Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Quote Day

Disappointment to a noble soul
is what cold water means to burning metal;
it strengthens, tempers, intensifies,
but never destroys it.
~ Eliza Tabor

I was pretty wrecked yesterday, thinking about those two pounds gained after a good, solid week of consistent exercise and healthful eating. The average person would have lost something. I guess that means I'm above average, right? Heh.

My tempo run was supposed to have been a mile warm-up, four miles at an 11:24 pace and a mile cooldown. I couldn't get revved up and I couldn't run continuously after the first mile and three-quarters, so my pace was a dismal 13+. But I did it! It wasn't extraordinarily hot, but it was quite humid and as I've said previously, the damp, close air affects my stamina more than the temperature.

I did another load of laundry while I was running, dust-mopped the floors while that load was in the dryer and then folded and put everything away. After which, I took a nap, something I rarely do. I slept for about 45 minutes and woke up with this strange desire to clean the refrigerator. And not just a lick and a promise, either. This was a deep-cleaning session with much scrubbing and tossing. I almost don't want to fill it back up again.

But I will. Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I are doing a major shopping trip today and will spend the rest of the weekend watching college football. We started last night, but Saturday is the big day; we've looked forward to this since the end of the season.

Rah! Rah! Sis-boom-bah!

Do cheerleaders even say that any more? Heh.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's official

Yes, I know it's not Friday, but I've been dutifully recording my calories in/calories out for seven days, so a weigh-in was required! Yesterday's net consumption was something ridiculous like 851. [I did 45 minutes of yoga, but did not do an additional strength-training session with dumbbells and barbells and benches, oh my!] As of this morning I really have gained two pounds.

Man, that's depressing to write.

I know that many of you out there are thinking I'm not eating enough. Thank you for your thoughts. I really do eat plenty. I don't know how I could possibly eat more. I eat reasonable amounts of healthy food for meals. If I'm hungry between meals I eat something else. The total number is certainly in the weight-loss range of 1200 to 1400 per day.

So I made an appointment to see the doctor in a couple weeks and will get some bloodwork done to check my thyroid again. I'm not hoping for thyroid problems, but I have many of the symptoms, and have had them off and on for years. [Those would include feeling cold, dry skin, low energy and low body temperature.] My thyroid numbers have always been low-normal. Maybe they've slipped into below-normal range as I've aged.

It's the only thing left in my arsenal, unless you have a better idea.

How can I claim to have low energy when I run 20 miles a week? That's all I do, essentially. Unless you count playing computer solitaire until my wrist goes numb. Or knitting! When I'm getting a lot of knitting done, which I have been lately, I'm not doing much of anything else.

My house is a disaster, I neglect my to-do list, I pull clean laundry from a basket instead of a dresser drawer. This is recent behavior.

I used to waltz around with the dustmop every day; now it's more like once a week. Which is waaaaaaay not enough when you live with two dogs. I never used to pile dirty dishes in the sink, but where are you going to put them when the dishwasher is full of clean dishes waiting to be put away? For three days.

Maybe I should get paper plates.

The yard needs mowed but I keep thinking maybe it'll rain, so I'm waiting for the sky to fall before I do it. Actually we've had so little rain the only thing that's growing are the weeds; the grass is still short and quite brown. But if I had the energy I would at least get the weedeater out for a trim around the edges.

So that's where I am this morning. Blue. Depressed. Not at ALL looking forward to a tempo run this morning.

Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Edited to add: I checked my e-mail after I hit the "publish" button and found a link to this article, courtesy of my wonderfully supportive daughter. Makes me want to go run. Faster. Heh. And then maybe I'll come home and fold the laundry.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hi-yo, Silver! Away!

Here's the story Denise mentioned in yesterday's comments about what happens after The Biggest Loser winners go back to real life. It's both nice and sad to know that it's so hard to maintain a weight loss. Sad for obvious reasons. Nice to know I'm not the Lone Ranger.

I'm also not the Lone Ranger in having a difficult time losing weight. Do go congratulate M@rla, if you haven't already done so, for sticking with her month-long calorie restriction experiment which did result in a loss. Woo hoo!

I'm following her lead, and in the past six days have averaged eating about 800 calories per day, through a combination of careful eating and exercise. Official weigh-in is Friday, but y'all know I can't stay off the scale. I've gained two more pounds. Maybe it's payback for those two sugar-filled days I had before I started the food log.

One must have hope.

On a brighter note, my bone density and smashogram were both negative. I had to research how to read a bone density report. A T score of -1 is normal; below -2.5 indicates osteoporosis. My composite scores are -0.1 in the spine and -0.2 in the femoral neck bones.

I'd say I passed! It's not quite as exciting as that dramatic drop in cholesterol I experienced almost a year ago, but it's nice to know I probably won't break an ankle bone walking across the room. [My grandmother did that twice.]

It'd be mighty hard to run with a broken ankle.

I did four slow-and-easy miles yesterday morning; cross-training is on today's schedule. I'm going to see if I can do weight-training and yoga on the same day. I had every intention of doing yoga yesterday when I finished my run. Didn't happen; my mental attitude needs some adjusting. When I'm done running, I'm done!

I guess I'm done here for today, as well. I'm rambling; if you're still reading, thanks for sticking with me.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I do loooooove a good rest day!

Mondays are rest days in the new training schedule, and yesterday I really rested. Not rested as in "slept," but rested as in "sat on my ass and watched 'How Do I Look' and knitted all day and didn't break a sweat."

I probably shoulda/coulda done yoga or lifted weights, but I truly believe in a total rest-from-exercise day once a week.

I didn't used to. And maybe – just maybe – I need to go back to working out hard every single day in order to get where I want to go. But I'm not quite ready. Yet.

Now that I've written it down, I'll probably be ready next Monday. Heh. Hey! It could happen!

I also truly believe in following the training plan, unless it says "Easy Run. Two Miles." I can't seem to just run two miles any more; four is the minimum. If I'm going to change clothes and drive to a flat road and work up a sweat, I'm not going to do it for just two miles.

I can't seem to lose weight any more, either. Or still. Whatever. The latest issue of Health magazine showed up yesterday – I don't remember subscribing to it, but whoomp, there it was! – and in it is an article about how The Biggest Loser show contestants lose weight.

Among other things, they do 90 minutes of high-intensity exercise daily. I only do that on Sundays – the day of my long run. They are also active in a less intense way several hours the rest of the day. As opposed to sitting on their asses watching "How Do I Look." And knitting. And, of course, they strength-train three or four times a week.

