Are You Rewarding Yourself?

I don’t miss you.

Not you, dear virtual buddies. I’m talking to this blog. I’m not missing it as much as I thought I would. In fact, a full week of not blogging resulted in me staring at a blank page on Tuesday. You see, the more you write on a topic, the more you think about it, the easier it is to come up with something to say.

But I haven’t been thinking about it.

So now I am out of the loop. I’m trying to read your blogs at least, but time is limited. I’m living in the now, though, and it doesn’t always allow for Internet-perusing. What it is allowing: family time and book-writing time.

Playing soccer with T Junior

I am still squeezing my workouts in early in the morning, and I began incorporating core again, too. I just had to make myself do it.

And I figured out why I’ve been yawning on the elliptical. Boooor-ing. Unlike the sketchy ski-pole machine, running brings adventure. You never know what you’re going to see: a beautiful sunrise or sunset, wildlife, friendly neighbors, or maybe even a blogger you know from a different state! But the gym is vanilla. It’ll do if that’s all there is, but you sorta wanted rocky road.

So, Monday I downloaded myself some sprinkles and a cherry. With a new book on my Kindle, my gym options are now a little more attractive: The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I’m about a quarter of the way through it and, so far, it’s an excellent book.

Not so excellent was Monday’s weigh-in. Down only a half-pound. It’s still a loss, so I’m not that upset. But at this rate, it’s going to take me five years to lose the more than 25 pounds I want to get rid of.

I’m sure there are little things I am doing that add up and make for smaller losses: alcohol, finishing food T Junior left on his plate (half of a perfectly yummy grilled cheese sandwich was going to go to waste!) and not counting it toward my points, not drinking enough water, portion control. I think I may also switch my weigh-in day.

By making it Monday, I’d hoped to control my weekend indulgences. But all it’s doing is making me stress about food. During the week, it’s easy to keep track of my points because I basically eat the same thing every day. The weekend involves parties, concerts, weddings, baseball games, etc.

I’m going back to Fridays from here on out.

SOWL Challenge: Little Rewards

When I accomplish shedding the first 5 pounds of the Summer of Weight Loss, I think I’m going to reward myself. With what, I don’t know. Not food.

Last week, we talked about motivation and I think rewards fall into the same category. Maybe if I know what my reward will be, I will work just a leeeettle bit harder to get there.

This also helps break up the task of losing weight. Five pounds seems more achievable to me than 25+. So, I’m just going to go ahead and make a list of my 5-pound rewards right now. Let me think…

…still thinking…

…okay! Got ‘em.

  • 5 pounds (aka 164 pounds – only 1.6 away!): a real lunch box — I bring my lunch every workday…it’s about time I get something to carry it in besides a crinkly Safeway shopping bag
  • 10 pounds (aka 159): new SweatyBand
  • 15 pounds (aka 154): movie (of my choice) date with Mr. T (he doesn’t know this yet)
  • 20 pounds (aka 149 – booyah!): full pedicure
  • 25 pounds (aka 144): new running shoes
  • 29 pounds (aka 140 – goal!): spa day!

Are you rewarding yourself? Do you plan to? If you are going to reward yourself, I challenge you to write down what the rewards are for each goal. Seeing them written makes them real!

Miss you guys!

Summer of Weight Loss: What Motivates You?

Motivators can be tricky. What I’m figuring out is there are different types, and some seem to work better than others.

At first, I wanted to lose weight in order to look good in jeans. That would be a Shallow Motivator. During the winter, this one morphed into losing some tummy so that it didn’t hang over the elastic waist of my running capris. It’s gone back to the jeans since that was accomplished. Shallow motivation is cyclical.

I also need Short-Term Motivators to get me out the door, and a big one for me is music. I love my 18-miler playlist. I made it specifically for that run back in May and it was perfect. The list started off with my usual fast, party-girl pop stuff, then slowed down in the middle with Sheryl Crow, Tom Petty, Cake and a couple of fun ‘80s songs, then transitioned into some peppy disco by ABBA and finished with sing-a-long music from Legally Blonde-The Musical. (You can see the entire 55-song list HERE.)

