Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve-Eve!

Have any of you done the "Elf Yourself" thing, or was that so 2009?  Well, we missed it last year, but cracked ourselves up doing it this year.  Maybe it will crack you up, too.  Enjoy!

Click here to see how the Opposite Family "Elved" Ourselves!

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve weekend, and find lots to laugh about and enjoy!  As for us, I'm taking the Things to a local kids' party place full of inflatable play structures for a very active New Year's Eve party (which ends at 6 p.m., just our speed!).  Hopefully Thing 2 won't mind if I bounce a little, too.  And Mr. Handsome-and-Handy will get a few hours' peace and quiet after the excitement of having the kids home on vacation all week!

P.S. Oh, and I have a shameless plug for my alma mater:  the Cal Poly universities create a float each year for the Tournament of Roses parade.  They'd really love to receive the KTLA Viewers' Choice Award [click here to go to the voting page - voting is open 8 a.m. - 2:10 p.m. PST].  I vote for their float each year, not just because I went to college at one of these schools, but because unlike most of the other floats, this one is completely created by students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona.  Theirs have been the only student-built floral floats in the parade since 1949.  (Note to self:  Add "help with the Cal Poly rose float during a future Deco Week" to my bucket list; I think it's the only thing I regret not doing during my college years.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Here!

This one's a bit of a non-post and a ramble, just to try and capture my end-of-year mood and show that I'm still here.

I hoped today would be the day that I finally got to post my half-marathon story.  It was such an amazing experience, and I feel like I should have eagerly jumped all over it and had it done by now.  It tends to keep getting sidetracked by...well, just about everything:  holiday hanging out; feasting, playing, and resting with my family; going back to work after a nice week off; hitting the gym again.  I started writing about it again last night, but I realized that it wasn't going to get finished, and I felt so frustrated.  I had time over vacation, but I didn't do it then, either.  Why am I putting this off?

Health and fitness-wise, I pretty much took the holidays off.  No tracking, no weighing/measuring/portion control, lazily eyed the carb intake, was less scrupulous about fiber and veggies.  I think it was kind of a reaction to the panicked clamping down earlier in the month.  So I think I'm just going to try gradually picking up the reins again and easing them in.  Keep doing at least my minimum fitness goals; use portion control on the protein and carb and saturated fat items; aim for at least 3 veggie servings per day.  I guess just go back to my "ordinary time" eating and fitness, and see what happens from there.

Thing is, I'm not fired up.  I'm not eager to jump back in and set goals...yet.  I'm usually not ready for all the New Year's hype, and I am not one for making the infamous "New Year's Resolutions."  I'll come up with some 2011 plans, and fairly soon, but not just right now.

I do hope everyone enjoys a wonderful end-of-2010 and close of the holiday season!  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Week 4 of the Holiday Hoedown!

UGH!!!!  I can't believe how the holidays went from nothing much going on to EVERYTHING going on!!!  Eeeeek!  But I know, that's what it usually does and we'll get through it.

So, how did last week go for this Tinsel Vixen?  Pretty well!
  • I exercised 285 minutes last week!  And I was so excited to meet my goal of 1000 miles of activity for this year! (I counted everything:  walking, running, biking, spinning, elliptical, and swimming.)  

  • I did the Tinsel Vixens Mini-circuit!  In case you're curious, here's what Team Tinsel Vixen came up with for a strength circuit. We did not specify weight or number of reps, but most routines I've seen recommend 10-15 reps (each side for the one-sided ones) in a set for the arms and legs.

  • Fruits & veggies?  You know it!
  • Water - I didn't track that this week, but with all the tea and coffee, I'm sure I was close.
  • Scale-wise, I'm down .6 lb from last Wednesday, to +.2 of the weight I was at the beginning of the challenge.  So I'd say that's moving in the right direction.  (Unfortunately, it's up a couple of pounds from Friday.  My week/weekend eating is kind of like Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde.)

  • Blood glucose levels: 7-day average is 101, fasting 7-day average is 103.
  • Fun stuff:  Got to see the Harry Potter 7 Part 1 movie.  Very well done, even if there were some parts that were filmed as an obvious bow to the 3-D movie experience - at least no gratuitous plot changes like in HP6, but I'm sure there were several side-story things that would make those who hadn't read the books wonder, "Huh?"  Mr. Handsome-and-Handy also got a date night to see rock guitarist Gary Hoey!  If you like rock & roll instrumentals, his "Ho Ho Hoey" series of Christmas albums are a treat. The show was FANTASTIC!  The venue was rather small, and there were way less people than we were expecting, but they put on a show worthy of a stadium.  Best of all, the band genuinely seemed to enjoy performing, and that makes for a good show.  I also took the kids to a great birthday party, which included a nature walk/scavenger hunt and playing in a ship-inspired fort and in the mud.
  • And aaaaaack!  I'm so far behind on my race report and book review!  I'll see what I can do, but I'm not sure I will be getting it done before next week.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week 3 of the Holiday Hoedown!

Just a quick update from Week 3 of the "Holiday Hoedown!"

  • Exercise minutes: 333 minutes last week
  • Weight change: Down 1.2 pounds this week, but I'm still up .8 for the challenge and am 3 pounds away from where I usually maintain.  With a few planned exceptions, I'm still on portion control and a calorie budget until I get back to my usual maintenance weight and stick it for a couple of weeks.  I think this will take about 3-6 weeks.
  • "Try something new" challenge: Does a distance PR of 13.1 miles count? I certainly think so. It's 5.1 miles farther than I've ever propelled myself on foot.
  • Doing the "Tinsel Vixen" circuit: Didn't happen this week.
  • Food goal of 1 no-junk food day: I crushed this one. I went junk-food free 4 of 7 days this past week. For me, this meant no "sugar added" sweets (sugar-free stuff with some nutritive value, such as the sugar-free caramel latte I enjoyed on Friday, was okay). I also kept within my calorie budget 3 of the 4 days on which I fully tracked food intake.
  • Food goal of 3 fruit/veggie servings: I met this one 6/7 days last week.
  • Saying one nice thing about myself each day: The Tinsel Vixens added this goal as the more concrete (and often achievable) version of "no negative thoughts."  I don't really struggle much with being overly critical about myself, this week especially. I was lucky to be in the company of friendly companions, which eased my anxiety about the social aspects.  The race was well-suited to walkers as well as runners, so thoughts of athletic inadequacy didn't creep in, either. I'm still in thankful awe of my body and its ability to endure the crazy stunts I throw its way.

As you can see, the Tinsel Vixens were well represented!  Perfect shirt or what?!?  
Not sure what makes more attractive headwear, though: bondi band or swim cap...
Left to right:  Jr. McBody, blogger Foodie McBody, and me!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quickie Update

Hi Everybody!

I'm back from my trip to Las Vegas for the Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon!  I met my goals of finishing before the cutoff time of 4 hours (made it in 3:28:29), having fun, and staying alive and uninjured.  I don't have time right now to do justice to the thrilling tale, but you can check out the wonderful recap (with slideshow!) written by Foodie McBody (click here).

I'm also over 3/4 of the way through blogger Charlotte Hilton-Andersen's book, The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything.  Her experience is nearly the polar opposite of mine, with regard to food and fitness and body image, but I've learned so much from her blog, and now the book.  She's a great writer and this is a fantastic read; it made plane travel and waiting around airports a pleasure.  (And no, I'm not just saying that because I'm a parent and when you have children, any time you get to sit by yourself and read something without cutting into sleep time is a bonus!)  I can hardly wait to review it!  (But sorry, the race report is going to come first.)

More to come...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Week 2 of the Holiday Hoedown!

Well, we're wrapping up week 2 of the Holiday Hoedown!

I did great with the exercise: 298 minutes!  I didn't meet some of my personal goals, such as getting in a 10-miler before the 1/2 marathon this Sunday (!?!) or getting that 2nd day of strength training in there.  But oh well.

On the days I paid attention, I did fine with the fruit & veggie & fluid intake.  Thanksgiving was wonderful, and although I ate too much, I got a lot of healthy stuff in there.  (I need to be more like my kids - their favorite part of Thanksgiving was the game time after dessert with the grown-ups!  I did enjoy playing catch with my son in the backyard, until dog poo got on the football...and on us.  Ew.  How quickly we forget - I guess I'm still not used to them having a dog, and as we played catch, I caught whiff of a funky smell.  "This ball smells funky!  What IS that?"  There obviously wasn't enough on there to immediately catch my attention.)

