The Last Race of the Season: Brooks Trailhead 15k

Today I ran the Brooks Trailhead 15k.  It’s funny, when I paid for all these races back in January I remember thinking about how fun this was going to be.  How motivating.  How exciting.  I assure you it was all of those things, but I am glad the season is over!  Wahoo!  No more hour long drives to and from Seattle the day before the race to pick up the runners’ packet!  No more stress about how I’m going to drive to the event, park and get to the start line on time!  No more race route mystery!  No more trying to figure out if I should wear a heavier jacket because it might rain!  For now, it’s just the road, the sunshine (or rain), me and a friend from time to time!  That feels good.  Going forward, I’m excited to continue to train with Guinevere for the Beat the Blerch half marathon in September, but that’s months away…

 
I’m discovering what I really like and don’t like about race events:

  • First and foremost, I love races that are seriously fun.  Seriously fun races are made for runners who are interested in making a personal record, interested in authentic athleticism and who really love running, but who also like a schmear of fun frosting over the top.  For example, the Beat the Blerch is one giant potshot at ourselves.  We mock running, laugh about how ridiculous we might be perceiving ourselves, celebrate by taking pictures of ourselves with Nutella and then go out and run at least six miles if not 26.2, thereby negating the loser status that we joked about while prepping for said race.  I like silly.
  • I don’t like 5ks very much anymore.  While they are a great starting point for beginning runners and a great speed race for accomplished ones, I find that many 5ks are full of inexperienced racers who walk, which is fine, but they walk while blocking the entire path.  Aiyiyi.  MOVE!  I feel like if I’m the odd one being annoyed then it’s my job to find a more suitable race.
  • I find that color runs, bubble runs and runs like those attract the most inexperienced and slow racers but they also attract my kids.  I love these races for that reason!  If my kids want to run through clouds of colored powder, go for it.  I’ll even run/walk with them because I don’t give a fig about my time. 😋
  • I like races with longer distances.  These races are great because the runners spread out by the third mile in and you finally have space to breathe.  I like finding the pace with the people around me and supporting one another as we go.  
  • But not too long.  Longer than 11 miles gives my brain hives and worry!
  • Races that have a separation point (like, 10k go to the right, 15k racers go straight) are marvelous.  When I see that moment I realize it’s the extra challenge I offered myself and I always love proving up to myself!
  • Seattle city runs have been my absolute favorite.  I run and hike through nature all the time.  It’s a rare day that I run across the Freemont Bridge, around Lake Union, across the University Bridge, past Pike Place Market, to the top of the Space Needle, across the Aurora Bridge, through freeway tunnels, past marinas- seeing my gorgeous city on my sneakers is just marvelous.  HOLLA SEATTLE!  It’s so special and makes me connect to my roots in an entirely unexpected and special way.  I literally cry sometimes when I drive past the Space Needle anymore (or My Needle, as I call it now).😂*
  • Well attended races are nice because it alleviates ‘last place’ worry for me. πŸ™‚
  • I don’t like races where strollers or dogs are allowed.  If it’s a pet or baby run, fine, but those things really cause a hazard when you’re focused and running.
  • Races show me possibilities.  Not only can I run all the way around Lake Union, now, which is ridiculous in and of itself, I also ran an extra 5k on top of that for badassery (to make the distance a full 15k).  I can run around Lake Union?  What witchery is this, I ask of you?!  Running that far doesn’t seem like it should be in my purview.  😋

Today’s race met a lot of the qualifiers for ‘good race’.  Well attended, at Gasworks Park, all over Seattle and fun stuff like silly signs, JP Patches statues, Ghostbusters…  But the best part was that I had a rarity: In general, I drive myself to and from my events.  I just don’t like to bother my family with excessive driving around at 6:00AM on a Sunday morning!  So usually I run across the finish line alone, to no one.  It’s not a hard thing to be alone, it is lonely, but not hard.  However, today Bradley and Jude came along because I thought parking would be a nightmare.  It wasn’t, but que sera, sera, the bonus was that I had people at the finish line!  It was so motivating to run toward that hug, that kiss, my boys…  The last mile was totally ran on daddy dust and my finish line was the sweetest one ever.  Even if the announcer did announce my age to the entire audience (and then said I looked 28-sweet man)!  My time stunk- 1:42 with 11:42 average splits.  One of my splits was actually in the 12’s and only one was in the tens, but I ran it all and only walked when I drank the Nuun, so it’s an accomplishment, no matter what (running and drinking means I get bubbles, burpy and sick so I walk if I drink on run).  Because I thought the race was next weekend, I wasn’t as trained up as I should have been, but I’m okay with that.  πŸ™‚  
*This season- not just on this race!

