Flashback Friday

So this is really not running related, but I thought it would be fun.

I used to be fat. At least 45 pounds heavier than I am now. And I really didn't know it, and I didn't care that I was unhealthy. I was a pack-a-day smoker, and I partied. A lot. Meaning, I drank a lot of beer and made a lot of poor food choices. Honestly, no one TOLD me that I looked bad. And it took more than realizing my size 14s were tight to make a change.

So. Here are some pictures of me at my sisters wedding, about 9 years ago. I thought I was HAWT!

Look. At. The. Size. Of. My. Face.
L looks PURDY!!

Sorry about the size on these, they are not digital, I scanned them in.

What prompted this post is that I was trying on clothes today and I was struggling getting ANYTHING to fit. I am apparently too small now to wear an XS at Old Navy. Macy's doesn't carry anything in women's sizes smaller than a 4 (even in petite!) I had to buy a skirt in a girl's size today because the smallest adult size literally slid right off me. It's frustrating for me to go to the store and see only "big" sizes on the rack.

Sometimes I forget how far I've come. Sometimes I forget how hard I have worked to be where I am now. Sometimes I forget how unhappy I used to be and how happy I am now. It's easy to get into a funk, and harder to get yourself out. Sometimes you need to remember a low place in your life to realize how freaking awesome you have it now.

This post is not to meant to brag, it's more of an appreciation for who I was shaping me into the person I am now. I busted my ASS to be where I am today. I stopped drinking, stopped smoking, started eating right and I got on that freaking treadmill and I ran.

And here I am years later... still running.

Happy Feel Good Friday!!

FREE GU!! Island Nectars 6 pack

Our friends at GU have come up with a new limited edition flavor call Island Nectars.  Are they good?!?  I have no clue but you can get it for free if you have qualified for Kona.  Well, I would have qualified for Kona this year but I wanted to give everyone else a chance at winning the race.

If you did not qualify for Kona you can still get a free 6 pack of the new Island Nectars GU with any purchase at Free Island Nectar GU
Frayed Laces describes the new flavor as "incredibly reminiscent of a Mai Tai."  She also says it's (cover the ears of any small children in the room) "frickin' delicious."  I can not imagine any GU being delicious unless it was beer flavored but a change in flavors is always great.  I plan on ordering some later today.

If you have tried this new flavor please post a comment with your thoughts.  I will post a review after I try it.

BTW: You can get even more free GU when placing your order  There is currently a special on GU Roctane.  Buy 2 Roctanes and get 1 free.  You can combine this with your FREE order of Island Nectars.  Orders over $100 get free s/h.

Three Things Thursday... And then some

1. The Workouts


As promised, I took it "easy" - opting to do the Crossramp (blah) and the Recumbent bike (blah, blah). The best thing about using the machines on this side of the gym is I'm NOT facing a wall of mirrors, so I can people watch. And boy, are people at my gym FASCINATING.


BodyPump class. The instructor STILL sucks. It's REALLY hard for me to not give her dirty looks throughout class. I have to be careful because her husband participates and even though he doesn't do half the lifting correctly, he finds it necessary to "teach" too, which is also beyond annoying.

Notice that I'm wearing shorts. So I wasn't PLANNING on running. But I had only a little time after class, so I ran anyway:

Picking up A at daycare after the workout - she is "striking a pose" (oy):

Psyched I let her wear a Halloween shirt

I know myself well enough to know I was going to run again this week. So, might as well do it a bit earlier in the week, just in case I needed extra time to rest/ice/etc. I shall call this outfit - "Rainbow Brite"

Run went ok, I went with my aerobic program, toned down the incline just a bit for an "easier" program:

Slow and Steady
2. The Injury

Well... I keep trying to get in to see a doctor. They never seem to have anything for a new patient. Last time I called I commented that this was the third time I had tried to make an appointment and the soonest they can ever seem to get me in is the following Monday. The receptionist had the nerve to say, "Next time plan ahead more." Really? Plan ahead for an injury? OK then.

Anyway, I have been doing what I can... using the green spiky golf ball thing to massage the bottom of my feet, using the stick to rub down my legs, using cream and massaging. Wearing compression socks 12+ hours a day. And most importantly... icing. I've been doing pretty regular regimen of ice on for 15 min and off for 20, at LEAST 5 sets a day.

