I’m ba-aaack!

In my last post (which yes, was written over a month ago), I mentioned I was going to have surgery to get a cyst removed.  Surgery and recovery were successful, and I feel great.  The cyst was actually attached to my left fallopian tube.  Since it was understandably pretty hard work for my fallopian tube to support a 9-10 cm bag of fluid, there’s a possibility that it and/or the ovary won’t work.  That’s fine, I suppose.  I’ve still got the right side and many, many more years before I plan on worrying about things like reproducing.  I was tempted to post the pictures taken during surgery, but I thought that might be taking it too far.  I did kind of want to brag/express my relief of how pretty and properly-functioning my liver appears to be.  Since my dad was diagnosed with liver disease a couple years ago, I’ve had this weird paranoia that my liver just looks like a lump of coal.  It doesn’t.  In fact, my doctor referred to it as “beautiful.”

I spent a week recovering at my parents’ house.  I really wasn’t in a whole lot of pain (thank you, Percocet), and for the first couple days, the only major discomfort I had was having unbearable hiccups every time I ate something.  They fill you up with gas during surgery, and had warned me of pain in the shoulders (which did occur) and that SOMEHOW the gas would have to leave my body.  I just thought this would happen through “fluffying” (the word my family made little Sally use instead of “farting” when she became way too comfortable discussing her bodily functions with anyone who would listen).  The fluffying did come, but I didn’t have too much discomfort.  And, as I’ve mentioned before, I have no sense of smell, so that was okay.

A couple weeks after surgery, I had my follow-up appointment and the doctor cleared me for exercising again.  Yeah!  She just said I shouldn’t do any ab exercises or heavy lifting.  Naturally, since I have no patience, I started out with Jazzercise.  I realized I wasn’t quite at 100% and should probably take more time to just ease back into it.  This past week was the first week that I really worked out a lot.  Lots of Jazzercise.  Lots of running.  It felt great AND I lost 2.2 lbs at weigh-in this week.  I finally secured a number in the next group of 10’s after straddling the line since July.

When I started blogging about my weight-loss journey, I kind of promised myself that my posts weren’t going to be all “Ohhh look at me.  I’m losing weight and I’m so awesome and pretty and this is so easy.”  I thought it was crucial for my success that I include the good AND the bad.  However, I haven’t done a very good job of that recently.  Since all of my health problems started, it’s been really hard for me to stay motivated.  From the beginning of July to a couple weeks ago, I felt so tired and crampy and bloated and really, just Blah.  Prior to my birthday, I was having big losses every week and then I just hit a brick wall.  It was normal for me to have weeks of losing 3-5 pounds, but in more recent months it’s been almost a flat-line.  I know I have some very real and valid excuses with the anemia and the hormones and the giant cyst growing inside of me, but the motivation just wasn’t there.  I didn’t do a lot of tracking for WW.  I didn’t attempt to do what little exercise I could.  I just kind of threw in the towel for a few months.  Now, I do have to say, I am proud of myself for still attending meetings.  I’m not sure I would have kept up with it if it wasn’t for my mom and my awesome WW groups (both meetings and Facebook).  It was hard to remind myself that my situation was temporary.  And it was temporary.

It’s been over 3-months since my initial “Houston, we have a problem” moment (this occurred at Jazzercise, on my birthday, and is most definitely not blog-friendly.  It was like it was my body’s way of saying “Welcome to your upper-twenties, Beyotch.”).  I’m finally ready to get back in the game.  My cyst is gone, my hemoglobin levels are back to normal, and the incisions are all healed, so I have no excuses anymore.  In general, I’m just so much happier when I can exercise.  My first time running after fully recovering was awesome.  I felt like Joseph Gordan-Levitt in his Hall and Oates dance on 500 Days of Summer.  I actually high-fived people.  Sure, I averaged a 20-minute mile.  But I was running.  And my legs didn’t feel like they weighed 300 pounds each.  And it’s FALL.

A few goals for the month of October:

  • run 20 miles a week
  • lose 10 pounds by November 3 (including yesterday’s weigh-in)
  • track, track, track
  • master the side-plank with the crazy leg-lift/press things routine in Jazzercise (or, at least, master the side-plank)
  • write a new blog post once a week

Things that I am really, really grateful for during my 3 months of hell:

  • my parents’ insane amount of support (this includes my dad’s willingness to give up the big TV and couch in the basement so I could spend a week watching cheesy Hallmark movies and reruns of TLC wedding shows and Criminal Minds)
  • good health insurance
  • awesome friends – I can’t remember if I shared in my last post, but The Emily’s and Kim went out to lunch with me before I started my fast for surgery.  It was so nice to be able to have a couple hours of B.F.F. time before I started my love-hate affair with Jell-O, popsicles, and Powerade.  Also, Emily M. brought me the most amazing peach cobbler after surgery.
  • Long conversations with my sister.  She constantly tells me how awesome and hilarious and pretty I am and therefore, validates my existence.  (She is even more awesome and hilarious and pretty than I am.)  She also did a good job of reassuring me that this didn’t all happen because I refused to name my uterus.  In fact, she agreed that maybe my uterus didn’t deserve a name since it has been dead-set on making my life a living hell for the last 15 (!) years.
  • My brother for being all responsible and protective and offering to call my health insurance company when I wasn’t sure if they were going to authorize anything.  They eventually did, but it was nice knowing that he was willing to do that.
  • My Aunt Pat, who attended my pre-op appointment with me.  She took notes and asked the questions I couldn’t think of because I was too nervous.  She also tends to make me feel much more normal than I probably am.
  • In general, just having an amazing family and friends.  They’re awesome and have offerred a lot of support and laughter and helped take my mind off of things.
  • The fact that my health problems were cured with a minimally-invasive surgery.  The hardest part of all of this was the waiting.  I’m not a patient person, and I can’t imagine what people with real, life-threatening diseases go through.  My heart definitely goes out to them.
  • A very helpful cooperating teacher and school.  It took a lot of stress off of me to know I didn’t have to worry about anything else when I was covering.
  • The Democratic National Convention taking place during my recovery.  You haven’t lived until you’ve been hopped up on pain killers, watching President Clinton speak.  Weird things that happened, as a result of the Percocet: barely conscious clapping and fist-pumping (during a speech that focused mainly on policy) and a confession to my mother that I “don’t blame Monica Lewinsky one bit.”  Side note:  How adorable was Julian Castro’s daughter?