I have a ways to go. In more ways than one.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer's winding down …

but you wouldn't be able to tell it from the still-lingering heat and humidity. I was reduced to a puddle of sweat yesterday when I finished running seven miles. I started too late, of course; it was nearly noon when I finished. The only parts of my shirt that weren't soaked through were the lower edges.

However, I've been noticing the falling leaves and changing colors. Our dogwoods have lots of red leaves on them now, and the distant mountains are gradually becoming more colorful.

I announced to Mr. Shrinking Knitter that I would never register for a fall race again. EVER! Training in late summer is brutal and hard and makes me feel like a failure nearly every time I go out. This is not at all how I felt preparing for my first half-marathon last spring.

For Lori, who asked about Roanoke NoSo, I've gone every year except two, I think. This is the 10th year it's been going on. I like this knitting get-together because it's small – attendance is limited to 100. In addition to donating an item for charity, attendees are encouraged [but not required] to donate leftover yarn for the inmates at Alderson to use for their charity knitting and crocheting. My car is always packed to the rooftop with bags and bags of otherwise unused stash, and the women at Alderson are so grateful!

They make and donate sweaters, hats, mittens and scarves to needy Appalachian school children, and blankets to nursing-home residents in the area. There are no funds for this project; they depend entirely on donations from the public, and the public has always come through with enough supplies to help about 60 children every Christmas. It's a win-win-win situation.

I started my charity donation last night and have made really good progress, especially considering it's an Aran design. I'd printed it out from this site ages ago, but have never made it. Worsted-weight yarn and size 8 needles mean fast knitting, whether it has lots of cables or not!

The site has tons o' free craft patterns and registration is free. If you're a member, the pattern I'm using is the Sweetheart Sweater Set in the Children's Clothing category.

The astute among you may have noticed a new link in the sidebar. I've started a food log blog – I thought it would drive readers away if I started adding my daily menu to this one. But if you're interested my calories in/calories out, click on the "my food log" link. And after you analyze the data, please tell me why I'm not losing any weight! Heh.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A quickie, mostly knitting

Once again I'm getting a late start on my day. Today is my long run – seven miles – and if I don't leave now it's going to be too hot, too humid and too uncomfortable to go.

I wanted to show off the baby sweater for my new granddaughter. I finished it yesterday. I don't say a knitted item is finished until the ends are woven in, the buttons are attached and it's been washed and blocked [if necessary]. So, finally, it is! I used Katia Mississippi 3 on size 2 and 4 needles.

And I also finished lengthening the sleeves on the sweater I gave my older granddaughter for Christmas last year. As she lives in a part of the country which is now experiencing tremendous heat and drought, I'm in no hurry to send it to her. She probably won't need it until February. By which time she will have outgrown it, no doubt.

That means there's nothing on my knitting needles right now. Nothing! I need to make a charity item for the Roanoke NoSo in September, and also need to make three Christmas stockings. Will have to order yarn for those, I think.

If you're racing today, I hope you did well! Also? It's so nice to know I'm not the only one who craves a DQ every once in a while.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

If a tree falls on a power line, Part 2

Damn. You'd think the folks at Allegheny Power would spend a little time just cruising around in their big trucks looking for and cutting down threatening trees, wouldn't you? Especially since the last time this happened was just two months ago. [Disclaimer: I did not take the photo. But I could have!]

Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I ate dinner a little earlier than usual yesterday. By 6 p.m.
I was working playing Solitaire on the computer and he was reading while we waited for the evening news to begin. Suddenly … no power.

You know what's worse than 100 degrees and no rain? That would be 90 degrees, a thunderstorm and no power. It only took about 10 minutes for the heat and humidity to become cloying enough that we decided we needed to get in the car – excuse me, the air-conditioned car – and head out for dessert.

We went north to the nearest town with a Dairy Queen®, about 12 miles from us. That's right, Dairy Queen®. Because nothing fixes downed power line anxiety like an ice cream cone dipped in chocolate. About two miles from our destination the road was blocked and an unseemingly cheerful old fellow was informing travelers that it would take at least an hour to get past the tree and power line which were blocking the road.

So. There's a little mom-and-pop pseudo Dairy Queen® about seven miles south of our house. We headed there. I didn't think they had dipped cones, though, which was the comfort food I was needing.

I was right, but not only did they not offer chocolate-dipped ice cream, they asked us to wait a few minutes while they made more soft-serve. They didn't even have non-dipped ice cream!

Seven miles further was another Dairy Queen®; in mere minutes we were there. Mr. Shrinking Knitter was jonesing for a milkshake and I got my treat, but only after checking the poster listing the nutritional value of DQ® menu items. A small chocolate-dipped cone was 340 calories. I'd eaten about 1000 calories yesterday and did half an hour of free-weight training, good for a couple hundred at least. So even though I fell off the sugar wagon yet again, I still came in under the wire calorie-wise.

All in all, we figure we drove about 50 miles for an ice cream cone. But we were cool! And comfortable!

We were on the very southern edge of the storm. Less than a mile south of our house the roads were dry; it hadn't rained at all. It only rained at our place for half an hour, and it didn't even soak into the ground – no lightning, no hail, no wind and only distant thunder. But falling trees
don't care about details like that.

The original restoration estimate was 10 p.m.; we were jolted awake with lights! air conditioning! refrigerator hum! at 1 a.m. Since the second estimate they gave us was 8 a.m., we were pleasantly surprised to be awakened in the middle of the night. I'd had visions of discarding the contents of my refrigerator this morning, but the only thing I'm going to toss is a nearly empty carton of milk.

Most of the time, living in the Middle of Nowhere is lovely, peaceful and pleasant. But sometimes? It sucks.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Quote Day

Even if you're on the right track,
you'll get run over if you just sit there.
~ Will Rogers

I've been intrigued with M@rla's calorie-counting experiment; her efforts have helped me stay on track a leeeetle better. Nobody's perfect, but I've been journaling my food more consistently and trying to be more active, even on rest days.

Another friend also has been more pro-active about changing her evil eating ways, and being more accountable about it.

I usually don't have much trouble eating healthfully, but this past week was a doozy. Monday and Tuesday were horrible, Wednesday was slightly less so.

Yesterday was pretty darned perfect.

Let's just hope today can be, as well.

I have no more time to blog this morning, but since it's quote day, I'll leave you [hopefully smiling] with yesterday's Quote of the Day from my Google homepage:

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Crossing another old-lady threshold

Yesterday, in addition to the annual smash-o-gram, I had my first bone density test.

