are also dropping off their kids. I figure they’re too busy waking up to notice me, the wannabe. 🙂

As I said before – I’m using the 10K app by Jeff Galloway. But I also open the Nike+ app at the same time to keep track of my mileage and speed (such as it is). The cool part is that the Nike+ website keeps track of your total mileage, your goals (as per speed, distance, frequency of runs, calories, etc).

I’ve used the Nike+ since about mid-March when I had a few weeks of Couch to 5K under my belt. According to Nike+, I’ve now logged 71.5 miles across 27 runs and burned an alleged 8792 calories. Clearly there’s a decimal point missing somewhere on that last stat. Either that or my body just doesn’t want to believe that I’m actually working this hard and sweating so much. But the mileage alone is pretty amazing to me. I mostly run around the same neighborhoods or so….but I’ve done it quite a lot in the last few months.

But overall, I’m happy with the Nike+ interface. It is not quite as accurate as say a Garmin or Polar watch would be. But for now, I have my tunes and I have a semi-decent idea of how far I’m going (minus a few runs where I apparently forgot how to push buttons).

4.31 miles or so

So that’s according to my Nike+ on my ipod touch. Today was my “long” run which should be on a Saturday but time management is for another post!

Since my 5K in April, I found I wasn’t sure how to proceed with running.  Just go out and come back when tired? Well that seemed like a recipe for quitting. So I started reading about Jeff Galloway’s take on training which involves alternating walking and running. His technique is great for avoiding injuries and is designed to keep you stronger at the end of your goal distance. It also is similar to where I got started with the Couch to 5K program. And hey – I like walking. It suits me.

The difficulty with such programs is that you are supposed to do things like walk for 1 minute and run for 1 minute. And then alternate. Seems like a lot of clock watching. But such transitions are easy thanks to the modern technology of apps. Gotta love the apps.

Jeff Galloway has produced two apps – one for training for a 5K and one for training for a 10K. I just finished week 2 of his 10K app. My plan is to work through this program this summer and then get geared up for training for the 1/2 in the fall. So far so good.

On another note – I decided to check out how well those gel packs help with getting through a run. I must admit always shaking my head at Steve’s little packets. They seemed a little…well like you’d be eating toothpaste. I opted for a Mocha flavored Clif Shot Gel.  My my. Not at all toothpaste. Imagine melted Hershey’s kisses mixed with coffee!  Yummy!  Not sure that it gave me any more energy – but I certainly thought a lot about Hershey’s kisses while I ran this evening. Will have to check out their chocolate flavor too. I might have started this whole running thing sooner if someone had pointed out all the opportunities for chocolate…


So why blog?

One afternoon while standing at the kids’ school for pick up, another mom (and friend of mine) came up to me and said, “You know – I really didn’t want to go running today – but I saw you run past my house and I thought if you were out there – I can get out there too. So I did.”

Now this particular friend is an incredible runner…many more miles under her feet. So to think I served as a prompt to her makes me laugh. But the littlest actions we do often reverberate in ways we never anticipate.

As I’ve been running for the last few months, I often post my runs on Facebook via my Nike+ app or the Couch to 5K app. That’s prompted a bunch of questions and comments from friends and family far and wide. And I have been astonished recently as to the number of friends who are telling me that I’ve inspired them to run and they are now starting to run …or at least thinking about running.

On a related note, I had a chance to share more about the intersection of running, faith, and inspiration a few months back. I’ve posted it here for those who may be interested.

Now I’m no Jared from Subway where I will have some amazing results and a spokesperson job to boot. Nor am I any expert at all in this. I’m just finding my way forward in this pursuit of running and hoping to inspire and bring a few friends along for the ride. So why not blog about my experiences in an attempt to keep myself motivated as well help light a fire under  some friends? I can be a little less pithy than on Facebook (and I love to write), and I can keep track of all my progress. Hope it’s as much fun as I intend it to be.