Thursday, May 30, 2013

That was a first.

You know how some people are really afraid of storms?  Like standing by the window wringing their hands, whispering "Lordy, Lordy" kind of scared.  That's not me.  (That was my grandmother though, bless her soul)

Storms only bother me if they interfere with my electricity.

I have had friends who would be whimpering in the corner at the mention of a tornado watch, and be yelling at me when I'm calm as can be about it all.  I can't help it.  I've known people who have had their homes demolished by tornadoes.  I've been mere miles from the path of tornadoes.  But they just don't scare me.

However, I've become more cautious with children.  Where I never even bothered to pay attention to the weather people during storms, I will actually sit and listen to them to make sure we're safe.  And it always seems to happen after I put the kids to bed, and when Bill's at work, so usually I don't even take shelter for a warning - I'd have to wake the kids up and that's just something I avoid.

So, tonight the storms moved in.  I really didn't think much of it, but I used it as an excuse to skip the rec center tonight (bad me) using the reasoning that I would just do a workout at home (yeah, as if).  I put the girls to bed, had a couple of flash flood warnings sound on my phone, heard the sirens a few times (but they go off if there is a warning anywhere in the county) but really didn't think to even look at the weather until the power flickered a little.

I changed into my jammies and had this random thought that maybe I should have kept my bra on just in case.  Which is a really odd thought to have.  So I thought I should check the weather.  And what do you know?  A tornado warning for my area.  So I sat down to watch and see how close.  Pretty close.  Nothing confirmed, but the radar showed all the right stuff for one. (I'm no meteorologist.  It's just "stuff")

I paced back and forth from the computer to the girls' bedroom, debating waking them up.  What if that random thought was some sort of premonition?  When the weather chick was listing areas to take cover, and mentioned the fire station right down the road, I decided it was time.  Time to see how many of us can fit in the bathroom (our only room without windows or an outside wall).

Here's what I learned:

*** My bathroom is not big enough for 3 kids, their pillows and blankets, and me to fit inside comfortably.  Lucky Bill is at work or someone would have had to sit in the tub.

*** My kids are extremely hard to wake up.

*** Random thoughts are thankfully not premonitions.  No tornado.

Better safe than sorry, right?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crayon Bomb Virtual 5k/10k

As you know, I just ran my first 5k!  Yay me! 

But that means I have no immediate goals, other than my half-marathon in October, and it seems so far away that it just doesn't feel all that pressing at the moment.  I actually have a little wiggle room before hard-core training, and that's really tempting me to "take it easy."

That's a bad thing.  My diet has been erratic at best lately, and I can't let my fitness slip.  I refuse to totally fall off the wagon.  So I thought it was time to make my Virtual 10k a concrete plan.

I've decided to make it a 5k/10k, because I would really LOVE for someone other than my sister and me to participate.  But I know that not everyone has any desire to run a 10k, ever.  So, should you chose to participate with us, you have the option of a 5k distance, as well.  

I have some more work to do, but this is the basic low-down.

So, without further ado.... 

The Crayon Bomb Virtual 5k/10k

August 17-24, 2013
any time, any place you choose within that 8 day time-frame!


5k (3.1miles) or 10k (6.2 miles) must be completed in one stretch

You may walk, run, skip, crawl, dance... whatever gets you to the finish line

You may do it outside or on a treadmill

My Fun Suggestion

Leave a Crayon Bomb at your "finish line", wherever that may be (or somewhere else if you're finish line is your own home)

I will have a printable bib for the race, and a printout of the Crayon Bomb passage if you choose to leave a Crayon Bomb.

I am hoping to have a finishers "medal" if you would like one.  It will be handmade...  nothing fancy, but I'm kind of excited about it. 

If I actually have interest from people, I might set up a Facebook group to keep track of you guys. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Long Weekend


Happy Memorial Day!  I'm very blessed to have several people in my life that have served in the military and made it back home, and my heart and everlasting gratitude goes out to those who did not make it home.

We've spent our unusual amount of family time out and about.  We've had 2 full days, minus my time racing on Sunday. 

Yesterday we decided to go out and play some Frisbee.


Silly Olivia, that's not how you play Frisbee.


The girls really didn't know how to play.  See how intent Zoe is trying to learn, tongue out and all!


That child needs to stop looking so grown up.


But then it started to rain.  So we drove around a bit until the shower stopped and we ended up at this pond.


It wasn't all that impressive, really.  Kind of run down.  Blah.  But we wandered around and found a little trail.


You would think my husband is the most unpleasant person ever, he always has to look so grumpy in pictures.  Our kids are going to look back at their childhood pictures and think he was just miserable all the time.

We left there and had some dinner.  Went to bed, woke up, cleaned the house a bit, and then were out of the house by 10am, which is a miracle.  We're usually doing good to get out by 1 or 2pm. 

Bill had been wanting to check out a new State Park, and we had to wait for a day that we had all day to do it in, because it was a 2 hour drive.  Personally, I don't really want to make a 2 hour drive unless it's somewhere we're staying the night.  Because it means a 2 hour drive home, too... and I don't want to be in the car for 4 hours in one day.  But, he wanted to go, so we went.


It was really pretty there.  Lots and lots of dirt roads.  


We had a picnic with the bumblebees.  My kids aren't fans of bugs of any sort.  Somehow Bill telling them that bumblebees don't sting because they'll die made them feel better.  I don't know if that's true.  Personally, knowing something would die doesn't make me feel any better about the prospect of getting stung, but I'm not afraid of bumblebees anyway.


We did a little hiking but those pictures were kind of blurry.  Not sure what happened there.  It was a nice trail, though.  Isabelle and I got to take a little walk by ourselves while Bill drove the other two to the bathroom.  She said she was glad she was exercising with me and the other two just don't understand exercise.  I assured her that they'd understand it plenty this summer... I intend to keep them active.  