My health insurance company had to pre-approve it, even though my doctor felt it was time for one. Y'all know how I feel about health insurance [single-payer universal, anyone?], but the fact that the company will pay without pre-certification if you're 60 made me feel kinda old.

I learned from the woman who administered the test that being post-menopausal but not on hormone replacement therapy are reason enough for a doctor to order the test.

This was certainly the easiest medical test I've ever had done. No sticking, no pinching, no smashing, no blood, no poking, no prodding, no tilting, no bruising – I've had my share of diagnostics. Can you tell? You just lie down on a table with your knees elevated on a big foam block while an x-ray machine kind of wands over your midsection and hips. No biggie. Kind of relaxing, really.

It only measures bone density, so if there are any large tumors in there accounting for the extra weight I'm carrying around I'll have to have a different kind of test to find it. You'd think they'd figure out a way to do a two-fer, but they wouldn't be able to charge for two different tests that way.

Cynical about U.S. health care delivery? Who, me?

Anyway, I'm hoping to learn that the daily 1000 mg of calcium I take, plus running, plus a pitiful little amount of weight training and now yoga will result in the bones of a 30-year-old. I was joking with the technician that maybe the test will show I have extra-dense – really heavy – bones, and that's the reason I can't seem to lose weight.

But my clothes don't fit as well as they did last year and I know better, I really do.

I had a much better food day yesterday, which was a rest day. I did 45 minutes of yoga in the morning and grocery-shopped after leaving the hospital. Turned in early, which is an excellent strategy for not eating in the evening. I feel well-rested this morning and ready for a real tempo run.

And a really good rest of the day.

Can you believe it? An entire post without mentioning the weather! Heh.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I probably won't be trying that again

Yesterday morning's yoga session went well. I'm certainly not as flexible as I'd like to be, but I attempted all the poses and felt good afterward. What I should have done, though, was spend a little more time in corpse pose than I did. [I always cut it short; I feel like I'm wasting time just lying there doing nothing.]

Instead I jumped up, tied on my running shoes and headed out to do the four-mile loop.

Well. Let's just say that while yoga is always relaxing and mindful, it also can be, um, energizing. I was feeling quite peppy as I started out walking the first half mile.

When I picked up the pace, I told myself I would run three miles straight without stopping. I'd done this just last Saturday, the first three miles of my long run, so I knew it was possible. But I found it impossible to find a steady, slow-enough pace to go the distance without wearing myself out. I found myself essentially doing speed drills – run flat out for half a mile and then slow down or walk for a couple minutes; repeat until three miles are done.

Not a bad run, just not what I'd planned to do. I guess it's good to have a flexible mind as well as a flexible body!

M@rla, thanks for the heads-up about ChiRunning. I'll have to look for the book next time I'm at a big bookstore. I signed up for their e-mail newsletter and am intrigued by the method. And Jennifer, I did read Jenny's column about increasing stride rate, but have never actually taken the time to count my strides. That would be a good thing to do; thanks for the nudge!

Yesterday morning was good; yesterday afternoon was not so much. I'm still having trouble with sugar. After a pretty awful afternoon of too much sweet stuff, I was really happy to leave the house for a volunteer gig at the prison. When I got home, I checked e-mail and blogs before I went to bed and found this. And I woke up this morning with the little 'sugar-is-crack' mantra going through my brain. Thank you, D.

This is definitely a good thing.

I don't keep sweets in my house. Mr. Shrinking Knitter likes them, but also watches his weight and it's better for both of us if they're just not around. [I must say, though, that if I'm intrigued by those of you practicing intuitive eating. Wouldn't it be great to have a full candy dish on the end table all the time, and know that you didn't have to eat all of it at one sitting? I'm soooooooo not there.]

So how did I have such a bad afternoon? Well, I got my hair cut. Which meant I was out. And there are stores on the way home. And I had money.

Seriously, when I'm in the mood to go crazy with food, having someplace to go is the worst possible scenario. If I'd stayed home I probably would have taken a nap and slept right through the cravings.

People who give up alcohol or drugs, as I have, frequently substitute something else for their substance of choice. Learning to deal with life on life's terms is a process, and I clearly have a long way to go.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Slugging it out

But not how you think. Yesterday I was as much of a slug as I was a machine on Sunday. I ate whatever, whenever, and didn't break a sweat until 6:30 p.m., walking up the hill to the recreation building at the prison, where I spent an hour in un-air-conditioned discomfort teaching a drawing class.

[Last night's class was great: At one point all of them were hunched over their drawing pads, intent on their work, totally removed from prison and schedules and head counts and guards. Success!]

Yesterday was a scheduled rest day, but I'd planned to do some yoga. Didn't happen. I'm a morning exerciser and the morning totally got away from me.

My plan is to make up for it today by doing a yoga session before I run. I checked the Fit TV schedule and at 8:30 a.m. Eastern there's a program called "Head to Knees." It's described as "yoga for the long-distance runner." How cool is that?

Well, I don't know how cool it is, really, but I'm going to check it out. And then I'm going to stretch the scheduled easy two-mile run into three, with half-mile walks before and after.

Jeannie suggested in a comment yesterday that I concentrate on moving my arms faster when I run. I'll try that; I've studied the way runners use their arms when I watch races, but I don't consciously make any adjustments to my form. I'm just happy to get to the end of the road and back. Heh.

The little dog who found us week before last has settled into her new home. I don't think our dogs miss her at all. I must admit it was a little strange pulling into the driveway last night and not having her run out to greet me. I think she'll be much happier being an alpha dog, though; she didn't care much for the competition here.

My daughter sent a link to a news story that ranks West Virginia University at the top of this year's party-school list. And according to CalorieLab, West Virginia [the state, not the school] is second only to Mississippi as the fattest state in the nation.

I'm just so proud to be here!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Da doo run run

Yesterday's long run was great! Not great as in speedy, because as Josie says, "there is NO speedy side of me," but great because the weather was nice and I was able to keep it going for the duration with a minimum of minimal walking breaks. Three or four minute-long walks interspersed with six miles of running at a 12:28 pace. Slow? You betcha. But the target pace for yesterday was 13:24, so I beat that and wasn't even trying.

Even better, if it's possible to have better, is that my warm-up and cooldown miles were 15 and 16 minutes, respectively. I used to be a 20-minute mile walker. Ramping it up to 15 minutes is pretty cool. Also? You get done with the workout 10 minutes faster.


Combine a great long run with a day of not eating very much and I woke up this morning feeling fit as a fiddle. I wish it were Friday so I could weigh in. How's that for weird? I'm anxious to see that number on the scale!