The verdict? Well, I think it MIGHT be getting better. I did actually run this week (shame on me), but it doesn't feel as tender as it has. I will continue to take it easy this week, at MOST running a few miles Friday morning.

3. September Recap and October Goals

Thanks to my injury, most of September was a total fail.

September Goals (Recap)

  • Run 150-160 miles - Fail. Would have been on track if I wouldn't have been injured. Outside of racing, I've put in less than 10 miles the last two weeks. Actual September miles - 124.76

  • Get my long runs in!! At least one 18 miler and one 20 miler - EPIC FAIL. Yeah. Didn't get any long runs in at all. In fact, my longest runs were the FOUR half marathons I did in 22 days (Um, that sounds crazy).

  • Get a half marathon PR :D - WIN!! I got a PR when running in Chicago!

  • Increase my Yasso tempo up to at least 8 sets - Again, fail. I managed to get only one set of Yasso 800s added, I think I'm stuck at 7.

  • Remain healthy and injury free - Mostly fail. Healthy? OK, I'll say I stayed healthy. Out of town a TON, and I actually managed to end up a few pounds down for the month. Injury free? FAIL, FAIL FAIL.
October Goals

  • Run twice a week outside of racing (minimum). All this is assuming I am pain/injury free.

  • Really really try to get a 20 mile run in. Again, this is assuming my stupid foot gets better.

  • I'd love to get another PR on a half marathon this month, but I'm running 4 of them in the next three weeks, and without training properly, that is probably not a reasonable goal, so... the goal will be to keep them all sub 2:10?

  • Yasso 800s on the back-burner for now, if I start feeling better I'll do them.

  • Fix my damn foot!!! Whatever I need to do to be feeling at LEAST 85%... needs to be done.

  • BE A TOTAL BADASS AND RUN THE ATHENS MARATHON TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. Holy crap. I cannot believe that I'm a month away. A month. Where did the time go???

Cycling Groups and Rides in the Orlando / Central Florida Area

Cycling Groups and Rides in the Orlando / Central Florida Area

Many people have been asking me about local area rides and groups so I decided to make a quick post.  Below are the groups and ride lists for the Central FL area (Orange, Seminole, Osceola, etc).

Hal Downings Newsletter:
Hal Downings is a local attorney who publishes a weekly email newsletter about rides in nearly all the counties in the central FL area.  His newsletter is AWESOME and he does a great job.  This is THE source for cycling rides in this area.  You will need to email him here to get onto the mailing list.  Register for his newsletter now!! An old example of his newsletter can be found here.

This is a great cycling group!!  I am currently a member of this group. Their ride schedule can be found here.  They always publish the distance and the speed with their rides so you can find one that fits your skill and abilityThey are also known to be prompt so be on time.  They are very social, friendly and inviting group.  They have riders at every level.  Even though they say on some rides "don't be afraid to be dropped". I have never seen anyone get dropped on any level ride they conduct so don't let that waver you.  They also publish the contact information of the ride leader if you have questions.  Everyone I have contacted has been prompt at answering my questions.

Armada Racing 
I am not familiar with this group but they appear to be out of the Orlando area.  They have a nice list of rides with the various groups in the area.  Click here and then click on Rides (located on top of the page).  If you know anything about this group please post a comment about them.

I have never rode with this group so I know nothing about them.  Their ride list can be found here. If you know anything about this group please post a comment about them.

Eastside Cycling Club
I know nothing about this group.  I have seen them on rides but I have never rode with them.  Their rides can be found here or here. If you know anything about this group please post a comment about them.

Windermere Roadies
Caution: if you do not consider yourself a GREAT rider don't bother showing up for their rides.  They will drop you like its hot in seconds.  These guys are good, darn good!  Their routes are tough and great.  Their Sunday rides are described as "whether you are a beginner or an experienced racer, the Sunday ride has something for you." That is a load of manure.  They are all A+ level riders on that ride and will drop you within the first 6 miles.  They also state "Marsh Road is always very fast and it's usually where the group will break up into several packs of different skilled riders"  Translation: "that is when your sorry butt will be dropped and lost".  The last ride I did with them I was dropped on Marsh Road and my 55 mile ride became 75 miles because we got lost.  This was another "Lost Boys" experience I will have to share with you one day.  Bonnie thought I was dead and she wanted to kill me when I showed up late to the house.  Angel and I were on the back of milk cartons for weeks.  Also bring bread crumbs because if you are not familiar with the area their maps are useless.  Every street has two names and some of the names they give you are not the names on the signs at the turns (example: Semoran aka SR436).  They were also not very social (at least not to us).  Not one person said hi to us and they did not hand out route maps.  Maybe they are nicer once they know you and you prove you can hang with them.  One day I hope to be at their ability. If you are REALLY FAST this is the group for you.  A list of their rides can be found here.

