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Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Posts of 2010

Here are the posts published in 2010 that have gotten the most hits! (in order from the most popular to the least popular)
  1. Review: Run Less, Run Faster (March)
  2. Can Anybody Read Elevation Charts?  (March)
  3. Review and Giveaway: Hydrapouch (June)
  4. There is "Nothing at McDonald's?" I disagree.  (January) 
  5. Lehigh Valley Half Marathon (April)
  6. Giveaway: Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life (April)
  7. Florida Day Three: Ginnie Springs (June)
  8. Recipe: Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes (March)
  9. Recipe: Super Charge Me! Cookies (February)
  10. Review: Trader Joe's Seasonal Teas (November)

As well as the top 10 posts from previous years that received the most hits in 2010 (also in order).  Clearly, recipes are the most popular things on Google searches...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: Fitness Year in Review

Reviewing...


This has been a wonderful year for running.  I've made more PRs than I thought I really could, and it's come to the point where the vast majority of my PRs were set within the last year.  Yay!!  Let's look at the goals.

Goals for 2010:
Diet and Weight Loss - Exact same as in 2009, keep maintaining, and lose some weight if possible, but don't stress about it. (and 2009 was: continue doing what I'm going. Track foods to get weight down, eat sensibly, and maintain. Do I want to lose more weight? Sure, but I'm also at a weight right now that is right for me and that I'm happy with, so this weight is fine for now.)
I've gained some weight.  I started out this year losing quite a bit of weight, though.  I think I took off about 10-15 pounds at the beginning of the year, and I made it down so that the number on the scale was the smallest it had been in a long time.  Then, I don't know, something happened.  It started around May, and I just started putting on weight.  I am now up to one of the highest weights I've been since maybe 2008, but I have neither the energy or the desire really to put the effort into losing it.  I started journaling my food again this week, but up until now I'd abandoned it for most of the year.  I still want to do intuitive eating, but it hasn't exactly worked well for me.  I'll talk more about my goals for 2011 in a minute.  I don't consider this year a failure from this perspective, but I admit that I need to figure out what exactly I'm doing with my diet and weight loss, even if the answer is nothing.
Running - Complete the Disney Marathon in January in under 6 hours. If the weather or whatever doesn't cooperate, run the B&A Trail Marathon in March in under 6 hours. If that fails, sign up for the full marathon program and pick a fall marathon and run THAT in under 6 hours. Repeat until successful. After that, focus on half marathons again. Truly, I expect 2010 to be a relaxing year for running (once the marathon(s) is done). I plan to do my thing, and just run some great races.
My Disney Marathon finishing time was 5:52.  YAY!  Now, I just have to figure out what my time goal should be for my next marathon...  This was an EXCELLENT year for running, with many PRs, many great and memorable races, and few crappy ones.
Workouts - Start the STS System again in January, potentially on the 6-month rotation rather than the 3-month rotation. This should take me into summer and hopefully whip my butt into gear!
I did indeed start the STS System in January with the 6-month rotation.  This went well until I bought my bike in March.  I stopped with STS, but I've picked it up again since about September.  I'm a little haphazard with getting the workouts done, but I do feel stronger and better when I'm doing it.
Diving - Complete Dive Control Specialist Certification and begin my work as a Dive Master and Assistant Instructor. Train some people! Complete 50 dives in 2010, bringing my total dives to 245.
I exceeded this goal with 56 dives for the year, bringing my total dives to 251.  I completed my DiveCon Certification and I've taught one night of Scuba Skills Update and two Open Water Diver classes!  

Lessons from 2010
  • I just cannot wear high heels.  Cute shoes are never going to be something that I have again, and I need to just come to terms with that.
  • Never underestimate the ability of an Open Water Diving Student to do something unexpected and potentially hazardous.
  • The heat really does have a huge effect on my running performance and motivation.
  • Running through blizzards is a challenge, but doable.  
  • The blizzard isn't the difficult part, it's the aftermath of huge piles of snow and no sidewalks.
    Successes for 2010
    • Continued running for another straight year!
    • Started Cathe's STS 6-Month Rotation, and ALMOST MADE IT!  (January through May)
    • Jeff Galloway Training Program, including my third year as a group leader.
    • Three 5k Races - Shamrock 5k in March, Pikesville 5k in July, St. George's Dragon 5K in October.
    • One 8K Race - Hadassah 8K in August.
    • One 10k race - Cold Turkey 10K in November.  
    • Annapolis 10 Mile Run 
    • Celtic Solstice 5 Mile Run
    • Two Half Marathons - Lehigh Valley in April, Rock and Roll Philly in September
    • Dive Control Specialist Certification for Scuba diving.
    • Completed 56 scuba dives, for a total of 251 since becoming certified in 2006.
    • New Personal  Records set in 2010:  5K (32:12 at Kelly St. Patrick's Day Shamrock 5K, 3/14/2010);  10K (1:07:14 at Cold Turkey 10K 11/21/2010); 10 Mile Run (2:00:54 at Annapolis 10 Miler, 8/29/2010); 5 Mile Run (59:12 at Celtic Solstice, 12/18/2010); Half Marathon (2:33:38 at Lehigh Valley Half Marathon, 4/25/2010); Marathon (5:52:38 at Walt Disney World, 1/10/2010).
    • That's right, I set a PR at EVERY SINGLE RACE DISTANCE this year.  HUZZAH!
    Goals for 2010
    • Diet and Weight Loss - Ugh.  I hate to say it, but I am going to have to lose weight again, and actually put effort into it.  Back to journaling and what not.  I'd like to be down 15-20 pounds before I run my full marathon in the fall.  I still don't want to sacrifice happiness, but I have my best chance of meeting my time goal for my marathon if I get some of my weight off.  Maybe I'll read Racing Weight.
    • Running - Complete a full marathon in the fall, either Chicago or New York.  I'm not certain what to set as my goal, but I think for now my shoot for goal will be 5:30.  I'm going to settle for 5:45, though.  Either time is still a PR.  If I don't do it because of weather or other circumstances, that is fine and certainly not a failure.  
    • Workouts - Biking!  I want to get more into the bike, and hopefully do a short bike race for fun in the spring.  Keep on weight training, and do the hardest part of cross training - find time to fit it in.
    • Diving - I see no reason why I will not be able to do 45-50 dives in 2011.  This year, I would like to see my lifetime dive total surpass 300.  Potentially get a Cavern Diving certification.