Busy = ConfusedΒ 

This week kind of slapped me upside the head and hollered WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?  I made lofty goals to start HIIT training, a run or two, some walks and if I felt like it, some weight work.  On top of that, I was supposed to keep my nutrition on point and start dabbling in macros.  😂👍👏 Yeah- the joke’s on me.

  I ended the week simply confused.  This morning I looked back on my week with a bit of shock.  First off, on Monday I realized that I had a 15k THIS Sunday, not NEXT weekend like I originally thought.  That put my running schedule on compromise, so I ended up not running once this week.  I only took a few walks…  I also just plain got busy.  During this time of year, school hits fever pitch with end of the year assessments/ projects/ celebrations/ assemblies and I totally got caught up in it.  As its the end of the year, the kids are also whipping up into their pre-summer frenzy and I’m just mentally impacted with the amount of projects and second-grader-ness.  I came home just drained every day.  We also had track practice, a track meet, variety show practice, and, you now, life to live at home and it just ended up being one of those weeks.  And those weeks usually end with me with an entirely skewed perspective of who I am, how I’m doing and the control I have over my health.

This week I ate when I was hungry.  Mostly I ate what I wanted so it was more carbohydrate- rich diet than usual.  I ate pasta one night.  I ate ice cream two nights.  I had one binge night where I ate some bites  ice cream, a bag of pop chips and a pudding- all appropriate serving sizes, but still, not terribly healthy.  This is week number two of being off track, so that’s frustrating.  However, I have not lighten up a little and allow for craziness and realize that thought crime and smelling nummy things is not going to impact my actual outcome.  I’m ok!

That said, having all of my habits out of whack also means that I feel fat one minute and svelte the next.  I feel hideous one moment and gorgeous the second.  I feel like I’ve got this eating healthy thing down, and then I shrink in horror at some of the choices I make.  I’m not sure if I’m coming or going right now, truth be told.  It’s weird and discomforting.  I feel exhausted from being too vigilant all the time.  I was looking at a picture of my family and me the other day and I missed myself from then.  When I thought about it, I missed the carefree way that I approached life. I missed not thinking and rethinking every choice I make to insure it’s the best one.  You see, these days making a choice to watch tv means missing an opportunity to play with my kids, hang with my husband, work out, research healthy living, write my blog…  I have a bajillion other chores that over complicate my life, most glaring is my health shift and I’m intent on staying on track, but I’m tired!

Anyhow, rant over.  It’s just weird, lately.  And guess who realized reading glasses are heavenly?  Moi!  That’s some soothing balm- I’ve wanted glasses since I realized what glasses were and looked longingly at my big brother’s pair that I wasn’t allowed to touch.  Now I have my very own.  Yay?

The Spring Beats 10K

  

Last night I ran the Spring Beats 10k.  Yes- that’s right.  I said night.  It was really weird to participate in an official race at night.  All day long I was very aware that I had a race to run later that night, so I didn’t eat a lot, drank in moderation, stretched a lot…  And truth be told, I ended up running a pretty great race!  My goal was to run all my miles in less than 11 minutes and I am pleased to say that I met/creamed that goal!  As I was cruising along, the voice from Map My Run that announces how far you’ve gone and what your pace is told me I was running faster than usual and I decided to just keep that pace.  But I’d been running mostly uphill at that point and as the trail started sloping down, unbeknownst to me, my pace picked up!  When I realized u ran the next mile at 9:34, I decided to keep that pace…  And did so for one more mile.  From there I stayed in the mid-tens, but I’m so proud!  According to my tracking devices, I made my new 10k PR of 1:04!  I felt really proud!  Unfortunately, the 10k route was more like 10k with an extra half mile, because my tracker also told me that I ran 6.7 miles, not 6.2.  Races usually aren’t spot-on, but this one was a lot longer than most and resulted in the recorded time being 1:10.  That may sound silly, but I checked two different devices against it and both of them reported the same extra half mile irregularity.  I would be curious about what happened with other people, as well.  Regardless, it was a lot of fun!  If you’re a data nerd like me, then this is for you:

 

I was really looking forward to the after party.  I don’t usually do those kinds of things, so it was definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone to commit to a beer party after I ran six miles.  When I first read about it, I thought it was a bottomless beer garden for ten bucks.  I got a little excited at the prospect of partying, something I’ve not done since my early 20’s, so I bought the beer garden ticket!  I imagined me and several of my running buddies getting loose lipped until the wee hours around a cheap table in a pub tent.  The details came out a few days ago, though: my ten bucks bought two beers and you’d better be finished with ’em by 10:00 cuz it’s lights out.  Seriously different.  Cut to last night where we stood around in a tight circle, shimmying to Prince songs, chatting and getting plenty cold and full of beer as to be home by 9:30.  Was it different than I thought?  Yes.  But I had a lot of fun, actually, hanging out with Jessica and the Nicoles for the after party and I’d do it again.