My Long-Term Motivator is probably the most important one: better overall health. It’s interesting, though, that this one doesn’t always get me to the gym or prevent me from eating a burger and fries. That’s why I have the Shallow and Short-Term motivators. They seem to be more effective. But that was before I read this:

“According to Dr. Robert Weinberg, a professor of cancer research at MIT and discoverer of the first tumor-suppressor gene, one in every seven cancer deaths is caused by excess body fat. The math is stark: cut the fat, and cut your cancer risk.

“So the Tarahumara Miracle, when it comes to cancer, isn’t such a mystery after all. ‘Change your lifestyle, and you can reduce your risk of cancer by 60 to 70 percent,’ Dr. Weinberg has said. Colon, prostate, and breast cancer were almost unknown in Japan, he points out, until the Japanese began eating like Americans; within a few decades, their mortality rate from those three diseases skyrocketed. When the American Cancer Society compared lean and heavy people in 2003, the results were even grimmer than expected: heavier men and women were far more likely to die from at least 10 different kinds of cancer.”
— pp.208-209, Born To Run, Christopher McDougall (bold text and underlining are my marks)

I gasped mid-stride on the elliptical at the gym on Monday when I read this. Most of the information I’ve heard before, but this time it affected me differently. The weight, the reality, the scariness of these couple of paragraphs pulsed through me with each huff and puff as I eyed my heart rate on the machine. There aren’t too many other things that frighten me the way cancer does.

My Long-Term Motivator just moved up in importance. I hope I don’t forget about it. Maybe I need to write it on my hand…or on the fridge.

SOWL CHALLENGE

What are your motivators? What gets you out the door or to the gym? What makes you think twice about buying that suitcase full of Peanut M&Ms at Costco? Write about it on your blog or, if you don’t blog, leave it in the comments below.

SOWL PARTICIPANTS: Motivate One Another
Thanks to a smart suggestion from Angie, we can now motivate each other more effectively. I created a Google spreadsheet, which includes the names of all the SOWL participants thus far, blogs where appropriate, a place to note starting and goal weights, and fields to mark your progress through Sept. 22.

Go HERE to update your information, and see who else is participating and how they are doing. So far, I’ve only posted my weight info since I couldn’t remember who wanted theirs to be public and who wanted to keep their info to themselves. Please update your information, and feel free to share the link with your readers. (And, if I missed you, I apologize! Please add your name and info.)

Let’s motivate and inspire each other!

MY SOWL UPDATE
So far, the Summer of Weight Loss is working for me. I’ve lost about a pound a week (just shy of 3 pounds).

This week was a major win because family was in town and I indulged on several occasions – waffle cone (again), beer, martinis, wine, restaurant food, and I even tried rabbit and pork pate at this swanky lounge on Saturday night before the Grease Sing-A-Long. (My friend SH ordered it and since I was two drinks in, I felt brave.)

Kallie, SH and me at the swanky lounge.
I now see that that’s not a flattering shirt on me…

We made SH try the pate first since she’s
the one that wanted to order it.

I weighed in on Monday and was extremely happy with a .8-pound loss. I feel pretty good about that because even though I overdid it a few times, I actually did try to balance the day with lighter meals elsewhere, like a small, but filling breakfast (bagel thin with 1 Tablespoon chunky peanut butter, -4), and a veggie-heavy lunch (mixed greens with grape tomatoes, a diced Babybell cheese circle, and a quarter of an avocado with 1 teaspoon each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a dash of coarse salt and a little pepper, -4).

I also did not count points Friday-Sunday – I just ballparked my meals in my head. This is a bad habit that is rolling over. It’s Wednesday and I have yet to enter my points in my homemade spreadsheet. I will finally have some time tonight to catch up, though. We’ve just been busy, busy, busy at our house.

But last night, me and Mr. T went on a date to the Mariner’s game. Highlights:
-Walking by the crazy Adam Lambert fans in line to see him in SODO.
-Finding free parking in an actual lot downtown. WHAT?!
-A beer, a Kidd Valley hamburger and some garlic fries.
-Another beer.
-Spending time on a random weeknight with my guy.

*I’m almost done reading Born to Run, so you won’t have to hear about it that much longer.

Some Thoughts on Blogging

I’m finding it difficult to blog just once per week, which is particularly interesting since it has only been three days from when I made my declaration. It’s just that my brain swirls with thoughts about running and health and life, and it’s difficult to stop a tornado.