Thanks, everyone, for your support over the last few months!  I’m excited to be back.

My current “power song” for running.  “Hello” by Karmin.

Too nice, too clean
Too white, too green
Little haters, big dreams
I don’t care what you think about me
Two faced, old friends, told me, the end was near, forget them
See a lot of things changed since then
Don’t they know that I came from Nebraska
Am I gonna quit? Nice of you to ask
But momma told me go and chase what you after
I’m on track, so I’m gonna rap faster

And then I usually change the song after the Nebraska shout-out.

An Introvert’s Musings on the Omaha Color Run

I have a confession to make.  It’s one that you might find surprising.  After all, I practically ooze charm and grace.  But it’s true, I am a bit of an introvert.  I’m not great with crowds of people.  I’m realllly not great with small talk.  When I meet new people, I have to struggle through a lot of awkwardness before a common interest is found and we can discuss that.  Once I hit my stride, or am really comfortable with someone, sometimes you can’t shut me up.  If you ever find yourself in a conversation with me and want to break free from the painful awkwardness that is happening, all you have to do is bring up any of the following topics:  The West Wing (The show, not the actual west wing of the White House.  Although, if you’re passionate about it, I will probably appreciate the conversation), Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, HIMYM, Britney Spears (specifically her relationship with JT and/or her amazing comeback), the NBA during the first half of the 90’s, pro-wrestling during the second half of the 90’s, Ace of Base, Sweet Valley High books, Hillary Clinton, and – most importantly – Billy Joel.  I think a lot of people assume that introverts are just shy or have low self-esteem.  And that’s really not the case at all.  I love meeting new friends, I just really love my amazing core of best friends.  I’m incredibly proud of all I have/am accomplished/accomplishing, getting vocal attention for it just makes me feel uncomfortable.  (The exception being when I’m talking to my mom.  Then I’m like, “yeah.  I know.  I’m awesome.”)  I know it seems weird for an introvert to have a blog, especially one about their life and not, like, World War II memorabilia.  It’s completely the opposite, though.  I do much better when I’m writing than when I’m talking.  I can think things through before I actually publish them.  My approach to blogging has been to just pretend that I’m writing an email to Emily M. (with fewer links to outrageously expensive/impractical clothes and less planning of my very real wedding to Jason Segel), and it just kind of works for me.  With writing, I can just go to town, and if something needs to be changed, it can be easily done.  I do need to step out of my comfort zone more, but I don’t really think that being an introvert is some kind of character flaw.  The world needs both introverts and extroverts to run.  That being said, I have some advice for you:

The Color Run was not designed for introverts.

We left for Omaha at about 6:30 Saturday morning.  Mindy had coffee for me, which I was soooo grateful for!  After a couple hours of laughing and gossiping, we arrived at the hotel to pick up Shelley and her daughter, Julia (yay for new friends!).  We walked over to the race site and were provided with a nice selection of Pop-Nasty music while we waited.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with “Pop-Nasty” – which I suppose is every person in the world besides myself and Emily M. – it is simply the music that is neither pop nor hip hop.  It manages to cross both genres, but is somehow neither.  Most pop-nasty “artists” are people whose careers fail to last more than a couple years.  The exception, of course, would be Black Eyed Peas.  The verdict is still out on Ke$ha.  When you’re waiting for the Color Run to begin, you want Pop-Nasty music to be playing.  We were pretty lucky to be in the third wave of people.  Since there were 13,000 people running, they let us go in waves of 1000.  At every kilometer (something I didn’t realize until I did a little research), we were covered in color.  At the end of the race there was a big color party where everyone threw their colored dust in the air and went crazy (I presume, we didn’t partake in the color party).  Sounds fun, right?  Well.  Kind of.

I think my main complaint about the run was the heat.  I know that no one had control over this, but the people planning the event should have either picked a date earlier in the summer or started early early in the morning.  By the time we even started running, we were drenched in sweat.  Now, I realize part of this is my own fault.  You would think that as a resident of Nebraska for 26 full years, I would know better than to agree to an outdoor physical activity, in this fine state, anytime after 7:00 am during July or August.  Apparently, I didn’t.  When I exercise in the heat and humidity, I get really weird dry mouth and have a lot of mucus build up in my throat (attractive, I know).  That, in and of itself, is unpleasant.  When you add massive clouds of cornstarch, things get really tricky.  I’ve never had asthma, but I think I caught a little glimpse of what it’s like on Saturday.
In addition to the heat, there were just soooo many people.  For someone who does horrible in crowds, this was not good.  I think the plan was to let waves of 1000 people go every 10 or 15 minutes, but instead they let us go every 2-3 minutes.  I think that was probably a good idea, because otherwise they would have been there well into the afternoon.  It just all made me very anxious.  My running partner and I were separated, which really, was fine.  Even when I run with a partner, I listen to my iPod and zone everything out so it doesn’t make a huge difference.  There were a lot of people walking (like, walls of 10 girls walking together, side-by-side) and a lot of little kids, so I felt like I was always navigating around and tripping over people.  Also, I made the mistake of not really looking at the course map.  I wasn’t at all familiar with the course and had no idea how far along we were.  I later found out that the color bursts were at every kilometer, which makes sense, but I still think it would have been nice if they would have put out signs saying how far we had run.  I ended up walking at least a mile of it, and eventually crossed the finish line at about 50 minutes.  They were completely out of water, but luckily Emily had grabbed an extra bottle (they were miniature bottles) when she finished.  I know that there were people who took 3 or 4 bottles of water, but I have a hard time understanding why, when you know it’s going to be extremely hot and humid, you wouldn’t make sure that there was enough water and then some.  I doubt it would cost too much, if any, more to buy bigger water bottles.  Or, if they weren’t going to have enough water, let people know so they could bring their own water.  They also didn’t have any food.  Granted, the only races I’ve done have been relatively small and it’s undoubtedly easier to provide for 1000 than 13,000, but it’s nice having a table of fruit and bagels when you finish a run.  When we were heading out of Omaha, we saw several ambulances heading toward the race area and I was just happy that everyone from our group made it out all right.

