Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I hate when I can't think of a good title

I was cruising around Google's Blogger search yesterday and found a blog called 'Training for My First Half-Marathon.' He'll be one of my 18,000 best friends at the Country Music race in April. Heh.

I find it difficult to ferret out the personal blogs from the commercial ones when I do Blogger searches. I can't tell you how many times I've gone looking for inspiration among weight-loss bloggers, only to find an advertising pitch for some bogus miracle cure, or what I think of as a pseudo-blog – something to lure you in to find out you have to pay to get to the meat of the message.

So I end up going back to some of your archives, to read how you got started, what motivated you, how you conquered a particular obstacle or triumphed over a challenging situation. I'm not thinking of anyone in particular. I just know I couldn't have continued putting one foot in front of the other, following a food plan and working out regularly, without you.

Some who inspire me don't have blogs, but we do e-mail, regularly or occasionally, with reports and questions and struggles and victories.

My life would be so small without the internet. Thanks.

Okay, moving on ... last night's House? A little strange, if you ask me. I was glad for all the tight close-ups of that cute Hugh Laurie being all earnest and everything, but it seemed as if the writers had been challenged to create a script that didn't include an obscure disease-of-the-week. And they didn't quite know what to do with that. After two weeks' worth of commercials hyping the episode, I was disappointed. Sorry if this is a spoiler; I'm trying to be as non-specific as possible in case you haven't seen it yet.

Yesterday was one of my rest days, so I did an easy two-mile walk on the treadmill and a short weight-training session. Today is the weekly tempo run – five miles total, with the middle three run at a fairly good clip. I'll be on the treadmill, unfortunately, as January has decided to exit with snow and bitterly cold temperatures. Five miles on the treadmill ought to be good for most of a Rocky movie, though.

Isn't that sad … my life is so dull that I'm looking forward to watching a two-star movie while at the same time running nowhere.

Eighty-seven days until race day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

She's up, she's down, she's up, she's down …

she's up. But just one pound. I thought, based on a mid-week scale hop, it might be three. Did I dodge a bullet or what? Heh.

Something I did on weigh-in day when I started the eDiets plan was to calculate my average daily number of calories eaten and burned for the previous week. I haven't done that for a while, so I went back and checked this week's numbers. I'm not surprised at the totals, based on past experience.
This week's average daily intake = 1144 calories
This week's average daily burn = 464 calories
The calorie burn is based on CalorieKing's figures, not the number my treadmill or rowing machine displays. CK's numbers are always lower than the equipment read-out.

Anyhoo, I should be losing weight with those numbers, but obviously something's not right. This week's mission is to be even more vigilant about writing everything down. When I'm tired or in a hurry, or when the computer isn't handy, I tend to ignore or forget what I've ingested.

Until it lands on my hips and shows up on the scale.

For Barbra, who asked yesterday if I still used a pedometer, I haven't been lately. I know that if I get four miles of intentional walking and/or running in, the rest of my daily activity will get me up to 10,000 steps. I usually clip it on once a week just for a spot check.

The satellite issue continues, and someone is coming out this afternoon for a trouble call. I need to work out and clean house this morning, but it's still early. Plenty of time to go see what the rest of you have been up to. Has anyone been written about in the Wall Street Journal lately?

Eighty-eight days until race day.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Workout plan for c-c-cold weather

First, let me say right off the bat how very grateful I am that I'm not required to actually get dressed and leave my house and show up to accomplish my daily tasks. If I have a graphic design job, I can work on it in my own teensy little office, just down the hall from the kitchen. I can wear pajamas if I want to. You folks who go to school or work outside your homes in weather such as what we're having today – it's 10 degrees at 7:30-ish a.m. – are better men and women than I.

And most of the time the "jobs" are of my own making, and I can always put them off until, ahem, later. [You know that Universal Law that says the tasks you have to complete will take the time you have available? That's why making two Valentine's Day cards will take me until February 12. Although I could e-mail them and get two extra days!]

So instead of leaving the warmth of my house today and walking the whole 50 feet to the garage and turning the heat on over there, I might just run in place while I watch Gilad frolic on the beach. Heh.

In yesterday's comments, you may have noticed a cryptic message from M@rla. I had asked her the source for a t-shirt design she has up on the sidebar of her blog, so she left the reply here. I ended up buying two shirts, a grey one and a pink one, both for further half-marathon motivational and inspirational purposes.

Also in yesterday's comments, Jeannie asked if I was still sugar-free. With two exceptions, Jeannie, I am. I still occasionally use that wonderful, fabulous, delicious sugar-free coffee creamer. Perhaps when scientists figure out a practical way to manipulate the insula, other than a head injury, I will be able to free myself from the demon Coffee-Mate.

The other exception, and one I won't even try to give up, are the Viactiv chewable candies nutritional supplements I take each morning. One is calcium and the other is a multivitamin; corn syrup is the first ingredient and sugar is the third. There are three grams of sugar in each 20-calorie square. But I figure the benefit from the calcium and vitamins trumps the sugar. I wouldn't take two big pills [why can't calcium supplements and vitamins come in tiny pills?]. I've tried – the big bottle of Os-Cal that I just tossed expired in August of 2005.

Katherine dropped in yesterday as well. She's doing Project 365 – actually doing it, not just thinking about it or wishing she could do it or waiting for the right moment. I'm inspired anew! Let's see … if I started today it would be Project 337.

And I just love having Jonathan offer his inspiration and motivation and wisdom and insight. I was a little puffed up when I realized that I ran 15 minutes longer than he did on Saturday. But I think he ran two or three more miles than I did. These darned short legs anyway!

Yesterday I rested, utterly. I was still very sore from Saturday's long run, and I probably should have done a little something to get the lactic acid moving. My last total rest day was last Sunday, and even then I shoveled snow. Yesterday I didn't do a damned thing but knit [grey socks in my Comfy Cabled pattern and I finally – finally – started the second Jaywalker] and eat. I even overate, by about 200 calories. I was probably eating when I should have been rowing or lifting weights or walking on the treadmill.

Or running in place while watching Gilad.

Eighty-nine days until race day.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

There's a big difference …

between running seven miles on a treadmill and running seven miles outside. Actually there are several differences.

Outside is:
  • colder
  • prettier
  • less safe
  • more rewarding
Inside is:
  • boring
  • boring
  • boring
  • boring
So there you have it: The Shrinking Knitter's assessment of indoor vs. outdoor long training runs.

To be fair, last week I watched a movie [not one of the Rocky ones, it was that Winn-Dixie movie about the magic dog], so I wasn't completely, utterly bored. But still. I'd rather be outside any time I have a choice, as you've heard me say [or read me write – heh] before.

I'm awfully sore today, all over. My arms hurt, my back aches, my legs are killing me. It's a good thing I sit on a Swiss ball in front of the computer, because I'm sure my ass would hurt if I were sitting on a regular chair. Running on a treadmill does not result in this many aches and pains.

No injuries, and I expected to be sore, but not quite like this.

The schedule was for a seven-mile run at a 14:01 pace. I figured it would take slightly less than two hours, tacking on 15 minutes of walking for each half-mile warm-up and cool-down. I wasn't trying to go fast or slow, and I don't wear a watch, so I had no idea what kind of pace I was on.

I did the entire eight miles, running seven of them without stopping, in 1:45. Not too bad for a middle-aged fat lady!