    I feel like my goals are kind of vague, but that is ok.

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010

    HBBC Check In

    HBBC Logo I haven't checked in on the Bootie Buster Challenge in a while, so let's see how I'm doing.  I haven't been food journaling, so I don't have a record of fruits and veggies, so I'm earning no points for that.

    Points:
    1 Point per mile (run/walk/snowshoe)
    1 Point per 3 miles biked
    1 Point per 20 minutes of weight lifting, Pilates, yoga, stretching or abs
    1 Point per 15 minutes of another form of cardio (i.e. kick boxing, aerobics elliptical)
    1 Per day where you reach a minimum of 7 servings of fruits and veggies

    My points:
    • At my last check in, I ended with 32 points on Dec 1.
    • December 2: 3.6 miles = 3.6 points
    • December 4: 6 miles = 6 points
    • December 5: 1 hour weights = 3 points
    • December 6: 1 hour weights = 3 points
    • December 7: 3.6 miles = 3.6 points
    • December 8: 1 hour weights = 3 points
    • December 9: 3.7 miles = 3.7 points
    • December 11: 10 miles = 10 points
    • December 13: 1 hour weighs = 3 points
    • December 14: 3.6 miles = 3.6 points
    • December 15: 1 hour weights = 3 points
    • December 18: 5 miles = 5 points
    • December 19: 4.3 miles = 4.3 points
    • December 20: 1 hour weights = 3 points
    • December 21: 3.6 miles = 3.6 points
    • December 25: 2.4 miles = 2.4 points
    • December 26: 6.9 miles = 6.9 points
    • December 28: 4.9 miles = 4.9 points
    Total for December so Far: 75.6 points
    Total for the challenge so far: 107.6 points!!



    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Christmas 2010

    This year, we made plans to spend Christmas in Florida with Todd's family, since last year we spent Christmas in Maryland with mine.  This was the very first Christmas that I haven't spent with my family, so I admit that I was a little nervous...

    A manatee on Christmas Eve
    December 22 (Wednesday), I went home from work wondering if I was starting to get sick.  I took some medicine and hoped for the best, and made my sister's rum cake recipe.  Arg, it stuck to the pan, so it wasn't the best looking or structurally sound rum cake ever made, but it would have to do.  I wrapped it in cellophane just in case, and I packed it in my new Wilton Cake Caddy, and on Thursday it went to the airport with us.  My sister makes a rum cake every Christmas and it is one of the things everyone looks forward to every year, so I wanted to bring a little piece of my Christmas to Florida.

    We arrived in Orlando on Thursday evening, and our nephew and niece, Josh and Alysa, picked us up from the airport.  The four of us headed to Todd's parents house in Leesburg.  We met up with Todd's parents and the six of us went out for pizza.  I was feeling just a tad miserable because I did indeed have a cold, and it was steadily getting worse, but I made the best of it and hoped I didn't make anyone sick.

    Me, with a little manatee.



    Christmas Eve morning, we were up at 4:45am to get ready to go snorkel with the manatees.  Josh and Alysa went with us (this was our Christmas gift to them) and we arrived in Crystal River at 6:15am.  We were joining others at Bird's Underwater for the manatee snorkel.  We donned our wetsuits and then headed out on the boats.  The sun was just starting to rise as we headed out on to Kings Bay, and steam was coming off of the water.  It was only about 35 degrees outside, despite the fact that we were in Florida.  Temps would get up into the upper 40's/low 50's though, after the sun rose.  The water, thankfully, was 72 degrees, and we warmed up after a few minutes in the water.
    Josh and a manatee calf

    The second we were in the water, manatees were swimming up to us.  They were munching on the rope under the boat, and they basically just swam up to you and would kind of "sniff" you.  We swam up into the Three Sisters Spring, where the water was a bit more clear and there were plenty of manatees swimming around us, and some sleeping on the bottom.  There were strict rules about what we could and could  not do (we could not, for example, drop below the surface of the water).  The manatees had to approach us, we could not chase them or pursue them ourselves in any way.  There were US Fish and Wildlife rangers on the shoreline watching to make sure that no one harassed any manatees or broke any rules.

    The manatees were so cute!  Some were little babies (but, you know, still like 4 feet long) and some were MUCH bigger - like 10 feet long or more, and most likely weighed as much as 1500 pounds!!  Yikes!  There have been a lot of negative things said lately in Florida about the manatee snorkel and I have to say that it did not appear to me that any manatees were harassed at all while I was there, and the US Fish & Wildlife folks and the tour operators made sure of it.

    Alysa pets a manatee
    After the snorkel, we headed back to Todd's parents house.  My cold was getting worse still, and so I ended up taking a nap for about 3 hours.  Todd came in part way through and told me it was ok to keep sleeping, since Josh and Alysa had both fallen asleep for about the same amount of time, too.  (and they'd gotten to sleep in the car on the hour drive to and from Crystal River!)