There were, however, some good things about the Color Run.  It was an extremely fun day with friends.  We had so much fun on the car ride there and back and waiting for the race to start.  I also love the huge sense of community there is between runners at races.  Even when we were driving to Omaha, cars would pass us with people in all white who were obviously going to the Color Run.  They would wave and we would wave and it was just fun.  After the run, we stopped at a Subway in a gas station.  Since we left Omaha pretty early, we were the only color runners there, but soon other people covered in head-to-toe color started showing up.  It kind of felt like we all knew each other.

Since Saturday, Em and I have reflected a lot on what we might have done differently.  My friends who posted pictures on Facebook, looked like they were having as much fun as the people in the ad looked.  This, of course, made us wonder if there was something wrong with us.  We kind of chalked it up to the fact that it was unbearably hot and that we’re both ridiculously large introverts.

Since it’s not likely that I’ll be having a lobotomy and/or moving to somewhere with a milder climate, here are a few of my suggestions and things I’ll keep in mind if I decide to do it next year:

  • Get a big group of friends together and plan on walking a large portion of it.  Also, one of my fellow Sweat Pink Ambassadors posted pictures of the Color Run in San Francisco and she and her friends pregamed with PBR beforehand.  It was definitely too hot for beer drinking followed by running in Omaha, but I’m sure we could have figured something out (vodka and Crystal Light, maybe?).
  • Carry water with you (and maybe also a snack, for after the run).  Unless you are the fastest person in the first wave of people, you will most likely be stopping to walk quite a bit.  The water stations they had were extremely congested and I didn’t really want to wait, so it would have been nice to have my own water.  If you’re not stopping to walk, you’re probably running over children.  If you’re running over children, then may God have mercy on your soul.
  • Make sure your iPod is on the setting you want it to be on.  I carefully formulated a playlist, but accidentally put it on shuffle instead of having it play straight through.  Somehow all my “filler” songs played at the very beginning.  It just really wasn’t my day.
  • Study the route – I think this goes for just about every race.  After forgetting this detail, I felt lost the entire run.
  • Wear an old bra.  It’s weird because my shirt got almost no color on it, but my bra and actual skin were covered in color.  I’m still trying to wash color out of my stomach.
  • Have fun!!!  Embrace the fact that this is a fun run and don’t take it too seriously.  If you have been training to run a 5k, choose a different race for your first one.  I think if I would have done the Color Run before I ran the A’Ror’N Days 5k, I would have been very discouraged with all the starting and stopping.  Get your “serious” race out of the way and just have fun with this one.

Have any of you done the Color Run in your cities?  Was your experience similar to mine or am I just a grumplestiltskin?  I’d love to hear your feedback!

Milestones

I had a feeling this week wasn’t going to be a great weigh-in.  I suppose I didn’t really do anything to sabotage my week.  I just maybe wasn’t as motivated last week.  I haven’t done very well at keeping up with the running in this heat.  Have I complained about the heat and the humidity in almost every post this month?  I feel like I have.  Most years, I’ll want to complain a little bit.  Then I always think, “Well, it definitely beats being snowed in last winter.”  But it hardly snowed last winter!  If next winter is anything like last winter, I have a feeling I’m going to like running outside in the winter a lot more than in the summer.  Any way, I digress.  I apologize.  Back to my week.  So, I didn’t run as much as I should have, and I tracked very sporadically (I will NOT apologize for accumulating a large majority of my vocabulary from Clueless.  Cher Horowitz was and remains to be a smart, smart lady.), so I wasn’t expecting a huge loss.  I ended up losing .8 pounds, which put me at exactly 30 with WW and 50 total.  Yeah!

I wanted to see what the change looked like approximately every 10 pounds. I know you’re probably incredibly impressed with my photo collage skills. My services are, indeed, available for hire.

I’ve been finding it harder to be motivated lately.  I think a lot of people do when they get to the 20-30 pound range.  I think that part of my problem is that I’m overconfident in my skills.  Maybe that’s not the right way to put it, but I’ll kind of slack a little.  Like, I’ll think, “Ohhh… I’ve been doing this for 16 weeks now, I know how to eat right.”  So I won’t track everything.  That leads to dangerous things.  Like eating an avocado every day for the entire week, and not realizing how many points they are.  I’ve also become more lax with measuring.  I know it won’t hurt too much if I have more than a cup of Cheerios, but little slip ups lead to big slip-ups, and then I don’t feel like I’m in control.  And for me, in this program, I need to be in control in order to succeed.  Not, like, obsessively so.  That would create bigger problems than gaining a bit of weight, but I do need to be in control of my own life.