It was chilly when I started out. I wore tights and a long-sleeved tee, topped with a plastic fleece half-zip, my wool flip-top mittens and the pink headband, which is a wool/mohair blend. The headband was the first to go, followed quickly by the mittens. Good thing the jacket has big pockets! I stripped it off and tied it around my waist at the halfway point. It was cumbersome and uncomfortable, so I'll have to figure out something else if I take it outside again next Saturday.

I feel great about actually doing those seven miles straight at a better-than-13-minute pace. And I think my muscles will feel great tomorrow. Or maybe Tuesday. Heh.

Ninety days until race day.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday follow-up

M@rla, I think you had the best solution to the body image issue: Invent a time machine and go hook up with Rubens. Can you make it a two-seater so I can go, as well? Also, I understand what you're saying about yearning for and working toward your heart's desire. I'm doing that with the half-marathon training, and my give-it-up-to-get-it philosophy would be completely counterproductive for running a race. Each school of thought has its merits.

And DG, I love what you said about focusing on what your body can do, rather than on how it looks. That was a real eye-opener for me. I find myself, especially when I'm lifting or hauling or moving something, thinking, "I couldn't have done this last January." Forty-pound bags of water softener salt are the heaviest items in the grocery. I'm just sayin'.

I also couldn't have run seven miles last January. Hell, I couldn't have run to the end of the driveway unless a wild animal was chasing me. Now, though? I'll be taking the run outside today, since the temperature is supposed to be in the mid-40s and the rain-changing-to-snow isn't expected until late afternoon or evening.

I found a flat, four-mile long stretch of road about seven miles from my house. [You guys have no idea how truly in the Middle of Nowhere I am.] I can do my half-mile warm-up and cool-down and run the remainder without having to deal with a single hill. Last Saturday I did the same distance on the treadmill, so it'll be interesting to see how I manage outside.

On the knitting front, I wove in all the ends on the secret project, so it is well and truly done. Yesterday I finished the Woven Cabled Headband I've been puttering around with. I changed it so that the top part is just smooth, straight stockinette. Also I started with a provisional cast-on and used Kitchener stitch to create a seamless join between the first and last rows of the project. [You can find instructions for these techniques here.] The headband fits perfectly and will be a great little earwarmer when I run outdoors.

I started the blue jean-blue sock but I think it's too big. I keep trying it on [I started with the toe], stretching it to make it look like it fits snugly but I think I'm going to abandon it or start over. Probably abandon because I really want to finish something now, and the blue yarn is pretty teensy. It would take a week to finish a pair of socks; if I found a thicker yarn I could probably finish a pair this weekend.

I'm in a knit-small-and/or-fast-things mode right now. I want another pair of Pop-up Paws, this time with a closed thumb instead of an open one. That's a pretty fast knit. And I want a beret – don't ask me why, and don't you dare start calling me Monica. The felted one just didn't work out, and will be donated to charity, in the hope that someone whose head circumference is larger than mine will love it as much as I do.

Thank you, as always, for being such great cheerleaders. Your comments mean so much to me. If I don't post something new tomorrow, you'll know I was eaten by a wild animal on a country road in the Middle of Nowhere.


Ninety-one days until race day.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Quote Day

You have to have a belly
to belly dance.

I'm stealing today's quote from Kathleen, who wrote eloquently about body image on her blog yesterday.

It's not new to any of us who are weight-loss veterans that what looks "good" in our society wouldn't have been attractive in, say, Rubens' time. Peter Paul Rubens was an Italian Renaissance painter who lived and worked in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He is known for his vast body of religious paintings, but his name also has given us the word 'Rubenesque,' which means "plump or fleshy and voluptuous" according to the American Heritage Dictionary. His depictions of women looked like … women, lumps, bumps, wrinkles, rolls, bulges, cellulite and all.

I would love to be able to accept my body as it is. I have a feeling that accepting it right now, as it is, might be the key to changing it. I've heard and read of a law of the universe which suggests if you give it up, you'll eventually get what you want. Meaning, give up the idea, the yearning, the neediness; learn to be okay with yourself and your life just the way it is, and your psyche will become open to change.

I've been able to apply it successfully in the area of unhealthy relationships. But it takes a lot of pain to get to the giving up part of the prescription. And it's not supposed to work if you have even a shred of desire. The acceptance part must be unconditional.

This relationship I have with my body is certainly comparable to some of the less successful personal relationships I've been able to endure and, finally, give up. This body, though, is here whether I want it or not; it's easier to walk away from a person than it is from, say, my thighs.

I might be too old to ever 'get it,' the acceptance that I am what I am, and it is what it is. I've had fleeting glimpses of it, but more often than not it's a constant, daily struggle.

I was a chubby child from the age of 10 or so. My high-school friends were all thinner and better dressed than I was. I gained weight rapidly with my first pregnancy and joined Weight Watchers – the first time – when I learned I was pregnant the second time. I was 21.

I've fought this battle for 35 years. It's never not there. Even 10 years ago – the last time I reached a normal, healthy weight – every day started on the scale to check the number. I spent as much time obsessing about how good I looked as I do now about how bad I look.

How sick is that?

My intent this morning was to write a funny little post called "Doofus: The Sequel," because I've been mixed up all week about what day it is and what training run I'm supposed to be doing. Today is the rest/cross-training day, not yesterday.

But since it's Friday Quote Day, and since Kathleen's words hit me right between the eyes, I guess this is what I was meant to think through today.

By no means have I gotten to that magical acceptance. But I'm also not finished.

Ninety-two days until race day.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The home stretch

I'll be binding off the last million stitches or so of the secret project today, and will pick up the already-started woven cabled headband next. I also want another pair of wool socks made with plain old DK-weight wool – not the superwash wool/nylon blend which is normally sold as sock yarn. I found some unlabeled blue jean-blue wool in the yarn closet which I'll swatch today, and I'll be using my very own toe-up pattern.

Now that winter is fully entrenched here in the Middle of Nowhere, I find cushy wool socks to be most comforting. It's more than just a warmth issue. The dark grey pair I made late last year are my current favorites, and they are the plainest socks you've ever seen. I mean, seriously – straight stockinette, plain grey yarn – what could be more boring? But if such a simple thing makes me happy, then what could be more perfect?

Maybe my inner Amish is trying to break free.

My run yesterday was great, particularly when compared to Tuesday's. The schedule was for another two-mile 'easy' run; I extended my warm-up and cool-down sessions to three-quarters of a mile each and truly enjoyed every one of the 51 minutes I was on the treadmill.

Who said that? Heh.

Today is a rest or cross-training day. Since I'm still – and, frankly, always
will be – working out to either reduce or maintain my weight, I'll be doing some strength training, some rowing and some yoga. It sounds ambitious, but it's really quite doable. The yoga will definitely be last – I don't want to feel too relaxed to do the more vigorous calorie-burning work!

The satellite service I switched to offers FitTV, and I was surprised to find Gilad is still working out on the beach! I had regular video dates with him 15 years ago. I recorded a half-hour program just for old times' sake.

We're supposed to get one to three inches of snow today … just enough to make you think you could drive, if you had to, but not enough to make you feel snowbound. I guess I'll get a shoveling workout in later so Mr. Shrinking Knitter can get back up the driveway.

Ninety-three days until race day.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What a doofus I am

Thanks so much for all the comments you left yesterday. I loved reading them and then forgot to approve them for publishing!


I turned off comment moderation a few days ago, but then some autospammer from Korea started commenting – in Korean! – on an old post. I hate when I can't understand comment spam. Not! It's more annoying than anything else, but after the third one I decided to start moderating again. That nice Blogger Dashboard kindly reminded me that I needed to take care of some business. Heh.