    Christmas Eve night, we had dinner and drove around looking at Christmas lights for a while.  Josh had to go home since he worked on Christmas Day, but Alysa spent the night at Todd's parents' house with us.

    Christmas morning, I was actually feeling well enough to go for a short run, so I went out for about 30 minutes.  It had warmed up some, but it was still a little bit chilly (for Florida anyway) at about 55 degrees. It did make it up into the upper 60s on Christmas, though.

    In the afternoon, Todd's brother and his wife, and Josh, came over for Christmas dinner, which was quite enjoyable.  We spent a good day with family, and the rum cake was a hit!!  The cake caddy was am AWESOME way to transport a cake on an airplane.

    Josh, though, decided to play a little prank. He stole Todd's watch from the bathroom when he was over on Christmas Eve, and brought it home.  Todd's brother pointed out that the watch kind of looked like a womans watch, and they realized that they had MY watch.  So, they wrapped it up in a box and gave it to me on Christmas Day.  When I opened it, I thought they'd given me a NEW dive watch, the same one I already have.  I was confused, and showed it to Todd, who was confused, until Josh said, "Don't you even recognize your own watch?!"  Ha.  I'll get him back.

    Everyone headed out, and we relaxed.  In the midst of it all, I'd been hearing about the snow so I changed our Sunday flight departing at 8:45pm to one departing at 5:25pm.  I hoped the extra time would help us get home in the snow.

    Sunday morning, I was still feeling sick, but I went out and did 7 miles.  It was cold, about 45 degrees, and really, really, windy, so it was not a good time in that regard.  At least I'd brought some cooler weather clothes, but I neglected to bring a wind breaker.  That sucked.  Still, I got the miles in.

    Sunday afternoon we waited to see what would happen.  Southwest had canceled all of the mid-morning to mid-afternoon flights that were taking off before ours, and then at about 1:00pm, they canceled the 8:45 flight that we'd originally been on.  Only ours and one other flight were not canceled.  At 2:30pm, we were packed and ready to head to the airport, and we headed out.  Tom (Todd's brother) called when we had just left to say they'd canceled our flight, and a few minutes later we had official word from Southwest.  So, we turned around.

    I was nervous about getting home, because we were supposed to be at my grandmother's house in Virginia at 12pm on Monday to celebrate Christmas with my family, and that was looking like that was in jeopardy. When I checked online, I saw that Southwest wouldn't rebook us until THURSDAY and I would have definitely missed my family celebration in that scenario.  I checked around and found a flight out to Dulles airport at 9am on Monday for only $149 per person on United, so we booked that right away.  I ended up using our tickets from the canceled flight to rebook Todd on a trip to Orlando in the spring to visit his parents.  We headed out to dinner with Todd's parents and relaxed for the evening.

    Monday, we were up at 5am to head to the airport.  Things were looking pretty good with the flight.  Josh was at the airport at the same time - he was flying out to see his girlfriend in Missouri, so we had breakfast with him before we got on the plane.  Security was CRAZY and there were a lot of people flying stand by on our flight (we had gotten 2 of the last 4 seats on the plane).  Otherwise, we didn't see anything weird, but I think we were really lucky to have gotten a flight when we did for as low of a price as we did.

    We arrived at Dulles at about 11am, and my brother-in-law picked us up at the airport.  My grandmother's house is right around the corner from Dulles, so we were right on time for the party.  My parents were there, and all of my siblings and their kids, so we were all together except for one of my brothers-in-law.  We had a nice time, and I got a few more of my grandma's recipes.

    Then, we drove my mom and her significant other's car (with them in it, too) back to BWI to get our car.  We said goodbye to them and drove home.  So, in the end, the timing worked out perfectly!

    I was exhausted today, though!

    One more manatee shot:

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Merry Christmas!


    Goliath Grouper, Long Caye, Belize, September 2010.  Photo by Todd Krebs.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Celtic Solstice 5 Mile Run 2010

    I resisted running this race for a few years because it is so cold of a run.  I admit, the toughest part of it is the walk to the starting line and the waiting around in the cold to run.  I finally did run this race in 2008, but couldn't run it in 2009 because it was snowing a little too hard.

    The best thing about the Celtic Solstice is that there is always a good premium.  This year was no exception - an embroidered half zip shirt with a Ram (?  Elk?) logo.

    This year, we were especially lucky because my running friend Adena offered her house to park and warm up prior to the race.  So, we all met at Adena's house in Hampden and just before the start of the race, her husband drove us to the starting line.  That's pretty awesome.

    There were a TON of people at this race that I knew!  I kept seeing people that I knew, and it was great.  We stood for a little bit, and finally the race started.

    I had no goals at all for this race.  I wasn't racing, and was just out to run with my group and to have a good time.  In fact, my first mile was a super-slow 12:38, which is not that much faster than my long run training pace.  The course was pretty crowded at the beginning, but after a couple of miles it cleared up.

    We stayed together as a group, and ended up with negative splits from such a slow pace at the start.  Todd sped us up in the last two miles or so, and we finished strong (which isn't hard because it's all downhill for the last quarter mile).   I finished in 59:12, which met my goal of finishing in under 60 minutes.  After the race, there was soup and wassail.  yay!!

    Good race, good times.

    My group and me at the Celtic Solstice

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Saturday Linky-Loos

    Christmas

    • Bah Humbug!!  Wendy talks about Christmas music.  This one is especially hilarious.
    • The Christmas Song:  I should also point out Wendy's 2006 post about "The Christmas Song."  She and I both dislike that particular Christmas song, but she does a much better job of articulating why.
    • 12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Home Alone: I love that movie!  I haven't watched it yet this season and really must.
    Other Things

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    The Whole Truth

    So, I'm late, but I decided to participate in Lacey's Whole Truth.  Some questions to answer that I thought were pretty interesting...


