Monday, December 27, 2010

Reverb10 Catch-up!

December 27th
Prompt: Ordinary joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

I don't believe I have a single ordinary moment where joy was involved. Finding joy in the ordinary, no longer makes the moment oridinary!

It sounds trite, but when I see my Daughter happy, proud of herself, truly and genuinely excited about something, it brings me joy.

When my Husband goes out of his way to do something special for me -- even if it's helping around the house, it brings me joy.

I find joy in doing for them as they do for me.

December 26th
Prompt: Soul food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth and touched your soul?

I'm going to have to pass on the true meaning of this prompt. I don't look at food in the same way I once did.  It's not a source of entertainment, although I do enjoy it.  I just enjoy the "experience" of it more now than I did before.  I mean, there are things that taste good, but truly I can't think of a food that touched my soul.

Wait, well, maybe bacon, but that's a given. :)  Kidding.

Seriously, when it comes to food the thing, it's not so much the eating of the food I love, but rather the cooking for others. Sharing a meal that was thoughtfully planned and prepared makes me happy. It's an opportunity to friends/family gratitude and appreciation. I love the actual sit-down with everyone and getting caught up. It happens all too infrequently anymore.

In the coming year I would like to make more attempts at getting together with friends and loved ones and sharing the "experience" of a meal together.

December 25th
Prompt: Photo - a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

This is a picture of me going down a slide with my Daughter at Dewberry Farm. It captures both complete joy and fright! It speaks loudly of how I live my life, by facing challenges and turning fears into nothing while having fun along the way. It is important for me to teach my Daughter not to be afraid of what scares you and instead, tackle it head on.

Once tackled it is never half as scary as you thought it would be to begin with.

December 24th
Prompt: Everything's OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

We've had some discussion about finances and how we're not yet where we want to be. We look at the less than our desired optimum numbers, but what we tend to forget is all the things we are doing right. That's not to say we should stop making changes to continually improve our situation, but that we should feel better than we usually do because we're doing more right than we realized. Hubs and I recently had a conversation wherein we talked about the postive changes we made, and still not really using any credit. That's a great thing! We see the light at the end of the tunnel. We still have a way to go, but reflecting back on all that we've done right so far, I know with the right plan and our teamwork, we'll reach our goals. It just takes a few steps at a time.

For the coming year I'd like to see us come up with a plan to bring us closer to our financial goal and finally get closer to that light at the end of the tunnel, instead of having it elude us!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reverb10 - New Name

December 23rd
Prompt: New name. Let's meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

In my mind, the name doesn't make the person.  There are many people who I'd like to be for a day... just to see what it feels like in their shoes.  I realize it's not the purpose of this Reverb10, but it's what immediately comes to mind.... and anything that makes you think about what it's like to be in another's shoes is a lesson in it of itself.

There are so many, but here are 10 folks I'd like to be for a day, and why....

1)  President Obama, to understand pressure, challenge, tenacity
2)  A spiritual leader, to know really know/understand what peace feels like.
3)  My Boss, to know what it's like to truly appreciate and share abundance.
4)  Okay, Oprah (or one of her "friends"), to know what it's like to have her resources at hand.
5)  Ellen DeGeneres, to know her joy.
6)  My Mom, to understand her better
7)  A Singer/Songwriter, to know what it's like to move people with your music (I know you thought it was to know what leather pants feel like).
8)  An inventor/scientist/philosopher, to know what it's like to come up with an amazing idea that does great things for the world or makes positive change!
9) Okay, Chrissie Wellington, to know what it feels like to be a kick-ass triathlete. :)
10)  A Soldier in the WWII troops who liberated concentration camps and Ghettos, to have a front-row seat to see people free and through them, really appreciate what being free really means.

Reverb10 challenges you to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Join!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reverb10 - Travel

December 22nd
Prompt: Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
This prompt is like a break from writing today because travel in 2010 for me and my was pretty limited and therefore not much to write about. We traveled where we had to go, which was to Alabama where my mother-in-law lives.  Travel for the whole family by plane was very expensive this year so we didn't really do much at all. 

I did take a couple road trips to races.  1 to Bossier, LA for the River Cities Triathlon and one to Oklahoma City, OK for the Redman 70.3.  Those trips of course were for a purpose, and lots of fun.

In 2011, I hope to make it back to New Jersey to visit friends an family.  It's somewhat of a volatile time right now for my family -- lots of bad happenings lately, so it's not really the best time to visit.  My hope is things will calm down and we'll all be able to relax and spend some quality time together after all the bad juju has passed.

I would like to do a weekend away with my Husband.  We just never seem to get around to that honeymoon we said we'd "we'll take later" back in 2003.  We were both going to do the Texas Independence Relay, but decided to backout of it.  It's a lot of money for the both of us to do it, and I'm not exactly thrilled with just running.  Running as part of triathlon, is fine.  Running, just to run... not as much fun to me.  LOL Maybe now that we backed out of TIR, we use the weekend to go away.  We already have a sitter for the kiddo :)

Reverb10 challenges you to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Join!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 1! Ironman 70.3 Texas Training Starts

I said, "All I want for Christmas is my Ironman 70.3 Texas Race Entry fee."  Thanks to my bonus, my Christmas wishes came true :)  110 days away, as of today

I've been seeing Doc Thea for my groin re-injury and I think it's getting better.  At the least it's hurting in different spots, so the inflammation is trying to move it's way out.  I haven't done any track in two weeks, but I'm going to give a quick 3mi. track session a whirl tonight.   We'll see how it goes.

Day 1 of training was a swim.  Which I blew-off after getting home from the Doc last night.  I'll probably have to do it tomorrow at lunch, and that's fine.  Really though, who starts training the week of Xmas?  Ugh...

I'm considering some different options with training this time around. The changes would both be challenging but worth the payoff in the end:

- Strength training at lunch hour, 3 days a week. 
- Swimming during lunch hour.  A pain, but doable.
- Swimming in the early-morning?  Not likely, but an option.
- Trainer rides, over lunch hour.  If I can schlep it all to mad spin, I can schlep it to work.

If I can manage to keep a schedule using some of these alternatives, it should help me better balance my family life and training.  They say if you're not arguing with your spouse by the last month of training, you're not training hard enough.  I really want to avoid that scenario.   Since he is training for his first sprint, it's going to take communication and cooperation from both of us to make things work.  When we know we have to do it, we do it.  I'm not worried in the least bit.

Reverb10: Future Self

December 21st
Prompt: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?