So here I am, thanking you for your thoughtfulness and replying.

Jonathan, I wouldn't feel nearly as bad about only losing an eighth of a pound a week for the past eight weeks if I hadn't gained eight pounds from September through November, due to the plantar fasciitis. Also, I haven't been able to run outside for several days now, and I know that's ... ahem ... weighing on my emotional state.

The reason it's called a secret project, Vickie, is because, um, it's a secret. I'll reveal it, eventually. It's really pretty, so far, and it's not a sleeping bag. Good guess, though!

Lori, you sound like a photo pro with all that talk about reflected light. Do you give lessons? Actually I've found a couple websites here and here that do have some pretty good D-SLR lesson plans.

If I'd planned my race for a year from now, as M@rla has, I would put off the training until the last month, probably. She is far more disciplined with her workouts than I am! Can we say "procrastinator?" I've often read – we all have, probably – that you should make appointments for exercise just like you do for haircuts and oil changes. But without that race date looming at the end of April, I'd be rescheduling at least a few of these appointments! Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow? Of course, that exercise philosophy is a large part of the reason my ass is as large as it is. Heh.

I knew someone would challenge me on the sleep-inducing qualities of Harry Potter. I don't really use reading Order of the Phoenix as a sleep aid, PICAdrienne, but I knew that if I started reading I would get caught up in the story and be able to quit thinking of the things that keep me awake when most everyone else is sleeping. I've had some satellite television "issues" which are not good for my serenity and peace of mind.

Kit wants suggestions for handling hunger pangs at night. I'm afraid I'm not going to be much help, but if any of you have ideas, please jump in. You see, I've probably not been hungry since I was in junior high school. I rarely eat because I'm hungry; I'm more of a clock-eater, consuming meals at set times throughout the day in order to prevent hunger. And I've bought into the idea that you shouldn't be hungry only a couple hours following a reasonably satisfying meal. My recently acquired – and abandoned! – evening snack habit was more of a boredom issue than a hunger issue.

And that's something you might want to take a look at, Kit. If you're really hungry, eat more protein for dinner. If you're tired or bored or anything other than hungry, but just want to snack, find something else to do. You know all the suggestions … take a bath, write a letter, make a phone call, blahblahblah. They all work, once in a while. I tend to discount these ideas, thinking I should be above tricking myself into not eating.

Who the hell do I think I am?

Finally, to Grumpy Chair: You go, girl! That little bit of incline on the treadmill is actually more comfortable for my calves than walking on the flat surface which, on my model, is about 1.5 degrees. I'm all for doing anything that will make me hurt less after an hour on the treadmill!

Yesterday's five-mile tempo run seemed harder than the seven miles I did last Saturday. The pace was about the same, actually, so maybe I was just having an off day. The business-card-sized quote I posted in December is taped on the book-reader thingamabob on the treadmill, and I have to say it's actually helpful. Am I tough enough?

So far I am.

Ninety-four days until race day.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Wanna be depressed?

Here's what landed in my in-box overnight from Land's End.

I'm not ready to think about swimsuit season, thankyouverymuch, especially when I was taking photos of ice-covered dogwood limbs yesterday morning. My daughter the photographer warned me that ice was hard, and she didn't mean when you fall on it.

She was right, of course. Add to that the fact that my camera is still smarter than I am and I think I deserve credit for even posting that crappy photo.

Yesterday's training was an "easy run" of two miles at a 14:10 pace. I've been adding quarter-mile warm-up and cool-down laps to all my runs so far, and I knew that even 2.5 miles wasn't going to be much of a workout, so I also did 15 minutes on the rowing machine. Today is a "tempo run" – five miles total, including a one-mile warm-up, three miles at some insane speed in the 13-minute mile range, and a one-mile cooldown. I'm not sure I'm ready to go that fast and, in fact, I'm not even worried about finishing the race in a certain time frame.

I just want to finish it. Period. I probably shouldn't get ahead of myself, though. I really just hope I can start it! Once I get started, I'm counting on momentum to take me to the finish line.

So I'll see how it goes, running at 13:23 for three miles, and if I have to slow down or even stop, I will. I guess that's why it's called training, huh?

My recent theory that not eating after 7 p.m. will induce better sleep didn't work last night. I was wide awake at 1 a.m., and decided Harry Potter would be the key to getting back to sleep. I didn't close the book until 2:30 a.m., and woke up again at 5. I'm not going to start the evening-snack routine again, though. Better sleep was not the only reason I imposed the rule. I can certainly sacrifice the calories, considering the size of my ass.

I lost a pound this week, wonder of wonders. I love how the little eDiets graph shows your progress for the past two months and then predicts where you'll be a month from now. They've said all along that I'll lose two pounds a week, and it ain't happened yet. In 55 weeks I've lost an average of 1.48 pounds per week, and in the last two months I've lost, um, one. That's an eighth of a pound per week, but who's counting?

Still slogging away on the secret knitting project, which grows ever larger. I thought I would finish it with just one more skein, but have blown through that and am into another one. Soon, though. Only nine more very long rounds to go.

Ninety-five days until race day.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Scale tale

Not mine, though. Jonathan wrote yesterday that determining someone else's goal weight is "a subject I am completely unable to speak intelligently about."

Jonathan, you may not be able to speak intelligently about that – it is, after all, a very personal subject, and probably best left to health care professionals. But you certainly can speak intelligently about the factors each individual needs to consider before determining the magic number.

The rest of his post yesterday says so much, so well. Rather than quote it all here, if you haven't already read it, I hope you will.

I can't even choose one or two lines to discuss here, because the entire post really sums up so much of how I feel about the scale. So go read it, already. What are you waiting for?
Jeannie asked in yesterday's comments if I keep the treadmill flat when I run on it. I set the incline at 2.5 or 3, usually, which increases the calorie burn rather dramatically. I figure I get enough hill work when I'm able to be outside that I don't need to add it when I have to stay indoors. If it was my only option, though, I'd use a hill program on a regular basis. She says she's doing the half-marathon training, but doesn't mention whether she's doing a race or not. Jeannie? Which finish line should we line up at to cheer you on?
I guess most home-use treadmills stop at 99 minutes … which makes sense. They'd have to include a more complicated digital monitor to make it three digits, wouldn't they?
Lori, when and where is your marathon?
Peyton, when and where is your next game? Oh ... Miami ... in two weeks. Now I remember! [And wasn't it funny that Tony Dungy thought they might as well play Chicago in Ft. Wayne? Heh.]
I may have said this last year, because I say it every winter: There are some muscles one uses only for certain tasks, like, say, shoveling snow. Yesterday was a rest or cross-training day, according to the schedule. [I've settled on the Smart Coach plan, by the way.] So I shoveled snow in the morning, salted our 100-foot-long driveway and scraped ice in the afternoon. A couple of times.

I remember how very sore I was last year the first time I shoveled snow. I feel ever so much more fit for the task this year. Mr. Shrinking Knitter didn't even warn me that shoveling wet snow is dangerous, as he has done for the past several years.

It's a good kind of soreness I'm feeling this morning. Tangible proof that what I'm doing is good for me, no matter what the scale says.

Ninety-six days until race day.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The oddest referral I've gotten …

so far, anyway.

