Life is Better with a Dog

Or two!

life is better with a dog

Running is too!  I always enjoyed running, but I love it so much more now that Wendy comes with me!


Snowy Day

It’s snowing again!  I’m getting a little bit sick of winter, but the snow does look very pretty sticking to the trees outside my house.  Spring is on my mind, though.  I love taking photos of flowers (much to Jeb’s chagrin!), and looking at them reminds me that spring/summer is coming.  I can’t wait!

Quick updates:

  • I have had a bit of trouble hitting my stride again (see what I did there? 🙂) after my last recovery week.  Between the kitchen flooding (and all the headaches that come with that), an obscene amount of homework, and planning my sister’s bridal shower, I have just been swamped.  That being said, I made it out for a few short runs.  I’m just not hitting my typical mileage.
  • New nutrition strategy is working well, I think.  First weigh-in will be tomorrow, then I will adjust accordingly.  Overall, I am feeling better than I had before – I think I really needed to tighten down on my diet, even more than I had realized!
  • I’m still concerned about my speed.  I think my endurance is pretty solid, though I will definitely have to maintain/improve that a bit before my race.  My biggest obstacle, though, is getting back up to speed after my injury.  I’m trying to work on stride rate now, and will add hills and more specific speedwork once the roads are dry/safe.
  • Cross-training is going great!  Once my back is 100% better, I think I will do at least one heavy powerlifting cycle.  I miss it.

And, to help you think about spring too, here are some flowers!

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The Running Boom

I saw this infographic on Mother Fitness the other day…

The Running Boom

Kind of cool!  I am glad to be part of the resurgence of this sport, and was especially interested to see that the half-marathon is the fastest growing distance.  I guess I am part of that!

What is your favorite distance?  I like the half – especially the sense of accomplishment when it is over.  Although, my favorite training distance is a 10k, so maybe I should look for more races at that distance.

I Quit Weight Watchers

I haven’t really talked much about my specific diet strategies on here much.  Normally, I try to eat appropriate amounts of healthy foods.  That has resulted in some nice body recomposition, and consistent progress.  But, when I got hurt last summer, I needed something more structured to help me maintain my weight (or even lose some) while I was unable to exercise.  I wasn’t (and, frankly, still am not) able to just intuitively eat to maintain my weight.  I wasn’t really sure how to figure out my expenditure and make a good plan, so I decided to join Weight Watchers.  I had heard good things, and I really wanted someone to tell me just how to do things.

It worked too, while I wasn’t exercising.  Once I started exercising, though, it was very difficult to follow their points system and see results.  I think it overestimated my activity when I tracked it (sometimes a run might count for 30 points – which is more than some people eat in a whole day) and then I tended to be more lax with my diet – since I had the points.  Or, if I ignored the activity points that I earned, I found that I felt completely depleted and underfed.  My recovery started to suffer.  It just wasn’t working.

My other issue was that it focused so much more on QUANTITY rather than QUALITY.  I think they try to get people to focus on healthy choices, but I don’t know that having that much freedom of choice is good for me in a deficit.  I tended to gravitate toward a cookie rather than a granola bar or greek yogurt if they were the same amount of points.  I have a way to go in resolving all my food issues, and I think I make better choices overall if I am focusing more on eating good, healthy foods to fuel my body, rather than just focusing on staying below a target.

So, I decided to quit.  A part of me felt like I was giving up, but I am getting back to basics with my diet.  I’m re-embracing all the strategies that I used before (with success).  I shouldn’t have let so many of them go – I don’t feel as healthy as I used to, even though I am at a smaller weight.  I went to the grocery store today, and re-stocked on all my old staples, and am ready to hit it hard tomorrow.

So much for a recovery week…

My recovery week ended today.  It started out pretty good – I did a lot of stretching and some yoga.  I also did a bit of shoveling (even though I said I would take it easy!), but took care of myself after I came inside.  The storm was definitely a factor in everything that happened over my recovery week (and it worked out well that I took the break when we were going to have such poor weather).  While I wasn’t handling the downtime perfectly, it was all going pretty well and I was looking forward to getting back into things.