It was the days after that were tricky, snack-wise.  We also had a birthday celebration in there for Mr. Handsome & Handy's birthday, so that meant bowling and eating out and cake.  It was lovely!  But I'm back on track as of Monday with the "Tinsel Vixen" food & fluid goals.

Bummed to say I'm up a pound, having hit my *gasp* weight and battled it back down a little.  I really thought I'd see it go down more.  (You mean I'm going to have to have more than 2 on-track days to correct this little problem?  Damn.)  I'm looking over my chart of weight from the past year, and I noticed an interesting trend:  the last time it bobbed up like this - other than a freak surge at the end of April - was back in March, around the time change, and it took about a month to get things regulated again.  Maybe I just get a bit more peckish when the seasons change.  Or it might just be a coincidence, because I didn't see this pattern play out in 2009, and it didn't stop me in 2008 when I was still in fat-loss mode.  Whatever.

So my oh-so-lofty food goal is to refresh my "food training" to the right portion sizes (by weighing, measuring, and calorie tracking for the rest of the "Holiday Hoedown" - in addition to fluid and fruit/veggie goals) and to keep on with the fitness goals (5 days x30 minutes, 2 strength segments of 15 minutes or greater) .  Hopefully, the result will be ending the year within 1 pound of where I started it.  (3 fewer pounds would meet that goal; 4 fewer pounds would see me weighing exactly the same.) P.S. - Oh, and try something new fitness-wise, ala the Week 3 challenge.  I have a Zumba DVD set from the library that's just waiting to be reviewed!

P.S. Forgot to include a blood glucose update!  14-day average was 107, fasting average 102.  All readings for the past 2 weeks were below 120, only 2 were above 110 fasting.  Much improved!  In spite of all the fun weekend stuff.  I guess riding my stationary bike at night has been especially helpful with the morning numbers, much as I don't like to save exercise for the last thing I do in the day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving + Holiday Hoedown Update for Week 1!


Hope everyone enjoys a wonderful holiday!  I'm so looking forward to it!  We'll be doing the arduous journey of about 1 mile to Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's brother's family's place and sharing the day with them.  We'll be bringing fresh fruit (salad or tray, I'm still deciding) and steamed broccoli, as well as rolls and pumpkin pie, and they and our sister-in-law's family will be doing all the other stuff.  (They always BBQ their turkey, which makes it nice and smoky and crispy...yum!)

I'm so humbly thankful for all of the good stuff during the year.  I'm especially thankful that we had good news from Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's eye appointment yesterday.  His eye pressure is back to normal and all of the restrictions (riding in a car, driving, exertion, reading) are done!  He has a bit of fuzziness, but the doctor said that ought to clear up when the dilating eye drops wear off. Follow up appointment in a couple of months. WHEW! Thanks, everyone, for the good thoughts, prayers, etc.!

Holiday Hoedown - Week 1 Update

I'm also grateful for my upbeat and very interactive team, the Tinsel Vixens!  Woot!

This past week I was up .4 lb, which I'd be fine with if I wasn't a couple of pounds up from my "happy" weight.

However, I will claim success on meeting the team goals of at least 3 fruit or veggie servings per day (and even though I eat a lot of veggies normally, the weekend was a bit harder that way) and exceeded the 30 minutes x 3 days goal by doing my personal goal of 30+ minutes x 5 days.

I didn't quite hit it all the time with reining in the eating as much as I ought to have done, but I did bring my lunch each day and packed good, healthy stuff.  I was especially proud of meeting my basic exercise goals, because the past week was pretty crazy, and I had to do the stationary biking after everyone else was snoozing away for the night, instead of wandering off for a long walk/run or going to the gym at lunch during the week.  I was also proud of me for getting in 2 strength days instead of just one.  Even though the 2nd one was kind of short, it was more doing something outside of class that was the point.

Blood glucose numbers were also looking a lot better; will report later, as my meter is not handy at the moment.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Hoedown! + Weekly Update, 11/17/10

Hi Everybody!

It's been awhile since I've done the "Weekly Update" posts.  Here are the past month's goings-on:
4*(5*(work, eat, supervise homework, ooo candy! squeeze in workout) + 2*(birthday party, supervise kids' school projects, eat, workout)) + Halloween events + company over + cookie baking + helping @ school +  date night + date breakfast + appointments for ankle problems + work lunches out + Diwali work event + sporadic half-marathon training + >1 week of new windows getting installed = crazy month for Opposite Family. (And I probably even missed some stuff)
And that's JUST THE START of the holidays!

Feeling Fall-Challenged

Most of you know that I log my food over on "Pubsgal Eats" (usually), taking pictures and showing what I've been eating, with sometimes the odd recipe or commentary, although I've been a bit sporadic about that lately.  I feel like I've really been...I don't know if "struggling" to take good care of myself is the right word. Maybe a feeble kick or two in my mind, but not in my actions, if that makes any sense.

I think this is a pretty common occurrence in the fall. I was dealing with the *same stuff* with respect to daily feeding last year:
"I'm not doing so hot with my eating at home...I've pin-pointed it to stress-feeding, and I need to figure out a better outlet than grabbing salty, high-calorie snackage." - Pubsgal, November 2009
So the scale is only up a couple of pounds and in my "maintenance" range (I claim a 5 pound range, and am usually at the lower end of it); big deal, huh?  But what worries me is my fasting blood glucose trend is off.  My post-meal numbers are generally pretty good, but my fasting ones are a good indicator to me of when everything is truly on track.  Last week, I had 2 readings over 110 and 3 of 120 or greater - a trend that worries me, but I think I can rein it in with better food habits, especially in the evening.

What did I do then...and need to do now?  Probably just kept returning to what I'd trained myself to do:

  • Space small meals through the day, balancing carbs and proteins.  
  • Aim for my 30 grams of fiber per day.  
  • Grab "free foods" instead of the nuts or "meat doggies."  (That still makes me chuckle, Debby!)
  • Weigh and measure portions.
  • Bring healthy lunches to work 4 days per week.  
  • Move the problem foods out of sight/reach/mind:  Put the nuts up on the higher shelf in the food closet and perhaps get my husband to hide the rest of the kids' Halloween candy (rather than put it in a place that's not the kitchen but that I still know about).

On the other hand, I still feel this:
"I'm not too freaked out about the holidays, oddly enough. Sometimes it feels like a precarious balance, getting all the healthy stuff I need in my diet and allowing for enough of the stuff I love to eat (that doesn't fit into the first category), so that I don't feel deprived and like this living healthy stuff is not worth it all. Not to mention getting in enough exercise to keep me content! But I'd say that's the biggest difference between last year and this one. Last year, I was so afraid that taking a rest day unscheduled or making an "active rest" day out of a workout day would totally switch my track for a return trip to Couchville. This year, I feel (paradoxically) more free to change up my schedule as needed, because the need to workout is now a part of me. I trust it like I didn't before." - Pubsgal, November 2009
Other than some fine tuning - which I've done before and will need to do over & over again - things are still good overall.

Enter...The Challenge!

So even though I usually don't do challenges, I could not resist the latest team-based on over on Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans:  The Holiday Hoedown!

The team I'm on, the "Tinsel Vixens," are a group of gals who want to focus more on healthy habits than number on the scale.  That's my kind of challenge!