As a lot of you know, about a month ago I wrote about the small victories I have won since starting WW.  I feel like I should update it a bit since I hit a couple of bigger goals this week.

  • I’ve lost 30 pounds in WW!  For reference, that is one of these plus an extremely full diaper:

  • I’ve lost 50 pounds over the course of 2 years.  For further reference, two years ago, I was carrying around the weight of two of the cutie pies from the previous picture (sans heavy diaper).
  • I fit into a size 16 jeans.  Comfortably (!), which hasn’t happened since high school.   (I should also note that when I was trying them on, a lot of the size 16’s fit very uncomfortably.)  I have been very lucky, because I’ve pretty much been able to get by with wearing workout clothes.  My summer uniform has been Nike running shorts and a tank top (thank you Nike for making cute, plus-size workout clothes and not always being able to sell the in season stuff and in turn selling it to places like TJMaxx and Nordstrom rack so that I can buy $35 shorts for less than $10!).  However, Saturday night I was meeting up with an old friend, so I had to wear real clothes.  Ugh (to wearing real clothes, not to seeing old friends)!  This is really only a half-problem, because my closet is filled with shirts I bought right after I had my reduction mammaplasty a few years ago, but haven’t fit in more recent years and do now.  The problem is in the pants.  (The previous sentence sparked a lot of inappropriate jokes in my head.  So much so that I considered deleting it and choosing my words more wisely.  Ultimately, I decided to leave it so you guys could have some fun with that.)  I have a pair of jean capris that really only fit right after I pull them out of the dryer.  And despite my better judgment, I keep wearing them.  Also, up until Wednesday, all of my underwear was too big.  This created problems.  It especially created problems on Wednesday, when I happened to be wearing a dress.  Mom and I made the dreaded trip to Walmart.  I absolutely hate going there and thought if I left to get the stuff I needed, on my own, it might be a quicker trip.  Well, I didn’t grab a basket and my arms were full of stuff when I was walking back to mom’s cart.  My underwear had been slowly creeping down, but I thought I could make it.  As I turned down the aisle she was in, they pretty much full on fell down.  I mean, I could kind of disguise the situation, but when you’re doing a really cracked out Sumo walk to try and stop your underwear from falling down in the middle of Walmart, you’re not really deflecting attention away from yourself.  I did get new underwear, though, so there’s no need to worry about me anymore.  Except, I did not get new pants.  So.  Maybe worry a little bit.  But at least one layer will stay up.  Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a list.  I should probably get back to it.
  • I ran 4 miles on Wednesday!  Most days this past week, my legs would start hurting a lot while running, so I maybe only do a mile.  Wednesday, they felt so much better, so I just kept running.  I ran to the highway, down to the next road, and then some.  Sometimes I forget that I’m going to have to turn around, and that’s kind of been my strategy for adding distance.  Maybe the only thing I find cool about running on gravel (besides the fact that when there’s corn on both sides, I just feel incredibly small, in a good way), is that sometimes when I go running, my footprints are still there from the night before.  Sometimes I try to run so that my opposite foot is right next to the print, so if someone happens upon my trail they’ll be like, “Wow!  Someone hopped down a country road for 4 miles?  That’s pretty impressive!”

I revisited my goals from last week, and I didn’t quite make them all.  I DID run 4 miles last week and I also ran 4 times last week.  Emily M. and I didn’t reach our 60 classes in Jazzercise before the shirts were gone, but that’s okay, I suppose.  The shirts are One Size Fits All, but they look a lot more like One Size Fits Medium, so it probably wouldn’t even fit me.  It would, however, fit Em so that makes me kind of sad.  I didn’t make it to an Aqua Zumba class, but I’m going to go tonight!  I’m excited!  Whenever I drive by the pool, it looks like they’re having so much fun.  I know my other goal was to learn how to shimmy, but — I’m sad to say — I’m throwing the towel in on that one.

Goals for this week:

  • Track every day.
  • Go to Jazzercise 5 times.
  • Run 4 times.  One time at least 5 miles.
  • Try a new kind of activity.  Maybe yoga?  I need to figure this out.
  • Finish The Color Run on Saturday!

Currently, my Power song when running:

Oh!  Also!  I have to brag a little bit:  My mom started WW last week and lost SIX POINT EIGHT pounds this week!  Holy Moly!  She’s a rockstar.

Happy Monday!

One of my favorite songs by my favorite songwriter. Definitely a great way to start the week!

So far my day has been extremely low-key and awesome.  While I’ve done a few productive things like make appointments and do some studying, I’m still in my pajamas at 2:00 pm.  In fact, when I started this post I was eating breakfast (Strawberry Greek yogurt with bananas and granola) and now I’m just finishing lunch (grilled chicken breast on spinach with avocado, almonds, fat-free Thousand Island dressing, and fresh parmesan cheese shavings with a generic raspberry Crystal Light).  I really do just have a tough tough life.

Looks pretty good, right?

I’m heading out to attempt a 4-mile run.  Eek!  Any prayers and positive thoughts you could send my way would be soooo appreciated!  It appears that the heat wave has been broken (Hallelujah!) and not only is it below 100 degrees at 2 pm, but it’s actually below 90 degrees!  Holy Moly!  I almost forgot how awesome the lower 80’s felt.