  
Now today?  I have no idea what’s up except that my lunch is up.  So is my breakfast.  It’s not so good times for this lady today as I’ve been throwing up all day.  Don’t tell me it was the beer.  😛 I hate being sick so MUCH!  Especially stomach flu sick.  Just, no thank you.  Ugh.  Back to happier times…

Food: My Best Frenemy

 
{Jude and me at his Mother’s Day luncheon.  So stinking cute!  And has nothing to do with this post!}

My relationship with food has been changing so much lately and I’m starting to feel confused about things.  Food has always been my frenemy.  I loooove food.  First, it’s delicious.  Of course.  It is marvelous used to distract me from things as flavors burst in my mouth, giving a tiny, brief, yet powerful mini-break from whatever is lurking in my immediate future.  Food also happens to be one of my favorite hobbies.  I love to cook.  It’s a meaningful and necessary means of entertainment.  When I was a kid I wanted to have a bakery and I spent hours upon hours in the kitchen trying out cookie recipes.  As an adult, when a Saturday isn’t full of events, I like to spend the afternoon in the kitchen making a stick-to-your-ribs, comfort-food kind of meal, heavy with potatoes, cheese and slow cooking hours.

But food has also been my greatest struggle.  I have overused it for a distraction against stress and as self-love during my whole life as it developed into a series binging episodes and food hoarding behaviors that ended with me in a very dangourous position from a health standpoint.  I never thought I was an emotional eater until one night I was stressing about not eating everything in sight and I spied a bottle of diet coke.  I grabbed it,  guzzled it down and as it did it filled my stomach, then the carbonation hit and filled it out even more giving the feeling of being stuffed full of food.  It was like a switch hit in my brain ‘stuffed full’ and finally my need to keep eating finished off.  I realized that I didn’t just like the taste of food, I was also chasing the ‘hug’ my too-full stomach gave once I reached capacity and felt stuffed.  I immediately felt all kinds of embarrassment at the realization that I was one of those kinds of girls.  The ones who eat their feelings.  Ugh.  

Obviously food made me really unhealthy.   My relationship with it was an emotional one so food grew to mean much more than nutrition to me- it was reliable, emotional security.  So I ate a lot of it and I hated it.  I knew that each bite of ice cream, each extra slice of pizza, each time I justified nachos as a ‘meal’ that I was making myself fatter, unhealthier and the mountain top was becoming just that much harder to reach.  While eating, having and being fat isn’t a bad thing, for me it was an unhealthy thing.  Immobilizing thing.  As much as I wanted to eat all the yummy foods, another part of me wanted to never eat again.  I didn’t want to make healthy or unhealthy food choices, I didn’t want to think about portion sizes, I didn’t want to constantly battle temptations.  I just wanted food to be easy and easy looked like making black and white decisions: bread, BAD!  French fries: BAD!  Celery: GOOD!  But in doing so I often ended up making things harder for myself as cutting myself off from ice cream and full fat sour cream makes me crazy and then flips me right back into a binge cycle.  It’s vicious.

Cut to now, 149 pounds down and trying to figure out how to eat, and it’s hard.  My relationship with food is so convoluted and confusing.  For so long I’ve just loved or hated food.  I’ve controlled food by hiding it in my bedroom for future ’emergencies’ and I’ve also ‘cleaned my cupboards’ to protect myself from making bad choices. I control my calories.  I eat so flipping intentionally that it’s exhausting.  Now I’m trying to find the balance.  I don’t want to obsess over food anymore.  I am constantly walking the slippery slope of eating too much, not enough, too junky or ridiculously healthy.  This week I was really busy- like, I ate my lunch on my feet kind of busy.  The kind of ‘so busy’ that I returned home each day with a nearly full lunch sack, so I justified eating a little extra here and there as I cooked dinner to ‘make up’ for what I missed earlier.  I did a good job of not night eating, but I also did a good job of lying to myself a little bit because, while I didn’t eat after 7:30, I made sure to pre-eat enough so I felt like I got what I deserved when I missed eating my lunch.  Why couldn’t I have just moved on, eaten my dinner and been done with it?  Instead, I made sure to eat all of my allowed calories, even though I wasn’t even hungry.