Saturday night found Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I at a Chinese buffet, after spending the afternoon in the Emergency Department with his mother. [She's okay; probably a little anxiety attack.] I shouldn't have eaten as much as I did, and I can only guess at the number of calories I consumed. So I deliberately ate less yesterday, but I also wasn't hungry.

The phenomenon of not being hungry after burning almost a thousand calories exercising is one that totally baffles me. My net intake yesterday was -46. Believe me, that doesn't happen very often.

But if it did, according to CalorieKing, I'd lose 16.7 pounds in a month.

That's kind of depressing, isn't it? To think that I have to eat 1000 and burn 1000 every day for a month to lose, essentially, two pounds a week. [Edited to add: Apparently my lack of calories affected my ability to do math. The "two" should be "four."]

I'm sticking my fingers in my ears now, and going lalalalalalalala.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

You've got a question ...

I'll try to answer.
Jodi wondered yesterday, regarding running, how I stay motivated. She said in her comment that while she was training for her 5K she did fine, but she can't seem to find the love any more.

Until I registered for my next race, I also found it easy to slack off. I remember telling Mr. Shrinking Knitter that I planned to run at least 20 miles a week after I finished the Country Music Half-Marathon – maybe even 25. That never happened.

I then blithely assumed that once I signed up for the Army Ten-Miler and the City of Oaks Half-Marathon, my training mojo would return, as strong and wonderful as it was last January when I started training for my first half.

But I had no idea how hard it was going to be to train in summer. I'd rather run outdoors than on the dreadmill, and the heat and humidity has been brutal. [The humidity is much worse than the heat. I was outside for a little bit yesterday afternoon when the temperature was 90°, but the humidity was so low that I felt like I could have done an easy four miles.]

Lately, though, I can feel the motivation returning as race day approaches. Eight weeks from today is the 10-mile race; the half is four weeks after that. My suggestion to Jodi is to register for another race. Plunk down the cash, find a good training program [I like the one at Runner's World] and get busy, baby!

I did a Google search for motivational tips and found a couple of sites, here and here.

I'm no expert, though. If you have other ideas, do jump in with suggestions!

I did a half-hour of weight training yesterday for my cross-training day and my shoulder and back muscles are yelping at me. I've quit using the four-pound dumbbells and am doing more reps with the eight-pounders. Still can't do more than two sets of 10 with the 12-pound ones.

The weather this morning is pretty darned perfect for running, and today is my long run – six miles at a 13:24 pace. It's sunny, but the temperature is in the low 60s. I'd better get going before Mother Nature changes her mind!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

I did Thursday's five-mile speed drill yesterday, which was a scheduled rest day. Wow, what a difference a day makes! I walked the first mile and was supposed to have walked the last, as well, but I was feeling so good that I only walked the last half-mile.

Because I'm not trying to break any records when I, ahem, "race," I took Wendy's offhand comment from Thursday's post to heart. She said speed drills would be so much more manageable if they were quarter- or half-mile intervals instead of those grueling full miles.

Also? I can only run full-tilt for a half mile. I then completely sputter out and have to jog or even, gasp!, walk to recover.

Also also? Y'all know I don't run fast. Nor do I time myself while I'm running. I just hit the stopwatch when I leave my car and hit it again when I get back.

I was supposed to do the two speedy miles at an 11:24 pace. So I figured if I did the entire five miles in 65 minutes – warm-up, cool-down, recovery intervals, oh my! – I would have covered the distance with a passing grade.


And I felt great the whole time. That's what running is supposed to feel like!

I'm so grateful for days like that, especially after sucky days. It really does make me want to go again. And again.

Jennifer asked yesterday if I gain weight eating more than 1400 daily calories. I'm glad you asked. I gain weight eating more than 1200 daily calories, actually, but I'm throwing the extra 200 in there because I'm running more miles than I usually do while I'm training. My net calories yesterday ended up at about 700 – I ate 1268 and burned 574 [I counted the five miles as two running at 5 mph and three walking at 4 mph].

In AA we talk a lot about acceptance. I'm not ready to accept that this weight is where I'm supposed to be. But perhaps if I surrendered to it, I would break through whatever psychological barrier is keeping me here.

Or maybe I need therapy. Heh.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Quote Day

I suck at speed drills, too.
~ Shrinking Knitter

No, no, here's a real quote to contemplate today:

Our greatest glory
is not in never failing,
but in rising
every time we fall.
~ Confucious

It was hot and humid again yesterday, so I attempted the prescribed speed drill on the dreadmill. How'd that work for me?

Not so much.

Did a one-mile warm-up at a brisk walking pace, ran flat out [for me – about 5.3 mph] for half a mile and had to back the speed down to a walk again. I quit after two miles and logged it as an easy run instead of a speed workout.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who doesn't like speed drills, and I'm also thinking maybejustmaybe my expectations for myself are pretty high this early in the program. I know I have to push myself, but I'm not interested in getting hurt or in making the whole experience something to dread.

I want it to be fun, dammit – fun!

Food was good yesterday. I know I don't mention food or weight much any more and here's why. Most of the time I eat according to plan, which means keeping calories below 1400 and keeping a 30-50-20 ratio of protein-carbs-fat. Or thereabouts. Carbs are of the whole-grain, fruit and vegetable variety, protein is lean [when's the last time you had a well-marbled ribeye?] and fat is olive oil. I occasionally plunge into a bag of Goldfish Pretzels, but that's not a daily thing and who doesn't occasionally have a bad day?

Since I'm Doing the Right Food Thing most of the time and running and strength-training and now yoga-ing and still staying the same weight, it's just downright frustrating to talk about it. Or, rather, write about it.

So I don't. And I try not to think about it, either, although it's nearly impossible not to. When the majority of your thoughts since you were about 11 have been focused on getting thinner, when your nightly prayer is 'please, God, let me wake up skinny,' well – it's hard to turn those thoughts off.

God's not going to make me skinny. No one is, as a matter of fact, because I'm never going to be skinny; that's just not my body type. I can be healthy, though. And there's lots of room to be healthIER.

If I could only figure out what else I need to do.

I've been closely following M@rla's daily intake/output report. She's not weighing herself; she's just predicting – based on the eat less/move more theory – what she should lose. I think she's going to step on the scale after four weeks of the experiment – is that right, Miss M?

The discipline she's employing is inspiring. The only way I could not weigh myself every day is to toss the scale. The courage in putting it all out there is inspiring, as well.

Like Confucious said, sorta, what it takes is getting back up when we fall.

I think we're all doing pretty well with that.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I suck at yoga …

but the lovely and stick-thin Patricia Walden assures me that with practice, practice, practice I will, one day, be able to do this:

Yeah, right.

