Sunday, November 15, 2015

Weekend Fun and Races to Come

I've had a fun-filled weekend, and inching closer to improved eating and exercise habits.

Thursday night I stopped at the local Latino market for a 1/2 pound of chicken fajita (chicken, onion, bell pepper and seasoning). I put a tiny bit of oil in a grill pan, sliced in an extra yellow bell pepper and some green onions and cooked it all on high. Normally I'd have this with rice or something but this time I just had it with pico de gallo. So yummy.

Friday was quite the day. I enjoyed a nice work lunch at Insalata's, a restaurant in San Anselmo that serves Mediterranean cuisine. I ordered their Herb Poached Chicken Salad with kale, beets, fennel, sunflower seeds, crispy quinoa (baked), and blue cheese. I skipped the dressing, squeezed a little fresh lemon on it and it was delicious!

Mr M was leaving on a business trip so I had an early dinner with him at an Italian restaurant. We shared a beef carpaccio appetizer and I had a small pasta dish with seafood in a light red sauce as an entree. I also had a glass of prosecco. During dinner we learned of the devastation in France, so sad and made me worried for Mr M getting on a plane, to the Middle East of all places. He left for the airport and I had plans to meet up with some friends so I rushed home to change.

We had tickets to see Wonderbread 5 at The Sweetwater, a local music hall in Mill Valley. We were going to celebrate a friend's birthday; my best buddy Michelle was also going so I was super excited.

Happy Birthday Nina!!
The celebration was underway when I heard from Mr M - he missed his flight. I wasn't disappointed. He eventually joined us and the night was a blast! Maybe a little too much drinking but you can never do too much dancing!

After all the debauchery we went in search of a late-night meal. We landed at In-n-Out burger; I had a burger, fries and a milkshake. Not exactly healthy but I'm convinced that meal is part of why I didn't have a terrible hangover on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, I had a nice day, including a long walk around town. I'm not running yet, but that will come. In fact, it has to come because...

I signed up for a triathlon! The San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz.

And I'm not going it alone, Mr M signed up too! Thank goodness because I'm going to need a lot of support...from their website:
Swimming from Alcatraz Island was once thought to be impossible. This year, nearly 1,000 athletes will (jump off a perfectly safe boat to) make the treacherous swim, fighting the strong currents and ever looming fear of what lies below the water's surface. This is certainly not a race for the faint of heart. The swim will start the journey but the hills of San Francisco may just be the hardest section on the course: it boasts sharp turns, fast descents and agonizing climbs to test the aerobic endurance and mental fortitude of every athlete. Next racers get to take in the scenic views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge as they weave their way back to the finish line on the demanding run course. Throw in a beach run with a 400 step sand ladder at the end - it's a race you won't want to miss out on!
I think it's best I just put this out of my mind for now because honestly, reading that description is making me question my own sanity! Besides, I've got other things happening right now, like staying focused through the holidays to get back to my happy weight.

As far as events, last year I signed up for the SF Rock-n-Roll half-marathon, which is coming up again in April...only 139 days away! I will DEFINITELY be training for this one, especially after the pain of running the Healdsburg Wine Country Half-Marathon on almost no training. And if I don't train? I won't run it. But I'll train, this was a great race last year and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

As to the rest of the weekend, we basically hung around the house and chilled. I came down with a case of laryngitis and sound awful. The good thing is, I sound way worse than I feel. Oh, and a trip to Costco, which included playing with the largest teddy bear I've ever seen! I put it in our grocery cart and while he didn't come home with us, we shared a good laugh anyway. Closing with a smile.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

10 Things I've Been Up To

A couple months have passed since my last post. I would ask for forgiveness but with a blog, I think it's best to just pick up and move on, right?

There's lots to report from the time I've been away, some big news, some small. Given my blog topic I will stick mostly with the weight/lifestyle/fitness related news but I have to throw in a few other things to keep it interesting.

Should I make a list? I like lists. And pictures. So this will be a list/pic heavy post and in no particular order....