5 years from now?  It's so hard for me to look long-term and I really don't know why.  I've heard of folks having their 5 year plan, or their 10 year plan, but I've never really put the practice to work.  I mean, what's the point really?  Maybe I just don't have the patience for it?  I mean, just because you have a plan doesn't mean it will be executed the way you want.  Life has a way of crashing your party, changing your path and sending you off YOUR charted course. When I take time to make a plan and it doesn't go as I hoped, it's frustrating and I often skip a beat having to adapt.  Eventually I do adapt, but it's always a slight annoyance.

I've always thought it best for me to be in tune with what I ultimately want to achieve.  If I stay present, my decisions will present the appropriate path necessary.  If I unconsciously live day-to-day, the decisions I make won't contribute to my overall success.   I won't see the path before me. 

Of course there's the longstanding goals with regard to correctly managing my thyroid/hormonal disorders.  Doing so would bring so much peace to my life... and frankly, to my family as well.

More importantly though, and it is something I need to focus better on, is being present to the life I have and recognizing the blessing it is in it of itself.  Though our Saturday mornings may have changed dramatically from lounging all day on the computer and watching TV, to  getting up before the sun emptying the dishwasher, shifting laundry, making coffee, so I can have that 40 minutes of computer time before my run, I love it.  I really do appreciate my family and enjoy doing for them -- especially since they give so much to me as well.  Okay, I admit, on some days it's easier to get up and get going than others...  and some days you just need a break, but you get my point.

I know in the next 4 years I'd like to get my full Ironman done.  That means getting my pannus removed and making some other tough decisions.  See, by the time Cassie is in 4th grade things will change dramatically, and if there's one thing I promised myself and to her, was that I was going to be an active role in her life.  Not a "helicopter parent" mind you, but a presence.   I want to be able to take her to her activities.  I want to know who her friends are I want to be around to see her bloom into the beautiful caring and compassionate person I know she will become. 

We want her to know she is loved and supported and know that what she does and the things she shows interest and talent in matter to us. In my life I know what it feels like not to be without support when my interests laid outside of my family's chosen interests, so it's important to me for her to learn otherwise.

So for 2011 I want to commit to working on my future self by being present in my life and appreciating the abundance of blessings and love I receive everyday.  I want to become better at both receiving and giving love.  I commit to deal with family baggage so I can move forward and have more space for peace and joy. 

As for my future self, here's some things you really need to learn to believe. 
- Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
- Everything happens for a reason; sometimes it's not immediately or abundantly clear as to why, but down the road you figure it out.
- You are a better person and you often give yourself credit for.
- You are a good friend and deserve the same.
- There's nothing you can't do... some things just might take a little longer.
- Being emotional and "in-touch" is not a fault.
- The only expectations you need to live up to, are your own.
- Don't give away to others power to take away that which makes you confident.
- You are a good Mom; Cassie doesn't have to have the same childhood you did.
- You need to let go of the idea that one day your family will change.  They won't.  They will never change.  Only you can change your reactions to and how you deal with them.
- Don't let their inability to show love inhibit your ability to share joy.

Reverb10 challenges you to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Join!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reverb Catch-up!

Wow.  I'm behind on my Reverb10.  I'll be playing quick catch-up today...  Still thoughtful.  Just short. :)

December 20th
Prompt: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

After registering, I decided not to do the full marathon.  Though I really hated to make it, it was the best choice for me.  So often we come off a race and feel like we are invincible!  And, yeah, we are, but to a point.  When you have this *high* you just want to look toward the next bigger, badder, longer, harder goal.  Not always the smartest move to for your mind and body.  

In short, I really began to feel like I'm just not ready.  Truly, there is no race to do a full marathon.  there is nothing riding on my completion of it, and truthfully doing a full marathon is not the same as running the full marathon in an Ironman.  Couple all that with the fact that I just really need to improve my fundamental running before going longer, harder and more challenging.  I owe it to myself to be responsible to my mind and body.  Mentally backing off took away a lot of pressure and made it better for me to focus on running and doing the half is definitely easier on my body in its stressed condition right now.  

Will I do it?  Heck yeah! Just not sure when.  :)

December 19th
Prompt: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

Nothing has completely healed me.  I'm a constant work in process.  I have taken in a lot of information about how to heal yourself, forgive, being open and present to the life you lead and it's been good.  In 2011, if I can continue doing this kind of thing, healing will follow..

I've purchased a book as a gift to myself called Awakening by Mark Nepo. It's a collection of short daily essays and poems that are meant for you to reflect upon.  A daily book, of sorts.  It's my hope it will open me up further to appreciate life (although I appreciate it it quite a bit now -- I'm a huge fan of breathing!)   And truly a little spiritual enrichment can't do anything but help a person survive today's world.

In 2011 I am committing to seeing this book through the entire year, reading and reflecting upon it.

December 18th
Prompt: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn't go for it?

I never did do my century ride in 2010.  I didn't really mourn the loss of not crossing it off my list because, well, it was freakin' hot this Summer.  Frankly when the opportunity came up for the 100 mile ride and then  was something else was offered, I didn't choose the ride.

Just because there's a goal or something on your list, doesn't mean it's a race to get them all done.  It's YOUR list, done in YOUR own time.  These is no sense in rushing through and accomplishing things just to cross them out.  It's not always about the actual completion of the goal, but also the path you take to get there; the lessons you learn about yourself through the ups and downs.  Just rushing through is not going to maximize or enrich your experience.

So 2011 will be the year for my century ride... but add 12 miles and do it following a 2.4 mile swim.   I'll get that century in by way of the Redman Full Aquabike. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reverb10 - Lesson Learned

December 17th
Prompt: Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
I think the most valuable thing I learned is to trust my gut and be persistent.

This pertains, in particular, to my thyroid challenges.  I've always felt like something was off in spite of docs telling me that nothing is wrong, "your TSH levels are fine."  Even before choosing to have RNY.

When things changed drastically in year 4 post-RNY, I didn't give up and worked with my PCP, who sent me to a new Endo who quickly found a problem by doing a TRH test.  Winner-Winner!  We  have a new hypothyroid patient.  Let's give you Levoxyl.

While under treatment you want to believe you are feeling better.  You get tired of not feeling well, and you definitely get tired of having to answer "I've been better", every time someone asks you what's wrong.  The reality is generally different.  Some days you feel better than others and the most you can hope for is just a couple days in a row where you don't feel like you're in a fog, or the scale jumps up 8 lbs. worth of water weight and jacks with your mind. 

Even after my Thyroid stuff was made numerically under control, there were things that still weren't right.  I persisted and told the doc my symptoms and it turned out I stopped converting T4 to T3.  Let's add another med.  Welcome Cytomel.