Local Bike Trails and Maps can be found here and at TrailLink.Com.

Local Cycling Events can be found here

Another list of rides can be found here

I may have miss some local groups.  If so, let me know and I will add them to this list.

Tip Toes

It's kind of hard to tell here, but Nile was insisting on "walking" on her toes. She has always loved to stand, ever since she was a baby (I know, she still is a baby), and now that she wants to be mobile, she likes to practice "walking."

It was so cute how she was completely on the balls of her feet the whole time.

Kind of funny, because Neil remembers that his sister, Becky, did the same thing as a little girl, and now Becky's son, who is three, does it too. This same cousin of Nile's is the one I think she looks a lot like; in the delivery room after she was born I said that she looked like him haha!

 Taking a tour around the room.




Floriade 2010

On Sunday 19th September we made our now-traditional pilgrimage to Floriade. It was supposed to be fantastic this year - literally! The theme was 'fantasy' and we went in search of a giant white elephant and a white pegasus-unicorn amongst the flower beds. The place was absolutely packed that day. I think there were more people than flowers. Even the swans were having a look at the flower beds.We found many beautiful blooms and managed to get a few photos without lots of unfamiliar faces in the background. When we did find the white elephant and it's fantasy companion we were quite disappointed. Maybe the flowers weren't at the right stage of bloom or something like that, but it wasn't even worth a photo.

With such large crowds I was constantly trying to keep track of the younger girl so didn't get many opportunities to take photos.I did manage to get a few nice shots, though.These deep red tulips looked stunning.But the girls soon tired of looking at flowers (Dragon had just brought his ipod as he had no interest in the flower festival at all!) and wanted to find something else to do. So we stood in line for a quarter of an hour in order to go into the petting farm. Do you think Ducky enjoyed holding the baby animals?Mousie and Kitcat were impressed with this pretty calf.Teddy really like the guinea pigs and baby goats. (When Dragon was a toddler he saw guinea pigs in a pet shop for the very first time. We looked at fish, rabbits, mice, puppies, kittens and birds. Then when we came to the guinea pig cage he stared in amazement and said "What! Baby wombats too!!" Still makes me chuckle to this day whenever I see a baby wombat guinea pig.)I am hoping to get to Floriade at least one more time before it finishes so stay tuned for more photos..... maybe the white elephant will be more obvious next time.

Before the Frost: Roasted Carrot Soup

Well, it's done.  I've preregistered for my maternity stay at the hospital.  They've been trying to get me to do this since I showed up at my OB/GYN for my first prenatal visit, but I've been slow to act, knowing that preregistering might not exactly be a good idea.  Or at least that it might be premature.  But now it matters for things like figure out whether we're going to take refresher Lamaze or the full length Hypnobirthing class.  Hard to believe that would happen so soon, but the snowy days of January are really not all that far away.  Still, it feels a little audacious (despite the fact that the Bean is doing the backstroke in there right now ... must be the cupcakes I just made ... more about those later, though).

And it's pretty hard to conjure up January when the days here lately have been warm, even swampy.  My friends in California have been posting Facebook statuses with temperatures in the 100s; while it's not been that bad here, late September shouldn't be in the 80s, should it?  Apparently it doesn't count as Indian Summer unless we've had a frost, though.

We've still been harvesting a few things from our garden; every once in a while I go pick a few beans, and the stubborn plum tomatoes are just now finally ripening, one at a time.  I'm even still getting zucchinis from my squash-bore-resistant little plants, and the other day I roasted the few pint-sized butternut squash that survived the untimely death of their vines.  We also pulled up the carrots (there were actually about twice as many as there are in this picture), figuring that we'd probably be getting some from the CSA at some point and better to use them before we got sick of carrots.  While Ian does like carrots in his lunchbox (I give thanks daily for a child who eats vegetables), he can only make so much of a dent in the crop.  And of course, the easiest way to use any vast quantity of vegetable seems to be to turn it into soup.