Am I actually saying anything here as I’m rambling on and on about food?  I suppose I’ve just illustrated the point around me being confused about food as I’m trying to renegotiate my relationship with it.  I just want it to be easy.  I want to eat an apple and not congratulate myself that I made a healthy food choice and then continue to remark, in my head, over and over about how much “I really love apples, so sweet, crunchy and delicious- the perfect satisfying carb for a healthy eater like me!”  Just eat the damn apple.  I also don’t want to get my sour cream out and have to justify and obsess over how big of a spoonful to take because I really want to just get out the tortilla chips and eat the whole container, just like that.  (What IS it about sour cream, I ask of you?!?). I just want to eat it.  All of it.  Food dominates my life and I’m sick of it.

Maybe that’s why I’m looking into and trying to figure out macros now.  It seems like a formula.  While it does involve a high level of control with all the weighing and prepping and serving sizes, it also takes a lot of the active thinking about food out of the equation.  Suddenly, instead of good or bad foods I just have the thing there to grab.  No worries over serving sizes after I’ve prepped it all on Sunday, or attempts to convince myself of one thing or another, I will just be eating it because it’s the thing I’ve planned to eat.  I don’t know…  It’s a task that never seems complete, this whole getting fit and healthy thing.  πŸ˜‰  But as the bracelet I wear every day on my wrist says:  
  

Mother’s Day

Today I decided to do a day in the life…  Mother’s Day version!

  
I actually slept in!  I didn’t wake up this morning until 7:30 or so and it was heavenly.  As soon as we were rustling, my little buddy came in to give me a Mother’s Day foot rub while Bradley grabbed my coffee and a chocolate croissant that I thought would be delicious but ended up being grosser than gross.  

  
We headed to St. Ed’s for a quick hike.  I managed to only step on one slug while there, so that was nice.  Even though I didn’t have a big plan to run or anything, we ended up making decent time on the trail, especially considering we had the two kids along with us.  Jude was interested in running a lot of it and who am I to discourage that?!?!  

  
When we got home I made ‘grandma pancakes’ for the first time ever in my life.  Really, they are more commonly called Swedish pancakes or crepes, but they were the specialty of my German great grandmother.  On special occasions my mom made stacks of them and we’d fill a bazillion of them with applesauce, canned pears, peaches, jam and powdered sugar.  Today my favorite was the laughing cow cheese with marmalade.  Yummy yumma!after that we played some Wii and Sorry, opened some presents…

  
After eating buttery crepes filled with cheese and sugar, it felt even more imperative that I make my 10,000 steps today so I forced Bradley to take another walk with me.  πŸ™‚ I’m sure it was simply miserable to walk and chat with his wife on a sunny afternoon.  He even let me go extra long so I could sniff on that yellow rose again.  It was funny, too, because right before we got there we saw another woman sniffing the same roses!  I’m not alone!  While we were out we found someone’s mail that had been stolen so we walked that back to them.  Check off the good deed for the day.  πŸ˜‰ 

  
My family spoiled me by making dinner (burritos) AND doing the dishes followed by a little live music.  The last thing I did before heading upstairs to write this post was eat the embarrassingly named ‘Next Best Thing To Robert Redford’ while watching Napoleon Dynamite with Gigi.  My mom used to make the dessert when I was a kid and I have to imagine there are a legion of kids from the 1980’s who remember the delish taste of layered pudding dessert bearing the name of our children’s grandmother’s sex symbols!  How fitting that we celebrations my status of motherhood with such an appropriately named dessert?  Though I think I might substitute the celebrity for one of my Tamaraesque substitutions…  Next Best Thing to John Krasinski?  Ewan McGregor?  Donnie Wahlberg?  Colin Firth?  Oh, Tamarella.  Poor Robert Redford Never had a chance.  LOL!

   
And to all a good night!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Goals

  
It was interesting being a part of the accountability group this week.  It became really important to me to meet the goals I had set and I pushed myself a lot harder with the added peer pressure.  I ran on Wednesday and then actually (almost)  met my mileage goal of 15 miles, total, with two Zumba classes.  Today I needed to run nine miles to meet my mileage goal and, in my opinion, I definitely got close enough!

It made me really think about goals and how powerful they can be.  I have the meta goals in mind, all the time, and hope that those with guide me.  However, after returning to keeping the goals for the week in the forefront of my mind really drove me a lot harder.  I wasn’t as willing to let myself off the hook and did things I didn’t want to do just to meet the goals. 