Nope.  Still don't feel better. Want to though. Want to desperately.

Persisteted and went back to the doc, "something is still not right."  We talk, he agrees.  We run blood work.  Welcome Hyperprolactinemia... all the glory of pregnancy hormones, without the miracle of life inside me.  Seriously.  Think about it.  It ain't fun.  Hello, Dostinex... you'll make me feel crappy, but maybe bring some balance to my hormonal levels.

I'm at the point again.  Things are still off.  If the last year has taught me anything it's to be persistent and to follow my gut.  Doctors are awesome, but they don't always hear everything or are open to everything.  With all due respect to them and their education, it does me more justice to try and educate myself a bit.

Each time I've stuck with my gut, we get closer to an answer.  I need to keep that in mind as I press forward to get everything resolved, because frankly it's not. 

For the coming year I need to practice patience and persistence.  Continue looking for new possibilities for the issues I'm dealing with.  Have the courage to speak up and/or move forward, even though it might not be the most popular of opinion or change.

Reverb10 challenges you to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Join!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reverb10 - Friendship

December 16th
Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

Unfortunately for me it was gradual... after she was gone the loss of her friendship taught me better.

In this very blog I used to wish to find someone to train and race with.  Someone my speed.  A few months later I got an email from Elysha.  I think the first sentence read something like, "Really, I'm not a stalker..."  It was like my call was manifested!  She was around my age and even lived in the same town as me.  Of all the people on the Internet with a blog, she found me.

And anyway, she had me at "I'm not a stalker."  :)

Our friendship grew close fast.  We had soooo much in common, it was pretty darned freaky.  She even had RNY also!  She was like a long-lost Sister to me in many ways.  We each suffered through some huge challenges in our lives and I think that made for a common bond which gave us quick comfort with one another.  Our families spent time together, we biked together, trained together and tri'd together.  We both subscribed to the belief that there's nothing you can't do without trying and believing you can.  You just make a choice to do whatever it is, and do it. 

We went on countless road trips to races and did the MS150 -- err, ummm, MS75 (the year we did it together, because of the first day being rained out). Elysha was constantly reminding everyone not to take things so seriously.  Life is meant to have fun!  She knew how to have fun, and even more importantly, completely understood the value.  Not everyone *gets* it, you know? 

Tragically in May of this past year Elysha passed away in a freak accident while tending to her Dad's yard.  I felt like a part of me died that day along with her; as did many of her friends and loved ones.  There are still days when I will see something, do something that reminds me of her and I get weepy.  Like right now.  (dang it!).  It goes without saying that whenever I race, she's with me.  If there's a smile on my face, it's because she put it there.  I've thought about and talked to her during races, and it lightens me up and I remember to have fun.  Live every day like you have no clue what tomorrow will bring.

The morning she passed away she had texted me, to ask me how my race went.  I didn't respond because I would have been rushed.  Who knew she wouldn't be there later that very day?  All I needed to do was stop for a moment and respond to her thoughtfulness to text me.This is why I want to make sure I honor the treasured friendships I have, because you just never know when things will change.  Elysha was a great role model when it came to friendships and loving.  She was, in a word, amazing. 

Reverb10 challenges you to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Join!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Junonia Aquasport Crossback Tank Swimsuit


I've been meaning to write this review for a while now.  However I thought it only fair to swim in it more than just once to really offer my opinion on the swimsuit.  I will say I heard a lot about this suit from other plus sized athletes, but I kept putting it off because there were always other things I needed more.  Eventually my Speedos died and I had to replace two of them.

Just FYI, I  purchased this swimsuit, so this is an unsolicited review.  I have a genuine interest in helping other plus sized athletes find sport/training apparel that fits well.  Clothing that makes us feel confident and helps us perform our best.  That's the reason I share the info here. 

The pictures above were snipped from Junonia's website.  Hope they don't mind!

On their website they describe the suit with the following: "Cross-strap design creates a unique cut-out back for easy-moving style. Front shelf bra for shaping and support. Our brand new, quick-drying AquaSport™ fabric is a near-perfect option for all water activities, from swimming laps at the pool to floating around at the lake. With 50+ UPF (the highest possible rating) and maximum chlorine- and fade-resistance, this comfy, durable suit is specially engineered with no Spandex for long-lasting stretchability. 47% P.B.T. Polyester/53% Polyester. Hand wash."

I found the suit to fit very comfortably through a half dozen swims.  I used the size chart and bought the suit by measurements. The fit was nice, but a little small in the bust, contrary to the published measurements.

What I loved about this suit was it actually had a high neck!  I have no idea why Speedo and Tyr can't make a technical plus-size swimsuit with a high neck.  I'm tired of scooping half the water of the pool into my suit on one lap!  Thanks Junonia for that feature!

The cut out for the legs are modest.  If you like more of a contemporary fit, this probably isn't for you.  I'm keeping it real when I say, that since my lower stomach is loose skin and it hangs, I appreciate the conservative leg.  It covers everything and I don't fear it coming out from hiding. :)

Flexibility and range of motion in the suit felt no different than other reputable technical suits.  

Where it differs greatly is the supportive fit.  For the first time, a suit that really takes care of the girls!  That probably has something to do with the high neck and the functional shelf bra.  I'm a D cup and it kept me in place just fine.  

It's not just high neck and bra, the whole suit feels supportive.  The material is 100% polyester like other technical suits, but it's clearly heavier duty and made to last.  Which is great because for the $99.95 price tag, I want a suit to last. 

I say this suit is a great training suit.  However, because the polyester isn't finished super-smooth like other tech suits, if you're a super fast swimmer, you might experience some drag.  I don't swim fast enough to notice ;-)   If you're a age grouper/weekend race warrior or a diva of water aerobics, this is a great suit you can feel comfortable in and confident wearing.

I give the suit 4.75 of 5 stars, only because the bust seem a little small vs. the size chart measurements.  Of course that helps keep everything in place.  :)

Otherwise, great service as usual from Junonia.

Be Seen For Life

Just making a  note here, so I don't forget....

When I did Rivercities this Summer, we were standing in line waiting to talk to Dave Scott.  In front of us was a couple with a reflective shirt.  It was an awesome orange color with a ginormous reflective logo on it. It was a gift to Dave Scott, from their company.

Anyway, I loved the shirt and had been trying to find their site for some time.  I just did.  Very happy!  If you're looking for reflective running shirts (remember it does get dark earlier),  Check them out!

Pssst, there's a chance to win one on the main page of their website.