    If I could say one thing to myself 20 years ago…
    Go for a run!!!

    My favorite place in the world…
    Little Cayman.  (Gratuitous wedding photo link)

    The lesson I keep learning over and over…
    Keep track of your stuff!

    The movie I watch when I want to laugh…
    The Princess Bride

    The most scared I’ve ever been…
    You know, to be honest, it's too personal.  I sat here thinking about it and decided I can't post it.

    No one knows I…
    Obviously, the real stuff that no one knows about I would never post here, because there's clearly a reason why no one knows.  That being said, I can't think of much that NO ONE knows, since Todd knows pretty much everything about me, and if he doesn't know, it's likely that I haven't told him because I haven't thought about telling him, not because it's secret.

    Unhealthiest thing I’ve ever passed off as dinner…
    A whole lot of cheese puffs.

    Personal philosophy…
    I go for good karma.  Try to spread the good karma.

    Book that changed my life…
    Hmm...  That's a REALLY tough one.
    You know what is strange is that The Weight Loss Diaries by Courtney Rubin was a big one.  In it, the author writes her own story of her weight loss, and in doing so, she trained for and ran the Marine Corps Marathon.  For some reason, this particular book struck something with me and was one of the first things that made me think really hard about my potential for running a marathon.  For some reason, I just couldn't shake it.  This book, and a few other things, eventually convinced me to sign up for the Galloway Program and then run Marine Corps myself!

    I unwind by…
    Running, cooking, sleeping, taking a bath (haven't done that in a while, I was thinking about doing it today and didn't... arg)

    Proudest moment in my career…
    Another tough one.  At my previous job, I was in charge of our production builds (sorry if this is too technical).  I never had a single one go wrong, or bad.  Sure, there were bugs, but nothing major and the build always took place and not once had to be backed out.  Hoorah!

    What keeps me up at night…
    The Bug (our cat) pinning me down and making me feel randomly claustrophobic.  (I decided to answer this one literally rather than figuratively...)

    I define “downtime” as…
    Time where I'm not expected to do anything in particular.

    Coffee or tea?
    TEA!!  I drink way too much tea.  I LOVE TEA.

    Guiltiest pleasure…
    Trashy romance novels.

    My mom was right about…
    The fact that I would be sorry when I started adapting all of her traits that I previously made fun of her about.

    My mom was wrong about…
    reading in the dark.

    The last time I lost my temper was…
    The day before yesterday.

    My favorite moment of the day…
    Coming home to see Todd and The Bug.

    I wish I had more time for…
    Yoga, riding my bike, rock climbing, sleeping, writing.

    I always make time for…
    Running and sleeping.

    I’m currently reading…
    A House in Bali by Colin McPhee.  Good so far.  It's the true story of a man who went to Bali to listen to and study the Gamelan players.


    Home means...
    Warmth.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    2011 Underwater Calendar


    I wanted to share Todd's newest Underwater Calendar!  This year, we are using RedBubble as his publisher, so the price is a couple dollars higher.  However, I can assure you that the calendars look phenomenal and really, really awesome.  I realize I'm posting the link somewhat late, but if you're looking for a last minute gift, this one might be for you!!  (or, if you just want to have amazing underwater photos hanging up in your home or office!)

    Go check it out at Redbubble.

    (There are prints, posters and cards available, too!)

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Some Book Reviews

    I haven't posted a book review in a long time, so here are some books that I've read recently!

     The Cookbook Collector  by Allegra Goodman.  Todd bought me a Kindle a couple of months ago, and this was the second book that I read on my Kindle.  I did enjoy the book, but it had a lot of problems.  First and foremost, there were just too many characters.  I couldn't keep track of who was who, and I couldn't keep track of how they related back to each other.  The entire book had a bunch of revolving story lines, and some of them related only loosely to each other.  Some were never resolved.  I found the "main" plot of the cookbook collector and the characters that are trying to learn more about him the most interesting, but I felt like for pages at a time we're taken away from this story to hear about some other minor character or plot point that I don't care about at all.  It was an OK read, but still my favorite part of the whole book is the cover.

    The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand.  For no apparent reason, I loved this book.  I think that perhaps I had low expectations because I picked up the book on a whim at BJs Wholesale Club, and maybe I thought a BJs book could not be very good.  I don't know.  Regardless, I devoured it and finished it while in Disney World for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  Like The Cookbook Collector, I felt like there were too many characters, but unlike it, all of the characters meshed together and made sense together.  While the description of the book discusses a "mystery," this is less of a mystery kind of book as it is a book about people who just need to get their lives together.  Another odd thing - I really didn't care for any of the characters in this book - they were either too whiny, too annoying or just made constant bad decisions.  And still, I loved the book.  Go figure!  I'm putting another of Elin Hinderbrand's books on my "To Read" list on my Kindle, so we'll see if I like her other books as much.


    The World is Blue by Sylvia Earle.  I wanted to love this book.  The subject matter (saving the oceans) is one that I love.  I also admire and respect Sylvia Earle and the work that she has done trying to educate people on saving the oceans, and taking climate change seriously.  I was also reading this while the Gulf oil spill was going on, so it was very pertinent.  However, the book is a downer, and it is boring.  I wish it had some more photos - maybe full color photos of underwater things?  As it is, it's a terrific reference, but a little difficult to read cover to cover.