That was about it, though.  It was fun, but totally not worth the time spent in the van.  Especially since we got stuck in traffic on the way home, so we were in the van more like 5 hours.  We were all a little testy by the time we got home.

Hope you all had an excellent long weekend!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rock N Stroll 5k

So, today was the big day!  The Rock N Stroll 5k.  My first 5k as a runner.

My sister has also been training for this 5k.  She sent me a message yesterday expressing her concern about being able to complete it.  She's been super busy all month... she's been out of town practically half the month and hasn't had the chance to train like scheduled.  She had decided that if she wasn't able to run the whole race today that she'd sign up for another 5k next weekend, hoping that having a back up goal would keep her from getting discouraged if she couldn't run this one.  I told her not to be too disappointed, she's come a very long way and should be proud of herself no matter what.  And I promised to push her through any disappointment if I had to.  =)  I like having her as a goal buddy, I don't want her to give up.  We have a half-marathon to do in October.  =)

I picked up my race packet on Friday, and I was a little disappointed in the tshirt.  There were two different races having packet pick up in the store that day, and the other race had a much cooler shirt.  I was jealous.  LOL


Anyway.  My alarm on my phone went off this morning at 7am and promptly froze as I tried to hit snooze.  By the time I got it to turn off and stop buzzing, I was wide awake.  No oversleeping for me.

I was actually more nervous about the parking situation than the actual race.  I hate parking downtown and I have absolutely no sense of direction.  I managed to park without any issue, but I had no clue where the start was in relation to where I was.  I saw two people walking in athletic gear, and decided to follow them.  At one point, there was a group of people with race bibs on walking the opposite way, and I thought "Hey, they're obviously running my race, so I should be following them." 

Um.  No.  After a few blocks, we met up with another group of people who asked us where the start was.  The group I was following said they didn't know, they were hoping the other people knew.  So there was a group of about 10 of us, lost as can be.  We did make it to the start on time... it turned out I should have followed the original couple.  Figures.

Then I started worrying about my sister.  I had texted her and tried to call her and no response.  I was worried about her oversleeping or something.  But she eventually found me and all was right with the world once again.

Yes, I rocked the Wonder Woman shirt.  Maybe by my next race I will feel a little more comfortable in it, but I'm proud of myself for wearing it today. I'm just not used to snug-fitting clothes.  But once I got there and saw how clingy most athletic shirts tend to be, I didn't feel like anyone would be all like "OMG, she left the house like that?"  =)  Oh, and Bill thought it was a Whataburger tshirt.  :::sigh:::

And then the race started.  I planned on sticking with my sister.  We run pretty much the same pace, and if she had gone to a walk, she walks as fast as she runs, so I still would have been fine.  =)  But I wanted to stay with her in case she felt like giving up, hoping that having me there would encourage her to push as far as she possibly could.

I wasn't all that concerned with whether or not I could do the distance, because I did it last week.  But I was concerned with the bridge we had to cross because I trained mostly on the treadmill and my outdoor routes are pretty flat.  But it wasn't too bad, really.  

I slowed to a walk just once to drink some water because I sloshed it all over my face trying to run.  

I had to stop very briefly to retie my shoe about mile 2.  I always double knot my shoes.  I don't know what I was thinking today.

We got close to what we thought was the finish line and I knew it wasn't 3.1 miles yet.  As we got closer there were volunteers there pointing the way to the real finish line.  I think my sister wanted to scream.  She was still there, by my side, by the way.  She had stopped running for maybe 5 seconds at one point and then decided there was no way she was giving up.  And she did not.

We saw the real finish line and the clock was reading 44:something.  I said, "there is no way that clock is hitting 45:00 with me on this side."  I just took off and jumped across the line like a crazy person.  I'm sure I looked like a dork.  I don't care.  My time was 44:35:53  =)  My sister was 44:35:86!  She finished the race!  She rocks.

I'm so happy.  Not one time did I ever want to quit, I felt great the entire time.  All the volunteers were just so friendly, all my lost people were super nice, I just loved every minute of it.  10 weeks ago, I really didn't think I'd ever be able to actually run 3.1 miles.  60 seconds was too much.  I'm just amazed at how far I've come.  Still intimidated by how far I want to go, but I don't think I can stop.  I can't say I'm in love with running itself, but the feeling of accomplishment.... what a high!  I'm definitely not stopping.

I'm going to try to work on getting a little faster when I do my weekday runs at the rec center, and then my weekend run will be distance.  I have 22 weeks or so until the half-marathon. 

I don't have any "real" races lined up until my half-marathon.  I have a few virtual 5ks, and I'm still planning on doing a virtual 10k for my sister and I in August (it may just be us, but I'll try to get other people to participate).  My sister mentioned a 5k in July she's thinking about registering for... the Firecracker Fast 5k.  It's mostly downhill and the record time for it is something crazy like 13 minutes.  Can you imagine?  I can't even run 1 mile in 13 minutes!  I'm thinking about it, though.  I worry about two things... I know people are more prone to injury running downhill and I'd hate to have a PR that I can't possibly beat in any other race!  

Oh, and wouldn't you know that today I discovered the Three Bridges Marathon... OMG!  It crosses the Clinton Bridge, the Big Dam Bridge, and the Two Rivers Bridge.  I love, love, love our bridges.  December 2013 is the inaugural race.  I still am not sure I'd ever go for a full marathon, but I'll be damned if these people aren't tempting me.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Flattery and Fear

I had like a million things to do tonight.  The girls trashed the living room (what else is new?), there's laundry to be done (when isn't there?), I should have done some yoga or something.  But instead I ended up getting addicted to a show.  When the girls were winding down in bed, I thought I'd check out a show I queued on Netflix that I figured would be too short for running to, Wilfred.  Just one less-than-half-hour show while the girls found their way to dreamland.