Sick and Tired.

Have I mentioned how tired I am of being sick and tired?  Here we go again.  I was on the upswing at the end of last week, but I guess the stress of the half marathon sent me spiraling backwards.  Great.  Just what I need. 

Last night it was like a freight train hit me and was visited by nice little white patches on my tonsils and throat.  I woke this morning gagging and vomiting from congestion.  Always a pleasure.  Right after the race ended my throat was really sore. I just figured it was sore from breathing in that cold air for 3 hours.  

I decided enough.  Time to get to the doc.  She says Tonsilitis.. so I'm on the mend with some antibiotics and some cough/expectorant... hopefully.

They also said my ears were super clogged; they cleaned them out for me. 

I hear everything now. :) No whispering behind my back.

Blast Calories and Relax with this Amazing Kettlebell Yoga Workout

Blast Calories and Relax with this Amazing Kettlebell Yoga Workout

Courtney turned me on to Megan at Meals and Miles. She has lots of tasty healthy food ideas.

Today, though, I saw this in kettlebell workout in her blog, by Shape Magazine.

It looks interesting. I just got a kettlebell. It's not been doing much, other than populating a cubby in my organizer.


Reverb10 - 5 minutes

December 15th
Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

The love and support from my Husband.

Hubs hugs. :)

My Daughter's unconditional love.

All of my Dauighter's firsts in 2010.  First day of School, in particular.

Family outings and visits from family.

Beth's excitement and positive attitude about her next chapter in life.  

And, well, Beth and Elysha.  Can't forget them.

Elysha's last camping trip with us. 

The way Cassie loves celebrating everyone else's birthday

The way Cassie truly loves to give as much, if not more, than receive.

My Husbands "firsts" with running and how proud he was.

Okay, material, but getting my iPad.  I was stunned -- totally didn't expect it. :)

Camping and the beach.  The smells, the sights, the friends.

This was harder than I thought.   When I tried to think back, I immediately went to thinking about events, but there wasn't any one event I couldn't live without.  It was more about sharing the closeness with family and friends.  To me, I never want to forget I was loved and befriended, unconditionally.  I would be willing to forget about every race, every outing, every event if it meant giving up that feeling of being loved and being given the opportunity to love in return.

Next year, I would like to improve upon showing gratitude and appreciation to everyone.

Reverb10 challenges you to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Join!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Reverb10 - Action

December 13th
Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

It's no secret here that one day I want to do an Ironman 140.6 --  The whole shebang!  There are a ton of things that need to fall in place in the next few years to make that a reality.  And, unless I wait 10 years, until my child is more indpenedent and I'm 53, things need to start shaping up sooner than later.  I would like to thing that 2012/2013 would be realistic for a full Ironman.

MC says, "the moment you decide you want to do a full Ironman, you start training for it."  That was a year ago when I actually said, out loud, for others to hear, "I want to do an Ironman."  I know.  Crazy!  From that moment, all my training has been on my A races, but also with the idea that there is a full Ironman in my future.

There are certain things which need to happen for this to be possible and I'm working on them.  For 2011 though I'd like to make the following happen:

Improve Running.  Continue training.  Would like to be able to maintain a 12 minute pace by the end of 2011. 

Improve my 70.3 time.  Race another 70.3.  Registered for Lonestar.  My Redman time was horrible, but it serves as a baseline.  Would like a Finish at Lonestar under 7:30.

Take a step Closer to the 140.6Complete a Full Aquabike.  I plan to Register for Redman's Full Aquabike.  It's a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike.  That ought to show me something :) 

Get hormonal imbalances fixedWorking on it and possibly try a new doc.  I know it's a long haul; trying to be patient. Gotta get these right -- it will make for better training and better weight loss!  I'm entertaining the possibility of finding an Endo that works with dessicated hormone, rather than synthetic. Next step, research.

Extended Tummy Tuck.  Get a consult and see if I can qualify under insurance.  Doc says my pannus (that's the lower stomach area under the belly button) will need to be removed.  Removing those empty fat cells could conceivably change the hormonal balance in my body for the better.  I keep thinking I need to lose more before I do it, but there are other compelling reasons, right now, for me to look into it. 

I think it's a good list of things and plenty to keep me busy for 2011.

Reverb10 challenges you to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Join!

Reverb10 - Body Integration

December 12th
Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Okay, this is completely ironic because the one time I feel the most integrated with my body, is doing the one of the things I least enjoy.  Running.

And maybe that's why I have this love-hate relationship with it?  I hate it, mostly because I suck at it.  I'm not yet in that place where I can just enjoy it and run with other people.  However I know the value of running to a healthy life.  I know it is good for both the body and mind.  

The one thing that gets me through it is being in-the-moment.  In-the-moment, reflecting on what it is I am doing right then and there.  It usually includes remembering 5 years ago whatever I'm doing right now wasn't physically possible and that I never will take it for granted. I listen to the sound of my breathing and rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement and in a flash I'm present.  I swear it makes me run more efficiently and faster when I'm consciously thinking about what my body is doing.  It's how I made it through the last 3 miles of my race yesterday while hurting.

Being present while running affords me the opportunity appreciate more of the things which are always visible, but rarely seen or heard because we're always rushing here and there.  I hear everything, birds, bugs, wind through the trees.  I notice things... flowering weeds, cracks in pavement. 

It's guess why I keep going back to running.  Feeling that whole mind/body integration is good for me.

Next year I want to continue my love-hate relationship with running, in hopes that the love becomes greater than the hate. :)

Reverb10 challenges you to “reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.” Join!

RunGirl 13.1

Yesterday was RunGirl 13.1. It was an inaugural event and the only all-women's half marathon in Texas.  It is a TriGirl Sports event, so it's always a well-run race. 

I was really thankful I was feeling better than I had been.  I'm still pretty much zonking out the moment I hit the couch in the evening, but the allergies/congestion/sinus crud I'd been dealing with is so much better.

I did something different on this race day.  After I woke up I got dressed and went outside for a quick 1 mile around the block.  The weather was cold, in the 30's and I was supposed to make sure my attire would be comfortable and just loosen my legs up a little.  I chose layers, in case the sun made it warmer and it paid off.  As I walked to the start line I wound up shedding my jacket and wore just a long sleeved tech tee and my new favorite, New Balance Control Capris.

That's Debbie, me and Cathy (from left-to-right), just before the race's start on a chilly and blustery morning.  The course started right on the water where it was colder, but once you were on the course it was a little warmer.