I will, however, maintain a positive mental attitude about it and maybe schedule some plastic surgery in the meantime. My lovely lady lumps get in the way when I do forward bends; if I got rid of them I could certainly bend better and I'd probably lose a few pounds, too!

Hmmmm. Gives weight-loss surgery a whole new meaning, doesn't it? Heh.

Every yoga class I've experienced, whether in person or on DVD, has been led by flat-chested women with six-pack abs. They have no idea what we lumpy Rubenesque women go through when instructed to 'gently lean forward and wrap your hands around your toes.'

I was more body-conscious yesterday, more aware of how I moved and carried myself. That's what I love about yoga. Even practicing sucky poses, I get the benefit of better posture and more graceful carriage.

Moving on … it appears that Mr. Shrinking Knitter has found a home for the stray dog, who has certainly made herself at home here in the Middle of Nowhere. One of his co-workers has agreed to adopt her. We're keeping her this weekend and then Monday she gets to meet her new family.

Today's run is a five-mile speed drill – run like hell for two miles with a half-mile recovery jog after each. Plus warm-up and cooldown miles. I'm still at the "I can barely jog a continuous mile" stage of training, so I'm not promising anything, to you or to myself. I'll be happy to do five miles and still breathe somewhat normally.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Okay, okay! I'll be your guinea pig!

It appears that some of you are more than happy to cheer me on as I explore yoga as a method of increasing stride length. Don't know where that idea comes from? Do the math:

Yoga = Increased Flexibility = Longer Stride

So I'll start today, even though it's absolutely the Most Perfect Morning for Running since, oh, maybe, June. Right now it's 53° F. Humidity is 88%, according to, but hey – 53°!

Here's what yesterday looked like:
Gotta love cooler temps! And I must say that yesterday's run was easier, more comfortable and more satisfying than any since oh, maybe, June.

But not much faster. Ahem.

I know that running every day, even if some of those days are short-and-easy runs, isn't a good idea. Too much risk of injury, too little recovery time, too likely the ol' bod will get used to it and quit burning calories – which, of course, has already happened. [I've stayed the same weight, regardless of intake or output, for six weeks. 'Nuff said about that.]

So Wednesdays will be Yoga Day here in the Middle of Nowhere. I have four DVDs – three yoga and one New York City Ballet, which is more Pilates-like – which I will load into the DVD player, and I'll do a different routine each week.

I must learn to like this as much as I like running, though, or I'll feel like Wednesdays are Punishment Day.

Knowing that increased flexibility should, theoretically, lead to a slightly faster running pace should keep me motivated about doing yoga.

I'll keep you posted. Namaste.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Wendy asked yesterday if I ever did any bike riding for cross-training.

In a word, "No."

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times in the past 10 years I've seen anyone riding bikes around here. We don't have bike trails, our main roads have narrow berms and are cut into mountains, our side roads are single-lane with dangerous curves and oh, did I mention the hills?

If Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I ever leave our beautiful-but-isolated mountain paradise, we've agreed we will find someplace flat. He loves to bike, and enjoyed riding on a rails-to-trails route when he lived in Ohio. The last time I was on a bicycle was when I was a girl, I think. I know it had coaster brakes. I'd probably flip myself over the handlebars learning to use hand brakes. But I'd love to try!

So cross-training for me has usually been walking, easier runs [like yesterday's three-miler that I didn't even time], the rowing machine or a yoga session.

Which brings me to the next thing I've been thinking about.

Some of the images of
Haile Gebrselassie running in the New York City Half-Marathon were aerial shots, taken from a helicopter camera. Haile is 5'4" tall – not the typical long, lean, lanky Ethiopian runner. But watching the birds'-eye view of him running was enlightening.

His stride length is impressive for someone of his stature. His legs were straight out in front and behind him; he seemed to float through the air, bounding across the route.

Bounding. That technique is suggested over and over again as a way to increase stride length. I've been trying to bound up the hills when I come to them, although I've yet to dedicate myself to a once-a-week hill-training session.

But I know if I dedicated myself to twice-weekly yoga sessions, I could increase my knee and hip flexibility, which would – in time – lead to a longer stride.

I'm not going to get faster without it.

Do I want to get faster? Sometimes. Honestly, though? I'm more satisfied with endurance than speed. Taking four walking breaks in four miles is a greater disappointment to me than running four slow-but-steady miles.

I don't know where this is leading; I'm thinking out loud here. And that's what blogs are for, right?

P.S. The dog is still here. We thought we found her owner yesterday. You know how when you buy a new car, suddenly you see yourself coming and going every time you drive it? I saw a sign for a lost dog on the very road where I do most of my training. I don't remember seeing that sign before yesterday, but it had obviously been there a while. The man came to look at her and, sadly, said she wasn't his dog. He and his wife might adopt her; theirs has been missing for more than a month. Keep your fingers crossed for all of us!

Monday, August 13, 2007

She's still here

That little dog, that is.

Our county's animal welfare organization doesn't have a physical facility. It's completely volunteer-run; foster families care for adoptable animals and a core group of volunteers respond to telephone inquiries. Unfortunately there aren't any foster homes available right now, so we're still searching for a home for her.

I've put up half a dozen signs in our neighborhood, but no one has claimed her. She's such a little sweetie and I'm afraid Mr. Shrinking Knitter is becoming too attached.

While I was running yesterday morning, he took her walking with him on our road. He usually walks two miles and she kept up with him the whole way, never leaving his side. No leash, either!

We put our dog's crate [she doesn't use it any more] on the front porch; the stray dog pops in and out for naps and nighttime sleeping with no prompting from us humans.

She plays fetch with a ball until Mr. Shrinking Knitter gets tired – she doesn't want to quit!

This dog has been well-cared-for; I can't imagine that someone just dumped her by the side of the road. Anyone who does that is contemptible.

At any rate, she's still here, wiggling her way into our hearts. Jen, if you really want her, I'll deliver!

I'm not supposed to run today, but I feel like I should, just because it's relatively cool and comfortable outdoors this morning. Four easy miles could just be another form of cross-training … couldn't it? Can you tell I'd rather run than do any other form of exercise?

I'm sure some of you have noticed I haven't talked about weight-training in a week or so. The weight bench had been littered with painting tools and equipment when our garage was getting a facelift. It's been cleared of such nonsense for several days now, so no excuse not to get back at it other than this: I don't wanna!

I can be quite petulant when I want to be. Heh.