The only way I can think of to do that is to write. Writing is magic. The benefits are a lot like running. It improves my mood, gives me a sense of accomplishment and, well, it’s just fun. Like I told Mr. T the other day, “I freakin’ love to write.” Spoken like a true writer. I heard that’s exactly what Hemingway said when asked about his passion.

But writing out your thoughts on all subjects all the time gobbles up a good part of the day. Especially for me since I’m a re-writer. (This explains why some of the world’s greatest authors are also extremely anti-social. No time for people. Must write. Thoughts. Now.)

What I think I need to learn to do is to let go of some of the words. Release them like balloons at a parade. I don’t need to hold on to all of them. Do I? Do I really need to pack them up and lug them along with me for the rest of my life?

I blame part of this word-hording problem on my memory. It’s not the greatest. My friend Kallie can recall amazing details about her life, like what she was wearing on the fourth day of first grade. I can’t remember what year that was. My outfit? Forget it.

I feel I have to write down every single thought that breezes between my ears. Just in case I need it later. This is hard to do when you have a job, a kid, a husband, a TV…a training plan, a gym membership.

But all this writing isn’t a bad thing. My mom-blog, Sanity Department, is full of memories about T Junior and Mr. T, and how I was feeling about mommyhood during the first year of my son’s life. I should be writing more of those things down now, but running-related topics usurp them.

I hope cutting back here will make some room in my head for life stories. When they float in I’ll swoop them up with an imaginary net and jot them down on something tangible – like a real journal with paper pages and everything.

For example, I don’t want to forget the conversation I had with my two-year-old last week. T Junior stopped kicking his mini soccer ball and stood still, his bare feet nestled in the front lawn. A passenger jet rumbled in the distance.

T Junior cocked his head, but kept his eyes on me. “Airplane comin’.”

“Yep. That’s right. I hear it.”

He straightened up. Serious. “A wanna touch a airplane.”

How do you address a request like that? I decided on: “Well, it’s really high up in the sky. We can’t reach it.” I hoped it would do.

T Junior turned his cheek-dominated face up to the blue. He squinted. “A wanna touch the sun.”

So you see what I’m talking about?! When I’m looking back at my life, what’s more important? That beautiful, curious moment with my son in the front yard or how many minutes I passed on the elliptical while listening to Ke$ha tell off her cheating boyfriend and Taio Cruz worry about karma?

Don’t get me wrong. The exercise is important. I need that so that I can look back at my life. But I don’t need to take the memory with me, just the benefits.

That being said – and it had to be said because it was driving me crazy – I love writing about running, so I don’t think I can give it all up just yet. I’m going to start with once a week and see if that helps. Thank you so much for your nice words about my last post! It means a lot to me!

COMING UP LATER TODAY: Summer of Weight Loss Challenge and more!

Day 365: The Start of Something New

Check out the number up there. 365.

One year ago, feeling fat, tired, overwhelmed and depressed, I decided to dig out my tennies, dust off the BOB, and go for a run. Well, it was more of a shuffle, then walk, then shuffle, then walk. It wasn’t really running, but it was a start of something new.

It was the start of a transformation. I wanted to be healthy. Check. I wanted to be athletic like I used to be. Check. And, of course, I wanted to lose some weight. Semi-check…still working on it.

I also wanted an shiny new adventure to write about, and I thought it could be fun to challenge myself. And it has been. Mom vs. Marathon has been such a trip. From sending my thoughts out there to nobody, to getting my first comment, to making virtual and local friends, completing three half marathons, and even figuring out who I really am.

But this blog is also a problem.

Mom vs. Marathon wears a onesie and calls me “Mama.” I really love writing about running, but the blog consumes me. I have so much to say, I’m just always thinking of things to write here, and then I am writing them. And then I am waiting for comments.

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I crave the constant feedback I get from bloggy land. And by feedback, I mean approval. I just figured this out a few nights ago and it makes sense. It explains why I check my e-mail obssessively after I publish a post; why all I can think about is what I want to write on my blog; why I feel I have to broadcast any and all thoughts I have regarding running.

Mom vs. Marathon has completely taken over my writing brain, too. I need/want to be working on a book, but all I can think about are blog posts. While that’s been fine for a while, I want to get my author butt in gear.

Plus, Mr. T would like to see me sometimes. He wants to know what I look like without a laptop blocking half my face like the fence did to Wilson on Home Improvement (remember that show?).