When I started the group, I looked up guidance for goal asking and found an acronym to keep your goals ‘smart’:

Specific – Rather than β€œgo running,” say β€œrun ten miles this week.”

Measurable
– Can you tell when you have achieved the goal? I know whether or not I make my mileage!

Attainable
– The goal should be achievable (even if it’s a stretch). More than 30 miles becomes a time issue for me to do weekly.  

Relevant
– Each small goal should relate to whatever your bigger goals are. I want to be healthy and live longer.

Time-bound
– Be clear when you will complete each goal. I make my goals in weeklong increments, guided by bigger time markers like ‘end of the school year’, or ‘by Christmas.’

This made me realize that I was relying on habit and long distance goals to guide me.  I didn’t have quantifiable, measurable goals; they were too ambiguous.  I wasn’t holding myself accountable and, as a result, I haven’t been making progress in the fat loss area like I want to.  I’m more pleased than I thought I would be with the accountability group.  I really and truly think it’s making a positive difference in my life!  

This week my goal is dialed back in the running area.  I have a 15k on Saturday night so I want utmost healing to happen before then.  I am running just once or twice and I’ll also dance Zumba on Tuesday and Thursday.  In addition to the working out, I’m stopping night eating, drinking more water and trying to wean myself off of the diet coke even more.  I’m also off but I’ll confess to a two liter purchased for Mother’s Day!  

May the Fourth

 
  
I started the accountability group on Facebook.  So far it’s been really fun to keep up with everyone and have a constant stream of people posting what they are doing to meet their goals for the week.  It’s funny how seeing other people getting out makes me want to do the same.  I can say, without a doubt, that I would not have gone for a short run on Monday and I definitely wouldn’t have gone for a run today.  On Monday it was hot and today I wasn’t feeling it, but I wanted to be able to post in the group so I went out and did the work that earned me the reward post.  My run was literally sponsored and motivated by peer pressure from the group.  It’s funny how saying it out loud makes it more real, somehow.  I love being able to share my hobby with people, so to make such an inviting group with the purpose of doing exactly that has been marvelous.  

On top of that, look at those flowers!  I’ve been amazed at how quickly the season is churning through the flowers.  A few weeks ago it was cherry blossoms, then last week the rhododendrons dropped their blossoms, today I spied these beautiful poppies, smelled the most fragrant rose ever and before we know it I’ll be crunching through the autumnal leaves and marveling at the Christmas lights.  Funny, this cyclical life.  This predictable life.  It really makes the stopping and smelling the roses seem all the more important; creating tiny moments every day.

  
I’ve been thinking a lot about nutrition lately.  I’m solid on the working out but my eating is not all that great.  I will say I eat a good amount of super healthy foods with a generous serving of ice cream and almonds.  Example? 

Breakfast: sausage, coffee, granola bar

Snack
: carrots & hummus

Lunch
: chik nuggets, 1/2 an apple

Snack
: cheese stick, pop chips

Dinner
: riced cauliflower, sour cream, broccoli, vegan ‘beef’, cheddar, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms

Dessert
: 1/2 cup smoked almonds, ice cream cone, long-sized graham cracker, 2 squares chocolate, entire apple

Ridiculous.

As a one- off night I wouldn’t really care, but this is starting to look like a habit.  And this habit will require more than a little Zumba and running to keep up with!  No thanks!

I asked for a scale for Mother’s Day because I want to start practicing weighing food and seeing what it looks like when I eat macros.  Everywhere I read about it I hear the same thing: once I started eating macros the weight melted off, then once I started eating macros for muscle build, I got shredded!  And the people I see eating this way are always eating piles of delicious food, so it’s worth a try.

Macros, boiled down, is a lot like weight watchers, its just not packaged quite like WW.  You eat for your body, measuring out exact amounts of protein, carbs and fats based on your weight and activity levels.  It’s not rocket science but it is a new way of prepping and thinking about food that I’m excited to try.  After years of eating around 1400-1600 calories per day, I think I need to eat a little bit more unless I want to sustain that for life.  According to this macros calculator, I actually should be eating 1975 calories per day.  I’ve been shifting my eating to make that adjustment…  Perhaps that’s why my food has been all whack-a-do lately.  I’m not used to letting up and relaxing the reins with myself and I can see why.  I go off leash and hit the kitchen pretty hard!  My goal next week is to dial back the night eating.  I’ll ween myself this week.  πŸ™‚

***I haven’t forgotten about the folks who read here for the group.  πŸ™‚