Friday night/Saturday morning, someone found this post by Googling for "pick your poison drinking game." Since it was 2 a.m., their time, I doubt they were looking for someone talking about recovery from alcohol addiction. Snort. When I was 'in my cups,' Al Gore hadn't yet invented the internet, so I can't say if I would have searched online for the rules of a drinking game.

I seriously doubt it.

That time I showed you my post-workout, red-faced, soaked t-shirt picture got a few hits from people looking for "wet t-shirt." [And this one will probably get some, too, now that I've put those words out there.] I'm the definition of bringin' sexyback, aren't I?

Okay, where's my trophy? Or at least a sling for the arm I broke patting myself on the back. You know how yesterday I said the Runner's World Smart Coach Plan looked too hard? [The way it works is you supply information about your current fitness level, the distance you want to run and the date of the race. Then Smart Coach spits out the perfect training plan for you.] With the data I plugged in, that silly coach told me I had to run seven miles yesterday at a 15:20 pace. Which is walking fast, not really running, unless your legs are short!

Since it was bitterly cold outside, I knew it would be a treadmill workout and I decided to see if I could do it. Seven. Miles. On a treadmill. Plus a warm-up lap and a cool-down one, so a total of 7.5.

My treadmill stops after 99 minutes. I did not know that. I had to go nine more minutes to complete the mileage, and it ended up being a 14:53333333 pace, a little faster than prescribed. I could easily have carried on a conversation the whole time, should anyone have shown up wanting to chat. All body parts are fine and dandy this morning. I took an Aleve before bed, more as a preventive measure, but I probably could have slept fine without it.

Now here's the thing that surprised me more than anything else. I was not hungry the rest of the day. I had cereal with fruit and milk at about 8 a.m., started running at 10 a.m., forced myself to eat some leftover turkey chili with rice at about 1 p.m. and had a vegetable-and-cheese omelette with toast for dinner at 6. I ended up eating far fewer calories than I'm "supposed" to have, but I felt like I ate very well.

The worst part about a long run like that is that you're pretty much done doing anything for the rest of the day. I finished reading Marathoning for Mortals and started in again on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I put down when I bought Sugar Blues.

Now where's that sling again?

Ninety-seven days until race day.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday, in the Garage

Instead of "Saturday, in the Park," doncha know. Apologies if I inadvertently plant a Chicago earworm in your pretty little head for the rest of the day.

It's too cold to work out outside today. It also was too cold yesterday. It will be too cold tomorrow.

Guess what? It's cold here in the Middle of Nowhere. My workouts are happening, just with a little less pleasure than if I were outside.

Yesterday was a rest day. Some of the training programs suggest "active rest," meaning you can cross-train. And since I'm trying to shed weight and train for a long-distance run, I don't mind cross-training on a rest day. [Also? I'm juggling three different training regimens at this point. The Runner's World Smart Coach plan looks too hard. {This tool, by the way, is pretty awesome.} The one from Marathoning for Mortals looks too easy [warning: no training plan on the site; it's an ad for the book, but it's a great book!]. The plan I've been using, from Hal Higdon, looks just right, except it's only 12 weeks, so I've been doubling up on the first few sessions. But the jury's still out.]

Jonathan, I've also heard and read not to expect to lose much – if any – weight during training. I'm all about being optimistic and persistent, though. I'll be the one you all point to when you talk about people who keep eating well and exercising even when they experience no weight loss. Or maybe when you talk about crazy people.

For my cross-training, I chose to row but forgot my Shuffle. I would have had to go all the way back to the house to get it. [Whine, whine.] Or I could just flip through the channels and find a good movie. Like The Natural. I tuned in during Roy's first batting practice with the team, switched to the treadmill when he started dating that tramp, Memo, and stopped when the lovely Iris gives him the first hint that he has a son. Fifty minutes, altogether. Not bad for a rest day!

Denise [who is, apparently, blogless], I watched that CBS exercise-brain report and the first thing I thought of is if exercise increases brain volume, maybe that's why I keep gaining instead of losing, in spite of the miles I've been racking up the past year.


Also, I'm not so sure exercise really does boost brain power because I've been meaning to address your knot-in-the-ball crisis the last couple days and keep forgetting to do so. If your fiber is wool, you can spit-splice it. If it's something other than wool, you can either use a Russian join or simply knit both strands together for a couple of stitches and then weave the ends in after you've finished knitting and blocking the piece. All these techniques – and more! – are illustrated at the very helpful

I'm using the third option on my secret knitting project, which has about one skein of yarn left to consume. [I also started a little woven cable headband – in pink! – to wear for outdoor roadwork if it gets even a teensy bit warmer. Of course, by the time it's finished it'll be spring and I won't need it.]

Also, I have another workout booster, one which has convinced both my children that I'm right on the edge of loony. I may never get to see the grandchildren again. I bought – are you ready? – the two-disk special edition of the first
Rocky movie, as well as the five-disk set of the first five Rocky movies. [Yes, that means I have two copies of the first one. So, sue me.] The only ones in the series I've seen are the first and the current, in-theatre ones. So I have lots of treadmill and rowing machine entertainment lined up for the remainder of winter.

'Cause I think the weatherman is predicting cold.

Ninety-eight days until race day.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Quote[s] Day

First, thanks to Kit for speaking up about recommending Marathoning for Mortals, which I mentioned a couple of days ago. I've read five chapters now, and am mostly confident I'll be able to finish the half-marathon. Can't wait to see what they have to say next, and I'm especially looking forward to reading their nutrition advice. [Naturally … it's all about the food, doncha know!]

An AI addition: Newsweek has an article this week about those who've auditioned repeatedly. As well as a good web-only critique by an AI virgin. [You did know you could read Newsweek, in its entirety, online, didn't you?]

On to the quotes! I've been collecting motivational and inspirational quotes for a year now, maybe longer. I'm just going to post some of the great ones without a lot of comment today. Food for thought, so to speak. Which is your favorite? How does it inspire you? Write about one on your blog.

Thus endeth the homework assignment. Heh.

"I never said it would be easy,
I only said it would be worth it."

This quote has been attributed to Anonymous, Jesus and Albus Dumbledore, all of whom probably said it at one time or another.

"If you would be rich, you will be rich;
if you would be good, you will be good;
if you would be learned, you will be learned.
But wish for one thing exclusively,
and don't at the same time wish
for a hundred other incompatible things
just as strongly."

William James
In other words, it's all about priorities, baby!

"You don't have to change that much
for it to make a great deal of difference.
A few simple disciplines
can have a major impact
on how your life works out
in the next 90 days,
let alone in the next 12 months
or the next 3 years."

Jim Rohn
Or what's left of the rest of your life.

Most people would succeed
in small things
if they were not troubled
with great ambitions.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Does this sound like "break a big goal down into manageable chunks" to you?

And finally [at least for this week],

For you to be successful,
sacrifices must be made.
It's better that they are made by others
but failing that,
you'll have to make them yourself.

Rita Mae Brown

'Nuff said!

Ninety-nine days until race day.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Are you Idol-ing?

I was one of the 37 million who couldn't look away from the trainwreck that was the two-night, four-hour American Idol premiere. Actually it was more background noise than anything else, as I worked on the latest knitting project. Said project needs to remain a secret; those who are to eventually receive it occasionally check up on me here.

But seriously, some of the people who audition on AI surely were set up to do so, don't you think? I can see it now: a dimly lit bar, too many beers, karaoke night and voila! Your friends have convinced you you're the next Chris Daughtry [who didn't win last year, but should have] and you must show up for the cattle call.