My run was going really well. I did 1/2 mile intervals with :30 walk breaks.  The plan was at mile 10 to stretch it to 3/4 mile intervals.  By the time mile 10 came around I was having some pain in either my hip flexor or groin.  I'll find out today. Last year I fell and pulled my groin.  I thought I recovered from it.  On Saturday, the day before this race, I slipped in a puddle of water by a drinking fountain.  I caught myself before hitting the floor, but only after doing an incredibly executed, extra-elongated lunge.  It's quite possible I angered the injury again and the fatigue from running was pissing it off more.

 The course is full of little rolling hills. Most of them you don't really feel right off, until you hit one of the larger climbs and you think, "Oh yeah... I was climbing (gradually) back there... that's why this one is a  challenge!  there was really only 1 very short, but steep climb that was "challenging"

Anyway, by mile 10 I knew I still had a shot to make it under 3 hours, so I wasn't giving up.  I pushed through as hard as I could.  The harder I pushed the more my injury started to flare up.  I was working really hard to not let it get to my head, and I think I did a good job.

My official finish was 3:01.  My Garmin told me I did 13.23 miles.  So, if I really wanted to slice and dice it, I probably did do 13.1 just barely under 3 hours.  Of course I want an official chip time of < 3 hours, but I guess that's going to have to be at my January race. 

Despite my challenges, this was a 2+ minute improvement over my Aramco Half Marathon in January (my first half).  At that race I was only running 1/4 mile intervals and taking 1:00 walk breaks.  So there's definitely improvement, and that's all that matters to me. :)

I didn't stay much for the post-race festivities. I was hurting way too bad.  I basically finished, took a picture then left.  I could just feel my hip/groin stiffening up on me.  I had Hubs roll it for me (it's a hard spot to get on my own) and iced it last night.  It feels better this morning, but it's still sore... but then again my entire body is sore today!  That's Debbie, Cathy, Heidi and me.

The medals were "cute".  You can't tell from the picture, but they're shaped like a flower.  In the middle hangs a smaller flower; it's a charm you can put on a necklace.

Definitely a do again race. :)

A Look Back on Racing in 2010!

Houston Aramco Half Marathon - My first half-marathon!
Lucky Trails Half Marathon Relay
Gateway to the Bay Olympic Relay
Silverlake 1 mile Open Water Swim Race - First OWS race.
Lonestar Triathlon Olympic Distance
Silverlake Sprint Triathlon
Noon in June Half of a Half Marathon
Y Freedom Sprint
Bayou Duathlon (Relay)
River Cities Triathlon Sprint
Redman Triathlon 70.3 - first half-Ironman distance
Luke's Locker/Koala Half Marathon
HMSA Classical 25K
RunGirl 13.1

14 races this year!  Somehow it never seems like it's all that much when it's happening!  I don't have anything else scheduled between now and the end of the year.  My next "A" race is the USA Fit Half Marathon in January, so I am officially "done" for the year. 

So here's what I learned this year:

1)  Do your best.  Always.  However, understand that what is your best for today, may not be the same as your best on any other day.  On race day everything needs to fall in line precisely, and therefore...

2)  Train the way you want to race.  I thought it was crazy at first, but race visualization as brought a new level of comfort to race day for me. I picture everything in my head from getting up in the morning to crossing the Finish.  I picture everything the way I want it to happen.

3) Training in the heat of the Summer here sucks.  I don't care how you frame it.  Even the most motivated athletes I know had a hard time this summer.

4)  Cycling on windy days makes you stronger.  Windy race days just suck.

5)  Be confident and positive.  According to MC, "99% of triathlon is mental."  He's right.

6)  If you want to get better at swimming, find your way to the pool.  If you want to get better at riding, then bike!  If you want to improve your running, throw on your sneakers and step outside your door.  Then repeat, over and over, and over again.  It doesn't happen overnight... but it does get better.

7)  The worst races teach the biggest lessons. 

8)  Deciding to DNF isn't a terrible thing. Saving your body from struggling through a race today, will allow you a more productive training week to come.  Killing your body on a bad race day, makes for a bad week of training. 

9)  Racing smart doesn't always mean racing fast. 

10)  Don't ask anyone's opinion about "How hilly is that bike or run course."  Eveyrone's idea of what hills are is different.  Find out for yourself. If you have a training op on the actual course, take it.  It makes a difference not just physically, but mentally. 

11)  I learned about Triathlon Girl and Swimmer Guy.  They crack me up. 

12)  Relays are kinda fun.  It's a nice change to be able to go all out on 1 leg of an event.

13)  Don't think trainer rides and spin classes pay off?  Think again.  I ♥ "Mad Spin."  So excited because it starts this weekend and through the Winter!  2 hours of spin followed with a 30 minute tempo run.  :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reverb10 - 11 Things I Don't Need in 2011

December 11th
Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1)  Relationships that are not reciprocal.  Well, I covered this in my last post.  Not wasting time, heart and energy on underserving relationships will allow me to focus on improving my commitment to others.

2)  Unconscious actions or choices.  These choices are detrimental to the success of other goals.  These are the things I do impulsively, without thinking about the long term impact.  

3) An overabundance of stuff!  Stuff breeds more stuff.  This coming year I want to eliminate the material needs above and beyond what serve my family, interests and goals.  I am not a hoarder, though my husband might argue that point on shoes, but I definitely see places in my life where I could do with less in that I should re purpose/donate what I don't use..  

4)  Less Stress.  More Peace.  Really try to focus on letting go of the things I can't change or have no control over.  No explanation required.  Less stress.  More Peace.

5)  No more feeling like I have to explain myself to others.  Rid myself of this feeling that I owe others an explanation for the things I choose to do in my life.  

6)  Don't need to continue working in a field I'm not passionate about.  I'm an IT Manager.  I'm decent at my job, but I often imagine how much better I'd be if I was doing something I was passionate about.  In the coming year I would really like to determine what the "right thing" is for me.  

7)  Less dishes.  Oh, come on.  You know you agree.  :)

8)  Fewer outside commitments.  I tend to be a "Yes" person and when asked to do something, I generally say sure without thinking about the time it would take away from other parts of my life.  I"m getting much better about saying "No" to things.  Less Yes.  More No.  

9)  Less time trying to live up to the expectations of others, and more doing what's important to me.  I need to learn to let go of unreasonable exceptions others have of me and be okay with the fact that while I might fall short of their expectations, I'm still okay.  I define me.  They do not define who I am by their perceptions of me.

10)  Less dealing and more coping with the past.  In the coming year it's time to start really dealing with the past and not just coping with it.  Realizing too it could be one of the greatest ways for me to grow and become a better Wife, Mom and person.