Also, knitting for babies really goes quickly! The left front of the cardigan is done and attached to the back; the right front has been started. I'm using size one and three needles – in other words, teeny – and making great progress. To put this in perspective, the circumference of Claire's sweater is a total of 140 stitches. An adult-sized sweater on size 3 needles would be about 300 stitches around.

Until I figure out what size I'm going to be, my sweaters will be knit with fatter yarn and bigger needles.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Done, done, done, done, done

I slept later than I'd intended – couldn't get to sleep last night and ended up taking a Benadryl shortly after midnight. Sometimes those things really knock me out. So I woke up about 7:45 a.m. to find it pleasantly and suprisingly cool outside. Still humid, but not as bad as it has been.

Today's long run was six miles at a 13:45-minute pace; I did them [with a lot of walking] at 13:14 – about an hour and 20 minutes when all was said and done. Or run and done.

I did the stash-the-water-bottle trick, this time two of them, which helped a lot. There were times when I thought I could just keep on going at the same steady pace for miles and miles and hours and hours. It's at those times when I speed up a bit, lengthen my stride on purpose and totally wear myself out. Then I have to walk for a minute or so to catch my breath and feel comfortable enough to run again.

But it's also those times when I realize how much I love to run. Even at a snail's pace.

Hope those of you who are training or racing today had a great morning. I know I did!

For you knitters, have you seen Vogue Knitting's revamped site? Worth a look – there are several free patterns, some of which I might even knit, and they've begun an online stitch dictionary. Only a few designs so far, but the eyelet herringbone looks good enough to knit!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

On second thought …

I waited too long to try to run this morning. I'll blame it on the dog.

Really! This little dog showed up on our porch Friday morning. I noticed her when I got up at 5:30 a.m.; she must have been there all night.

Now I know that if you give a stray dog any sort of food water attention, it will be Your Dog for Life. So I had no intention of feeding it. In fact, I let our two dogs bark and harrass it, hoping it would run for its life.

Mr. Shrinking Knitter, however, is not as stern about stray animals as I am. I'll tell you about the cat one of these days. At any rate, he said things like, "Well we can't just let her starve!" and "Don't you think we should give her some water?" and "She's just about the friendliest little stray I've ever seen."

You know where this is going, don't you?

This morning I made up signs, tucked them into sheet protectors and spent the next half hour cruising around looking for likely spots to nail them up. Before Mr. Shrinking Knitter can get even more attached to her, I think I need to be pro-active about searching for her owner.

She's such a little thing – full-grown but with short legs [just like me!] – that she couldn't have wandered far from home. We're hoping she's just lost and hasn't been dumped here.

Of course by the time I actually started out for the long run it was much hotter, more humid and I knew I wouldn't last. Tomorrow! I promise! In fact, if you don't see a new post first thing tomorrow morning, it's because I'm already on the road. I think that's the only way it's going to get done until the heat and humidity take a hike.

Yes, I'm still knitting

Yesterday's run went pretty well, actually. I was on the road by 7:30, did a half-mile warm-up, ran three miles at about a 12-minute pace [I was supposed to do them at an 11:45-minute pace, but oh, well] and did a half-mile cooldown. No road workers offering cold water this time, but I carried a bottle along with me and dropped it at the one-mile mark. It really gave me something to look forward to on the return trip.

Since I've identified this blog as having "a little knitting on the side," I should probably provide a string-and-sticks update every once in a while. Or change the title, but I don't think I'll do that.

I finished the Big Bad Baby Blanket for my new granddaughter when I visited her late last month. It's been washed, folded and tucked away in the closet with all her other blankets – it's too hot in North Carolina for blankets now. They're not even taking outdoor walks in the evenings any more, as they were when I was there. She's doing well, has gained two pounds since her birth and is smiling, cooing and being adorable.

I started a little cardigan for her in Katia Mississippi 3,
a cotton/acrylic blend. The ribbing is grey, and I'm doing a textured stripe pattern in pink, grey and white. I finished the back Thursday and started one of the front pieces yesterday.

On the horizon will be Christmas stockings for the new baby and her parents, which my son requested. I'm planning to use my own entrelac-in-the-round

Right now it's 70 and the humidity is 88%. I don't think it's going to get any better, and tomorrow looks worse. Even though my long runs are supposed to be on Sundays, I think I'll go get it over with now. Just as farmers must make hay while the sun shines, runners must get moving when conditions are comfortable tolerable.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Quote Day

I dwell in possibility …
Emily Dickinson

Thank you all for your comments yesterday. It still makes me smile thinking of that guy handing me that cold bottle of water. He even took the empty on my way back!

Isn't today's quote terrific? It seems gentler than the "consider the possibilities" tagline in that old Visa credit card commercial, but still leaves you thinking the world is your oyster.

I was certainly dwelling in possibility when, last December, I got the crazy idea to run a half-marathon last spring. I'd never done anything like that before. Challenging myself physically was, in fact, completely off my radar.

And I knew, even before I crossed the finish line, that I would do it again.

The training challenges this time around are as different from the last regimen as they can be. Instead of snow and
ice and freezing temperatures, I'm dealing with thick, oppressive, moist air that you can practically see and touch. When I registered for the next two runs, one in October and one in November, I knew I'd be training in August, but I had no idea how brutal it would be.

The heat absolutely zaps my energy. I'd gotten to the point earlier in the summer where I could run four or five miles in the morning and then mow the lawn, tidy up the house and do a couple loads of laundry. Now? Not so much.

I'm just not acclimated to a 90/90 heat/humidity combo, and you can't really get acclimated because, at least this time, it happened rather suddenly. A couple weeks ago the high temperature was in the mid-70s.

I still don't know how you deep-south runners manage it. I know your homes, cars, offices and stores are all air-conditioned, just as ours are. But you do seem to get used to transitioning between cool indoors and steamy outdoors better than we wimps up north do. That must be why we get heat-index warnings and Florida doesn't.

Every morning I dwell in the possibility that today will be the day the heat wave breaks.

Judging from today's first quick trip outdoors with the dogs, I don't think so.

But I'm ready to run, and I will run, because it's part of the schedule and because, when I'm done, I know I'll feel good and because it won't be possible to run eight or 10 or 13.1 miles this fall if I don't do five or six or seven now.

Possibility doesn't become reality without footwork.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A nice thing happened …

on my four-miler yesterday.

First, I'm glad I was even able to do four miles yesterday. It's too hot – really – for that kind of exertion! According to national news reports I should be dead.

Obviously I'm not.

As I started yesterday's run I noticed a large orange road-work sign, and I hadn't gone too far – maybe three-quarters of a mile – when I saw a flagman. I asked him if it was safe to continue and he advised me not to get run over.