Our goals will build over the weeks, and there are challenges for all the teams.  For week 1, our group's goals are:

  • 30 minutes of exercise 3 days per week; track time in Daily Mile (Will definitely meet or exceed with half-marathon training and my "prescribed" type 2 diabetes regimen of at least 30 minutes x 5 days, and I already track on Daily Mile - I'm there as "Pubsgal," if you want to connect there.)
  • 3 servings of fruits or vegetables per day (Since veggies are my main carb source, no problemo there.)
  • No negative self-talk ("Damn straight there ain't gonna be negative self-talk, Pubsgal!  Now drop and give me 20, ya crunchy granola California freak!"  <- Er, that last part is actually an endearment from my Inner Boot Camp Instructor.  I'm rather proud to be a crunchy granola California freak. ;-)  

My personal goals for next week are:

  • 7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: Post meal average less than 120, all fasting numbers 110 or less. 
  • Weight goal: Maintain or lower.
  • Food goals:  Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.; it's perfectly okay to not clean a measured-portion plate.  Reach for "free food" snacks instead of the high fat/salt/calorie snacks. Pass by some of the "just a taste of this" and "I'll have a dab of that".  Oh, and aim for bringing healthy lunches rather than eating out. 
  • Make 2 of my workouts strength workouts.  (I'm good about going to CardioSculpt class, can improve on doing something on my own, which might help me from getting too sore at class.)
  • Get in a long walk/run this weekend.
  • Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night (which means being in bed before 10 p.m.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Can a Soup Can Workout Impact *My* Blood Glucose Levels? (Big Blue Test)

Well, I had fully intended to do my Big Blue Test at the proper date and time.  But then, I had to get in a long run/walk, and I thought (ha!) that I'd have time later in the day to do a test.  Little did I think that I'd be so enthralled by the day that I'd go a little over 8 miles!  Well, wouldn't you with this kind of a view?

And I came across this during my stroll and though it was pretty darn funny.

Maybe the same could be said about the gelato I ate at the halfway point.  I had originally planned on going 6 miles, but it turns out my meanderings took me 7.5, so I did some neighborhood loops to get it to 8.

Afterward, I thought to myself, "Whew!  What a workout.  And if I were doing my half-marathon, I'd still have 5 more miles to go.  Yikes!"

So Big Blue Test got tabled until today.

Belated Big Blue Test

My experiment for Big Blue Test ( was to see what impact seated, upper body weight exercises with soup cans would have on my blood glucose levels.  I was curious about this, because upper body strength exercises might be one of the few options for people with limited mobility.

I assembled my equipment:  2 soup cans (approx. 2 lbs each), 1 blood glucose meter, 1 list of exercises.  Since it was a gorgeous day, I took it all to the park during my lunch break.

My last snack was at 10:30 a.m. (dry roasted wasabi edamame and 2 Tbsp chia seeds in green tea), and it was 1 p.m. when I started my test.  I tested my blood glucose levels.  Starting blood glucose level: 101

For 14 minutes, I did the following upper-body exercises while seated:
  • Bicep curls (1st set done alternating arms, 2nd set done both arms at the same time)
  • Triceps extensions (1st set done alternating arms, 2nd set done both arms at the same time)
  • Front raise
  • Shoulder press
  • Side raise
  • Triceps kickback (I didn't kneel on the bench, I just laid down over my thigh.  Bad form, that.)
  • Upright row
  • Shrugs (do these even really do anything?)
  • Bent-over row (These I did do with proper form)
  • Bent-over raises 
I did one set (15 repetitions) of all of these, and then I got through the triceps kickbacks on my second set.  I thought I'd get 2 or 3 sets in and worried about having enough to do - I obviously overestimated how quickly I could do these!

When the timer went off, I retested my blood glucose levels. Ending blood glucose level: 98.  Hmmm...

What happened?

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by the result.  My test last year - 15 minutes of moderate walking - had amazed me.  (Click here to see that one)

Some possible reasons why today's test didn't work quite as effectively:
  • For me, heavier weights would have probably been more effective.  My upper body is not super strong, but for all of these exercises, I currently use dumbbells that are more than 2 pounds each.  I felt the shoulder raises a little, but otherwise I did not feel any muscle fatigue during these exercises. Also, do arm muscles use as much energy?  Probably not.
  • Strength exercises have a different effect on blood glucose levels than aerobic exercise. From what I've read, strength exercise isn't the best option for lowering a blood glucose reading in the short-term, but it can have a good effect on the longer term.  In the short term, "[s]trength-oriented exercise...generally requires short, repetitive and intensive bursts of movement. This type of exercise can provoke a hormone response known as the 'fight or flight' or 'adrenalin' response that can temporarily raise blood glucose levels." (source:  Somehow, I don't think my soup cans activated this response in me.  Yet in the longer term, strength/resistance training helps build muscle mass, which is more insulin sensitive than other body tissue, and can help regulate overall blood glucose levels rather than post-activity levels.  Plus it helps in other ways, such as with preventing osteoporosis. (source:  
  • Could I be experiencing some issues with insulin sensitivity?  After my test, I took a 30 minute walk.  At the end of that, my blood glucose level was 92, which is only 9 less than my pre-test level.  I would have expected the brisk walk to have a greater impact.  Some possibilities include my menstrual phase (I'm much less insulin sensitive right before menstruation - even without succumbing to the urge to face-plant into the nearest sugar/salt/fat food source) or delayed-onset muscle soreness (which, I've read in The Diabetic Athlete, can impact one's insulin sensitivity until the muscles are healed).  I feel some soreness after yesterday's adventure, but nothing compared to last Wednesday's "Medicine Ball Melange" in CardioSculpt class.  So the double-whammy might be messing with the results a little bit.
Will I try again?  Definitely!  The next version will be sooner after eating something and use the proper amount of weight for me.  I'm also going to test before and after CardioSculpt class and see how that affects my blood glucose levels.

More Reading for the Curious

An excellent article summarizing some of the above points is by Dr. Sheri Colberg-Ochs, author of The Diabetic Athlete, titled "Aerobic Versus Anaerobic Exercise:  What Is the Difference, and Why Does It Matter?" She also has another good article for those dealing with mobility issues, titled "Exercising with Excess Body Weight, Orthopedic Problems, and Arthritis," which includes some specific exercise DVD recommendations.

Try Your Own Experiment!

If you're newly diagnosed and have been advised by your doctor or diabetes educator to use exercise as part of your plan to manage your diabetes, why not try your own "big blue test" and see if your results confirm or deny the effect of exercise on your blood glucose levels? (Unless, of course, your doctor says "No way!" or your blood glucose meter says "WTH?!?!" "250" or higher.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

T-minus 2 Days Until the Big Blue Post!

See a building lit in blue?
Wondering why?
Wondering what the Big Blue Post is all about?

It's all part of World Diabetes Day on Sunday, November 14.  Some things going on that may be of interest to you or someone you care about...
  • Big Blue Test - a program of the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF). People with diabetes are invited to test their blood sugar at 2 pm (local time), do 14 minutes of activity, test again and share the results.  I did this last year (here's the post), and it was AMAZING!  I'm definitely going to do it again this year - stay tuned!  (Participants on Twitter will be using the #bigbluetest and #wdd on Twitter this weekend!)
  • View the Big Blue Test promotional video before November 14, and help Diabetes Hands Foundation raise money to help the Life for a Child program, run by the International Diabetes Federation, and Insulin For Life.
  • Walgreens is once again offering free blood glucose screening and a1c testing at participating locations this weekend!  From the press release: "Walgreens...will offer free blood glucose and A1C testing at more than 1,700 stores and Take Care Clinics nationwide Nov. 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The free diabetes health testing events, held in conjunction with American Diabetes Month®, are offered at most 24-hour Walgreens stores and Take Care Clinic locations throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico."  Click here for more info.  (Good on ya, Walgreens, but perhaps not burying it in your press releases would be a tad more helpful?  I didn't see any banner ad on the main page.)
  • See the World Diabetes Day events page to find an event near you!
  • Need more information about type 2 diabetes?  I compiled a dandy list of diabetes resources.  I forgot to mention Dr. Sheri Colberg's web site.  She's the author of the excellent book, The Diabetic Athlete, and her site has some great diabetes & exercise articles.
  • Some bloggers participated in the "Annual D-blog Day" on November 9th.  The theme was "6 things you want people to know about diabetes."  I was swamped and didn't write a post, but I especially enjoyed Kerri Morrone Sparling's (of the blog Six Until Me) compassionate type 1 perspective (click here to read).  Her first point was an especially poignant yet kindly worded observation - not all type 1's (or loved ones of type 1s) aren't quite as kind about the difference.  Would I be?  Would I be if one of my kids had type 1 or type 2 and people were blamethowing out of ignorance?  I'd like to think so, but I'm not sure.  As a non-insulin dependent type 2 person, I only have to help my pancreas, not be the pancreas - that's a whole 'nother world altogether.  Yet helping my pancreas has its own challenges, with regard to willpower in balancing my food choices and exercise; as type 1 folks experience, sometimes you can do everything "right" and still not get the numbers you're looking for all the time.  And sometimes I don't do everything right, and I stumble, and I pick myself up and keep trying.  It's remarkably like trying to lose unwanted body fat, or to maintain the loss of said unwanted body fat...easy-peasy, right? ;-)
  • And I have to give major kudos to diabetes advocate and author Jenny Ruhl and her book and web site, Blood Sugar 101.  I really resonated with her approach, and I'm hopeful that I'll get to thank her in my old age for her role in my still having eyesight and limbs.  I especially recommend for those with type 2 or at risk of developing it her well-researched article, "You Did NOT Eat Your Way to Diabetes"; it was a very healing thing for me to read as a newly diagnosed person with type 2.  