Holy cow, that show cracks me up.  It's about a really depressed guy who tries to kill himself unsuccessfully and befriends his neighbor's dog, who looks like a guy in a ratty dog suit.  It has Elijah Wood in it, and I just think he's adorable.

I watched 5 episodes.  I tried to stop after 2, really, I did.  But it's so good.

Yeah, nothing got done tonight.  But I laughed.  

*warning... the show would probably be offensive to a lot of people.  I tend to find offensive things funny.  Sorry.


Let me tell you what happened to me today.  

I was at work and went into the nursing supervisor's office to get something and she stopped me to ask me a question.

She said she let her husband sign her up for a half-marathon (possibly the same one I'm doing, there aren't that many that happen around here) and asked ME how to train for it.

*jaw drop*

She had asked me before about running and I know my boss likes to tell people that I did a half-marathon all the time.  When she doesn't get mixed up and tell them I ran a triathlon.  Good grief, can you imagine?  I actually discovered earlier today that there's a duathon and a triathlon later this summer, but I neither bike nor swim, so I don't even know why I'm mentioning that.

Chocolate.  I had chocolate.  You'll have to forgive me.

I was really flattered that someone came to me for advice like that.  I don't really talk about stuff like that at work much, and only a handful of people at work are on my Facebook, and most of them are the type that just have to have everyone they have ever met as a friend so they barely notice my posts anyway, so I'm usually caught off guard by anyone there even knowing that I run now.

Then there was another thing that happened that made me think a little bit about something.  This is a little personal, but you know... the chocolate is making my fingers chatty I guess.

Bill had told me the other day that he and Zoe's teacher had talked about church, and told me not to be surprised if she asked me to go to church.  I don't usually go to church, for reasons.  I try not to get into religion here (or anywhere) so I'll leave it at that.  Well, today she actually did mention it.  Part of me feels like it's her way of trying to be able to see Zoe after this school year is over... she's been her teacher 2 years now and is really fond of her.  And then the thought that made me think..

"What if she's just trying to be your friend?"

I'm sure I've talked about this before, but it feels like the dumbest thing to say, but that kind of scares me.  Even with the nursing supervisor talking to me today, she's being friendly and, while feeling flattered, I felt like bolting out the door.

I don't have any really close friends.  I have a few people at work I would call a friend, but it rarely goes outside of work.  I have some old friends from school that I keep up with online now, but rarely see in person.  I have some good internet friends that I've never met.  Hell, for all intents and purposes, it's like all my friends are imaginary because without a computer they may as well not even exist.  Since cutting my two closest friends out of my life last year (and there were real reasons, not just this social anxiety I'm fessing up to), I really and truly have had ZERO social life outside of family.  I've gone through phases where I'll be "I need to get out there and make friends!" but I just can't do it.

I'm not having a pity party.  Most of the time I'm perfectly fine with it.  But I just don't understand it.  Why is it so difficult for me?  Am I just afraid of being used and hurt?  Am I just too lazy to put forth the effort?  I mean, it's really easy to not have friends.  Seriously.  No coordinating schedules when you want to do something, no trying to balance family/friend time.  Do I feel lonely sometimes?  Sure, but not as often as you'd think.  Is that wrong?  It does bother me that the idea of making a friend freaks me out.  I don't think I should have some sort of fear about it.  I think maybe I'm a little too comfortable with solitude.  Or maybe I just tell myself I am. 

I don't know.... I think I'm just thinking to much and should go to bed.  =)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Guess what I did today?

Today was my usual "run outside" day and I set a goal of running 2.75 miles.  That puts me at running 3 miles on Tuesday and then a trial run at 3.1 on the treadmill before the big day next Sunday.

I went to the park where I usually go and was just thrilled to see that there was a soccer tournament going on... so there were people everywhere.  The trail I wanted to run pretty much circles all the soccer fields, so I would have an audience.  Yay!  =p  Luckily, it doesn't bother me as much as it once did.

I decided to go a total of 4 miles... I usually go farther than just my run, simply because I can.  I walked 1/4 of a mile to warm up, and then started running.  I started using a new app, Runkeeper, instead of CardioTrainer.  I don't have a problem with CardioTrainer, but my sister got me using Achievemint and Runkeeper is one of the apps they track.  (Achievemint is one of those sites where you earn points for different things and when you reach a certain number of points, they send you money.  When and if I get a check, I'll probably talk about it more.  It'll be a while.)  Anyway, Runkeeper has a really cool feature where it will show you your pace minute by minute, instead of just mile splits.  My pace is anything but consistent.  I'd run a 13:00 pace for a while, then drop to 15:00.  It's not really important right now, but interesting to me.

So, as I was starting to get close to the 3 mile mark, which would have been my 2.75 goal, a friend of mine came to mind.  We've been online friends for over 5 years... we've never met in person, but she's one of my dearest friends.  She runs, and there have been a few times that she's sent me a message to tell me that she struggled during a run and I would come to mind and it helped her to push through her run.  Today also happens to be her birthday.  So, before my app told me I had reached 3 miles, I reached a decision...

It was time to pay her back.  She uses me as an inspiration to go farther, so to honor her birthday, I was going to use her as an inspiration to run my first 5k.  I kept running past 3 miles.  All the way to 3.35 (3.1 plus my .25 warmup)!

You guys!  I ran 5k!

And, let me just say this... I'm glad I did it today instead of next week when I'd be around a bunch of people.  Because I cried.  I cried walking back to the van.  I cried on the way home.  It was like an emotional enema.  Lovely imagery, right?

So, now I know for sure that I can run my 5k next week.  And I'm soooo excited.  