1. Autumn is in full swing and with it came Halloween. Myra was Princess Anna (from the movie Frozen, for you non-parents out there) and Marek was a SWAT team guy. I went overboard eating the candy but eventually made a hail Mary pass to the garbage can of ALL the candy in my house.

We carved pumpkins and enjoyed the season. Me too much with the candy.
2. Myra turned 5! Can you believe it??

Celebrating our daughter.

She had a pool party. Love that girl!
3. I took Marek on a special night out, just the two of us, we went to a baseball game. He thanked me a million times. I'll remember that night always and I think he will too.

on the ferry to the park.

Game on!
I love this boy. Bonus - the Giants won!
4. I was/am in the Nov/Dec issue of Weight Watchers magazine. What? Really? Yep, really. So cool. I shared my July backpacking trip with the kids because bringing them up with a love of adventure, the outdoors, and physical activity as fun is, well, it's a huge payoff. A NSV for sure.

It's so cool that my kids are in this picture. They are a huge source of inspiration for me.

5. I've been lucky to squeeze in time with friends.



pub trivia night - we actually won that night! (no easy feat)
6. My mom and I took the kids to Disneyland! It was a whirlwind trip and we had a whirlwind time. And I think we're all full up on Disneyland for the next couple/few years.

Checking out the emergency info made him a tad nervous.

Spooky Mickey! We're scared.

7. I ran a half-marathon. Did I just say that? Yeah, well, other than this and a couple other runs, I've hardly broken a sweat in the past few months. More on that in a bit. But it's true, I ran 13.1 miles on almost no training (NOT something I recommend, I paid for it for days after). It helped that the Healdsburg Wine Country Half-Marathon has actual wine during the race. Really! 3 wine tables in all and I had a sip at each one. I ran the whole race. But with almost no training it was my slowest, with a 12:46 per mile average. I might write a real race report for it soon just to log it but for now, this is it. I'm planning to do this race again next year, and really enjoy it next time! Gorgeous day, amazing course...and wine! I ran the race with a group of triathlete and runner types from Marin. What a time we had, so fun!!

Bright and early, Halloween morning. It's still dark out.
Almost showtime
Wine tasting #1
Wine tasting #2 (I was too "focused" to snap a pic at #3)

We made it!
8. I don't know how to say this so I'll just get it out. I have a boyfriend. Dating at this time in my life has been, well, interesting. And if this were that sort of blog, the stories. But it's not, and I'm happy to be out of the dating world at the moment. Things are newly serious so I'm not making any predictions but it's serious enough to introduce him to you. The boyfriend and I, I'll call him Mr M for now, have been having an adventure. I hope to be writing about future adventures now that you've met him.

Mr M and I
I went with him to my first ever hockey game last month (he's from Canada, apparently it's a big thing there)

We went out for Halloween as a 20's couple.
Yes, I ran a half-marathon in the morning, took the kids trick-or-treating with Miguel, and then went out that night including the obvious martini or two. Took me two days to recover.

9. I have a bit of weight to lose. Can I blame dating? Or just a good old-fashioned slump? Or...? I can whip out excuses with the best of them but it's not helpful. What is helpful is doing what works. So I went to my regular Wednesday WW meeting today and paid for my week of membership (since I'm over by a few pounds it's not free). I was153.4 pounds at the meeting. I missed weighing in last month. I'm around 150 in the morning. If you've followed along, 150 is my alarm-bells-must-start-tracking weight. So I'm on it. And I had a solid, goal-oriented day of eating today. Very back-to-basics, which feels good. I'll be writing more about my eating and exercise and my mini-journey back to healthy habits. Also maybe more about WW too. You saw I was in their magazine and something more might be brewing. I'm super excited because you know how much I love to share the message. It can be done.