11)  Less "Wishing" and more "Doing".  Part of the idea of reverb10 is to put out the vibrations of things you want to see happen in 2011.  So, more reverb, more action and and less wishing!

Friday, December 10, 2010

#Reverb10 Wisdom

December 10th
Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I made the conscious decision to become more self-centered and let go of the one way relationships in my life; the relationships which did not offer potential to enrich my life.

I really believe that each party must bring something of value to the "table" for the friendship to be alive.  Real friends know how to bring the best out of you and aren't afraid to tell you the truth when it hurts.  If it is always one person being the saving grace of the friendship, is it really fair? As trite as it sounds, it's a give and take.  As we give and take we should be sharing joy, love, success as we honor one another with our gift of friendship.

OMG... I've gone all Oprah.  Can't help it... it's the subject matter. :)

Seriously though, I have learned that in many of my friendships I was the person who felt like they had to fix everything or come up with a solution to my friends' issues -- when they, themselves, were completely capable of doing so, which totally stems from my co-dependent tenancies.  For the most part I'm beyond those challenges, but once in a while a "needy" friend comes along and I'm all too eager to hop in the drivers seat and help them.

That's not to say I don't want to help my friends, however I think I do more of a service to them (and me) if I give them the chance to move forward themselves while I support.

Then there's the fair-weather friends.  The ones who need you when they need you, but then don't ever need you otherwise. Just this past year I've made the conscious choice to respectfully withdraw from their lives.

One particular friend I decided to let-go of was was super hard.  I met her years ago, online, via a Weight Watchers Support group I used to lead.  She's fun, witty, beautiful, etc.!  She just doesn't know how to tend to a friendship on even a slightly routine basis.  When she's "on", she's on and she's the most wonderful of friends.  When she's "off", she's pretty much out of touch, out of sight and, well, just out of it.

This decision was tough for me, because she has a beautiful Daughter which I helped bring into the world; I was her birth coach.  It was something for which I was completely honored to do and consider it a blessing that I was part of it at all.  She could have had anyone, but she asked me.

What's most troubling is her two-faced activity.  It became clear to me just how insecure she really was, in spite of her bigger than life personality and winning smile.  We had some common friends, and one in particular, who I now spend a lot of time with since she moved out of state, is my training buddy.  For whatever reason during our trip to one of our triathlons she texted a flip remark about us sleeping together.  What true friend does that, knowing people could get seriously hurt?  Thank goodness I have the relationship  I do with my Husband, because he would have had every reason to be upset by what she said.

It was at that point I decided that was it.  No matter how "on" she was capable of being, it wasn't worth it.  It was always me supporting her... and any attempt by her to support me were overshadowed by her life events at the time.

Maybe I'm doing her a disservice by not notifying her I've officially "pulled away."  Maybe she's reading this blog right now and knows?  Maybe she doesn't even notice.  It really doesn't matter because I did it for me.

Ridding myself of friends who are not reciprocal might sound selfish, but I prefer using the term self-centered.  There is a difference.  Being selfish is having no regard for anyone else, perhaps even being disrespectful.  Being self-centered, is taking my needs and placing them first, but then always tending to others with caring and compassion.

So Being a little self-centered makes me a better me, Mom, Wife and friend. I'd rather have fewer, high-quality relations, than a ton of folks who just drain the life out of you.  The rewards are beyond measure because these real friends take you for who you are, what you are, when you have time, when you don't.  There are no hard and heavy expectations.  True friendship feels natural and just picks up from where you left off and doesn't require moving a mountain to keep it going.

For the coming year I want to improve the relationships I currently share with family and friends.  I want to be more consistent with remembering them and showing them how much they mean for me.  I want to be the kind of friend I would be honored to have.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

#Reverb10 What's Rocked Your Socks Off?

December 9th
What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

The best party for me in 2010?  I really want to be able to say it was my Daughter's 6th birthday, but that would be a lie.  Everyone knows that for a Mom execution of a birthday party for your kid isn't always that joyous -- it's a worth while ton of work!  Hey, I'm not super-Mom.  I'm just keeping it real!

So... the best party... best party... let me see.

Okay, it was in the last year, but it wasn't in 2010.  It was our '09 Annual Holiday "Drive-by".  It's kind of a come-and-go as you please kind of thing.  The kind of thing you can literally just swing by and enjoy a quick eat and drink, and be on your way to finish your holiday tasks at hand.

One funny thing was that Mom was in town and some of my real "country" friends were enamored by her accent -- and she by theirs.  They had spent some time in New York, so they loved chatting about the city with my Mom.  T is a cowboy with a capital "C", Mom just thought he was the best.  It was both enjoyable and laughable seeing these two worlds socialize. :)

The food was awesome.  I don't remember what I made, but I know it was damned good.  Mom was visiting and she helped.  So between her and Paula Deen, there was no way for a party food fail.  What I especially remember, and this could completely fall under "shenanigans", was the homemade egg nog.  I never made it before, so it was an experience.  The egg nog was good by itself, but later after most of the guests left, we added some "spirit" in the way of Kaluah, and it was fantabulous!

Ironically enough, for a party labeled as a "drive-by", that would imply that people would come... then go.  But not this party!  Everyone had such a great time  we had a full house for several hours. It was such a treat to have a house so full of cheer.

There's something about sharing my home, food, drink and fun with friends and family I completely adore.  It's not about the actual entertaining for me though -- it's about doing something for my friends and family.  Something special for them that I have to put effort into; that whole actions speak louder than words.

For the coming year I'd really like to continue to honor the friends/family in my life, but maybe a little more often, maybe not just in a formal way.  At some point, completely for no reason whatsoever, do something nice for them... simply because they crossed my mind.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Reverb10 for 12/8/10

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

It’s hard to think about what it is that’s different about me, let a alone beautiful, when I’ve spent the greater part of my life worrying about fitting in. I really don’t want to make this a lack-of-self-esteem kind of post, because that’s generally a given.  I’m a constant work-in process… but aren’t we all?

In recent years though, it’s mattered less – the fitting in part. I’m getting older, and age brings wisdom. And maybe that’s what it takes? Maturity?? At least I hope so, because I have plenty of aging to come! I’ve realized there’s far less satisfaction with working hard to fit in, when I will never please anyone, including myself, if I’m not doing what is “true” to me. Maybe that, in it of itself, makes me a little different from the majority of folks; working to do what feels true to who I am, even when others don’t understand.