I'm going to run 3.1 miles Tuesday and Thursday, and I'm going to dedicate each run to someone, like I did today.  =)

After I got home and got showered, we threw together a picnic lunch and headed out to take a hike.  We ended up on a 2 mile hike... way more than one of us (ahem, Zoe) wanted to go.  She started whining and crying about half a mile in, so it was a looooooong hike.


She's lucky she's so pretty or I would have left her out there.  Not really, but after a while the crying was pretty nerve wracking.


Isabelle was pretty ticked off for most of the hike because she wanted to go climb the mountain.  But Olivia wore flip flops... not good hiking shoes for sure, but definitely not good for climbing the mountain.


Olivia was pretty easy-going, for a change.  Usually she's the loudest protester during our hikes.  I love her upturned nose.  =)

I'm pooped now.  Very active day.  16,000+ steps on the ol' Fitbit today.  I haven't hit a number that high in a while.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The cycle

I have been struggling quite a bit with my eating lately.  Trying to keep it real, you guys.  LOL

I generally don't enjoy cooking, which is a real pain when you're trying to eat clean or Paleo or Primal.  You just have to cook.  Add in the fact that every single time I hit some sort of milestone in my weight loss, I tend to just let go.  It never fails.  It's why my weight loss has taken as long as it has.  Yes, I've made a lot of progress, but 37 lbs in about a year isn't fast by any means.  Not that I'm trying to belittle my progress, I'm just saying that if I could stay on track consistently, it would be much higher.

When I am on track, I feel great.  Energetic and really motivated.  But when I slip, this vicious cycle begins.  I don't feel energetic or motivated, so I find reasons not too cook... then I don't have things prepared to take to lunch and I end up eating out... then I feel even more sluggish and unmotivated and don't want to cook dinner.  You get the picture, I'm sure.  

This past week was worse than ever, because not only did I not feel the energy or motivation to cook, I didn't have to worry about feeding my husband.  Making sure he has stuff in the fridge to eat when he gets home is usually what keeps me from falling off the wagon totally, even if it is by my fingernails.

And I have zero interest in food in general.  Yes, I get hungry, but there are few things I really want to eat.  Meal planning?  Torture.  Making a grocery list?  Well, I have to plan meals first.

Luckily, I've had my running to keep me from just spinning totally out of control.  I run 3 times a week, and I haven't strayed from that at all.  I'd like to do more on my non-run days, but as long as I have those days going for me, I feel like I've not totally given up.

I had hoped to hit 40 lbs lost by my 5k next Sunday, but that's most likely not possible at this point.  It was totally possible when I hit 37 lbs lost, but then I bounced off that pretty hard, as I always do.


I'm really going to make the effort this week to get back on track.  I planned out meals for the week and went grocery shopping.  I have stuff for my lunches.  We do have a date night on Monday (what?  how'd that happen?) but I have already put in my request to eat somewhere I know I can enjoy eating healthy at.  I'm going to make sure I'm tracking my calories.  I may not be 227 at my 5k in a week, but I should feel much, much better.

Time to hit the upswing of the cycle.  And really concentrate on staying away from the down side for a while.

So, anyway...

It's my last week before my 5k!  Eek!  I'm going to see if watching something while running on the treadmill makes the time pass quickly.  Netflix on my phone, so you know, I won't be able to see crap.  LOL  I'm getting bored with my music playlist and wanted to try something different.  Tomorrow I'm aiming for 2.75 miles outside... my last outside run before the 5k.  Then 3 miles on Tuesday and a trial 5k on the treadmill Thursday.  It's gonna happen, folks!

Then it's 10k training.  Onward and upward.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Liebster Award

The adorable Katy (I can call you that, I'm old. LOL) from From KATYpillar to Butterfly has tagged me for The Liebster Award.  I like being random and throwing weird facts around, so I thought this would be fun.
Here are the rules:

1) Post 11 random facts about yourself
2) Answer the 11 questions the tagger has asked you
3) Choose 3 deserving bloggers, and ask them 11 new questions
4) Don't tag the person that nominated you

 Here we go...

11 Random (and long) Facts About Jennifer

1)  I'm claustrophobic and do not like to be touched on the neck or face.  Not even by my kids or husband.
2)  I was a summer intern at the National Weather Service in between high school and college.  My Calculus teacher had me apply and I got the position, but I really couldn't have cared less about the weather.
3)  If I were to ever have another kid (not going to happen), I'd name her Lucy.  On the rare chance that I'd pop out a boy we'd have a fight over William Samuel and George (I'd want George)
4)  I've never seen Star Wars, any of them.  At this point in my life, it's my mission to avoid it forever.
5)  I have 4 Kanji tattoos... Dream, Love, Believe, and Happiness.
I have 5 other tattoos... a stick figure, a dragonfly, a falling star, a flower, and a sun/moon (which I'm going to either have fixed or covered up soon).  And I want more, specifically 100 stars going across my shoulders, symbolizing my weight loss.  Just have to reach 100 lbs lost!
6)  I've been at my current job 13.5 years and have been there longer than any other person (they've only been in business 15 years)
7)  I can't stand Country music.
8)  While all my friends plastered their walls with NKOTB posters, I had about a billion posters of Sebastian Bach on my wall as a teenager.
9)  I used to shave the bottom half of my head.  My hair is super thick on the bottom now.
10) I had a teddy bear named Paxton Anthony Ainsley Ian Van Alec Hareton Heathcliff Dexter.  (And, yes, I had just finished Wuthering Heights when I named him)
11) My first car, which I purchased from my grandfather a month before he died, was haunted.  And named Duncan.

Katy's Questions for Me

1) If you had to spend the rest of your life in one place, where would it be?    I love Arkansas.  I have no desire to live anywhere else.
2) What is the most exotic food you have ever eaten?    That's tough.  I've had Jamaican patties (they're like a Hot Pocket) and I ate Japanese food in Japan...  I'm not a very adventurous eater.
3) What is the most common compliment people give you?    That I'm smart.