Do your friends and family offer you false encouragement regarding your weight loss effort? On the rare occasion when someone comments on my looks, I hear how well I'm doing and how great I look. I will admit to "doing well," if that means following a food plan and exercising consistently. But my mirror doesn't say I look great, and neither does the scale. They are as honest as the day is long. It's their job to be honest and they both tell me I still have 30 pounds to go, now go work out already!

These tools don't care how I feel. They're not concerned at all if I'm tired or discouraged or bored or fed up or, um, did I mention discouraged? They just provide data. It's up to me to do the work that will, eventually, pleaseGodplease, affect the data in a meaningful way.

It's up to me to accept their assessment realistically. The number on the scale, the number of steps at the end of the day, the calories burned and the miles run and the minutes logged – all those figures will, eventually, add up to improved performance, pounds lost and different data.

I'm not a robot, and my emotions sometimes get in the way of reality. But I'm mostly positive about the somewhat negative data I've been seeing lately. I've read countless times that you should have something other than an ideal weight for a goal. You know: pick a dress or pants size you'd like to get into or lose enough weight so you can wear your wedding ring again.

Or sign up for a half-marathon. Heh. No one encouraged me to do that; it was something I'd wondered about and wished I could do, but I didn't discuss it with anyone before I registered. None of my rowdy friends set me up, and my pep squad grows with each new person who learns of my goal.

One hundred days until race day.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A great big thank-you …

to the recent commenter who recommended Marathoning for Mortals to me. That link takes you to Amazon, where you can order it. This link takes you to a website for the book, with FAQs, the authors' backgrounds and non-Amazon ordering information.

[I looked through half a dozen old posts, searching for the person's name who recommended it to me, and still haven't found it. You deserve more credit than I'm able to give you here!]

It came in the mail yesterday, and I've only read the first chapter and am hooked. Bingham calls himself an "adult-onset athlete," and that's exactly how I feel. Well, today, anyway. Heh.

Of course this means yet another training decision. The MfM half-marathon training lasts 14 weeks and includes two rest days per week. I think to meet my weight-loss goals I need to do some kind of exercise every day. Perhaps they talk about that later in the book. Perhaps I'll just do something crazy like, oh, not rest on a rest day. Gasp. So I'm in the process of deciding whether to switch regimens yet again. The race is 101 days from today; 14 weeks is 98 days. Opinions?

I'm getting kind of a late start – for me – this morning because I actually slept all night. From 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. Gasp again. I've had such trouble sleeping lately and am more likely to be up at 4 or 5 a.m. than I am to be sleeping. I was surprised when I opened my eyes to find the dawn of a new day already breaking over the mountains to the east. Since what I tried last night seemed to work, I'm going to try it again.

The one thing I took away from the Oprah-and-Bob-fest Monday was their advice to stop eating two hours before bedtime. Well, that was Bob's advice. Oprah declared that her rule was to stop eating at 7:30 p.m. Debbi decided 7 p.m. was late enough which, essentially, means the kitchen closes after dinner.

I've been gradually sliding into snacking in the evening over the past couple of months. It started out just a couple times a week, but lately has become a regular habit, and one I want to stop. Since the first reward was a good night's sleep, you can bet I'll be trying it again.

I feel like a scientist. Heh.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

One more party!

PastaQueen is celebrating what she's calling her two-year "fat-iversary!" Who will we add to the list next year at this time?

PQ has been a wonderful example for me of staying calm and level-headed amidst the ups and downs of weight loss. She writes well, is very clever and why don't you have her in your Bloglines or Google Reader already?

Speaking of up … that would be my weight this week. After a one-pound loss last week, I'm up two this morning. I can't blame it on anything. I've averaged about 1250 calories/day this week, and I worked out every day except Friday. Maybe it'll go back down again tomorrow.

Prior to starting the half-marathon training, my workouts lasted longer, and that certainly seems to have made a difference. Perhaps I should do the h-m schedule plus an extra mile or two? I just don't know at this point. I know I said yesterday that I'm more focused on the training than on the weight, but I certainly didn't expect to be up two pounds!

That's. Just. Not. Fair.

I lifted weights yesterday – aren't you proud of me? And did yoga, which, as always, is soooo relaxing. I feel some soreness in my shoulders and back, and so will assume I was doing something right.

I played around with my new camera in the afternoon; it is definitely smarter than I am! I was trying to get a close-up of our Bradford pear, which has buds on its branches. Poor thing – those flowers probably won't bloom this spring after the deep freeze we're supposed to get this week. The best of the shots I took was still too blurry to display here, although I did like how the background was completely blurred out. I always had to do that in Photoshop with pictures from my old camera.

Alicia mentioned yesterday's Oprah show on her blog yesterday, which highlighted Bob Greene's new diet book and plan. [Do you s'pose they scheduled that for a holiday Monday on purpose, so those who had the day off could watch?]

way, it seemed to Alicia and to me that Oprah was kind of, um, pushy. I felt some underlying tension. Oprah made a big deal of the photo of Bob with her dogs on the cover of the book – the dogs that he won't allow in his house. Seems they're next-door neighbors, another fact she repeated several times. It was odd. The chemistry they've had in the past just wasn't there yesterday. Perhaps the honeymoon's over? Heh.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Two more things …

I've been meaning to offer one more piece of knitting advice to Denise. So, Denise, watch how you knit. Do you push the needle all the way through, so that the stitch is completely over the shaft of the needle? Or are you knitting with the needle tips only? If so, be sure to use the fat part of the needle to make your stitches. Other than that, I've nothing else to offer! You're right – one shouldn't have to fuss and fume over knitting. It's a very relaxing pastime, once you get into the groove.

And I really should read others' blogs before I post, because Shauna's having a blog birthday! Go wish her well, and thank her for all the encouragement and inspiration she's offered for the past six years. I found her sometime during this past year, and am so happy I did!

Weird weather

I'm not complaining, and am probably – from a glance at the weather maps for the rest of the country – pretty darned lucky. Our weather has been unbelievably warm the past week or so. If I'd had my camera [yes, the lens finally came!] on my outdoor run yesterday, I'd have been able to show you the robin I saw. Yes, I said robin! But Google Images came through with this little guy, so it'll have to do. And, wonder of wonders, Blogger allowed me to upload the image!

This is the earliest I've seen a robin since I moved to the Middle of Nowhere almost 10 years ago. And he's gonna be pissed tomorrow that he didn't hang out down south just a few weeks longer, when the temperature drops 20 degrees and the snow starts flying!

I've noticed a bit of a mental shift taking place lately, something I hadn't anticipated when I started training for the half-marathon. I'm not nearly as focused on losing weight as I had previously been. I'm following the meal plan from eDiets closely, being careful to eat lightly both prior to and after a workout. Usually that means splitting breakfast, having the fruit or toast first and the omelette or cereal after.

I'm also following the training regimen pretty well, except, as you know, for the strength-training, which is part of today's Stretch/Strength assignment. I did some pretty heavy lifting this weekend – something I couldn't have done a year ago, certainly. But I can't really count it as a workout.

The mental shift is that I seem to be perfectly okay with eating well and exercising with a finish-the-race goal, rather than a lose-the-weight goal. And I think this is a very good thing. I'm trusting that if I eat well and exercise, the weight will, eventually, drop.

I'm one month sugar-free at this point. Any sugar withdrawal I might have been experiencing is gone. There's been an opened package of cookie dough in the refrigerator for a week. No unbaked cookie dough has ever remained in this household for that length of time in the past.