Hope everyone enjoys a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run

Hey, everybody! I think I owe you all a race report! This is for the 2010 Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run, a 5K and 10K event held the same weekend as our town's Pumpkin Festival. The race was held on Sunday, October 17. The weather was gloomy and threatened to rain, and it did start raining just after the awards ceremony, so glad it held off (except for a few sprinkles) for the race itself!

For me, this was almost the race that wasn't. My original goal was to run the 10K, as it would have been about the time in my half marathon training that I would have been ready for it. But a nagging pain after running in my ankle led to me table running until I could talk to the doctor about it. But I could still walk, and I needed to get some exercise that day, so why not just walk it? I know not all races are a good candidate for walking, but I was familiar with this one:  the runners in it are fast, but it's also a good-sized race that a lot of people walk just for fun, and the race organizers do a good job of accommodating all racers. Besides, how could I resist a free t-shirt and pumpkin?

I also wanted to try out my spiffy Zensah tights in a race, and this was looking like my only opportunity to do so before the half marathon.  They worked great!  No chafing and they kept my legs warm but not too hot.  I think they will be terrific for Vegas!

Now, you know I couldn't just stroll this thing.  I made it into an experiment:  could I sustain the pace needed to walk the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half Marathon in less than the cutoff time?  I targeted the pace at which I almost break into a jog, the point at which my rear end starts doing what I call the "race walking waddle."  On a treadmill, this is 4 mph, so I figured 45 minutes for the 5K was a good target.

Like most races, I slept poorly the night before and got up early.  Unlike most race mornings, I ate not the greatest breakfast: 3 donut holes and a cheese stick.  I knew they'd have lots of coffee at the event site, and I would have plenty of time to drink it, so I headed on down there.  I registered and got my pumpkin, t-shirt, and bib.  I also got my lovely, lovely I was ready!  But it wasn't time yet, so there was lots of time to mill around and look for familiar faces.  I saw Thing 2's kindergarten teacher from last year (who was doing her first race with a "baby on board"!  Fun news to start the day!) and her husband.  I saw some moms I knew, and I took pictures for people so they'd have the whole family in there.  I took my bio break.

The race organizers called for volunteers to help hand out goodie bags and medals for the kids' 1K race.  So I got to hang medals on those beaming little faces as they darted past the finish line.  Too stinkin' cute!!!  That made my morning.

The 10K racers went, then the 5K racers.  I started about 3/4 of the way back and to the far right, and the runners dashed past.  I passed a number of walkers and just kept going at a good clip.  At about mile 1, I fell in step with a gal who had planned to run the 10K but whose ankle started bothering her and so she decided to walk it instead.  We walked together and chatted for a little over a mile, up to the 10K turn off.  I then kicked back into speed mode and hauled posterior for the last mile.

Here I am at the finish line!  My time was 44:09 (a 14:13 pace), and I felt delighted!  Although the entry form has separate categories for runners and walkers, the race results lump everyone together.  I was 213/358, and had I remembered to write my age on the entry form (this was pre-coffee!), I would have showed up as 29/47 in my age group.

The demographics of the race are really interesting: the runners make it a fast field and it's mostly middle-aged women.  Some interesting numbers:
  • The largest age/gender groups were the females 40-49 for the 10K and females 50-59 for the 5K.  
  • In the 5K race, 28% of the entire field finished in less than 30 minutes and 9.5% averaged a pace of less than 8 minutes per mile.  
  • For the 10K, 71% finished in less than 1 hour, and 26% averaged a pace of less than 8 minutes per mile.  
  • In the 5K, the top male finisher was 41 years old and finished with a time of 18:31, and the top female finisher was 38 years old and finished with a time of 22:26.  (I think she was one of the group of crazy folks who *swam* down from a beach a couple of miles up the coast from the race site.  The water here is cold, rough, and the weather threatened rain and it was probably dark when they started.  Ugh.)  
  • The top runner in my age group finished with an enviable time of 25:43.  
I'd have to go sub 30 minutes just to squeek into the top 10 of my age group, and I wouldn't have even made it into the top 10 of the women's 50-59 group.

Basking in the afterglow! Aaaaaaah!

P.S. No picture of the days after, where my tune changed from "Aaaaah!" to "Oooooow!" I totally underestimated the power of race walking: it used some muscles that have been dormant even through biking and swimming and running and even just regular walking. My glutes and hips felt the aftermath for days!

P.P.S. The ankle seems to be doing better. My doctor referred me to a podiatrist, who prescribed new shoes and custom orthotics for my athletic shoes. It turns out I suppinate. (Oooo!  I made a punny!) I'll post more details on another day....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thanks + Quick Update

Life is speeding along!  I wanted to post a race report this week, but looks like I won't have time at the moment. But I just wanted to mention a few things today:

  1. THANK YOU to everyone who commented on "A Tale of Two Pieces!"  Wow!!!  I'm feeling humble and grateful at all of the wonderful feedback.  It's been a powerful and amazing experience to go through and read so many "Exposed" posts.  I felt like it helped me feel stronger, seeing so many people sharing what they've struggled with, what they're still struggling with, and what they love and appreciate about themselves and their bodies.
  2. Had my every-6-months checkup with the doctor.  Normal a1c from the lab test (not sure of the number; my husband took the message), good blood pressure reading (110/74), stable weight.  I got a referral to see a podiatrist to check out my shoes and feet, and see if adjustments are needed to make sure half marathon training doesn't exacerbate the ankle.  (Which is doing much better, actually.  I did a treadmill jog on it, after a long walking warmup and followed with a long walking cooldown, and while it doesn't seem fully back to normal, it's better.)  And she told me those beautiful words, that I knew anyway, but which are still nice to hear from a pro: "You take good care of yourself."
  3. And I walked the Pumpkin 5K!  This race has a ton of walkers in the 5K (almost all runners in the 10K, though), so it is very walking friendly.  My goal was to finish in 45 minutes or sooner (4 mph being the point at which I assume the "race walk waddle" on the treadmill), and I finished in 44:09.  Woot!  I have a humble respect for race walking now:  I was sore for a couple of days afterward!  It's definitely a different gait than a regular, brisk walk and a jog, and it hit some muscles that I wasn't using.
  4. Flying blind:  Other than the doctor's scale, our old scale died and I'm rolling without one until our new one arrives.  I can feel that my weight is up a little, because I've been eating way too many nuts lately.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Pieces

Today, the anniversary of the "Exposed" movement, seemed like a good day to run this post.  I've had it sitting in the queue for awhile now.  

Two reasons in particular made it seem especially appropriate:  Mrs. Fatass' "Exposed" post on MizFitOnline last year really moved me, and she plays a big role in this tale.  And today I was especially "light-bulbed" by the retrospective by Mary of "A Merry Life": "Exposed, Take 2: Still Awesome".  She wrote about why she felt people view the Exposed movement as "brave":  "We were/are all brave for not being ashamed. We are brave for doing this because technically in our society we are supposed to be ashamed....The message seems pretty clear after hearing it my whole life: 'if your body isn’t perfect you should be ashamed of it.'"  I highly recommend reading her whole post.  

What struck me also is that, even people who seem to me to have perfect, lovely bodies often don't see it in themselves.  Of all the people I pass in the gym, for example, which are content?  How many feel awkward in their bra and shorts, or get anxious if they can't keep up the work it takes to not feel awkward?  Think of what we could focus on and do if we weren't, as a culture, so obsessed with appearance and consumption.