Now, this I know is true, dare I sound conceded, but I seemingly have an ability to support and empathize with others facing challenges. I think it’s because I’ve been through the school of hard knocks (to deeper degrees than I share on this blog), but what makes me different is that my “schooling” has never been an excuse to allow me to settle for not doing whatever it was I wanted to do. Sure, it might be slow-going and there might be a crap load of obstacles, but in my mind nothing is insurmountable, and that’s what you have to believe. I really try to share this life lesson with friends… they’ll probably tell you I do so, every chance I get. LOL

Lastly, It doesn’t take much effort to be positive, but it takes quite a bit to turn the negative or neutral into a positive and draw-out every ounce of value in a lesson to be learned. It’s challenging to accept that although things may not have turned out as you planned or hoped, they are how they are for a reason. I don’t always learn the lesson the first time, but eventually it becomes truth in my mind. At times I’m slow on the uptake and make mistakes occasionally, but the difference in me is that I am aware and consciously make the effort to find the meaningful positive in everything.

So how am I beautifully different? How do I “light” people up?

I’m still not really sure how to answer those questions. What I do know is, each day I’ve taken conscious steps, to make me a better me than I was the day before – even if it meant just really being present. It’s taking persistence and tenacity and showing strength by digging deep and staying with what is true for me. The love and support I’ve shown friends is reciprocal and I hope I was able to bring about positives to their challenges and maybe, just maybe, gave them teensy-weensy bit courage to do what is true for them.  I am honored to be such an intimate part of their lives.

"It's okay...because I will be an Ironman"

A conversation between someone who is training for an Ironman and someone who is not. Perfectly true. :)

Monday, December 06, 2010


Friday night I managed to get in my 1400 yd. swim and a 40 minute easy run on the treadmill in the time I had  between leaving work and our holiday party.  I could feel it taking everything out of me, but I made it through. 

I went to the party and got home by 11.  Then proceeded the spend the next hour trying to find the key fob for my car.  Yep.  I lost it.  Inside the car.  Therefore, I couldn't lock the doors.  As long as th fob is in the car, it can be started and driven off without an actual key in the ignition!  I had to find the fob.  I wound up having to wake up Darren to help me.  Thankfully it wasn't easily found, but he was successful.

I was all ready to go to the RunGirl course for my 2:15 run, until I found out Darren had to go into work.  No biggie, I would just get my run in later.  This was fine with me because I still wasn't feeling all that great.  In fact I felt like I was nursing a hangover, without having drank. 

The day went on and I felt worse and worse.  I desperately needed a nap, which I took.  We took Cassie to see "Tangled" and it was all I could do not to fall asleep.  We got home and I knew from how I felt there would be no run, which was sorta okay since I had a couple hours early the next morning in which I could do it, before I had to be at defensive driving for the day.

I woke on Sunday and my head was full of congestion and horrible pressure behind one eye.  I pressed on though, knowing running generally clears the snot from my head.  I headed out and got started.  The pressure behind my eye was ridiculous.  I found even my visor was too tight to wear with the pressure so already decided on 2 5-mile loops so I could swing by the house and drop off the visor, since I couldn't wear it.

I got about a mile in, and my stomach just turned. I slowed down a minute to make sure I was okay and started back up again... 30 seconds later... BARF! Ugh... makes me want to gag again typing it. 

That was it.  I went home.  I called it a day. I'm not sure what this crud is, but it's killing me.  I had nothing the rest of the day and just felt like I was living with a hangover.  I made it through defensive driving, only napping a few times. :)  Still feeling like crap, I never got my run in. 

I just need to get better.  Run Girl is in 5 days.  :(

Friday, December 03, 2010

On The Mend...

Today's b'fast.  Yum!
Been down for the count for about 2 days now with sinus crud, but am definitely on the upswing.  I actually slept from around 8pm to 4am yesterday -- I am so excited!  Trust me, it's much better than waking through the night then waking completely at 3am from sinus pressure.  I got a tip on some allergy specialists in the area, which I am going to examine this coming week, because this is just getting insane.

Since I've been down for 2 days, I'm behind on training.  Today I'm gong to get my easy run and a swim in, before I head out to my company's holiday dinner. 

Two new Food Finds!

Maranatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread. Accidentally found this at my local Kroger's Organic food section.  I've seen dark chocolate peanut butter, but since I don't do peanuts (bad for my Thyroid), I was really glad to see the combination of chocolate with Almond butter.  I tried some on my homemade breakfast bars, and it was TDF!  Cass enjoyed some (tremendously!) with her apple.  Calories costly, but good for you.

After that I found Horizon Organics has a lowfat Eggnog!  1/2 C. is 140 calories and jut 3 grams of Fat!  Today I tried it in my coffee, to help cut down on the amount of half and half I used.  It was so good I wound up having a full 1/2 C. of it mixed in with my coffee this morning! 

If you have a minute, visit their website... it opens with kiddos trying out their food and their reactions... quite cute. :)  And no, I'm not compensated, I really just think they're cute!

So I'm back at work today and I walk in and there are boxes on my desk.  I always get deliveries of equipment so I didn't think anything of it.  I just cut right in and opened it!  Turns out that camera I wanted, but didn't really need was delivered.  I felt so bad.  I called Darren and told him.  He said, "didn't it say do not open on the box?"  Well, yeah, but I didn't read it!  Bummed that it ruined his surprise, but glad I got it.  I'm not allowed to have it until Xmas.  Thankfully there are other things on my "wish list", if he must get a surprise.  LOL

Tomorrow is a 2:15 long run.  I'm going to go back to the RunGirl course and hope I'll have a better run, now that I know where I'm going :)  My plan for the race is to run a 9:1 run/walk interval until the last 3 miles, when I'll go as hard as a can and take :10-:15 second walk breaks as needed to keep control of my HR. 

Sunday I have to make-up my track and do an hour long bike ride... then I get to go take Defensive Driving. 

That's my weekend... how about yours???

Me, Darren and Cassie
at Daren's first 10K a couple weeks ago
We don't get many pictures with all three of us!!!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

1) Ugh.  Sick, again, with allergy crud.  Seriously, I need to see an allergist. Nothing is giving me relief, but the last thing I need are steroid shots.  I've resorted to trying local honey in my tea everyday.  Supposedly people get some relief, but it has to be local stuff... made of the pollen that you're suffering from.

2)With regard to number 1, I'm not going into work today.  Yesterday was an absurdly long day.  I was busy and had a ton of work, but I also felt so crappy I didn't even want to drive home.  My head is just pounding! Yesterday I woke at 3:30 am, today 3:00 am, from the pressure.  I brought my laptop home so I can work from home today, and nap as needed.  I always get sick right before a race... RunGirl is a week from Sunday.