It's a miracle!

Or maybe it's just me feeling very good without sugar. I finished re-reading Sugar Blues by William Dufty last night. His "recipes," which include lots of unavailable-to-me Japanese food items, aren't very appealing. I guess I just don't see the need to make a substitute for pie when I can eat an apple instead. Just think of all the time I've saved for knitting!

Who figured out the whole "fill a flour-and-lard mixture with a sugar-and-fruit mixture and bake it until it's delicious thing," anyway? [I know, I know, I should just f-ing Google it, shouldn't I?]

Yesterday was the weekly 'long' run – still just four miles. It was so beautiful outside that I couldn't stand the idea of running on the treadmill. And yet, I still can't run four miles on my normal full-of-hills route. So Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I drove to a spot where a sign points to a recreational boat access two miles down a fairly flat road.

It was a lovely run. I didn't have to stop and walk at all. Unfortunately when we went back to check it with the odometer, it was only 3.6 miles. Really, though, I felt fine with that, and I did it in 42 minutes! That's a better than 5mph pace! And I truly felt like I could have kept on running; I wasn't winded or exhausted at all. Sweaty? You betcha.

We did figure out where the two-mile point on that road is, and since the next two weeks are exactly the same as the last two [I'm doubling up the first two training weeks], I might try it outside again next Sunday.

If it's not snowing by then.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weekend wrap-up

Here's some X-treme Knitting for you. Not something I'll be taking up anytime soon, either. Well, unless science and medicine figure out a way for middle-aged eyes to get stronger, not weaker.

Speaking of weaker … I'm so lame about lifting weights! What is up with that? I so admire those of you who love it and look forward to it and would rather work out on a weight bench than on a hilly road.

It's just a good darned thing I'm taking 16 weeks to complete my 12-week half-marathon training program. I guess I instinctively knew it would take an extra month to talk myself into following it To The Letter.

According to the plan, cross-training can be swimming, cycling, walking – just about any activity other than running. So I chose to walk, rather than use the rowing machine. I knew my workout would last longer and I would enjoy it more, since I could be outside. [It's sooo unseasonably and delightfully warm here in the Middle of Nowhere!] And then since I was outside and felt so good, I thought I might just run a little, even though cross-training sessions are supposed to be a "rest from running."

I ended up doing four miles in less than an hour, which means I jogged nearly three of them. It felt so good! I was wearing my new training tee, and told Mr. Shrinking Knitter I felt like an athlete. Heh.

He had some weight-lifting planned for me when I got back, in the form of a four-drawer metal filing cabinet which he wanted moved from a storage building to the upper level of the garage. It was far too heavy for him to manage on his own. I got dizzy and felt sick to my stomach trying to help without enough post-run rest, but later we were able to get it into the lower level of the garage. Today we tackle the stairs.

You can see why it was easy for me to forego the barbells and bench, can't you?

How 'bout those Colts? [I heart Peyton.] And those Saints? [The new America's team.] I only wish I could have stayed awake for the entire second game. Heh.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Commenting on the comments

Yesterday was a rest-from-training day, as well as a go-out-for-dinner-at-Outback evening. Not a great combination, but I was so proud of myself at dinner. The 7-oz. filet came with two sides, so I requested a double order of steamed vegetables. When the plate came, I immediately cut the meat in half. I left it on my plate, just in case I still wanted it, but decided that Mr. Shrinking Knitter could have it for dessert. Which he did. I gave myself a high-five for eating sensibly.

We used to go to Outback and share a Bloomin' Onion and a couple loaves of bread before dinner. You don't want to know how many calories are in a Bloomin' Onion.

Today I'm supposed to do 30 minutes of cross-training, which will be the rowing machine. I'm also going to do the strength-training I was supposed to do Thursday. Yes! I will!

Despite parking my ass in front of the computer for hours every day, I don't spend a lot of time here at the blog. I post in the morning and am now approving comments a couple times a day, but usually I'm reading other blogs, working on a graphic design project, e-mailing or playing Solitaire.

Unlike some bloggers, I haven't made a habit of responding to comments with yet more comments, but I really don't know what the ::correct:: procedure is. At any rate, I like responding to your thoughts here, especially when I don't have a prohetic post to publish. [Ahhhh, alliteration!] So that's what I'm doing today.

Denise, try going up a needle size or two to help correct your tension. Tension [or gauge, depending on where in the world you knit] is a combination of yarn, needle and knitter, and pattern writers only take into account the first two. If you're fighting with your work, change the needle size; it will probably help. If not, I've heard wine works well.

Vickie mentioned the Guidepost Knit for Kids outreach program, and I'm happy to repeat the link here. I've donated a sweater or two for them, and encourage you non-knitters to click the handy donation button on their website.

Vickie also pointed out that domesticated dogs differ in their need for food. My own dogs prove this as well. Our younger dog,
Hershey, will eat what's in her bowl and move on. Our old girl, Molly, is quite fat and will quickly eat all her kibble and then move over to Hershey's bowl. Since Hershey isn't particularly territorial and eats more slowly than Molly does, Molly usually gets a meal and a little more.

It wasn't always this way. When Molly was the younger dog, she would eat and then go play. Or nap. At that time, Lindy was the voracious eater. But when Lindy was younger and you offered her a Frisbee or a bowl of food, she'd take the Frisbee every time.

So, at least in my pack, age has more to do with food consumption and weight problems than breed. Heh.

Perhaps the wild animals' secret is that they not only spend all their time, but also all their energy searching for and consuming food. I know I sure don't spend a lot of energy gathering and preparing my three squares per day. Jonathan wrote well and wisely about this last night.

I'm glad to hear it's getting cold in Wisconsin! I just can't imagine a mild winter there. When my daughter lived near Milwaukee she frequently said Wisconsin had two seasons: Winter and Fourth of July. I could never plan to visit during the winter months, because I couldn't count on
  1. Getting out of my driveway and down my very steep road due to snow or ice, or
  2. Being able to land at Mitchell Field due to snow or ice.
I shrank the beret yesterday, but the band is still too large. It's a double-thickness of fabric – not much room for shrinking when the gauge is so much tighter. The top looks great, though! I might be able to slip some elastic in there to make it fit, or I might toss it in a basket to donate to charity. Now to decide what to knit next.

This new free pattern from Berroco is on the short list. Isn't it lovely?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday Quote Day

"Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense."
~Thomas Arnold Bennett
How's that for a cool quote for the second week of a "certain task?" Heh.

I had to start moderating comments yesterday. I guess it means I've arrived in the world of blogging when I start getting random spam comments. These were weird, though. You'd probably never have found them, as they were on posts that were several months old. At any rate, I love comments from you ... just not from those nasty spammers.

And speaking of comments, Gaby called me 'scary' yesterday! HAH! She was all worried about her grammar.

I would never criticize how you write or speak [well, except for Mr. Shrinking Knitter]. I only pointed out the lapse in usage of more than/less than because our new Speaker of the House said it and the New York Times quoted it. I probably wouldn't have even noticed it if it hadn't been drilled into me by that editor. [If you're new here, this is what I'm talking about.] And Jonathan pointed out that usage has changed over the years, as language does, so feel free to call me an old fuddy-duddy.

But not scary.

Anyway, Gaby posed this question:
Aren't human beings designed to be preoccupied about food if the supply is uncertain?
I suppose we are, or at least the Neanderthals were. Which is why they went around hunting and gathering and such. If that's all there is to it, then we have a problem of perception. Even though the freezer is stocked and the pantry is full, we must think we're about to run out, and therefore must fill up at every opportunity.