Then, on Sunday, I returned from a family birthday party to a loud and strange sound.  My dogs didn’t greet me at the door (which was concerning!).  I ran in and searched the house, eventually finding that our kitchen was flooded.  A pipe burst over our kitchen and destroyed our cabinets, counters, floor and a few small appliances.  Ugh.  The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of clean-up, dealing with the insurance company, and lots of stress.  I can’t believe it.

Now, we have to wait a couple weeks until we get our insurance payment and can start the rebuilding process.  This means limited cooking for the foreseeable future, and general chaos in our house.  And, to be honest, I have not kept my fitness/health goals in mind.  I have definitely been stress-eating, and didn’t stretch, do yoga, run, or anything for several days.  I have 100 days to my sister’s wedding (I definitely want to lose more weight for that) and 74 days until my goal race – so no time to waste!

I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with super-strict programs, but I think I might need to switch to one right now.  As much as my own particular brand of craziness can resist specific programs, I don’t think my willpower can handle something flexible right now.  I will continue with my running (of course), but will add a more specific plan for food and cross-training, and add in some specific accountability.

But, on the bright side, I did have good run today (the weather was spectacular!).  I think I needed it even more than I realized.  It helped to burn off some stress and get me out of the craziness at my house.

Nemo 2013

I feel a little bit silly referring to a huge blizzard as Nemo, but only because I can’t get the image of that little clown fish out of my mind.  The last 36 hours or so have been interesting, to say the least.  Tonight, while I downloaded all my photos, I took a little time for some Bailey’s coffee to warm up a bit!

Today, I really needed a Bailey's Coffee!

Today, I really needed a Bailey’s Coffee!

The storm started on Friday afternoon (here, in Massachusetts).  Our yard looked something like this –

Back Yard

Back Yard

Front Yard

Front Yard

After several hours (around 8 p.m.), I went out and shoveled.  Wendy saw me putting on my warm clothes (which are the same as my winter running clothes), and got very excited – she thought she was headed out for an adventure!  I don’t think she really knew what was in store!  I think she lasted about 30 seconds.

Wendy is NOT impressed

Wendy is NOT impressed

We thought Jeb would have to work all night (since he works in law enforcement and is essential staff), but they sent him home at the end of his shift.  After some treacherous driving, this is what he found when he arrived home.

So much for all that shoveling...

So much for all that shoveling…

Despite the hours I spent shoveling (only about 3 hours prior to this photo), everything was still pretty much covered.  Plus, the plows pushed another huge pile of snow at the end of our driveway, so Jeb had to shovel his way home.  It took TWO hours.

We finally went to bed around 3 a.m., thinking we had been through the worst of the storm.  We were wrong.  I don’t think I was really prepared for what we found this morning.

we couldn't even get out the front door!

we couldn’t even get out the front door!

Front yard - did I mention that we both drive Mini Coopers?

Front yard – did I mention that we both drive Mini Coopers?

Cold dogs.  Wendy is sticking out her tongue!  Duke isn't really sure what to make of things (he's behind Wendy)

Cold dogs. Wendy is sticking out her tongue! Duke isn’t really sure what to make of things (he’s behind Wendy)

Back door onto our deck.  The drifts were over 4 feet high!

Back door onto our deck. The drifts were over 4 feet high!


Back Yard

Yikes.  So, we spent quite awhile clearing out the snow so Jeb could go to work.  My dad came by later in the afternoon so he could help us snowblow the worst parts (thank goodness).  Little did we know how lucky we were, however.  About 15 minutes before he arrived, I heard water splashing.  A pipe burst on our 2nd floor, and water was leaking through the ceiling.  Ugh.  We had a big mess, but my dad was able to help me solve the problem fairly quickly.  Phew.

The pipe thing is what led me to the Baileys – a few years ago, pipes froze in our house while we were both at work and more than half of our house was destroyed.  We had to gut several rooms, and it took us years to completely renovate (even now, we have some water damage on our hardwood floors but insurance didn’t cover those repairs).  I think I had some flashbacks to coming home and finding my house flooded.  The worst part was that we would have had a repeat incident if I hadn’t been home.

All in all, we were lucky.  We got a LOT of snow, but didn’t lose power.  We still have some snow to clear out (we haven’t even touched the deck yet), but we definitely made out better than many people in the area.