4) What do you consider your most prized object?     I guess it's a toss up between my two medals.... my Valedictorian medal and my half-marathon medal.
5) If you found a $50 bill on the street and had to spend it immediately, what would you buy?     A pedicure, because I've never had one and it's on The List.
6) What is your favorite holiday?     Christmas, which used to be my least favorite holiday, but then I had kids. 

7) What will you be doing 10 years from today?     Stressing out over having 3 teenage daughters, one of which will be graduating. 

8) If you could be a member of any TV-sitcom family, which would it be?     This is tough, since I don't watch TV.  Facts of Life... they weren't an actual family, but I loved that show.

9) What color looks best on you?     The only times I remember ever being told that was when I wear pink.  Which is rare.

10) What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed?     Put on my glasses.

11) If you were on a deserted island, what two books would you want with you?     Lisey's Story and Rose Madder, both by Stephen King

My Nominees
I promise it won't hurt my feelings at all if you pass on doing this, but these are the 3 blogs I picked...

Natalie @ Path to Petite

Ang @  Dropping the Plus From My Size

Tabby @ Buzzing Around the Apple Tree

And your questions are...

1) What is your favorite food?
2) Sweet or salty?
3) Can you roll your tongue?
4) What was your clique in school (prep, misfits, jock, band, etc.)?
5) Do you have any pets, or what would you have if you don't have any?
6) If you had unlimited funds, and a month of free time, what would you do?
7) Who is your celebrity crush?
8) Do you collect anything?
9) What size shoe do you wear?
10) Favorite color
11) Do you sleep on your side, stomach, or back?

That was fun =)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Turtles and ROUS's

Mr. Bill is out of town this week.  It's weird.  I usually only see him for about 20 minutes a day anyway, so you would think it would just feel like business as normal in the evenings.  But I feel at a loss.  

Plus, I'm not used to getting the girls ready for school.  I go to work at 5:30am, before they even wake up (usually).  My favorite description of what it's like is that it's like herding turtles.  Slow and painful.

The older two have to be at school by 7:45am and Zoe can't be dropped off at Mother's Day Out until 8:30am.  So there's at least 45 minutes to kill.  The past two days, we've just taken walks around the parking lot and sat in the sun.  Tomorrow promises to be nice and rainy, so I don't know what we'll do.  Bill likes to take her to Walmart, so there are several employees who know them very well.  It's kind of embarrassing.  =)

Today wasn't a rec center day, so I decided we'd try to stay out of the house this afternoon.  I needed to pick up a jade-colored tshirt for Olivia (don't ask, it irritates me) and they wanted some flip flops now that it's warm out.  Then we decided to go for a walk.

We have several pedestrian bridges that cross the river here.  One of the biggest ones is the Big Dam Bridge, and yes, that's the real name of it.  There's a smaller one close to it that the girls like to call the Little Dam Bridge, but it's really called the Two Rivers Bridge.  That was our destination, but there was some construction going on and the road to it was blocked.  So I thought we'd head to the Two Rivers Park, which is where the path from the bridge eventually ends up.  The girls thought we'd walk all the way to the bridge, but it's about 1.5 miles to the bridge from the park, and I knew they weren't going to want to walk that far today.


This path is part of the long trail I frequented when I was doing my long walks during my half-marathon training.  I didn't realize how much I missed it until we got on it.  I was really glad to be done with those super long walks one the half was over, but I'm actually really looking forward to being back out there to train for the next one.

As we started out on the trail, this animal ran out a few yards ahead.  I have no clue what it was.  It looked like a giant rat, the size of a cat... really.  My first thought was possum, but it was too dark-colored to be a possum.  I wispered, "R.O.U.S!!"  Which, of course, means nothing to the girls.  And then it ran into a swampy area, which just reinforced it... ROUS's live in the Fire Swamp.  

If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm really not sure we can be friends.  ;)

I wanted to get a picture of it, to prove that I saw a ROUS, but there wasn't enough time.  

There was plenty of time to get this picture, though...


I thought it was a fake snake at first and thought it would be funny to show Isabelle, who is deathly terrified of snakes.  Joke was on me, though... it was dead, but it was very real.  Between that and the giant rat, she was whimpering on the way back.  So I'm not Mother of the Year...  again.


I wouldn't let the girls run in flip flops, so they eventually decided to just go barefoot so they could run.  Olivia looks like a marionette when she runs, limbs flailing about.  She'd totally break her face if she ran in flip flops.  I imagine I look like Zoe when I run, just not so cute.  She makes me giggle when she runs.  But she seems to like it right now so I'm encouraging it.  They can run barefoot as much as they like until the asphalt gets hot enough to cook their tootsies.

On our way out of the park, there was a turtle crossing the road.  The girls told me to stop and rescue it, so I decided to appease them.  I don't think I've ever rescued a turtle before, and I don't think I'll ever attempt it again.   Who said turtles are slow?  That bugger was FAST!  As soon as I reached down for it, it spun around and bolted back the other way.  So I went to put it on that side of the road and it spun around again and bolted.... under the van.

Good grief.

The girls were all in a panic, certain I'd have to crush the turtle to leave.  But I was not going to crawl under the van to have some turtle go all kung fu on me.  They were very relieved to see it unscathed through the back window as we pulled away.

I thought, "I shouldn't say the girls are like herding turtles in the morning."  Then I thought, "No... that's exactly how they are in the morning."  Trying to get them to where they need to be and end up chasing them around and hope in the end you don't smoosh them to death.  

Definitely herding turtles.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Necessity is the mother of invention

I hope everyone had a happy Mother's Day!

We went to visit my Mom.  I made sure to take a picture...