    Ok, that's it for now.  Can I just say that I totally love my Kindle?  Granted, only one of these books was a Kindle read, but I still have to keep repeating it.  I love my Kindle!!  My co-workers think I should marry it.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    MBE: 2010's Best and Worst

    Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill!

    Topic: 2010 Bests and Worsts
    Question: Tell readers about your 2010 Best and Worst races. What made them so great or not so great?

    Let's start with the worst, because that one is easy.  For me, my worst race of 2010 was the Rock & Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in October.  I was hoping for a PR, but for various reasons I didn't succeed.  However, since I was hoping for a PR, I chose to start in my own corral, which was closer to the starting line than the corral that the majority of my running group was starting in.  Everyone else was planning to stay together, and everyone else started together.  I started with Todd, Lu and Dannielle.  However, I separated from Dannielle and Lu early on (prior to mile 3), and Todd and I ran together just the two of us.  I usually prefer this, because I like to run my own race, and I don't necessarily need others around in order to get me through a race.  I was happy that Todd was there with me, because he is so supportive, but I was struggling more than usual for this race.

    For this one, I kind of wish I'd started with the group.  The temperature was too hot, and I was dehydrated.  I wasn't feeling good, and in the last few miles even felt dizzy and weak.  It was not good.  My running group friends faced similar issues, but they were all together, going through it together, and they pulled through because of the support that they gave each other.  I ended up finishing ahead of them by about 4 minutes, but in hindsight, I wish I'd just stayed with them and sacrificed the 4 minutes.  In this instance, it definitely would have been worth it.  Now, I hear them talk about the race and how they gave each other support, and well, I'm kind of jealous...

    Now, best race...  That is a really tough call.  I had a lot of really great races this year...

    I started with the Disney Marathon, which was cold and awesome.  I beat my goal time by 8 minutes.  I had fun, I rocked that course.  It was awesome.

    In March, I ran the St. Patrick's Day 5K, where I set a PR for the third year in a row!!


    In August, I ran the Hadassah 8K, where I had a great time and experienced some excellent course amenities.      I also ran the Annapolis 10 Miler, which was hot and miserable as always, but I did set a new PR.

    And then, just a few weeks ago, I ran the Cold Turkey 10K, where I fought my own high school demons, broke a 4 1/2 year old PR, and also had a great time...

    But, of all of the races that I ran this year, my favorite, and my crown jewel of the year is really the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon.   This race had excellent organization and amenities.  I was able to meet Chris McDougall.  We had a lovely time at the pasta dinner.  The weather, for me, was excellent (cold and rainy is my favorite).  The race is just the right size - not too big, not too small.  And, I set a new half marathon PR.  What can be better?  I love that race.  I will run it again someday, but it won't be in 2011, since I'm already registered for a different half marathon in May.

    I do have one more race left, this coming weekend.  However, I doubt it will be either the best or worst for the year.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Cipro...

    I started treating an infection (well, a UTI, if you must know) today by taking Cipro.  There are like a zillion articles online about Cipro and how it can cause tendinitis.  I'm taking it anyway...  I've taken it before (in 2005) and not had any trouble with tendinitis at all.  Has anyone else had success taking Cipro while running?  I want to hear positive stories to put my mind at ease.


    Update: 11:15am....  It's been about 45 minutes since I took the Cipro and as I walk around the building I've decided that my Achilles Tendon is like a time bomb ready to rupture at any moment.  With each step, I picture it EXPLODING!  I realize I am being neurotic and that this is impossible, and all in my head, and that the side effects of Cipro are rare.  Sometimes, Google is a bad thing.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    The New Weight Watchers

    I feel like I should talk some about my thoughts with the new Weight Watchers plan.  If you are not aware, Weight Watchers changed their plan about a week ago.  From what I understand, total allowed daily points have gone up for the majority of members.  Fruits and vegetables -- that is to say all fruits and vegetables -- are now zero points.  However, the points values for many other foods have gone up.  Basically, Weight Watchers changed the previous points calculation, which was based on calories, fat and fiber, and made it based on more things - calories, fat, fiber, protein and carbohydrates.

    Before I give my opinion, let me state that while I am a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member, I haven't attended a meeting or counted points since the end of 2004.  Between 1998 and 2000, I lost 50 pounds on the Weight Watchers plan, which was called 1-2-3 Success back then.  I had never dieted before, and the plan worked very well for me.  After I reached my lifetime status, though, it stopped working.  I gained weight.  I would go back to meetings.  I would lose a few pounds.  Quit.  Gain.  Go back.  The cycle was irritating and I started to hate my attitude towards food.  Despite the fact that it was touted as not being a diet, it felt like a diet to me.  After numerous failed attempts, I left Weight Watchers for good in 2004, and haven't looked back.

    My biggest single complaint about the program was how points-obsessed it made me.  I had tons of points values for foods memorized, and I felt like this made me a crazy person.  I can't adequately explain what I mean, so if you've been on the program, hopefully you understand.

    The other major flaw, at least for me, was how the program pushed its members to eat.  What I mean is that the program never seemed to steer anyone away from processed foods.  In fact, unsatisfying processed food seemed to be almost pushed on members.  Weight Watchers sold breakfast bars, snack bars, Smart Ones Entrees, etc, and they were sold and pushed as an easy way to count points.  The Weight Watchers leaders would spend time during the meetings showing off candy, cookies and snacks that were low in points (even if they weren't Weight Watchers brand).  It seemed that the way everyone (at least that I knew) who was on the program ate was to do as much as possible to save points by eating other crappy foods so that they could have a piece of cake or a bowl of ice cream later.  The foods that I ate were boring, unsatisfying and a far cry from what I would eat if I weren't in Weight Watchers.  One of the reasons why the program stopped working for me was because I was tired of eating the same things all the time.