My running song of the day:

Oops, I did it again…

Weigh-in was today.  Last week after I weighed in, I walked confidently to the front of the meeting with a big smile on my face.  I had lost 8.4 pounds.  This week was more of a sneak quietly into the back.  I gained 3.8 pounds…  Almost half of what I lost the week before.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t expect to gain.  On Saturday, we celebrated my birthday with pizza and cake and ice cream.  Then Sunday (my actual birthday), my grandpa made the BEST bbq ribs.  Also, after I ran the 5k on Saturday, i took a brief sabbatical from working out.  My legs were so tired, and it’s been kind of nice to rest a bit.  I’m confident that once I get my routine back on track, I’ll start losing again.  But for now, I’d like to stop worrying about it and share my Birthday Week details!

My week was just awesome.  My 16 month old niece visited Tuesday through Saturday and we had SO much fun.  Every time I see her, she’s just smarter and cuter and all-together even more awesome than the last time I saw her (which I really didn’t think was possible).  We went on a lot of walks with the wagon and she helped me push the cart at the grocery store.  The house is so quiet without her here!

Friday, I made my birthday cake.  Now, before anyone gets all concerned about me making my own birthday cake… I WANTED to do it.  I don’t bake cake all that much anymore, especially since I’ve been eating healthier.  This is a cake that I’ve made several times.  In fact, it’s sort of my specialty.  I’m to the point where I almost have the recipe memorized.  While I was baking, I was SO excited.  I didn’t have to go back to the store for any extra ingredients.  I cleaned up as I went along.  Nigella was on the Cooking Channel.  (I’m kind of obsessed.  Her voice is what my inner dialogue sounds like when I’m baking, even though the only accent I can do in real life is Southern.  And even then, it’s not so much “Southern” as it is “hick.”)  Anyway, things were going pretty well.  I took the cakes out of the oven (they looked flawless) and let them cool for a very appropriate length of time on the cooling racks.  After they had cooled, I leveled them off and started frosting.  As soon as I finished, I noticed a crack in the top layer about an inch long.  I called to my mom, who was talking to my aunt, for advice.  She kept on talking while the cake kept on cracking.  I kind of pushed it together with my hands to try to save it, but it just kept falling through my fingers.  After many half cuss words were said, and surprisingly no tears spilled, I decided to just let it be.  There was talk of going to Central City or Grand Island to get an ice cream cake, but I decided we’d eat this one.

She’s a beaut, right? As my friend, Kim, called it: Pangea Cake

Since we had family over, I didn’t really have an opportunity to let go of steam regarding the cake.  So, I did what any normal person would do.  I went to Jazzercise… Angry.  I know you probably think Angry Jazzercise is not possible.  Well, it is.  I mean, it’s not EASY, but it’s possible.  I’m sure people thought I was crazy, but it was exactly what I needed.  By the time I got home, my sister and sister-in-law had arrived, so I was happy.  Also, one of the last songs of the set list was “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, and that’s a REALLY hard song to stay angry to.  Friday night, we had a dance party with Little Miss Whitney on our deck and it was so much fun.

Saturday morning was the 5k and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  (At least, not for me.)  It had rained the night before and was cool and cloudy and I just loved it.  I had so much fun running with my sister.  There were a lot of random spurts of “dance running.”  We were also passed, about halfway through, by a woman pulling her two kids in a wagon.  I mean, she was walking fast.  But still, she was walking.  We eventually passed her right before the finish line (mainly because she let us).  According to my watch and the lady calling out the time, we finished in about 43 minutes.  HOWEVER, once they posted the times, they had me listed at 45 minutes AND said that I was 40 seconds slower than my sister when we pretty much finished at exactly the same time.  It’s not a big deal, but I was still a little pissed.  Then we went to a pancake feed at the airport, took naps, and CELEBRATED.  My mom had bought a little toy Batgirl to put on my cake, so that made my cake appear kind of badass.

I like to think Batgirl is saving Southern California from a giant earthquake/mudslide.

Waiting to blow out candles with my grandmas.

Yep… I DID blow them out with one breath. There was A LOT of smoke.

All-in-all it was a good Birthday Week.  We went to the Henry Doorly Zoo yesterday and had so much fun.  I’m ready to get back into a routine, though.  What I’m not looking forward to is running in this heat and humidity.  It’s 103º F in Aurora right now.  Yikes!  I think I might have to wake up at 5:00 am tomorrow to run.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today’s my birthday so I feel like I need to post something, BUT I am 100% exhausted.  My niece was visiting us for the week and we’ve had family visiting from out of state so it’s just been an extremely awesome tornado of chaos.  I’ll give an official summary of the week’s events later, but here are a few highlights.

– I lost 8.4 pounds at weigh-in on Wednesday.  I even stepped on the scale twice to make sure I didn’t do something wrong.  This brings my total to 28.4 (47 lbs if we’re counting pre-WW weight loss) and I got my 10% key ring and 25 pound “weight” to put on it.

– Saturday I ran my first 5k.  It took 43 minutes and we got passed by a woman pulling her two kids in a wagon, but still… we ran the entire way.

– After fighting with myself over what to do about my birthday cake, I decided to indulge a little (okay, a lot) and make my AMAZING Chocolate Butter Cake with Fudge Frosting.  Someone, somewhere did not like this, because after I got it all frosted, this happened (It’s supposed to be a three-layer, nine-inch round cake):

Did we still eat it?  Abso-frickin-lutely.  It still tasted amazing.

Also… Big shout out to the Emily’s!  They both passed and made it through Jazzercise instructor training!  One of the best birthday presents is the fact that I can take their classes SOON!  (I feel the need to acknowledge that they are actually separate people.  In fact, in a lot of ways, they’re complete opposites.  It’s just easier to lump them together.  I don’t want them to ever feel like Mary Kate and Ashley did toward the end of their acting careers when they got all serious about not wanting to be ‘The Olsen Twins’ anymore.)