And a photo of me and my kids.  They were less cooperative that my Mom.  =)


While we were there, my sister and I were talking about how it would be nice to do a 10k race between our 5k and the half-marathon in October.  But, summer is a very slow race season.  I only know of one 10k between now and then, and it's a little sooner than I'd be ready for a 10k.  Plus, when I looked at it, it looked like the 10k was full, not to mention expensive.  

It's not like we HAVE to do a 10k, but it would be a nice addition to our accomplishments, you know?

I had to just force my run in yesterday.  It meant the girls were up later than usual, but I needed to do it - for the training and for my mental well-being.  I've just been in a mood lately that I can't shake.  But when I run, I feel better.  I never really thought running would do any more than any other activities I've done exercise-wise, but it really does.  

I went to the track, because it was close and because I was just going to get my 2 miles in and be done, no extra walking other than warm up and cool down.  Pressed for time, you know...  I don't particularly enjoy the track.  Running in circles is kind of boring.  But it wasn't bad.  I ran 2 miles in about 26-27 minutes.  I'm not really sure exactly.  I walked a lap, ran 8, walked a lap.  I focused on distance instead of time since it was easier to track.

As I ran, I had this idea.  I've seen a few virtual 5ks lately.  I'm planning on taking part in one in July, and I believe one in June, but it hasn't been officially announced yet.  So I thought.... well, why not do a virtual 10k?

I know there are 3 of us doing this half-marathon, possibly 4.  It would be a good mid-way goal in our training.  I have discovered quite a few internet running friends the past few months.  There might be other people interested, you know?  Even if it's just me and my sister, though, it will be fun.

So, I'm planning a Crayon Bomb Virtual 10k for sometime in August.  I'm pretty excited about this.  We even have an idea for a cute, cheap, cheesy medal =)  Because that's the main goal of races, right... the swag!

I'll be sure to post the details here, in case any of you guys want to participate. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My addiction

Since I work stupid hours (5:30am to 1:30pm), my lunch falls at an odd time.  10:15 am.  It's usually no problem when I bring my lunch, and I do try to do that most of the time.  It's cheaper and generally lower calories than anything I could get if I go out for lunch.  My options for eating lunch out at that time are somewhat limited.  A lot of places don't open until 11am, or are still serving breakfast.  

A few weeks ago, I wanted a salad really badly.  I'm all about salads lately... I'd love to just bury my face in a Newk's Favorite.  But Newk's isn't open that early.  So, Panera popped into my head.. I knew they served lunch early enough. I looked over the Panera website for nutrition info and decided to order a Fuji Apple Chicken Salad.

I may as well have gone out to snort crack (or whatever you do with crack, I certainly don't know).

It's like heaven in a bowl.  I sit there and just melt into the booth, in rapture.

I know, I'm such a dork.

It's the dressing.  Apple vinaigrette.  It's weird, because I usually don't like sweet vinaigrettes like raspberry or strawberry.  But apple.... man, that's some good stuff.

Panera is a little on the expensive side though.  Otherwise, I'd probably be there every other day.

I'm trying to find a good recipe to make it myself.  I tried out one, but it was a little too heavy on the apple cider vinegar, too light on the apple juice, I think.  A little too acidic, not sweet enough.  I'll keep looking and trying.

Tonight, the girls' school had a fundraiser at Chik-Fil-A, and the school so nicely bribed the kids with an extra recess to guilt the parents into going.  I went online to see what I could have that wouldn't totally blow my calories out of the water.

I looked at the salads, and I saw it.... a salad with zesty apple cider vinaigrette.  The salad itself was different from Panera's... but they had me at "apple vinaigrette".


Look at it.  Look at it and drool.

The cashier even gave me a knowing nod when I ordered it and said "That's a really good salad."  He knew.  It's probably wrong to compare a Chik-Fil-A employee to a drug dealer, but yeah.  He knew what was about to happen.

It's definitely tied with Panera's salad in my book.  I think the girls could have danced on the table and I wouldn't have noticed, I was just so in love with my salad.

I only allowed myself a quick glance at the ingredients of the dressing packet (I don't have that option at Panera LOL) and it's definitely not "clean" or Paleo.  I really need to find or concoct my own at home for that, I imagine.  I haven't seen it in the stores, either.  I need it.  I need a big bowl of mixed greens, some sliced chicken, gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, and a bucket of apple vinaigrette.

Then my life will be complete.

By the way, I ran 23 minutes today, 1.75 miles.  Then a small 2 minute burst, but my shins were complaining and I thought I might want to be able to walk tomorrow, so I let it be at that.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Weekend

Saturday was the 2013 MS Walk.  We registered for the one in Hot Springs instead of Little Rock, because the Little Rock walk interfered with the Diabetes Walk I did.  Since it was an hour away, I took the girls with me.  It was only a 1 mile walk, so they can do that easily.

I haven't done an MS Walk in a few years.  I used to do them all the time because my mother has MS (Multiple Sclerosis).  My sister and I signed up this year, and hopefully will make a tradition of it again.


It was pretty chilly... I swear, Winter just won't die this year...  

I've been to Hot Springs many, many times - obviously, because my parents live there, but even sight-seeing.  I've never been on the walk they had us go on, and it was just beautiful.


The girls got to see why Hot Springs is named Hot Springs.  We passed several springs and, since it was cold, they were steamy.  They thought it was just the coolest thing ever.  We'll definitely have to go back out... I'm not sure how much of that part of Hot Springs Bill has seen either.

Today was my outdoor non-treadmill run of the week.  I always worry about my weekend runs, and I really shouldn't.  Yes, I have had problems a couple of times, but they usually go pretty well.  Today happened to be a very, very good run.