    Then, there were the bananas.  I never ate bananas while I was on Weight Watchers because they were two points.  Apples and oranges were one point.  I know, I know, those of you who haven't been on the program are thinking "but it's only a one point difference!!"  That's just it, though.  You never wasted a point.  Not on a banana, anyway.  No, if you were wasting a point, you were gonna waste it on a handful of M&Ms (you'd need more than one point for that, but you get my drift).

    So, what do I think of the new program?

    I think it's a step in the right direction.  The banana problem is solved.  It never made sense to me that Weight Watchers constantly penalized its members for eating fruit.  If I'm going to eat five fruits and veggies a day, I generally prefer to do it by eating more fruits than vegetables.  So, that part would be great for me.

    I love that the processed foods are getting a bit of a downgrade in the grand scheme of the Weight Watchers world.  I hope that the entire mentality of the meetings becomes more about eating whole foods and good, delicious but healthy foods rather than the crap that being pushed on me when I was a member.  I hope this helps other people reach their goals.  It's going to be a tough sell, though.  Whenever the plan changes, members tend to get a little upset, and these are some pretty big changes.  This happens to be the first time in five years that I've wanted to attend a meeting, but really only to see the reaction of the members, not to actually join.

    The part that still bugs me is the part that Weight Watchers can't really ever do anything about, and that is that I feel suspicious of them because they are a corporation.  I can't help but feel as though Weight Watchers profits from yo-yo dieting, and that it is and will always be in their best interest for their members to lose and then gain again so that they will have to pay membership fees to lose a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth...) time.  While the entire program is always touted as a lifestyle and not a diet, the maintenance part of the program was never really pushed on members, and it just isn't practical for most people to count points and attend meetings forever.  You can always attend a meeting only when you have gained, but then you have to pay again.  Lifetime members like me never have to pay a meeting fee again - unless they are above their goal weight or haven't attended a meeting in over four weeks.  Going back after gaining is so humiliating, but like I said, I can't see continuing to attend what is basically an overeating support group forever.

    The new, complicated points system also requires a new, complicated points calculator.  Prior to this week, all my old materials - slide rules, points books, etc, would still work.  Now?  I would have to re-purchase everything.  How convenient for Weight Watchers.  I have to wonder how marketing will change for their food and snacks -- will they really be pushing bananas when they're not going to be profiting off of them?  I don't know.

    So, I guess I am skeptical, but cautiously optimistic.  I'm at the point where I don't see myself attending Weight Watchers again, but I DO think that it does work as a starting point for those who want to try it. Please, though, eat normal foods and follow Michael Pollan's Food Rules.  And you might be better off saving your money and just buying Michael Pollan's book anyway.

    In the end, I just want everyone to know that it just isn't about losing weight.  It's gotta be about getting healthy, so choose your foods (and your weight loss program) with that in mind.  Is Weight Watchers the right choice for you?  Maybe, but also maybe not.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Saturday Linky-Loos

    My favorite posts for the week!


    Running, Fitness, etc.

    Other Things
    One More Thing
    • A few weeks ago, I mentioned Nick and Bahar, who were married in October.  I'm sad to report that Nick passed away on Wednesday, December 1.  If you were touched by his story, please consider giving to Gift to the Cure or Wish Upon a Wedding.  Remember - life is short, do everything you can to enjoy every single day.

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Stats as of 30 November 2010

    November 2009
    55.6 miles
    12 hours, 25 minutes
    Avg Pace: 13:24/mile
    (No races in November 2009)

    November 2010
    55.7 miles -- 0.1 more than in 2009
    11 hours, 27 minutes -- 58 minutes shorter than in 2009
    Avg Pace: 12:21/mile -- 1:03 faster than in 2009
    Cold Turkey 10K 2010: 1:07:14 (10:51/mile)

    Totals!
    Total running for the year, 635.5 miles, 12:46 per mile pace.

    LOL, I did one tenth of a mile longer in 2010 than in 2009!!  I was marathon training, so doing more miles in 2009, but I also took some time off in November last year because I went to Hawaii.  I ran the same, but a lot slower in 2009, since in 2010 they were shorter runs.

    Let me just say that I'm amazed that I'm doing 6 mile races at a sub-11 minute pace.  For me, that is crazy-fast, and I cannot possibly be more proud.  It's amazing because back over the summer I felt sluggish and horrible about my running.  I'm seeing that it's really all about weather and temperature and my running performance is just so much better in the cold of fall, winter and spring.

    The Cold Turkey 10K was my second to last race of the season.  I have one more - the Celtic Solstice 5 Mile Run in December, and then I'm done with racing until March.  It's been a great season, and I'm actually really looking forward to writing my end of the year wrap-up post in another month.

    In the meantime, I had to do a little math to see about whether or not I feel like I can make it to 700 miles in 2010.  The answer, of course, is yes, I CAN make it to 700 miles.  But...  when I look at the schedule that I've made for myself for December, the math brings me up about 5 miles short for the year.   So, I guess I need to decide if I'm going to throw some extra miles into a few runs in order to get to the magic number 700.  In 2009, I ran 703 miles.  2010?  We shall see...

    In non-running news, I'm proud to say that I'm continuing successfully with the STS program.  I started out just doing upper body, but then about 4 weeks ago, it became too cold and too dark to bike outside after work, so I decided to add the STS legs in.  This makes my schedule a little weird because I am a few weeks behind in the legs videos, but it's been working for me.  I've  been doing my best to get the workouts in, and while I've been haphazard with it somewhat, it's been going well.  It's made me feel better to see other bloggers doing P90X and having the same haphazard scheduling problems that I have.  So, I know I'm not alone.