I said I'd try not to run over them. Heh. I crack myself up.

Apparently he radioed ahead to warn the workers that a pedestrian was on the loose, because one of them offered me a water bottle.

The only time I've had a water stop on one of my country-road runs was when I planted bottles along the route ahead of time.

Next time I start to have dark thoughts about road crews and tax dollars and standing around and such, I'm going to remember that nice man with that cold bottle of water. They were all nice, actually. One of them said he bet I'd make it all the way to the end of the road. I didn't tell him that road is my easy run.

He won the bet.

That run was making up for Tuesday. Today I'm supposed to do five miles, but I'm postponing it until tomorrow. It's 80 degrees and 87 percent humidity, and while I know you Florida runners deal with that regularly, this West Virginia one doesn't.

I'll be glad when summer's over.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The no-whine zone

Okay, okay … the consensus seems to be that I'm not whining. Or, more accurately, that my writing isn't coming across in whine-mode. In my head, however, there's a constant and annoying Whine Festival going on. And it has nothing to do with a crisp Sauvignon.
  • When I'm eating right, I whine because I can't have treats.
  • When I eat treats, I whine because I'm screwing up.
  • I whine when I don't drink enough water.
  • I whine when I spend all day in the bathroom because I drank too much water.
  • Running and whining go together like shoes and socks … heh, wasn't that clever? Too hot, too cold, too slow, blah-blah-blah.
Since I long ago decided that the blog would not be a Place for Whining, I'm glad your perception is that that's the way it is.

Now if I could just delete the whiny sound track in my brain.

The broken things around here are gradually getting fixed.
The car is running like a champ. We're taking the watch back to the jeweler on Friday. The commode only needs guts replaced [wouldn't it be great if that's all I needed to lose weight? whinewhinewhine], not a whole new unit. [For the record, I wouldn't begin to know how to install a toilet, but I have replaced the guts several times. One does what one needs to do in the Middle of Nowhere, where plumbers are scarce and handymen are scarcer.]

I'm heading out for a four-mile run. Yesterday was the first running day of the new 13-week training schedule, but since the extension ladder was set up in the bed of our truck and our painter was high atop the ladder, painting the soffit of the two-story garage, I wasn't about to leave the premises. I was supposed to do two miles, but I will do four this morning, because that's what I'm used to doing, and why cut it in half?

It's already wickedly hot with matching humidity and not getting any cooler as tempis fugits.

Gotta run.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Yeah, what she said

I don't particularly feel like I've been whining lately, but maybe I have been. I've been trying to keep it real, but sometimes it comes across like petulance. These lines in PQ's most recent post smacked me in the face.
Which pretty much sums up my attitude about life these days. Rule the court. Get your game on. There's no use in focusing on what you can't do, just think about all the stuff you can do. Just believing you can do something makes it all the more likely that you can.
She signed off by saying, "I'm not big on whining these days."

Just felt the urgent need to share this on a day when I do feel like I'm getting my game on. May the feeling continue, for all of us.

Just what the heck is success, anyway?

Lori commented a couple days ago with a couple of questions. First, she asked, "When you were at your 'normal' weight, how did you keep it off?'

The way I maintained the first time, back in the '70s, was by following the Weight Watchers program – I was working as a WW leader then, and it was the old program. Prescribed amounts of food, none of this 'all foods are legal' crap, you'll eat what you're told and you'll LIKE IT! Including once-a-week liver meals.

I haven't done as well with WW's Points programs, although I've tried.

The second time I was able to achieve and maintain a loss was by not eating sugar and doing a LOT of exercise (at least two hours daily in the gym, plus running to and from my house, plus long runs on the weekends), including weight training. I'm flirting with sugar again – it's so hard to just leave it alone. At one time I was five years sugar-free and really never felt better. But seriously? Sugar and crack cocaine must be made from the same chemical base.

Lori's second question – " … can you remember what or why you stopped and regained your weight?" – is harder to answer.

I truly don't remember what happened the first time, and that experience probably isn't relevant to the body I'm trying to whip back into shape today. But I can tell you exactly what happened 10 years ago.

I was cruising along in Ohio, having lost nearly 50 pounds, wearing size 6s and 8s, going to the gym, not eating sugar, blah-blah-blah. Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I were maintaining a long-distance dating relationship, as he had moved to West Virginia, which is where he's from. We alternated traveling on weekends for two years before we decided I would follow him to the Middle of Nowhere.

In addition to quitting my job and selling my house, I had to leave my gym. The closest gym to me is a 45-minute drive. Everything is a 45-minute drive. I thought running and walking on these mountain roads would compensate for two hours on the treadmill and Stairmaster. We did buy a weight bench, but I'm not as diligent about weight training when I don't have a trainer handy to cheer me on.

[If I could offer one and only one piece of gym advice, it would be to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions. The first three or four or five are to learn to use free weights safely, to establish goals and to develop a plan for achieving them. Then have one more follow-up session a month later to check your form. Not only will you get in the habit of lifting properly and challenging yourself, you'll get to know the staff at the gym and you'll always have someone around to support you.]

Two other things happened that started adding pounds: Mr. Shrinking Knitter convinced me that sugar isn't all that bad [this was back in the day when dietary fat was the enemy]. I'm not blaming him; it was totally my choice to have dessert once in a while, and then more often. But I know now that I would have had an easier time of maintenance if I'd continued to abstain from sugar.

The other thing was that I quit smoking.

I used to light up as I was leaving the gym. I frequently said I worked out so hard so that I could smoke – I was protecting my heart and lungs while at the same time destroying them. I'd been thinking about quitting, but hadn't made that leap. My first granddaughter had just been born and I knew I'd not be welcome for visits if I smelled like an ashtray. So that was a huge incentive.

One day I just tossed the last pack away and never looked back. It's been more than 10 years now.

So. No gym, start eating sugar, stop smoking – the Perfect Storm for gaining weight. And, as you all know, the bigger you are, the easier it is to make excuses for not moving and not eating healthfully.

I've been maintaining a 25-pound loss for several months, and last summer at this time had actually lost a total of 39 pounds. That loss happened by eliminating crack sugar and eating according to one of eDiets' menu plans. I called them "prescription" meals.

Sounds like I might need to revisit that option. I don't want to join eDiets again, but there are several websites out there that will create menu plans for you. It's on my radar … I'm just not willing to try it again.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Everything is broken

Continuing my sometimes-theme of using Bob Dylan song titles for subjects of blog posts, today I have to face several broken things in or around my house.

Not to mention the ongoing broken metabolism.