I went out with the intention of 20 minutes or more, hopefully 22 (since I try to build 2 minutes per run).  Even knowing full well that I am prone to cop out at the minimum when I'm outside.  I walked 5 minutes to warm up, then ran for 20 minutes... and stopped.  I was doing really, really well.  I wasn't struggling with my breathing at all.  I felt like I had kept a really decent pace.  So as soon as I stopped and turned around to head back, I thought, "Jennifer...  You know you can do more than that."  

I walked a little more and as the song I was listening to was about to end, I thought... run this next song, it will put you over the 22 minutes.  So I ran the next song.  Walked a song, ran another song.  My legs were starting to feel it... normally my breathing gets me way before my thighs can start to get sore.  Walked a song, decided to try to run another song.  That was 3 songs worth of extra running.  Walked another song, and still wasn't back to the van, so when the next song came on, I said, "May as well carry it on home!"  I actually got to the parking lot before the song ended and.... kept running.  I had to finish that song.  4 songs of extra running!  I walked back to the van after that.  

I walked/ran 4 miles total.  20 minutes plus 4 songs of running, the rest was walking. When I looked up how long the songs were, it was a total of 16 minutes of extra running for a total of 36 minutes of running.  I ran more than I walked!  That has never happened until today!  I know I probably ran about 1.5 miles in my 20 minute stretch, and based on my usual pace, I had to have ran a little over 1 mile total on top of that!  That means I ran somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 miles today in total!

Even before all the math, just the fact that I had pushed myself to do all the extra running... I had the biggest smile on my face walking back to the van.  Huge.  After the math, I was just in awe of myself.  

Rock n Stroll 5k is in 3 weeks!  I'm going to keep adding my 2 minutes to each run, and I think I'll try to keep up the run a song/walk a song thing after my big stretch of running until I am just running the entire time! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

A test...

I've been thinking that since I started running that I need new shoes.  The shoes I have are nice... Saucony... and classified as running shoes, but they're just your basic off-the-shelf from the sports store shoes.  I bought them about the time I started training for the half-marathon, so they've got a lot of miles on them as well. I've been advised over and over that if I really want to run, I need to be fitted for shoes.

We've been short-staffed a work, and as a sort of compensation for having to take on extra duties, we've gotten a little "bonus" money each week.  I thought that since I actually have extra money, I should take advantage of it and go get new running shoes.

I had a vague idea of what would go on and that it would put me out of my comfort zone.  I don't like being touched by strangers (by people I know most of the time, either, to be honest) and I knew I'd have to run.  I also knew I'd have to do all of this and make sure my kids didn't tear the store down around us.  Sounds like fun.. let's go!

They were extremely nice there.  The guy measured my feet and watched me walk across the store.  He told me that because I have large feet (11.5... no joke) that I may have to go with a men's shoe, but he'd bring out what he could in women's first.  

The first pair was a sickly gray and lime green Nike.  I like gray and lime green, but it was just an odd shade of both.  He put them on and said "Let's go outside and run to see how they feel."

What?  I thought there'd be a treadmill off in the corner.  I have to go outside in the busy shopping center and run the sidewalk?  With my scrubs rolled up to my knees?  

Ummm.  OK, let's do this.

And I did.

I never would have even considered doing that a few months ago.  I would have just said, "Oh, these feel fine... I'm not running, thanks."  It was a huge test of my confidence.  I think I passed =)

The Nikes were OK.  He had me try a pair of Brooks next, repeat the process (yes, outside running the sidewalk, again), and they felt so much nicer.  He had 3 pair of men's shoes.  I tried on pair on but didn't like them as much as the Brooks.  The other 2 were bright fluorescent yellow.  I don't have to have "cute" running shoes, but I don't want to look like I'm working a safety crew.  I didn't even try them on.

I bought the Brooks.  Spent more than I've ever spent on a pair of shoes in my life.  That's not really saying much, I am not a shoe person.... I wear my sneakers and flip flops and rarely anything else. But I have learned that with sneakers, you get what you pay for.  So I was willing to invest in a really good pair of shoes.  Hopefully they'll last through this next half-marathon.  =)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

This isn't what I intended to write, but what came out instead...

Since I've started eating healthier and working out, I have to say that my raging PMS symptoms have died down quite a bit.  I've written about it before, but I'm not going to go dig it up.  I used to feel like I'd spend a week in a blind rage.  It was awful.  Now, my usual symptoms are just being fatigued and a little emotionally erratic.  Usually just to the point that I notice and realize what time of the month it is.  This week, though... I've been so exhausted non-stop.  Like, my husband making comments to me that "the last time you were this tired, you were pregnant."  I'm 99.9% sure that's not the case, by the way.  I used to be afraid of having a failed tubal, but it's been over 5 years.  I think we're safe.  (Coming soon.. the post where Jennifer has to eat her words!  Just kidding!)

In addition to being really tired, I've just been in a very low mood this week.  To the point that I specifically picked "Yoga for Depression" as my workout yesterday.  Before I did that, though, I was watching some Youtube videos by Elliott Hulse.  He's sort of a body builder philospher.  And nice to look at.  But, well... vulgar at times.  I don't mind, but I know a lot of people do, so be warned if you click that link.  He talks a lot about becoming a "stronger version of yourself" and not just in a physical sense.  But like I said, it's no-holds-barred and pretty male-centered... a lot of talking about your balls... but I think he's brilliant.

Anyway.  He had a few videos that mentioned a deleted video he had made of what he does when he gets depressed.  It was described as being very emotional, very raw, very strange.  Curiosity got the better of me, so I tracked down a reposting of the video (and felt kind of weird about it, like I was invading his privacy since he had deleted the original) and it definitely was all those things.  He is very into bioenergetics and body psychology.  Basically, it was him shaking and acting very feral with a lot of deep, powerful breathing.  Very interesting.  Very moving. 