To be honest, I was ready to quit this blog (and my other ones). I just need to set my brain free. I had a post written and everything. I really liked it, too. But you’re not going to see it.

Instead I’ve made a promise to blog once a week. I will post on Wednesdays in keeping with what I’ve been doing for the Summer of Weight Loss. I will no longer have the day in my post titles, as that has been difficult to keep to sometimes. So, you won’t be hearing about every single boring elliptical workout or, when I can pound the pavement again, run.

I’m not sure what I’ll be posting: probably trends I’ve noticed, things in the news about running, Summer of Weight Loss challenges, maybe some reviews, and hopefully a race report or two. I do still plan to run a marathon. It’ll be 2011, though, for sure. I’m still out to get my victory lap and I think I know where to get it:

Seattle Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon, June 25, 2011.

Days 360-364: Barefoot Soccer

DAY 360
I’m not getting enough sleep. It’s okay, it’s just for a limited time while my in-laws are visiting from Florida, but dang, I’m wiped. Monday night was six hours. Tuesday night was 5-1/2. I do not like this trend.

To make my early morning easier, I took a shower on Tuesday night. I got up at 4:30 on Wednesday, and then remembered I hadn’t made T Junior’s lunch. So, I didn’t get to the gym till about 5:20. And by the time I got all situated on the bike, the gym clock said it was 5:30. I know it did not take me 10 minutes. I think that clock is fast.

Anyway, I don’t want to be late for work, so I set the bike at 35 minutes on Level 8-Random. Last time I did Level 10, my shin was sore and I do not want to do anything that would make it take longer to heal.

I read Born to Run on the bike. You know how I just love to multi-task. I wish I could write while biking, but I’ve tried that and it does not work.

Recumbent Bike Stats
40 minutes (includes 5-minute cooldown), 9.96 miles – Level 8-Random

Oh and I remembered my baby wipes, so at least I wasn’t stinky at work. Tired, but without stench.

I picked up T Junior at day care around 4:30 p.m., went home and let the dogs out. T Junior is loving soccer and he wanted to play. I did, too. And after all this barefoot talk, I decided we could just be out in the shady front yard in our bare feet.

But T Junior whimpered. “A shoes on.”

“It’s okay, dude. Mommy’s going in her bare feet, too. See?”

He looked at his pudgy toes. “My bare feet.”

“Yep.”

I never wore shoes as a kid in northern California. I remember scorching the bottoms of my feet on sticky asphalt, stepping on spiky oak leaves, and then enjoying the sensation of soft, cool grass on my soles once the sun slipped down.

My child should experience that, too. Where did I, or more importantly — he, get the idea that he must wear shoes all the time?

He was hesitant at first to step on the grass, but it was only a matter of second before we were passing the soccer ball sans shoes, chasing each other and laughing. He discovered Mommy can trap the ball with her torso, thighs, chest, and became obsessed with throwing it at me so I could block it and then pass it back to him.

It was one of the best evenings ever. The only thing that would’ve made it better is if Mr. T had been there. He had to work late. Sad face.

DAY 361
Wednesday night’s total sleep: 3-1/2 hours – and not consecutive either.

Obviously, I skipped my workout.

DAY 362
I skipped another workout. I needed sleep.

DAY 363
Okay, this morning, I had a real excuse for missing my workout. I had an 8:45 a.m. haircut about 45 minutes from home during rush hour. (Sorry, no picture.) So, I had to get up, shower and get to Bellevue for that. Then, I met Mr. T, T Junior, Grandma, Pappy and Nan (Mr. T’s grandmother), hopped in the minivan, and we drove up to pretty La Conner for the day.

Unfortunately, the day turned into a bit of a food-indulge fest (brewery for lunch, of course, I had a big ol’ beer; ginormous waffle cone that T Junior did not eat enough of).

We left around 5, with me suffering from heartburn. That night, I had book club at a Mexican restaurant. I got a taco salad and did not eat the big, crunchy bowl. But I did end up eating all the sour cream and guacamole. Ummmm, and I had a margarita. Oops.

DAY 364
Today, I am starting anew. The eating will be under control today. I promise. Probably no workout, though, since family is coming over. Maybe I’ll do core since I haven’t done it in over a week.