The secret here is to let the carrots caramelize a bit, allowing their natural sugars to figure prominently in the flavor of the soup.  If you prefer your soup to be a bit creamier, you can even add a splash of milk or soymilk or ... dare I say it ... cream ... to the finished product.  I didn't find that it curdled, despite the lime juice, but you could always skip that if you prefer a sweeter soup.  Whatever you do, you'll want a crusty loaf of bread to go with it, that you can use to sop up all of that extra soup that sticks to the sides of your bowl.

Roasted Carrot Soup

4  t. butter, melted
1/2  t. black pepper, divided
2  lb. carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
Cooking spray
1 1/2  c. water
2  t. chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1  t. butter
1/2  t. ground cumin
1 1/2  T. honey
1  T. fresh lime juice (optional)
2  (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine 4 teaspoons melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and carrots in a jelly roll pan or shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray; toss to coat. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes.

Place the carrot mixture, water, and oregano in a food processor, and process until smooth.

Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground cumin, and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add pureed carrot mixture, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, honey, juice, and broth, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Video - Dr. Anderson on News Talk

This is a video of Dr. Wayne Anderson who is the author of the book "Habits of Health" and co-founder of the Take Shape For Life using Medifast - the program my man and I are on. I've had a lot of people ask me what we're doing - and this explains it very generally. I really LOVE his book!

This is from Dr. A's Web Site (under blog tab on the right) which I have a link to under "Helpful Links" on my sidebar. Great stuff!

You Go Girl! Half Marathon - Race Recap

Tacoma, WA (State #9)

Time for the inaugural You Go Girl! half marathon!! I was sorta "broken" after running last weekend in Albuquerque. Both mentally and physically. Unofficially I have some Achilles Tendinitis on my right foot/heel. After running less than 2 miles the entire week, I was mildly freaking out. But.. there was no time for that.

Saturday, September 25

Our flight left around noon, and as usual, we got out of the house a little late. (Thanks to my last minute trip to Target to get me the new Paul Frank knee high Halloween socks and the kids the new Tinkerbell movie). No problems at the airport, and off to Seattle. I was a bit panicky because I had NOT allowed much time to get from the airport to the Expo to pick up our packets. Luckily we landed a bit early. Go to pick up the rental car... apparently it's off-site. Awesome. By the time we are headed to the Expo we have less than an hour to get there. And then? We get stuck in a nice traffic jam on I-5. Somehow we get to the Courtyard Marriott with about 15 minutes to spare. Only there is nowhere to park. They allow us to leave the car for just long enough to get downstairs to pick up our stuff (as they were packing up, by the way). And then we headed back upstairs to check in. Really awesome goodies! Long sleeve shirt, small bag, and a Bondi band. Headed back upstairs to check in. Find out we have to park a few blocks away or pay $14 for valet. Thanks, we'll walk. The room was pretty nice (better be for as much as we paid to stay there!). Didn't feel like doing anything, so we relaxed and watched a few episodes of "Hoarders" before it was time for... THE BLOGGY MEET-UP!!!I was a bit nervous but totally psyched to finally meet some of the bloggers that I follow. Luckily it was only a short walk for us to get to "The Old Spaghetti Factory" (although the iPhone REALLY seems to have it out for me... got a bit lost AGAIN). Along the way:

Pretty sure that is Mt. Rainer in the distance

Get there only a few minutes late, immediately recognized Tall Mom and we made our way to our private room. WOWZA! Bloggy ladies everywhere! Got our name tags (great idea, we put our blog names on there since that is how most of us are known). Introductions and then lots of pleasant conversation. And of course... carbo load!

Spinach Tortellini with marinara and Italian sausage
L and I shared the fabulous cake, the beer? All mine.
I didn't bring my camera, but some of the other girls did and we got this awesome group shot before we disbanded for the evening:

We all look so... normal!
Oh Yes. We are doing "The Point"
Me and Kim (k2323)
L and I decided we needed to find some beverages for the morning... we ended up having to walk over a mile into the ghetto part of Tacoma. Did you know that absolutely EVERYTHING closes by 6 pm??? Subway, Starbucks, yeah. Everything closed. Got back, gear all ready to go. Early to bed, and with an 8:45 start, we would get to sleep in. HURRAH!!