Which, if you're sittin' 'round the shanty pretty much means all day.

You don't see fat wild animals, but you do see fat domesticated ones. Maybe that means we should all get wild, eh?

Gaby also asked for 'any advice you can offer,' but I'm unclear as to whether she wants advice on giving up alcohol or becoming less preoccupied with food. So Gaby, if you're still reading, e-mail me at shrinkingknitter AT citynet DOT net and we'll talk.

Training update: I've been following the prescribed half-marathon training regimen almost to the letter. I'm still not good about doing strength-training, but the continuous running is getting easier each time I hop on the treadmill. Yesterday's mail brought the registration confirmation for the Country Music Half-Marathon, along with a training t-shirt that I couldn't resist ordering when I signed up. And I uploaded my latest running mix to iTunes yesterday – these songs are the perfect beat to keep my short legs moving.
Now's the time on Sprockets where we knit! [Raise your hand if you can see Mike Myers in a black turtleneck in your mind!]

First, I finished the Snakes and Ladders Gansey! I'm going to make a little care instruction card and send it off today, to welcome an adopted child who is coming from China to Wisconsin. From what I hear about the weather there, he might not need a wool gansey in Wisconsin this winter. I hope he'll get to wear it. Actually I hope it fits! It matches the schematic for a 12-month size, and he looks small from the photo I've seen. [Fingers crossed.]
Next, I've been sorting, organizing and culling the stash. I bought two more large – excuse me, LARGE – lidded plastic tubs which are now full. That makes six, and that's just the oddballs that won't fit in the yarn closet. One entire tub is full of sock yarn. So full I could barely get the lid clicked shut. At least the next time I'm in a get-rid-of-it mood it'll all be in one place. [And why can't the get-rid-of-it mood coincide with the organize mood?]
Finally [no photo for this one], I started a beret with the leftover Patons SWS I used for the Lucy Bag a couple months ago. I. Love. This. Yarn. I didn't have enough to do the whole hat, so am mixing in some similar colors of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride to stretch it.

I'm definitely having some fitting issues with my knitting lately, and the beret is going to be too big. Fortunately it's wool and, thus, shrinkable. A woman in the knitting guild I used to belong to slightly felted a beret once and I hope mine turns out as nicely as hers did.

Wouldn't it be great if we could just jump around in a hot shower, rinse off in a cold one and come out shrunken, just like wool?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My blogbirthday wish

Thanks so much for all your great comments yesterday. What a boost that was! I know I try to sound all upbeat and chirpy here [I've declared the Shrinking Knitter to be a mostly no-whine zone], but I will admit to feeling a bit, oh, what's the word? Hopeless? No, that's not right. It's been a year and I'm not at my goal and sometimes I think I should be and what's the word I'm looking for?


Reading all the nice things you said about looking forward to reading my drivel every morning really lifted my spirits. I'm going to print them all out and put them on my inspiration board, which I look at every time I park my ass in front of the computer.

Or maybe I'll put them beside the board. Heh.

Anyway, my most fervent wish has nothing to do with my weight, which probably will surprise most of you, since all-weight, all-the-time is pretty much what I think about these days. My wish is about my attitude, and my attitude toward food, specifically.

I wish I could just not care about food.

You've known people who can take it or leave it, haven't you? Once or twice in your lifetime you've run across someone who saved getting all jazzed and enthusiastic for music or skydiving or getting a good buzz. It's no problem for people like that to skip a meal, to forget it's lunchtime or – gasp! – snack time, to get so busy that hours literally slip away.

Their stomachs may growl, but they don't stop because what they're doing is more fun or absorbing or important than food.

What a concept.

I don't find many knitters who fit into this category. Knitters describe yarn as 'lucious,' 'yummy' and 'delicious.' Knitters include snacks as necessary tools in their knitting bags, and frequently their snacks are chocolate. M&Ms, specifically, because they melt in your mouth, not on your yarn. Some of the newer yarn shops that have sprung up over the last couple years have coffee shops or cafes attached, and what's a knitting get-together without snacks? Preferably homemade and sweet?

So maybe I should take up a different hobby? Not likely. I love to knit, and theoretically you can't knit and eat at the same time. But you can think about eating, and that's where my wish comes in. I want to just not think about it. I haven't yet learned to eat according to my stomach-hunger. My meals are not only prescribed by eDiets, they are prescribed [by me] at certain times of the day, and I rarely miss one.

What if I never learn that? What if I spend the rest of my life thinking about the next meal? This is how I think dieting creates eating disorders.

Amy said:
"things are definitely different now that i've lost a bit of weight. like the urgency is gone. it seems it wasn't impossible after all and now the impossible part is to keep going."
I sometimes feel like that, too. That's why I signed up for the half-marathon. It's not just a physical challenge. It's a reason to keep going.

Okay, enough of this serious stuff. I use Google Reader to keep up with my favorite bloggers, and I usually save Laurie for last. I know that nine times out of 10 I'm going to walk away from the computer smiling after I read what Crazy Aunt Purl has to say.
Here's what she posted yesterday. Get ready to smile!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Guess who's a year old today?

Yes, the Shrinking Knitter is growing up. But not out! No more getting bigger as we get older. Nosireeee.

It's not my birthday, it's the anniversary of my first blog post. Technically it wasn't my first, as I tried out a couple of other blogging services before I settled on easy-peasy Blogger.

I played around this week with new templates, thinking perhaps it was time for a fresh look. But in the end, I believe in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. And besides, the pink Blogger template isn't my kind of pink. There are hundreds of blog skin sites out there, but I'd rather sort yarn and clean closets write than learn how to make them work. Heh.

A year ago I wrote:
Today, I feel unfit, weak and horrible. My weight is a constant – I am never not thinking about it. I don't like living like this and I intend to succeed this year.
Part of that remains true, and I doubt that any of you who are reading this and also trying to lose weight would disagree with me. My weight is a constant, and always on my mind. These days I'm not quite so negative about it, but I can still get pretty depressed over how I let my past success slip away over the years. [For those who are new, in 1997 – for about 10 minutes – I weighed 128 and comfortably fit into a size 8.]

But I honestly don't feel unfit, weak or horrible any more. Oh, when Mr. Shrinking Knitter wants to move a 200-pound chrome wire shelving unit from the lower to the upper level of the garage I feel pretty weak. But you would, too! It was heavy!

I couldn't have done that a year ago. No. Way. But we did it Sunday.

If I still felt unfit, I wouldn't have registered to run the half-marathon in April. And if I still felt horrible, I sure wouldn't have stuck with writing these posts, eating prescribed amounts of food and working out almost every day for a year, now, would I?

It's a fact that when I compare my life now to my life a year ago there's a world of difference. And I'm just slightly more than halfway to goal. I won't be able to stand myself! Heh.

Without getting too sappy, I just have to thank you for sticking with, linking to and commenting here on the blog, and for supporting me in my first of many more Years of Living Healthfully.

You're the best.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I guess they didn't see it coming

D'ya s'pose the Buckeyes bought into all the pre-game hype that they were so awesome and wonderful and talented, and then they just let their guard down? I know I bought into it, and was simply stunned at how poorly they played and how soundly they were defeated.

So college football is over for another year, and West Virginia's prospects look good for the coming season. The NFL is winding down, with playoffs in full swing this weekend. I like the Colts, and they're certainly due, but – as Ohio State clearly demonstrated last night – any team can have a bad game at any time.