Now… For my reverse birthday present, I would like to share the playlist that got me through the 5k on Saturday.  And yes, it is entitled:  Sally’s Incredibly Awesome Birthday 5k Running Playlist. (Warning… if you’re lactose intolerant, you may want to stop reading.  This playlist is full of cheesy guilty pleasure songs.)

1.  Sally Is A… – Shwayze (I will admit that I listen to this song at least once a day.  You probably should, too.  It’s not great for running, but I thought it would be good to listen to while standing around waiting for it to start.  However, the gun went off way before I was ready, so there wasn’t much wait time.)
2.  American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
3.  The Story of Us – Taylor Swift (Not a great choice.  I regretted it when it came on.  I needed something more upbeat and fun at this point.)
4.  Uptown Girl – Billy Joel (This is the beat of my favorite comfortable pace to run to.  I made a playlist for my mom for when she walks and included a lot of Billy Joel and Hall & Oates.  I had to listen to it on a run one day and it was actually really amazing.)
5.  What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction (yes, One Direction may be under the delusion that teenage girls need to hear that they’re beautiful from a boy band to actually feel beautiful.  But… The song’s catchy and I LIKE it.)
6.  You Make My Dreams Come True – Hall & Oates
7.  Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen  (I put this on every playlist.  It was at this point of the race when I started dance running.  I needed it.  I’m not sick of it yet.  Why am I not sick of it yet?)
8.  Wait Til You See My Smile – Alicia Keys  (This is one of my favorite songs for that time of the run when you’ve hit your stride and are just going.  There’s a good piano part that keeps the tempo up, even though it’s a really calm and relaxing song.)
9.  The Bitch is Back – Elton John (At this point of the run, I passed a friend’s house (Thanks, Dawn!) and it gave me me kind of a second wind.  This song always makes me want to do air punches and kicks.  But let’s face it, most songs make me want to do air punches and kicks.)
10.  Brokenhearted – Karmin (next to “Call Me Maybe,” it’s my favorite guilty pleasure song.  And this chick’s from Nebraska!)
11.  Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye  (I’ve been wondering when I will become sick of this song.  I discovered it much, much later than everyone else, so it’s taken awhile.  The answer to my question, though, was exactly the same moment it started playing on my iPod, but I didn’t want to go through the pain of getting it out and changing it, so I suffered down most of 15th street.)
12.  Hey Juliet – LMNT
13.  Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel (This was playing during when I finished.)
14.  Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
15.  Part of Me – Katy Perry (next to Bulletproof, this might be my favorite routine to Jazzercise to.  I was proud I didn’t make it to this point of my playlist.)
16.  Standing Outside the Fire – Garth Brooks (I decided to put this one at the end, in case I was still running.  My mom used to bawl during this music video and my siblings and I were obsessed with it.  Youtube it.  You won’t regret it.  It still kind of gets to me!  I also thought there would be a possibility that my brother and sister would have to carry me through the finish line.  Luckily, they didn’t.)
17.  Ride Wit Me – Nelly featuring City Spud  (I figured if I reallllly went slower than I though, this would cheer me up.  I know every word.  Every.  Word.)

Tag! You’re it!

You guys, last weekend was seriously the Best Weekend Ever.  The past few days, I’ve just kept laughing at random things that people said or did, and it really made me wish I had carried around a tape recorder to catch everything.  Saturday morning was the Havelock Charity Run, so The Emily’s and Kim came to Lincoln on Friday night.  Because, you know, we wanted to get a good night’s sleep before the run.  Well… It should come as no surprise that we stayed up until about 4:00 am, talking about just completely random things.  If we made a drinking game where you had to take a shot every time someone said “Remember that one time…” or just shouted out completely random names of our preschool-high school classmates and teachers followed by a completely random story, we would all probably be dead from alcohol poisoning.  I was a little nervous about the run, so I seriously got maybe 30 minutes of sleep.  I just had all of these horrible flashbacks of running the mile in P.E. class when I’d be, like, a whole lap behind everyone so when the class would finish they’d come and run along me and cheer me on and it was AWFUL.  I just always wanted to be like, “Hey, how ’bout y’all go back inside and climb the effing rope, because we all know how good you are at that and let me finish this alone.”  It should also come as no surprise that Elementary P.E. is where Emily P. and I perfected our swearing skills.  Anyway, sorry about the rant.  My cousin Sarah met us up at the race to be the 4th person in our team.  Since we had a team of at least four people, Pinnacle Bank donated money to the charity of our choice.  I chose Lighthouse, because I think it’s an incredibly awesome and needed place for the young folks of Lincoln.  I didn’t realize just how many people would be running.  I’m not sure the exact number, but there had to be at least a thousand.  I also was not aware how many kids there would be.  Like, LITTLE kids.  When the race started, there was a little boy in front of Emily M. so she tapped him on the head and said, “Tag!  You’re it!”  He didn’t continue the game, but I think it would have eliminated any need for an iPod.  I also understand why they suggest you don’t use an iPod during the race.  They kept making announcements like, “There’s a car on the right side of the street.  Watch out.” or “Don’t run into the giant flag pole.”  I just thought, “Dude, I’m not going to run into a car.” (Those of you who really know anything about me, probably just thought to themselves, “Sally… if anyone’s going to run into a parked car, it’s going to be you.)  And, I DID almost run into pretty much everything they said not to run into.  However, I managed to make it through the race injury-free, which says a lot about someone who has actually managed to sprain her ankle in her sleep.  We ended up placing 390-393 out of 548 with a time of 24:55 AND I didn’t walk.  I didn’t warm up or stretch beforehand (I know, crazy), which I think was a big mistake.  Normally when I go for a run, I run for a song, stretch, then do my actual run.  If I don’t, after about 5 minutes into my run my body’s like, “SALLY!  WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME??  WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO MUCH?!?!?!?”  That’s kind of what happened on Saturday, but after we passed the mile mark, I was just like “Whatever, I’ve got this.”  It helped that the little boy in front of us (not the boy Emily M. challenged to tag, a different one) and his mom was teaching him how to spell/read all the street signs and also to say “thank you” to the traffic cops.  It didn’t help my confidence that this boy was probably, like, 6, and just running along when I’ve been training for 8 weeks to be able to run anything longer than a block.  There were actually an embarrassingly large amount of kids with ages in the single digits who beat us.  Oh well.  I’ll get them next year!  I can’t say enough how thankful I am for my running team.  They probably could have all finished the race in about half the time, but they all stayed with me and that made it so much more fun and special.