Okay, that's enough "ado."  On with the post!

Last month, Thing 2 started asking me interesting questions:
"What if you wanted your hair to be straight, and not curly?"
"What if you didn't want to wear glasses?"
"What if you wanted to wear a bikini?"
I was mystified...she has straight hair, does not wear glasses, and enjoys wearing the little bikini bathing suit she got for her 6th birthday.  She was not using this as a roundabout way to discuss changing things about herself...she's only 6.  I realized she talking about me.  Did I want these things about me to be different.
"Well, no, I love my hair just like it is.  I don't mind wearing glasses, but sure, it would be easier if I didn't need to do so.  And I like my one-piece bathing suit."  
(Well, my favorite is a tankini, but you get the idea!)  I finally asked her why she asked me those questions.
Thing 2: "Because sometimes, on TV, they try to make you want those things."  
Pubsgal [catching balance after reeling from the internal "whoa!"]:  "They sure do, don't they?  But we're too smart to fall for that, right?"   
Thing 2: "Yes!"
But even so, I couldn't help but think there was something else under the question.

Then one day, I stumbled across a post by Sue Ann (aka the fabulous Mrs. Fatass) on her blog "Did I Just Eat That Out Loud?", titled "The Bikini Promise."  Her resolve to not wait, to rock that bikini THIS year as promised, reminded me a lot of some of the crazy stunts I decided to do before I felt like I "looked" the part.

One part of her post seemed written just for me.  It's not the line people quoted most often in the comments, but it's one that sure clicked with me, given the recent questions from Thing 2: "Parenting 101 tells us that our daughters don’t hear the compliments we bestow on them nearly as loudly as they hear our critical comments to ourselves."

And then it clicked: my actions were speaking louder than even my lack of self-critical words to myself!  My beautiful daughter had unknowingly zeroed in on my last vestige of body shame.  I know, not everyone chooses a one piece over a bikini from body shame: a one-piece suit just feels right for them.  I had thought that was the case for me, that a one piece was more "appropriate" for me, but this really removed the blinders.  What a powerful gift I could give to her, I thought, if I were to wear a bikini - boldly, joyfully - just like her!  Presuming, of course, I could find a bikini that I could feel comfortable wearing, especially to avoid the, er, "my cup runeth over" effect, which makes it a little harder to rock the bikini look as boldly as a 6-year-old.

So I emailed Sue Ann, on the chance that her bikini supplier might also have something that would fit me, and she directed me to the Athleta web site (and gave the invaluable pointer to check the sale page).  So many gorgeous bikinis on sale!  Alas, it was nearly impossible to find a set that had both tops and bottoms in my size.  So I took a chance and ordered a top there, then I went to Lands End and ordered bottoms.

The packages arrived.  Gulp.  The moment of truth.  I put on the bikini.  I fussed with the top a bit.  (One of the "girls" is a little larger than the other, and I wondered if it looked too lopsided.)  I dared to ask Mr. Handsome-and-Handy some questions; he dared to answer, brave man!
Him: "Hey, a bikini! Congratulations!"
Me:  Um, yep.  Does it look okay?"
Him: "Yes."
Me: "Are you sure?"
Him: "Yes."
Me [gulp, it's kind of...revealing...I'd better get this over with and ask the most important question]:  "Would you be embarrassed about me wearing it?"
Him: "No."
Me: "Okay then."
Enter Thing 2.
Me:  "Look!  Mommy's got a bikini!  What do you think?"
Thing 2 [scrutinizing]:  "It's not right."
Me: "Huh?"
Thing 2: "You need to show your belly button."
[Thing 2 scootched the front of the waistband down a little, showing off my navel.]
Me: [light bulb moment of the fashion clueless] "Ooooohhhh....So, does it work now?"
Thing 2:  "You look beautiful!"
Well, success, even if I did get the bottoms wrong.  I first wore it during our Lompoc trip.  The bottoms came in handy for my tri, because I went 2-piece for the swim, with my fortress-like sports bra on top.  (Which meant I didn't have 4 pounds of wet tankini top dragging me down, too; yeay!)  Sure, I have not felt comfortable wearing a bikini in nearly 30 years, for various reasons.  Losing a bunch of body fat left some loose skin here & there; I have a tummy with stretch marks and a couple of tiny lapriscope scars, and "Summer of Core" didn't completely transform the surface.  (And one piece or two, the loose thigh skin is gonna show, that's just how it is.)  But darned if knowing THIS body just carried me to the finish line of a triathlon that very morning didn't give me that extra bit of confidence during the bikini debut later in the afternoon at the pool.

And there I was!  Just another mom at the pool, cavorting with the kids.  It felt great!

So that's how I stopped worrying and learned to love my bikini...and more importantly, the body that's in it.
(Thanks, Sue Ann!!!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Do the Bloggers You Love, Love You Back?

Some blogs I've been following have been talking about cliquishness in the healthy living blogosphere.

Here are some thoughts I shared in comments on's "Blogger Cliques" discussion:
Wow, this has been the hot topic lately!

Sure, any large group of people are going to have some sub-groups. Are they necessarily cliques? Maybe I don't get around the healthy living blogosphere as widely as I should, but I have a feeling that most perceived cliquishness is accidental; for example, maybe the blogger you love (and whom you want to love you back) has trouble keeping up with everyone? Sometimes it's hard to read all the blogs I want to read, and comment on my regular commenters' blogs meaningfully...I have no idea how folks with a following like Miz's manage the outreach that they do. Especially Miz - she's one of the first bloggers that gave me that "Wow! Thanks for noticing me!" moment.

Also, this Tribe is quite varied. Like in real life, different people are going to resonate with different blogs. For example, I tend to be drawn to blogs where the people have dealt with similar health and wellness issues, or are in a place in their journey where I want to be, or where I really like the blogger's writing style, or that not mind my posting big ol' rambling comments. (*sheepish grin*) Sure, sometimes I venture outside my chosen sub-group or off-Tribe, and I usually learn a lot when I do so. It's probably something that I should do more often.

Then there are the various forms of social media. I tend to hang back more on Twitter and Facebook than I do in the blogosphere. Blogging and commenting gives me time to think about a response....whereas with Twitter, I end up feeling like I'm hours too late to the party, or that I shouldn't tweet unless I have something really compelling to say...and then never get around to it. I also might be using it wrong - I don't automatically follow everyone who follows me, I kind of follow the Facebook "friending" convention there, and maybe that's not the purpose of following on Twitter?
But this made me think. Are my blogging practices cliquish? If so, it's not intentional, and I apologize to anyone who may have perceived that from me. I know I tend to talk about bloggers whom I feel are my friends, whom I see regularly in my comments or may have even met in person; if you're a regular here, chances are I'm reading your blog regularly and commenting when I can. But I have no idea who's just dropping by for a visit. I have kept myself purposefully in the "un-know" about page hits and site traffic.  This blog is my hobby, my journal of how I'm working to continually improve my health and wellness, my open letter to the healthy living blogosphere tribe, and hopefully a way of forming a meaningful connection with others.

Here's my question to you:  What makes you feel included in the blog world?  How can I improve this here on my blog?  If you don't know how to leave a comment, or would prefer to contact me privately, here's how to email me: click the "View My Complete Profile" link on the side bar of this page.  From the About Me page, click the Email link on the lower left side of the page.

If you feel the need for a laugh after such deep thoughts, check this out.  There's a whole site of etiquette short films hosted by "Proper Ollie," and this one on social networking cracked me up.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weekly Update, 9/29/10

I am...

Happy that it's Fall!  It's been beautiful so far.  Mr. Handsome-and-Handy and The Things did their now annual "First Day of Fall" trip to the pumpkin patch.  They were Farmer John's first customers this year; they brought home 3 large pumpkins (orange, green and white), several tiny ones for teachers and for me to take to work, and a cooking pumpkin that Mr. H&H grilled with dinner the other night.  Yum!