    In even more non-running news, I bought a Bicycle Trainer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm so excited.  I've been pondering the bike trainer thing for a while now (pretty much since I bought the bike).  They were so expensive, and I couldn't decide which one to get.  I finally decided on the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Indoor Trainer.  However, with as much money as Todd and I have been spending lately, I decided to wait.  Plus, I'm going to be out of town for a big block of time this winter, and I won't be able to use it when that happens.  Then, fate stepped in.  On Cyber Monday, Bicycle Outfitters Indy put out a coupon code for the Kinetic trainers.  20% off, and Bicycle Outfitters Indy also had the lowest price already on the internet!!  It was irresistible, but I still hemmed and hawed on it all day.  After discussions with Todd, we decided to make the purchase and put the order in at about 10:30pm.  Talk about waiting until the last minute!!  Plus, Todd convinced me to get the Kinetic Rock 'n Roll Trainer with PRO Resistance Unit instead of the Road Machine (that's not the exact one, I didn't get the Pro resistance unit, but I can add it later).  The price was fantastic, and I am so excited!!

    I don't know when I'll be trying out the bike though, I've got a busy weekend ahead, with Christmas parties and a scuba class in the pool.

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Runner Q&A: Lusia

    Something I've been wanting to do for a while is to interview some of my fellow runners in the area.  I've met so many people who have overcome obstacles, helped others, and just done absolutely incredible things.  Today, I wanted to post an interview that I did with my fellow Galloway runner, Lusia.  


    I first met Lu in the spring of 2009 when she was placed in my marathon/half marathon training group.  She had been a part of the Galloway program previously, but it was before I was a member.  Her break from running had been forced when she was injured in a car accident in 2005.  Once I heard her story, I was amazed at her determination to get back into running.  She's been doing a ton of training, and I am so happy that she's a part of my group.  I hope Lu's story shows how anyone can get out there and run.  She's an amazing example of the people that I've met while running.  Here is our little Q&A.

    Kim: Can you tell me a little bit about your running history?
    Lusia: I have been running for about 9 years, with a 3 year hiatus from June 2005 – to July 2008. Before running my first marathon in 2004, I ran with the NCR Trail Snails which gave me a taste of distance and adventure racing. In spring 2004, I signed up to participate in the Jeff Galloway Program with Fleet Feet and completed my first marathon that fall (Baltimore Marathon). I really enjoyed the experience and had a lot of fun which lead me to sign up to run the Marine Core Marathon the following year.

    Kim: Can you talk a little about your accident?
    Lusia: While training for the Marine Core Marathon in 2005, I got into a car accident. I was driving on a highway when the cargo van in front of me swerved into the next lane. As soon as I realized why, I had slammed into the back of a broken down mini-van at 70 miles per hour. After impact my car spun into the center grassy median. I did not know the extent of my injuries at that time. I could not move my right leg and the first thought that came to mind was “Great! I broke my pelvis!” I heard someone scream “fire” and I thought it was my car that was on fire so I opened the door and basically flung my body outside of the car and began pushing myself backwards with my hands away from the car.

    Eventually, people who had stopped came and dragged me to the side of the road. I was really blessed that day. I had 2 military doctors and another doctor who stopped to help and quite a few nurses. Even till this day, I remember asking the paramedic if he could avoid having to cut my shoes off my feet. I had just bought them and as all runners know, running shoes are expensive! Ha-ha Unfortunately, he could not save my shoes. I ended up being transported via helicopter to the University of Maryland Medical Center and undergoing 5 ½ hours of surgery.

    When I got out of surgery, I saw the extent of damage done to my body. I shattered my right femur and the impact of pressing on the brake caused my right tibia bone to snap which broke through my skin causing it to be exposed. I also had a fractured right wrist. During surgery they opened up my knee and put a titanium rod through my femur and a titanium rod through my tibia securing them in place with pins.

    Kim: How did your accident affect your running?
    Lusia:  After my car accident there was no running or walking for a very long time. I went from 3 days in shock trauma, to being transported to a facility for in-house rehabilitation for 3 months. There I learned to walk and climb stairs again. Once I left there, it was time for out-house rehabilitation where I endured 6 painful months of physical therapy and towards the end they started incorporating strength training exercises to help build the muscle around my knee in my right leg.

    Kim:  What type of training have you used to get back to running again?
    Lusia:  For 2007 I did mostly elliptical and cycling on the recumbent bike followed by strength training for my legs. In spring 2008, I graduated to light running with continued strength training. By early fall I was running up to 6 miles using Jeff Galloway, of course. I remember my first run like it was yesterday. It was more of a hobble. Actually, many of my runs were hobbles. Ha-ha Left leg was compensating for my right and rightly so. It was the weaker leg and the knee pain was intense. As my right leg got stronger, there was less compensation and eventually my gait corrected itself.

    Kim: How has your running improved over the last few years?
    Lusia:  Since coming back officially, my running has significantly improved. To date I have run 5 half marathons, 1 relay race, and I'm preparing to run my first international half marathon in Jamaica in December 2010.

    Me, Lusia and Rachel after Lu's first race back!
    I joined the Jeff Galloway program in the spring of 2009 to attempt my comeback race at the ING Philadelphia Half Marathon in September 2009. It was tough at first. I was wearing a knee brace and had just started to change my eating habits.

    By the time my comeback race came around I was ready. I was lighter, had retired my knee brace and was running pain free! There was no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t finish. After completing that race I was so driven that I ended up running the Denver Half Marathon a month later!