3)  I have to take defensive driving on Sunday, to dismiss a ticket.  I can't even be all resentful, because I totally deserved the ticket (I hate that!).  I had a car full of people and we were yackin' it  up on the way to a triathlon to volunteer.  Totally didn't realize how fast I was going.  I swear my new car only wants to go 80 mph -- that's HER happy pace.  At least the cop didn't write the ticket for 20 mph over the speed limit -- I got 14, so I wouldn't get a reckless driving citation.

4) I love Hoops and Yoyo.  They make me smile.  They are so silly and abnoxious, I know, but I can't pass up an aisle of those audible cards with their cute wittle wikenesses on them. :)

5)  I really want a new digital camera.  Something with major optical zoom.  I've loved my Cannon PowerShot over the years, but the first one I bought was the best of all of them.  I need something that's point-and-click easy and not as big as a traditional 35mm.  I'm a Mom... I need to have my camera with me at all times!  The problem is, I don't really NEED a new camera. :)

6)  We have our holiday dinner on Friday night with my work peeps.

7)  Mom is doing great.  Talked to her yesterday and she's fine.  Completely pain free.

8)  I want to relocate my Daughters playroom upstairs to the gameroom, and reclaim our office space.  I need to make the time and a plan to do this.

9)  I love "Words With Friends" -- it's a scrabble game on iPad.  Angry Birds is another game, which is somewhat disturbingly addicting.  *snort*

10)  Have you ever noticed that it's never just quiet in your home?  There's always an electric hum of something in the background.

11)  My BFF goes in for Gastric Sleeve surgery on December 7th.  *fingerscrossed!*

12)  We're planning to have our "Holiday Drive-by" party again.  It was a hit last year.  We just have some food and open the house up for a few hours and let folks drop-in and leave as they need.  Last year we had such a good time that everyone stayed!  You'd think people would have a ton of stuff to do Christmas Eve!

13)  Must. Make. Paula's. Eggnog

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Food Journal for 11/1 and "I made it!" Recipe

I had to get to work super-early today, so I didn't do my normal b'fast.  I've been trying to cut the fat (a little) for breakfast by cutting down on the amount of half-and-half I use.  I love the creamy, rich goodness... but you know what they say about too much of a good thing.  I've cut it down to 2 measured Tablespoons, by adding milk too.  I haven't found the right balance yet, but it's made me cut down on my coffee... all except my Starbucks trip this morning... Nonfat milk, no whip and just 2 pumps of gingerbread in my grande latte. 

For breakfast I had som 0% Fage mixed with pumpkin puree.  I added a little cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg.  I would normally add vanilla too, but I was out.  It was still awesome.  Pumpkin is great for you.. and anything that tastes similar to pumpkin pie filling, can't be that bad, right?

My favorite part of breakfast are the breakfast bars I made.  This recipe is yummy.  It's old fashioned oats, nuts and cranberries (I was short cranberries in this pictured batch).  The recipe calls for condensed milk, I use Fat Free.  These are pretty filling, and generally half of a full size serving will do. Today I ate the whole thing, s-l-o-w-l-y, since I know I have a 45 minute run today and will need the carbs.  The recipe is below.  They are so quick and easy to make too, it's ridiculous.  I would like to find a substitute for condensed milk, to cut down the sugar content.  1 can of condensed milk spread across 16 - 20 servings isn't terrible, but a substitute would be better. These don't seem to bother me, perhaps because of the nut protein.  My breakfast bar nutritional content is off, as it's calculated with sweetened coconut, instead of unsweetened. 

Then there is they old South Beach Diet Ricotta Creme (for my evening snack).  I've been craving it lately, for some reason.  I love this creamy ricotta mixture with Vanilla and Cinnamon.  

Breakfast/Energy Bars

1 14-fl-oz can condensed milk (I use Fat- Free)
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup dried cranberries (I've also used dried cherries and blueberries)
1/2 cup mixed pumpkin seeds, unsalted and hulled
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted and hulled
1 cup almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and oil a 9- x 13-inch baking pan or just use a disposable aluminum foil one.  I've also used a larger pan and made the bars a little thinner.  Like I mentioned, they are quite filling and chunky!

2. Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.

3. Meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients together and add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber spatula to fold and distribute.

4. Spread the mixture into the oiled or foil pan and press down with a spatula or, better still, your hands  to make the surface even. 

5. Bake for 1 hour, remove, and after about 15 minutes, cut into four across and four down, to make 16 meal-size bars

'Tis the Season

79 year old women being mugged in church parking lots.

In home Healthcare givers stealing $32k from 91 year olds they are caring for.

Babies being left on doorstep -- 2nd in the last few weeks.

It's all so horrible, and my thoughts are with those who survive these kinds of things and I pray that those violators will somehow be able to live with themselves and what they've done.  Chances are the latter won't matter much.  I just hate reading these kinds of things.  Although it makes me grateful for the blessings I do have and reminds me of how important it is to give back in some way.

Complete subject change..

Mom is home.  In fact she was on her way home around 11am yesterday.  They had to paralyze her from the waist down, but they were able to get the hip back in place without surgery, thank God!  Since Mom is a dancer, you could say her hips are super important.  Kind of ironic how it happened, since she was just casually bending over.  Yet all the kicking, dancing and splits has never knocked it out of place since her replacement.  Yeah, this hip that dislocated was a titanium replacement.  Soooo painful for her, even with Morphine! She said once they got it back in place, no more pain.  Just like that!

I started to feel like kah-kah yesterday and just quickly went downhill.  Would have been very easy for me to blow off my Fartlek, because I really felt that bad.  At first I thought maybe I was catching Cassie's crud, but there's no sign of infection.  Pollen is low, but we had all sorts of rain several days ago, so maybe it's mold spores?  I have to get to an allergist one day and figure out what bothers me so much.  I woke up at 3:30 with a pounding head and congestion.  Today is one of those days I have to be at work; I can't call in "dead."

Surprisingly, my run was okay!  Even though I didn't do it exactly right.  I did get the distance and the basic idea in.  I did 1 mile at marathon pace, 1 mile at marathon pace -:30, 1 mile at marathon pace +1:30 and 1 mile at marathon pace -1:30.  I actually made all the times, except the -:30... was off by about 7 seconds.  My marathon pace -1:30 was actually way faster, under 12!  That was kind of surprising to me.  Coach wants to target 12 as my half marathon pace.  I would love to see that happen and I'm trying to trust that it will.  He said things are going in the right direction, so I'll just keep working.