Happy for My Blog Buddies Doing Awesome Stuff!
  • Brooke of "Smart + Strong = Sexy" had a great first triathlon experience in the Anchor Splash Triathlon!  Read about it here!
  • Josie of "At the Starting Line" (formerly "35 and Shrinking") did her longest race yet: the Miracle Miles 15K!  (The proceeds of this race benefited the Winnie Palmer NICU unit in Orlando.) Her inspiring race report is here, at her newly renamed blog!  (P.S. - Happy Birthday, Josie!)
  • And Biz made it to round 2 of the "Project Food Blog" contest!  Here's a link to her entry for the next round.  
Feeling Injured.  Okay, now's the part where I whine a bit.  I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I seem to have some sort of lower leg pain in my right leg, in the ankle/heel area.  I suspect Achilles tendon, although it's sort of in my ankle, too.  I first noticed it after the long, hilly run I did on the 12th.  It flares up when I run, then I rest it and do other stuff.  It then feels fine, I think, "Oh, goodie!  All better!" and then I run again, and ouch again.  I think part of the problem may be that instead of completely *easing* back in, I've been jumping back to where I left off in my training.

So naturally, I'm feeling really discouraged and frustrated.  I was going to run the Pumpkin Run 10K this year, and it's only 2.5 weeks away.  I think that's out, although I might walk the 5K if I can.  I'm still planning to go to Vegas, but I'm wondering if I'll be able to do the half-marathon's only 9 weeks away, and I was only up to about 4.5 miles in my gradual build-up of mileage.

But even though I'm kind of in that "what if this never goes away?" funk, I'm also determined to do what I can to heal it and work around it the best I can.  Based on what I've read, here's what I can do and plan for the next few weeks.  (Any suggestions or advice would be very welcome!)
  • Ice, Compression, Elevation.  (The last one is kind of tricky, but I do put my foot up at work.)
  • Calf stretching and Achilles tendon stretching.
  • New insoles and arch support in my athletic shoes. (Done!)
  • See the doctor if I'm still limping in another day or so.
  • For fitness, I'll be focusing on moderate stationary cycling and swimming for cardio, and upper body strength exercises.  This is actually a great opportunity to get some more strength exercises into my week.  I'm still planning to do my CardioSculpt class; I went today and told the instructor what was going on, and so I felt comfortable modifying or doing other things when the class was doing lunges.  (Squats without additional weight, for example, felt fine.)

Knitting. "Project Chloe Grace" is going pretty well.  I'm knitting a test square with the main yarn, and it's working well.  Once I finish it and verify that the rows and number of stitches are matching the measurements for the pattern, I can start the actual sweater.

Grateful for Mr. H&H and his mad cooking skills!  I may have mentioned this before, but Mr. H&H is our family's chef.  When his mom went back to school (around the time he started middle school), all 6 of the kids had to take on extra chores.  He selected cooking dinner as one, and he learned that skill well.  Before Mr. H&H came into my life, sure, I could whip up a batch of cookies, but I rarely cooked.  I ate more dinners of  bag of salad with chopped lunch meat, bag of microwave popcorn, and Diet Coke than I care to admit.  And I only ate bacon when dining out, because it was so intimidating to cook.

Well, all that sure changed!  Sure, he lured me in with grilled salmon dinners and fresh fruit and veggie beach picnics, but pretty soon we were whipping up homemade pizza and such Michigan favorites as pasties.

So anyhow, last time I mentioned him cooking up a special dish, it was the boneless stuffed chicken.  But last week, he made one of our comfort food dishes.  Debby tried it and liked it, so I figured I'd share it with you all.  

What is it? (Other than something that could really use better lighting and a cilantro garnish?)  This dish is our attempt to recreate a favorite dish at La Fiesta restaurant in Mountain View. The dish is called "Grandma's Especial," and it's chicken in a creamy sauce flavored with chiles.  The flavor is unique and so delicious!  From research I've done, I believe they use a different chile than is commonly used in canned enchilada sauce, and they probably use more authentic dairy products.  But the dish seems to me sort of like a Mexican version of the Indian Chicken Makhani dish, or the Eastern European Chicken Paprikash. We have what we consider to be a reasonable approximation at home, with easily available ingredients.  I don't have an exact recipe, but if you want to try it, here's how we make it:

  • We cut chicken breast into large cubes. (The restaurant makes this with the whole breast, bone in.) You could use any cut of chicken, really, but be sure to remove the skin. The more chicken you use, the more like a stew it will be; use less chicken, it's more like a soup.
  • Sauté the chicken with chopped onions (about 1 onion) and a can of chopped green chiles. Season with garlic, cumin, and oregano to taste. (Fajita seasoning also works well.)
  • Add a can of enchilada sauce and simmer; 30 minutes seems to work well.
  • Before serving, add sour cream, cream cheese, and a splash of lime juice (go easy on the lime juice!). To incorporate the cream cheese, sometimes it works best to pull a little sauce from the pan, mix it up with the cream cheese so it's more sauce than big lump of cheese, then add it back in.  I think we use about 1/4 cup cream cheese and 1/2 cup of sour cream. I'm sure it would be just as good with plain Greek-style yogurt instead of the sour cream. We've used non-fat and low-fat for the dairy stuff, and either works really well.

I had leftovers in my lunch, and I added leftover green beans and potatoes to it, and that worked really well, too.  There are so many variations you could do - I could see this working really well as an all-veggie stew, or adapted to a crock pot recipe, or maybe even made with leftover turkey. (I have done the crockpot variation - I left the chicken breasts whole, putting them on top of the onions, peppers, and spices, which I  browned in a pan before adding to the pot.  I then added the can of enchilada sauce.  The dairy items are incorporated just before serving.)

Doing good with the numbers. Up .8 pound.  Blood glucose was 107 for 7-day average and 97 for 7-day fasting average.

I want to...

Be injury free.  I want to be able to run again.  I also want to come up with a 20-minute strength routine I can learn and get comfortable with at the gym.

Keep the numbers good.

More knitting!

Try a new recipe.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Go, SuperBoo, Go!

*clang*! *clang*! *clang*! *clang*!

Why, what's that sound I hear...?

Could it be...?

The clarion call of cow bells....?

(Because heaven knows, you can never have enough cow bell.)

It's the sound of me ringing my virtual cow bell. (because I really did price cow bells at the local feed store - yes, we have one in semi-rural coastal San Francisco Bay Area - and those puppies were expensive!).

For whom does the cow bell clang?

Why, for SuperBoo (aka Brooke of Smart + Strong = Sexy), who is racing in her first triathlon this weekend!!!  She isn't just any tri newbie - she is racing after having to cancel her originally scheduled tri debut, overcoming extreme adversity, healing, training, and coming back to DO this thing!

Please pop over to her blog and wish her the best of luck!

(Ooo, I'm getting teary and excited for her, just thinking about it!  Good luck, SuperBoo!!!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weekly Update, 9/22/10

I am...

Surprised and delighted to try a pair of compression tights from Zensah!  I have MizFit and Suzanne, the rep from Zensah, to thank for this.  In case you missed it, Zensah sponsored a sports bra giveaway on MizFit's blog, and the price of entry was feedback on your greatest sports bra lament.

Well, I felt moved to verse, mainly to make Miz laugh.  But also because heaven knows I've given plenty of thought to what makes the ideal sports bra *for me*, and I'm not shy about sharing.  (Although they are not mentioned in the poem, it is also sort of a lament, because Glamorise no longer makes my favorite sports bra, nor do they seem to have one just like it anymore.)  In case you missed it, here's the poem:
Zensah sports bras? Alas!
They don’t have my size.
Their Seamless Tights, though,
Look just right for my thighs.

But what qualities in a sports bra
Does this zaftig tri-girl seek?
Must support like a fortress
And of the nipples, no peek.

I like one front-hooking,
With a racer back sturdy.
Uniboob is okay;
I’m not trying to be flirty.

The straps must not slip
Off the shoulders or chafe.
Wickability’s a must!
And size? Opposite-of-waif.

(I’ll pass on an entry;
But thanks, MizFit and Zensah!
Hope those wonderful giveaways
Make some others sigh, “Ahhh!”)
Wouldn't ya know, Miz forwarded this to Suzanne, who kindly offered to let me try some of their tights! I got them this week, ripped open the package, and wore them all evening on Monday. Com-fy! I also wore them during one of my training runs on Tuesday, and they felt fantastic.  I think there is some more rhyming in my future, after I've given them a wash and tried them out again. I think the real test will be wearing them to CardioSculpt class, because my legs are usually sore for days after that one. (Compression is supposed to help with that sort of thing.)