    Kim: What races are you most proud of?
    Lusia: I’m definitely proud of my first race back from my car accident. I also am proud of the Miami Beach Half Marathon I ran in February of 2010. I had been training and picking up speed. It was my first race where I was actually running as part of the crowd and not lingering in the back by myself! It was awesome!

    Kim: What races do you have coming up on the horizon?
    Lusia: My last half marathon race is coming up in Negril, Jamaica, The Raggae Half Marathon, on the 4th of December. It is my first international race. I also have the Celtic Solstice on the 18th of December and in February 2011, I’m running the Disney Princess Half Marathon where I will channel my favorite princess, Princess Jasmine!

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    HBBC Catch Up

    HBBC Logo A while ago, I mentioned that I'm participating in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge.  (Am I the only one that thinks it should be spelled "Booty?")  Well, the challenge started on November 20th, and I have yet to seriously add up my points!  So, here we go.

    (Btw, I have no plans to actually win this thing, I am up against some tough competition).

    First off, Thanksgiving is the only day where I've managed the 7 vegetables/fruits in a day. I'm having a tough time tracking that one, because I am not currently keeping a food journal.

    Points:
    1 Point per mile (run/walk/snowshoe)
    1 Point per 3 miles biked
    1 Point per 20 minutes of weight lifting, Pilates, yoga, stretching or abs
    1 Point per 15 minutes of another form of cardio (i.e. kick boxing, aerobics elliptical)
    1 Per day where you reach a minimum of 7 servings of fruits and veggies

    My points:

    • I started with 4 points for posting on my blog and on Facebook, and for adding the logo to my blog's menu.
    • November 20: 1 hour of weights = 3 points
    • November 21: 10K race = 6 points
    • November 22-24: Slack time!  No points.
    • November 25: 4 miles, 7 veggie/fruits! = 5 points
    • November 26: Slack time!  No points.
    • November 27: Making up for slack time!  2 hours weights = 6 points.
    • November 28: 5 miles = 5 points.
    • November 29: 1 hour weights = 3 points.
    • Today: No points yet.  I have to work tonight, so probably no points tonight.  I've had 3 servings of veggies/fruit so far today, so maybe I can get to 7!
    Nov 20-26: 14 points total
    Nov 27-today: 14 points total
    Total for the challenge so far: 32 points!!

    There were extra points available on Thanksgiving for having a family member work out with you, but I didn't see this until after Thanksgiving :(  If I'd known, I'd have made Todd get on the treadmill...

    This point total is totally low compared to others...  Can we still mark the 7 veggie/fruit without a food journal?  I'm just not feeling the food journaling right now.

    Scrambling for a Table

    So, this year was my first ever year hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at our house.  I was ready, though, since last year I made a turkey and all of the trimmings on Christmas Day for just Todd and me.  I had made a turkey on a few other occasions before, as well, so I had the turkey part all set.

    Still, I was nervous about actually having someone besides Todd eat my Thanksgiving dinner.  I mean, you only get ONE Thanksgiving dinner a year, right?  I had a list and a schedule, and I started cooking at 10am, after a 4 mile run on the treadmill.

    The bad part?  Well, here's my confession -- Todd and I have neglected to fully furnish our house.  When we first started dating, he had no furniture in the master bedroom (he was sleeping in the spare bedroom), the living room or the dining room.  While we spent a whole lot of time furnishing and decorating the master bedroom, and we kinda-sorta have some furniture in the living room, the dining room is still totally empty.  We've been reluctant to furnish it because we were thinking we might move to Florida and we hated to furnish a room only to have to pay to move a bunch of furniture.  This is especially a pain for the dining room, which we only might use a couple times a year, tops.

    Well, we refinanced our house, and we decided that as part of the refinance that we'd stay here in Maryland for another 5 years.  This gave us more of a reason to furnish the dining room.  Since I knew that we were going to host Thanksgiving as far back as the summer, we started shopping for dining room furniture MONTHS ago.  We found NOTHING that we liked.  Everything was either too expensive, too big, or too traditional (which we feel would look silly in a Florida house if/when we eventually move).  In October, we found a Pottery Barn set we liked on Craigslist, only to have it slip out of our hands when someone else got to it first.  We procrastinated some more, and then by the beginning of November, it was obvious that we weren't going to get furniture by Thanksgiving.

    So, we ended up going with folding tables.  Except - one folding table was too narrow - the plates were touching each other.  We put two folding tables together, bought a lovely table cloth (well, two table cloths) and Voila!  It was actually really nice.  We only had five of us total eating, and it worked out perfectly.  It didn't even seem like folding tables, to be totally honest.

    We do have china, since my mom gave me her formal china several years ago.  She also gave us a set of crystal for our wedding, which was so nice because it's our only wedding/couple type of thing that was purchased for US, and not our parents or for one of our previous marriages.  So, the whole set up ended up being quite elegant.

    As far as dinner went, we had the usual.  Apple pie, green bean casserole, dressing, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes.  My brother made my grandmother's candied sweet potatoes.  Not to toot my own horn too much, but the turkey was perfect, the best one I've made so far.  The mashed potatoes - not so much.  Everything else was good.

    It was nice using our dining room for the first time.  We're continuing our ongoing quest for dining room furniture, but we'll see how easily we get it.  Part of me does actually kind of like the whole folding table thing because it allows us to use our dining room however we want - from empty room for playing cornhole to buffet (put the folding tables against the wall) to dining room.  So, maybe it's not so bad... LOL

    Todd took some photos, but I haven't seen them yet.  I did snap this one with my cell phone the morning after Thanksgiving...  Our cat wanted to enjoy some delicious turkey, too!

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