After the race, the only thing we really wanted to do was drink a Bloody Mary.  (Wouldn’t you?)  By the time we were done talking to people and taking pictures (Thank you, Emily P., for being such a great photographer and cheerleader!), it was about 8:30 and we really didn’t know any place that would serve alcohol that early.  HOWEVER, we decided to just start walking down Havelock and discovered that Arnold’s opened up early just for the occasion.  So we sat around drinking Bloody Mary’s and, again, telling amusing stories.  I suppose I should also disclose that my friends also got me a 2-week-early birthday shot of tequila as my punishment for making them run in celebration of my birthday.  In case you’re wondering, there were not other customers doing shots of tequila before 10:00 am in Arnold’s.  After that, we headed to The Isles since Emily M. and I had been CRAVING their cream cheese pepperoni pizza.  Then we got pedicures done.  The Emily’s had to go back to Aurora, but Kim and I took a three hour nap and got ready to go out and meet our friend, Savanna.  I won’t bore you with the details of that, but I will just give you the advice that if you’re going out and decide it’s a good idea to “party like it’s 2007,” it’s not… Especially if the last time you partied like it was 2007 was in 2008.

I feel like it goes without saying, that my weigh-in this week was not great.  Running less than two miles on Saturday does not cancel out pizza and drinking.  I gained about a pound, but I’m confident I can take it back off soon.  Since I started WW, I haven’t ever had the mentality of “ohhhh, since I worked out today, I can have pizza tonight.” Or really, ever rewarding myself with food.  Most weeks I earn at least 100 activity points and very very rarely use them or the extra 39 “flex points” we’re given every week.  So when my friends were in town to celebrate my birthday, I decided it was okay to indulge a little.  Sure, it might lead to me needing to kick my butt in working out this week, but that’s okay.  I worked really hard and actually finished my running plan (YAY!  I think this means I’m actually a Runner), so I’m not going to beat myself up over it.  I just have to be careful not to have that mentality all the time.  I also have to be careful not to sink back into old habits.  So, this week I’m going to try super hard to track EVERYTHING.  It’s really embarrassing, but last week I’m pretty sure I only tracked on Wednesday, and the rest of the days in my WW journal were empty.  Maybe I’ll post my journal every day.  That won’t be annoying at all…

Lessons learned this week, or things to keep in mind for the A’Ror’n Days 5K:

– I need new shoes.  BAD.  I got my shoes at least 5 years ago.  Granted, I haven’t done a WHOLE lot of physical activity in those 5 years, but I have had to replace the insoles and the back is wearing down so that it rubs against my Achilles tendon.  And, I may be developing a case of Runner’s Knee in my right knee (according to Google). It doesn’t hurt that bad, but I think I need to fix the situation soon.

– Warm up and stretch!  I can’t be sure, because no one knows what happens behind her vanity/closet, but I bet even Barbara Gordon/Batgirl has to stretch before she runs off to save Gothem.

– Sleep well the night before a run!  It was a special occasion since my friends were in town, but I will be getting a full 8 hours of sleep next Friday before my 5k.

– Dri-fit may be the best invention ever.  Today I wore a regular cotton t-shirt on my run, and it was awful.  I have no problem admitting that it’s probably the main reason I didn’t add an extra mile onto my run.

– I feel like I need to stop being afraid of picking up the speed.  I was just worried I wouldn’t have enough endurance to make it without walking.  However, I had plenty of energy left to “sprint” the last couple blocks, so I need to figure out a pace that pushes me a little more.

I can’t really think of anything else.  I am a sleepy goose today, and I have to head into town to go to Jazzercise.  But I’ll leave you with a few pictures from Saturday…

Kim, Me, and Emily M. before the race

Kim, Em, Me, and Sarah after the race.

Cousins! Me with Kate and Sarah. Kate ran the 10K like a boss.

This is how your friends repay you when you make them wake up early on a Saturday morning to go run. But really… Does it look like I’m complaining?

Also… I just realized it’s been an extremely large amount of time since I posted an actual recipe — and this is supposed to be a food blog! — but I promise I’ll post one soon.  I may just have to pull one out of the archives.

UPDATE: I decided to post my daily tracking, if anyone is interested.  I’m not going to be posting links on Facebook every day.  Don’t worry!

Small Victories

Tuesday night I was writing a post on accomplishments that have nothing to do with the scale.  I usually get a little anxious the day before weigh in and was trying to remind myself that it’s not all about how much weight you lose but also about the small victories you have along the way.  Well… I weighed in yesterday and lost 4.2 pounds this week, which brings my total with Weight Watchers to 21.6 and grand total (from Emily P.’s wedding, which was in August 2010) to almost 40 pounds.  So, that post is being thrown out the window.  Nothing matters except the scale.  Everything else is trivial.  Just Kidding.  Although, I do have to say I’m very proud of myself.  I didn’t really do anything that made me think I wouldn’t lose a lot.  I was just expecting the standard 1-2 pounds.  When I weighed in, my leader, Mary (who is just an extremely positive and helpful person), and I just looked at each other with a very wide eyed surprised look when we saw the number on the scale and then started laughing and it took us awhile to stop.