Oh yeah.  I guess this needs an FTC needs to be in those?
Zensah sent me tights.
Freely, I wear and review.
(Did I do this right?)
Getting geared up to start knitting a doggie sweater!  Stay tuned for some photos from Project Chloe Grace!  I bought some yarn, and analyzed the pattern, and the next step is to knit up a gauge swatch.  I just started testing out the novelty yarn that I was thinking of using for the collar.  It's interesting, that's for sure, if a little awkward, but I think it will work.  I hope it turns out looking as cute in real life as it does in my head!

Excited for Sagan!  Her blog, "Living Healthy in the Real World," was nominated for a "has been nominated in the "Health Resource – Social Media category" for the 2010 Canadian Natural Health Awards! I'm just bummed that I can't vote for her blog - but if you live in Canada, YOU can!  Check out the orange banner on the left side of her blog's page.

But I can vote for Biz!  She's entered Foodbuzz’s "Project Food Blog" contest. If you want to vote, too, go to Biz's contestant page, and then click the little "Vote" tag in the "My Challenges" widget. Good luck, Biz! (And wheee-whooo, check out that apron!)

Having a great workout week!

Staying healthy!  Aside from a donut-y detour (154!) saved by a quick pedal on my stationary bike (back to 122 after 10 minutes at moderate intensity), the numbers are good:  7-day fasting of 99 and 7-day average of 104.  Weight is down .2 pound.  Try not to be overwhelmed by this.

Using too many exclamation points!  But I can't seem to help myself!!!!!

I want to...

Keep trusting the training

Keep knitting

Keep the health numbers good

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Embarrassment of Riches

Forward: Sometimes my life seems best summarized by the idiom, "an embarrassment of riches," both tangible and intangible, great and small.  Today's post is about some of the greater ones lately....

I am....

Relieved that I can finally write about the "Pay It Forward" gift I received from Debby!!!

Oh, whew! (*mopping brow*)

Debby delivered my gift in person at breakfast, and I thought I was going to burst into tears.  It is some kind of gorgeousness!!!  I cherish it, and am wondering how to best display it.  But I was even more moved to read Debby's account ("Pay It Forward Challenge") of how she created it and personalized each segment that she made for Juice, Jill, and me.  I love that our quilts have a connection; it's really reflective of the blog community!  (*sniff*...I'm getting a little teary again...)

Debby's account has the better pictures, but I wanted to talk about some of the details I've noticed so far, and love.  It's an intricate quilt, and I have a feeling that the more I look at it, the more I'm going to see and appreciate.

I love the butterflies!

I love the buttons, and the position of the heart-shaped button by the dedication.
I also love how the stitching goes around the flower blocks to create petals, 
and then extends down to create the stems and leaves.
I also love the richness of the metallic gold in some of the fabrics;
you can't see it too well in the photo, but the brown fabric in the upper flower has it,  
and it adds to the richness without overwhelming.

Isn't the spiral and star stitching on this flower cool?

More of the lovely stitching and embroidered details...I love how she combined these.

More embroidered detail to compliment the center of this flower.

Here's a view of the full treasure!  
Thank you, dear friend!!!

Training:  Well, I was all happy after the big run on Sunday, and then I noticed my ankle got achy after my stationary bike ride on Monday morning.  Bother!  So I swam on Tuesday instead of running.  It felt good, though it took an effort to get over the ugh-have-to-drive-there-and-get-wet-and-reshower inertia.

I think my mantra has to be "Trust the Training."  I ran today (Thursday, day after CardioSculpt class) and my legs weren't 100%, and I felt really sluggish.  My ankle feels fine though.  I have to remember that if I do this *consistently*, the results will follow.  I'm working to build distance, but a little more pep in my step would be welcome.  Rest day tomorrow, then a 4-mile run on Saturday.

Knitting:  Yeay, I finished another baby hat!  No, not for me, but for Christie O's baby shower for the parents of premature babies at her local hospitals.  She and a mom's group in her area do this every year, so I'll be sending her along some hats as part of my "Pay it Forward" project.

I was a little worried about this hat.  I was short on blue, so I switched to cream; I was knitting a pattern that you knit on straight needles in the round instead and saw some flaws in the details.  I agonized whether to start over, but I kept going.  And you know what?  When I finished it, it looked fine, and it's so soft.  I think there's an analogy here.

Yes, I finished this one in the car.  
Don't worry, I'm parked.  
It seems to be one of the few places I can bind off, undisturbed.
(Oh, and no, it's not a toilet paper cozy. :-)

Healthy:  So grateful that the numbers are good.  My 7-day fasting blood glucose average was 106 and my overall 7-day average was 107.  My weigh-in day weight has remained unchanged since the beginning of the month.  I'm happy that this is so, even though I'm not weighing daily. (Trust the training!)

I want to...

Keep doing the good stuff.

Publish some of the draft posts I've started.

Start that sweater for the adorable Chloe!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Weekly Update, 9/9/10 (whoops, a day late!)

It's Rosh Hashanah!  (And there I cluelessly was, wondering about the lack of MizFit post in my reader - d'oh!)   L’Shanah Tovah to everyone celebrating the Jewish new year!  I have to add a pointer to Amy Tenderich's post over on Diabetes Mine today; I liked her theme of "renew, refresh, and reset."  Also, her post last year talked about the Rosh Hashanah tradition of tossing bread crumbs away, which symbolizes casting off your worldly mistakes.  I was wondering if perhaps I could reframe it to help me get a little closer to my "best self" and cast away my nut cache to some hungry squirrels....

I am...

So delighted to have met Debby in person!  Blogger buddy Debby of Debby Weighs In and I have been trying to get together for a meet-up for quite some time now, and thanks to her hard work and travel, we did so this past weekend!  (***squeeeeeee!!!!!***) She joined us for an Opposite Family breakfast, we chatted over coffee, and then she and I headed up to the Kings Mountain Art Fair.

Pubsgal and Debby!
(Pubsgal seriously considers changing her Internet moniker to "AmazonOfTheForestGal"
and hopes she's not so overwhelming-looking in person....

It was a fantastic meet-up!  I've felt lucky that every blogger I've met "in person" is exactly the way they are online, and Debby was no exception. Debby wrote a great summary of our visit over on her blog ("A Most Excellent Adventure").  Lori commented, “I find it interesting how you can just fall into easy conversation with someone you have never met in real life, but feel like you have known them forever.” And as I responded over there, it was so true! It was like getting together with a friend that you haven’t seen in awhile. Probably because you know more about the blogger’s interests than someone you’re just meeting, so you have a better idea of what would be fun to talk about, or what you’d like to know more about the person from having read their blog.

Speaking of authenticity, we also had a laugh about her brother's (a non-blogger) "and we like your little dog, too!" remark (imagine that in Wicked Witch of the West voice, of course); the context was, how real are these blog people?  With all the stuff you read about, I can see why our non-blogging loved ones may sometimes feel concerned.  I had to admit, I felt a little unsure about the blogger meeting etiquette, and it's not like Internet safety isn't important.  Normally I'd probably suggest a public meeting spot for a first meeting "in person."  But I felt like I had followed Debby long enough to get a sense of the kind of person she is, and vice-verse.  I was more worried about stuff like "Will I serve the wrong thing for breakfast?" and "What can I pull together without having to take a trip to Whole Foods?"  It is a little good-but-odd, though, once your blogging life starts to intersect with your "in person" life...sometimes I get the sense that Mr. Handsome-and-Handy is bemused about the whole thing: who ARE all these people she keeps yammering about?  Well, now he's met one: they are real!  Real nice!  

So done with cookies.  Sunday saw all of the Opposite Family at the fair this time, but we were there for business first: to help sell cookies!

"Come buy a cookie for your little dog, too!  Eeee hee hee hee heeeee!"

I'm happy to report that our school's fundraiser was a success:  volunteers sold all of the nearly 3,700 cookies we all baked!  (The cookies are kept in the community center freezers until showtime.)  The cookies are large enough to feed a family of 4-6, or perhaps one if your face is this size.  After our shift, we enjoyed lunch and took the kids to the "Kiddie Hollow" section of the fair.