10. You make a list and it's 1-9 there has to be a "10" right? So I asked myself, "what else"? And the answer came quickly. Gratitude, wonder and joy. I am thrilled with now. And I am so curious to see what's to come. I am open to not knowing. I am taking it all in, reminding myself to be gentle, kind, loving - first with myself, because that really is the toughest - and then with others. Especially the two little lights of my life. So I'll close this post with them.

That smile, those glasses.

There's my update post. I intend to start writing more regularly but as I just said, I'm open to not knowing what's to come. What I do know is that writing helps me problem solve. And as you can see in #9, I have a problem. And this blog has always been where I come to work out any problems in that area.

Monday, September 7, 2015

7.6 Miles...and Dancing!

"So I think I'm feeling ready to start moving this body again."
That's what I said in yesterday's post. Sometimes in life you have seize the opportunity and that's what I did. My tri group had a run planned for 7:30 this morning. Ohhh, 7:30am, that's early! But I felt inspired, motivated to get back out there. So I set my alarm and promptly told myself this is what we're doing. No discussion, as little thinking as possible...just do it.

The alarm went off and I moaned a bit but rolled out of bed and into my running clothes. Last night's martinis were heavy on my mind, literally, so I took ibuprofen with my morning coffee. That and a bowl of cereal before I drove out to meet the crew.

Amber, Dan (w/ Sam in the stroller), Anne, Anne, Robin and Me.
Sorry about the head chop Dan!

We ran at the Hamilton levee, a series of mostly dirt paths that run along wetland areas. We had a plan to run 45 minutes out and then turn around for a total of 1.5 hours of running. I wasn't sure I'd be able to run for that long given I've been sitting on my duff for weeks on end. Not to mention I hiked the day before.

We did a brief warm-up walk and then started an easy run pace. The route was flat and I shuffled along worried that my muscles might seize up at any moment. But they didn't.

I ran the first few miles at around a 13-minute per mile pace. The morning weather was beautiful, birds out flying, ducks too...I tried to take a picture while I was running but it didn't capture much.

After a while Amber I started chatting and this provided welcome distraction while we neared our turnaround point. I've never been a talker-while-running person but it sure is nice. I think my past pace has usually involved running too hard to imagine wanting to talk, let alone being able to.

When we had about 30 minutes to go I felt confident I'd make it. And when we hit mile six I decided to pick up the pace a bit for the last mile. After running at a 13+ per minute pace I ran the last mile in 12:13 and I felt pretty good...sore, but good. After no running in over a month being able to complete 7.6 miles sure felt great.

That's a happy post-run smile. I drove my bmw and put the top down. I love that car, it's a 1989 and so fun to drive with the top down on a nice day.

After the run I stopped at Peet's for more coffee. I sat around for an hour, mostly people watching but catching up on a bit of news too. It's amazing how much better I feel (read: less guilty) sitting around like that when I've already had some exercise. 

I should have taken it easy the rest of the day but what fun is that? After cleaning up I met my mom for lunch and then we did a bit of window shopping. I made a somewhat healthy choice (egg white veggie omelet with fruit) knowing that I would probably be indulging at dinner. I was hoping to catch a quick nap after lunch but I didn't have enough time. So I went home and rested quietly for a half-hour before I had to get ready for the evening ahead.

Dancing! I was invited to go with a group of friends and despite my lagging energy I rallied and made it out to the show. It was at a local music venue and we had a big table for our group so at least I didn't have to stand. Other than when I was dancing, which I couldn't, nor wouldn't, resist doing of course. 

So I had an indulgent dinner (chicken and waffles - really!) and a few drinks and hoped the morning run + dancing would balance all the calories. The moment the show ended I was ready for bed, I could not have been more tired! 

Today my legs and calves were so sore! I spent the day doing a few errands and chores around the house. Despite getting a great night sleep I still felt a bit dreamy all day today. It's going to take a while for my body to get accustomed to exercise again. But before that can happen, I have to go under the knife one more time. I'm having a little touch-up surgery related to my tummy tuck. More on that next time. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Catching up with Pictures

How to fill in weeks of life? Pictures!