Sunday, September 26

Got up at 7:10, look out the window... and gloomy, rainy mess outside. Yippee. Decide to braid hair again:

Get everything ready, and then head out to walk to meet the bloggy girls for some pre-race pictures. We run into the pacer team in the lobby and give a quick hello to Tamera (she is the only half fanatic to be at the "sun" level), who we met while running the Foot Traffic Flat back in July. She headed us in the right direction, and we found the girls with no trouble.

T - smartly wearing plastic over her clothes. Me? Not so much.

Team "Will Run For Ice Cream"

Close-up of the Awesomeness!!
Since it was so cold and rainy, we had worn our hoodies. We had 20 minutes to get to the bag drop and use the bathrooms. L was getting panicky so we wished everyone luck and then headed up to the start just a few blocks away.

I really had absolutely NO idea what to expect. No running all week. I decided that the best approach to this race was the same as Hawaii. Go in with NO expectations and then I wouldn't be disappointed with the outcome. It was still cold and rainy at the start and I was a bit worried that my Garmin wouldn't work correctly because it was getting so wet... but nothing to do but wait and see.

We were lined up with the 10 minute mile pace, I gulped down a GU (which I don't normally do at the start)... and off we go. I can "feel" my foot, but it doesn't really hurt... phew!! Try to take it easy, but like most races I start off a bit fast. But feeling good!! L actually wasn't that far ahead of me, and I managed to see her at the first turn-around (in between miles 1 and 2). And then? The hills. Um. I thought this course looked mostly flat. As we had been walking around last night L had made the comment "It's like we are in San Francisco. I hope we don't have to run up any of these." Oh. But we did... in between mile 3 and 4 there was a monster hill. Yuck. Still rainy. Course was very wet, I spent a lot of the time watching my feet to make sure I wasn't steppnig in any really deep puddles or holes. The loop around the park was nice and muddy... and then (FINALLY) some downhill. I saw quite a few of the team kicking major ass - it was so nice to "know" people along the course, made it even more fun. Before I knew it, the 10Kers were splitting off, and off we go.

Around Mile 7

Around Mile 7
Right before the GU station at mile 7.3, I feel it. HORRIBLE cramping. For the first time ever I stop and use the bathroom along the course. I feel better, and off we go. A woman around mile 8 asks if I have the 50 state blog... haha!! I'm "recognizable!" Feeling pretty good, I see L (waaaay ahead of me now), T from Racing with Babes (being paced by Tall Mom for a PR). And then? The damn cramping again! Mile 10-11 was absolutely terrible. I really REALLY didn't want to walk. Even with my bathroom break, a PR was still within reach. I just could NOT do it. I had the worst side ache and had to walk a bit. Luckily it didn't last the rest of the race, and by mile 12 I was doing a lot better. I see the last bridge, and mile marker 13, and I'm ready to sprint to the end (which I do, passing at least a couple ladies in the chute).

Look at me go!!!
 Pretty pleased that I finished in 2:07:08 - all things considered it could have been much worse.

Cute finisher's "medal" (as I described to J, fittingly "girly"):

New PRs for many of the ladies (including L and T!!) Grabbed some goodies, chatted a few minutes, and then we had to be on our way because the super awesome host hotel we were staying at refused late check out. We had less than an hour to get back there to pack and shower.

We checked out only 15 minutes late, and we were pretty annoyed to be blind-sided with a $10 parking fee. Headed to get some lunch - and decided to walk (bad idea with all those hills, I thought L was going to have to drag me) to get pizza. Got lost again (shaking fist at the horrible HORRIBLE iPhone map app).

We got the "Founders Pie"
And for dessert?

Chocolate with Chocolate Buttercream and Carrot Cake
And then we were off... driving to Seattle for our "Washington Event" - the Space Needle. iPhone sorta sucked at directions (shocking), but we managed to find a lot nearby that charged us "only" $8.00 to park, and we walked up MORE hills.

Now included in your admission - picture with an awesome backdrop
Did you know it takes 41 seconds to take the elevator the 520ish feet up? Apparently that's about 10 mph. Felt faster.

View from the top
Outside Pacific Science Center
Headed back to the car so we could drop it off and head back to the airport.

Washington - State #9 - COMPLETE
If there ever came the opportunity to do a race like this again, I would in a heartbeat. Meeting up with my bloggy friends was great, and the atmosphere of the race was FUN. I have missed that in a lot of my other races.

Flight back to Denver uneventful and we didn't get home until almost midnight. I had to stay up another hour or so to give my foot some much needed icing. I think I'll try the same schedule as last week - no running, lots of cross training.