They enjoyed making their own crafts and playing games...

Serious Spin Artist at work

...hanging out in the giant tepee and clambering over the redwood stumps...

Things 1 & 2, fiercely on the prowl

and getting their faces painted!

Cheetah Princess of the Forest!

(P.S. - I saw a kid wearing a "Thing 1" shirt at the fair!  I didn't know they made t-shirts that looked like the outfits worn by Things 1 & 2 in Cat in the Hat!)

No, it's not a picture of a dumpster.  
It's the mirror above the outdoor sinks.  
The one on the left had a little label, "Try the other one."  
The one on the right had the label as shown.  
Who's not going to look wonderful after reading that! :-)
(Mr. H&H looks quizzical:"Why is she taking a picture of the mirror? Must be a blog thing....")

SO fighting the lack of motivation.  But as I've learned, the motivation, she comes and she a lot of times have to just suck it up and get 'er done.  Especially when the running mileage needs to start ramping up.  (Although, have to admit, the endorphins were kicking after yesterday's CardioSculpt class, so maybe it's back on the uptick?)

So cheering on this lady AND this lady, too! Good luck on your charity ride this Sunday, Lori, and your Memory Walk for Alzheimer's, Biz!  Anyone know a "nice biking & walking weather" dance we can do for them?  Apparently "Classical Stretching" is not it, because we're having some truly dismal fog and drizzle this week.  Which explains why they filmed that class on a beach in Jamaica - anywhere else, and it would have started pouring rain, I suppose.

So grateful that the health numbers are good. 7-day average for fasting blood glucose is 105 and 7-day average overall is 109. Weight is exactly the same as last week, within my particular "normal" range.  I can check "make Dr. appointment" off the list (it's set for next month) and "get flu shot" off the list, too.

I want to...

Feel excited about the training.  I'd like to think that I've learned a thing or two over the past couple of years of fun and fitness.  One of those things is that I can't force the motivation and excitement to happen, that those feelings come and go, and if I'm patient and stay relaxed and open about it, they'll come back.  I just hope they hurry the heck up, though, because I'm starting to feel a *teensy* bit anxious about the mileage I have to build up over the next few months.  But I guess that's part of it, though: it's only a few months, and it will pass, and I'll have an adventure and get the t-shirt if I'm lucky and stay healthy.  And then I can take a little rest and plan the 2011 season.  

Keep good numbers. This seems to be going pretty smoothly.  Have to admit, that first year of charting every.darn.thing and intense scrutiny did help retrain me to have better habits.  I think there's always room for improvement, though.  One thing I kind of dropped was aiming for more meatless meals.  Yesterday, I had cheese and eggs but no meat, and a lighter dinner, and my fasting number this morning was especially good.  I don't like to make work for our family chef - it's hard enough cooking to please our herd of cats - actually, cooking for a herd of cats would probably be easier, just crack open a bunch of cans of tuna - and it's easy to have leftovers for lunch.  But maybe on those "fend for myself" nights, remembering that quesadillas are really quite good would be a wise thing.  Or beans, I keep forgetting about beans!

Write a book review for The End of Overeating.  It's an excellent book, and I enjoyed listening to it.  It gave me a lot to ponder, and I can't do justice to it in one paragraph, so I'll be gathering my thoughts and posting about it soon.

Celebrate Thing 1's birthday!  My beautiful boy turns 9 this year!  How the heck did that happen?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy September!

Hey, it's September!  We've already been back to school for a week, helped bake and wrap 3,642 big-as-your-head cookies for the school fundraiser, and will be helping to sell them this weekend at the Kings Mountain Art Fair.  (If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's totally worth going!)

Thing 2 "cookiefaced" me...the resemblance is uncanny, no?
(Wish I could really arch one eyebrow like that!)

I am...

Adjusting to The Things being back to school.  Yep, we're back already!  Thing 1 has the same teacher, and some new kids in his multigrade class; at least we know what to expect.  Thing 2 has a new teacher, and she's enjoying it quite a lot.  (Some stuff is still being taught by her Kindergarten teacher, because all the classrooms are multigrade this year.)  She brought home this red bull stuffed animal that she named "Bruce the Bull Cow," a prize from the prize box "for winning a very hard game," she said.

Gearing up for the ambitious Shrinking Jeans Monthly Project: Free Yourself Once and For All.  I think that will probably be taking a bit of each month for the rest of my life, that one.  And funny, the things that have sort of coalesced in this area.  I started listening to the book The End of Overeating.  (I know, discussed ad nauseum in the blogosphere last year...I'm a little late to the party.)  I saw a post today on the blog Stop Renting Weight Loss titled "Convenient Fat," which discusses the question, "What could we accomplish if we didn’t struggle with fat, diets, calories and food?" Which in turn reminded me of the Phineas & Ferb episode in which Dr. Doofenshmirtz builds the "Junk Food-inator" in order to make all healthy food unhealthy, thus rendering the overweight citizens of Danville easy to control. Hmmm. Kind of makes a girl wonder....(if she watched too many X-Files episodes, if nothing else! ;-)

Getting aware of my personal cash flow.  Frugality is a virtue in my husband's family, and Mr. Handsome-and-Handy has been a great influence on me financially.  When we got married, I told him I didn't want to combine our finances until I was debt free.  So I paid off my car and my credit cards, while contributing equally to the house and other expenses.  Luckily we tend to have similar financial goals and values, which helps keep things going smoothly, but I feel like I haven't been fully doing my part to manage my own cash flow.  While I've done pretty well with less restaurant and Whole Foods eating, when I do go, I feel like I'm spending too much on something that's just for me.  Treating myself once in awhile is fine and fun, but I tend to go a little overboard when I walk into Whole Foods.  So I'm sort of making a game out of "how long can I keep this cash in my wallet?" and "how long can I go without going to Whole Foods?" (It's been 2 weeks so far!)

Doing fine with my health numbers and feeling a lot better after the weekend.  I was sick on Monday, but I'm feeling quite a lot better.  I'm not sure if it was a bug or some mild food poisoning, but a day of fairly bland eating and resting got me back in order.  7-day averages for fasting blood glucose was 111 and 7-day overall average was 108.  Over the past couple of weeks, my weight went up a couple of pounds, then back down a couple of pounds...still in the same range, which is comforting.

Not on plan with my training, and NOT okay with it.  I know that my schedule has changed, and I am not beating myself up about it.  But I just need to get those runs in, plain and simple, while they are doable.  Because in a couple of weeks?  The miles and times really start to ramp up.

Part of the problem is being utterly DOM-inated by my CardioSculpt class, and it's been taking a couple of days for it to go away.  I've adjusted slightly to work the arms more than the legs, but today's class?  Whew.  Even without extra weight, I think all those lunges and one-legged squats are going to really hurt tomorrow.  (But I LOVE the instructor...she's really mixing things up now that we no longer have to follow the old class format, and we're going to get so much stronger!  Yeah!)  I think I just need to switch my rest and run day, and then follow through on the run day.  

I want to...

Let myself off the hook for finishing Savor. Great book, but it's going to be due back at the library soon, and I just don't think I'll have it finished. I'll just get as far as I can. And hope the library eventually gets an audio book.

Knit while on homework supervision duty. Because I get stressed out while cracking the whip, and I need something to do with my hands that has nothing to do with eating nuts. (Crunching down the nuts distracts Thing 1, too.)

Make my doctor appointment and get my blood work done. It's checkpoint time for the health numbers!

Get on track with my training. I need to get in at least two runs before next Wednesday. (3 would meet my training schedule, but I'm not sure how the holiday/volunteering weekend stuff will impact that.) So here's a tentative schedule:

Thursday: Rest or run after drop-off but before work, depending on whether my leg muscles are still speaking to me after today....
Friday: See Thursday; rest if I ran, or run if I rested.
Saturday & Sunday: We'll be attending and working at the fair, respectively, so that will be my functional fitness.  Get in 30 minutes of at-home upper body + abs strength stuff over the course of the weekend, too.
Monday: Enjoy a long run outdoors.
Tuesday: Ride 30 minutes on stationary bike and run 1 mile on treadmill with sprint intervals.