Tomorrow, it will be exactly one year since I started running for real. I have no idea what to do for Day 365. Wish I could go for a run…

Summer of Weight Loss Challenge: Confess!

“She had eight grilled cheese sandwiches.
She stuffed them in her mouth all at once.
It was so sad.”
— from Legally Blonde

When I first moved to the Seattle area, I lived alone. Technically, I had a roommate, but she was in the police academy and would often stay there. I worked in a newsroom as a lowly copy editor and didn’t make very much money. So, there’s my excuse for what I am about to tell you.

For dinner, I sometimes had a fishbowl-sized glass of red wine and half a loaf of French bread.

You probably will not be surprised to learn I put on about 50 pounds my first year in the real-world. That was basically when I started really being overweight. I had been active through my school years, but I was totally lost out on my own.

I know I’ve had many poor eating choices, but that one sticks out in my mind. It was the start of some really unhealthy habits and it makes me sad and ashamed when I think about it.

So, here’s your challenge this week: CONFESS! What was your worst eating moment? Post your story on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, share it in the comments section below.

Want to join us in the Summer of Weight Loss? Here are the past challenges, in case you want to catch up:
Produce Love
Take before pictures (front and side)
Pick a weigh-in day
Take your measurements
And don’t forget to send me an e-mail to let me know you want in! (kerrie at sanitydepartment dot com)

Some SOWL Housekeeping:
-Produce Love Challenge: Did you do it? I’m behind, but I did get to a new fruit. Read about it here.
-Originally, I had planned on posting your weight each week here at MvM, but that is virtually impossible for me to keep up with (a very good thing, indeed). I love getting updates from you, though, so please keep e-mailing me about your progress! I just won’t be posting it – I’ll leave that up to you, since most of you have blogs.

SOWL Participants:
Don’t forget to visit each other and motivate!

Jill at Run with Jill: http://runwithjill.blogspot.com/

Kadie at There She Runs: http://theresheruns.blogspot.com/

Talitha at Me and The Bug: http://me-and-thebug.blospot.com/

LB at Muddy Runner: http://muddyrunner.blogspot.com/

Shannon at It’s Trickey: http://shannontrickey.blogspot.com/

Kelly at In a Field of Daffodils: http://inafieldofdaffodils.blogspot.com/

TMB at Racing with Babes: http://racingwithbabes.blogspot.com/

Lorian at Running Guarantees Sanity: http://runningguaranteessanity.blogspot.com/

Kasey at Blonde Moms Run: http://blondemomruns.blogspot.com/

Kelly N. at 2010 – Revived Runner: http://kelly-nakamura.blogspot.com/

Tim at 26.2 Quest: http://blog.262quest.com/

Robyn at Ramblings of a Wannabe Writer and Runner: http://wannabewriterrunner.com/

Jill E. at Running to Sanity: http://running2sanity.blogspot.com/

Lisa (aka Running Kiwi) at From Fat to Marathoner: http://journeyfromfattolondonmarathon.blogspot.com/

Mel at 2nd Chances: http://www.second-chances.ca/

Stephanie at Girls Just Wanna Go Run: http://girlsjustwannagorun23.blogspot.com/

Alma at The Average Woman’s Running Blog: http://averagewomanrunner.blogspot.com/

Genesis at Eat Always, Sleep Seldomly, Run Whenevers: http://eatsleeprunwhenever.blogspot.com/

Steph at Steph’s 50 Marathon Challenge: http://50marathonchallenge.blogspot.com/

Stacie at Impossible is Nothing: http://stacie615.blogspot.com/

Kadie D. at Sense of Achievement: http://senseofachievement.blogspot.com/

Lindsay Chasing the Kenyans http://www.chasingthekenyans.com/

Heather at Almost Running: http://heather-almostrunning.blogspot.com/

Sophia at Tortuga Runner: http://tortuga-runner.blogspot.com/

Nicole K.

Chelsea at Will Run for Food: http://ballardbitter.blogspot.com/

Jess at Run Girl Run: http://www.jessruns.com/

Angie at Barefoot Angie Bee: http://barefoot-angieb.blogspot.com/

Diana at Done the Run: http://www.donetherun.blogspot.com/

Ruth at Running It Off: http://runningitoff1.blogspot.com/

Becky at Slowly Growing Old Together: http://www.slowlygrowingoldtogether.blogspot.com/