After that, I went and found my yoga video.  I had never done this one before, and honestly... I thought it would be a lot of meditation and really easy stretches.  So not the case.  Imagine my surprise when she had me stand up on my mat and shake.  Just let go and flail around.  Then the Lion's Breath... deep, forceful breathing.  A lot like in Elliott Hulse's video, only.... how do I put this?... more civilized.  LOL

How crazy!  

And it helps, honestly.  I felt so much better after that yoga practice, kind of buzzing with energy and much lighter-hearted.  It wasn't as raw and emotional as Elliott Hulse's video, of course, but some people are just more raw and emotional than others.

Today I was back down again, with a side of anxious.  I managed to knock it out today with my run... 1.56 miles in 20 minutes.  Very happy about that =)  Exercise really is the best, most natural anti-depressant.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

37... 62... 18... 2000

Another numbers post...  Yay!

Today was weigh in day.  As you may remember, way back sometime last year, I set a goal to lost 37 lbs by my 37th birthday.  I failed pretty spectacularly at the deadline, BUT!  I have finally reached the 37 lb mark!  That puts me at 230(.2, but close enough) lbs!

This puts me at my wedding weight, pre-popping-out-babies weight.  Yes, I am tempted to dig out my wedding dress to try on.  And I will one of these days, mostly because I really want to take pictures of my kids with it.

Now, that 37lbs is from when I really got serious about this weight loss journey.  My highest weight, about 2-3 years ago, was 292 lbs.  So, all together I have lost 62 lbs.  I say that because I know that's significant.  I don't usually "count" it, because those extra 25 lbs weren't something I worked all that hard for.  A good chunk of it was my body saying "Whoa! I can't take this anymore!" and being so sick that the weight disappeared.  Unintentional weight loss is a sign of diabetes.  There were a few pounds here and there from some trying off and on, but until I set that goal when I was 267 lbs, I wasn't really trying.

Every 1st of the month (or the next day when my husband isn't home LOL), I do measurements and try on my "goal" jeans.  I always have a pair of jeans the next size smaller to work towards.  Right now, that is a pair of size 18 Levis.  Last month, I was able to get them on, but they were far from actually fitting.  Very tight in the gut.  Mega muffin top.  Not cute.  

Well, my shorts from last summer are literally falling off of me.  I'm not using "literally" in the obnoxious exaggerating sense, they really were falling off of me when I was running around with the kids at the park Monday.  I really needed a new pair, but I couldn't find any 20s at the store that didn't look like something my mom would wear.  I love my mom, but I won't dress like her.  I went ahead and got a pair of 18s, thinking I could at least hang on to them like my goal jeans.  I'll just go somewhere else later for 20s.  I got home and for kicks, put them on and...

They fit perfectly!  I am wearing size 18!  Forget buying a size 20!  I'm going shopping for a 16 next!

The jeans are still a little snug in the waist, but not as bad as last month.  Maybe by next month I'll feel comfortable in them, but you know what?  It's shorts season, baby!

And, as a bonus, I have this habit of pulling my pants down without unbuttoning or unzipping them, because all the clothes I own are too big.  I can still do this in the 18s.  Yep.  That's pretty cool.

On to the number 2000.

I was at work today overhearing a conversation between coworkers.  Coworker 1 said said, very discouraged, "Man, I've already eaten 395 calories today."  (It was after lunch, by the way)  I've heard a similar conversation between these people before, and I have to just bite my tongue.  You CANNOT lose weight eating so little.  Well, Coworker 2 said, "You should ask Jennifer how much she eats, I know she eats more than that."  It's rare that anyone asks me how I have lost weight.  They have noticed my weight loss, yes, and they do know I eat healthy, but they usually don't ask me how.  I know that no one wants unsolicited weight loss advice, so I keep it to myself.  

But, surprisingly, they asked so I told them... I usually average around 2000 calories a day.  Never less than 1800. (Actually, until I recalculated my BMR today, it was 1850). Coworker 1 looked really surprised.  Then I explained to her that if she doesn't eat enough, she won't lose weight and I directed her to a BMR calculator where she discovered she needs at least 1600 calories.  I think that made her day.  I'm not sure what her goal was before that, but most people think 1000 to 1200 calories a day is the limit if you want to lose weight.  So not true.  Some very petite people might be OK with that, but the average person will not.

Think of your fat as a savings account.  Your body has all these bills to pay (calories burned in a day) and you need an income (food).  There is always going to be a minimum amount that has to be paid, even if you're in a coma.  This is your BMR.  It's the bare minimum you should be eating.  So, up until  you decide to lose weight, you obviously have excess income.  But then you start restricting that income, trying to drain your savings account.  If you restrict your income too much though, your body gets very miserly and starts pinching pennies, saving every calorie it can because it's afraid not even the savings account will last.  That's how we are designed, because years and years ago, if our bodies didn't conserve the fat we built up over bountiful times, we'd starve to death in the winter.  But if you make sure your body is getting enough to pay the bills, it isn't so miserly with the savings account and will use it for the excess energy you expend while working out.

If you want to calculate your BMR, check out this.  And remember, this is the bare minimum.  There is a link on that page to the Harris Benedict Equation to figure out how much over that you need based on your activity level.  You just get that number and deduct 500-1000 calories to lose 1-2 lbs a week, but - again - never less than your BMR.  For example, my BMR is 1790.  I workout 3-5 days a week, so I multiply that by 1.55.  I can maintain my current weight at 2775 calories a day at my current activity level.  But I don't want to maintain, so I shoot for 2000 or so.

Usually, since I have a Fitbit, which estimates my calorie burn for the day based on my steps for the day, and I workout at night, I'll take the previous day's calorie burn and subtract 500-1000 calories and shoot for that.  Again, it's usually around 2000.

Well, that was a longer post than intended.  =)


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