Now, I’m going to include some before and after – or I suppose, before and during – pictures, mainly because I don’t have an incredibly inspiring video montage on hand.  I do, however, have something to admit.  I HATE before and after pictures.  I hate how the before pictures are usually taken by someone who obviously hates the person being photographed because they’re always taken while said person is in the middle of eating some disgusting looking food or doing something really unappealing.  To me, at least, it suggests that everyone is just a huge, unattractive slob with horrible hygiene before they lose weight.  I think too much emphasis is put on the appearance part of losing weight (though, I admit, I love receiving compliments just as much or more than the next person).  I’m going to stop before I start a long essay on feminism and body image, BUT you get the point.  And, admittedly, I might change my tune when I reach my goal weight, which is still a loooooong ways off.

Emily P.’s Wedding: August 28, 2010

May 30, 2012: 40 pounds later

While I had an incredibly awesome week this week, there have been a lot of weeks when I’ve lost less than a pound, and even a couple where I gained a little bit.  Those weeks it can be extremely frustrating, especially when it feels like you’re doing everything according to plan.  I try to find other things to motivate me.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to run a 5000 meter (for you Parks and Rec fans) at the end of June and actually am running a 3k a week from Saturday.  (Any “first race” tips would be greatly appreciated!)  I don’t know if I’d really consider those to be small victories, but it’s definitely something else to motivate me.

So, instead of the usual “Things I’ve Learned This Week” list, this week I’m going to do a “Small Victories” List.  You’ll have to forgive me if it turns into “Sally’s Brag List.”  My birthday is in less than a month and usually during Birthday Month my ego doubles in size.  In fact, I was listening to Beyonce after my meeting because I was so pumped up and found myself relating a little too much to her song, “Ego.”  Then, the more I listened to the words, the more I realized it was about Jay Z’s, um, “member” and found I could no longer relate to it.  But, good for you, Beyonce.  Good.  For.  You.

Also, I want to hear about things that keep you motivated and focused when the number on the scale’s not moving as fast as you want it to.

Small Victories

–  using my actual abs instead of neck during crunches in Jazzercise.  I think since I accomplished this, Advil stock has gone down drastically and the poor people at WebMD are worried that the 25-34 year-old female from my zip code who symptom checked neck injuries all the time actually did have a neck tumor and has since passed.

–  in general, just using WebMD less.  Unless it’s after a double Jazzercise followed by a run.  But they don’t really have an option on their symptom checker for “Everything hurts!  I think I’m going to die!”

– Finally being able to fit into a pair of jeans I ordered a couple months ago that were too small, but I swore I would be able to fit into them after a couple weeks of hard work.  (Side note:  I had a pair of the same style and size only in Long that fit perfectly, but the regulars were significantly smaller.  Has anyone else had this problem with Gap jeans?)

– Having to tighten my watch by a hole.

– In the same vein, having an INCREDIBLY attractive tan line where my watch is, despite using SPF 50 sunscreen religiously because I’m just running All.  The.  Time.  Actually, only a half hour, 5 days a week.  But still.  Pretty awesome.  (Annoying PSA time:  Use sunscreen, folks!  If my embarrassingly fair skin can tan after a very limited amount of time in the sun, with a high SPF sunscreen, there’s no reason you shouldn’t use it.)

–  Having to add a new hole to a belt.  Those of you more fortunate than I, might consider buying a new belt.

– Knowing an embarrassingly large amount of Pit Bull lyrics from going to Jazzercise so much.  He sure does like to rap about the President..

– Reaching 25 classes in Jazzercise!  Yeah!  (Actually, I think this would be a lot higher, but none of my Lincoln classes counted toward this.)  Also, for all of you Aurora Jazzercisers out there, Emily M. and I are going to Buh-ring It for the partner challenge these next couple months.  You better watch your back!

– Having someone who didn’t know I was trying to lose weight, compliment me.

– Passing Taco Johns and Amigos on my way to Party City (as mentioned before, it IS Birthday Month, I will most likely be going to P.C. – aka Sally’s Heaven on Earth – every week after meetings until June 24th) and opting to get Subway instead.

– In fact, I haven’t had Amigos or really any fast food in almost three months.  Having said that, I’m now reallllly craving Amigos.

– Running 2 miles, without stopping, under 30 minutes (barely).  But hey, waving at someone you THINK is your bff’s boyfriend  (who, I should mention, I’ve known since Kindergarten) very enthusiastically every time you think you see him drive by adds a lot of seconds to your time.

I feel like I could go on for a while, but I’ve probably reached my limit.  I do have to say, though, my biggest accomplishment – so far – happened when I was in Denver visiting my sister.  I think maybe a 1 ½ years ago, my brother, sister-in-law, and I went to Denver to see Greta and took a big walk around this really cool, Stuhr Museum-like park, and I would just get completely winded but then pass it off as being the altitude’s fault.  HOWEVER, Greta and I went back to this park on this trip and we RAN.  We ran A LOT.  We also went to Red Rocks one day, and while – yes – I did get a little out of breath while walking up the steps to the amphitheater, I didn’t have to stop and do the weird half laugh, half cough thing to cover up my heavy breathing.  I can tell crazy awesome things are happening inside of me and that’s, well, crazy awesome.

Running in Denver

My very Awesome sister.

Also, I’m sorry, Mom, for talking about Jay Z’s manly part.  I’d like to say it won’t happen again, but I just don’t know.