I was fortunate enough to spend the Sunday after my backpacking trip at Outside Lands. A couple highlights were Sam Smith and Elton John. I danced and smiled the night away.

And then back to the rest of my life. The next weekend was the last one before the kids started back to school so...camping in Tahoe! with our buddies Catherine and Gracie. Unfortunately I got hit with a bit of stomach flu so I wasn't much fun, but I enjoyed watching from the sidelines. Thank you Catherine for keeping us rolling along.

Myra and Gracie eating S'mores
King and Queens of the mountain
Tahoe Blue
Catherine with all 3 kids in the inflatable
And then back to school!!

My big 1st grader!

A few tears from Marek and a nervous wave goodbye from Myra but they both did great their first day of school - the days just keep flying by!

That Friday my mom buddy/neighbor Karen and I celebrated surviving the first week of school with a night out on the town. We danced, sang (karaoke!) and laughed the night away. Boy did I need that!

Which led to me thinking this sign at the coffee shop in the morning was a special message just to me.

I don't have any pictures to show for it but I spent that weekend at Spirit Rock (which I wrote about in my last post), in a state of calm, healing, self-growth and understanding. Life brings with it a whole host of experiences, feelings, joys and challenges... I'm striving to greet them all with an open curiosity, patience, love and even faith. Faith that all that rests within me and between myself and others, is always what's exactly right for the present.

The following week brought the last in our free outdoor summer concerts, again with our buddies Catherine and Gracie. Here are the girls enjoying their ice cream. I danced a bit with the kids, though they were much more interested in running around than hanging with me.

Here's a random lunch photo.  This was at Punjab Burrito...confusion cuisine and super yummy!

Seabass, quinoa curry dish. I could eat this every day.
And with the start of school comes the return of soccer. This year Myra is joining in the fun. She's still hesitant but getting into the swing of things. Her older brother is a good role model.

Marek is playing for the Super Sonics
And Myra is with the Super Kickers!
So my weekends will be alternating between soccer and grown-up stuff for the next few months. This weekend has been incredible so far. I started early with a lunchtime stop at the new Amy's fast food joint. Amy's is famous for their frozen vegetarian meals, this is the first time they opened an actual restaurant. Check out the garden roof!

I had a veggie burger and mac-n-cheese. The burger had a "special sauce" on it - wish I'd caught that when ordering and had them leave it off. Not only do I not want the mayo calories, it was also way too sweet and distracted from my enjoyment of the burger. The mac-n-cheese was a lot like Stouffer's; for me that's not a bad thing. All in all, the food was just ok, and for vegetarian fast food it's probably good enough. Based on the monster line of cars in the drive-thru, I'd say they're doing something right.

Last night I had a fabulous salade ni├žoise with grilled salmon for dinner, I should have snapped a picture of it. That and a couple drinks meant a great start to the holiday weekend. 

But no rest for the weary, I was up bright and early this morning for an 8am hike of the famous Dipsea Trail with a few ladies in the Marin tri club. We didn't hike the whole thing, turning around after 3 miles or so for an overall hike of 6+ miles. The hike starts with a nice climb up a total of 688 stairs - no problem for this awesome group of fit women. Thank you Amber for organizing. I'm feeling inspired to get off the couch and get back out there!

Stairs, stairs and more stairs
Keep climbing!
Me, Anne, Amber and Anne
Post hike brunch at Mama's Royal Cafe
I treated my body right with a no-cheese, egg white veggie scramble, fruit and dry toast with jam. Very satisfying morning all the way around. Oh, here's the elevation profile of our hike. 

that's some climbing! and people run this?!
So I think I'm feeling ready to start moving this body again. I haven't been to the gym - not on one run, not anything - since returning from the backpacking trip. I've been struggling to want to exercise and while my eating hasn't been bad, it's beginning to unravel a bit here lately. I know what I'm missing, and that's exercise. It's the best way I know to clear the bugs off my windshield of life, and right now, I need that as much as always. 

Thanks for reading!