My car's brakes are making a horrible grinding noise. Brake linings, probably, so it will have to go into the shop as soon as possible.

The guest bathroom's commode won't flush. I hate fixing toilets, but at least I know what to buy and how to install it.

Mr. Shrinking Knitter's watch needed a new battery, which meant taking it to a jeweler, which I did on Saturday, only to return home and find they had not reset the time because the time-setting button is broken! It's evident that they tried to reset it but discovered they couldn't – the least they could have done is mention it to me before I drove all the way home.


Customer service in this part of the Middle of Nowhere is another thing that is, frequently, broken.

On the other hand, in just a few minutes I'm going to go pick up one of our Amish neighbors who has agreed to paint our garage. So at least the faded garage will, by the end of the week, look like new again.

And all those other things are repairable, with a bit of time and money.

Sure wish I could figure out a way to reinstall my metabolism. Heh.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

And the winner is …

Haile Gebrselassie in less than an hour! Through the magic of satellite televison and a fast digital camera, I was able to catch this shot, two seconds before the unofficial finish.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I've been thinking of Mary's comment yesterday. She said, "I know I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to – and want bad enough. With the exception of losing weight. So I quit trying."

What I've been thinking is, what would 'not trying' feel like? Seems like I've been trying for-freakin'-ever, and certainly since I was about 11 years old, with relatively short periods of either not caring or not working at losing or maintaining.

Twice in my life I've maintained a 'normal' weight for about three years each time. One was after the birth of my son in 1973. The second was about 10 years ago.

And I guess that's what keeps me on the path of trying: I've done it before. I realize my age, hormonal changes and a slower metabolism all contribute to my current lack of success [success being defined as reaching the weight goal I've set for myself]. So I just tell myself I need to keep at it, work harder, eat less, never, never, never, never give up.

I'll tell you what, though … it's tempting to quit trying and learn to come to some kind of peace with where I am now.

Guess where I was a year ago today? In Las Vegas, getting married! Yes, Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I are celebrating our first year of wedded bliss. I was in a Hallmark store yesterday selecting the perfect card and there was a sweet little old man next to me, muttering that it looked like anniversary cards stopped at 50 years. He was looking for one for his wife, whom he married 60 years ago. He said he was giving her roses, too. [Mr. SK presented me with a beautiful arrangement of red roses on Thursday.]

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Plan the plans, not the results

There is a saying in 12-step groups that floats around every once in a while: Plan the plans, not the results. Meaning it's good to be prepared, but you never know what's going to happen.

Lori commented yesterday with this sentence: "Wow, a woman with a plan!"

Do any of us ever begin the march to better health without a plan? Even if it's as simple and vague as 'eating better' or 'getting off my ass more often' – a plan is a plan is a plan.

I just happen to need a little more browbeating structure.

The problem with plans is that they sometimes don't produce the desired results. You've probably noticed in your blog-hopping adventures that some of us can follow a food plan for days, weeks, months on end and then hit a wall. What worked yesterday doesn't make a bit of difference today. [I found that principle holds true with baby care, as well. One day the bouncy seat is very soothing. Next day? AnNOYing! Heh.]

A couple of people who read here have brought up the mind-over-matter principle in the past. It's interesting to me that I totally, totally believed the training program I started last January would produce a finish at the Country Music Half Marathon in April. And it did. I totally, totally believe the current plan will get me across the finish line in Raleigh on November 4. If I do X number of miles each week for the next 13 weeks, I will have the stamina and heart and legs and lungs to complete the task.

I have no doubt.

My experience with food plans, however, is not as cast-in-stone. Food plans work for a while, and then – so the experts say – your body becomes accustomed to what you've been giving it and you have to shake things up a bit. I believe that's how the Wendie Plan evolved, and also is the philosophy behind plans that suggest you take a day or a meal off once in a while, such as Joy Bauer's 90/10 plan.

I have battled my weight almost all my life, and I'm pretty convinced that I'm always going to. Controlling my weight will never be as easy as running 20 miles a week.

Naturally, as long as I keep telling myself that, it will remain my truth.

Clearly we have a bit more work to do in the mind-over-matter department. Transferring my conviction about running plans to food plans isn't really much of a leap. But in my mind, it really is.

Need some help creating your own plan? SparkPeople has some tips.

Before I leave today, if anyone here is running the New York City Half-Marathon tomorrow morning, you're going to be in good – nay, esteemed – company. Haile Gebrselassie will be leading the pack, the first time he's ever run this event. Lynn Zinser writes an inspiring story about him in today's New York Times.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Quote Day

Without a sense of urgency,
desire loses its value.

~ Jim Rohn

Honestly? I wish I were still at my son's, instead of waking up here in the Middle of Nowhere with an entire baby-less day stretched out in front of me. Y'all were right: Babies trump everything. Heh.

I ran only once during my stay there, and then only for 30 minutes. I used MapMyRun to determine the distance and it was only 1.77 miles. Pitiful! But I did a lot of almost-eight-pound curls and lifts, along with a new maneuver that will soon be catching on in gyms across the world: rocking.

My main role while there was Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, but I was glad to be able to provide baby relief so her parents could get some rest here and there. She loves to be rocked and held and fortunately my son and daughter-in-law don't think it's possible do too much of either.

Okay, moving on … are you wondering what today's quote has to do with the last three paragraphs? Well, I'll tell you: Nothing! But that quote kind of sums up why I wasn't stressing about not getting my training runs in while I was away from home.

[You may be wondering exactly why I didn't run more often. My Middle of Nowhere is in southern West Virginia. I was four hours south of home. South, people! In late summer! Need I say more?]

The training plans at Runner's World can be as long as 16 weeks, which is what I started with, or as short as two. I'm going to create a new plan for 13 weeks, since that's how long it is until the City of Oaks half. Also? Thirteen miles, 13 weeks. There's something about that symmetry that appeals to me.

I'm still going to have to juggle some runs around in September due to a couple of short trips. I think that having a good solid month under my belt will be the foundation I need to keep that sense of urgency going. Because today? It just ain't happenin'.

I sort of feel like a slacker, but if I pretend that I just sent in my registration fee yesterday …

Thanks for all your comments on my last post. Isabelle, feel free to join M@rla and me as we continue to bust our butts and stay the same weight, but learn not to care about numbers. I'm inspired by M's excitement and delight as she gets stronger and fitter. I'm inspired by her perseverance and dedication to her health and well-being. We agree that it would be great to pull something off the size-8 rack and have it fit. But it's becoming just as satisfying to pull a heavier weight off the rack and lift it overhead!