Still … I got to watch lots of muscle-bound guys wearing tight pants for nearly four hours. I'm just sayin'.

And I got a lot of knitting done on the baby sweater. All that's left to do is one wee sleeve and the neck treatment, which is nearly finished as I type.

Speaking of yarn, I pulled a lot of it out of the yarn closet yesterday, after I vacuumed the confetti. I shuffled things around, made some room on the already stuffed-to-the-gills shelves and just shoved it all back in there. I've culled most of the acrylic already – only found two small batches suitable for the prison – and am just not ready to sell or swap what's left. Yet.

The problem is there's Just. Too. Much. The yarn closet is only part of it. Yarn has taken over a large corner of the guest room, a couple of wicker hampers/baskets in the living room, a couple of shelves of a linen closet and a large portion of the lower area of the garage. [The yarn closet is in the second-floor office/family room in the garage.] So I'm thinking maybe I don't have a yarn problem. It's more of a hoarding problem. It's not like there will never be yarn again, should I need it in the future. Which is unlikely, considering the amount of yarn I have and that I'm getting older, not younger. That damned age thing.

I'm going to try again today.

Yoga went well yesterday, as did the weight training, as did food. And I lost a pound this week.

Every time I do a yoga DVD I realize how much I like it. Practicing the poses allows me to see what parts of my body don't work very well, but also what parts do. I can usually coax myself to stretch farther, stand straighter, breathe more deeply, the result of which is I really want to take better care of myself. That little bit of yoga helped me eat better all day. Of course a football game isn't much fun without snacks, but I'd prepared a fresh vegetable tray and enjoyed having something to munch on without feeling overfull.

All in all, a very good day.

Well, except for the final score.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I almost forgot ...


[I'm a Buckeye,
born and raised …]

I promised film; will digital do?

This photo represents my own personal wet t-shirt contest. At my age! Scandalous! Even with that sweet little grandmotherly smile I'm sure I would scare little children if they saw me immediately after a running session.

But. I. Did. It!

While my time is nothing to brag about, I'm more interested in just not collapsing in a heap before I reach the distance goal. With my short stature, I'll never be a speed-demon. So it's endurance we're working on.

I did a quarter-mile warm-up at about 3.5 mph, four miles straight at 4.5 mph and then a gradual decline in speed for another quarter-mile. Sixty-one and a half boring treadmill minutes. And as you can clearly see, I was quite a puddle of sweat when I finished.

Today's schedule calls for strength training and stretching, and for once I'm looking forward to both. I'll do a yoga DVD for the stretching.

I also wanted to show you the detritus from the confetti machine shredder we just bought. I still haven't cleaned it up, but that's also on today's agenda. I'm not saying I could have been any neater than Mr. Shrinking Knitter, considering the amount of paper he shredded. But he sure didn't try very hard to hit the trash bag, did he?

He has my work cut out for me. Funny how when he gets on a cleaning, purging, straightening up, organizing kick, I'm the one who gets to clean up the mess. Harumph.

But he's inspired me to empty the yarn closet again. It's been quite a while since I've done it, and each year I find more "What was I thinking?" yarn that I will either sell on eBay or donate to the prison. [The acrylic goes to the prison; that's best for their purposes, as the items they make will all end up being machine-laundered.]

I ate reasonably yesterday and wasn't crawling through the pantry looking for something – anything! – to pig out on late in the day. For most of last year I rarely snacked in the evening, but in the last few months I've been very sloppy about that. I feel like I need to shake myself for picking up that poor habit again.

Last week I weighed myself on Tuesday instead of Monday; I'll keep doing that this year since that's how I started out. I've no idea what to expect, but I'm hopeful! Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Oh, now I get it!

That's how you're supposed to use a scale!

So I mentioned the ODD story [that would be Obesity Drug for Dogs] to Mr. Shrinking Knitter, whose immediate comment was that humans control what dogs eat – dogs aren't tempted by commercials or ads or even tasty offerings in the buffet line at Ryan's. Oops! Where did that come from? Heh.

Dogs are tempted by smells; just open a can of tuna in my kitchen and you'll hear little doggy toenails clickety-clacking all over the house, hoping I'll dump the fishy water in their bowls. But they sure can't dump it themselves.

The very idea of developing a canine weight-loss drug means just one thing: Pharmaceutical makers have done their research. Pet owners will buy anything. Oh, and also? Their patents must be running out and they need to pump up their profit centers.


On today's training schedule is a four-mile run. I haven't run four straight miles in 10 years, folks. Film at eleven.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Oh, fercryinoutloud

The title of this post is about all the comment I can muster about this new development in anti-obesity pharmaceuticals.

A little knitting

When one takes a rest day from exercise, one doesn't have much to add to the fitness-related conversation.

Does one?

Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I went to the nearest large city with a Sam's Club yesterday and bought a shredder. Yes, we're finally taking responsibility for preventing identity theft. I just wonder if his sudden desire to get one – he's always thought it wasn't necessary – is related to the recent rash of home burglaries in the neighborhood. At any rate, he made a lovely mess last night and thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Before I show you the new knitting project, I will say a few words about yesterday's food. We have a couple of gift cards for the Outback Steakhouse, but didn't realize they weren't open for lunch. I had checked for nutrition information online before we went and was prepared to spend the calories. Well, we went to Ryan's instead. Because Mr. SK likes Ryan's.

For those of you not familiar with Ryan's, it is an Evil Buffet. Oh, they try to provide healthful choices, with their sugar-free cherry pie and grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. But seriously. It's a buffet. They're not in the eat-this-because-it's-good-for-you business.

And you know what? I thought I did really well. I made what I thought were sensible choices and reasonable portions, but when I added everything up in CalorieKing, I had eaten 948 calories.

For lunch.

My Outback lunch would have been fewer than 600.

A thousand-calorie lunch on a rest day is not a good combination. On the plus side – that would be me! The plus side! – I wasn't hungry the rest of the day, and we decided unbuttered popcorn would be a good snack during the shredfest.

Okay, here's the knitting. I've started a red gansey for my daughter's friend's adopted Chinese son. I'm using the excellent instructions for the "Snakes and Ladders Gansey" in Beth Brown-Reinsel's Knitting Ganseys, a book I frequently recommend to new knitters. You can't see the "snake" cables yet, because I've only made one twist so far. I'm nearly ready to begin the underarm gussets.

The yarn – Toledo by Neveda – is something I probably picked up on eBay eons ago, and is a superwash wool. I'm enjoying working with it very much … too bad it's discontinued! It's a DK weight, so not too heavy. I don't much care for chunky sweaters on babies.

So that's today's photo. Heh.

Yesterday I was watching the birds fighting for food at the birdfeeder. I thought I was snapping a shot of a woodpecker. Really, there was a woodpecker at the feeder when I framed the picture. But by the time I snapped the picture it had turned into this sweet little guy! [I'm not very fond of woodpeckers, as they have done a lot of damage to the walls of our garage. But they are photogenic. Just not this time!]

Today is supposed to be a cross-training day, for only 20 minutes. That means the rowing machine, and from the looks of the sky that seems like a good plan. I'll also lift weights and do the crunches.

I'm so psyched that someone else who reads the blog will be in Nashville for the half-marathon! I hope we get to meet. Thanks for contacting me, and thanks to everyone else who took a minute to comment yesterday. I'm glad you're here.